Happy Easter

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He is Risen!

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, two women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” He is not here; He has risen! – Luke 24:1-5

Happy Easter!

March 30, 2015

Guest Blog by Pat Baer

My then three-year-old “Twinkler” and I met Pat Bear nearly eight years ago at Baymonte Christian Pre-School in Scotts Valley, California. Pat is an amazing woman, leader, and educator! I’ve invited her to guest blog this week, and I love her challenging insight as a parent/grandparent! Reflecting on It. encouraged me think about my use of technology and how it impacts my children. Please welcome Pat Baer!

Blessings, Rebecca

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Pat Bear lives in Santa Cruz, CA, married to her high school sweetheart. Although formally retired, Pat continues to teach an consult early educators. She believes in the early years are the most influential in shaping who we become. Jesus is her Savior and the driving force behind everything she doe. She enjoys writing, walks on the beach and any three-year-old who will play with her.

for mary riceday at the park

Just Another Day at the Park

Parks are a terrific place to watch parents with young children. Sunny weekday mornings seem to beckon stroller-pushing moms and their preschoolers to come visit.

A recent trip to a local playground proved to be insightful for me. I spent a morning enjoying, observing and pondering the world we live in.

This particular day four moms and ten children happened onto the play area where I sat. Kids ranging in age from infant to prekindergarten spilled into the equipment area toting Sippy cups, jackets, shovels and even a teddy bear. Their moms sat on nearby benches.

Shortly after arriving, phones surfaced from their purses and pockets and remained in hand most of the morning.

Whether the mothers were chatting amongst themselves or checking in with their kids; the phones continued to scroll, text or snap pictures with noticeable regularity.

I realize technology is here to stay and this is the new reality children are growing up with, but I have to wonder what the residual effects will be as this generation matures. What messages are being imprinted in the minds and hearts of our children.

The mothers I observed were not unique. They could be found on any playground of any neighborhood across the US.

Apparently we think we’re expert multi-taskers.

I observed one of the women checking her phone every couple of minutes at the same time she chatted with her friend and watched over her three children. I can’t help but think somebody in the mix was short-changed as she multi-tasked.

Perhaps it was the mom herself.

I wonder if she saw her 4yr old son give a comforting hug to the little girl he knocked over at the bottom of the slide. Or if she noticed the inquisitive grandmother stop and chat with her daughter playing alone in the sandbox. Maybe neither of these scenes would be majorly life-altering, but they were definitely missed.

The phones were also used to take pictures. One mother followed her adorable daughter around the play area like paparazzi with a superstar. She tried to take candid shots, but the 3yr old was way too photo savvy for that. With each approach the little girl would turn, pose and belt out a big bold, “Cheeeese”.

What messages are we sending through our photo obsession? I wonder if we actually miss the essence of the moment by trying so hard to grab a lasting piece of it with pictures.

Our phones are a piece of equipment designed for communication. My concern is we’re communicating much more than we realize through these small devices.

When the day has ended and the sawdust emptied from small shoes – there will be messages sent through the airwaves that had nothing to do with pixels and photographs.

Little people will do what we do.

They will cherish and value what we cherish.

They will learn to speak as we speak.

Consider visiting a park. Try taking off your shoes and turning off your phone. I guarantee you’ll be better off for it – and so will our kids.

Guest Blog by Iola Reneau

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I met Iola last year at the Mt. Hermon Writing Conference, and we instantly connected. She’s a dynamic woman who has persevered through life’s many ups and downs; including the loss of her husband. This week, I invited her to share her thoughts on parenting. You may follow her writings at www.iolareneau.com. Please welcome Iola Reneau!

Blessings, Rebecca

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Time equals Love:

Sometimes we hear a word that is so simple but yet so incredibly powerful and profound that it is life changing. When I heard the statement in children’s ministry “time equals love to children” it had a huge impact on me.

I didn’t have parenting role models in my life growing up that demonstrated healthy loving relationships or many resources as a young mother and baby Christian either.  I thought that being able to stay at home and available 24 hours a day was really fulfilling that statement, but I was wrong.

