Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Bible Reading Plan for Little Ones {Christ's Incarnation}

Advent is a wonderful time to get into the Word of God with our little people! There is so much Christmas buzz all around them. I know my kids are being inundated with Christmas music, Santa, and many of the materialistic aspects of the modern holiday. So much more the important then to inundate them with Scripture.

The Incarnation of Christ is remarkable. That God Himself would put on flesh, empty Himself, and come to earth to serve and to save sinners is an indescribable gift of grace.

Our familiarity with the story tends to complacency. I hope that this plan is a help to you and your children as you seek to refocus on Christ's coming into the world. The selected passages include the entire Christmas story, Old Testament prophecies of Christ's Incarnation, and the broader Gospel implications of the Christmas story.

Themes to discuss with your kids: What Christ came to accomplish. What the Gift of Jesus says about God the Father {His love! compassion! generosity!}. Who Christ is {Son of God. Word become Flesh. Immanuel- God with us.}.

Merry Christmas friends! You can grab your copy here.

P.S- If you've enjoyed the Bible Reading Plans I've compiled this year, you'll want to stay tuned for a special project I have coming the week after Christmas! I'd also love your feedback- would you like to see more new reading plans in the New Year? If this is a tool your family has used and benefitted from, please let me know in the comments! If there is no interest I probably won't continue to make them. Thank you!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Bible Reading Plan for Little Ones {Thanksgiving}

UNBELIEVABLE that the Holiday season is already upon us, isn't it?! Maybe it has something to do with our cross country move, or the unseasonably warm Autumn... but I'm having a tough time wrapping my mind around the fact that Thanksgiving, then Christmas and New Years are just around the corner.

One of the good aspects of a holiday month is that it gives an easy-peasy theme for our monthly Bible reading plans. Holiday spirit, here we come! This months plan will have you counting blessings, giving thanks and praising the Lord for His many mercies to us, as seen in Scripture.

My kids and I have been reading through these plans most week day mornings at the breakfast table. Usually we start this family worship time with the hymn we are trying to learn, then we read and discuss the passage, and pray together.

It is {usually!} a perfect start to the day- getting our minds fixed on solid truths, discussing topics of eternal importance, and changing attitudes all around. Though I confess it is my attitude that usually needs a perspective shift the most. Of course we encounter wiggles and distracting chatter, but they are learning and growing in self-control, while I learn and grow in patience.

I hope you and your family enjoy this plan! Please feel free to comment or email me with any feedback {positive or negative} that you might have, or even ideas for themes you'd like to see  on future plans.

You can get your free printable Thanksgiving Bible reading plan right here.

P.S. If you've never read the Bible with your kids before, here are a few tips to help you get started!

And here are the previous months if you're looking for a different topic:

The Love of God
The Death and Resurrection of Christ
The Attributes of God

Who is Jesus?
God Cares for His People
Back to School
Life isn't About Me

Friday, September 30, 2016

A Bible Reading Plan for Little Ones {Life Isn't About Me}

Why read the Bible to our little ones? Two and three year olds often wiggle and chatter so much we wonder if they are hearing a word we read! Can we really expect much to come of our efforts?

Lately my heart has been impressed with urgency. We just don't know how much time or opportunity we will have with our children. We don't know what a day may bring for them or for us. If I want to shape and influence their hearts for eternity, if I want to store up solid truths for them to draw from in life's trials, today is the day to do it. Today is the day of salvation {2 Corinthians 6:2}.

My goal as a God-fearing mother is to provide my children with a Gospel worldview. I want them to know who they are and why they are here. Our identity centers on God, who He is and what He says about us. This month's Bible reading plan is intended to give our children a sense of their purpose in life. They are never too young to begin laying this framework!

What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever! We're also called to consider others as more important than ourselves, to love and serve the people God places in our circle.

All humans struggle with assuming that the world revolves around them... but never is it so undisguised and on display as it is in the lives of small children. Am I right?? That's why it's all the more urgent to speak these all important words to them now, with regularity and consistency; love one another, consider others more significant than yourselves, whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God!

Let's be honest- so much of my own sin in motherhood comes from self centeredness! I yell at my kids because they aren't doing what I want when I want and it's a nuisance. I grumble and am discontented because I don't have enough "me" time. I wish they would just fall asleep quicker, stay asleep longer, and be a little quieter when they are up. The passages on this month's plan are poignant reminders for me too.

As usual, there are 20 passages {one for each weekday, for a month}. I've culled both Old and New Testament passages to give a broader introduction to Scripture as a whole. They vary in length and topic, and it's up to you to give context and discuss it with your kids.  I hope it is a blessing to you and your family!

You can access the plan here.

