Archives for November 2009

Caring for Orphans

Adoption is a beautiful picture of God’s unconditional love. For a beautiful story of adoption, be sure not to miss "His Adopted Daughter" by Kimberly Moore in the November 2009 issue of ParentLife.97_11.30.09_orphan.jpg

But maybe your family is not quite ready to adopt a child or God has not placed the  calling of adoption on the life of your family. You can still help care for orphans. Consider the following ministries and organizations.

  • New Horizons for Children. New Horizons for Children is an international hosting program for orphaned children. Visit for more information.
  • Sweet Sleep™. Sweet Sleep is a faith-based, nonprofit organization that exists to share God’s love by providing beds to the world’s orphaned and abandoned children. For more information, visit
  • Young Heroes. The devastation of AIDS is creating a generation of orphans in Swaziland. Swaziland now has nearly 70,000 orphans who struggle every day for the bare necessities of life. For as little as $20 per month, you can sponsor an orphan family, bringing them the crucial food, clothing, and education they need. Visit

Is there a particular organization or charity your family contributes to? Does your family help care for orpans? If so, how? Share your ministry ideas with other ParentLife readers by leaving a comment!

Fun Friday Photo — November 26, 2009


Hannah enjoyed some fresh fudge sauce and ice cream so much she licked the bowl clean and inversely got unclean.

Thanks to Brian D. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

Kid’s Life: What Are You Thankful For? by Jolene Evans

In Sunday School classrooms around the nation, children are being asked the age-old question, “What are you thankful for this year?” Colossians 3:15 says, “Be thankful.” But what does thankfulness really look like? True thankfulness comes from your heart, not just when you get what you want, but all the time. These children have learned to be thankful.

  • 96_thanksgiving.jpg“I’m thankful that even though my best friend moved away, she will still come back to visit me. I’m also thankful that I became a Christian this year.” — Lyndi, age 10
  • “I’m thankful for my home and my family.” — Aaron, age 10
  • “I’m thankful to Jesus that He loves me.” — Caitlyn, age 12
  • “I’m thankful I have enough food to eat and that I’m not in an orphanage. I’m also thankful God gave me a good family.” — Jamie, age 8
  • “I’m thankful that I have new kittens at my house. I really like it when they let me pet them and pick them up and show them to my mommy.” 
— Emily, age 3
  • “I’m thankful for Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.” 
— Katie, age 7
  • “I’m thankful for God, because I love God!” — Eddie, age 5
  • “I’m really thankful to God for my family because we have a lot of fun together. Oh, and I’m thankful all our cows have about had their babies.” 
— Kale, age 7
  • “I’m really glad I have a new bike. Now I can ride everywhere!” 
— Brian, age 8
  • “I’m thankful for my family because they are very special to me, and we have a lot of fun together.” 
— Kylee, age 10
  • “I’m thankful that when my daddy got sick, the rest of our family didn’t get sick. I’m especially glad my baby sister didn’t get sick!” — Josie, age 7
  • “I’m thankful that my daddy will come home soon. I miss him when he’s gone.” — Anna, age 10
  • “I’m thankful that my daddy has a new job. He’s more happy now.” 
— Bryce, age 4
  • “I’m thankful for my new computer so I can write and publish my own stories. I’m also thankful for all the animals and people on our farm. It’s so much fun!” 
— Jeanna, age 10
  • “I’m glad my grandpa has a tractor and a horse so I can ride with him.” 
— Alan, age 4
  • “I’m thankful I can read the Bible. I read a story about people who didn’t even have Bibles and it made me sad.” — Clayton, age 11
  • “I’m thankful for my dog. She is my best friend and I like to sleep with her.” — Ryann, age 9
  • “I’m thankful I have a new baby brother. He is really tired a lot, but I love him.” — Joshua, age 5
  • “I’m thankful for our new house.”  — Jack, age 6

Jolene Evans and her husband, Jim, spend their time finding new reasons to be thankful. They serve the Lord and homeschool their three daughters on their farm in rural Northwest Oklahoma.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving Day?

That Perfect Christmas Card!

christmas-alotlikechristmas.jpgLooking for the perfect Christmas card? I know every year our family pours a lot of time and attention to choosing the photos that we want on our annual Christmas card. I know many of you have trouble making the same choice! Check out these tips from the leading online photo greeting card company

  1. Use humor. Humor opens hearts and lets friends and relatives see the fun side of your life.
  2. Bring captions into play. Captions help loved ones know the details of the performance, vacation, or special event each photo is from. Keep captions short and sincere.
  3. Select a photo with special sentimental value. Don’t worry about the finding the photo where everyone looks “perfect.”
  4. Simplify. Use only 1 – 3 photos. Too many photos dilute the impact of the card.
  5. Juxtapose past & current photos. This highlights the growth of your family.

Do you have a Christmas card ready to go? Share with us your tips for preparing the perfect family card.


More Holiday Safety Tips

As you gather together with family and friends to celebrate this holiday season, be sure to keep the following safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics in mind.


Toy Safety

  • Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.       
  • Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
  • To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age 10) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
  • Children under age 3 can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age 3 cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
  • Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems — including death — after swallowing button batteries and magnets. Keep them away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.
  • Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
  • Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.

Food Safety

  • Bacteria are often present in raw foods. Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.
  • Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.
  • Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.
  • Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separately, and use separate utensils when preparing them.
  • Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
  • Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Happy Visiting

  • Clean up immediately after a holiday party. A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
  • Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots.
  • Keep a list with all of the important phone numbers you or a babysitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician, and the national Poison Help Line (1-800-222-1222).
  • Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child’s stress levels. Trying to stick to your child’s usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.


  • Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open.
  • Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
  • Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

2009 – American Academy of Pediatrics

The Advent Season

Has your family enjoyed the Thanksgiving books mentioned in the November 2009 issue of ParentLife? If so, we have even more recommendations for you!

Sunday, November 29th marks the official beginning of the Advent season. Celebrating Advent is one great way to prepare your family for the Christmas season. Be sure to check out these books related to Advent.


Jotham’s Journey by Arnold Ytreeide (Kregel, 2008) 

AdventBook.jpg The ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel (Multnomah, 2004) 


The Advent Book by Jack and Kathy Stockman (Crossway Books, 2005)


Does your family celebrate Advent? If so, tell us about your Advent traditions?

Fun Friday Photo — November 20th


Griffin Cook, 19 months, demonstrates that it is football time in Tennessee.

Thanks to Dori C. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

Volunteer Together!

Tim Kimmel Family Matters

Two weeks ago I attended a great parenting conference by the Family Matters organization — Tim Kimmel’s "Raising Truly Great Kids" conference. In one section of the conference, he addressed families with relationship issues. I was impressed by Dr. Kimmel’s advice for these families. He encourages them to do service projects together! He observed how serving others helped transform one’s focus. Literally, it causes you to think about others and makes you thankful about the blessings you have. What great advice!

The holidays are a prime time to serve others: at church, in your community, and in your neighborhood. Parents who are not sure where to plug in or want to organize their own service project can rely on VolunteerSpot — a free, easy-to-use online tool that takes the hassle and headache out of coordinating volunteers and encourages everyone to get involved.


VolunteerSpot enables anyone to organize a group to sign up for any activity. Organizers can mobilize volunteers with an easy e-mail invitation. Automated e-mails remind folks of their commitments and schedule. No more mass “reply all” e-mails, late-night phone calls, dreaded clipboard sign-up sheets, or confusion over exactly who will be doing what.

VolunteerSpot also includes helpful tools for organizers looking for a little creative input or just plain inspiration, including free eBooks and an active blog featuring ideas and user suggestions for successful event planning.

 For more information, visit

What service projects are you planning as a family in the coming weeks? Post your plans to inspire others!

The Art of Good Manners

It is never too early to teach your youngest family member how to be a gracious guest. As holiday gatherings approach, prepare your child with some manners. Encourage her to try the following.

  • Look people in the eyes and say, “Hello.”94_child.jpg
  • Resist the temptation to complain — about the food, entertainment, or other guests.
  • Say, “Thank you” when served food or beverages.
  • Stay where the party is. Do not wander into rooms with closed doors.
  • Clean up after yourself. Do not expect someone else to do it.
  • Agreeably leave when Mom or Dad says it is time to go.
  • Thank the host and hostess for inviting you.

For more about manners be sure and check out "The Art of Saying Thanks" by Kay Harms in the November 2009 issue of ParentLife. Also check out these books on manners!

November Giveaway Reminder

Don’t forget about our November giveaway … a $25 gift card to Staples to give you a head start on your holiday shopping.

Staples.pngStaples offers fabulous gifts for the holiday season  from Staples exclusives to hot brand-name technology products — all at great prices. Staples also makes the holiday season easy, as a one-stop store that includes convenient locations, ship-to-store options, and printing services including holiday cards and family calendars. Check out our outstanding deals on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and weekly specials in the Staples circular. Happy Holidays from Staples!

Everyone* who posts a comment on our blog during the month of November will be entered to win!

*LifeWay employees are not eligible for this giveaway. Multiple comments do not increase chances of winning.