Friday, December 31, 2010

day 365: i made it!!!!

"The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Our children will do to and for others whatever we have done to and for them.” Donna Reish…okay, so I’m not Bonhoeffer…but I thought of this quote before I read his! LOL!

I challenged myself in 2010 to write about aspects of Christian parenting every day of the year—and I made it! Sometimes due to busy travel schedules or motels with no internet, I had to double up here and there—but the point is that I posted 365 times about something very important to me: being Christian moms and dads to the wonderful children entrusted to our care.

Thanks for joining us. I pray that you will have a blessed new year. And that you will join us in 2011 for our character training focus!

And remember: “Our children will do to and for others whatever we have done to and for them.”

Thursday, December 30, 2010

day 364: wrapping up this year—and a sneak preview of 2011 at PP 365

Tomorrow is the last day of 2010! And the 365th day of the first year of Positive Parenting 3*6*5! I want to thank our readers and subscribers who have made this year so enjoyable for me as a writer. I also want to give you a sneak preview of the coming year here at Positive Parenting.

We are going to keep the name Positive Parenting 3*6*5 (although we will only post on weekdays next year) simply because I don’t want to “start from scratch” with a new name, url, etc.

I am excited about Positive Parenting in 2011—because you are going to be our “test” audience for many of our points from “Character Training From the Heart”! Yep, we are going to have a character training focus at least for the first part of the year (and probably much longer!).

So invite your friends to join us! But beware—the first few weeks of “how to’s” of character training are going to focus on the beginning of character training—modeling and having the character of Christ ourselves first!  Happy new year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

day 363: character training seminars by ray and donna reish

"Character is how you act when only your brothers and sisters are around!" Donna Reish :)
Ray and I have a couple of our character training seminars scheduled for 2011 already! I will post the details of these below.

In the meantime, we would love to plan to come to your area with a “Character Training From the Heart” seminar! If you are a small group, church, homeschool, or parenting leader, check out our blog more fully and consider scheduling a seminar—either for Christian parents in general or for homeschool groups. We have different Friday night/partial Saturday and Friday night/all day Saturday schedules available—beginning with the earliest character qualities of contentment, submission, cheerfulness, and obedience and moving through the older ages up through high school, if desired.

We are able to travel as needed, and as long as we may display our materials for sale, we really only need travel and lodging expenses in order to be able to come! (Note: For homeschoolers, we could even combine it or attach it to a writing seminar or homeschool convention we are speaking at!)

If you are near northeast Indiana and would like to attend one of the two seminars scheduled here, contact us (260-597-7415). We would love to have you!

JANUARY— Murray Missionary Church, 1117 N. Washington Street, Murray (near Bluffton)—Friday, Jan 21st and Saturday, Jan 22nd

FEBRUARY— Oak Grove Church of God in Columbia City, Indiana (near Fort Wayne)—Friday, Feb 18th and Saturday, Feb 19th (with a snow postponement date of the 25th and 26th)

Seminar Schedule

Both of these will be general Christian parenting seminars (not specific to homeschoolers only) focusing on character training from toddlerhood through about age twelve. Sessions go in chronological order, age-wise, by character quality (with 45 min sessions and 10 min breaks between), so parents may choose the ones that pertain to them if they are unable to attend all of the seminar.

*Friday night and half day Saturday—7:00-10:00 on Friday and 9:00-12:00 on Saturday


7:00-8:00 –OVERVIEW: The Why’s and How’s of Character Training: The Importance of Character Training, Modeling, Developing Good Family Habits, and More

8:00-9:00--The Early Qualities in Toddlers and Preschoolers: Contentment, Obedience, Cheerfulness, and Submission

9:00-10:00--Laying the Foundation for All Qualities for All Ages: Focus on Obedience and Submission; Child Discipline; Three Aspects of Parenting—The 3 P’s of Parening: Proactive, Positive, and Punishing


9:00-10:00—Helping Our Children Add Virtue to Their Lives: Link Between Foundational Qualities and “Higher Level” Qualities; Helping Children Gain Their Own Moral/Character Compass; The Next Qualities

10:00-11:00—From Obedience to Initiative: Responsibility, Helpfulness, Kindness, Respect, and Honesty

11:00-12:00 Growing in Character: Initiative, Deference, Resourcefulness, Diligence, Promptness, Empathy, and More

Contact us for registration information for either seminar at 260-597-7415 or

Note: Some seminars have a small fee of $10 per person for seminar and materials, depending on facility, travel, etc.

