Parenting is hard work! I wish it came with a manual (It does – the Bible of course); I may be speaking for myself when I say this but I truly feel like I am constantly struggling to do more and be more for my children. Since I have four, all with very different needs and personalities too, I often feel torn – spread too thin maybe? – trying to be what each one of them needs me to be. Every day. Needless to say when I saw an email about the opportunity to review Dr. Todd Cartmell’s new book; 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids, I was just so excited because I have felt more and more lately, the need to sharpen my skills when it comes to raising my kids. I mean they are great already but I just know we can do so much more!




I am the first person to admit that my interactions with my kids are not always what is best. I can be short with them; at times I do not show as such control and patience as I ought to. We have been studying the Book of James this year and since we began, I often hear in my ear, a soft and silent whisper, “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” and I know that this is something I need to be much more mindful of. I need to intentionally be slower to speak, slower to wrath and quicker to hear.  I will say this is not riddled with scripture; there are bits of Biblical wisdom within, but this is not a scripturally filled read. Just so you know.




I have to say I was so very pleased at how short and simple the chapters are in this book!  Because honestly, I only have moments to read here and there as of late. Tis a season of small ones and busy ones….They keep me moving. SO this was refreshing to see — a book written for those of us who are in the trenches and have little moments here and there to feed our mind and soul!


There are 8 tools and they are broken down within five chapters; at the end of each chapter there is a summary tip and some things to ponder. Homework? I have always enjoyed opportunities to reflect and go deeper 🙂


One example of a listening tip that I am regularly mulling over right now is this: “How does viewing all of your kids thoughts and feelings as diamonds impact your desire to listen and connect with them?”



Some of the tips are simple; all are powerful in their own way. There are listening tips, correcting tips, encouraging tips, talking tips – Every one of them leaves you with a bit different of a perspective on how we connect with our kids. And every one provides an additional tool for our parenting toolbox.


About the Author



Dr. Todd Cartmell is a popular speaker and child psychologist who received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary. His books include Project Dad (Spring 2011); Respectful Kids; Keep the Siblings, Lose the Rivalry; and The Parent Survival Guide. Dr. Cartmell conducts entertaining parenting workshops around the country and maintains a full-time clinical practice in Wheaton, Illinois. You can link to his website, with Q&A, a parenting blog, and workshop information, at





If you are looking for some tools for the trade yourself, consider taking the time to read this one! In fact right now if you use the code GREATKIDS16 you can get this book for 50% off. (valid from April 15th to May 15th for my readers only)  Just go to Moody Publishers to order and make sure to enter that code! 🙂  And for a limited time if you purchase the book you will also have access to the Hearts at Home “Essential Workshop Collection for Parents” for free. Just fill out the form on the 8 Simple Tools Website once your book has been purchased.




Not sure the book is for you? I beg to differ, but, to ease your mind, there are free assessments available on their website too. One to evaluate the effectiveness of your parenting methods is and show what your strengths are too. These are definitely things that are good to know. Let’s face it, if we want to raise really great kids, we have to be willing to go that extra mile.  Its definitely worth it!



Official Website –
Facebook –
Hashtags – #8SimpleTools #FlyBy
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Simplify with Spirit

I’m freaking out lately. Lol


Maybe not really. But I am having a hard time accepting where my home is at right now.


Listening to the Homemakers  Online Conference, and reading Titus 2:3-5 I am inspired and encouraged to really live it out, showing in my life glory and honor to Him.  I am reminded, even in the mess, to thank Him for the blessing of my husband and four children, and my home.



Now I never had anyone to teach me how to love my husband and my children and my home. I never thought there was anything to keeping a home that needed to be taught. I mean this is so easy right? Super simple? ha-ha


I am surprised daily but how much is truly involved, Biblically, in keeping and managing our home if it is really showing Christ, within. I often think of what it means to have a Christ centered home. And truthfully when I imagine it, its not much like our home.


I have visions of this peaceful home where everyone always gets along, we are all happy, we all are gentle and kind and share…..If I make this my focal point, I will fail again and again at making my home a place that shows His love and light.


I remind myself this morning that its about our love for Him, its also about embracing the truth that is Him. Because He is the word and the word is Him. And we are His so we too are his word. He created the world with words; we create our world with our words.


So our home isn’t always what we imagine it to be but today (and my kids and I began our day this way) we will speak His words. We will speak of the Spirit.


