Countdown to Christmas Week Two

How did last week go? Did you and the kids make or buy an Advent calendar? Send me a picture. I’d love to see it. Tell me about your winter picnic.

This week let’s start looking at the clothes everyone is going to wear. Do you sew or buy new outfits? Before everything is all picked over or there isn’t enough material to purchase for the outfits this is the week to get that organized.

Do you all get dressed up for Christmas and Christmas Eve, or go casual? How did you dress when you were a child? My mom made matching dresses for my sister and I for Christmas. One year we each had a beautiful purple velvet dress, with an appropriate age pattern. Things have changed over the years. In the 50’s people dressed up very fancy for Christmas and church. Now everyone seems much more casual, of course, the important thing is to be together. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but we should put our best foot forward. The shepherds came as they were from the field. The reverence that they showed baby Jesus, was what was key.

What’s important to God is that we are in the right frame of mind when coming to worship Him. We’re celebrating the birthday of Christ on this special day, keep that the focus.

Teach your children when they go in to worship, they’ll talk to God about their joys and concerns. Tell them to pray, then listen to Him in the worship, with songs, prayers and to feel the love of God around them. 

Have fun this week deciding what everyone is going to wear. Are you going to be matching, or have a color theme?

I’d love to hear some of your ideas for this fun time of year.

God bless, and have fun this week. Remember to take some time for yourself.

The 10 Signs of Bullying 2. Loss of Appetite

Before we start on Loss of Appetite, I want to share a conversation with you.

Yesterday, I was talking with our 6-year-old granddaughter. She was making a list of friends on her paper. She had friends in one column and one name in the other column. I asked, “Why is there one name by itself?”

She answered, “She’s a bully.”

“Do you know why she’s a bully? Maybe she has troubles at home. Or maybe some other kids don’t treat her nice.”

“Yeah, she said she has trouble at home.”

“Can you try to be nice to her? It sounds like she could use a friend.”

“I’ll try.”

We have to grab opportunities like that to share with our children and grandchildren to help them grow up to be caring adults. Life is hard. Our kids need to learn what to do to help themselves and others.


Have you noticed any change your child’s appetite?

Not interested in food?

Eats like there’s no tomorrow?

Either one can be a sign of depression or withdrawal from activities. This may be a way of coping with a difficult situation.

Another situation is your child comes home from school and is starved.

This is a good time to ask, “Are you growing again? You’re eating like your lunch I’m sending with you just isn’t enough.”

There could be two scenarios

  1. Someone is staling your child’s lunch or lunch money.
  2. They could be hiding somewhere during the lunch hour to avoid the bullies, and not able to eat.

Loss of Appetite, can happen at any age. Even an adult can experience difficulty in a new work or school situation.

Have you ever felt out of place?

Have you been bullied?

I remember being in middle school and feeling like I was always the last to be chosen on a team. On the weekends or vacations, I would take my phone-book down to the basement phone. I would go through the list calling all of my friends. They always seemed to be busy.

Slowly I would go back upstairs and put the phone-book away. It made me feel sad and lonely.

One day, I had enough and went for a walk. I had decided no one would care if I just ran away from home.

I just started walking. I ended up at a local church. The door was open and I didn’t see anyone. Tired from walking, I went in and sat in the back pew. After a little bit the pastor spotted me and came and sat down with me. I don’t remember what he said to me, but he made me feel better and I walked back home.

Nothing had changed with the others behavior, but I felt stronger and didn’t let it bother me as much.

It’s important to be aware of our children’s eating and emotional actions. Are they different all of a sudden. Make some time to talk alone with them. Let them know how important they are to you and your family. Help them to find the answers to their difficulty. Don’t just step in and take over, help them to learn ways to make things better for themselves.

Bullying Injuries

The 10 Signs of Bullying

  1. Unexplained Injuries


Bullying has been around since the beginning of time. There are always those that feel they are better than others. Some may act out because of need to feel stronger or more important.

Have you noticed a difference in your child’s behavior? Our days are filled with so much that we may not realize something has changed. Let’s take a moment in the morning or evening and reflect on each of our children. It doesn’t matter what their age is. From toddler to adult someone can cause our children to feel bullied or inadequate.

  1. Unexplained Injuries


A frightening research fact in the U.S. is that every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Unfortunately, those children often hide or try to hide the fact that someone is being mean or hurting them.


