Thursday, March 23, 2017

Clever Dragons: A Review




Technology is making homeschooling very exciting - and also intimidating. The internet is a jungle of educational games, videos, and resources. And it’s mixed in with all kinds of things we don’t want our kids exposed to. I have been wanting to incorporate technology into our daily homeschool routine, but I had no idea where to start.

Until….

Clever Dragons to the rescue!
I subscribed to Clever Dragons two weeks ago and our family has been wonderfully blessed. Clever Dragons is an educational website specifically tailored to boys. BOYS ONLY. That definitely gets the attention of little boys. They have a site for girls as well called Always Ice Cream. If you are interested in the site for girls I think you will still find this review helpful. 

The Motivation

I have five little boys and let me tell you - Clever Dragons KNOWS boys. When my sons first started exploring the site I thought, “Did the creators interview my sons??” Set to a medieval theme, the site allows boys to race dragons, design their own castles, sell what they make in their own shops, and earn gold.


The site is multifaceted enough to reach a wide variety of interests. My seven-year-old is the most drawn to the social aspect. The boys on Clever Dragons can interact with each other and there are a variety of different teams to join. My son immediately joined a team called, “Boys who love God and want to share the gospel of His Son.” Probably the best name for a club ever. The boys can earn gold for their teams and they can send their teammates messages and presents.


My five-year-old son’s favorite part is owning his own pet. I just want to say thank you to Clever Dragons for postponing our need for a real dog (at least for now). He checks on his pet every day and buys him food and supplies.

Clever Dragons is not just an awesome online game. It’s a rich educational resource. In order for the boys to take full advantage of all the adventures in their medieval world they have to complete learning activities through videos and games.

Videos


There are videos for each subject in the program. The teachers give mini lectures about grammar, parts of speech, rounding, regrouping, etc. My sons already have their favorite teachers. The videos also show science experiments, how things are made, and geography. My seven-year-old’s favorite video is the states and capitals song. Within the first week he was singing along. He was also fascinated by the video on how marbles are made.

Games


The variety of learning games is impressive. They cover tons of interesting topics and use lots of different formats like multiple choice, races, matching, and timed games. My kids love the human body game. They learned the names of the bones and organs just by playing the game over and over.

Parental Involvement


Moms, this is where Clever Dragons gets insanely cool. Each time my boys log on to their accounts they go to “Learning Path” to see what I have assigned them. That’s right. I get to comb through the site and pick the exact games and videos I want them to finish that day. I can even assign them……CHORES! I think Clever Dragons knows moms just as well as it knows boys. There is a feature that allows you to lock all the other parts of the program until the assignments are completed. The parent account helps you keep track of what each son has done and see their progress. I can also adjust the grade level at any time and set different grade levels for different sons.

Safety

The Clever Dragons world is HUGE. My absolute favorite part about the program is that my boys could explore it for months and I know they are in a safe environment. There are no pop-ups and no ads. I have peace of mind knowing that whatever they click on will be fun and educational.

How I Use it

I have found it very easy to incorporate Clever Dragons into our school routine. The boys log on, complete the “Learning Path” assignments from me, and then have a half an hour to explore the site on their own. They use this time to make furniture for their castles, care for their pets, and watch extracurricular videos.


Clever Dragons is not a curriculum in itself. I use it to supplement what I am already doing. It helps reinforce what they're learning in their regular school curriculum. But the boys inevitably wind up learning something extra. Yesterday my son told me he completed his assignments and then he went on to learn ten new Spanish vocabulary words. Fine by me. I'm looking forward to continuing to use this program during our summer break. I know the kids won't complain. "Mom, is it time for Clever Dragons yet???"  

For more information on Clever Dragons visit Clever-Dragons.com!
 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Beauty and the Beast: Why Christians Can Calm Down


On March 1st my newsfeed exploded with angry moms. Our beloved Beauty and the Beast is GAY.

Well, not exactly. And perhaps that’s where we should start. Is this a “Gay” movie? Or is this just another worldly movie made by worldly people with worldly agendas? Believe me, I'm upset, too. But there is an important difference here worthy of a second look. 

Al Mohler, at the recent Shepherd’s Conference, summarized this distinction well. He said there’s a difference between culture being infused into a movie and a movie glorifying a particular sin. Gay characters will be the norm in movies from now on. That's the agenda. The question we should ask is: Does it glorify the sin, or does it discuss/portray an aspect of culture?

This is the culture God has appointed for us to raise our children in. We need to know how to live in it and interact with it. Our kids are watching us. Our response to this issue will shape how they live within this culture. As we respond to Beauty and the Beast there are two words that should not characterize us as Christian parents.

