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Beth-Anne White

Devotions

Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish

Confession.  (Some of you will be pretty upset about this.)  Sometimes I read the ending pages of a book before I finish it.  I like to know if I should invest in the story and certain characters. I have often attached myself to wrong characters and then don’t like how the book ends.  So if I know how it will end then I guide my emotions properly.  Also.  I like happy endings.  I’m a sucker for stories that are happy.

But sometimes I want a story that is harder to read.  A story that gets under my skin and makes me read slowly and pause as I read.  This is one of those stories to me.  The writing draws me in.  I love how Christa Parrish chose to write this story.  There are a lot of hard things dealt with in this story: mental illness, grief, trauma, forgiveness…  But it also shows how God is with us in those moments.

The publisher shares this about the book,

“Liesl McNamara’s life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.

But the simple life she has cultivated is becoming quite complicated. Her head baker brings his troubled grandson into the bakeshop as an apprentice. Her waitress submits Liesl’s recipes to a popular cable cooking show. And the man who delivers her flour—a single father with strange culinary habits—seems determined to win Liesl’s affection.

When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family’s past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, the baker must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in detachment and remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.”

I encourage you to check it out.  And be warned, it will also make you want to take a trip to the nearest bakery or get your own hands dirty in some flour.

Devotions

Preparing A Place

Jesus said to His disciples, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

Today as I read those words I understand it anew.  The preparation and how it is proof of the return.  Proof of His coming to bring us to where He is.

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You see, a year ago we had our home study for our adoption.  A home study is a study that is done through multiple interviews about the people and their pasts as well as a physical inspection of the house they live in.  This is to see if they are a safe place for a child as well as have the means available to provide for the new child.

Last year we had just moved into our house and it was a wreck as we had to gut the whole basement and tear out parts of the upstairs.  It was a mess.  And yet we were determined to have it ready for the home study.  Matthew and I worked after he got home until late in the nights working on projects. Family and friends came over and helped us.  We were preparing for our daughter.

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One of the requirements was that we have a room for our daughter.  And while it is currently serving as our guestroom it is her room.  I have all her things in there.  Little gifts from loved ones.  Clothes I can’t help buying.  A pink stuffed rabbit I purchased many, many years ago for my unknown daughter. A picture from an orphanage in China– the hand-prints, footprints, and wheelchair marks of children waiting for their homes.  Little yellow baby shoes.  It is her room.

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The preparation of the house, and of preparing her a room is proof of our love for her.  Proof that when the time is right we will go and bring her into our arms and family–that where she is, we will also be.  She won’t be alone again.

My preparation for our daughter makes me hear Jesus’ words in my heart.  Do you hear them in yours?

He says, “I have worked with love and tenderness on your own special place.  Each flower I planted, and wall I crafted was done with you in mind.  Each labor of love was done so that when you come home with Me, you will be able to see that all along I was loving you and waiting for the perfect time to bring you home with me.  You will never be alone again.”

Jesus’ love amazes me.  It makes my heart stutter with unbelief. Yet, as surely as I am preparing a room for our daughter so Jesus is preparing a room for me.  And for you.

Devotions

The Cadence of Grace Series by Joanne Bischof

This series of three books is one that definitely needs to be read together.  While you can read just the first book you won’t get the depth of the grace that Joanne Bischof wants you to read about.  Also, you will want all three because you won’t be able to wait to find out what happens next in them.

This series is based in the Blue Ridge mountains and is the story of Lonnie and Gideon.  Lonnie is shy and innocent. Gideon is worldly and has a past.  Both are about to learn what grace is and how it will forever change them.

This beautifully crafted book teaches what grace/selfless love is.  Each and every character will wrestle with what selfless love is and will learn to offer it.

Joanne Bischof weaves a tale of relationships with others but most of all God.  She doesn’t write in “preachy” way but lets the story speak for itself and the God who speaks to the hearts of the characters.  I like that each character has their own moments with God, whether it is what they want to do or not, they hear and heed His voice.

When I finished with the series I felt as if I had walked the mountains with each of the characters and come to know them better.  Every reader has their favorite characters but Joanne Bischof writes the characters in such a way that you cannot help but root for each of them in their own way.  To me the ending was less of a rowdy cheer, but more of the sweet peace that hope was found in selfless love.

I highly recommend reading the whole series.  Each book builds on each other, not only the story, but also that of what God is teaching them.  Each book is appropriately titled and really speak to the message of the book.

