Something New For Follow the Dyers

HEY FRIENDS! I am so sorry I have been MIA for a while, but things have been crazy busy with change over the past few months. If you didn’t now, my husband and I were living in Bangkok, Thailand as missionaries, but we have recently moved back to the States to pursue other plans God has for us. (If you want to know the full story, check it out here.) So we are beginning something new and with that comes some changes with my blog as well.

Follow the Dyers ~ Something New
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Something New

My hope is to continue my blog as we are adjusting to life in the States. However, the blog will change a little bit. I won’t be blogging about life overseas, since we are no longer living overseas. Yet my blog will continue to be geared toward mamas through a Christian lens.

My Mom Crush Monday series ended before we started the transition out of Thailand, and I am still trying to figure out if I want to continue my Wednesday Devotional series. SO, if you have any feedback on what you want to see on the blog, please feel free to share your comments with me! I would love to hear them! I am hoping to jump back into counseling in the near future as well, so I may throw some mental health posts up on the blog too! Guest posts are always welcome as well! Contact me if you are interested!

Thanks so much for sticking around and being patient with me! I am looking forward to getting some new things up on the blog!

Mom Crush Monday: Self Love by Example {Guest Post}

Hi friends! I really hope you have enjoyed the #momcrushmonday series. I am sad today because this post will be the last guest post for this series! I learned so much from all the other amazing mamas who have posted so far, and my hope is you have also! Although this series is ending, I would love for you to keep up with the Wednesday Devotional series here on the blog on Wednesdays, everything else going on here on the blog and make sure you are following along on social media as well! Today, Renee is going to share about self love and how it is so important us as moms! Follow her on social media (all links at the end of the post) to see all her other wonderful posts too! Enjoy the post and thanks for reading!

Self Love by Example
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Self Love by Example

My mom always used to tell me, “I hope you grow up and have a daughter just like you.” This statement, was of course, always said when I was being snotty or rude, and just her way of letting me know she someday hoped I would be in her shoes. Hoping I would understand the sacrifices she made and just how much love she put into everything.

As you may know, wishes do come true. I did have a daughter just like me. Three daughters to be exact. All with different personalities and each one is a little like me. Two of them, (we’ll call them bonus daughters) came to me when I met my husband. Their mother had left, and I stepped into big roles in both of their lives.

Not too long down the road I gave birth to a daughter of my very own. It was love at first site. In an instant, I knew I was hers and would do anything to ensure her happiness for the rest of her life. This fact is what my mother meant. The overwhelming love for another human being, it was my payback.

I wanted to give her the world. Of course, it was crucial to teach her to walk, read and ride a bike. All of these things are common knowledge. So how would I teach her to live? How could I show her to be her best self when I hadn’t even figured out how to do it myself?

I struggled with self image and self love personally my entire life, even into adulthood. Now having three girls to influence, I had to put a lot of thought into the matter. I could tell them they’re beautiful and smart every day of their lives. It still doesn’t stop some smug thirteen year old from making them believe otherwise. Words hurt and they are powerful.

How could I beat words? What would it take to teach these girls to adore who they are? Example. I would lead by example.

One thing I will always remember is how much I adored my mom when I was younger. She was my role model, the person I looked to for everything. I also remember her telling me how ugly she was because of how fat she looked. I loved her so much and couldn’t understand how she didn’t see in herself what I saw in her?

She always told me I was beautiful. She told me I could do anything or be anything I wanted to be. Yet, somehow, as I turned into a teenager I found myself thinking I was ugly. In the same way, calling myself fat. I didn’t see in myself what she saw in me.

After my daughter was born, I knew I never wanted her to think of herself as I thought about myself.

Besides building her up, I wouldn’t cut myself down. She is an extension of me after all, and if I could create something so perfect, I must be more beautiful than I thought.

From that day on, no matter how I felt on the inside, I wouldn’t say a word about my body’s outward appearance. I would let her see the stretch marks, the parts that had lost their perk. I intend to talk to her about all of them with honesty and grace. Right then and there I made the choice to be more comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t want her growing up and expecting to look like the women on TV. I wanted her to know that growing up and having children means her body will change. It means she won’t look perfectly air brushed and that’s ok.

When I made the choice to stop cutting myself down, I made the choice to stop cutting down other women as well. I wouldn’t call another woman too fat or too skinny. When I would say something, it would be complementary and not always about her body. There is more to women than those things.

I still tell my daughter she is beautiful. I make sure she knows she’s smart, feisty, brave and strong. I teach her how to care for her body. How to nurture it and love it. Teaching her eating well and exercising are just forms of self love, and they shouldn’t be seen as punishment.

It’s crucial as moms today to teach our girls to grow up strong. As a result, we should teach them about self love. Rather than just tell them, we must absolutely show them. If you think you’re ugly, if you constantly find yourself saying you need to lose weight or you have to diet, they will grow up believing these things about themselves as well.