Naive

If we expect the world to act Christian we will always be let down. Many are crying out, “How could Disney do this!?” Maybe instead our question should be, “What took them so long?” Disney is not a Christian company. Disney is acting exactly the way it is supposed to act.

I think deep down we hope the evil in this world will spare our kids. But evil is no respecter of persons. When we see Disney peddling homosexuality as normal it’s like watching someone pass out candy-covered cyanide to children. We gasp in horror and say, “What’s this world coming to?” But we already have the answer. God tells us that “the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17) For the Christian there are no surprises - only evidences of God’s promises coming true. 

We should be angry at sin, but never shocked. Shock means we got too comfortable here. It means we made ourselves at home in the enemy camp and we were offended when the enemy tried to kill us in our sleep. It means we have forgotten that we are “aliens and strangers.” (1 Peter 2:11) 

Fearful

Have you heard about the gay character in Bambi? How about in The Lion King, Pinocchio, or The Jungle Book? These are just a few of the movies I have heard Christians crossing off their lists this week because of suspicious homosexual undertones.

We can train ourselves to see evil everywhere, but that is not the mark of a discerning Christian. It taints our joy and makes us fearful. This is still God’s world. He created music. He created color. As discerning Christians we want to teach our kids how to take the good and leave the bad.   

So What Do We Do? 

Christians can take comfort in the fact that a gay Disney character doesn’t change anything. Thousands of years before Walt Disney was born King Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) Sin has always been sin. Mankind’s basic need for a savior is still the same. The hope of the gospel is still the same. And as God’s people, our job is still the same as well. 

Yes, Hollywood has an agenda - but so do we. If Hollywood is trying to indoctrinate our kids then we must indoctrinate them first. You must speak of God’s word to your children “when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 11:19) 


We must raise alien children - children who are not surprised by or afraid of this culture, but know how to impact it for the gospel. We have the beautiful privilege of praying for our kids what Jesus prays for us: “I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)



"Sara Wallace does a wonderful job of taking the practicals of motherhood and relating them to the gospel. I highly recommend this for moms who don't have a lot of time to sit down and do a big Bible study." - Jennifer

To place your order send an email to: sarawallace1@gmail.com

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Thousand Year Baby Stage



I was in the baby stage for a thousand years. And I had one million babies. 

Ok, so maybe the baby stage was about seven years. And it was five babies, not a million. But that’s what it felt like at the time. 

I’m in a unique stage of motherhood right now. I just had my fifth baby and my oldest child is 7. I’m currently living in the beginning of the baby stage and the end of it at the same time. 

To all of you mamas in the thousand-year baby stage, I know. 

I know how much you love your babies. I also know your joy is often interrupted by fatigue and that time is standing still for you. I know you cry because you never want them to grow up and you cry because you don’t know how you’re going to make it through the day today. 

During the thousand-year baby stage everyone tells you, “Enjoy every minute of it! It goes by so fast.” There’s just one problem. You’ve never been in a stage of life that moves so slowly. Every night stretches on and on because you are awake for more of it. The days creep by as you meet need after endless need. 

One day my husband was getting ready for work. At the time I had an infant, a 1yr old, and a 2ry old. I looked at my husband with tears in my eyes and said, “I don’t want to do this again today.” By this I meant stepping into the endless vortex of diapers, sleep schedules, potty training, spit-up, teething, peed bedding, and toddler toy clutter. I loved my babies intensely. But, being sleep-deprived for years on end, I couldn’t see past the next five seconds. And the next five seconds were always the same. 

I knew in my brain it wouldn't last forever, but my heart said, “This is it. This is who you are. This is your life. You will be a worn out, sleep-deprived mother of babies forever.” 

And then one day it happened. What every older mom told me about (but I didn’t believe at the time) happened. My babies grew up. If you think having babies is special just wait until they turn into kids. It’s awesome. We have interesting conversations together. They unload the groceries. They pick out their own clothes, entertain themselves for hours, and get their own snacks. They read to me, tell me what they are thinking, laugh at my jokes, and make me laugh until I cry. When I go to bed I can’t wait to wake up and be with them again. For so long I was doing everything for them. Now I get to do things with them.

My infant is two months old. Today I took a picture of his fist. It is so cute that newborns make fists. I want to remember that. I kiss the bottoms of his feet while he grips my nose with his tiny toes. When my big kids go running through the room I hold my baby a little closer. Every day I get to see what babies turn into. They turn into kids. It might not seem like it when you’re in the thousand-year baby stage, but they really do. And it’s not sad. Each stage has it’s own unique beauty that doesn’t leave time to mourn the stages past.

