Soccer Guys and Humble Pie

Have you ever made a mistake in parenting?

Long before he could write, my son Nate loved soccer. If he wasn’t playing soccer, he was

81Tn4mGp+dL._SL1500_watching soccer (or begging to watch soccer as shown by the Post-It notes below). If he wasn’t playing or watching, he was using his “Soccer Guys” to act out field formations that would eventually end up with a “GOOOOAAAAAAALL!” Walking close by his imaginary play, you would usually hear his little 5-yr-old voice narrating the play in a British accent!


The play in his mind translated well to play on the field. According to the local coach, Image-1 2he was “above” the recreational league for 5-yr-olds and should really come try out for the competitive league. The problem was that the youngest travel league was for 8 and 9-yr-olds. Nate didn’t seem to think that was an obstacle. He began showing his magnificent obsession on the field of giants! (6-yr-old Nate on the U-9 team to the right and below.)




His obsession didn’t end there. Every restaurant’s blank placemat was quickly turned into a soccer guy:  legs spread, fingers out (usually twelve fingers!), and the net behind him, often with a dialogue bubble coming out of the mouth saying, “GOOOAAALLLLL!” (I am sure with a British accent.) He seemed so old during league play that his drawings shocked us with his youth.








He was a monster on the field and a youngster in the house. After completing Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, we had moved to My Father’s World curriculum for first grade. The curriculum used the simple language of small words to write a Bible that my little guy could read all by himself! Having a 2-yr-old and 1-yr-old sister and brother, Nate was usually left to finish his Bible journaling once he and I had done the lessonIMG_6915 together for the day.

“Since you have already read the chapter to me, write a sentence about it and color a picture of what it meant to you,” I often said as I left him to work alone and went to care for his older brother or younger siblings.

His journaling began well: Adam and Eve had a serpent come out of the tree to visit them.


On the next page, Nate had written, “Cain said, ‘Let’s go for a walk’.”


Noah’s ark had animal stickers, two by two:



Then I forgot to check the book for several days, and things took a turn:


I was shocked to open his “Bible Journal” and find pictures of …soccer guys!!! There they were: legs sprawled across the page, fingers (many!) spread and sometimes even a ball in the air!

WHAT?!!! I was livid. It would be bad enough if he had drawn soccer guys in his math notebook, but Bible journal?!! You’ve got to be kidding me!

I had found the mess while I was checking work late at night, and ran it by Chris. He Slide1agreed with my consensus that we needed to crack down HARD on little lies or we would raise an adult who tells big lies. I decided to bring up the subject to my 6-yr-old the next morning, with a clearer, calmer head. My thoughts swam: This was pure deceit. I had heard of deviled eggs, but never before had I applied the adjective to kids! Drawing soccer guys while pretending to be recording in a Bible journal? This was like some scene from the Brady Bunch of the 70’s when Peter hides the comic book and pretends to read history! I don’t care how many points he scores on the field if he can’t score points in character!

What’s on the inside is what matters!

I rehearsed my speech in my head, wanting to turn this boy from his wrong ways while he was still young enough to learn.

“You’re character will be what you choose to make it [and I added: young man!!].” – John Lubbock

“When nobody else is looking, I still see.” – God

“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.” – Proverbs 28:6

“People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” – 1Sam 16:7


The next morning, we started homeschool with a one-on-one conversation. I gave him my “SCORING POINTS FOR CHARACTER” speech, and he sat listening intently. I gave him a chance to tell me if he had any times recently when he thought his character was not something he would want God to see.

“I don’t think so,” he said as his bewildered, 6-yr-old, enormous, brown eyes squinted a little.

I brought out the Bible journal, practically ready to jump on him and say, “Thou art the man!!” I opened and turned the pages, telling him how disappointed I was that he was drawing soccer guys instead of illustrating what he had read in the Bible like I had told him.

His tears started to well.

Guilty as charged! I assumed. I was ready to accept his apology and hold hands to pray toward repentance.

His tears burst through his words as he said, “THAT…. IS MOSES!”


I was shocked when for the first time I noticed a burning bush next to the man I thought was a soccer guy.

“AND THAT IS JACOB…SEE HIS DREAM?” he said, turning the page to an identically looking man next to what I had thought was a soccer ball.


“And that one is Joseph next to the barn full of grain,” he said, pointing to another “soccer guy” next to a little square, that apparently was not a goal, but a barn.


I could have died. Or cried. Or both – preferably in that order.


Next up: one of the most important parenting moves ever:

I said, “I’m sorry,” to my son!

We held hands and prayed for my forgiveness.  The table was turned. The verse: “People look at outward appearance, but God looks at the heart,” (1Sam 16:7) was still applicable. I was indeed “a people” and I just displayed it in full color to my 6-yr-old, since I had only looked at the “appearance”! I hate the taste of humble pie! But I love the results of peace in the relationship.

The Bible says, “Humble yourself and you shall be exalted,” (James 4:10) but I like to say, “Humble yourself or God will do it!”

