Tag Archives: Suzanne Shares Book Club

Bethlehem Was Just Set Up On Our Table (20% off Little Peoples)

30 Nov

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“We just set up Bethlehem!” our almost 4 year old screamed this morning! That only means one thing around our home. We have just opened our Little Peoples Nativity Set. This is probably one of our family’s favorite Christmas decorations. Our boys are 8, 6, and almost 4, and they squeal and scream when we get this out each year. “Oh, I remember this!” was their reaction when we opened the box containing it this morning. That’s one thing that I love about traditions; children come to expect them. Traditions give them a place and identity in a family. For our sons, being a “Mosley” means Little Peoples Nativity Set, and their faces light up each year when we unveil it.

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highly, highly, highly recommend the Little Peoples Nativity Set for your family. For those of you who participated in the Suzanne Shares Book Club in October, you will remember that Noel Piper mentions in her book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions, is the idea of having Nativity Sets all over your home, including some “play” ones that children are allowed to touch. We have taken that approach and actually keep 2 Nativity Sets that are from other countries out all year. We have enjoyed the Fisher Price Little Peoples Set as a set that our boys can touch and play with. One of my favorite memories when our oldest son was 2 was getting out the set and having him act out the Christmas story with the appropriate Little People as we read it from his favorite Children’s Bible. This was at age 2 1/2. No, my husband and I aren’t superstars or anything; we are just firm believers that little kiddos can soak in, understand and comprehend much more than is assumed. Surrounding our boys and our family with Nativity Sets at Christmas make it hard to ignore or forget the reason for Christmas. 🙂

This makes a great Christmas gift for a newborn or a young child. Our oldest son got this for his first Christmas (age 6 months). What a helpful tool it will be for you to use with your children to tell them the story of Jesus.

You can buy the set from Fisher-Price. It has been out of stock, so I’m excited to see that today they have it! Currently, you can also get 20% off your order and FREE SHIPPING with an order of $25 (which would be the case with this set) when you use the codeSUPERSALE. (Expiration is 12/1)

Enjoy Christmas, and enjoy teaching your children (and reminding yourself) of Christ coming to earth!

Book Club: Treasuring God in Our Traditions–Where is my treasure?

8 Nov
Book Club

Thanks for joining us for our final day discussing Treasuring God in Our Traditions. If you missed the previous three posts, you’ll find them here, here, and here.

Where is my treasure?

I ask myself this question, and I find myself singing the Matthew 6:21 song from Seeds Family Worship cds….but I digress.


As we wind down our discussion of Treasuring God in Our Traditions, I wanted to end with a final quote from the book. I loved this quote because it  pierced me to the heart…

“But however much we want a significant Christmas celebration for our families, that is not the primary reason for our contemplation and self-examination. Our deeper motivation is the strengthening of our ultimate hope in Jesus.” (Treasuring God in Our Traditions, page 80)

When I think back to reading #2 of Treasuring God in Our Traditions, I will think of this quote; it was exactly what I needed to read. I can easily make an idol in my heart of a tradition that my family is doing for any particular holiday, or….full disclosure here…I can easily make an idol of my family. Ouch. If the tradition itself becomes the focal point of any holiday or celebration–the tail wagging the proverbial dog–rather than strengthening my hope, my children’s hope in Jesus, it is all for naught. I am all for traditions helping us refocus, re-calibrate our wandering hearts. I have even experienced the power of “going through the motions” of a tradition resulting in my cold heart being warmed and moved to worship God. However, if the traditions are the end all, sole focus of our celebrations, then those traditions will be hollow and leave us wanting. As St. Augustine so eloquently penned centuries ago, “For Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.” Our hearts will find peace and rest in Christ alone. Our children’s hearts will find peace and rest in Christ alone. May our “everyday” and “especially” traditions this year and every year make much of Christ.

Thanks for reading along in our first ever Book Club! What were the lessons that you learned? What traditions are you hoping to incorporate this next year?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Book Club: Treasuring God in Our Traditions: Everyday & Especially Traditions

7 Nov

Book Club

Thanks for joining us as we continue discussing Treasuring God in Our Traditions. If you missed the first two posts, you’ll find them here and here.

Traditions: Everyday and Especially
Yesterday we talked about the reality that Christians are to be a proactive people–intentionally celebrating, remembering, passing to the next generation the realities and truths of our great God. So, how can we be proactive about reminding ourselves of God, reflecting on what He has done so that we do not forget or fail to pass those things along to the next generation? Traditions help us with this.

