Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Crew Review: A Journey Through Learning

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I’ve written before on our love of lapbooking – it is such a great way to be able to learn a lot of information and retain it – A Journey Through Learning makes it easy to lapbook with your children – whether your a newbie or veteran.  They have a large selection of lapbooks to suit almost every family’s needs.  Holiday’s, history, science – if you need it or want it chances are they have it!  A Journey Through Learning was nice enough to provide me with four different lapbooks for my children and I – Letters, Numbers and Shapes (ages 3-5, $13.00 instant download), The Earth (grades 1-4, $13.00 instant download), Knights and Castles (grades 2-7, $13.00 instant download), and Astronomy and Space (grades 2-7, $13.00 instant download).

We were asked to complete one but try to get through another one as well for the purpose of the review – and I knew that wouldn’t be a problem for my children as lapbooking is fun for them.  We completed both The Earth and Knights and Castles lapbooks and they were both fun and also broke our lapbook hiatus we had taken due to time issues.  If you’re not sure on how to do a lapbook or make one there is a video you can watch on A Journey Through Learning’s site.  This is extremely helpful if you’re not sure what supplies you’ll need or where to begin in putting together file folders for your child.

I will say that when we first began to lapbook we used file folders like they were going out of style – but now that I have three children that builds up a lot and storage is at a premium in my house.  So I’ve bought these wonderful, spiral bound blank scrapbooks at our local craft store and they have been a wonderful help in our lapbooking – now I have only three spiral bound books that fit on my shelves versus a multitude of file folders.  Although A Journey Through Learning does teach you how to store your lapbooks in a binder if you chose to do that.

Two of the children cutting out books while I read from my Kindle Fire and take pictures.

We began with the Knights and Castles themed one since we had just left the Middle Ages behind in our history studies, I thought it’d be a good review for the children.  Even though it’s for grades 2 through 7 I had my 1st grade son join us – for him I took dictation and wrote for him as he still isn’t writing fluently.  My children also aren’t the ones to do a mini-book a day, they much prefer to do two, three and even four mini books a day – so while the study says to allow for a month we completed ours in a week (the same goes for The Earth, as well).  I would read the passages in the study guide then we would do the mini-book(s) that corresponded to that passage.  The readings were fairly short, under 5 minutes each, and the children stayed engaged as they cut out their books.

Some of the opened books in my middle daughter’s Knights and Castles lapbook.

Your children will glean quite a bit of information in the Knights and Castles lapbook and unit study.  Written by Michelle Miller of TruthQuest History authorship – it comes from a Christian worldview and begins with the fall of Rome.  It was so awesome to see the children remembering the facts we’d learn in our history by working our way through this lapbook.  If you use the file folder method this will require 3 file folders. The children will study the following subjects:

  • The fall of Rome
  • How to become a knight
  • A knight’s weapons
  • Knights in shining armor
  • A knight dresses for battle
  • and 5 more areas (I said there was a lot to learn!)

The other child, not shown in the previous picture, working on cutting out a mini-book.

We did the same thing with The Earth lapbook – I’d read a passage and they’d work on cutting out and assembling the mini-books.  This one was more colorful than Knights and Castles so the children really liked this one,  not to mention we hadn’t really studied the earth yet, so it was something completely new to them.  They learned the layers of the atmosphere, the water cycle and more in regards to earth science.   This lapbook takes 2 file folders to complete it using the traditional file folder method of lapbooking.

My daughter putting some final touches on her Earth lapbook.

Like all lapbooking you’ll need glue, we prefer glue sticks so that the liquid glue doesn’t wrinkle and distort the mini-books.  You’ll also need staples, brads, scissors, something to write with as well as your file folders – there were times I also used taped when the glue we had on hand didn’t work well enough.  I’d love to be able to lapbook every single subject we do in school, but alas that would be way time consuming.  While lapbooking is fun and adds a little something to our school day it does take time as well as ink to print the pages, although there is an option to buy a printed version or even an assembled one for some lapbooks.

A page from one of my children’s Earth lapbook.

The learning possibilities are endless and combining the unit studies with the lapbooks give children who need auditory, visual, hands-on and other aids in learning a great way to do so.  It can also unleash the creativity in children who may not like to draw or help one who doesn’t like to write when they see that a mini-book is big enough to fit just the pertinent information in.  With A Journey Through Learning’s unit studies and lapbook guides you and your children will be enjoying putting together your first or your 100th lapbook in no time.

You can read what other homeschool parents have to say about A Journey Through Learning at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

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Trip to a museum.

Earlier this month one of our favorite children’s museums opened a satellite location in our city!  So we tried it out last Friday and it was fun – although it was geared more ages 10 and under, but even that was pushing it.  My children are not your average 6, 8 and 11 year olds – but there were some things for each of them to explore.


Since this was a satellite location I wasn’t expecting to see the museum on as grand a scale as the real location.  I have to admit if my children were younger (mine were the oldest by far there that day, of course it was also during prime school hours) they may have had more fun – but two of them do want to go back.  The oldest will go with us and I’m sure like this last time she’ll find something to occupy herself.


Hannah and Bethanne making something – none of them could agree so I don’t think it got made?


Hannah working on a maze for the balls that they had.


Christian thinking he can make a better maze than his sister!


Bethanne making something…..


Bethanne, again.


I’m hoping if we keep going back they’ll see there is a need for some stuff for older children and they’ll add that as they see a need and that this satellite location is a good thing for our community.  As you can see my children all found something to do and it’s less than the actual museum, although we can get in free due to being members – but for those who aren’t the $3.00 adult ticket and $2.00 child ticket is affordable and for what you get it’s worth it.


