Category Archives: Parenting

Journey Through 30 Days of Prayer For Our Girls

I am not sure why, but it seems that I have some of my most profound thoughts as I lie in bed desperately trying to fall asleep. You would think that chasing four girls around the house, finding matches to 65 pairs of pink socks and figuring out another way to bake a chicken would simply wear my brain out!

Not So.

So instead of being frustrated at my failed attempts, I usually use that time to talk to God about things that have been weighing heavily on my heart.  Often that conversation involves the four tutu wearing, tantrum throwing, uncontrollable laughter having gifts that reside in my home-also known as my lovely daughters! I talk to God about their futures, my fears, their friendships, their innocence, our relationship and the list goes on and on.

I talk to God and I cry out to Him.

 I seek His face not because I don’t trust that He has a plan, but because I am in daily need of His wisdom and strength to do my part.  On our parental journey there are battles that we have to fight on a regular basis in order to stay focused on what God has called us to do: be His love to His children.  

Long days, rough patches and statistics can often lead to complacency and eventually a sense of hopelessness for the future of our girls.

Don’t lose hope. Don’t let the statics tell you what to expect from and for your girls. Do not leave voids in your girl’s lives for the enemy to fill. Don’t lower God’s standards in order to avoid failure.

Let’s pray.

Whether you are like me and talk to God in the evenings or over your cup of morning coffee, be intentional about praying for your girls…let’s do it together.

Over the next 30 days we will post a daily prayer for girls.

Topics will include:            You…as her mother

                                                Her relationship with God

                                                Her attitude

                                                Her school

                                                Her future                          

Join us on the blog daily beginning Wednesday Aug. 15th!

Will you pray with us?

Comment below and let us know we are not alone in this commitment!

Invite others too!

I am excited and expectant as we intentionally dedicate these next 30 days to seeking God for our Girls!

For easy access to the daily prayers be sure to subscribe to the blog…or just visit us daily!

Day 1 Prayer

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3 Goals to Help Your Family Focus This Fall

By Jonathan PittsImage

Whether your children are starting back to school in mid August or post Labor Day, you have crossed the mid summer hump, and now is the time to start planning your fall!  Right about now you are remembering the days of proper bedtimes, school supplies, uniforms, backpacks, and an endless list of other much needed items!

Well, as you begin to plan your shcedule, remember to set aside time to refocus your family’s collective relationship with Christ.  Take time to make sure that you are setting  aside time to spur each family member on towards these 3 important goals:  1. Grace-Based, Gospel Centered Living, 2. Spiritual Growth and 3. Service…

1. Grace Based, Gospel Centered Living

Take time each day to admit your failures and offenses to the Lord as a family when you are able.  There is nothing more freeing for your children than to realize that their parents aren’t perfect and just as dependent on the grace of God.  Your transparency and child-like faith will teach them to have that same transparency and continual dependence on the Lord.

2. Spiritual Growth

Your discipline is critical to your children developing discipline.  They will learn what you do, not what you say.  Take 15 minutes as a family after each meal or before bedtime to:

1. Talk about your day 

2. Pray as a family

3. Start your family on our bible reading plan or utilize a devotional like http://www.cbhministries.org/ForKids/KeysforKids/ReadListen.aspx

Salvation is free, but growth will cost you something.  Just like exercise you won’t see the results until the work is done.   

3. Service

Our children are born self-centered and will not naturally begin serving others, including the family, without training.  It is more work for us, often times, to teach our children how to sweep the floor, empty the dishwasher, and clean up after themselves, but it is worth the effort.  Once you start creating these habits, you will soon be surprised to see you children, albeit slowly, serving of their own free will! 

Find different ways to not only serve each other as a family, but to find needs that your neighbors might have as well your church and other local ministries and service organizations.

These are just 3 goals to get you started, do you have others? Share the spiritual goals your family sets as you switch from 3 months of busy yet routine-less days to schedules and school work!


Memories-3 steps to creating great ones with your kids!

 


My brother and I with our kids!

If you are friends with us on Facebook you may have seen some of my recent posts about our visitors this week! My brother, his wife and their 3 children have been with my family since last Friday! Yes, your math is correct, that means a total of SEVEN children (ages 3-8, 6 girls and 1 lonely boy) have taken over my home! It’s been the best week of their young lives- mostly because they are too busy making memories to realize that they are actually sleep deprived and functioning in a constant state of sugar overdosed excitement!

