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.