Susan May Warren’s Launch Team

If you remember I had a wonderful time being on Tricia Goyer’s launch team for her, Love Finds You in Glacier Bay Alaska, and now that I’ve fulfilled my obligations and enjoyed a wonderful book I signed up for and was accepted for Susan May Warren’s launch team!  I also enjoy Susan May Warren’s books too so I wanted to share a YouTube video with you as Susan discusses her newest series.

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I’m sorry I haven’t given an update lately on my exercising and such – it’s been going well.  I went to the Dr last week and hope to have a call tomorrow or at the latest by Wednesday.  She told me based on my weight loss that the chances are good we can at least decrease my metformin.  The plan is if my A1C is in the low 6’s I can off of it completely but if it’s in the high 6’s she’ll keep me on the pill 1X a day versus two.  If that is the case I’ll get rechecked in a couple months.  My last A1C in July last year was 7.0 – not good.  Now I weigh 20+ pounds less, exercising daily and limiting calories and carbs.


Remember my post on Some Honesty and Progress?  You might want to take a look at those pictures BEFORE you look at the newest one.  Here is some more honesty – the skirt in the first post that my daughter took on 2/4/13 is a size 22W.  The other skirt in the post for Progress is a 2X.  They are both too big on me.  Not in a fall down around the ankles but definitely much looser!  So my hubby took us to Goodwill and here is my new skirt –


This is me, today 3/24/13, 12 weeks AFTER the first picture taken on February 4!


The skirt is a size 18!  I’ve never been a single digit girl, even when I was in the Navy I always ran between a 10 and 12 depending on the maker and cut.  The last time I wore single digits I was probably a single digit age.  My new blouse is still a 3X because I need to have my shirts larger.  I still have a bit of a mommy pouch but it’s getting smaller.  I’m so excited about my size 18 – I’ll still be wearing my 22 and my 2X skirts – who has money to replace a whole wardrobe but maybe soon I’ll be needing to purchase a belt!


I’m still measuring my food – I actually find it kind of fun – yeah, I know I’m weird.  I like knowing what exactly and how much is going in my body.  I’m now at only 1,410 calories a day.  My BP at the Dr the other day was 122/78 – it’s usually elevated in the office due to ‘white coat syndrome’ but she was getting worried – now she’s happy.  Me too.  My heart doesn’t feel like it’s coming out of my chest when I walk up a flight of stairs.  I’ve also submitted my registration for my first ever 5K!!!  I’m looking forward to walking this come April 20th – I’m EXCITED!!!  I’ve told hubby, next up is an ironman, well someday.


I have added in a daily multi-vitamin and I’m awaiting the results to find out if I need to add more Vitamin D and I recently read an article where people who exercise need more Vitamin C than usual because of the free radicals released from the physical activity.


Also, I’ve got to give credit where credit is due – the Lord!  Seriously, while others may see it as me being the one to exercise, watch my food intake, etc – it’s all the Lord.  He is the One who gives me the strength on the mornings that I don’t feel like working out or the days I just want to eat a whole pizza on my own.  He keeps me going and I know my temple is becoming the better for it.  I also want to say thank you to those who are continuing to encourage me, my husband, my children, my mom (my dad hasn’t seen me yet!) as well as all my friends on Facebook that I know IRL and virtually who build me up and give me encouragement.  I also love to hear that others are considering doing a 5K or getting moving in some way because of my story.


It may sound cliche but it’s hard – I didn’t put this weight on overnight or in a month or several months and it’s not going to be easy.  I haven’t hit that plateau yet – it’ll come – the Lord will get me over it and through it.  I cannot begin to convey through this blog post how GREAT I feel!!!!!  I feel like my mind works better, the winter blues I usually get have not been as bad as in the past, I just feel good.  The decision has to be yours and listen to the Lord – He is the one who ultimately woke me up in February and said, get moving!  He knew I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, He is guiding me and He will guide you too – we don’t have to be a prisoner to food, to our overweight bodies – that is a lie from Satan!


Crossway Review: Fool Moon Rising by Kristi and T. Lively Fluharty

About the book from Crossway:

Through this illustrated tale about the moon stealing the sun’s glory, children learn about the importance of humility and the dangers of pride.

This rhyming, rollicking tale tells of a crime of cosmic proportions: the moon, blinded by pride, fails to see the true source of his abilities-the light provided by the sun. He boasts of his ability to shine, to change shape throughout each month, and to swell the tides. One day, overwhelmed by a piercing ray of sunshine, the moon repents of his pride and changes his ways, and from that point on he is happy to reflect the sun’s light.

This beautifully illustrated book introduces the concept of humility to children. Readers will be reminded that everything we have, including our gifts and talents, is from God. Just as the moon learns to boast only of the sun, children-and their parents-learn that to boast of anything other than the Son is utter foolishness.


My Opinion:

My children all enjoyed this book – although my 11 year old found it too young, the other two liked it and my son really enjoyed the pictures.  While reading my children discussed why the moon was wrong and how he should have acted – of course we all need a good dose of humble pie at times.  This book is a wonderful teaching tool that we must always keep our eyes focused on the Lord and everything comes from Him, none of it is through our own powers.

At the end of the book are some pictures/illustrations of galaxies and nebula as well as some questions to ask children such as “What is the Moon doing that is wrong?”  as well as some did you know facts – such as the first fruit eaten in space was a peach.  Cute and a great way to instill the Biblical concept of humility and trusting in the Lord Jesus this book will be sure to be enjoyed over and over again.

**Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product and/or book from the company and/or publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.

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Crew Review: Classical Academic Press – The Art of Poetry


My oldest daughter loves poetry and has been writing poetry for a couple years and has even been published so I thought this would be a great way to actually teach her the intricacies of poetry.  The Art of Poetry from one of my favorite curricula providers, Classical Academic Press, seeks to teach students how to understand and enjoy this type of literature.  I’m not big on poetry so I was hoping that The Art of Poetry would help me in teaching my almost 6th grader about one of her favorite forms of reading material.