Making memories. Isn’t that what childhood is all about? Giggles, funny faces, and talent shows-while wearing pajamas, eating Popsicles and smiling whenever you see a flash! I cannot count the number of times I have uttered these words in the past week: SAY CHEESE!


I also have to admit that my brother and I have also loved taking our late night trips down memory lane to relive some of our own favorite childhood moments!

Here’ s a few:

I can remember sitting on the front porch of my row home in Baltimore city, begging my friends to join me because I was not allowed to leave!

I can remember my mother making spontaneous drives from Baltimore to New York City with my brother, grandmother and I in tow!

I can remember blankets lined up across the dining and living room floors of my grandparent’s home because our cousins from Texas were in town!

…I can also remember being the first to have to go to bed because I was the baby of the bunch…

I can remember my mother gathering neighborhood kids and piling us in her car to go to Monday Night Youth Group! (Seat-belt laws were not nearly as strict as they are now!)

I could go on and on, and believe me, over this week we have!

The funny thing about memories is that whether or not we are intentionally creating them really does not matter. Everyday our children are experiencing moments that will find a corner to reside in their young minds.

When your kids gather around a table with a sibling, spouse or friend, what will they remember?

Here are 3 steps to ensure you are doing your part to create moments that your children will recall for years to come!

  1. Be Spontaneous!– Children love to be surprised and often by the littlest things. Think of creative ways to surprise your kids!
  2. Be Present!– Often as parents we are so busy setting up great opportunities for our kids to enjoy that we forget to enjoy it with them! I challenge you to join them!
  3. Be Happy!-Are you remembering to ‘Say Cheese?”

From Missionaries in Guatemala to movie stars in Hollywood-Little girls do big things!

Wanting to “grow up” seems to be one of the most profound memories of my childhood!

Don’t you remember the anticipation of turning “double digits,” or the process of dying a slow death until you could wear make-up or drive a car, or eagerly awaiting your junior year prom?  All of these thoughts had one end goal in mind; one day being able to run our own lives as adults!

Ironically, now that I am an adult, I find myself on a never-ending search for ways to keep my children from growing up…too fast!

This is one of the reasons why being the editor and founder of For Girls Like You Magazine brings me such joy! Not because I am dedicated to torturing my girls (or yours), but because it gives me the opportunity to highlight and bring attention to all of the excitement and joy that can be found while being young!

When planning each issue, we pray for God’s direction in who we are to feature and highlight. And He continues to cross our paths with amazing little girls, who are doing BIG things to impact His world!

This issue is no different! The topics range from being a missionary in Guatemala, to designing a pair of flip-flops, to being God’s girls in Hollywood!

Take a peek inside:

Young movie stars are always fun but often seem so out of reach to the girls watching them on the other side of the screen. This is why we love Mary-Charles and Maggie Jones so much! They have starred in movies Footloose* and We Bought a Zoo* but they are no different from any other little girl! Most importantly they love GOD! Your girls will love meeting them!

Preview here!

Meet 13 year old Morgan Von Gunten. Morgan has published her very own recipe book and shared a little advice for our girls!

Preview here!

Meet 14 year old Camryn Kelly, daughter of Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly. Camryn is the co-author of Hot Chocolate with God. She and her friends (under the guidance of mom) also host a website with games, videos and advice posts that your girls will love! We are thrilled to feature her!

Preview here!

If you’d like to see additional previews or to place an order please visit us @http://www.forgirlslikeyou.com!

Or if you know a little girl that we need to meet, tell us about her! We love meeting and featuring girls who have found the joy in being a little girl!

*Movies mentioned require parental guidance

Heaven: Do’s, Don’ts or Marshmallows?

One morning I watched quietly as my 5 year old, Kaitlyn, delighted herself in a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal. Lucky Charms are a treat in our home and they are also Kaitlyn’s favorite. I observed as she intentionally chose each bite; placing one marshmallow in the center, surrounding it with just one or two of the other shapes and topping it with just a sprinkle of milk! The marshmallows are her favorite part, so I am sure the goal was to capture as much uninterrupted flavor as she possibly could!

Before long, the bowl was empty and Kaitlyn was satisfied. She then looked up and began to gaze at the front of the cereal box.  Before I could say anything, her face lit up and she gleamed as she said, “Mommy, I think this is what heaven looks like!”

After taking a moment to process this, I realized that Kaity was on to something. Of course I am not promising her bowls of glistening marshmallows in heaven. But I am pleased that she views heaven as a place full of things she loves! 

Ultimately, everything we delight in as humans, that is not sin, God created for our enjoyment!

As parents, it is our responsibility to paint a picture of Heaven for our kids.

