Happy New Year!!!

It’s hard to believe we are beginning a new year already.

Let’s have a fun evening with our kids.

Ask them what foods they would like to have for dinner and snacks.

Snack ideas:

    • Veggie tray with broccoli, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes – alternate vegetables and shape in the form of a Christmas tree. You can use stick pretzels as the trunk and have ranch dressing for dipping.
    • Pizza bites

Chips and dip

  • Shrimp

Dinner ideas:

  • Steak and cheese fondue
  • Spaghetti
  • Make your own pizza
  • Waffles wit
    h regular toppings, then with ice cream for dessert

Play different games:

  • Twister: kids love to watch their parents try to bend and move like them.
  • Pictionary is always fun.
  • Monopoly: a good way to teach kids about money.

Let the kids help pick out decorations, hats, and noise makers to bring in the New Year.

It’s always fun to watch the ball drop in New York on TV. You can have a toast at midnight with bubbling cider for the kids. The kids think it’s fun to clink glasses and make a toast.

As kids we took pans and spoons outside and banged them together to make as much noise as we could and yelled Happy New Year.

What special things do you do on New Year’s Eve?

 

 

Next week we’ll begin a series on: The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell

Happy Birthday Jesus

Merry Christmas. I pray that you and your family have a wonderful time celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Jesus came to be born of flesh to save us from our sinful nature. It would have been amazing to  have been in the stable and let Him hold my finger in His hand. To look into His eyes and see the amazing love that had to have been there.

To know what His life would be like, and yet Jesus chose to go through all of it because He loved us so much.

As a man He walked the land and talked to all who would listen to Him. He shared the ways to change their lives and come to have God as their true leader. Even His disciples didn’t really understand completely who He was and what kind of leader He was to be. Everyone thought He was going to be an earthly king. What He came to offer was so much more, and so amazing.

What if we could sit and talk with Jesus now, what would you ask Him?

Countdown To Christmas 3

Do you send Christmas cards or a Christmas letter? My husband writes our Christmas letter. People tease me about not doing the letter with me being an author, but my husband has a real sense of humor and writes a really fun letter.

You don’t have to do everything yourself. Your husband or kids, if they are old enough to help, can sign and address the cards and envelopes. The younger kids can help with stuffing the envelopes and putting on the stamps.

Will you be sending our packages this year? Mail them out this week to make sure they get there on time. It’s also something to mark off your list that’s time sensitive.

This is also a good week to think about those who serve you or may be alone over the holidays. Start some extra baking of some simple things. They can be cakes, bar cookies, breads. Make them size appropriate to where they are going. If it’s a person that’s alone make a half cake, small loaf of bread or small plate of cookies. For the police and fire station take a whole cake, platter of cookies, or a larger loaf of bread.

Encourage the kids to help with making these and decorating them. Talk with them about why you are taking them to shut ins. That some people don’t have many family or friends in the area and they really appreciate others thinking of them. Also talk about how the police and firemen are always available to protect us. It makes them feel good when people tank them for their service and take them some treats as a thank you gift.

Make sure you have the kids go with you when you deliver the goodies. Spend time with the people when you drop off the things you have baked. Take a picture and post it showing how your children are reaching out in thanks for those who serve us. You’re reaching out in love to others and serving God too.

Who will you be reaching out to?

Countdown to Christmas 1

Christmas is just around the corner. Take a deep breath you can do this. It just takes a little planning.

We always put up an Advent calendar for the kids when they were young and now their children. It’s a fun way to count down the days until Jesus’ birthday. Here’s link where you can get many ideas for making your own Advent calendar: http://bit.ly/1LnXXtm

Take stock of where you are on your shopping lists, both food and gifts. Do you have things to order and ship? Make sure to allow enough time so everything is ready by Christmas. Remember to buy ahead as much as possible. It helps to spread out the cost and the frustration of having so much to do later.

When do you decorate the house?

Make it special.

It can be your immediate family or you can invite extended family, and friends. One year my husband was working on a renovation project and I had the two oldest grandchildren for the day. They were four and five at the time I had them help me decorate. They had a blast. I got the step stool out so they could reach a little higher with the ornaments, while I did the upper part where they couldn’t reach. My husband and I had gotten to a point where we didn’t get out all of the ornaments, but the kids had every single one out of the box. They were either on the tree or the bookshelf. I left the tree decorated the way it was, bare spots and all. They were so proud of themselves for all of their hard work.

Assign the decorating by age. Make sure the little ones feel part of all of it. Have a craft or coloring pages for them if they loose interest in the decorations. This will keep them busy while the others finish up.

