I’m back for a second time today because I have some really exciting news! Each week I talk about the spiritual practice of mindfulness. I recently presented a class at a church retreat all about documenting our gratitude. The class was an exploration into noticing the little moments of joy that bless your day and finding ways to acknowledge them. I have now turned that material into an self-paced online class on my other website ScrapInspired.com. While the class does offer a scrapbooking component it also offers many other ideas for documenting your gratitude (ranging from no craft skills required to very crafty). I wanted to make you aware of the class because I think it goes right along with the spiritual practice of mindfulness and would be very applicable to you! If you’d like more information you can click the image above or the one in the sidebar. You can also follow this link http://scrapinspired.com/gratitude-documented/
I hope that you will be inspired to document your moments of gratitude, as I have!
On Friday a letter came for my youngest son. It was from a friend at church telling him all the reasons she was grateful for him in her life. He couldn’t read a word (although I, of course, read it to him) but he just sat staring at his letter with a smile on his face. In the end he simply said, “I love Barbara!” That moment blessed me so much. A letter of love sent through the mail is so precious! And the smile on my son’s face exemplified that!
It’s important to teach our children how to pray. But sometimes it can be hard for them to think of who to pray for. A prayer poster can be a great visual for children during prayer time!
Have your child(ren) create a poster of the people that are important to them. They could stick on photographs, draw, or just list the names. Tell the child to think about why these people are important to them as they make their poster. Together find someplace special to hang the poster. If you have more than one child they should each have their own poster. While some of the people may be the same, the children may also have people they want to include that are unique to them. Tell your child that each day they can pray for someone on their poster.
During your nightly prayer time rotate the location in which you pray so that each family member’s poster is featured at least one night during the week. You can pray together as a family or individually for someone on the featured prayer poster.
Give your child a model for how to pray, other than the “gimme” kind of prayers. As you pray hold an LED tea light candle and name the person or people you are praying for. Tell your child to imagine holding the light of that person up to God. Then to imagine God’s light filling that person as you pray. Your prayer might sound something like this, “Loving God, tonight I hold the light of [Grandma] up to you. [She] is special to me because … I know God that you are with [Grandma] every day. Let her feel your light filling every part of her life. Amen.” This prayer is simply an example! Feel free to use any words that come from your heart!
We continue our study of Matthew with the scripture from Matthew 25:1-13.
The focus of this scripture is about being prepared. When talking with children I prefer the version from Ralph Milton’s Lectionary Story Bible-Year A pg 236. This version turns the story into being prepared for a wedding party (all the village is invited and asked to bring food to share. Some prepare their food early and others wait. When it’s time for the wedding those that prepared are ready to go, those that aren’t have to hurry and fix their food. But by the time they get to the wedding, the party is over and they missed it). I think this version of the scripture is easier for children to understand than the idea of virgins trimming their lamps. If you choose to use the traditional scripture I would substitute the word women for virgins so that you don’t get sidetracked onto a whole different discussion about what virgins are!
Ask the children if they have ever missed out on something because they weren’t prepared. Then share an example you have of a time where someone experienced that. My example would be a story about my oldest son. Each week my boys are expected to put their laundry away on Monday afternoon. My oldest son comes home from school, gets a snack, does his homework, practices piano and then puts away his laundry. Usually these tasks can be done fairly quickly, but this particular Monday he was being pokey. He was playing around and not completing his jobs. After dinner he still wasn’t done with his laundry. At that point his friends were all outside playing and he REALLY wanted to go too, but his laundry had to be completed first. By the time he was done it had grown dark and his friends had gone inside. He was very sad that he had missed playing with his friends.
Tell the children that Jesus told us a story in the book of Matthew about being prepared. Read Matthew 25:1-13 (adapt as needed to make it appropriate for children). When you finish reading the scripture ask the children if they can think of times they have to get prepared (for school, before a test, packing for a trip, before cooking, etc).
Close by reminding the children how important it is to think ahead and be prepared for what you are doing.