April 2015 Posts

Kid Talk Tuesday: ‘Member When… – Guest Post by Dandi Daley Mackall

Guest post from author Dandi Daley Mackall.

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When I was a kid, my two favorite words were: “’Member when?” Those words always led to the greatest adventures, true stories populated with my own relatives facing real-life conflict. My mom had eleven brothers and sisters, who married and gave me about a million cousins, or so it seemed whenever we’d travel to Grandma’s. While the grownups took their rightful places around the long dining room table, we kids ate in the kitchen, knowing that on the other side of the swinging door stories were about to unfold. I rarely ate. I’d press my ear to that door and listen. Sooner or later, Uncle Walt or Aunt Vin would talk my grandmother into remembering, and off we’d go: “I remember when we crossed the great ocean to America. I was just a girl, but my job was to keep the little Nativity safe. I slept with Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus under my pillow. When I got sick off the side of the deck during rough waves, I clutched the little Nativity to my chest, never letting it go.”

That Nativity was the only thing I asked for when cousins divided my grandparents’ worldly goods. It had cost less than a dollar in the Old Country, and isn’t worth much more than that today, but the memory it evokes is priceless. I remember the day my daughter asked me about the old, plastic Nativity and the way she listened when I began, “I ‘member when my grandma . . ..” And just the other day, my six-year-old granddaughter asked about the “Baby Jesus in a Manger,” and my daughter tossed me a smile, then began, “I ‘member when . . ..”

We need to pass along memories and stories. The Bible commands us to remember—257 times! God created us and knows our weaknesses, our tendency to forget his miracles and mercies, his kindness and faithfulness. But God has also created our minds to understand through story. That’s how Jesus taught, through stories, parables.

Do your children know how you met your spouse? Have you shared with them how you came to Christ? How God saw you through the toughest time in your life? The miracle of that child’s birth? Psalm 78 urges us to tell our stories to our children:

1 O my people, listen to my teaching. Open your ears to what I am saying.  2-3 For I will show you lessons from our history, stories handed down to us from former generations.  4 I will reveal these truths to you so that you can describe these glorious deeds of Jehovah to your children and tell them about the mighty miracles he did.  5 For he gave his laws to Israel and commanded our fathers to teach them to their children, 6 so that they in turn could teach their children too. Thus his laws pass down from generation to generation.  7 In this way each generation has been able to obey his laws and to set its hope anew on God and not forget his glorious miracles.

‘Member when Joshua had to lead the Israelites across the raging Jordan River and into the Promised Land? Before he set foot in the Jordan, Joshua ‘membered when Moses had to lead them all through the Red Sea, dividing the waters so they could walk through on dry ground. Remembering God’s faithfulness to Moses strengthened Joshua’s faith. And after he’d led the Israelites safely across the Jordan, he had a plan to help them remember:

5 Each of you is to carry out a stone on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes. 6 We will use them to build a monument so that in the future, when your children ask, ‘What is this monument for?’ 7 you can tell them, ‘It is to remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of God went across!’ The monument will be a permanent reminder to the people of Israel of this amazing miracle.” Joshua 4

My grandmother’s Nativity is a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness, a “set-up,” so my children and grandchildren would ask about it, and I could tell the story of God’s faithfulness. We can build our own remembrances—a picture of a wrecked car, with the unharmed passengers leaning on the twisted bumper; a rock from a spot where you met God in a new way; the ultrasound of your child’s birth. We need reminders.

Most of my Winnie the Horse Gentler stories and Backyard Horses and Starlight Animal Rescue series contain thinly disguised ‘member when’ events from my childhood.

Share your stories. Build your own memorials. ‘Member when …”

 

Dandi Daley Mackall is the award-winning author of over 450 books for children and adults. Some of her beloved titles include My Bible Animals Storybook and the Winnie the Horse Gentler, Backyard Horses, and Starlight Animal Rescue series. You can visit her website at www.dandibooks.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Flash – Free First Chapter Download

flash the donkey

 

Flash is the heartwarming tale of an irrepressible donkey who needed a home—and forever changed a family.
Rachel Anne Ridge was at the end of her rope. The economy had crashed, taking her formerly thriving business along with it. She had been a successful artist, doing work she loved, but now she felt like a failure. How would her family pay their bills? What would the future hold? If only God would somehow let them know that everything was going to be all right . . . and then Flash the donkey showed up.

If there is ever a good time to discover a wounded, frightened, bedraggled donkey standing in your driveway, this wasn’t it. The local sheriff dismissed Flash as “worthless.” But Rachel didn’t believe that, and she couldn’t turn him away. She brought Flash into her struggling family during their darkest hour—and he turned out to be the very thing they needed most. Flash is the true story of their adventures together in learning to love and trust; breaking down whatever fences stood in their way; and finding the strength, confidence, and faith to carry on. Prepare to fall in love with Flash: a quirky, unlikely hero with gigantic ears, a deafening bray, a personality as big as Texas, and a story you’ll never forget.

Download the first chapter of Flash for FREE!

Learn more about Rachel Anne Ridge and follow her on Facebook or Twitter and stay tuned for Rachel’s upcoming webcast with Priscilla Shirer about finding God in your everyday moments.

Follow Flash the donkey on Twitter (really)!

 

Kid Talk Tuesday: Outdoor Fun With Kids – guest post by author Karen Whiting

Guest post from author Karen Whiting.

