Bible Basics: Book Review & Giveaway!

When my boys were very young, I would snuggle up with them in a blanket in my comfy chair and would read aloud to them. We created the sweetest memories in those early days of homeschooling when I read out loud all the time. Forever etched on my heart is the excitement and thrill of reading The Chronicles of Narnia out loud for the first time. So many amazing books! When I started homeschooling, my dear sweet husband told me that he would never tell me no to books. That is a very dangerous thing to tell a homeschool mom!

I was always on the hunt for quality books that were full of beauty, wisdom, and truth. Trips to homeschool conferences and bookstores would result in the purchase of many bundles of books. We quickly outgrew our little book shelf in our school room.

I not only wanted to read good quality books to my kids, I also wanted books that would teach them about their faith and be theologically sound. This is one of the reasons I created the apologetics booklet I talked about in  (Un)Apologetic Parenting. Because I am passionate about finding these good books to read to our kids, today I am so excited to share this giveaway with my readers!

It is difficult to find quality books for children that teach sound spiritual concepts…

Until now!

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I wish I had a copy of Bible Basics when my boys were young! Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer incorporates beautifully illustrated pages with sound theological principles in a sturdy hardback book for little ones.

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I was impressed with the beauty and simplicity with which this baby board book handled difficult concepts, such as Jesus’ nature being fully God and fully man and the Trinity—both which were explained poetically and artistically through quotations from Scripture, hymns, and early church writings.

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Baby Believer Primers are designed to grow with children, from early infancy through early elementary school. By reframing abstract, but vitally important Biblical content into manageable concepts such as numbers and letters, the Primers expose children to the vocabulary of basic theology in a format that will help them categorize and retain the information.- www.catechesisbooks.com

I am excited to give away a copy of this special book just in time for Christmas! This would make a perfect gift for your grandchildren or for any parent with a baby and or small children!!

Subscribe to Misty Phillip  to be eligible for a chance to win!

This is the first book in the Baby Believer Primers series, and I look forward to the other books in the series! Author Danielle Hitchen (left), a mother and talk radio producer, and the illustrator, Jessica Blanchard (right), a mother and an award-winning graphic artist, have created this artistically-designed and eye-catching board book that is pivotal for children’s spiritual formation. unspecified

For more information and to purchase this book visit Catechesis Books

A special thank you to The Blog About Network, The Blythe Daniel Agency and publishers for providing a copy of this book for review and one to giveaway.

I Love My New Teapot!

I love my new teapot! It is a beautiful Mckenzie Childs teapot that I have had my eye on for quite some time.

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I don’t just love it for its form or its function. What I love about it is what it represents. If I am using my teapot that means I am at home, safely nestled in my sanctuary away from the crazy world in which we live. It is hard to find a quiet spot anywhere in the world. Read about the World being loud here

A proper cup of tea takes time to make, which means that I am slowing down, which is good for my soul. It refreshes me and brings me joy. Today the boys and I are enjoying our wonderful little cups of tea, enjoying the aroma of a beautifully scented candle, while we work and listen to Mozart. I am busy working on my Bible study, while the boys sit near me working on their school.

I am savoring this moment because I know that it is fleeting….

Psalms 27:11 ESV says, “Teach me your way, O Lord”

It is in these quiet moments in my home teaching my boys, that the Lord is teaching me. Teaching me to slow down, and listen to His voice. Teaching me to love them well.

Tomorrow we will be back in the car fighting traffic to get to the other side of town, and we will rush from thing to thing to thing. But today, we sit here in tranquility and civility and sip our tea.

What recharges you? I would love to hear from you! What do you do to help renew your spirit?

 

Give Your Child The World

It is back to school time!! And I am going to do something a little different on my blog this week to kick off back to school. This week I would like to review and giveaway a copy of a book by Jamie C. Martin.

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time  

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The back cover of the book expresses my exact sentiments,

“A love of books. A love of reading. A love of the world.”

Anyone who knows our family very well knows that we love books! When I first started homeschooling, my husband Peter said, “I will never tell you no to books.” Well, that is a very dangerous thing to say a homeschool mom! Within a couple of years of homeschooling, we quickly ran out of room on our bookshelves and began building our closets out to house the vast library we were building. My homeschooling philosophy is taught your child to read well, teach them to love books, and then they can teach themselves anything!

Another thing that I am passionate about is raising globally minded kids. As a part of my children’s homeschool program, we join the World Affairs Council here in Houston. Their number one goal, as stated on their website is, “Connect students to global leaders of our time, and provide them the opportunity to become culturally sensitive, globally competent citizens.” My children have learned so much through the World Affairs Council. Through their programs, my boys have learned a lot about world cultures, and have had the opportunity to sit down with several world leaders, like Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, and many others. For more information about the Council, visit https://www.wachouston.org.

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Jacob Phillip pictured with Condoleezza Rice.

IMG_5119Jacob Phillip pictured with Robert Gates.

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Jacob Phillip and Ian Phillip at a World Affairs Council event with Wesley Clark.

Another activity that is a special part of our homeschooling is Model United Nations. According to Wikipedia, “Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation and academic competition in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations.”

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Jacob Phillip pictured at Colleyville MUN.

Now you know that we love books, and raising globally minded kids is important to our family, I want you to know that I wish that I would have had a copy of, Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time, when my kids were younger. I love the heart of Jamie C. Martin and her beautiful family!

I highly recommend this book. The book is beautifully broken into two parts. Part One: Falling in Love with the World and Part Two: Read the World. In part one, Jamie shares her personal story of building a global family, and then gives practical examples of how you can introduce your children to the world. It concludes with the power of story, and lessons that we can learn from stories.

Part two is a book list of lists! Jamie shows you how to share the world with your children one book at a time. She does a beautiful job of categorizing her book by geographic region. Then each chapter is broken down further into age ranges. There is something in this book for children of all ages. Jamie includes books geared toward kids of all ages. There is a section for 4-6, 6-8, 8-10, and 10-12-year-olds.

One of my favorite parts included in each chapter is a section entitled global perspective, which is a collection of quotes from various people answering the question:

How do you give your children the world in your home?

What a great question! How do you give your children the world in your home? I encourage you to add Give your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time to your home library and begin this school year by exploring the world from the comfort of your home. Please leave a comment below answering the question, How do you give your children the world in your home?

For a chance to win a copy of this fantastic book for yourself, follow the link below.
Book giveaway (Raffle begins at midnight tonight and runs through 8/15)

A special thank you to The Blog About Network, The Blythe Daniel Agency and publishers for providing a copy of this book for review and one to giveaway.

Leave me a comment and let me know how you give your children the world in your home?

 

(Un)Apologetic Parenting

     Recently I went to judge at a speech and debate tournament, and much to my surprise I found out that a little book that I made for the junior speakers when I directed a tournament several years before was still being used.  This was really my first attempt at writing, and it was a little booklet of apologetic questions and answers that I made for the children aged 6-11 who were competing in the NCFCA-National Christian Forensics and Communications Association.

The NCFCA is a speech and debate league for homeschool students. They offer a speech category for apologetics, which is a fancy word for defending your faith. When my eldest son was in junior high and high school, he spent all 6 years seeking answers to the 150 questions of the faith that were the questions that made up that event of the competition. Participating in this activity was really helpful in forming his worldview, and seeking things out on his own. It gave him an opportunity to answer questions like explain the meaning and significance of sanctification, justification, and propitiation. Which are some really big words, and even bigger concepts for a 12-year-old?

When I wrote this booklet my youngest son was in junior speech and would be competing in Apologetics the following year. I really wanted him to start working on some of those difficult theological concepts, and I remembered how daunting tackling 150 questions of the faith were to a lot of the kids in the league. If you have ever heard the expression, how do you eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time. Well, I don’t know anyone who has ever eaten an elephant, but I thought it was a pretty good analogy for my youngest son, and the other kids his age, to begin exploring these questions of the faith. One bite or one concept at a time. And if they could start with 10 questions, then they could do 10 more, and another 10 and so on.

So I took 10 of the 150 questions, with at least one question from each of the five categories. So they could have exposure to each of the five categories.

  • EXISTENCE AND NATURE OF GOD
  • SCRIPTURES
  • THE NATURE, PURPOSE, AND DESTINY OF MAN
  • SALVATION or HOW TO KNOW GOD
  • THE PERSON OF CHRIST

Armed with my ESV study bible in hand, I set out to explain concepts like the Omniscience and Omnipresence of God in simple basic terms, along with some key memory verses.

I believe it is important that my kids know what they believe, and why they believe it, because as old adage says, “If they don’t stand for something, they will fall for anything.” Also, as we learn from the warning in Collisions 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Why is this important? Because according to the Barna group, “Parents and leaders have long been concerned about the faith development of the generation born between 1984 and 2002—and for good reason. First, Barna research shows nearly six in ten (59%) of these young people who grow up in Christian churches end up walking away from either their faith or from the institutional church at some point in their first decade of adult life.” That means that more than half of the kids that currently go to church are leaving the faith!

