November 2013 Posts

Be Thankful: A Note from Novelist Francine Rivers

With the holiday season upon us, it is easy to become caught up in the day-to-day flurry of shopping, planning, and decorating. But at this time of year, it is always important to take a moment to be silent and grateful. Today on the blog, bestselling novelist Francine Rivers has shared with us her plans for this Thanksgiving holiday.

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Thanksgiving is a wonderful celebration for those of us who have family. It’s a time to get together and share a big dinner and much laughter. But it is something far different for those who have no home or family. It can become a time of deep depression, a time of pain or longing. Some escape further into drugs or alcohol to forget their despair and loneliness.

Each year, our local mission offers Thanksgiving dinner at the fairgrounds. The number of attendees has grown every year. Last year, over five thousand people were served. It is a diverse crowd of men and women, some alone, some with families, many homeless, some with homes but living on small fixed incomes that don’t meet their needs. Others were in rehabilitation programs working one day at a time to overcome the effects of drug and alcohol addiction. Some came because they were living on the street and hungry and in need of a decent meal.

Hundreds volunteered to help set up, cook, serve, and hand out provisions. And Bibles. It is a blessing for those of us who can and have been involved in putting on the feast. Even so, it seems such a small thing in the face of so much need. But the homeless can come for a nice dinner with cake and get haircuts, fresh clothing, and a box of practical goodies as a present.

Frankly, Thanksgiving can bring an aftertaste of guilt for having so much when so many have nothing. It is a reminder that whatever we do have is on loan. Like a pitcher of water, we are filled in order to pour out blessings on others.

There never has been a time that there haven’t been the poorest of the poor among us. There was no room in the inn for Jesus. He was born in a stable and placed in a feeding trough. Jesus said we would always have the poor among us. Thanksgiving is a time to remember we are all created in the image of God. In Christ, no matter where we live or under what circumstances, we can be thankful for the hope He offers and the security that God keeps His promises, not just one or two days a year, but every day.

We can be prepared. We need to share: pint bottles of water, granola bars, and plastic ponchos don’t cost much and can be a great blessing when someone is thirsty or hungry or needs cover from the rain. Sometimes the best gift is time, a sincere smile and greeting.

Thanksgiving may be a one-day celebration, but it should be a state of mind we carry and share throughout the year.

Thanks to Francine for sharing with us such a beautiful tradition.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Francine’s upcoming release, Bridge to Haven. Preorder your copy today!

Bridge to Haven

 

What about you, readers? Are you starting any new Thanksgiving traditions or practicing old favorites?

Get Great Deals at Tyndale’s 2013 Christmas Gift Store!

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Visit Tyndale’s 2013 Christmas gift store at TyndaleDirect.com for great deals. You can save up to 50% on some of our best products, and the shipping is FREE! There’s something for everyone on your buying list. You can even browse by gifts for her, him, kids, and ministry leaders/pastors.

Starting on December 2-13 we’re starting 12 days of deals! The “12 Days of Christmas Deals” will save you even more on select products. Stop by daily December 2–13, 2013, to see the deal of the day. Get your Christmas gift-buying off to a great start by visiting Tyndale’s Christmas gift store today.

We’ll post updates on the blog with each daily deal, and even give you a chance to win free books for helping us share about the deals. Be sure to stop by on Monday to learn more.

Remember to visit TyndaleDirect.com today!

‘Tis the Season: Great Gift-Giving Ideas

Enjoy another guest post installment from Children’s & Youth Acquisitions Director, Katara Patton.

I have a confession to make…  I haven’t been a traditional Christmas shopper since an awful incident just about 20 years ago. I was out shopping for Christmas, looking for the best deals, and I got in a shouting match over a parking spot. Bah Humbug! I quickly pulled it in, repented, and said to myself: “This is not the reason for this season, neither is it the spirit!” So, from that fateful Christmas season on, I’ve really focused more on giving gifts I make or gifts that remind others why we are celebrating.

Now as a parent of a young one, I am challenged to refocus her attention during this awfully secular time of year and teach her about Christ’s birth and the true gift God gave us through Christ.

And what better way to do that than to share the Christmas story through books, and music, and activities, and family stories and time.

At Tyndale, we can definitely help with the book part. One of my new favorite products this season is the digital version of the My Read and Rhyme Christmas Story. It’s available now for only $1.99 and it has narration and beautiful art to compliment the sacred retelling of the birth of Jesus. You can read it to your kids or let them press play and hear the story over and over again. It’s the type of gift you can give early to refocus little (and big) minds on the real reason for the season.

Tyndale also has many devotionals that make great gifts. Devotionals are a reminder to kids that spending time in God’s Word each day is a great habit to develop. It’s a discipline to begin as early as possible. Some of my favorite for this year include the One Year My Princess Devotions (for preschool girls), The One Year Book of Bible Trivia (perfect for any kid who can read well on his/her own and who loves trivia questions!) and for teens, Think 4:8 (it’s designed to get teens thinking positively!) Some of our best-selling devotions include One Year Devotions for Preschoolers (featuring the Little Blessings characters and art), One Year Devotions for Girls and Boys (including a Girls devotion featuring the Women of the Bible), One Year Teen Devos (and a great Teen Girls devo). We have a devotional for every kid at every age (and we’ll share more about those in January).

Picture books and Bible storybooks are also great books to give at Christmas. The cute cuddly I Couldn’t Love You More is perfect for the animal lover. And A Child’s First Bible is a great hit for young kids. Christmas also serves as a perfect time to give God’s Word as a gift. And we have lots of great Bibles for kids.

