Fun Friday Photo — July 8, 2011

My wife, myself and two sons went for a walk the other day and my 3-year-old son, Zachary, said "Dad come over here and smell the flowers". I always have my camera on me so I snapped a shot. Kids are so innocent and seem to always appreciate the simple things in life. We should always remember as we teach them, we can learn a lot from them as well. Stop and smell the flowers. — Dominick C.


Thanks to Dominick C. for this great photo … and great reminder! 

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!

Like a Gardening Toddler by Jessie Weaver

It’s a hot afternoon in June, and Libbie and I are on the back deck. My poor basil plant is withering, the one thing in our yard I claim to care about – since it provides the crop for our Summer Bow-Ties, fresh pesto, gorgeous pizza – and it’s nearly dead. My dependence on the rain to water it is not a smart choice in the drought we’ve had.

I hand Libbie her little yellow spray bottle and ask her to water my plant. I will dump some more water on it later, of course, but her helpfulness needs an outlet that does not include stirring hot pots on the stove or trying to help her brother sit up. She gives it a good spray and then keeps on watering the friends around it: the bushes, the grass, and the weeds that grow around the weathered deck.


Beautiful, but a prodigious weed

She does not discriminate, joyfully doling out to each one, weed or treasured food-bearing plant, its share of needed water. And I think this – this is the faith of a child. This is what Jesus meant.

Libbie does not know to differentiate between people, plants, colors. She doesn’t know that one plant is helpful and one plant is a nuisance to the garden. She sees them like I believe Jesus sees people: each one as His favorite. Each one important to Him. Each one beloved, in need of some tender nurture. And often, I think He gives us children to learn some of these simple lessons, the truths we’ve forgotten since we, age two-and-a-half, watered our own weeds.

SNV32999 copy.jpgWhen 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 two little ones: Libbie (2) and David (6 months).

Real Life Solutions: Keeping Whining at Bay

mintle03(2).jpgWe are proud to have Dr. Linda Mintle in ParentLife each month answering questions submitted from readers. To submit a question for Dr. Mintle, e-mail it to and include "? for Dr. Mintle" on the subject line. This month we have an extra Q&A from Dr. Mintle we wanted to share.

Q: The other day, I took my daughter to a park and we played most of the day. As soon as we came home, she began to whine and said she had nothing to do. I have noticed that no matter how active we are, she complains. I don’t like this behavior and when I lecture her on being grateful, she just rolls her eyes. Any suggestions?

A: Whenever you try to change a child’s behavior, first look at your own. Do you whine and complain and model this behavior? Think about your conversation at meals, in the car, and on the phone. Sometimes parents are the culprit and need to get a handle on their own complaining behavior.

If that is not the case, consider this: Most children today have grown up with loving parents who provide lots of toys and stimulation. They aren’t used to being “bored.” So no amount of lecturing will do.

Instead, you have to do something about the whining that does not involve words. Tell your daughter that Mom and Dad made a mistake by paying attention to her whining and complaining. From now on, you will both ignore that behavior when it happens. You will walk away from her when she whines.

Then do it. Do not give any attention to that behavior when it happens or you will reinforce it. It is OK to give one warning when she says she is bored. Say something like: “It’s up to you to find something to do” or give one suggestion. After that, ignore complaints. Remember that whining usually means she wants to do something other than what is available, she wants you to change your mind, or she wants to do something she can’t do at the moment. So be resolved to use this ignoring strategy.

Keep in mind that when you begin to ignore an obnoxious behavior, it may escalate at first because the child is used to you responding. Do not give in when she escalates and the behavior will soon disappear. But you have to be consistent and give it a week or so.


Great advice, Dr. Mintle! I may give these tactics a try with my own whiny kid. (Anyone else feel like they might scream if they hear, "Mom, I’m hungry!" again today?) How do you tame whining? — Jessie

God’s Shelter for Your Storm (GIVEAWAY)

sheilawalsh.jpgThey are questions we’ve all asked: Why is this happening? Does God really care about me? Does my life even matter? Why won’t God fix …?

God’s Shelter for Your Storm is a gift book from celebrated author Sheila Walsh. Adapted from her trade book The Shelter of God’s Promises, this small book would be an appropriate gift for someone grieving, struggling, or facing one of life’s storms.

Walsh incorporates personal stories with Scripture passages and encouragements. Each chapter is themed, explicating one promise of God.

sheila-walsh.jpgA beloved author of nonfiction and children’s works as well as a Women of Faith speaker, Walsh writes with the gentle, personal tone of Max Lucado, with a feminine touch. This is an excellent book to keep by your bedside for a daily dose of encouragement when times are hard.

You can see a video from Sheila as well as some more information about the book at

Would you like to win a copy of this beautiful and timely book? Thomas Nelson has graciously given us three copies to give away to our readers. This will be our July giveaway, so you have all month to enter!

