Countdown to Christmas

I love decorating for Christmas. And I enjoy the idea of advent calendars. This year I’ve decided to countdown in a different way. As a former teacher I have LOTS children’s books. Many of which are still in boxes in my basement. I decided to pull out my favorite Christmas/holiday books. Some are secular and some are religious. I discovered that I had 20 holiday books. If I purchase 5 more I’ll have enough to create a new kind of countdown. The 25 books of Christmas! My plan is that each night we will sit down and read one of these books. Since we read every night anyway this should be an easy thing to do. You could simply wrap each book and place them in a basket. I wanted this to become a yearly tradition so I created these bags. If you’d like to know how I made them, I posted a tutorial here.

What holiday tradition are you most looking forward to?

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Share the Love

Today is traditionally called Black Friday. I think it’s a great day to bring a little sunshine into someone’s life! Not to mention, it’s a fun project for the kids and a way to keep them entertained if you are out trying to take advantage of all the sales!

Find some 3×5 note cards and something to write with. Think of song titles that make you feel happy like “You are my sunshine” or “You Make Everything Glorious.” Write one song title on each card and decorate. Next time you are out of the house find places to leave these messages of happiness. On a friend’s desk, or in the grocery cart. At the gas pump, or in a library book. Know that your little messages bring smiles and joy to whoever finds them.

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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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Categories of Spiritual Books

My boys LOVE reading books, and as you can see, my twin niece and nephew feel the same way. In fact, most children I know love listening to a good story! As a parent I’m always on the lookout for books that I can use to further my children’s spiritual education. Knowing the categories of spiritual books helps me recognize the many spiritual stories we already own!

Karen Marie Yust author of Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children’s Spiritual Lives defines 4 types of faith story books: close readings, stories about the tradition’s stories, books linking tradition and contemporary life, and stories exemplifying spiritual principles.

Close Readings are books that remain close to scripture stories. One example, from my personal library is the book Noah’s Crew Came 2 By 2 by Mindy MacDonald. This type of faith story book is the easiest to spot. They are typically based on scripture stories we are all familiar with.

Stories about the tradition’s stories are books that look at a scripture story from a new perspective. I love the story Who Is Coming to Our House? (Board Book) by Joseph Slate. It is the perfect example of a story about a scripture. It looks at the birth of Jesus from the perspective of the stable animals.

 

Books linking tradition and contemporary life become slightly more difficult to recognize. They are books, according to Yust, that explicitly take some aspect or issue of contemporary life and relate that concern to scripture or the practices of the religious tradition. One famous example is Judy Blume’s classic, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. An example from my own library is the book Little Ways to Give God Praise by Sally Anne Conan.

Stories exemplifying spiritual practices are the books that you probably have the most of in your home. They are ones  that take a spiritual principal and give it a human face. In the story Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney children can see the spiritual principal of caring for creation exemplified by the main character.

 

Take a look at your children’s books and see which categories they fall into. Now that you know what you have, you can be on the lookout for books in the other areas when adding to your collection. And who doesn’t like to shop for books?!?


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Creation Story Ideas

The other day I stumbled across this website full of amazing ideas for teaching your kids. One set of lessons about creation. I immediately pinned the site I Can Teach My Child to my Childhood Spirituality Pinterest Board. (Are you on pinterest? Want to follow me? You can find my profile here).

This site does an awesome job of giving you some fun ideas for teaching your child about the creation story. There are crafts, activities, and even a song with a new verse each day. This would be a great week long activity!

Do you have any great web resources for furthering your child’s spirituality? I’d love to add to my list! Leave me a comment and tell me sties you love to visit!

~Monica

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