Two Fabulous Films for Families

Two Fabulous Films for FamiliesThere are two movies in theaters right now that I would highly recommend for families. They are God’s Not Dead (PG) for tweens, teens, and adults and Heaven is for Real (PG) for the whole family. Both movies provide a launching pad for great conversations with kids.

God’s Not Dead is a place to start for conversations regarding apologetics and standing up for one’s faith, against all odds. Heaven is for Real opens the door for conversations about God, Heaven, and hope.

Continue the discussion at home after the movies. Kids ask a lot of really good questions about God. The movies can provide answers as well as spur on more questions. Get out the Bible and find the answers to their questions and your own. Here are a few good resources.

Bible Gateway
YouVersion Bible App
God’s Not Dead website
Heaven is for Real website

There are two helpful websites I would highly recommend for movie reviews from a Christian perspective. Both provide information for parents regarding profanity, violence, sex, and other things parents should be aware of before taking children to a show. A synopsis is also posted for newly released films.

Plugged In
The Movie Guide

Make it a family night at the movies!

Share your movie reviews. I’d like to hear what you think!

 

 

No More Perfect Kids

UntitledA favorite parts of my job is mentoring moms. A cup of coffee, discussing a variety of topics related to family life, making a new friend. I really enjoy encouraging another mom on her journey, equipping her with God’s Word as it relates to parenting, and building a relationship.

Throughout the years I’ve worked with parents, I’ve noticed perfectionism often creeps into the conversation in one way or another. Parents expect a lot of themselves. (I did when my kids were little and I still do!) As a result, we often feel like a failure. Perfectionism spoils the reality of the here and now. It totally wrecks the ability to run with what one has, rather than what one wants or desires to be. Honestly and truly, there is only ONE Perfect Parent, God. So take a deep breath. You do not need to be a perfect parent, nor do your children need to be perfect kids.

If you deal with any thoughts of perfectionism, this book will be a great resource for you. Jill Savage and Kathy Koch, PhD, get to the heart of loving your kids for how God has created them in their new book, No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are. The book is a great companion book to No More Perfect Moms. Jill Savage and Dr. Kathy Koch have taken the obsession with perfection to a new understanding. I appreciate how they tackle the issue with candor and sincerity.

The book lays out the a game plan for parents to not only identify but remove “Perfection Infection” from the family. Expectations are addressed. Parents have a great opportunity to contemplate conscious and unconscious expectations set before children, a good exercise for all parents. Kids try hard to live up to the expectations set before them. If parents ask too much, it’s as harmful as not asking enough. The authors encourage moms and dads to really get to know their children well so attainable goals can be set.

In No More Perfect Kids, Dr. Kathy’s candid conversations with children she has worked with over the years adds depth and clarity. Jill’s experience as a mom of five and the founder of Hearts at Home offers wisdom and insight into compassionate parenting. Children desire to please. They want to be heard. They need to be accepted. In acknowledging each child’s unique design by their Creator, parents can stop comparing and pushing agendas and start helping kids to do the work God has called them to do.

Check out No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are. I think you’ll enjoy it! I did.

Read more or order a copy of No More Perfect Kids on the Hearts at Home website!

Tips for Getting to the Heart of Easter

UntitledPassion Week begins this Sunday, Palm Sunday. It marks the beginning of the most holy week of the year for Christians. While it’s easy to get caught up in everything from Easter dinner to chocolate bunnies, make time each day to focus on Jesus.

Reading biblical accounts of Holy Week will help center hearts and minds on Christ, his death, and his resurrection. The verses relating to Passion Week can be found in all four gospels.

• Matthew 26-28
• Mark 14-16
• Luke 22-24
• John 13-21

No Greater Love TITLE PAGEEnhance the learning and make the week more memorable with No Greater Love: A Guide for Celebrating Passion Week and the Resurrection. This free gift is available for families from the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team. If you’d like a copy, subscribe to 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting. You will be sent the guide for your family to use to celebrate Holy Week.