If you spend anytime in the Old Testament, you hear of the feasts that the children of Israel celebrated; these feasts were for the sole purpose of remembering, celebrating and passing along to the next generation the good works of God. Wash, rinse, repeat. We often think things that are repetitive in nature are redundant and boring. However, God created us to learn through repetition, which is why, by the way, my youngest son had me read The Pumpkin Parable to him 5 times in a row–literally–one day last week. In all 5 readings of the book, he wasn’t bored, rolling his eyes, picking his nose or doing other actions indicative of annoyance. No, he was hanging on every word, grasping in greater detail with each reading the story of the book. Traditions can be used of God in our lives to help us remember who He is and what He has done; they can also help us return to Him since, let’s be honest, we often forget. “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”

In the book, Noel Piper describes two types of traditions–“Everyday” and “Especially”–as avenues by which we can infiltrate our lives with God.

Everyday Traditions- The “everyday” traditions that Piper mentions in the book are centered on the life blood of a Christian’s life–God’s Word and Prayer.

“God’s Word is the way God has given us to know him, our only source of life and happiness.”
(Treasuring God in Our Traditions, page 43)

It was here that I was first introduced to the idea of exposing children at a young age to the Bible. Gheez, again, not rocket science! However, before having children I would have assumed that exposing children to the Bible at a young age would be “too complicated” or “too much for them to understand.” However, after experiencing in our own family how our sons’ have eaten up and soaked in exorbitant amounts of the stories of the Bible and, therefore, God Himself simply by letting them listen to the Bible on CD (these are our family’s favorites), I am thankful that 8 years ago this book instructed me otherwise.

Piper also notes that Family Devotions are the simplest way to ensure that children are hearing God’s Word. She acknowledges that it sounds simple, yet it’s one of the hardest things for a family to “pull off.” As we discussed yesterday, something as simple as Family Devotions will never happen without proactive planning–decide what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, and go! We are no “experts” here in our home with Family Devotions (aka “Bible Time” at our house), but in our experience simply reading from the Bible–even your kiddo’s favorite children’s Bible–and having a prayer with them, works. 🙂 It’s been such a sweet time together. Giving our children  (and their parents) the opportunity to hear is good, necessary, vital and positions their hearts to be softened and ripe to respond to the gospel. What a joy!

Regarding prayer, again, not rocket science. We all know that we should do it, yet we always don’t. I loved the examples from the book of the various ways the Pipers prayed together and prayed over their kids. They “normalized” prayer in their home; they prayed together so frequently that it wasn’t strange or foreign to their children. I love that! As we have welcomed children into our home, it felt weird and awkward, at first, when praying with our children. For me personally, prayer has always been a private, intimate practice between me and God. Letting my children “in” on that was foreign to be in the beginning, but after reading the book 8 years ago, I was reminded that praying with my children teaches them how to pray, about God’s character and demonstrates that He is the source of all things–not their parents. Reading through the section on prayer renewed my desire to pray over and with my children. Again, I’m praying for consistency in this endeavor.

Especially Traditions- I devoured these chapters when first reading it 8 years ago. When I thought of “traditions,” I was thinking of “What are we going to do to celebrate Christmas, Easter, etc. as a family?” I am forever indebted to Noel Piper for her explanation of the importance of rooting our “especially” traditions in God and Christ. The way that we celebrate Christmas, Easter, birthdays, “gotcha” days, weddings, etc. demonstrate to others what we truly treasure. With holidays and special occasions in our family, I now quietly ask myself, “Who is displayed in this tradition? Or, is God being shown as my greatest treasure through this tradition?” These chapters on “especially” traditions have served as a filter for me when examining traditions that we have in place or when thinking to introduce a new one. If you are looking to start “especially” traditions this year, I encourage you to buy this book and read these “especially” chapters. We have incorporated many of her ideas into our family, and we are better for it.

It was also this book that introduced me to the Noel Piper Christmas Advent Calendar, which makes my heart skip a beat just thinking about it! It has been a tremendous blessing to our family and has become an anchor for our Christmas celebrations. This will be our 8th year to do it, and it never gets old! She also has tremendous ideas in the book for “especially” traditions for Easter, birthdays and others. Her ideas are wonderful and can be tweaked or adapted to fit your family’s “especially” traditions.

Do you have any “everyday” or “especially” traditions that your family enjoys?!?!? Pray, tell! We would love to hear about them!

Join us tomorrow as we wrap up our Treasuring God in Our Traditions Book Club.

Book Club: Treasuring God in Our Traditions-A Proactive People

6 Nov

Book Club

Thanks for joining us today as we begin discussing Treasuring God in Our Traditions. I warned you yesterday that my one blog post….expanded into several. I’m glad that didn’t scare you off! Thanks for stopping by!

