Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Don't Want to Raise Successful Children by Lysa TerKeurst

Lisa posted this devotion on the Proverbs 31 ministries blog recently.   It has such a powerful message, that I felt like it should be shared.   I hope it encourages each of you as much as it did me.

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

I don't want to raise successful children. That's a shocking thing to read, and a shocking thing for a mother to type. So, let me clarify.

I used to define success according to my child's report card. Good grades and academic achievement would surely equal a good child with great potential in this world. But then several of my children wound up being average students with average grades. Though we carted them off to tutors and spent many a late night at the kitchen table helping them, they remained average. And I remained concerned and frustrated.

One report card day I found myself facedown in the fibers of my carpet crying and wonderi ng, "Where have I gone wrong as a mom?"

I dug into Scriptures. I begged God for wisdom and discernment. I prayed for God's perspective with each of my kids. Finally, one day it dawned on me - what if I simply chose to embrace the natural bent of each of my kids as God's way to protect them and keep them on the path toward His best plans for their lives?

What if my A student needs academic success to prepare her for God's plans while my average to below-average student needs to be steered away from a more academic future? What if my sports star kid needs that athletic excellence for his future assignments by God, but my benchwarmer kid is being protected from getting off course by her lack in this area?

And that's when it finally dawned on me. My job isn't to push success for my kids. My job as a parent is to recognize the unique way God created each child and point them to Jesus at every turn along their journey toward adulthood. Yes, I wan t my kids to learn and thrive and grow up educated, but it's not a flaw in me or them if they don't have straight A report cards and trophy cases full of sports medals.

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (NIV).

I am challenged to ponder these words, "… in the way he should go." Are we training our kids that the "way he should go" is to chase worldly achievement or to chase God? Whatever they learn to chase as a child, they will chase as adults. Therefore, we must be challenged to honestly assess the way we are pointing them to go.

My daughter, Hope, is one of my average students. She has also warmed many a bench in the sports she's tried, and can always be found hiding on the back row of the stage during school concerts. Using the world's benchmarks for achievement, Hope wouldn't be seen as a child positioned for success. But God…

This past January, my 15 year old Hope, shocked me when she announced she wanted to go to Ethiopia with some missionary friends of ours and live in the remote African bush for the summer. Yes, she may not have trophies and straight A report cards but she does have a heart of gold. And because she's not entrenched in sports and academic pursuits that could have created obligations for her summer, she was free to go to Africa. Free to chase God in a really big way.

One of the first e-mails she sent me from Ethiopia read, "Mom, I've fallen in love with the AIDS orphanage children. They rushed at me when I held my arms out and I tried with all my might to hold all 30 of them at once. I love it here."

Now, don't get me wrong. I do expect Hope to return to her studies this fall, give 100% effort, and finish her high school career having done her very best. She will most likely then go to college. But she probably won't be delivering the valedictorian address or wearing the honors cords and medals. She'll be the on e with a vision of a dying AIDS orphan pressing against her heart ready to chase God's plans to the ends of the earth.

So back to my original statement, I don't want to raise successful children. It's true, I don't. Though Hope's sister coming behind her is an A student and can always be found on the front row of school performances - we don't chase after success for her either. I trust God that she needs those things in her life for the plans He's unfolding in her life. We train with that bent in mind. But, we don't chase it. Just like Hope, we point her in the direction of God at every turn and pray like crazy.

I stand by what I said and I'll say it again, I don't want to raise successful children. Because--- raising God-honoring adults who will set the world on fire for Christ is just so much more rewarding.

Dear Lord, being a mom is a really tough job. Please help me, teach me and show me how to define success for my kids. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Visit Lysa's blog to watch a video of Hope's trip to Ethiopia

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst

The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:

Spend some time specifically praying for your kids today and ask the Lord how you can train them according to the way He created them.


What worries about my kids do I need to ask the Lord for His perspective?

