Tag Archives: kids

Teach Them How to Pray

This piece originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.

My daughter is 6. She’s been really interested in praying: the words we say, who we’re talking to, things we ask for, etc. Naturally, this has made me much more intentional about the time I spending talking with Jesus in her presence, as well as how we pray together at bedtime, or when there’s a need. Since she’s been in first grade, she’s really begun to know things. Parents,  I’m sure you know what I mean. She’s started reading, she’s in school with a bunch of kids I don’t know, she spends time with her school friends when I’m not within earshot, and she’s brought home some odd turns-of-phrase. But one thing I want her to pick up well is how she talks with Jesus.

She asked me at bedtime the other night if I could give her a list of things to pray. Oh, how I loved this innocent request, suggesting that there are words that are perfect to pray at any and all times. Then, as I was writing down a little ideas list for her, all organized into things to thank Him for (like our family, our home, our church), things to ask for help with (such as being kind, forgiving others, and loving others well), and those items we usually try to remember (like keep our family members healthy and protect our home) the idea popped into my head: There already is a perfect prayer for any and every time we pray.

In Matthew’s gospel, we join Jesus as he preaches the Sermon on the Mount. About halfway through, he gives us the way to not to pray, and the perfect example of a prayer to our heavenly Father. How could I not begin here, with Jesus’s words, to teach my daughter how to pray?

So in addition to some ideas of things she could mention during prayers, or people who might need an extra blessing, I wrote out Matthew 6:9-13. Here it is in the ESV, in case you aren’t familiar, or you only know the version you memorized before you knew what the words meant:

9. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

10. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

11. Give us this day our daily bread,

12. and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

I closed her version with the simple words I had learned so long ago: For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

When so many things we teach our children can feel really complicated, I am more than content to begin the process of teaching her to pray with these simple words, straight from Jesus, to be used as a guideline for every other prayer we pray.

Four Great Christmas Books for Young Children

This post originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.

I have a big red bin full of books I pull out only during Advent and Christmas time. It includes silly ones about melting snowmen, and a couple of those touchy-feely Usborne books for toddlers, but it also includes a few beautiful stories. Of course, like everyone, we love The Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but these are a little lesser known. Here are my favorite books I read with my kids during this season.

Song of the Stars. This Sally Lloyd-Jones beauty is one of my favorite books ever. With beautiful illustration by Alison Jay, it is similar to SLJ’s Jesus Storybook Bible (which has a WONDERFUL telling of Jesus’s birth, by the way) on keeping Jesus at the center of the season, and emphasizing his saving of us all, not just his birth. The story begins with the tangible excitement of his coming, rustling through the leaves and being sensed by all of nature, this gift that would change the world.

Room for a Little One. This one is a toddler book, but it’s so sweet. My kids have loved naming the animals as we go through it, and seeing Jesus’s birth from the perspective of those unsuspecting characters. It’s by Martin Waddell.

Birds of Bethlehem. Now THIS is a neat book, by Tomie de Paola. We see the story of Jesus’s birth from some birds in and around Bethlehem. They are chattering away, sharing stories about how a baby has been born, angels sang, shepherds and wise men visited, and what it all means.

The Gift of the Magi. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love this story by O. Henry. A beautiful telling of a couple who have nothing to give to each other, but end up showing their love by giving everything. The version I have is illustrated by P. J. Lynch, and is simply stunning. I can’t read it without crying.

What are the most treasured Christmas books in your family?

God Knows Best

This piece originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.

My four-year-old just lost his first tooth. At age four. As the second “dentally precocious” child we’ve had, I wasn’t quite as surprised as I might’ve been, but still… I had some feelings of “Already?!”

As an adult, I’ve noticed that there have been SO many milestones – graduations, weddings, births, etc. – that I’ve come across for myself and for family and friends. But there have also been little, seemingly insignificant “milestones” that have almost passed me by. For instance, the loss of a first tooth seems like a big thing, right? Well, what if it’s your second child? You still give the money from the tooth fairy, and you still take a picture of that first hole in his mouth. But does it feel as crazy as your oldest child’s first tooth being gone?

