Monday, May 4, 2015

Motivate Your Child Action Plan - Giveaway!

I wanted to share that I'm part of a group that is reviewing a book called Motivate Your Child Action Plan. I wrote a review on Motivate Your Child earlier this year and was so very excited to see that there is a plan to put all of these good ideas into practice! I know that I need help with how to do that and thought some of the rest of you might too. I know that I am struggling with some parenting issues now and am thankful for this tool to help me get to the heart of the matter and guide in a way that is Biblical. I've just started and hopefully will be able to post more on this soon. In the meantime though, there is a giveaway that you might be interested in being a part of! There are LOTS of great prizes! Motivate Your Child Action Plan Giveaway To celebrate the release of Motivate Your Child Action Plan, we are joining other members of the Launch Team in a wonderful giveaway filled with an iPod Touch, $50 iTunes Gift Card and several biblical parenting products! A value of nearly $350! Here's what you could win: 

Apple iPod touch 16GB Black/Silver  ($195 value)  

  • In the Box - iPod Touch, Apple EarPods, Lightning to USB cable, QuickStart guide
  • Brilliant 4 Retina display with Multi-Touch IPS technology
  • Front-Facing FaceTime camera with 1.2MP photos & 720p HD video recording.  
  • iOS 6 features - Siri, Apple Designed Maps, Integrated Facebook, Shared Photo Streams, Passbook & more

iTunes Gift Card ($50 value)

 Because you'll need apps and music for that iPod Touch!

The Christian Parenting Handbook and Companion Guide ($56.95 value) 

The Christian Parenting Handbook contains nuggets of parenting wisdom condensed into 50 short chapters, each one biblical, practical, and relevant for parents of children ages 2-18. Learn appropriate ways to correct, instruct, and set limits. Glean wisdom for dealing with emotions, conflict, and developing closeness in your family… and much more. These 50 strategies provide you with hands-on tools for parenting children of any age.  The Companion Guide is a workbook of 50 lessons along with 50 audio tips to take you through The Christian Parenting Handbook step by step. Each lesson contains advice from Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller in a 5 minute audio tip and then offers teaching, an assignment, a Bible verse, and a prayer to help you apply each idea or strategy in your family. The tips are available to you as MP3 downloads and access to them comes in the workbook.

Family Time Activities Book Bundle ($45 value)

Your kids will have fun learning about God's Word and how it applies to their lives. Science experiments, art activities, and games are all designed to reinforce spiritual truth. Each lesson is clear and simple, yet profound even for parents! You'll teach kids how exciting it is to learn about God and his ways. Your kids will love these books, but more importantly you'll build spiritual memories of Family Time in your home. Titles in this giveaway include:  Seeing Is Believing  Playing for Keeps  Running the Race Enter the Giveaway using the Rafflecopter below! This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY to those 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited by law. a Rafflecopter giveaway Join us for the Action Plan Facebook Party on Wednesday, May 20 at 9:00PM ET. There will be even more prizes and giveaways there and the authors of Action Plan will be present to answer your questions! The winner of this giveaway will be announced at the Facebook party!

RSVP here for the Party! 

Action Plan Facebook Party

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Big Day

Wow!  Where do I even start?!  It has been so amazing to watch this all unfold.  Having our oldest son Christopher come to Roger and I and tell us that he was ready to ask Emily to marry him and then see him plan and orchestrate all of the details of this special day has been such a blessing.  Seeing his heart for the woman he loves and wanting this day to overwhelm her with happiness and joy has been a sweet gift to this mama's heart as well.

From seeing the notes he was making about the timeline of the day to hearing all of the minute by minute details as he planned and prepared, it was all so very thoughtful.  I loved that he involved family and friends in this very special day.  That was a gift to all of us!

I have lots of friends that have asked for details and I want to share some of that sweet day here.  First Christopher went to a lot of work to plan an "alibi" for himself and being out of town working on this week-end.  From posting on the work website to texts from the camp he was working on that day - all to prevent her from suspecting anything.  To keep her busy while he was gone, another sweet friend set up a friends photo shoot.  (This was a sweet way to have her dressed and looking cute for the day!)

