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Guard Your Heart

by Christy on December 23, 2009
category: Uncategorized

holding heart Amanda’s post yesterday got me to thinking about all the things we do in our lives that seem innocent enough, but in reality can lead us down a path of destruction.  Now, having a cup of coffee or watching a little tv isn’t going to kill us, but the influences we allow in our lives (including those on tv) can be dangerous.

About five years ago, I was an avid Oprah watcher.  I loved how she seemed to have less drama and more information on her shows than other talk shows and how she was always encouraging people to be a better version of themselves.  (Now some people may get mad at me for writing this and quite frankly I was having a hard time deciding if I should open this can of worms, but my heart said I should.)  I remember watching one particular episode where she was talking about writing in her gratitude journal and something she said caught me off guard.  She started talking about God, whom she had always claimed to follow, differently… like he was just a force and how we could harness the power He had by being good people.  She stopped talking about Jesus and started talking about a spirituality that was anything but Christian.  This belief system she supported grew and grew and she started promoting this “church” on her show.  I saw how so many women in our culture blindly followed her, even after knowing the Truth, because she simply was Oprah.  I felt sick.

Our culture tends to glamourize anything that celebrities do and women in our society are the ones that do it.  We are the ones that read the gossip magazines, that watch the gossip type shows… now I’m not suggesting that all of us do it, but we as women seem to be more vulnerable to this vice.  All this to say, the Bible warns us in 2 Timothy 3:5b-7 to “turn away from such people! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  By our very nature and by the proddings of society we are vulnerable to be influenced negatively. 

I write all this to say that we have to guard our hearts like never before (Proverbs 4:23) so that we can be godly examples to our children.  Let your children see you reading the Bible, praying, doing things that edify.  Don’t let the negative influences, even the ones that society deems as positive, impact your life so that your heart is no longer guarded.  It’s easy to let your guard down when something seems to be good… even when it’s not.  And by all means, guard the hearts of the beautiful gifts God has given you to raise.  What you bring into your life, you bring into theirs also.

How are you doing your best to guard your heart and that of your children?  What negative influences have you omitted from your life in order to guard yourself?

Photo courtesy of WolfSoul

Abiding Monday: Finding True Rest

by Christy on November 16, 2009
category: Uncategorized

abiding monday

Matthew 11:28-29 Then Jesus said “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you.  Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest.” (NLT) 

I often get sick of hearing myself say “I’m so tired” and actually feeling that way.  It’s common as mom’s (or dad’s for that matter) to feel tired, because let’s face it, we don’t get the sleep we physically need.  Add to that the constant emotional stress of being “needed” 24 hours a day and it is enough to drive a person insane.  So how can we find true rest when we barely get enough sleep to function?  The answer is simple… rely on Jesus. 

For me personally, this could not have been a more poignant thing over the last 5 months.  My husband was laid off in June and is still unemployed.  I have dealt with constant pain that has led to two surgeries and an uncertainty of our family’s future.  But God is so faithful.  I have found rest and peace in Him during this time.  Jesus says in Matthew to take His yoke upon us because His burden is light and that it will give us rest.  What an awesome thing our Savior has promised us!  All we have to do is believe in Him and trust Him with our burdens and He will give us rest!  He doesn’t give us more trouble or worries.  Just simple, perfect rest. 

I guess then the question comes, how do you fully give Him your burdens?  Develop and nurture your relationship with Him and it will be easy to cast your cares on Him in faith.  Dawn mentioned being in a funk last week and how reviving her quiet times helped to bring her out of it.  When you are holding on to Jesus and loving on Him daily, you learn to trust Him more and feel Him loving on you.  You learn that He is faithful to fulfill His promises to you.  The Lord promised in Exodus 33:14 that His “Presence will go with you and give you rest” (NIV).  Let it go and let God grant you His promise of rest!  You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel!

Jesus promises that those who know Him find this beautiful rest.  Do you know Him?  Do you really know Him?  Just believe He is the Son of God, that He died for your sins and then rose to Heaven to intercede for you with the Father and you can find this perfect rest!  If you have more questions, please contact us at The Mom Crowd.  We’d love to pray with you and help you.

Dear Lord, thank you for being so faithful to fulfill Your promises.  Please help me to trust in You that when I lay down my burdens at Your feet, You take them and give me rest.  Help me to know that You bring the only rest that is worthy of seeking and that it will be more satisfying than any worldy rest I can find.  In Your Name, Amen.

Helping Your Child Read

by Amelia on November 5, 2009
category: Uncategorized

DSC_0063 Learning how to read is a major milestone that children pass during their first years of school.  Reading doesn’t come easily for every child. Some children are eager and want to learn how to read.  They ask their parents to teach them.  Some are more interested in playing outside than taking time to sit down and learn all the letter sounds and sound blends.

I have 2 children who are beginning readers.  My 5 year old, Isaac, taught himslef how to read when he was 4.  As a 2 year old he was very interested in letters and would play with his Little Touch Leappad  everyday to learn all the letters because he enjoyed it. During preschool last year he got a stronger grip on the letter sounds and figured out on his own how to sound out and read consonant-vowel-consonant words.  He also remembered words and what they looked like and even skipped over having to sound out each sound in a word. He did all those things without much help from us.  He would often surprise us when he could read words like “dragon” or “think”.  His older brother, Ewan, wasn’t as interested in letter learning and preferred to spend his time doing other things.   During his preschool he learned all the letters and their sounds too but it didn’t excite him as much.  Now that our 6 year old is in public school and is learning how to read we are discovering that reading doesn’t come as easily for him as it did for his brother.  I think he is average for his age and that it will click with him in time.

Here are some tips I’ve discovered in our (short) journey in helping our children read:

1) Don’t force it.  Most children will start reading and showing interest when they are ready.  Putting pressure on them will only give them a distaste for trying.  When Isaac (the younger) started reading before Ewan (the oldest), I felt like Ewan should be catching up with him simply because Ewan is older.  It took me a while to relax and realize that children learn differently and at different paces.

2) Get some early reader books.  We have a set of books called BOB Books that we like a lot.  They are very short and when a beginning reader can read it they feel accomplished.  There are several “I Can Read” books available for more advanced early readers too.  Jack and Annie Magic Treehouse books are also good books for (more advanced) early readers.  The stories are interesting to keep kids engaged and reading on their own.

3) When teaching your kids the letters of the alphabet spend more time talking about the letter sounds than the letter names.  When it comes to reading the letter name doesn’t matter as much as the sounds it makes.

4)We’ve used the book Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  I like this book a lot and it has helped Ewan make progress in his reading skills.  We are only on lesson 26 now but I’ve noticed a difference.  Before school started we were doing daily lessons but since school is in session it is more difficult to do it everyday.

5) Practice reading everyday.  Even just 10 minutes a day.

6) Read to your children everyday.

7) Try an online program to teach phonics and early reading skills.  Starfall is a GREAT pre-reading website for kids.  Explode the Code has an online program that is interactive and fun for kids.  Explode the Code teaches phonics and reading.  A one year subscription costs $55 and is worth the investment.  Explode the Code also has workbooks that children love and the online program in based on the workbooks.  We bought a subscription for our homeschool this year and both boys spend time on it several times a week.  I have found that since Ewan is in public school he is more excited about coming home and doing some Explode the Code online than he would be at doing a workbook.  The online program monitors their successes and automatically adjusts the lessons to their difficulty level.  BBC also has several games and reading activities online that you can have your kids play.

8) Praise their efforts and willingness to try a new reading challenge.

What have you done to encourage your kids in their reading? What challenges have you overcome?

Healthy Child, Whole Child Book Review

by Amelia on October 29, 2009
category: Uncategorized


Healthy Child, Whole Child by Dr. Stuart Kitchek and Dr. Russell Greenfield is a book for parents who are interested in using both conventional and alternative medicine for prevention and treatment of illnesses.  The book is easy to read and the chapters are divided in such a way that if your child is dealing with a particular issue you can flip to the chapter and find out more information.

One think I appreciate about the book is that it takes a look at the WHOLE child, including environmental factors, activity levels, diet, and sleep.  It promotes that idea that preventing illness is a better strategy to healthy living rather and just treating every illness with the most aggressive strategy.  The doctors who wrote this book practice health care with the philosophy that integrating conventional (mainstream medicine), alternative (chinese medicine, aruvedic) and complementary medicine (acupuncture, herbal, or nutritional therapies) is the best approach to treating children and families.  They don’t dismiss alternative and complementary medicine and often prescribe remedies from those forms of treatment for illness.  In fact doctors who practice the philosophy of integrative medicine prefer to save the more aggressive treatments of illness if the more gentle approaches to medicine don’t work first.  They also prefer to have longer than 10 or  15 minutes with their patients.  In later chapters the book takes a deeper look at several types of alternative treatments (massage, chiropractic care, counseling, meditation/relaxation, herbal remedies, chinese medicine and homeopathics).  This is helpful especially if you are new to those types of treatment for sickness.

For those of you who are interested, the book encourages vaccination as one of the ways to keep your kids from getting sick.  Two chapters are dedicated to explaining how the immune system works, how vaccinations work and why they are important.  The book also explains why the overuse of antibiotics is a key factor in the “superbugs” that are now resistant to antibiotic treatment. One example is getting antibiotics for every ear infection.  A more integrative approach is to look at the evidence that most ear infections are viral and will resolve themselves in about 3 days.  The pain can be treated with over the counter pain relievers and perhaps a prescription pain reliever.  This approach can be stretching for parents who have it ingrained that an ear infection automatically means you need antibiotics to treat it.  The book has a whole chapter dedicated to explaining the different types of ear infections and how they are treated.

One surprising chapter is chapter 9 which is about how to protect your children from the hidden messages in mainstream culture–things like instant gratification, looks are everything, negativity, violence, sex and drugs.  I appreciate that they consider the messages children receive as something important to look at when viewing the health of a child.

This is a good introduction book for parents who want to learn more about how to think about how to keep kids healthy. It isn’t a book that you use to try and diagnose what illness your child may or may not have.  The last third of the book DOES explain most of the common illnesses that kids get most often and ways to use both conventional medicine and alternative treatments.  Illnesses covered: headaches, ear infections, gastrointestinal “tummy troubles”, reflux, colds and other respitory illnesses, allergies and asthma, and skin problems.  Also covered (briefly) are attention disorders and sleep issues.  In my opinion, both of those topics could be their own book when incorporating integrative medicine.

I have found this book to be a helpful resource on my bookshelf that I can pick up if we are dealing with an issue at home.  Like I mentioned earlier, this is a good intro book for anyone interested in learning more about integrative medicine.  It has a little bit of everything in it and can be handy to have around.

Happy Reading!

Do you use both conventional treatment and alternative treatment for illness?  Do you think homeopathics is a sham?  Have you thought about using a more alternative approach for treating illness?  What’s worked for you?

Remembering Our Babies

by Christy on October 14, 2009
category: Uncategorized

candle Tomorrow, October 15th, is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  Every year, millions of babies die during pregnancy (miscarriage), child birth or shortly thereafter.  This day is an internationally recognized day to remember those precious little lives lost too soon.   

In 2005, our own national government realized the need for awareness, education and support of and for families that have been through this awful experience and passed a resolution to make October 15th a nationally supported day of remembrance. 

Amelia shared her very personal experience with miscarriage with The Mom Crowd readers and I have also shared a part of my story when talking about Secondary Infertility.  It is a very personal and difficult situation to be in and most of the time, the families get little to no support.  Take a few moments out of your day tomorrow and write a note of encouragement, make a phone call, or pray for those you know who have experienced such a loss.  Also, tomorrow night at 7 pm YOUR TIME, light a candle for each child you have lost or for each child lost of someone you know.  It’s a beautiful way to remember the little lights that are now shining above.

For more information on this day and local events, visit the Remembering Our Babies website.

Have you experienced the loss of a child or do you know someone who has?  How do you plan to remember them tomorrow? 

Photo Courtesy of Adam Foster/Codefor 

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