To be entered to win, answer this question in the comments: What is your favorite devotional book?

Winners will be picked July 29, 2011. One comment person person, please. USA only. LifeWay employees are not eligible to win.


A Bucket of Berries

Early summer is the best time to devour fresh, ripe berries. Our July issue shares a quick and easy recipe for blueberry yogurt pops. (Do you make homemade popsicles, pudding pops, and the like? It seems so simple with a mold, but my daughter is not very into cold things.)

blueberryplant.jpgMy favorite use of fresh blueberries is this double-crust blueberry pie. I took bits of pieces of other recipes to create this one, where delicious, ripe blueberries meld with a fresh burst of lemon. So find yourself a pick-your-own farm or pick up a few pints at a farmer’s market. Spend an afternoon in the kitchen teaching your son or daughter how to craft a pie from hand.

I won’t tell if you use refrigerated pie crusts. I always do.

Blueberry-Lemon Pie

2 pie crusts, homemade or the refrigerated kind
2 to 2 1/2 pints fresh blueberries, stemmed and washed
1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1 T butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg white, beaten (optional)

Spray the bottom of a deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together blueberries, zest of the lemon, juice of half the lemon, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into the pie crust and spread out evenly. Dot the top with pieces of butters. Place the second crust over the top and crimp the edges together. Cut a few slits into the crust.

Optional: Brush the top with egg white for a good brown color. If you do this though you will need to check the pie after 30 minutes. If it’s getting too brown, cover the edges with aluminum foil.

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until the crust is brown and the filling is set. Let cool before serving.


For the rest of the berries exploding around you, you could try:

— Jessie, resident blogger

What’s your favorite berry recipe?


You Know You’re a Mom When …

June_22_rubberduck.jpgOn several occasions in the not-so-distant past, I’ve found myself chuckling over the strange characteristics that mark motherhood. You know … the things you never could have imagined or understood before having kids.

I’ll give you two personal examples:

1. Several months ago, I was digging for something in the bottom of my purse and I pulled out a rubber duck. That probably doesn’t happen to many women without children!

2. A few weeks ago, our department was given the opportunity to leave work a couple of hours early before a holiday weekend. Do you know what I did with my time off? I went grocery shopping … and I was excited about it! Why? Because I didn’t have my toddler in tow! Three and a half years ago, I could not have imagined being that excited about grocery shopping!

Knowing I’m not the only one who thinks about these kind of things, I decided to ask my Facebook friends to finish this sentence: You know you’re a mom when …

I LOVE the responses I got and wanted to share them with you.

Some made me literally laugh out loud!!

… you speak in five-word sentences. "Would you like some juice?" "Do you need to potty?" "We do not eat rocks."

… you automatically cut everyone’s food into small pieces, even the grownups.

… you find yourself watching Sesame Street and you are the only one in the room.

… you unconsciously think in rhymes (due to reading too many Dr Seuss books)!

… you tell other adults that you will be right back because you need to "go pee-pee in the potty."

… you catch yourself singing the Wonder Pets theme song in the shower.

… you know every word to every VeggieTales video but have trouble recalling what you did last week.

… you accidentally dilute your own apple juice … and drink it anyway.

… you share bites of your meal even though they have the exact same thing on their plates.

… there are rocks in the dryer and clothes in the driveway.

… you have to weed through the action figures in your purse to find your lipstick.

… ketchup on the ceiling does not surprise you in the least.

… you tell time by which cartoon is on.

… you understand the language of toddler speak.

Others were responses I knew every mother could relate to: 

… you’re exhausted, ready for a nap, and your toddlers are running laps around you!

… you can’t use the bathroom or take a shower without being interrupted.

… you hear yourself giving the same sound advice or warning to your children that your parents gave you … even the phrases you swore you would never say!

… you catch your child’s throw-up in a store.

… things that used to gross you out dont’t phase you anymore!

… getting up at 7 is sleeping in.

And others warmed my heart and made me smile!

… you look at all your grandchildren and say, "It was all worth it".

… when you look at that little gift of God and nothing else seems as important anymore. 

… you can see your heart walking around OUTSIDE your body!

Now it’s your turn. Leave us a comment finishing this sentence. You know you’re a parent when … . I can’t wait to read your responses!

Four Corner Campout

In the July 2011 issue, we outline a "Four Corner Camp" for you to do at home. What better way to end the week "at camp" than having a family campout?


Campfire grill

Here are a few ideas for a simple campout, indoors or out!

  • Make homemade tents inside (outdoors if you have appropriate equipment). 
  • Fire up the grill (or a fire pit) and have hot dogs.
  • After eating s’mores from the microwave, watch campers perform Matthew 22:36-39.
  • Follow up with lots of silly camp songs! Slowly move this to a time of worship, singing slower songs. "More Precious Than Silver," "I Love You, Lord," and "Shout to the Lord" are good for reflection. If anyone in your family can play the guitar, all the better!
  • If you can go outside, spend time looking at God’s creation and being in awe of it.
  • Remind campers that God desires our heart, souls, and minds. Pray, asking God to make this truth a reality in your family. 

