You, Your Kids, and the Bible


ESV Kids Bible

We have so many kids’ books in our home.  We have them in our cars, in our living room, in the toy box, upstairs in both of their rooms, in our master bedroom on our nightstands, and in the hallway outside their rooms just in case they need to find one on their way to the stairs. And we get more every month.  Yes, I give some away, some to other moms, some to our church nursery rooms, and some to goodwill.  If the books are very well worn, then they just go in the recycle bin.

However, out of all the books we have, the only one that has authority, power to change their little hearts, and shape their souls and hearts and actions is the Bible.  It is the belief of “sola scriptura”.  One of the five solas of the Reformation.  Basically, (taken from wikipedia) it is :  the Christian doctrine that the Bible is the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice. Sola scriptura does not deny that other authorities govern Christian life and devotion, but sees them all as subordinate to and corrected by the written word of God.

And that is one of the reasons I love Crossway and the ESV Bible.  They publish books that are so full of Scripture and are such a good help to their readers.  They also design great Bibles, for adults, and children.  I personally have used their Journaling Bibles for almost 10 years now and LOVE them.  And one of their new ones is a hardcover ESV Children’s Bible.  Think back to the 70s and those picture Bibles:  Now, erase that memory from your mind’s eye and picture realistic pictures, larger print, maps to help your children get a heart for the world that God so loves, and a concordance to help studying the word easier for little minds.

Here’s a simple way you can ease in to family worship if you don’t already do anything.  Using this Bible:

  1.  Start in the Gospel of Mark, one of Paul’s letters to the churches, the Psalms, or even Proverbs (especially if you have older children).
  2. Read a short passage.  Have them read it if they can read.
  3. Talk to them about who God is, who Jesus is, what the passage says about man, and what it says about the gospel.
  4. Pick one verse the passage to help your children memorize.  You may stick to that one verse all week, or depending on how old your children are, you may do a few a week.  Kids can memorize the Word of God!
  5. Pray with them.  Pray the Scriptures you just read.  It will help them understand them.  Pray the Spirit would give them a new heart that loves the Word of God and loves the Jesus who died for them.

Family Worship doesn’t have to be long and hard and have a lesson plan written out.  It can, or you can just read the Bible with your kids, talk about it, and pray.  And believe me, the Spirit will be molding your heart as well.  His Word is good like that.

Thank you Crossway for this Bible.  All opinions are my own.

Doodling the Word

posted in: Bible, Uncategorized | 0

doodling the word

Everyone has gone through phases in their spiritual journey where focus and energy and excitement about the Word has been less than enthusiastic.  I remember hearing a great word from the woman in my life who loves and knows the Word the best and it went something like this :

even when you don’t feel like it – keep doing it – be faithful – God will bring fruit and excitement

That is so true.

One of the ways that I stay focused in my time in the Word (both during studies, classes, services, and personal devotions) is doodling.  Most people might read that and say that I’m not focusing or I’m tuning out – but on the contrary.  Doing something with my hands engages my mind and actually helps me listen and engage more (internally, as I’ve gotten less apt to speak aloud in a class).  Doodling helps me focus on certain words in the Word or in the book or from a sermon or class that is being taught – or maybe its a lyric from a hymn.  Doodling helps me remember what I’m learning.  And isn’t that the point of Psalm 119: to get the Word in you so the Spirit can help you remember it when you need it – which is always?!

So, I thought I would share some tips – if you want to start doodling, or drawing, or lettering, or anything:

  1.  The focus of doodling is not you – but it is engaging the Word into your mind.  An example: as I was lettering Jeremiah 29:11 this morning, and as I prayed it for a pray names art I did for a sweet little boy in Virginia for a Christmas present – I was thinking of the words wholeness and know that are in that verse.  I was thinking of the verses after it.  I was thinking that these verses are especially popular for kids and teenagers, but how true are they still today when I’m a wife and a momma of two little boys and we don’t feel settled in life and don’t know what is next.  Even then – even this morning – I need to know the truth of that verse. How sweet the Word is to my soul!
  2. Grab a pencil or any writing instrument you want.  I use micron pens a lot, I love pencils, I love Staedtler pens and Le Pens too.  Whatever you want to write or doodle with.  Just grab it.  It doesn’t have to be name brand or cost much of anything.  You can grab dollar store pens and have them on hand for all that doodling.
  3. Start doodling.  The good thing with doodling is it doesn’t have to be perfect.  And its your doodles.  I doodle words mostly because I’m not a good artist.  I love lettering – always have.  I’ve always loved writing, journaling, writing out prayers, etc.  And experiment.  If you really like some lettering you’ve seen – try it out.  You’ll never know unless you try. Pinterest and Instagram are great places to start if you want to find some new fonts to try out and practice.

That’s all there is to it.  Happy doodling.  And I pray that your doodling is fruitful in helping you understand and meditate on the Word!  And this is a great summary of Don Whitney’s thoughts on meditating on Scripture.  You can do a lot of this by doodling – not just thinking.

This Christmas Week in the Charming South Kitchen

posted in: Christmas, food, Uncategorized | 1

Christ is Bornchristmas

Food is definitely a love language of mine – so I love to share it with others – especially my little men.  I’ve felt so bad that in this busy toddler and preschooler season I’ve not cooked near as much as I normally do – and I think my men suffer for it.  But, hopefully I will get these done this week:

Grinch Popcorn

Royal Icing (both of these are for a little Christmas cartoon party we are having at the house tomorrow)

Nutella Cinnamon Rolls (CEve breakfast)

Croissant Breakfast Bake (CDay breakfast)

PW Rigatoni and Meatballs

Garlic knots

Caesar Salad

Lemon Cake with Sugared Cranberries (Happy Jesus Day cake) = this is our first year doing this.  I’d like to make a main cake each Christmas and have it be Jesus’ birthday cake.  Sing happy birthday to Jesus and maybe start giving a gift to Jesus (our Lottie Moon offering, or gift to another Gospel-centered something)

Lemon Curd

Orange Curd

Chocolate covered pretzels and Chocolate Ritz PB Sandwiches (both of these are my my mister bc he loves them)

I think that will be it.  We’ll eat normal stuff or leftovers the rest of the week!

Merry Christmas yall.  Thanks for reading this little blog!



Traveling Healthy During the Holidays

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Healthy Holidays

Over the river and through the woods.

In a one-horse open sleigh.

Grandma got ran over by a reindeer.

Walking in a winter wonderland.

No matter how you travel this holiday season, you definitely want to arrive safe, stay safe, and return to your home – hopefully without a trip to the hospital!  I have already traveled over this holiday season with my two little boys, and I wanted to share some tips with you!

  1.  Eat healthy.  I know, crazy, and hard to do. But, this helps!  If you pack some fruit in the car, get applesauce, clementines, or fruit pouches when you go in for lunch at your favorite lunch place while traveling, and definitely if you get those fluids going.  This is especially hard when you are aiming for speed on your trip – because diapers need changing and if you are potty training then you stop often.  But, just know that fluids really do help your body (and your little one’s body) stay healthy!
  2. Get exercise.  When you get to your destination – and even on the way – incorporate exercise into your vacation plans.  My boys love parks and would play all day!  And at those rest areas, do some jumping jacks or run around in the grassy areas.
  3. Be prepared.  If you son or daughter takes medication, be prepared with how much you will need.  If they have allergies, make sure you understand the place you are going and what you might encounter.  Always know where a medical doctor is.  Whether it is a clinic, an emergency room, or a hospital – this is crucial.  We usually go places we know for the holidays, so I always know where places are.  But, if I’m going somewhere new, I would use Amino’s great guide to help you find what you need in your time of stress.  All on one site, too!
  4. Be loved.  Stress is such a killer during the holidays.  Whether its the traffic or the relationships, look on the bright side, slow down, love.

And with that, happy safe and healthy travels.  Thanks Amino for the hint!

Sundays in the South

Gigi's Truffles

Yesterday I was in 70 degree weather – and this morning all I wanted to do was cuddle under the blankets and stay there all day.  30s-60s isn’t bad – but 70s was so delightful!

There is something so inviting about Florida.  I grew up in the central part of the state. Familiarity, warm breezes, Carolina blue skies, hay bales, wide open horse pastures,

This soup would be good on any cold night – just combine with some naan bread or homemade loaf.

I write for Her View From Home and for December I did a very short and partial dream kitchen list.  Go check it out for every cook on your list of people to get gifts for this holiday season.

Um, how about these for Christmas morning breakfast?

I got an opportunity to share some health tips and a bit about my weight loss journey over here.


A Creative Space

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Creative Space

I’ve come to learn that you really can be creative anywhere: in the car (thinking, hopefully not driving while you are coloring), in a doctor’s office waiting to be called, during your children’s nap time, while listening to a lecture (I multitask pretty well), or my fave place – on the beach.  But, I can’t always get to the beach – and I seldom have quiet time at home with two boys 3 and under – but I still love to be creative.

My ideal work space is definitely not what I have now – but I am thankful for what I have now.  We live in a small-ish town home so my desk (that we got as a wedding gift) is in the corner of our living room.  It has a mirror and a huge window so I’ve got lots of natural light.  I have a little set of drawers that my parents had had forever that I took (with their permission) and repainted with Annie Sloan in a wonderful teal.  I recently repurposed some shelving that was in our son’s room and brought it downstairs to make the tight space more manageable and warm.  When on a tight budget, like we are on now, it is better to repurpose then to buy new.  I love having all my paper, markers, pens, ink, and books!  It definitely helps to have a space to write on – and not just pulling up a lap.  And my husband appreciates me not always taking over the dining room table!

creative space at home

Now, with my ideal space: I would have beautiful pottery barn baskets to hide the “stuff” and anthro pens holders (but I do love my Talenti Gelato containers).  I would have it in a closed room so I could leave it more messy sometimes if I’m working on a big project (like addressing wedding invitations which is my weekend project).  I would also love more bookshelves because I love to read and I think reading spurs on creativity.  And I would love a big comfy chair to curl up in!  And I know laptops are great but I would love a massive mac for photo editing.  And, when I worked as a curriculum writer for a church in NC, I had a round table in my office.  I would mostly work there instead of my desk and it was perfect for having collaborative meetings – definitely get one of those too!  A girl can dream right?

WeWork has inspired me to talk about my ideal creative space.  They rent out creative shared office space in (mostly) big cities to creatives who need to have a studio or just a desk.  It is really helpful for creatives to be around other creatives.  Something about being with creatives that really spurs me on – even if its just talking about our creatives muses or collaborating on a project.  If I have the chance to do that once the boys are in school, and there is one in whatever city we live in at that time (currently live in the metro ATL area), that that would be great for writing and photo editing, especially.

We Work



This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

PeppersOk – I know this blog post is a little late, but thanks for still wanting to see what we are cooking this week.  My in-laws are here this week and friends from out of state and its my son’s birthday (today!) so we are busy over here.  Doesn’t stop me from cooking though!

Made this enchilada soup and it was good – will be great for leftovers this week – and it is SO EASY!

Bought some persimmons at TJ this week and grilled a TBone tonight – give me a good piece of meat and I can make a darn good steak!

These whoopie pies are going down in the morning

This chocolate cake is happening for my little’s birthday party with family on Thursday


Transformation Tuesday: Why I Practice yoga

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Transformation Tuesday and yoga

Transformation Tuesday isn’t just about the scale.  Its also about changing your body and your mind.  There is much change that has to happen in your body to be able to practice yoga well.  And in your mind.  And I’m not there on either level.  The pictures above are 2 years apart and about 60 lbs.

I started practicing yoga about 7 years and then took a break when I was pregnant and gained a ton of weight and could hardly do a cat pose to save my life.  But, since I started back in my healthy journey and have lost quite a bit of weight, I want to change my body as well.  Two dvds I really love in yoga world is JM’s Cardio Yoga and Bob’s Weight Loss Yoga.  Both in their upper levels kick my tail!

I can tell a total difference.  Sometimes I think I’m working out a muscle group well – then do some yoga and totally feel it the next day.  I must not be working out as hard as I thought.  But, I also like having a variance in exercising.  I do like how I can tell which side of my body needs more stretching out or which side I’m more balanced on.

I did a post years ago that I thought I would re-post some of  on here.  I think this tells how I can practice yoga and be a Gospel-centered believer.  As a friend said, we need to be vigilant on ideas that might fight against Christianity and the Spirit within us – but at the same time fight against legalism as well. This hopefully is a balance of the two.

First, to set everyone on the same terms, I pulled up our trusty friends at Merriem-Webster to find out the definition. This is what it said:
1. Yoga: a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation.
2. yoga: a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being.

I completely agree with the first definition of big Y Yoga and do not practice little y yoga for the purpose of big Y Yoga.  You can separate the two. Of course Scripture tells us to fill our minds with things of the Spirit, Col 3.1-3 and Phil 4.8 and all through Psalm 119. This is what I like to do when practicing these exercises, or I listen to praise music, or I focus on what I am doing so I don’t fall over.

I think you can. How can putting your foot on the inside of the opposite thigh (tree pose) be an evil or cult or false-religion thing? How can stretching out your hips by laying forward in a pigeon pose be evil or anti-God? I think the movements, exercises, or little y yoga is actually good for us because it is allowing our bodies, or my body, to be healthier, to move better.

God created our bodies. He created them to move. When I practice yoga, and move my body in the ways that God has intended my bodies to be: healthy, mobile, active – then yes, I am using my body as God created me to – to bring Him glory. I can thank Him and praise Him for making my body to move, to be active, to be healthy, so I can do things that will bring glory to the only God of the universe, the great Creator. Why must an unbelieving false religion have hold and rites on this exercises and poses?

I don’t practice yoga poses to make me more acceptable to Christ. His blood bought my salvation and redeemed my life. I can freely choose to do yoga because of the freedom Christ has given me. There is nothing evil in the poses themselves. What we do with our minds and hearts while practicing these poses (or running, doing aerobics, walking, swimming, biking, hiking, surfing, etc) is important.

If I truly thought that practicing the exercises in yoga was hindering my walk with Christ, I would stop. But, I do yoga poses for the same reason I hike, bike, run or walk or lift weights: to make my body better. This is something the church seldom touches on, because we live with such obesity and gluttony and laziness. But, I don’t think there is a need to knock out these exercises.

Two words in closing:
1. If you are in a predominately Hindu culture, seeking to live out Christ, no, I would not recommend practicing yoga, even the poses, because of what it might convey to the folks you are trying to reach with the gospel.
2. This, just like many other issues in Scripture that aren’t blatant black or white, comes down to Christian liberty and the “weaker-brother” principle. So…here is my personal conclusion. I can practice this in my own home and not announce it on facebook. My roommate is not bothered by my practicing these yoga moves. I can practice it with one or two others who know my stance on the subject and don’t have a problem with it. Should I go to a studio and practice it, no…because I do not know who I might offend, or who I might lead to believe that I am practicing Big Y Yoga.

A cat’s pose and triangle pose and tree pose definitely help my core and sense of balance.  And help my jeans fit better!

Sundays in the South

Here's some Coffee

Most everyone I know is in some sort of weather today produced by Hurricane Joaquin.  Maybe you are loving it – maybe you’d rather have sunshine.  I love storms and wind – but I actually thrive on sunshine.

So, while some of you may be stuck inside today because of the weather, I thought I would send you some link to read up on:

I usually make muffins once a week in our kitchen because it is so easy for my misters’ breakfasts.  These will be coming soon because I have everything in my kitchen already.

If you get really tired of meal planning – maybe these templates will help you out and bring on the food creativity.

Are you aspiring to more in the kitchen?  Maybe you need to start with these?  I want to make my own bucket list of recipes.

Having worked for Williams-Sonoma for a few years, I loved reading this story.

Coffee With Danielle of The Little Things Workshop

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Here’s a new Friday and a new introduction to a new friend!


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 Hello!  My name is Danielle and I’m brand new to the maker scene! Well, I’ve been a maker all my life, but now I’m a seller too! I opened my shop, The Little Things, less than 6 months ago. Grateful to be a part of the maker community!!

I have a degree in Interior Design, which I put into practice in Atlanta for 6 years. Then something stirred inside me and I developed a huge heart for missions.  I spent about 5 years working for a small overseas missions organization.  God has me taking a step back for a season.  It has become perfect opportunity to open my shop! Something that’s always been a dream of mine. I’m back in my home state of Michigan. Currently my “day job” (as I like to call it) has me working at the front desk of a counseling office. When I’m not there, you can find me working in my shop, attempting to stay Paleo, playing with my nieces and nephews or scrolling through social media!  Ha!

If we could sit down at your favorite coffee shop together, where would that be and what would you be drinking?

So hard to decide!  There are lots of little coffee shops where I live in Grand Haven, MI.  Today I would pick The Bakers Wife and I’d be drinking a hot green tea.  If I were still in Atlanta, my favorite has always been Land of a Thousand Hills in Roswell.

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I love your state-designed prints. How did you get started in those?

Thank you! Since Michigan has a rather unique shape, I’ve seen Michigan themed designs for a long time.  It seems that “state love” is not just for Michigan any more and as popular as ever, so I couldn’t help myself!

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Where did your love of design come from?

I think I must have been born with it!  I even remember sketching houses when I was little.  My mom is super-woman when it comes to all things creative – basket-making, sewing, quilting, collages, even baking.  I must have some of her genes because I get so much joy from designing, creating and making anything and everything!

What is your favorite medium to work with and what is the thing that inspires you the most?

Favorite medium? I don’t know if I could pick!  I started with cards and prints because I’ve always enjoyed it and I had all the supplies just waiting for me.  There are so many other things I enjoy though!  Including sewing and lots of random Pinterest inspired projects.  This may sound silly, but thrifting inspires me!  I go with my mom a lot and I’m constantly seeing things and thinking “I could make that into something!”

What are three things in your life that you can’t live without?

I need my quiet time!  If I don’t get even just a little in the morning, my entire day feels off.  Music.  I’ve pretty much got it on 24/7.  And a list!  Whether it’s hand-written or digital.  A calendar or a task list.  Work or personal.  I just need a list!

You mention your love of Jesus, please share something he is teaching you about himself and how incorporate that truth into your art.

Right now I feel like He’s teaching me how to rely on Him MORE!  I see His strength kicking in when I have none.  Not so much physical strength, but that sustaining grace that helps me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I hadn’t thought about how I incorporate that into my work, but I will be from now on!  Some of the quotes on my prints come from ideas that have settled in my heart.  I’ve had lots of different thoughts about how my shop could have a kingdom-impact, and I haven’t landed on any of them yet.  I’m hoping in the near future to figure out how to dedicate a percentage of my proceeds to support work in the 1040 Window.

Go show some love to Danielle!