Archives for November 2011

Car Sear Safety: A Letter from a Reader

We were very sad to receive this letter from Lisa Sewell of the Coweta County Car Seat Coalition and realize an error made on our part in the November issue of ParentLife. With her permission, we’re printing her letter here so that you might learn more about car seat safety.



Hello, I am a nationally certified child passenger safety technician who assists law enforcement with car seat safety as a civilian volunteer. Part of my responsibility is toward educating the public. It is because of this that I noticed something that I see all too often and sadly costs children their lives. On page 24, I was shocked to see [a photo with] each of the three children using seat belts, when they should have been in either a car seat with a five-point harness, or a booster seat at the very least, judging from their size.

Seat belts kill and injure due to their positioning, which in this case is the neck (decapitation) and the belly (massive internal injuries). At times, the lap portion of the belt can go right through the child’s abdomen, severing their spine. In our monthly car seat class we show a power point and video with images that show actual injuries to children’s abdomen and internal organs. Most children are so uncomfortable riding this way that they take that seat belt and tuck it under their arm or behind their backs, further sealing their fates in a crash.  

Kindly issue a warning in a future issue regarding the danger posed by the example of the children riding with seat belts only. In our state (GA) this is a ticketable offense in addition to the danger posed to the children. Every state has certified car seat techs through either local police, fire departments, hospitals, or Safe Kids coalitions. Many of us are volunteers with a passion for keeping kids safe. My passion for Christ makes this a ministry effort since I am sharing the love of Jesus in helping families via car seat safety.


Lisa Sewell

Tips for the Best Handwashing

Washing hands in the kitchen

source: hygienematters

To help prevent the spread of germs, handwashing is key. Unfortunately, while many children and adults think they know how to properly wash their hands, arguably most probably haven’t been taught the best method.

During a demonstration at NSF International’s laboratories in Michigan, children were asked to apply a special glowing lotion to their hands before washing their hands. Once the children washed up, they placed their hands under a blacklight, and “problem spots” glowed, showing them what areas were missed while washing. The culprits: under the nails, between the fingers, and wrists.
To make sure these locations are not missed when you or your kids wash their hands, follow these simple steps:  Wet your hands with warm water; lather your hands with soap; rub your hands together vigorously for 20 seconds, paying special attention to the nails, between the fingers, and wrists; rinse your hands with clean water; and dry your hands thoroughly with a hand dryer or paper towel.
Here are some ways to help make the process of handwashing fun for children:

  • Consider creating a handwashing chart at home that tracks each time your child washes his or her hands. Offer them a prize or reward after a designated certain time frame of good handwashing practices.
  • Take pictures of places germs live in your child’s environment, such as on the dog (or its toy or dish) or doorknobs, and post them near sinks, on the refrigerator, or near your child’s handwashing chart. This will help remind them of when they need to wash their hands.
  • Have young children count to 10 twice while washing their hands to better understand the required 20 seconds.
  • Cook with your child, emphasizing the importance of washing your hands both before and after handling food.
  • Check out online sites like for additional fun handwashing ideas.

Handwashing is important for food safety, disease prevention and personal health. Teaching ourselves and our children the proper way to wash their hands now can help keep us all healthier.

Thank you to Cheryl Luptowski, Consumer Affairs Officer at NSF International, for this information.

An Advent Resource for Preschoolers

Truth in the Tinsel is the kind of resource we love to share in ParentLife: a 24-day Advent experience for preschoolers and young elementary-aged kids. Each day has a Scripture, a craft, questions, and an optional activity that relates to the "lesson."

To read more about it, visit Jessie’s blog.

You can find tons of free Scripture-based activities to do with your young children at Impress Your Kids, too!

“If” Recordable Storybook (GIVEAWAY!)

Flowerpot Press’ Record-A-Story series lets your child enjoy a book read by a loved one who lives far away or is stationed overseas. The newest title in the series, by Frank Boylan, is called If. Simple buttons allow the reader to record the text of each page. To hear the story read aloud later, the child simply pushes the button that corresponds to the page number. Sentimental moments will happen when your child hears, “If I was there I would tell you I love you,” or “If I was there I would hug you, or laugh with you, or play games with you.”