What activities would you add to this list?

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

Summer Safety

In our July 2011 issue, we offer some tips on summer safety on pages 32-33. We had so many safety tips, though, we couldn’t cram them all into two pages! Here are even more safety tips for your summer fun.

Dia do Guto se esbaldar ...

Swimming Pool Safety

  • Supervise children at all times while in or around a swimming pool.
  • Provide “touch supervision” for infants and toddlers, which is an adult being in the water and within arm’s reach at all times.
  • Install a pool fence that is climb-resistant and at least 4 feet high.
  • Lock ladders and fences when the pool is not in use.
  • Most pediatricians recommend swimming lessons for children 4 years and older. Each child develops at a different rate; therefore, each child will be ready to swim at his own pace, as well.

Stings & Bites

  • Insect Bite ― Remove the stinger as soon as possible. Use the edge of a credit card to scrape the stinger out. Use a cold compress on the bite to relieve the pain. Call your pediatrician immediately if your child faints, has trouble breathing, or experiences extreme swelling, hives, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Spider Bite ― Call your pediatrician or Poison Help Line and describe the type of spider. If a bite becomes infected, contact your pediatrician.
  • Tick Bite ― Use tweezers to grasp the tick and quickly pull the tick from where it is attached. If your child experiences a rash, fever, or swelling at the bite, contact your pediatrician.

Playground Safety

  • Supervise young children on playground equipment at all times.
  • Keep children from shoving, pushing, or fighting around equipment.
  • Install a protective surface at least 6 feet in all directions from home equipment.
  • Use swing seats made of soft material, not wood or metal.
  • Install home playground equipment correctly. Place it on a level surface and anchor it firmly to the ground.
  • Check equipment often for loose nuts and bolts and broken, rusty, or sharp parts.
  • Install playground equipment at least 6 feet from fences or walls.
  • Check for hot metal surfaces on equipment, which could cause burns.
  • Never attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, or pet leashes to playground equipment.

Travel Safety

Stay safe when traveling by car.

  • Always place infants and young children in a car safety seat.
  • Always place all children under 12 years of age in the rear seat of vehicles.
  • Wear a seat belt at all times, setting a good example for your children.
  • Entertain children by bringing soft, lightweight toys; books; and favorite CDs for a sing-along.
  • Never leave your children alone in a car, even for a minute. Temperatures inside the car can reach deadly levels in minutes, causing heat stroke.
  • Pack a first-aid kit, water, healthy snacks, hand wipes, hand-washing gel, diaper rash ointment, diapers, and a water- and insect-proof ground sheet for safe play outside.

Stay safe when traveling by airplane.

  • Allow extra time to get through security.
  • Discuss the security screening process with your children beforehand.
  • Know that the FAA allows children under age 2 to be held on an adult’s lap; however, it is recommended that each child has her own seat.
  • Pack a bag of toys, books, and snacks to keep your child occupied during the flight.
  • Feed your infant during take-off and landing to decrease possible ear pain. Older children can chew gum or drink water or juice through a straw.
  • Wash hands frequently; use hand-washing gel often.
  • Consult your pediatrician before flying with a newborn or infant who has chronic heart or lung problems or respiratory symptoms.
  • Consult your pediatrician if flying within two weeks of an ear infection or ear surgery.


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

Fun Friday Photo — June 17, 2011

Two-year-old Mae … the perfect picture of summertime and innocence!

110a_FunFridayPhoto_June17.jpgThanks to Bethany G. for this gret 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!


Former LifeBox Ministry Made a Difference to Soldiers Overseas

michaelkrause.jpg"After a month without a shower, it’s hard to describe the joy you get from a package of wet wipes." – Michael Krause

In our July issue, Darla Brantley writes about the LifeBox program. LifeWay Christian Resources in years past urged U.S. civilians to send a LifeBox to a soldier overseas. The LifeBox program no longer exists through LifeWay, but there’s no reason why you can’t use the same ideas in the article to send a care package to a soldier. These care packages include LifeWay magazines — such as ParentLife — which are uplifting and moral.

I hope you’ll watch this video of Second Lieutenant Michael Krause. He tells about a time of deep sorrow during which he recieved a LifeBox. It’s a beautiful testimony to the ministry.


What a wonderful opportunity to show our children how we can spread God’s love to the ends of the earth. I think I’ll be going to pick up a few flat rate boxes to fill with my daughter soon. — Jessie

And if you are a military wife, don’t miss LifeWay’s Bible study for military wives — Tour of Duty by Sara Horn.

What would you put in a LifeBox?