And in the middle of my multi-tasking, chaos God gave me a revelation  that just because I was physically with my children did not mean I was mentally or emotionally available to them, and that led me to prayerful consideration of what my time spent with my five little children looked like. And it didn’t look good.

I realized that I obsessively cleaned house, I was overly concerned about the right clothes, and educational ability and a myriad of other unhealthy standards. I thought these were what a mother was supposed to make sure their children should have and that to do less would make me a bad mom. And then there was that awful word “multi-tasking” it had become like a mantra for me.

But the statement “Time equals Love” would not leave me alone, I knew that I was being spiritually dealt with.  It was one of those moments when I could almost hear God saying, “Pay attention, this is the important part”.

And so I began to prayerfully pay attention and these are a few take always that I learned from that one small statement “time equals love”, of which I praise God for using in my life to change the course of manic mothering to create a very cool and present mom experience.

  1. Kneel down and make eye contact with all children while talking, playing, correcting.
  2. Smile and really listen to them without out interrupting.
  3. Laughter~ Laughter~ Laughter
  4. Hugs then look them in the eyes and smile.
  5. Crazy Play Time~Be Silly
  6. Walks Together~Park Time
  7. Story & Library Time
  8. Quiet Time Together
  9. This should be #1 Share God Moments with your children.

Pray together. Share stories of how God has answered specific prayers for you, your family and others. Talk about how amazing everything God created is, especially them.

If we do this while our children are small, it is more likely that when they are teenagers they will want to talk to us and listen to what we have to say, because they will know, there is no one else other than Almighty God who loves them the way we do. I know this is true because four of my children are adults, the youngest is seventeen, and they are all open and comfortable sharing with me and staying in communication. I believe it is because God taught me this valuable lesson.

Guest Blog by Barbara Taylor

There are many ways we can impact children’s lives. One way is to sponsor a child. I’ve invited fellow Author, Barbara Taylor, to share why she sponsors children. Barbara is a former businesswoman with a passion for serving children living in poverty. In fact, she’s the Santa Cruz Area Ambassador for Dress a Girl Around the World and loves telling others about what God is doing through this ministry to raise the esteem of girls living in poverty near and far. In addition, she loves to write and tell stories from her heart. Some of her work is published in club newsletters, community newspapers, Compassion International blogs, and Angels on Earth magazine. Please welcome Barbara Taylor!

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How to Launch a Life

So, who was it? When did it happen to you?

According to Wess Stafford, former President and CEO of Compassion International, we all have those moments we recall when someone said something to us or did something for us that launched our life. In fact, Dr. Stafford collects these personal stories and compiled them into a book that I love called Just a Minute.

He states, “I am convinced if God places a child before you, if even for a moment, it is a divine appointment. You have a chance to launch a life, if you will. You never know when you are making a memory.”

His book gave me cause for pause as I knew it rang true in my life. For me, if not for my third grade teacher, I doubt I would be writing this today. She encouraged me to write simply by asking what I wanted to be when I grew up. Since I  loved reading, I blurted out, “An Author,” without really much thought.  “You would be very good at that, Barbara,” she said with such credibility. The fact that she cared what I thought and saw my potential spoke volumes to me.

After reading Just a Minute, I have been on the look-out for ways to pay this affirmation forward to the children God places in my life. My children are grown now and there aren’t any small grandchildren around yet. So, I have to seek out opportunities to connect with youngsters. Most of my encounters are through corresponding with children I sponsor through Compassion International. My husband and I have even traveled abroad to visit some of our sponsored children. Are we really launching lives? I wonder.

This is Tahiri.

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Blessings, Rebecca

PS Se Habla Española? Me Gusta Comer Fruta and Me Gusta Comer Vegetales are now available in paperback!

Beauty from Ashes

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Ever experienced a loss? I have, and shared it today at Twin Lakes Church Women’s Blog Resonate.

I’d love to hear your story of survival!

Guest Blog by Columba Lisa Smith

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There are a variety of educational choices for parents to select from; one being homeschooling. I’ve invited fellow Author, Columba Lisa Smith, to share with us her reason for choosing to homeschool. If you’re interested in more information on homeschooling or single parenting, check out her site Single Mom Faith. Please welcome Columba Lisa Smith!