The photo shoot was to be held at a local park.  Thankfully, the weather was sunny and beautiful!
 Not nearly as cold as I thought it would be either.  It was a gorgeous day!

Friends and family arrived at the park early to set up and figure out what we were doing.

We had a practice run for all of us and I especially wanted Eliana to know what she was doing.
We all had signs.  (The girls are missing in this picture as they are waiting to meet Emily).

When they arrived at the park, Emily was told that there wasn't going to be a photo shoot and that she was going for a walk instead.  She walked with 7 friends who spent the time sharing, encouraging her and praying with her.  :)  The last friend brought her to an amphitheater and told her to go read the journal in the middle of it.

The rest of us were eagerly waiting nearby - but not able to see anything.

Emily went to read a letter that Christopher had written to her.  When she finished, she looked up and Christopher came out of hiding to meet her.  He then got on one knee and asked her to marry him.

And posted by Christopher on facebook:

On Saturday I got down on one knee and asked my best friend to marry me! I'm so very blessed and thankful for all of the amazing friends and family that, helped, loved on and celebrated with Emily and I on this special day! It's been an exciting whirlwind of a weekend, filled with joy, love, laughter, tears, and the biggest, happiest smile I've ever seen on Emily's face! ‪#‎shesaidYES

There was a group of family and friends hiding (and out of view of all of this).  We waited for a cue from one of the photographers and then to music, we all came walking out in pairs holding signs.

 Each pair of signs was an event and a date - the timeline of some significant events in their relationship.  :)  We lined up around the amphitheater until the last sign was presented.

Eliana brought the last sign which said ... Engaged!

We waited a moment before going down to join them, hug and them and take lots of photos.
Is this not a precious picture of Emily with her Dad

Ficken and Nelsen families
Fun shot of Emily with her girlfriends
Leslie, Emily, Christopher and Roger
Emily and Christopher with the guys
Me and my girls!
Eliana and her buddy Jim who was a great help in keeping her doing her job!
Afterwards, we went back to Emily's family home for dinner.  The decorations were all so amazing!

Love the sign!
 And my camera ended up being full while we were here so I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked.  But just look at the fun we were having here!  This was obviously all a surprise to Emily too!

Nelsen Family
Ficken Family
Friends picture
Delicious dinner!
After eating and playing games, it was time to leave.  What Emily didn't know was that when they returned to Christopher's quiet and darkened house, was that another party was waiting to happen.  Surprise!  More friends and food and fellowship and fun!

The last surprise of the day was waiting for Emily when she returned to her apartment.  Her room was filled with balloons.  This was something that Christopher did for her birthday just before they started dating.  :)

This was an amazing day.  So many moments of God's goodness and grace.  Joy, laughter and love.  Celebration and excitement.

We could not be any more excited for Christopher and Emily!  Their relationship is a beautiful reflection of God at work in their lives.  I am praying for you both daily and love you both so very much!

With a full heart,

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Motivate your Child Review

I'm very excited about this new book that I'm reading and wanted to share it with you.  Its called Motivate Your Child by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.  (And I want to share that I received this book in exchange for my honest review which is written below.)

Parenting.  Its the hardest and also the most wonderful job I've ever had.  If you have children, I'm sure you can relate.  I'm so very thankful to have 6 amazing children.  Each of them a gift with their own strengths, weaknesses and challenges.  Roger and I have learned so much from them - and from trying to teach, train, discipline and disciple them over the years.  And while we have been at this for some time, I find that we are always facing new challenges and trying to figure out how to deal with new or different problems/issues that arise.

Lately, we have really been struggling with some things at our house.  I feel like I spend more time nagging/reminding than I want to.  I want our kids to be motivated to do the right things.  I've been praying and seeking God's help and guidance and I do believe that this book is part of the answer to my prayers.

The subtitle of this book is "A Christian parent's guide to raising kids who do what they need to do without being told right".  This sounds great doesn't it?  This book gives great insight in how to accomplish that.

I love that this book gives a lot of concrete examples of parents who are struggling with various behaviors and how applying the things taught in this book can help initiate positive change.  I find that I learn a lot from hearing about what others are struggling with and how they handled a situation.  Its also helpful to know that we aren't the only ones struggling.  Can anyone relate?

         Parenting experts Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller demonstrate how God's Word gives us the          best way to parent, one that builds strong internal motivation in children.  When parents      
        change the way they  parent, kids change the way they lives.  This practical book explores a 
        theology of internal motivation and then gives parents real-life solutions to equip their kids for 

I appreciate that the book starts by helping us to understand the conscience and how it works.  Its explores the various levels of conscience and how to get our children to move beyond just thinking about themselves to thinking about others.  This is not something that happens naturally, but something that we can train our children to do.  Knowing more about the conscience gives parents a whole new set of tools to use with their children.

I also appreciate that this book is for parents of children of all ages from preschooler to teen.  There is no time limit on learning how to be a better parent and how to encourage your child to be all that she/he is designed to be!  

One example of parenting that I know that I've fallen into is behavior modification.  If you do this, then you will receive that.  After reading the examples in the book, I very clearly recognized myself in this.  (And I also hear my children doing it with their siblings too.)  This is not a method that is good for long as it just doesn't keep working.  Or it requires bigger and bigger rewards.  All of us clearly want our kids to be internally motivated, but just how do we do that?

Parenting requires strategy.  One of the strategies shared involved the power of your voice.  This includes not only what we say but also the tone that we use.

What parents say leaves a marked impression on their children's hearts.  Unfortunately, many parents spend too much time talking about what children are doing wrong and not what they need to do right instead.  They say things like, "Would you cut it out!", "Stop it!" "When are you going to get it right?"  "You're making me upset over here."  

Rather parents would do much better thinking about what they want their children to say in their hearts and then using their own statements to their children to coach them to that end.  

Did anyone else think "ouch"?  They shared several examples of parents choosing positive statements which children could replay in their heads.  I've started using one statement with my children and its to encourage them to "be a blessing".  So often, I've encouraged them to "have fun" and realize that the goal needs to be bigger than that.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this might change their behavior.

I am also thankful for the many Bible references that are shared that undergird their teaching.  They look to God as the one that teaches us how to live our lives.  This is not a book of formulas but is rather a method of parenting the hearts of our children.

I am very excited about this book and strongly encourage you to get a copy for yourself!  You can find it here and if you order by Jan 31, you will receive other free resources!  You can also order it from Amazon or other book sellers.

Sometimes reading books or articles about parenting can leave you feeling deflated and like you have somehow missed the boat.  This book is not one of those.  Instead I find myself encouraged and energized to tackle some of the problems that we have been dealing with head on.

I hope this post is an encouragement to someone.


Please use this graphic (or similar wording) on any blog post you publish about the book, including your review.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A great resource to share!

When I first heard about this product, my interest was piqued.  Even though we have been at this parenting gig for over 20 years, there is still much to learn.  Each child is different and thus we have unique struggles with each of them.  I do believe too that the teen years are so very important (and hard).  Its a sweet time when we can enjoy more in-depth conversations and also a time when its so crucial reach their hearts.

The Family Toolbox with Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN is a program for both parents and teens.  There are 8 lessons which each contain 2 important principles.  First the parents spend time watching a segment designed for them which is about 10 minutes.  Then there is a second video which you watch with your teens.  Its a short 1-2 minute dramatization of a scene that may be happening in your own home or perhaps with actions and attitudes that look familiar.

After watching the video, there are questions for you to answer together in order to discuss what you have seen and how you think that things might be improved.  There are Bible verses incorporated in the lesson as well to help guide you into making wise choices.

You end with a prayer and encouragement to work on something together as a family.

What I like about this program:

*The focus is on their heart.  This is where true and meaningful change takes place rather than just on external behavior.

*The sessions are short so that you can easily find time in your week to incorporate the lessons.

*The videos give you an opportunity to look at the behavior of others and discuss how things might have been handled better or differently.  I find this to be a great method because it does not put you or your children on the defensive as sometimes happens when you are talking about an incident in your own family.

*Practical suggestions that you can implement right away.

I'm excited to have the opportunity to try this out with our family.  These are lessons that we need to help us through some of the challenges we are currently facing.  What a blessing to be able to have this resource to help us to improve our family.