How are you painting your picture? Are you painting the walls with a rigid list of do’s and don’ts or are you showing them the marshmallows!?

I pray that our girls think of heaven and smile about what they may find there! Our God is lovable, huggable, joyous and so much more! Heaven is full of Him!

Take time this summer to explore the true character of God with your girls by using the “Summer Bible Reading Plan” we have outlined for you!

 Get your free 12 week reading plan here! (Look for more helpful tools in our “Sprinkles Challenges!” section)


25 Mom-N-Me Activities

Do you plan dates or outings with the young girls in your life?

I remember when my oldest daughter was just a toddler my calender was full of “mommy and me” playdates and activities. From music class to gym class to picnics with friends, I was dedicated to spending copiuos amounts of time investing myself in my daughter’s life.

As we hit the pre-school years and onto grade school the pre-planned activities seemed to become scarce. Sure we had playdates with friends and some occasional mommy and me time shopping or running errands, but more often then not I was left wondering what happened to the calender full of organized events that only required my arrival!

Fun and easy quality time doesn’t have to stop when she’s four.  She needs you even more now!

If you are anything like me, then you too can always use a few new mommy friendly ideas of how to spend some quality time with your growing girls! These years are so important and the amount of time you spend investing yourself into her life will have it’s rewards! Print our activities and have fun! There should be enough ideas to keep yall busy for a while!

Take pictures of some of things you do together and share them with us! We love inlcuding your pictures and stories in the Magazine! Send emails to sprinkles@forgirlslikeyou.com.


Raising God’s Girls In Hollywood

Do you recognize these adorable little faces? You may have seen them in films like Footloose and We Bought a Zoo. What you may not know is that these girls are more than just faces in Hollywood; they are “God Girls,” shining and using their gifts from Christ for Christ!  Rather than living a story of fame, these lovely ladies are reminding Hollywood that this life is not about them.

Look for For Girls Like You Magazine’s feature article with Mary Charles and Maggie Elizabeth Jones in the upcoming June 2012 issue.  Your girls will enjoy meeting them soon!  In the meantime, we are thrilled to introduce you to their dad and biggest champion, Jason Jones!

As a father of little “God Girls” in the spot light, what are the top three things you are doing to make sure that you are, and remain their primary influence?

First, we have an unwavering commitment to FAMILY being #1. No matter what other activities or acting opportunities present themselves, we always evaluate the impact on the family, to ensure that the entire FAMILY comes first before anything else.

Second, we make sure that we set aside time each week for church and other church related activities. Our Church provides a great support vehicle and foundation for our entire family. It helps us stay “on level ground” and reminds us of what our real priorities should be each and every day.

Third, we want to have FUN! We never want to have any of our activities (acting, sports, music) seem too much like “a job”. If my children are not having fun and a great experience, then we certainly have to re-evaluate our priorities. We always ask our children “is this what you really want to do” when looking at a new film or TV role. Their well-being is truly our FIRST PRIORITY. So far, each endeavor has been FUN and a very positive experience.

How do you balance the demands of “acting” with family life? Have you had to redefine your family’s “normal?” If yes, in what ways?

Well I think if you ask any family if their life is “normal” they would say “no!” That being said, there are some unique challenges in the world of entertainment. There are times when the family is not together and we carefully have to manage that. Luckily, we have a great airport near us so whenever we are apart we are truly only a plane ride away. We also leverage technology such as SKYPE to stay in touch. That has really been a neat blessing when the family is separated for any extended period of time. 

A recent article in the Huffington Post, Kids Want Fame More Than Anything, references a 2007 study which found fame to be the #1 value among preteens. Knowing the positives and negatives of fame, what advice do you give to our parents as they are confronted with this reality?

We NEVER talk about fame with our kids. It really almost seems silly to them based on the way they are raised. Instead, we talk a lot more about GIVING to others. Their focus is on getting to meet new people and do some amazing things, not what others think about them. While the red carpet premieres and interviews are fun, the focus is always on the overall project, not on how “famous” they can be.  As long as we keep our focus on what we can GIVE to others we feel that we can steer clear of trappings of “fame.” Our girls have seen firsthand how much fun it is to GIVE of their time, talents, and treasures… and that is where their real reward can be found.

For more information on Jason Jones and the Jones girls, follow  on twitter @jasonjoneslives

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FAME! It can be used for what it can get, or what it can GIVE and it all boils down to how we define sucess and greatness. Whether they are famous or not, God has called each of our girls to greatness!

