Saturday, May 31, 2014

Book Review & Giveaway: 8 Great Dates for Dads & Daughters

I’ve written before on how we aim to champion the father/daughter relationship in our home.  Not only does it matter because we believe time with parents matters, but also because my work with Pam Stenzel makes very clear that girls always seem to seek a strong earthly male figure.  And, while we as Christians can say, “God is enough,” and it is true, there is still something powerful about the tangible feel of protective arms and audible spoken love.  Thus, when Dannah Gresh’s ministry contacted me and asked me to review and giveaway one copy of her new book co-authored with her husband entitled, “8 Great Dates for Dads & Daughters: Talking with Your Daughter About Understanding Boys,” I jumped at the opportunity.


This is an underserved book topic, to be sure.  There are a host of options when it comes to books specifically aimed at our girls, and even for we as moms to share in with our girls, but opportunity for our men is lacking.  And, if your husband is anything like mine, he knows he wants to talk to our girls about their value and about boys, but he isn’t quite sure how to do it, leaving him in frustrating deadlock.

When you consider:

A father’s degree of physical affection is directly related to her self-esteem (Meg Meeker)

There is a strong correlation between a child’s image of her parents – specifically her father – and her perception of God (Journal of Scientific Study of Religion)

Girls with absent or uninvolved fathers are at risk for an earlier sexual debut and a greater number of sexual partners (University of St. Andrews)

It becomes very obvious that while both parents are instrumental in their children’s decisions, when it comes to our girls, father/daughter discussions may be more influential than the ones we mothers are having with them.

So what I LOVE about this book is that it helps our husbands naturally bring up these necessary discussions in a way that promotes him as her strong earthly male while sharing God’s plan and wishes for her life.  YES!  And, it doesn’t require that your man get it all right, but just that he be there to listen and talk with your 8-12 year old girl on each of these 1.5 hour dates.

Covering  1) how boys are a part of God’s good plan, 2) beauty in what it means to be a girl, 3) true versus counterfeit love, 4)  value coming from God, not a boy  5) reinforcing that she is a treasure and she should be expected to be treated like so, 6) that she can be nurture herself with God’s Word, 7) and that she can always rely on Him for guidance, as well as 8) beginning to view marriage as a picture of God’s love for His people, each of the dates has a free download kickoff, a fun activity to do with your girl that takes the awkward out of its purpose and sets up the conversation around the date’s key bible verse, and, finally, a "Talk with Dad" pullout to do before ending in a joint prayer.

Lest your man would panic at the thought of a “Talk with Dad” pullout, his contains all the answers where there is a definite right response, alleviating the stress.  However, it is mostly filled with discussion questions to connect them on a heart level sprinkled with some really fun quizzes and inventories.  My personal favorites include the true love test and trash versus treasure self inventory.   

Because girls at this age are concrete thinkers, the Biblical Truth made manifest through visual activities is invaluable.  Fun times with her dad will not only create forever memories, but it will help her realize her value so that she can enter her teen years with greater confidence.

These are honest conversations every dad wants to have with his daughter and Bob & Dannah Gresh have now given him the tools to do so in a way that our girls will be excited about.  Make sure you order your copy today.  It is a priceless resource!  My man is already breathing easier knowing there is a copy ready to use in our home J

AND….I get to bless one of you today!  Bob & Dannah are allowing me to give away one copy to a lucky reader! 
There are 6 entry opportunities 1) simply comment on this post 2) tweet a link to the post 3) post a link to this post on Facebook 4) sign up to follow this blog (by email, google, or Networked Blogs) 5) like Dannah’s Facebook Page 6) and follow her blog so you can stay up to date on their ministry and when they might be speaking in your area!  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry opportunity you choose.  You must be within the continental United States to win.  The winner will be chosen at random on Monday, June 23, 2014 at 1pm.

Subscribe to Fill My Cup by Email

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Most Important Love Note You’ll Ever Write {Yes, You, Mama!}

Another school year has come and gone.  It’s already been over a week ago that I danced my way through the final day to the Peppermint Twist with all the children during their year-end Candyland themed party, and I’d like to say that I’ve gotten through the forest of papers and special projects that made their way home in the girls’ final days, but I can’t.  It’s an emotional thing for me to look at their artwork and read their final writings and accept that another segment of their time under our roof has drawn to an end even though that Godly senior girl ministered of beautiful moments to come.

I see my kindergartener’s wish never to leave K01 with words of love for her teacher and I cry.  I read my second grader’s retelling of her first time on the Paul Bunyan log ride complete with their faces of fear photo and I laugh.  My heart is full from this paper treasure box.  I can only unpack so much of it at a time.
Amongst my most fun discoveries, though, was...


Subscribe to Fill My Cup by Email

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Dance Will Go On {Encouragement for Parents Who Wish to Freeze Time}

“Swing me, daddy!,” our three-year-old gleefully requests, as she watches him spin her sisters in opposite directions.