I think our kids have a better chance of staying in the church and following Christ if they know what they believe and why they believe it. It is our job and responsibility as parents to teach our children in the way they should go, but it is up to them to own their faith and walk it out.

My belief on this subject has been recently challenged, as my eldest son has decided to leave the church we attend as a family in search of his own church home. At first, I was a little hurt by this, because I love having my family all together digging into God’s word, and worshipping with them. But then I realized this is exactly what I taught him to do. He is firmly grounded in what he believes and why he believes it so he will not get swept away by empty deceit or human tradition. As a man, my son does have to make his own way, and he is the one who is responsible for his faith.

There is no foolproof plan or formula that parents can follow that will assure that their kids stay in the church or that they will follow Christ for that matter. However, the bible does give us a promise to cling to, in Proverbs 22:6, that if we teach our kids in the way they should go, that when they are old, they will not depart. It is however, our responsibility to teach our children to love God, to share our faith with them, to lead them by example by spending time in the word, and praying with them.

 

Connor’s Smile

Connor’s Smile

Peter, my husband, is the light of my life, and my best friend. In December of 1993, our life was forever changed, that was the day I gave birth to my eldest son. We instantly fell in love with our bundle of joy!  Peter and I were young, inexperienced parents, but we were given an incredible gift, our precious son Jacob. He was a wonderful little man, and he made me want to have more children just like him.I longed for more children, but I was a busy working mom and many years passed before I would become pregnant again. Finally, I did get pregnant again in 1998. This pregnancy was not as easy as the first one. I had trouble with spotting early in my pregnancy, and I began to experience some health problems. I was diagnosed with Gestational diabetes and was put on a very strict diet, exercise regime, and was very closely monitored. On a routine visit to the hospital, I was hooked up to a monitor to make sure everything was going okay. But today, something was terribly wrong. My baby’s lungs were not moving. They didn’t know if he was breathing okay, so they ordered an emergency C-section. This was a horrifying time. Several hours later, I gave birth to our second son, Connor.

Everything seemed okay at first. But everything was not okay. He was born with a condition called club feet. His feet were upside down, and backward. I remember holding him in those early hours after he was born, with my eyes full of tears, and all I could say was that he was perfect. I had longed for this child, and to me he was perfect.

The years that followed were downright difficult! Connor was in and out of the hospital from the time he was born. The first doctor that cast Connor, cast him to tight and Connor’s toes were turning black and blue. He was losing circulation to his feet. We took him to the ER, and they cut his cast off. The attending ER Physician said it was a good thing that we brought him in because if we had waited much longer, he would have lost his feet. He was only days old. And things continued to get worse from there.

Connor had a myriad of health issues. He had several foot surgeries. We were constantly either in the Doctor’s office or hospital. During one of his hospital stays, he contracted the roto virus. A diarrhea virus that lasted for six weeks!!  He had cast all the way up his legs and that made dealing with a diarrhea virus even more difficult. Also, he had over 15 ear infections by the time he was a year old. He was an extremely colicky baby who did not sleep. He would scream for hours on end, sometimes he would cry all night long.

We were exhausted and desperate for sleep. After trying just about everything we could think of, there were only two ways we could get him to sleep, either put him in a baby swing or have the vacuum cleaner on all night. We would put him in the swing and rock him back and forth continuously, and we would turn the vacuum on for white noise. We leaned the vacuum cleaner up against the wall so we wouldn’t burn the motor up. I am sure my neighbors thought we were crazy for vacuuming all night! But if I even tried to shut the vacuum cleaner off after two or three hours, he would wake up screaming at the top of his lungs.

At a year old Connor received one of his vaccinations, and shortly after he began having Grand Mal seizures. He had one seizure. Then another. Then another. They started out several hours apart until he was constantly seizing. We rushed to our pediatrician’s office, and he sent us to Texas Children’s hospital in the Houston Medical Center. After several hours in the ER, and with no real treatment, we were sent home. Only to find ourselves right back in the ER with Connor seizing more frequently. As a parent watching your child have seizures is an incredibly frightening thing, you feel completely helpless. It is horrific to watch your child flail uncontrollably, and there is nothing you can do about it. It took Connor being pumped full of the barbiturate Phenobarbital for him to finally stop seizing.  For the next year, Connor laid around limp, pumped full of drugs. These early years were extremely tough with Connor.

Connor did not walk or talk when he was supposed to, and we didn’t know what else could be wrong. We constantly took him to doctors and specialists looking for answers. At age 3, we took Connor in for a hearing test, and the audiologist suggested something else was wrong with Connor. We took him back to his pediatrician who finally diagnosed him with PDD-NOS. Pervasive Developmental Disorder, not otherwise specified. This is an autism spectrum disorder, and for the next fourteen years, we lived with this devastating diagnosis.

Years worth of therapy, specialized schooling and countless doctor appointments made some slight improvements in Connor’s life, but his language was minimal, and his deficits were huge. We faced the fact that Connor may not be able to live on his own, although we always held out hope for a better life for him. Connor has always had a very sweet spirit, with a huge smile. He impacts people and melts hearts everywhere he goes. There is an innocence about him, and a child-like faith that makes him precious.

We continued to pray and seek God’s will for Connor, and at the end of last year, God finally answered that prayer! We took Connor to a specialist, who for the first time in Connor’s life accurately diagnosed his condition, and told us things about Connor that no one else was ever able to diagnose before. Connor was given the diagnosis of autoimmune encephalitis.

According to Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance, “Autoimmune encephalitis is a rare and serious condition in which the immune system attacks the brain, resulting in impaired brain function.”

For many people, this would be a devastating diagnosis, but for us this finally meant hope. Because unlike Autism, there is a treatment for Autoimmune Encephalitis. I will talk about Connor’s journey and progress in future posts. But today I would like to leave you with a final thought.

Don’t give up, don’t lose hope! Continue to pray for those situations in your life that look hopeless, because in Jesus there is hope! He is faithful. 1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Turn your eyes to Jesus and cry out for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5. 

 

It’s a Great Day for Chick-fil-a

There were days in our early years of homeschooling that were good, and other days when the boys were small that were just down right hard. As difficult as they were, some of those hard times have given me some of my sweetest memories. On those really hard days when I had an inquisitive elementary aged boy, a wild-eyed special needs toddler, a crying baby, and nothing seemed to be going right. My house was a mess, the kids were not behaving—any myriad of problems would plague our family.

I would call my husband, and in his infinite wisdom, he would say, “Don’t go against the grain today.” What he meant by that was to stop trying so hard, relax, and take it easy. don’t be so hard on yourself. He wanted me to enjoy the boys, and not feel so stressed out. He knew that our homeschooling journey was a marathon, not a sprint—and that I didn’t need to try to teach the kids everything that they ever needed to know in life by the time they reached first grade. My husband was more interested in me and the boys being filled with joy. He didn’t want to come home from work to a frazzled, stressed out wife, and miserable unhappy children.

It was on those days that I would buckle all the kids in the car and we would drive-through Chick-fil-a, then drive around and listen to our favorite stories Adventures in Odyssey, or we would go to the park and as the boys ran around and played I would read my Bible. It was there in those moments that the children were content, and mama would regain her sanity. Those days that started off pretty rough could have ended up a disaster, instead ended up creating some sweet little homeschool memories. So thankful for my husband and his wisdom. Some days we are just not meant to go against the grain. instead, it just might be a great day for Chick-fil-a.

The Character of Homeschooling

This is the first post about something near and dear to my heart—homeschooling. Our homeschooling journey began with a little white table that was a hand-me-down from my husband’s parents, in a room with a bookshelf, and an American flag. In that little classroom of ours, I tried to recreate what I thought our school should look like based on my own public school experience. We began our day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. It seemed so official, and we did this for a while, but it didn’t last long. This was not homeschooling, this was recreating public school at home.

 

God had something completely different in mind when he called me to homeschool.

Only part of our homeschool journey is actually about education—most of our journey is about shaping character. The Lord is shaping my character, as I begin to shape my children’s character. I read books such as, The Charlotte Mason Companion, The Well Trained Mind and Educating the WholeHearted Child. These books were my tutors and my guides as I embarked on this journey.

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But let me tell you, I wore my bible out studying God’s word in those early days. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. My corporate job at a Fortune 10 company was much easier than homeschooling. At home, attitudes and messes surrounded me: sick babies and diapers, piles of laundry and dishes, and highly energetic boys that required more work than could ever possibly get done in one day. Yet those sweet cherubim faces captured my heart and began to change my life for the best, and in ways that I would have never imagined. I began to think less about myself—less about my goals and desires—and more about their hearts, and the men that they would one day become.

That is when I began to realize that this thing called homeschooling was about so much more than education. I will talk more about our homeschooling adventures in the days ahead, but let me leave you with a final thought from Psalm 86:11:

“Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth.” God has used this journey to teach us in His way. What is God using in your life today, to teach you to walk in truth?