Connecting with our Children

In this episode of At Home, Brianne Busky is leading the discussion on “Connecting With Our Children”. We’re specifically talking about those times when there is a struggle to connect with a child. It might be because they’re going through a difficult stage or there are just big personality differences, but for whatever reason, the connection is tough to find.
First we encourage all of you not to feel guiltily over this. It happens to all of us at one time or another in our parenting journey. Next we discuss why these times of difficulty connecting can occur. And lastly, we offer all sorts of ways we’ve found to connect with our own kids during these seasons.
Mamas, we know mothering is hard work and there are so many difficulties that you never expected to face. This might be one of them.
We pray our words will be an encouragement to you either now or in the years to come.
Thank you for listening and being a part of At Home!

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Calling of Motherhood

In this episode of At Home, Greta Eskridge leads the discussion on “The Calling of Motherhood”. We know we have listeners that are full or part time working moms, as well as full or part time stay at home moms. This episode is primarily focused on the latter, and the struggles and challenges that sometimes come along with being a stay at home mom.

We start by discussing our own journey to becoming stay at home moms.  Then we talk for a bit about whether or not we ever long for something beyond, or in addition to, this life of full time motherhood. We also cover such issues as contentment, guilt, feeling less than, and embracing our calling as we walk through the different seasons of motherhood. We each offer our own words of encouragement to moms who might be struggling in those areas.

Greta even ends the the episode with a few of her favorite books featuring strong mothers. Cause you know she can’t make it though an episode without book recommendations!
We hope you will find this episode insightful and encouraging, wherever you are at in your mothering journey.

Show Notes

Article: “Motherhood Is a Calling” by Rachel Jankovic
Books:
On the Banks of Plum Creek” Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott
Man of the Family” by Ralph Moody
The Railway Children” by E Nesbit
Dandelion Wine” by Ray Bradberry:

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What’s on Jen’s Mind

Next up in our series “What’s on your mind?”, we hear from Jen Dees! With the rest of us asking questions, Jen talks about everything from her current favorite hobbies, to raising kids with a big age range, and why women need to discuss theology more often.
We know you’ll love this opportunity to get to know Jen Dees a little better. She’s one of our favorite people!

Show Notes:
Article: “Why Are We So Offended All the Time?” by Kevin Deyoung

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The Role of Good Works

In this episode of At Home, Jen Dees leads the discussion on the role of Good Works in our faith. We talk about grace and striving, our motivation for good works, and the value of serving others. We also throw down a whole bunch of scriptures!

Basically, in this episode we’re wrestling with the way God calls us to love one another and serve one another, and yet tells us clearly that we can not do one thing to earn our salvation. Not one of us is an expert on this subject, or on the Bible as a whole. But we hope that by having these kinds of conversations we’re learning from each other, and giving you all something to think about.

Quick note: we’re still struggling with our sound right now, and Greta’s mic is a little low in some parts of this episode. Please bear with us and be sure to adjust your volume when she talks. Thanks for understanding guys!

Show Notes:

Books
Union With Christ” by Rankin Wilbourne

Audio
Justification by Faith Alone: MartinLuther and Romans 1:17” by RC Sproul

For the kids

Kid resources:
Trial and Triumph” By Richard Hannula
Leading Little Ones to God” by Marian Schoolland
The Tinker of Bedford” by William S. Deal
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The Togetherness of Homeschooling

By Jennifer Dees

 

When I first began homeschooling as a mom with two small boys, ages 3 and 5, my reasons were pretty simple.  At that time, my passion for homeschooling was mostly a passion to be with my own children day in and day out.  I wanted my children (and any future children we had) to have great sibling relationships, and I was convinced that this could happen with lots of togetherness.  I wanted to have the luxury of time built into our relationships. I liked the idea of being able to see them interact throughout the day, and I want to be there to teach through the moments of conflict and play.  I also saw homeschooling as a way to keep our Christian worldview before their eyes, with ongoing conversations throughout the day. These were my husband’s and my primary reasons for starting this homeschooling journey, and these are still central to our answer when asked, why do you homeschool?

 

But it turns out that our reason for homeschooling has been an ever-evolving organism.

 

Since those early days, we’ve fallen in love with a great many books and hymns and poems as a family.  These are now a part of my “here’s why I homeschool” list. Our early book loves were The Little House on the Prairie series, the stories and poems of A. A. Milne, The Hobbit, White Fang, and The Chronicles of Narnia.  These works are our great friends forever. Then came the Little Britches series, the Yearling, Robinson Crusoe and others. In addition to these books, one of the richest wells we drew from was learning hymns together. These were conversation starters into deep doctrine, and these are family anthems and balms for our hurts.  We feel a deep kinship towards anyone who loves these same hymns.

