Why Are We Christians

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Her question brought me to a halt.

Just the two of us were shoe shopping at the mall – no older brother or younger sister to vie for attention.

“Mom, why are we Christians?”

The look on my face must have spoken first, because she quickly answered the question buzzing in my head – huh?

Join me today at the Internet Cafe. Click HERE to read the rest of my devotion there.

Carol

The You Zoo – Great Resource for Parents

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Tuesday, I talked about how parenting is like Play-doh. It’s one of the hardest, yet most rewarding jobs we will ever do.

Today, I want to share a resource with you I think you will love. It’s a book called The You Zoo. If you are familiar with the personality profiles, this is similar. It is a children’s personality assessment for kids Pre-K through sixth grade.

There are a lot of personality profiles out there, but this book is based on the work done by Florence Littauer. It was written by two ladies – Jami Kirkbride and Kathryn Robbins, both certified personality trainers and both mothers of five. They have a bunch of other credentials, too, but what you really need to know is the book is GREAT, and they have thought of everything.

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They created four monkeys, each with personality traits that represent one of the four personalities created by Littauer: Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy and Phlegmatic. You read a paragraph (or Monkey Tale) about the monkeys to your child and have them pick the monkey with which they identify. There are 12 “Monkey Tales” in all, each with an accompanying picture.

I did it with all three of my kids ages 4, 9 (4th grade) and 12 (7th grade). Grace just turned four in September and was a little young. She didn’t quite have the attention needed. But Faith, at 9, was ALL about it. She even wanted to discuss her answers. Colin, who was past the 6th grade cut off, was still interested in doing it and did not want to be left out. Both of the older kids were engaged in discussing which personality was theirs. I was surprised at how they seemed almost proud of the traits of that character – “Yep! I’m just like that!”

Once you complete the assessment, add your scores using the scoring sheet. (There are extra copies of it in the back. These ladies thought of everything!)

There is also a parent observation assessment to make sure what you think about your child and what they think about themselves match. Descriptions of each of the personalities list their strengths, struggles and needs. I love this part. When you understand how your child works, sometimes life is easier. It changes the way you explain things to them, what you use for encouragement and rewards and how you handle discipline.

For example, the Proper Melancholy (my Faith) needs separation from noise and clutter. That’s a little difficult with the 4 and 12 year old around. So, I know it’s important for her to retreat to her room sometimes.

There is also a mini adult personality profile. Once you know you own personality, you can flip to the back of the book and find out the best way for a Playful Sanguine to parent a Powerful Choleric. There are tips and tricks for every possible combination!

Since we know parenting can be messy, squishy and risky, this is a great tool to help you along the way! You can pick up a copy on Amazon if you click HERE. I don’t benefit from your purchase, but I promise you will thank me.

Carol

Parenting is Like Play-doh

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Have you ever heard, “Life is like a box of chocolates” from the popular movie Forrest Gump?

Well, I have a new phrase for you to quote:

Parenting is like Play-doh.

It’s messy.

Have you played with the squishy stuff lately? As you cut, smash, roll and squeeze little giblets are falling all over the table. There really isn’t a neat way to do it.

Same with parenting.

Prepare yourself for giblets, friends. It’s not easy to be a mom or dad. You are going to have to deal with other kids’ hurtful words towards your children. When you buy your little girl the cutest glittery Hello Kitty shoes and send her precious self to school, someone will inevitable tell her Hello Kitty is so yesterday. It’s so not cool and by the way, “You are fat and your teeth are super crooked.”

And when your daughter comes home crying to you, have tissues ready. You will cry harder than she. You won’t know what to say. You will want to squash some second grade heads, but instead you’ll teach her about resilience. Tell her how beautiful she is. Show her that God already knew she was going to be “fearfully and wonderfully made” before He ever even created the earth (Psalm 139:14).

Teach her how to love. And for goodness sake, tell that baby girl how much she is loved – enough that God allowed His Son to die for her.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

It’s going to be messy.

Play-doh is squishy.

It’s really what makes it so much fun. You can make airplanes, pizzas and snakes in a variety of colors. There is something about shaping and creating that’s so gratifying.

Same with parenting.

With words and actions, we shape who are children are going to be. We are the ones who define whether they will lose it when someone tracks in mud on the carpet of their grown-up homes or how they react to failure. How we do life, interact with people (friends and foes) and show love and respect will have so much to do with the adults they become.

While actions speak louder than words, we still must be careful with what we say. After working hard to create the perfect shape, one tongue-lashing can squash your Play-doh creation. It’s like dropping a can of Pinto beans right on top of the purple birthday cake you’ve just spent so much time making.

Since Play-doh is pliable, you can try to shape it again. But it won’t ever be quite the same as before.

Oh, how we must be careful with words and tone.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 NIV

Play-doh is risky.

Parents, we have to take risks.

Sometimes mixing things up results in breath-taking design. If you are like me, I want to keep all of my Play-doh colors separated. I even prefer to play with it one color at a time. I try to control things and keep it neat. I like to stay in the box – or the plastic yellow container, in this case.

But when I let my kids do things their way, they ALWAYS mix the colors. They squish together things and roll them out flat, where colors will never be able to be separated again. Instead, there is a gorgeous swirl of hues that always take me by surprise.

As parents, we cannot hover over each container making sure it’s played with and put away properly. There is definitely some letting go involved. And in the letting go, we see how God’s beautiful design is much more than we could have ever imagined.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20 NIV

So, I’ll say it again – parenting is like Play-doh. It’s messy. It’s squishy, and it’s risky. But, oh, it’s so much fun.

Join me tomorrow where I’m sharing a new book about learning your kids’ personalities and how it’ll help you to parent them! 🙂

Carol

When God Says “No”

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God is a perfect parent and likes to bless us, but sometimes He says “no.” As hard as it is, we must accept that answer, too. But how do we?

Join me today where I’m sharing at The Presidential Prayer Team’s column “Prayer University.” Click HERE to learn how to accept the answers to your prayer requests.

By the way, I wanted to share some good news! I’m in a new book  – Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotionals for Wives. You can buy it from Amazon or find it in stores that sell Chicken Soup books. Click HERE if you want to order from Amazon. 🙂

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I hope you are enjoying the cooler weather. Happy Fall y’all!

 

Carol