• Children's Book Recommendations

    A friend and I were texting the other day about children's books as she is expecting her first grandchild soon. I was excited to send her my recommended pregnancy books and told her when I had time I would send her our favorite children's books too. When I was taking pictures today, I thought I should write a blog about them and share them with all of you too! 

    I've made it a point to buy Aila and Avie books that are focused on character-building and learning about Jesus and His truths. I've even went as far as to pass along or donate most of our books that didn't really go along with that focus. So many kids books don't seem to have much point other than to tell a random story about princess or an animal on an adventure, for example. If it is extra educational (involving math, learning letters/grammar or facts about science, history, etc), promotes building character (kindness, patience, or emotional intelligence), or if it speaks truth about the Godhead, then it stays. Pretty much anything else gets passed along. 

    So here are thirteen of our favorite books in our house: 

    1. It Will Be Okay, by Lysa TerKeurst

    The first time I read this book to our girls I lost it--full blown crying and my girls were turning and looking at me like I was...well, their momma (because this happens quite frequently when you fill your house with books about Jesus). It's just really good-- it's about trusting God to take care of us, even when life gets scary.

    2. Does God Know How To Tie Shoes, by Nancy White Carlstrom

    This books is a little different in that I think of it as very abstract, or maybe imaginative? But I love that it incorporates scripture in conversational form as we do with our kids every day.

     Here's a sample:

    3. Next up, Just In Case You Ever Wonder, by Max Lucado

    This one I cried the first time reading too-- it is heart wrenching in a "I just want my girls to know about God more than anything else in the world and know I love them and am here for them no matter what" kind of way! We love this one. 

    See what I mean? 

    4. In My Heart, by Jo Witek

    This one is focused on teaching kids about their feelings. It doesn't mention God in it, but I think it's a great tool for increasing emotional intelligence. 

    5. I Talk To God About How I Feel, by Stormie Omartian

    This one takes emotional intelligence to the next level by inviting the Lord into those turbulent emotions. The pages of this book take kids through lonliness, fear, worry, anger and hurt. It teaches how to tell God about those emotions and tells of what God does and says in response. 

    6. Psalm 23, by Richard Jesse Watson

    This one is nothing but Psalm 23. I love that the girls can learn scripture and have a mental image to help with that memorization process. 

    7. Have You Filled A Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud

    This book shines in the concept and is a little lacking on the design and wording. I think it rambles a little and could be shortened by about half, but the idea that everyone carries an invisible bucket and it's up to us whether we fill each other up or tear them down is great. It dives into bullying and how people who "dip" into other people's buckets in an attempt to fill their own end up sad and empty. I would be so happy if Aila and Avie got this concept into their hearts forever and they strive to always be "bucket fillers".

    8. The Tale of Three Trees, retold by Angela Elwell Hunt

    Oh, this is a sweet story of dreams, patience, sacrifice and perspective. This one may make you tear up too, if you're anything like me. 

    9. Win Or Lose I Love You, by Lysa TerKeurst

    10. Thank You, God, For Everything, by August Gold

    This one truly is golden for walking alongside 'Daisy' through her journey of learning all she can be thankful for to God. Young and old will benefit from reading this book of gratitude.

    11. If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart, by Jill Roman Lord

    This sweet hardback book has been perfect for beginner babies learning about God. It's short, rhymes, and talks all about what it looks like if Jesus has set up residence in our hearts. 

    12. What Happens When I Talk To God? by Stormie Omartian

    This book is all about prayer! It is a little long (as I have found all my children's books are by Stormie Omartian), but it covers so many aspects of prayer--where and when you can pray, if you have to speak out loud, what to say and more. Let's teach our kids to pray when they're young so when they are older their prayers will be natural, confident and unashamed of talking to God in private or in public!

    13. His Little Princess, by Sheri Rose Shepherd

    Lastly, this book is one of favorties and we've started giving it as a gift along with one of these glittery, stretchy crowns at birthday parties. It is for little girls and speaks of their true value and identity as a daughter of the Most High King. I believe little girls would grow up to be less insecure, less shame-filled and more dependent upon the Lord if they confidently knew of their true identity. It is written for God's real princesses and is not a fiction, fairy tale book--genius. 

    Just look at this sample: 

    Well, those are some of our favorites! I didn't include any of our children's Bibles because there are so many out there. If you have any character-building and/or God-filled books you and your little ones love, please share them in the comments!

    Happy and healthy reading, 


  • Surviving, Friends and Empathy.

    Surviving, but not quite thriving. 

    That's where I am--teetering between both. We had our second baby girl last December, she turned 12 weeks old a few days ago and our oldest turned two years old in January. Both are in diapers, both wake up to the other crying in the middle of the night and both always seem to be hungry at the same time. I am functioning, surviving, getting just enough sleep and putting meals on the table, but I look forward to the days of thriving again! 

    That being said, I am incredibly grateful for the moms God has placed in my life recently! Through various Bible studies and 'Moms Connect'-type groups I have had the chance to get to know lots of moms in all different stages of raising their kids. What I appreciate most is they get it. Whether they have four young ones or just had their first, they seem to understand that it is so hard! I very much appreciate being able to share how tired I am or how frustrated I am and these moms have listened! They haven't said back, "Well, I can beat that...I have THIS going on." They don't try to compete with how bad their life is or was and it is so refreshing! They just have empathy. Oh, sweet empathy.

    "Empathetic people can "walk in your shoes" and feel your feelings without judgement or advice. An empathetic person is for you. No matter what you say or reveal about yourself, this person is on your side and wants to help, even if she disagrees with or disapproves of what she hears." ~Safe People by Henry Cloud and John Townsend {emphasis mine}

    Doesn't that sound amazing--just to talk with someone and have them listen and feel for you and that's it!? I feel like this is so uncommon!

    I do have a few people in my life whom I specifically ask for advice, but I can honestly say I don't want it from every person with whom I talk. Surely I'm not alone in that!? God has provided me an amazing support system and a 'fruit-bowl' of people that I can go to--some for food questions, others for cloth diaper questions, others for sleep training, beauty tips, house repair, etc. I don't for a second pretend I know what I am doing in life by myself. It wasn't until I learned about my identitiy in Christ that I became secure enough to ask people for help and glean from their experiences. It seems so backwards that the more secure I am, the more comfortable I am knowing I don't have it all together. Regardless, I am so thankful. 

    I am thankful for my messy, giggly, whiny, hungry girls. I am thankful for these women God has placed in my life after years and years of praying for friends. I am thankful for empathy. And I am incredibly thankful for my sweet, sweet heavenly Father who provides it all.