Archive for the 'Christianity' Category


putting God first

We did a quick family night on Tuesday night that I really liked.  If you go to the Thriving Family website, you can check out the whole activity.  (We did the school-age activity.)  The key message for our girls was when we’re not intentional about putting God first in our everyday life, there tends to be no time for praying, serving, and reading the Bible.  But when we put God first in our lives, everything else fits, (things like getting homework done, chores, playing with friends, TV time, etc.)!  In our family, one simple way we put God first is every morning before school we read a passage of scripture.  Last year it was Proverbs, (we would read Proverbs 9 if it was March 9th).  This year we are reading Psalms.  Then we pray together for our day, our teacher, our friends, and our school.  It takes a total of 5 minutes each morning.

Back to the activity (we used walnuts instead of golf balls like it suggests on the website):

The rice represents daily activities that are “unspiritual”.  If you put the rice in first,then try to fit the three walnuts in (which represent reading the Bible, praying, and

serving one another), everything won’t fit in the jar!

But if you put the walnuts in first (put God first in your life)
before all the rice (the daily activities)
then everything fits in the jar!

celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Bible!

The Valentine countdown had me thinking of how I could incorporate the Bible into the next holiday, (or some would say “just a day to wear green”), Saint Patrick’s Day.  Our kids will be seeing leprechauns, rainbows, and pots of gold all around stores, school, etc., so I say, might as well celebrate it!  I came up with the idea of finding 17 Bible verses that have to do with “gold.”  My plan is to make a giant rainbow on the wall (probably with the Super Wikki Stix the girls got for Christmas), and then print each Bible verse below on a circle of gold paper (to look like a gold coin).  Starting March 1st, the girls will take turns each day til March 17th finding one “gold coin Bible verse” in the house, (I plan to have a gold wrapped chocolate candy attached to each verse that they get to eat when they find it!)  When they find it, we will discuss the verse, and then tape it at “the end of the rainbow”!  Who knows, we may even have a leprechaun or two watching!  They need Jesus too!  😉

example of one of our gold coins

Bible verses: (fyi Psalm 45:13-15 and 1 Tim. 2:9-10 are “girl verses”)

Exodus 20:23 You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold.

Job 23:10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.

Job 31:24, 28 If I have made gold my trust or called fine gold my confidence, 28 this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for I would have been false to God above.

Psalm 19:9-10  the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.  [10] More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;

Psalm 45:13-15  All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.  14 In many-colored robes she is led to the king,
with her virgin companions following behind her.  15With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.

Psalm 105:37   Then he brought out Israel with silver and gold, and there was none among his tribes who stumbled.  (see Exodus 12:31-42)

Psalm 119:72  The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Psalm 119:127  Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.

Proverbs 3:14  For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.

Proverbs 8:19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver!

Proverbs 16:16  How much better to get wisdom than gold!

Proverbs 22:1  Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.

Haggai 2:8  The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts.

Matthew 2:11  And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

1 Tim. 2:9-10  likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, [10] but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

1 Peter 1:7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 21:18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. (speaking of heaven)
Here is a picture of my rainbow and pot of gold I made using Wiki Stix.  And the gold coins that we taped up every day from March 1st-17th.

wearing their green!

Valentine countdown

I love holidays.  You probably already know this about me!  🙂  I don’t care if people think Hallmark invented Valentines Day just so they could sell cards, I like purposely taking a day aside in the year to remind each other to celebrate love for one another.  I’m always looking for creative ways to celebrate holidays, especially when you can incorporate Jesus!   (Example: the pumpkin gospel at Halloween.)  So for Valentines Day, I was perusing the web, when I stumbled upon this idea!  A Valentine countdown starting on February 1st!  Write 14 Scriptures about love on construction paper hearts and each night at dinner, talk about the verse on the “heart of the day” and then we are going to stick up the hearts around our house as reminders/decoration!  I love crafting, so I already made up these hearts and will surprise the girls with them on February 1st!

our 14 hearts with verses on them

So, in case you too would like to do this, here is the list of 14 Bible verses that would work great with your Valentine countdown!

