Let’s Pretend!

If you watch little ones as they play, you will notice that they spend much of their time pretending. Imagination and fantasy are a very important part of early childhood development, and it’s something that toy manufacturers learned long ago. Baby dolls help little girls pretend they are mommies. Kid-size vehicles help little ones pretend they are driving mommy or daddy’s car. From kitchen appliances to lawn and garden tools, children can enter the grown-up world simply through make believe and a few toys.

There are many reason why pretending and make believe are beneficial to young children. Here are just a few:

  • Preschool children want to be independent. When they enter the world of make believe, they can do what they want to do and be who they want to be. They can do “grown-up” activities in age-appropriate ways.

 

  • Little ones are often unable to verbally express their emotions—that’s usually what a temper tantrum is all about. Young children get frustrated when they can’t use words to explain their feelings, and a physical release—which is horrifying to parents—is sometimes the only way a child can communicate. Giving your little ones ample time for unstructured play within age-appropriate boundaries, allows them to act out their emotions. It’s a safe and healthy way to process what is going on in their little hearts and minds.

 

  • Children are born with high levels of creativity. Much of that creativity is lost by the time they reach kindergarten. Imagination and fantasy foster creativity and help children to retain their natural creative abilities. You can encourage your child’s imagination in simple ways. For example, a sheet draped over a card table becomes an instant fort or camping tent. Include a flashlight, a few books, some crayons and a coloring book, and your child will be entertained for hours.

 

  • A little imagination can have positive results in your daily challenges. For example, my daughter’s hair was very fine and thin and often a mass of tangled snarls. She didn’t want me to comb her hair—probably because it hurt! It was one of my daily challenges until we played “beauty shop.” I pulled a chair into the bathroom, gave her a purse with a dollar bill inside, and told her she had an appointment in my beauty shop. I called her Mrs. Smith and I won the battle. Whenever we played beauty shop, Mrs. Smith would patiently sit in the chair while I untangled her snarls and even added a few curls here and there. What are some frequent challenges you face with your child? Enter his or her make-believe world and you may find a solution.

 

  • There are many wonderful children’s books that transport children into the world of make believe. So read to your little ones every day and pretend with them. They will grow out of this stage of development too quickly!

Here’s to playing, pretending, and happy homes!

Crystal Bowman

 

 

 

We Remember

I heard someone say that knowing and believing God is a continuous cycle.  The more you know God the more you believe Him.  The more you believe God the more you know Him.

It’s true!  The more I’ve gotten to know God the more I believe Him to be who He is.  I look back on my life and see where He’s taken care of this situation or saved me from that particular problem.  I think back to times when He’s provided financially or healed sickness.  My mind is filled with page after page of memories where God has been faithful.  Throughout my life, the more I’ve come to know God the more I’ve believed.   With each step of faith, He proves Himself over and over.

Read Joshua 4:1-7

At the beginning of the book of Joshua, just as he was getting ready to lead the people to claim their promised land, Joshua promised that the Lord would do wonders (Joshua 3:5).  The Israelites believed him.  Why?  They had a long history of belief. Their parents and grandparents had been teaching them about God’s statutes and His provisions since the day they first inhaled air.

Read Deuteronomy 6: 1-9

God commanded the Israelites to remember His statutes and teach them to their children.  They were to teach them diligently (v. 7).  This was not a Sunday morning hour ritual!  This was the life of each man, woman, boy, and girl.  From the time they raised their heads in the morning until the moment they closed their eyes to sleep, they meditated on the commandments of God. For the Israelites, sharing stories of God’s provision with their children and teaching God’s commandments were their highest priority.

So it’s no surprise that today, as we read in Joshua 4, we find the Israelites standing in the middle of the Jordan gathering stones of remembrance.  They were to erect these stones for their children.  These stones were to serve as a memorial so that when their children asked, they could tell them the story of how God cut off the waters of the Jordan and made a path to their promised land.

Why was this important?  Because the more you know God the more you believe Him.

Joshua certainly understood this.  He had followed alongside Moses experiencing the miracles of manna and Mount Sinai and forty year old clothes that looked brand new.

In Exodus 17:8-16 as Moses triumphed over the Amalekites, God gave some interesting instructions.  God said Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua (Exodus 17:14).

Oh yes, Joshua knew God and believed Him.  God made sure of it.  God provided page after page in Joshua’s book of remembrance of His faithfulness.  With each new page, Joshua’s faith grew.  When the time came for Joshua to lead the Israelites to claim their promised land and God told him that He would do wonders, Joshua knew He would.

What memorial stones have you erected for your children or the next generation?  Joshua 4: 6 says when your children ask.

Are you giving them reasons to ask?  Are you living out a life of faith in front of your children?  Are you sharing stories of God’s provision and His miraculous power?

For the Israelites, it wasn’t just a religion.  It was their life.

1 Peter 2: 4-5 tells us that as believers, we are living stones.  Our lives are memorials to the world that Jesus came to save sinners, died on a cross for our sins, and now lives so that we can live.  We are living stones to the world that Jesus sets the captives free.

 

King of Glory by P.D. Bramsen – Book review

Wow! What a dynamic retelling of the Bible. King of Glory is a Bible storybook for big kids – grown-ups included. The awesome pictures will capture the imagination of both young and old alike.

Even though the text is for the more mature reader, the realistic Bible pictures will draw in the younger children affording the parents an opportunity to discuss the stories with the children in their own words. The many Bible references and quotations provide opportunities to gather additional information directly from God’s Word.

The story of Jesus, the “King of Glory,” begins before time when he plans for a people who will love and fellowship with him. The story continues as it weaves its way through the creation, the rebellion of Lucifer (Satan) and the angels (demons) who followed him and how Satan has repeatedly deceived people beginning with Adam and Eve. Yet Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, has won his battle with Satan and death, and continues to fight for us today.

This book is Biblically sound and is valuable for helping people of all ages grasp the depths of God’s love for mankind and the great lengths he has been willing to go to woo us back from Satan’s clutches here on earth.

Author P.D. Bramsen worked many years as missionaries in heavily Muslim populated Sengal, West Africa, near the Sahara Desert, where they raised their three children. His writings reflect a depth of understanding of the scriptures as well as his desire to encourage others to dig deeper and to learn from God’s Word.

You can read King of Glory on the One God One Message website. Once you have seen it, you won’t be satisfied to have to boot up your computer to read it again on the screen. You will want a copy of your own. Copies of King of Glory may be purchased at Amazon.comBarnes&Noble.com, or atGoodSeed.com.

Because I happened to get a second free copy over a slip-up in the delivery, I am offering one free copy to one person whose name is drawn from those who leave comments below. (I plan to do the drawing on June 4, but be patient with me. This date falls one day before my mother’s 94th birthday and I will be with her in Tennessee. I may be a few days late in following through.)

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

How’s Your Alignment?

Recently I took my car to the mechanic for a much needed inspection. About a month or so ago, a new driver (who shall remain nameless!) took a practice drive in my vehicle. While pulling up my driveway, the driver bumped into a stone landscaping wall. There was no major damage, just a few scratches which I wasn’t worried about, so I didn’t think too much of it. However, later that week when I was driving the car, I began to notice that it was making a screeching sound every time I made a turn. I knew something had to be wrong with it, but my schedule was too busy to get it into the mechanic, so I just kept driving it. Over time the screeching sound grew louder, to the point where I was actually embarrassed to make a turn and was starting to fear for my safety. Finally, I put aside all excuses and made an appointment with the mechanic.

After checking it out, Howard, the mechanic, told me that the problem was in the alignment. He went on to say that most alignments are done on a 1/16th scale. However, my front driver’s side wheel was off by 4 inches! That would account for the screeching sound! Howard said he’d done his best to align my vehicle properly, but with the length of time I’d been driving on it, it’s possible I’d already done some permanent damage to the tires.

