March 31, 2011

Picture Book Authors We Love

I'm always looking for good books for the kids, good stories with creative and/or beautiful illustrations.  (I'll be sad when our shelves and library bag are no longer stuffed with picture books!)

Here's a small selection of authors we've grown to love over the last several years:

This Train
Paul Collicutt has a series about vehicles called This (insert name of vehicle). (This Train, This Car, This Rocket, etc.)  The illustrations are beautiful and the text is brief but full of information for little toddler/preschool minds.

Kitten's First Full Moon
Kevin Henkes is a prolific writer with a range of books for kids of all ages on a variety of topics from relationships to nature.  I'm never disappointed by anything I pick up from that section of the library shelf!

Swimmy (Knopf Children's Paperbacks)
Leo Lionni writes sweet little stories with creative illustrations.

Planes Board Book
Byron Barton's illustrations are bold and colorful and he gets right to the heart of my little boy with lots of trucks, trains, and planes - though he does have some other stories, like the Three Little Bears.

The Planets
Gail Gibbons is AMAZING!  She has written so many books about such a variety of science (and other, but lots of science) topics, all at the perfect level for early elementary students.  For almost anything we're "studying" in school we're able to find a book by Ms. Gibbons to read.  Her illustrations and text keep us all interested!

Fast Food
Saxton Freymann's photography of fruits and vegetables captivates the kids and amazes me.  His creativity knows no bounds!  He has some board books in addition to regular books.

Who are some of your favorites?

March 29, 2011

What is a Spirit?

Recently the kids and I went out to run some errands.  Our first stop was the home of a friend of Elizabeth's whose grandmother had passed away a few days before, the second stop, the beer distributor.  In Pennsylvania you have beer distributors and state run liquor stores.  You can't get wine and beer at the same place.

While getting Brian buckled into the car after leaving Elizabeth's friend's house, Elizabeth says to me, "Mom, what's a spirit?"

At this moment I'm thinking, Wow, that's a really deep question, like how the Catechism talks about God being spirit and she must be wondering since her friend's grandma just died.  How the heck am I supposed to answer that?  Oh dear, I have to give some kind of response....

I say, "You mean like God is a spirit?"

"No, mom, like a spirit you drink.  Like there's wine and spirits," Elizabeth replies.

Phew!  Dodged that bullet.  I still don't really know how a "spirit" is defined in drink land, but at least I don't have to spew bad theology.

"Well honey, I think it's an alcoholic drink not made from grapes that has a lot more alcohol in it.  Like rum is made form sugar, for example."

End conversation.

Now I suppose I need to read a little about how "spirit" is defined, in both senses, but for the time being I'm just enjoying a little laugh whenever I think of this conversation.  Here's a little hello from my little ones:

Psalm 86: a Prayer of David*

1 Hear me, LORD, and answer me,
   for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
   save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God3 have mercy on me, Lord,
   for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
   for I put my trust in you.
 5 You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
   abounding in love to all who call to you. 

6 Hear my prayer, LORD;
   listen to my cry for mercy.
7 When I am in distress, I call to you,
   because you answer me.
 8 Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
   no deeds can compare with yours. 

9 All the nations you have made
   will come and worship before you, Lord;
   they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
   you alone are God.
 11 Teach me your way, LORD,
   that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
   that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
   I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me; 
   you have delivered me from the depths,
   from the realm of the dead.
 14 Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
   ruthless people are trying to kill me—
   they have no regard for you.
15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
   slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. 
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
   show your strength in behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you
   just as my mother did.
17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
   that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
   for you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

*There's so much here, I've bolded what the Psalm tells us about who God is.  You could also make a list of what we see about what God has done and/or the things David feels confident he can ask God for.  Then think about how it applies to you!  A little inductive Bible study to start the day.

March 28, 2011

Feeling Down? Phone (or Email) a Friend

This past week has been rough, as I mentioned in the previous post.  "Ironically" our pastor preached on how hard it is to believe the gospel and have hope when we're feeling down, discouraged, or depressed.  And yet it's the time we most need to remember ...  or need friends to remind us.

