Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Long Story Short {children's Bible book FREE on Kindle today!}

(this post contains affiliate links)

I have been meaning to share about a book we got recently, but today I have prompted to tell you RIGHT NOW. Why? Well, a book by the same writer is FREEEEE on Kindle today, so here's me telling you!

Recently, our poor Susie had an accident when riding a scooter, and got a nasty gash above her eye. What started out as nasty, but treated with glue, turned into something nastier. She got a swelling above her eye that wouldn't go down like normal swelling, then she got a raised temperature and became quite poorly a week later.

I took her to the Dr, who sent her to the paeds ward in the hospital. It transpires she had an abscess, which then needed a hospital admission and surgical intervention to clear it.

Very kindly, the Church we were visiting when it happened (they have a games evening for children), sent a gift to Susie, to wish her a speedy recovery.

It was "The Gospel Story Bible", by Marty Machowski.

It's a fab book. It goes through the many stories of the Bible, at a level suitable for children. More to the point, it brings "the gospel" into each one. It points them to Christ, and tells them of their need of the Saviour.  What better story book can you have, than one that makes THAT application for boys and girls?

I highly recommend the book, and there are 156 stories, which is LOADS! I worked out, with our 4 day week, that there are nearly enough to do a whole year of devotionals to tie in with our school day!

You could use it in Children's Ministry, too. There is even a Bible curriculum with printable PDF resources, suitable for all ages of Sunday School. ( I could only find it in the USA)

Well, what I found out today, is that she has written OTHER books, and one of them is FREE on Kindle today!

Long Story Short.

No, I'm not about to tell you something briefly.

It's the title of the book!

This is a family devotional, again bringing the gospel clearly into the stories. It is based on the Old Testament, and points the children towards Christ through it all. It seems like it's also really good, and I can't wait to use it with the children.

Of course, if you read this when the offer is gone, you can still get it as a hard copy, from Amazon USA, and from Amazon UK.

But, today (and I don't know how long the offer will last), it is free both on Amazon.com  and Amazon.co.uk , so not only on one side of the Atlantic! (which does happen! - and usually the OTHER side of the Atlantic)

Now come on... WHO doesn't like something for FREEEEE????

Better still, a good quality Bible book for children?

Perfect combo, in my opinion.

Now, go off.  Run as fast as you can to your device of choice and get it ON there!

And, if you are too late, consider buying the hard copy, because these are books worth having in your home, as you raise your children for the Lord. (See the carousel below)

Monday, 21 September 2015

Love is free {lessons from Cinderella}

On Saturday I watched the new Cinderella movie with my children.  That was a quite a feat for me. I got my jobs done in time to sit down and watch a movie! It was Abi's birthday, and her birthday treat, so, of course, I wanted to enjoy it too.... aherm.

I really enjoyed it, as "fairytales" go. It was well made, and more than anything else, it wasn't all lovey-dovey. I liked that the main theme was "courage and kindness".

Courage to do something different. Not always doing what "has always been done". Realising the right thing can sometimes go against the norm.

Kindness. It's always right to try and show kindness. It's not always EASY, but it's the right thing to do. You can even find someone to be really obnoxious and mean, and still show kindness. Look at how Cinderella turns around and says "I forgive you" to her step mother, whilst still having the courage to walk away from a horrible situation.

That's the obvious and predictable lesson from the movie. It's a good plan in life - courage and kindness.

It's a good plan as a Christian.  The courage to do what is right, and to follow after God and His ways, even if no-one else is doing it. The willingness to show kindness, even if a situation or a person seems not to deserve it. "Be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another".  It's a spot on, Biblical principle.

But, no.

That is not what *I* took away from it.

One little thing that Cinderella said got me thinking.

"Love is free"

Why, yes, Cinderella, you are so right. Love IS free!

But, it doesn't always mean there is no cost involved.

That's what got me thinking.

The Biblical pattern we have is to love unconditionally. Our love is given freely, as the powerful verse in Hosea reminds us

"I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely:"
Hosea 14:4  

If we are to be followers of Christ, we need to love freely, as He loves us. Despite our backsliding and sinful failings, He loves us freely. 

But, there is a cost involved in loving. 

It doesn't necessarily cost us financially, in a literal sense, but in many other senses, there is cost

It will cost us time. We need to be willing to give of our time, to express our love to others. 

It will cost us self. We need to be willing to give up our selfish desires, when we extend love to others. 

It will cost us emotionally. We need to be willing to give of ourselves - heart and soul - to others, so that we may end up feeling totally spent, in making sure our love is expressed to the ones we love.

It will cost us because love should be sacrificial. It literally means that it costs US. 

We give up of ourselves in order to extend love to someone else. 

"And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you;"
II Corinthians 12:15 

It's NOT about a fuzzy feeling on the inside, however. In fact, sometimes in order to show love to someone else it can break our heart on the inside. We may have to do or say things as we give our love freely, that hurts us and makes us fall apart in ways people will never see. It may not be reciprocated (see the rest of II Corinthians 12:15 for the reality check on THAT one... go on, look it up....)

But, we still love freely.

We need look no further for our example than the Lord. Freely, He loved us.  Freely, He GAVE. He have up His very life - His body broken, on the tree. Assaulted, hurt, despised, rejected of men. 

"freely ye have received, freely give."
Matthew 10:8 



How do I love? Do I love freely enough? Do I extend my love sacrificially and spending all of myself, in order to freely give that love.

Yes, love is free, but we need to be willing to count the cost. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

If God doesn't want us to fear {what DOES He want us to have?}

The life of a Christian is not an easy life. Add to that being a wife, then being a mother, then also being a mother of school-aged children (no matter your educational choices), and the "easy" tally doesn't get any bigger.

Sometimes, it's not even just hard.

There are moments, days, and weeks where we could easily be gripped and overcome with fear.

It can be as simple as seeing all the opportunities for danger in the confines of a home.

It can be the crossing of a road, or the travelling in a car.

Circumstances can occur which bring fear to the front of our minds.  Difficult times when we face trials and difficulties, and fearing the day ahead, never mind the future, can have an almost crippling effect.

Child birth, breastfeeding, and rearing a small family - and an ever growing family - can make fear nudge at our thoughts.

The "what ifs?" of life can become a weight around our neck, and fear creeps in until it consumes us.

Recently, on his way through systematic teaching on II Timothy, my husband preached on the verse in chapter 1, that many would have heard before.

It really struck my heart, as a woman whose heart is inclined towards fear, in many circumstances. It holds so much truth, and so much depth of meaning.

It directs our minds, firstly, to something that God has not given us.


When we fear, it doesn't come from God. We are to fear GOD, but we are NOT to fear our circumstances, and the situations we may, or may not, encounter in life.

God has NOT given us fear.

If it's not from Him, where IS it coming from?

It's that sneaky old serpent, the wily one, the devil.

HE wants us to be so gripped with fear, that our eyes are taken clean off what God HAS given us, which is what the second part of the verse tells us.

If the fear isn't from Him, what DOES he want us to have?



A sound mind.

Do you see?  Do you see what God has given?

A three-fold gift that encompasses body, heart and mind.

Power.  God has given us power.  This word, at its roots, is the word "dunamis". It's the root from which we get words like dynamite, and dynamic.

From G1410; force (literally or figuratively); specifically miraculous power (usually by implication a miracle itself): - ability, abundance, meaning, might (-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.

When we are feeling fearful, and weak, as the devil puts thoughts in our minds that are not of God, we need to claim that miraculous, supernatural power, that only comes from God. But, come from God it DOES! He has given it to us, and we need only use it. 

The word also implicates abundance. It's not a power that fails, or runs out, like earthly power sources. It's never-failing, and all sufficient, in our battle against the temptations of the flesh and the devil. We don't need to let it have the victory in our lives, because we have power. He will give us physical strength to do all we need to do in the situation He has us walking through. We have spiritual power to battle the wicked one, and to quench his fiery darts.

What else does God give us?


Love is one of the most powerful gifts that God has given us. A heart that is loving in the way which God has intended us to, has the power to conquer all fear.  If our hearts are filled up with loving God, and loving each other - if we are so consumed with love, gifted from God -  then we won't give a second thought to fear. 

From G25; love, that is, affection or benevolence; specifically (plural) a love feast: - (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love.

I love the concept of a "love feast", here in Strongs! We need to have our hearts feasting upon love - we need to take our fill of it, and be satisfied with it. Relish it. Enjoy it. Savour it. 

When we then have our hearts filled up with love, we won't fear. 

How does the verse end?  With a concept that every woman struggles with. I'm convinced it's more of a female thing. 


A sound mind.

Our minds tend toward being over-thinkers. We over analyse, mull over, ponder and repeat, until we have ourselves in a tangled mess of thoughts that bring us to a place of crippling fear. Whether it's thinking about what OTHERS think of us, or thinking about what we may have said or done to offend others, or simply thinking about things that may never happen, we tie ourselves up in a web of thoughts that bring our minds to a place that is dark and fearful.

That is NOT having a sound mind. 

From G4994; discipline, that is, self control: - sound mind.

A sound mind is a mind that is brought into subjection. A mind over which we exercise self control.  Not a mind where thoughts run away into endless mazes of unproductive fears and concerns. 


A mind that is focussed on the Saviour - the one who rules in our hearts and keeps us in perfect peace, if we only have the self control to keep our minds on Him. 

Oh, my sinful, straying heart. My heart that fears, when it simply doesn't need to. I don't need to even spare a thought for anything further than right now. And, right now, I can claim the power, love and sound mind of  Heavenly Father who cares for me more deeply than I will EVER know or understand.  

My Saviour. 

My Jesus. 

He speaks strength to my heart instead of weakness.

He speaks love into my heart instead of enmity, bitterness and hate.

He speaks sound thoughts and peace into my mind instead of unrest, clamour and doubt.

So, how do I practically battle this fear that threatens my peace?

I arm myself for battle!  

I fight with prayer, and I equip myself with His Word. If I keep His word to the front of my mind, I will be able to claim the promises - EVERY SINGLE ONE - that He has given in His word.

Search His Word daily, and keep a note of those promises, as He lays them upon your heart. Cherish them. Memorise them. Claim them.

And, cast out the fear and replace it with power, love and a mind that is fixed upon God.

Friday, 11 September 2015

My top tips for toilet training {pinch of salt will be needed}

My words of wisdom for a Friday afternoon, based on recent thoughts and ponderings on a recent non-success in toilet training.

 Ten easy steps to toilet training

1) Rip up all your carpets and put down wipe clean flooring.

2) Remove all commitments from your life, including looking after any other children, or turning your head for a single moment.

3) Buy about 100 packs of cheap underwear so you can simply throw it away when it gets soiled.

4) Also buy your local shop's entire supply of anti-bacterial spray and kitchen roll.

5) Don't try and do it when you are pregnant, have recently given birth, or have other baby type people to look after.

6) Don't ever get upset, frustrated, tired, cross, frustrated, tired or, did I say cross?....

7) Find lots of extreme and sugar laden treats to ply on your child, ideas to reward that you found on Pinterest, written by people who have either never toilet trained, or live in a world that does not include number 5 (see above).

8) Place your child in a completely wipe clean room, with only wipe clean toys, and a toilet in situ.

9) If you homsechool, consider sending your child to nursery until they are toilet trained (they do it for you there, apparently...) and pull them out once they are toilet trained....

10) Refer to list number 2.

(PLEASE tell me you realise list 1 was NOT serious....???)

List 2

1) First, arm yourself in prayer, and seek God's wisdom as to the timing to start.

2) In that decision making, remember that there is no such thing as the "right" time to toilet train.

3) Ignore all the comments from people who snarkily try and suggest your X year old child "should" be trained by now.

4) Remember YOU are the parent, and you know your child better than anyone else.

5) Try  your best for as long as you can, and if it doesn't work, STOP. It's not a hill worth dying on.

6) Do use treats and rewards if you think it will work - don't lose sleep over the amazing things other people seem to implement, and incredible reward charts they seem to dream up. You DON'T need them.

7) If at first you don't succeed, try again when it suits you and the child better.

8) Try and avoid any time you are going to already feel vulnerable, low or easily defeated. (Like, in pregnancy....)

9) Surround yourself with others who have BTDT, and only those who will encourage you, not berate or discourage you. They will often give you words of wisdom and advice that will help, but even their advice may not work for YOU.

10) Remember that each child is different. They don't all train early. It's a physiological ability that they have to master, and some simply can't master it when they are little.

AND, my biggest "note to self"....

Never yet have a I known of a man to walk up the aisle in a nappy. I doubt my small person who I am currently not having much success toilet training will be the exception.

(And, as in the words of Hebrews 11.... " And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of...."

The time my toddler played with poo with a sibling, on the floor, with a toy digger,

The times I have gone around the house soaking up bodily fluids.

The moment when I had to clean poo off a wall.

The day when a child played with poo with a wooden spoon (yes, it went in the bin...spoon and poo) )

Can you tell that toilet training is actually one of my LEAST favourite parts of being a mother?? I'd sooner give birth than toilet train.

...The joys of parenthood (ok, mostly motherhood....)

Therein endeth my words of wisdom.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

What IS your life? {a long answer and the short one}

Do you ever read words in the Bible, and then READ them?

Words you have read before, and you even think you know the answer?

Then, the Lord whispers to your waiting heart

"What does it REALLY say?"

Today, words spoke to me.

Challenged me.

Woke me up.

Made me think in a way I hadn't thought of them before.

It's what my Dad used to say

"It depends where you put the em-PHA-sis".

The words?

"...what is your life?"

We all know the obvious answer. The answer it gives us right away. The answer that pretty much everyone would say, if asked, if you know your Bible at all.

The short answer?

"It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."

The really short answer?

Life is brief.  It's short. It's nearly over before it's hardly started. I know, because my children are growing up way too fast, and I'm looking way older. I was 16 just yesterday....

But, today I didn't read the obvious question.

The emphasis shifted onto one word. Just one.

What IS your life.

It went from something fleeting and fast, to the here and now. Right this moment. Today.

What IS my life?

It seemed like a clarion call. It seemed to shout at me louder than the loudest of shouts. Not the yelling kind of shout. Just the really loud "you can't ignore me" kind of shout.

What. Is. Your. Life?


It's a declension of the verb "to be".

Verb.  A good old "doing" word.

It seemed like God was asking me

"What are you REALLY doing with your life?  What IS it?  What are you doing for ME?"

Do you ever find that of "being", you are just living? You are doing everything you "should", and you are going through the motions, but what IS your life?

Who are you living it for?

Are you living it as fully and intentionally as God intended you to?

Are you living it with joy and love and grace?

Are you living it with God at the centre of every single thing you do?

Are you living it for self or for God's glory?

Are you living it doing every good thing you know you should, for every good reason?

The chapter ends like this.

"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

Do you know how God wants you to live your life?  Do you know how He wants your life to be?  Do you know the good He desires for you, that you don't claim?

If we know how to do this good, and we don't do it, we sin.

Sin can be subtle. Sin can be gentle and unassuming. Sin can be seemingly innocent.

Neglecting to life a life that is full of the good that God wants for us, is tantamount to sin. The quiet living of life without living it all out for God. A life without passion and purpose. A life that is routine instead of vibrant giving our absolutely everything to please God above all else, and leave self aside.

Those words spoke to my heart.

I am a  mother who does all she should, and with willingness and buckets of love.

Motherhood is busy.  Motherhood is all consuming.  Motherhood is unique and beautiful.

 But, I realised my passion and purpose was missing. What IS my life? Is my life "ALL for Jesus"? Am I holding back for sin and self? Am I thinking of God's glory above all else and doing the good that I know I should? Is it a life of doing what I should, instead of all I COULD?

My life is not all it should be. I need to have a life that is more of Christ and less of me. I need to do what I do because I want to magnify and bless God with every fibre of my being not just because I know it's "right".

That's my life.

So, what is YOUR life?

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Back to school {my top tip for home schooling mothers}

Today's the day.

We started back school.

Quite frankly, I don't even feel we've had a summer. The joys of pregnancy nausea, and a pretty busy schedule, had meant we haven't done much. (well, the children took days on end to tidy their rooms - their choice, their loss...)

Such is life, however.

Our life involves a lot of children and a new pregnancy, right now.



We HOME school, ergo, what our life is like at home is how our school is shaped, NOT the other way around.

It's taken me YEARS to get to this point. Years, I say. If my words of wisdom just help ONE other worn out and devastated mother, whose first day plans have gone awry, then it will be worth it.

Plans are good.

Plans are GREAT.

I have a whole post planned on planning for school.

In fact, as planning goes, I have been best prepared on the planning front, EVER.

All the best planning in the world - all the best intentions in the world - all the best intelligence and wisdom in the world - does not mean TUPPENCE when "home" life happens.

Not tuppence, I say.

Did you, for example, end up way busier than you thought, resulting in your workbooks not being bound when you hoped?


I did.

Did you, per chance, get woken up at 6.30am with a daughter announcing she'd been ill in the night, and vomit covered sheets were your lot?



I did.

Did you, maybe, have great plans to have everyone start full pitch the same day, only to realise you hadn't been as organised as you hoped, and older children needing help pushed your youngest child into the sidelines?


That was me.

What I realised, or what I guess I had to REMIND myself, pretty quickly, was that we HOME educate. Being at home means that life happens, and you get the proverbial spanner thrown into the wheel on a fairly regular basis. You just simply CAN'T let it get you down, or feel like a failure.

I had a crazy summer, filled with nausea and exhaustion. That was simply life in my home, so it shaped our HOME school.

A child was ill - TOTALLY out of my control (which is why I hate children being ill!) - but it was more important to deal with that, and not stress about how it affected our first day of school.

Half of my children's knowledge had clean DROPPED OUT THEIR HEADS over the summer (please tell me that's not just me that experiences that phenomenon?), which meant a lot more one-on-one with them than normal. My oldest needed guidance in doing more self-led planning of his week. We needed to get that established today, as a priority. Will my sweet little 5 year old, who is already learning faster than light just from HOME surroundings, be bothered that we don't start "formal" schooling today? I know he won't! He didn't know he was SUPPOSED to do anything today!

The home part of "home schooling" is what matters most. We have our children at home for them to learn more than literacy, numeracy and everything else under the sun. They need to learn kindness, flexibility, patience, diligence, helpfulness, and numerous other things that don't come with having your nose in a book.

Today, we had "home" happening, as well as school, and that's ok!

My top tip? Don't forget that HOME happens in homeschooling.

I was able to implement my "second from top" tip, too - adapt, change, and don't worry about it!

Flexibility is your friend. Inflexibility is your enemy.

We still did "school". It just wasn't how I envisioned it. Instead, we had home life that happened, and changes we had to make, but we still learned a whole lot at the same time.

I knew my day was going to work out, no matter what, in any case.

I have a verse that I have claimed as my "home ed Mum" verse.

The visiting preacher on Sunday morning read the whole of James 1.

My devotional in my Homeschool Moms Bible came from James 1, so I  then carried on and read all of James 1.

I needed wisdom for today. I need wisdom for EVERY day. And, God never disappoints. He gives to all men LIBERALLY, and doesn't hold back.

So, whenever you start back after summer on your home ed journey-  or even as you meet EACH NEW DAY - remember that the home part of homeschooling matters as much as the schooling part.