book-list-2018

My To Read List for 2018

I love to read. Ever since I was a kid, you could find me with a book in my hands curled up somewhere reading to my heart’s content.

As a mom, my reading time has been significantly cut back (slashed is probably a better word for it), and when I do manage to get some reading time, I am usually found asleep curled up with a book in my hands (or falling out of my hands).

I learned a couple of huge lessons this year as I worked my way through my reading list for 2017.

  • Do not aim to read more books than I actually have time for.
  • Keep my list small, and if I find that I read more books than are on the list, then yay for me!

This year my book list reflects devotionals I want to work my way through, goals that we are working towards as a couple, authors who will encourage me to slow down and remind me that it’s okay to live life in the slow lane, classic books I want to read with my children, and launches I’ll be a part of.

book-list-2018

The List

Spiritual Goals

Financial Goals

Lifestyle 

Classics 

book-list-2018

Book Launches

  • The Eden Concept: Marriage God’s Way by Dana and Kimberly Williams (Book launch coming in February). I’ve had the privilege of viewing Kimberly’s book Home Discipleship: Much More Than ABC’s and 123’s, and I am excited to be a part of her launch team for her newest book which she and her husband have collaborated on.
  • The Revolutionary by Kristen Hogrefe (Coming in March) I read The Revisionary last year and absolutely loved it. The story takes place in a dystopian era United States, but it is written from a Christian world view. The storyline kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end, I connected with the characters, and I could not wait to find out what  happened to Portia (the main character and heroine of the story). So when Kristen reached out to me earlier this month, I immediately agreed to review her latest book. I cannot wait share this review with you! If you have teens who love dystopian based literature, this is definitely a series you want to look into.

Do you enjoy reading? What books do you have planned to work your way through this year? Feel free to share your reading recommendations in the comments. We would love to hear which books are on your bookshelf or nightstand. It may even give me a few more titles to add to my list!

book-list-2018

investing

Two Simple Steps for Investing

“She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard.” Proverbs 31:16

As women, we are always thinking of how we can grow the money we have. Whether we are looking to coupon to use less than we have at our disposal or putting what we haven’t used into our savings account, we women are resourceful at taking what we have and doing our best to grow it.

Someone else who was good at investing what she had was the woman in Proverbs 31. I couldn’t help but notice the two steps she took in making her money grow. (Note: I am not a professional investor. These are just two observations I have made from reading this passage. Any financial actions taken by the reader are done at their own risk.)

  1. Think through an investment before purchasing
  2. Take the earnings and invest them

investing

Think through an investment before purchasing

Before her purchase, she considers it well. Her decision is not made on impulse. It isn’t done because of a knee-jerk reaction. Her decision has been thought through with reason and logic. She considers all aspects of the purchase.

What is the cost?
Is the return worth the investment?
How much effort on her end will need to be put into this investment?
Does she have the time to put into this investment?
Does she have the know how to enter into this investment?
In addition to the know how, does she have the ability?

take the earnings and invest them

She doesn’t take her initial profit to spend it on a night on the town or a new wardrobe, instead she looks for ways to use her profit to put it back into her investment. She looks for ways to put her profit where it can increase over time. Notice, she plants a vineyard. It will take time to grow the grape vines, for the fruit to ripen, pick the fruit, and either sell them or turn them into another substance for sale.

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Our investment doesn’t have to be a field. There are so many ways to invest the resources God has given to us. Think of what you have at your disposal. How can you take that and invest it?

One young mom I know, who I’ve mentioned before, has taken her ability to sew and uses that ability to provide a supplementary income allowing her to stay home with her little girl.

One of my favorite women to follow on Facebook is Rachel Cruz. She is a woman who not only teaches other how to get out of debt, but how to wisely invest their resources. She has several books which will help you learn to consider your purchases and how to use your money well. I will be sharing more about these books in my upcoming 2018 Book List post.

This week, memorize Proverbs 31:16 and may it guide you as you plan your budget for the new year.

You can read the other posts in this series here.

investing

warrior-child

Bring Out the Warrior in Your Child

We live in the age of superheroes. Superman, Batman, Captain America, Ironman, Spiderman, and the list just goes on and on.

We like superheroes.

Trust me.

My son has the masks and the shields and the pajamas and the action figures and… well, you get the idea.

But there is something these superheroes have that my son will never have. Super powers. My son will never fly or be bulletproof like Superman. He will never be able to glide through the night like Batman. He will never have a boundless amount of energy like Captain America (although, sometimes I wonder about that one…). He will never have a suit of armor that talks to him, allows him to fly, and save the world like Ironman. He will never be able to crawl up a wall like a spider and shoot webs at people (and we are all thankful on that account).

warrior-childYet the other day, when I told him we would be having a photo shoot with him dressing up like David the shepherd boy, he got so excited and ran around letting Daddy and Sister know. Why?

Because he could be like David.

David was a young boy, like him. David didn’t have super powers, and neither does my son (although sometimes he works his cuteness like it is a superpower). David was found doing his chores, which my son can relate because he has chores. His only weapon was a slingshot, and my son has a toy one he plays with and actually pings things with.

My son can relate to David in a way he can’t relate to the superheroes.

And I’m glad.

Because David did amazing things in his life, but God, the same God my son has access to through Jesus, was the power behind the amazing in David’s life. David called on God before he ran towards the giant Goliath on the battlefield. My son is learning how to call on God when he is afraid. David gave God the glory for the victory, a lesson in humility my son will never learn from a TV superhero.

That’s why I love books like author Virginia Finnie’s books in the Hey Warrior Kids! series. They not only showcase the power of God through the life of David, but they teach our children about the armor of God in an entertaining and interactive way that kids will enjoy.

 

warrior-child

Virginia Finnie has taken her books, Hey Warrior Kids! Put On Your Armor! and Hey Warrior Kids! Grab Your Slingshot! and revamped them. Not only are they larger than before, but now they are interactive!

I previously reviewed both books on Christian Children’s Book Review here and here. One of my favorite aspects of Virginia’s writing is how natural it was for me to read to my children. Her writing style is so close to how I speak when teaching my children, it was easy to read and easy for them to follow along.

The best part of each book is the plan of salvation that is given. It is written in a way that children can easily understand, and a place is provided for children to write their name if they have accepted God’s gift of salvation. A prayer is included in each book that coincides with the story in  its respective book. It takes the principles taught and helps children ask God to help them take what they have learned and apply it.

I especially love the updates made to these books. They have been made larger than before, and coloring pages have been added to the end of the book creating a more interactive experience for children after reading the book.

If you are looking for a great gift or stocking stuffer for the kids in your life, the Hey Warrior Kids! series is a great place to start.

 

warrior-child

art-of-giving

Teaching Children the Art of Giving

Between commercials and store displays, our children are being bombarded with all of the gadgets, toys, and knick knacks they need to make them happy this Christmas.

But the reality of Christmas is that God gave us His one and only Son. But rather than focusing on the gift that was given, children in general tend to relate more to the gift received. I know I did.

So how can a Purposeful Mom help her children see the beauty of giving? How can we help our children realize the heart of the season, and learn to give the way God gave to us?

How do I teach them?

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My favorite movie and book for teaching these lessons are Really Woolly: The Gift of Christmas and Red Boots for Christmas.

art-of-giving

Really Woolly: The Gift of Christmas is one of my all-time favorite movies. I first bought it when Addie was 10 months old, and it became a fast favorite. The story begins in the autumn (unusual for most children’s Christmas movies) when young Jacob sees a toy he really wants. After asking his parents to buy it for him (and being promptly turned down), he decides to work hard all autumn and winter to buy it for himself. When Christmas arrives, because he has spent all of his time focused on himself and his wants, he finds he has forgotten to get a gift for the family gift exchange. After his very understanding Grandmother explains to him that she has already received the greatest gift of all, Jacob decides to take the one thing he owns and loves and uses it to give gifts to his family the next day.

Red Boots for Christmas by Carol Greene is a beautiful story of a busy man who is visited by an angel and told that he will receive a special visitor on Christmas Eve. He decides to create the most beautiful pair of boots for this surprise guest. When Christmas Eve arrives, several of the townspeople drop by, and the cobbler offers them some of the fancy meal he has prepared. After they leave, the man is visited by the angel again. He becomes angry that his special guest has not arrived. The angel explains that the man’s neighbors were the guests and that he gave them the gift of friendship that evening. The cobbler realizes that the act of giving is a gift itself. He takes the beautiful boots and finds a poor, young girl to give them too.

art-of-giving

What next?

Take the lesson from Really Wooly: The Gift of Christmas and encourage your children to make gifts using their skills and what they have available to them.

Do your daughters sew? Can they crochet? Do they use perler beads? Are they still in the rainbow loom phase? Are they able to bake with a little assistance from you? This is perfect! Have them make a list of relatives and a few dear friends, and then have them work on some simple projects that can be given as gifts.

Does your son love Legos? Is he older and whittles (parental judgement required)? Is he old enough to handle yard work without assistance (parental judgement required)? He can make some Lego creations or create something for family members. He can even offer his services free of charge to older family members who have difficulty doing their own yard work.

For the last few years, Addie has made perler bead items for grandmas and other family members. When she was really small, she made bead necklaces for her grandmother and great-grandma. Great-Grandma still wears her necklace.

art-of-giving

This year, Ian was able to participate in the act of giving by using his handprint to help decorate the gift bags for his AWANA teachers. It is a simple way to get younger children started in the practice of giving.

We also include the kids in the delivery of the gifts. It is important for them to experience the joy of giving to others. I have seen the excitement in my children as they hand their gifts to their teachers, and the look on their faces as their teachers draw them in for a hug.

This Christmas, may your children learn to give, and may they receive the blessing that can only be received by giving to others.

art-of-giving

christmas-resources

My Favorite Christmas Resources

Tis the season to pull out all of our favorite activities, books, and movies!

Every year, as I begin to put the Thanksgiving decorations away and pull out the Christmas boxes, my children begin asking about all of their favorites which have been hidden away for the year. Their excitement gets my creative juices flowing to find new ways to use our time-tested favorites to make new memories.

From activities to books to movies, we squeeze the most out of every moment in December with the ultimate goal being to bring our hearts to the manger as we remember that the reason for celebrating is the birth of our Savior, Jesus.

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Activities

Melk the Christmas Monkey- This little monkey visits us sporadically throughout the month of December with the express purpose of teaching us about the character of God. My favorite aspect of Melk the Christmas Monkey is that he visits us based on our schedule. It does not have to be a daily activity. Because of this, my children are still experiencing new activities because there are still lessons we have not yet learned with Melk over the last couple of years. You can read more about our experiences with Melk here. (Note: The actual monkey is not part of your purchase. The monkey I purchased several years ago is no longer available, but you can find a similar monkey here.)

Little People Nativity– When Ian was two years old, I knew I had to do something that would keep my ceramic Nativity set from becoming an item of interest to him. I decided to purchase the Little People Nativity set. He is now six years old, and he still enjoys playing with the set. This is one set that continues to grow with children, and each year, as their knowledge and understanding of the Christmas account grows, so will their storytelling as they play with the characters.

christmas-resources

Books

Our family has grown a collection of Christmas books over the last nine years, and each year our collection grows by one or two books. For the last two years, we have received copies of Glenys Nellist’s newest Christmas books Christmas Love Letters from God and Twas the Evening of Christmas which have become family favorites and are on my list of “must have Christmas books.” You can read more about them here and here.

My friend, Aryn the Libraryan, who shared her list of Christmas books yesterday, recently gifted us with Max Lucado’s An Angel’s Story. It is a powerful adaptation of the Christmas account through the eyes of the angel Gabriel. My children are currently nine and six years old, but because of all of the discussions we have already had, I felt they were ready for this book. You may want to read it through on your own to decide when your children would be ready for it as it does deal with the spiritual realm.

A few of our other favorites in our book basket are:

christmas-resources

Movies

One of our favorite things to do in the evenings is to gather on the sofa and watch a Christmas movie while eating popcorn (for the record, my husband makes the best popcorn ever!). Movies can be a great visual for our children when depicting the Nativity or a lesson in character or love, just be sure to point out to your children when the movie has taken creative license.

The Nativity Story (upper elementary/middle and high school) is a family favorite. Although it is not an animated film, we chose to show it to our children last year. It can be a bit harsh and realistic, for example, when Elizabeth and Mary each give birth, there is nothing cute and cuddly about it. But it beautifully portrays the reality of the situation. Again, as with any biblically based movie, be sure your children know what the Bible says and can discern the truth from creative license.

christmas-resources

Our other favorite is Veggie Tales: St. Nicholas. (preschool/elementary) This animated depiction beautifully explains to children the truth behind the idea of Santa Claus by introducing them to the real St. Nicholas by creating a story based on one of the legends surrounding his generosity.

Other family favorites are:

As you move into the Christmas season, may the activities, books, and movies you share with your family bring you all closer to Jesus and His gift of Salvation.

christmas-resources