So I emailed I friend yesterday and told her to lay some gospel truth on me.  Here it is, (without any permission from her to copy and paste.)

YOU are despicable  :), depraved and dead..... muahahaha..... and then He died on the cross for all that YUCK.  He took it upon Himself.... upon that cross and then BANISHED it!  It's gone, dude.  Totally gone.

Do you have friends like this?  Reach out to one you trust when you're down and you might just get an email like this.

My heart sank at despicable but soared at It's gone, dude.

I emailed another friend in my out-cry for prayer, and she shot me this lyric:

The love of Christ is rich and free, fixed on his own, eternally.

We all need friends like this.

I wonder if I'm bold enough to be a friend like this.  How we need gospel truth when all we can see is our failure and our sin!

God is at work.

I'm not what I should be, but also not what I used to be either.

Same goes for you, reader!

Let us worship the Lord with gladness, even in our struggles to repent and believe THE GOOD NEWS.  In fact, maybe even more so in those difficult times....

March 27, 2011


Picture of Cross on a Hill - Free Pictures -
A lot has been going on in my heart and mind this week.  I'm struggling to integrate things I'm learning into my thinking and, in the process, seeing new depths of my sin.  Surely it's no irony all of this is challenging me at a time when I'm preparing to speak about the Gospel - a Gospel I struggle daily to believe myself.  What is that Gospel?  That God loved me and sent a Savior before I even knew I needed one and that I receive His grace through faith alone (not effort, not good works, not striving.)

Martin Luther spoke of the "old clinging dirt" of wanting to try to prove himself to God, offer Him something.  So, this is no new experience for the Christian.  And it reminds me of Jerry Bridges advice to "preach the Gospel to yourself every day."

The Gospel tells us several things:
  1. It tells us what God is like, the extent to which He has to and would go to to rescue his lost people. He is holy; He is love.  See Luke 15 for great stories about that.
  2. It tells us what we're like before God enters in: dead in sin, self-gratifiers, deserving of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3)  We were in BAD shape, nothing we could have gotten ourselves out of.
  3. It tells us what we're like after God enters in: the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17) If Christ is or Savior and Lord, He's taken or sin and given us His righteousness.
  4. It tells us what we will be like when God makes all things new: we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (I John 3:2)  We will share in Christ's glory!
For me, the thing I most need to remember is that I'm not a good person, but I am redeemed and God has good works He prepared in advance for me to do.  I can easily get too stuck on myself.  Perhaps you can relate?  The Gospel reminds me it's not about me, it's about the God who rescued me.  Life works better when I submit myself to God's wisdom and not my own foolishness.

Thank you for the cross!

Today, friends, remember your salvation is a gift of God.  Go into your churches, confess your sins, and worship with gladness for the Lord has been GOOD to you!

Yet I am always with you; 
   you hold me by my right hand. 
You guide me with your counsel, 
   and afterward you will take me into glory. 
Whom have I in heaven but you? 
   And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 
My flesh and my heart may fail, 
   but God is the strength of my heart 
   and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:23-26

March 25, 2011

Good Thing It's Pizza Night

With preparations for the retreat talks this week, among other events, things have been piling up.
Maybe just a little too much; my counters and stove top tell the story.

Have a good weekend.

March 23, 2011

Sally's Series on Parenting

Sally Clarkson has started a blog series on parenting.  She's only two articles in, so you can jump in and catch up quickly.  She's writing in response to many questions that she got about this post called "First Time Obedience, Really?"

There are a lot of formulas out there for how to best raise your kids, even good-hearted Christian formulas.  Sally is refreshing because she doesn't offer any formulas beyond looking to our Savior and discipling (read that right discipling) our kids, not just punishing the bad behavior out of them without training their hearts.  She talks in this post about how discipleship relationships take a lot of time;  this was her first response to the comments on the First Time Obedience post.