How should I define success for my kids?

Power Verses:

2 John 1:4, "It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us." (NIV)

Matthew 19:14, "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" (NIV)

© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 25, 2009

May His love, peace, and joy fill your hearts and homes as we celebrate our Savior's birth today!   Merry Christmas to you all from our family!

Christmas blessings,


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Real Reason

Excitement and joy are filling the air;

The lights add special decor.

We're shopping for Christmas gifts everywhere,

But are gifts what Christmas is for?

The wreaths and the trees and the parties

Aren't what we need to convey;

It's the birth of our Savior, Jesus,

The real reason for this holiday.

By Karl and Joanna Fuchs

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Christmas Acrostic

I saw this somewhere on the internet the other day and thought it was worth sharing.   It definitely helps keep the meaning of Christmas in perspective.

C is for the Child born that night to be our light. (John 8:12)

H is for holy is His name. (Rev.4:8)

R is for rejoice with gladness & joy. (Luke 1:14)

I is for Immanuel, God with us. (Is.7:14,) John 1:14)

S is for the star that led the Wise men to Him. (Matt.2:2)

T is for the truth & grace that was sent our way. (John 1:14)

M is for Mother Mary laying Him in swaddling clothes in the manger. (Luke 2:7)

A is for angels singing songs of joy. (Luke 2:14)

S is for salvation.

- Johnnie DesRochers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christ Centered Ideas for Celebrating Christmas

Here are several ideas for daily activities to do to keep Christ in the center of your Christmas.   Perhaps you could write them down on a piece of paper, put them in a basket and pick one out for each day.   

Make a birthday cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday!

Make thank you notes to use after Christmas

Attend a live nativity scene together

Learn a Christmas hymn to sing as a family

Go shopping for together for Angel Tree gifts

Read an uplifting Christmas classic like "A Christmas Carol" together as a family

Write down on paper, roll up and tie with a bow a gift you are going to give to the Savior this year

Write letters and make cards to send to loved ones or our military far away

Make cookies together and secretly leave at someone's doorstep

Make bread to deliver to neighbors or shut-ins with a tag that has a Bible verse on it

Color or paint a nativity scene and hang it in your home

Watch an uplifting Christmas DVD together

Make dinner for a shut in

Help children write a story about being there at the manger on Christmas night

Write a note to a missionary

Make a Christmas advent wreath and read a scripture each night as candle burns

Go for a night time winter walk and enjoy the beautiful stars and talk about the special star that appeared at Christ's birth

Determine a need and perform a service anonymously

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Here's a chance to win a free quilt! Be sure to check it out.

Marie Madeline Studio (aka The Long Ladies) is hosting another lovely quilt giveaway. This time they are giving away one of two of their lovely “Happy Scrappy Quilts!

The one on the far left is the lovely and elegant “Darla” quilt, and the one on the far right is the crazy, wonderful, and bright “Garden Party”quilt! I had a hard time choosing my favorite.

Head over to their blog HERE to enter in the giveaway and let them know which one you would like to win. Also, please tell them that I sent you over!



Saturday, December 5, 2009

Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas

I saw these ideas posted on a site and wanted to share them with you.  They are really good, frugal ideas and if you're trying to stretch your money this Christmas, these are great ideas.

Eight Frugal Family Gifts by Molly Green

One of my favorite gift-giving strategies is to focus on family gifts rather than individual gifts. This approach is an effective means of saving both time and money, two very important resources, especially this time of year! Deciding on one large present is much quicker than choosing several individual gifts. In fact, I can often find an appropriate family gift to fit several families on my gift list. One large gift is often less expensive and of better quality than several smaller, individual gifts. The fact that a family-oriented gift encourages families to take time to have some fun together and enjoy one another is a wonderful added bonus!

