The Life Giving Parent

In the 8 years that I’ve been a mama, I’ve read countless books on parenting and motherhood. Books teach, encourage, inspire and help me grow as a parent. A few of the parenting books I read, earn a place in my library and are  reread, sometimes as often as annually and are such an encouragement in this mothering journey.

Books by Sally Clarkson are among my favorite mothering books. Copies of The Mission of Motherhood, The Ministry of Motherhood, Own Your Life, The Life Giving Home and The Life Giving Table adorn my shelves. Books written by Sally and/or her husband Clay can also be found on my shelves. We also own copies of Educating the Wholehearted Child, Heartfelt Discipline and Our 24 Family Ways – A Family Devotional Guide. These books have been such an encouragement in our parenting journey.

Learning that Clay and Sally had written another parenting book, titled The Life Giving Parent was exciting. I couldn’t wait until my copy arrived so I could soak up more wisdom from the Clarksons. It did not disappoint, I took several pages of notes that I will refer back to and it definitely has earned a spot on my bookshelf and I know it will be loaned out and reread over the years.

Some inspiring quotes from The Life Giving Parent:

“It’s about being the kind of life giving home culture that will stand as a testimony of God’s biblical design for family to a lost world whose sandy foundations are washing away.”

“We need to distinguish between a home that is considered Christian primarily because cultural Christianity happens there and a home that is Christian because Christ is alive and present in perceptible ways.”

“Children have appetite, just like adults, but with one big difference – they do not have the disciple and discernment at their young ages to control their appetites maturely. In the same way that parents naturally guard their children’s physical appetites so their bodies will be healthy, we as believing parents must also guard our children’s spiritual appetites so their hearts and spirits will be healthy.”

“The first priority for strengthening your children’s faith as a life giving parent is … to strengthen your own faith!”

“The way children act reveals their character. And one of the most telling character qualities is diligence – responding positively to parental influence and doing without delay what needs to be done.”

The last chapter of the book ends with, “It’s simply about choosing to invest your ‘one life to give’ into the hearts of your children. If that’s what you do, then you’ll be a life giving parent and the living God will be alive in your life – and in your children’s lives.” This is what I desire. Motherhood is a calling. I am called to mother these 4 little souls God has entrusted to me. We have yielded to that call on my life and it’s why I stay home and educate our children at home. It’s not easy – in fact there are many times I’m overwhelmed with the huge responsibility that comes with raising my children. However, I can’t think of a better way to invest my ‘one life to give’ than to invest it into the lives and hearts of my children.

The Life Giving Parent will challenge, teach, inspire and encourage you in your parenting journey to help you give your child a life worth living for Christ.

*Disclaimer – I received a copy of The Life Giving Table in exchange for a review from the Tyndale Blog Network.

You Can Stay Home with Your Kids

Do you have a dream to stay home with your kids?

We knew even before our first baby arrived that I was going to stay home. It was a dream of ours and we spent the first years of our marriage planning our finances to make it work.

Knowing this shaped how we lived in our early years of marriage. When we married, we were still in college and living on a small income. During those first two years of marriage, we lived very frugally and learned how to stretch our dollars as far as they could go. We also learned contentment. We knew we couldn’t have everything we wanted when we wanted it but we were okay with making some sacrifices in regards to material possessions to put ourselves in a better financial position.

Once my husband graduated and had a full time job, we continued to live the same as we did in college. We did not purchase new vehicles, take extravagant vacations or purchase a lot of excessive material goods once our income nearly doubled.

During that time, we lived fully off of his income and anything I earned was either saved or applied towards the principal of our mortgage. Since we were already living on one income, the transition to becoming a stay at home mom after the birth of our son was easy.

I’ve been at home with our children for 8 years now. We feel like we’ve been able to thrive on one income thanks to contentment and frugality.

We know we can’t have the latest and greatest as far as electronics, clothing and vehicles go. But, our 14 and 16 year old vehicles are paid for. We buy as much as we can used via resale shops, thrift stores, yard sales, Craigslist or eBay. We rarely eat out these days because it’s just not in the budget.

The sacrifices of material things have been worth it and are still worth it. 

Not only has our frugality and careful spending allowed me to stay home, we’ve also been able to achieve our dream of living on a small homestead. While we do have a mortgage on our home and property, without the previous 12 years of saving and building equity, we would not be able to afford living where we do.

Life is full of choices. Knowing what you want and working towards that goal helps make the short term choice to sacrifice worth it for the long term goal.

Do you want to stay home with your children? 

If you’re engaged or newlyweds, talk about what your goals are for your future family. If you desire to have children and think one of you may want to stay home, decide to live off of one income during your early years of marriage. Build up an emergency fund, pay off debt and save the second income. Even if you decide not to stay home, you’ll be in a better position financially which will help your family.

For expectant parents and parents of young children, maybe you’re thinking about one of you staying home for the first time but don’t think you’ll be able to do it financially. Take some time and set some financial goals for your family. Create a budget based on one of your incomes and stick to it! Use the other income to pay off or pay down debt. Live as frugally as you can.

Staying home with your children is a choice. Saying yes to staying home often means saying no to many other things but if it’s your dream, it is possible.

If you do have the dream to stay home with your kids, my friend Erin has written a book just for you! You Can Stay Home with Your Kids!: 100 Tips, Tricks, and Ways to Make It Work on a Budget shows you how your family can thrive on one income.In this book you’ll learn how to curb spending, eat well on a budget, shop secondhand and sales, create more income and more! I’m so excited that she has written this book to help families realize that the dream of staying home can become a reality. A little creativity, frugality and contentment can help you stay home with your kids!

You Can Stay Home with Your Kids releases April 10. If it is your dream to stay home, it will be worth every single penny!

*Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links. I was not compensated in any way to share about You Can Stay Home with Your Kids – I’m just passionate about mamas finding a way to stay home with their kids if that’s their hearts desire!

 

Arrow Hill Homestead


Our dream to live on a small farm or homestead goes back to the very beginning of our marriage. We met through the FFA right after high school, married soon after and studied agriculture in college. We both grew up on family farms and had a desire to raise our children on a farm.

While preparing for graduation and entering the workforce, we still had that desire to have a little piece of land that was our own. Our first house was on an acre and we were able to garden there. After moving to Georgia, the second home we purchased was also on an acre. We had plans to garden and have chickens.

We soon learned that it was illegal to have any livestock in our county if you lived on less than 2 acres. After learning this in mid-2013, we were so ready to move. It was frustrating that you could live on an acre and not have a few hens in your backyard!

In 2014, we found a home on 7 acres that we really liked and even put our home on the market. We prayed and prayed and prayed some more but realized it was not the right time. That was hard. Then in early 2015, we found another home on several acres that we really liked and we submitted an offer after much prayer that was promptly refused. We stopped looking and in 2015 and 2016, we focused on making the most of what we had where we were – we gardened, planted fruit trees and did what we could. We still were dreaming of our own little piece of land but we were content where we were.

In early 2017, we felt a restlessness again and started browsing the real estate listings frequently. We looked at a couple houses that fit into what we were looking for but they weren’t right.

Then in late March, we found a newly listed home and property.  It wasn’t perfect, the house was a little weird to me and there was not even a complete driveway but it was in area we wanted to be in, less than 20 minutes from my husband’s office, was in our price range and at 1,800 square feet it gave our family room to grow but wasn’t too big. (We didn’t want a home over 2,000 square feet.)

We made an offer which was accepted and then worked hard to get our house ready to go on the market. We listed it and accepted an offer within 5 days! Everything just seemed to fall into place and we were confident that little piece of land was the place we had been waiting for all of these years.

We closed on May 2nd ( when I was 37 weeks and 2 days pregnant) and started working on making this house and land into our little homestead. Our baby girl was born in our home just 10 days later.

In the 10 months we’ve lived here, we’ve added chickens, pigs and sheep. We raised a batch of broilers (meat chickens) and have processed them. John David has an older tractor for pasture management, we’ve planted a small orchard and have two garden plots. And, we’re having a blast!

We decided to name our place Arrow Hill Homestead inspired by Psalms 127:3-4 “Sons are indeed a heritage from the LORD, children, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth.”

I am so thankful everyday when I am able to feed animals and gather eggs – I can’t believe this is our reality, we are living our dream!

If you’re interested in following along our homesteading journey, we’ve started a family blog that will be covering everything from daily chores and baby chicks to butchering pigs and gardening.

Arrow Hill Homestead Website

Arrow Hill Homestead Facebook Page

Arrow HiIl Homestead Instagram

 

 

Scripture Memorization Resources for Children

Scripture Memory is such an important part of a Christian’s life. As Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Hiding the word in our hearts is such a treasure.

Teaching children, even very young children, can be fairly simple. Children love songs and stories and repetition and tend to soak up things like a sponge!

Here are a few of our favorite scripture memorization resources that we’ve used with our children.

Seeds Family Worship

Seeds Family Worship songs are amazing! The songs are scripture based and are really good. There are children singing the songs but they’re not childish and annoying like some Christian themed children’s songs can be. I actually love listening to these along with my children.

We purchased a pack of the first 7 CDs several years ago and still love them (they offer a pack of 10 now, it may seem a bit pricey but they’re really worth every penny!) They’re in my van and we frequently listen to them while driving. They have released more products over the years that I’m not familiar with but I’m sure anything you choose from them will be amazing.

AWANA

We started taking our children to AWANA at a local Baptist church since our church does not offer AWANA. We had not participated in AWANA as children but had heard great things about the program.

Paxton was 4 at the time and started in the Cubbies program (preschool/preK age children) and Weston started out in Puggles (for toddlers). Both boys loved it from the beginning. We’ve started our 4th year of AWANA at the same church. Cecilia is now in Cubbies and Paxton and Weston are in Sparks together which is the class for Kindergarten through Second Grade.

Our boys have learned a lot of scripture and Bible truths from AWANA, have made new friends and had a lot of fun. We’re so thankful for a church who welcomes our children and for amazing leaders who genuinely care for and love to teach our children.

Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible

The Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible is similar to other Bibles but with some resources that help with scripture memory. There are 100 verses which are featured throughout the scriptures and referred to as the Core 100.

Each ‘Core 100’ page has the core verse written out in the NLT, NIV and KJV versions as well as an ‘Explore & Apply’ section. There also is a ‘Digging Deeper’ section at the back of the text that has extra resources and questions to go along with each of the 100 core verses.

The back of the Bible features a Core 100 Verse Checklist to help keep track of verses memorized. There is also a Challenge Verse Checklist so you can keep track of memorizing the verses once the core verses are hidden in your heart.

One of my favorite features of this Bible is that there are 100 Scripture memory songs that you will have access to with a unique download copy in each Bible! Songs are just a fun way to memorize scripture and I like having more songs in addition to our Seeds songs.

We haven’t dived into this Bible and worked through the Core 100 yet but it is going to be an amazing scripture memory resource in the future. And, in the meantime, we’ll be learning the scriptures through song!

 

*Disclaimer – I received a copy of Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible in exchange for a review from the Tyndale Blog Network. I am not affiliated, associated with or sponsored by Seeds Family Worship or AWANA, those are just resources we use and want to share! This post does contain affiliate links which help support this site.