The Art of Poetry has multiple ways it can be used, allowing for a 32-week one year schedule, 16 week half year schedule, a poetry appreciation course to be done over the course of 4 years or a semester long course for a co-op or elective.  We chose to use the 32 week one year schedule which is laid out for a 5 day a week lesson, but we used it Monday through Thursday as Friday’s are our off day – which meant I had to do some rearranging from the typical suggested outline.  A week would sometimes look like this (this is just a sample of a basic day):

  • Monday: read the introduction and do a free writing exercising, discuss some themes that poetry can do, such as images or metaphors
  • Tuesday: read the selected poem in the text, discuss it with me and then write about the poem
  • Wednesday: Read more selected poems in the text, discuss them with me, and do two activities at the end of the chapter.
  • Thursday:  Discuss a couple more poems and then complete a couple more activities based on these poems.  If a portion of the DVD was to be shown on Friday we’d watch it today.

My oldest daughter and I tried to enjoy this curricula – but she and I both found it to be very slow moving at the one year schedule.  If I had to do it over again I would probably do the 16 week schedule which would provide more time each day as well as giving more work but at the one year schedule it was too slow moving for both my poetry loving daughter and I to fully appreciate what this curricula was.  If you’d like to view the suggested Art of Poetry schedule visit the AOP page and download the schedule for free – you can also download sample chapters from the student and teacher’s book.

It seemed that some of the activities were for a group to do together and while I really tried to help my daughter in the discussions on the poems – it was hard for both of us as we see things differently and got different ideas from the poems.  My daughter, who is not an auditory learner and prefers to do independent learning also asked if we could skip using the DVD’s after the first lesson – as it was to0 classroom-ish for her (and my) liking.   The curricula is geared for middle and high school students and I think, if we re-visited this again in a year or so, she may be more receptive to it.

The teacher’s guide is good to have on hand if you plan to do the teaching as it includes the entire student text as well as tips to teaching poetry, a historical time line of poetry, interpretation of each poem (to me, poems can mean different things to different people and there is no right or wrong way), quizzes and answer keys to the quizzes and activities.  The bundle package for the DVD, Teacher’s book and Student book sells for $99.95 and if you’d prefer to purchase the DVD’s at a later time those will sell for $69.95   or you can purchase each separately – although the best purchase would be to buy them in the bundle form.

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Scouting for Food – AHG meeting

We have been so enjoying our American Heritage Girls – and I so happy that a group has formed close enough for us to join!  We have some great coordinators and some wonderful Unit Leaders (I have to say that though since I’m one!!).  I’m really praying that come May the Boy Scouts will have made the right decision so that my son can become a Cub Scout – he had so much fun helping the girls and I collect food for the Scouting for Food event we did.


Christian collecting a bag of food that was left on a porch.


All three lined up with the bags of food, we only got 6, and the sun was brightly shining hence the reason for the look on Christian’s face.

Bethanne carried the AHG flag for our opening and closing flag ceremony at the meeting last Sunday. She really enjoyed being able to do this.


The girls have each been working on a badge at home, Bethanne is going to do cake decorating and Hannah has started creative writing.  Since we have to bring snack to the next meeting I told Bethanne that we’ll be bringing cake!  Of course, we also have a lot of service activities too so that we can be the hands of feet of Jesus.



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New Leaf Publishing: The Ecology Book by Tom Hennigan and Jean Lightner


About the Book:


Study the relationship between living organisms and our place in God’s wondrous creation!

  • Learn important words and concepts from different habitats around the world to mutual symbiosis as a product of the relational character of God.
  • Designed with a multi-age level format especially for homeschool educational programs.
  • Examine influential Scientists and their work, more fully understand practical aspects of stewardship, and investigate ecological connections in creation!

The best-selling Wonders of Creation series adds a new biology-focused title that unveils the intricate nature of God’s world and the harmony that was broken by sin. This educational resource is color-coded with three educational levels in mind: 5th to 6th grades, 7th to 8th grades, and 9th through 11th grades, which can be utilized for the classroom, independent study, or homeschool setting.

Whether used as part of our newly developed science curriculum or simply as a unique unit study, the book includes full-color photos, informative illustrations, and meaningful descriptions. The text encourages an understanding of a world designed, not as a series of random evolutionary accidents, but instead as a wondrous, well-designed system of life around the globe created to enrich and support one another.


About the Authors:


Dr. Jean Lightner is an adjunct professor with Liberty University Online.  She has a B.S. in Agriculture (Animal Science major), a D.V.M., and a M.S. in veterinary preventive medicine.  After working just over three years as a veterinary medical officer for the US Department of Agriculture, she resigned to stay at home and teach her four children.  Now that her children are grown, she is deeply involved in creation research.  She has contributed numerous articles to creation journals, magazines, and websites and serves as a board member for the Creation Research Society.  She is also a member of the Creation Biology Society, Christian Veterinary Mission and the National Animal Health Emergency Response Corps.


Tom Hennigan was educated in the public school system and was inundated with the evolutionary belief that we could explain all life without God.  Through high school and into his early years of college he was satisfied that he understood the “scientific” view of life’s origins and that God need not be included in the equation.  However, after a pair of fellow students shared the case for a Creator with him, followed by a series of amazing circumstances that included sleepless nights, answered prayer, miraculous intervention, and deep soul searching, Tom gave his life to Jesus Christ.