In addition, here are a few links for other ways to make Easter faith-focused.

Pinterest
Easter & Springtime

Building a Garden of Faith
Create a resurrection garden with your children to celebrate the Risen Christ and the empty tomb.

Biblical Blessings
Encourage your children by praying scripture.

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. 
Matthew 28:6a

May your Passion Week be truly holy!

Ten Practices for Moms Seeking God

I’d like to introduce you to Julia Roller, friend and fellow Books & Such Literary Agency author. Her new book, Mom Seeks God: Practicing Grace in the Chaos, is a beautiful and honest account of her struggles as a new mom and her desire to grow closer to The Lord. It was a privilege to read and endorse Julia’s book. May her heartfelt words encourage you on your journey.
xo Becky

Mom Seeks GodBecoming a mom was the best thing that ever happened to me.

But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard.

On the contrary, I think it was precisely because I took motherhood so very seriously that I found it so hard.

I wanted to be really good at being a mom, but instead I struggled.

I struggled with the lack of sleep, with the lack of alone time and quiet, but mostly I struggled with self-doubt, with the sense that I wasn’t good enough for this challenge, that I wasn’t doing everything–or anything–right.

At the same time, I found myself struggling to reach God. The conditions that I’d felt I needed to connect with God–quiet and time to myself–didn’t seem to exist in my new life as a mom. I was confronted with my own limits–my impatience, my exhaustion, my own selfishness–and I craved forgiveness. I needed God.

So I set out to learn how to reach God in my new life as a mother–through a year in which I focused on ten different spiritual practices–prayer, fellowship, submission, study, simplicity, service, silence, fasting, worship, and celebration.

Perhaps the most surprisingly effective practice was simplicity. I realized that my tendency was to seek God by piling spiritual tasks onto my to-do list–staying up late to carve out extra time for prayer, reading through five books of the Bible, etc. Yet many of my most meaningful times of meeting God came when I instead subtracted things from my life–through practices like silence, fasting, and simplicity.

Throughout it all I also learned to give myself a little more grace about not being perfect all the time. Most importantly, I discovered that motherhood itself, in the way it shifted my focus onto another person, was perhaps the most effective discipline of them all.

Apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

How did motherhood change your spiritual life?

Julia_Roller_lowres

Julia Roller‘s most recent book is Mom Seeks God: Practicing Grace in the Chaos. She writes and edits in San Diego, CA, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and a miniature dachshund named Jane Austen. For more about Julia and her books, please see www.juliaroller.com.

Mom_Seeks_GodJulia’s new book, Mom Seeks God, is the story of her journey through her ten practices, including her “non-expert” tips on how other busy moms can connect to God. If you’re a mom or just find yourself struggling to find the time for prayer and other ways of meeting God in your daily life, check out Mom Seeks God.

Books are available at www.juliaroller.com.

Stress Relief for Busy Moms

March Madness for Moms LogoMarch Madness for Moms is an attempt to help you and me to take a deep breath, close our eyes, and relax…just for a moment. The hectic springtime schedule can be overwhelming.
Grab a cup of coffee, sink into a comfy chair, and read through the list of stress reducers printed below. Find one or two ideas you can put into practice today to  find calm in the chaos.
xo Becky

Stress Relief for Busy Moms1. Take a deep breath. Realize this too shall pass. The stress of today will be gone and replaced by another pressing issue tomorrow. You’ll soon forget what was causing angst today.

2. Give yourself permission to say no to volunteer requests. Saying no allows someone else an opportunity to serve and creates margin for you. (See last week’s post!)

3. Be selective in activities for your child. Children do not have to experience every extra curricular activity before kindergarten. Hectic schedules can be the result of peer pressure to enroll kids in too many activities.

4. Rest. Get enough sleep to feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the day.

5. Eat well. Skip the quick pick-me-ups like caffeine and sugar. Opt for whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

6. Stay hydrated to avoid a whole host of health problems including headaches. Nothing is worse than a stress and dehydration headache.

