About Carol Garborg

Carol Garborg is a parent educator, author, and speaker who is passionate about one of God’s greatest inventions—family. Whether developing curriculum, teaching, or facilitating a class, she wants to encourage parents.

Simple Question-and-Answer Thanksgiving Activity

Before our Thanksgiving meal today, our family will take a few minutes to do this simple Thanksgiving question-and-answer activity. It encourages interaction between different generations and helps to make Scripture practical and real, without being preachy.

Choose four question “askers.” These people read the verse and matching question. I’ve asked my son, nieces, and nephew to take this role.
Next, choose four question “answerers.” This can be someone like grandpa or grandma or dad or mom.

Verse and Question #1
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1-3

What is it about God that makes you the most thankful?

Verse and Question #2
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

How can you be thankful for something you don’t like? When was a time when you didn’t feel thankful and you handled it well?

Verse and Question #3
The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the Lord…they were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord. 1 Chronicles 23:28, 30-31

The Levites were known as people who gave thanks to God. Who do you know who is an example of a thankful person?

Verse and Question #4
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Philippians 2:14-15

What’s the big deal about grumbling or complaining anyhow?

[Tough question. Besides being ungrateful, when we complain we're telling God we don't believe in Him to take care of us.]

Drum roll please

Remember this book?

hardcover version

 

Last month The Family Book of Advent was nominated for the inspiration category of
the Evangelical Christian Publisher’s 2013 Christian Book Award.

Tomorrow, Monday April 29, LiveBlog coverage of the event begins at 6 pm (CT).
You can bet this girl’s gonna be listening!

Part One: If you’re gonna be a successful parent, you gotta have…Grit!

As a writer, I’ve often wondered why God didn’t edit out certain sections of his Bible storybook. Why do we need to know, for instance, that left-handed Ehud plunged a dagger into a king’s fat belly? Or that Lot’s daughters got him drunk and had sex with him? Ugh.

The story of Rizpah in 2 Samuel 21 is a story that lands in the “ugh” category. The Gibeonites killed Rizpah’s two sons and exposed their bodies. No burial was allowed. Rizpah parked herself on a nearby rock and resolved to protect the bodies of her sons. Day and night for five months she determinedly kept birds and wild animals away until King David intervened and Rizpah’s son were buried.

If we’re going to be successful parents, we’ve got to have grit that rivals Rizpah’s. We have to have the unrelenting stubbornness to do what’s best for our kids regardless of whether we’re
tired,
frustrated,
hurt and confused,
overwhelmed,
inconvenienced,
or just plain ol’ don’t feel like it.

I realize this isn’t your typical motivational post on parenting. Something about the picture of Rizpah standing guard over her sons, though, stirs me to take up my charge of parenting just as seriously. Rizpah watched over her lifeless sons. We watch over our full-of-life children, bursting to learn and grow and step out into the big, wide world. Parenting and nurturing them in God’s ways is a privilege that accompanies a responsibility that takes grit.

 

Thanks to my mentors, Pastor and Leni Vargas of São José dos Campos, Brazil,
for sharing this Bible story and its implications on parenting with me.

© 2013 Carol Garborg. All rights reserved.

Costa Creation

Thanks to two of our favorite people, my husband and I were able to celebrate our anniversary in a Costa Rican paradise. That trip not only turned our hearts towards each other, but it turned my heart toward God. It was like stepping into a world brilliant with God’s mastery.

I saw God’s creativity in these savvy little bats who line up and play “snake” to threaten predators

 

And then scatter and turn gray when they’re not. Can you see them?

 

I saw God’s handiwork in the baby crocodile blending in with the slimy mud underneath.

 

 

I saw God’s imagination in the inky black sand made from volcanic fragments that contrasted with our very white feet,

 

His majesty in blue-green waterfalls,

 

And his sense of humor while watching a lounging white-faced monkey.

 

I saw God’s handiwork in the frilled iguana, sunsets, and more birds than I could count.

 

 

Isn’t God amazing?!

Nature is one of the best ways to point our children towards God. In creation lies proof that He is God. “For all the gods of the nations are idols,” says the psalmist, “but the LORD made the heavens (Psalm 96:5).

Look out your window. Maybe you don’t see iguanas or monkeys, ocean or bats, but what do you see? And what does it say about who God is?

Push play and listen

I have an old answering machine that I refuse to toss. And on that machine are a few messages that I refuse to delete. Every once in a while I sit down, press play, lean back, and listen.

Message 1 is from my niece Giovanna who in a jumble of English and Portuguese asks, “Tia Carol, quando que a gente vai camping.” (Auntie Carol, when are we going camping?) I picture her arriving at my house for a backyard campout shortly after leaving that message decked out in head-to-toe pink while pulling a pink Barbie suitcase behind her.

Message 2 is from my Auntie Dolly. “Well, well, well. I want to wish you a Merry Christmas! Ho, ho, ho!” She laughs and I picture her dimples sinking deep into her cheeks.

Message 3 is from another aunt, Betty, who calls me every year on my birthday only this year I’m not home when she does. I hear her sing, “Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!” Then she says, “I love you, my dear niece.”

I listen and always those messages bring a smile to my heart.

There are days, especially dreary days, when we need to sit down, play the messages that God has left us in His Word, and let them remind us to smile.

I love you (John 3:16).
I chose you (Ephesians 1:11).
I have redeemed you (Isaiah 44:22).
You are mine (Song of songs 2:16; Isaiah 43:1)
I have a purpose for your life (Jeremiah 29:11).

What are the messages you play in your head?

 

Here’s an excerpt from a poem written by author George R. Foster (who also happens to be husband of deep-dimpled Dolly):

Ever feel worthless? Hopeless? Helpless?
Rejected? Unprotected? Disconnected?
Ever make mistakes? Get bad breaks?
Wonder what difference your life makes?
YOU ARE MORE VALUABLE THAN YOU THINK.
It’s not looks talents, brains, friends, clothes,
money, race, gender, or accomplishments that
give you value. God made you, knows you,
loves you, believes in you and has plans for you.
Your Creator gives you value.

CREDO CARDS, 8445 w 149TH Street, Savage, MN 55378
grobertfoster@hotmail.com

 

© 2013 Carol Garborg. All rights reserved.

Popsicle Stick Star

 

I sat quietly as the soft-spoken woman next to me explained how the positioning of the stars and planets could be used to gain insight into her life. And into my life if I would only realize their potential. I knew, though, that there was only one problem:

The moon, stars and planets tell us about God; they don’t tell us about us. The message they speak isn’t about what is going to happen in my life or yours but rather about the majesty and greatness of the One who created us and has a plan for our lives.

We’re just three days out from Epiphany, the day Jesus was revealed to the Magi who followed the Bethlehem star. In that case the star did give insight to the Magi, but that was okay because the star told them about Jesus! Play the game below with your nieces, nephews, kids, or grandkids and use it as a springboard to explain that creation tells us about God, not about us.

Popsicle Stick Star game

The goal is to be the first one to earn the 5 crafts sticks needed to build a star.
Supplies:
a die, craft sticks
The youngest person rolls the die first.

Roll a 1 and you lose a craft stick.
Roll a 2 or 3 or 5 and you gain one craft stick
Roll a 4 and you take a craft stick from another player
Roll a 6 and you lose all your craft sticks.

When you’re done explain that just as the Bethlehem star pointed to Jesus, all creation points, or shows us about, the God who made them.[1]

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands,
Psalm 19:1

[1]Carol Garborg, The Family Book of Advent (Minneapolis, MN: Summerside Press, 2012) p. 91.


© 2013 Carol Garborg. All rights reserved.

Hope!

