Giveaway: Uncommon Marriage

UncommonMarriage

In Uncommon Marriage: What We’ve Learned about Lasting Love and Overcoming Life’s Obstacles Together, Tony Dungy, the first African-American head coach in NFL history to guide his team to a Super Bowl title, joins his wife, Lauren, also a New York Times best-selling author of children’s books co-authored with her husband, to impart principles the couple has learned during their marriage. The Dungys will draw on their own experiences to offer hope, encouragement, and practical advice to those who would like their marriages to be “better” but aren’t sure what to do differently.

Uncommon Marriage will feature personal stories from a couple who have not just made marriage work, but have done so joyfully and with a real sense of purpose and partnership. Through their stories, the Dungys relate real-life lessons they’ve learned about developing and maintaining a strong, fulfilling, faith-filled marriage.

If you would like to win a copy of Uncommon Marriage, please leave a comment below with your best marriage advice. Giveaway ends Friday February 28th at 11:59 p.m.

Love them well, love them fierce by Ellen Stumbo

If you are a parent, perhaps you’ve wrestled with this thought at one point or another, “Am I doing enough for my kid?”

Those thoughts tend to creep into our minds, especially if our kids are struggling. Whether it be related to academic performance, their friendships (or lack of friendships), even their behaviors at home. “Is there something I could do to make things better for my child?”

Ask any special needs parent, and you might discover they wrestle with these thoughts often. Disability can be a daily struggle for our kids, and as their parents, we try to do whatever we can to help our kids. Maybe the solution is the new physical therapy approach that is helping many children with cerebral palsy, or the new speech program that is breaking through and getting non-verbal kids to talk! There is always something more we could be doing.

But we have more in common than you think, because we are parents, and because we want the best for our kids, regardless of their abilities.

So I say to you today, my fellow parent of typical children or children with special needs. Just love your kids, love them well, love them fierce.

There might be more than you and I can do, but what our kids need to most is our unconditional love. They need to know that we got their backs, that if they fall we’ll be there to catch them. If they struggle, we will gather around them and cheer them on. If they mess up, we’ll teach them the right way to follow. And they need to know we are their biggest and most devoted cheerleaders.

Every new day is an opportunity to show them that love, to build their character, to point their hearts and minds to a God that loves them far better than we can.

So let’s love our kids, love them well, and love them fierce!

Ellen Stumbo Head ShotEllen Stumbo is a writer and speaker. She is the mother of three daughters: Ellie; Nichole, who has Down syndrome; and Nina, who was adopted and also has special needs. She is wife to Andy, a pastor. Visit her at ellenstumbo.com

Giveaway: Teen Slimline Bible

TeenSlimline

The slimline New Living Translation text Bible is the perfect size for busy teens to carry with them wherever they go—now available in new trendy TuTone designs. Classic reference features include a dictionary/concordance, end-of-Bible helps, full-color maps, a ribbon marker, presentation page, and gilded page edges.

ParentLife readers have the chance to win one of five copies! Enter through the form below (giveaway only open to residents of the U.S.)

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New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year’s Eve! Are you planning to make any resolutions this year? It seems that we always make them with the best of intentions, but our resolve seems to wear off within a few weeks. This year, I challenge you to make one resolution and stick to it. Here are some suggestions:

1. Read your Bible daily.
2. Pray with your kids and your spouse daily.
3. Make your family’s health a priority.
4. Spend 5 minutes with each of your children on an individual basis every day.
5. Say one affirming statement to every member of your family every day.

So, let’s hear it. What’s your one resolution this year?

Merry Christmas!

“But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.’ – Luke 2:10-11

The ParentLife staff wishes you and your family a Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve Traditions

I’m so looking forward to going to Christmas Eve services at church with my family tonight. When we get home, my daughters will open a new pair of pajamas and then we will read some of the Christmas story before sending them to bed. Tonight is probably my favorite part of Christmas – the anticipation of what tomorrow will bring and the remembrance of the little baby that was born to save us all.

I would love to hear the traditions your family will be enjoying today!

Giveaway: Bible Drill App

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See information for giveaway at the bottom of the post!

A new Bible Drill app has been developed by the Georgia Baptist Convention which will help students and their leaders study God’s Word on their tablets or smartphones.

Developed as a general discipleship tool for children, students, adults, and families, the app allows drillers to review books of the Bible and current verses through different activity and study options, according to Maria Brannen, State Missionary in Discipleship/Spiritual Renewal.

“Kids are digital natives and this is a great way for them to have an opportunity for study at home during the week,” Brannen said.
The app provides a tool for children, youth, and high school drillers to study in a variety of styles the Scriptures they are memorizing. It includes options such as a bubble game, flash cards, a Scripture memory game, and pick-a-verse. The app is pre-loaded with three translations used by Bible Drillers—King James Version, Holman Christian Standard Version, and English Standard Version. Students and adults also have the option to share a verse they are learning via social media.

Because it is not specific to Georgia’s Bible Drillers, anyone can download the app for 99 cents in the iTunes store. “It’s a great home study tool where students can learn even if no one else is around,” Brannen commented. “We hope to have a whole new generation of children who will have a passion for studying God’s Word.”

Brannen said that the app can also be used by Christian parents who want their children to memorize Scripture, facilitating a faith connection at home where activities can be done as a family. The app can also be used as a learning activity on an iPad in Bible Drill classrooms at church.

We have three of these to giveaway to ParentLife readers! Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win. Giveaway will end on Friday December 20th!

Special Needs Families Can Celebrate the Season Too by Ellen Stumbo

For many parents of children with special needs, the Holidays can be quite challenging. The delightful Christmas gatherings and parties can quickly turn into sensory overload and meltdowns for the kids.

There are many special needs families that prefer to stay home rather than dealing with the stress of the festivities. But at home, they wish they could participate a little bit more in the Christmas cheer.

If you know a family that has a child with special needs, reach out to them in the next few days. Invite them over to your house, and ask if them if there is anything you can do to make your time together enjoyable. Believe me, special needs parents are hungry for friendship, and they are waiting for someone to reach out to them.

If you are a special needs family, know that I understand the challenges. I have two daughters with special needs, and one of them has a significant sensory processing disorder. But I want to speak to you, because sometimes we cannot wait for someone to reach out to us. Sometimes, we need to initiate.

Instead of waiting for an invitation, host a gathering and invite a family or two you are close to, or families you would like to get to know better. Tell them in advance about your kids, and ask them to bring something to share! The beauty of Christmas festivities is that many are willing to contribute a dish to a gathering.

Prepare your children! My husband is a pastor, and we recently hosted a Christmas open house at our house. Yes, it was a lot of work. And yes, we took a risk with our daughter, but we had a plan. She knew she could go to her room to be alone, bring the iPad, and watch a show. She didn’t need to go to her room, but she did sit on her own in the kitchen while everyone gathered in the living room.

Special needs parents often feel isolated. I encourage you this season to reach out. Reach out to just one other family, or friend. It might take some work, but it will be worth it!

Ellen Stumbo Head ShotEllen Stumbo is a writer and speaker. She is the mother of three daughters: Ellie; Nichole, who has Down syndrome; and Nina, who was adopted and also has special needs. She is wife to Andy, a pastor. Visit her at ellenstumbo.com

Position Your Poinsettias Wisely

The bright and colorful leaves of this plant may tempt little ones to take a taste. Display this beauties high on shelves or outdoors out of reach. Contrary to popular belief, they are not actually poisonous to children. However, contact with their milky substance can cause a mild, itchy rase. And, if the leaves or steams are eaten, the child may have nausea or diarrhea.

DIY Snow Globes

Make a cute snow globe to enjoy with your kiddos through the winter.

Supplies needed:
clear jar with lid
glitter
distilled water
small bottle brush tree
epoxy
sand paper
glycerin (optional)

Directions:
Make sure the jar is clean and dry. Lightly sand underside of jar lid. Use the epoxy to attach the base of the tree to the sanded area. Fill the jar almost full with water. Add about one teaspoon of glitter. Put a bead of epoxy on inside rim of jar lid and attach lid securely. Shake and enjoy! Tip: Adding a tiny drop of liquid glycerin (found at most pharmacies or craft stores) to the water keeps the glitter from falling too quickly and creating a more snowy effect.