If you cannot make one of these two seminars, but would like to host one in your area, check out the details at Character Training From the Heart! Lastly, subscribe to receive our parenting blog in 2011(Positive Parenting 365) —we will be doing months of character training teaching in the new year!

day 362: one of the most glorious days of my life

Twenty-eight years ago today I became a mother. Hard to believe it’s been that long, but I have a handsome, sweet, wise, diligent, kind, smart, talented, athletic, Christian young adult son to prove to me that it has indeed been twenty-eight years! And he’s an incredible husband, to boot!

Truly, the day I became a mother (all pain and stress aside!) was one of the most glorious days of my life. To think that I (along with my husband) had brought this baby into the world. To think that he was mine, really mine!

Then reality set in. I had helped raise my three younger siblings, often caring for them all day and all evening during summers that my mom worked two jobs. And most weekends year round while she worked. I babysat all the time growing up. And yet, the time arrived for us to take Joshua home from the hospital and panic overcame me. I remember calling the nurse’s station, telling them that I was supposed to leave the hospital that afternoon and nobody had showed me how to bathe the baby! I had no idea what I was doing, nursing-wise either. I never knew if Joshua was too hot or too cold. Had enough to eat or not. I knew so little about physically caring for this little bundle.

A couple of years later and even more reality set in—not only was I responsible for this child’s physical well-being, I was also responsible for his spiritual well being. How could I teach him right from wrong? How could I keep him from shouting, “No” and running the other way when I gave a command? How could I teach him to love God and God’s ways more than this world? How could I train him to have the character of Christ in this life—to put others before himself, to be kind to the weak, to speak words that were uplifting, to be a diligent worker, and much more?

I have made many mistakes along the way—and our first two “guinea pigs” (Joshua 28 and Kayla 24) have had to bear the results of my inadequacies. But when I look at what an amazing young man Joshua has become, when I hear how he treats his wife exactly like the Bible says a husband should, when I observe him teaching our cottage classes and note the wisdom he possesses and the detailed preparations he has made, when I watch his creativity blossom into lessons and stories, when I see how devoted he is to his younger brothers and sisters, when I see him study and learn every day of his life, when I see concern on his face if he thinks I’m having a bad day or hard time—my inadequacies melt away and are replaced with the glorious joys of the time of his birth.

No, I haven’t been a perfect mother for Joshua. There are things that I wish I could undo or words I wish I had never spoken. But the glories of motherhood far outweigh any inadequacies I feel. For I have been appointed to fulfill one of the greatest callings any person can have—I have been given the calling and glorious joy of being a mother.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

day 361: links for christmas posts

I wanted to provide a little “table of contents” of sort for those who want to bookmark ideas, stories, recipes, etc. for next Christmas. You can find the following blog titles at the links given below. Thanks for joining us this Christmas season!

Day 306-309: Organizing Kids for Christmas—

Day 310-314: Snack Mix Gifts---

Day 315-318: Preparing Kids for Holidays--Manners, Selflessness, and More---

Day 323-324: Turkey Leftover Ideas---

Day 340-: Ham Leftover Ideas---

Day 341: Side Dish Leftovers--

Day 325-326: Our Decorating Traditions (With Pics!)---

Day 329: Free Christmas Advent E Book--

Day 330-333: Christmas Musings, Parts I-IV (re-run!)---

Day 334: Christmas Activity E Book---

Day 335: Free Online Advent Calendar---

Day 337: Colors of Christmas---

Day 339: Charlie Brown Christmas ---

Day 342-343: Fudge Gifts for Christmas---

Day 344: Singing Through the Nativity Story (with links to lyrics!)---

Day 345: Mistletoe--Peace With Family at Christmas---

Day 346: Christmas Read Alouds w/ ratings and links for Ages twelve and under---

Day 347: Nativity Sets Galore!---

Day 348: Gift of the Magi by O'Henry (to read aloud!)--

Day 349 and 350: Quick Bread Gifts--

Day 351: Two Dozen Goodie Recipes From Our House to Yours---

Day 352: Older Kids’ Read Alouds w/ Links and Ratings---

Day 353: Christmas in the Car--

Day 354: “A Burglar’s Christmas” by Willa Cather---

Day 355: They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love—Lee Strobel’s story---

Day 357: Christmas Sorrow—“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”---

Day 359: Holiday Leftovers Revisited---

Day 360: Merry Christmas From the Reishes!--

Monday, December 27, 2010

day 360: merry christmas from the reishes!

Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas! I am going to be working on my conciseness techniques in this letter as last year we had sickness and I was unable to send a Christmas card/letter. Our “illness year” began in March of 2009 when I kept having various symptoms that continued to increase until May when I finally started having tests. After three doctors in Indiana and Ohio, nothing showed up on the tests, yet I continued to have problematic symptoms, such as night blindness to the point of not being able to drive in the evenings for six months and such confusion that public speaking and teaching were getting to be problems (among other challenges). Fast forward to the last six months, and it was found, through simple blood tests that I was severely Vitamin D deficient, leading to some sort of pre-diabetic, carbohydrate intolerance. I just needed to up my Vit D exponentially and eat low carb. (“Just” eat low carb—that’s an oxymoronic statement!)

