Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Share the LOVE!

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and loveand the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:13

 Share the Love

Dig into what makes your kids feel most loved and you’ll learn more about how to connect with them. Ask:
1. What are your favorite memories of things we’ve done together as a family? Why?
2. What makes you feel safe? loved? happy?
3. What could we do together to grow closer to God? How does staying close to God help our family love each other more?
Teachable Moments
1. The Greatest of These Is Love: The focus of Valentine’s Day is romantic love. This year, dig into the meaning of “agape” (pronounced “uh-GAH-pay”) with your kids. This Greek word best describes God’s love—the highest form of love. Agape has a deep, rich meaning: selfless, sacrificing, unconditional love. How does God show us that love? How can we show it to each other?
2. Better Than Cookies: Take your well-used cookie sheets and turn them into personalized memory verse visuals with your kids. Find black chalkboard paint at your local craft supply store and embellishments to add to the chalkboard frames. Paint the baking surface of the cookie sheet with chalkboard paint and allow it to dry completely. Then, glue embellishments around the outer edge to frame the chalkboard. Magnets work great for interchangeable decorations. With your family each week, decide on a memory verse and write it on the chalkboard, then put the chalkboard in a central location. Encourage each other as you practice the verse and store God’s Word in your hearts throughout the week. For design ideas and tutorials, go to pinterest.com and search “cookie sheet chalkboards.”

Family Experience

Welcome to “Camp Living Room”! Remember the fun of building “forts” or “castles” with pillows and blankets as a kid? Build on that fun and take your kids on a tent-camping adventure in your living room—they’ll rave about it for weeks!

Together, transform a room in your home into an indoor campsite for the weekend. You can even set up an actual tent or build one out of blankets. Turn off the TV; create a makeshift fire pit with pillows, and let your kids get creative with a flameless representation of fire; cook your traditional camping foods; roast marshmallows over the stove; curl up in sleeping bags; play your favorite board games—you get the idea.

Before lights out, have your kids close their eyes and imagine you’re all sleeping out under the night sky and its blanket of stars. Ask, “When you look at the night sky, what makes it beautiful?” Pause, and let your kids answer. Say, “Our eyes are drawn to the stars, the points of light God placed to shine bright in the dark. Because we love God, he’s put a light inside of all of us and we get to be like the stars in the sky. As we share God’s love with others we get to pass on the light—until there’s no more darkness. How can our family share God’s love and let our lights shine bright?” Finally, tell your kids ways you’ve seen each of them share God’s love and how bright they shine. Say a prayer of thanks for your kids. Then, wish your little stars goodnight. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Celebrate Giving!

We give to God because we are thankful.  Gather decorations, dishes, and food for a celebration meal.  Give responsibilities to each family member to contribute to this special event.  Or instead of a meal, plan a special dessert after dinner.  

As you prepare together, encourage family members to tell about things God has given them that they're thankful for.  Then, when the meal is ready, the table set, and decorations in place, sit down at the table together.  If you traditionally give out an allowance, do so at the table at this time if possible.  Remind kids about what it means to tithe and allow them to consider giving 10% of their allowance back to God.  You may want to provide envelopes for them.  

After offering a blessing of thanks, dig into the meal and take time to discuss:  Why are we celebrating the idea of giving 1/10 back to God? (Because we are happy God gives us things in the first place.) Why do we tithe? (Because we love God; because He gave to us first.)  Share:  It may seem strange to celebrate that we're giving money away, but we're not giving it away foolishly - we're giving it back to the One Who gave it to us in the first place.  We're celebrating tonight because God has given generously to our family.  Our tithes are one way we tell God, "Thanks for giving us so much."  

Make it a tradition to celebrate with a tithe celebration dinner or dessert to remind family members that we tithe because we are thankful and because the Bible teaches us to give 1/10 back to God.  Teach the slogan:  "In order to obey, give one in ten away."

This article furnished by www.heritagebuilders.com

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Needs vs. Wants

Needs vs. Wants

There is a difference between needs and wants.  Gather around a table, and place a glass of cold water in front of each family member.  In the center of the table, place a glass filled with a soft drink.  Ask what life would be like without soft drinks. Then ask what life would be like without water.  Ask everyone to take a drink of their water then discuss:  What is the difference between water and soft drinks? (Water doesn't taste as good; water is a need, soft drinks are wants.) If you had to choose between unlimited water for a week, or one six-pack of soft drink, which would you choose?  Share:  We can survive without soft drinks because our bodies don't need them to keep us alive.  But if we didn't have water we couldn't survive.   