Now she's officially begun a series!  The first two posts:
Our home has been changed as God is working on my heart, giving me patience and thoughtfulness in the rearing of my children, rather than trying to keep surface peace without reaching the hearts of my kids.  I love them more, love being with them more, trust my Father with them (and me!) more.  Sally's words of grace, encouragement, and warning have played a huge roll in this process.

May Sally's words be a blessing to you as you train and instruct your children.  Keep up the good work as you shape the next generation in this great and marvelous call God's given you!

March 22, 2011

Teaching Them to Trust in the Lord

My children have been bickering with one another a lot lately.

For example, Brian is holding a toy that belongs to Elizabeth.
Brian: "Dis is mine."
Elizabeth: "Um, no, actually, Brian, it's mine."
Brian: "No, it's mine."
Elizabeth: "Brian, no, it's mine.  Not yours.  So-and-so gave it to me."
And so on, ad infinitum (if I would let it go on that long!)
Of course, I'm always patient with them, helping them to see the error of their ways, guiding them in repentance, leading them in paths of righteousness....


The truth is, it's driving me NUTS!  I've been racking my brain trying to come up with what the sins are that they're committing in these exchanges so that I can address them and actually lead them in those paths of righteousness.  After a couple of days it finally occurred to me that I should be praying for them and my reactions.  Usually I just say, "Stop!  That's enough!"  Or I specifically address Elizabeth with, "Elizabeth, it's not helpful to keep up this conversation.  Drop it."

Today I read this in Proverbs:

Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;
   apply your heart to what I teach,
for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
   and have all of them ready on your lips.
So that your trust may be in the LORD,
   I teach you today, even you.
Proverbs 22:17-19

Our goal in this parenting business needs to be teaching and instructing our kids so that they too may trust in the Lord.  Left to my own devices, I would simply try to control their outward behavior, get them to (gasp!) SHUT UP, "be nice" to each other, and give their mother some peace.  That would work, sort of, while I'm always with them, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't do them any good when they're out in the word on their own.

Right now, among other things, Brian needs to learn not to provoke his sister and Elizabeth needs to learn to swallow her pride and let things go.  Any of you adults out there still struggle against these sins?  I do.  BUT it makes a big difference in my life that I can trust the Lord to be my hope and stay, not my own proud attempts to establish my place in this world.  It makes a big difference in my life that I can trust the Lord and love my neighbor, even when he is not loving me back.

Moms & dads, if your kids are making you crazy, turn to the Lord.  Let's ask for His help to address situations as He would have us address them, (not as I would ... just to get some peace!)  This mom sure needs all the help she can get.  I'm thankful to have the God of all creation there with me, forgiving my sins, reminding me of those who taught me to trust Him, and prompting me to do the same for my wee ones.

March 21, 2011

For Wives

Proverbs has a few things to say about wives, vivid descriptions of how we can be a terror for our husbands or bring them great blessing.  I want to do the latter, but it does not come naturally.  

Remembering these words of Scripture, however, can guide us in our interactions with our husbands.  (After all, who wants to be described as decay in her husband's bones, a constant dripping, quarrelsome, ill-tempered?  And we certainly don't want our husbands to feel like they'd rather live up on the roof or in a desert!)

A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

A foolish son is a father's ruin

and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.

Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Better to live in a dessert
than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.

Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

A quarrelsome wife is like
a constant dripping on a rainy day;
restraining her is like restraining the wind
or grasping oil with the hand.

The point, however, is not having a good reputation or even being able to check "be good wife" off our to do list.  It's about loving God and loving our husbands.  Proverbs also says these things:

He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord.

Houses and wealth are inherited from parents
but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
she brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

We are in relationship with our husbands; we've been given to them by the Lord!  How, then, can we honor God in that relationship?  As we spend time in the Word and prayer, as the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin against our husbands, as we draw nearer to them in intimacy, we will bring more good and less harm to our husbands.  As I said above, it's not about us, it's about God.  Are you honoring God in your marriage?