Whether time is standing still or going too fast we can look to God and say, “My times are in Your hands.” (Psalm 31:15) He is a God of seasons. Just as He has created the seasons of the earth, He has created the seasons of our lives. And they are not a moment longer or shorter than they are supposed to be. 

Moms, today might feel long. But today is not the rest of your life. Today is just today. Tomorrow will be different. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,11) 


"Sara Wallace does a wonderful job of taking the practicals of motherhood and relating them to the gospel. I highly recommend this for moms who don't have a lot of time to sit down and do a big Bible study." - Jennifer
Get your copy of "The Gospel-Centered Mom" on Amazon

Also available on Etsy!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

How to Un-Pinterest Your Life


This Saturday Daddy had to go in to work. My five little men and I decided to redeem the day by having a party for no reason. It was hilarious, messy, and oh-so-very UN-Pinterest. There was no theme. There were no fruit kababs or DIY glow sticks. There was no waffle bar or glitter popcorn. Instead we had cake from a box complete with store bought neon blue frosting. We had Spiderman tattoos, paper airplanes, and party blowers leftover from New Years. The word “un-Pinterest” wouldn’t have even crossed my mind a few years ago. It just shows me how much my thinking has been influenced by the internet’s standard of how things should be done.



Pinterest is a wonderful tool for getting our creative juices flowing, but it can also bog us down. When I refer to “un-Pintersting,” I’m not talking about the beautiful inspiration we get from it. I’m only talking about the dark side of Pinterest - the side that makes us feel anxious, inadequate, and discontent. There are four ways we can take the good and leave the bad.

1. Bless, Don’t Impress

I love having people over. But I hesitate to extend that blessing when my floor is sticky and the only clean dishes have Star Wars characters on them. In one of my all-time favorite articles by Jen Wilkin she shares the subtle but heart changing differences between blessing and impressing:

“Entertaining is always thinking about the next course. Hospitality burns the rolls because it was listening to a story. Entertaining obsesses over what went wrong. Hospitality savors what was shared. Entertaining, exhausted, says ‘It was nothing, really!’ Hospitality thinks it was nothing. Really. Entertaining seeks to impress. Hospitality seeks to bless.”


This is my kitchen at any given moment of the day. Pinterest worthy? Of course not. But Pinterest shouldn't be my standard of how I can bless others. I recently saw a friend's kitchen in this state. I was at her house because instead of making time for her dishes she was making time for me. And it blessed my socks off.

2. Family First

I put what I see on Pinterest into one of three categories: 1. This project will bless my family. 2. My family won’t care too much about this project, but it will be fun and relaxing for me. 3. This looks like fun, but it will take needed time away from my kids and other more important tasks.

If it falls into the third category I put it aside. My kids don’t need a Pinterest house and an exhausted mommy. They need simple time with me on the couch reading books. I have limited hours in the day. If I choose to do one thing it means I am choosing not to do something else. I always have to evaluate if it’s worth it.

3. Don’t Hold Out for Perfect.

One time a good friend told me she would never again bake an apple pie. Knowing she was an excellent cook, I asked her why. She said that even though her pies tasted great she could never get them to look like ones she’d seen online. If “perfect” has become our standard for what’s worth it, what’s enjoyable, we are on the slippery slope to not being able to enjoy anything. One of my favorite sites is Pinterest fails.




This mom went for it with those shark cupcakes. And even though hers were a far cry from the Pinterest picture, I bet they tasted great. I bet her kids were thrilled. We don’t do our families any favors by holding out for perfect.

4. Check Your Standards of Others

There hasn’t always been Pinterest, but there have always been judgmental moms. If we’re being honest, that’s all of us. Most of the time we fixate of being judged, but Matthew 7:1-2 tells us the root of that feeling is our own judgmental hearts: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Ouch. Hits a little too close to home for me. We assume others are thinking about us what we think about them. When we freely show grace to others we are able to show grace to ourselves. The quickest way to un-Pinterest our lives is to stop being critical of each other.

So let’s go for it, moms. Let’s do crafts with our kids that don’t yield anything but a messy dining room table. Let’s have each other over for coffee and sticky floors. Let’s un-Pinterest a little and let our brains and hearts relax.

cover photo


"Sara Wallace does a wonderful job of taking the practicals of motherhood and relating them to the gospel. I highly recommend this for moms who don't have a lot of time to sit down and do a big Bible study." - Jennifer
Get your copy of "The Gospel-Centered Mom" on Amazon

Also available on Etsy!


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Dreaded Bible Reading Resolution........


It's the time of year for resolutions. As a mom of five littles my resolution is just to survive. But even survival requires setting specific goals - especially when it comes to reading God’s Word. We can’t survive without it. The problem with resolutions is we tend to approach them with an all-or-nothing mentality. We set high standards in January and when we can't reach them we completely quit by March. Bible reading resolutions are no different. 