Psalm 36:5
5 Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Psalm 52:8
8 But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
Proverbs 8:17
17 I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
Song of Solomon 2:4
4 Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
and let his banner over me be love.
Jeremiah 31:3
3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 15:13
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Romans 5:8
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Ephesians 2:4-5
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 5:2
2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
1 John 3:1
1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 John 4:9-10
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.


our jesse tree

Merry Christmas!  We finished our Jesse tree today with the star on the top of the tree to represent Jesus!  The girls really enjoyed making ornaments this month for each day of Advent and we plan on doing the Jesse tree every Christmas season!

James did an awesome job building the tree
I put signs above each ornament to remind the girls(and me) what each ornament symbolized.

Hope your day is filled with the light of the Savior!

Christmas Eve 2010

Star of Bethlehem

Almost every Christmas for the past 9 years, my dad, Dr. Rick Erickson, has been presenting the “Star of Bethlehem” to thousands in Texas.  He finally has put it on the web so everyone can watch it!  It is so fascinating and really will blow your mind.  How can you NOT believe in God after watching this is my question?!?  Like did you know God tells the story of Jesus’ birth and death in the constellations?  If you have a spare 2 hours, I would totally recommend watching this (first hour) and this (last hour) on your computer!  And I’m not just saying this because he’s my dad!

Here is a little article on him from the past:

“Dr. Richard Erickson, Professor of Medicine at Texas A & M Health Science Center and Director of the Division of Gastroenterology at Scott and White hospital Temple, will present his multi-media program The Star of Bethlehem at the Central Texas College Planetarium this coming Tuesday evening, November 25, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Dr. Erickson, who is an elder of the Temple Bible Church, is an amateur astronomer and loves both the physical and biological sciences. He is especially interested in teaching topics which help people to “reconcile” science and the Bible. He was naturally drawn to the subject of the star of Bethlehem when his daughter (THAT’S ME!) invited him to a presentation on it at College Station five years ago. He has been researching and teaching on this topic ever since then, and each year his presentation incorporates more of his findings.”


eternal conversations

Yesterday was Rilyn and I’s annual back to school daddy-daughter date and like last year we headed over to Austin Park n Pizza for some miniature golf, go-karts (Rilyn gets to drive her own car), video games, and tea-cups; I almost let loose on that ride, Rilyn ended up riding again by herself just so she could spin as much as she wanted. We ended the trip at Sonic sharing a blended root beer float.
Chilling at Sonic was our first time in a long time to really get to talk about the upcoming school year and for me to get to listen and share my heart with her. We talked about what to expect in 1st grade from tests to social woes and from what I can tell, she seems ready and excited to get going. She takes after her mom in that arena. Her affinity for organized days filled with achievable tasks fits right in with her Julie-like personality.
While we were there, I wanted to take the chance and talk about more eternal things also. You see, for a while Julie and I have been wrestling with our role and responsibility as it relates to her faith in Jesus Christ. From an early age, God has graced Rilyn with special affinity for God and His Good news. She is fascinated by and attracted to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus; to the point that if you ask her if she believes in Jesus, she says yes. We ask her if she loves Jesus and she says yes. To hear Rilyn say this gives Julie and I great joy.
This joy is in response to our deeply rooted longing for all our kids to love Jesus, to trust Him, to put their faith in Him, and be reconciled with their Heavenly Father, the Creator of the universe. God’s word reveals to us that this reconciliation with our Heavenly Father comes only to those who by grace have faith in Jesus. Romans 10:9-11:
“9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
I discussed this very truth with Rilyn last night and she clearly communicated her love for Jesus, and that she believes He is the Lord of heaven and earth. Does this mean that she is saved? That is the question Julie and I are wrestling with. It is clear that the word of God teaches that salvation comes to those who confess with their mouth AND believe in their heart that Jesus is who the Bible says He is. How can you know what is really going on in her heart?
I tried to assess that on our way back home. My first question was, “Rilyn, who is the giver of all good gifts?”
“Jesus” she replied
Right answer, but I wanted to get to the heart, so I asked, “What if Jesus took all your toys away, would you still love Him?”
“Yes,” she replied
“Why,” I asked.
“Because He was crucified for me,” she responded.
Wow, that was a big word, not one we use very often. I probed a little deeper, “What if Jesus took daddy away, would you still love Him?”
To which she wilted a bit and weakly said, “Yes”
Torn between giving her a hug and pressing on, I asked her, “Why?”
Sniffling a little bit she responded, “Because He loves me.”
Looking at Rilyn I am encouraged and overwhelmed by the grace bestowed on her by our Heavenly Father that at such a young age her words would echo the truth revealed through Paul’s letter to the Philippians chapter 3 verse 8,
“8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ”
Is Rilyn His? I believe so. Only time and a life full of faith in Christ bearing fruit of His spirit will tell. The Bible teaches that those who are born-again will continue trusting in Christ forever. God, by His own power through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, keeps or preserves the believer forever. Praise be to God whose does not sleep or slumber, who will never forsake his children no matter what.
My part to play in all this is not to doubt her words or question her heart but to teach Him & His word and trust His work through the Spirit so that she will put her confidence in Him leading to a life of obedience. There is a great sermon on Our Calling as Parents founded on Psalm 78:1-8.
Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4 We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should teach them to their children, 6 that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, 7 that they should put their confidence in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, 8 and not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
In His truth I will put my trust and in His promises I will put my hope.