Be sure to join us at the Official Facebook Party on Thursday Oct 16 at 8pm ET.  
There will be additional information as well as prizes!

You can purchase the Family Toolbox as well as read more about it at the Biblical Parenting site.  

Family Toolbox disclaimer

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Graduation Celebration!

We hosted a Graduation Celebration on July 11 for Rebecca and her friend Hanna.  Since it was mid-summer, we decided to host it indoors.  This gave us many more options for decorating which was fun (though we also tried to keep it simple as well).  Rebecca and Hanna each picked their favorite colors (blue and green) and we went with that as our decorating theme.

Blue and green for tablecloths, balloons, centerpieces and more.  Can you see what the centerpieces are made from?  Just a little peek at the sweetness that these sweet gals bring to our lives (not to mention that they both really love candy!).

We went early in the day to set-up.  It was fun decorating and so nice to have it done when we arrived later.

Anyone know what this is from?  (Sign above)

Since this was a graduation for two, we worked to make it personal and meaningful for each of them.

Each of the girls had a table with things representing them on it.  (FIAR friends - do you see some familiar books there?)

The dessert table was also chosen by them.  It was so much fun putting this together.  We went to a Goodwill store and found a variety of glass containers to use to display things.  It was well received by children and adults alike.

We were joined by family and friends to celebrate these two very special young ladies.  What fun to be with so many people we love!

 We missed those unable to be there, but are thankful for those who were!
 I also was blessed by two precious friends who took my cameras and took photos during the party so that I could focus on just being there and enjoying the evening and not looking at it through the lens of a camera.  Thank you Elizabeth and Kathy!  The pictures are wonderful!
We enjoyed some time socializing before the event began.

It was fun to introduce family and friends to each other.  
The best picture of Roger and I with Rebecca.  I wish we had gotten a photo of our whole family, but I didn't remember.  We have shots of all of us there though!  :D  

 One of Rebecca's roommates was able to be there!  What fun it is getting to know Carolyn.  Its such a sweet thing that God orchestrated and I'm excited for both of them.  While looking at Rebecca's table, they both discovered something that they had in common - besides a love of many of the same books.  They both had Madeline birthday parties when they were younger.

 It was wonderful to have my mom, niece, sister and brother-in-law here!

 Thankful for family and just wish that all of them could have been here with us.
 It was sweet to see so many friends.
 Eliana enjoyed the evening too.  Can't really tell it from this photo and she was fading fast as the night progressed.  We had a program which was a time to encourage and bless both Rebecca and Hanna as well as their friends and family.
 Brandon Hudson, one of our student pastors spoke and encouraged all of us.

 Each parent spoke to their graduate personally.  Then each graduate spoke as well.
And the diploma was conferred.  
 An emotional moment for all of us.  
 Christopher ended the program by praying over both of them.  I enjoy seeing my oldest comfortable in his faith and in this role.  Watching him grow in his faith has been one of the sweetest parts of seeing him spread his wings.
 Love the sweet expression here.  :)  Good friends are a blessing indeed!
Time to eat!  We catered food from Backyard Bistro.  It was yummy and I highly recommend.

 The table full of temptations was now able to be sampled too.  

 Rebecca and Christopher
 Emily and Rebecca
Sweet cousins!

Emily, Wade and Elizabeth
Well done lovely ladies and CONGRATULATIONS!

After 18 years, its  hard to believe that you are finished.  I've loved being your mom and teacher for all of these years.  I'm thrilled for you and the opportunities that await you at Liberty.  I pray that your faith would grow deeper and stronger as you seek God there.  I love you with all my heart and am so very thankful to be your mom!

More coming in future posts as we are getting ready for the transition to college.  Thank you for the many of you who have and are praying for us.  This is a life-changing event for all of us.  I am so very excited for Rebecca and am also going to miss you like crazy!  Rebecca, your life has had a huge impact in so many ways and I know that will continue - in new and different ways.

This summer has flown by.  In just 9 short days we will be dropping her off at college.  Can't believe that time is almost here.  Treasure each moment and rejoice in all that has happened.  Reminding myself of that daily.  Reminding myself that God has her in His hands.  


And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ, having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.  Phillipians 1: 9-11