I love seeing moms set Bible reading goals. What hurts is seeing frustrated moms give up and throw in the towel when they can't reach their goals. I'm one of those moms. I've been there. I'm here to tell you that Bible reading isn’t all or nothing. You don't have to get up before your kids (especially when it seems like they never even went to bed). You don't have to have an uninterrupted hour of complete silence (which I haven’t experienced in seven years). 

There are times in life when reading the Bible feels like a huge feast. You sit down, tie a napkin around your neck and dig in. But more often in young motherhood reading the Bible is like clinging to a lifeline - the only shred of sanity our sleep-deprived brains can grasp. And that’s okay. My sister was just here visiting. One afternoon she sat on our window seat with a hot cup of tea and her Bible. As soon as she opened it she was piled with nephews. “Well, that didn’t last long,” she said as she put her Bible down and let them pull her toward the Legos. “Welcome to my life,” I said. 

We might not get to experience long, leisurely times of feasting on God’s Word in this stage of life, but we need to grab onto the Word any way we can. It has to be fresh in our hearts and minds so it’s there when we need it. One night I was so ready for bed, but I knew I hadn’t been in the Word recently. I grabbed my Bible, opened to where I left off and read a chapter. Little did I know I was in for an especially difficult night with the newborn. The next morning I couldn’t string two thoughts together - but precious words that I had read the night before came to mind and strengthened me. I had been reading Exodus 34:6 - “The Lord, the Lord God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth…” I let those words wash over my mind all day long as I struggled through my fatigue. I was so glad I had made time for that short passage before I went to bed. I didn’t feel like I needed it then, but God knew it would very soon be a source of great comfort. 

Thanksgiving 2016 was a weird experience for the Wallace family. I had only been home from the hospital for about a week with baby #5. At the last minute all of the local relatives got the stomach flu and had to cancel the feast. We found ourselves roaming around the snowy town looking for a restaurant. They were all closed. They were open when we didn’t need them, but now they were turning us away. We wound up at a diner eating pancakes. Hardly a Thanksgiving dinner, but we were so glad that one place was open.  

When I get so busy with my daily responsibilities that I don’t make time to soak up God’s Word, it’s like driving past all those restaurants every day without going in. I could stop and grab a bite to eat, but other pressing needs take priority - until one night when I’m in desperate need of sustenance and the doors are closed. I search my heart for memorized verses, something fresh I read that morning, and my heart comes up empty. 

Don’t be afraid to make a Bible reading resolution this year. But be prepared for it to play out a little messy and disjointed. If we treat our Bible reading resolutions as all-or-nothing, we will always tend toward the “nothing.” So grab your Bible. Balance it awkwardly on the couch beside you as you feed the baby. Invite the little ones to sit beside you and read it out loud. Tape a passage to your mirror. Read a few verses before you turn out the light, even if you think your brain won’t absorb it. God is faithful to use what we put in. 


What’s your Bible reading resolution this year? Leave it in the comments and let’s encourage each other to press on!


"Sara Wallace does a wonderful job of taking the practicals of motherhood and relating them to the gospel. I highly recommend this for moms who don't have a lot of time to sit down and do a big Bible study." - Jennifer
Get your copy of "The Gospel-Centered Mom" on Amazon

Also available on Etsy!

Friday, December 30, 2016

A Tired Mommy's Prayer



Happy New Year, mamas!!! As we launch into the new year I wanted to put into words a prayer that tumbles around in my heart every day and often into the wee hours of the night. I hope it's a blessing to you all. 

Love,
Sara

"This day and everything You have planned for it is good.  
You have fully equipped me to care for the kids You've given me. 
Where I lack sleep give me patience.
Where I lack creativity give me kindness.
When I can't give my kids fun projects and exciting outings, help me to give warm smiles and lots of hugs.
Help me to be less aware of my growing to-do list and more aware of opportunities to shepherd these precious hearts.
Show me what being faithful looks like today.
Help me to meet each need as it comes with love and grace.
Help me to use words that help and heal.
Let my kids see Christ in me.
Thank You that while I don't know what this day holds, I know Who's holding me."








"Sara Wallace does a wonderful job of taking the practicals of motherhood and relating them to the gospel. I highly recommend this for moms who don't have a lot of time to sit down and do a big Bible study." - Jennifer
Get your copy of "The Gospel-Centered Mom" on Amazon
Also available on Etsy!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bringing Home Baby Boy #5



Well, we did it. We tried for a girl. What we got was this beautiful fifth little boy, James Mark Wallace. I won't go into detail about his labor and delivery, but when the doctor handed him to me I literally said, "That's it?" So, yes. This was my easiest one. (I almost said, "Easiest one so far," but this is a far as it gets for us.) In the hospital baby James blinked up at us with his sparkly little black eyes as if to say, "Am I your first born son?" Oh, James. You have so much to learn. We brought him home to his tribe of excited brothers, ages 7, 5, 4, and 2. They haven't stopped swooning.