Each and every new little landmark that we pass as a family has been hitting me… HARD. We just stopped using diapers with our youngest. I’ve been crying about how I probably won’t have any more babies but I’m SO FREE without a diaper bag. Our oldest is reading pretty darn well on her own, and while that’s a huge milestone to her first grade teacher, it didn’t feel huge until I realized she was reading bedtime stories to her brothers with no problem. Is my job all done there? Even her homework has been throwing me for a loop – since when do first graders have homework where they need my iPad for half an hour to accomplish it?!

I know, I know… I’m being dramatic, and I don’t even have those postpartum hormones to blame. But some days, every new, however small, display of independence from my kids has me reeling – I want them to need me. Heck, I’m 32 years old and I need someone to guide me. I want to show them that independence is good, and necessary, and we will happily celebrate it! But a little dependence on a parent who has been around the block, cares for you deeply, and can help guide you? This is not to be ignored.

You see, I need a little leading from Holy Spirit sometimes. I need a little nudge here and rebuke there. How else will I grow more and more into a person who looks even a little like Jesus? I need a little boost of courage, of “I’ve got you” as I try out something new. I need a rebuke when I slip into my old ways. I need a guiding presence as I navigate waters I’ve never sailed. How best can I show these weaknesses and strengths to my children as I raise them?

God, only you know how to do this best. Only You can allow me to lead when they need guidance, push when they need propelling forward, let them flourish when they’re walking right where they should, and yes, knock them down a peg when they’re… being stinkers. But with Your guidance, I can guide them. This isn’t the blind leading the blind, you know. This is a mama, doing her best to follow her Father in His footsteps as I lead my littles on their way, too.

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! And a busy one it was for us! Enjoy these late-night funnies!img_1400

J: I did all these things without you even asking me!
Me: What a helpful boy! It’s like you can read my mind!
J: Yeah! I just close my eyes and it shows me what you’re thinking, and I can do it before you ask me!

Me: Does your mama love you?
D: Yeah!
Me: How much?!
D: Five!

Me: What shoes did you wear to school today?
D: Matching ones.
(I found out later that he didn’t mean two shoes that were matching, he meant the ones he has that are the same as J’s.)

Me: How old do y’all think Daddy is gonna be?
EK: Mmm… 21 or 23.
Me: Okay… J?
J: 2012!
Me: Okay, D, how old is Daddy gonna be?
D: Uhh… I don’t know….

To her friend we took home after school…
EK: If you’re thinking our car is clean, it’s NOT.

Me: Necie is coming next weekend, and she’s bringing her friend….
EK: Who?! Who is it?!
Me: Stacy!
EK: Ooh! I love Stacy! I miss her so much!
J: How do you know Stacy?
EK: I saw her at Shianne’s wedding. (Shi is my brother’s wife.)

While I’m reading EK’s book to her at bedtime…
EK: Hey mom! What if your last name was Whitney, and your first name was Whitney?! You’d be Whitney Whitney! *laughs hysterically*
Me: I’m really glad this book is so interesting.

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday, everyone! We’ve been moving things out of our bedroom to prepare for a master bedroom renovation (Hooray! The stuff of dreams!) so that’s why our living room looks like CRAZINESS with all the stuff from every closet in the way of our regular life. In fact, as I type this, Hubby is taking a load of stuff to the storage unit so we can go through it and get rid of some things. Easier to go through it while it’s NOT in our house, right?

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so why you’re REALLY here is to hear about the funny things my kids have said. So here goes! Enjoy!

D finds this part of a guitar stand:Me: What’s that?
D: I dunno, but I’m gonna chase you with it!

I get in the car with a pizza…
J: mmm, I smell that pizza! Smells like roasted chicken and marshmallows!
Me: I’m not sure I’d like those things on a pizza.