 

Spending hours reading aloud to my kids has been so formative, especially in those younger years, when they weren’t able to read the kind of books on their own that have the rich vocabulary and complex ideas that I wanted them to be saturated in.  Audio books have been used quite a bit by us too. We do a Charlotte Mason education, so there is a big emphasis on the classics and well-written literature that inspires kids to think. We don’t do tests or grades, and rarely any fill-in-the-blank style workbooks.  Those were not the things that inspired me in school or taught me how to be a thinker. I didn’t want my children to develop a habit of reading just to find the answer to a comprehension question. I wanted them to enjoy our books, and our books became a big part of our family culture, in a way that no test can account for or measure.

 

Even if you aren’t currently homeschooling your children, reading to them aloud is a great way to build togetherness.  When you love the same books, you have endless examples for the kind of character to strive for and the kind of character to avoid.  Reading books together puts parent and child on journey together through a story, and we emerge closer, with a shared store of memories to drawn on for years to come.

 

Many family hobbies and projects are also a part of our “why we homeschool” category.   Playing music together and being able to regularly visit two nursing homes in our area are on this list.  Chores and gardening and seeing my children caring for their siblings as part of our daily rhythm make the list too.  Today, my nine year old will read to her three year old brother, and my teenage sons will do myriad tasks for the younger two throughout the day.  This is the beauty of togetherness.

 

Oftentimes, our days end without much measurable proof of success.  And we rarely get everything done on out list of things to do. We teach “…precept upon precept, line upon line.. here a little, there a little.”  And somehow these small moments add up to an education, by God’s grace.

 

As stewards over our children, we strive to teach them, as it says in Deuteronomy 6:7, ”…when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”  And none of the time we spend presenting Christ to our children is ever wasted. His Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). Knowing this should have a significant impact on the value we place on our teaching time with our children.

 

I am thankful for the moms who went before me, who were the voice of not stressing over whether or not my children read early or did other things at the same age as the norm.  I want a peaceful, unhurried home, and homeschooling allows us to foster that.  There were voices in my life that wanted me to stress more, to sign up for more things.  They worried that I wasn’t worried enough. But it turns out that giving my kids a love of books has made them the kind of thinkers that are interested in the world around them.  And now my oldest children are self-learners. When the after-church conversations turn deep, my older children want to be a part of it. Conversations around theological and political topics are part of the atmosphere of our home.   And not being in a rush has been one of the pillars that held up that roof.

 

These days I find myself looking at my two tall teenage sons, sprawled over the furniture, reading their favorite novels or listening to sermons and podcasts.  And I am thankful that their family gets to be a bigger influence over their thinking than the opinions of their same aged peers, for a few more years.

 

I haven’t done everything right, and not everyday is peaceful and unhurried.  But I am always thankful for the togetherness the Lord have given us through homeschooling.  I am thankful that everyday I get to ask myself, what matters the most for this school day? How does our Christian worldview bear on this topic we are studying?  What does the Bible have to say about the way we work on our math, and the importance we give to it? As homeschoolers, we are in an ongoing conversation about educational philosophy, always asking: What matters most for today?

 

Whatever kind of schooling you choose for your family, and whatever books you use, know that we plant and we water, but God is giving the increase, and in His timing.  God can use you with all your imperfections in the lives of your children. And He uses us as we continue to ask the mundane question, What will we learn today?

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“Don’t Judge” Episode

In this episode of At Home, @kristinrogers leads the discussion on that expression we’ve all heard or said before, “Don’t Judge”.
It’s an idea that’s everywhere right now. It’s often said in jest. And other times it’s said in all seriousness. But what are the implications of everyone not judging each other?
It’s a tough conversation, but one we felt was important to have. So Kristin asks what the Bible has to say about judging, and encourages us to consider if there’s ever a correct time for judging others, and if so, how do we do it correctly.
We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we hope our honest conversation will give you food for thought.
And if you notice Greta’s sound is a little low in some parts of this episode, just turn it up and don’t judge. K?