The two-year-old wants me to put him in his bed every night. "Now go out, Mommy. Turn off the light and shut the door."


If you asked me 12 different times throughout the day how things are going, I'd give you 12 different answers. That's how fast things change when you have little ones. One minute everyone is happy and the next minute everything is chaos. Before I can get off the couch and settle the baby to deal with the mayhem, things are calm again.


The big boys have really stepped up. In this pic the four-year-old is making snack cups for everyone and the two-year-old is unloading the dishwasher. They are anxious to embrace this new phase of life.


There's nothing like a new baby to shake things up a bit. My husband can attest to the fact that I'm not a fan of change. Adding a new little man to our family almost every year has been the greatest honor of my life, while truly testing my endurance. And I am so thankful for it. James 1:4 says, "And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." The first few weeks of bringing home a newborn, whether it's number one or number five, feels like watching your old life from the outside. You're home, but you can't mentally or physically engage in things like you did before. It's a time to let go of what you thought was "normal" and be open to God showing you your new normal. 


I have been spoiled by this little boy. He is the easiest baby I have had. He is so content and mellow. But it's still a transition. Every transition involves some growing pains. I love the story "The Mitten" by Jan Brett. Each time a new animal crawls in to get warm the mitten stretches a little. A few stitches pop. The yarn gets a little more frayed.


We are warm and cozy in our Wallace family "mitten." My husband reminded me that how we handle transitions will leave a lasting legacy of faith for our kids. What a beautiful thought. When the waves bump up against our little boat our kids immediately look at us. We don't have to spend all of our energy trying to keep the boat from rocking under them. Instead we can spend that energy pointing them to the One who is in the boat with us. To all you mamas who might be bringing home a baby for the first time or perhaps adding another one to your own mitten, it's okay to be tired. It's okay to be emotional. My sister, author Rachel Joy Watson (who knows something about trials) wisely said, "Resting in Christ doesn't mean you stop crying. It means crying in the right direction." Cry out to God for new energy and kiss your babies. When we're running on empty God's power is enough. "For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me." Colossians 1:29

Would you like to meet Baby James?? I'll be doing a Facebook live video this week to introduce our newest addition and to do a fun holiday giveaway of an awesome new book written by Summer Lacy! Follow me on Facebook at "The Gospel-Centered Mom - Sara Wallace."

Don't forget to use the code CHRISTMAS10 to receive 10% off your order of "The Gospel-Centered Mom" Bible study!! 


Monday, October 10, 2016

Can Kids Understand the Gospel? (New video!!!)

Hi Moms,

Today my boys help answer an important question: Can kids understand the gospel? And if so, how much? It's easy to shy away from talking about theology with our kids because we don't want to confuse them. But Jesus praised "childlike faith" for a reason (Matthew 18:3). The gospel is so simple. Sometimes the best way to be reminded of that is to hear it from a child's perspective. Enjoy these six rare minutes of four little boys sitting still to talk about something they love - Jesus!





"Sara Wallace does a wonderful job of taking the practicals of motherhood and relating them to the gospel. I highly recommend this for moms who don't have a lot of time to sit down and do a big Bible study." - Jennifer
Get your copy of "The Gospel-Centered Mom" on Amazon!
Also available on Etsy!

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Dangerous Religion of Birth Culture



I'm just two months away from having my fifth baby. My fifth boy baby. Yes, we just like to keep things exciting around here. All of my babies were born in a hospital. I have been induced every time, received an epidural every time, and all of my babies have been between 10-11lb. I've said, “Yes,” to every pain medicine made available to me. That’s a little history on me. But I’m not here to defend a particular birthing method. I want to defend something much greater. I hope you'll join me.

In the beginning of this pregnancy I was most often asked, "Do you know what you're having?" Now as my due date gets closer I get asked a different question: "Are you having your baby in a hospital?" I can't count the number of times people have asked me this. I don't blame them. In today's culture with so many women having babies at home or in birth centers, it's a legitimate question. I ask other mamas the same thing. It's a point of great curiosity and interesting conversation.