M oldest wrote out a list of words that He has God speak to his life. He wrote of the joy God has given him, his love for worship and prayer and the word.  He wrote about him being enthusiastic, eager and loving of God. He wrote of how he was chosen by God. He was created by God in His image, to be His worker. These are precious words for a little man to write.  They are powerful too.


We must know who we are. Its so simple to organize our life by the very One who gave it to us. Who called us and inspired us. It is His Spirit that ought to guide everything every moment and every word. Its a new thing we are doing: To begin eat day speaking those words of life, God inspired, to ourselves, and to one another. To speak blessings just as those priests did, over their people, so shall we.



What can we do when bespeak and do in the Spirit instead of in the flesh? I had a to do list for this morning but instead I tore it up. I spent time in prayer and in worship and now I am writing this….In the Spirit. And my list has been written anew, in the Spirit, a list that encourages and only speaks what will be done.


We cannot complicate things; let us be done with making things so complex.


We are His masterpiece; we cannot fail for if He says we are mighty, we are mighty And He says so much about us. Let us embrace it and speak it ourselves!


Give Them Grace ~ Chapters 5-6 {Book Discussion}

Okay, I am a bit behind in this 3 month discussion of  Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson in the Family Discipleship Facebook group. If you missed the discussion of the foreword, intro, and chapter one, you can find that here, and chapters two through four here. I’d love to hear your thoughts—here and on Facebook. Below is the schedule we’re following in the group.

We'll be discussing Give Them Grace May-July 2015. Here's the schedule!

In Chapter Five discipleship is broken down for us into five separate categories: Management, Nurturing, Correction, Training and Promises. I love charts myself; I need those visual reminders (I admit it) if I am going to stick with something! So the fact that they have charts in this book which direct us to the scriptures relating to a given incident s well as examples and references for each area of discipleship – Its so very helpful to me!  And there are questions too in case at times you struggle with which category of discipleship, exactly, you are dealing with in your circumstance.



Honestly, this is all so new to me, and yet so exciting for me! But I feel such a strong desire to follow this more and more in my home.  And the timing, some things really are of God, this I do believe is one of them. When I seek after, and ask Him to guide me, in a better way, for my children, He provides. All that I have read thus far, it reminds me of His love and training with each and every one of us.


One of my absolute favorite quotes thus far is:


Paul’s command to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” means this: that parents are to think about and remember Jesus Christ and then train their children to understand how everything in their life—their joys and sorrows, their trials and labors, their doubts, sin and shame—is to be understood in the light of Jesus Christ, who descended from David rather than from Levi, died, and rose from the dead. That is the best news any child could hear. Distinctly Christian parenting must be accomplished in the environment of the good news about Jesus Christ or it is not Christian parenting. It may work for a while, it may make your life manageable, and God may use it, but it is not “of the Lord.” (Give Them Grace, page 93-94)


Our children need to know and understand the Gospel for themselves. We need to bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of their journey, their experience, with the one true living God!


It reminds me of something I heard this morning that said: Worship involves all of our life… 

Worship is more than just a moment. Its more than this thing we do for a couple minutes before service or a few words uttered about how great and mighty God is. We worship Him in all that we do and say, every moment of our day.  We worship Him when, in difficult times, we seek Him and love Him.  We worship Him when someone wrongs us and we pray for them and love them anyway. We worship Him when we show our children the grace and mercy and love He pours out on us every day. Because we too are sinners. We too need to endure to the end to be saved.

This chapter is such a powerful reminder that love covers all sins. And that without love, we are nothing but noise….

Chapter Six is another very meaty and rich chapter. There were tough questions asked of us, such as: “Is this sin or weakness and immaturity?”  We need to realize how simple our teaching can really be.  It is broken down into four steps:

1) Teach your kids to respect authority

2) Teach them the gospel

3) Trust God to work in your children

4) Confess your own sins

These are very valuable, powerful methods. So simple I am a bit embarrassed I did not see these things before now. But I thank Jesus for this book which helps me to see these things today. Because today is a blessing ~ As is His wisdom and grace. ❤

“We are not telling you to ignore bad behavior; nor are we saying that sinful behavior should not be corrected. We are saying that we should teach our children that sinful behavior does not alter their relationship with us. If our parenting is modeled on the gospel, then their sin, hardness, and unbelief will grieve us, we will seek to discipline and correct it, we will pray for them about it, and we will continue to love and welcome them in spite of it. But we will not demand a show of repentance before we welcome them back into relationship.” (Give Them Grace, page 105)