There are signs to watch for in behavioral changes:

  1. Is your child pulling away from social activities? Something that they had previously loved being a part of.
  2. See if you can get them to talk about why this activity is no longer something that they want to be a part of.
  3. Do they seem depressed? Do you notice your child being quieter than normal?
  4. Engage them in talking about something that they still want to do. Then switch to what you think is the problem.
  5. Has your child tried to hurt them self? Things like banging their head on the wall, scratching themselves, or even cutting.
  6. Mention that you are concerned about the cuts or bruises. See if you can get them to say why they have been hurt.
  7. Have you heard comments or questions about suicide? Something like, I wish I were dead. No one cares about me.
  8. Kids can say things like this and be fine, but if there is a definite change in their attitude about how their life is going, it’s time to talk with them. Maybe even to seek help.

These physical signs are more obvious:

  1. Are you seeing more bruising than normal for your child?

1.If they don’t bruise easily this could be a red flag.

  1. How about cuts and scratches? Do they play in a sport that could cause these?

1.If not it’s time to ask them about how they are getting hurt.

  1. If they tend to play rough you might see some of these signs, but getting a black eye isn’t normally from just playing around.

There has been research done in America that states only 1/10th of the children being bullied admit someone is hurting them in some way. Things they may say are happening  are another student has: spit, shoved, pushed, or tripped them. Behavior like these can leave marks on your children.

Have you seen any of these signs in your child? Share with us how you discovered what was happening. What did you do to help your child?


I remember as a kid the bullies were the big boys that acted all tough and pushed around the little boys, and stole books or lunch money. Things have changed since then.

There are all types and sizes of bullies now. The big boys still think they are tougher and may push around the smaller kids, and take their money. Now, anyone can go on social media and say things about anyone that can actually ruin their reputations.

Things can be said about others cheating on tests, taking someone’s property, or that they said something bad about another person. I’ve even heard about posting a picture and adding a provocative comment about the person.

It’s just too easy to do and say something about someone to cause major damage. There have been reports of people committing suicide due to this type of bullying.

We have to start early talking with our kids. Make sure they are not having trouble in school or out with friends. If you see changes in their actions at home make sure you talk with them.

I will be writing about the different signs to watch for in our children in the weeks to come.



I’m sorry I was away so long.

First we were preparing to move. Then we moved. A week later I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia and two infections. It took a long time to recovery and now I’m getting to the point where I’m caught up with social media and ready to move forward.

I have been doing some research on bullying. This has been a problem for decades. I don’t want to rush and just put together a blog just to get one done. I am aiming at having it ready for next week.

In the meantime please send me examples you have experienced or seen. I would love to make this a place where we can work together and help each other and the children in our lives.


Zoo Scavenger Hunt

Zoo Scavenger Hunt

How about a Zoo Scavenger Hunt?

What is your favorite zoo in your area?

It’s so much fun to see all of the animals, birds and reptiles from all over the world. This can be a fun learning experience for your kids as well as yourself.

I was at Disney’s Animal Kingdom a few years ago and learned that the flamingos are pink because of all the shrimp that they eat. I had never heard that before. So even as adults we can learn new things.

Let’s pack a picnic lunch and head out to the zoo.

I have a pdf scavenger hunt at the end of the blog you can use to see the animals. If you know of others at your zoo add them to the list. Once you are home you can look up the ones on my list that aren’t at your zoo and help the kids learn about them too.

Have the kids mark off the animals as they are found. Tell them to write down an interesting new thing they have learned about each animal from the information signs at each habitat.

While at each of the exhibits watch the activities of each of the animals. Talk with the children about how different each animal is. Have them compare what is different and what activities are similar.

Something else to talk about is the different climates the animals live in and where they can’t live.

Taking our children to the zoo was always fun. I loved to watch their reactions especially the first time we went to the zoo. My favorite time was when one of the girls was standing by the aquarium and a turtle swam right up to her. The awe on her face was priceless.

Share your story with us after you have done your Zoo Scavenger Hunt.


Let Freedom Ring! Happy Birthday America!

Let Freedom Ring!

Happy Birthday America!


“Let’s decorate the cupcakes,” Jocelyn said. “We can eat them after we sing happy birthday to America and then watch the fireworks.”

“Why are we going to sing happy birthday to America?” Kenzie asked.

“Because today celebrates the day the first thirteen states became the United States of America,” Jocelyn replied.

“Yeah,” Teague stood tall and added, “there was a war and lots of people were killed so that we could be our own country. They wanted to have their own laws and rule themselves. This gave them the freedom they wanted. The men signed a paper called the Declaration of Independence.”