So, whether you’re looking for a stocking filler or a meaningful gift, consider checking out Tyndale’s large line of Kids books and Bibles. We love being able to share God’s Word and the true reason for this season with kids!

New from Tyndale: Faith that Sticks & Happy Day Books

Looking for stickers for your holiday cards or for stocking stuffers? Or do you have an upcoming ministry event or Sunday school class that is in need of some fantastic themed stickers? Check out Faith that Sticks stickers, now available from Tyndale House Publishers! Visit – www.FaithThatSticks.com

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Here are just a few ideas for how to use Faith that Sticks® stickers at home, church, school—anywhere!
-Make quick cards
-Track jobs completed
-Track attendance, Bible memory, and accomplishments
-Add to certificates and activity pages
-Give as awards, prizes, gifts, and incentives
-Make classroom games, activities, and signs
-Decorate crafts, posters, and journals
-Make labels, name tags, and IDs
-Welcome children
-Give quick “smile makers” (encouragement)
-Divide kids into small groups
-Create seasonal or holiday projects and activities

Check out these great holiday themed stickers:

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View all the products including special kids books from Happy Day Books here – www.FaithThatSticks.com

 

The value of doing devotions with young kids (and some tips too) – A Guest Post by Author Karen Whiting

 

 

This week we are pleased to present to you Tyndale Kids Author Karen Whiting (My Princess Devotions). Karen is a great writer with outstanding and creative ideas to get your little ones moving while they learn about God. Check out what she has to say about doing devotions with your children (boys and girls) and learn more about Karen’s book. It’s a good one to share with your little princess or to give as a gift.  – Katara Patton, Acquisitions Director

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Devotions with little ones formed the framework of my mothering years. I am still seeing the benefits of taking time in God’s word with my five little ones who are now grown. For that reason I am passionate about devotions for children, especially preschoolers.

 

The devotions gave us a sense of purpose and I made sure days revolved around what we read and also made sure we’d do one each day. If we didn’t get a devotion done before bed then we skipped dessert as I’d say, “If we don’t have time for the sweet word of God, we don’t have time for other sweets.” That really helped my children remind me to have some of God’s sweet words!

 

Benefits

Let’s mention some benefits. It’s easy to realize it helps children get into a habit of reading the Bible and communicating with God to nurture their spirit. However it surprised my husband and I to realize how it also gave them a jumpstart on learning. Listening and talking about a scripture increases a child’s listening comprehension and that promotes great reading comprehension. We also noticed they could talk with us about any topic through the years because the devotions touched on all aspects of life. They more easily conversed with adults. The scriptures also increased their vocabulary. Thus, devotions promote cognitive skills.

In activity-oriented devotions like My Princess Devotions, the themes cultivate character development and promote motor development. I placed hospitality in May as part of a theme of tea parties. Planning and hosting teas help little girls learn to greet people, be gracious hosts, and serve others and also helps foster good manners. Other months include generosity, compassion, trust, honesty, and cheerfulness.

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The gross motor development comes with activities such as praise walks, dancing, and exercises that are part of various daily devotions. I planned to emphasize using a different body part each month (i.e. feet in October, hands in February). Small motor development is promoted with craft and cooking activities in other devotions. A variety of activities help children realize God cares about all aspects of their lives and helps develop various learning styles.

Tips on doing devotions

  1. Be open-minded. Open hearts to God’s guidance and children’s thoughts. If children stray from the meaning, reread God’s word or look at another passage on the same topic to enlighten them!

 

1. Be consistent by setting up a routine and time for devotions. Choose the best time: early in the morning, afterschool, or in the evening.

2. Be enthusiastic. It’s catchy! Praise your child for participating.

3. Avoid distractions. No eating, no phone calls or TV during devotions.

4. Plan a reasonable time limit. Ten minutes is good for growing children. When the time is too short to cover the lesson, carry it over to next time!

5. Don’t be afraid of silence as you wait for your child to respond to a question you ask.

6. Make Dad a part of the devotions. Choose a time Dad can participate in person or by phone/internet call.

7. If Dad travels often or is deployed in the military consider buying a digital copy for him to read along.

 

Devotions and Your Child’s Personality

Children are different and respond according to their temperaments. An outgoing child likes to act out Bible scenes and share what they learn. A shy child may prefer to do devotions in an intimate setting and will like to journal or draw but may not want to share verbally as much.

Set the stage for success by responding to your child’s personality. For the outgoing child, make it a fun time that can include visiting friends. For a child who is a natural born leader and likes to take charge, let your little one help choose the place and time to do them and also let your child have extra time to discuss the topic. For a little one who is more relaxed and would rather sit and not do things use some encouragement and follow devotions with a snack or reading another book. For the shy child, make it a special parent-child time alone and be patient to wait for the child to think and answer questions.

If you want to do devotions as a family, make sure to include everyone in discussions. Consider using a talking stick, where you pass the stick around for each person to have a time to talk.

 

Results

I believe that making God part of daily life fosters a sense of purpose and helps children mature. It may not change their IQ, but I thank the Lord that my children are kind, considerate, and serve others. They have remained close to one another and to the Lord. That’s what we want the most as parents.

We can still talk about anything. I am also thankful that one son who experienced twelve years of a 24/7 migraine was able to cling to scriptures with hope. The Lord healed him last November so we are also thankful for that.

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You can learn more about Karen Whiting at her website – www.karenwhiting.com, or like her Facebook page or follow her on Twitter.