30 Days of Tween Parenting Encouragement E-book

30 Days of Tween Parenting Encouragement Free E-bookI am all kinds of stoked to tell y’all about this FREE e-book!

We’re sending 30 Days of Tween Parenting Encouragement out today, as a gift, to ALL of my blog newsletter subscribers.

Lee Felix of Like Minded Musings, did an excellent job compiling this book, with contributions from 30 different bloggers, who are all parents of tweens, including yours truly. Visit Lee’s blog, and give her a follow or a Facebook Like!

I wrote chapter 16 of this book, 2 Must Read Character-Building Books for Tweens. Be sure to look for me in there. I was so honored to be a part of it.

Here are a few of the many topics covered in this free e-book:

-Social Media Responsibility

-Giving Structure without Being Overly Strict

-Helping Your Tween Deal with Pressure

-3 Steps to Loving Your Tween with Purpose

-How to Connect to Your Tween Boy

-Anxious Tweens

-Tween Girls and Body Image

-How to help your tween set up a quiet time

and much, much more!!!

 

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Intriguing Photos from Touring Old Jaffa, Historic Home of Simon the Tanner

our view, walking to Jaffa

For me, touring Israel was all about the history. I wanted to EXPERIENCE the Bible lands. Historic sites, ground that Jesus walked on, that was what we were after.

So on day 1, we crashed with jet lag and didn’t leave our hotel.

On day 2, we rushed off to Jerusalem, as fast as our tour bus could take us.

On day 3, Alan was working, and Julie and I were feeling out our surroundings, so we walked all over Tel Aviv, to see what we could find interesting. Day 3 was exhausting, and sweaty, extremely sweaty.

This whole trip was so sweaty, I needed 14 changes of clothes. I actually had to find a local store and buy more underwear because silly me, I’d anticipated 1 pair a day, not two.

Day 4 brought the excitement.

Day 4 was one of the highlights of the trip. For day 4, Julie and I were on a mission. Jaffa, also called Yafo, also referred to in the Bible as Joppa, is exactly 3 miles from Tel Aviv. You could see it from our hotel, and we decided to just walk there.

There’s a beach walk that connects Tel Aviv to Jaffa, so you couldn’t ask for a more pleasant walk…..well, unless it had been a shaded beach walk, but that’s a rare find indeed.

So off we went, down the beach to see Old Jaffa. Jaffa is where Jonah went to run from the Lord, sailing to Tarshish. Jaffa was also the home of the famous Simon the Tanner. I’ll tell you more about ol’ Simon in a minute here.

port of Jaffa

The port of Jaffa was also where Solomon shipped in the cedars of Lebanon, and after World War II, this port was where vast numbers of Jews arrived to return to the Promised Land.

It’s one of the most historic cities there is! And, according to archaeologists, Jaffa has been constantly inhabited since about 1900 BC, and perhaps even longer. (source 1)

view of Jaffa from the beach, by the port

This area is currently run by Arab Christians, according to locals, but just like the rest of Israel, it has fallen under many different countries’ rule over the year, to include the Turks.

Yafo/Jaffa is diverse.

I definitely saw more Muslim people in Yafo than I did in Tel Aviv.

There were loud prayer calls and women in full Islamic garb. That was the first time I had ever been walking around and suddenly heard the loud sounds of the Muslim call to prayer.

These are sounds my husband is extremely accustomed to, considering all of his time in the Middle East, but it was a new experience for me!

This plaque is on one of the Old Jaffa buildings.

Armenian Convent of St. Nicholas

I thought these blue doors and vents looked pretty against the sand color bricks.

 

More of these beautiful plants. Is it bougainvillea? Please let me know in the comments if you know what this plant is called! I loved it.

You go up these stairs, and you are suddenly in an extremely unique, ancient place. Even the ground is brick. If you ever go to Israel, be sure to see Old Jaffa!

This is the way to Simon the Tanner’s house! Up the stairs into Old Jaffa, and then keep turning corners and getting lost until you stumble upon it. Follow the light house.

 

view of Old Jaffa

We glanced at the map the first time around, not knowing what to look for.

After walking through Old Jaffa and not finding Simon the Tanner’s house, we decided to try again. The SECOND time around, we studied the map as hard as our eyeballs could stare, and then made another go of it.

beautiful Jaffa

It felt Medieval-ish to me. I don’t know how old it was. We missed the guided tour, so we were on our own.

 

Searching, searching, where is that Simon the Tanner’s house???

I bet Cornelius’s messenger in the Bible didn’t have this much trouble finding it…

By the 2nd time around, we knew if we could just find THIS lighthouse, we could find ol’ Simon’s house.

We got in a ton of steps and stair-climbs that day.

So all of a sudden, when we least expected it, we realized we were standing right in front of it!!! Ha!

Simon the Tanner’s house!

Want to know who Simon the Tanner is?

Well, after Jesus died and rose again and ascended to Heaven, the disciples kept up their work.

They were still going around teaching and preaching the good news of Jesus: Jesus died to pay the price for our sin. No need to make animal sacrifices. Instead of a Messiah to come, we now have faith in a Messiah that IS.

However, the disciples were only teaching this method to Jewish people, not Gentiles.

It was time for a change.

First of all, Peter was staying at the home of a tanner. That was considered an unclean trade (source 2), which fits this story perfectly.

As a Jew, there were many foods that were unclean, and Gentiles were unclean. Therefore, when Peter had a vision of a blanket of unclean food, with God telling him to eat it, he was perplexed.

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour[b] to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth.

 

 

 

12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.   Acts 10:9-16

While Peter was still pondering the dream, a man came to fetch him to come tell Cornelius, a Gentile, who loved God, about Jesus, in the town of Caesesarea.

By the way, Israelites do NOT pronounce Caesarea the same way we do. Over there the C makes the k sound in that word, so it was confusing!

So Peter went to Cornelius’s house in Caesarea, and this is a snippet of what the Bible says about the meaning of the dream he’d had at Simon the Tanner’s house:

Tour of Jaffa in Pictures

 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”    Acts 10: 28-29

That’s when Peter learns that Cornelius worships the Lord, along with his family, and God has sent Peter to tell this man and his family the gospel:

30 And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour,[d] and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.

 

 

32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”     Acts 10:30-33

For the full story, read Acts 10.

Ok. Now that we’ve had our one Bible lesson, let’s see a few more photos to round out the visit.

A tomb, maybe?

This used to be a government building. Only this front remains. The back was bombed out by one of their wars.

another view of the bombed out government building

whale fountain in Old Jaffa—perfect for the Jonah and the whale story

just an interesting building in the more modern part of the city

a church

I just liked the architecture.

Old Jaffa (beyond the parking lot)

view of Yafo

Jaffa

We found this at the port. I had never heard this story. Have you?

Hope you enjoyed the tour!! Want to see more? Here are a few more of my previous Israel tours:

Jerusalem: Mount of Olives and the Last Supper

Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa

Where Christ was Crucified

Tel Aviv 

Modern Tel Aviv

 

 

Sources:

  1.  The Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project website, Historical Overview, jaffa.nelc.ucla.edu/site.html#overview
  2. Acts 9:3 Peter and Simon the Tanner, readingacts.com,
  3. Acts 10, Bible Gateway Online, English Standard Version

 

5 Steps to Focus on Prayer, Rather than Letting Your Mind Wander

***This post does contain Amazon affiliate links, for which I earn ad fees.***

I don’t know about you, but I have always done some of my very best thinking during prayer time or listening to a church sermon. It isn’t on purpose. It’s just that it can be frustratingly hard to focus.

Prayer is something I start with the best of intentions. Like this….it’s funny…..

“Dear Lord, thank you so much for this day, and my husband and children, and this house. You have been so good to me……Ugh, it’s a lunch-packing day, and I forgot to buy bread. What is that brown smudge over there? I’m going to have to clean that up. Oh, Lord, do help Gracie with that problem she’s having. I meant to pray about that. Sanctify her heart. My bra hurts. My pants are hot. What did I set the air conditioner on? This summer I’m going to save $250 by not joining the neighborhood pool…Oh yeah, please help Gracie. Give her wisdom for this.”

Yes, it’s that bad. No, all of those thoughts are not prayer thoughts, or even related thoughts. This is how brains sometimes work!

We have to INTENTIONALLY find a way to focus on our prayer, and I recently came across a plan that smoothed out that jacked up roller coaster ride that used to be my prayers.

I found it in this book:

 

I’m reading this book with a small group of women at my church. Page 15 had the prayer-changing-strategy that I found so helpful.

First, the authors, Ralph W. Neighbor, Jr. and Bill Latham, take you through the Lord’s prayer to remind us how Jesus said to pray. Most of us are familiar with that.

But then, they actually break it down to prompts that you PERSONALIZE for your life on that day.

5 steps to more focused prayer, rather than letting your mind wander

These are the questions they ask you to fill in:

  1. “What will you say to God to show how you respect and honor him?” Then they give you space to write out what you are actually going to say.
  2. “What part of your life and your world do you need to commit to God’s control today?” ____________________________________________
  3. They ask you what you need to ask forgiveness for. Ouch. Yep. Be honest.
  4. “Where do you need God’s protection in your life today?”  I love that we have this sort of heavenly Father. He WILL give you protection where you need it, when you ask him.
  5. “What can you say and do to recognize God’s rule over your life today?”

 

These 5 simple, PERSONAL, questions provide you with an outline to focus on your prayers.

It’s not just a list of gimme, gimme, gimme either. It’s a true heart check and conversation starter.

Yes, many of us keep a prayer list of names and needs, but this is better than that alone because it changes everyday, and it encourages you to give God glory and thanksgiving, rather than just a list of requests.

I found it much easier to FOCUS on what I was praying, using this guide, than my typical mode of just letting the words flow from my mind and heart with no aforethought. There’s nothing wrong with that, but as I showed at the beginning, I simply have trouble FOCUSING.

Many people use a 5 step outline for prayer, but I found this to be even better for my mind-wandering because it required me to write down what I wanted to say on this particular day, what was relevant at the moment.

I hope you find this useful. I think it would be wonderful to fill up an entire notebook of prayer outlines like this, all filled in.

 

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed by your name.

Your kingdom come, 

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, 

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.”

–Jesus, in Matthew 6: 9-13

 

I hope you all have a wonderful week. It’s the first week of summer here! Time to have fun with the kids!

 

 

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