Well folks, it’s seven o’clock in the morning and my parents just left their house to go vote. Can you believe this election cycle? I feel like the political season, and especially this year’s season, brings out the worst in people. Fear, judgmentalism, anger, condescension, lack of empathy….sheesh. We humans certainly do like to be RIGHT so that we can emphatically declare that everyone else is WRONG. But at the end of the day, only God is right. His way is perfect. Everyone here on earth is just a poor (very poor) stand-in for the one who can truly make us stronger together and great again.
Still, when ya’ll wake up tomorrow you’ll need to love people – perhaps people who didn’t vote for your candidate. This might be hard. Perhaps you’ll be tempted to be smug, or angry, or resentful. Whatever you want to feel, don’t. Instead, love God and then love people.
Ok, that’s my segue into why I really wrote this post….love people….when buying gifts…. : )
With Christmas quickly approaching you may be in that slightly panicked state of “Holy Cow, I have alot of presents to find!” If that is the case, I’d like to offer a few suggestions. These are items that Paul and I have found and loved and we think that they’d all make excellent gifts. You can purchase all of them from Amazon and since this is Paul and me, they are mostly books : )
I have some ideas for adults too, but those will have to wait for another post : )
Slugs and Bugs Albums
Randall Goodgame is a genius. And he clearly has children :) His music albums have been a favorite new find. Seriously. Everyone in our house loves them. (If you are related to me, you might get these for Christmas…just FYI) The “UnderWhere?” album is hilarious and the the scripture albums (though technically for children) have helped me re-learn many of the verses that I learned as a child. BUY THESE! You will not regret the decision.
The Bible in Living Sound
I am forever forgetting that my kids have the capacity to sit and listen to something other than music. Paul is constantly reminding me that there is the real potential for peace and quiet if only I’d remember to turn on these stories. I scoff at him, usually. And then I’m amazed when an hour and a half later Jack, Brenn and Meg are still sitting still, quietly enthralled :) So before you run to the TV or tablet, try the MP3/CD player first! You might be surprised! (We own the CD set, but you can buy the digital downloads as well.)
Lift the Flap Bible
This is my favorite bible book for toddlers. The truths are clear and concise. With each of my children I have used the stories to create phrases that we memorized like, “God made everything,” “God keeps his promises,” and “God is will always help us.” You can make up your own, obviously, but the book lends itself to these types of simple, foundational truths. Mostly, I just think that you can trust everything that Sally Lloyd Jones publishes : )
We just bought this book for Jack, our fact-loving hyper reader. He is our litmus test for children’s books. If we find him curled up on the couch with a book – it’s a winner. Out of all the other similar purchases, this is the only book that he has read on his own and just for fun. So, we like it. You probably will too.
The Action Bible
I feel like the cover pretty much explains why this bible has been such a success in our home. The Bible? A Comic Book? What child could resist? (Or adult, really?) My caveat to this suggestion is that I’d urge you to have another bible on hand for those conversations about deep, doctrinal issues. The pictures can be a bit distracting when trying to discuss original sin, substitutionary atonement or the hypostatic union : ) Still, this is a great supplement to your children’s regular devotional times. It’s super fun and readers learn about all the important bible stories along the way.
God’s Names (Making Him Known)
This series by Sally Michael is excellent. We’ve used God’s names and God’s promises for evening devotions quite successfully. The books are easy to read and they lend themselves to short, memorized phrases about the nature of God. There are more than two in the series, but so far, we’ve loved what we’ve seen.
Imagination Station Adventure Books
If you son or daughter loves the Magic Tree House series (I mean, who doesn’t?!) then they’ll also enjoy this series. Again, these have been tested on Jack and he signaled his approval with hours of silence. Plus, they have a biblical foundation and I’ve been able to talk through some tough topics with Jack because of the questions raised in the stories. Also, I love the illustrations, but that’s not really a game changer : )
Jesus Storybook Bible
If you don’t own this book, buy it. If you don’t have children, buy it anyway and give it to the first new parents that you see : ) It is the best bible story book, bursting with perfect descriptions of God and his never ending love for us. I love hearing Paul read this book – and when he can’t read it, we listen to the CD recording. Once again, Sally Lloyd Jones gifted us with a lovely book that helps make the truths of scripture accessible and real to young minds.
The Chronicles of Narnia
Ok folks, if you haven’t read the Chronicles of Narnia, if you haven’t ever met Aslan, this is the year to do it. Since C.S. Lewis wrote these tales as analogies for Jesus’s triumph over evil, my admonition is that you listen carefully for the biblical truth that Lewis so skillfully and stunningly weaves into the warp and weft of these tales. Don’t just revel in the world building and adventures. Instead, take the time to rejoice that you know the true and better Aslan. I’d encourage you to read out loud with your children (or get the audio book) so that together you can discuss the characters, the choices that they make and the bigger picture of Jesus’s love and sacrifices for us all.
Hope that these are helpful!! Let me know if you love them as much as we do. And if you don’t, well Amazon has a great return policy : )