Hunger Hits Home

Today is Good Friday. A day that we remember Jesus’ life and the amazing example he gave us! Jesus taught us to feed the hungry. And yet in America 1 in 5 children suffer from hunger. Today…Good Friday…let’s commit to live Jesus’ example. Let’s commit to learn more, and then do more to help all those that are hungry!

Check out the trailer for Hunger Hits Home – a new documentary about childhood hunger in America premiering April 14 at 8pm/7c on Food Network.

 

 

“In this 1-hour special we take a first-hand look at the crisis of childhood hunger in America through the eyes of the parents, children, activists, educators and politicians on the frontlines of the battle. The program is presented by Food Network and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.”

Change begins with you. See it. Share it. Support it. Foodnetwork.com/hungry

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Spiritual Tweets

Are you on twitter? There is all kinds of information out there if you know where to look. Who knew Twitter would be a place to find information about children’s ministry?!?

Not only can you get updates about the posts here at ChildhoodSpirituality.com by following me on Twitter, but you can also find lots of other great sources of information. By searching hash-tags like #fammin (family ministry), #kidmin (children’s ministry), or even #mindfulness or #spirituality you can find a wealth of awesome information.

Haven’t jumped on the twitter bandwagon yet? Perhaps you should!

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A Playful Spirit

When I was a kid my parents were always saying to me, “Why don’t you go outside and play?”  And we did!  My sister and I would climb on our jungle gym, swing, ride bikes, and do gymnastics in the yard.  Even in the winter we would play.  We regularly turned our basement into a scene from “The Little House on the Prairie” complete with blankets wrapped around our waists to simulate the long skirts.  I know that I watched TV daily, but play was also a central part of my life.

We live in a time that offers very few opportunities for free, imaginative play.  When my students used to write about what they did over the weekend, most of the time their answers include playing video games, or watching TV shows and movies.  Even when I would probe to see if they were just forgetting about the other things they did, I often found no time in their day where they simply played.  This is certainly true in schools.  With high stakes testing, and competition among schools and districts, play is definitely being pushed to the side.

Yet brain research tells us that play is not only good for us, but many play-oriented movements have the capacity to improve cognition. Eric Jensen, author of Teaching with the Brain in Mind, says that

dance, puzzles, stretching, building with blocks, make-believe, drama and even walking are just a few examples of play. There are many reasons why play and physical activity are essential for the brain. It allows children to make mistakes without “lethal” consequences (with far less embarrassment and more fun than in a traditional classroom setting).  It improves the ability to handle stress by “training” the body to recover faster from the quick surges of adrenaline associated with demanding physical activity…and classroom environments.  It triggers the release of BDNK, which is natural substance enhances cognition by boosting the neurons’ ability to communicate with one another.  It can enhance social skills, emotional intelligence, and conflict resolution ability.

One of my professors used to say that play is essential to the development of the frontal lobe, which is our decision making center.  The frontal lobe continues to develop until around age 20, and yet play is often frowned upon after early childhood.  So remember that some time today, you all have my permission to PLAY! No matter how old you are!

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Let’s Be Grateful Together

A new year begins and we all start thinking about what we want for our lives. One thing I plan to continue in 2012 is documenting my gratitude. Some of you may know that I run another blog called Scrap Inspired. Over there I share posts about all things scrappy, crafty, and photography. But once a week I take time to share a moment of Gratitude. I call it Thankful Thursday. Then last fall I decided to turn my process into a class. I shared that class at my congregational retreat. Knowing that I would have a wide range of participants I made sure the class would share ideas applicable for everyone (crafty or otherwise). I got such an overwhelmingly positive response that I decided to turn that class into a self paced online course.

I have loved the process of noticing the little moments that bring me joy in my everyday life. But, for me, documenting those moments has been life changing. I have found that, through documenting, I am even more aware of my gratitude. And it has changed how I look at my day to day life.

Want to make documenting your gratitude a part of your life? In my class “Gratitude Documented” I share many ideas for how you can quickly and easily document your gratitude (some crafty and some not at all). You can buy this class now for only $10 or read more about it here.
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What’s more is that you can teach your children to document their gratitude as well! I’ve done this activity with children as young as 3 (who needed adult help for sure) up to kids around 10. I’ll say that listening to a child describe their gratitude is even more powerful than noticing your own.

Gratitude Documented for Kids is also only $10. It includes a video tutorial aimed directly at your child as well as step by step PDF directions. Read more about it here or buy it now!
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And if you want both classes you can buy them packaged together for only $15! That’s the same as buying one and getting the second for 50% off!
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Come on, take a journey with me! Let’s document our gratitude together!

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Gratitude Documented

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!

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