7. Take time to be with your spouse, alone. Time without kids to focus on the two of you builds a strong relationship. Keep in mind the kids joined your marriage.

8. Keep up with your own interests. Having a hobby helps to relieve stress and gives you personal time to enjoy your own interests.

9. Join forces with other parents. Organize carpools, homework helps, and babysitting. Find a friend, preferably one who is a good cook, and offer to share meals once a week, each making double to provide dinner for one another.

10. Pray! Reliance on God will take the pressure off you. As the old adage goes, “Give it to God, He’s going to be up all night anyway.” Quiet time to discuss the problems of the day is balm for the soul. Pray before bedtime to share your joys and release your angst.
Start your day with prayer as well. My favorite time to pray is early morning, before anyone is out of bed…even me. I cuddle under the covers, whisper, “Good morning God,” and have a chat with the One who will guide my day.

  He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Isaiah 40:29

What’s your best stress buster?

Previously posted on May 22, 2013.

Permission to Say No

March Madness for Moms LogoSo how high is the stack of papers needing your attention? How long is your “To Do” list? How cluttered is your calendar with meetings for volunteer work? If you’re like me…too high, too long, and too cluttered. (Although implementing some Tricia Goyer’s ideas from her book, Balanced, has helped a lot!)

Today I’m arming you with a simple word, no.
xo Becky

Permission to Say NoNo. A powerful word in the English language. It’s usually one of the first words a child learns and wields like a sword to get his own way.

Moms on the other hand are more attuned to yes, not necessarily to our kids but to other adults. It’s hard to say no! Who will lead vacation bible school? Who will organized the book fair? Who will arrange for the dinner at the school carnival? Who will serve as room parent? We choose to be involved because we want to be involved. Please know, I am NOT saying don’t serve. I’m encouraging you to be selective in how you choose to participate. Just because you have the time, doesn’t mean you have to volunteer every time.

Considerations in Determining Participation in Volunteer Activities

• Be selective.
• Take the family calendar into consideration.
• Respond with, “Thanks. I’ll think about it and get back to you.”
• Pray about each opportunity. Is it  a calling or obligation?
• Talk to your kids. Do they want you to help out?
•  Is it truly a good fit for you?

Karen, one of my dearest and wisest friends, once told me, “It’s okay to say no to certain activities. When you cannot participate, it gives someone else an opportunity to serve.” She’s so smart…and right. Maybe some of the things I agree to do are really meant for someone else.

Volunteer with joy when you decide. If it’s a burden, it’s probably not a good fit. And don’t be afraid to say no. You can always follow up with, “Give me a call next time.”

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…
Colossians 3:23

 

Motherhood: A Balancing Act

March Madness for Moms LogoDo you ever feel like a circus performer spinning plates on tall poles, hoping to keep each plate whirling and dreading the CRASH of one hitting the ground? I certainly do. While working on one task, I’m often distracted by the other “plates” I need to keep spinning.

Trici Goyer, wife, mom of six, author, radio personality, and homeschooler has a new book out this month entitled Balanced: Finding Center as a Work at Home Mom. She shares her life as a busy wife and mother. I found her words encouraging and helpful! I hope you do as well!

Balanced-cover-252x326In Balanced, Tricia reminds us a balanced life is a work in progress, a journey, not a destination. Living one’s life for the Lord, listening for His quiet voice directing our paths will give us the balanced lives we long for. Choosing to set priorities, choosing to be faithful, choosing to be intentional, choosing to be honest, choosing a to-don’t-do-list is all part of attempting to balance.

Balanced is a blend of Tricia’s life as a wife, mom, and writer, modeling how to use the gifts God has given her to glorify the Lord in her work. Her approach to life is realistic, practical, warm, and prayerful. The balanced life is achieved only by leaning into God, realizing our dependence on Him. Tricia’s analogy is for all women, working to honor the Lord in the many ways we are called. Tricia provides practical tools for getting to the core of what’s important. The thirty-eight tips at the conclusion of the book guide the reader to examine priorities and how to view life through the eyes of eternity.

“At no other time in history have ordinary women,
from the comfort of our homes been able to impact so many
for the kingdom of God
while at the same time overseeing the shaping of little souls.”
Tricia Goyer Balanced (p. 36)

Thank you Tricia for the tenacity in encouraging moms to be all they can be for the glory of God!

tricia-looks-up-2-2209USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer is the author of over 35 books, including the three-book Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series and Lead Your Family Like Jesus (co-written with Ken Blanchard). She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like TheBetterMom.com and MomLifeToday.com. She is the host of Living Inspired, a weekly radio show. Tricia and family live in Little Rock, Arkansas. They have six children. Visit Tricia’s website to get to know her and learn more about her ministry to moms!

balancedchallenge-button2Tricia is hosting the Balanced Challenge, an 11-day challenge to “spring clean your life”.  The challenge starts TODAY! Click here for more information. Balanced is available digitally at Amazon and Barnes and Noble for $2.99.

Finding Calm in the Chaos of Planning for Summer

March Madness for Moms LogoThis is the beginning of the new series, March Madness for Moms. Let’s kick the month off with getting set for the summer months.

There really can be a place of peace…calm in the chaos of making summer plans.

xo Becky

 

Finding Calm in the Chaos...Can you feel it in the air? The frenzy is beginning! The big question, ”What will the kids do over the summer months?”

Registration for camps, sports teams, youth activities, art classes, and more is in full swing. The opportunities for families and children are amazing. The challenge is determining what’s best from the long list of really good choices.

Family meetings are a good venue for making decisions for what the summer months will entail. Here are a few considerations to discuss.

Considerations in Choosing Summer Activities with Children

• Will we be going on a family vacation this summer? If so, when, where, and for how long?
• Are there any other family plans for June, July, and August that need to be taken into consideration? (Weekends at the cabin, extended family events, etc.)
• Are there activities that are mandatory from a parent’s point of view? (Vacation Bible School and swimming lessons qualified in my family.)
• What one activity does each child REALLY want to participate in during the summer?
• Will transportation issues and carpooling need to be discussed?
• Will the schedule allow for family time?

Considering the extreme cold we’ve experienced the past few months, planning summer activities will be a nice respite. Begin the meeting with prayer, asking the Lord to guide you in your plans. Have brochures, catalogs, or the computer handy to get the details for each activity. Include a copy of the calendar months (June, July, and August) to pencil in ideas. Make the family meeting fun by serving ice cream sandwiches as you and yours dream of sunshine and summer.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go…
Psalm 32:8a

What’s your favorite family activity for summertime?

An Artistic Labor of Love

Labors of LoveThis week is all about light shining through artistic endeavors. My friend, Laura Mulliken, is a mixed media artist who glorifies God through her work. She creates one-of-a-kind pieces, reflecting faith in the Creator of all.

Be blessed by Laura’s words and her special labor of love.

xo Becky

 

An Artistic Labor of LoveYOU are created in the likeness of God. Yes, you! Each of us bears the Divine stamp of the One who made the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1, 27). We are God’s Labor of Love – uniquely designed to be a reflection of His goodness and Kingdom throughout our lifetime. While this is something I understand cognitively, there are days and even seasons where it feels like I’m a fairly ineffective conduit of His grace. This truth needs to be learned and relearned by scouring the scriptures daily.

I believe that much of life and learning is revealed through and in layers. This belief is often reflected in my work as an artist via strata that is only noticed upon closer inspection. Just as in God’s Word and real life – the foundational layers often impact the color, texture, and story of the final outcome. I choose to work in mixed media because it allows for greater freedom and experimentation as layers are built up and stripped away until the final work is achieved. Hopefully the end result contains a beauty or simplicity that emerges from complexity.

IMAG0938-785x1024Each project becomes a Labor of Love hoping to capture a slice of life or a learning that would otherwise be a fleeting moment in the stream of history. Each canvas allows that “slice” to be frozen in time and remain available for continued contemplation or celebration. I desire to create works that convey wisdom, humor, encouragement, or beauty in a form that can enhance daily life.

Of special interest to me are the custom projects I am commissioned to do. I relish the challenge of taking a cherished photo, occasion, verse, or quote and creating a one-of-a-kind piece unique to that individual, community, or company. Scripture is often – quite literally – the foundation of works created for individuals or couples. As I incorporate pages of recycled Bibles working with verses that are meaningful to clients, my work becomes a meditative act that helps formulate my prayers and inform the artwork itself.
Laura Mulliken 3

And God is able to bless you abundantly,
so that in all things at all times, having all that you need,
you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8

IMAG0469-577x1024Laura Mulliken is a mixed media artist who creates original, one-of-a kind works of art. She is a Bible teacher and College Intern Director. As wife to Todd, a Marriage and Family Therapist, she is a busy mom of three incredible young women and mother-in-law to “one great guy”. Laura supports anti-slavery efforts by donating a portion of all proceeds of her work to local and international organizations engaged in human trafficking prevention, both rescue and restoration. Visit Laura and view her gallery HERE!

Modesty Makeover

Labors of LoveThis week’s featured guest is Carrie Gleason, a young woman who loves Jesus and also loves teenagers! Her desire is to teach and model what means to live, love, and follow Christ. And what an inspiring role model she is for the youth she works with daily.
Carrie’s words regarding modesty are from the heart, to help girls and young women realize where their true identity lies.
xo Becky

 

How on earth do you teach girls, young girls and young women, about modesty?

Modesty MakeoverI don’t think that half of them even know what it means. And it seems like very few people are willing to talk about the subject. There are however, many people and industries willing to send a completely opposite message. And the marketing begins in elementary school or even younger.

“Less is more” is the message screaming at girls when it comes to clothes. In order to be in style you’ve got to be wearing the latest trends, and those latest trends generally don’t have much fabric to them, or the fabric they do consist of is very tight.

Young girls hear dressing this way is embracing their strength as a woman and expressing their femininity and sexuality.

So what do we do with that?

Have you ever been salmon fishing? Me neither. But I hear salmon swim upstream against the current when migrating. That’s what it looks like for us to talk to girls about modesty.

We need to start swimming upstream.

I know there are many reasons to encourage modesty in young girls, but the number one reason on my list is: clothing choices communicate where value is found. Women who dress to receive compliments or attention (Ah-hemm, you can’t see this but I’m raising my hand ever so slightly) do so because they desire the approval and admiration of others. Who doesn’t like receiving a compliment? Or a little attention?

But when girls push fashion lines to the edge so the opposite sex will notice them, so they can feel better because they look “good”, that’s when we, as parents, teachers, and youth leaders need to pay attention.

God tells us to guard our bodies as a temple because it is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. If we are walking in faith, we are called to live differently than the rest of the world. We are called protect our bodies. Our identity is rooted in Christ, not in the attention or attraction of others.

Now, I understand this is sometimes easier said than done, and it takes a long time to learn! I love clothes! I love dressing nicely! I love being creative with what I’ve got in my closet and expressing a part of myself through what I wear! But it is possible to do so in a modest way.

We need to be willing to teach girls, no matter how young, they are valued, they have inner and outer beauty, they don’t need to look or act like the rest of the world in order to feel good about themselves! That is what it looks like to go salmon fishing when it comes to modesty.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,
who lives in you and was given to you by God?
You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.
So you must honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

1377613820carrieg-1Carrie Gleeson currently serves on staff at Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina as the Director of Commitment Class, a ministry for 8th grade students interested in figuring out what it means to live life as a follower of Jesus. She is passionate about living life authentically and transparently with teenagers. She grew up in Hopkins, MN, received her degree from the University of Nebraska, and worked for Youth for Christ until joining CPC’s staff in 2012.