Thursday, April 28, 2011

National Poetry Month--Another Book of "Collections"--One Year Book of Poetry

National Poetry Month is quickly coming to a close. While I have given some suggestions for poetry books for various ages (, I just realized that I have never reviewed another one of my favorite "collections"--a Christian poetry collection.

So...before the National Poetry Month gets away from me, allow me to introduce you to something that I have enjoyed with older kids (ages twelve and up) as a Bible related, inspirational, devotional, literary-based "daily" (more often than not!) read: "The One Year Book of Poetry."

This daily "devotional" contains inspirational poetry from many, many years ago to current. It has classic authors that everybody should be familiar with, as well as some lesser known. Each poem is set up in a daily, two-page spread--with the poem (or stanzas of the poem) on the left and a one page description on the right. The descriptive text introduces you to the author and gives details of the time period, the struggles the author may have been experiencing as he or she wrote, how the poem was received, etc. Many of them explain some of the more complex aspects of imagery and vocabulary. Yes, it's a Bible/inspirational/literature lesson all in one book! I highly recommend this as an addition to your "daily" read alouds! :)

For purchase in hardcover:

To see inside (you'll love this!):

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

“When You Rise Up”: Faith in the Mornings— Faith Listening—Part I of I

“You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” Deuteronomy 6:7

Once things are underway in our home in the mornings, the kids have a tendency to put on the “listen of the time”—usually Adventures in Odyssey, Jonathan Park, Down Gilead Lane, Sugar Creek Gang, Father Gilbert, Your Story Hour, Focus on the Family radio dramas, or talking books (often Boxcar Children or Magic Tree House, though lately it’s been Little House books unless one of the older guys is manning the player, in which case it might be Les Miserable or Tale of Two Cities!). While faith and character are definitely included in many of those, especially Odyssey, Jonathan Park, Gilead, Sugar Creek, and Your Story Hour, I like to “do hard things” first. It’s easy to listen to radio dramas; it’s entertaining to listen to chapter books; but it takes work, brain power, engagement, and “putting on the mind of Christ” to do more devotional types of material.

Therefore, one of my favorite “listens” to put on in the morning is the Bible—either dramatized or not. We have had many of these through the years—and have many fond memories of them, like the time when Joshua turned twelve and listened to the entire Old Testament in eight weeks or when we have listened to an entire New Testament book during a family work evening. But clicking on a chapter or two in the mornings and having that playing in the background (super alternative to morning television or news radio!) is an uplifting, faith-building way to begin the day.

The link below is an awesome Bible listening link. If you have your computer in the main area of the home (another suggestion we have for families who want to protect their kids from harmful internet possibilities), you can “click” and listen to the Bible right in the main traffic areas of your home first thing in the morning!

Bible Gateway: Choose version and book of the Bible—then click the “speaker” to hear it on audio. A neat feature is that it has the text on the screen as well, so if you hear something you want to double check, you can look at the words as well.

The following link has “the Bible on one page”—click on the chapter of the book and you will go directly to it at the Bible Gateway. Then you click to hear it or read it—you may also change the version. This is a cool little page:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

When You Rise Up”: Faith in the Mornings --Hymn Studies

“You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” Deuteronomy 6:7

Yesterday I described how I enjoy daily or many-entried books with my teen boys (and actually, all throughout my parenting!). I mentioned a book yesterday that has a theme that I would like to elaborate on today: hymns.

We are not musicians/singers here. We have a couple who know a little about singing and can sing pretty well. We have two piano players, one drummer, and two dancers (Mom and Dad!). However, we are not what one would call a musical family.

However, to enjoy singing and worshiping God, we have found that being a musician or singer is not necessary! In addition to singing and listening to music most days, we have also enjoyed studying about songs and songwriters.

We are currently doing a book that I love called “101 Hymn Histories.” This books has 101 hymns (music and words included for each one!) and a one-age excerpt about each one—its author, its history, etc.

For example, did you know that one major thing that Martin Luther’s theses and the following reformation did was bring congregational singing out? Prior to that, the people themselves did not sing much. And did you know that his “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” was the beginning of this? Do you know how powerful and moving the words to that song are? We do…we just read it today! 

I will put links below to some “song books” that we have used. Happy singing!

*”101 Hymn Stories”--

*”101 More Hymn Stories”--

*Then Sings My Soul” (our son, Jonathan’s favorite right now)-- (two volumes listed there)

*”Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas”—we read from this one every Christmas!--

*”My First Hymnal: 75 Favorite Bible Songs”—the one I used to do everyday with my toddlers--

Monday, April 25, 2011

When You Rise Up”: Faith in the Mornings— Case for Christ Bible

I just cannot say enough good about our family's new "read aloud" Bible for this year. It has excerpts from Lee Strobel's books as sidebars and insets within the biblical text--so we read the couple of paragraphs about the passage that is referenced, then go right to the Bible passage (New King James Version) and read it. It is amazing!

Quick enough reads for 5-10 min devos--or on evenings that we have more time, we read a couple or few of the entries. I love not having to flip from a book to the Bible, etc. We love the "Case for" books--and love them even more having the Bible passage that it refers to right there in its entirety. Great for ten to twenty year olds! :)