Check out ericanderica.org!

16 Dec

sitting

My husband, Eric, and I just recently launched a new blog (ericanderica.org)!

Our heart with this blog is to help twenty-somethings live well and lead well. It is a place for next generation leaders to be encouraged and empowered to be and do all that God created them for.

Currently we are giving away a free e-resource, Finding You: 11 Life-Defining Questions to Unleash Purpose and Renew VisionThis is a great resource if you are asking questions like “What am I supposed to do with my life?” or “Who am I?”freeresource

We would love for you to check it out and subscribe! Most all our posts fall into three categories: relationships, faith, and life. And on average we post one new blog a week, on Monday mornings.

We hope ericanderica.org is a blessing to you or a twenty-something you know!

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Hello Kindle World!

7 Sep

kindle release.instagram

Well, hello Kindle World!

We have always wanted to have “God Speaks About You!” in Kindle ebook format, and now it finally is! Now you can take “God Speaks About You!” wherever you go 🙂

Get Your Kindle Copy Today!

Two Must Read Parenting Books for Infant & Toddler Years

21 Apr

MUSTREADBLOG

Us parents need help! We need all the help we can get! If you are anything like me, I am always looking for advice and help on how to do the parent thing better!

I have to tell you, out of all the many blogs, books, websites, magazines, advice, theories, and ideas I have read so far … there are two books that impact the way I parent more than other resource. These two books have given me such foundational and practical wisdom on two large areas of parenting infants and toddlers that people usually have the most trouble with …. 1. infant sleep patterns 2. toddler behavior issues.

If you are new to the parenting scene or if you are a veteran looking for some good reads … these two are must reads!

1. “On becoming: BABY WISE: giving your infant the gift of nighttime sleep” 

by Gary Ezzo & Robert Buckman

As a new mom, one of the most daunting tasks if figuring out how to feed your child and how to set-up their bedtime routines. This book gave SUCH practical advice. This book basically gives you the play-by-play of how set-up your child’s feeding and sleeping routine. It gives you data and scientific reasoning that gives you confidence to know when it is ok to let your baby “cry it out”, take away the binky, and stop rocking to sleep, etc.

Here are some quotes from Baby Wise:

“The typical infant has both the natural ability and the capacity to sleep through the night sometime within the first nine weeks of life”

“Think of crying as a signal, not a statement against your parenting”

“Many babies cannot fall asleep without crying and will go to sleep more quickly if left to cry for a while. The crying shouldn’t last long if the child is truly tired”

 

2. DARE TO DISCIPLINE

by James C. Dobson

I remember getting my hands on this book around the time that my daughter was 18 months old and starting to clearly exercise her own will. I remember knowing that I needed to discipline, but not knowing when was the right time and how I was supposed to do it. This book, like Baby Wise, gave me so much wisdom and confidence to know how to discipline my child well. I can not recommend this book enough!

Here are some quotes from Dare to Discipline:

“Children thrive best in an atmosphere of genuine love, undergirded by reasonable, consistent discipline”

“His early view of parental authority becomes the cornerstone of his future outlook on school authority, law enforcement officers, employers, and others with whom he will live and work”

“One should never underestimate a child’s awareness that he is breaking the rules”

“When you are defiantly challenged , win decisively. When the child asks, “Who is in charge?” tell him. When he mutters, “who loves me?” take him in your arms and surround him with affection. Treat him with respect and dignity, and expect the same from him. Then begin to enjoy the sweet benefits of competent parenthood”

“In those situations when the child fully understands what is being asked to do or not do but refuses to yield to adult leadership, and appropriate spanking is the shortest and most effective route to an attitude adjustment”

 

Hope these resources are a blessing to you! Do you have a favorite parenting or motherhood book? Please comment below and let me know your favorite parenting book!

How to Pray: When there is too much to pray for

8 Dec

how to pray

“I hope I am doing this right” – the heart cry of every parent.

We all want our kids to have the best life possible. We want them to have good friends, stay out of trouble, be healthy, find a loving spouse, be successful, have character/integrity…. and the list goes on.

With the future so unknown and with so much that we could fear  – we all find ourselves on our knees frequently just praying “God help me”.

We frantically try to pray for everything we might ever need to pray for our children.

Our prayers might go something like this…

Oh Lord…

  • May my kid know his/her worth.. May they know they are loved.
  • Protect my kid from danger and from situations that would cause them harm..
  • Godly friends and good influences in school, good teachers, good grades…
  • Help my kid have a relationship with You and desire to live right.
  • My kid’s future spouse and future kids…bless them
  • Help my kid be influential and leader for his/her generation.
  • Strengthen my kid to make good decisions….
  • …. Oh, Lord…. just help!

All of these prayers are good, and beneficial, and necessary, and I pray all these same prayers too… but I have found comfort in one prayer that I pray for my kids everyday… and this prayer seems to cover most all the other prayers…

Lord, may my kids know You, know Your voice, and obey Your voice.”

I can not possibly pray for every situation my child may encounter – but if my child knows God, knows His voice, and obeys His voice… I can trust that God will gently lead and guide my child through all the seasons of life.

John 10:14,27

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me …. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

This scripture/prayer is such a great promise to stand on for our kids.

This scripture promises Christians that:

  1. God knows our kids
  2. Our kids know God
  3. Our kids hear/listen to God’s voice
  4. Our kids obey/follow God’s voice.

All the other specific prayers great and necessary. However, I have found peace exerting most of my prayer energy on a daily basis to this simple prayer: “Lord, may my kids know You, know Your voice, and obey Your voice.”

Speak it: God, I believe that Your Word says that as Christians we know You, know Your voice, and follow Your voice. Lord, I pray and believe that from a very young age all of my children will know you, know your voice, and obey your voice. In Jesus Name, Amen.

5 Ways to Celebrate Jesus at Christmas with your Kids

29 Nov

Christ in Christmas

With all the holiday cheer, holiday baking, holiday shopping, holiday decorations, and holiday music, it is easy for us and our children to loose the real heart behind why we celebrate Christmas. I love all the typical Holiday stuff – Santa & the reindeer, Mariah Carey “All I want for Christmas”, the sparkle of the Christmas tree, and presents under the tree. But with in the midst of all the holiday magic, I strongly believe that our kids have got to know the purpose of why we are celebrating! If we are not intentional about sharing the “why behind the what” of Christmas, our kids can get swept away with Christmas lists and miss that Jesus is at the center of it all.

Here are 5 really practical ways to celebrate Jesus this year at Christmas….

1. Bake a Birthday Cake for Jesus!

Every kid loves a good birthday party! Little kids might not get the whole Jesus in the manager thing, but they understand that a birthday is reason to celebrate! What we have done in the past is sing “Happy Birthday to Jesus” at one of the meals of the day – we bake (or buy) a little cake, put a candle in it, and let the kids sing and blow out the candles. This is just one small but very fun way to keep bringing the focus back to Jesus.

2. Read the Christmas Story as a family!

Start a tradition of reading the story of Christmas as a family at some point on Christmas day. For my family we do it first thing Christmas morning before presents are opened. Before the wrapping paper gets shredded and ribbons start flying, we cuddle up as a family and read the story of Christmas from the Bible …. or from a Children’s Bible for us. Remind your children of the greatest gift of all – Jesus. Spend a moment to direct the attention back to Jesus and the “Reason for the season”.

3. Give Back

A mother’s nightmare is having the spirit of Christmas development greediness and self-focused children. We need to remind our kids that “God so loved the world that he GAVE his only Son”. A good remedy to overt the self-focus of our kids this year is to have them join us and be a part of giving back. Here are some great organizations that do great outreaches during the Christmas season: Operation Christmas Child, Toys for Tots,  Angel Tree, or local or church-based outreaches.

4. Make Your Nativity Set a Focal Point

It might seem like a really simple thing, but keeping one or two nativity sets as a focal point of our Christmas decor is a constant reminder to our children that Christmas is about Jesus. There is nothing wrong with the Santas, the snowmen, gingerbread houses, and Christmas trees, but if that decor is all our children see and baby Jesus in the manager is on display in low traffic areas…. our kids will subconsciously assume that Christmas is not about Jesus.

5. Talk with Your Kids about the “Reason for the Season”  

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, make sure to have age-appropriate heart-felt conversations about why we celebrate Christmas. Explain your heart and your gratitude for Jesus and ask you children to share what Christmas and Jesus being born means to them.

What about you? Are there any Christmas traditions that your family does to keep Christ in Christmas? Share your ideas by commenting below!

Embraced Moments

10 Oct

If I am not careful I can miss the moment that I am in.

I have come to realize that life is a series of “seasons” – you are always going to be in the middle of a “season” and there is always going to be another “season” to look forward to. I can sometimes get so excited about the future, that I miss the moment I am in right now. Or I can be so overwhelmed in a season, that I “escape” by thinking about the future season (as if life will ever get easier!).

Maybe you can relate to these seasons….

When I was single – I wanted to be married

When I was married – I wanted a house

When I was pregnant – I wanted to hold the baby

When I could hold the baby – I wanted the baby to talk

and on and on it goes…

Sometimes we miss the blessing in each moment, because our eyes are onto the next moment. Sometimes we value the future moments, more than we value our current moment.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11-13 (NLT)

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven….Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

This scripture reminds us that there is a perfect time and season for everything. And that God blesses and makes beautiful everything when it is in its own time . The scripture goes on to talk about how we can not understand all of God’s plan from beginning to end, BUT we can be happy and enjoy the ride … recognizing the value of each season.

Today, I will choose to love and embrace the “season” that I am in. I recognize that this season is only for a moment, so I will embrace it and love it while I am in it!

Speak it!: Lord, thank-you for today and all the blessings that fill this season I am in. I choose to recognize the season I am in and I choose to embrace it and love it. Thank-you for the gift of life today. I love you, Lord. Amen

Motherhood: Did I sign-up for this?

6 Oct

Me? a mom?

I remember at the very end of my pregnancy with Ella, I had an interesting revelation.

I realized this: “I have always wanted to have kids… but I did not necessarily always want to be a ‘mom'”

It was at the end of my pregnancy with Ella that all the sudden my pregnant belly was drawing attention from a different crowd … and my identity was quickly shifting from a 20-something young professional …. to a “prego”!

You might be thinking, “having kids” and “being a mom” are the same thing. But somehow in my mind they were two very different things. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted kids – that was never a question. But, being a “mom” was a whole notha thing!

Any other young mom can understand what I am saying here. There is a big identity shift that happens when you go from being a young married woman or a young working professional to being a “mom”. Your entire life flips upside down and your entire identity shifts in what seems overnight.

You used to go out for coffee with friends frequently, get your nails done, and exercise whenever you wanted. Now as a mom, your hair is rarely fully done, a long shower feels like the spa, and you have to find a babysitter to exercise!!

Honestly, looking back  on my daughter’s first year of life – I think I had a mini (big) identity crisis. Because of the way I am wired, I get energized by accomplishing/achieving things … moving the “ball” down the court of life. So, when I cut my hours at work, lost “titles”, and slowed down my pace to be home with my baby a couple days a week… I had to redefine and revalue the things that filled my days.

When this transition into motherhood peaked, I thought …  “Lord, help!”. I realized I needed to find significance, purpose, and value in my new role as a mom and embrace the new sacrifices of that role.

To deal with this identity crisis, I had to find a scripture to stand on to base my identity (to be a target) in my new role as a new mom, and Psalm 113:19 hit home for me.

Psalm 113:9 – Like a joyful mother of children

Once I embraced that fact that I indeed was a “mom”, I wanted to make sure that when my kids were old and moved away from home that I could look back on my life as a mom and say that it was a joyful time…. that I fully embraced it and was joyful in the midst of it!

As moms, I do not think any of us knew exactly what we were signing up for. But when motherhood is embraced, it is indeed one of God’s most priceless and tender gifts.

Speak it!: Lord, I embrace the gift of motherhood. Help me to be a joyful mother of children. Help me to see the joy, humor, and blessing in every moment as a mom. I love you, Lord!

10 years… 20 years from now…

30 Sep

Ever wonder what God’s plans are for you and your family? If you are like me, you might wonder what it all looks like 10 years … 20 years from now… What am I doing? What are my children doing? How are we doing? Is all good … is all well…

Lately, I have been encouraged by a scripture in Psalms that talks about God’s plan for us AND our children.

