How To Make the Most of Bedtime Prayer for Toddlers

bedtime prayer for toddlers

Thank you to Kayla Alonso from Baby Devotions for this incredibly helpful post with 4 practical steps toward meaningful bedtime prayer for toddlers! Now I lay me down to sleep,I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. We all know the classic rhyme-like bedtime prayer. But what if I told you, that bedtime prayers with toddlers can be more than just rhymes and games? Bedtimes prayers can be an avenue of connecting with and guiding our children, even toddlers, in their faith journey. Here are 4 ways to engage your toddler in more significant bedtime prayers: 1. Speak life over your child Navigating the terrible 2s can lead to some frustrating moments. Not going to lie, there are some days it feels like we spent half the day in time out. Those days are the worst! … Read More

What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash cross for Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday was not part of my upbringing, but a few years ago I had a hunch that there was something deeply meaningful about Ash Wednesday, but because it kept sneaking up on me, I never had time to figure it out in time. You are reading this, now, so I assume you have a hunch that there’s something about Ash Wednesday too. Maybe, just maybe it might help you connect with God in a way that has been dry for a long time. If you are dissatisfied (mildly or extremely) with cultural Christianity, with the way it angrily denounces the culture while standing on the backs of the bleeding innocent, I invite you to join me on this journey. If you feel like something’s not quite aligned in your relationship with God and you need a spiritual chiropractic treatment, I invite you to join me. If you struggle with … Read More

More Than a Bunny: How To Teach Kids About The Real Meaning of Easter

Cute little girl with a bunny rabbit at easter with green grass

Teaching kids (and adults) about the real meaning of Easter! Easter is coming! And with it, the eggs and bunnies and chicks. But while Easter might currently be celebrated as an Ode to Spring with its bunnies and eggs and plastic-grass-filled-baskets, that is not why Christians celebrate it. You may have heard a rumor that Easter was originally a pagan holiday. This is debatable. If this interests you, read this very well-research article here from an atheist historian (who clearly has no need to prove that Easter wasn’t pagan). Anyway, Easter is actually more closely linked to an ancient Jewish holiday, called Passover. So many holidays. Here’s the short version: Several thousand years ago, the Jewish people lived as slaves in Egpyt. In a hugely dramatic showdown with the gods of Egypt, the Jewish God sent a bunch of plagues. (yes, this was a divine battle, not God being a … Read More

 8 Prayers to Help a Child With Anxiety

child and parent praying, prayers to help with anxiety

8 prayers to help a child with anxiety, based on the Bible. My cell phone chimed just as I sat down to drink my coffee. It was the school.   As soon as I picked up, my son’s complaint came through: “Mommy, I’m sick.” The scent of coffee teased me as I closed my eyes and sighed. “What kind of sick?” “My tummy hurts.” The school receptionist came on the line. “Yeah,” she apologized, “there’s something going around. Lots of the kids have been hit with this one.” I nodded, set the warm mug on the desk, and went to get my jacket. So much for my work morning. It was too early to tell, but I wondered if his stomachache had more to do with his thoughts than with germs.  HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CHILD HAS ANXIETY Sure enough, he perked up soon after I picked him up. Occasionally … Read More

The Bible Is Not About Animals (Let’s Stop Teaching Our Kids That It Is!)

teach the Jonah and the whale Bible story to kids

I was in Children’s Ministry a long time. In fact, I started when I was still a kid – at age 12 I started volunteering in Sunday School. I spent most of the next 24 years either in either paid or volunteer ministry. At 18 years old, I led a preschool Sunday School class in the hallway of a community center, where I used fake potted plants to keep the kids from running off. I ran the preschool summer programs at a local megachurch, where we once had 57 five-year-olds in one room. And I was the Director of Children’s Ministries at my mid-sized church for most of 2006-2018 (barring a little time off for each of my 3 babies). And I have to tell you, Children’s Ministry is one of the most amazing places in the world. But it can also be one of the saddest places in the … Read More

Your Ultimate List of Nativity Gifts for Kids

One year, my preschooler announced, “Mom, Christmas is really about the presents…” I waited with bated breath for the rest. “…because God gave us Jesus!” Phew! When my middle son was 3, he encountered Christmas for the first time in his memory. When we visited my in-laws at the beginning of December, he paid no heed to the beautiful nativity scene they had displayed. During our next visit 3 weeks later, he very excitedly told me, “Grandma and Grandpa have a stable!” Somewhere in those intervening 3 weeks, something had clicked about the Christmas story. As a former Children’s pastor, mom, and Preschool Director, I believe that our kids learn best through play. As adults, we tend to fill our home with beautiful (and breakable) nativity scenes and try to pack a full reading of Luke 1 and 2 into our Christmas Day. But our kids learn best by encountering … Read More

10 Must-Have Gospel-Centered Christmas Picture Books

You walk into a bookstore anytime in November or December and are inundated by the smell of eggnog-flavored coffee and stacks of Christmas books. Most of them are some variation of Santa, elves, reindeer, gift-giving, and good feelings. But where are all the gospel-centered Christmas picture book? Where are the books that tell the story of Christmas in a way that stirs our imaginations and souls? What is a Gospel-centered Christmas book? I’m not talking about the books that just re-iterate the Christmas story in essentially the same way. Those are nearly a dime a dozen. I have several of those in my house, and the kids never want to read them, because they already know the facts. Instead, I look for the ones that tell the story a little more expansively – books that share the meaning of Christmas, not just the details of Christmas. It just so happens, … Read More

The Surprisingly Simple Tradition That Will Bring Focus To Your Christmas

Advent wreath for the Advent candle tradition

When I pull candles out of their box, I run my fingers along their smooth surface and inhale their subtle scent. A lighter snaps, and the wick gently accepts the flame. It shudders to life. One candle has the power to brighten the darkness, but is incredibly fragile on its own. A single puff could blow it out. In Matthew 12, Jesus quotes a prophecy from Isaiah 42: “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.” A smoldering … Read More

5 growth stages as a family of faith

INSIDE: the different stages in growing as a family of faith. My goal with this whole website is to help parents feel confident in their calling as spiritual leaders in their homes, helping you be consistent in a creative, unique-to-you way. You can be confident in your calling to grow a family of faith BECAUSE God is faithful. He has promised to begin and continue the good work He is doing in each family. God says, in Isaiah 60:21, “they are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor.” God created our families. We have all become broken in many ways, but God is constantly re-creating our families through his grace, and for his glory. And someday, our children will be called “Oaks of Righteousness”, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. But we don’t start out that … Read More

5 engaging ways to keep Christ in Christmas

put Christ in Christmas with these 5 ideas

INSIDE: 5 ways to keep Christ in Christmas with your young children One year, my 5 year old son announced, “Mom, Christmas really is about the presents…” I cocked my head and looked at him, wondering if there was more to his announcement, “…because God gave us Jesus!” I let out my breath in a sigh. I hadn’t even noticed I was holding it in, but there it was, waiting for my little man’s decision about the season. I had tried really hard to show my boys that there is more to Christmas than presents and cookies and Santa and songs, and was relieved that at least a bit of my teaching had sunk in. Christmas can be a very confusing time for Christian parents. We want to join in all the fun with elves on shelves and hanging out stockings and putting out cookies for the man with the … Read More