Resources for Preparing for Baptism

Every year, for the past few years, we have received an invitation from our Conference youth director for my not-yet-baptized child to take a series of Bible studies by correspondence, to earn a free week at summer camp and participate in the baptism on Sabbath.

The first few times, I was hesitant, because I felt he was too young to attend camp. With his developmental delays and speech impairment, I didn’t feel comfortable with his going, either. The past couple years, I asked him if he wanted to try it. He told me he wanted to be 13 when he got baptized. But because of his learning disabilities, etc., I would prefer he attended junior camp rather than teen camp.

He turns 13 this summer! So I’d planned to enroll him in the Bible studies this past winter (January/February), when the invitation came. That way he could technically still be junior age for camp. It didn’t come before we went to Florida for “spring break” though, so we began making arrangements with the pastor at my parents’ church there. (We grew to appreciate him in autumn of 2014, while my dad was gravely ill, and even spent time in hospice).

There were some resources he suggested for my son to go through. I thought I’d share them with you, in case you are ready to help your child prepare for baptism. They would also be helpful, even if your child is already baptized.


Our first resource, which we began using in January, was Making Jesus My Best Friend. It is the baptismal preparation resource for younger children (ages 8-10). It contains 10 lessons, covering such topics as: the Bible is God’s word; the Sabbath; the second coming; death; God’s judgment; and the New Earth. Each lesson has a story to read, followed by questions to answer. At the end of the book is a list of the baptismal vows, for either the parent or the pastor to go over with your child.

I purchased our copy through Amazon, for $8.99. You can also purchase it through the Adventist Book Center, for the same price.

We actually finished up this book while we were in Florida, so the pastor went over the baptismal vows with my son. He was well satisfied that my son seemed prepared for baptism, and we even considered having his baptism then (near Grandpa’s birthday), but my son decided to wait for our next visit back to Florida.


The next resource the pastor suggested is Step by Step: Learning to Follow Jesus. It especially helps children understand the principles found in the book Steps to Christ. It contains 30 lessons, containing a Bible verse, a lesson to read, followed by teaching tips at the end of each lesson. Some of the topics covered are: we learn God loves us, why He loves us, what God is like, being sorry when we do wrong things, we can believe God’s promises, and we learn to trust God’s plan.

I found this on Amazon, as well, currently for $10.07. It’s also available at the Adventist Book Center, for $11.99.


Our next resource is What We Believe: Seventh-day Adventists Believe for Kids. It serves as an introduction and summary of each of the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church, in simple, easy to understand language for children. Each lesson contains a Bible verse, a lesson to read, followed by teaching tips.

I purchased it through Amazon, also, for $9.99. It is temporarily out of stock on the Adventist Book Center website, but you may find it at your local ABC. It is listed at $11.99.


Our final resource is God’s Ten Promises. It definitely helps children understand the Ten Commandments, and helps us look at them as promises, not a list of “do nots.” This book is written more in story form; we are introduced to a set of brother/sister twins who learn one summer, through a series of family worship sessions and life experiences about each of the Commandments. The book actually contains 12 lessons, covering each of the commandments, as well as an introduction and a summary. Each story is followed by teaching tips.

You can find it on Amazon, for $12.99. It appears to also be temporarily out of stock on the Adventist Book Center. It is listed at $15.99 there.

By the way, my son’s baptism is coming up in just a couple weeks!

Although these resources are written for children, the pastor also suggested I share them with a young man our family has recently become acquainted with, who is in his mid-twenties, and has begun studying to become a Seventh-day Adventist (from a Catholic background).

I hope you find these resources as helpful as we have.

White Painted Fences

I live in the beautiful, picturesque Hunter Valley in Australia. It is a rural area known internationally for it’s fine Australian wines. Our district has thousands of acres of undulating farmland growing grape vines in long, straight rows, pruned and flourishing in rich vibrant green. The Hunter valley is also internationally famous for the breeding and rearing of Thoroughbred horses and most of our country’s best racehorses. It is one the of world’s largest horse breeding regions. Acre after acre of white fenced paddocks are the home to noble and elegant horses. There is something uniquely beautiful in the sight of a well groomed horse, prancing, grazing and galloping in all it’s regality.

I am not a very “horsey” person. I grew up riding my neighbour’s uncooperative shetland pony, legs splayed over it’s ever widening girth. We plodded slowly up and down our street, only at the pace and interest of the pony. Excitement grew as another neighbour bought a real horse. She was a deep, brown mare with a touch of white splashed across her forehead. Her name was Sparky and us kids loved to hang over the wooden rails of the stock fence watching her. I grew to fear Sparky because she had the habit of biting, nipping here and there. However, growing up as all Australians do, I was raised on the bush poetry of Banjo Patterson, who authored the famous poem “The Man From Snowy River”, which told of the escape of a prize winning colt in the late 1800’s which had joined a mob of wild brumbies, and of the daring horseback pursuit though the rough and rugged terrain of Australia’s Snowy River Mountains, to capture the colt. In 1982 the poem became a very famous movie. As a result, even though I wasn’t overly keen on horses and their teeth, I placed on my bucket list of things to do one day, the desire to ride a horse in the Snowy River Mountains.