If captures the spirit and voice of the very people who would most like to sit side by side and read a favorite book but are instead on two different sides of town or in different corners of the world. This is the perfect original story for grandparents who live far away, parents who travel on business frequently, aunts and uncles who live across the country, godparents who don’t get to see little ones often enough, or military parents serving their country. The fun format and touching story makes an amazing gift.

We have THREE copies of If to give away! Just answer this question in the comments: who would you give the book to if you won? THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

Winners will be chosen by random December 2, 2011. USA only. LifeWay empoyees are not eligible to win.

How Being a Good Girl Affects Our Parenting Style by Emily P. Freeman

I’m excited to introduce Emily Freeman, author of Chatting at the Sky and the book Grace for the Good Girl. I truly enjoyed and was challenged by reading her book a few months ago. I hope you’ll consider grabbing a copy after you read her words here.

Behind the scenes of Writing for Film & Television Port Short, "Hard Times"

Image credit: vancouverfilmschool


I’ve been a good girl most of my life. If there was a rule, I followed it. If there was a rebellion, I avoided it. If I experienced heartache, pain, or brokenness, I did my best to hide it.

One of my great motivators as a good girl all those years was fear—fear of failure, of being wrong, of letting other people down or of disappointing God.

And so when a woman who is afraid of living becomes a mother, you can imagine all the things that can go wrong. I was a great mom until I had kids. But having kids smoked the crazy right out of me. All the ways I had worked hard to control life stopped working.

So for the tired good girl moms who just want to raise good kids? You will never be more free then when you give up your right to be good and to raise good kids.

I know that sounds extreme. But if you’re a good girl like I was, then chances are your definition of good is laced with nauseating pleasantries, strict spiritual disciplines, and a religious view of God. Might I invite you do a different way to parent?

Don’t confuse her behavior with her identity.  This is of the biggest mistakes I make as a parent. It is so important to encourage our kids in their identity as individuals and in Christ rather than try to shame them into better behavior. It may be true that she is acting irresponsibly. But better to call the choice an irresponsible one or the behavior irresponsible rather than to say that she is irresponsible. The goal is to empower, not to shame.

Connect with her heart rather than manage her outcomes.  Good girls like to check things off lists. But parenting can’t be put in an outline. My girls are only seven, but I’ve been a mama long enough to know that seven turns into seventeen all too quickly. And we can’t really control a bit of it. The sooner we trade our manager hat for the mystery of Christ, the better off we’ll be.

Be led by love rather than pushed by fear.  Fear pushes me to make sure they don’t throw fits, to control and demand for the sake of my reputation. But love makes a different choice. Remember what Love did. Even though He knew they would choose the wrong one, God still put two trees in the Garden. He could have just put the one, guaranteeing they never messed up. But a choice with no opportunity for failure isn’t really a choice, is it?

Our children need our faith, not our anxiety. They need our confident love, not our hovering fear. But they also need to see our weakness and then watch what we do with it.




Emily P. Freeman is a writer, speaker, listener, and author of the book Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life. She encourages women to create space for their souls to breathe on her blog, Chatting at the Sky, and is also a monthly contributor for (in)courage by DaySpring. She lives with her husband and their 3 kids in North Carolina.



Fun Friday Photo 11/18

Libbie enjoys a sucker at her 3rd birthday/Operation Christmas Child Shoebox-Packing Party!


(Why yes, that is MY kid again. Which means we must REALLY need you to send in your pictures!)

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!

Think You Have a Lot of Kids? Check this out.

I hope you’ll take the time to watch this video. I spoke to Michele Hanzelip today and she just touched my heart. What an awesome ministry.

Consider It Joy by Becky Suggs

Here’s the second post in Becky Suggs’ journal on being an expectant mom. Read the first installment if you missed it!

Baby Razzle at 9.4 weeks

My husband and I prayed for a very long time to have a child. Throughout the process, God reminded me in His Word, “Consider it pure joy…when you face trials of many kinds.”

Month after month, test after test … one little pink line.
Consider it pure joy …

Based on the job I had and the time it required during certain parts of the year, we knew timing was important. We decided to try one last time before we had to take a break with when the baby would most likely be due.
Consider it pure joy …

God graciously heard our cries and answered our prayers. Such joy as we told some of those who had been praying alongside us.

On the day of our first prenatal doctor’s visit, my boss at the ministry we worked with asked to have lunch with my husband and me before we left for the day. Through that conversation, I learned in just a short month, my job would be eliminated, along with many of my fellow employees’.
Consider it pure joy …

I wish I could say that first visit, hearing the heartbeat and seeing our precious baby, was a joyful one for me. While I was so thankful for the gift God had granted us, joy was not on the forefront of my mind. I was grieving over the ministry in which I had invested so much of my time and energy.
Consider it pure joy …

While I’m still wondering what God is teaching me through all of this, I know His plans are perfect. Though it’s not going the way I planned, God has a way of doing things His way and in His timing. Through it all, this precious life inside of me has brought me incredible joy. I have a new job around the corner … and I’ve heard motherhood is one of the greatest professions there is!

greatest picture.jpg



Becky Suggs and her husband, Robert, live in the mountains of Glorieta, New Mexico, with their pug, Sadie. They are expecting their first child in April. In her spare time, you can find Becky reading, enjoying the great outdoors, filling in squares to the latest crossword puzzle, and spending time with family. She has a passion for both kids and camping ministries.

Ultasound image used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.


Traveling for the Holidays with a Baby

Daddy and Daughter

Our Growth Spurts articles in the November 2011 issue discuss what your baby might eat for Thanksgiving based on his or her age … but what should you pack if you’re traveling with a little one? The answer: you will probably pack WAY more than you need, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Some items you will want to consider packing:


  • Portable crib. You may need to lay your baby down for a nap at Grandma’s house, or have a place for her to sleep at night.
  • Portable high chair. Baby will want to join the family at the table too.
  • Formula, baby food, bottles, snacks, and baby’s utensils and bowls. Pack lots of extra, just in case Auntie’s kitchen is not set up to accommodate a baby.
  • Diapers, wipes, clothes. You can never pack too much!

What do you always forget to pack? I somehow manage to always pack way too much clothes for the kids and way too few items for myself. And I always, always forget baby shampoo!

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.

Winter Reading

Need a few books to read as you curl by the fire this late fall and winter? (We don’t have a fireplace, but we do have a radiator. Does that count?) Here are a few to peruse on cold nights.


NUTRITIONCvr.jpgNutrition: What Every Parent Needs to Know was just released in its second edition. The cohesive volume gives parents all the information and strategies they need to meet the dietary needs of children from birth through adolescence, as well as the facts about standards of weight and height. It allso addresses eating disorders and special dietary needs; alternative diets and supplements; allergies; and concerns over food safety.



If you can find a copy of this charming book in the next week or two, it’s a great cuddle-up-and-learn read for your preschooler. Off to Plymouth Rock by Dandi Daley Mackall has engaging illustrations, fun rhymes, and is perfect for explaining to your young children about the first Thanksgiving.


mineisthenight.jpgIf you are a historical fiction lover, Mine is the Night will make you swoon. it’s a retelling of the biblical Book of Ruth, told by the exquisite Liz Curtis Higgs through the lens of 18th century Scotland. The Kerr women, tossed from a place of privilege and both their husbands gone, must readjust to life as commoners in the Naomi-figure’s hometown. Intriguing, utterly delightful, and romantic. Just like Ruth!





If you were inspired by the movie Courageous, you might enjoy – and be moved by – The Resolution for Men. It’s a challenge to step up as the leader of your household, marriage, and children.

What’s on your bookshelf this fall and winter? Don’t forget to enter our November Giveaway for a chance at adding Candace Cameron Bure’s book, Reshaping It All, to your shelves!