Ouch! I don’t know about you but I admit I am guilty of focusing on rules more often than not. With a new baby and a to-do list a mile long…I tend to forget that there are more important things than having a perfectly tended yard or garden. I look past the sad or hurting child to what we have to do right now. *sigh*  This was such a revealing chapter for me. SO much truth that I needed to read. And as I read I was reminded again and again of how important God says it is for us to have that right relationship. With Him, with our husband, with our children. It matters so much more than we know. Our children need to know that no matter what, we still love them. They need to hear, in their times of trials, that they are loved. When we are struggling, we need them to see us, show love and repentance too.


I really appreciated this chapter’s constant emphasis on the need for gospel-motivated instruction and how it differs from so many other approaches out there that we use. We need to bring about heart change. It does not matter what we do, or how we do it, if ultimately we do not have a “first love”.  Our children need that relationship, just as desperately as we do, that they may know Him and love Him.  It starts with love.


New Family Discipleship Facebook Community



Leave a comment with your thoughts or feel free to join discussion at Family Discipleship Community!  It’s not too late 🙂

Give Them Grace ~ Chapters 2-4

As you know I have been reading Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson in the Family Discipleship Facebook group. If you missed the discussion of the foreword, intro, and chapter one, you can find that here. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you are reading along. If you care to join us this is the schedule we’re following in the group. Although as you can see I am a bit behind. No pressure though; join in as you can and where you can~

We'll be discussing Give Them Grace May-July 2015. Here's the schedule!
In Chapter Two, these ladies talk about How to Raise Good Kids.. this was so very revealing, and difficult, for me.  Fitzpatrick and Thompson discuss here the difference between goodness and righteousness. And what a huge difference there is.  But how many times are we tempted to tell our kids they are “good” or that they need to be “good”? How often do we shower them with praise? Yet if we are honest with them and ourselves, apart from Christ, there is no good thing to be found in any one of us. Romans 3:9-13 (KJV) says:

 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

And then in Mark 10:18 Jesus says:

” Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”


Jesus alone is good. Whatever we have, be it finances, home, family, peace, health or righteousness  – it comes from Christ alone. It is through Him alone that we have our salvation. If we praise our kids for being “good”, are we not then giving them a false sense of righteousness? —What can we do to encourage and inspire them to do well, without giving them the impression that it is them alone who can do “good”?

Every word we say to (our children) during the day will be shaped by our view of their ability to be good and how to get them there. Every responsible parent wants obedient children. But if we’re confused about their ability to be good, we’ll end up lying to them about their desperate lostness outside of Christ. We’ll tell them they are good and that they can obey God’s law. (Give Them Grace, page 47)

Certainly as I train up my children, I want them to see their need for a Savior.  I want them to know that we can not do any good thing without Him! The truth of the Gospel can be so powerful if we allow His Word to speak for itself. Let us not interpret it or water it down for our children. Let us trust that as He works in their lives they will gain an understanding and love of His Word.  The truth is what sets us free and it shall set them free as well if we trust in Him.

Raising Learners who are Self – Directed

As a mother, I have always known how great the value is, in training my children to work independently, to be self directed. I don’t think I ever qualified as the “helicopter” mom type – even when my first was born.  I want my children to know that when they need me, I am absolutely there for them, but I also encourage them to be resourceful, independent and sure of themselves. I want secure and confident kids, able to think for themselves 🙂


I admit that thus far (with my oldest son) its become such a struggle that it is just easier to expect very little from him.  Set the bar low because after all, the character and initiative he has displayed so far hasn’t been very promising.  But then I am reminded that he cannot believe in himself if he sees that we do not believe in him.  No matter how hard it may be, however impossible to seems, if we believe they can’t (or won’t) learn what needs to be learned, independently, they will never succeed.  We have given up before we even began.


We have little ones too and they need to be a part of all of this as well; we try to encourage helpfulness and a personal investment in their family, early on. In this way we can help them to develops a sense of responsibility.  One great example can be found from Amy at Raising Arrows to help with Teaching Kitchen Skills all listed by age. As for those little ones, this is a free printable for Reading Directions with Independence. And back to Amy of Raising Arrows, you can see here how she Raises Independent Learners using a neat system with index cards.