Me eldest daughter ready for the ride


My youngest daughter excited to go out riding

Several years ago my Snowy River Mountain horse riding wish came to fruition. Our church was camping down at the mountains one hot summer and I had the opportunity to go on a two hour horse trail ride with two of my daughters. My daughters loved horses and they had received some horse riding lessons as they grew. I, however was a bit more hesitant. We listened intently to the instructions, donned our hard, white riding caps, chose our horses and mounted them with enthusiasm. There was a group of about ten of us, some had never ridden and others like me were a little fearful and then there were my daughters, eagerly waiting to set off at a good pace. The Snowy River Mountains were all I had hoped for, thick bushland, steep rugged mountainsides; a beauty found only in Australia. I could picture the brumbies running wild and free and the story of the “Man From Snowy River” being played out around me. Down the precipitous mountain side we rode, leaning back in our saddles, up the arduous terrain, knees pressed close to the horse as we sat forward, feet pushing into the stirrups. The horses were sure footed, confident and moved with the ease of true bush mountain horses. The air was scented with eucalyptus trees, the loud shrieks of sulphur crested cockatoos echoed as they flew overhead and all around was the rugged attractiveness of the Australian bushland.


Our group in the Snowy River Mountains


The Rugged Bushland


I survived the ride

Back at the Hunter Valley as I lazily lean against a white painted, wooden stock fence and gaze at the noble horses in the paddock, memories of my ride in the mountains and my inability to walk very well afterwards drift through my mind and I smile. My hands rest on the rough fence and I notice it’s paint work. White fences. Miles of white fences. Behind the fences live the best of Australia’s Thoroughbreds and our most valued race horses, all worth tens of thousands of dollars and more. White painted fences is used in the industry to protect the horses. As they gallop at high speeds during dusk or in the dark, the fences are seen clearly by them. Other fencing can find the horses colliding with them at break neck speeds and being severely injured, their careers in racing ended, maybe even their lives lost.


God has painted the fences white in our lives. He clearly shows us where the boundaries are between a life in Him, the peace and joy of abiding in Him, and where the separation from Him occurs as we step into a place of emptiness, the “pleasures of sin for a season”, a life without His abiding presence. Will I stay within the white painted fences, or will I careen dangerously close to them, will I longingly look over them or even step over them? The fences are my protection for a rich, fulfilling abundant life of purpose, contentment and inner joy. They are placed there out of love for me. I either have the Son and life or I don’t have the Son and life. I either abide in Christ and He in me or I don’t abide in Him and He is not in me. Either  I know God and have eternal life or I don’t know Him and I don’t have eternal life. Where do I stand today? Within the white painted fences or without? Where do you stand?

Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God

1 John 5:12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life

John 15:5 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

John 17:3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Run-Away Boy Meets Run-Away Goats

It’s amazing how God works sometimes when you surrender to him, rather then trying to control the situation yourself.

My young son was struggling to focus on homeschool this morning.  An emotional outburst was brewing, but I was determined that it would not be on my part.  Instead I was quietly praying, continually realigning my emotions with God.  If God be with me, who can be against me?  I called my son to prayer repeatedly, but he was resisting.  It didn’t look like anything was going to resolve easily this morning.  Sure enough, it didn’t take long.  He got frustrated, jumped up, and ran out the door.

Should I follow him?  Chase him down?  Make him come back?  Force him to put that pencil back on the paper and form words?

No.  I should pray.  And pray I did.  Lord, cover my son.  Call to his conscience.  Bring him back on his own please.  Diffuse the battle, if possible.  Nevertheless, not my will, but God’s be done.

I calmly got up and moved out the door to see what was happening.  I spotted him outside and thought maybe we’d need a brisk walk before we headed back in.  Instead, God had worked out something different.  Effective.  Amazing.

Out at the road was a county sheriff, trying to herd two beautiful goats out of the road.  It seems everyone at home was converging on the same spot, even grandma and grandpa.  Apparently the goats had escaped from some neighbor’s home and were out for an adventure.  I wondered what the sheriff was going to do with them.  Turns out, the sheriff was wondering the same thing.  Young son was drawn and started helping.  The goats turned right into our driveway.  Which is right by our chicken pen.  The chickens were out for the day, so into the pen went the goats.  Well, almost straight in, we had to lure them in with a little grain.  Now they are out there waiting for their owners to get home from work and realize that they have missing animals.  They were beautiful, well-cared for goats.

My son was so happy that he had goats at his house, even if for a little while, that he went straight back to his schoolwork, once they were settled in, without me telling him.  And in just over an hour he was finished.

It is amazing what happens to a run-away boy when he meets run-away goats.  Thanks to God for using it all for good.

Summer At Home – Activity Ideas


Summer time can be so busy with picnics and camping, gardening and food preservation. It is easy to breath a sigh of relief that the school year is over, put the books away and get on to other things. But summer time can be one of the best times for learning, because children want something interesting to do, and are glad to do things that don’t feel like school, but really involve learning.  Here are several ideas that might enhance summer learning at your house.

Have a theme for each day of the week.
Make Something Monday – Craft day
Try Something Tuesday – Try an activity or a science experiment and see what happens
Wander Somewhere Wednesday – Go out exploring and see or do something new
Thoughtful Thursday – Do something for someone else
Fabulous and Fun Friday – Think of the most fun thing you could do, something active

Or maybe you would like to make a list of activities you think would work for the summer. Write them on paper, cut them apart and put them in a jar. Choose a child to pull a paper out of the jar. Whatever is written on the paper is the activity of the day.

Another idea is to get out a calender, and a list of fun things to do, and have your children decide with you what will happen each day. Write it on the calender, and then look forward, and plan for fun times ahead.

Be sure to include some time in your summer schedule for inside activities, and outside activities, time with read books and time to run around. It is always good to have a little time to work in the week, helping with chores, working in the garden, doing things for other people or your church. And make sure there is some time to learn more about nature, and the God of creation. Do all these things, your children will love summer, learning and growing, even without homeschool curriculum in their hands.

I have collected links to quite a few interesting summer activities. What if you planned to do one at least once a week, or maybe even every day? If you know of other interesting summer learning activities, be sure to tell us about them in the comments, and add a link, if you would like.




Painting and Drawing

How to make watercolor paints from flower petals

Footprint sailboat with poster paints

Fork dandelions and fingerprint fandelions

Bubble paint flowers

Watercolor painting ideas

Use sticks as your canvas

Magic sidewalk squirt painting

Wood spoon stakes – maybe a gift for someone


A pipecleaner Chameleon

Great craft ideas

Nature objects from Maple tree seeds

DIY Glitter Rainboots. (What other kind of shoe would your child like to glitter?)

Avocado Cradle


100 Engineering Projects for Kids

Dandelion crown (or maybe daisies too)

Summer Science Ideas

Rainbow bubble snakes

Kool-aid play dough – homemade

Frozen Boats – for the lake or the bathtub

Botany activities for kids

Active Fun

Glow in the dark ring toss

Giant Backyard Scrabble

When you go to the water make some stone feet to show you were there

Build an outdoor race car track

Make bubbles that bounce

Pool noodle sprinkler

Sponge ball toss

Water activities for kids

Make some homemade stilts

Make a tent, for playing, reading, dreaming, sleeping

Fun in the Kitchen

Fresh Fruit Pops

Healthy Summer Fruit Snacks

Grow Green Onions in your Windowsill

Make your own solar oven

Banana snacks

Playing with food

Breakfast ideas

Creative food plates

Butterfly Ziplock snacks and other ideas

Octopus Hotdogs

Apple Sandwiches and other fun food to make with your kids

Beat Summer Boredom

Summer Blues?

Kid’s saying that horrible two word sentence “I’m BOOORREEDD?”

Here are some ideas to keep them off the electronics and away from the TV screen!!!

  1. Make spray paint for the sidewalk:
  2. Play with buckets or bowls of water (give them utensils and jugs and such from the kitchen).
  3. Make a summer themed sensory bin:   soil_sensory_bin
  4. Play Bible charades.
  5. Allow them to plant their own little gardens.
  6. Make a terrarium for either snails, moss, tad poles, or plants to grow in
  7. Play water balloon baseball OR any other water games:
  8. Squirt Gun Painting (If you are not ok with guns, you can get water squirters at a dollar store):
  9. Make bird feeders to watch the birds in your area (toilet paper tube, peanut butter and birdseed). Spread PB on TP roll and roll around in seed until covered. String up in a tree or porch!
  10. Go on a nature hike!
  11. Do a scavenger hunt. Many ideas on Pinterest 😉
  12. Create a stuffed animal show/play and ask family members to be the audience.
  13. Of course read!!! Finding books that a child can relate to and call their own is key!
  14. Make foot paintings:
  15. Block of ice treasure hunt:                         Ice block treasure hunt
  16. For little ones fill a baby pool with water and add in a bunch of ball pit balls!!
  17. For a rainy day: make your own playdoh, paint, play a board game, play word games, learn new worship songs with motions etc.
  18. Join a local VBS!
  19. Start a play group or go to an area park.
  20. Try to go on a field trip week or biweekly: Splash pad, zoo, children’s museums, art museum, history museum and many more.
  21. Go berry picking! My kids love this!
  22. Go bowling! There is a kid’s bowl free program that runs across the U.S. so check your local alley!
  23. Create an obstacle course.
  24. Pinterest is FULL of fun free activities!!

The things we love are: the splash pad, bowling, parks, outdoor play, nature hunts, our tadpole/frog terrarium, water play with squirters & sprinklers, side walk chalk and bubbles!

And as always, keep the Word a priority. Teach the kids life lessons through out the summer and don’t let them go without that precious learning time!!! Summer can either be lazy or hectic and whether we are on break or not, we need to keep Deuteronomy 6 in mind, because the most important thing we can do as parents is to teach our children God’s Word!