When you are done turn off the lamps and enjoy the Christmas lights. Read a story of the nativity to remind everyone of the true meaning of Christmas. Here are some links for books: The Berenstain Bears, The Very First Christmas (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2zsYQU5 , The Christmas Story Hardcover http://amzn.to/2AbOdsA  , Away in a Manger Paperback http://amzn.to/2ncqmnw , This Babe, So Small http://amzn.to/2hVr1Uw

You can have dinner by the tree. When our girls were little we lived in Michigan. My husband was in charge of dinner one night and decided to have a winter picnic thinking it would be an easy dinner for him to prepare. We spread out a blanket and used paper plates. Cooked hot dogs on a stick in the fireplace, and had all of the regular picnic food. We continued this until the girls were adults. It became a fun tradition.

If you live in the south think of something wintery to do. Have hot comfort food and for dessert hot cocoa and cookies. If you have a fireplace light a fire and turn off the lights except for your decorations. If it’s warm you can always open the windows.

Make it a special time that is out of the ordinary for where you live. It will make it even more special.

Take things a little at a time. Write out a schedule for each week with your tasks. This way it won’t be so daunting. Relax this year and enjoy the season.

What special things you do when you are decorating?

God First Then Chores

How does your day begin? Is it a mad dash to get the kids ready for school? Are you trying to get dinner in the crockpot before leaving for work? Do you start the laundry as soon as you get up? Do have a list of chores as long as your arm?

If the answer is yes to any of the above questions take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee, find a place to relax, and look at your schedule. How can you make things easier?

 

 

Before I get out of bed I thank God for keeping me safe through the night. Then I read Daily Guideposts. It’s a devotional book with a Bible verse, a message, and a prayer. Once I’ve read it I write out the Bible verse in my journal, if it’s a verse I feel moved to comment on. If not, I write  out a prayer asking God for direction for my day, or helping someone I love.

Next, while the coffee is brewing, my husband and I each read the next chapter we are on in the Bible. We read a chapter Monday through Friday. Sometimes it prompts discussion, others just food for thought.

Now I am ready to look at what’s ahead for the day. By starting the day with God, it always goes easier.

 

Believe me it hasn’t always been this way. I too used to be frazzled and rushing around trying to get the kids ready and out the door. I would rush off to work wondering what I would make for dinner. Were there dance classes, or a church meeting that night. Could I possibly have an infrequent night to be home.

 

It took me many years to get things figured out. I would like to help you slow down and enjoy each day as it comes.

If you have to get up a little earlier to give yourself some time, and time with God, do it. It’s worth every second. It doesn’t need to be an hour. Even fifteen minutes will help you focus. Put God first then ask Him to give you direction for your day. His plans are always the best.

Let me know how I can pray for you to get a better focus on your life. I would love to chat, drop me a note.

Teach Respect Don’t Spare The Rod

If we spare the rod with our children we are not being good parents. We need to discipline, but not abuse, our children. This will teach them right from wrong. A very important lesson for them to learn early. It will make them better and stronger adults.

Teaching them how to respect those around them includes their friends as well as adults. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

I remember as a young girl in middle school visiting with a friend. I was complaining about my parents being so strict. They weren’t going to let me go to a party because they didn’t know the parents of the child having the party. My friend told me that she wished her parents cared enough to tell her no sometimes. That as long as she wasn’t in trouble they hardly seemed to care what she did. This gave me a new insight on why my parents made the rules for me. They loved me and wanted to make sure I would be safe.

When our children came along I did my best to be involved with their friends and to meet their parents. There were times I felt that I had to say no to something, but I always gave them a reason. One of those times was when our oldest asked for a new pair of tennis shoes just like her friends were getting. We went shopping and she showed me the shoes she wanted. I told her they were too expensive and took her to a different rack. She reluctantly chose a pair, but really didn’t want her friends to see them saying, “They’re ugly compared to the ones the other girls have.”

I responded, “Just wear them tomorrow and see what they say.”

When she came home from school the next day she was all smiles. “The girls thought my shoes were really cute, and wanted a pair like mine. Thanks, Mom, you were right.”

A hard lesson to learn, but she learned that you don’t have to always have what everyone else has.

What rules or lessons do you have for your children to help them grow up to be responsible and respectful adults?

Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. Proverbs 13:24

How Do You Teach Children Forgiveness?

1 John 1:8–9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.[1]

 

 

Forgiveness is such an amazing  gift from God. It is also hard to accept this for ourselves and even harder to teach a child how to forgive.

Let’s start with verse eight we have to accept that we are sinful by nature. We are born into sin. A newborn baby sins because they only think of themselves and their needs. It will take a few years to learn to think of others needs and not just theirs. They will need to experience right and wrong so they can make knowledgeable choices. Then it is possible to teach a child how to forgive.

 

In verse nine we begin to teach children forgiveness by telling them that they need to ask God to forgive them for something that they did wrong.

I learned that lesson when I was about five. The neighbors bush had pretty white flowers that would make into a beautiful brides bouquet for my pretend wedding. It all went well until Mom asked me where I got the flowers. Then she asked if had gone to Mrs. Adcock and to see if I could pick them. Finding out that I hadn’t she walked me over to apologize for picking the flowers.