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

The things we do regularly that help us in our deepest being to know and love and want God, the things that help our lives to be infiltrated with God–those things are tradition.  (Treasuring God in Our Traditions, page 25)

Our Aim: Christians are Proactive People

“In order to ‘teach [God’s Word] to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.’ (Deuteronomy 11:19), you have to be planning–planning what to say and where, how, and when to say it….All of us are training our children both intentionally and unintentionally. We need to make sure we aren’t leaving the important things to happenstance. We know it’s crucial that they become familiar with God, our Heirloom and our only hope for real life. We yearn for them to love and trust and follow Christ. It would be foolish just to wait for them to learn that by chance. We must plan to reflect God and teach about Christ in the repeated events of our lives.”
(Treasuring God in our Traditions, page 35)

This 2nd reading of Treasuring God in Our Traditions reminded me of the reality that my children are always learning, being shaped by their experiences and the messages they hear from media, friends, etc. In fact, not just my children, but I am likewise. If I am not infiltrating my life with God and aiming to infiltrate my sons’ lives with God, my life and theirs will be infiltrated with something else. Therefore, upon reading #2 of Treasuring God in Our Traditions, my heart was stirred and rekindled to plan and be proactive in my own pursuit of being conformed to the image of Christ and in instructing and having conversations with my children about God.

Gheez, this is not rocket science, but I, too, get so bombarded with the noise of our world and culture that I am sporadic about infiltrating my life, mind, heart with Christ and His Word and with my kiddos’ lives as well. I become hypnotized and drunk on the world’s siren song–equating busyness with Godliness or substituting going to church as discipleship–that I forget that my number one goal and my number one goal for my sons should be to know and love God. This re-calibrating that I need daily can happen through His Word; my children and myself need this daily injection of the Word to keep us focused on Christ. If I’m not proactively planning time in our day to hear the Word and to pass Christ along to the next generation that lives under my roof, the minutes will be stolen by other things. Obviously, this is my daily goal and the daily goal with our children, but my struggle is with consistency. This second reading of Treasuring God in Our Traditions reminded me of the necessity of consistency. I am walking away with this “nugget” of wisdom and praying for God to aide me in being consistent.

Piper uses Deuteronomy 11, particularly verse 1, as a thread throughout the book to remind us of the necessity to proactively instruct the next generation about God.

“You shall therefore love the Lord your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always. And consider today (since I am not speaking to your children who have not known or seen it), consider the discipline of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand and his outstretched arm, his signs and his deeds that he did in Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to all his land (11:1-3)…For your eyes have seen all the great work of the Lord that he did (11:7)…You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise (11:19)”

Notice what Deuteronomy 11 doesn’t say. It doesn’t say, “You parents teach them to your children…” It says, “You.” The Deuteronomy 11 charge was for all of Israel–single, married with no kids, married with young kids, married with grown kids–to teach the children about God because the adults were the one who had first-hand experience with God. Verse 2 highlights the fact that the children had not seen or known of the mighty acts of God; they were either too young or had not been born. All the “grown ups” in Israel were given the task of passing on to the next generation the mighty and glorious works of God. Sadly, that didn’t always happen.

8 years ago when first digesting the book, I was reading it simply wearing my “new-mother-I-don’t-want-to-screw-up-my-kids” hat. As I get older (remember, my son has written about my brown and silver hair) and my children get older, I am reading it again with different eyes. All of Israel was commanded to teach the next generation about God.  I won’t “outgrow” the opportunity and responsibility to teach children within my church, neighborhood, school; I had not thought of this previously. So thankful for this instruction and reminder coupled with the reality that I need to be proactively planning ways to pass along to the next generation the mighty works of God.

“Grown ups are the ones who have a history with God. We have leaned on his strength, learned his love, and depended on his faithfulness. We have suffered the pain of his discipline and felt the relief of his forgiveness. Our youngest children don’t understand much yet about these things. They will learn from their experiences as they grow older and from the Christian adults in their lives.” (Treasuring God in Our Traditions, page 22) 

What about you? What examples can you share with us about how you are proactive with instruction of your children or children in your life?

Join us tomorrow as we talk more about “Everyday” and “Especially” traditions.

Book Club: Treasuring God in Our Traditions–reflections

5 Nov

Book Club

I bet you thought I forgot about our glorious, first-time-ever Suzanne Shares Book Club, but I didn’t! My husband has been out of the country (so thankful he arrived home today!) and then my youngest two kiddos woke up puking their guts out over the weekend. This weekend was the intended time for me to wrap up our Book Club, and well, whew, I had to just scrap all plans and survive. 🙂 I’m sure this never happens to anyone else, ever, right?!!?