Here are the show notes

Show Notes:

Article: “Judge Not-What the Bible Really Says About Love.” by Jon Bloom
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/judge-not

Book: “The Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace
https://www.amazon.com/Excellent-Wife-Biblical-Perspective/dp/1885904088

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What I’ve Learned About Adult Friendships

By Jen Dees

 

Adult friendships are hard.  I was asked years ago to write about the topic of friendship by a Christian woman who I knew struggled with wanting closer and deeper friendships.  At the time, I couldn’t think of what to write on the subject. I had some really wonderful friendships, yet I didn’t know what made some acquaintances develop into friends, and others not.  I hoped that one day I would be able to formulate some thoughts on the topic. And while I couldn’t think of what that would look like, I knew, even then, that I would begin with that one sentence.  That was the one fact I was certain of: adult friendships are hard.

Looking back, I realize that I had an expectation that after age 25, I would be so mature, and the Christian women around me would also have reached the same level, that friendships would not be plagued with envy, comparison, or unfounded judgments.  Those were experiences of youth that ceased with the closing of the 26th birthday. So I was shocked to see these sins in my own heart, and shocked to see them in others, directed towards myself. I was surprised to see Christian women upset by not being invited to some particular event, and complaining to other women about it; women insisting on having their own way, and being upset at the results.

I don’t want to paint an overly negative picture.  I have met the most giving and wonderful Christian women in my adult years, and I have learned about true Christian hospitality and friendship through them.  I have met some Christian women who will go deep in discussions of theology and life in a way that feeds my soul. And I have seen Christian friendship covering petty sins in love, reaching out in times of loss and meeting needs in the most sacrificial ways.  The shock I experienced was due largely to my own naive expectation that friendship as an adult in Christ would always be easy.

Through the awkward bumps in my own relationships, I have learned many lessons about friendship.  One of the most important concepts I have learned came pretty late in life. I realize that I would enjoy all my friendships more if I were endeavoring to be the friend I want others to be, and not looking out so much and waiting for others to be a great friend to me.  This probably sounds so simple, that it sounds like it’s just the golden rule applied to friendship. But when it comes to friendship, I think we can find ourselves in a trap of being thoughtful and intentional with a given friend for a few weeks, and then quickly looking for this treatment back, being hurt when  these efforts aren’t completely reciprocated. Even worse, at times we are waiting for others to put out the effort first. The problem is, we can easily become an expert on what kind of friend others should be.

You wish others would check on you in your low seasons?  Be a friend who calls and texts and checks on others. Call and pray with someone who is hurting.  Check in regularly with the same person and see how their week is going. You desire to be invited to gatherings?  Invite women to things. I had heard many Christian woman complain about not being invited to gatherings. And I usually will ask, have you invited ladies to coffee or on a hike, or have you hosted a small gathering at your home?  The answer is almost always no. There seems to be a strong correlation between not reaching out to others, and chronic disappointment in the depth of your own friendships. Be the friend to others that you would like to have.

We easily become experts on how others should be serving us- all while giving ourselves grace.  We have 20-15 vision that only sees out. We become experts at how others should love. The people I know who have been the least giving of their time and their hearts have often been the most critical about how others serve them.   Women who never invite other women to lunch seem to often to be carrying the most hurt from a lack of invitations. Be the friend you wish others would be.

This is by no means a recipe that guarantees every Christian woman will have wonderful friendships. There are many ingredients to a beneficial friendship.  And I think reciprocation is an important part of a close friendship that lasts. We also know that God sovereignly puts easy and challenging people in our lives at various seasons.  But we can reach out and be the one to invite and check up on and extend. Because time invested into others is never wasted.


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What’s on Greta’s Mind

Before you listen to today’s episode, we want to make sure you know that it comes with a GROWNUPS ONLY label. We are putting a disclaimer on this episode, because we want to make sure you listen to this one on your own, and not with your kiddos.

Today we’re starting a series called “What’s on your mind?” In this series, each one of the At Home hosts will take turns sharing an issue or topic that is on her mind, on her heart, or that she feels is important to discuss. 

Greta is going first, and the issue that she wants to talk about is protecting our kids from pornography.

This isn’t an easy topic to discuss. But this discussion is necessary, in fact imperative, for us to have for the sake of our children’s safety. We need to acknowledge that we are in a battle for our children’s minds, their hearts, and their emotional and sexual health. This is a battle for their future relationships, their marriages, and their faith. We must be willing to be uncomfortable in order to be better equipped for the fight at hand—the fight against pornography.

In this episode, Greta shares plenty of research and information about the damaging and dangerous effects of pornography. But she also offers ways to prepare ourselves and our children to stand firm in the battle and fight back. She gives us things to do, so we aren’t left feeling hopeless.

