Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Prayer Journals

We've reached the end of the year and I had New Year's eve off.  So I decided to wrap it up with a last project with the girls by making prayer journals.

I found this great printable from Mother's Niche and printed it out two copies per page and double sided (so there are four for each piece of paper).  Then, I cut the pages in half and two pieces of card stock to the same size (this is the front and back cover).  Next I punched two holes in each page.  Then, the girls stacked it all together and ran a ribbon through the holes and tied it to bind them together. After that, the girls used pens to decorate the covers.

I didn't do enough pages for the full year, but it's enough to get them started and I've let them know we can do more later if they run out.

My hope is that they'll use these to help them focus more on the content of their prayers rather than saying the same thing over and over.


Growing up, our church always observed Advent by lighting a candle each Sunday in Advent.  Our current church doesn't do it as a church, but in kid's church they learned about the Advent candles and my youngest mentioned it to us.

So, this year, I decided to do it at home.  Each candle has a different meaning and some churches use 4 and some use 5.  My church growing up was using 5 when I left (but did use 4 at one point).  The meanings of the candles differs depending on which church so I asked my youngest which meanings they were learning and went with those.  Then I looked around and found this pdf which matched up with the meanings she was learning and has Bible passages to go with each one.   While there are only 4 candles mentioned in the pdf, I did use 5, with the fifth candle representing Christ (that seems pretty consistent, if there are 5 candles the 5th represents Christ).  The last candle (the Christ candle) usually gets lit Christmas Eve.

Each Sunday night in Advent, we lit the candle and read the verse(s), starting with the first candle and working to the current one.  We were out of town the last Sunday and for Christmas itself, so those two we lit when we got home.

The girls enjoyed this and I think anything that helps them remember why we celebrate Christmas is a good thing.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

OCC - Thinking of others at Christmas

This week was collection week for Operation Christmas Child. So we packed two shoeboxes, one for a girl and one for a boy.  We also bought stuff a few weeks ago for our church to use in the shoeboxes. Then, we spent 4 afternoons this week helping at our church which is a drop off location. So far our church has collected over 200 boxes!

If you haven't packed a shoebox and would like to, there's still a bit of time.  Or start now for next year, we're going to start collecting stuff throughout the year for OCC shoeboxes. Maybe next year we will pack more!  It's a great way to get the kids involved in thinking of others at Christmas!

We also used this time to teach our kids about other cultures and parts of the world.  You can explain things like, if you give them a coloring book, you also need to give some crayons or colored pencils because they probably don't have any and a nightlight probably isn't a good idea. You can also track the shoeboxes that you give so you'll get an email when they're delivered, letting you know where they went.  And last but not least, you can talk about the importance of sharing the word of Jesus with others.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Promoting Thankfulness

One of the things we constantly struggle with is getting our kids to understand just how blessed they are.

At Thanksgiving time, I like to do something to make them think about some of the things that they're thankful for.  Last year I got a few branches from our tree and cut out some paper leaves. We then wrote things that we were thankful for on the leaves and hung them from the branch.  The girls enjoyed it and this year one of them asked if we could do it again.  We replaced our tree though (the old one died) and I didn't want to risk hurting the new one.  So instead we started the wall of thankfulness.

I was going to do it in the kitchen where we would see it during dinner, but I was afraid it wouldn't stand out well against the wall paper.  So, I used a wall in our entry way.  I just printed a sign and taped it up along with a few of the bigger more obvious ones. (Last year we ended up with a whole bunch of leaves naming individuals because they were friends, so I tried to head that off a bit with Family and Friends).  I was trying to decide if I wanted to buy some poster tack for the thankful items or if I wanted to use tape, when I remembered the shaped post-it notes I bought a while back.  They're working great, they stay up and I don't need to worry about the paint getting messed up!

I'm linking this up with the Works for Me Wednesday post at We Are THAT Family.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


There's a book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman which outlines 5 primary ways people express and receive love.

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Acts of kindness
  3. Quality time
  4. Gifts
  5. Physical touch
The idea is, that most people have a primary love language and that's the way they tend to feel and express love. So someone who's Love Language is Gifts, likes to get gifts, it makes them feel loved.  Similarly, since that's how they feel loved, they tend to give gifts as a way of showing love.

So, as part of my family goal, a few weeks ago, I had my oldest daughter take the quiz on their site for kids.  I was totally surprised by the results from it.  It turns out that Words of Affirmation is her love language.

Since she's taken the quiz, I've really been trying to watch what it is that I say to her (and to everyone really). Instead of showing her love, we were often doing just the opposite with what we were saying.  Don't get me wrong, we don't call names, do insults, etc, but we were yelling a lot, this was ending in a lot of tears.  I think I'm seeing an improvement.

In the end, I'd like her to feel like she can come to us with anything she has to say, without fear of us criticizing her, but I also want her to learn to express herself with words better than she has been.  So hopefully going forward, I'll be setting a better example and she'll learn.

As the Hawk Nelson song goes:
Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or
Put it out

Are your words building people up? or breaking them down? Are they putting a fire in someone's heart? or putting it out?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


We incorporate prayer into our family life by praying before the girls leave in the mornings, before meals, and before bed. The girls usually do the before meal prayers and the bedtime prayers. When they were younger, we taught them some of the more common kids prayers.  But as they got older, I tried to get them to make it and pray more from their heart.  That ended up in either a fight, or them repeating a made up prayer over and over.

Recently, it dawned on me that since they're always the ones that pray before meals and before bed, they don't have anything to model after other than the standard "Now I lay me down to sleep" and "God is good, God is great" prayers.  So, I've been trying to make a better effort to model prayer for them.  There's no reason for THEM to always be the one to say the prayer before dinner now.  So, this week I'm going to try to say the prayer at least once before a meal and I've been trying to pray with each of them before bed time where I say the prayer (usually in addition to their own prayer).

How do you teach your kids to pray from their hearts?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I'm still here...

It's been a while since I've posted I know.  I've been keeping up with MOST of the goals though...

Physical goal (Weight loss)
At one point, I was down to 214, but I've gained some of that back.  I've been struggling with fitting exercise in with work. I really need to get back to working out.  However, when you consider that I'd planned on loosing 2 lbs a month and we're just going in to April, I'm still on track, just barely though.

Spiritual Goal (Read the whole Bible this year)
I've been keeping up with this one, I still have a few chapters of Matthew to catch up on, but otherwise, I've been sticking with the goal and reading every day.

Family Goal (Do one thing a week with the kids to help them come closer to God)
This is one that has been slipping.  We went to Winter Jam a few weeks ago and saw my daughter's favorite singer, Toby Mac and introduced her to a few new artists.  She got to learn the inspiration behind some of Matthew West's songs, which I really like.  Now that Easter is upon us, I made resurrection rolls with my oldest daughter this morning and I read part of Luke to her.

Personal Goal (Learn Java so I can write an app)
This one I've really fallen behind in.  But I really want the app I have in mind.  I spent several hours doing work that I could've used the app for today.  So hopefully I can learn what I need to write it.

Financial Goal
The new job is going well. I feel like I'm really helping out there. Hopefully they're feeling the same way!

So, wish me luck, I'm hoping we'll be able to settle into a routine once Easter's over and I'll be able to take some time for the other goals.