And here are the previous months if you're looking for a different topic:

The Love of God
The Death and Resurrection of Christ
The Attributes of God

Who is Jesus?
God Cares for His People
Back to School

Monday, September 26, 2016

When Your Fresh Start Falls Flat

We moved cross country at the very end of July.

"Yippee!" I thought. "A fresh start, right before the beginning of the school year- I can put my best foot forward, start living the way I mean to from Day 1 so that the habits just stick, and be awesome. The end."

I planned to blog regularly {duh- what else would I be doing with no local friends to spend time with?!}, eat healthily {"we just won't buy any junk or processed food at the new house"}, get our home beautifully organized and decorated, crack down on finances, FINALLY start going to bed earlier, etc.

Call me naive, but I've never moved cross country before. In fact the most extensive move I've ever done previous to this one was from our first apartment to our second apartment... next door. So I am truly clueless.

Reinforcing my naivety was how little stuff we had- "I can't believe how easy it was to pack all your stuff!" My mom would repeat in a bewildered tone. "I have so much more stuff than you!" Within a week of living at our new house, every single box had been emptied. So that minimalist challenge totally meant I would excel in everything else... right?

Turns out not so much.

What I didn't plan on was how unsettling it would be to find yourself in an entirely new place. How demoralizing it is at the end of a day to be tired, discouraged, lonely, and not even know where the nearest coffee shop or grocery store is.

I didn't plan on how inconvenient cooking would be at first, and how much we would end up eating out or grabbing convenience food. How we still are doing that more than I'd like.

I didn't plan on being so busy- settling in; attempting to find my way around; researching, calling, and registering kids for dance lessons and co-ops; getting to know our new church family; Niall learning a new jobs and starting classes again; endless errands to run and paperwork to fill out . How much there is still to do.

I didn't plan on grocery shopping being so dang complicated. The good news is that Aldi is ridiculously popular in Kansas City. There are about 20 of them within a 30 minute radius of us! The bad news is, no Wegmans. This is meaningless to you if you don't live in the Northeast. But if you have a Wegmans, just think how much you would miss their inexpensive store brand organics, bulk grains and nuts, club packs of meat, and glorious shopper experience... and then shed a little tear for me.

I didn't plan on how long it takes to settle into a new house. Sure, every single box has been unpacked, but I have yet to figure out how on earth to make this new kitchen functional, the optimum set up of three kids in one bedroom, and where to put our linens. The stack on my bedroom floor really isn't working for me.

Having lived in the same home for five years {right before the birth of our first baby} I didn't realize that creating a comfortable home for your family from scratch is such a science.

I didn't plan on loneliness. I've been on an emotional roller coaster for the last two months and I'm probably allowing that to control my behavior more than I should.

So there you have it. Not quite the fresh start I envisioned.

On the bright side, there are so many blessing to thank the Lord for. We were given His certain direction in coming here. Kansas City is a fantastic area, with so much to see and do and enjoy as a family. Both my husband and I feel more at home in the more laid back, open and friendly midwestern culture. We have a big fenced in backyard for the kids to play in, a dishwasher for me {yippee!}, and many other "creature comforts."

The best of the best is that though we desperately miss our old church family, our new church family prayed us here and has welcomed us with open arms. Sunday is the highlight of our week, a glorious beacon of light to look forward to and back on in the middle of the week's challenges. We are so thankful for the Lord's provision and grace in this!!!

I'm going all Anne of Green Gables now and hanging onto the fact that every day is "fresh with no mistakes in it". Every morning can be a new blank slate, a new fresh start. One step at a time, moment by moment, I can put my best foot forward... then seek His forgiveness and new mercies when I stumble.

As long as we wear these mortal bodies we will be plodding. Lot's of fresh starts {some slow and hard, some quick and easy... maybe?}, lots of mistakes, ups and downs, good days and bad days... and we will find that His grace is still sufficient.

My not so smooth new beginning? A humble reminder that I'm a sinner in need of tons of help, just like everyone else. I probably need this reminder more than I needed an instant victory, being prone to pride as I am.

How is your new school year going so far? What encourages you when life isn't going as smoothly as you'd like?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Beginning of Our Home School

Unbelievably and outrageously, against all of my adamant motherly protestations, my oldest child turned 5 this summer. Cue the sobbing. This little girl is getting way too big, way too fast. 

We've planned to homeschool for quite awhile now... and with that first fifth birthday comes the first timid steps of our homeschooling journey. Gulp. 

While I'm not going too heavy on the academics this year {S's birthday is late enough that we could wait a year to start kindergarten if necessary}, I am determined to get started. With that start comes a million anxieties and uncertainties. I recently wrote a post about those fears and how I'm navigating them at My Joy Filled Life. I'd be honored if you headed on over there and gave it a read!

What fears have you experienced at the beginning of your children's school years? I'm sure homeschooling and non-homeschooling moms alike have them! What advice or inspirations helped you to work through those fears?
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