Heart Reflections Live

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Effects of Fantasy on Children-Part 1

Part 1- Products For Girls

I thought it was apt with Christmas approaching to start a series on children & fantasy, to aid you with your Christmas shopping list.

My first point is applicable to both boys & girls toys- Keep it simple & don't get caught up in commercialism & marketing ploys. It will save you dollars too. The simpler a toy, the more a child needs to activate his or her imagination to use it( & you'll also find it will be used for play in many different ways.) Don't limit your shopping ideas to the well-known brand name products at Target, Big W or Warlmart, search the net for handmade wooden toys or puzzles-some homeschool sites are good for these;Steiner or Montessori products foster simplicity & imagination & don't forget your local markets. An unusual toy that none of their friends have can be a greater blessing to a child than playing along with the pester power that peer dependency can bring.

Little girls love playing Mummy & any toys they can nurture(especially baby or little girl dolls) are a good & healthy choice. They are playing out a future role & are modelling & learning things from Mum. So anything from toy baby accessories to doll houses are a great choice.

A word of caution about teen/adult dolls:
Anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time, will know that we don't buy any "Bratz" or "Barbie" toys or products for our little girls.I'm not out to tell anyone else what to do, but here are some of our reasonings:
-When a child plays with an older doll, they are usually pretending to be the doll in some way and are identifying with its characteristics as they are portrayed , often in associated books or movies.
-Bratz are very blatant. I'm sure I'm not the first Mum online to suggest they look like street-walkers- enough said.
-Barbie is more subtle & while some of the Princessy ones have beautiful gowns, many are far more skimpily dressed than when I was young. The whole "Barbie" image, is not one we wish to hold up as a godly example to our girls.Barbie has the perfect body, perfect house & campervan, buggy, the boyfriend she never married(Did I read somewhere last year that Ken's been "replaced"?)
We desire our girls to grow up knowing the importance of dressing modestly, being godly-not flashy or materialistic & to learn the principles of Godly courtship- not flirting or dating-a godly culture- not one of the nightclub. Sure, Barbie's just a toy, but children today are bombarded by her image & it's possible to become desensitized by some toys that have such a prolific image.Current affairs shows abound with Barbie obsessed teens becoming anorexic. These toys & associated products (including Bratz) can sexualize children, by causing them to desire to grow up sooner than is realistic.We had a fuss in Australia recently when Target starting stocking black bras & undies for children in the "Bratz" brand.

-Our little girls have a Queen Esther doll, a Singapore Airlines Girl & Jane from Tarzan -all beautifully & modestly dressed in different ways. I often say to Talitha,"Queen Esther saved a nation-Barbie's just a fashion plate. Who would you rather be?"

Of course we encourage people to stay away from any products involving witchcraft. These include: Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Winx, Charmed etc. They may just be fantasy you say; but why let your children become involved with something God clearly calls an abomination?

A word of caution about some cute & cuddly stuff!!
You as a parent should tape & watch some cartoons when the little ones aren't around if you want to check up on this-Care Bears & My Little Pony are strongly new age!! There are others too, but I've mentioned these as they are back in vogue.Keep an eye out too on any rainbows in cartoons-count the colours-God's rainbow has 7 colours, the new age one only 6. Why do I mention this? If your child has a Care Bear & doesn't watch the show or read the books, then it's just another Teddy Bear, but if a child starts enacting what they have seen in the show, they will get into some weird spiritual stuff.

Hope this helps-I'll tackle boy's stuff next week. If you have any questions, leave a comment. If I can't answer them, I'll consult my very knowlegable husband.If you have any info on anything really good or bad that has come on the market, keep the comments rolling...
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 9:33 pm 1 comments

Am I A Blessed Mama or What!!!

We had Talitha's first ever school concert & citiation night, last night.She attends one of the Coast's Christian schools & has nearly finished her Prep year!

She & her class did a wonderful performance of "The Teddy Bears' Picnic". It was pretty emotional for me. I had a memory of myself, still in hospital, a week or so after the birth, pushing her around the corridors, hoping the motion would settle her crying. Then my Mum turned up, said it was wind & fixed it in an instant- I had much to learn!! That was nearly 5 years ago & it's gone so fast! And now here she was-singing & dancing on the stage.

Every child from grades Prep to 3 received a Citation based on how their teachers remembered them this year. Talitha's nearly moved us to tears...

"... For your wonderful knowledge of the Bible, your willingness to share that knowledge, & your obvious love for Jesus."

It was a humbling moment to realize that what we have been trying to impart into Talitha's life for the last 5 years, is now shining forth as she desires to please her Heavenly Father, even when away from us, during the school day. She is such a blessing to our life. God be praised!
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 10:42 am 0 comments

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thank You Lord

I don't know who wrote this, but it sure hit the right spot with me the day I first read it. I've had it stuck to the fridge for a couple of months now. The sentiments behind it really help me to maintain a thankful heart- which is always a good prevention against "housewife syndrome".