I don't always.

But God is a redeemer and a life-changer.  As we cling to Him, pray for our own hearts to change, pray for the good of our husbands (not that they would be changed, but that God would bless them*), and choose to do good to them, whether or not it is returned.  Things WILL happen; God will do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.

Go, then.  Put yourself aside and be a blessing to your husband today!  Do something for him, just because you love the Lord and want to obey Him in this role He's given you.

Some suggestions to get your mind churning:
  • a surprise love note in his lunch or briefcase/backpack
  • making a favorite dinner
  • getting a sitter and planning an unexpected date
  • visiting him at work with a coffee or other favorite drink
  • doing the taxes or some other task you know he hates
  • give him some "time off" to hang with the guys or rest
  • refuse to nag him today about "that thing" he's not done yet
  • pray for his day at work, that God would prosper and defend him

I'd love to hear about what you decide to do!

*Stormie Omartian in the first chapter of Power of the Praying Wife says our prayer needs to be these three words:  Lord, change me.  Not, Lord, change him.  Good book, by the way, if you're wondering how to pray for your man.

March 18, 2011

Spring Weather, the Luck 'o the Irish!

Here's how we spent our day yesterday; it was only 60, but felt like summer.
We had shamrock shakes with lunch.  Yum!




March 17, 2011

The Breastplate of St. Patrick

It's unlikely that St. Patrick actually wrote this, but I read it to the kids yesterday (while we colored Celtic crosses...which was super fun!)  This prayer/hymn is beautiful.  You can find videos of the hymn being sung on YouTube, if you're interested.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Thank you, St. Patrick, for preaching the good news!

March 16, 2011

On Letter Writing

I am a letter writer.  Problem is, not many other people are.  It's a dying art with all of the quick electronic communication these days.

I'm trying to pass along to my children the fun of writing and receiving letters.  Thank you to the faithful few  who regularly write back!  We love, love, love getting mail.  Seriously, really LOVE it!

Elizabeth working on writing small letters
so the address fits on the envelope.
When is a good opportunity to write a letter, you might ask?

  • holidays - a wonderful time to send a craft or a note to family members or friends
  • birthdays - this is a no-brainer, right?
  • sickness/sympathy - you don't have to write a lot of words to brighten someone's day; it's a blessing to know people are thinking of and praying for you
  • anytime - when someone you love comes to mind (getting a card in the mail is WAY cooler than an email, even though it is slower to get there)
  • when you feel thankful - did someone do something for you, invest in you, get you a gift?  Drop a note of thanks in the mail!
  • when someone needs a little encouragement - an "I believe in you!" or "I'm praying for you!" note can really work wonders in dark places
  • sponsored kids - if your family sponsors a child in another country, you can all write to him/her regularly
  • parent or grandparent at work - send dad or mom a letter at work, maybe pictures to hang in their office or cube.  I think this is really fun!
Brian's letters right now consist of scribbles and stickers.

Do any of these things bring to mind someone you can write to today?  Getting kids involved in letter writing is the funnest!  They can write to their friends or make a picture to include in your card.  Letter writing can be just another little subtle step in helping them look outside themselves to think about loving someone else.  We can all use more practice at that!

For me, getting a letter in the mail is like receiving a gift.  I think, Wow, that person, at some point in their life in the last week, set aside time to think of and write to me.  You may not feel quite so excited by a piece of paper with ink on it, but I'm sure you have crazy people like me in your life who would love to hear from you!  What are you waiting for?  Go write a letter!

March 15, 2011

The Call: Motherhood

I was going to quote parts of this on Facebook or in a post, but then realized I just need to link you to this post by Sally Clarkson.

Please read the whole post HERE, but I'll give you this little teaser:

When I studied scripture and found that the stewardship of a child’s life, his training, education, character, emotional health, spiritual vigor, well-being, mind heart was entrusted to me, I realized that I needed to give my whole self to it. I had to work through selfishness, giving up my rights to my own time, my body, my sleep, and I had to learn what a servant heart was, as I had not been trained to be mature or to give up myself.
But, as I learned to embrace my call to intentional motherhood as God’s will and design for me, I began to fall more in love with my children. I had this grid in my mind through which I saw all of life. I love God. God has shown me what He wants of me. I need to give myself fully to this design.