Friday night is family movie night in our home. The girls set out a large blanket and we have an indoor picnic complete with pizza and pop in the living room – very notable in their world. But, I’m pretty sure their favorite part of the night is when the movie gets done because we have a family dance party to whatever song the credits roll. Smiles and laughter consume that time in a way that leaves me wishing for it not to end.

Much like their everyday.

Because even though there is dry erase marker on my kitchen wall, and less than perfectly clean floors, and sibling disagreements, and grumbling about bedtime, there is also three little girls who so can’t wait to tell me every detail of their day that they talk over each other, who light up when their daddy joins them at the lunch table, who cherish time making food with me in the kitchen, and want me to be at their every event. They want me to be visible in their classroom and will chow down any meal quicker for the chance to have a family Wii Just Dance “party” before bed. They want hugs and kisses and to snuggle tight in our arms.

They are our little girls and I don’t want that to change.

I met her in the halls of our daughters’ elementary school. Preparing to graduate from high school, Laura was set for a day of shadowing her incredible mom to see if teaching might be the career for her. Finally getting to meet was a gift. She danced at the same studio as my girls, and Hannah was so enamored by her she searched Laura out in recital numbers like it was a game of “Where’s Waldo.”

“I was thinking about asking Hannah to give me my flowers,” she tells me around the curve into the classroom. “My solo is going to be to Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman, and I’m going to have my dad dance with me.”

There was no time for the tears welling within to run free because she intended it a surprise for her mom who was now within proximity.

Praise God she decided to confide in me. I made a mental note to pack a whole box of tissue.

It spoke volumes of her character that she could choose any song, any style, any anything that would fit the recital theme and first in her mind was honoring the two people that nurtured her to this place.

God bless this girl.

In the weeks building to the recital I cherished seeing all sides waiting for this moment to piece together. She and her dad invited Hannah and I for a sneak peak early on at the studio. As I watched her grace the floor and looked at her father’s face beaming love deep, the tears started to fall. “Oops, I messed up,” she remarked in his embrace. Don’t worry, honey, I thought. None of us are going to be a seeing people by this point.

At school her mom remained clueless, chatting on about how Laura was so excited for this final recital that she asked to go shopping for their clothes. I knew it was to get her dad in his proper stage attire.

And when this weekend arrived, the suit coat hung stage right on a coat rack with a tiara for this girl of integrity stage left.

Tomorrow my two older girls visit their 2014-2015 classroom teachers and my youngest abruptly decided she doesn’t always need me to rock her before bed. Excuse me while I go get one of those Kleenexes. Everything in me wants to scream, “STOP! Please, Lord, just slow the clock down.”

And then my mind dances back to the gift Laura gave us all during those four minutes because it was more than just a moment-in-time senior solo. It was ministry on stage.

For the young, admiring dance students in the wings it told of a family tale that never has to weaken or break. At all ages, family can be first. And, for the girls, it illustrated which male, outside of her Heavenly Father, to run to first and trust in with her whole heart.

And, for myself and all the rest of the parents crying in the auditorium seats, it impressed a closeness that doesn’t go away only changes with new seasons. Our children may grow, but there are exciting joyful memories to be made together in evolving phases of life.

So if your heart is doing a little flip-flopping like mine...grab a tissue and cling to hope.  Beautiful, unimagined heaven-kissed moments await.

DON'T FORGET!!! Also remember in your parenting journey you can encourage quality moments with your husband and 8-12 year old girl with my Bob & Dannah Gresh "8 Great Dates: Talking with Your Daughter About Understanding Boys" GIVEAWAY

Subscribe to Fill My Cup by Email

Friday, May 9, 2014

{DIY} Teacher Appreciation Candles

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others."  Unknown


The last few weeks have felt as busy as the November/December holiday season around here, but included in the fun has been this year's Teacher Appreciation Week planning, in which we celebrate the entire school staff that invest in our children's lives.

My co-chair (Shout out to Karen, you rock!) and I really have the best gig.  I mean, can we possibly over-thank the people that make us feel secure while our children are away and help cheerlead them on to new goals? I think not.  And the parents of ours school rally around that, giving generously to decorate the staff lounge, gift food every day this week, write thank you notes for us to string across the lounge cupboards, and...donate candles for us to make these gorgeous gifts.

We saw the quote on Pinterest.  My co-chair thought of attaching it to the candle.  And, I got to work on making the quote a wallet sized photo to attach with a simple, elegant ribbon.

Didn't they turn out cool?

Our hope is that when they open their mailboxes and see this plus their "Thank you 'FROYO' hard work" frozen yogurt gift cards they sense our gratitude for the priceless work they do. 

Teachers and school staff everywhere-
 sit back, relax, light a candle,
and know that you are a flame burning bright in the heart of a child.

Subscribe to Fill My Cup by Email

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Calling All Super Readers to a Super Why Birthday

Last to be born. First to celebrate her golden birthday.

Yesterday we celebrated our super Ava turning super three.

