Monday, June 29, 2009

A Star Spangled Week

It’s the week of July 4th and the perfect week to celebrate our country, our heritage and our freedom. If your neighborhood doesn’t already have a 4th of July Parade, I would encourage you to generate one. It’s easy. When we moved into a new neighborhood many years ago, we recognized that if a parade was going to happen it was up to us to get the ball rolling. We printed up simple fliers on special decorative paper, and invited all our neighbors to join in a neighborhood parade starting at our house on the morning of July 4th.

The response was tremendous! Kids, grandkids, parents and grandparents all gathered at our front driveway. We decorated our bicycles, played with sidewalk chalk and bubbles, enjoyed cookies and lemonade. When it was time to start the parade, I piped in some Star-Spangled music from a portable stereo. We slowly made our way down the street and back to our house again. Cooling off by running through the sprinklers is a great way to cap off the event. The parade was a great success as it brought together neighbors and allowed us to celebrate our nation’s independence. The parade became a tradition every year. Such joy and so easy to do!

As a family you can also build the week of 4th of July fun by serving red, white and blue food throughout the week. Consider colorful pancakes for breakfast (just add food coloring to the batter), enjoy blueberry, strawberry, and banana fruit salad, and make a red, white and blue cake using colored icing. I’m sure you can think of even more fun ways to eat red, white and blue.

Be sure to check out books at the library for the kids which teach about our country’s heritage. One of my favorite books is The Light and the Glory and From Sea to Shining Sea both by Marshall and Manuel. Excellent books which teach about our true beginnings as a nation.

Of course there are also wonderful riches about freedom found in God’s word. Read in Exodus about the freedom the Israelites experienced from Egypt. More importantly teach your kids about the freedom from sin which we experience through Christ. If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.
Happy 4th!

Monday, June 22, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow

Last week I gave you some ideas for traveling around the world with your kids with an International theme week. This week I want to give you another plan; a plant plan. Yes, this week’s theme idea centers around planting and gardening. Here are some fun, summer ideas to make the week fly by with smiles on your faces as well as your kids’.

Good activities to do at home include planting seeds or flowers in your garden together. Never underestimate the joy of working with dirt. I know the kids will get a little messy, but every once in while we need to get down and dirty as we build summer memories. You may want to run through the sprinklers when you are finished. Another home idea is to decorate clay flower pots. Paint them on the outside and once they are dry, plant some herbs or flowers in them. Your kids will feel a sense of accomplishment and learn to care for plants as well.

Field trips for the week can include the local arboretum, nursery, farmers market or farm. Encourage your kids to observe the different kinds of leaves and blooms on the flowers and talk about the beauty of God’s creative work and His divine provision for our needs. Visit the library and check out books which feature flowers, gardening and farming.

Your devotionals for the week can center around stories in the Bible which deal with seeds and plants. Here are a few to consider:
Jonah and the leafy plant – Jonah 4
Parable of the Soils – Matthew 13:3 – 8, Mark 4:4-8, Luke 8:5 – 8
Jesus is the Vine we are the Branches – John 15:1 – 5
Those who delight in the Lord are like a tree planted by the riverbank Psalm 1
Those who put their hope in the Lord are like trees planted on the riverbank Jeremiah 17:5 – 8

I hope it is a plentiful week for you. And moms, the scriptures listed above are for your benefit as well as you put your hope in Christ and abide in Him. If you want to hear my commentary on Jeremiah 17 (the tree by the river bank) visit my web television show called Fresh Start at

Monday, June 15, 2009

Around the World Theme

Weekly themes can make the summer memorable and meaningful. What do I mean by themes? Actually a weekly theme is simply a fun concept or idea on which to build your activities and interests around for the week. Theme ideas can make the summer fly by with a variety of enjoyable activities. In the coming weeks I want to give you some theme ideas to fill your summer with delightful memories and doable activities.

I am especially fond of is the “Around the World” idea. Make the week a fun adventure of traveling to different countries around the world while never leaving your own home town. Choose several countries or cultures you would like to help your kids learn more about. You could adventure to Russia, France, Mexico, China and some countries in Africa.

On the first day of your Around the World Theme week, pull out a world map and show the kids where you plan to visit. As an art activity, make your own suit case out of paper grocery bags. Simply cut away the top portion to make a handle and a small pouch and decorate using markers and stickers. You can also make airline tickets for your adventure. Pretend you are boarding the plane by setting chairs in a row and instruct the kids as if you are a flight attendant. You may want to read a book about the country the kids are about to visit as they sit on the plane.

At your destination for each day, do some sort of activity, game or craft that relates to the country you are visiting. You can try to learn simple dances from the different cultures, listen to music, do art activities that reflect each destination. Try different cultural games like a piƱata from Mexico. You can find more games as you google on line. Talk about the different languages and try to write some words in foreign alphabets. Oh yes and think about the clothing and hats from different cultures.

For lunch, experience simple foods from different cultures. Consider foods like egg rolls, tacos, mangoes, French bread and cheese, or Russian goulash! If you have some international stores or restaurants in your area it may be fun to visit and help your kids feel the cultural experience and meet people from other countries.

Most importantly, use this as an opportunity to teach your kids about the beauty of God’s creation and the wonderful people around the world. Even if you don’t do all the theme activities mentioned above, you can still actively pray with your kids for the people around the world. Pray for the missionaries in different countries too. Help your kids develop and love and appreciation for all God’s people around the world and in every culture.

Precious and Positive moms, keep shining God’s light in your home as you lovingly interact with your kids each day. Pray for God’s strength and wisdom in your important role as a mom. If you want further encouragement go to:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Summer Do's and Don'ts

Summer can be the best of times, and it can also be the worst of times. Much of your summer success depends on your own attitude. I’ve put together a little list of do’s and don’ts to help you make it through the summer with an attitude of delight instead of simple survival. I hope you find this list is an uplifting boost and a gentle nudge to look toward the positive during the summer months.

Thank the Lord each morning for at least three blessings.
Look for opportunities to speak a word of encouragement into your kids.
Give them a loving look and a smile often throughout your day.
Listen to them.
Discipline in love.
Invite friends and fun into your home.
Encourage creativity, laughter and expression.
Read often with and to your kids.
Play outside with them.
Pray continually.
Remember God loves you.
Tell your kids you love them and God loves them each day.

Worry about the mess in the house more than the heart of the child.
Scream to get your point across.
Over-schedule your family with too many activities.
Try to do everything on your own.
Only look for what your family members are doing wrong.
Waste time grumbling and complaining.
Neglect your spiritual, emotional and/or physical well-being.

Do practice these principles throughout the summer, and you will not only see a change in your own attitude, but in your kids as well. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.” Let’s commit our summer plans to the Lord and walk in His joy each day.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer is Here

Summer is here, so let’s make it a summer with a smile! Celebrate the beginning of summer with a party. I’m not talking about a big bash; I’m just talking about a fun breakfast with the kids to help them get excited about all they have to look forward to during the summer. Prepare the kid’s favorite breakfast and make several posters introducing the season. Here is my suggestion for possible posters you can make using fun colors, stickers and markers:

Boredom Busters - Ask the kids to think of activities they can do if they ever begin to feel bored. Teach them that Boredom is in the eye of the beholder and no one ever needs to be bored, they just need to think a little more creatively. Talk about all things someone can do when they are feel like there is nothing to do. You will all be amazed at the possibilities. Tell the kids that the B word (Boredom) is not allowed to be used in your house during the summer. If the kids don’t have anything to do, tell them to go to the poster and check out their own creative ideas.

Super Summer Schedule – You can use this poster to write out summer daily, weekly and/or monthly schedules. You may want to have a summer monthly calendar marking the weeks when the kids are at camp or you are all on family vacation. For a weekly schedule, you may want to plot the plans for everyone as they are taking art classes or swim team, etc. You can also plan a loose daily routine with activities in the morning, nap or rest time (we always called it FOB flat on back time) in the early afternoon and craft and computer time in the late afternoon.

Loving Limits - During the summer you may want to put a few limits on what the kids do. There may need to be a limit to the amount of time spent on computer games or television or phone. Talk about what is reasonable and work through some loving limits for the summer.

The most important thing you can do to make this summer one of the best summers ever, is to keep up a great attitude. Stay flexible. Remember what Solomon said, “We can make our plans, but the final result is up to God.” Determine within your own heart that you will enjoy your kids, even if the house isn’t perfect or you don’t get to go on a dream vacation. Summer offers a unique time to have a more relaxed schedule and to spend more time together as a family. There are simple ways to enjoy your kids and make it a fun-filled summer. Each week during the summer I will give you some inexpensive, creative ideas to make your summer fly by with a smile. By the way, be sure to give your kids the gift of your smile throughout the summer days ahead.