A little creativity in presentation can make all the difference between an average gift and one that feels special, so make the effort to be creative. For example, rather than just hand my college-student nephew a fast food gift card for his birthday, I asked for an empty fry container from the restaurant when I bought the card. Then I made sugar cookies, cut them to look like french fries, and put them in the fry box along with the gift card. A little extra effort gave a rather plain gift some pizzazz! Since my family ate (and enjoyed) most of the batch of cookies, the cost of the few “fries” in the gift presentation was very minimal.

Over the years, I’ve built up a repertoire of gifts that families love to receive. Take a look at some of the following ideas and see if one isn’t just what you’re looking for. Present it with some creative packaging and I’ll almost guarantee you some happy gift recipients!

Movie Night

One of my favorite, not to mention easiest and least expensive family gifts is the Family Movie Night package. I take a white cardboard paint tub from the hardware store and fill it with a 2-liter pop, several bags of microwave popcorn, some large boxes of candy from the dollar store and a movie rental coupon. I create a gift card to look like a filmstrip or ticket stub. A tub like this can be made for well under $10 and is easy to mass produce if you have several families you’d like to remember. You can also bump it up a notch by using a large glass, plastic, or metal bowl and including DVD(s) rather than a rental certificate.

Super Sundaes

Who doesn’t love ice cream—especially when you get to make it just the way you like it? This gift looks extra special when presented in a big basket (from the thrift or dollar store, of course). Include a bunch of bananas, various toppings, sauces, nuts, and a $10 grocery store certificate for the purchase of ice cream and whipped topping. Search your dollar or thrift store for inexpensive sundae glasses or banana split dishes to give the gift some extra punch. You could also include long dessert spoons and/or napkins. Don’t forget a jar of Maraschino cherries! Create a gift card that looks like a banana or tub of ice cream.

Fun and Games

A family game night package is sure to be enjoyed. Depending on your budget, you can include inexpensive card games or a more expensive board game. Visit a game store and you’ll find a surprisingly large selection of both types. Snacks could range from popcorn and candy to cheese, sausage, and crackers, to a batch of your favorite brownies or cookies.

Christmas Morning

We had a friend who gave us the same gift every year and I always looked forward to it with eager anticipation. On Christmas Eve day, she would deliver her homemade version of Cinnabons® along with a Mason jar of homemade hot chocolate mix. These yummy treats were intended for us to enjoy on Christmas morning. This gift was inexpensive and simple, but was always a favorite to receive.

Get Corny

I don’t know anyone that doesn’t love popcorn. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to put together a gourmet popcorn gift basket. Make up some caramel corn or popcorn balls, but don’t stop there. Search the Internet for “flavored popcorn recipes” and find everything from Jello® flavored, to pizza, to ranch, to cinnamon popcorn. I even found a recipe for cranberry popcorn balls! Package each flavor in its own tin, box or basket and label appropriately. You can even go the extra mile and include recipes so the family can recreate their favorites.

Winter Warm-Up

Buy a great puzzle that the family can work together, include a cute or comfy pair of socks for everyone and some fancy hot chocolate, and you’ve got the makings for a cozy winter evening. Include a wonderful apple pie or vanilla scented candle to help set the mood. You could even bake them a real apple pie, for that matter!

Sports Fan Fun

Sports fans will appreciate a gift based around their favorite team or sport. Set the tone with a homemade Sports Fan Hand and, just for fun, include a mini football, basketball, or homemade pom poms. Depending on the sport being highlighted, you might include seat cushions, hand warmers, sun visors or knit caps, all in appropriate colors, of course. Be sure to include water bottles, trail mix, and peanuts.

Book Lover Basket

Are you giving to homeschoolers or a family of book lovers? What about putting together a package with personalized bookmarks and book plates? These elastic bookmarks are unique and easy to make. An Internet search for “printable book plates” will provide you with lots of options. You could even make your own from scrapbooking papers or buy some at your local bookstore. Include a great family read-aloud or even a favorite book on CD.

