Welcome to our parenting network

We are all about helping parents (including us!) be intentional about how we raise our children so that they can be people who love God, love others, and know that they are loved by their family, friends, and our Creator.  We believe that this kind of upbringing will help our children be all that God wants them to be.

The process of parenting changes us as our children our changed. We parents have what some think is the most important job in the world. Raising the next generation requires us to be intentional. Encouraging each other in spiritual, material, and emotional ways is what we want to do. Building a supportive, healthy community of parents and people who share our values and love children is our dream.

We hope you will explore this blog, and join our Facebook page  so we can start building relationships both in our area and all over the world. Our focus now is Northwest Arkansas, but we hope that eventually other Intentional Parenting Networks will form.

Taina Hernandez  and Patricia Mikkelson are the co-coordinators of Intentional Parenting Network. We hope you will check out the articles and information and consider joining our community.

Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/intentionalparenting network

You can contact Patricia at livablefutureproject@gmail.com  479-313-0414

Ways to inspire our children to express gratitude

This is a very brief, easy to read, and profound article where the article describes how she facilitated some memorable activities to inspire the teenage girls to express gratitude. Here is one of my favorite activities, and I think I will work with my children to get into the habit of gratitude journaling.

“I bought the girls their own journals from the $1 bin. I shared with the girls that no matter the circumstances, we should try to give thanks, and at night before going to bed is a good time to start.

Keep the journal by your bed.
Every night write one note of thanksgiving.
It will turn your frustrations into thanksgiving.
You’ll go to bed with peace.
You’ll wake up to a fresh new day. ”

I hope you will check this article out as well as look into a ton of other great resources that this website contains. I am so thankful for this article!


Gracepoint Church: kid-friendly

Gracepoint Church, Fayetteville campus meets in a bar. Yes, you heard it right–George’s Majestic Lounge–to be specific.

Mike Felder, the pastor, said, “We figured out that if we were going to meet in a bar, we had better have a really good children’s program.”  And from what I have experienced and understand, they do.

I have been attending Gracepoint Church for about two and a half months and starting to really feel at home.  I still remember the first time I came to a service, and I saw this very ingenious system of PVC pipes and curtains making small Sunday school classes.  Since the entrance part of the bar is completely separated from the concert and dance part of the bar, this is an ideal set up.

Cameron, who oversees the kids area, loves her work. She told me that she feels inspired by the curriculum they use because they are learning the basic teachings of Christianity in a way that the young ones can understand.  She enjoys learning the basics along with the kids–because these concepts–like how much God loves us–are so important.

I am also impressed at how the teachers love their work.  I have heard many of them talk about how fulfilling it is for them to be with the children and help them to learn about God. The kids even have take home materials to review what they learned so the parents can be proactive. I can understand how exciting it must be for the teachers to know that people of all ages are drawing closer to God because of their work.

Last but not least, I appreciate the safety aspect of the Sunday School. The parents can not pick up their kids unless they have a matching bracelet which has a code on it that can only be validated through a computer process.

Well, if I had a younger child, I would be happy to put them in the capable and loving hands of this volunteer staff. I hope that parents who are looking for a friendly church where people care about kids–as well as reaching out to the community, and so much more–they might consider visiting Gracepoint Church at 10:30 on Sundays.

I hope to see you there!


Delighting in our children

I had the privilege of listening to the testimony of a beautiful woman who found that God was with her through difficult trials that almost took her life, and did take the life of two of her three children.

What I took away from her winsome, vulnerable sharing was that God is truly with us all the time, and wants the best for us. No matter what life looks like–he just wants to fulfil his purpose for us which is to have an intimate relationship with Him that will bring joy to our lives beyond comprehension.  You can here more about her story at  her blog www.letterstonoble.com

As parents, we have opportunities every day to respond to our children in a similar way that God responds to us.  Our every action can either inspire them to love and trust us and want to be in a close relationship, or can stimulate fear, mistrust, and anger that leads to separation.

I have heard or read people talking about how we can’t be best friends to our own children because…I can’t remember. Of course we don’t want to talk about things that are not age appropriate, or that might cause them distress. With a best friend, we can talk about anything. But we can be really, really close to them.  We can discipline them in ways that are grace-filled and not angry. We can take every opportunity to fill the “emotional bank account” with affirmation, blessing, empathic listening, spending time, and in other ways giving of our selves.

I delight in my kids now that they are older.  But when they were younger, they were somewhat of a burden to me–something I wish could have been different. That’s another story. But when I hear stories like Cara Cole’s, I feel so happy that she is delighting in her baby now. What a great foundation that will be for her little Nora.

God delights in you. He delights in me. He delights in our children. I pray that we can all learn to delight in each other, see the best, and help our children and fellow sojourners on this God-journey to love like He loves.