Devotions

Hope Hurts

Matthew and I were talking in the car about my aching heart and waiting to be matched in our adoption, and I said, “I don’t know if I should just mentally prepare that it will be another year, or keep hoping.  Hoping is painful.”

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Since that little conversation I have felt God showing me hope in the scriptures.  So I decided to dig deeper.  I did a study on the word hope, and I focused on the Old Testament.

I am addicted to this word and the meanings of it.  For all it represents and for how I am hoping onto hope—how I am bearing hope.

Here is what I found.

Hope is mainly translated in these ways in the Old Testament:

  • Expectation
  • Refuge
  • Trust
  • Wait
  • Be patient
  • Something waited for
  • To writhe in pain or fear

That last one especially made my eyes grow big in wonder.  God knows.

Hope is complicated.

It is full of expectation.  The kind that feels like sparkling water inside my chest.  Hope is a refuge when I can’t figure things out.  I hide in the refuge of hope because it cradles my heart’s dreams.

Hope is trustTrust in a God I cannot see and the promises I cannot see fulfilled.  Hope is to wait. Oh, the agony of this wait. Yet, if there were no wait, there would be no reason to hope because it would be already here.  So hope is truly something waited for.

But hope is not without pain or fear.  Indeed, hope is to writhe in pain or fear.  It is to tremble and travail.  This wait leaves us wounded and grieved.  Shaken.  Yet in the same painful hope we tarry, stay, waiting, trusting.  Because hope is all these things.  In this pain and fear we learn patience—which comes from this experience we are in—which leads back to hope.

And despite it all, hope does NOT disappoint us because God has pour out His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Whom He has given us (Romans 5:1-5).

And one day, this hope of writing pain and fear will be hope that dances.

The depth of the word hope is assuring.  All these feelings I feel with hope are real and validated here.  Hope is complicated.  And hope does hurt

But I hold on.

Because hope does not disappoint.

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May you too, hold on to hope even though there is pain in this waiting and expectation.  Do not give up.  Trust and wait in the refuge of God and know that your patience is not in vain.  God is pouring His love into your heart through the Holy Spirit during waiting and hoping…and remember God has said that hope does not disappoint.  Hold on to hope.  Hold on to God.

Devotions

Bearing Hope

Hope is a crazy thing.  I have never before dealt with hope the way I have recently.  I have often thought about hope as a beautiful and happy thing.  But what I am experiencing now is that hope is not only this beautiful thing but it is also this hard and painful thing. Hope is what you have while waiting for something, and if you have ever waiting for something very dear and precious you will understand this. 

My friend shared this book Bearing Hope on her Facebook page and just the synopsis grabbed me.  This book was for me.  It was written for me now.  So I bought it.  And read it in two days.  I was famished spiritually for the truths that were in it.

Here is the synopsis:  Longing for a child is like trudging through a desert. It’s a long, hard, lonely journey. The outcome is unclear and hope is often in short supply. But there is great news. You are not alone. And there is hope! This book is your inspirational companion, your “Desert Sherpa,” guiding you through a personal journey of healing. Within these pages you’ll find inspiring quotes and stories of women who have walked where you walk. You’ll find a way to give grace to people who say the wrong things, dump your burden bag, and recognize the hand of God in your story. Liv shares the good, bad, and ugly from her story and faith journey. She offers Biblical encouragement and hope that will quench your thirsty heart like rain in the desert. Whether or not you ever bear a child, you can still bear hope!

I loved that it allowed me to grieve. Sometimes I feel that in Christian books they can sometimes gloss over the pain. And then it shows you how God is near and you are not alone and there is hope. Bearing Hope is a perfect title because you aren’t always bearing a child but the hope for/of a child, and it is painful and hard but God is with us in it.

Liv Ryan is a gem of an author and person.  She agreed to share here about writing Bearing Hope as well as giveaway a SIGNED copy of her book.  I know that this book is going to be a blessing to so many people.

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Liv is a Midwest native who lives to inspire women to bear and share hope with the world. She is part-time writer and speaker and a full-time wifey, mommy, and coffee drinker. Hands down her favorite activity is Wednesday night date night, but tickling her three miracle babies is a close second. She heavily relies on her people, the Word, and foodie food to keep her sane. She survived the desert of waiting once upon a thirsty time, and lives to tell you that you will too. She sneaks away to write at livryan.com.

Here are her own words about her book.

Writing this book was a bittersweet adventure. “Bearing Hope” sure wasn’t the book I thought I would write when I quit my job to become a writer, 11 weeks pregnant with our first baby.