When the wrappings and ribbons are in the trash,
the manger scene is back in the attic,
the friends and family have said good-bye,
and the house feels empty and so do you–
there is One who waits to fill your empty heart
and renew your hope.

~ Charles Swindoll

Christmas Whys

Early in our marriage, my husband and I suffered a devastating loss around the holidays. I sat on the living room floor one day, dutifully trying to enjoy the caroling my family was doing around me and began to sob.
Unspeakable sorrow tore at my heart.
Palpable darkness suffocated me.
Raging questions bubbled inside.
How could this happen?
Why me? Why our family?
Why, God, why!

My journey through the whys is too long to tell here. But what I learned when I finally climbed out of my deep, dark hole of sorrow was that “why” was the wrong question to ask. The better question was “who.” Not “why is this happening” or “where is God” but “who is He.”

I asked myself a million times, Who is this God anyhow and how can He let horrible things happen?

My accusation was met, though, with the undeniable truth that God loved the world so much that He gave the only Son He had. Furthermore that Son Jesus had given his whole life for me. There was no greater proof of love.

All around me this year are so many who feel now much the way I did then. Their hearts cringe with pain and they ache for answers. A mom whose 24-year-old year suddenly dropped dead. A brother recently diagnosed with a degenerative disease. A family wrongly punished with a lawsuit that may push them into bankruptcy. The normal question to ask is why. Why, God, why?

Yet in the middle of the unknown whys of life, there is One who longs to make Himself known and He is love. Rather than interpreting what we do know (God is love) in light of what we don’t (why something happened), we can interpret what we don’t know (the whys of life) in light of what we do–God is love. Even if nothing else makes sense, that truth is unshakeable and real.

 

© 2012 Carol Garborg. All rights reserved.

Fear Prayers

Having a teenager with a newly obtained drivers’ license will do wonders for your prayer life. Add to that a winter storm and icy roads and, well, let’s just say the intensity of my prayers grows with every inch of snow that falls.

“Dear God, please protect Davis,” I pray with fear clutching at my heart. “Please help him drive safely. Please don’t let him smash into another car and send someone to the hospital and total the car and increase our insurance rates. Pleeeease!” And the tension doesn’t loosen its grip on me until I see him walk safely in the door.

These are what I’ve come to realize are “fear” prayers. Fear prayers are when you pray about what you fear with a whole lot of fear. Contrast that with praying about what you fear with a whole lot of faith. One assumes that God is reluctant to answer and, perhaps if you pray hard and long enough, you’ll sway Him in your favor. The other assumes that God is loving and cares infinitely more for you than you ever could.

So I’d encourage you as I’ve been encouraging myself these days,

when you pray for your kids

when you pray for your spouse (and please do, by the way, pray for your spouse)

when you pray for your marriage or your job or your house

remember God loves you and you can go to Him in FAITH!

 

© 2012 Carol Garborg. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Wordle Fun

Several years ago, I came across Wordle, a program that creates a visual design of word content. My son was so fascinated with Wordle, I soon lost my chair in front of the computer. Basically, you choose the text you want to enter, then Wordle arranges those words into an imaginative display. Elementary age children and older will have loads of fun playing with the different arrangements, patterns, and colors.

  • Start by going to www.wordle.net.
  • Click “Create.”
  • Type in any text. Since we’ve just stepped into the Advent season, I wanted text that focused on Jesus and what he brings to the world. So I typed

Jesus brings peace.
Jesus brings joy.
Jesus brings light and life to the world.
Jesus, Son of God, came to earth as a baby.
(Note: The more frequently you type a word, the larger it appears in the final product.)

  • Click “Go.” (I had better success with a Safari browser than with Firefox.)
  • Use your imagination to play around with the different fonts, palettes, and layouts.

Grilled Cheese font with Black and white palette and every-which-way text

Beryllium font with Organic Carrot palette with horizontal words

And I had to do a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” theme as well.

 

Print out pages in black and white or color and create a word design banner by attaching the pages with a clothespin to a long string.