The other night, I posted on Facebook, “People have been talking to me nonstop today. That’s probably not quite accurate, but it feels like it is. Is this what being a parent feels like?” In minutes, I had 25 comments from friends in the parenting trenches, adding things like, “Never. Ever. Stops. My kids even talk in their sleep” and “Bonus points if they were also tugging on your clothes and wiping snot on you.” I clearly hit a resonant topic.
You might be in the trenches right now. You might just want TWO MINUTES of quiet. You might have gotten up at 5:30 a.m. or stayed up far too late to find it. Wherever you are, whatever situation you find yourself in—we’re on your side.
Around the Web
Parents, Take Note of the Spiritual Practices Common to Kids Who Flourish As Adults
LifeWay Research has released a new study that examines the common practices of the homes of children who remained spiritually faithful as adults.
- Parents, don’t take the biblical proverb “train up a child” and treat it like a promise, assuming that if you do everything right in your parenting, your children will turn out right. Proverbs are general truths, not specific promises. Besides, when we consider the overall context of the Bible, we see how counterproductive it is to try to train our kids to trust in God if what we model for them is that we trust in our training.
Early Reader Stories and Resources
My friend Annie Beth Donahue has developed a great resource for parents as their kids are learning to read. Her early reader stories about kids with special healthcare needs just doing normal stuff are fun, engaging, creative–and online! If you’ve got a young reader in your home, I encourage you to check out Annie Beth’s stories about the Jacobs family, and the videos she has developed to go with each one!
- Have you met the Jacobs family yet? They love to make new friends. Here’s where you should begin.
A new friend was coming to play. They had never been to the Jacobs’ house before. The children were looking forward to the visit.
Mom was worried. She thought the house was messy. Twelve-year-old Matt said, “The house is only a little messy. It is messy enough to be fun. We can play in this mess.” Mom did not like that answer. She told Matt to go clean the bathroom.
What the Wind Goes Whispering: An Exploration of Longing in The Wind in the Willows
Chris Wheeler is at the Rabbit Room exploring the classic Kenneth Grahame story.
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is perhaps my favorite book, or at least in my top ten. I rarely re-read books, but this one is an annual read for me, and only recently did I think to explore why I have loved and continue to love this story so much.
Over the years since I discovered it, I’ve grown to love the characters, the settings, the language, and the respectful grace Grahame imbues into his story.
When We’re Not the Woman We Were Before Motherhood
Amelia Rana writes at Risen Motherhood on what she has become.
- Just two years ago my husband and I spent the majority of our free time involved in incarnational ministry in our inner-city community. We didn’t have children yet. My twenties were a time of striving to live a radical life of prayer, evangelism, and generosity. Then we went to India to adopt our daughter. During that time, we also became pregnant. In one year, God gave us two precious children. Our entry to parenthood was jarring and demanding as we navigated parenting our shell-shocked adopted daughter and learned to meet the needs of our newborn.
I emerged from the fog with the assumption I would jump back into ministry. However, as I reflected on years prior, an ache began to grow. At some point during the uncertainty of international adoption and the intensity of labor, my global perspective shrank. At some point during the all-night nursing sessions and hours of cradling my mourning preschooler, my passion for missions “out there” grew faint. At some point during the moments of joy and delight, I started to close my hands around my blessings.
The unthinkable happened: I had changed.
Around the Warren
Holy Imaginations on Vacation
Jeannie Whitlock looks at the questions of how we bring our holy imaginations into the world around us–even on vacation
- Well, I guess we won’t be riding elephants.
Today’s naptime brought me two children cozied into their restorative alone-time, and a lot of information about Bali’s most horrifyingly destructive tourist activities.
It didn’t start out that way. I’d tucked the kids in, then began researching fun things to do on our family getaway to Bali. We’re leaving our home in freezing Seoul for a week of relaxation and reconnection in white sand, warm water, and a bungalow woven of sticks. I’m just a tiny bit excited.
Review: Return to the Willows
After you’ve read Chris Wheeler’s exploration of the original above, check out Aaron Johnson’s review of Jacqueline Kelly’s sequel to Wind in the Willows.
- It is fitting that we begin on the roof. Long ago, when my parents first taught me to enjoy stories, I desired adventure and often found it on the top of our house. Yes, the somewhat dizzying height and challenge of walking upright on slanted asphalt shingles was an adventure. Yes, it felt daring to pick kumquats from the topmost branches that reached over the garage, leaning just far enough so my toes didn’t slip from the edge. However, there were other adventures, too.
My mother was brave enough to climb with me on certain days, probably when I didn’t really want to read, so that we could recline on the roof side by side. Then she read aloud while I stared at the sky or rolled twigs down into the backyard.
Words of Life
Glenn McCarty reminds us of the power of the words we speak.
- I caught a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye as I made my way through the crowd milling about in the children’s Sunday school pickup area. She beelined toward me, auburn ponytail bobbing behind her, a bright smile on her face. It was the 11-year old daughter of a friend, who had previously informed me proudly that she was working on a book, and would love to show it to me sometime. Of course, I had told her, I would love to see her story.
“Hello, author!” she chirped.
Without thinking, I blurted the first reply that popped into my head.
“Hello, future author!”
Review: A Year in the Big Old Garden
Josh Bishop reviews our own James D. Witmer’s A Year in the Big Old Garden.
- My love of stories with characters who are animals probably started with Beatrix Potter and Winnie-the-Pooh when I was too young to remember. As I got older I found Brian Jacques’s Redwall series and Watership Down and The Book of the Dun Cow and S.D. Smith’s Green Ember series and others.
Towering above all these books, though, is the Old Mother West Wind series by Thorton W. Burgess. I suppose my ceaseless reading about anthropomorphic animals has been a quest to regain the childhood wonder and delight of traipsing through the Green Forest with Bobby Raccoon, Peter Rabbit, Chatterer the Red Squirrel, and the rest of Burgess’s characters. But I’ve never found quite the same magic — until I read A Year in the Big Old Garden by James D. Witmer.
Something to Do with Your Kids
You need a cardboard box roller coaster car. I’m sure you do.
Something to Watch
Up above, I introduced my friend Annie Beth’s new series of easy reader stories, and they’re so much fun that I thought I’d share the video here, too. Don’t miss them!
Thanks for reading. We’re on your side.