Category Archives: Parenting

Episode 83: We’re Raising Adults, Social…Not Social Media…for Kids, and More! [Podcast]

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On this week’s podcast, Adam and Leah look back at Maywood Christian Camp, forward to the Summer Gospel Meeting at 9th Avenue, then share great parenting links. There is a discussion about what a Stanford dean thinks every 18-year-old should be able to do, and some thoughts on why children should not be involved in social media.

Enjoy the podcast. Resources are below.


A Stanford dean on adult skills every 18-year-old should have” [Quartz]

Why My Kids Don’t Have Social Media” [CC + Mike]

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Episode 82: How to Actually Enjoy a Busy Summer [Podcast]

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Summer is a wonderful time of year. If families are not intentional, however, the summer can pass without doing all those things they want to do. On this podcast, Adam and Leah talk about their busy summer, and share a few simple tips for making sure you enjoy these months and all the activities they contain.


Transitions” (Donna Faughn on A Legacy of Faith)

Making Summer Plans” (Arrows in Our Hand podcast)

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Cousins’ Camp 2017 has come and gone for another year. We have worshiped together, played games, done crafts, done sidewalk chalk, jumped at Vertical Jump Park, had our picture taken wearing our Cousin’s Camp T-shirts, eaten food (and lots of it), won prizes, put new flowers on the graves of their great-grandparents, fussed a little, cried a little, laughed a lot, had our talent show, sung together, prayed together, and had devotionals presented by Grampy and the three boys.

This was our fifth year for this gathering and it seemed like everyone had a good time. Three years ago we began assigning a theme for each year. The first theme was “Discovery” and the second was “Exploration.” This year’s theme was “Transitions.”

We’ve had some transitions in our family (just like each family does) that were worth thinking about. Jim retired from full-time pulpit preaching, Luke turned 16 and will be getting a driver’s license, and the younger ones have transitioned to higher grades. While no one moved to another place in the last year, each of them has undergone transitions in their lives as they moved to new places to live and attend school.

We want our grandchildren to understand that transitions come into each of our lives, and while some of them seem of little importance, some are much larger and affect life more drastically.

When the boys gave their devotionals, we were pleased to hear them talk about those in the Bible who underwent transitions in life. They talked about Saul of Tarsus, the Ethiopian eunuch, Jesus, and others who had great transitions in their lives. One even mentioned people from history like Martin Luther who made transitions in life.   

When our final prayer was said on our last morning together, Luke (our oldest grandson) talked about this theme and asked God to help us with the transitions that come into our lives. He thanked God for the time we got to spend together, and asked God for safety as they began to travel home.

Jim and I have been blessed to watch these grandchildren transition through life. With all of the ups and downs they still are moving in the direction of Heaven. Our daily prayer for them is that they will always live in such a way that their final transition will be to their heavenly home. I think they understand that a little better now after Cousin’s Camp 2017…”Transitions.”

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.  Make them known to your children and your children’s children…

so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.“  Deuteronomy 4:9,10

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AUTHOR: Donna Faughn

Free Resources for Pew Packers (or Family Devotionals)

Nearly every Sunday evening, I get the privilege of sitting down front with some of our elementary and preschool children at 9th Avenue and leading Pew Packers. While you just never know what might happen during those 10 minutes, it is a joy to watch these students sing and learn Bible facts.

Pew Packers is considered by some to be outdated, but that is only if we treat it as such! Instead, I see it as 10 invaluable minutes each week with these precious children. As such, we are always looking for ways to improve Pew Packers and to make it a helpful time for our students.

Today, I am pleased to let you know that we have compiled a good amount of the information we have used, are using, and plan to use in Pew Packers and we have made it available on our website…for free!

At Polishing the Pulpit last year, I heard someone give an idea for a “Bible Passport,” and immediately wrote down the idea as something for our Pew Packers to do. We waited until after the Lads to Leaders convention to start our “Bible Travelers,” but I think the kids are really catching on.

Each week, we sing some songs, then we rehearse a few Bible facts. If a student memorizes a list, they are given a stamp that reads “9th Avenue Pew Packers Bible Traveler” in their passport. They also can get stamps for memorizing Bible verses.

With that in mind, you will find 3 pages of information on our Pew Packers page:

Bible Adventures Achievement List. This page lists the requirements for students to earn stamps in their passports. Some are very easy (sing the books of the New Testament), because we want quick “wins,” and also because we have some preschoolers in Pew Packers. Others, however, are more difficult. I’m sure that, over time, we will add more lists so our students can earn even more stamps.

Pew Packers Songs. We sing a lot in Pew Packers. Most of the songs are well-known, but we still wanted to provide a recording of the song, as well as the lyrics, just in case some do not know them.