But my concern for all of us is that we are stepping into dangerous, gospel-twisting territory. Birth culture is dividing women into two camps: natural and unnatural. Obviously, there is superiority attached to one of those. No mama wants to be called, "unnatural." So what puts you in the "natural" camp? You can earn points in a variety of ways. You can eat organic while you're pregnant. You can choose between your home or a birth center, but a hospital is out. If you must go to the hospital, a midwife can gain you back a few points. An epidural will lose you almost too many points to recover from. And a c-section? Let's just just say your application to the “natural” club has been denied. 

But the “unnatural” mamas can be just as exclusive. They cluster together to defend each other by turning up their noses at the other side:
“I prefer to trust science instead of Google.”
“I care too much about my babies to risk having them at home."

This hierarchy of motherhood is anti-gospel. Colossians 2:23 says, “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” (ESV) Birth culture seeks to spiritualize things that are not spiritual. As a result, women in both camps are suffering. Women who don't have natural births lose a little shine on their Mommy badges. They feel guilty and inferior. The moms who take the all-natural route are also in danger. They ride on a false sense of security that only lasts as long as their perfect track record - and the bar keeps getting higher. How natural is natural? Where do we draw the line?

This is where we get a glimpse into the enemy camp. Satan is the master of decoys. He loves to distract us with a false enemy while he sneaks in the back door with his real ammo. So many moms gear up for the fiery arrows of vaccines, epidurals, and medical intervention. But Satan's real arrows are fear, anxiety, pride, and finding our identity in something other than Christ.

Recently I talked with a friend who had just delivered a beautiful, healthy baby. I asked her how her labor and delivery went. She said, "It didn't go at all like I planned. I was so disappointed. At the end, I was holding my beautiful baby and crying because I felt like a failure." My heart broke for my friend whose birth experience had been tainted - not because she had a hospital birth, but because she had misplaced hope.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, "Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith." (ESV)

Our only hope is Jesus Christ. There is no perfect birth plan. There is no perfect food. There are no perfect babies and no perfect mommies. But there is a perfect savior. If we hope in anything else we will be disappointed. We hope in His power to forgive our sin and we trust in His perfect plan for our lives. His plan might include an unexpected home birth for a mom who planned on a hospital birth but didn't make it in time. His plan might be a c-section for a mom who swore she wouldn't step foot into a hospital.

Any mom, whether hooked up to five different IVs or at home in her bathtub can glorify God with her birth story. Hospital Mom, did you miss the window to get that epidural you were depending on? Natural Mom, did you labor at home only to find yourself in a hospital 17 hours later? To both moms I want to say: You did not miss out on anything of eternal value. We only miss out on something if we don't put our hope in Jesus. We miss out on grace, peace, and joy. We are all on the same side, moms. It's the side of not really being in control of anything. God gets to write our birth plans. And He doesn't make mistakes.






"Sara Wallace does a wonderful job of taking the practicals of motherhood and relating them to the gospel. I highly recommend this for moms who don't have a lot of time to sit down and do a big Bible study." - Jennifer
Get your copy of "The Gospel-Centered Mom" on Amazon!
Also available on Etsy!
(Interested in a group rate? Email me at sarawallace1@gmail.com for details!) 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Getty Kids Hymnal: A Treasure Chest for the Whole Family! (EXCLUSIVE Discount Code)

A resource that will impact your family for generations...
                                        
      
Moms, I am excited for our generation of children. It’s easy to hyper-focus on the evil in our society, but the more Satan tries to twist the truth the more refined it becomes. Our kids are growing up in a revival of love for the truth. Out of that revival beautiful treasures are being born - resources that will help us parent according to scripture.

One of those resources is just being released today (9/23). Keith and Kristyn Getty have released their new album, “Getty Kids Hymnal: In Christ Alone.” I was thrilled to get a sneak peek at this project. As my four boys and I gathered around to hear the first strains of worship, I literally felt like we were opening a treasure chest. I want to share with you three reasons why this album instantly became part of the Wallace home. 
                                  
Truth-Filled

So much of today’s kids’ music is like candy - fun, but overall not very beneficial. The Getty Kids  Hymnal is a full, satisfying meal - something that will actually nourish our children and help them grow. Every word is purposeful, driving our kids’ hearts deeper into an understanding of what we believe. In fact, that’s the name of one of my favorite songs on the album: “We Believe.” The words are taken from the Apostles’ Creed, which my kids hear regularly from the pulpit on Sunday. Now those words can resonate in their hearts throughout the day set to the beautiful melody on this album. Keith says, “The words we sing when we’re young are the words that stick with us.” Let’s make those words count.

Timeless

Although it’s called a “kids” hymnal, this is truly an album for the whole family. For me, the test of a good kids’ album is if I pop it in just for myself even when the kids aren’t around. Last night when I was cleaning the kitchen I turned on the track “Living Waters.” It was exactly what I needed to hear at the end of a long, full day. It fed my soul, lifted my spirits, and made it hard for me to see the dishes through my tears. Solid theology set to masterfully written music is what will make this collection go down in history. And I have to say, I am in love with the Irish flare.

