Category Archives: Faith & Missions

Comforting A Friend Through Miscarriage

Comforting a Friend Through Miscarriage

This one is a subject close to my heart, having walked this journey twice before, and some of you will have too.  My best friend and her husband recently lost their little one, and it has freshened up those emotions again that never really go away completely.  As I’ve seen her courageously walk through this, my heart has ached for her grief, yet also rejoiced in the life that she carried for a short but significant time.  You are eternally changed!

I remember some of those things that were said to us that were so affirming and encouraging, and some of the others that, although well intended, just deepened the pain.

The estimate on how often a miscarriage takes place is usually either one in every four, or one in every five pregnancies.  Despite how common a miscarriage may appear, it can be a life-altering experience, and the loss bears its affects both physically and emotionally.

Let’s call it what it is: a miscarriage is the death of a child.  It is not merely a failed pregnancy, or nature simply taking its course.  Whether you’re 4 weeks along or much further, the loss is no less significant.  As with any loss, grief is something that is personal and different for each person.  You’ve also lost the hopes and dreams that you have carried for your child, regardless of the length of your pregnancy.

If you have other children, you may find that holding them helps to find a resting place for your love and longing, but they don’t replace the child you’ve lost.

A decade has passed from my first loss (of two), and yet still it has a deep and immovable effect on my heart.  I’m forever changed.

I look back on those experiences, and I’m grateful for the love and support we were given by those around us.  Not everyone knew how to help us or what to say.  For those that lose earlier on in their pregnancy, speaking about their loss carries some risk as not everyone will respond with a level of compassion or understanding.

Can I offer some suggestions as to how you can help comfort a friend through their loss?

What To Say

  • “I’m so sorry for your loss”.
  • “I’m praying for you”.
  • “I’m here for you”.
  • “How are you feeling today?”
  • “What do you need from me?”
  • “It’s OK to feel the way you do”.

What To Do

  • Be available to listen
  • Be patient with where your friend is at, and how long it may take to walk through their loss
  • Send cards, flowers, and words of acknowledgement for your friend’s loss
  • Drop off a meal and/or some groceries
  • Offer to help with housework or children
  • Send a text saying your thinking of them, but don’t expect a reply back.
  • Remember the first anniversary

What NOT To Say

  • “You’ll have other pregnancies”.
  • “When will you try again?”
  • “Try not to think about it”.
  • “At least you weren’t too far along”.
  • “You have your other children that you can focus your attention on instead”.

The thing that touched me more than anything, was when people used my babies names, and acknowledged them as precious and valued lives.

I also found the the simplest words, kindest gesture, and the ongoing words of love as time went on, were the most significant and helpful as I journeyed through our loss.  Sometimes people got philosophical, or tried to say too much, and it often made the pain worse.  If you don’t know what to say, simply say “I’m so sorry for your loss”.  If you don’t know how to help, just ask.  Be prepared if your friend doesn’t want to talk about it, or perhaps doesn’t want to hear about what is happening in your life just at that moment.

Just love them, listen to them, and offer yourself to be and do whatever they need.  Pray for the Father surround them with His presence, and be His hands and feet in their life.

Even if you don’t understand or can’t identify with your friends journey, you can still lovingly help them as they walk out their loss and grief in the days and weeks ahead.

Be blessed,

Victoria

Psalm 139 hwh

 

Magazines for the Whole Family

Magazines for the whole family

Here are a handful of my favourite magazines for some whole family reading.  I love to sit down in the quiet with a magazine and flick through short articles on all kinds of different things.  It’s definitely one of my favourite ways to re-charge.

HOMEMAKING

Seasons at Home

This is a great read that seeks to minister to homemakers and their families by providing encouragement for mothers, homemaking tips, DIY projects, homeschooling, recipes, crafts and more.

From Scratch

From-Scratch-April-May-2014-CoverWeb‘From Scratch’ is a free bi-monthly online magazine for the modern homesteader and for living life simply.  You’ll pick up heaps of great ideas for your home on gardening, food, DIY projects, homemade products and more.

HOMESCHOOLING

Answers

Creation scienceAnswers is the Creation Science magazine published by ‘Answers in Genesis’, and reaches 200,000 homes each quarter.  It’s packed full of relevant articles on the latest creation science news while also having an apologetics and theological perspective through which to understand culture.  While I don’t share all of Ken Ham’s theology in its entirety, I so appreciate the solid science and his dedication to defending a creation science worldview through the written word.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

TOSThe Old Schoolhouse Magazine is a free online magazine by The Old Schoolhouse that is packed full of homeschool encouragement and resources.   Read my review here.  They also publish a print version, which for 2014 has over 300 pages of homeschool goodness. I have a copy in my hands which I’m still not finished.  This edition features Deborah Wuehler, Todd Wilson, Heidi St. John, Andrew Pudewa and many other homeschool greats, including my talented online friend Bonnie Rose Hudson who is completely fantastic.

Nature Friend

Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Nature Friend is a creation-based children’s nature magazine for the whole family to enjoy.  There is opportunity for your children to submit different contributions as well.  This is one we haven’t gotten ourselves yet but plan to at some stage in future.

FAITH

Voice of the Martyrs

We have joined the mailing list for the NZ branch of ‘Voice of the Martyrs’ and they send out a magazine a few times a year with the latest news and ways to partner with this mission.  I wholeheartedly recommend supporting their ministry if you have a heart for the oppressed and persecuted.  Visit the US website or NZ website for more information.

Relevant

Relevant

Relevant is another magazine that I haven’t physically had in my hands yet but I’ve been enjoyed the articles online for some time, plus some of the worship sessions that have been recorded by Relevant.  The magazine is targeted at the 20 and 30-something age group, and covers topics of ‘faith, culture and intentional living’.  The digital magazine is free to view, and the print version is a very small $6 for 6 months.

FOR CHILDREN

Answers for Kids

kids-answers-092

Answers for Kids is the children’s magazine from Answers in Genesis, and contains just 8 pages that fold out, with a theme each time that fills the pages.

God’s World News

gwnews24We subscribed to this super magazine last year and even with the international postage it’s still incredible value for a monthly magazine for each of my children.  The different editions cater for different age groups, and cover the same content but age appropriately.  This is definitely one of our favourite homeschool resources.

** Update on ‘God’s World News’ – the magazine have decided to halve the number of print editions per year from 10 down to 5, and in the month’s between your child will receive an e-mail instead.  There are less print edition options also.  The cost remains the same.  In my opinion, this is no longer the fantastic value that was offered before so I no longer recommend it, but you might still decide it’s worth it for your family.  **

Do you have any favourites?

Victoria

Tips, Treats, Topics and Treasures {April 2014}

Tips, Treats etc, monthly round up April 2014

The last month has flown by again, and we’re feeling like our family is in a relatively good rhythm going into the winter.  We have enough commitments outside our family life for now, and the kids are settled into some good routines.  Here’s hoping we can cruise a bit for a while, after a couple of months of some really stretching circumstances.  Love the outcome of faith having grown, but do not love the process as much. :)

In the Kitchen

Take a break from your gluten-free living and enjoy these simple Cornish pasties from Jamie Oliver.  I can’t imagine how a Cornish pastie would taste with gluten-free pastry, but if you have a recipe feel free to prove me wrong. :)

A simple recipe of melted blueberries with mandarin orange and ginger.  And let’s not forget the whipped cream with it.

What I’m Reading and Watching

Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson.

Praying Circles around Your Children by Mark Batterson

Trim Healthy Mama – it’s taken me a while to get hold of my own copy, but I’ve decided to give this a read and see what all the fuss is about.  So many people I know are using this eating plan.  I’ll let you know in the coming months what I think.  So far, I like the emphasis on increasing healthy fats in your diet.

New Discoveries

Here’s an informative article on agave nectar that I encourage you to read.

Last month I linked up a post at Wellness Mama on how to re-mineralise your teeth.  Here’s another well written post on oil pulling.

On the Homeschool Front

I’m going to be adding ‘Life of Fred’ Math to our homeschool curriculum soon.  I’ve only ever heard great things about these books, but we’re going to supplement our existing Math-U-See rather than replace it.  This series of books bring Math alive to children through stories.