Memory Verse Songs. Since students can earn stamps for memorizing Bible verses, we want to have a resource for families to help their kids with this. So, we have a page where we put short, simple, and memorable songs that teach Bible verses to kids. This list is growing constantly, especially as we emphasize memorizing verses from 1st and 2nd Corinthians this year for Lads to Leaders.

We hope this page is one you bookmark and will use often. Certainly, there are so many other things that can be done in Pew Packers or other similar programs, but we hope this at least gives you some more material to use. If your congregation does not have a program like this, these pages still contain information you may want to use in your family devotionals.

Either way, we hope you will take advantage of our Pew Packers information and help precious children learn the Word of God.

To access the page, simply click here.

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Sun and More and Stars Galore!

One of my favorite Bible songs to sing with my children when they were younger was the Days of Creation song. Many of you may recognize today’s title from the verse about Day 4: “Day 4, day, 4: Sun and moon and stars galore!”

At my school, we are gearing up for a very special day involving those elements of God’s universe. Quoting from the website

On August 21, 2017, millions of people across the United States will see nature’s most wondrous spectacle — a total eclipse of the Sun. It is a scene of unimaginable beauty; the Moon completely blocks the Sun, daytime becomes a deep twilight, and the Sun’s corona shimmers in the darkened sky. This is your guide to understand, prepare for, and view this rare celestial event.

I recently attended a training geared toward helping teachers incorporate this great event into the standards they are required to cover. There were amazing and creative ways to help even our youngest students gain knowledge from this event. One of my favorites involved our kindergarteners getting to chart the sun’s position at different times of the day on a panoramic photo of our actual school.

One thing stood out to me in this training that was probably not intended. The presenters kept talking about the rarity of this event and how many different elements have to be precisely in line for this to occur. The moon has to be at an exact distance from the earth in its orbit. The tilt must be perfect. The website I referenced above says it this way: “We on Earth occupy a celestial sweet spot to witness this sight.

And yet, many of the online videos and scientific sites refer to coincidence. They seem amazed that the universe could randomly and yet perfectly align for this to happen. May I suggest that it’s because it wasn’t random and didn’t “just happen”?!

Design demands a designer and since they were very little, my children have known that the Designer, on Day 4, made the sun and moon and stars galore! To put it in God’s words from Genesis 1:14-19:

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

For the record, many of my public school coworkers agree with my sentiments. Parents, make sure your children do, too. I encourage you to look up this August 21, whether you are in the path of totality, as we in Cookeville are, or under the penumbra (partial eclipse). As you look up and view this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime event, remember the Designer who designed it and marvel at His works.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” ~Psalm 19:1

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AUTHOR: Amber Tatum

Describing Your Children

Your children are ___________.

How would you fill in that blank? Better yet; how would you like for others to fill in that blank?

Those of us who are parents (or grandparents) have probably had the experience of somebody filling in that blank for us. It may have been in the course of a conversation. It may have been in some sort of formal setting. It could be almost anywhere. It could be almost any time. 

Somebody will walk up to us, drop us a note, send a text, call us on the phone, or in some way communicate to us what his or her opinion is of our children. We may have tears after that experience. 

They may be tears of anger. Some inconsiderate and unfeeling person has said something to us that did not help at all. In fact, it seemed as though their only intention was to hurt.

Because I have been hurt, the tears may have been tears of pain. To be sure, the criticism that caused the hurt may have been totally justified. It still hurts when I learn that my child has done or said something that goes against everything I’ve tried to instill in him or her. 

The tears may be tears of sorrow. Along with the hurt (and maybe the anger), I may feel genuine sorrow because of what my child has done or said. I may also be moved to tears for how the words, deeds, or lifestyle has affected my child. He or she may be in a situation and/or an environment that is nowhere near optimal. 

Of course, there is another possibility. I could hear something about my child that brings tears of joy!

Here is where the real soul-searching begins. What could be said about your child that would cause you to shed tears of joy? What word would you put in that blank that would accomplish that?

May I suggest a few that would do that for a lot of people?

  • Your children are handsome/beautiful/good looking.
  • Your children are smart.
  • Your children are athletic.
  • Your children are popular.
  • Your (adult) children are rich.
  • Your (adult) children are powerful.
  • Your (adult) children are well-connected.

May I suggest a word that is not on that list? May I also suggest that it takes a lot of hard work on the part of parents? May I further suggest that the reason that this is not said to more parents about more children is that far too many parents are entirely too concerned about some of the “blank fillers” I’ve already suggested?

Along with all of those suggestions, it must be acknowledged that children do not come with guarantees. All of us know godly, devoted parents who worked diligently and prayerfully to “…bring (their children) up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). This is not being written as any sort of blanket indictment of parents who cannot hear the word that I have in mind.

What I am trying to suggest is that there will, indeed, be tears of anger, pain, and sorrow in every family. What I am suggesting is that those tears will not compare to the tears of joy if somebody can truthfully say –

Your children are faithful.

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AUTHOR: Jim Faughn

A Quote for Your Mother’s Day

Memories of Mom

(photo of Ruth Turner, daughter Donna faughn, Granddaughter Amber tatum, and great-granddaughter lyssabeth tatum, taken about 2008)

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck” (Proverbs 1:8-9). So said the wise man Solomon. 

Many of us were raised in homes where our fathers and mothers loved and cared for us. They provided for our needs and taught us much about how to live in this world. Some were blessed to have both parents as faithful Christians, and some of us were not. This was the case in my home. My father was not a faithful Christian while I was growing up. He had been baptized as a young person but left the church early in his marriage to my mother. My mother, on the other hand, remained faithful to God and taught me much about serving Him and living for Him.

When my mother was in the last few weeks of her life, I visited with her often at the assisted living home where she lived. On one particular day when I arrived she was asleep on her bed. I knew she hadn’t been feeling well so I didn’t want to disturb her. 

I pulled a chair quietly to the side of the bed and just watched her sleep. I sat there and made what I called “mental snapshots” of the beauty of this woman who had raised me to be the woman I am.

Let me share with you a few of those thoughts:

  • She was a loving mother. I never doubted for a single minute as a child her love for me and my brother. She saw to our needs to the best of her ability. I can recall to mind so easily the clothes she made for me, often after working a long hard day at the hospital. She was that Titus 2 woman. She loved us and she loved God.
  • She was disciplined and she disciplined us. In every aspect of her life, she was self-controlled. Days were planned with what must be done and what could be done. There was no “sleeping in” for her children (unless you were sick) because she had plans for your day too! Along with that, she disciplined us to behave like she wanted us to and God wanted us to. I have picked many switches from trees in order for her to teach me a lesson.  I learned quickly!
  • She was a hard worker.  I don’t recall much time when she just sat down and rested.  She kept an immaculate house and served great meals.  The yard and flowers in the yard were beautiful and cared for. Spare time was something she didn’t know much about. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, idleness was not part of her life.
  • She was a nurse. Being a young woman during World War II, she felt it her calling to enter the army where she was trained and became a nurse in the armed forces. Caring for others made up much of who she was. She didn’t think much about herself, but most often focused on what she could do for others.
  • She was committed. While serving in a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, a young man was shipped from Europe back to the states with a horrible injury from battle and she became his nurse. She later married him and nursed him for the next sixty years. Many of those sixty years were not happy years for her because of his lifestyle after leaving the church, but she had taken vows before God to stay together for life. She lived up to that commitment we read about in Matthew 19:6. In the last years of their marriage, he returned to God and the church in part, I believe, because of her example in life. (1 Peter 3:1-2)
  • She was beautiful. Oh, she was a beautiful woman on the outside, but more importantly, she was beautiful on the inside. She had a heart that always sought to do what was right in God’s eyes, while others around her were doing wrong. She spoke with wisdom and showed compassion to others.

I was blessed with a wonderful mother. She wasn’t perfect, but she was close in my eyes. I often look at her picture on my desk and when our eyes meet, I stop and say a prayer of thanksgiving for the mother with which God blessed me.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed;”  (Prov. 31:28)

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  (Prov. 31:30)

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AUTHOR: Donna Faughn

Episode 80: The Big Picture of Parenting, No Complaining Day, Manners for Toddlers, and More! [Podcast]

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For the 80th episode of the podcast, Adam and Leah go a little long, but hopefully share some things that will touch every parent’s heart. They talk about how we need to see the big picture in parenting and not the everyday frustrations. They talk about their recent “no complaining” day and what a difference it made. And Leah tries to guess a list of 10 manners every toddler should learn.

Enjoy it all, and more, on this week’s show. Links below.


The Day My Child Lost Her Joy–And What I Did to Revive It” (For Every Mom)

Sometimes We Have to Step Back for Parenting to Come Into Focus” (We are THAT Family)

Manners and Common Courtesies Toddlers Should Learn” (Of the Hearth)

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Episode 79: 100 Verses Resource, Expenses Parents Don’t Need, Surprising Parenting Statistics, and More! [Podcast]

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On our latest podcast, Adam and Leah spend some time sharing family updates, then discuss a great article about how parents can cut expenses by thinking about what is most important. Finally, they discuss some research from the Kaiser Family group that is a bit surprising (and sad). Find the links below.


100 Verses to Know from 1st and 2nd Corinthians [pdf from A Legacy of Faith]

8 Kid Expenses that Are Not Worth the Money, According to Real Parents [Healthy Way]

Sex on TV 4 [pdf from Kaiser Family Foundation]

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