Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Contest: Have your child drawn as a superhero!


Now is your chance to have DC and Marvel illustrator Sergio Cariello make your child's dream come true!


David C Cook is proud to introduce the newest book in the Action Bible collection: The Action Storybook Bible (coming October 2017). Pre-order The Action Storybook Bible from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or to reserve your copy today. Plus click the graphic below to enter to have a chance to win an illustration of your child as a super hero by Action Bible artist Sergio Cariello (who has also illustrated comics for DC and Marvel!).

The giveaway is open until September 11, 2017, 5:00pm MST. Your entry must be received by then to be eligible. Five winners will be chosen at random from eligible entrants.


Families see the Bible in motion and put their faith into action! The Action Storybook Bible invites families with young children to explore God's redemptive story together. An entry point into the world of The Action Bible, it tells of the amazing creation story, powerful kings who reigned over ancient Israel, God's miraculous gift of eternal life through Jesus, and more! God's promise for the world is displayed throughout every page. Discover your family's place in God's incredible story and together put your faith into action! Interactive features include:
  • Fifteen key episodes from God's Word-each one loaded with several stories along with over 350 brand-new illustrations throughout.
  • Short and easy readings-for children ages eight and under with rich, colorful images.
  • Life, Faith, Action! features-conclude every episode and invite families to talk about how God moves in the stories, how to see God in life today, how to put faith into action, and how to easily talk to God with a suggested prayer.
  • Hall of Fame visual index-the place to look up favorite Bible characters by discovering their icon connections and finding them in the stories.
Learn more and purchase a copy here.

Friday, August 11, 2017

10 Things Parents of Elementary Students Should Do at the Beginning of School

Last week, I wrote a Facebook post that's gone a bit viral, I think.  As of today, it's been shared close to 80,000 times, and been reprinted on other blogs.  I've had friends from all over the country message me saying that their friends who don't know me are sharing it - pretty cool!  It also shows you how much teachers need a voice; how there are things that they want parents to know, but don't feel at liberty to say.

Here's the post in its entirety:

Teachers went back to school today in our county, and for the first time in a long time, I'm not there. So on their behalf, I'd like to share with you a little list that's been bouncing around in my head.
10 Things Parents of Elementary Students Should Do at the Beginning of School:
1. Buy ALL the items on the school supply list, and buy name brand. They work better, I promise. Yes, we know it's expensive; you wouldn't believe us if we told you how much of our personal money we spend this time of year getting our rooms set up.
2. Refrain from complaining about how much said supplies cost. Give them to your child's teacher with a smile, and a thank you for what they do. Buy some items from their wish list if you can. We're all in this together, you know? And yes, your teacher might use some supplies "community style" simply because it makes it just a bit easier on her. Be ok with that. Even if it's not your preference, just let it go and trust that everything will turn out ok, even if you have to buy some more pencils at the end of the year. Believe me, the teacher is doing her share of buying them, too. These are all our children.
3. Come to Meet the Teacher/Parent Night/whatever. Don't try to have a conference; you don't have to stay long. Just introduce yourself, fill out whatever paperwork they need, drop off (all the) supplies, and head home. Teachers are working 10-12 hour days this time of year; slide them a small Starbucks gift card before you go, if you want to win their heart.
4. Believe that they are FOR you and your child. No matter what happened last year, this is a new teacher and a new year, and you want them to let your child start fresh, right? Do the same for them. If you've had a bad experience, that was before. This is THIS teacher. Give them a chance! So choose to believe they want your child to succeed and thrive. The VAST majority of them do! If there's something that concerns you these first few weeks, just talk to them about it. Send an email and ask for a conference. Look at them across the table so you can see in their eyes and hear in their voice how very much they value your child, and how very hard they are working to do a job that can be difficult, even on the best days.
5. Bring your child to school on time the first 2 weeks of school! We're learning routines and procedures and it's SO helpful for building community if everyone is there.
6. Send all those pesky forms in as quickly as possible. They don't like dealing with them any more than you do, so the sooner they can get them off their desk and turned in, the better! 
7. Only speak positively of your child's teacher and classmates and school in front of your child. You can't imagine what a difference that makes in their motivation in the classroom. Even if you're frustrated with the county's standardized testing or common core or the car line or all the homework - bite your tongue and leave that for adult conversations. You're investing in your child's educational success if you do.
8. Encourage that teacher! Right from the start, take the time to tell them something you love about their classroom, or how they run things, or something your child brought home. You can just scrawl a note in the take home folder, or send an email. A little bit of encouragement surely goes a LONG way this time of year!
9. Make drop off short and sweet the first day of school. Lingering goodbyes make for a hard transition, so keeping it upbeat and exciting is the way to go.
10. Remember that they are real people, too. They have children who were sad when they left this morning, sitters who called in sick, to-do lists miles long, a car in the shop, bills piling up because it's been a while since they got a paycheck, babies who woke in the night, parents who need care, husbands who miss them while they're gone so much during preplanning week. They're just humans, and they sit with the weight of educating dozens of little minds, and they don't take it lightly for a second. Be patient with them. Give them the benefit of the doubt, every single time.
Friends, teachers LOVE what they do. They love the smell of new crayons and writing your child's name neatly on their desk and planning a wonderful year of growth. If we parents can lock arms with them and make sure they know that we've got their back and will support them all year long, the children are the ones who will benefit!
Happy 2017-2018, teacher friends. The work you do is noble.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

How do we hear God speak?