This is one of the most inspiring talks I have ever heard given by one of the most compassionate man I have ever experienced through listening and reading.

Larry Crabb recounts some wonderful stories about how parents dealt with challenges with their kids. His wonderful message ispartly about how we need to change ourselves before we can try to change the world.

I personally think we need to do both together–but I believe we as parents would benefit from hearing this message.  I think it is so encouraging that Larry Crabb, renown Christian counselor can be so vulnerable.


Basic needs of everyone

One of the main teachings I learned and practiced from the time Chris, born in 1989, was in my womb, was Nonviolent Communication.  I have realized since giving my life to Christ that there are some important aspects of this teaching missing. But Marshal Rosenberg who discovered this model, has a lot of practical ideas to share. I would encourage you to check out the model of communication here.

One of the main things that Marshall addresses is the fact that we all have needs, and that whenever we communicate, we are asking for one of our needs to be met.

Here is what he says about needs that I find useful.

“Let me give you all nine of them, because, according to the Chilean economist, Manfred Max-Neef, we only have about nine needs. Needs are very important to Max-Neef, because his whole, economic system is based on human needs. How do we measure them, so we really gauge our economy, its success, on the meeting of human needs – and not the tragic way we have been measuring it?

The first one he calls, “sustenance:” food, shelter, and water – the basic, physical needs. Next, “safety:” protection. Next, “love.” Next, “understanding.” Next, “community.” Next, “recreation:” play, rest; he lumps those as one. Then, one of the most important needs of all, “autonomy.” Look in the newspaper on any, given day and see how many wars are going on over that need. Human beings have a strong need to be in charge of their own lives, to not have somebody claiming to know what they have to do or should do. Anybody who says that to them, it threatens his or her autonomy. You see all the wars going on between nations. Listen in on any family with children. You will hear autonomy wars. “It’s time to go wash up for bed.” “No, I don’t wanna.” “Did you hear me?” “No!” See? An autonomy war. Another need, “creativity.” Then, according to Victor Frankl, probably the most important need of all, a need for “meaning:” purpose in life. How sad, how few people on the planet are getting that need met. They are educated to misrepresent needs, according to Michael Lerner. We have been educated to misrepresent our needs. We have been educated to think we have a need to consume, a need for money, a need for status – not realizing those are not needs.”

Marshal Rosenberg from an interview at  http://www.goodradioshows.org/peaceTalksL36.html

I think that by identifying these needs we can more effectively help our children in times of conflict–and help each other as well. We can be more empathic and  understanding, and thus be a peace maker.

Resources about grace-based parenting

GOYB Parenting

This is an excellent resource for parents including an article about how the author made a transition from parenting that was not nurturing her child, to grace-based parenting. She calls her approach “Effective, Practical Parenting” or “Get off your butt parenting”.  I like her earthy, yet compassionate style. What I read in her blog was very helpful and I felt aligned wit her outlook.  I think this will be very helpful to parents.

The Complete Book of Christian Parenting by Dr. William and Martha Sears

I have not read this book by the Sears, but their books were like bibles to me when I had my first child 23 years ago. I was not a Christian at that time, and didn’t know that the Sears were–but I sure did admire their approach which Dr. Sears coined “Attachment Parenting.”

“Families Where Grace is in Place”

This book was recommended by the GOYB blog lady and Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church highly recommends it.  I am definitely going to buy this book. Just reading the introduction got me really inspired.

“How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk.”

This website tells about the book that I read when my now 23 year old son was in the womb. I was so glad to have this book which really inspired me as well as gave me practical tools which helped me to have great relationships with both of my children from the time they were young. Even though Christianity is not a part of their tool kit–the principles of grace-based parenting shine through the great majority of their writings.

This is a great resources that inspired me a lot when I was raising Chris.



What are your favorite books about parenting?

Support for homeschoolers

Since I have home schooled both of my children (16 and 23), I know the importance of having support. Now, more parents than ever are choosing home schooling because the schools are deteriorating in many ways.  We really want to help parents, especially those who are on the fence about home schooling, to be successful in their home schooling experience.

One way we want to do this is to set up a learning center for homeschoolers.  This will be a part of the Day Community we have been talking about in previous posts. We are looking for a church where this can happen.

The immediate way this can happen is to start an Intentional Parenting support group in Tae’s area which is near Terra Studios located off of Hwy 16 near  Elkins.

Really, the bottom line of what we are looking for is loving relationships. The beauty of finding people who share our values of grace-based parenting is that these people will also cherish grace-based friendships.

One of the ideas is for the group to find a way to help each other with meal preparation. Such a large amount of time is taken up with shopping, preparing the food, and clean up.  If parents could help each other make healthy food, they would save a bunch of time and have healthy meals for their kids.  If you have any good ideas about how to do this, we would love to hear from you.

Other things that can happen at this support group are:

  • Prayer time so parents can pray for their children.
  • Sharing ideas about grace-based parenting
  • Discussing various approaches to homeschooling
  • Having learning opportunities for the kids
  • Brainstorm about having a homeschooling learning center.
  • Find ways to foster deeper relationships with each other as well as with God.

Our intention is to set up some guidelines and structures so that everyone can feel safe-parents and children alike.  We don’t want to be rigid or controlling, but at the same time we want to draw people who know from experience that boundaries are healthy and who have the maturity to honor those boundaries.

We are in the process of setting up guidelines and structures, which will continually be open to refinement and feedback from participants.

What would a typical day look like?

I am asking God right now to guide me about what he would like a typical day at our Day Care Community to look like? I can’t guarantee that I am writing exactly what he is telling me–but let’s see what comes out.

Food preparation. Wow. That is is so important. Every day we will make healthy food for our community that the children will love. Parents will learn to prepare this food. Some parents will attend the DC Community. Others will choose to work. But all can learn. As the children become familiar with eating healthy stuff, then it will be much easier for parents to make food at home that they are already used to.

Prayer.  We will be praying through out the day. Morning. Before meals. Mid day. Before naps. Mid afternoon. End of the day.  We will pray in such a way that we enjoy our prayers. We will help each other and the children to learn to talk to God and listen to God in a way that encourages an intimate relationship.

Worship and praise:  There will be a time of singing unto God.  Simple songs that all can enjoy–not so simple songs that all can enjoy.  We want the children to be exposed to all kinds of worship music.

Learning: About all sorts of things. The bible. Nature. God’s creation.  Letters, reading, and more. Learning joyfully–not pressured but learning to love to learn.

Naps. Rest.While little ones sleep, older kids play quietly and adults can have perhaps a prayer time.

Service: There will be all ages of kids because we are serving home schoolers as well as younger ones.  The older ones can help the younger ones with various tasks and learning.

Community outreach. We want go out into the community and be a light.  Even if we are taking a walk along the trail, we can be part of the trail trekkers who keep an eye out for trouble on the trail.  We can wear tee shirts that say something uplifting–and so when we are picking up trash or smiling at someone–they know where our joy and service attitude comes from.

We can find out when various things are happening that need service–like helping the homeless, or cleaning up a creek or feeding people. We can figure out how even the youngest ones can be involved.

communication:  We will have circles where we talk about feelings and learn to listen and learn to resolve conflicts. I used to promote a course called “More Teachable Moments” where we taught children how to be more empathetic, how to resolve conflicts constructively, how to love each other. Even though it was a secular course, it had so many of the elements of Jesus teachings in it. I want to find a similar course to share.  The adults also can have circles of communication where they can share openly those things that might not be appropriate for children.

We will have an environment where conflict is dealt with in constructive and creative ways.

We also will have lots of chances for people to give their input and take responsibility for following what they think God is calling them to do.

Well, I could keep writing, but I think God is calling me to some other duties which are calling me in my life.



Joy and fun are important at our Day Care

I realize that my life has become void of very much fun.  I have a lot of joy because of my connection to God, my family, and friends. But I have little fun because there is not much time. I work at jobs like cleaning, organizing, and gardening that pay the bills. But they are not my passion. And they are not fun for the most part.

So part of my dream of helping to start a full time Day Care Community is to have lots of fun. Here are some activities that I imagine facilitating or participating in:

Volley ball for the older kids and adults. Volley ball is my favourite sport and I love to play with people who are cooperative and somewhat competitive.  Yes, we will be separate from the younger ones–but it is okay for the older ones to have fun separately. People who are not into volley ball can take care of the younger kids–and we who are getting our fun needs met can then trade off to let them have fun in other ways.

Cooperative Games: I love facilitating or playing cooperative games.  There are a ton of them. And the great thing is that people of all ages can play.  Some take more skills and so sometimes we will need to divide up the ages.

Singing: Fortunately I can play the guitar and I have lead choirs. I can see having all kinds of ages getting together to sing. Using motions will be important. Performing for the community, for parents, for church, for elderly people at convalescent homes–all this can happen. Children can learn how to read using music. I have a friend who developed a neat system to do this.

Drama and plays: I have helped children create plays. It is so much fun.  The process is as wonderful as the play itself.

Dancing:  Dancing is so good for the body and the emotions. And if we dance to songs that put good thoughts and concepts into our minds and hearts–well then we have the best of all worlds.

All of the above will include lots of hugs, connection, laughter and love. Fun! I can’t wait:)