But our best laid plans aren’t always the ones God has for us.

My first day as a “stay at home mom/wife/writer” was the day I found out that our baby’s heart was no longer beating.

That was the start of what would be quite a long journey of loss, one that zapped me of any energy for the happy, inspirational things I had once planned to write about. It took over my life. Pregnancy, miscarriage, repeat. It was a pattern my husband and I couldn’t seem to break through. Along the way, we endured a failed adoption.

My goodness, though, you guys. God was doing a work in my heart through the big, fat mess. He was showing me how much I idolized becoming a parent. He was revealing my desperate need for His strength and grace.

He was the water I would have perished without in the desert of waiting.

Along the way, He gave me a dream to create a companion for women going through the same. (Because HOLY MOSES was it lonely. And tiring. And dark. I didn’t have the strength to lift my own head. I needed to borrow some courage and hope.)

It took me three years to complete the book, because way back when, I didn’t have much hope to share. But I’m in a different place now, and not just because I have three beautiful miracles through adoption and a biological miracle.

God has brought me into a spacious place because of His grace, and I dare not take it for granted.

He has charged me to write and speak and gush about his legit, never-gonna-let-you-down hope.

Hear me: I know you feel like tears are your food sometimes. But there is a day coming on which tears will never be able to roll down your beautiful cheeks. When that day comes, you and I will taste lasting fulfillment. And it will be glorious.

But for now, I am honored to bring to you this book that dares you to bear hope, whether or not you ever bear a child. Bearing Hope was brought to you by years of sweat, blood, and tears. And it’s here to be your inspiring, joy-filled, understanding, REAL friend with plenty of hope to share.

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There is a GIVEAWAY of an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Bearing Hope. 

Here is how to enter:

Share this blog on social media using #bearinghope AND #establishedingrace (Leave a comment here where you have shared it so we can check it out.)

Each time and place you share it will give you an extra point toward your name to win the autographed copy of Bearing Hope by Liv Ryan! So share and spread the word!

Giveaway will end midnight September 29th and we will randomly choose a winner and contact you as well as post it here.  So don’t forget to check back!

Devotions

Hidden Masterpiece Series by Kristy Cambron

Today I’m having my mom, Trudy Koeffler, share her reviews on these two fantastic books.  I have read them myself and loved them.  Here are her words:

The Butterfly and the Violin:

This book blended history, romance, intrigue and faith in a page turning, though provoking way.  I read a lot of history fiction regarding WWII but I learned things in this book that I never knew before.  I was also impressed with the way faith was woven naturally into the story by the characters’ lives and conversations.  The thoughts expressed by the characters were real, down to earth, honest.  The story made me think about what I would have done had I lived during those hard times.  Although the book dealt with some distressing issues it was a joyful book because it clearly showed the hope we have in God in all circumstances.

Sparrow in Terezin:

It was time for bed and I was just going to read a chapter before I went to sleep.  But when I started to read this book I couldn’t put it down and continued non-stop!  This is exactly how GOOD this book is!  This story will break your heart with its pathos and yet put it back together with the beauty of unconditional love and courage during the vileness of human atrocities.

Cambron weaves a story of modern day art collectors who face fierce trials in their professional and personal lives.  The story goes back and forth between their modern day lives and the life of woman journalist during WWII that gets sent to a concentration camp.  There are mysteries to be solved, questions of loyalty and who one can really trust and what does it mean to truly do as Jesus would do.

Carefully crafted with detailed historical accuracy blended with the human spirit of grit, hope and endurance combined with a faith the holds on with amazing love – This story is one that you will not forget.

Her conclusion:

These books are breathtaking in their raw pain that is superseded by God’s grace and love lived out by individuals in immense struggle.

Devotions

Miracles Don’t Always Look the Same

For a while now I have been reading through the Gospels.  I go slowly, one section at a time.  So I am only in Mark (and I get distracted by other studies, so I don’t always read the Gospels everyday). It was reading in Mark, however that I suddenly became aware of how different miracles can look.

