the video camera is always on part 2

Last week, I began a new series detailing how our children are always watching and learning from us. In The Video Camera is Always On Part 1, I listed some areas where our kids are watching to see how we react to situations and circumstances. They watch how we live our lives, the choices we make, and whether or not our words align with our actions.

Today, I will be expounding on the fact that our kids are watching our faith. And not only are they watching our faith, they are mimicking it. Even at a young age.

One day several years ago, I noticed my youngest daughter Doodle was sitting on the floor with her little red New Testament Gideon Bible reading to her baby dolls, one in her lap, and the rest of the dolls lined up on the toy couch. While at her young age, Doodle couldn’t yet read, she had memorized Bible passages and reiterated them as she snuggled her “babies”.

Gratitude and humility coursed through me because, as every mom knows, we don’t do things perfectly. Or even well at times. Raising children is a challenging, but wonderful job, and we need God’s help every step of the way. And by the grace of God, I was teaching my daughter the importance of not only reading her Bible, but reading it to her “children”.

Our kids are watching our faith, or lack thereof. They are watching to see where we spend the majority of our time. Do we choose to spend any of it studying God’s Word? Or is He an afterthought? Do we disciple our kids and teach them about Jesus? Read to them from their Bibles? Is God the main focus in our home?

Life is busy, to be sure, and it’s not uncommon for us to run out of hours in the day with a leftover to-do list a mile long by the time we plop into beds far later than we anticipated. But these are valid questions we, as parents, must ask ourselves to be sure we are emulating Godly behavior to our children.

It is critical for us to let our children see our walk with the Lord. We must give our children Christlike habits to mimic. And no, we won’t do it perfectly and we will make mistakes, and there will be days when, much to our disappointment, we look more like the world than we do our Savior. But with His help, we can endeavor to show our kids the meaning of a life surrendered to – and lived for – Jesus.

Do they see that spending time with the Lord is very important to us? Do they witness our reliance on God when things are tough? Our gratitude when a prayer is answered? Do they accompany us to church? Is church a regular occurrence or an event we only attend on Easter and Christmas? Do they see us display an active prayer life? Do they see us worshiping and loving the One who gave His life for us?

From the time my girls were babies, we attended church. They knew that this was a major part of our lives. Many times, they didn’t want to go to the nursery or to children’s church, and I never insisted they go. Instead, we brought along our “Nanie bag”, a homemade bookbag made by my grandma (their great-grandma) Nanie, that carried designated items used only for church.

Crayons, a notebook, snacks, and a few special toys that encouraged their imaginations (quiet toys, such as baby dolls or stuffed animals to be respectful of others), toys they played with only at church. As long as they were not being disruptive, they stayed with me in the pews. I never demanded they refrain from uttering a peep. Church isn’t for the “perfectly quiet” people. It’s for sinners like me and God doesn’t demand we do it flawlessly. While the girls knew they could play with their toys, they understood that they needed to be respectful.

As our children get older, we need to teach them that Jesus is the only way (John 14:6), that salvation is through Jesus alone (Acts 4:12), and that His Word is the only truth meter we have. It is the only thing we can measure everything against. God and His Word are the only things that will never change.

If we don’t teach our children the Truth, the world will vie for their attention and endeavor to teach them otherwise. We must remain steadfast.

But all the words and all the reading and all the worshipping means nothing if we aren’t living what we preach. Actions are profound, and we can be sure those little eyes aren’t missing a thing.

When our children are teens, the foundation will have been set. Not to say that all hope is lost if we haven’t been able to give them a godly start. No matter what age and stage our children are in, it’s never too late to model our faith. And because teens can bring their own unique set of circumstances due to their ages and the pressures they face everyday in our secular culture, we can enlist the assistance of trusted godly mentors, along with plentiful prayer, to help our teens get on the right track. God wants us to rely on Him in every facet of our lives, even discipling an unbelieving teen.

No matter the age of our kids, we must make modeling our faith to our children and laying a foundation in Christ within our children’s hearts and lives a top priority. God’s grace is sufficient, even in our most inadequate moments, of which there will be many. And He is there to help us every step of the way and every moment that video camera is on.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the video camera is always on, part one

8 things I want my daughters to know

how to build close bonds with your kids

Movie Monday: Little Women

14 things for girls to consider before dating

you might be a homeschool mom if…(15 clues)

the video camera is always on part 1

Welcome to my new series about the importance of being good role models for our children. It’s not always easy, and we definitely won’t do it perfectly.

But we aren’t after perfection. Rather, we are after trying our best to raise our children for the Lord with His tender, gracious, and patient assistance. We are striving for grace, humility, and forgiveness. For kindness, understanding, and patience.

According to the Barna Group, “What we build into a child’s life prior to the age of 13 represents the moral and spiritual foundation that defines them as individuals and directs their choices for the remainder of their life. Garbage in, garbage out…”

Let those words sink in.

While we will still make a difference in our children’s life long after they are 13, those first formative years, according to the quote above, are the most critical in laying the groundwork.

When we were first married, I bought my husband a video camera for Christmas. Back then, video cameras were much bigger than they are today. In fact, this video camera was the size of the kind you see in movie studios. After we had children, we found ourselves being the only ones with an oversized camcorder at birthday parties and playdates. The video camera served us well until it died and we were forced to buy a newer more compact model.

These days, we simply record with our cell phones. Smaller, more efficient, and always at the ready.

It didn’t matter if our video camera was two feet long or hand-held size, or built into our cell phones: it recorded with the simple touch of a button. Our children are like video cameras – they record what goes on around them, whether they’re teens, toddlers, or somewhere in between.

Our kids are watching our habits.

My husband Lon is addicted to condiments. He loves ketchup, salsa, sour cream, salad dressing, and especially mayonnaise. It’s not uncommon for my condiment king to have a condiment as his main meal with a side of hamburger. Forget the dream home or the new shiny Dodge truck. Nope, large barrels with spigots continually full of a variety of condiments would be Lon’s dream come true.

One day our oldest daughter, Sunshine, sat down to eat dinner. I watched as she poured piles of ketchup, sour cream, and salsa on her taco. Because I like everything plain, such behavior is utterly gross to me.

Like father, like daughter. Sunshine had grown up with a condiment king father and now she had become the condiment princess. Our kids model our behavior whether we realize it or not. They model our behavior – the good, the bad, and the ugly. The healthy and the unhealthy habits. And just like a video camera, they record the world and the examples around them, including those set my their parents.

Our kids are watching our faith

At the Easter service at church, we sat behind a family with two kids. The mom and kids appeared excited to be at church and eager to partake in the service. The dad? Not so much. There could be a million reasons why the dad’s body language showed a lackluster interest in being in church that day, and I won’t try to interpret the reason because that’s not the purpose of this post. However, what is the purpose is that the son, the younger of the two children, at about 12 years old, continually watched the dad.

He looked to his dad at every turn. When we sang, when we prayed, when we listened to the sermon, and when we stood up and filed out of the sanctuary.

When we show the value of our faith in our lives, it sets a Godly example for our kids of what is important.

Our kids are watching how we react.

How did we react when someone was unkind to us? When a fellow driver cut us off in traffic? When a friend betrays us? When our boss or coworker treat us badly?

Again, we are not after perfection. But we are after setting a Godly example. Kids mimic what they see.

Our kids are watching our humility.

How do we react when we are the recipients of harsh words or something hateful? When we make a mistake? When we fail to curb our temper? Our children are watching our humility and our willingness (or lack thereof) to admit to a mistake. It’s especially critical that when we, as parents, make a mistake affecting our children that we apologize.

Our kids are watching our responses.

Last year was an interesting year to say the least. While most are happy that 2020 is in the rear-view mirror, many, including myself are facing some concern as to what 2021 may bring. While it is easy to fear and become anxious over the many frightening changes our current year is bringing, we as parents have to remember that in the midst of that anxiety and fears, our children are watching how we respond.

It is truly only by God’s grace that in the midst of troubling times, we can turn to and rest in Him. It is only by spending time in prayer and in His Word that we can turn from the troubling issues at hand and keep our eyes on Him.

Our children are watching how we respond to all the craziness of our current times. They are watching when we turn to God, when we pray, when we immerse ourselves in His Word, and when we cry out to Him.

Next week, I’ll expound on the above topics and provide resources to help us for all of those times when the red “recording” light is on and our children are watching.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the video camera is always on, part 2

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

Movie Monday: Fearless Faith

28 verses for uncertain times

the importance of Christmas

you might be a writer if…10 ways to know

6 ways to stick with homeschooling (when you want to give up)

6 ways to encourage other moms

He is Risen!

As we celebrate Easter, may we reflect on the day that Jesus Christ rose from the grave and gave us hope. Hope for eternal life spent with our Lord forever.