We have switched things around a bit for a month (in case you missed it, read Mix it up May).  So far, all is going well and our learning times feel like they’ve freshened up a bit.  I recommend doing this if you’re children start to drag their feet behind them!

We’ve picked up our ‘All About Spelling’ again after an extended break.  This really is a great spelling program and I find my daughter instantly picks up the rules.  Here’s an article from All about Spelling on learning spelling logically: Spelling Can Be Easy When It’s Logical

Hidden Treasures (great reads in the blogosphere)

Chareen has some great resource lists for free homeschooling.  My favourite is her Free Fine Arts Resources.

Have a read of this one: 5 Overlooked Cultural Sins Threatening the Church.

A Few of my Favourite Things

We were blessed to listen to Loren Cunningham twice yesterday, who is currently on tour with his wife Darlene in New Zealand.  He has a fresh challenge for us seeing a bible in every home, in every nation.  Listen in here.

You’ll enjoy this personality test – it totally summed me up perfectly which these tests rarely do.

All Sons and Daughters have released a new self-titled album.  Listen to the whole thing here at Relevant.

Quote of the Month

‘To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today’. – Unknown

I’ve got some posts tucked away and ready to go for this month on our ‘Back to Eden’ garden, Maestro Classics, Story of the World for Christian families, some of our favourite magazine reads, plus a few other things.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Victoria

Tips, Treats, Topics and Treasures (March 2014)

Tips, Treats etc, monthly round up March 2014 We are currently enjoying the cool of autumn’s arrival, after a long, beautiful hot summer. March is my favourite month of the year.  Last weekend’s berry picking left us with just a small bag of berries, as the last of the summer berries have finished.  Soon will be root vegetables and casseroles coming out of the kitchen.

On that note, here are a couple of recipes that I’ll be trying soon.

In the Kitchen

I really like the sound of these sweet and sour meatballs from the talented Danielle Walker (Against All Grain).  

And same website for these gorgeous 7 layer bars .  Don’t be scared off by the many layers – most have just a couple of ingredients each.  Yum!

What I’m Reading and Watching

Have a watch of this music video where the singer is photo-shopped in real time.  You’ll never look at magazine images the same again!

I’ve been wanting to read this book the moment I read the Amazon preview.  The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization by christian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi.

And this one: Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most by Brooke McGlothin.  Read the Amazon preview on this one too!

An article on ADHD that you’ll find interesting.  I’ve been reading this for years, and read a particularly great book by Phillip Day that said similar things.  

New Discoveries and Great Ideas

Food Matters TV is here!  Head over to their site and watch over 300 health and wellness videos on demand.  

How to Remineralise Your Teeth Naturally (an article at Wellness Mama):    And if this interests you, purchase Ramiel Nagel’s book ‘Cure Tooth Decay’ for extensive guidance on healing your teeth naturally.

On the Homeschool Front

We’re enjoying Supercharged Science at the moment, and I’ll be posting a review next week.  This week has been about minerals and genetics.  We love our Apologia Science. But I’ve found Supercharged Science has given us a fresh boost of inspiration and new knowledge and perspective that has breathed life into our homeschool.  Perhaps we’ll keep doing both for a while!

I found this a really great read from All About Spelling (the spelling curriculum we use) on Why Copywork Doesn’t Always Work’.    They also have this free ‘Phonogram Sound App’ for all 72 sounds taught in their spelling and reading programs.

Hidden Treasures (great reads in the blogosphere)

I love what Heather has written about learning the Word with her children, and also putting their efforts towards bible translation work: End Bible Poverty

A great read on what really matters: When You Can’t Give Your Kids Disneyland 

A few of my favourite things

I enjoyed this really neat music video of a couple’s bump to baby progress.  It had over a million views in 2 days.

This month I’ve been enjoying worship from the fantastic Josh and Amberley Klinkenburg, and All Sons and Daughters.  Josh and Ambs have released an EP called ‘Our Love’, which you can pick up on i-tunes.   And All Sons and Daughters have released a live album available on their site.

