Grow More Than Vegetables This Summer With Your Kids

Daily Truth:  You (God) cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth.  Psalm 104:14  ESV

Grow more than a garden
Grow more than a garden

There is still time to plant and grow a garden before summer arrives.   Bring God’s Word alive for your children by teaching them how to plant, cultivate, and harvest a garden this summer.

Some easy plants to grow from seeds are green beans, pumpkins and zucchini. If you feel uncomfortable growing seeds try a tomato, basil or oregano plant.  Tomato, basil, and oregano plants are great to plant as all three work well in making tomato sauce for an easy spaghetti dinner to be enjoyed later in the summer. Ask your local garden shop for the best way to grow the plants you decide to purchase for your area.

Teaching your child how to tend a garden takes time and patience.  What great character qualities to instill.  Time and patience  are modeled  to your child as you plant, tend and care for the seeds and plants together this summer.

Whether growing a vegetable or flower garden there are ways to involve even  young children.  For the young child begin with larger seeds as sunflowers, pumpkins, or squash seeds.  These seeds will be easier for a child’s fine motor skills.  Tools that are a children size such as a shovel and wheelbarrow make gardening more fun. The child can model their parent using the same grown up tools. After planting, watering is best with a sprinkling can or a nozzle attached to the hose so the seeds and plants do not get washed away. God’s sunshine and rain (or your child’s watering) will in time grow your plants to maturity. I know that you will all enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Some wonderful children’s books about gardening and growing plants include:  “Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots” by Sharon Lovejoy,  “Planting a Rainbow ” by Lois Ehlert,  “Gardening with Kids” by Catherine Woram and  Martyn Cox, and “Jack’s Garden” by Henry Cole.

There are many references to plants and growing in the Bible. A good word study may include looking up the verses of the Bible that contain the word “grow”.  Make this summer one of growth for your  family both physically and spiritually.

When teaching the Bible verse Psalm 104:14 to your child make sure that they understand each word.  The word “livestock” means horses, cattle, sheep or any other useful animals kept on a farm or ranch. The word “cultivate” means to improve or promote the growth of a plant by attention and care.

By having a better understanding of the words and concepts in the Bible your child will understand God better.  With practical application of God’s Word, as actually growing and cultivating a plant, children are able to learn about God and the world He created.    A child also learns how amazing it is to watch a plant grow and eventually provide food just as Psalm 104:14 states.

“The wonderful thing about garden-based learning is that it’s a hands-on, minds-on experience where my students and I learn together.” Kids and Classroom

Gardening is a “growing experience” in that both child and adult learn from watching and participating in life together.

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Until the next “Truth” telling moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson





Enjoying the Joys of My Heart

Daily Truth: “God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.”  Ecclesiastes 5:20b

Summer is FINALLY here!  You know what I love the most about summer?  It is the fact that I P1070010get to spend it with four of my favorite people and the “joys of my heart” – my kiddos!

I thrive on “no schedule”.  (This is why I could never home school my children.  Everyday would be a field trip!)

It drives me CRAZY when the kids want a minute-by-minute briefing of the day. I love the fact that we can wake up in the morning and do whatever we feel like that day.

Now don’t get me wrong.  We do lay out a game plan for the summer.  I sit down with the kids at the end of the school year and we talk about what they want to do that summer.

These things can range from places they want to go, people they want to have over, food they want to eat, or things they want to accomplish.  For example, the Creation Museum is always on the list of places to go.  However, so is getting frozen yogurt, playing in the sprinkler, having water balloon fights, and tenting in the backyard.

425332_10151671458303489_97493834_nRight now we are accomplishing one of the many items on our list.  We are vacationing at the beach in one of our favorite places – Outer Banks, North Carolina.

Time is FLYING by!  My kids are growing so quickly and I often forget to savor the moment and to enjoy the “joys of my heart”.

This past week my Sophia graduated from kindergarten and Alexandra finished 5th grade.  I was pregnant with Alexandra when I taught my last 5th grade class.

Did you know we are commanded to enjoy the life God has given us? (Ecclesiastes 11:9) It’s true!  God commands us to enjoy life while we are able.

However, there is a warning.  We will stand in judgement for our actions.  Therefore, we are instructed to enjoy life within the parameters that God has given us.

My challenge to you is this – enjoy each moment you have with your kids this summer.  Find ways to spend time with them doing things that THEY enjoy.  Don’t forget to take lots of pictures so that you can relive those moments together when school starts again.


I saw this notebook at Target the other day and couldn’t resist.

So, excuse me for having sticky floors this summer, a messy kitchen (what else do you expect when the kiddos want to help you make cookies), and piles of laundry to fold.  I am enjoying the”joys of my heart”!



Until next Monday,








“Hi Ho Hi Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go”

Daily Truth: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”
Ecclesiastes 9:10


We’ve all heard the Snow White classic song, Hi Ho Hi Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go sung by the seven dwarfs a million different ways.  We kind of chuckle at it, but you know the dwarfs might have had something.  Singing on your way to work and singing as you work is a good way to get the kiddos to do their jobs.

I know….jobs.  It often takes more time to get the kids to do the work, check the work the kids did, and sometimes have them to the job again than to just do the job ourselves.  However, if we do that the only thing we are teaching our kids is how to be lazy, not to be responsible.

P1060907So, here are some jobs that little guys can do.

1.  Pick up their toys.

2.  Make their beds. (Forget military style made beds. Remember, that’s not the point.)

3.  Empty the dishwasher.  One child does the silverware, another the plates, and another the cups. (Side note:  Put your plates in one of the lower cabinets so that your child can reach them.  Brilliant…I know!! Thank you to my aunt.)