As I turned out of the parking lot, content with my ability to do so quietly, I couldn’t help but think of another type of alignment – my spiritual alignment. Sometimes all it takes is a little bump in the road or a moment of being distracted by the world or inattentive to the Spirit to throw it off. When this happens, it’s easy enough to fix. I just need to stop and turn things over to the Master Mechanic, who has all the tools to re-align me.

The problem occurs when I put off that visit to the Master Mechanic. When I’m too busy and consumed by my schedule, my routine, my deadlines and responsibilities to stop and straighten things out. Instead, I just keep on driving and driving, doing my best to ignore the problem even while I know full well it’s there. It may not sound like screeching tires on pavement, but something feels wrong, and there’s often a nagging inner voice that says, “Please, STOP! You’re only making things worse.” And this is how in no time, I find myself off-kilter by 4 inches instead of a mere 1/16th, and possibly with permanent damage to my “vehicle” – in this case, my very self.

If you’re anything like me, you have to fight hard to stop. It’s much easier to be whisked along by the current of constant activity. But the longer we go on like that, the more we will find ourselves becoming aligned to the things of this world and out of alignment with Christ. To stop and to be in the Savior’s presence through prayer and the reading of His Word are the only things that can keep us properly aligned.

Lately I have been finding the joy of stopping and taking a rest from my go, go, go way of doing things. On one hand, it’s difficult, because I’ve become so accustomed to it that it almost seems like there is no other way. But on the other hand, it’s the most refreshing thing ever because I can see that some of the things I’ve taken for granted as ‘essentials’ in my life may really be ‘non-essentials’. In these moments of stillness and silence before the Lord, I am able to take a good hard look at my life and my activities and ask God to align them to His will for me.

One of my favorite Bible verses has always been Psalm 46:10a — Be still and know that I am God!           When I stop, I am better able to see that He is God, and I am not. When I am still, I remember that it is not my constant flurry of activity that is holding up the planet, but rather His Almighty hand. And isn’t this the beginning of the very knowledge and understanding that is needed if I am going to be properly spiritually aligned?

So what are you waiting for? If you’ve been hearing a spiritual screeching, it may be time to stop in for a tune-up. But don’t worry, you don’t need an appointment. The Master Mechanic is never too busy to fit you into His schedule.

Writing with Pictures

Rebus writing uses pictures or symbols to represent sounds or words, with examples that go back to the Middle Ages. Lewis Carroll and others in the 18th and 19th centuries wrote letters using rebus pictures.

Today, children getting ready to read often enjoy rebus stories, because once they know the word the picture represents, they can “read” the story aloud with you.

One of my almost-five-year-old grandson’s favorite Bible storybooks right now is Tracy Harrast’s PICTURE THAT! (Zondervan), with easy-to-read stories, rebus pictures, and a short takeaway thought at the end of each story. Solomon loves trying to sound out the words as well as reading the pictures!

My picture book JESUS LOVES YOU: A READ-THE-PICTURES BOOK (Standard Publishing) uses the rebus idea too, but this time with rhyme as an extra clue for figuring out what the pictures represent.

One of my biggest thrills as an author was hearing Kurt and Olivia Bruner’s then-four-year-old son recite the text of my book on a Focus on the Family radio broadcast. Using the pictures, he had memorized the whole thing!

The book was originally published by Standard under the HeritageBuilders brand from FOTF.

You can view a sample of the inside of my book here.

Can you guess which words in this stanza of the text are the rebus pictures?

Working a puzzle,

Drawing a star,

Raking the leaves,

Washing the car …

Whatever you’re doing,

This will be true:

Always, forever,

Jesus loves you.

 

DIANE

Visit Diane at www.abibleplace.com
© 2012, Diane Stortz