Tom is an Associate Professor of Organismal Biology at Truett-McConnell College and has an A.A.S. from the New York State Forest Ranger School, a B.S. in Natural Resources Management from the University of Alaska, an M.S. in Education from Syracuse University, and an M.P.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  He has taught environmental science and ecology for 18 years and teaches ecological concepts and field methods in herpetology, mammalogy, and forest ecology and has studied in the Galápagos.

He has written for the Creation Research Society Quarterly, Answers Research Journal, Creation, Creation Illustrated and Answers Magazines.  As a product of creation evangelism, his passions include helping people to see the glory of Christ in Creation and encouraging the Body of Christ toward Biblical Stewardship and Discipleship.  Tom and Jennifer have four grown children and live in Cleveland, Georgia.


My Opinion:


What can I say?  This is one of those reviews that I wish that I could just tell you how much this book is ($16.99) and tell you to buy it because it’s that good!  I know that won’t suffice though so I’ll tell you a little bit about this next book in the Wonders of Creation series, Ecology There are 10 chapters in this book, all of them are beautifully colored with lots of information and diagrams as well as an appendix and a glossary and index and how to use the book.  The chapters are:

  1. Harmony in Creation
  2. Ecology: The Study of “Our House”
  3. The Dominion Mandate
  4. What’s on Today’s Menu
  5. Taking a Liking to Lichens
  6. A Fungus Among Us
  7. The Plant-Bacteria Connection
  8. Of Bacteria, Cattle and Men
  9. To the Root of the Matter
  10. Doing Ecology in God’s Creation


The book can be used in the traditional classroom, independent study and homeschool and is divided into three levels using a color coded system that will make it easy to see where each level is supposed to be reading.  Level One is on a off-white background and is geared towards grades 5th and 6th and it’s encouraged that all levels read this information as it includes The Big Five (who, what, where, why and how) as well as some basic introduction information.  Level two is on a green background and is for grades 7th to 8th and this will go deeper in the study of ecology and issues surrounding it today.  Level three is on a blue background and is for 9th to 11th grade students that has more concepts and allows for more in depth studies in the ‘dig deeper’ sections.


Throughout the book are ecologists who have influenced the field of ecology, some may be Christian while others may not.  Ernst Haeckel, William Derham, Albert Bernard Frank are just a few of those who are covered in the text.  If you have multiple children who are in different grades or who learn at different levels then this book will be a great introduction (depending on the level you use) to ecology.  This will appeal to homeschoolers who often find it challenging to find curriculum that will fit a wide range of ages and grades without having to buy a bunch of different curricula to teach.  I look forward to continuing the use of my book.


**Disclaimer:  I was given a pre-print copy of this book from New Leaf Publishing Group in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.



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Kregel Tour: My Very First Easter Story Sticker Book by Lois Rock


About the Book:

Alex Ayliffe’s bright, colourful characters feature as stickers in this story and activity book. The book contains a retelling of the Easter story, with spaces left for children to fill with the appropriate sticker to complete the story. Accompanying the retelling are extra activities about what can be found on the page – counting, naming, identifying – for which extra stickers are supplied. The stickers come on a double page spread in the centre of the book, and are grouped and numbered according to activity to make it easy to select the right sticker to complete the task.


My Opinion:


For young children, the Easter story can be one of fear – as most children don’t or can’t understand the grand scope of what the Easter story means and for that I’m grateful there are books like the My Very First Easter Story Sticker Book.  The book is illustrated with whimsical characters that will appeal to young children as they are read the story about Jesus’ death and resurrection and the Faith that those of us have in that.  The top part of the page tells the story with corresponding stickers to match up, making it a truly hands-on book that will hold a child’s attention as the story is being read.


At the bottom of the page are some activities that go along with what is being read.  Such as what are the children in the picture saying in their prayers during mealtime, quiet time and bedtime?  Another activity shows three children who are alone and the activity asks children how could a friend help each of these fictional children.  At the end is a 8 panel, two page spread that outlines Jesus’ life from the time He was born in Bethlehem to the time when He was crucified and rose again.  Also of note is that the stickers are marked so it is easy to tell which pages they will go on, instead of having to guess if you’re right.


**Disclaimer:  I was provided a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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FIRST Tour: Moms Raising Sons to Be Men by Rhonda Stoppe

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Rhonda Stoppe
and the book:
Moms Raising Sons to Be Men
Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2013)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***

Rhonda Stoppe is a popular speaker who fervently imparts the truth of God’s Word to her audience. She is an enthusiastic communicator who unfolds Scripture with a contagious passion for truth as she teaches women to connect with God in an intimate “love walk” of obedience and to live deliberately in their purpose. She and her pastor husband, Steve, are the grateful parents

of four grown kids.
Visit the author’s website.


Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of ministering to youth and to women and from her own parenting experience, Rhonda provides refreshingly relevant guidance, biblical and contemporary examples, and humorous insights to help each reader discover

  • how to guide a son without hovering and smothering
  • how every action and choice can serve a godly goal
  • ways to communicate so a boy will listen and be heard
  • God’s power and grace to become–and give–her best

Packed with practical help from parenting experts and other moms, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 224 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736949771

ISBN-13: 978-0736949774


You Are Not AloneOn Mission with God

To be the mother of a son is not for the faint of heart. I remember when my son Brandon was born. Looking into his little face, the feelings within me were somehow different from four years earlier when I had given birth to my daughter. I felt so inadequate as I weighed the responsibility of molding this baby into a man. Up to this point, raising a girl had not been a difficult challenge. It was clear that she was like me, with all the love for being a girl that she could express. She loved shoes and colorful bows for her hair. She was extremely social and adored her friends. And her daddy? Oh, she loved her daddy. Yes, relating to her had been no problem at all.

Yet now in my arms I was holding a helpless baby boy who would grow into a man. Even the mere task of changing his diaper was intimidating with his recently circumcised appendage. I remember thinking, I cannot imagine that soft little face one day having whiskers. As I studied his hands so tiny and fragile, I thought of how they may one day be rough and calloused like his father’s.

When you gave birth to your son, did you find yourself imagining what kind of man he might become? When it came to my son, I did not want to raise a momma’s boy, yet I wanted to be his protector. I did not want him to be rough and reckless, but I did want him to be strong. I wanted him to become a wonderful, godly man like his father. After I took the little guy home and began to raise him, I found my parenting overshadowed with a fear of doing it wrong. I gradually developed a sort of reactionary mode—he acted and I reacted. Rather than following a clear path toward shaping his life, the fear of what I did not want my son to be became my standard. I was merely putting out fires rather than kindling the flames of my son’s character.

My husband and I had always wanted our home to be a place of peace, and yet I found in reality it had become a chaotic environment ruled by my emotions. Because I did not want to disappoint my husband, I did not let him know how much I was struggling. The day my daughter said to me, “I know you can’t wait until we are grown up so that you can do whatever you want” was the day that I knew I needed to get some help. It broke my heart that I had given her that notion. I loved being a mother; it was what I wanted to do. Yet in my harried frustration, that was not at all the impression I had given my sweet little girl.

Feeling even more inadequate and alone, I began to read books about parenting, from which I compiled a sort of how-to list. I soon discovered that the list did not have the power to change me. It became a burdensome reminder of the standard I was unable to measure up to. I lacked fortitude for this new adventure. I knew that I needed to become a kind, courageous, and confident mother if I was ever going to raise kind, courageous, confident children. I desired to be a godly mother who raised godly children. But where would I find the direction I so desperately longed for?

I Need Help, Lord!

Reading books had given me some basic ground rules for this new playing field, but I also wanted to learn from real-life examples. My mother-in-law, who had raised two wonderful sons, had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and was no longer the vibrant help she had been when my daughter was born. The young mothers I knew seemed no more prepared for raising a son than I was. I had no idea how to ask God for what I needed. I felt alone and desperate for answers. I’ve since learned that one of God’s favorite prayers is that of a simple cry for help flowing from a humble and desperate heart. I was both humbled and desperate as I uttered the plea, “I need help, Lord.” God graciously answered my prayer by bringing several older, godly women into my life. I am now 50, and I have to laugh at how old they seemed to me when I was in my twenties. These women were not scholars or trained in child development. As mothers of sons, they had traveled down this path ahead of me. They had insights and understanding into what I was experiencing. Their lives had not been perfect or free from trials. They were genuine, precious, and vulnerable as they taught me what God had taught them. When I shared my struggles I did not feel judged; rather, I felt loved.

Titus 2:4 instructs older women to admonish younger women how to love their husbands and their children, and this group of women wholeheartedly obeyed that command. Of all the friendships I have had, the relationships that developed with these women have by far been the most pivotal in my life. They taught me not only how to parent, but how to become the mother God wanted me to become. In writing this book, my heart’s desire is to be an older woman God can use to pour courage and confidence into you, just as those women did for me.

The Mission of Motherhood

One life-changing insight I received from these wonderful women was that I had been called by God to the mission of motherhood. And so have you. God has called you to join Him in the work He plans to do in your children. To become the instrument God will use to train your son somehow sheds glorious light on the unique ministry of motherhood, doesn’t it? The Bible instructs God’s servants to “take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it” (Colossians 4:17). There is no pass. No get-out-of-jail free card. Your ministry came in the form of your son. How will you prepare yourself for that ministry? God never intended mothers to go it alone. Through His Word, He wants to equip you to train your children to love and trust Him.

As you follow God in molding the character of your son, you will undoubtedly face situations that are out of your control. It should come as no surprise that life is unpredictable. The Bible warns, “Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (1 Peter 3:12). When you face struggles, yielding your emotions to the roller coaster of circumstances will only add to the stress and result in chaos.

As you parent your children, if your focus is on every turn of events, you will certainly be overwhelmed and afraid. Fear and confusion will rob you of courage. By contrast, focusing on God and resting in His character will bring peace. Rather than subjecting your family to the gyrations of your emotional reactions, you can develop the habit of responding with an unwavering confidence in who God is. Knowing God intimately is a vital attribute of being a godly mother. How does one develop that kind of confidence in God? I looked to these older women for answers, and they directed me to the Bible.

When I spent time with these women, I observed their peaceful responses to the chaos of life. They displayed a resolve to seek after the Lord in every situation. They were not just church ladies who did good things for God; their hearts reflected His heart. They were by no means perfect, but they were genuine. Their lives had not been without trials and heartache; each had their own story of the struggles they had faithfully endured. In my estimation, the greatest measure of their parenting success was their sons’ genuine love for them and for the Lord.

The Crossroad

I found myself at a crossroad when the women encouraged me to attend their ladies’ Bible study. Honestly, my motivation was, “Free babysitting and two hours with grown-ups? I’m in!” Totally spiritual, right? During the first class session I was given a homework book. I thought, Homework? No problem. I had gone to Christian schools; I can fill in the blanks without even having to look up the verses. I know, my response was arrogant. I was arrogant! (God would reveal that to me later, but that is a topic for another chapter.)

When I got home and opened the book, I was blown away by how much work I had to do. This was not the typical fill-in-the-blank book. This was a Precept Ministries International Bible study that assigned five hours of homework each week. Evidently my new friends were under the impression that I had time on my hands. There was no way I could do that much homework! I concluded that these women had their children so long ago they had forgotten how much was needed to care for a baby. When I called my friend Gayle to explain I couldn’t possibly keep up with the class, she kindly encouraged me to hang in there for just one semester. She offered to help me by babysitting, and promised that I would be forever changed by the experience. I reluctantly agreed to her offer because I did not want her to think I was not spiritual.