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What Every Mom Should Know about Her Quirky Kids

When my oldest son was about two, I noticed him poking a stick into the living room carpet.

“I’m digging for worms,” he explained, the way other boys might tell their moms they were playing cops and robbers.

One of the reasons I chose to homeschool was my kids’ personalities. My children were not your cookie-cutter variety. This would have made things challenging in a conventional school setting.

I enjoy reading the journal I kept of their antics:

  • I opened the kitchen cupboard today, and found Emily’s shoe sitting in a pan with two feathers sticking out of the lace holes.
  • Today, after I made Elliot’s bed, I told him to straighten his stuffed animals. He lined them up neatly, all facing the wall.
  • At dinner, I asked Caleb how many stars are in the sky. He looked at me like I was dense, and said, “All of them!”
  • Caleb is recovering from a cold. He says he feels “slightly ignagorative.”
  • Today, Emily said, “Mom, can you imagine when I’m 20 and you’re old and in a rest home?” And, “Oh, Mom! You look so much better in that coat!” When Caleb opened his birthday gift, she indignantly blurted, “I had to pay ten dollars for that!” (All shared with permission!)

So you see, I homeschooled them partly for their own safety! I didn’t want peer judgment to quash their uniquely developing personalities.

As my kids grew, I realized their quirkiness was an elemental expression of their developing gifts. My oldest son has always constantly thought up inventions, and is now studying engineering. My second is an insightful writer and budding comedian. My daughter’s bluntness is morphing into fierce yet tender passion about various causes.

Even at home, it’s impossible to protect our children from unhealthy input. It can come from family members, including ourselves. Although I love the way each child is different, sadly I’ve sometimes caught myself judging their unique gifts, instead of recognizing that God instilled them into my children for a purpose.

Of course, it is important to recognize and correct bad attitudes and wrong-doing. This takes practice and discernment. We prune with one hand and water with the other. Kids need both.

What unique gifts have you noticed in your children?

Blessings, Rebecca

PS Do you have a future Paleontologist in your home? “I Like Dinosaurs,” is now available in paperback!

Seeking Wholesome Children’s Books

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve struggled to find good, wholesome books for my children to read. So much of the reading material on the market is dark or incorporates inappropriate language.

Just this morning I received an e-mail from a fellow Author, Bill Myers, expressing his concern about the direction of publishing children’s books.

“…But I am so alarmed at what is happening to children’s books. N.Y. publishers are pushing for homosexual and transgender themes while several Christian publishers are abandoning children’s books altogether or asking that they not mention Jesus Christ (to sell more books). I guess “alarming” is an understatement.”

Since I can’t regulate everything my son or daughter read, we agreed as a family, to screen what we see or hear. If we encounter inappropriate material, we stop it immediately. For instance, if the kids come across vulgar language, they close the book and find something else to read.

In accordance with this week’s theme, I’ve invited my ten-year-old daughter, Alicia, to share her review on a clean book she’s discovered, “11 Birthdays,” the first in the Willow Falls series by Author Wendy Mass. Please welcome Alicia Krusee!

Angelna De’Lago is a mysterious person that lived in Willow Falls for years. She protects Amanda and Leo to not have their birthday over and over again. But Amanda heard Leo say something mean and threw out a magical seed that protected her from having her birthday all over again. So, Angelina De’Lago helps her find that seed so she can finally can have the day after her birthday (Saturday).

I like “11 Birthdays,” because it is very adventurous and helps you learn how to restore a long lost friendship. Also, I like history and “11 Birthdays” has the history of Leo and Amanda’s Great Great Grandparents and how they were enemies and then became best friends all by fixing a window.

What children’s books do you recommend?

Blessings, Rebecca

PS Do you have a future Paleontologist in your family? I’m thrilled to introduce my latest book, “I Like Dinosaurs!” Christy Shults has created adorable dinos your child is sure to love!