Just as parents who smoke couldn’t expect their children not to pick up the habit; as mother’s we can’t expect our children not to follow our example.

If you struggle to find beauty in yourself, take a look at your children. They are beautiful; they are perfect. They could have only come from something beautiful and perfect. That’s you, Mama. If you have a daughter right now you love and adore, that you think is beautiful and perfect in every way, then it’s a guarantee that you indeed had a daughter just like you. Make sure she knows how amazing you both are.

Self Love by Example
Renee

About Renee:

Renee is a holistic, nutritionist living in Minnesota. She is a wife and mother to four. Her blog, Heart, Soul and Whole Foods, was started to inspire and encourage anyone who may be striving toward better health and self love.

Don’t forget to check out her Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest too for more fun from her!

Wednesday Devotional: Be Brave

Be Brave
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Yay! It’s Wednesday! We are half way through this week! You can make it! Last week, we were in Ezra learning about moving closer to God, and this week’s devotional is all about Esther. I love Esther and so do my kiddos. Maybe because God’s plan is so evident in her life or maybe because the bad guy loses in the end or perhaps it is because she is so brave! Either way, it is a classic heroine story, and it can teach us so much! Are you ready to jump in?

First, I want to encourage you to read the entire book of Esther. It is 10 chapters, but it is a great read!

The Scripture:

As I mentioned, you can clearly see God has a plan in Esther’s life. Mordecai pegs it in Esther 4:14 when he states, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” God created Esther to be in that place at that time for that instance. He made her beautiful in appearance to be noticed by the king to not only be a harem, but to be queen. God had a plan for Esther, and He used her in that time-His timing. She was created in order to accomplish the particular task God set before her.

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
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What It Tells Us About Being Brave:

Another thing I love about Esther’s story is how brave she was. She had a fearlessness about her every woman should aspire to be like, in my opinion. She knew going to the king was against the law, but she knew her life and her people’s lives counted on her to do it. So she did it. It wasn’t like she was simply going to go to jail for approaching the king either. She could have died for going before the king without being requested by the king first. So I think we should strive to be like her: to stand for what is right, even when our life, pride or name is on the line.

God was looking to Esther to be faithful and obedient to Him. Again, she did not know what would happen if she went to the king, but she remained faithful to God and knew He would guide her. Like Esther, we must stand firm in our obedience to God.

The best part about Esther’s story is God allowed her to be a history maker-a history changer. He is sovereign and could choose any way He wishes to accomplish His plans, but He allows each of us to be a part of it. How cool is that fact?

Our Prayer:

God, I pray You would guide me in the plans You have for my life. Help me to realize You created me specifically for Your purpose. Help me to be brave and trust in You in everything I do. Thank you for Esther’s encouraging example to remain faithful and to be brave. Guide me in Your Will, God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

Do you know God’s plan for your life? Are you brave enough for the challenge to follow God’s Will?

Be Brave
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Are you following along on Facebook? If not, I would really love for you to give me a follow there!

 

 

Wednesday Devotional: Don’t Be Complacent

Don't Be Complacent
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I hope you are all having a great Wednesday! Let’s jump right in today, shall we? We all like to think we live a comfortable Christian life, right? It’s easy to live in the laid back, go with the flow type lifestyle. Oh, but it is so wrong. Today, we will take a look at Ezra to see how God puts a burning fire back into the hearts of His people, instead of them continuing to live a complacent life.

Like I said in last week’s devotional, if we aren’t pursuing God, we are sliding away from Him. Therefore, living a comfortable life isn’t a life in pursuit of our Majestic God. God allows us to fall into these times of comfort, so we can realize how much we yearn for Him and how much we need Him.

The Scripture:

Ezra 1:2-4 says, “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel-he is the God who is in Jerusalem. And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

THUS SAYS CYRUS KING OF PERSIA: THE LORD, THE GOD OF HEAVEN, HAS GIVEN ME ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE EARTH, AND HE HAS CHARGED ME TO BUILD HIM A HOUSE AT JERUSALEM, WHICH IS IN JUDAH. WHOEVER IS AMONG YOU OF ALL HIS PEOPLE, MAY HIS GOD BE WITH HIM, AND LET HIM GO UP TO JERUSALEM, WHICH IS IN JUDAH, AND REBUILD THE HOUSE OF THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL-HE IS THE GOD WHO IS IN JERUSALEM. AND LET EACH SURVIVOR, IN WHATEVER PLACE HE SOJOURNS, BE ASSISTED BY THE MEN OF HIS PLACE WITH SILVER AND GOLD, WTH GOODS AND WITH BEASTS, BESIDES FREEWILL OFFERINGS FOR THE HOUSE OF GOD THAT IS IN JERUSALEM.
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What It Tells Us About Not Being Complacent:

The people in Ezra’s day were satisfied right where they were and were perfectly happy with just living life, even if they weren’t moving any closer to the God who created them.