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At last signs of spring are popping up everywhere and kids are beginning to run wild outside, splash in water, and help the earth with planting gardens. My co-author Jesse Florea and I love nature and incorporated lots of outdoor fun into our recent release The One Year Devotions for Active Boys. Yes, we have devotions that focus on God’s word, but they are paired with activities like jokes, facts, hands-on fun, and ideas to live your faith. Guys like to climb trees, run around, jump in water, and fetch the sticks their dogs just sniffed and wonder why their master threw it their way, so we filled the pages with fun and faith.

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Here are some unique things to do this spring. I’ve added page numbers where you can find more details in The One Year Devotions for Active Boys.

– Listen to a tree’s heartbeat (use a stethoscope or glass) and you’ll hear the sap pumping along. (p245)

– Catch some meteorite dust on a rainy day with a coffee filter. Just place it at the bottom of a gutter. Let the water evaporate and use a magnet to find little iron particles that came from meteors. (p337)

– Make a mock up rock-hard dinosaur stomach by filling a plastic bag with leaves, adding rocks, and shaking it to crush the leaves. (p26)

– Get maggots to grow in a jar (gross but interesting) by putting a little raw meat in a jar, letting flies get in, cover jar with paper towel, and watch them grow. (p208)

– Make your own slushy for a hot day with juice in a small plastic bag placed inside a larger bag of ice and salt. (p265)

 

More than simply having fun, take time to connect kids to God while engaging in the activities. It helps them see the Bible as relevant to their lives and lets them know God is interested in activities they like. Read a Bible passage or verse related to nature and start chatting about it. Check out:

– Picnic at the beach and fishing with Jesus in John 21. (p173, p265)

– Amazing creatures in Proverbs 30:18-19. (p80)

– Water fun in Genesis 1:9. (p199, p204)

– Energized running in Isaiah 40:31 and Hebrews 12:1. (p68, p73)

– Camp food in 2 Kings 7:17. (p382)

I liked getting outside with my sons year round, but warm weather provided the best opportunities. A picnic, canoe trip, or hike included rest stops to praise God, and chat. Those times impacted our children. Two are now rocket scientists and I believe that digging into scriptures increased their cognitive skills. Connecting to God outdoors engaged their minds to think more deeply and explore the world of science.

 

Karen Whiting is the author of The One Year My Princess Devotions and co-author of The One Year Devotions for Active Boys. You can visit her website at www.karenwhiting.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

The Set-Apart Woman – Free First Chapter

The Set-Apart Woman

 

In The Set-Apart Woman, women of all ages will be encouraged to stay grounded in Jesus amid the many distractions and temptations of their daily lives. Biblical truths will help readers understand what it means to live the consecrated life, set apart for God’s purposes. Readers will apply these truths to practical areas of struggle that women face on a daily basis, such as sinful attitudes and patterns and other hindrances to our souls.

“But if you’re hungry for more of God; if you long to rise above the pull and distractions of our culture and enter into all for which God created and saved you; if you want to live a life that outlasts you; and if you want to experience the sweet fruit of true love, sacrifice, holiness, and courage, then I urge you to read The Set-Apart Woman. Let it rock your world and let it challenge you to build your life on the Rock, Christ Jesus.”

NANCY LEIGH DEMOSS, Author and Revive Our Hearts teacher and host

Learn more about Leslie

Check out the first chapter for free! 

 

Join the conversation! Leave a comment here or over on Facebook and let us know how your set-apart journey is going. We love hearing from you!

Kid Talk Tuesday: Guest Post by author Sandra Byrd

Guest post from author Sandra Byrd.

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For me, spring is the season of self-imposed whiplash.  Whether it’s while driving or riding in the car or walking with my daughter, I’m looking left and then right and then left again.  I’m distracted by what’s coming up in planters, sprouting in flower beds, popping into margins by the side of the road.  “Mom!” my daughter says.  “Stop looking.  You don’t need any more plants!”

Oh, but yes, I do.

I’m the botanical equivalent of the crazy cat lady—I love plants, and I have empty containers lining the inside of my garage wall to prove it.  Although summer is the season when plants are most lush, spring is the season when they are most welcome.  After a long, gray winter, nothing says finally! like nodding redheaded tulips,  pots stuffed with practical pansies or the pink teacup blossoms of dogwood trees.  Hope has arrived! Good things are just ahead!  I especially love fruit tree blossoms, knowing what they promise for the months and years ahead.

And yet, everyone knows beautiful blooms and delicious fruit do not just magically appear, as it can often seem in the flush of spring.  There have been months of planting, weeding, tending, and care offered ahead of time and even as they grow.  Vulnerable plants must be guarded during the cold months, either brought into the house or mulched to keep warm.  Deer love to nibble tender shoots, and I need to shoo them away.  I feed my plants; I pluck pests from them, I trim and train them.  Much tending goes into their health and welfare.

This, I think, is like tending to kids.  We who have been privileged to nurture, train, and protect young lives are eager to see them to be, right now, and grow into, later, the beautiful people God has designed them to be.   That well-being doesn’t just happen, however.  We must feed them good spiritual food in music, books, movies, and sound teaching.  We need to guard them against pests and those who would damage or destroy.  We weed influences from around them— influences they are not yet mature enough to realize will harm them even as those influences encroach ever closer.  We train children in the way they should go, helping them wrap themselves around the sturdy frame of their faith in and following of Christ, just like we would steady and secure a beautiful climbing vine.

Spring is the birth of the new year, the hope and promise of what is to come.  Our children are, too.   Which little ones are you called to plant, to weed, to feed, to water, to train, or protect this spring?

Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 1 Corinthians 3:5b-8

 

Sandra Byrd is the author of The One Year Be-Tween You and God, the London Confidential series, and The One Year Home and Garden Devotions which is scheduled to release in October 2015. You can visit her website at www.sandrabyrd.com or on Facebook or Twitter.