I showed Chris the pictures later and he laughed hysterically at what we had thought, versus what was reality. Of course, I guess Nate got past the horrible incident and forgave us, because when I got out his old Bible journal this week (now that he is almost 15-yrs-old) and told him the story, he laughed and laughed and laughed, not remembering it at all!

I guess it is a good thing that God judges from the heart, because then He could know that I meant to teach for His glory; however, it served as a good reminder that my heart might be the deviled one some days in this Brady bunch.

Love ya,


1Peter 5:6 : “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”


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Easter with Children: Beating the Bunny

Christian Easter with Children

Dear Lindsey,

I have nothing against bunnies or eggs – any more than hearts in February, or clovers in March, but I want my kids to know that the bunny is a thief :). Ok, really, I don’t think in my “WWJD” terms that Jesus would beat up a bunny, but the title grabbed attention. In serious terms, I want children to know the real meaning of Easter: when we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior who came to take away our sin so we can go to heaven for eternity.  Wow. Look at those words:

Celebrate the RESURRECTION! of our SAVIOR! so we can live for ETERNITY!

Those words are too important to just pass over with an egg hunt and a new dress.  It means everything to me, and I didn’t want to minimize it with a secular bunny and eggs. Before I lose you, the Bradys do color eggs – if I get them in time – and hide them in a fun tradition that spills into homeschool hunts during the spring.  But I fail at decorating my house for Easter, and every year I intend to send out Resurrection cards instead of Christmas cards…which have yet to get done…because without Easter, Christmas is nothing. It is that monumental, so I thought I would tell of some ways that people have shared with me to teach children the REAL meaning in a fun and memorable way.

Easter Tree

Easter Tree 1

This was introduced to me by my dear friend, Carmen Madler.  Her idea begins each year by taking their Christmas tree, cutting off all of the branches and saving part of one to use as the cross bar. For the 40 days and nights before the resurrection (signifying Jesus’ time when he was led by the Spirit to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, Matt 4:1-2), the Madlers tell a part of the story and place something on the tree: the crown of thorns, the sign which says, “King of the Jews“, the dice (signifying the “lots”) that the soldiers cast to try to win Christ’s clothing, etc. I love this idea, since it links the meaning between the two biblical events: Christ’s birth and resurrection – in a visual way that children will remember. Of course, the decoration in the home is a constant reminder for adults as well.Easter Tree zoom

Easter Story Cookies

When I first attended a Bible study ( as a new mom, I remember a discussion about how to show the REAL meaning of Easter to children.  The following recipe was shared, and became a tradition in our home – even though we had an egg allergy and couldn’t eat them;  the message was good enough to keep the tradition. (And even now that the egg allergy is gone, the kids don’t really like to eat these cookies – they beg to make them for the story.)


The Night Before Easter: Make these cookies, and be sure to read the Bible passages!

  • What you need:
      • Bible
      • 1 cup whole pecans
      • 1 tsp vinegar
      • 3 egg whites
      • pinch salt
      • 1 cup sugar
      • (zipper bag, wooden spoon, electric mixer, tape)
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees (It is important to turn it on at the beginning, so it is completely preheated by the end.)
  • Place pecans in zipper bag and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.
      • Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.  Read John 19:1-3.
  • Let each child smell the vinegar.  Put 1tsp vinegar into mixing bowl.
      • Explain: When Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink.  Read John 19:28-30.
  • Add egg whites to vinegar.  Eggs represent life.
      • Explain:  Jesus gave His life to give us life.  Read John 10:10-11.
  • Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand.  Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.
      • Explain: This represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.  Read Luke 23:27.
  • So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing.  Add 1 cup sugar.
      • Explain: The sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us.  He wants us to know and belong to Him.  Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.
  • Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
      • Explain: The color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.  Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.
  • Fold in broken nuts.  Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet.
      • Explain: Each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid.  Read Matthew 27:57-60.
  • Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.  Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.
  • GO TO BED!
      • Explain: We may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight.  Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.  Read John 16:20 and 22.
  • On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie.  Notice the cracked surface and take a bite.  The cookies are hollow!
      • Explain: On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.  Read Matthew 28:1-9.
  • Sing Christ the Lord is Risen Today!
  • Eat the cookies before church:)!

Resurrection Eggs

Plastic eggs have never had such valuable content! I didn’t realize Resurrection Eggs Resurrection-Eggscould be bought when I first heard of the concept, so I made them out of my own dollar store plastic eggs, a twisted paper clip crown, a rock from the yard, cotton ball with vinegar, etc.

Whether you hide these in the yard or house, or read through the passages as you each open an egg at the dinner table, the children stay in full attention, waiting to see what will be revealed inside of the next egg. Of course, the last egg is empty, signifying the empty tomb – and the sigh can be heard from every mouth as their hearts are pulled to thoughts of the Savior.

May you be blessed with a family week of celebrating the Resurrection of the Savior!