Here are some examples:

  • Jesus took Simon’s mother-in-law’s hand and the fever left her.
  • A man with leprosy comes to Jesus and says, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”  Jesus touches the man, says, “I am willing. Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy is gone.
  • Paralytic man is lowered through the room to Jesus.  Jesus says He forgives the man’s sins.  Then says to take up his bed and walk, and the man gets up and walks out praising God.
  • A demon-possessed man runs at Jesus and Jesus says to “Come out of this man, you evil spirit.”  But then the spirit talks back to Jesus and Jesus has a conversation with this evil spirit and then casts the demons out into pigs.
  • A woman touches Jesus’ garments and is immediately healed.
  • Jarius comes to Jesus to heal his daughter, but on the way there the daughter dies, yet Jesus keeps going and raises her up from the dead.
  • A Syrophoenician woman begs Jesus to heal her daughter of an evil spirit.  He seems to ignore and push her away, but as she persists, He praises her faith and heals her daughter without even being near the little girl.
  • A deaf and mute man is brought to Jesus and Jesus puts his fingers into the man’s ears, spits and touches the man’s tongue, looks up to heaven and with a deep sign said to him, “Be opened!” The man is healed.
  • Blind Bartimaeus refuses to be silenced and calls out continuously for Jesus.  When Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus says, “Rabbi, I want to see.”  “Go,” Jesus says, “your faith has healed you.”  And immediately Bartimaeus can see.

 

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What is it about Jesus or the people that makes each miracle so different?

And what makes some miracles immediate and others have a process, a pleading, a waiting, a disappointment…before the miracle.

I’ve been praying for a miracle for our daughter to come home to us soon.  I still pray that daily.  And I wonder, if like Jarius, Jesus is coming with a miracle unlike I ever imagined, even though it seems like hope is gone.

I wonder if like the deaf and mute man Jesus is piecing the miracle together, and as I wait expectantly He smiles at the joy about to be seen and heard.

I wonder if like the Syrophoenician woman Jesus is testing my faith and persistence and is waiting just a little longer before announcing with joy, “You have great faith!”

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I don’t know what the miracle of our daughter will look like.  I don’t know what amazing story God is writing and about the reveal.  But I do know that like Jarius I won’t stop traveling with Jesus.

Like Bartimeaus I won’t stop calling out to Jesus to hear my case.

Like the man with leprosy I will ask for what seems like an impossible request.

Like the woman bleeding for twelve years I won’t stop trying to reach out and touch Jesus.

Like the paralytic I will have friends carry me to Jesus when I cannot do it on my own.

And like the Syrophoenician woman, I will not stop seeking God for my daughter.

What miracle are you praying for?  Search the scriptures and discover that miracles come in many different ways.  Some are immediate, some are delayed.  But all are for God’s glory and our joy.

I wait expectantly in faith for God’s glory to be revealed in the adoption of our daughter.

Devotions

Safe House by Joshua Straub, PhD

I think this is a book that all parents need to read.  There are so many books about how to parent, techniques and strategies (and they aren’t bad, believe me, I’ve read some to help my sanity! I’ve even shared one here) but what matters is the foundation of the family.  In this book I believe that this was the emphasis.  Emotional safety for your children is what matters most.  If they are emotionally safe, then you can figure out all the other things that come.

But don’t be deceived, this doesn’t mean the children get whatever they want.  There is a balance (the four walls of the safe house) between grace and truth, and exploration and protection.  The four walls, as the author says, need to be balanced.

I am glad that I read this, and would recommend it to any other parent.  I think the younger the kids are when you read this, the better.

My sister, Melissa, has been living out these truths with her two daughters.  Occasionally she posts a picture of her doing something intentional for her daughter and it is so beautiful and helps remind me to be intentional with loving Edmund as I should be.

Here are a few pictures to give you a little view into that world.  I hope they inspire you, the way they inspire me.

13167214_1073906609333144_1887809267_nIt doesn’t take a lot, but it can mean a lot.

Caption:

“For ME, Mama??” “You making me a smiley face makes me happy!!” #safehouse #trytobeintentional #atleastonceaday

 

 

 

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My niece is a brilliant chemist (seriously you should listen to her) so her lab set was waiting for her when she came home from school.

Caption:

#trytobeintentional #atleastonceaday #safehouse

 

My sister is creating a safe house for her girls and these are the small moments that are all a part of the beautiful safe home of love that she is building with her girls.

I highly encourage you to read this and begin building these four wall of grace, truth, exploration, and protection with your family.

Devotions

When Your Hope Is Gone

Music is a way that God often speaks to my heart and soul.  There is a song by Bebo Norman called, Borrow Mine.