I have to tell you, a few months ago I thought we were gearing up for a Caillou birthday party. It distressed me. Why is Caillou ALWAYS in seasonally different clothes than the rest in the frame? Why do they zero in on the postcard from Sarah and say, "First it says....then it says..." and it is a completely blank card? These are things my type A personality simply cannot take.

And then one day she woke up and was all about Super Why.  This is right up there with Jesus raising a man from the dead as far as miracles go. *insert me doing the happy dance here*  Adios Caillou.  We moved on to bigger, better, more educational things. 

In the span of a month and a half she solidified her letter recognition.  She's so much better at what the letters "say," and I'm 100% confident it will benefit her when she begins reading herself in the future.

Thus, when Ava said she wanted a Super Why birthday party, I jumped right on making invites with Picasa.

Isn't she cute in her little Whyatt mask?

For those of you unfamiliar with Super Why, Whyatt is the main character in Storybrook Village.  At the beginning of every episode, a "super big problem" comes through his "super duper computer."  He then calls on the rest of the Super Readers and says, "When we have a question we a book."  Pig, a fellow Super Reader than asks, "Which book should we look in?" and Princess Pea casts a spell on that book, causing it to fall from the bookshelf.  As they go through the story, they find floating Super Letters that Whyatt puts into his computer and using their reading proficiency they use the "Super Story Answer" to change the story problem and save the day.

"Hip hip hooray!" This theme is an author's dream.

Acting for Princess Pea, we called on Ava's favorite book- Llama, Llama, Red Pajama.  In the book mama puts llama to bed, he calls for her, she's busy, and he freaks out.  Is this a scenario any of you parents relate to?

So, I made super story letters and hid them down stairs.  Then we talked about the book and read it until it said, "Llama llama red pajama waiting waiting for his mama."  We zapped the second painful waiting to change the outcome.

Whyatt uses a Why Writer to zap these words so the kids each took home one of their own.

How cool is it that Hobby Lobby had mechanical pencils with books and letters on them?!  Perfect.

My older two girls made a Super Duper Computer and off the kids went to find the letters and create a new out a new outcome to the story.

Llama llama could wait brave for his mama.  Kids, remember this :)

And there is no better symbol for bravery than a cape. 

So, while my hubby finished grilling the meat, the girls decorated these felt no sew capes that I cut in advance. 

Felties made for simple, safe stick on goodness and washable markers gave the final touches.

The birthday girl clearly had fun.

I capitalized on letter food with added side options like

Alphabet cereal bars

Scrabble cheez-its

And a simple alphabet cupcake cake.

Shared with the best family and amazing friends, this party was a super success.

Love you, Ava!

Subscribe to Fill My Cup by Email

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Necklace & the Touching Tale of an All Pro Dad, Take Two

“Am I going to get a special necklace like Grace’s?” Hannah asks me while her dad is away at work.  The sparkle in her eye illuminates the hope welling within.

That’s the thing about child number two and every one following.  Milestones are understood and they have a pretty accurate idea of what to expect when.  Surprises are much harder to come by.

The thing my sweet kindergartener can’t fully understand is how her All Pro Dad’s love for her has him thinking about her alone.   


“My favorite part of All Pro Dad is at the beginning when they have a discussion question on the white board and we get to talk about it special.”

It's a disclosure that undoes my man because not only does it mean quality discussions topped All Pro Dad videos in a techno savvy kids world, but their shared words meant more than their shared donuts, and that bakery goodness is a love language in Hannah’s world.

“I had no idea,” he tells me behind closed doors. 

And out of her love put into words is born a custom KraftyKash necklace to wear.  

“The necklace represents how our discussions, rooted in faith in love (cross charm and heart charm), take flight (butterfly pendant).  And the beads will be for her school colors.”

Somebody pinch me.  Gosh I love this man.


As God would have it she’s learning about the butterfly lifecycle at school.  Having no idea that was the case when we placed the order, I make every effort to keep my jaw from hitting the floor.

“Did you know the worms eat as much as they can and then they turn into a chrysalis and then they become a butterfly?”

She’s rambling about a video she watched and teaching me in the process.  Kids are good for reminding you how much you truly don’t know.  But, this quizzical question makes me smile.


Hannah eats up every moment with her dad.  She learns from him, laughs with him, and flies high in his protective arms.

And, when they go to All Pro Dad, she reads the question on the white board and then leans in close to her father for transforming nourishment.  His words become the food that she grows from and lives in.  Charlie’s sharing helps teach, mold, and inspire her to become a more spiritually mature, beautiful girl.  


“The fluttering of a butterfly’s wings can affect climate change on the other side of the plant.”  Paul Erlich

This time together will change their forever.  Eternity is touched in these discussions, and they and the world gain because of it.  Hannah is growing wings and when she flies off into the world on her own one day, she will surely bring goodness and joy with her thanks to her All Pro Dad fueling her with conversation worthy of cocooning herself in and propelling her to a magnificently pleasing life.


Subscribe to Fill My Cup by Email
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...