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Monday, July 30, 2007

God-Centered Children's Books

"What are some good, God-centered books for children?" a sister in our church was asking a few of us yesterday, so I decided to do a little research. My wife and I read a few of these regularly, and I found the others from trusted ministries and websites.

Here's my first list:

The Big Picture Story Bible by Paul Helm: excellent coverage of salvation history, following the creation-fall-redemption-restoration line; Christ-focused, Scriptural, and heart-aimed.

Big Truths for Little Kids by Susan and Richie Hunt: combines catechism with stories; practical, realistic, and basic.

The Gospel for Children by John B. Leuzarder: a basic Gospel presentation for children; God-centered, thorough, and simple.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: classic stories of the magical land of Narnia that highlight various truths about Christ, imaginative, innovative, and unforgettable.

The Dangerous Book for Boys by Hal and Conn Iggulden: a book written to renew a love for masculine things in boys and men; thorough, fun, active, and challenging. Get it to remember that God made boys to be men and nothing less. (*This book is not written by believers, nor does it make any explicit references to God, but we found it to be God-aimed nonetheless because of its view on masculinity.*) A powerful, man-shaping tool in the hands of a believing parent.

"The Christian Logic Series" by Nathaniel Bluedorn: both The Fallacy Detective and The Thinking Toolbox are written to teach adolescents and adults how God gives us reason and logic to think about the world; thorough, practical, and illustrative.

God Knows My Name by Debby Anderson: reminds children (and moms) that God cares for His people, even in the details; illustrated, practical, and simple.

The Bible Explorer: God's Truth from Genesis to Revelation by Carine Mackenzie: "a Bible reference tool for children," going through the canon with summaries and key texts; useful, thorough, and thought-provoking.

Ten Boys Who . . and Ten Girls Who . . series by Irene Howat: "a series of four books designed to introduce children to post-biblical heroes of the faith;" faith-giving, awe-inspring, and history-teaching.

Find the Animal series by Penny Reeve: four volumes designed to produce amazement and wonder in young children at the creative hand of God by showing exciting features of specific animals; each book is devoted to one animal in a detective style. "Guess which one this is!" Great for teaching about God's creation.

My God is So Big by Catherine Mackenzie: aimed at young children and utilizes the popular song for which it is named; teaches the next generation about the gigantitude of God.

Resources for finding and/or reviewing children's books:
I'm sure there are more, so keeping letting me know and I'll keep posting them. Hope this helps for now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Baby Present Ideas

It seems like every time I turn around another couple I know is having a baby! Which means that baby shower invitations are on the horizon. And this has me thinking, "What would a really great baby present be for new parents?" Having just had a baby myself and having a few months to reflect on what was helpful, what wasn't, and what I wished I had received I thought I might share for those of you who are also about to start hitting the local Babies 'r' Us.

Great Baby Presents:
  • Books for the baby
  • Gift cards to Blockbuster
  • Diapers with scripture, songs, or anything written on them to make diaper changing more fun.
  • Wipes!
  • Stain remover
  • Gift cards to get pictures developed (trust me - they can use this!)
  • Toys for various stages of the first year
  • Gift cards to the grocery store
  • A meal given when the baby is two months old
  • Offers to babysit
  • Money for doctor's visits - there will be a lot of them! (Julie S. gave me this idea)

Also, after the baby is born, here are a few things that some moms might find helpful:
  • Instead of asking if they need anything from the grocery store, just get a few staples and take them to their house (cereal, fresh fruit and vegetables, a frozen meal, etc.)
  • When you stop by for a visit, ask if there is anything you can do and don't take "no" for an answer! Find something to wash, clean, or fold.
  • If you take them a meal, dessert, or snack try to take it in a container you don't need returned or at least offer to pick it up instead of having them take it back to you

I may post more as I think of things - or as others tell me what was helpful for them!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Girl of Many Faces

Time is ticking away! It's already the end of July and I feel like summer just began. Do you remember when you were a kid and you felt like the days were an eternity long and your parents told you that time speeds up as you get older? I guess I'm "older" now.

Charissa is almost six months old! And she is developing into quite a little lady. Occasionally people ask me if I'm bored staying at home with a baby all day, and I always emphatically answer "NO!" I wish they could spend the day with me and Charissa sometime - she is very entertaining! Just her facial expressions are entertaining ... and she's nonstop action (just like her Daddy). And here's the proof:

Charissa loves the swing! In fact, she's wondering when we're
going to stop taking pictures and push her again

This is Charissa's first time at the beach!
And she's kind of skeptical of sand - just like her Mama.

This soft, wet sand is weird!

She's not sure she likes the beach.

I know you can't see her face but this picture is so funny to me
because she literally fell asleep when I was changing her into her
bathing suit to go to the pool. Too tired to go swimming!

Isn't that funny? She looks both happy and angry.

While we were at the beach Charissa got to know her cousin
Dirk and decided that he makes her list of "Fun People to be Held By."

Charissa was supposed to be playing in the floor gym, but instead
she rolled away from it - and took the bunny with her!

She's watching television. Totally captivated.

This is her new favorite toy, and mine too
because she can't go anywhere!

Daddy + Swings = Big Fun!

So small and yet so much fun! I love my little girl!

Monday, July 16, 2007

July Weekends

This month sure has been fun, and hectic. We've been to three weddings, two road trips, one family vacation, and four different grocery stores. Highlights have included:
  • better times with Jesus
  • many good conversations with each other
  • playing with our baby in several different pools
  • getting rid of the many, many computers in our bedroom
  • Big B getting a haircut
  • playing settlers with the Haynes and Woods families
  • eating the most gigantic vacation dinners we've had since . . . we can't remember when
  • going on neighborhood walks
  • sitting on the front porch and reading
  • gettting an big family portrait while dressed as outlaws and barmaids
  • giving our time and lives to those we love
  • laughing a lot, especially with our friends
  • reading our Bibles more
  • seeing two wonderful, God-loving couples get married
  • seeing some good movies (Bridge to Terabithia, Band of Brothers episode 1, and To End All Wars, among others)
  • making up funny songs about rolling and diapers and all sorts of stuff
  • watching our baby roll across the living room floor in less than two minutes
  • getting lost on the way to Youngsville
  • meeting new friends at the local park
Well, that's all for now. I just wanted to remember, and laugh some, too.