‘the talk’

Last month I was blessed by visiting with my dear friend from Houston, Marisa.  She is a pastor’s wife from our old church in Katy, Kingsland Baptist.  I always love talking with her because of her passion for the Lord and her spunky tell-it-like-it-is attitude!  She has a 6 1/2 year old son and one of the things she told me that night was, “I just had the sex talk with K.” 


I knew that sending Rilyn to public school, I would have to do ‘the talk’ sooner rather than later, but THIS early?!?  And her son is homeschooled!  So, naturally, I wanted to hear all about  ‘the talk’ with her son. 

When I got home from coffee that night I talked with James and we really felt that God used Marisa as a vessel to remind us “now is the time.”  I had already heard stories of moms telling me their kids had heard about sex during playground conversations at public school in first grade so I did have it in the back of my mind that we should prepare Rilyn. 

 There are these awesome books out there, called God’s Design for Sex series (4 books) that Marisa used.  The first book you read to your child is written for children ages 3-5!!!  Then the second book you read from ages 5-8, third book age 8-11, and fourth book age 11-14 years.  We bought books 1 and 2.  I love the forward in these books, “Why start early? (teaching your kids about sex)  Because if you as the parent are not teaching your kids about sexuality, they are learning distorted lessons about it from television, the Internet, and playground conversations.  If you stand silent on sex while the rest of the world is abuzz about it, kids come to the conclusion that you cannot help them in this key area.  If you start now in teaching godly, truthful, tactful, and appropriate lessons about sexuality, your children will trust you more and see you as a mother or father who tells the truth!”   Wow.

The first book is entitled, The Story of Me by Stan and Brenna Jones.  The second book is called Before I was Born.  The first book discusses the growth of a child inside a mother’s body and the birth process.  The second book discusses the growth and change as boys and girls become men and women and a tactful but direct explanation of sexual intercourse between a husband and wife. 

So today, I took Rilyn for the day shopping and out to lunch for a mother/daughter date and we had ‘the talk’.  I read to her both books.  The second book is way more graphic in detail than the first and honestly, it was hard to read to my baby girl.  ‘The talk’ went well.  She didn’t ask too many questions, so I plan on reading it to her again next year and the next…She did at one point cover her ears and when I asked why, she said “Because you are about to talk about privates.”  (She saw the picture.)   We talked about that everything I was reading to her is only to be discussed between mommy, daddy and her (or her doctor) and that’s it.  One day she can talk to her husband about it.  😉  We also talked about if she hears things at school, she can always tell me. 

I feel at peace with today knowing that God means for Christian parents to be the primary sex educators of their children.  And first messages are most powerful; why wait until your child hears the wrong thing and then try to correct the misunderstanding?  Sexuality is a beautiful gift; why not present it to your children the way God intended?  Why not establish yourself as the trusted expert to whom your children can turn to find out God’s truth about sexuality?


walking lessons

We took a family walk on our family night last week.  We used this great FREE resource from Family Time Training.

First lesson during our walk:
Phil. 3:13-14 “But one thing I do:  forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

The “Walk”:  Each of us takes turns walking backwards while the others walk forward.  Notice if the walk slows down or if stumbling occurs.

The “Talk”:  Is it easier to stumble moving forward or backwards?  Can you see the goal ahead of you when you are walking backwards?

What happens when you are always looking behind?

Second lesson:
Mark 12:31a “Love your neighbor as yourself”
The “Walk”: Have each person trade shoes with another family member.
The “Talk”: The Bible tells us to love our neighbors. One way to do this is to try to understand them better. There’s a saying about putting “ourselves in the other person’s shoes” when we are having a hard time understanding someone. (This is especially important to talk about with Rilyn who will encounter children at school that are very different from her.) Talk about if you had to suddenly live in one or our neighbor’s lives would it be easy? How can we be more understanding? Pray for them!

James trying to walk in Rilyn’s flip flops!
Rilyn trying to walk in daddy’s flip flops!  Too heavy!

Third lesson:
Galatians 6:2a “Bear one another’s burdens…”
The “Walk”: Have one person sit on the ground as if not able to move. The others will have to help carry the immobile member.
The “Talk”: How can we all get to our goal together if one person can’t walk? How did it make you feel to know you were helping someone else?

A helpful thing we have started this past year is ‘family night journals’.

The girls record what they learned immediately after the family night.

This is Rilyn’s entry.

Fourth lesson:
John 12:35 “Then Jesus said to them, ‘A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going.”
The “Walk”: Take turns blindfolding each person one at a time and have them walk a distance without being able to see.
The “Talk”: Could you walk in confidence when you couldn’t see? Why do you think Jesus warns us to not walk in darkness?

How is walking without Jesus like walking blindfolded?

Fifth lesson:
Proverbs 11:3a “The integrity of the upright will guide them…”
The “Walk”: Have everyone crawl on their knees with the exception of one person. Have one person walk upright.
The “Talk”: Which person automatically moves to the front of the group? What kind of person is the Bible referring to when it speaks of someone who walks upright?

We plan on using this family night every year because it is so easy and our discussions will hopefully just get deeper and deeper! 

Oh, and where was Asher?  He was with us, just along for the ‘ride’!

He now only cruises with his feet lounging like this.

pins are sins

Last night we had family night and learned about how sin will blind us to God’s truth.  God will show us what we need to change when we ask Him to.  James particularly focused on the sin of treating your sister and/or brother wrongly.  He used the verse 1 John 2:10-11. ” Whoever loves his brother(sister) lives in light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.  But whoever hates his brother(sister) is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”

We talked about how people who are blind can’t see and need to have help to know where to go.  And that we can also be spiritually blind, (we begin to do things that we know we shouldn’t do and no longer feel bad about doing them), and need to ask for help from God.  Sometimes when we sin and keep on sinning, God let’s us become blind to His plan for us.

James asked if not showing love to eveyone or when we fight with people, including your sister or brother, could blind you to what God wants you to do.

Then we used the visuals to help.  We used small brass safety pins and mixed them with dry rice in a pie plate.  Look at the pins in this pan of rice.  Can you see them? 

The pins are easy to see!

 The pins represent sin. Right now I want you to pick up rice but not pick up any pins.

Easy right?

Now we are going to cover your eyes and I want you to pick up only the rice. (It is very hard to distinguish the rice from the pins when you can’t see!)

James really made sure Ella couldn’t see!

After they picked up a few handfuls we let them ‘see’ all the pins they picked up with the rice.  They both were really upset that they had picked up ‘sins.’
Was it easy to tell the rice from the pins when you couldn’t see? It’s the same way with sin in our lives. When we are blinded to sin, we can no longer tell the difference and it’s very easy to allow sin to creep into our lives, just the way the pins crept into our hands. When we could see, we could see the ‘sin’ and remove it. How do we do this in our own lives when we have become blinded?
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
We need to pray, asking God to remove the blinders on our eyes and to show us anything we need to change.  We then prayed together and asked for the Holy Spirit to reveal the sin in our lives.  This family night was admittedly a harder concept to grasp for them, but we believe His Word will not return void and we have already experienced multiple times in their daily lives where we can point back to our object lesson from past family nights!


Easter story cookies

Last year we made these Easter Story cookies on Saturday night that tells the story of Jesus dying on the cross and rising on the 3rd day.  I LOVE the concept however these cookies tasted disgusting.  (Sorry, just being honest! ) So, if you want to try it this year, I would highly recommend it for the ‘experience’ and ‘visual effect’!  This year we are going to try Resurrection Buns, which sound a lot yummier!
From April 2009

By the way, if you haven’t heard of Resurrection Eggs yet, they are an awesome way to teach your children about the Easter story. Here is a website that shows you how to make your own at home! So easy!

My photography business!

September 2021