Throughout that process, my dad fell extremely ill in October 2009 and found himself unable to stand, walk, or “feel internally” when a virus attacked his spinal cord, leaving him with para-paralysis. After a month in the hospital and a month in rehab, he went home to continue rehab. Several months later he has regained most of his feeling and now walks two miles most days with his walker. Halfway through my dad’s recovery, Ray’s mom had a severe stroke and all that, that entails. After time in the hospital and rehab, she too, is on the mend and is back home living with Ray’s brother and nephew and regaining her skills. Over about a six month period at the end of 09 and beginning of 2010, I found myself in hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and rehab units nearly one hundred times for me, Ray’s mom, and Dad. (Now you see why I didn’t get a Christmas letter out last Christmas!) On the other side of all of that, I am just so thankful. So thankful that we are all three well or getting well—and that both of these parents are still with us. Thankfully, Mom’s health has been excellent and my step-mom’s lupus has been under control more often than not.

Ray and I have been doing the same things we say every Christmas letter: teaching the kids, spending time with our adult kids, traveling to see our kids, playing with our kids, mentoring our kids, advising our kids, loving our kids…yeah…same thing for nearly three decades! But they have been the best twenty-eight years! Parenting has been phenomenal—and we are so grateful to be able to share our experiences through our homeschooling ministry and publishing company, Training for Triumph; our parenting blog, Positive Parenting 3*6*5; our speaking ministry; character training seminars; books and curriculum materials; and any other avenue we can find! Our “cottage classes” to homeschoolers continue to grow and bring us great joy as we help parents homeschool their kids by offering writing, language arts, science, history, apologetics, and math classes to second through twelfth graders. Ray has been enjoying teaching physics and chemistry the last two years—two new classes for him. And I enjoy it that he does the math and science in high school! Ray also coaches Jacob’s Upwards, plays basketball with his four boys at a church in Bluffton once or twice a week, dances with me every chance we get, and thinks of everybody else more than himself. (And yes, he still works full time at Buckhorn as the Materials Manager, too!)

We only have two officially in school since Jonathan does mostly college classes. It’s strange to have so few students—but still lots of fun. I continue to write and edit—we have over two thousand students now in all of our curriculum books around the world (just hit the 14th country, Papua New Guinea, the week before Kayla was to go there for a national HIV/AIDS ministry outreach!). Love writing, editing, and teaching—and LOVE helping people with parenting and homeschooling. In between all of that illness and work over the past two years, we managed to travel to OH, PA, and SC to watch Jonathan and Kara perform; OH, IN, MI, KY, and IL to speak; TX and MO to visit Kayla and move her; and FL to do a character training seminar and take a family vacation (all eleven of us!).

Joshua and Lisa still live near us in Bluffton. They took their first-ever “just them” vacation last month to Disney World. Joshua still paints for Yaste Painting and writes, teaches, speaks, and typesets with and for me with Training for Triumph. Joshua is an outstanding history, writing, literature, and apologetics teacher. He and I have been expanding our Correspondence Writing Program—and having fun working together. Lisa continues to key punch for our books too. They are an amazing couple!

Cami and Joseph live in Fort Wayne and continue to run One Heart Disability Ministry at First Assembly—and Joseph bought a bread delivery route nearly a year ago. They both have hearts for the disabled and forgotten—and it is so exciting to see God use them. They are also helping a family with four children who lost their mother in the spring with the kids’ homeschooling and more. Cami and Joseph have the three boys over all the time to stay overnight and play. They are busy, busy, busy investing in so many lives. The “little boys” are so blessed to have Joshua and Lisa and Cami and Joseph close by.

Kayla graduated from Southwestern University in TX in May with a BS in nursing (following her Associates two years before in nursing from IPFW) and a BA in biblical studies. She began her first full time missions position with the Assemblies of God World Missions as a health educator for Global Aids Partnership this fall. When she is not oversees, she lives above her office in Springfield, Missouri and writes curriculum and material for her missions trips as well as for other missionaries to use to reach those affected by HIV and AIDS (sort of a “missionary to missionaries”)—and in her first three months with GAP has gone to Botswania, South Africa, and Papua New Guinea and will be heading to Ethiopia in January. If you are looking for a place for an end-of-year contribution, Kayla is still raising funds for her mission work—and continues to be one of the most responsible, diligent, committed, resourceful, wise, and creative people I know!