I kept the study book open on my kitchen table and worked on the assignments a little bit at a time. I studied while nursing, and in between changing diapers and folding laundry. Do you know what I found? For the first time in my life, I began to crave the Word of God. I looked forward to my few minutes of open time here and there to learn from Him. I began to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). My thinking was different. My parenting was different. Life’s experiences were being filtered through God’s truth, and that truth was changing who I was.

Even my husband, Steve, noticed the change. Fear was replaced with peace, anxiety with confidence. My propensity to people pleasing was overshadowed by a genuine desire to please God. I had given my heart to Christ when I was young, but had never before experienced this kind of longing to know Him. Up till now I had always viewed reading the Bible as a religious duty. But this was very different from duty. I was hungry for God and His Word. I was developing an unwavering resolve to seek God.

What about you—do you long to seek after God? Are you hungering after His Word, and eager to cultivate a deeper personal relationship with the One who created you, knows your heart better than anyone else, and provides for your every need?

Or perhaps as you’re reading this you realize you’ve never taken that step to receive Christ as your Savior and Lord. Or maybe you’re uncertain as to whether you are a Christian. If you would like to know more about how to give your heart to Christ and have an intimate relationship with Him, please see the appendix, “How to Have a Relationship with Jesus.”

Resolve to Seek God

So what does this resolve look like—this hungering and thirsting after God? In the Bible I read a passage that spoke what my heart longed to express: “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast” (Psalm 57:7). When I read that, I felt I had to know more about the person who penned that phrase! Those words were written by David amidst one of the greatest trials of his young life. Oh yes, I wanted to know more about this man David. What kind of woman had raised a son like this? I wanted to live how he lived, and even more, I wanted to raise my son to be like him.

David, while not without his faults, was devoted to seeking God. In Psalm 89:20, God proclaimed, “I have found My servant David…” Note that God said He found David. Elsewhere in Scripture we read that “the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Can you picture that? The eyes of God moving all across the earth in search of individuals whose hearts are loyal to Him. Why? So that He can show Himself mighty on their behalf. Isn’t that exciting? You don’t have to do this mother thing alone. God stands ready to offer you His strength. He is more concerned about the man your son becomes than you are!

Learning to love God will make your heart loyal to Him. When I say this, I’m not talking about being a religious woman—that is, someone who merely goes through the motions of religious duty and rituals in the hopes that you can somehow earn God’s favor. No, I’m talking about genuine change that starts in the heart and draws upon God’s power and wisdom. I’m talking about a true inner love and passion for God and not mere external behavior that might look good to others but amounts to nothing more than hollow actions. The loyalty God seeks comes from the heart.

The Holy Spirit can use your loyal heart to draw your son to know and obey God. If your faith isn’t authentic, your son will know it, and that will likely turn him away from the things of God. It is only as you truly love God and surrender to His perfect will that you are enabled to live as an example to your son and make God attractive to him.

I Surrender All?

David was willing to do anything God asked of him. God said, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). As David was growing up, he expressed his love for God in his psalms of worship. Out of that love grew trust. When David was just a young shepherd boy God allowed him to experience circumstances that would help to build that trust and to give him courage for the trials that he would face in the future. In the course of guarding the family sheep,

Run away in fear

Question God’s goodness, and become bitter or angry

Rely on the power of God to persevere and know victory
Relying on God’s strength, David chose to stay and fight. His conquest over the lion and the bear prepared him to later fight a God-blaspheming giant who had taunted the Israelite army (1 Samuel 17:36-37). Does David’s kind of surrender of his life to God scare you? You can be honest with God; He already knows your thoughts. As a young mother, I had a deep-seated fear that if I surrendered my children to the Lord, He would test my loyalty by taking them from me. Have you ever struggled with such fears? The Bible can calm your heart as you learn that God is a loving and merciful Father. There is no reason to fear what God might do, for His love for your son is greater than any love you have. And His plans for your son are greater than your plans. What’s more, God has the power to accomplish those plans.

Practical Applications from David’s Mother

Have you ever asked yourself where David’s momma was while he was out there camping with the sheep and wrestling wild animals? Well, she wasn’t there fighting his battles for him. We can learn a lot from David’s mom.

She allowed her boy to become a man while he was still living at home. David was her youngest son, yet she allowed him to leave the safety of home to do the dangerous work of a shepherd. She recognized David would find a sense of accomplishment in contributing to the family business. What kind of man might he have been if his mother’s fears kept him tied to her apron strings? She seemed to know when to step back and allow him to face challenges without micromanaging his choices.

It can be frightening to loosen your grip on your son as he matures. All too often mothers coddle their sons in an attempt to protect them or make life easier for them, only to cripple their ability to manage themselves when they leave the safety of their homes. Making a conscious effort to allow and even orchestrate opportunities for your son to accomplish tasks away from your watchful eye will allow him to develop his courage and his ability to make decisions.

She had the courage to leave his safety in the hands of God. In those lonely hours spent on the hillsides, David learned how to be a man. God had used trials to develop his loyal heart. David’s mother seemed to have resisted the temptation to rescue him at every turn. The Bible says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). The Lord wants to be involved in your parenting decisions moment by moment. As you trust and acknowledge Him at each turn, He will make your path straight. If you rely on your own understanding and fight every battle for your son, how will he learn to rely on God’s strength? Sometimes God will ask you to let your little boy battle that bear. Are you willing?

She respected her husband’s wisdom. When David was a teenager His father, Jesse, sent him to the battlefront with food for his older brothers. You don’t hear David’s mother protesting, “Not my baby! He is too young to go.”

Over the years there have been many times that my husband has given one of our boys a responsibility that I thought was too much for him. My initial instinct was to come to the boy’s defense and explain why my husband was making a wrong decision. More often than not, I was the one in the wrong. I had to learn that my husband, who was a man, had more discernment with regard to what our sons could and couldn’t handle. (By the way, if your son does not have a father, do not despair; we will discuss that later in this book.)

David’s mother raised a man after God’s heart. Do you want to do the same with your son? What kind of mother might you be if you resolved to seek after God more diligently? How would your surrendered life affect your son’s character development?

A Courageous Mother

Moses is another man who was used greatly by God. Who was his mother? Jochebed found herself in a troubled time in Israel’s history. The descendants of Jacob had become slaves in Egypt. The slaves grew so great in number that the Egyptians became fearful. So Pharaoh sent out a proclamation that the Hebrew midwives should kill every baby boy born to the Hebrew women.

At the risk of losing their own lives, two courageous midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, refused to murder the babies. Eventually the frustrated Pharaoh decreed that all the Egyptians throw newborn Hebrew boys into the river, but keep the daughters alive (Exodus 1:15-17).

A Difficult Dilemma

When Jochebed and her husband, Amram, gave birth to Moses, they did their best to hide their lovely son for as long as they could. By the time Moses was three months old, however, it would have been a matter of time before someone found and killed him. Something had to be done, or surely he would end up dying (Exodus 1:15–2:10; Hebrews 11:23).

I can only imagine the ache in Jochebed’s heart as she carefully wrapped her precious baby boy in her favorite blanket. As tears streamed down her face, would she have attempted a brave smile into his little face? As if to somehow give him the courage she may desperately have needed for herself ?

As Jochebed prepared to place Moses in a basket upon the Nile River, her daughter, who was standing nearby, would likely have questioned the rationale of her mother’s plan. “You’re gonna put him in that basket, Mother? Will it float? What if water leaks in? What about the snakes and crocodiles?” Surely Jochebed had already asked herself these questions as well. Could this really be Jehovah’s answer to her prayer to save her son? She must have been confident her idea was from the Lord to even attempt the plan. And yet, would she end up wavering in her conviction as she prepared to send her son afloat on the Nile River? Try to put yourself in Jochebed’s sandals. I don’t know about you, but three months after my son was born I was still a hormonal, emotional mess! Trying to cope with hiding my newborn from people who wanted to kill him—coupled with the anxiety of trying to silence him each time he cried—would have sent me over the edge!

A Complete Trust in God

I am in awe of Jochebed’s composure here. Rather than ranting and raving to Amram about their difficult situation, which I am ashamed to say would have been my default mode, she carefully built a little ark for her son. Instead of running to each of her girlfriends for advice, she quietly acted on the plan that God had put in her heart. Can you just hear how her friends might have responded if she had solicited their advice? First you have the nay-sayers: “Jochebed, that is a crazy plan. The baby will surely drown, and if not drown, he will get eaten by crocodiles. Wouldn’t you prefer to know for certain what happens to him?” Then there would have been the hopeless: “Your plan will never work, Jochebed. Just give up. God doesn’t care about your baby. He didn’t care about mine when the soldiers came and killed him. Why are you any different? If the soldiers catch you with that baby, surely you will be put to death. What will become of your other children? You have a responsibility to them.”

Although advice is often practical, sometimes our friends can practical us right into disobeying the Lord. Have you ever experienced the Lord impressing upon you to do something that others have questioned? I have, and in such times, it can be confusing to discern what the right path is.

How puzzled the people in Jochebed’s generation must have been. God had called Israel His chosen people, yet He allowed them to suffer greatly. How is it possible to place your trust in God when your circumstances appear to be wildly out of His control? But we know there were some people who still trusted God. Among them were the midwives who, at great risk, chose to protect the Hebrew babies. Where did they find the courage to disobey Pharaoh’s decree? And where did Jochebed find the strength to do something about her circumstances?

If you were in this terrible scenario, how do you think you would have responded? My natural tendency would likely have been to pull blankets over my head and wait for things to get better. How could Jochebed ever have brought herself to let go of the little basket? Do you think you could have sent your baby boy down the Nile River? Imagine watching him float out of your secure hands into the unknown. Where would a mother find the courage to do such a thing?

A Miraculous Intervention from God

As Jochebed watched her baby float away, she demonstrated courage that was not found in her ability to preserve the life of her young son. Her decision that day required she follow a plan that had no answers. Yet she sent the baby away from her protection and into the care of her God. That kind of courage comes only in the life of one who has developed a genuine trust in God. Jochebed’s confidence in the Lord was evident in her actions.

If Jochebed had tightened her grip on baby Moses and attempted to continue hiding him, she would not have experienced what happened next. Her trusting obedience was rewarded with nothing short of a miracle. When the daughter of Pharaoh drew the little Hebrew baby from the basket floating on the Nile, the Lord moved her heart to compassion. Not only did the Egyptian princess proclaim she would adopt Moses as her son; she sent his very own sister—who happened to be nearby—to find a nursemaid for the baby. And of course, Moses’ sister pointed Pharaoh’s daughter to Moses’ own mother! God blessed Jochebed’s obedience by making her Moses’ nursemaid.

Making the Most of a Brief Opportunity

During the few years Jochebed was permitted to nurse her son, she would have had a profound influence upon him. Surely Jochebed would have told little Moses stories of the faithfulness of the God of Israel. Knowing their time together would not be long, Jochebed would likely have had a sense of urgency to teach Moses to love her God. We mothers would do well to remind ourselves that the time we have to influence our children is short, and we are to begin developing their love for God in their earliest years.

Never underestimate the amount of influence you can have on your son in his first years of life. In her book Six Ways to Keep the “Good” in Your Boy, Dannah Gresh states, “In 2005, the findings of a new study released in Pediatrics found that parent-infant connection—intentional togetherness—plays a key role in shaping the right side of an infant’s brain during the first year of life.” Noted neuroscientist Allan Schore says, “The brain of an infant…is not just shaped by genetics but also by experience in the last trimester of pregnancy through the child’s first year and a half of life…A parent or other caregiver can provide this early attachment, but large day-care situations may be less ideal.”

Do not be naive and assume that dropping your child off at an impersonal day-care facility every day won’t leave an imprint upon him. If you must work, it is essential that the person caring for your child loves your God and will emulate that love to your son. Though Jochebed had a very short time to influence Moses, the impression she made was strong enough that it stayed with him even when he grew older and lived in Pharaoh’s palace. Her teachings were likely the foundation God used to build Moses’ faith. And sure enough, when Moses grew older, he chose to suffer with his people rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season in the palaces of Egypt (Hebrews 11:24-25).

The Bible does not say much about Jochebed and her character qualities. Her name, in Hebrew, means “Jehovah glorified.” Glorified, as used here, means “to make weighty, to make glorious.” Jochebed’s actions certainly lived up to her name. In her decision to trust Jehovah, His name was made glorious.

The Influence of a Few Years

The Lord did not bring our oldest boy, Tony, into our lives until he was 15 years old. For years our family has attempted to find a way to illustrate to people, in a clear way, how Tony became our son. About a year ago Tony, now in his thirties, called me, excited about a movie he had watched. He said, “I know I am not a big black football player like the guy in the movie, but what I saw reminds me so much of our family. And the mom in the movie reminds me of you!” I had seen the very popular movie only days before. I had cried while watching it because it brought back memories of when Tony first came to live with us. He lived in our home for only a short time, but just as the Lord had used Jochebed’s few years with Moses to shape him for life, God gave us a brief window of opportunity to give Tony a strong foundation for life.

Tony had already bonded with Steve even before he had moved in with us. Steve was his youth pastor, and right from the beginning they enjoyed a wonderful relationship. When Tony graduated from high school, he gave “Big Steve,” as he called him, a card saying thank-you for becoming his dad. It was a touching note that Steve still keeps with his most treasured possessions. We kind of look at that card as Tony’s “official adoption papers.”

During Tony’s short time with us, he and I had great talks about his new life as a believer, and about

girls. We talked about his dream to become a fighter pilot, about God’s character, and about girls. We discussed God’s plan for marriage…and did I mention we talked about girls? While Tony and I got along well, he related to me with love and respect, but never as his momma. I wanted to be a mom to him, but I respected that he had a mother whom he loved, and that he didn’t necessarily need another.

Upon graduating from high school, Tony was accepted to Texas A&M University. It was difficult for our family to say good-bye to him, but we were excited about the opportunities before him. I determined that my new role in his life would be as a prayer supporter.

Right away Tony, our overachiever, went out for the drill team, a much-sought-after and competitive position. The requirements were grueling. All the while, he was taking a full load of classes. By September, Tony had been selected for the team and he was thrilled—thrilled and exhausted.

One day Tony called home. In a weak and shaky voice, he said he had a severe case of pneumonia and would need to take a break from all activities. He told me he was not going to tell his drill commander he was sick for fear of losing his place on the drill team. Oh my sweet boy, who had worked so hard to achieve his goals! He had been such a man and accomplished great things. Now all I could hear was a little boy who needed a mother.

I asked the Lord for discernment. As I said earlier, we as mothers need to learn when God wants us to step back and allow our young men to battle their trials alone. But somehow I sensed this was different. Tony had worked so hard to land a spot on the team, and now he was terribly sick. I felt that the least I could do was ask Tony if I could make a phone call on his behalf. Reluctantly, he agreed.

I called a friend of Tony’s who was an alumnus of the school. He promised to make some calls. Soon I heard back from the drill team’s commandant, who called to assure me that Tony’s place on the team was secure. With that taken care of, we brought our very sick boy home and I took care of him until he got better. Through that experience, God knit our hearts together, and I became a momma to Tony.

Tony went on to graduate from college and became a fighter pilot. While he has achieved many amazing goals, I was never more proud of him than on the day he called to say, “You know, I am living my dream, and I now realize that it is not enough. My Sunday school teacher, a retired fighter pilot, told me that if I am doing all of this but I’m not surrendered to Christ, my life will be wasted.”

When asked how being a part of our family influenced him, Tony said, “The family was, and continues to be, my living definition of both what God expects from me, and what He wants for me. I am thankful for this example, and I have no doubt that it was God’s plan for our lives to connect.”

Only God Knows

Jochebed had no idea she was being used by the Lord to train a child who would one day become the deliverer of Israel. When David’s mother sent her young son to the battlefront, how could she have known God had been preparing him to slay a giant? And would she have ever dreamed that her gentle warrior would one day be the king of Israel, as well as a man after God’s own heart?

I say all that to bring up this very important point: The first teachers of these godly leaders were not theologians; they were mothers. And you are your son’s first teacher about God as well. You share the same role God entrusted to Moses’ and David’s mothers.

Generation after generation, the mission of motherhood has been the same. God invites mothers to join Him in molding the character of their sons. Will you partner with God in teaching your son how to love Him? The Word of God is your textbook. Will you determine to prepare yourself for this ministry? The Lord is searching for hearts that are loyal to Him. The same One who called the mothers of Jochebed and David is calling you. Only God knows the future that awaits your son. What an amazing honor He has given you. You are the vessel that the Lord will use to prepare your son for a lifetime of use by Him.

My Opinion:


Will update.

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