This world is but a blink of an eye as we journey through on our way to an eternity spent with Him.

As I contemplate what Jesus did for me – the sacrifice He made and my sins that He took upon Himself, I am beyond humbled. While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me ~ Romans 5:8.

May I gratefully and humbly remember His sacrifice every day of the year, not just the one day marked on the calendar.

From my family to yours…Happy Resurrection Sunday!

 

Easter

you might be a writer if… (10 ways to know)

Some of my favorite people are fellow writers. We live in a world all our own, full of crazy characters, plot twists, and made-up settings. Only we truly understand each other and the quirks that define us as writers.

Below are ten clues that you might just be a writer…

*You’re always on the lookout for characters. And they are everywhere. (Especially these days!)

*You talk to yourself as you hash out a scene. If you’re a mom, you might even switch up your voice as you do the voices of different characters.

*You enlist family members to help act out a scene to make sure it’s realistic. This is especially helpful in suspense novels.

*You hoard books for your TBR shelf and make it your mission to support fellow authors.

*You straddle two worlds – reality and imaginary and you sometimes forget which one your in.

*You meet someone and they remind you of someone you already know…the character in your most recent WIP.

*When you have a scene rolling around in your mind, you develop a sort of hyper anxiety until you can get it onto paper.

*Your best friend is the thesaurus and you proudly own a paperback version from 2003.

*When there is an emotional scene in your book, you become emotional.

*In order to get down all of your ideas, you will need to live to be at least 150 years old.

Did you pass the test? Are you a writer? If so, what other things could you add to the list?


Before you go, check out these other posts:

7 ingredients for creating the perfect character

10 awesome websites for writers

5 ways to jumpstart your writing project

when your characters become real

Looking to homeschool? Here are 7 things to consider

how to build close bonds with your kids

Movie Monday- Christopher Robin

Movie Monday: Fearless Faith

I’m always on the lookout for family friendly movies. If they have a great message, all the better. Such is the case with the movie Fearless Faith.

Fearless Faith gives an inside look at what our men and women in blue (and those who love them) face each day. Shep (Ben Davies) and Colton (Jason Burkey) are deputies whose daily agenda often includes drug users, domestic violence calls, hostage situations, and even murders. Long days and stressful situation are the norm. Shep is an unbeliever and Colton deserted his faith after his best friend and police partner was killed in the line of duty.

When they save the life of a pastor’s wife, Michael (Ben Graham) volunteers as a chaplain for the sheriff’s department. Can he help Colton to see that while Colton may have turned his back on God that God never left Colton’s side?

There are some instances of comedic relief, namely in the form of a rookie on the force who is assigned to Shep.

Talking points:

There are some excellent themes to discuss with teens in this movie.

*The importance of faith is paramount in Fearless Faith and is depicted in an honoring, realistic, and non-preachy way. This movie reminds us that God is there for us, even in the darkest of times.

*The value of life and why it’s important to live each day to the fullest is shown, as is the value of strong family ties.

*Colton has a wife and a son and makes his family a priority. Together, he and his wife are an example of a strong marriage and family.

*The dangers of drug use are shown in a frightening, although realistic manner. This includes not only meth and other illegal drugs, but also the dangers of too much alcohol.

*The importance of respect for our men and women in blue is shown.

*The parallel between someone in the movie laying down their life for someone and what Jesus did for us on the Cross is a powerful reminder of the Gospel.

Cautions:

There is nothing objectionable in this film, although it is not suitable for those under 13 years old (and should be watched with a parent).

*A couple of depictions of the aftermath of drug use are shown (including an instance of an overdose), and an instance of “shooting up” is shown.

*The aftermath of a couple of murders is seen, but nothing gory is shown in either circumstance. The aftermath of an assault with a resulting head injury is shown.

*There are a couple instances of death.

Fearless Faith is a gem of a movie with excellent production and acting and a good message. I rate it a five out of five stars. So if you are looking for a movie with action, drama, and faith, Fearless Faith fits the bill. Just be sure to have a box of tissues on hand.

Before you go, check out these other posts:

Movie Monday: Little Women 2019

8 things I want my daughters to know

28 verses for uncertain times

Movie Monday: God Bless the Broken Road

the importance of living out your faith

the importance of new beginnings

how to survive in an out-of-control world

10 awesome websites for writers

21 awesome family movies

the importance of avoiding false teaching

Years ago when our daughters were toddlers, my husband Lon and I took them to the park for a free special event. We arrived early and while the event’s coordinators were setting up bouncy houses and other kid-friendly stations, we milled around the extensive local park. Seeing that they had already started the barbecue with hot dogs, chips, and pop, we stood in line and waited our turn.

When we arrived at the front of the line, one of the men grilling the hot dogs mentioned that he didn’t realize we worked for such-and-such company. Lon and I looked at each other before I asked, “such-and-such company?”

“Yes,” the man said. “This is a private employee picnic for those who work at the company.”

Lon and I quickly escaped the line, our faces red with embarrassment, as we apologized to our disappointed little girls.

Sometimes things are not obvious. It wasn’t obvious to us that day that this was a private picnic, plopped in the middle of the area where the free special event would take place.

And so it is with false teaching of the Bible. Sometimes it’s not easy to discern when it is plopped in the center of an otherwise Biblical-sounding sermon or podcast. Sometimes otherwise good teaching is interspersed with falsehoods or even heresy. That’s when we need to be on our guard the most.

So how do we spot false teaching?

By praying for discernment. There is no doubt that discernment can be difficult, which is why we should pray often that God would give us the wisdom to spot untruths. Some pastors and Bible teachers have a knack for being convincing or saying just enough good stuff to sound legit. Or their method of delivery is so passionate and persuasive that their audience can’t help but believe what they say.

By being in the Word often. We cannot filter the truth from the false without knowing what the Truth is. We can’t know what the Truth is if we never study it. Plan to not only open your Bible, but to study it. Read the commentary. Pray for guidance as you seek to understand.

By seeking godly wisdom from mentors. God has blessed me with three godly mentors in my life. They have spent countless hours discipling me, answering my questions, and guiding me through rough times. It’s important to have at least one trusted mentor who is a mature Christian.

A friend at church told me that he once heard that we all need someone discipling us who is more advanced in their Christian walk than we are, and that we ought to be discipling someone who is a newer Believer. I agree. Mentors can be found at church, in Bible studies, and can be family members, friends, or those with a ministry. One of my favorite things about our church’s Sunday school class is listening to the wisdom shared by several of the attendees – most of whom are mature Christians and are old enough to be at least my parents, if not my grandparents.

By holding everything to the Word of God. My daughters and I have discussed often that everyone has an opinion and that there are gazillion ideas from all sorts of people in all sorts of media platforms. Pick up a book, turn on the TV, listen to a podcast, chat with a friend, hang out on social media…and you’ll discover a wide range of ideas and “true facts”. The only true Truth Meter we have is the Word of God. We need to hold everything up to it and see whether it aligns.

By becoming a researcher. No matter who is preaching, whether you are sitting in a pew on Sunday morning, listening to a podcast in the comfort of your living room, or watching “virtual” church, take a minute to “fact check” the pastor or Bible teacher. A quick internet research can give you some insight as to what the teacher believes, what their statement of faith consists of, and possibly other information that can help you discern whether or not they are on the right track.

Some people will say that if the teaching is mostly good, then there’s nothing wrong if one or two things aren’t. I would respectfully disagree. For one, a little bit of falsity contaminates the entire message. Secondly, for the one leading the teaching, while some listeners might be more discerning that others, some will stumble. The Bible is clear about causing people to stumble.

Case in point: I recently listened to a sermon that was good. Yet, toward the end, the pastor highlighted a story from a popular website that is widely known for its unbiblical teaching. While there are some articles on this website that are “decent,” most of them are not (and I personally do not think it is a website for Bible-believing Christians to take their information from). So to quote this website could quite possibly have caused many in his listening audience to stumble. They may go to this website, trusting that it’s okay because the pastor mentioned a story from it. He may know that not all the stories on it are in alignment with God’s Word and can pick and choose with discernment, but to the average believer, or maybe even an unbeliever listening to his sermon, this might not be the case. We have to be careful not to cause others to stumble.

False teaching can be difficult to pinpoint, but with prayer, using the Bible as the only Truth meter, doing some research, and by enlisting the help of godly mentors, we can learn to test everything and hold fast to what is good.


Before you go, check out these other blog posts:

how to build close bonds with your kids

15 scriptural reminders of God’s comfort

for such a time as this: finding stability in an unstable world

the importance of respectful disagreement

the importance of new beginnings

Movie Monday: The Legend of 5 Mile Cave

tasty gluten-free chicken pot pie

7 ingredients for creating the perfect character

8 things I want my daughters to know

As the mother of two daughters, there seems to be such a short time in which to teach them all the things they will need to know by the time they reach adulthood. Will I succeed in teaching them everything? No. But I can focus on teaching them these important truths.

mom and daughter

Focus on the things that are eternal. Material items, popularity, sports, homework, stress…these are things that will waste away. It is so easy to get caught up in the stresses of life – and there are many. But I hope you will remember that the only things that truly matter are those things that are eternal. Faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ is eternal. Sharing about Him to our loved ones and friends can plant the seeds for their eternal life.

Isaiah 40 8

God’s love is unconditional. Ask just about anyone and they will tell you they have experienced a time when someone stopped liking/loving them because of something they did or said. In a world where love is fickle, God’s love is unconditional and never changes. Nothing you can do can make Him love you any more than He already does. And nothing you can do can make Him love you any less.

Romans 8 38-39

Jesus understands. He’s been there. Jesus knows and cares for every detail of our lives. He, too, has had a friend betray him. He has been on the receiving end of lies, has experienced loneliness, and has been tempted. But no matter who lets you down, there is One who never will. He promises NEVER to leave us nor forsake us.

Hebrews 13 5

Where to find your value and self worth. It is so easy to attempt to find your self worth in others. That friend. That boyfriend. Your husband. Your parent. But your self worth comes only from One. If we garner our value from another human being, we will always be disappointed.

In our looks-obsessed culture, we could tend to think our value comes from our hairstyle, clothes, or whether our figure matches that on the front of a magazine. But our value does not come from people or from any of those things. Our value and our beauty comes from within. I have known far to too many women (and men!) who appear attractive on the outside, but are far from attractive on the inside. I hope that you will seek to be the girl God made you to be – one who has the love of Jesus within and who seeks to share it with others by the way she lives.

Proverbs 31 30

Speaking of value, do you know how valuable you are to our Lord? He loves you so, so much. Enough to give His very life for you.

The value of prayer. How often do we say, “Well, the only thing we can do now is pray.” The only thing? How about the most important thing and the thing that should top our list? Prayer is powerful. It is effective. And it’s our way of communicating with the One who created us and wants a relationship with us. When times get tough – and they will – remember that prayer is your most important tool.

James 5 16

God’s Word never changes. In any given day, especially in our quick-as-the-blink-of-an-eye culture, things change. Technology, the weather, fashion, styles, etc. But God’s Word is steadfast and never changes. We, as a culture, can try all we want to make God’s Word squeeze into our man-made box, but it will be futile. We should instead, with the help of the Holy Spirit, live as He commands by learning and living by the precious and timeless words of Scripture. The Bible is the only Truth, and is by what we need to measure everything else.

Give to God the unimportant things in your life, the important things in your life, and everything in between. Your future plans? Give it to the Lord. Your future husband? Give it to God. Surrender your life to Him and allow Him to use you for His glory. And He will.

Jeremiah 29 11

Aim to please only One. Live your life to please the One who matters. And everything else will fall into place.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

14 things for girls to consider before dating

scriptural antidotes for fear

4 ways to reconnect with your spouse

7 ways to encourage your children

Movie Monday: Little Women

leaving a godly legacy

looking to homeschool? here are 7 things to consider

how to build close bonds with your kids

A mom recently posted a question in a Facebook group. She needed encouragement in her parenting journey after hearing from several parents that she needed to enjoy her time with her children now (all under six-years-old) because when her children were teens, they would hate her and wouldn’t want anything to do with her. She asked how she could maintain a strong relationship with her children into adulthood.

Should we expect the close relationship we have with our little ones to change as they get older? Should that just be one more thing to worry about on the lengthy list of parenting concerns?

While it’s true that our relationships with our children change several times over the course of their growing to adulthood, it doesn’t mean that it has to be something negative. It’s important to note that the blanket statement of children hating us once they become tweens and teens or not wanting to spend any time with us is simply not true for everyone.

So how can we build close bonds with our children that last far into adulthood? And while the ideal would be to start these suggestions when our children are very young, we can never go wrong strengthening those bonds no matter what age our children are.

Here are some ways to build close bonds with your kids:

Give your relationship with your children to the Lord. This is by far the most important suggestion and not a one-time prayer. Surrender your parenting to Jesus, seek His guidance, and endeavor, with His help, to be the kind of parent our Heavenly Father is to us.

Pray with and for your children without ceasing.

Spend time with your kids. Suggestions include listening, learning, singing, dancing, reading, playing games, and going for bike rides. Ask your children for ideas.

Spend one-on-one time with each child. When you’re a mom, the days go by at an unprecedented pace. There is just so much to do and so little time! But it’s critical to spend time with your children one-on-one on a regular basis. Some suggestions? Take a walk, go out for ice cream, plan a “girls day” complete with hair appointments, or celebrate at home with manicures. Again, ask each child for suggestions.

Make church, Bible study, and worship a priority.

Celebrate their uniqueness. Each of our kids are different, and that’s a good thing!

Make family night a tradition. Once you make this important night a tradition (for us it’s Friday nights) be sure to hold to it. Other activities are sure to come up, but if you make family night a priority, it instills the importance of spending time as a family and shows that other “important” activities can be scheduled around time with family.

Keep communication lines open. The standard “fine” when asked how their day is going can be avoided if you get creative in asking questions. If your kids attend a private or public school, wait a few minutes after they get home to ask them about their day. Children need a chance to transition and recharge. Keep in touch with what’s going in in their “world” and with friends and activities.

Bring up topics of interest. I bring a “topic” to the table each day, usually at lunch because it seems we have more time at that meal. I seek their opinions about the topic before giving mine and always listen to their point of view whether I agree with it or not. It can be any age-appropriate topic and has varied from how to be kind to others when they were little, to abortion when they got older, to today’s topic, which was on a Christian heretic and how we need discernment. As a homeschooling mom, I have an advantage of spending time with my kids that we wouldn’t have if they were in a school setting all day with limited time to spend together after school, sports, jobs, etc. If your child is private or public schooled, plan this time around the dinner table.

Express your gratitude. Have a grateful heart and a humble spirit whenever they do something kind or helpful.

Discipline with fairness and with love.

Be a good listener. Care about what matters to them, and always, always, always let them know how much you love them and how thankful you are that God has chosen you to be their mom.

Teach compassion and empathy for others by modeling it yourself.

Be respectful of them.

Find times to chat. Ever since my daughters were little, we’ve had a rule that we’ve never watched videos in the car. This wasn’t because I’m against videos – I actually love a good movie) – but because car-time is talk time, and if they don’t open up at other times, they will open up in the car (as odd as that sounds). On longer trips, we’d put on Christian tunes and sing together, or on family jaunts, we’d listen to Adventures in Odyssey. Other ideas? Provide a stack of books and travel games. (The license plate game, anyone?)

Don’t encourage your kids to grow up too fast. It really is true that when you blink, your kids will be grown. I didn’t believe it back in those early days of my kids not sleeping through the night and the ensuing severe sleep deprivation. All the milestones that our kids will eventually cross don’t need to be rushed. Take the time to enjoy each stage as it comes.

Priorities, priorities! Those we love should be a priority over all other “things” that clamor for our attention on a daily basis. This includes cell phones (which should never be allowed at the dinner table or family night), social media (fine in small doses, but it should never replace time with our families), choosing to work 24/7 with no time for family, and many, many other time vacuums that are in our busy lives. This is not to say that we make our children selfish because they think they are the only thing that matters (we do have to work, do laundry, and make dinner!), but it is to say that things can never take the place of people and we should never make it seem like they are.

Don’t listen to naysayers. Everyone will have a different parenting experience. Life happens and sometimes things beyond our control get in the way of relationships.

Remember there is no guarantee. A dear friend who was always close to her children recently discovered that one of them, as an adult, has joined a cult and has disowned their family. No matter how hard we try, things can still go in a different direction than we ever would have planned. We do the best we can, then leave the rest to God.


Before you go, check out these other posts on this blog:

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

leaving a godly legacy

7 ingredients for creating the perfect character

looking to homeschool? here are 7 things to consider

delectable gluten free chocolate crinkles recipe

how to start a sisters in Christ group

who are you behind the screen?

Movie Monday: Little Women (2019)

Little Women has had several movie adaptions made. The one that sticks in my mind the most is the adaptation from 1994, which starred Winona Ryder, Kirstin Dunst, and Susan Sarandon. I’ve always loved this movie for many reasons: the importance of family, the love between sisters, and because I’m a writer myself, Jo’s dream of being published.

I recently viewed the adaptation from 2019, which stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Laura Dern.

This particular version goes back and forth between the present and the past, mainly through Jo’s eyes. It contains the same characters as the original book and screenplay – the feisty and fiery writer wannabe, Jo; the calm and gentle actress, Meg; the fashionable and bratty Amy; the sweet and gracious Beth; and the fun-loving and dashing Laurie.

Talking Points

There are some excellent themes families can discuss with tweens and teens. The movie highlights contentment several times throughout, including the March family not having much food to eat and Meg’s marriage to a hardworking, but poor, man. Generosity is highlighted and seen especially in Marmee’s and Beth’s tender care for those less fortunate. Self-sacrifice is seen when Marmee suggests that her girls donate their breakfast to a starving family nearby. At first reluctant, the girls soon see the graciousness in Marmee’s suggestion. There is also the theme of forgiveness and the importance of Ephesians 4:26 “…Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” The theme of family is woven throughout and it is clear that the March family is close and cares deeply for each other, even if they don’t always get along.

Concerns

There are only a few concerns in this version: namely, an unfortunate use of the Lord’s name in vain uttered once and there is an instance of Jo sneaking alcohol and Laurie being drunk at a festivity. Laurie’s rebellious nature surges to the forefront after his rejection from Jo.

As was the 1994 version, this adaptation is also suitable for the entire family, although those under nine will likely not be interested in the entire movie. If you are looking for an enjoyable movie filled with drama, some humor, and a bit of romance, Little Women is just the ticket. I highly recommend it and give it 4 1/2 stars out of five. For more movie suggestions for the family please see my Mom Approved Movies Listing.

Before you go, check out these other posts:

Movie Monday: The Legend of Five Mile Cave

All things Christmas: Favorite Movies of the Season

Movie Monday: God Bless the Broken Road

Movie Monday: Hailey Dean Mysteries 3-film Collection

21 awesome family movies you may never have heard of

9 recently-released family movies for your next family night

9 movie series sure to be a hit on your next family night

the importance of new beginnings

new beginnings

At the beginning of every New Year, many make resolutions that they aim to keep throughout the year. Decisions to make them healthier, fitter, more organized, etc.

In the classic 80s song New Attitude, Patti LaBelle sings of starting a new beginning with a new attitude “from [her] head to [her] shoes.” Every time I hear that song, it brings to mind a crabby lady in need of a personality overhaul.

But what about a new beginning in Christ?

At any time of the year?

Paul in the Bible received a new beginning – a “start over”, if you will. A harsh man who made it his life’s goal to persecute Christians, Paul was the furthest thing from one who could be used effectively by God. Wasn’t he?

On the contrary. God used Paul in a mighty way. After Paul’s conversion, he was one of the greatest apostles who ever lived. He endured beatings and spent much time in prison for the sake of the Gospel.

Could you be used for God’s Kingdom?

Probably not if you have a “checkered” past, right? If you’ve done things you’re not proud of, sinned in ways you don’t care to admit, you certainly can’t be used. And definitely, God isn’t going to forgive you for all of those things you did. After all, we’re not talking “minor” sins here.

Again, on the contrary.

God can and will use you, no matter what you have done or who you have been.

We serve a  God who is One of second chances, and third chances, and fourth chances. Jesus took all of our sins, past and present, upon Himself when He went to the Cross. Your new beginning means your dry erase board is wiped clean from all of the junk that once cluttered it.

Ezekiel 36 26 a.png

So how can you have a new beginning?

Commit your life to Him. If you have not made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, that is the first step.

After you have made a decision for Christ, you are forgiven. You have a new beginning. You also have eternal life and will spend eternity with Him. Nothing can ever take you from His hand (John 10:28). But it doesn’t stop there. Find a Bible-based church where the pastor digs into the Word and preaches it each week. Find a mature Christian to mentor you in your walk.

Spend time in the Bible. The Old Testament is wonderful, and I would highly recommend reading it, but as a new believer, the best place to start is in the New Testament in the Book of John.

Turn your eyes toward Him. Listen and watch things that aren’t contrary to your new faith.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

This year, spend time in prayer to dedicate your life to a new beginning for Christ. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “the old is gone, the new is here.” And that is definitely something to celebrate!

2 Corinthians 5 17 real

 


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the importance of gratitude

the importance of influence

the importance of avoiding the gossip trap

11 verses about God’s unfailing love

Movie Monday: Where Love Found Me

11 ways to be kinder in 2021

the top 11 curriculum choices for high school students