So, can you save time and money this year by gifting families instead of individuals? I hope these few suggestions have given you some inspiration. Bless a family with a gift they can enjoy together, and boost your budget at the same time!

Molly Green is passionate about cheerful, creative homemaking on a down-to-earth budget. Visit her online home, www.Econobusters.com for tips on frugal and tasty cooking, fresh decorating ideas, affordable family fun, simple but effective organizing, and much more! Sign up for her free weekly E-Newsletter, and get a bonus menu-planning E-Book too!

Molly’s favorite project is her monthly Money-Saving Digest. In each issue she features columns on decorating, hospitality, parenting, and more, as well as one featured topic, like working from home, education, frugal vacations, family organization, or gardening.

Molly is learning that frugality means freedom, not drudgery, and it can be fun, too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Creating a Fun-Festive-Fall-Family Celebration…

Here’s a Free Thanksgiving Guide that you can download and it also comes with free giveaway rights.

Here’s what this guide covers…

- Eliminate the stress from Thanksgiving planning

- Help kids learn what Thanksgiving is all about

- Tips to getting that turkey ready

- Setting the perfect Thanksgiving table

- Centerpiece ideas

- Thanksgiving craft ideas

- Avoiding weight gain during the holiday season

- Tips for eating healthy during the holiday season

- Tips for sticking to your diet during the holidays

- Healthy eating holiday plan

- Healthy alternatives for the holiday

-Planning for your leftovers

- Some traditional Thanksgiving recipes

- Healthy recipes for the holidays

- Some alternative recipes

- Recipes for using your Thanksgiving leftovers

- Some coloring sheets

Click to download:


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mosiac cornucopia - this is so pretty!

The cornucopia, or horn of plenty, is the symbol of abundance often representing the fall harvest. As a result, fruits and vegetables adorn our holiday tables and symbolize the wealth of food for the coming year. Make your own cornucopia this holiday season!

What you'll need:

1 sheet of plain white paper

1 sheet of black construction paper

Half sheets of construction paper: brown, black, purple, red, yellow, green and orange

White craft glue


Pattern of a cornucopia

Place white paper over the pattern and trace the pattern lightly with a pencil.

Trim white paper if needed to fit evenly in the center of the black sheet of construction paper. Glue in place.

Tear (don’t cut) remaining construction paper into small squares, about ½” – 1” in size.

Using the penciled pattern as your guide, glue torn pieces onto the white paper in this order:

Brown – horn

Black - horn mouth/rim

Purple – grapes at top

Red – apple to the right, below top grapes

Purple – eggplant

Red – apple below eggplant

Green – leaves below apple

Yellow – apple below top grapes

Green and yellow – corn cob

Green – leaves below corn

Purple – grapes below corn cob

Orange – pumpkin

Glue torn pieces on for stems – brown for the grapes and pumpkin and black for the eggplant. You may also add stems for the apples if you prefer. Allow to dry completely.


Use this project to help explain why we give thanks during the Thanksgiving holiday and how the cornucopia symbolizes our bountiful harvests.

Save extra torn piece for another mosaic project.

Hang this on the refrigerator or the front door. Add a piece of yarn to the back as a hanger or hang up with a magnet.

Thanks to http://crafts.kaboose.com/holidays/seasons/fall/index.html for this beautiful Thanksgiving project idea.



Saturday, October 24, 2009

Apple activities to do with How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

Different apple varieties work better in different recipes. Learn how to read a chart by finding out which apple varities go best in a pie and which are better for eating fresh. Chart available at http://www.michiganapples.com/pg25usage.pdf.

Be sure to take a field trip to an apple orchard if there is one nearby.   We found that the prices were much cheaper if we picked them ourselves or if we bought a big box of them.   We'd eat apples we had picked until Christmas.

Select an apple recipe to make and have fun making it with your child!  My children are 19, 15, and 12 and they still remember making apple pies when we read this book. 

Enjoy making memories with your children!