Impossible as it seems, we are making a plan. Together. I have goals for him, I want him to have goals for himself. I often have to find the answers to things, teach myself new skills.  I want him to see how great it is to be able to locate those answers and learn new things on his own.  I am also encouraging him to give me input and ideas for any additional subjects he could explore during his school day.  Got a question? Let me surround my children with the tools they need to find the answers.


My oldest son has so many interests. He gets bored easily – he learns a little something about one topic and instantly moves on to the next thing. I always saw this as him needing to  focus more; to dig in deeper. But then I was reminded by someone the other day, he is only 9 – He needs to be free to get into as many different topics as he feels led to explore.  Some will stick and others will come and go. We cannot find our passion, we cannot develop interests and hobbies and skills if we do not have the chance to try, even if its just once, whatever we are curious about at the time (within reason of course!).


This year he wants to explore more art and photography, get back to his guitar and keyboard.  He is curious about geocaching and letter boxing too.  I am not so familiar with all of the hows and whys of this so we have some exploring to do before we go forward with this one. I am encouraging him to do his own research on this. We discussed at length the need to know materials are needed as well as if there are groups we could join or fees we have to pay to take part in these activities locally.  I am hopeful that he will report back to me with all the details.

I want to encourage him to take the initiative, to lead even if its only himself, when it comes to his daily activities.  We were learning greek/latin roots and words the other day that have to do with water.  He is planning to build an aqueduct on Minecraft now for his aquanaut.  He could draw a dolphin; I encourage him to sketch his designs before he creates them on the computer or with his legos.  Once he builds them, with popsicle sticks, cardboard, cereal boxes – he can practice some photography by taking a picture for his album. A portfolio for us to see his progression.

 I also plan to sit down with him and make an assignment list. This can help him to see what he is responsible for each day, or week (some subjects we do not do daily like music and art and foreign language).  It also helps him see the light at the end of the tunnel.  There is an end in sight – He needs to see that. Otherwise, especially when some days are harder than others, he gets rather emotional and will lament that “he will never be done”.  With this he can see, no matter how hard or terrible it seems, it will end. And he can see where that end is.

Certainly I will still oversee his daily work and be there to help guide and mentor him along the way.  But ultimately, my goal is to not have a “job” anymore;  especially with my oldest son I know that we will need to regularly revisit those goals that we make, together and independently, to ensure that he is working towards them.  As the years progress, they will become more responsible for the various aspects of their day.  They will take ownership of their work.  They will become more sure of their interests; their studies will be more directed. And I do believe, as we journey along in this way, there will be a spark lit within them, igniting a love of learning for life.

This is part of the beauty of homeschooling. ❤

Do share how you encourage independent learning in your homeschool 🙂 



Motivate Your Child Action Plan ~ Review

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller are the founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. The NCBP’s mission is to Parent the Heart of the child.  National Center for Biblical Parenting also covers topics like: ADHD, Anger, Defiance, Sexuality, Conflict and lots more!  Previously I had been blessed with being a part of the launch team for the book Motivate Your Child. You can read my review here.  This was just what I needed for my oldest son. And so, when I had the opportunity to review the Motivate Your Child Action Plan by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, I knew that this was exactly what I needed to go back and review all I had learned. It was time, and now I had no excuse, to put sso many of the things I learned in their earlier book, into action.



Motivate Your Child Action Plan consists of 12 chapter, consier it as a 40 day plan, to help you identify specific character issues that your children struggle with and then, to come up with an action plan. As you move forwad, you build a strength into your child from those very things that have been such a thorn in your side (and theirs too).  With the book you will also receive a link to 12 audio sessions you can download that have Turansky and Miller explaining and exploring, even deeper,  the concepts in each chapter of this book.  I think of this as a way of having my own “mentor” walking alongside me while I read and pray on the plan for our family.

