living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!

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A Season of Giving

The holidays are upon us!

I’m sure that you have already been looking around, wondering what to purchase this year.  It is not even Thanksgiving yet and the stores are bursting with Christmas.  My Facebook feed is filled with pictures of friends who have already decorated their homes and with stories of kids telling their mamas what they want for Christmas.  I totally get it.  I LOVE me some Christmas, but I also have to pace myself.

You see, if we zoom past Thanksgiving we miss important lessons on gratefulness….and this seems to be what our commercial “friends” down at the mall want us to think:  “Focus on what you WANT, not on what you HAVE!”  (Let alone being grateful for those things.)

Now before you start to think I’m “The Grinch”, let me tell you that I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas.

I love the true meaning of the season.

I love the decorations.

I love the songs.

I love the smells.

I love the adorable Christmas plays.

I love almost everything about Christmas.

BUT, I don’t love the “GIMME” side of Christmas.

The Bible says  “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35

….and so what I have tried to do in our home and hope to convey to our kids is that Christmas is a season of giving. I often bring up the fact that God gave us the best Present, Jesus,  and this is the basis for our giving.

Some of the ways we “do” Christmas:

  1.   Feeding the hungry
    1. My son figured out that the Salvation Army bell ringers collect money to feed other little boys and girls. We can not go in OR out of the stores without giving them money.
    2. We have also invited friends over that do not have a place to go during the holidays. We try to be ONE BIG family to them.
  2.   Gifting
    1. Neighbors: Every year we make or buy a gift for all of our neighbors. This is just our way of sharing God’s love with them.  Avs loves to go and help me deliver them. This is a highlight of our Christmas
    2. Teachers and Friends:  We also make little gifts and presents for our kids’ teachers as well as close friends.  We LOVE to gift.
    3. Extended Family:  This year “A” and “T” took their own money from their piggy banks and went to the dollar store and bought each of their cousins a gift.  We gave them a few tips, but mostly the gifts were their own ideas.  This was a sacrifice on their part but they LOVED it. Then when we got home, they helped me wrap those gifts.  “A” wrote the names and “T” put a bow on each package.
    4. Close Family:  We take the kids out and let them buy a nicer gift for each other as well as their parents.  We help them with the selections and use some of our money so they can do this. They love being a part of the gifting process.
  3.   Christmas Day
    1. On Christmas Day, we begin the day by reading the Christmas story. Then we let the kids GIVE their gifts.  We make a big deal out of this and they get a lot of enjoyment from it.  Presents are opened up one person at a time.  This helps us all to fully enjoy the gift-giving process and is much more meaningful.  This is all our kids have known and they love it.

My children know the story of baby Jesus and they are starting to realize what a sacrifice He made.  We are trying to teach them that it’s not about being good and getting BUT about sacrifice, gratitude and giving.

It is sooooo much fun to give!!!!   Let’s pass this on to our children.

How much fun would it be this Christmas if your child’s BIGGEST smile came from giving someone else a present RATHER than getting a toy that he will only use for a short time! – Rejoicing in the Present


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Show and Tell

From the earliest moments of a child’s ability to observe surroundings, he or she should be taught to recognize the beauty of God’s handiwork in nature. At this very moment as I write, thunder is crashing and lightning is bolting. All my family members remain asleep, and I wonder if anyone will be awakened by the storm as I have been. I whisper prayers for protection from the effects the storm could bring.

Since I know WHO made the thunder and lightning and rain, I can trust Him in the force of the storm.

Since I know WHO controls the faucet of sky showers and the sound board of the thunder, I can watch and listen to the rhythm of the storm.

Since I know WHO sees the entire weather radar across the world all at once and at all times, I can understand that storms work together for His purposes.

Since I know WHO is with me in the sunshine as I observe wildflowers, I can believe that God is with me in the storm and be hopeful that the storm will pass in His timing.

Since I know WHO hears my spoken praise to Him on the sunny days, I know God hears my heart crys and whispered prayers during the loud storm.

Since I know WHO promises mercies new every morning, I can expect a beautiful rainbow in my life after God-selected storms.


Wildflowers for Mom

We have great opportunity and responsibility as mothers to teach our children Who God is, what He made, and how He works. Observe colorful sunsets, beautiful fields of wheat, wildflower fields, and cloud patterns. Stop to feel gentle breezes or comment on high winds. Hear the morning birds chirping or the crashing of sea waves. Smell the salt of the sea and the scent of a flower passed by. Taste the honeysuckle, the fresh fruit you pick, and water from a natural spring.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” -Psalm 34:8

There are so many ways He has given us to SHOW His handiwork to our children in order to TELL them of the Most High God WHO is worthy of their love and their lives.

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” – Revelation 4:11

Below are some passages that encourage me to teach my children. Let’s show and tell our children {and others} about our Most High and loving God!  ~Jeri Lynn

□ Psalm 78

□ Deuteronomy 6

□ Genesis 1-2

□ Psalm 8

□ Deuteronomy 11

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Tiny Home School Tips

We are in our third year of home schooling. It has been a crazy journey! I love home schooling. I look forward to sitting down with my kids, and seeing them “get” it. I love that my oldest is 8, and he’s reading his brand new little devotional in bed by himself before he goes to sleep. I love that my 6-year-old is getting excited to read Level 1 readers! It can be so much fun!

But then there are the days that aren’t so fun. Here are a few tiny tips that have helped me have a better home schooling day.

  • Spend time with the Lord FIRST. That should go without saying. But how oft20160301_080453en do I start out the day all wrong? When the day is begun, we start fighting a spiritual battle. It seems like we’re fighting the kids ;), but that’s not true. We wrestle against “…against principalities, against powers…” How do I think I can fight this battle
    without putting on the whole armor of God? This one thing has revolutionized my home school day, and my life. It’s one of those things you know, but don’t KNOW. Let the Lord begin your day.
  • Be prepared. My day never runs smoothly when I get up in the morning and wing it. If 20160301_080514copies aren’t made, lessons laid out, supplies ready… it always causes a delay. At the end of the school day, I do my best to check my lesson plans and make sure I have everything ready for the next day. I try to grade everything daily, as much as possible. And I check what we will be doing. I keep ongoing book lists on my library’s website, so I can order a week’s worth of books with just a few clicks. These things add up to a more orderly day.
  • Get TICONDEROGA pencils! As silly as this may sound, it’s SO important!20160301_080543
    Early on, before we started our first year, I openly asked on facebook for home schooling tips. One mom said she got so stressed out by pencils, and that getting a good pencil sharpener was ideal. I secretly thought, “Seriously?!” But oh my! Now that we are in our third year, I totally get it. I read a blog last year that recommended Ticonderoga pencils. They are worth the little bit of extra money. They don’t break like regular pencils! As your children get bigger, this probably won’t be an issue. But they press down so hard on their pencils. We wasted a lot of time sharpening the same pencil over and over. Now we buy Ticonderogas!
  • Nip discipline issues in the bud. When we have trouble in school, it’s usually a general family discipline problem. If I’m not making my children obey throughout the day, why should they do it during school? If they’re allowed to have bad attitudes throughout the day doing a chore, they will carry that same attitude over into their schoolwork. School is not separate from home, therefore, it has caused me to be more aware of their behavior. If we’re all sitting down at the table, I am made much more aware of their character flaws, and my own. Being with my children SO much is very revealing. They often mirror me. Ouch! In home schooling, home and school aren’t separated. Deal with discipline constantly and consistently.
  • Read a lot. Our curriculum (My Father’s World) recommends a lot of read-aloud 1456837717191991524129books. At first, it was difficult to transition from children’s picture books. The kids didn’t want to sit still. But over the summer, we read a lot of Boxcar Children books. Now, we read a variety that are fun, or historical, and they are better able to sit and listen. Such a great skill. And I love this time of cuddling on the couch late in the evening. It’s honestly my favorite! Sitting all together, going on an adventure.


These are just a few of the things I’ve learned. Home schooling is a challenge, but it’s a great blessing. Enjoy these years! I’d love to hear your best tips in the comments!


Joy B.