Again, God allows for us to fall into idleness, so He can bring us out of it. He is the One who heals us. He will get the glory for it. God is sovereign, and even if we choose to be lazy, He will still accomplish His Will! Praise God!

However, we must remind ourselves, even when it feels good, to not be stagnant in our faith and our quest to grow closer to Him. When you find yourself complacent and standing still cry out to God and move your feet in a direction closer to Him.

I want to challenge you to pray for God to renew a passion for Him in your life today. God will heal you and ignite your relationship with Him. After all, Him restoring your life and drawing you closer to Him is not about you. In spite of your missteps, it is about glorifying Him. You cannot say you did it, but God did it despite your shortcomings.

Our Prayer:

God, I pray You would draw me out of my comfort zone. Put a fire inside of me to help me constantly long for You. Help me to always draw near to You, even when I can’t find the strength. God, thank You for always pursuing me and for being my sense of security, even when I am scared to move. Heal my hurts and pull me closer to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

A Question:

Are you complacent or are you striving to be closer to God?

Don't Be Complacent
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Mom Crush Monday: How NOT to Raise a Mean Girl {Guest Post}

Hi! I’m so glad you are here today! I really hope you are enjoying the Mom Crush Monday series! Don’t forget to share it on social media if you do! Follow along on Instagram and make sure to follow the hashtag #followthedyers too! Feedback in the comments is always appreciated too! Now, let’s see what Elizabeth has to say about being a mean girl. I really think you are going to enjoy this guest post! Give it a read and make sure you get all the way to the bottom to read her pledge against raising a mean girl. Don’t forget to join in on Wednesday for a short devotional and next Monday for another guest post. Next week will likely be the last guest post for this series, so please don’t miss it! Lots of love to ya!

How NOT to Raise a Mean Girl
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How NOT to Raise a Mean Girl

The other day, my three year old came home from daycare with a note.

Ever since our littlest has been old enough to walk and play, Anabelle, older by only a handful of months, has been a terror. Grabbing away toys for no reason, shoving the baby, shouting at her; in essence: being a bully. The professionals have all told us it’s normal. As long as she shows signs of affection too, which she does, and doesn’t do anything excessively violent, which she doesn’t, it’s okay. Still, some ideas have begun to form in my mind about Anabelle. Nothing solid, not yet manifested into words or actions, but a feeling, phantasmal, in the back of my mind. Like an aftertaste when I think about her: My daughter might be a Mean Girl.

When the note came home from daycare, I’ll admit it; I thought it was to tell me Anabelle had done something wrong.

“Anabelle was kicked in the head by another student,” the note read, “She has a small cut on her lip, which we treated with ice and a towel.”

That was it, but it was enough to make me feel ashamed for assuming that my three year old had been the mean girl. My husband and I tended her lip, hugged her, sat her down, and asked her what happened. At first she was quiet, but soon a shift happened. I’ve seen it in her before, when she becomes overtaken by storytelling; when something really needs to come out. Her voice lifts, her body posture lightens. She begins to gesticulate, and her chubby limbs become almost adult in their motions. Her eyes lose focus. She’s deep in there, in the event she’s telling. When this change happens, the story just flows out, sometimes so quickly not all of it makes sense, and it doesn’t take long for us to recognize events have become jumbled. Anything that was big or scary for her gets puzzled into the story. Her hospital stay, when she had pneumonia. The time our neighbor got too drunk and tried to open our door instead of his. Last week, when I lost my temper and yelled too loudly. But we get enough, before all of these other events start getting processed, to get an idea happened at daycare.

The kick came from Leila, a classmate of hers, who also rides in the vanpool with her. We don’t know much about Leila, have only caught glimpses of her on the van, but in the next several months she will practically become a member of the family in absentia. Leila will get blamed for everything; from every scrape or bruise Anabelle brings home, to the mess of paint on her clothes, to her nightmares, to the person who pushed her sister.

This is how bullying, real bullying, the kind of bullying that can end a life, begins. The teachers have told us, without actually telling us of course, that Leila has a troubled past. She has impulse control issues; she’s taking her hurt and pain and mirroring it in the classroom, transferring it to my Anabelle, and other students. Now Anabelle is coming home and mirroring it here, transferring it to her little sister.

I have a very personal relationship with the beast known as Girl Bullying. I was bullied in middle school, body shamed first for being too fat, and then, after I became anorexic and dropped to 89 lbs; shamed for being too skinny. I grew to hate other girls, especially the ones I deemed “preppy.”

