Archive for July 2013

What My Kids Hear a Lot: “Let’s thank God for what we have, not wish for what we don’t.”

There seems to be a theme of grand wishes this summer.  I’ve been hearing more than the usual sprinkling of petitions such as…
“Can we play longer?”   (Even though they’ve been playing all afternoon.)
“Can so and so spend the night?”  (Even though they are seeing each other all week at a day camp.)
“Can we go to Chick-fil-a?” (Even though we went the day before.)
And my personal favorite (read sarcastically), my son’s obsession with “Can we go to Hawaii?” (Even though we take great family vacations on the mainland.)
I cringe when the begging is followed by “Puhleeeeeeeaaaaase?!?!”

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind my children politely asking for things.  However, they must learn appropriateness of when asking is reasonable versus when it means excess.  The line was getting crossed often enough that I had to come up with a strategy to tackle it from two directions:  from the heart and from the practical side. 

From the heart –
“Let’s thank God for what we have, rather than wish for what we don’t!” has become my phrase of the season.  Depending on the situation, I change up the wording to fit.  For example, at the end of a playdate, when there is begging for the friends to come home with us, I’ll remind them, “Let’s thank God for the two hours we just spent with our friends rather than wishing for more.” 

As I was looking for verses to fit this situation, I found a gem under the “See Also” verses on the topic of “Thankfulness” in Parenting with Scripture.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.   Colossians 2:6-7

I love the phrase and imagery of “overflowing with thankfulness.”  If our hearts are brimming full with gratefulness, it’s hard to beg for more. 

From the practical side –
At first, I just tackled things from the heart.  I knew they understood the principle, but as time when on, I could tell that they needed tools to help them learn appropriateness.  Using the “heart principles” to help them understand the “why” behind these guidelines, I laid out the following…
– They may not ask for more time with friends when a playdate is over.
– There will be a limit of one sleepover a week during the summer.
– If we have already had a drive-through meal within the last week, they may not ask for it.
– We can dream of and discuss exotic vacations (who doesn’t?) but they may not ask for them.



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Last year, when my family was reading through the New Testament with our church, we decided to shake things up from our usual NIV and read from The Message Re-Mix.  One evening, a friend of my daughter’s was spending the night and shared our family devotional time with us.  As my husband was reading the assigned passage out-loud for that day, I remarked, “Wow, what a neat list that was!  Can you please read it again?”  The next day when I was sharing with the mother of my daughter’s friend about our devotional time, she asked what passage it was.  When I answered that I thought we were around Galatians 5, she said, “Oh, the Fruit of the Spirit.”  Ah ha!  No wonder that was such a great list!  My husband and I got a kick out of the wording being so fresh to us with the new version that we saw it with new eyes and didn’t even recognize it as that famous passage!  What a joy!  If we had read it in our normal version, we would have likely just glided by it.  I will always be an NIV girl because I love the familiarity of the wording I grew up with and memorized.  But, I now see the beauty in reading versions that help mix things up for a change! 

Galatians 5:22-23, The Message
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.  Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way.

Galatians 5:22-23, NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.


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Travel Time – Devotional for Kids Online

If your family is like ours, the hodge podge summer schedule has thrown off many of our routines!   Later nights out and road trips have made it easy for us to neglect our family devotional times that we enjoy so much during the school year.  So, as we were all in the car one evening, I googled “kid devotional online” and came up with a great resource!  The 20 or so audio devotionals that we have enjoyed through their site have been fabulous!
When you click to play, Uncle Charlie reads a Scripture passage (you can pick KJV, NKJV, or NIV) and then tells a story about kids that connects to the verses.  We have found the stories to be very relatable and they have brought up a number of great discussions.  Because we are usually in the car when listening to these, we have the luxury of taking our time to talk about any questions, issues, or similar situations the stories bring to mind. 



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Christmas in July!

Since we are half way through the summer and year and not amid the holiday rush, it’s a great time to consider getting the pieces together for an Advent Tree.  


The book we use (click to link to Amazon):

This has been such a blessing to our family!  It’s something we all look forward to during December, and it’s a tradition I know our children will want to continue with their own families.  We made a set with a group a couple of years ago.  This summer, a gal at our church has coordinated another group.  I’m going to make a second set so we can alternate each year and so I’ll have a set to pass along to each of my children. 

There are a several ways to go about making a set.  If you want to do it on your own, you could simply photocopy the pictures from the book we use, have your children color them, laminate them, and turn them into ornaments by hole punching and adding a ribbon or string.  Or, if you are looking for crafty projects this summer, you could make an ornament or two each day.  Another idea is to do a group swap.  It’s a fun way to involve friends and efficiently get it done.  25 people each take a day’s theme and make 25 of the same ornament.  Then, get together and swap ornaments so everyone ends up with a full set.  It’s neat seeing other people’s creativity.

I haven’t reviewed these books to be able to recommend them, but it looks like they’ve made the ornament making a bit easier if you are wanting to make them on your own.  (Click to link to Amazon.)


 Merry Christmas in July!


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Happy 4th! Let’s “Shine like stars!”

This week as we are celebrating our nation’s stars and stripes, I thought it would be a good time to share how a mom used a verse about stars in her family.  MOPS Mentor Mom, Kari Roberson, shared this wonderful parenting with Scripture application with me when I spoke in Canton recently…

“When my children were little, we taught lots of Scripture and we also let them see it in action.  One particular week, the children were arguing with each other and with my husband and I, and wwwwwhhhhhhiiiiiinnnnnnniiiinnnnnggggggggg!  It was at the end of the week, I was in my quiet time and exhausted asking the Lord to help.  He is always faithful and led me to the verse below.

Phil 2:14-16  NIV
Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life…

I had an inspiration to challenge the children to “shine among them like stars!”  In order to “shine” you must do all things without arguing or complaining about them.   I wrote that whole Scripture on top of a poster board and tacked it on the wall.  I challenged the kids to not only learn the verse, but when I “caught” them shining likes lights for Jesus, they were able to put a star sticker on the poster board.  For every 5 star stickers for that particular child they were able to go to the store with Mom or Dad and purchase a whole soda & a whole candy bar!  (We never let them have these things at home, so that was very special to them.)  I reminded them often as they would come and tell me “good” things they had done, that I had to catch them doing it because it showed character & integrity to do things not for show, but for Jesus.  My kids are all teenagers now, and they still remember this verse and how to shine!”


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