Some of the topics within this book you will go over are:

  • Seeing change in 40 days – Its all about a good, firm foundation (theology) and then a consistent strategy/technique
  • Determining where you want to go – Identify the problem – envision the solution.  This is a time of truth. Make your list of the area(s) that need growth; define the character trait that goes along with each one. As you go along, celebrate every sign of success big or small!
  • Creating a map to get where you want to go – Don’t focus on where you are but where you want to be. The moment matters.
  • A place for firmness – The caterpillar to a butterfly does require struggles.
  • Vision turns common people into heroes. We cannot simply react to a problem.  Vision focus on the solution.
  • Teaching shows the way – Do they see, do we, that God is at work in our life?  Learn how to apply biblical techniques, teach our children how to do the same.
  • Spiritual energy provides strength
  • Coaching – Encourage you children to figure out those problems. Become part of the solution; forget the rules and start to think strategy.
  • Building motivation from within – Good habits + cultivating a good conscience + building character = desire/motivation needed.
  • Growing together (if we do not change, neither can they!) Kids need discipline to build self-discipline.Its a relationship thing; that relational time is not optional.  We must have it if we want this thing to be successful.


We have really found ourselves struggling with our oldet son as he has gotten older. Yet the wisdom within Motivate Your Child, and the additional Motivate Your Child Action Plan, gives me hope. This really helped to remind me, and focus myself, on the goals for our family and how we can get there. This is truly a blessing; heart parenting truly can help us to raise our children to be inspired and guided towards the great plans God has for them as they discover life.


“Use firmness, visioning, teaching, prayer, & coaching to move your child from where he is today, to where he needs to go.”


MYC and MYC Action Plan $36.99
Buy the two books together and save $19.95!
These are on sale together for $36.99 and you can’t have one without the other!
Ebook available on Amazon for $2.99 from May 18-20
Motivate Your Child ebook version for only $2.99!: This is on sale on Amazon for just two days! (May 18-20, 2015)
Motivate Your Child Action Plan for $29.95
Motivate Your Child Action Plan for $29.95: Save $10.00, but hurry and order before May 31, 2015!
“A character quality is a pattern of thinking and acting in response to a challenge.”

Give Them Grace ~ Intro & Chapter One ~ Talk Time!

It’s May! And so our 3 month discussion of the popular Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson in the Family Discipleship Facebook group has begun! It’s not too late to join us if you would like to.   Check out the schedule below, and then let’s talk about the foreword, the introduction, and Chapter One!  🙂


We'll be discussing Give Them Grace May-July 2015. Here's the schedule!


I absolutely love the quote Pastor Tchividjian begins the foreword with from Michael Horton in Christless Christianity:


What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city? Over half a century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio. Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia (the city where Barnhouse pastored), all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “no ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday… where Christ is not preached.” (Give Them Grace, page 11)


Tchividjian goes on to say that we are not meant to train our children to be externally obedient, “nice” “good” people, but rather that they are able to grasp the truth of the Gospel.  What good is the law after all if it does not point us toward God’s grace?  Sanctification or becoming holy, is not possible without justification through faith, by grace, in Christ alone. We are able to change because of Jesus. And Jesus is the one who changes us.



This reminds me, painfully, of how often I tell my children that they need to “obey”.  I expect them to apologize for wrong doings and be polite; I tell them to use kind words and to speak in love. When they are being stubborn, or disobedient, I remind them (too often) of the need for them to “just do it” because it is what needs to be done. None of us mean to teach our children things that are contrary to the Word of God but when I think about it, as I read, ultimately, I am teaching them (unconciously) that they need to do these things on their own. Truth is, they need Jesus with them, because it is through Him all these things can be.


Introduction ~ by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson


Fitzpatrick and Thompson begin, no holds barred with the following question:

…should a Christian’s response differ significantly from what we might hear from a loving Mormon mom or a conscientious Jewish father?


What do you think? I didn’t have to think hard on this one. Of course, the gospel should be the center of all that we do.  If it is not, what does that say about our faith?


We need to give them the Gospel.  It should be something that we love so much, we desire to give it to our children again and again, seeing the great value within it for them. Its how we help them to live for Jesus – ensuring that they can see their NEED for a Saviour, just as we once did.  Can we remember the feelings of relief and joy that came from knowing that this battle we are in, He is there, fighting for us? How much peace did it give us knowing that this is not about our ability but rather His power.


Chapter One ~ Sinai to Calvary

I was quite compelled by how obedience was divided into various areas in this book such as: Initial Obedience, Social Obedience, Civic Obedience, and Religious Obedience. Certainly these are all necessary to learn to live successfully in the world, to be safe, and to develop strong relationships in our family and community. But none can save a child; if we consider their value eternally, there is so much more to all of this.