I second her motion to get one (or more!) of her books.  Begin with Mission of Motherhood and Ministry of Motherhood.  You will never be the same.  And neither will your family.

I'm so thankful for how God "accidentally" brought me into contact with WholeHeart and MomHeart ministires.

Praise!  The!  Lord!

Pray, God Hears

Two more verses from the Proverbs this morning!

The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,
but he prayer of the upright pleases him.

The Lord is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
Proverbs 15:8, 29

What's the difference between the wicked and the righteous?  Within the context of the Bible, the main difference is that the wicked refuse to acknowledge God as Lord, the only one in charge, relinquishing their right to be god of their own lives.  The righteous/upright have surrendered to Him.  That's what enables them to cry out in prayer.

In prayer we are saying, "This life thing is beyond me; be God, God, because I'm not and I can't be!"

It's this surrender that so pleases the Lord!  Blessed are those who cry out to the Father - sins are forgiven, life is given, hope is born.  He hears your prayers.

May today be prayer-full for you, in the smallest and greatest of tasks!

March 14, 2011

Nourish and Refresh

I have a headache this morning; the kids aren't even up and I'm already too tired to deal with their needs today.  Our house is also a bit of a disaster from the weekend.  How will today pan out?

Well, I have a choice.  Will I grumble, mope, and complain, acting like anything that's demanded of me is the world's greatest burden?  Or will I pray, depend, and give thanks, acting like God can and will give me all I need for the demands of the day?

I want to choose the latter, but will need a lot of Holy Spirit reminding to do so!

These verses have stuck me in my reads through the Proverbs over the last few months:

The lips of the righteous nourish many,
but fools die for lack of judgement.
Proverbs 10:21

The generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
Proverbs 11:25

Nourish and refresh.

What do you picture when you hear those words?  A beach vacation eating ripe tropical fruits, sipping cool beverages, and lounging by the ocean?  A day at the spa where you are pampered with massage and quiet?  A weekend in the mountains, hiking trails by day and stargazing at night?

As we approach our days - especially the ones when we're not feeling up to God's call to love Him and love our neighbor - will we be people who nourish others with our words and refresh them with our generosity?

Our words and generosity can nourish and refresh those around us.  Today the choice is ours with a God behind us who nourishes and refreshes our very spirits with Himself, right in the midst of our everyday, busy, demanding reality.

Two things for today then:
  1. Open up the Word and allow God to nourish and refresh you with His grace, mercy, and love.
  2. Open up you lips and heart to let those blessings you've received spill out to nourish and refresh those around you.

May God bless and equip you today to be a nourisher and refresher of others!

March 10, 2011

A Weekend Away!

This past weekend, I attended my first Mom Heart Conference in beautiful North Carolina.  (Northern people, could we drum up support to have a conference somewhere in PA or NY in the near future?!  Let me know if you're interested.)

Mom Heart is a ministry of the Clarkson family, calling women back to Biblical motherhood.  While in NC, I realized just how much their books and influence have been changing our home since encountering their ministry less than two years ago!  God has been at work in my heart, helping me die a little more to self on this earthly walk, serving Him more in the service of my family.  Believe me, there's a lot that still needs to be put to death; it's only just begun, but it's a GOOD path.  I'm so thankful for Sally's commitment to give us encouragement on the journey.

Sally sharing her heart in one of the sessions.
During the conference Sally talked about how "Your Mom Heart Matters" through these three talks: Your Marvelous Calling Matters, Your Optimistic Spirit Matters, Your Meaningful Passion Matters.  In addition to those, we heard from moms who have mom groups around the country, training our kids' characters, training opportunities provided by MomHeart ministries, etc.  They had a WONDERFUL book table.  The hotel was lovely.  Everything about the conference was touched with beauty and love: young ladies with baskets of chocolate to nibble as we registered, young men helping with luggage from the front desk, women praying together, friends laughing together.

We left encouraged.

We also left challenged.

Now, I'm sure the specifics of what each woman will endeavor to put into our out of practice are different.  I'd like to share a few things that stuck with me:

  • Sally said several times, "Tell God, 'I'm your girl.'"  I love the simplicity and profundity of this statement.  In it is surrender to His call, whatever it is, and trust that He will guide and provide.  I want to be a woman and mother who easily and confidently says to her God, "I'm your girl!"
  • Moms, you are not qualified, but you are called.  Kind of a zinger, but also a call to action!  If God's given us this work of raising children - on purpose chosen us for our kids - then we need to take it seriously and grow in the calling, not give up simply because we don't feel qualified.  And, um, if you are a real person, you likely feel unqualified about a million times a day!  How can we allow God to give us a vision for our homes and families, shine as a light in the dark corners of our domain, lead our kids into "thoroughly alive" lives?  I'm certain God will do amazing work as we respond in faith.

A little photo collage of Sally, Jenny and me.
I sure loved the conference, but being with a dear friend was the highlight for me!

  • You determine what you become.  Yes, there are many things that we cannot control, but we can move toward the direction we want our life to go.  Do we want a home full of joy?  How can I start today to cultivate a joyful heart?  Do I want to lead a group to encourage other moms?  What steps can I take, in prayer and action, to make that happen?  Makes me think of that verse, draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)  I could tell stories about how I've seen this truth in my life!
  • Book clubs are a great way for moms to get together, maybe discuss one of Sally's books.  The genius idea that was shared by several women was to get together and read the chapter aloud together and discuss things as someone has a question or really likes something the author said.  Then no one has to worry about not having read and anyone can jump in at any time!  What a great idea for busy moms.

If you ever get a chance to attend a conference, don't pass it up!  We need someone championing us along in this motherhood journey, a voice of grace and encouragement in the midst of the cacophony of condemnation that surrounds us.  Thank you, Sally, for being that voice.

Blessings to you today, mom friends!

It was "dahn Sahth," as they'd say in Pittsburgh,
so we saw MANY of these babies.

Jeanna Young, Princess Parables author
Saturday afternoon luncheon

March 9, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Craft

St. Patick's Day is next week, so we've been reading picture books and legends about him.  I putzed around online one day to find a craft, then made one up for the kids that blended ideas I'd seen online.  There is a story that tells of St. Patrick using a clover to teach about the trinity.  Our Trinity Shamrock craft can be seen below in the photos; instructions follow for both preschool and elementary age children.

Pre-Crafting Preparations:

  1. Make a heart stencil and trace three together on a page to make a shamrock, adding a free-hand stem.
  2. Trace the heart three times on separate paper for each child (light green in the pictures above.)  Cut them out for children without the scissor skills; let you elementary children cut them out on their own.  Then draw a line to create a small triangle at the bottom of each heart to show them where they will put the glue; you want the leaves to be able to fold up to reveal a Bible verse!
  3. For preschoolers, write FATHER, SON, HOLY SPIRIT, & THE TRINITY on pieces of paper for them to glue onto their shamrocks.  Older children can write these words on their own or copy them onto their leaves and paper.
  4. Choose a Bible verse to "hide" behind each leaf about each member of the Trinity.  We used Genesis 1:1, John 14:6 and 14:26.  I printed them out in 9pt font and they fit fine behind the leaves.
Crafting time:
  1. Give directions, such as the ones to the right to your reading child(ren) and they will pretty much do it on their own.
  2. Work together with your preschoolers to guide them through the directions, showing them were to glue the prepared words where your older child(ren) are writing them.
  3. Display these shamrocks in a place where you can see them regularly.  Perhaps you could even memorize the verses you choose over the weeks around St. Patrick's Day!