This is the difference between needs and wants.  Have each person draw a picture of things they touch or use in a typical day (beds, clothes, food, toys, books, etc.)  Circle the ones that are needs.  Remember to explain that what some people consider to be a "need" could be considered a luxury to someone in a different socioeconomic situation.  Discuss:  If you had a limited amount of money to spend, and you owned nothing, which things on your list would you buy first? (A bed, house, clothing.)  What does this tell us about the way we spend our money? (Most is spent on "wants"; we really don't have many things we have to buy.)  Share:  A wise spender doesn't use all of his money for "wants" or luxuries before taking care of the needs.   

To be wise spenders, we must first take care of the things that are most important, and then we can think about buying some of the things that are "wants."  Close in prayer thanking God for His provision in providing for the family and taking care of our needs, and asking for wisdom in using money the best way possible to live a life glorifying to Him.

This article furnished by www.HeritageBuilders.com 

Monday, November 19, 2012

LAUGHTER: The Soundtrack of JOY

Do you ever have those moments when a funny memory sneaks into your consciousness and you can’t stop the smile from creeping across your face—or even laughing out loud?  Those memories come back so vividly because they’re tied to laughter and joy, a pleasurable experience. You can strengthen your children’s most beloved, strong memories of growing up by intentionally devoting time to laugh with them.

Think again about those memories that get you laughing (even years after the experience). How thankful are you for those memories?  Likewise, your kids will treasure moments of laughter with you, prompting gratefulness for your family’s shared experiences. So turn this year’s Thanksgiving holiday into a feast of laughter by creating memories that will root joy in your kids’ hearts, and yours.

Aside from cementing powerfully positive memories, laughter also has physical health benefits. Many studies show that a good, deep laugh can:
  • Relax the entire body and release stress in muscles.
  • Enhance antibody production and your body’s overall immune response.
  • Boost your mood and attitude by releasing your body’s natural “happy” chemicals—endorphins. (helpguide.org)
So, go ahead, spin the soundtrack of joy this Thanksgiving, and let it play throughout the holidays!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thanksgiving JOY!

“We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, ‘What amazing things the Lord has done for them.’ Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!”
—Psalm 126:2-3

Get your family laughing this Thanksgiving!

Turkey, Pie! This summer camp favorite has a Thanksgiving twist that you can use at home to get the giggles going—no prep or supplies necessary.
1. Have everyone at your family Thanksgiving feast stand in a circle (note: this game is best played by at least four participants, with the more, the better!).
2. Instruct everyone that the goal of this game is to be the last person standing who hasn’t cracked a smile or a laugh. To ensure no smiles, everyone must keep their lips pursed tightly over their teeth. Showing teeth counts as a smile and a ticket out of the game!
3. The person with the nearest birthday starts the game. He or she decides which direction around the circle the game will move by saying “turkey!” and turning to face the person to the left or right. The next person passes the “turkey!” along in the same direction or can face the person who just passed the “turkey!” and say, “pie!” A “pie!” reverses the direction of the game and then everyone starts passing “turkeys!” in that new direction. Anyone can reverse the game with a “pie!” at any time.
4. Since the object of the game is to be the last person who hasn’t smiled, a strategy to win the game is to be as goofy as possible in saying “turkey!” and “pie!” to get the person next in the circle to smile. 
5. By the time the game is down to two people, it’s a hilarious battle of who can get the other to laugh and win the challenge.
After the game is finished, ask your kids:

· How did you feel trying to make each other laugh? What surprised you about how people reacted?
· Why are you thankful for today? What do you love about our family laughing together?  How can we thank God for laughter and joy?  How can we share our joy with others?

Keep laughing and learning throughout the Holidays!

1. Teach little ones vocabulary by inserting funny, incorrect words in the place of correct words for objects. For instance, pick up a banana and say, “telephone?” Then, ask for the real name of the object and praise your kids as they identify items correctly.  
2. Empower your older kids to help teach your younger kids with creativity and humor. Challenge older children to choose a favorite Bible story and retell it in a fun, cartoon story through drawings. After they’ve pieced the cartoon together, have them share with their younger siblings. Encourage humor and fun while staying true to the story. In creating their cartoon version, your kids will commit the story to memory and all of your children will remember the activity fondly as they laugh and learn together.
 3. Remember to keep laughing and exercising the Fruit of the Holy Spirit...JOY... throughout the holidays which can be the most stressful time of the entire year!  Laughter is truly a great medicine - and it's free!