Jocelyn added, “Betsy Ross, made the first American flag. It was red, and white stripes with blue in the corner and thirteen stars. One for each state.”

“That’s real cool. Can we decorate the cupcakes now?” Aubree asked.

“Okay,” Jocelyn said, “Mom put everything on the table for us. Let’s see how cool we can make the cupcakes look.”

The four of them started by sharing the white frosting and spreading on each of the cupcakes. Once that was done, they began decorating with sprinkles of red, white and blue. There were also silver stars and red, white, and blue striped candles. After they finished with their decorating the kids put the cupcakes on a tray for later.

“Hey, I have an idea. Let’s put chairs out in the driveway to watch fireworks.” Teague said.

“Yeah, I love watching the fireworks,” Jocelyn said “Come on Kenzie and Aubree, where do you want your chairs to be?”

The kids put the chairs into two rows.

“Let’s play soccer on the front lawn until it’s time for the fireworks to start,” Teague yelled.

The sky was starting to turn pink as the sun was going down.

Once it started getting darker, Jocelyn being the oldest, told everyone where to sit. Then she went and got the tray of cupcakes.

When she came back with the tray they all sang happy birthday to America. Just as they finished singing they heard a big bang, and the first firework lit up the sky.

“I’m scared,” Kenzie cried.

“Why?” Aubree asked.

“Because the noise is so loud,” Kenzie said.

“It won’t hurt you. They’re far away from here. I think they are awesome,” Teague replied.

“They are pretty. They have so many colors. Look a pink one, my favorite color,” Kenzie looked a little relieved.

“This is the best way to ce

lebrate America’s birthday,” Jocelyn said.

They all watched as the bright colors burst across the sky.



How do you celebrate July 4th?


Who Needs You More, Mom?

I’d like to thank Carole Sparks for coming by and letting me post one of her blogs. She has great advice, please also visit her site for her experience as a mother.



Who Needs You More, Mom?

I’ve been a mother for over fifteen years. (Yes, we’re in that scary, almost-a-driver phase in our home. Prayers please!) I’ve been a Christ-follower for more than twice as long. God placed certain callings on my life, some specific to me (writing) and some of the more general sort (sharing Him with others). He also very clearly and distinctly called me to be a mother. Sometimes, those various callings collide and I’m left feeling hesitant, uncertain, guilty. Times such as these…


We’re moving again. The kids will have new schools again. We’ll get to know new neighbors and new local shops again. How can this be good for my children? Kids need stability and routine, and we’re about to toss them in the air. Again.


My ministry responsibilities pull me away when they’re at home. What about my responsibilities as a parent, my calling to be a mom? What if they need me while I’m out counseling someone else?


Does any of this sound familiar? I’ve thought…okay, said…all these things over the years. I’ve wondered who needs me more.


As a member of a family, our calling(s) aren’t individual propositions but rather part of a bigger picture that includes our spouse’s gifting and calling as well as responsibilities to extended family members. Immediate, unfiltered obedience to God can seem to take a toll on our family life…on our children. In fact, sometimes our ministry decisions appear detrimental to our children’s development. At the very least, they go against conventional parenting wisdom.


I was walking the narrow, cobbled streets of the ancient city where we lived and worked, and I was concerned…okay, worried…about my young children, whom I’d left at home with a local woman. God stopped me there in the middle of that pedestrian street. Literally. I stopped walking and just stood there for a minute while God pressed this fact into my heart—a fact you need to know, too. Don’t just know it with your brain but allow God to press it into your very soul:


God loves your children more than you love them.


God not only wants the best for your children, but He is actively pursuing it. He knows their future occupations and experiences. He knows what they need right now to move toward their own callings. He smiles on children, loves them, protects them. Even on the days when you should have stayed home but instead put the ministry ahead of your family, He filled in your gaps.


Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. -1 Peter 5:6-7


I don’t know how God has gifted or called you to serve Him. If you’re a mother, that’s a big, beautiful part of your calling—one to step up to, embrace, and fulfill to the best of your ability. But it’s probably not your only calling. When you wonder who needs you more, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His will for that moment. Let go of everything else and obey. (I know, easier said than done, but like most things, it gets easier with practice.) Next time, He may lead you the other way. Regardless, God loves your children and He loves the other people whom you serve. When He points you in one direction, He will take care of the others while you fulfill His will for today.