Psalm 115:14-15 (AMP)

May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children. May you be blessed of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth! 

Earlier in Psalm 115 it talks about trusting in the Lord, and how when we trust in the Lord God will help us, be our shield, He will be mindful of us, and bless us (Psalm 115:11-13)

As we continue to trust God and go through life – Psalm 115:14-15 is a promise to us.We can know what the future looks like. The definition of our future AND our children’s future is continued increase, more and more. The definition of our life and our children’s lives is: blessed of the Lord!

What does it mean to increase more and more? It means the Lord will cause you and your children to flourish, expand, grow, and prosper in every way – more and more as time passes. Financially you and your children are flourishing more and more. Spiritually and emotionally you are blessed and established more and more. Socially and influentially you are expanding, growing, and gaining more and more favor. In every good area of life – you and your children are flourishing, increasing, prospering, and being richly blessed by the Lord.

There is no need to fret or fear about the future. As we put our trust in God, we can be confident that 10 years… 20 years from now the Lord is giving us and our children increase more and more. 10 years … 20 years from now we are richly blessed by the Lord – to a degree that we can not even imagine right now (Eph. 3:20).

Speak it!: Lord, I agree with Your Word. As I go through life, I believe You will cause me and my children to increase, flourish, prosper, and be richly blessed in every way, more and more. 10 years… 20 years from now my family is in a place that we can not even imagine, because of your goodness and your increase. We love you Lord. Amen.

 

If we prayed…

12 Sep

Lately, I have had quite a stirring for prayer…. prayer for myself, for my family, for my friends, students, church, our nation…

If we are not careful, we can get funky in our thoughts about prayer. When we are worn out, stressed and tired, praying for anything other than grace seems like “work”. If we are not careful prayer can begin to feel like a dreaded “religious” activity…

I am reminded today of 2 Chronicles 7:14

IF my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

Numerous times throughout scripture we see strong cause/effect relationships when it comes to our decision to pray… or not to pray…

In Psalm 106:23, we see that because Moses decided to stand in the gap through prayer, destruction did not come on God’s people. Then in Ezekiel 22:30 we see that because no one decided to stand in the gap to pray…the land was destroyed.

Parents, get stirred up today to pray for your children. Because of your prayers their future will be different. Pray throughout the day, pray while you are driving, pray with your kids, pray with your spouse. Get stirred up to pray without ceasing. Stand in the gap through prayer for your children!

Pray for their future. Pray for their friends. Pray for their spouses. Pray about their relationship with God. Pray for favor. Pray for protection. Pray for their strength and endurance. Pray, pray, pray. Cover your children’s life with prayer – their life will never be the same because of it!

Pray it!: Lord, I believe your Word, and I believe that there are powerful results as a result of my faith-filled prayers. Today, I choose to pray more…especially for my children. Today, I pray from my heart for my children’s lives and futures. Lord, bless my children, cause your favor to surround them. Strengthen them, grace them, anoint them. May they draw closer to You and know Your voice and love Your Word…. I love you, Lord. 

He [promises] to protect

12 Aug

God promises divine protection for you and your family. This divine protection is something I have been meditating on lately. As I study God’s Word, I am reminded that Psalm 91 is loaded with protection promises! As a parent it is easy to become concerned about your children… or even your spouse. If you ever find yourself in fear about your children or your spouses’ protection, I encourage you to hangout in Psalm 91 until your faith in God’s protection is greater than your fear!

Check out Psalm 91 and speak the promises it declares about your family!

Psalm 91:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”

Speak it:

  • Our family abides under the shadow of the Almighty (vs.1)
  • God delivers my family from dangerous traps and snares (vs. 3)
  • Under His wings we take refuge (vs. 4)
  • No danger or harm shall come near my family (vs. 7)
  • No evil shall come near my family. No plague (sickness or evil) shall come near my home (vs. 10)
  • God’s angels are appointed to guard my family and lift us from danger (vs. 11)

Lord, thank-you for your protection. I believe what Your Word says – that my family is safe and no evil shall come near us. I love you and I rest in knowing that You promise to protect.

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