I loved the examples they share as to how we can communicate the gospel to our children, rather than focusing on their obedience to the law. (It’s what most of us do; not meaning to perhaps, but still….)


I love how they write:


Yes, give them God’s law. Teach it to them and tell them that God commands obedience. but before you are done, give them grace and explain again the beautiful story of Christ’s perfect keeping of it for them.


As my children get older I see more and more the value and need for Biblical training in their lives.  And I see, glaringly, my own imperfections, in them so often.  Training our children is so important. Consistent, grace filled, loving, Biblical training.  We cannot use the Bible as nothing more than a rule book rather we must use it as a way to share the complete message of the Gospel – the love and mercy; the grace and the law.  We cannot have one without the other.  It isn’t just about “being good” and they must know that (we need to too!) so that hearts may be transformed. ❤






Motivate Your Child Action Plan Giveaway — win an iPod Touch, $50 iTunes GC and #HeartParenting Books!

A few months ago, NCBP released an amazing  parenting book, Motivate Y our Child and they are now publishing a guide to use along with the book called Motivate Your Child Action Plan. This book can stand alone, but is an excellent companion to Motivate Your Child.  Trust me. When it comes to motivating my child (mostly my oldest son) I have a plethora of tools I have tried; none that have been as full of hope, and the Word, as this.  I count my blessings since having learned of the National Center for Biblical Parenting (NCBP) andam a huge fan of their parenting book, The Christian Parenting Handbook, as well.   There are so many gems that you can enjoy, from NCBP such as: their very encouraging and inspiring podcast episodes, blog, and books such as:

Each one of these books and every podcast I have heard, has been full of precious biblical advice and instruction to aid us in this task before us of training up our children for Him ❤


Motivate Your Child Action Plan Giveaway


To celebrate the release of Motivate Your Child Action Plan, we are joining other members of the Launch Team in a wonderful giveaway filled with an iPod Touch, $50 iTunes Gift Card and several biblical parenting products! A value of nearly $350!

Here’s what you could win:

Apple iPod touch 16GB Black/Silver  ($195 value)

  • In the Box – iPod Touch, Apple EarPods, Lightning to USB cable, QuickStart guide
  • Brilliant 4 Retina display with Multi-Touch IPS technology
  • Front-Facing FaceTime camera with 1.2MP photos & 720p HD video recording.
  • iOS 6 features – Siri, Apple Designed Maps, Integrated Facebook, Shared Photo Streams, Passbook & more

iTunes Gift Card ($50 value)

Because you’ll need apps and music for that iPod Touch!

The Christian Parenting Handbook and Companion Guide ($56.95 value)

The Christian Parenting Handbook contains nuggets of parenting wisdom condensed into 50 short chapters, each one biblical, practical, and relevant for parents of children ages 2-18. Learn appropriate ways to correct, instruct, and set limits. Glean wisdom for dealing with emotions, conflict, and developing closeness in your family… and much more. These 50 strategies provide you with hands-on tools for parenting children of any age.

The Companion Guide is a workbook of 50 lessons along with 50 audio tips to take you through The Christian Parenting Handbook step by step. Each lesson contains advice from Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller in a 5 minute audio tip and then offers teaching, an assignment, a Bible verse, and a prayer to help you apply each idea or strategy in your family. The tips are available to you as MP3 downloads and access to them comes in the workbook.

Family Time Activities Book Bundle ($45 value)

Your kids will have fun learning about God’s Word and how it applies to their lives. Science experiments, art activities, and games are all designed to reinforce spiritual truth. Each lesson is clear and simple, yet profound even for parents! You’ll teach kids how exciting it is to learn about God and his ways. Your kids will love these books, but more importantly you’ll build spiritual memories of Family Time in your home. Titles in this giveaway include:

Seeing Is Believing 

Playing for Keeps 

Running the Race

Enter the Giveaway using the Rafflecopter below! This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY to those 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited by law.

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Join us for the Action Plan Facebook Party on Wednesday, May 20 at 9:00PM ET. There will be even more prizes and giveaways there and the authors of Action Plan will be present to answer your questions! The winner of this giveaway will be announced at the Facebook party!

RSVP here for the Party!

Action Plan Facebook Party

The Adventures of Pajama Girl and the Coronation of the Cupcake Queen ~ Review

This is the most darling book I have seen in a LONG time! And from the moment it arrived my daughter ( who is 3) has just LOVED it!