Have a listen – you’ll be blessed.

Quote of the Month

And finally, some brilliance from Bill Johnson of Bethel Redding:

“When our passion for God fails to find its expression in joy, it will often find expression in legalism.” Bill Johnson 

I hope you find some great things to read, watch and eat on this post.

Have a great week friends!

Victoria

PS. Due to when the Review Crew due dates fall, you’ll be getting 3 days of nature study posts from me between 7th and 9th, then a science review on the 10th.  But then your inbox will have a 6 day break until the 16th.  I hope you don’t feel swamped!

This post contains affiliate links.

Captivated – The Movie: “Finding Freedom in a Media Captive Culture” {Review}

“Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by screens.  Have we entered a techno utopia or a virtual prison?”
(Producer and Co-Director Phillip Telfer)

Captivated DVD is Captivated the movieone of the most important films you will watch this year.  Media Talk 101 brings together a diverse range of experts and contributors from all walks of life in this documentary, providing insight and testimony to equip us in making sound decisions for our families.  You will hear an outstanding series of interviews and evidence to support the potential impact of modern media on physical, moral, spiritual, mental and emotional health.

An Introduction to
‘Captivated’

We all know that we are inundated daily by screens and media that demands us to give it our immediate attention.  Perhaps many of us have never stopped and honestly considered how much of our focus these things have really become, and more concerning, how much impact these things are having on our children.

Consider these statistics (from MediaTalk101 and Captivated):

  • The average person watches almost 5 hours of TV a day (53 hours per week).
  • By the time the average child is 18 they will have witnessed 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders on TV.
  • The average mobile teen sends and receives 3,339 text messages per month.
  • 90% of children between 8-16 years old have viewed pornography online (most while innocently doing homework).

About the Film

Captivated begins with taking the viewer on a brief journey on the introduction of the telegraph, and the impact this had at the time.  You might find yourself surprised at some parallels to today, although the scale and digital sophistication has obviously changed considerably.

With a series of interviews with experts, authors, teachers and real life testimonies from regular people, it covers (amongst other things):

  • Brain development and functioning of infants and young people, the science behind attention systems, and the growing epidemic of distraction;
  • The change in what we understand community to be, and how we now do relationship;
  • The physical impact on nutrition and fitness, on sleep, and on mental and spiritual health;
  • The reinforcement of media appetite through excessive use, and its potential impact;
  • The history and consequences of the movie ratings system;
  • The saturation of social media and technology into our modern society, with the backing of research cited, expert testimony, and statistics.

Why It Matters

The film asks and discusses some essential questions:  whose voice is influencing your family?  What are you allowing in your home via a screen that you wouldn’t normally invite in with a real life person?  Scientific research backs up the parental instinct that the content of what our children are consuming is harmful, and that graphic violence makes children more desensitized to violence.  But even putting violent video games aside, consider even the seemingly harmless – what and whose values does it express?

Here’s a point that was expressed by Dr Jeff Myers:  every movie, video game, TV show and so forth, starts with an idea someone has had.  The media is not neutral.  I was freshly reminded that there are agenda’s at work, and according to research, these agenda’s are not Christian.

KP Yohannan suggests that anything that gets us away from focusing on God deserves to be examined.   What we see and hear affects what we do.  If we’re filling ourselves with what is good and pure, then it affects our actions and we become a blessing to others.

There is no doubt – media changes worldviews.  That is why examining this area of media consumption deserves to be courageously and honestly examined by every follower of Christ.

Captivated quote

Evaluation

This film promotes media discernment, and not necessarily its complete removal.  It does not tell you exactly what to do, or how much is enough, but encourages you to seek discernment and find what God has for you instead.

Technological tools are beneficial. But there are costs – culturally, intellectually, educationally, spiritually, mentally and physically.  I was left considering these technological advances as having their place as tools, but shouldn’t replace relationship, community, purpose, and identity.   When they become a lifestyle and the primary source of our ‘diet’, we have possibly stepped over into an area where we are no longer free.