“I like boys better; most of my friends are boys,” I’d say, when asked about my girlfriends. Then I’d feel perplexed when my girlfriends echoed the sentiment. Well, aren’t I their friend? I’d think, not recognizing the hypocrisy. It was like we all had this idea of what “Girl” meant and it was something we all disliked. That is the effect of Girl Bullying. We somehow get this idea that we are “different,” that other girls are something to be bugged by; something to compete against, and then we do it. We split into subtypes and demean anyone who falls outside of our group or threatens our own self image in any way.

When I was sixteen I entered into an abusive relationship. Like all abusive relationships, the abuse was slow and insidious, and before anything I could really grasp and name as abuse occurred, I was in love with him. Which meant that I stayed for four years, and during those four years he would commit every form of abuse against me, including cheating. A lot.

I should have been angry at him, but instead I turned my rage and hurt onto those women; women who were victims themselves, who could have been my allies, but who I instead turned to enemies. That mentality stayed with me for years, even after I left him. Ten years distanced from my abuser, and many more between my middle school tormentors, I still fight the effects of Girl Bullying and domestic abuse.

I did not expect to be dealing with bullying in my daughter’ lives so soon. I’m not sure yet what to do, how to handle this situation. But I do know one thing: I want to teach my daughters, both of them, to be girls who like other girls. Who respect girls who are different from them. Who show compassion to girls who are hurting, and who serve as allies for girls who are picked on. I want my girls to befriend girls, all different types of girls and proudly!

Talking only goes so far. I can tell Anabelle to be nice to Leila, even when she’s mean. I can direct my daughters to share toys with each other, to fairly distribute treats instead of hoarding them. I can tell them to be proud of what makes them unique and special, and to celebrate the differences of their friends and classmates too, but I also have to show them.

I have PTSD because of my abuse. That means a lot of anxiety-especially social anxiety-self-esteem issues and trouble communicating. Friendship is not easy for me. Some of the lessons I hold dear are easy to model. Compassion, fairness, love for family; I demonstrate these to my daughters every day, but showing my daughters to respect girls and women who are different from them is a feat. I still have my jealousies; those negative associations my ex’s cheating grooved into my brain, and I have my trauma symptoms to combat. It’s important, and I have to try.

My 3 year old has it in her to grow into a Mean Girl. I see it when she gets angry. I see it when she doesn’t want to share a toy. I see it when she just feels jealous, for whatever random reason, of her sister, and does something spiteful and pointless to show it.

However, she also has it in her to be sweet, and generous, and funny. She’ll be a leader, I guarantee it. It’s on to me to help shape what kind of leader she will be. So I work through my problems with other women. I write about them. I talk about them at therapy, and I intentionally interact with other women in front of my daughters. Not just the women who dress like me, but the ones who don’t, too. The ones who I probably would have hated, or ignored, or feared, if we were fourteen again.

When Anabelle comes home complaining about Leila, I tell her to try being nice. Invite her to play. Tell her to stop if she hurts her, but don’t hurt her back.

I think all moms secretly wish we could control the world, but we can’t. We can’t protect our children from everything. What we can do is teach kindness and inclusion. The “Mean Girl” phenomenon doesn’t have to happen. We have the power to stop it.

I invite you to join me in a pledge to raise daughters who include all kinds of girls in their friend circles. Start simple: Next time you come across a type of woman you would usually ignore, say “hello,” instead.

How NOT to Raise a Mean Girl
Elizabeth

About Elizabeth:

Elizabeth is a speculative fiction writer, award winning poet and playwright, feminist blogger, DV survivor, vegan, and mama times three from the Pacific Northwest. She writes about living and parenting with PTSD on her blog, Betty’s Battleground, where she has an open guest post call. You can join her Facebook Page, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter to see more of her story.


Let’s make a pledge together as mother’s to stand united in NOT raising a mean girl.

How NOT to Raise a Mean Girl
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Wednesday Devotional: Pursuing or Sliding

Pursuing or Sliding
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Hi, friends! So glad to have you joining today’s devotional! Last week we talked about Elisha, and this week we are going to skip ahead a little bit and jump in to 2 Chronicles. I hope you don’t mind! We are going to look at how we are either pursuing God or sliding father away from Him. Share some love in the comments below please, and I hope to see you back here next Wednesday! Lots of love to ya!

A wise person once told me Christians live 1 of 2 ways: We are either pursuing God or we are falling further away from Him.

Mark my words, when you aren’t pursuing God, you are ignoring Him and your relationship with Him is ultimately declining.

Thank goodness our God is a gracious God. All those trials we feel when we are sliding farther way from Him is Him pursing us, trying to get us to turn to Him for help! Even when we aren’t looking for Him, He is reaching out to us! Thank You, God!

The Scripture:

2 Chronicles 28:1-3 says, “Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done, but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made metal images for the Baals, and he made offerings in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.” Read the remainder of Chapter 28 for the entire story.

AHAZ WAS TWENTY YEARS OLD WHEN HE BEGAN TO REIGN, AND HE REIGNED SIXTEEN YEARS IN JERUSALEM. AND HE DID NOT DO WHAT WAS RIGHT IN THE EYES OF THE LORD, AS HIS FATHER DAVID HAD DONE, BUT HE WALKED IN THE WAYS OF THE KINGS OF ISRAEL. HE EVEN MADE METAL IMAGES FOR THE BAALS, AND HE MADE OFFERINGS IN THE VALLEY OF THE SON OF HINNOM AND BURNED HIS SONS AS AN OFFERING, ACCORDING TO THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE NATIONS WHOM THE LORD DROVE OUT BEFORE THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL.
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What It Tells Us About Pursuing or Sliding:

When we aren’t looking to God, we are most likely following the ways of the world. However, this quest typically comes at a big price. Furthermore, the world never gives back what it promises. Additionally, the world imprisons us with a monotonous merry-go-round, which seems impossible to get off of.

Abaz was the perfect example. It clearly states he was not following the Lord. Not only did it cost him many lives of his people in battles, but it says it cost him his son’s lives as he burned them as offerings. Umm…I’m not sure about you, but that is the most empty promise if I have ever heard! Burn your son, and the gods will be with you! No way! The world overtook his sanity in this case by lying to him and took some of his most precious possessions.

Despite ourselves and our shortcomings, God is a gracious God. He does not leave us alone and persistently chases us. He gives us His grace free of charge. He always provides what we need, and He provides a way off the impossible merry-go-round when we are pursuing Him.

If we do fall into sin, which we all will-innumerable times-we must turn to God, pursuing Him and asking for forgiveness, trying not to fall into the sin again.

Pursue God, and you won’t be sliding away from Him.

Our Prayer:

God, I pray I will constantly be pursuing You. When I am not, catch my attention to turn me back to You. Make my desire to continually be on You. Thank You for graciously loving me and always bringing me back to You. Remind me to seek repentance when I do turn away from You. I love You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

So are you pursuing God or are you falling away from Him?

Pursuing or Sliding?
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Mom Crush Monday: 3 Parenting Books Which Will Change Your Life {Guest Post}

Hello Monday! I am excited for you to join me today! Are you enjoying the #momcrushmonday series? I would love for you to share it on your social media accounts if you do! Are you are following along on Instagram too? Share any feedback in the comments and make sure to let me know however you can if you like the series! I am excited about Bethany’s guest post today as she shares 3 parenting books that change her life and will change yours too! I hope to see you right back here next Monday too! Have a great week!

3 Parenting Books Which Will Change Your Life
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3 Parenting Books Which Will Change Your Life 

When my first-born daughter was born, I was a rookie mom just like everyone else. I definitely am not writing this post as the perfect parent. I struggled through many days of the huge responsibility of keeping a human alive. Today, I want to share 3 parenting books that will change your life as they have mine.

As an educator and a mother, there are times where you come home so exhausted from little people questions and needs all day long that you have nothing left to give to your own children. Lucy Calkins says, “No job requires more intelligence, knowledge, and energy than the job of parenting.” There have been, and will be days, where I did not engage my children in speaking and listening, much less reading.

“Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” – C.S. Lewis

The reason I kept going at all on those difficult days was largely in part due to these three fabulous authors and parenting books I want to share with you today.

Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina

This book was given to me by my sister in law (an early elementary educator like myself) when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter.

There are fancy programs and “reading shortcuts” advertised everywhere. However, Medina’s book shows you scientific proof the magic is in the fundamentals. In this book, we learn that your child’s brain is 80% developed by the time they are 2 years old. It is imperative your child’s language development needs to begin at birth through reading, singing, speaking, and listening.

Medina also lays out clear evidence in his “rules for baby” on topics such as screen time, sharing household responsibilities equally with your partner, sleep training etc.

“Kids come into the world before their brains are fully developed. The result? Parenthood.” 
― John Medina, Brain Rules for Baby

The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

I was first introduced to this book in my Teacher Education undergrad courses. Since then, I have worn out many copies of his book. He is the KING of read-alouds for decades now. If I were going to be a groupie, Trelease would be my man.

In The Read Aloud Handbook, he makes the case that reading aloud is the single best investment of parental time and energy. If Jim were to write a sequel to his book here in 2017, I think he would be even more sure of his stance. As a young student, I wanted to go and teach in countries around the world which did not have the resources I had while growing up. When my husband was growing up, books were the only way he could afford to travel. He and some of my students learned about geography, religion, food, etc. from a book. Reading in turn made them into more globally-minded, tolerant and empathetic individuals.