                             

When my boys saw this picture of the sweet Getty girls dancing they said, “Can those girls come here and dance with us?” The joy from the album is contagious. It has a celebratory vibe that reminds us of our hope and joy in Christ. Keith and Kristyn wanted to create a legacy of timeless music that we can pass on for generations to come. That’s exactly what they did.

Gospel-Centered

I love knowing that this music points my kids to Christ and not to themselves. Whether they are old enough to know it or not, their hearts are soaking up beautiful truths about Jesus. The songs are not about how Jesus makes us feel, but about who Jesus is. What a beautiful gift to give our kids - to show them that Jesus is alive, that He saves, that He restores, feeds, and protects us. There is nothing I want more for my kids than to know this winsome savior.

If we teach our kids God’s word when they are young it will stay in their hearts forever. I am thankful to the Getty’s for helping equip parents to teach the gospel to their children. Our kids might not understand all of it yet, but I agree with Kristyn: “It will be there when they need it.” Isaiah 55:11 says, “My word shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” God’s word is alive. I can’t wait to see what it does in the hearts of my kids.
 

Order your copy of the Getty Kids Hymnal today and get 10% off when you use the code GOSPELCENTERED. Grab a copy for a new mom who needs encouragement! 


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 Sara Wallace is the author of "The Gospel-Centered Mom" Bible study. Available on Amazon and Etsy!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Homeschool Schedule: Homeschooling with Five Little Boys

I'm always inspired by how other moms organize their time, especially with lots of little ones under foot. I love hearing the practical break down of another mom's day. So, in keeping with that spirit, I want to take you on a tour of my homeschool day. I have four little boys and I'm seven months pregnant with boy #5.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chuck the Chore Chart? A New Way to Think About Chore Charts



Over the last couple years I have found myself in a beautiful stage of child-raising: my kids can actually clean. My boys are 6, 5, 4, and 2. All four of them can put away clothes and toys, and the two oldest can wipe windows and counters. The can all (attempt to) make their beds. The oldest can clean out the van and the youngest can finally tell the difference between the trash can and the hamper (it was a bit disastrous before that). They don’t do their work spotlessly, but at seven months pregnant I’ll take what I can get. 
As soon as I realized my kids were at an age where they could do chores my biggest question was: “What chore chart do I want to use?” There was a sea of colorful, inspiring ideas on Pinterest. It was a bit overwhelming, but I was excited to start. I dove in and we were “chore charting” it up. But it didn’t take long for me to see that a friendly chore chart could quickly become my enemy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

No Structure = No Discipline



I’ve only played paintball once in my life. I hated it.

I don’t have an ounce of tomboy in me, which is probably why God blessed me with five little boys. Paintball was a terrifying to me. I never knew when or where a painful sting would hit, followed by the splat of neon goo. By the end of the game I was shaking and I was covered with hits.

Isn’t that exactly how we mamas often feel at the end of a “discipline day?” You know what I mean. The bullets start flying first thing in the morning. The toddler chucks his breakfast on the floor. The four-year-old hits his brother. The oldest decides to enter teenage rebellion at age 6. Every discipline situation is like an unexpected, painful hit from out of nowhere.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Why We Don't Punish Our Kids



In 2013, 16-year-old Cooper Van Huizen was sentenced to two years in prison for stealing his father’s gun. The gun was used in a violent burglary and the boy was held responsible for providing it. His family sobbed as he was led away to a maximum-security prison. Cold, hard justice had been served.

Switch scenes. The setting is my living room. The 4-year-old just wrecked his brother’s Lego pirate ship (with a mischievous grin, of course). Court is in session.

(To read the rest of this article, check out its new home at The Gospel Coalition!)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Homeschool Curriculum - Video

Hi Moms! This is the video where I talk about what curriculum we've chosen for the year and why. I have a teaching credential and I taught elementary school for four years before I started having kids of my own. Now they are my favorite students. I have combined my oldest two into second grade and I am doing preschool/kindergarten with child #3 this year. I also have a two-year-old and another one on the way - due in two months! This video specifically focuses on our curriculum. If you'd like to see how a typical day looks for us, with tips on how to juggle homeschooling and toddlers, check out my blog post "Homeschooling with Five Little Boys".

