Bath, Brush, Books, Bed

When I was pregnant with T.J I found ‘America’s Supernanny’ Deborah Tillman and became obsessed with watching every episode! I can’t remember now if I was watching them via Netflix or Youtube but either way I learned so much from watching that show. It was amazing to me to see these crazy, out of control and even hopeless families get turned around for the better with a framework of structure, discipline, and the establishment of family rules based on love and respect.

One thing that caught my attention was how well the youngest of the children responded to routines. So many negative behaviors disappeared simply by setting up an environment where the child new what to do next and knew what was expected of them. The routine that stuck in my mind was the little children’s bedtime slogan she used. She called it the 4 B’s- bath, brush, books, bed. I started saying that to E over a year and a half ago and I am still saying it. I guess that I have now adopted it as one of those parenting phrases that annoy the kids ha ha!

It really works though. After dinner at some point I clap my hands and say, “bath, brush, books and bed!” The kids take off running for the tub. Once I had 2 children we don’t do a full bath every night. If they are not very dirty a wash cloth on little faces and hands works but most nights I do give them a bath. It’s something fun that they enjoy and it actually gives me a few moments to sit down and rest while they play and I supervise. After bath it’s pajamas and brushing teeth. At that point I will usually do a board book with the baby then lay him down before spending some one on one time reading books with E.

My husband’s job makes establishing family routines difficult but bedtime is one area that I have managed to build a little soothing structure for the kids that I can do regardless of what shift he is on. I know a lot of you are in the same sort of situations so I hope to get some feed back on this and hear what routines you have in place for your children that bring stability and peace to your family.



Free and cheap things to do with kids in Russellville AR

I’ve been to several playdates with the MOPS group here in our town but until this past Monday I didn’t have an opportunity to go to one of the MOPS meetings. It was great! One topic of discussion that came up was things to do with kids in our small town that don’t cost a lot of money. I’ve lived here for going on seven years so I’ve had some time to get to know the area but I know there is more out there that I don’t know about so leave a comment about what you like to do in Russellville with your kids and I’ll update the list. I want this list to be something that when I meet moms who are new to the area, I can send them this and give them the scoop on what Russellville has to offer.


Bona Dea trail and Washburn Park
Old Post Park- (has a small indoor visitor center)
Lake Dardanelle State Park- (has a great indoor visitor center where kids can touch turtles and look at the tanks filled with local fish. There are also some hands on activities)
Park at First Baptist Church
Shiloh Park
City Park (in the summer has a splash pad)
not a park but Chick Fil A has an indoor play place- good for rainy/cold days
Mount Nebo- year round hiking and camping. Play scape, indoor visitor center and a swimming pool for the summer.
ACME (Arkansas Center for Music Education) 30 minute music class for children up to age 5. 12:00-12:30. $5.00 a month

10:00 story time at the library. Emily, the children’s librarian puts a lot of work into making this a good time for the kids. It’s a younger crowd, most kids are age 2-3 but all ages come. They read a few books, sing their ABC’s, stretch, play with a parachute and do either a craft or a coloring sheet. There are toys to play with and most the moms hang around afterwards while the kids play with toys or go on the computer.
Pope county has other library branches that have story times at other times. Other events frequently go on at the library such as movie nights etc. The summer reading program is a lot of fun as well

Saturday’s at Lake Dardanelle State Park. Each month the park puts out a flyer of activities for the month. Usually each Saturday morning there is some free educational program going on for kids. When we have gone, the kids have learned about different bird beaks and camouflage. When it’s cold or raining activities are indoors at the visitor center.

Kroger– okay hear me out on this one! We make grocery shopping an event and my kids act like going to Kroger is going to an amusement park! Get one of those car carts and let them drive, go to the deli and ask for a free cookie. Then on your way out get some stickers!

Story time at Dog Ear Books Thursday’s at 11:30.

PetSmart and Davis Discount Pet Store. It’s not free to buy stuff but it’s free to look. My kids have fun looking at all the different animals.

MOPS (Mom’s of Preschoolers) Meets the second Monday of each month (except for the summer) for a meeting and has a once a month playdate/ field trip. (Pumpkin picking, meet at the Jump place, Playdate at the Park etc.) $20.00 for the year. Meets at All Saints Episcopal Church 501 S Phoenix Ave. Russellville, AR 72801. Visit the MOPS Facebook page

REACH– (Russellville Education Association of Christian Homeschoolers) if you are a homeschool family Russellville has a thriving homeschool community and REACH is the local co-op. Here’s a link for more information.

I’ve never been so I can’t say much about it but I know there is an art walk event the first Friday of March, June, September and December. Starts at the train Depot. 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Long Pool– This is our favorite swimming hole in the summer. The trail to the water fall takes us about 30 minutes so it’s one we can do with the kids. Located in the Ozark St. Francis National Forest.

Slow down and be a scribe

scribe- a person who copies out documents, especially one employed to do this before printing was invented

A couple Sundays ago while our church group was eating potluck together after the meeting, one of the brothers asked everyone something along the lines of, “assuming you had access to writing instruments and paper, if you were in prison for the sake of Christ and were handed a Bible that you could only keep with you for 24 hours what portion of the Bible would you write down to keep with you?”

Colossians was mentioned a few times as was 1 Peter and everyone agreed that Romans would be a good book to have. I started over thinking it and wondering how long it would take to copy down one of Paul’s letters? 3 hours? The whole 24 hours? I had no idea.

That next day I opened up to Romans and started writing. I set the stop watch on my phone and stopped the stop watch when I stopped writing and made a note in the notebook how long I had been writing for. I used the stop watch every time I had a chance to sit down and write some. (Because I’m not actually locked in a jail cell and I have work to do.. ha ha!) So far I am in chapter 9 and I have been writing for 4 hours and 25 minutes.

It has given me a new appreciation for Paul and the love he had for each of the churches he wrote to. I looked around online to see what was used as a writing instrument during new testament Bible times and from what I read Paul was probably using a hollow reed that had a diagonal point on one end and a fine slit cut into the point. It would be sharpened with a piece of pumice stone. Wow! Using my modern day ball point pen and having smooth notebook paper to write on after 20 minutes my hand is hurting and my neck is starting to cramp up! Not to mention that Paul was in pain from so many beatings and a lot of the time sitting in jail when writing- not exactly cozy.

It has given me a new appreciation for each and every word in the scripture that was painstakingly written, preserved, translated and printed for me to read. Writing this has also helped me to slooow down and savor each word. I read fast, I work fast, most things I do fast but mediating on God’s word is something that shouldn’t be rushed and copying down the scripture into a notebook is helping me slow down and see things and think about things that I wouldn’t if I was just reading. It’s something I recommend doing!

2 Timothy 4:13-21 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.

Galatians 6:11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.

Moved to tears by a little boy’s prayer

After my son Titus died in my grief I was grasping for something to hold to and to somehow find meaning in his life and death. Growing up my step dad sponsored a boy who lived in Uganda. Growing up I would be excited to get letters in the mail from him but also saddened and sobered by how difficult his life appeared to be. He wrote to us of war and terrible things that he saw. I remember coloring pictures to send to him. My step dad really loved “I” and he had a dream of going to visit him when he graduated high school. The time came and the money was not there to travel. Shortly after we got a letter telling us that “I” had contracted malaria and died right after graduating high school. It was devasting and we felt like we had lost someone dear to us. I remember my step dad being really sad and sending money to “I’s” mother to support her after the loss of her son.

Growing up knowing about Compassion International is why the ministry came to mind after Titus died. I got on their website my soul shattered, my eyes continually puffy with tears. While scrolling through the photos of children I asked God to lead me to the child He wanted us to sponsor. When I saw “S” who lives in Ghana his round cheeks, full lips and round eyes, reminded me of the boy I had just said good bye to who had very full lips, round cheeks and big eyes.  When I went to confirm and give my credit card information I saw that when clicking on the profile of a little girl ‘K’ who lives in Uganda I had accidentally hit the button to sponsor her. I didn’t know how to remove her from our account so I showed my husband who said something like, “We can’t remove her, God wants us to sponsor her.” She made me think of the boy we sponsored growing up who had lived in Uganda and it made me feel like I was getting to sponsor a child in his memory.

Having two sponsor children has been an amazing blessing to us. I don’t get to buy birthday presents for my son but I get to send birthday presents to them. I don’t get to see my baby grow up but I get to see them grow up through photos and letters. I can’t talk to Titus but I do write my sponsor children letters and tell them Bible stories and tell them how proud I am of them like I would tell my son if I could.

What motivated me to write about Compassion today is a letter I got from “S” in the mail. His prayer request and his prayer for me moved me to tears and I am certainly not one of those cries at the drop of hat type people. His letter was dated December 3rd and he asked for pray for peaceful elections for his country. It crushed me that a child so young lives in a world where political unrest is a real burden in his life. I looked up the elections in Ghana and saw that it took place less than a couple weeks after he wrote his letter so it must have been weighing on his mind. What really got me though was the sentence, “S says he prays that all you have given him that God would return it unto you.” **tears, tears, tears!***  He isn’t old enough to write on his own yet so a Compassion worker was writing for him. S drew us a very nice picture of a cup though!

We had sent S (and K as well) and his family a gift on Titus birthday in May last year and we received in the mail yesterday a full page photo of him holding and surrounded by the things that were bought with the gift. A new pair of shoes, a shirt, corn and a bag of something that looked like rice. The letter from the compassion worker told us that the rest of the money had gone to expand S’s mother’s home business and told how thankful the family was for that. It humbled me to see the concrete floor S was standing on. Last year for Titus’ birthday money was used to purchase cement to lay a floor and make the families home more secure. Compassion had sent us a photo of the bags of cement with S’s stunningly beautiful mother standing in front holding a baby on her hip. I feel that Compassion does a very good job of spending money wisely and there is a lot of accountability and openness about how the money is being spent.

By far what makes Compassion stand out from other ministries is the relationships you can form with your sponsor children. Who knows what the future will bring? Maybe when my children are in high school we will go visit our sponsor children.

If you are looking for a Christian ministry to support financially I really recommend looking into Compassion International. Their slogan is, ‘releasing children from poverty in Jesus name.’ This ministry is something I feel really passionate about. When Casting Crowns did a concert in our town and an email came to me from Compassion looking for volunteers to hand out information at the concert I signed up right away!

Compassion asks that people don’t put online the children’s name or photos for privacy and safety is why I referred to the children by their initial.