Say Thank You

God’s love flows not only when you give but also when you receive.  Encourage your child to say “thank you” when they receive.  Sit down together to write a thank you note to someone.  Perhaps for a gift given, but also consider writing a thank you to someone who is important to you.  Tell that person how and why they are special and thank them for the gift of themselves.

{Monica}

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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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Holy Week Activities

As we enter into Holy Week I thought you, like me, might be looking for ideas of things to do with your kids! Here are a couple I found…

Christianity Today has an activity or devotion for each day of Holy Week!

 

eHow also has a selection of activities including an idea for re-enacting the empty tomb.

 

What does your family do to mark Holy Week?

{Monica}

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God is in the Music

There are many styles of music and different people are drawn to different types of music.  When you are listening to a good song the music seems to fill you up.  Find 3 songs from 3 different styles of music.  Be sure they are NOT the style of music you usually listen to.  You could choose rock, jazz, contemporary, tribal, or classical.  The choices are endless.  Listen to the songs as a family.  Even if the style of music is not one you usually like, let go of your negative thoughts about the style and just allow the song to fill you up.  Find something to appreciate about the music.  Share together what you liked about the song.  Remember…beauty is there…if you listen.  God is there…if you listen.

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Family Devotions for Lent

Recently a friend sent me a link to this Lent Family Devotions resource, “With GOD, All Things Are Possible.” The print copy is very inexpensive. $1.50 for the booklet, I assume there is shipping but I’m not sure. It is also available for Kindle or Nook. I chose to get the Kindle version so that I could read it right away.

The devotion for each night is short (a paragraph or two), contains a scripture, sometimes an activity suggestion, and a short prayer. There are no pictures, at least not in the eBook version. I would say that some adaptions would need to be made for using this resource with younger children. I do think it’s completely appropriate to read aloud each day with children 2nd/3rd grade and up. I would use this resource as a jumping off point for deeper discussions as a family.

I’m not going to let the fact that Lent has already begun stop me from using this with my children. Even though they are a bit younger (5 and almost 7), I’m interested in opening the door for a discussion about Lent. My plan is to skim through it each day and decide if that devotion is appropriate for the age of my children and then make adaptions as needed. Some days I may not use it at all. But having a resource at all will help guide my discussions about this difficult topic with my children.

How are you talking to your children about Lent?

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A Peaceful Place

Help your child determine a place in or around your home that is their personal place for peace.  A place where they can relax, be still, pray, or just be present with God.  Allow your child to make a sign to let others in your home know that this is a peaceful place.  Decide on a house rule that when someone is in his or her peaceful place that all other family members respect him or her and leave them alone.

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Roll, Shape, Mold…God

Get out some clay, play dough, or model magic with your child.  Tell them that you are going to create something that is like God.  Ask your child, “can you make God’s love with your clay?”  If they say, I don’t know what that looks like let them know that it looks different to everyone.  They can make anything that looks like love.  Work together to make representations of God’s love.  Then talk with each other about why you made what you did.

Other things to try:  Can you make God’s peace?  What is God like?

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Practice Makes a Perfect Time for God

Does your child have a skill that they are learning which requires practice? Do they play the piano or another instrument? Paint? Dance? Play sports? Teach your child that each time they get ready to practice their talent to think of that practice time as personal time with God. Help them understand that they celebrate their talent by sharing every aspect of it with God. Model for your child how to talk to God about how they are feeling. Whether they are excited, frustrated, happy, sad, or even bored. Let them know they can tell God all about it. Teach them to think of their practice time as time with God. God is with us in all things!

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Using a Labyrinth

Ever heard of a labyrinth? A labyrinth is similar to a maze except that there is only one path that leads to the center (no dead ends). Labyrinths are often full size so that you can physically walk through them. The process is extremely calming and peaceful.

I’ve been considering creating a labyrinth in the corner of our yard. I have even pinned some ideas on Pinterest. (You can follow my pinterest board here if you’d like) But that is an in the future project. Yet, I wanted a labyrinth for my boys. So for Christmas I bought one for my boys. The finger labyrinth pictured above is designed for two people, which is perfect for two kids.

I often find my boys sitting and tracing the labyrinth path, which is awesome! But that’s not why I bought it. I wanted to teach my boys ways to manage their anger. My oldest especially has trouble with tantrums when he’s in trouble. Recently, in one of those moments, I took him the labyrinth and asked him to think about what happened and what he could do differently as he traced the labyrinth two times. He calmed down almost immediately. Afterwards when we were talking through the problem he told me that he after he finished the labyrinth twice he still didn’t have an answer to my two questions so he did it a third time and then he was ready to talk. I asked him if he thought that using the labyrinth helped him when he was mad. He said that it did and agreed that he would like to use it again. Now, when he is in time out I quietly bring him the labyrinth and simply hand it to him. Will it always work? Probably not…but for now it is a helpful tool for him. And that’s what I hoped for.

If you are interested in other labyrinth options click on the My Favorites tab above and choose spirituality to see what else I own.

What do you do with your children to help them calm down? I’d love to hear what works for your family!

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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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