Thankyou Lord for this sink of dirty dishes; we have plenty of food to eat.

Thankyou for this pile of dirty, stinking, laundry; we have plenty of nice clothes to wear.

And I would like to thankyou Lord, for those unmade beds;they were so warm & comfortable last night. I know that many have no bed.

My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom,complete with all the splattered mirrors, soggy,grimy,towels & dirty lavatory; they are so convenient.

Thankyou for this finger-smudged refrigerator that needs defrosting so badly; it has served us faithfully for many years. It is full of cold drinks & enough leftovers for 2 or 3 meals.

Thank you, Lord, for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today. It has baked so many things over the years.

The whole family is grateful for that tall grass that needs mowing, the lawn that needs raking; we all enjoy the yard.

Thankyou, Lord, even for that slamming screen door. My kids are healthy & able to run & play.

Lord, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says You have richly blessed my family. I shall do them cheerfully & I shall do them gratefully.

To my American readers, I trust that you & yours had a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 11:26 am 4 comments

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I'm Back!!!!

Hi everyone! Sincerest apologies to anyone who was waiting for my series of posts on the effects of fantasy on children. We moved house a few days ago & had no phone or internet connection. Our new house has been such a blessing. The children are enjoying the space so much & we are all so much more relaxed now that we're not constantly tripping over boxes & each other! We are slowly getting through the unpacking & finding homes for things-I've never had this much cupboard space to choose from in my life! So I'm enjoying feeling organised.

I'll start my series of Fantasy posts next Tuesday- Sorry again-I'm off to bath my little princesses & enjoy some story time!
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 6:34 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Effects of Fantasy on Children

This was heavily on my mind this morning, as I read a notice sent out to all the parents of pupils attending our daughter's small Christian school. It warned about rough play, bullying,& fighting at school & encouraged every parent to reinforce these warnings at home that rough play is not acceptable. It also briefly warned parents about how playing violent video games etc can directly influence their behaviour.

This topic is very near to our hearts, for both my husband & I used to minister on the effects of fantasy on children. My husband, before I met him, used to speak at churches, schools & on TV on the subject & I did some ministry to Christian Women a few years back.It was funny that my husband & I studied some of the same books on the subject years before we met.

My husband has been busy updating our ministry website to include some multimedia material. If you click on the link to the right of my blog, you will find an audio recording that I did for a Christian Radio program a few years ago on the topic, if it interests you.I'm also going to do a series of short posts every Tuesday on the subject, as it is quite extensive.

Personally I don't think technology has done any favours to our children. I believe children were better off in the good ole days, playing with their siblings outside & enjoying generic toys like billy carts & baby dolls.Their imaginations weren't dulled by television, but were stimulated by the good books their parents read to them.Technology has robbed us of the joys of simplicity.
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 9:44 pm 1 comments

Talitha & Zara at Australia Zoo

Here are Talitha & Zara meeting Wes Mannion, the director of Australia Zoo. He's a lovely man & was more than willing to have his picture taken with the girls, while they were visiting the zoo recently.

My husband & I were hosting a guest from Malaysia, where my husband ministers quite frequently. KK was the young mans name, & has become a good friend from the many ministry trips to Penang.

Steve Irwin is very well known throughout Asia, & it was the one place KK longed to visit. So seeing Australia Zoo is right next door to where we live, blessing him with this visit was one of the things my husband wished to do. The bonus of course was our girls got to go too, & all 3 got photos with Wes.

I've been online for a while now, & I thought it was about time you got to know us a little better, especially since I've enjoyed seeing many of your family pics on your blogs. Stay tuned for more. Blessings from the Roberts family.
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 7:25 pm 1 comments

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Finding Contentment

Our tiny, little house is choc-full of boxes at the moment, as we prepare to move to a much more spacious residence over the next week. We are all soooooo looking forward to the new house after living in such cramped quarters for the last 12 months.

Yes, I'm sooo looking forward... But what about now.... amid the chaos, the half-packed-half-unpacked belongings, the many boxes taking up our already limited space... How do I REALLY feel? Am I content?

I could go on all night about how great God's provision is, how awesome His love is & that would be true... but when asked about the Chaos? Don't ask!!! I want out NOW!

I know I'm truly not content in the midst of chaos, as I know I've been touchy & irritable lately, as I trip over corners of boxes & try not to stomp on the children!

God still has much perfecting work to do in this jar of clay. No matter how content we think we are ,unless we can maintain it in the midst of chaos, we aren't truly grounded in contentment. How such things can test us & show us the true state of our heart.