Moms, when it’s time to go to work or to other ministry, do you wonder if maybe your children need you more? Here’s some truth to help you through that dilemma. Via @JannWMartin and @Carole_Sparks. #IntentionalParenting (click to tweet)


Do you feel the pull of differing responsibilities? How has God led you to manage that tension? Jann and I would love to hear from you in the comments below!


Need more? Check out Carole’s post: When Guilt Grounds Me.

Carole’s bio.

Carole and her husband twice found themselves “walking Jesus” in coastal African cities—the second time with two small children.  Now, they are watching God work in a southern US city (no coast, sadly) and helping others passionately follow Him.  Connect with Carole through her website, or her parenting blog,

Discipline and the Love Languages

Discipline and the Love Languages

Is “Discipline” a negative word?

At first, we may think of “Discipline” as punishment. However, it’s really the opposite. As parents it’s our responsibility to “Discipline” our children. We are to begin our children’s lives as being responsible parents. Once they are adults we can be their friends. Even teenagers need us to love them enough to “Discipline” them when actions can end up with bad consequences.


For all of our children this means we are to speak and, act with appropriate behavior. They learn from what we say and do. We are to guide them as to how they are to act and respond to what is going on around them.

Punishment can be discipline, but most of our guidance for children is good for them. Stopping a child from touching a hot burner or crossing a street without looking is positive discipline. So is guiding older child in the way they should chose the activities they want to become involved.

With this guidance you need to be open and explain why you are telling them they are not allowed to participate in an activity. Such as a party with no parental presence. I have heard stories of parties without adults ending with many uninvited kids coming bringing drugs and alcohol. Resulting in damage to homes, vehicles, and some of the kids taken to the hospital.


When your child feels loved they may not like it when they are disciplined, but they will accept it. As they are older they realize you are not trying to stop them from everything they want to do. That you are looking out for their best interest.

If you work outside the home you may not have very much quality time to spend with your children. This is understandable. When you are home find ways to include your child in your activities and chores around the house. You will be teaching them how to do the chores and to become more responsible members of the family. You will have more time with the kids and your tasks will get done faster.

If they don’t like the chore explain your reasons for giving them the task.

  1. Cleaning – helps everyone to stay healthier.
  2. Laundry – we all need to have clean clothes and they need to learn how to do it.
  3. Weeding a vegetable garden – let’s the vegetables grown healthier and provide better and more food.
  4. Cooking – if they want to eat well they need to learn how to navigate the kitchen.

Our girls didn’t like having to clean their bedrooms. It was sometimes like pulling teeth to get the cleaning done before they did what they wanted. It was worth the struggle in the end. Both girls have beautiful well-kept homes.

As adults they have both thanked us for caring enough to teach them to be responsible adults. Some of their friends even 

told us they wished their parents cared enough to say no and to have them do more around their home.


I’m taking and educational sabbatical. I’ll be back in a month. May God bless and keep you in the palm of His hand.

How To Discover Your Child’s Love Language


How To Discover Your Child’s Love Language


As a parent, we need to be aware of all of the 5 Love Languages. We also need to help our children understand each Love Language, so they can be a more well-rounded person.

When they’re newborns we need to use all of them. It will take awhile to figure out which is the more prominent Love Language for your child. It’s also important to pick up clues early-on as to what they respond best to so that you don’t cause undue frustration. This can be important for you as well as your child.

As your child grows their Love Language may seem to change due to the natural changes that they go through as they become adolescents. They may need to receive one type of love but give their love in a different way.


When they are growing up don’t tell them that their Love Language is only one thing. Some children may use that to get things they want by controlling the situation.

How does your young child express their love to you? If they give you affirming words then this could be what they need back. An older child may use words of affirmation to get what they want.

If their Love Language is gifts, do they enjoy giving gifts as much as they like receiving them? Let them take the lead in whether they want to give a gift to someone.

Listening to your child’s complaints can be another clue as to what their primary Love Language is. Are they complaining about not having enough of your time? Or maybe wishing they could so something a friend is doing. Be careful, what they are saying may only be a desire to have something that someone else has.

If you have some free time you can let your child choose between two things. Like, spend time together, buy a gift, or help them prepare for an assignment. This lets them choose how to spend their time with you.

We didn’t have a lot of money when we were raising our girls. I would offer them time to cook or bake something. It was fun working in the kitchen with them and sharing something I love to do. Now I get the fun to teach the grandchildren. Not long ago the oldest granddaughter and I made bread.





She felt so proud of herself when she held her loaf of bread in her hands. She loved the way it tasted too.

I’d love to hear some of your stories.