Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey


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Devotions for Kids

In the comments to this post, Kelly mentioned incorporating Bible stories into read-aloud time, and asked about kids’ devotionals.

Honestly, I’m not familiar with any great devotionals for preschoolers. Mine really love their Bible story books. Anybody else know of a good preschool devotional?

Elizabeth–who’s 7–has really enjoyed Jesus Wants All of Me, which is a kids’ version of the classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest. Another good one is John MacArthur’s A Faith to Grow On, which is excellent Biblical theology for kids.

We’ve also found high-quality videos to be of value. We especially enjoy the Nest Bible stories, which are true to scripture and respect the integrity of the text while still using a little artistic license. (I was not nearly as impressed with their 10 Commandments series, but that’s another story.) Our whole family loves what we call “The Happy Jesus Movies” which are word for word from the book of Matthew. It gives you such a wonderful idea of what Jesus must have really been like–strong, loving, and with a genuine sense of humor. These are the best Jesus movies I’ve ever seen.

Finally, I don’t think the importance of simply reading our children scripture can be underestimated. Some of my most vivid childhood memories center around the family meal table where Daddy read the Bible to us. Each evening after supper he unceremoniously took his Bible from the buffet and read the Proverbs chapter that corresponded with that day of the month. No preaching, discussion, or moralizing, just a simple and straightforward reading of God’s Word. Those verses are still stuck in my mind. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise…”


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Preparing for Birth, Part 5

Include your husband

Keep him in the loop. If he’s not able or willing to attend appointments with you, make sure you tell him what the doctor said. Discuss options with him. You’ll do a lot better if you have his presence and support, and he’ll be much better able to help and support you if he knows what’s going on. Remember, he never has and never will be pregnant or give birth, so all he has to go on is what you tell him! One thing that was especially helpful to Billy was understanding the stages of labor. You know, “OK, this must be transition!”

Know what you want and stick to your guns

While I try to be an easy, undemanding patient, there are some things I’m not going to budge on, barring actual danger to me or the baby. (I’m not stupid—I do want my baby to be safe.) These non-negotiables will vary from person to person, so just know ahead of time what they are so you’re prepared to stick up for yourself. Again, remember that the doctor works for you.

Keep the goal in mind

Remember that pregnancy and birth aren’t ends in themselves…They are the means of bringing forth a tiny new life, an eternal soul made in the image of God. Even if all doesn’t go according to your plans and dreams, the end result is a precious baby. You are partnering with God in a holy experience!


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Preparing for Birth, Part 4

Keep a good attitude

To be honest, I hate being pregnant. It’s not fun, it’s uncomfortable, I feel fat and unattractive, and I’ve had some pretty low times during pregnancy as well. But when I’m pregnant, I can choose not to focus on the bad, and instead remember that this isn’t about me and my feelings, it isn’t about being pregnant in and of itself, it’s about the creation of a priceless new life.

Don’t listen to horror stories

Ignore people who want to tell you how terrible their births were. Don’t troll the internet reading bad birth stories. Don’t watch Baby Story. (Sorry if you love it. I just can’t imagine that it would be helpful…But that’s me.) Birth is a natural, wonderful experience which can go well most of the time. Listening to scary stories will only open the door for fear. If you must, kindly but firmly say, “I’d rather not hear horror stories,” and change the subject.

Pray for birth and baby

Strangely enough, I realized midway through my pregnancy with Sarah that although I was spending a lot of time worrying, I had spent very little time praying over my baby, my pregnancy, and my birth. I had to remedy that quickly. It sounds silly that I didn’t think to do that, I know. But somehow I did…I believe prayer is essential for the optimal experience.


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Peanut Butter Granola

Billy and Kelly both suggested that I post this granola recipe. It’s a nice alternative to regular cereal, and better for you too. It also makes a yummy snack!

1 large carton old fashioned oatmeal (not quick oats, it’s about 10 or 11 cups)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups honey
1 jar (2 cups) Smucker’s old fashioned peanut butter
Peanuts–I just put in however many I want. I get the big container at Sam’s.

Stir and stir and stir till all the dry ingredients are moist. You don’t want any powdery stuff in the bottom of the bowl. Put in a couple oiled cookie sheets and toast at 325 for about 30 minutes, or till lightly browned. Let cool, break into chunks.

We usually keep it plain, but I like to negate any healthful benefits by adding chocolate chips after it’s toasted. Raisins are good too–and good for you. It’s kinda expensive to make, but it makes a lot and it’s very filling so it lasts a long time. Enjoy!


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Read-To-Your-Child Challenge and Question of the Week

Experts say that one of the best things we can do for our kids is to read to them. From my own experience I have to agree. My mom read to us faithfully, often many times each day, a tradition that continued even into high school. (Of course by then we’d moved to grown-up books and took turns being the reader.) We shared so many wonderful stories together through the years.

That said, I don’t read to my children nearly enough. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, because I do, but too often I get busy and let another day go by without reading to them.

I’m sure I’m the only one who would like to do better in this area (*wink*), but in any case, I’m issuing myself a reading challenge–and anyone who wants to join me. My goal is to read to my kids every day during the month of July, even if it’s just one book. (I know, I’m getting off to a late start. Bear with me.) So feel free to join me!

Now for the question: What is your favorite children’s read-aloud? Tell us in the comments!

Mine:


Blueberries for Sal.
I never get tired of this book!


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Preparing for Birth, Part 3


Write a birth plan

Think about your specific desires for your birth and put them on paper. Give one to your doctor for your file, and send one to the hospital well before your estimated due date. That way it is clear, in black and white, what your wishes are. It lets the hospital staff know that you have thought through your birth and that you are informed.

Here and here are good places to learn more about making your birth plan.


Practice relaxation

The more you can relax, the less painful your birth will be. My goal was to give birth naturally, without pain meds, but even if you plan to have an epidural, learning to relax will help you manage labor as it becomes more intense. In the months leading up to my birth I practiced relaxing when I lay in bed at night…from head to toe…every muscle…limp as a rag doll…breathed deeply, imitating sleep. For more complete instructions on how to do this, see one of the excellent books available on the Bradley method of childbirth, or take a Bradley class. Here’s a great article online about relaxing during childbirth. I’m not strong willed enough that sheer determination could make me get through birth without pain meds. However, relaxing has helped me learn to manage the pain. I can honestly say that with Sarah’s birth (my 3rd) I never reached what I’d consider my pain threshold. Yes, it hurt, but I didn’t get the point where I thought, there’s no way I can take any more.

Read, read, read–be informed

Some great books to prepare for birth and after are:

Husband Coached Childbirth by Robert A. Bradley (somewhat outdated…I’ve heard that more current Bradley method books are better…the original book still has tons of useful information though)

The Complete Well Pregnancy Book by Mike and Nancy Samuels

Parent Project by Dr. William Sears (and pretty much anything else in print or online by Dr. Sears…my only caution is that I think he’s a bit of a softy on toddler discipline…But his info on baby care is fabulous.)

Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing by Sheila Kippley (Even if you aren’t interested in spacing children through ecological breastfeeding, this book is a great help in understanding how your body works during lactation.)

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International