Sunday, June 19, 2016

After the Conference High Ends




I have to admit something right off the bat: I'm not a huge fan of women's conferences. I have nothing against women gathering together to worship, study truth, and challenge their thinking. Unfortunately, there are many women's conferences flying under the banner of the Bible that are more focused on manufacturing emotional highs than on teaching truth. They send us into a tailspin of emotions that ultimately bring us crashing back down with little to show for it. Being away from home and surrounded by women all longing for spiritual fulfillment creates an atmosphere of vulnerability. God calls us to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23). Part of that responsibility means being extremely picky when it comes to women's conferences. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

"Help! My Husband Won't Help with the Kids!"


It's been a long day. Like, the milk soaked into the wooden frame of the couch and your second child ate a caterpillar kind of a day. In the middle of trying to decide what you can make for dinner out of the only three ingredients left in the fridge, you hear your husband pull up from work. As he walks into the house your first thought is an angry vent of pent-up stress: “He never helps around here!”

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Polite Rudeness and the Not-So-Quiet-Time Strategy (Video)

Welcome, Moms! I hope this video gives you a boost for your week. Sending you love and sympathy!

- Sara








("The Gospel-Centered Mom" Bible study is a must-have for busy moms who want to be in the Word. Get your copy on Etsy or Amazon.)

Monday, May 9, 2016

My Life in a 5 Minute Video

Well, it's finally come to this. 

The "Gospel-Centered Mom" blog is embarking on a new adventure. 

I have to warn you: you are about to watch a video of a mom in her natural habitat. It's messy. It's unpredictable. And even though I didn't vacuum for you and I am in my slippers, I warmly welcome you to my life. Pull up a chair and let's chat. 








("The Gospel-Centered Mom" Bible study is a must-have for busy moms who want to be in the Word. Get your copy on Etsy or Amazon.)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

46 Bible Passages Your Kids Should Memorize Before Leaving the Nest


Hi, Moms! I am so excited to share this with you. Yes, these are my sweet boys. They have something to share with you, too. 


About a year ago I created "Memory Verse Kits" for families. They sold out quickly and with baby #5 on the way I do not plan on making more in the near future. BUT - I wanted to pass along the list of verses to you so you can print out your own verse kit if you so choose! Scripture memory is one of the greatest life-long gifts we can give our children. I want to encourage you moms - start today! You and your family will be so enriched by committing God's Word to memory. 

I want to bless you mamas by taking out the work of combing through scripture and making the painstaking choices of which verses to choose. My husband helped me narrow down our list based on three things: A thorough knowledge of the gospel, Christian character, and defending the faith. We take a gospel-centered approach to parenting, so we chose many passages that specifically point our kids back to the plan of redemption. We chose to use notecards and we weave them into our homeschool days. I would LOVE to hear other creative strategies you mamas use to help your kids memorize scripture. Please comment below with any tips or questions you have. 

* These from the New American Standard Bible
** This list works well even if your kids are already in an AWANA program. There is a lot of crossover, but also more passages that help fill in some gaps that AWANA doesn't cover. 
*** "Passage" refers to consecutive verses. There are actually 72 individual verses in this list. 


Please print them, share them, pin them...from my heart to yours! 


Creation 

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

John 1:1-3 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Psalm 100:3
Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Jeremiah 32:17 
Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.

Colossians 1:16 
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.

God’s Word

2 Timothy 3:16-17 
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Psalm 19:7- 8 
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Psalm 119:105 
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Psalm119:9 
How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.

Hebrews 4:12 
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Gospel 

Ephesians 2:8-9 
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

John 14:6 
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

John 3:16 
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Titus 3:5 
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 11:1 
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Romans Road

Romans 3:23 
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Roman 6:23 
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8 
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:9 
That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 5:1 
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Confession and Forgiveness

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 103:12
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 51:10 
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 32:5 
I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.

Prayer 

Matthew 6:9-10 
Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:11-13 
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

James 1:5
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Romans 8:26
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Loving Others

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Luke 10:27
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. 

Romans 12:9-10
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.

Matthew 7:12
In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

James 1:19
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.

Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Ephesians 6:10 
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 

Ephesians 6:11
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 

Ephesians 6:13
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 

Ephesians 6:14
Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness. 

Ephesians 6:15
and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 

Ephesians 6:16
in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  

Ephesians 6:17
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:18
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.



God’s Sovereignty

Ephesians 1:4-5
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.

Romans 9:15-16
For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

John 10:28-29
And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Psalm 139:16
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.

Isaiah 45:7 
The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity;

I am the Lord who does all these.

Trusting God 

Proverbs 3:5-6 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 26:4
Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.

Psalm 32:7 
You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. 

New Life in Christ 

Ephesians 5:8 
For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.

Colossians 3:1-3
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Galatians 2:20 
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.


"The Gospel-Centered Mom" Bible study is a must-have for busy moms who want to be in the Word. Get your copy on Etsy or Amazon.