Category Archives: Teaching Your Children About God


Thankfulness Can Change a Heart: A Reflection on Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!” Psalm 100:4

By: Dana Baran

About nine months ago, I felt a deep need for a change. I had changed careers almost a year before, trading in my dream job teaching reading to seventh graders for a new dream, staying home to care for our baby girl. It was a huge adjustment.  While I was so happy in my new role as a mommy, I still felt prickles of discontentment and annoyance at the repetitiveness of my days and the seeming insignificance of my life. In March of 2013 my MOPS book group chose to read and discuss Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. It turned out to be just what my heart was craving. Continue reading


Reading: A Spiritual Experience

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Summer Read Aloud

Psalm 119:103-104 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.”

By: Dana Baran

I am passionate about reading. For as long as I can remember I’ve been a reader. Mom likes to tell people that I taught myself to read when I was four, and began reading chapter books around age six (lest you think I’m some sort of genius, let me assure you that my precociousness in this area was balanced out by struggles in others…namely math and spelling).  I have always been captivated by the power stories have –  to let us travel to faraway places and times, to give us adventures, to allow us to vicariously face dangers, and to give us fantastic friends we can visit again and again (I’m a fan of re-reading favorite books). Continue reading

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My Favorite Mother’s Day Tradition

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.  Luke 5:16

By: Jennifer Mullen

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Pardon my messy bathroom. I had more important things to do than clean mirrors and toilets.

Last Saturday I rolled out of bed while my family still slept.  I packed one of my many Thirty-One bags with some of my journals, my Bible, and my favorite book.  Threw on some jeans and a scarf and escaped to a corner booth at Panera. 

I sat in that booth for FIVE HOURS!  I enjoyed both breakfast and lunch during my stay.

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You may wonder what on Earth could I be doing for FIVE HOURS?

Well this is one of many things Gretchen has taught me about taking time to get focused as a mom.  Click here to read her article about this amazing tradition I think all mothers should consider.


An Open Letter to My Daughter on Her First Birthday

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matt. 11:29

By: Dana Baran

Newborn CharlotteAs Charlotte’s first birthday looms ever nearer, I find myself becoming more reflective and sentimental by the day. I even wrote her a letter to be read sometime in the future (her eighteenth birthday? College graduation? Wedding day? Birth of her first child? TBD) but it is rather sappy and lengthy so instead of sharing the whole letter I’ll just give you some highlights. I hope my musings and confessions might prompt you to reflect for a bit on the lessons the Lord has taught you through your own motherhood journey. Continue reading

The Empty Tomb – an Easter Garden Craft

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.” John 20:1

By: Sarah Smith

(No one seems to know where this craft originated but you will find it on-line in various places.  So, shout out to the crafty Mom who came up with this idea!!)

Supplies:  (Keep in mind you can make this as big as you’d like….the ones the kids made at church were the sizes shown below.)

  • One 6-8 inch terra-cotta base
  • One 2 inch terra-cotta pot
  • Pebbles or gravel
  • Potting soil
  • A package of seeds – quick grow grass or sprouts
  • Small twigs and twine – form into 3 crosses
  • A small to medium size rock (approximately as large as the opening of the pot)


Continue reading