“Children whose families take them to museums and zoos, who visit historic sites, who travel abroad, or who camp in remote areas accumulate huge chunks of background knowledge without even studying. For the impoverished child lacking the travel portfolio of affluence, the best way to accumulate background knowledge is by either reading or being read to.” 
― Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook

Besides reading aloud, one of the biggest takeaways from his book in my own parenting methods was his view on screen time.

In his book, he explained how the country of Finland has successfully used closed captioning and subtitles to promote literacy. Finnish children do not begin formal reading instruction until they are seven years old. However, they consistently score the highest in the world in standardized reading tests compared to other countries.
Finnish families are some of the highest users of closed captioning. It is attributed to be the reason for their high literacy rates. In the book, Trelease explains the 30:1 ratio of visual receptors over auditory receptors in the brain. Research shows that the chances of a word (or sentence) being retained in our memory bank are thirty times greater if we see it instead of just hear it. Trelease calls it the “sponge effect”.

I use this fabulous sponge effect to reinforce language learning with my kids. For example, to distract my daughter when I do her hair, she is given a quick lesson by watching a show in Spanish or French with English subtitles.

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change their Lives Forever by Mem Fox

Another amazing reading guru (and fellow Trelease fan) is Mem Fox. I have read her book many times over again for it’s simple and engaging writing about the number one thing parents can do to help their children academically for the rest of their lives: reading.

She talks about how to connect with your children on an emotional level through books. Mem walks you through how to build self-confidence through your children finding book characters who look like them and have similar experiences. Fox’s book champions giving children the power to be who they are and be unashamed of being different. When my daughter came home from pre-school in tears because of a remark someone had made about her hair or her skin color, I used the stories of other girls and women like her, who have risen above and changed the world to comfort her.

“Books don’t harm kids; they arm them.” 
― Mem Fox

She weaves in the statistics of the benefits of reading in a way which will not give you a guilt trip. However, she inspires you to try these different strategies. She is a literacy expert, but her humble approach to teaching others about reading with children is very approachable. No parent wants to read a condescending book or be given impossible standards. Fox’s book is the opposite. She has you thinking you are a superhero right from page one. Most importantly, she gives you advice for helping your children love to read instead of just tolerating books. She promotes a healthy attitude towards books that stays with children for the rest of their lives.

“When I say to a parent, “read to a child”, I don’t want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate.” ― Mem Fox


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I have read these three brilliant authors over and over again. I give these parenting books to each one of my friends when they have a child. These parenting books have answered so many of my own questions and given me life-long tools to implement with my daughters. I am consistently challenged by them. Even when life is at its craziest, reading is our beacon of calm in the storm.

3 Parenting Books Which Will Change Your Life
Bethany

About Bethany:

Bethany is an elementary teacher/reading specialist from California and has lived overseas the past 8 years teaching in international schools. She has two girls: a 6 year old and 3 month old.  On her blog, Biracial Bookworms, she empowers and arms families and teachers with the tools to give children the world through reading, learning languages and traveling!

Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter for more great info!

Wednesday Devotional: A Leadership Example

An Example of Leadership
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Happy Hump Day! Last week, we began talking about Elijah, and this week we will carry on in 2 Kings talking about the man Elijah was teaching to take over his ministry. Elisha was a leader, and today we will look at his example of leadership. I would love to hear from you in the comments, and if you love the Wednesday Devotional, make sure to share it on social media. Join me again next Wednesday and , thanks so much for taking the time to read! I appreciate it more than you know!

This week, we will look at a man, who had grit, stamina, obedience and a heart for God. He had leadership skills we can all learn from! Do you know anyone like this person? Someone who will endure trials? A person who is submissive to the Lord’s leadership?

The Scripture:

Let’s look further into Elisha’s life because among these other traits, Elisha was a leader. Make sure you read 2 Kings 2:1-14 to get the entire story. Then, join me back here.

Focus here for a moment: 2 Kings 2:9, “When they had crossed [the Jordan River], Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.’And Elisha said, ‘Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.'”

WHEN THEY HAD CROSSED, ELIJAH SAID TO ELISHA, "ASK WHAT I SHALL DO FOR YOU, BEFORE I AM TAKEN FROM YOU." AND ELISHA SAID, "PLEASE LET THERE BE A DOUBLE PORTION OF YOUR SPIRIT ON ME."
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What It Tells Us About Leadership:

Elisha is asking for a double blessing of the same spiritual power that Elijah had. Elijah was a prophet from God, and he was training up Elisha. He asks to not only as great, but to be a greater prophet than Elijah. Not because he was selfish or egotistical, but so he could bring glory to God. He asks for this blessing in humility.

So now we know a little back story, let’s look at how Elisha shows us some great leadership characteristics…

Elisha was willing to learn. 

He is Elijah’s student, and he looks up to Elijah to teach him more and more about God. He realizes he has more to learn about God and how to bring Him glory. Elisha knew he still had more to learn, even though he was being taught by the best reminds us we can always learn more. We can always learn more about God, and we can always learn more about the Bible, so being willing to learn is an important leadership quality.

Elisha was unwavering.

Elisha was obedient to both God and Elijah. When reading in 2 Kings, you will see that Elijah tells Elisha to stay where he was 3 times. However, Elisha all 3 times asks Elijah to go with him. I know what you must be thinking…how can he be obedient if he can’t even stay where Elijah asks him to stay? Well, Elisha was so eager to learn from Elijah he didn’t want to stay behind. He wanted to go with Elijah to learn from him (see the 1st point again!). Note, that each time Elisha asks to go with Elijah, he agrees to let Elisha follow. Therefore, he wasn’t being disobedient, he was just being devoted to Elijah and his teachings. We need to be devoted to God’s teachings just like Elisha was. We must put pride aside and focus on what God is calling us to do. We need to have an unshakable pursuit for God’s Will to be done through us.

Elisha was a servant. 

He served Elijah throughout his journey. He helped him and joined him in teaching others about God. He didn’t sit idly aside and soak up Elijah’s teachings, but, instead, he joined in and took action. In the same way, we are called to be servants to others. If you are a leader in any capacity, you are called to serve. Didn’t Jesus do just the same thing? Yes! He washed his disciples feet at their last meeting together to serve them! So we as leaders and as Christians need to make sure we are serving one another in whatever way possible.

These are just a few leadership principles Elisha teaches us. He was eager to learn from others, he was set on following God above all else and he served others well.

Our Prayer:

God, I pray I can be a tiny ounce of Elisha’s leadership qualities. Make me hunger to learn from You and from others. Give me a bold and enduring faith that only comes from You. Help me to be a good servant to others and for You. I love you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

How can you be more like Elisha today? Have you been blessing others or pridefully seeking gain for yourself? Are you committed to living out God’s call for you life? Do you serve others?

An Example of Leadership
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Mom Crush Monday: Motherhood Reveals God’s Love for You {Guest Post}

I am glad to have you joining on this Mom Crush Monday! Come back again every week for another mommy blogger sharing her wisdom on what motherhood reveals! I hope you are enjoying this series. I sure have! Please let me know in the comments if you have enjoyed it. Also, if you want to see anything change or any suggestions, please make sure to let me know it in the comments too! I am excited for Rebekah to share about how motherhood reveals God’s love for us in her guest post today! Follow us on Instagram to keep up with Follow the Dyers and feel free to use the hashtags #momcrushmonday and #followthedyers too! Stop by back again next Monday for another amazing mom blogger guest post! Take care!

Motherhood Reveals How Much We Are Loved by God
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Motherhood Reveals How Much We Are Loved by God

I thought I knew how much God loves me. I had, after all, grown up in church (our pastor at the time even announced my birth from the baptistry that Sunday night!). I was raised in a Christian home. I became a Christian myself at the age of 7. At that time, I thought I understood how much God loves me, because I knew all the theology of how He sent His one and only Son and intentionally sacrificed Him on my behalf. Yet, I realize now that I didn’t have a clue growing up as to the actual immense depth of God’s love.

When our firstborn arrived in January of 2015, and I became a mama, I remember being absolutely blown away by the immense depth of love I felt for my newborn daughter. I stood in her closet about a week after her birth overtaken by just how much I loved her. The realization washed over me in that moment that I would so willingly die for her. I would do whatever it took to protect her, guard her and keep her from pain.

Then, it hit me.

That love is how God feels about me. He sent Jesus to die in my place and to make me His child, adopted into His family. He loves me so much that He willingly crushed Christ so that I might be protected, guarded, and kept from pain eternally. 

While understanding the fullness of God’s love will be a lifelong journey, culminated at the time I reach Heaven, I nevertheless know without a doubt that I understand the love of God for me, His child, much more now that I have children of my own.

Mamas, I know that you can relate today to that kind of willingly sacrificial, all-consuming, heart-tugging love we have for our children. Today and every day, as you carry that feeling in your heart, let it point you over and over and over again to the Lord. Allow it to serve as a tangible daily reminder of how much He loves you, His own dear child. Motherhood reveals God’s love for you. While we may be willing to die for our children, Christ, the second person of the Godhead, actually did for us. He loves us infinitely more even than we love our own children, nevertheless, contemplate on the love you have for your little ones. Remember, it is a glimpse into the heart of God for you.

Be encouraged today. Rest in the love of your Heavenly Father. When you feel today like you have failed His standards yet again, remember just as we love our children even when they make mistakes, so much more so the Lord loves us! His love is truly unconditional, unfailing, and unending.

~~~~~

Motherhood Reveals How Much We Are Loved by God
Rebekah

Rebekah is a wife, mama of two kiddos 2 and under, home business owner, podcaster, and blogger residing in TN. Her passion is to bless fellow Christian women through her writings on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearthwhich exists to edify, equip, and encourage women in their everyday life for their journey of Biblical womanhood.

Make sure you are following her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too!

Wednesday Devotional: Trust in the Little Things and You Can Trust in the Big Things

Trust in the Little Things and You Can Trust in the Big Things
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Welcome to this week’s Wednesday Devotional! Today, we are going to take a look at the Prophet Elijah to see how God teaches us to trust in the little things and how that helps us to trust in the big things too! Be sure to share any thoughts you have about this post in comments as well! See you right back here next Wednesday!

What a person does with even a little, will allude to what he will do when he has much. In the eyes of the Lord, even small things matter.

The Prophet Elijah in 1 Kings is a prefect example of how to listen to the Lord. He waited until God told him which direction to go, and then, he followed.

The Scripture:

1 Kings 17:8-9 says, “Then the word of the Lord came to him, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.'” Keep reading this passage. It only gets better!

THEN THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME TO HIM. "ARISE, GO TO ZAREPHATH, WHICH BELONGS TO SIDON, AND DWELL THERE. BEHOND, I HAVE COMMANDED A WIDOW THERE TO FEED YOU." SO HE AROSE AND WENT TO ZAREPHATH. AND WHEN HE CAME TO THE GATE OF THE CITY, BEHOLD, A WIDOW WAS THERE GATHERING STICKS. AND HE CALLED TO HER AND SAID, "BRING ME A LITTLE WATER IN A VESSEL, THAT I MAY DRINK." AND AS SHE WAS GOING TO BRING IT, HE CALLED TO HER AND SAID, "BRING ME A MORSEL OF BREAD IN YOUR HAND." AND SHE SAID, "AS THE LORD YOUR GOD LIVES, I HAVE NOTHING BAKED, ONLY A HANDFUL OF FLOUR IN A JAR AND A LITTLE OIL IN A JUG. AND NOW I AM GATHERING A COUPLE OF STICKS THAT I MAY GO IN AND PREPARE IT FOR MYSELF AND MY SON, THAT WE MAY EAT IT AND DIE." AND ELIJAH SAID TO HER, "DO NOT FEAR, GO AND DO AS YOU HAVE SAID. BUT FIRST MAKE ME A LITTLE CAKE OF IT AND BRING IT TO ME, AND AFTERWARD MAKE SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR SON. FOR THUS SAYS THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, "THE JAR OF FLOUR SHALL NOT BE SPENT, AND THE JUG OF OIL SHALL NOT BE EMPTY, UNTIL THE DAY THAT THE LORDS SENDS RAIN UPON THE EARTH. " AND SHE WENT AND DID AS ELIJAH SAID. AND SHE AND HE AND HER HOUSEHOLD ATE FOR MANY DAYS. THE JAR OF FLOUR WAS NOT SPENT, NEITHER DID THE JUG OF OIL BECOME EMPTY, ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF THE LORD THAT HE SPOKE BY ELIJAH.
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What It Tells Us About How to Trust God in the Little Things and How It Leads to Trusting in Big Things:

God speaks to us too as we read the Bible. It is so very important for us to be reading Scriptures every day in order to know what direction God is sending us and to help us make decisions concerning our lives.

For example, the Bible does not tell us whether or not we should buy that particular dress you have been wanting FOREVER! However, it does tell us that we should manage our income to glorify Him. Furthermore, it tells us that we should not cause others to lust after us.

So get in the Word and apply it to your life!

To apply the Word of God to your life, you must first read it, then apply it. To apply in obedience means we need to get going with what God is telling us to do in our lives. The Christian life is not about sitting idly aside and waiting for some “God moment” to happen to you. We see where idleness gets us from the story of David in last week’s Wednesday Devotional.

The Christian life takes commitment and sitting casually on the sidelines is not putting your trust in the Lord. So get out and trust the Lord in whatever way He is telling you to do so! It may not make sense, and it might not be the exact path you would choose, but remember God is in control. Follow in faith. He simply wants us to trust and depend on Him. So if you trust Him in the small things, you will be able to trust Him in the big things too!


If you now listen to God, He will show you which direction to go, and He will use you. He will use you to do tremendous things!

Our Prayer:

God, thank You for the Prophet Elijah’s example for us. I pray I will be able to trust You in all things. Help me to listen to You constantly. Remind me to constantly be seeking You in prayer and in Your Word and help me apply it to my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A Question:

So do you trust God with the little things in order to be able to trust Him with the big things?

Trust in the Little Things and You Can Trust in the Big Things
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