Showing Our Children How God Helps us in Stressful Times

Using the Bible stories as lessons:

Queen Esther: A strong and faithful young Jewish woman was taken from her home. She was part of a group of young women that were to be groomed for a chance to be the next queen. King Xerxes chose Esther. An evil man named Haman hated the Jews and was trying to have them all killed. Queen Esther heard of this and was used by God to save her people.

Tell your children that even when they are young God can use them to do great things.

  • For birthday, have party, but bring donations for a charity as presents
  • Instead of a party do volunteer work at a food pantry
  • Serve a meal at a homeless shelter
  • Girls can donate hair to make a wig for a child that has lost their hair
  • Visit a children’s hospital and read to the patients

 

Psalm 124:6-8
6 Let’s praise the Lord!
He protected us from enemies
who were like wild animals,
7 and we escaped like birds
from a hunter’s torn net.
8 The Lord made heaven and earth,
and he is the one who sends us help.1

 

God is always with us even in the face of our enemy.

Tell your children that even when they are young God hears their cry.

  • If there is someone bullying them they can pray for God to give them strength to stand tall
  • When something bad is happening in the community, like tragedy a in a school. Help your child work through their fear, teach them to pray asking God for strength
  • Bad things happen, but lessons can be learned. When our children were young a boy at their school hung himself. We talked with the girls about how tragic this was, but also that no matter how big their problem was that they could always talk to us and that God was with them

 

 

James 5:13-18
13 If you are having trouble, you should pray.
And if you are feeling good, you should sing praises
14 If you are sick, ask the church leaders to come
and pray for you. Ask them to put olive oil on you
in the name of the Lord. 15 If you have faith
when you pray for sick people, they will get well.
The Lord will heal them, and if they have sinned,
he will forgive them. 16 If you have sinned, you should
tell each other what you have done. Then you can
pray for one another and be healed. The prayer of an innocent
person is powerful, and it can help a lot. 17 Elijah
was just as human as we are, and for three and
a half years his prayers kept the rain from falling
18 But when he did pray for rain, it fell from
the skies and made the crops grow.2

 

Pray with your children and have them pray for others

  • When someone you know is sick or injured teach your child to ask God for healing, or the acceptance that sometimes death is the healing
  • When something fun or good is happening, teach your child to thank God for the good He has brought into their lives
  • If there is a need in your family, such as a financial problem, teach them to pray asking how they can help
    • Not to ask for a new toy
    • To ask to eat at home more
    • To go out and pick up bottles and cans and turn them in for the deposit and give it to you

Developing a strong faith and trust in God is important for you and your child. When you give them the example of praying in front of them asking God for help you are giving them a very valuable gift. You are showing them that you are human and have struggles too. This will teach them that you are not perfect and still have a lot to learn from God. Teach them from a very young age to say simple prayers before a meal and before bed. As they grow older and understand more you can pray with them and teach them to pray for their struggles and joys.

 

 

1 The Holy Bible: The Contemporary English Version. (1995). (Ps 124:6–8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
2 The Holy Bible: The Contemporary English Version. (1995). (Jas 5:13–18). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Meet My Illustrator

Meet my dear friend and illustrator, Suzanne Lassiter Everett. Suzanne will be doing the illustrations for my new series being published by Write Integrity Press : Bible Characters Through the Ages.

I will need your help:

  • Characters your children would like to read about
  • Activities they would like to see Daniel and Sarah be involved in
  • Scary incidents Daniel and Sarah could be involved in
  • Ideas for scenes for the characters

I would like these books to be something the children can really get involved in. There are discussion questions at the end of each book. The books can be used in Sunday school classes, schools, and as family time devotion.

If I use your child’s idea as the basis for what I write for a scene in a book, I will try to put their name on the acknowledgement page in the published book. Have them write out the scene. Tell them to be very descriptive with the scene so the reader can picture what is happening. Here is a sample from “Adam in the Garden”:

“Sarah, where are you?” Daniel called.
“I’m in my room,” Sarah yelled back.
Daniel went down the short hall to her bedroom. “Want to go on a time travel trip with me?”
“Really, Daniel?” She picked up her ballerina doll, named Princess. “How are we going to do that?”
“Let’s make a time travel machine!”

The more description they use the better the reader will be able to picture what is happening. Here’s another example:

He looked around the garden and saw Adam nearby.
“Sarah look, there’s Adam behind that bush.
He’s tall and thin with dark hair. I bet he works hard to take care of all the plants and
trees God created. I see his big arm muscles
He looks real strong. Let’s go and talk to him.”
When he climbed down from the tree, Sarah cried.
“There are a lot of trees that look like the one that’s
near Yahweh’s Express.” “Don’t worry, Sarah. I’m sure
I’ll be able to find the tree,” he answered,
but he really wasn’t sure. “Let’s go talk to Adam.”
They ran over to where Adam was working on a
space in the garden. He was startled when he saw them.
“Sarah, just look in his eyes when you talk to him,”
whispered Daniel. “He doesn’t have any clothes on.”

So let’s have some fun kids. Start writing down your ideas and send them to me through my blog at: Jann W. Martin I can’t wait to see what you send me.

Seeing God’s Beauty

Can you imagine what it would have been like to watch as God created the world? To be one of the angels standing by and looking on as the darkness took form. There was nothing, and then there was light, sky, and land. On the land the grass, trees, flowers and food began to grow. In the sky there was night and day. Once that was done there were creatures of all kinds on the earth.

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2
The earth was barren, with no form of life; it was under a
roaring ocean covered with darkness. But the Spirit of God
was moving over the water.
1

beach with verseSitting alone looking out at the sky and water is one of my favorite things to do. It gives me time to reflect on my blessings and concerns. To pray, asking God for forgiveness as well as guidance. It always gives me a sense of peace.

The following is from the King James Version Commentary:

At the voice of God’s command, the waters obeyed; and it was so. Not only did God call the dry land into existence; but He also named it Earth, and the waters He named Seas. The dry land was called Earth (Heb ‘erets) because that word bears a meaning which may refer to that which is lower. It is in opposition to the firmament above, literally the heights of verse 8. The Seas (Heb yamīm) is used in the very broad sense to include every body of water, even lakes and rivers 2

Using a commentary as you read the stories of the Bible helps you understand more as you read. For instance, the seas also included the lakes and rivers. I never broke it down like that when I thought of creation.

Looking at all of creation in the beginning would have been amazing. Everything would have been clean and without blemish. There was no sin, everything was perfect. When Adam and Eve decided they wanted to be more like God and know what He knew, that’s when there started to be trouble. Adam had to work hard now to get their food, and Eve knew the pain of childbirth.

When we go to heaven we will once again see things as they were in the beginning.

  • Be able to see God
  • Have peace among the people
  • Our land free from weeds
  • No more droughts
  • No more floods
  • Clean air and water

Tell me your vision of what creation would have been like. What do you do to feel closer to God?

 

 

1 The Holy Bible: The Contemporary English Version. (1995). (Ge 1:1–2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
2 Hindson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Queen Esther

Esther was a young beautiful girl when she and many other young virgins were summoned by King Xerxes. He needed a new queen since he had sent Queen Vashti away for not obeying him. We find their story in the book of Esther, a portion of their story follows:

8As a result of the king’s decree, Esther, along with many other young women, was brought to the king’s harem at the fortress of Susa and placed in Hegai’s care. 9Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem.

10Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had directed her not to do so. 11Every day Mordecai would take a walk near the courtyard of the harem to find out about Esther and what was happening to her.

12Before each young woman was taken to the king’s bed, she was given the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments—six months with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments. 13When it was time for her to go to the king’s palace, she was given her choice of whatever clothing or jewelry she wanted to take from the harem. 14That evening she was taken to the king’s private rooms, and the next morning she was brought to the second harem,* where the king’s wives lived. There she would be under the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch in charge of the concubines. She would never go to the king again unless he had especially enjoyed her and requested her by name.

15Esther was the daughter of Abihail, who was Mordecai’s uncle. (Mordecai had adopted his younger cousin Esther.) When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her.

16Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter* of the seventh year of his reign. 17And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti. 18To celebrate the occasion, he gave a great banquet in Esther’s honor for all his nobles and officials, declaring a public holiday for the provinces and giving generous gifts to everyone.1

Esther and the other girls must have been really scared. They were taken away from their families to the palace of the king. I wonder if they knew why they were being taken away from home. Once they were settled in I imagine they began to enjoy themselves. They were assigned servants to wait on them hand and foot. They went through spa treatments for 12 months. I think I could handle being pampered like that for a while, but not for that long. I would get restless and need something more to do. I like to feel like I have accomplished something at the end of the day.

Once Esther was queen she found out that Haman, the scheming prime minister of King Xerxes, was trying to kill off all of the Jews, she contacted her cousin Mordecai. He told her that he and all of their people would fast and pray for God’s deliverance. Queen Esther also fasted and prayed. At the end of her fast she went to King Xerxes without being asked to come to him, coming like this could be punished by death. No one was to come to the king unless he requested them to be in his presence.

She found favor in his eyes and invited the king and Haman to a dinner she had prepared. Then she told them that she knew what Haman was planning to do and that she was also a Jew and would be killed. King Xerxes had Haman taken away and killed.

Esther was a simple Jewish girl that became a queen and saved her nation. This is quite a story of faith and strength. We daily face things that we have to deal with. They usually aren’t as big as what Queen Esther had to face, but what we do in our lives is just as important to us and those around us.

Many years ago I was offered a chance to take a series of video class through Trinity Seminary. After three years of study I was commissioned as an Associate in Ministry. This opened a whole new avenue for me to serve our gracious Lord. He has used me in many wonderful ways since my commissioning. The path He has me on now is to write for His beautiful little children to bring them closer to Him.

The movie One Night with the King is very good and gives you a visual of what Esther’s life might have been like.

I would like to know how He is using you in this beautiful world. Please share with me your path and tell me if there is a way I can help you on your path.

 

 

1 Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Es 2:8–18). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

How Would You Have Felt if You Were Mary?

Luke 1: 26-38
26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

29But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37For with God nothing will be impossible.”

38Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary was only 13 when the angel Gabriel came to her with this message from God. She must have been very afraid as a young girl to have an angel come and talk with her. She would have heard the story all of her life that there would be a Messiah, that he would come and save His people. Her faith had to have been really strong to accept what God was asking of her.

Once she accepted what God was asking of her she had to face her parents and Joseph. The Bible doesn’t say what her parent’s reaction was. At 13 I would imagine my parents would have been very upset hearing from me that I was pregnant. Even more confused if I said that I hadn’t been with a man, that the Holy Spirit had come over me. This would have tested their faith as well.
Then she went to Joseph, at first he turned away from her. After the angel came to him, he accepted this gift from God and stood by her side. Their journey to Bethlehem would have been difficult, especially with Mary being so close to giving birth. Traveling on a donkey would not have been a smooth ride.

The movie “the nativity story” made me feel as if I was watching what really happened to Mary and Joseph. The end was especially moving.
Like the words in the song “Mary Did You Know?” can you imagine holding baby Jesus and kissing His check then, realize you were kissing the face of God.

Then as Jesus grew and began His ministry, watching Him do miracles of healing, preaching, and comforting the people around Him. I can imagine as a mother, Mary must have felt so much pride in her son. She also, must have had a feeling of being blessed by God to be able to have given birth and to raise His son.

The horror she must have gone through with His death on the cross. Losing a child has to be one of the worst things to go through. Her feeling of despair would then be changed to awesome love and grace with seeing Him alive and completing the prophecy, that He would come to save His people.
I would love to hear your feelings about how you would feel to have been Mary.

1 The New King James Version. (1982). (Lk 1:26–38). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

It Only Took Five Years

Have you been waiting a long time for something to happen in your life? There are many things we do and hope for a quick and easy answer. Just because we want and pray for something, doesn’t mean that God will say yes. Sometimes He says no or not just yet. His timing is always best.

When we moved to Florida five years ago God helped me connect with two writing groups and a conference. I had a manuscript I had been working on and tried desperately to get help in publishing it. No doors were opening. I had encouragement from agents, editors and publishers, saying they liked what I had but, were not able to work with me at that time.

With a recommendation to switch from a children’s picture book to a first chapter book for first through third graders a year and a half ago, I began writing a new manuscript, this is a description of the series: Two time traveling children want to meet the historical figures of the Bible starting with Adam, but in the past they lose their time travel machine. Can they find their way back home before time has changed? Then, can they return to meet another historical figure of the Bible? Read “Bible Characters Through the Ages” the series to share their adventures.

The publisher Write Integrity Press called and is working up a three book contract for:

Bible Characters Through the Ages

  1. Adam in the Garden
  2. Meeting Eve
  3. Watching David and Goliath

Numbers one and two are complete and number three is about half written. I am currently looking for an illustrator. If you would like to submit 3 drawings please contact me at jannwmartin@gmail.com

A couple of other prayer experiences I have had are: I prayed for healing from cancer for my Mom 39 years ago, God’s answer was to bring her home to Him. It wasn’t what I would have liked but, at least she was not living in hell anymore.

Another time I took one of our daughter’s to a healing service at church. She had scoliosis, a curve in the spine. When I took her home she said her back was hot. I lifted her shirt and there was a hot red spot where the spine had been curved, it was completely straight. Praise God, His answer came as a quick and complete healing.

What are your experiences in waiting for an answer from God? Let me know how I can pray for you and your family whether it is for health, finances, a job or something fun.

Reading Resources: For the 3 – 5 Year Old

Your child is now comprehending more and paying more attention to the books around them. Possibly like our youngest granddaughter, she’ll pick a book then hold it like her teacher and read to anyone that will sit and listen to her. Sometimes it’s her toys.

On this site Scholastic, will help you as you develop good reading habits for your child. In Milestones & Expectations you’ll find: Guide to raising a reader , and Language and Literacy , Choosing Books .

In the next section you will find: Developing Reading Skills

  • Learning the Alphabet – This is the beginning of your child’s reading. You can use flash cards and magnetic letters, to help them with their recognition of the capital letters. As they are learning these you can see if they can point out letters on a sign, books or magazines. One of the first words you can teach them to recognize is their name. Spell it in capital letters for labels on their backpack, crayon box, and clothes.
  • Ideas and Resources – This is a very important section if your child is struggling with learning their letters and the beginning stages of reading. There are Research, Activities, Vowel work and Family reading.
  • Book Time is Together Time – Have fun with this. Read slowly and have your finger follow the words as you read. Have your voice change with the different characters. Read different types of books to expand their horizon. Find books in areas that keep your child’s interest the best. Click on the Book Time link to get several more ideas.

Book Selection Tips

  • Road Trip Activity Books – Available here are links to purchase: National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas, The Everything Kids’ Travel Book, Kids Travel Journal, Fred and Ted’s Road Trip, Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America. Each has a description and the appropriate group.
  • Stories That Teach Life Lessons

1. Preview books carefully, make sure they topic and age appropriate for your child.

2. Set a purpose for your reading, is it just for fun or are you trying to teach your child about problem solving.

3. Draw attention to the point of the story, at a page turn ask a question about what they think will come next.

4. Encourage your child to think critically, this is a great way to help them work through their emotions.

5. Discuss the book to solidify its essential message, at the end ask them who their favorite character is. What they thought was the best part of the book. Then relate it to something that has happened in their life or ask what they would do if faced with that situation.

This site goes on to sections on to Reading Together, Challenges & Disabilities and Additional Reading Resources. Check each section to learn more about helping your child as they begin to learn and enjoy how to read.

Enjoy this fun new stage in your child’s life.

Helping your child read: Help for ages 0-2

Scholastic has a list called: Reading guidelines that can direct you each step of the way.

Books and Your Baby

Reading to your child from day one is important. You can start with books with mirrors, things to touch and flaps to lift. This can prove to be baby-316214_640challenging and funny. Don’t worry about reading; just the act of trying will be educational to your child. By starting early, you introduce them to the wonderful world of books and learning.

From 9-18 months, your child will begin trying to say some of the words in the story. This will help to build their vocabulary. Then from 18 months – 2 years, they will begin to sit and listen to the story. They might even try to read the book to you; their interpretation can really be fun.

Reading Activities for Ages 0-2

In this section, you will find ways to help your child by:

  • Using Your Voice – Make animal sounds; change it for a different character, etc.
  • Visit the Library – Take them to the library, and let them pick out their own books, maybe the one they keep going back to.
  • Be a Role Model – When your child is playing quietly by themselves, pick up a book or magazine and read. This will show them that reading is important.
  • Familiar Faces – There are books available you can purchase with the words on the pages and places for you to insert photos of your family. Amazon has this book available: Baby’s My First Photo Album of Family & Friends.
  • Look it up – Keep in mind the things your child likes to look at when you borrow or buy books.

Online Literacy for Ages 0-2

The internet has opened a whole new world with books and games for all. Search what is available for your child on the age appropriate list of apps and books. When our oldest granddaughter was 18 months old, she taught me how to turn on and navigate an iPad.

Book Lists

This section will give you a list of books that are appropriate for this age group.

Have fun reading to your little one.

Inspire Young Writers: Help Your Children Create a Setting

Use these 4 Steps to show your children how to: Create a Setting

This is a very important step in writing a story; it sets the visual scene for the reader. They need to be able to see the place the story is taking place. A writer wants to bring the reader along with the story. The words need to give them a sense of touch, smell and view of the scene. It needs to change as the story moves forward. Using sensory language helps the person feel that they are a real part of the story.

The following is from my first book: “This Babe So Small” the nativity told through the eyes of the inn keeper’s daughter. She is going out to see if Mary and Joseph need anything while they are in her stable.

“On the way to the stable, the night suddenly gets darker.

I look to the sky above the hills behind our inn.

In front of the moon is a strange cloud.

It is low and has moving shapes! What is that?

My heart pulls me toward the hills. The cloud has wings!

I see angels! Now they are gone!

The moon is brighter again. Another sign!

Why else would angels come here?”

 

For this exercise go to the Scholastic website use the link to Planning a Setting. In their notebook have them write out their answers to each of the four questions, with a lot of detail. This will help them when they are developing their story.

1. Where is the story –

Is it in a house, store, building…

Once they choose the place, have them describe it in as much detail as they can. The reader can’t see it unless a complete verbal picture is made.

2. When is your story

Morning, afternoon or evening…

Tell the reader a little about what that time of day looks like. Also is it rainy, snowy, the sun just rising or setting, or high in the sky.

3. What is in your story

Name the other things that are important to your story; other people, animals, things…

Have them give more description than they think is needed. If it’s a person let us know: their name, male or female, tall or short, and any other description that will help us to picture that person.

4. Visualize your setting

Jot down important things that will help your story come together in their notebook.
The most important thing is for you and your child to have fun creating their stories. Please share the exercise with me. I want to follow the children’s progress. Maybe even share a portion of their story in my blog.

Inspire Young Writers: 5 Ways to Develop a Character and 4 Steps to Describe the Setting

Here are 5 Ways to teach your child how to develop their characters. On the Scholastic website you can use “Developing a Main Character” (you can use this printable form) to show the children how to make their character come alive.

  1. Character Likes – list the things your character like to do, see, eat…
  2. Character Dislikes – list the things your character doesn’t like to do, see, eat…
  3. Character Goals – what would your character like to be able to accomplish
  4. Character Strengths – what is your character really able to do good
  5. Character Fears – what makes your character be afraid or worried they can’t accomplish

Tell your children they now you have a list of information about their character. Ask: In this story what do you see your character being able to achieve? Can you imagine things that may make it difficult for your character in this story? It’s fun to read a story that has things that are fun and nice, but they are even more interesting if there is some suspense or drama.