4.  Set the table.  One child puts on the napkins, another the silverware, and another the cups.

5.  Clear the table.

6.  Clean the bathroom sink.

7.  Empty the trash.

8.  Dust the railings.

9.  Feed the animals.

10. Fold towels.

11. Put their clothes away. (My boys REALLY struggle with this one.)

The list could go on, but these are just a few ideas.

Now the hard part.  How do I encourage my children to do these jobs and to them correctly?

P10609091.  An award chart.  This could be a sticker chart.  When they get so many stickers they get some kind of reward.

2.  A ticket or marble jar.  The children earn tickets or marbles for each job completed. The tickets or marbles can be exchanged for prizes.  We are currently doing this system with our kids for them to earn money to buy a souvenir on our vacation.

3.  A penny jar.  This is the same concept as the ticket jar.

Their are two keys to our kids earning their tickets.

1.  The job must be completed immediately and with the right attitude.  If they have to be reminded more than once or if they do the job pouting the whole time (umm….my youngest has the least amount of tickets due to this problem) then they do not earn the tickets for the completed job.

2.  The job must be done correctly.  This falls on me.  I must first show the child how I want the job done and then I must take the time to check the jobs to make sure they are done correctly.

Why rewards?  Well, let’s face it.  Doesn’t God reward us for jobs well done and if we keep His commandments?  The Bible is full of verses that support this. Here are just a few.

Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 4:40 Matthew 25:21, I Corinthians 9:25,

I know there is the whole debate out there on allowance vs. no allowance.  I am not here to start a debate. Rather, let me explain why my husband and I decided to do allowances.

1.  It teaches them how to save their money.  If a child wants to purchase something, say a Lego set, then that child has to save for that set.

2.  It teaches them to tithe.   Ten percent of their allowance each week goes into the offering plate on Sunday. We want them to understand that God want us to give back to Him.    (Malachi 3:8-10)

3.  It teaches them to give above their tithe.  Not only do the children give ten percent of their allowance but we also teach them to give a little more encouraging them to do so cheerfully.                         (II Corinthians 9:6-8)

4.  It teaches them to appreciate the items that they have saved for. Besides, I LOVE seeing the pride in their face and the shock on the cashier’s face when they empty out their wallet full of change and dollars on the counter!

So, if part of my job as a mom is to represent Christ to my children, then that includes teaching them to be responsible and to be helpers around the house and to reward them for work well done.  After all, isn’t that we Christian moms are also striving to hear?

“Well done.”

Until next Monday,





The Work of His Hand: We Are Just the Pottery

Daily Truth:  But now, O LORD, you are the Father; we are the clay, and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

9757937What an incredible picture! God is our Creator and the potter. We are his vessels or pottery.  He shaped and molded us.

When a child understands the way in which pottery is made there is a better understanding about the verses in the Bible which use the words clay and potter. The clay begins as just a lump of matter (which is made up of elements known as silicates along with water, oxygen, and trace minerals) on the potter’s wheel. The clay is carefully molded by the potter’s hands into a masterpiece.

I find it interesting that water must be added to the clay to aid in the transformation. Without water we are unable to live. Water is cleansing too. In John 4:10 Jesus is the living water. In John 5:12 “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Just as clay needs water to be molded we too need “living water” to be cleansed and transformed.

A valuable experience that would lead to a clearer understanding of the clay and potter relationship is to have your child make their own piece of pottery or to plan a visit in which he or she can watch pottery being made. The  following video shows how a potter makes pottery. (click here to watch video)

It is interesting in the video when the potter blows into the vessel.  The breath from the potter gives shape and form to the clay.  It reminds me of the verse in Genesis 2:7 “then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and then the man became a living creature.”

Job 33:6 “Truly I am as your spokesman before God; I also have been formed out of clay.”

God’s Word is truly amazing.  God gives us word pictures to aid in our understanding of His Word.

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson


What’s Your Plumb Line?

Daily Truth: “I will make justice a measuring line and righteousness a plumb line.”
Isaiah 28:17
What is a plumb line? I first found out when hanging wall paper  many years ago.
A friend was helping me hang wallpaper. She took off her wedding ring and tied  a string to the ring to make a plumb line. She said that it would help us to hang the the wallpaper straight as our vision and the walls could deceive  us.A plumb line is a simple yet valuable tool to determine whether something is vertically straight. From the Latin word “plumbum”, meaning “lead”, a plumb line is a line with a weight attached to the bottom of the line. The force of gravity causes the the string to trace a straight, vertical line. Plumbers, masons, carpenters, surveyors, and landscapers all use this tool.This simple tool has been used in construction since ancient times. Jesus probably used a plumb line as a carpenter tool. References in the Bible are usually that of the Lord’s plumb line. This is in reference to how righteously people stand, or how upright their stand of God.Many of the prophets in the Old Testament warned the people about their crooked ways. Amos writes his conversation with the Lord about the people living
their own ways and not in the ways of the Lord in Amos 7:7-8.
“This is what the he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb,
with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, “What do you see Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.”
By helping children understand the word plumb line they will better understand what God’s criterion is for righteousness.
Activity to help with understanding plumb line:
Attach a paper to an easel or chalkboard. Have the child make lines from
top to bottom on a piece of paper. Then make a simple plumb line tool.
Demonstrate with the plumb line how the lines drawn by the child appeared to be
straight yet when compared to the plumb line they were crooked.Our thoughts of righteousness differ from those of God’s thoughts on righteousness.

The word “righteousness” occurs 277 times in the ESV.  This word would be a good word study as an extension of the previous object lesson of the word plumb line.

If the verses mentioned earlier seem too overwhelming to incorporate in a study I  suggest the following verses:

1 Samuel 26:23 “The LORD rewards every man according to his righteousness and his
faithfulness, for the LORD gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out
my hand against the LORD’s anointed.”

2 Titus 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, or reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

Until the next truth sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson