Prepare Your Daughter Now for Her Wedding Day

by Sally Matheny

Remind your daughter she truly is the daughter of a King.
Photo by Pixaby.
Is there a little princess twirling through your home? Perhaps she has difficulty choosing a "wedding dress" from the half-dozen glittering dresses in her closet. 

Her days are filled with delightful giggles bubbling out as she waves from the top of the sofa . . . I mean, her horse-drawn, glass carriage. 

And you breathe in these moments. 
Then reality hits. Unless you have a fairy godmother, you wonder if you'll be able to make that future fairy tale wedding come true. Whether she's two or twelve,  now is the time to begin preparing your daughter for her wedding.

The average cost of a wedding in the United States is around $30,000 according to valuepenguin.com. Manhattan, New York weddings skyrocket over $88,000 and Mississippi marriages glide around $13,000. 

Weddings in my home state of North Carolina typically average $28,000, but not so for my family.


About the Children’s Picture Book on Abortion & an Apology to the Author

by Sally Matheny

There's a children’s picture book, Sister Apple, Sister Pig, causing a great disturbance among conservative Christians. 

The theme of the book is abortion. Thankfully, this book is only available online and isn’t readily available in your child’s library.

I read the free e-book. Then I read reviews and interviews. I can see why the response was so intense.

What makes people angry about the whole thing is:

The author, Mary Walling Blackburn, presents the topic of abortion in the form of a children’s picture book. 

While she says it is meant for adults, not children, it is still formatted as a children’s book and the main character is three years old. It’s dedicated to “Little Friends.” By all publishing standards, it looks like a children’s book. Abortion is not an appropriate topic for a young child.

Interviews found online with the Ms. Blackburn reveal many unsettling and bizarre opinions. She likes to express them with a scholarly vocabulary. But Christians find her words profane and offensive.

Ms. Blackburn is an assistant art professor at a Methodist university.
Perhaps that’s where the worst sting lies. She works for an educational organization that supposedly claims to be a denomination of the Christian faith.

I don’t know what Ms. Blackburn’s relationship with Christ is.

All I know is if you disagree with the Bible, then you disagree with God. If you promote things that conflict with his Holy Word, then you’re encouraging people to turn away from God and face an eternity separated from his love and saving grace. And where Jesus is concerned, you’re either for Him, or against Him. It’s that simple.

The intention of this post is not to blast insults at Ms. Blackburn as some folks have done.

Neither do I intend to praise her. To avoid any confusion, I want to be clear—I do not agree with her stance on life. Neither do I support her work.

However, what I’d like to do is offer a sincere apology to Ms. Blackburn. Please allow me to explain.


Is Your Teen Stressing Out? Assure Them They Have What It Takes

by Sally Matheny

Is Your Teen Stressing Out?

Is your teen feeling overwhelmed with school, relationships, or work? 

Transitioning into young adulthood can be stressful. How can parents assure their teens they have what it takes?

Moreover, how can parents help, but not too much? 

In an article on USA Today’s website, "Teens Feeling Stressed, and Many Not Managing It Well" , psychologist, Michael Bradley commented on the level of parental help:

"Some parents set out on a mission to get rid of stress in their kids, but the fact is, some degree of stress is very therapeutic and an appropriate amount of stress is what helps us become strong. The hard part is what's appropriate. We do know the more we try to mitigate all stress in our children's life the less resilient that child becomes and they feel hopeless about their own future." 

Numerous articles, such as this one, point to the symptoms, and the reasons, for the anxieties teens face. Helpful suggestions are offered on how to curtail the stress, such as cutting back on activities and minimizing negative factors.
However, I suggest Christian parents counsel their teens to add more to their lives. That’s right—more. Allow me to explain. 
The following suggestion is presupposing your teen already has a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. If he doesn’t, this is a great time to explain our need for Christ. However, this post is addressing teens who already have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Teens become anxious about the uncertainties of life, especially when it concerns their future. Whether that’s the prom this spring, or making education choices for a career ten years from now. Quite often we hear young people express, “I don’t know what God wants me to do with my life!”

Parents can encourage their teens by looking at 2 Peter 1:

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; 
and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to 
self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 
and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, 
they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive 
in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 
2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV)

Ask your teens what they think God means by faith, goodness, and knowledge. How can we increase these? Will something have to decrease in order for this to happen?
What does self-control, perseverance, and godliness look like in their day-to-day lives? In what ways can they strengthen these qualities? Discuss how that affects others around them.
Talk about examples of brotherly kindness and love we show at home, at work, and at school. Which area do they find it most difficult to show love? Why? Brainstorm for ways to help show more kindness and love to people.
Based on scripture, what do they know about God’s love? Encourage them to make a list and post it as a reminder of the magnitude of His powerful love.
At some point in this conversation, a slight eye roll or a heavy sigh may take place. It’s okay. Just tell your teens the same thing Peter told his “children.”

“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them…I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live…and I will make every effort to see that…you will always be able to remember these things.” 2 Peter 1:12-15 (NIV)

Teens Need Parents Refreshing Their Minds and Hearts
No matter what teens may say, it means a great deal to them when parents show they care.
There's not a one-size-fits-all answer for reducing stress. Occasionally, teens may need a little parental guidance in time management and decision-making. Ultimately, they need godly, loving parents refreshing their minds and hearts.
Assure them if they increase in God’s ways, there is no need to stress out. Everything is going to be okay, because they have what it takes.
Does your teen have what it takes?
Do you?

[i] Jayson, Sharon. “Teens Feeling Stressed, and Many Not Managing It Well.”USAToday.com. Web. 2014/02/11


Winners of Paige Snedeker's Books and Art Magnet

by Sally Matheny

"Summer in the Artic" by Paige Snedeker
Woo Hoo! I've drawn three out of the fifteen names in the hat and here are our winners:

SOFIA AND HER MORNINGSTAR book : Lexi of Indiana

CAMO'S JOURNEY book : Shannon W. of N.C.

"Summer in the Artic" Magnet: "Minivan Ministries" of America

Congratulations! I'll need each of you to privately contact me with your mailing addresses and I'll get your prizes in the mail!

You can use the contact page or private message me on my facebook page.

Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway and to all those who helped share Paige Snedeker's stories of hope.

Growing Up with Precious Moments: Book Review of Precious Prayers Bible

by Sally Matheny

Precious Prayers Bible
In the 1970's and 80's, I grew up with Precious Moments art--from cards and books to clothing and dolls. When I got married in 1989, a Precious Moments bride and groom graced the “Just Married” sign on the getaway car. There’s something endearing about those characters with teardrop eyes. They are still popular today.

I am delighted to post a review of the Precious Prayers Bible recently released by Tommy Nelson Publishers. The copy I have is the NKJV but it’s also available in KJV.

This would make a beautiful gift for a child or even as a baby gift for when the child grows older. Sam Butcher’s pastel drawings accompany various scriptures, Christian poems and prayers on forty-eight pages interspersed throughout the Bible.

A sampling of those includes The Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, and Charles Wesley’s poem, “Gentle, Meek, and Mild.”

I like the three sections included at the beginning of the Bible—About the Bible, How to Start Reading the Bible, and Getting to Know God.

At the back of the Bible, there are two reference sections. One includes scriptures on the ministry of Jesus; the other is on the miracles of Jesus. There are four, simple maps included at the end as well.

The only thing I would have liked to have seen included, that was not, was a concordance. Or at least another reference section of scriptures children can look to when needed for certain situations such as when they are sad.

Overall, I like the Precious Prayers Bible. The popularity of Precious Moments art may vary among readers, but the truth of God’s Word will always stand the test of time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”