I love the emphasis that one family, who did a month-long media fast, say worked for them.  They said they didn’t ‘take away’, but they ‘replaced’.  I believe this is essential, and we can allay our fears that we will somehow deprive our children if we take away or reduce the amount of time they spend with these ‘tools’.

The film eventually takes you in the direction of Christ as the one who sets us free from captivity and leads us into fullness of life.

Final Thoughts

This film is a tremendous resource for families and I wholeheartedly recommend it.  As parents, we simply must become better equipped and discerning in this area, so as to live intentionally on this earth, with purpose in our step, and hope for our future.

Unless we become intentional in this area, and possibly admit our own shortcomings and change ourselves, we could miss out on what is really available to walk in instead.  Let’s not have regrets.

Captivated quote

Further Information

The film is intended for adults but has been approved for all ages. Note that it does touch on some topics that you may not have discussed with your children yet.

Review Crew permalink

TOS disclaimer graphic

{Linked up at TheRoadto31, Hip Homeschool Moms}

Switch On Your Brain – Understanding the Brain-Faith Connection

Switch on Your Brain

I want to share these free online episodes I’ve been enjoying of Dr Caroline Leaf teaching on the connection between our brains with our soul and spirit, and the science behind our thoughts and choices from a faith-based perspective.  I believe this is potentially life-changing teaching that will help you take control of your thought life with intention and purpose.

Dr. Caroline Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology.

I listened to a set of Dr Leaf’s DVDs a few years ago, and so was thrilled recently to see that she is now online for you all to enjoy. :)  As you listen to these, you will hopefully find your awareness of your thought life will increase, and you can work with the Holy Spirit as your Guide to take you into a place of greater freedom and health.

Dr Leaf is currently doing a 13-episode series on TBN (USA) where she is covering her research on overcoming toxic and negative thinking. So take a look and let me know what you think!

For more information on Dr Leaf, visit her website.

Sounds of Worship – meanderings in making my sound

Sounds of Worship

Music is my great love.  I’ve always had music around me constantly, even before I was a Christian, and have always been desperately drawn to expressing the creativity of our Creator God through sound.

Ability-wise, I learned classical piano when I was young to Grade 5, I taught myself the guitar in my early 20s, and can sing a little above average.  I have some natural talent but not tons of it.   There is always someone else around that is much more capable to lead worship, even in a small group of friends, and my own songs would most likely not make the cut onto any worship album.  I have a realistic estimation of my ability so you will probably not catch me gracing your screens anytime soon!

It’s only been as an adult I finally have gained some confidence – or perhaps I just mind much less what people think these days.  But now I have a growing family and more than enough to do with my time than practice for the hours it will take to cultivate what little natural ability I have!  And to what end if I was to pursue that?  What does the Lord really want me to do with the sound that is within me? I’ve felt for a long time the Lord wants me to lead worship, yet I have zero desire to do this on a stage and/or in the form that most are used to.  I’m a little different.

So what do I do with this overwhelming desire to make beautiful and creative sound in worship?

Here’s what I’ve seen unfold in my life so far, which I’d like to encourage you in also.

You can affect the atmosphere, be it a regular church gathering or any time that people come together in His name.  You can change the environment by releasing your sound into that place.  Whether or not someone hears your worship, or whether it’s especially tuneful or ultra gifted, you were made to worship!  God isn’t looking for the most talented singers or musicians to bring glory to His name. 

‘Rend your hearts, not your garments’ (Joel 2:13). 

And these:

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24

“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name”.  – Hebrews 13:15

So in making my sound only for Him alone, does this mean I’ll never express worship publicly for others to hear?  Or write songs that someone else will sing?  I really don’t know.  But whether or not that was to happen, I still have a sound to make as I become more free in who the Father has created me to be, and it’s my own sound, unique and beautiful to my Father in heaven, and worthy of being expressed.  He’s listening and He enjoys what I offer Him.  My worship is for an audience of One.  There’s nothing quite like coming together in unity with my believing friends in times of worship and bringing glory to Him.

I love to watch others sometimes, and see the different colourful expressions of worship – someone who doesn’t sing but who drums his fingers on the back of a chair; or those that dance; and those who sing beautiful harmonies naturally to every note; or simply those that close their eyes and smile as they sing quietly.  It’s a sweet sound to hear what a group of friends will make together.  I especially love to hear indigenous sounds of worship, communities of passionate Jesus followers, worshiping in their own language, style, sound, and uniqueness.  My heart wants to explode with joy!

Naturally, it does helps to have someone who can sing in key and play in time to lead others in worship!  But your sound in worship is no less worthy, beautiful, unique and needed than a worship leader with the guitar and voice.

What is your sound?  Do you play an instrument, whatever your skill level?  Do you hum, whistle, sing, clap, recite poetry, dance or perhaps create something beautiful on a blank canvas?  There are other ways to worship, but there’s nothing quite like making sound!

Let me encourage you today to release your sound on the earth.  There’s no-one else who can express it quite like you.

“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;” – Psalm 98:4

Some beautiful people making their sound…

{Linked up at Teaching what is good, and Capture Your Journey}

Tips, Treats, Topics and Treasures {February 2014}

Tips, Treats Topics, Treasures

I can hardly believe that the month of February is already gone!  We finished our summer holidays and have been back to homeschool in full swing.  You might remember last month that I wrote that we are changing the pace of life in our family, and being intentional about what we say yes to.  It’s been such a good thing so far and I would love to encourage you again to consider how this might look in your own family.

So on that note, here’s some things to pass on that have caught my attention this past month.

In the Kitchen

A round-up of the most gorgeous ‘real food and allergy friendly’ Valentine treats, but enjoy them year-round.

An easy and yummy version of Paleo Butter Chicken that I’ll be trying this week.

‘Food Matters’ recipe book – this is such a great resource to help you create simple, clean food for your health.

What I’m Reading and Watching

‘Emma – BBC version online (5 parts).  Or at the very least, watch this lovely dance scene.

A beautiful and much loved little boy who lived for 10 days, and how his family captured his life in photos.

I love this version of ‘The Prayer’ with Josh Groban and Celine Dion.

New Discoveries and Good Ideas

Seasons at Home is a stunning print magazine with topics for the whole family, and includes articles on whole food cooking, homemaking, homeschooling, and projects for the home.

‘Take Them a Meal‘ is a great way of organising a meal roster for someone special.  I’ve been part of these many times.  You can see what others are planning, which helps to avoid 7 nights in a row of lasagne. :)

Fun Ideas for your Backyard – I love the idea of growing sunflowers in a circle and creating a space for your kids to play.  Gorgeous!

I cannot tell you how incredibly excited I am about having the opportunity to watch and review this documentary called ‘Captivated’ very soon!  Please take a look at the short clips here and I’ll let you know soon where you can get hold of a copy for yourself.

On the Homeschool Front

Candace inspired me with this neat art project, so we did this one around 14 Feb. 

We have this art curriculum, See the Light Shine, coming to our homeschool very soon!  It teaches art techniques and integrates art history and a biblical approach.  I can’t wait for us to get started.

We are continuing through ‘Story of the World’ and really enjoying it.  Don’t forget to visit the SOTW Blog Roll for lots of great ideas from other bloggers for making it memorable and fun.

Hidden Treasures (great reads in the blogosphere)

‘Envision a Positive Future’ – an outstanding post on speaking life into your child from Marcy at ‘Ben and Me’

Cultivating Faithfulness in Homeschooling – a great read at Proverbial Homemaker that you’ll find tremendously encouraging.

7 Faith Considerations When Raising Introverted Kids – I so appreciated this one.  Make sure you bookmark this!

A Few of my Favourite Things

The 51 Most Perfectly Timed Photos Ever.

Celebrating Woman – my Pinterest Board with some fabulous photos of woman around the world.

Quote of the Month

When you articulate your boundaries to people, they have the opportunity to respect your needs and virtues and protect your relationship with them. And when they value and protect the things that are important to you, the relationship flourishes. This is the process that builds trust between you and others. – from ‘The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness’ by Kris Vallotton

Have a great week,

Victoria

{This post may contain affiliate links}

{Shared at The Road to 31, Good Tips Tuesday, Hearts for Home,  Growing Homemakers}

Tips, Treats, Topics and Treasures {January 2014}

monthly round up January 2014

Beginning this month, I’m going to do a round up at the end of each month of things that have grabbed my attention over the course of the month – things to make in the kitchen, things I’m reading or watching, something I’ve read or discovered in health and natural living, and perhaps something we’ve been doing in homeschooling that’s been a great experience or fun part of the journey.

I simply want to pass on things that have caught my interest and been of benefit to my journey, in the hope that you might also find something useful or inspiring too.

So here goes…

In the Kitchen

What I’m Reading and Watching

  • Crafted Prayer (e-book) by Graham Cooke
  • Why Stomach Acid is Good for you: Natural Relief from Heartburn Indigestion, Reflux and GERD – by Wright and Lenard
  • I’ve been enjoying Dr Caroline Leaf’s material for the last couple of years on the brain and faith connection, and strongly recommend you listen in.  She has a series online at the moment on TBN.  Here is the first episode.
  • Compelled by Love – the inspiring story of Heidi Baker.
  • Rend Collective: 10,000 reasons – Love this! Intimate, honest, inclusive worship in a community of kindred people.  Love the Irish folksy sound, and love the heart of these people to honour one another and honour their King.
  • I am really looking forward to watching this one coming out this year: ‘Heaven is for Real

New Discoveries

  • iHerb.com – a great place to get over 35,000 supplements, health and beauty products at great prices.  Best of all, they ship to NZ for just $4, and only $8 for 2-day delivery (on average).   I’ve already put through 2 orders – love cheap international postage!
  • See the Light Shine Art DVD series – just got bumped up my homeschool wishlist.  We can’t wait to get started next month!
  • PureSante –spend months or years trying to get to the bottom of your health issues (like I have!), or consult with someone like the amazing Rachael who can help lead you into greater health. For folks in the Bay of Plenty, give this fantastic gal a call – she is amazing!

On the Homeschool Front

Online Treasures (great reads on the web)

  • I participated in a blog hop with my friends at the TOS Review Crew on the ‘Homeschool Essentials’.  Here’s a few I enjoyed:
  1. Wildflower Ramblings Content with my Role as Mother
  2. Delightful LearningMy Children’s Essentials
  3. FinchnWrenLove
  4. Every Bed of Roses Art and Music Appreciation Resources
  5. At Home: Where Life HappensPaperbacks

A Few of my Favourite Things

Quote of the Month

“When the key element of your identity comes from a negative, then your experiences will always be negative. When you see yourself as a sinner, then you will be preoccupied with sin. When you know that you are a saint, then you will be occupied with righteousness because a saint is one of the holy ones. You were a sinner that has been saved by grace to become a saint. You are a child of light beloved of God walking in newness of life. That makes you a completely different person!”

From MIND OF A SAINT – Graham Cooke

Have a great month!

Victoria

{This post may contain affiliate links}

Our Family’s Discipleship Approach

Our Family's Discipleship Approach

We are still very much growing into how we are to disciple our children.  We have the clear scriptural precedent that we, as parents, are solely responsible for training and guiding our children’s hearts to pursue a living relationship with Jesus.  We can invite others into this place, but scripturally speaking, there is no direct command given to any other role or person to fulfill this responsibility to raise our children to be followers of Jesus.  So in that aspect, we are certain.

As to how we do this however, we’re only just finding a rhythm and consistency in this.  Partly this has been due to having three young children, all at different places on their faith journey, and then we as parents continuing to grow and add habits that we need to be disciplined about keeping in place.

What is Family Discipleship?

Firstly, what is discipleship in the context of the family?  I believe it is partnering with the Holy Spirit in directing your child’s heart towards cultivating their own relationship with Jesus.

The heart of our family’s discipleship approach is to stir within our children a desire to love like Jesus, and to follow Him every day of their lives, growing deeper in their faith, and living out His purpose for their lives on earth.