Share one of your girl’s talents or gifts below and how she uses it for Christ for an opportunity to win a copy of Dr. Tim Kimmel’s “Raising Kids for True Greatness: redefine success for you and your child.”


4 Ways to Protect and Prepare Your Girls!

I like to think that I’ve done my share of preparation in regards to preserving the innocence of my daughters. I have prayed, read the top books, highlighted the key points, and engaged in personal conversations with experts like best-selling author Dannah Gresh. I even documented those conversations for you here! Not to mention, I started this magazine based on my convictions to protect and preserve the innocence of all of our girls!

So why was I totally unprepared when I found that my eight year old daughter had searched “sexy girl games” in the apps store on her ipod?!

The conversation went something like this:

Me (after a moment of collecting pieces of my shattered heart off of the floor):

Uhhhh Sweetie, what’s this?

Alena:

I was just, I was just…I wasn’t going to download it…I….( mentally debating on if she should play the devastated victim role or deny at all costs)

Me:

What were you looking for? What does sexy mean?

Alena:

It means love and cute…I was just looking for games for cute girls….(at this point devastated victim won and she went into a full fledge meltdown while I helplessly looked at Daddy and screamed HELPPPPP with my eyes!)

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Although discipline was in order because of the deceptiveness and trust issue, ultimately her search for answers opened my eyes to see that my job is not solely protection, but relentless preemptive attacks.

For some reason I thought that my thorough preparation would protect her from the voices of her peers and images in our society at large. However, while I was busy preserving and protecting her innocence, a television commercial, a song on the radio, a stranger’s outfit in Target, or a friend at school sparked her curiosity and exposed her to concepts and misconstrued messages of sex and love.

While I was using vague explanations like “not appropriate for girls your age,” she was searching for real answers and truth on her own.

We cannot protect our children simply by sheltering them, we must prepare them by filling them with God’s truth on life before Satan plants his seeds of deceit.

Here are 4 foundational ways to protect your girls as well as prepare them!

1. Build trust:

Your daughters need to know that they can trust you and that you trust them. The thing that was most devastating for me was not that my daughter was looking for answers, but that she was looking somewhere else. Let your girls know that they can talk to you and get truth, not just vague words to brush over real questions.

2. Become the expert and be the example:

Never look too surprised or shocked by what your little girls say! They don’t need to see you sweat. They need to believe that you know what you are talking about! They also need to SEE that you believe and follow your own advice! Your actions will always speak louder and last longer than your words.

3. Create opportunities for dialogue:

Don’t be afraid to ask your girls what they think about certain concepts and situations. Whether it’s a real life outfit or a made-up friendship, look for opportunities to engage in conversations with them. They may often surprise you with their knowledge and it will give you a chance to correct any false concepts or ideas they may be holding.

4. Trust God:

No matter how hard we try, how many conferences we attend or books we read, we will never cover it all. Satan will always view your daughter’s innocence and purity as a major fortress to attack. On our own, we simply cannot win. Pray over your girls fervently and seek God’s wisdom for every decision you make concerning them!


Moms Like Us

At “For Girls Like You,” we love to introduce and surround our girls with girls just like them. Girls that love having fun, love learning new things, and meeting new people, while living a life that shines for Christ! Each issue features girls just like yours, along with articles and topics that keep their attention while making a positive impact in their young hearts and minds! The idea is basic. No one likes to feel alone and our goal is to create safe environments filled with all the things they love, including new friends!

Since moms are just grown up little girls, we want you to know that you are not alone either! Isn’t it fun when you meet someone in line at a grocery store or over hear a conversation at a playground with other ladies who speak your “mommy language?”

Well picture yourself at a park, your girls are playing and you happen to hear two moms chatting about raising kids, encouraging Godly characteristics and discussing how to handle tough topics like loneliness and bullying…now just as our conversation is getting good, I turn and say:

“Hi ladies, this is Thomasina Johnson, a children’s author and a homeschooling mom of 7! Her book, “Mama, When Will I Be Popular” was written to encourage kids who want to “fit in”–A mom and daughter talk, providing wisdom and hopefully a different outlook to the troubles of this little one’s life.

“I was just telling Thomasina:

Our kids face many challenges that we do not always know how to handle. Can you speak to the following challenges and how parents may best understand and support their young children during these times?

Yes, I’m so glad you asked!