– Terri Brady

Be still!–for your Ears’ Sake

“Both my noses are clogged!” my then 6-yr-old son woke me in the darkness of morning. I consoled the patient and dug for remedies, while my mind realized that it was “night time” to him, but this was my early morning. I was now not only

English: Alarm clock

missing my last couple winks of sleep before my alarm would sound at 5:30, but soon my exercise time and Bible time would vanish…again… while I coddled him, allowing him to get needed sleep leaning on me.

I always feel like I can’t fill the needs of my family until my needs have been met, and yet once again, I started my day of filling their needs, while my tank was “on empty,” despite my intentions.  The clock continued its never-ending race, while I ran the laps up and down the stairs to rouse children for their school day.

Breakfast- breakfast dishes- wipe the counters (after the 6-yr-old had already wiped them) – split up sibling squabbles – clean up dog mess – wipe tears over the “eaten” toy – get to the car to take the oldest to school, then back home quickly to get the other three started in their homeschool around 8:30.  This was the daily routine of this entire school year.

We had our family Bible time, then math, grammar, the regular subjects – I switched from one subject to the next, sometimes teaching one, while spinning plates in the background with two who didn’t have my full attention at the time. The day continued at breakneck speed.  I looked forward to after school, when all were settled, and I would have an hour of silence before heading with the taxi-full to evening activities.

That’s when the 11-yr-old said, “Can you cut my hair before pictures next week?”

“Sure!” I said, as if it were an easy task. The week’s schedule flashed through my mind. Weekend travel and week night activities, concerts, and the like made me realize that my “hour of silence” that afternoon would once again be taken by something more urgent: haircuts before pictures next week.

Cutting my boys’ hair began as a money-saving venture when we had one child. It grew into an ear-saving venture, when my second son wouldn’t sit still long enough and I was worried the “ear-ritated” barber would cut off his ear. (Sorry – I couldn’t resist the pun!) But at this stage in my life, the currency being saved was time. I could cut three boys’ hair in 45 minutes, which is how long I would have to wait before even starting at some salons.

I began with the oldest and worked my way down to the youngest. I probably should have used the opposite sequence, because by the time I got to the 6-yr-old with a cold, my patience had waned lower than his.

“Be still, please.” I said as I went over the top. He squirmed side to side, and tilted his head at every snip.

“Be still.” I said more firmly, worried I would clip his ear, but hardly slowing my scissors.

“Be still!” I practically shouted at him as I continued my race to get it done before the evening schedule commenced.

Ps 46:10 abruptly came to my mind: “Be still! And know that I am God.”

I smiled to myself thinking of God shouting to me to “be still!” with an explanation point, or He would chop off my ear.

Regret filled me as I realized how “not still” my day was. I felt like promising I would do better tomorrow. “Tomorrow, I will have a quiet time with You.” “Tomorrow,” I will have a less rushed day of motherhood.” “Tomorrow, I will BE STILL and KNOW THAT YOU ARE GOD.”

As quickly as I made promises, I wondered what part of my day I was supposed to have done differently.

Was I supposed to tell the sick child to “go back to bed! I want to be with Jesus now!”?… I don’t think so.

Should I have skipped breakfast or lunch so I could “have a quiet time”?!… Not necessarily.

Should I stop homeschooling, or take kids out of activities, so I can sit around with my me-time and make it God-time?

What am I doing wrong?!

A.W. Tozer in his book, Pursuit of God, hit me hard. I wasn’t born when he wrote the book, but his seeds were planted for a harvest in this year and eternity, I’m sure. In Chapter 10, he talks about ME!

The day of the haircuts was as though I was saying, “Sorry I have to do all of this menial stuff called life, but God, I want to be with You, and tomorrow morning, while it is still dark, THEN will be my sacred life.”

The conflict comes when I try to separate my “sacred” life and my “secular” life.

The “stillness” God wants from me is that my sacred life and my secular life are one. It is then that we truly can be still.

1Cor 10:31 says that whether we eat or drink we should do it all for the glory of God. It’s so significant to me that it says “eating and drinking” – such “menial stuff called life.”

Be still, and recognize the gift of motherhood He gave.

Be still and be thankful for the usefulness of my life; I have something to exhaust me every day!

Be still and praise God! …while I go to work, attend school, cut hair, drive the carpool, coddle the sick one.

But don’t wait for quiet time to do it. Believe me: I LOVE quiet time, and set my alarm clock early on purpose. But if God’s purpose for me wakes me before the clock, I can’t second-guess His plans for my day. It is then that I can be still, and know that He had it planned just perfectly, all along.

I suppose being still has little to do with cutting off ears, and more to do with opening them to hear God’s plan for the day.

May you enjoy this day the Lord had planned for you!

Terri Brady

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Are you a Basket Case?

Dear Lindsey,

Have you ever had one of those nights when you can’t sleep? There have been times when I have fallen asleep in exhaustion, only to lie awake a few hours later, because the conflicting thoughts are back into my head. 2:18am, 3:18am, 4:18, maybe I should just get up…no! I’m tired! I doze before the morning alarm rings, but wonder, “Did I ever sleep?” I think my body collapsed and my mind stayed vigilant all night. Read the rest of this letter