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


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!

DIY Snow Globes

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

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

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.

Kids Say the Funniest Things

Have your kids said some funny things recently? Send us a funny and true story involving your child. Email your story to If we publish your story, you will receive $20. Please include your name, address, email address, and daytime phone number. Submissions should be 25 to 150 words. Stories may be edited for clarity and length.

She Gives Me Courage by Ellen Stumbo

As soon as we walked into the dental office I knew we would be in for quite the experience. My youngest daughter -who has Down syndrome – also has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). While there are many kids that struggle at the dentist, take a kid with SPD and you take “difficult” to a new level.

She had two cavities. We also recognized getting those cavities taken care of at the dentist’s office wasn’t going to happen. The solution? Dental work under general anesthesia at the hospital.

Think about that for a minute, a surgical protocol just to get teeth cleaned, X-rays redone, and her cavities fixed.

The morning of the appointment, the anesthesiologist came to talk to us about procedure. We discussed the sedative they give so that kids get drowsy and don’t remember. I brought up the fact that at the Children’s hospital they wouldn’t give that to her, because kids with Down syndrome have low muscle tone, and it can compromise their airway. He said he wasn’t concerned about it, I asked how many kids with Down syndrome they see on a regular basis. I also asked him what steps he would take if her airway did indeed collapse, and I asked about her neck positioning.

I’ve come a long way. When my daughter was first born, I was bullied by a nurse. She’d given me false information, she treated me like I knew nothing about Down syndrome or my daughter. That experience changed me. The nice pastor’s wife was going to raise her voice once in a while. Just don’t mess with my kids. So I learned to come in with research to back up everything I brought up, and soon I was educating the nurse, and teaching her a thing or two about Down syndrome.

And here I was, six years later, asking questions about my child’s safety and emotional well being. The anesthesiologist looked at me like I had two heads, but he answered my questions, and I felt comfortable with a decision we reached together.

And that is when I realized that my daughter has changed me. She’s turned me into this woman that has courage she never knew was there. Willing to stand up to medical professionals, and hold her ground. And maybe that is who we become as mothers, we become courageous, because we realized that we have to stand up for someone else, and we lay down our lives for them.

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

Giveaway: The One Year Book of Bible Trivia for Kids


What kind of fruit did Eve take from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? A. pear; B. apple; C. we don’t know.

What did Jesus serve the disciples for breakfast? A. fruit and cereal, B. fish and bread; C. manna and quail.

Learn a little Bible trivia while learning more about God’s message within the Bible. This One Year book features 365 trivia questions that lead into meaningful devotions about the questions. Each devotion also includes a For You section, which gives a simple application to kid’s lives. And the answer to the opening question wraps up the devotion and gives readers biblical references to read.

This book will keep curious kids on their toes and give them a reason to open their devotional and Bible daily. They can also use their knowledge to test family members each day. [The answers to the questions above are C. we don’t know and B. fish and bread.]

If you would like to win a copy for your family, enter through the form below (contest only open to residents of the U.S.).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Possessions Problem by Jessie Weaver

The past few weeks I’ve been mediating a (very small) group of women as we walk through Jen Hatmaker’s Bible study The 7 Experiment: Staging Your Own Mutiny Against Excess. This week our study was on possessions, with an emphasis on giving away some of what we have. Jen especially recommends finding those who actually need what you have, not just doing a mass donation to a thrift store – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

We’ve already attacked the clothing problem, which is a big one for me when it comes to my kids. My first donation was to a family who needed boys’ clothes for twins who wear the same size as my David. I literally had twice as much clothing as he could wear. It’s taken some new self-control to not peruse the racks for my daughter given the change in season – I love finding a deal on little girls’ clothes. But those deals add up. And as Hatmaker points out, it’s money that can be spent well in other places instead of us buying into the lie that our kids and ourselves need to look perfect at all times to be an important member of society (or something like that).

But other than clothes, I didn’t really think I had a possessions problem. We’ve lived in 5 different homes in 9 years of marriage, and each time we move I end up donating boxes of items. We live in a small apartment and just don’t have a ton of space, so – compared to many – we don’t have a lot of stuff. They key word there is “compared.”

It’s easy to defend your choices when you compare them to others. But when you compare them to God’s outline? It’s a different story.

I thought it would be hard to match the items I wanted to donate with people in my city who needed them. But by clicking here and there on Google and Facebook, I’ve found organizations who help those in need and without homes. I’ve seen personal pleas from families who won’t have heat this winter or don’t have clothing for their infants.

Compared to many, we don’t have much? Compared to the standards God upholds, I have everything I need and plenty more to give.

Clearing out stuff is not that hard. Refusing to buy new stuff is the difficult part. Choosing to put funds and work toward those who really need it, that is God’s way. The path I hope to choose in the future.

“The one who oppresses the poor person insults his Maker, but one who is kind to the needy honors Him.” Proverbs 14:31 HCSB


When Jessie Weaver is not busy being the resident ParentLife Blogger, she writes at Vanderbilt Wife and also for magazines like HomeLife and ParentLife. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband, where they run after three kids under 5.

Embrace Children With Differences

Here are a few tips foreEmbracing a child with a physical difference and her family during everyday life.

1. Invite the child on play dates.
Don’t be concerned about how other children may respond to the child’s physical difference. When children see adults treat a child with a difference just like any other child, they, too, will quickly look past the physical difference and focus on the child herself.

2. Visit the child at the hospital.
If the child must have surgery, make a point to visit the child and her family at the hospital. A smiling, familiar face can bring such a sense of calmness and ease during these stressful times. This is also a wonderful opportunity to teach your own children about caring for others.

3. Let the child’s family decide her limitations.
Even if the outing is at a bounce house, playground, or skating rink, don’t be timid asking a child with a physical difference to attend. Allow her parents to decide whether or not she can handle the outing. You’ll be simply amazed at what these children can do!

Guest Post: Those Boys by Brooke McGlothlin

I’m raising two rough and tumble, loud, aggressive, highly physical boys—and I affectionately refer to them as . . .

Those boys.

You know, the ones that often end up with letters behind their names like ADD, ADHD, or ODD? Some days I look at other boy moms raising quiet boys, and wish for days that aren’t so loud, hearts that acquiesce, a little more go with the flow, and a little less dig their heels in the ground. I would love just a few hours of less dramatic reactions to their problems—a day or two of having builders instead of crashers, tossers instead of throwers, hand shakes instead of tackles, and pouting instead of hitting.

At my website for mothers of boys, The MOB Society, we see it all the time—boy moms worn down from trying to raise godly men. I’m convinced that 99% of our moms come to us because they don’t have a clue what to do with their sons. Our culture is quick to label, quick to judge, and slow to give grace to boys who are more hyper, less focused, and generally harder to handle than the rest. We’re overwhelmed by the letters behind their names, and weary from worry.

I believe the most important way we can help our hard-to-handle boys, is by focusing less on the letters assigned to them by others, and more on the ones we pray for them.

The most important letters
A few months ago I was having one of the worst days I can remember with my sons. Their hearts seemed far from me and far from God. I was losing it, so I sent them to their rooms for a cool down period. As doors slammed, and voices screamed, “You’re so mean!” I sank to my knees on the stairs, put my head in my hands, and prayed, “Help me Jesus! I can’t do this without You. Please take my heart and theirs. Fill us up with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Thank You for coming when I call. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

I began praying Scripture over my boys when they were very little. Since then, it has become quite a passion of mine. I love to take the Word and wash it over my boys in prayer, substituting their names in when I can, and asking the Lord to bring it to fruition in their lives. That day, on the stairs of our home, I pondered the incredible access I had to the God who bends down to listen (Psalm 116:2, NLT), and wondered why it had taken me so long to pray for His help. I walked up the remaining stairs to our boys’ rooms, sat down in the hallway, placed my hands on their door frames, and began to pray the Scripture-based prayers I had made for them years ago.

“Lord, You alone change hearts of stone, to hearts of flesh. Place Your Spirit within my children and cause them to walk in Your statutes and to be careful to obey Your rules. For You know the plans You have for them; plans to prosper them and not to harm them, to give them a future and a hope. Let them fear You Lord, and thus have a foundation for wisdom and a heart for instruction. Let them receive wisdom and incline their hearts to understanding. Help them not to lean on their own limited understanding, but in all their ways to acknowledge You so that their paths will be straight . . .”

As I poured out my heart an amazing thing happened: my faith in the One who loves my boys more than I do, who died to set them free from sin, was restored. I took my eyes off of my ability to change their hearts and placed it back on the only One who truly can.

Maybe our boys will end up with letters assigned to the end of their names, but I firmly believe the letters (and numbers) their mamas pray for them each day will matter more in the end.

(The letters I prayed for my sons that day include: Ezekiel 36:26-27, Jeremiah 29:11, Proverbs 2, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 1:3, Psalm 91, Galatians 5:16 & 22, Philippians 4:8, Romans 12:2, Romans 12:9-10, Psalm 4:8, and Numbers 6:24).

Main-headshot-2-86 Brooke McGlothlin MOB Society Editor, writer, word-prayer, photo-maker, and boy-raiser, Brooke is continuously surprised by life. She’s the author of the best-selling eBooks Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most, Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess and creator of the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons challenge.

Richard’s Surprise by Carey Casey

A son makes a simple yet meaningful gesture, and it impacts his father for eternity…

The dad’s name is Richard. He had always been an active and committed father. He poured his time and his energy into his kids; he was very devoted to them. But he had never truly embraced God as his heavenly Father. He attended church and he would tell you that faith is very important, but he was never fully committed as a believer.

Richard’s son, 23 years old at the time, played pro baseball for a minor-league team. As he worked his way up the ranks Richard naturally followed him as best he can. He traveled to some games and went online to keep up with what happened when he couldn’t be there.

One evening Richard was checking out the results on his computer, and he found a highlight clip of his son making a great play. What a thrill to be able to see that online! Then, after the play, his boy stood still just for a moment, took off his cap, bowed his head for a short prayer, and then pointed to the sky.

It’s what you see players do sometimes, right? Well, for Richard it was no ordinary thing. He was moved almost to tears. He had no clue that his son’s faith was that important to him.

Richard felt some regret to a degree, because he knew that equipping his kids in their faith was an area where he had fallen short. At the same time, he was humbled that in spite of all that, God still worked in his son’s life to bring about the kind of faith where he could openly give honor and glory to God for his own success.

That experience has had a long-lasting influence on Richard. Today, he is taking his own walk with Christ much more seriously, and he’s paying more attention to the spiritual lives of all his children. What do they believe, and how much does it matter to them? How can they bring glory to God with their lives? Best of all, he’s become a better example of a sold-out, fully devoted disciple of Christ.

Dad, if you’re like Richard used to be, you might be comforted in knowing that God can get through to your children in spite of your weaknesses. But then, why take that chance? Get close to God, and lead your children there as well.

careycaseycasual2007Carey Casey is Chief Executive Officer of the Kansas City-based National Center for Fathering and author of the book Championship Fathering: How to Win at Being a Dad.

Through his work across the country, Casey has earned a reputation as a dynamic communicator, especially on the topic of men being good fathers. He’s known as a compassionate ambassador, particularly within the American sports community.