J: I didn’t have a good day. It didn’t happen like I wanted.
Me: Aw, what did you want to happen?
J: I wanted to have rehearsal. (Aka to be at church for a while this evening)

D, telling me a story: A rainbow bad guy was running around there and slamming the door! And then an adult was coming! And that bad guy was like, “Ooooh!”

D, pointing to a large bank: That house is aMAsing!

J, point at Hubby’s glass: You didn’t even take a nibble out of your beer, Dad!

EK: Is J in kindergarten yet?
Me: No, did you think he would go into kindergarten without you knowing?
EK: He keeps many secrets from me.

What are your kids saying these days that’s silly or hilarious?! Please share – we love new funnies!

Things Toddlers Say

Hey folks! Did ya miss the funnies last Tuesday?! Hubby and I were on vacation *gasp!* without the children for almost five days, so I decided it was a good week to pass on posting. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and hopefully this week’s post is long enough to make up for it! Happy Tuesday and enjoy!

IMG_1276.jpg

Me: I have a special snack!
EK: What is it?!
Me: Mochi! (Japanese dessert of ice cream wrapped in sweet rice dough.)
EK: I can’t wait for that emoji!

D, pointing to the church offices: Whass in there?
Me: Offices where Mommy has meetings sometimes.
D: I want to have a meeting.
Me: Okay, I bet you will some time.
D: Maybe we can have a meeting in there, with Daddy and my brother and my sister!

Musicians’ kids…
EK: Can we go to the baseball studio?
Followed up by…
D: But I wanna go to Putt-Putt first.

Pulling into Chick-fil-A…
EK: Are we gonna pick it up or go in?
Hubby: Go in.
J: Go in?!!
EK: These are the best parents we could ever get!

EK: You know how the rain is happening?
J: How?
EK: The sun takes the water from the oceans and lakes and stuff, and sucks it right up into the clouds!
Me: She isn’t wrong.

Hubby: I’m gonna go get my leaf blower.
D: Yeah, Dad! Get your blow leafer!

J: Can we go to the movie theatre?
Me: Not today.
EK: But we really want to!
J: Yeah!
Me: Well, today just isn’t a good day, and right now your brother needs a nap.
J: Wait! I have an idea! Let’s just eat popcorn and watch a movie and watch a movie and eat popcorn!

A gem while we were out of town…
EK to my mother-in-law: I wish a had big bosoms like you and Mommy. How long do I have to wait?
MIL: How old are you?
EK: Six.
MIL: I promise in six more years or so you will have bosoms.

And one more we missed…
MIL: You are my very favorite Joe Joe in the whole wide world.
J, looking serious: Annie, you shouldn’t let EK hear you say that. It might hurt her feelings.

J, seeing his grandfather right before he would be gone for a week: Bye, Gon Gon! I’m going to miss you SO MUCH!

Hubby: What do you want for lunch?
D: Dumplings!
J: Chick-fil-A!
Hubby: *makes dumplings and CFA copycat nuggets*
J: *reaches and grabs a dumpling* Dumpling tax!
Me: They’re listening!

Well now, tell us what your kids are saying these days!

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday, folks! Hope you enjoy these short and sweet funnies! img_0865

D: *scream-singing his bedtime songs*
Me: You’re being too crazy.
D: No, I’m being funny.

Me: Are you excited about your second day of school?
J: Yes, are you excited about my second day of school?
Me: I mean, yes but I’ll also. Miss you.
J: If only you were me, and I was still me, and you could come with me!

J: The more we nap, the stronger our powers!

D, snuggling next to J and EK for a movie: Thank you God for all dis family!

D, waking up in the morning: Mama, where’s Scottie? (She’s our babysitter, whom we haven’t seen in a couple of weeks, but he must have dreamed about her.)

J, seeing this:

What are all these signs with people sitting on toilets?!

EK: I’m still hungry!
Hubby: Why are you so hungry? You ate more than your brothers.
EK: I just went poop and went pee?

What are your kids saying these days?!