Praise God for His glorious grace & the fact that He'll always finish the work He has begun.
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 6:56 pm 1 comments

Father's Love Letter

If you haven't ever seen it before, we would like to offer you the opportunity to view "Father's Love Letter". It is a beautifully arranged multi-media presentation that will really touch your heart & bless you mightily.

We have found through our ministry that alot of people for varying reasons, have trouble relating to God as Abba Father, their heavenly Daddy. With the permission of this ministry of Fathers Love Letter we are now making it available for all those Father sends to us at Fathers Grace Ministries for it is what we too are called to minister to the modern day Church. This presentation will help you realize how much he loves you. Play it through a couple of times so it sinks deep into your spirit. It may help you to write down the scripture references given so you can look them up in your own bible & meditate on God's truths in your quiet time.

Just click on Multimedia on the list on the right of my blog.

We hope you are blessed by it, just as we have been.
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 6:37 pm 0 comments

Friday, November 03, 2006

Nursery Rhymes & Recipes

I Love children's picture books- especially ones with a bit of history attached. Remember this from Mother Goose...

Boys & girls come out to play, The moon doth shine as bright as day.
Leave your supper & leave your sleep, & join your playfellows in the street.
Come with a whoop & come with a call, come with a good will or not at all.
Up the ladder & down the wall, A half-penny loaf will serve us all;
You find milk & I'll find flour, And we'll have pudding in half an hour.

Now before anyone thinks I'm advocating letting your children run the streets at night!-I'm not!But I've got a simply delicious recipe-courtesy of Nanna Roberts- so yummy your dear ones will want to stay home for it AND it sounds a bit like the one from Mother Goose!

Quick Butterscotch Pudding

Ingredients: 1 cup SR Flour,
1/2 cup Milk,
1/2 cup raw sugar,
pinch of salt,
1 1/2 cups boiling water,
1 tbs butter or marg.,
2 tablespoons golden syrup

Combine flour, milk, sugar, & salt thoroughly, press into greased casserole dish. Mix water, butter & syrup together, pour over dough mixture, cook for about 1/2 hour or until browned. Nice served with cream, custard or icecream.

Now does anyone have the recipe for "peas pudding hot"? I'm not sure I'd be game to try that one!
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 9:52 am 5 comments

Catch the Vision- We're Nation Builders!!

I've really been enjoying the latest edition of "Above Rubies" magazine. It always encourages me, lifts me & often admonishes me to do better in my roles as Helpmeet & Mother, with much practical insight.

Nancy Campbell's main focus this edition is the family meal table & how important it is.I was bowled over by the Quote she included on the back cover by S D Gordon...
"A father & mother living together with their children, tender in their love, pure in their lives, strong in their convictions, simple & orderly in their habits, do infinately more than presidents & governors, legislators, educators & clergymen can do in making a strong nation. And that is a "more" than can be replaced by nothing else. True strength can come to a nation only as the genius of the home pervades the whole inner life of the people. The home nations are the most enduring nations..."

Does this excite you! Don't let anyone tell you that you're JUST a Mum-you're a nation builder!!!
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 9:19 am 0 comments

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Be Not Conformed

Rom.12:2 "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, & acceptable,& perfect will of God."

The highway of the world is littered with so many things that can trap us, trip us up, or distract us from our relationship with God. Has anyone else noticed the world's influence invading the church? Does anyone these days still hear sermons that warn against worldliness? Or on living a separated life?

When we lose our separateness, we lose some of our witness. We are to be in the world, but not of it. If we act like the world, talk like the world & look like the world, we do not stand out like God's peculiar people we are called to be: We blend in & busy, self-centred people living busy lives never notice, because we are not noticeably different. It takes more than a Jesus T-shirt or a cross around the neck to stand up for Christ- we are to be clothed with Him- his character, His love, His humility.

In Duet 14:2,The Hebrew people were called to live a separated life & for thousands of years, many have kept their heritage & godly traditions & are a wonder to the world today, as many still do not blend in. They are our examples in the New Testament (even though we live by faith & not by Keeping the Law) & we are warned in the light of their mistakes 1Cor 10:1-11.

Here are some New Testament scriptures that warn against worldliness:
James 1:27 "Pure religion & undefiled before God & the Father is this, To visit the fatherless & widows in their affliction, & to keep himself unspotted from the world."

James 4:4 " Ye adulterers & adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

1 John 2 :15-17 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, & the lust of the eyes, & the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, & the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever."

Read also:2 Cor 6:14-18, Titus 2:11-14, & 1 Peter 2:9-12

It seems to me that so many modern churches have things upsidedown. In their desire to win the lost, they are trying to make their church suit the world, whereas if they loved one another & lifted up the name of Jesus, many would be drawn to Christ.
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 2:02 pm 1 comments