As I mentioned before, I read Treasuring God in Our Traditions 8 years ago when our oldest son was a young infant. I always recommend this book to others because of the manner in which it formed and shaped my thoughts and actions for traditions in our family. Not until re-reading it 8 years later did I realize how formative it was! Numerous ideas that we have incorporated into our family life for birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, encouraging our sons to listen to the Bible on CDs at a young age, and many more came directly from this book. I am so thankful that I picked it off the shelf again this year and read it with you! I pray that it has significantly impacted you and your family moving forward as well.

With the conclusion of the Book Club, I wanted to write down my reflections. This helps me process what I’ve read, and for those of you who weren’t able to read along with us, hopefully, this will give you a brief synopsis to read. I’m praying that it will whet your appetite to read the whole book! 🙂 My mind is racing and my heart is full after finishing up the book, I can’t wait to share! My mind and heart are so full…that I wrote a lot. What started out as one blog post has grown into several. So, join with me over the next several days as we discuss together, Treasuring God in Our Traditions. I hope that you’ll have insights and epiphanies to share from your own reading through the book or from your own experience. Join in on the fun!

Read the other three posts in this series here, here, and here.

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Handprint THANKFUL Tree

22 Oct

Handprint Thanksgiving TreeI am digging this post out of last year’s archives!

It’s that time of year again–time for our family’s Handprint Thankful Tree! We use this each day in November, and it has become one of my FAVORITE traditions for our family. Over the next two weeks, I’ll be tracing and cutting 30 hands per family member to be ready for November 1. This is VERY simple, but the routine, discipline, cadence of taking each day in November to verbalize something that we thank God for is etching in our sons’ minds and hearts (and their parents) that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17 ESV) A simple, yet monumental tool used to thank and glorify God–I love that about our Handprint Thankful Tree!

This will be our third year to have a Handprint Thankful Tree. I haven’t had the heart to throw away our handprints from the past 2 years. I love going through the “old ones” each year when I get out our “tree trunk,” which I store with the previous years’ handprints. First, I almost BAWL my eyes out when I see how tiny my sons’ hands were. (MERCY, I can’t handle how quickly they’re growing up!) After I have a crying session, I read over what was written previously, the things that we were thankful for in the past. It is a blessed reminder of God’s abiding faithfulness to me and our family. Then, my tears start again! I love that traditions help us remember. Which reminds me, are you joining in on this month’s Book Club as we read, “Treasuring God in our Traditions?” If not, you should be! Don’t worry that the month is more than half over; the main point is that you need to read this book–so inspiring, instructive!

Read the original post to find instructions for making your own and how our family uses this each November. Also, last year, I wrote an entire series of posts about Thanksgiving, if you are interested, you can read all of the posts by clicking here.

And….you guys reading my little blog, I’m thankful for YOU! You’ll be on one of my handprints this year!

Book Club–I’m takin’ names

12 Oct

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As I have started re-reading Treasuring God in Our Traditions and thinking about many of you joining in for this month’s Book Club, I am praying for you, praying for the families that you represent. As I’ve thought more about praying for YOU, I would love to have your names to lift specifically before Him. I can think of nothing greater than families treasuring God in the ways and manner that they structure and organize their “everyday” and “especially” traditions. Of course, I know that satan especially wants nothing more than for those things to never happen.

So, as we journey through this book, striving to create God-centered traditions for our families, I am takin’ names. No, no, no, this is not a list of those of you NOT reading. (Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble!) I would love to pray for you by name. If you are joining in and are comfortable sharing your name, please send it to me via email suzanneshares AT gmail DOT com, comment below or comment on this link on the Suzanne Shares Facebook Page. I’ll compile a list, and this list will serve as my bookmark in my copy of the book. As I read, I will pray for you. Anticipating all that He will do in our families as we read the book together this month!

Book Club: Treasuring God in Our Traditions reading schedule

11 Oct

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I am so honored that many of you are joining in the first EVER Suzanne Shares Book Club this month as we read Treasuring God in Our Traditions. First and foremost, thank you for joining in as we journey through this book together and also pray, ponder, meditate on traditions and what we treasure. I am excited to read this book with you and also grateful for the accountability that it’s providing me. I first read this book 8 years ago when we newly welcomed our oldest son.  My desire for the past couple of years has been to re-read it now that my sons are older, yet I have kept saying, “I’ll start tackling the book next week.” Many “next weeks” have come and gone, yet they stopped today. I carved out time tonight to begin reading and my heart is full. I love pondering and examining my heart and thoughts related to traditions but most importantly–what I treasure. There is much fodder from tonight’s reading, much to pray through, think through, reflect upon. Without you guys, I would probably have put off re-reading…another week. Thank you. 

I decided to take the total chapters and divide them up into a reading schedule for October. Having small, tangible goals aid me in taking first step towards accomplishing a larger goal. My reading schedule gives me a target to aim at. As a perfectionist-in-recovery, I am also reminding myself that if I don’t exactly follow my schedule, that’s ok and that I shouldn’t quit all together. Just pick up the schedule, start where I left off and catch up along the way. Here are my aspirations for reading this book over the next month. Don’t you love how this will keep us accountable?!?!?

Treasuring God in Our Traditions–reading schedule

October 7-13–Chapters 1-3
October 14-20–Chapters 4-6
October 21-28–Chapters 7-10 and Appendix
October 29-31–Take some time ALONE to evaluate and write about what I learned
First week of November–Share on Suzanne Shares what I learned the second go ’round reading this book.

Just a reminder that you will have the opportunity to SHARE what you’ve taken away from reading Treasuring God in Our Traditions. There will be a SPECIAL GIVEAWAY for those of you who participate in SHARING, too! So, get ready!!

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Chapter 1:

“Now although we cannot bequeath God to our children, we can help them know him and understand him in ways that prepare them to believe in his name. ‘Everyday’ and ‘especially’ traditions in a family are an important part of that teaching, of picturing who God is and what he’s done in our home and in the world. Traditions are a vital way of displaying our greatest treasure, of showing what–Who–is most important to us. (page 18)”

Book Club: Treasuring God in our Traditions

5 Oct

Book ClubIf you are a faithful Suzanne Shares blog reader, it is probably no surprise to you that books are an important part of my life. I can timeline my life based on books that I have read. I love that I have stumbled upon books throughout my lifetime that have permanently altered my life. Before reading said books, I was walking down one path, yet after reading said books, my life found itself on another path.

One reason that I wanted to start blogging was because deep down I am a researcher at heart and love to share the results of my research. If I am wanting to teach something new to our boys or wanting to be purposeful with a certain area of life, marriage, motherhood, I scour favorite blogs and/or seek the wisdom and counsel of godly men and women to find resources pertaining to my search topic. This is how I found each of the Bibles that we have loved and used with our boys. My researching endeavors have led me to some invaluable resources, and honestly, I just feel really, really, really selfish if I keep these treasures to myself!! Thus, Suzanne Shares was born!

One favorite topic of mine is traditions. In my short one year of blogging, I have written frequently about traditions. Much of what was birthed in the form of “Mosley Family” traditions was inspired by one book, Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper.

I have wonderful memories of holidays and holiday traditions with my family as a little girl, particularly Christmas. With the birth of our first son in 2005, I desired to initiate traditions for our new family of three. Noel Piper’s book was formative, inspiring, instructive for me, a new mom and young wife. Eight years later, many of the traditions that we started that first Christmas as a family of three (including one of these Advent calendars) remain constant components of our “Mosley Christmas traditions.” I am forever indebted to Noel Piper for sharing wisdom gleaned along her motherhood and parenting journey.

This summer my mind was taken back to this book, and I decided that I wanted to re-read it. I wanted a renewed vision for implementing and maintaining traditions in our family. With Thanksgiving and Christmas looming, I thought October would be a great month to revisit the book and walk through it again. Because I know myself and how easily I let ‘busyness’ creep into my life, I thought I should read this with other people. No, I am not perfect (SHOCKER!); I need accountability to actually follow through with it!

This week I had an epiphany! What better way to share this book with you, encourage you to read it, re-read it myself, and keep us accountable to read it than to have an online BOOK CLUB!  This will be the first ever Suzanne Shares Book Club. I’m not sure how often we’ll have the Suzanne Shares Book Club or what other books we’ll read together, but let’s dive in and go for it! How about it?!?! Are you in?

How the Suzanne Shares Book Club will work:
We will take the month of October to read through the book. The goal is to have the book read by November 1. Come back to Suzanne Shares on November 1 where I’ll share my thoughts. If you are a blogger or interested in sharing your thoughts about the book, I hope to make available a link up for you. I want to hear from you as well!

So, order your book, read it, and come back November 1 to share how this book has impacted you and your family! I pray that God will use this book to draw you and your family closer to Him and to commencing traditions in your family that treasure Him.

I’m soooooooooooooo excited!!!!