The chorus goes this way:

You can borrow mine
When your hope is gone
You can borrow mine
When you can’t go on
Cause the world will not defeat you
When we’re side by side
When your faith is hard to find
You can borrow mine

This is what my friends have been doing for me.  They have given me hope and strengthened my faith.  They have texted, prayed, sent messages, and gifts that speak to my heart on days where I am just crying out to God in the pain of waiting to be matched with our daughter.

Less than a week after we had received the news that we wouldn’t get the file of a little girl we had been praying for I received this package in the mail from my friend Brooke.

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I wept into this gift.  This tangible reminder of her love, of our commitment to pray, and to know that some day I will wrap her up in this blanket of prayer.

You can borrow mine
When your hope is gone

Another time my friend, Jenn sent me this picture:

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This mirror is her prayer mirror and at the top are three names.  Thomas & Kate are her beautiful children, and right next to them is our Yín.  (The endearment we have for our daughter. We have not been matched with a child, we just use this endearment for her so she has a name.)  There have been many, many times where I have been struggling and God has impressed Jenn’s heart to reach out in a message or prayer to me and uplift me.

You can borrow mine
When you can’t go on

Last Friday another friend, Jennefer, sent me this picture.

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It is her “war room” where she does her best praying.  You see that red envelope standing out in the center?  That was from our red envelope fundraiser for Yín.  Jennefer wrote me and said: Just in case you ever feel discouraged that your sweet Yín isn’t with you yet and it seems like you will be waiting forever…just know I am waiting with you guys and praying. This is my “war room” where I do my best praying. Right in the middle is my red envelope and red thread and it reminds me of you guys and Yín and I am praying for her safety and her soon home coming too. Hang in there “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength…”

Cause the world will not defeat you
When we’re side by side

This past Sabbath was a very, very hard day.  It marked one year since we sent in our application to our adoption agency.  We’ve been waiting a year.  Today marks a year since they approved our application.  A year is a long time.  And my arms feel heavy in their emptiness.

But God knew that was coming and set up an event and friends who would hold me up.

My friend Charity felt impressed to pray about a certain concert and woman’s ministry event.  She felt impressed to ask me to go with her.  Another friend, Jackie, posted on Facebook that she was going and asked if anyone was interested.  I said, “Maybe.”  Then Charity texted me and invited me to go with her.  In the end Charity, Jackie, Krystal, and I all decided to meet up and go.

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That night ministered to my soul and these woman were such a blessing to be with.  I praise God for how He impressed Charity to ask me to go and how God never forgets a date.  He didn’t forget that it was a year and planned this, I believe, for my heart.

When your faith is hard to find
You can borrow mine

Thank you.  Thank you to all of you who have let me borrow your faith on this long hard journey.  Some of you I have never met in real life, yet you are some of the ones who carry me in your prayer the most closely.  We are blessed beyond measure for you.

I pray that I can be what these prayer warriors have been for me to others.

And I want to encourage you.  You never know how you are strengthening those around you or how you are a profound answer to the prayers of others.

These women didn’t know the deep pain I was feeling on the particular days they reached out, but God did and He used them to minister His love.

Devotions

Answered and Unanswered Prayers

The day we knew we weren’t going to get the file of the little girl we had been waiting for Matthew misplaced his wedding ring.  We looked all over but couldn’t find it.  I stopped to pray.  And shortly after I found the ring!

I wanted to share with Edmund because I want to teach him about God’s love and care.  I told Edmund how we had been looking for Papa’s ring and that Mama prayed to God to find it and He helped me find it!

Suddenly I couldn’t talk very well.  I felt chocked up.  And I said, “You know Edmund, God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want.  But He loves us.  And sometimes I think He answers the small prayer requests so that we have faith to keep trusting Him and keep praying to Him in the bigger ones, or the ones that seem like they are unanswered.”

Early that month Matthew had asked me,

“Why do you think God answers prayers about lost keys and such but sometimes says no to ones that we know He would want to say yes to?”

I didn’t have an answer then.  But now maybe I do in part.

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Last November I met a beautiful lady, Rachel.  She was battling an aggressive form of cancer.  I prayed for her and fought as a prayer warrior on her behalf.  Last month her earthly battle ended.  She now rests in Jesus.  She was one of those people who you could feel the peace and presence of Jesus in.  She leaves behind three little girls and a loving husband.  And my heart screams, “Why!?”  Why didn’t God answer this prayer to heal her?

A while back we lost a white truck and brown trailer that Edmund loves and I was praying to find it and I did! When I gave it to Edmund I told him that I had prayed and Jesus helped me find them. We prayed together to thank Jesus.