From my college friend Nathan Creitz:

Q: How do we hear God speak?

A: Scripture is either sufficient or it is insufficient.
You don't need a dream. You don't need a vision. You don't need a prophetic word. You don't need an ecstatic language. You don't need a miracle. You don't need an experience.
To hear from God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, you need only to meditate on His divinely inspired Word.
" have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
As others have said, 'If you want to hear God speak, read the Bible. If you want to hear God speak audibly, read the Bible out loud.'

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Lana & friends: headed into 6th grade

Lana spent some time with her friends Aubrey & Riley today, and Aubrey's mom took them down to the Wahoos playground to take some pictures.  So pretty!  I remember taking pictures like this with my friend Leona when we were in 6th grade.  I wish I could find them!

Wisdom about when to keep your mouth shut:

Don't open your mouth:

  1. in the heat of anger - Proverbs 14:17
  2. when you don't have all the facts - Proverbs 18:13
  3. when you haven't verified the story - Deuteronomy 17:6
  4. if your words will offend a weaker brother - 1 Corinthians 8:11
  5. if your words will be a poor reflection of the Lord or your friends and family - 1 Peter 2:21-23
  6. when you are tempted to joke about sin - Proverbs 14:9
  7. when you would be ashamed of your words later - Proverbs 8:8
  8. when you are tempted to make light of holy things - Ecclesiastes 5:2
  9. if your words would convey a wrong impression - Proverbs 17:27
  10. if the issue is none of your business - Proverbs 14:10
  11. when you are tempted to tell an outright lie - Proverbs 4:24
  12. if your words will damage someone else's reputation - Proverbs 16:27
  13. if your words will destroy a friendship - Proverbs 25:28
  14. when you are feeling critical - James 3:9
  15. if you can't speak without yelling - Proverbs 25:28
  16. when it is time to listen - Proverbs 13:1
  17. if you may have to eat your words later - Proverbs 18:21
  18. if you have already said it more than one time - Proverbs 19:13
  19. when you are tempted to flatter a wicked person - Proverbs 24:24
  20. when you are supposed to be working instead - Proverbs 14:23

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue,
keeps himself out of trouble. - Proverbs 21:23

*Thanks to my friend Teri for sharing this list!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

ATL with Team Sanders!

We just got back home today from a whirlwind trip to Atlanta to meet my friend Liz & her kids for the weekend.  We had the best time!

Y'all, they are the BEST travel buddies!
We eat snacks and listen to podcasts and they read and watch movies and we rarely have to stop: except when the traffic comes to a standstill so much that it turns a 5 hour trip into an 8 hour one.  They were so easy and content, even still!

My introverted child did use her blanket to make herself a tent at one point.
She said she just needed to be by herself for a few minutes - ha!

 About an hour outside of Atlanta, we drove out of the rain and traffic into beautiful weather!  We loved that we were staying in the town of Tucker.  :) 

 We were SO happy to meet up with our friends (who drove in from SC) for dinner!  

Then on to Stone Mountain for the laser show.

 The kids & I took the tram up to the top of stone mountain to catch a bit of the sunset together.  It was so lovely up there, but I'm lying if I say it didn't panic me a little to have them at the top by myself.

 A storm was rolling in (it kept on rolling, thankfully), and was so lovely to look at from the top of that mountain.

the ATL

My friend is so good for my heart.  I never would have paid $12 for light up toys.  Never.  She gently reminded me that in not too many more days, they won't ask for them anymore.  So true, right?!

 Saturday morning, we all piled in their van together and headed downtown for more fun!

The Georgia Aquarium was absolutely breathtaking!

Time with this soul sister can't be described.
Our friendship came out of the clear blue sky for me,
and is truly a gift from the Lord in more ways than I can name.

She loved the beluga whales!!

 Next stop: the Sky Wheel!

And arguably the best stop of the weekend: The Varsity!
Chili dogs and french fries and frosted orange makes my world go 'round.

After such a busy, fun day, we headed to the pool so the kids could swim the evening away.  We even had dinner delivered poolside.  Liz & I got to sit in the shade and talk and laugh and be together.  Perfection.

We were all worn out Sunday morning as we prepared to head home.

I would do it all again tomorrow!!