Ultimately it is our hope that this episode leaves you feeling informed, equipped, and empowered to protect your children from this harmful plague called pornography. We’re grateful you’re here, and willing to be part of these conversations about topics that truly matter. Thank you for being a part of At Home.

Show Notes:
Blog post
Protecting our Children From Pornography” by Greta Eskridge
Books
:
The Porn Myth by Matt Fraud
How to Talk to your Kids About Pornography by Educate and Empower Kids
Good Pictures/Bad Pictures by Kristen A Jensen and Gail Poyner
The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch
Articles:
Please don’t give them porn for Christmas” by Tim Challies
The Horror Stories are Real. Don’t Give you Children a Smart Phone.” by Johnathon Van Maren
Want to Stop Sex Trafficking? Look to America’s Porn Addiction” by John-Henry Westen
Generation XXX: 11 and 12 year Olds are Struggling With Porn More Than Ever Before” by Fight the New Drug
Websites:
Josh McDowell 

Sean McDowell
Fight the New Drug


Video:
The Heart of Man

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Teaching Children the Bible

Hi friends!
Remember us?
The 4 girls who had a podcast called At Home?
Well, we know its been a while, but we’re excited to tell you, we’re back!
We thought we’d dive in with something important, so on this episode of At Home, Jen Dees is leading the discussion on “Teaching the Bible to Our Children.”

We cover all kinds of territory in this episode, so that you are sure to find some nuggets so encourage you, whether you are a mom of young kids who wants to get started with Bible time and devotions, or a more seasoned mom with older kids who wants to give her kids the opportunity to embrace their faith for themselves.

We offer a good stack of resources at the end of the episode. We’re sure your Amazon cart will be full.

Again, we’re so glad to be back with you for this new year! Thank you for welcoming us back with open arms!


Show Notes:
Books:
The Children’s Story Bible 
Big Truths For Little Kids
Old Story New
Training Hearts Teaching Minds
Trial and Triumph
The Jesus Story Book Bible
The Ology
Star of Light and others by Patricia St. John
A Call to Spiritual Reformation ( Book on prayer by DA Carson)
Long Story Short ( 10 minute kid bible studies)
Hymns for Kids

Other:
New City Catechism app
The Bible Project

Articles:
The Scandal of Bible Illiteracy by Al Mohler
The Epidemic of Bible Illiteracy in Our Churches by Ed Stetzer (Christianity Today)

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Favorite Children’s Books

In this episode of At Home, Greta Eskridge leads the discussion on one of her favorite things, children’s books!
Greta was so excited about this episode.
But she showed some self control by not diving straight into a long list of everyone’s favorite books.
Instead, she starts with some discussions on how reading books together fosters relationships, and asks for some tips for creating a reading culture in your home.
We even spent some time discussing what to do with a reluctant reader, because we know that not everyone has a house full of excited readers.
And after all that, we get into the long list of favorite children’s books, from baby books, to books your teen will love, favorite series, and the best audio books.
The show notes are loaded with great stuff! We hope you’ll enjoy it all.
And do share one of your favorite children’s books with us.
Thank you fellow book lovers!

Show Notes

Picture books for the littlest ones:
Peek a Who by Nina Laden
I am a Bunny Richard Scarey
All the books by Beatrix Potter
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
All the books by Robert McCloskey
Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
All the travel books by Miroslav Sasek
Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston
I Can Fly by Mary Blair
Books by the Provensens—A Year at Maple Hill Farm and The Animal Fair
Wing on a Flea by Ed Emmberly

Beginning Chapter books:
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
Small Pig by Arnold Lobel
Mr. Poppers Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
A Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Favorite Series:
The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
The Ramona Quimby series by Beatrix Potter
The Henry Higgins series by Bestrix Potter
All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Little Britches series by Ralph Moody
Green Ember series by S. D. Smith
The Wing Feather Saga byAndrew Peterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The Princess and the Goblin and the Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald

Some Favorite Biographies:
Abigail Adams by Natalie Bober
John Bunyan: The Tinker of Bedford by William Deal
Biographies by the D’Aulaires
Carver: A Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson

Favorites for older readers:
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Robinson Caruso by Daniel Defoe

Resources for finding books:
Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt
Ambleside online
The Read Aloud Revival podcast

Greta’s Blog Post with lists of Favorite Audio books and readers

Greta’s Blog Post: Creating a Book Club For Kids

 

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