We’ve decided that the very best thing we can do is to love Jesus ourselves, devote ourselves to knowing him, be extravagant in our faith and in how we express love to others, and our children will follow our lead.  We cannot lean on a method or curriculum to guarantee our children’s successful discipleship – these can be useful tools but do not replace loving nurture and guidance in stirring within our children a heart to cultivate their own relationship with the Lord.

Nurture and Connection

We’ve found that having gentle and sympathetic hearts with our children, and making our connection with them a priority, makes it possible to guide them from that place of relationship.  Let me add that we aren’t perfect, and we ask for forgiveness daily for impatience, stern words, and missing the target in other ways.  But establishing heart-to-heart connection is at the foundation of  building into their hearts.  Otherwise we would be doing nothing more than teaching good morals, and teaching bible knowledge as though it were a school subject.  Discipleship for us must be from a living, real, honest, relational context.

Shannon Jungle Tales (1895)

Some Practicalities

Admittedly, we have wavered in our consistently many times, and are only just reviving our goals in this area.  But here’s some of our approach and what we hope to grow into more this year:

  • Read the bible (or storybook bible) and pray together.  We bought a Discoverer’s Bible for our 8 year old, and enjoy The Jesus Storybook Bible with our younger children (we all love it).
  • Prayer is the first response rather than the last when navigating the storms of life, no matter what their size.
  • Children’s devotions are those designed for children to work through themselves or with your assistance.  We especially love “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing” which is written for children ages 8+.
  • Family devotions are a way of bringing the family together and connecting together over His Word.  “Our 24 Family Ways” by Clay and Sally Clarkson is a favourite, which contains nicely-illustrated colouring pages for children to complete while they are listening.  Sometimes we just do a spontaneous family devotion at the dinner table.
  • Spending time with like-minded families is such a necessary part of building one another’s faith, and inspiring a desire to know Jesus and make Him known.
  • Worship with other Christians is something we love to do, and we have a community of like-minded families that we love to worship with where the children are welcome to participate.  It might look a little different from a family separating into two locations once a week and standing in rows to worship, but we love the freedom of creativity of allowing God to move in a group of people that love, honour and accept one another, with children a valued part of His voice and expression amongst us.
  • Worship music on in the house every day is something we’ve always done.  Worship is my great love, and I know it will form the soundtrack of my children’s childhood.  It’s our hope that the songs of their childhood will be remembered throughout their lives as a source of life, encouragement, and blessing.
  • Memorising scripture and displaying scripture so His Word is being learned and meditated upon regularly.
  • Audio bible is something we haven’t utilised yet, but plan to use when our children are a little older.
  • Intentional bible study and learning – we haven’t wanted bible study to simply be another school subject, but do want to gradually introduce more intentional study as they get older.  We want them to first and foremost understand that the bible is God’s Word – infallible, trustworthy and true.
    A couple of resources we are currently enjoying as part of our intentional learning are, “Who is God and Can I Know Him?” (Apologia text and accompanying notebook), and “What’s in the Bible” DVD series.

We have a growing collection of books containing stories of missionaries and some great heroes of faith (both historical and living), that seek to inspire children with what it can look like when lives are surrendered to Jesus.  A couple of films that we’ve watched recently (Father of Lights, and Compelled By Love) have reminded me that these will be a wonderful addition to our family’s discipleship resources at some stage.

Our Discipleship approach

One Final Thought

We aren’t simply aiming for our children to simply behave like Christians and grow up to be good people.  We want to present them with the truth that the power of the gospel will save them and transform them.  Yes we need a discipleship path that is grace-filled and intentional.  Yes we need to model them love and a living relationship with Jesus ourselves.

But also, we need to remember that the goal isn’t to produce children and eventually adults with good morals and behaviour.  It’s to train them up in the way THEY should go on the path of life, and encourage them to find out what God wants for their lives.  Instead of asking them ‘What do you want to be when you grow up’, ask them ‘What does God want to do in and through your life?’  It’s all about Jesus, and what He’s done for us.  In dying for us, we can now live for Him.  And he enables us to do so.

You might also like my ‘Parenting and Homeschool book list, and ’Family Devotions and Discipleship book list.  There are many other great titles, but these are ones that we use and enjoy.

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