This is where we can begin to teach children forgiveness. At times they will hurt someone or take something that doesn’t belong to them; it’s natural for these things to happen. Your next step is to teach them to go to the person that they hurt or took one of their things and to apologize to them. Later, when you are alone with your child, talk to them about why they need to ask for forgiveness.

You can also bring up a time when they were hurt or had something taken from them. Ask them how they felt when they were hurt or their toy was taken away. This incident can now be used as teaching a child how to forgive. Have then tell you how they felt when the other child asked for forgiveness. Explain that their friend would also feel better when they were asked to forgive your child for something that had happened.

 

Now, you can tell your child that God will forgive them for the things that they have done wrong too. They should now say a prayer and ask God to forgive them and that they are sorry for doing something that they shouldn’t have done.

What are your experiences in teaching a child how to forgive?

[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Jn 1:8–9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

 

The Word of God

The Word of God is the most important thing we can teach our children. We need to show them how that Word is part of every aspect of our daily lives.

When I get up in the morning the first thing I do is to say a prayer of thanks for bringing me through the night, and ask what God wants me to do today. Saying a prayer over each meal is also important in thanking God for the nourishment of the food to be eaten. As I meet the challenges through the day I ask for guidance. Then before I go to sleep I say the Lord’s Prayer and lift up each member of my family and others that are on my prayer list.

It’s important to lift our daily concerns and joys to God. If we pray without ceasing we will always be in God’s presence. This is something we should share with our children and grandchildren. They need to learn about God, and what he has done for us. They need to know of his great love for all of his people.

Gather your children and pray with them first thing in the morning. Let them add things that they are concerned, or excited about. Encourage them to pray during the day if they are struggling or excited about something. Remind them to pray when they eat their meals away from home.

At the dinner table let each of them add something of their day to the prayer. Use the meal time to talk with them and help them with any difficulties. Then at bedtime pray with each child and encourage them to thank God for watching over them through the day. Remind them that God is interested in everything that happens to them every minute of every day.

What other ways can you share God with your children?

 

Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Dt 11:19). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

 

A Lesson of Love and Nature

This can be a fun and good lesson to do with your children.

Go out in your yard, a park or in the woods. Spread out a blanket and tell them to sit quietly, to watch and listen to the birds. Now talk about what they have seen.

Ask them:

  • Do the birds plant seeds to grow their food?
  • Do the birds weed their garden?
  • Do the birds harvest/pick their food from the garden?
  • Do the birds have a cupboard to put their food?
  • Where do the birds get their food and water?

The fun part might be their answers depending on their age. Now tell them to watch the birds more closely. What are they doing when the land on a tree, plant or the ground? Explain how they get their food from the flowers, trees, and bugs. Also, how they are able to get water from ponds and puddles.

Let’s the first part of today’s verse:

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.

Now talk about how God watches over the birds and provides food and water for them. That they only have to fly about and get their food whenever they are hungry. Or look for a pond or puddle and can have a drink.

Next read:

And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

Explain to your children how much God loves them. God gives us the ability to grow food and make a safe place to live. He gave us Jesus to show us how to live and please God. Also, to take all of our sins away when He died on the cross.

He then gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit to speak to us in our hearts and guide us to do what is best for us and those around us.

Now:

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

This part of the verse is for you and the kids:

Calm your fears and that of the children with the assurance that God will care for you. He knows your needs before you do. If you listen for His guidance and follow His directions, you will be cared for. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have problems or illness, but that He will be with you and comfort you in all circumstances, because of His love for you. If you worry it won’t add a moment to your life, but can cause you to lose a moment because of wasting your time on something you cannot control.

 

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? [1]

 

 

 

 

[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Mt 6:26–27). Carol Stream,

IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. [1] Ps 19:1

How can we explain this to our children?

  • The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
  • This represents the space above us, the clouds, the stars, the solar system, and heaven. Everything that surrounds us. All of His creation is to worship and praise Him.
  • When our children were little I would sit out on the dock and we would look at the clouds and find shapes. We would talk about how beautiful our world is and how much God loves us to create all of this for us.
  • The glory of God.
  • The hugeness of the space around us shows us His greatness. The way things are made and the energy they have is amazing. We need to share this and explain as best we can to our children. They need to learn how much God has done for us and the love He has for everything He has created.
  • I have taught small children using a children’s Bible to read the story of creation. Then talk about what they understand and help them to understand more.
  • The skies display his craftsmanship.
  • The beauty of our world and skies show of His love and presence. The way everything is made speaks of His majesty.
  • When you look at a simple leaf you realize it’s not so simple. There is a complexity to the shape, size and the veins that take nourishment through it. Each plant is made with a purpose. Then there are animals and people. I can’t even image what all is involved in the making and working of my body. We are gloriously and wonderfully made.
  • All of creation is to praise and thank God for all He has done. This is the least we can do in thanks for all He has given us.
  • Make sure you share this with your children. Write back and tell me of your discussion on creation. I can’t wait to hear their interpretation of the story.

[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 19:1). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.