We had again lost this pair for about a week, and he kept asking and asking for it so I told him I had looked but couldn’t find it. His response? A smile and “Jesus.” So we knelt and prayed. And then we looked. All over the house. As we did I kept praying. I know it is just a toy but it is a faith moment in the making. Then I moved something and heard what I suspected was trucks. And there they were! I brought them out to Edmund and said, “We prayed for Jesus to help find your white truck and brown trailer and do you think He helped us?” Edmund was still and looking at my cupped hands. I opened them and his smile lit the room! He ran toward me and took his toys and we gathered to pray and thank Jesus!

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Does the pain still hurt when the answer isn’t what we prayed for?  Yes.  Very much yes.

But when I remember all the answered prayers to the small, “unimportant” things then I can remember that God is love and He is working for us, not against us.  These little answers are reminders that He is working powerfully for His children.

Devotions

Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

I saw this meme recently and it made me laugh.

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Parenting is one of those things that is amazing.  And seriously, there is something about them when they sleep…

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But parenting is hard and I feel like I’m always trying to read blogs, books, email/text/Facebook friends for advice.  The problem is that no one is like your kid and certain things work and other things don’t.  It’s just the way it is.

A good friend of mine mailed me this book as a gift.  She knows I love to read and shared it with me thinking I would enjoy it.  And boy was she right!

This is now my favorite (non-Christ-centered*) parenting book. What I love about it is that it is very middle of the road in many ways.  Parenting tends to fall into one ditch or the other at times and I just loved the common sense and practical approach to parenting that the Pamela Druckerman shares from observing French parenting as she lives there.

This particular copy has Bebe Day By Day in the back which gives you 100 French parenting tips boiled down to a paragraph.  It is great for those who just want quick ideas and don’t have a lot of time.

Here’s a quick example:

Pamela talks about not always praising your child for doing things or saying, “Good job!”  Instead you should ask if they enjoyed it or if they felt good about doing what they were doing.

Interestingly Matthew, my husband, was just reading me a quote to me from Child Guidance that says, “One great reason why so many children are forward, bold, and impertinent is they are noticed and praised too much, and their smart, sharp sayings repeated in their hearing. Endeavor not to censure unduly, nor to overwhelm with praise and flattery.”

Matthew and I talked at length about what that would look like and then when I read the idea from Pamela in Bebe Day by Day it made it an easy way to change how we talked to Edmund.  I still hug and love on him but I’m starting to ask him how he felt about what he did and if he enjoyed it.  That way he won’t be looking to me as his source of self-esteem.  Rather I pray that it is in doing what God has placed on his heart and how it feels to him.

There were things we are already doing with Edmund and things I’ve changed doing with Edmund because of this.  You might hate the book or love it.  But I highly recommend reading it.  It is entertaining and enlightening.  I also realize that this book came out a while ago, but since I just discovered it I wanted to share it with you in case you hadn’t already discovered it!

Every day I pray for wisdom, guidance, patience, understanding, knowledge, love, etc. to help me raise Edmund for God’s glory.  I think He answers many times through books, and to me this was a gift because I feel it gave me new ideas.

I hope you enjoy it!  What are some of your favorite parenting books?  I will share more of mine later.

*Obviously there will be some things that as Christians we don’t agree with but the book is so great you can ignore those parts!

Devotions

Segregation with Toys

There is so much on the news about prejudice and hate recently.  So when my son, Edmund was playing with his farm set I noticed something.  Edmund wanted to group the animals with the ones that matched each other.

He put two horses in the fence and I asked him if he would put a pig in with the horses.

“No,” he said smiling.  I said, “Let’s let the pig be friends with the horses.”  And I put in the pig with the horses.

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It may not seem revolutionary but I realized in that moment that sometimes it is natural to group things. But even in little things I want to teach my children to be inclusive.

A week or so later we were playing again and I asked Edmund if we could put the sheep, pig, or rabbit in with the horse.  At first he said, “No.”  And he smiled. But then he did change and put the rabbit in with the horses.

It’s a small step, maybe totally insignificant but it is a step to showing him that we can include others and not to segregate based on any reason.

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:28

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35

I feel like such an amateur parent at times but those verses are what I am trying to teach him.  To teach him that we are all one in Christ Jesus.  To teach him to love others.  All others.  One thing at a time.  In simple ways now that I hope will continue to influence his thinking in bigger ways he grows older.

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What are ways that you are teaching yourself, others, your child about how to include others and not have segregation? I would love to hear your suggestions.