Bullying

Bullying is such a multi-faceted topic and I am actually able to relate to both sides. I understand what it is like to be frustrated and embarrassed because your child is the bully and I know how hurtful it is as a result of your child being bullied. Parents are not always aware of the reason as to why their child is acting out. We have to look at the bullies from a personal side, knowing that their behavior may be one of a person who has been through trauma in their own life. They may need guidance and someone to look past the bully exterior to find the broken person behind the mask. In regards to the child being bullied, I believe that our children need to have a strong sense of self-worth. So strong, that no amount of teasing and bullying could cause them to lose hope. We should encourage our children to pray for the bully!

Loneliness

People are made to be around people, yet many are lonely with a swarm of people around them. It is important for our children to know that only God can FILL them up. We need to teach them the presence of God at a young age! In doing so we are insuring that they know they are “never alone and can never be forsaken” (Hebrews 13:5).

Not Fitting In

In my book I try to convey that we are never really going to fit in. This is a major issue with children who seek comfort in friendship above comfort in Christ. Convey to your children that they are a “unique and peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9-10). This understanding took a load off of me when I gave my life to Christ! I had to come to the realization that my life was created to please Christ, and fitting in doesn’t always line up with that.

Your book, “Mama, When Will I Be Popular” focuses primarily on building strong character traits in young children. What are the three main character traits you look to build in your own children?

Integrity, wisdom and compassion, are BIG in my house. I have key scriptures that I share with my children:

Integrity – Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 12:22)

Wisdom – Fools hate correction (Proverbs 15:5)

Compassion – Be kind to one another in brotherly love, honoring one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10)

What motivates you to help with building confidence and character in other children?

My childhood and the children around me who are craving guidance are what motivate me on a daily basis. It scares me to think of the reality that children face when left to their own way. Our children are our future, so I want to do my part to be a Godly influence in hopes that I can lessen the effects of a fragile and unstable generation.

Wow, that was great! Thank you Thomasina for sharing your insight and chatting with us! To chat more with Thomasina or to purchase her book for your girls, visit http://www.booksbythomasina.com

Now, will you introduce us to your friends? Who are some moms “like us” that you enjoy chatting with?

Leave a comment with a link to your favorite blogs!


Juicy Fruit

Instilled in my mind and in my actions are the desire and the will to teach my family the things of God. There is no doubt that if you were to come into my home after a routine family dinner or during a sporadic Saturday morning breakfast, you would hear me reiterate facts about God and see my determination to make sure that my children are ingesting every morsel.  My will to do this is like an engine that drives me.  It is as important to me as anything else in life.  My father and mother taught me from a young age the importance of impressing the Word of God on my family (Deuteronomy 6: 4-8).  It isn’t so much what they said as it was what they did. As often as they could my parents would sit down with my twin brother, three sisters and I, and worship God through song, pray over and with us, and dig into the Bible.  They helped us to apply scripture to our young lives.  This was mostly done at the dinner table directly following my first and second portion of whatever great meal my mother would whip up.  The only slight disappointment was the fact that my father was pretty strict around dinner, and though I often asked for a third portion, that request for gluttony was rarely honored.   I have zero doubt now, as a father of 4 girls and 10 or so years removed from my youth, that the Word of God is “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV). It is simply seen in the fruit that was produced through my parent’s actions and attitudes.

I didn’t write the last paragraph to brag about my parents or myself.  I was simply pointing our hearts and minds toward fruit.  I often speak to my children about fruit. I say to my girls, “tell me about fruit.”  “What do you know about it?” Here are some of their answers:

“Fruit is juicy, Daddy!”

“Fruit smells good!”

“Fruit tastes good, Daddy”

“Fruit sure is sweet!”

In talking about fruit the only place you have to visit in the Bible is Galatians 5:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

I feel an overwhelming sense of conviction as I write.  I only have to look back as far as my last dinnertime devotional to see that my own fruit is often spoiled.  How ironic is that?  My lack of patience with my children was not very “juicy.”  My internal response to not having the perfect dinner in front of me did not “smell very good.”  And my gentleness, or lack there of, in how I responded to my wife’s question was not very “sweet.”  Even as Christians our fruit often leaves a lot to be desired. 

My prayer for you and I is simple this morning. I pray that we would “Walk by the Spirit,”(Galatians 5:16, NIV) and in so bear fruit that is refreshing, tasty, and addictive!   The only way our children, neighbors, co-workers and the world will be attracted to the Jesus we serve is through the fruit in our lives. 

I encourage you to be that fruit for your children; to encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Remember, it’s not just what we say, but what we do.  Our fruit, sweet or sour, will leave a lasting impression.

To get your girls thinking about and digging for fruit, download our new “Sprinkles Challenge” at www.forgirlslikeyou.com!