Guest Blog By Dianna Cornell

Families come in all shapes and sizes. Our extended family plays an important role in our lives. I’ve invited my friend and fellow writer, Dianna Cornell, to guest blog today. She’ll share her insight on being an aunt with us.

Personally, my extended family play an integral part of my life; especially growing up with a single mother. They were her key to success.

When I was six, my Aunt Etta Ruth flew with me Grayville, Illinois to visit my Grandma. There, I experienced a Midwest culture. Who knew you could eat supper and dinner?

Then, there was a time when I was 16, my Aunt Donna drove me to Washington state from California to visit my Aunt Mary. I’ll never forget my first big road trip!

Today, I keep in touch with an aunt in Washington, two in Montana, and two in Illinois.

I hope you enjoy Dianna’s Journey as an aunt as she’s an amazing woman who has survived a tumultuous medical history sprinkled with miraculous healings. You can learn more about her story on her blog!

Please welcome Dianna Cornell!

Blessings, Rebecca

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LIFE AS AN AUNT

I step into the world of another, and I see life from a different view.  What is an Aunt? What is my role as an Aunt? And does an Aunt have a voice. Children are a true gift. They have great value for who they are, not for what they can do.

At the beginning I thought my role was to love, help and be available when needed for the children. But this is only part of my role, at least in my life. But then, I noticed it was important to listen to what the children really had to say.

My nieces have mentioned to me that I played an important role in their lives when they were a child. They could be open with their secrets, thoughts and feelings without judgment. In return, they would listen to what I would have to say, pointing them in a positive direction. Letting them know, whatever happens in their life, they will always be loved.  For who they are, not because of what they can do.

There were times I would voice an opinion on certain matters to parents. Some would take offense, or I would take offense and at other times they would listen, taking what I had to say in merit.  Have I crossed the line, should I have been silent? Or did my voice matter? As an Aunt at times, I may have crossed the line. Then there are times I should be silent. However from the fruit that I see sown in my nieces, my voice did matter.

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Bio: Dianna Cornell

I am a kidney transplant survivor over thirty years, and 52 years old. Jesus is my passion. I am with the prayer team at “Hilltop Ministries” as well as the “Women’s Encounter Room” in Santa Cruz. I have had my story written, “Do I Have a Choice.” To remember all that God has done and to tell others the good news that God loves them. I love where it says in the bible that God breathed life into us…Man is that not amazing! He breathed life into you.

Because I was in and out of hospitals from the time I was 9, I grew up fast. I have had over 25 operations. Lost my hearing, paralyzed from the nose down and had to learn to walk again three times. God healed me, over and over again. Through all this suffering I have come to know the Lord in a deeper way. Who I am is a big part of who he is. My life would not be whole without God. The words that I speak and the life that I live are because of him.

Dianna’s Journey blog:     www.diannacornell.wordpress.com

Hilltop Prayer Meeting:       www.hilltopministries.com

Women’s Encounter Room: www.weradvancingfreedom.com

“Tween”age Concerns

Recently my two tween children asked me some difficult questions. I’m familiar with my son asking for the latest Lego set. However, I wasn’t prepared when he asked if he could have an Instagram account. I’m also accustomed to my daughter asking for American Girl items. Yet, I wasn’t prepared when she asked me if she could start wearing make-up.

So, I conducted a poll on my Facebook page and wanted to share the advice I received from other great Moms in case you too struggle with similar issues.

As for the Instagram account, the majority of parents allowed their children to start at age 13, and they closely monitor their child’s activity and friendships. Good to know since, my boy will turn 13 in a few short months!

As for make-up, most parents allowed their daughters to wear make-up starting in 7th grade. They highly recommended a skin care consultation to teach her how to take care of her skin. In addition, they recommended a natural look. Great insight! Phew, I still have two more years to soak this one up…

Parenting can be challenging sometimes, but it is rewarding. I write along side some wonderful Authors for our church blog, and appreciate their life stories. If you’d like you may read  Resonate blog.

Lastly, I wanted to share my latest beginner reader with you, “I Like The Ocean.” Together, you and your child can read about some of the things you may see in the ocean.

Blessings, Rebecca

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