A cute, illustrated story about a girl’s imagination and her magical pajamas. In this adventure, Ellie’s cupcake pajamas pave the way for she and her Sis to take a journey to a land filled with all kinds of sweet treats. Their journey quickly turns into an adventure to help the Cupcake Queen find the missing sprinkles needed for her coronation ceremony. In searching for the missing sprinkles, Ellie and Sis uncover a life lesson that is important for every child to learn.


This is only 32 pages; a very fun and easy read. Great for bedtime too (although we have read it at many different times and locations)


pj girl


I myself just love how The Adventures of Pajama Girl and the Coronation of the Cupcake Queen make it simple for my daughter to understand the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Steal”.  It’s very important to me that my children have books that encourage and teach the value of the Word of God and how it applies to every one of us.  This simple story made it so very easy for my daughter to see the trouble that comes from taking things that are not yours. She was so worried when we read that the sprinkles were all gone. Even she knows that without sprinkles, cupcakes are just not as much fun!

This is a wonderful book full of colorful and fun illustrations. Even the cover of the book is pretty with lots of sparkly pink,  and a fun pastel colored illustration.


I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a little girl (or more)!  What a great story to get ready for bed at night; encourage imagination in our kids, and help to put thoughts of sweet dreams in their heads 🙂 It may cost you a new pair of pajamas or two (be warned! lol)

Ready to Buy It? 
Purchase the hardcover, 32 page book, “The Adventures of Pajama Girl and the Coronation of the Cupcake Queen”, at for $12.67.

When you buy the book from any store or online and then enter your receipt at, you’ll receive 10 free Pajama Girl Activity Sheets sent via email!

You can also visit the Pajama Girl’s website HERE.



So Why?

Children are a blessing from the Lord.

Lo, children are an heritage from the LORD, and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Psalm 127:3

Should we not always seek God’s blessings in our life? How much more should we desire children, God’s most precious of gifts?


Lately I struggle to bend over as I get closer to my due date; I am excited and tired. Eager to meet this precious baby that is growing inside of me, restless and frustrated with the ongoing feelings of sickness and weakness.  Being tired, needing to lay down and rest. It seems, all the time. I am weary of picking up clothes, toys, and other random things from underneath tables and chairs.  My senses are super sensitive; the kids screams and shouts (in joy) they are now painful and I do believe they could even shatter glass… whining and fighting….its almost impossible for me to bear.


I have to remind myself of this almost daily right now. As I push down the desire to groan and complain about my discomfort; the inconvenience of this pregnancy….I remember those I have met, friends known from long ago ,who struggled to have children and for some, that prayer, may never be answered. I am being blessed, abundantly, with another sweet babe – I need to remember how great a gift this truly is.


There will always be trials. We will always have struggles. As I tell my oldest son often, nothing that is truly worth having, comes easily. There is work to be done, there are sacrifices that we need to make ~ Sometimes we just need to lay down. ❤


It isn’t easy, I know. It’s not the popular thing to do. It’s a lack of peace, often times minimal sleep, short and quick sometimes lukewarm showers…. a hot meal, what’s that? There are times that we are simply bombarded with demands, needs, complaints, tears….Seemingly never-ending.


And this is when we have to remember how Christ came, for us, how He died for us ~ He laid down His life for ours.  It’s a powerful reminder of what it means to be a momma.


We certainly had our fair share of tantrums; we struggled and grumbled; how I fought to have my way (and now and then I admit I still have those moments), yet we have been shown such grace.  We were ugly, unkind, unloving, so undeserving and yet still, He laid down for us. He continued to love and sacrifice for us.


Paul says, “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Phil. 3:17).


I desperately need Christ in my life.  Every moment, every day.  Paul says in Romans 7:15 saying: “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”


And then he says when writing to the church at Philippi, he knew himself to be the “chief of sinners”. He remembers with shame how he persecuted the Lord’s church and thus, the Lord Himself (Phil. 3:6; Acts 9:4).


I strive to remain as humble as he; to praise God even in my storms. To thank Him for the trials He brings my way, that can only make my walk that much greater going Him that much more glory.  He laid down His life and I was so undeserving. He gave up everything for me.  For you too.


When we are born again, Christ, He lives in us. He gives us power to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Our children, they need to see the love of Christ through our life.  They need to see that love and grace that He showed us because even when they are “undeserving” we once (maybe today we are) were too.