Kara has been interning and earning an associates degree in Drama Ministry (plus much more!) at the Academy of Arts in Greenville, South Carolina for the past two years. When in SC, she studies drama and Bible, helps put on numerous “home” performances, does various jobs for the ministry (along with her fellow interns), and more. When on the road (twelve to fifteen weeks a school year), she teaches drama seminars to homeschool groups and Christian schools. We were thrilled to have her team come teach our drama seminar—and even more thrilled that she got to direct Jakie’s Elementary Drama. We miss her terribly—but are so excited to see her blossom in her area of ministry and giftings. She continues to be one of the sweetest young ladies in the world! 

Jonathan turned eighteen and will graduate from high school in May. He traveled from Pittsburg to New York to NC with the summer drama ministry teams with the Academy of Arts (where Kara goes to school) for the past two summers—and received his team’s “Academy Award” for highest character this summer. Yep, he’s pretty much amazing. He has become an incredible assistant teacher to me in our cottage classes and plans to pursue English teaching and Bible in college. He also takes early-entry classes at Huntington University and works hard with the One Heart Disability Ministry, often speaking at their services. His love for books is apparent by his extensive Christmas “wish list” of nothing more than books! (Hmmm…reminds me of his oldest sister through the years!)

Josiah will turn sixteen in February, and we will suffer through another student learning to drive. (He will be a great student; I will be a mess!) I truly think that is the worst part of parenting—when kids learn to drive! He is an awesome drummer and also works with the disability ministry. Last summer he served at the Joni and Friends family camp in Michigan for a week. He and Jonathan are amazing order takers and fillers—Josiah can often be found giving a mother homeschooling advice as he takes her order (only when asked, of course!). Josiah loves football, basketball, and ultimate frisbee and loves playing with Dad and his brothers (among other “young adults”) at a church’s open gym each week. Josiah continues to be “his daddy’s son,” exhibiting stellar character in all that he does. He is empathetic, loving, thoughtful, diligent, studious, and responsible…sometimes I think we do not deserve these kids!

Jacob is twelve and has the honor and the curse of being the “baby of the family.” At the top of his Christmas list was “to only have one or two people telling me what to do over the holidays”! He gets tons of attention though—so I think it all shakes out in the end! He loves basketball, legoes, football, friends, and the disability ministry. He, too, has the gift of empathy and has others’ well being at the forefront of his mind and heart most of the time. He still loves to read with Mama—for which I am so grateful!

Thanks for reading—and for whatever part you may have played in our lives this past year—as students, fellow homeschoolers, curriculum users, blog readers, seminar attendees, friends, family, encouragers, leaders—we appreciate all of you. May the baby in the manger be found in your heart and life over the next year.

And, of course, my closing advice for this year: “Whatever you do to and for your children they will someday do to and for others.”

In His love,


day 359: holiday leftovers revisited!

Day 323-324: Turkey Leftover Ideas---

Day 340-: Ham Leftover Ideas---

Day 341: Side Dish Leftovers--

Sunday, December 26, 2010

day 357: christmas sorrow—“i heard the bells on christmas day”

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep”:

‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;"

Having a family who is close to us spend their first Christmas without their mother reminds me daily that there are many out there who are hurting, some even despairingly sorrowful, this Christmas. I long to do something, anything, to lessen their pain…and yet I feel inadequate to do so.

Then came our reading in “Stories Behind the Songs of Christmas” about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Christmas Bells” poem (today sung as “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”). While it did not give me any specific insight into how to reach out to those I love who are hurting this Christmas, it did remind me once again, that God is there—always—and that some day they will hurt less than today…and then later less…though the hollowness will always be there to a certain degree. God will be there.

Christmas 1863 found Longfellow in despair. The Civil War was raging; his wife had died two years previously in a freak accident; and his son returned form the war with severe wounds.

That Christmas Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem, “Christmas Bells,” with its well-known words:

“I heard the bells on Christmas day,

Their old, familiar carols play.

And wild and sweet, the words repeat,

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men.”

In Wadsworth’s original poem, there are two verses about the Civil War, which we do not sing as part of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” The following verse we do sing—and it shows us so clearly the pain that this man faced:

“And in despair, I bowed by head;

‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;

‘For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men!’”

The next verse, however, is the one that gives us hope—and the one that I wish I could place within the soul of every hurting person I love (and the one that I needed within my soul just twelve Christmases ago when I could not leave the sofa on Christmas day following the stillbirth of our final baby just two months earlier):

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep”:

‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,

With peace on earth, good will to men!’”

Somehow when you know a fellow traveler has walked the path of sorrow and grief before you—and has come out with words within his heart of the magnitude of this song—you feel the strength from his journey to carry on in your own.

That is what I love about this song—the honesty that yes, this journey felt impossible at times. But he made it to the other side with praise for God and a knowing that “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!” And those I love will too.

Listen to Casting Crowns sing this incredible song: