Mama’s Kiss #46: Write Letters to a Children’s Home

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 46 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

This one is simple and obvious. Perhaps your congregation already allows your children to interact with residents at a children’s home, either by collecting needed supplies, saving money in those collection cans, or helping with the Christmas shopping for children who have been placed in homes due to either the death of parents or circumstances in which care is no longer provided by parents. I hope, if your church does this, you will not pass up the chance to make sure your children are busy with these projects. But even if your children participate in group projects, it’s still a great idea to get your children personally involved with children who are disadvantaged because of absent parents. Perhaps your family could schedule a visit to such a home. There are many of these around the nation that are sponsored by members of churches of Christ. (One great facility in our area is the North Alabama Christian Children’s Home, directed by Don Williams: http://nacch.com. Another great one is Pine Vale in Corinth, MS and you can reach them at amy.collum@pinevalech.com. or randy.collum@pinevalech.com. Or, if you are in Oklahoma: tiptonchildrenshome@yahoo.com.) Most of these homes welcome visitors and your children could meet and become pen pals with children who would love to hear from them throughout the year. You could compose letters to these children during your family Bible time and then, upon learning their preferences, personalities, and birthdays, your children might send packages or gift cards with the permission of the house parents. Memorizing James 1:27 along with this project is a great idea.

There are multiple benefits gained by this connection for both your children and those in the system. Appreciation for blessings, opportunities to be selfless, and accountability to friends in need  are some of the benefits your children will encounter.  I was in the second grade when our class in my Christian school first visited a children’s home. I was assigned the writing of the letter to thank them for their hospitality to us. I still remember some of the contents of that letter. The children we met that day and the simple fact that they did not have any present parents made a huge impact on my young heart. It was a sobering thought to my seven-year-old self that there were other seven-year-olds who might never know their moms and dads. It was a small and hard part of coming to understand human suffering, but it was good for my young and impressionable second-grade self. Twelve years later, one of those children I met in that home attended Freed-Hardeman University with me and we talked, as college students, about the death of her parents. Ten more years passed and I helped my own children buy Christmas gifts for children in that same home. This Christmas, I loved getting the chance, once again to buy those black and white Nikes that were on the list of a thirteen-year-old whose parents are AWOL. I can hardly wait till Ezra and Colleyanna are old enough to learn the joy this brings. I know there were many opportunities  that passed our family by–things we should have done, and didn’t– and certainly we are not any great examples of benevolence. We should have shared more of His bounty than we ever did. But I am convinced, because of the impact of even these small gifts on me and on our children, that even the smallest hand in benevolence builds character.  I’m sad that there will always be these opportunities (John 12:8), but I’m thankful for the good that can be done in multiple generations of families when these perennial opportunities are presented and grasped.

 

Today’s Recipe: Green Lime Punch

Janice Knight

Super simple!  Use a half gallon, (or nowadays, two of those little round tubs) lime sherbet, and pour a half gallon ginger ale (or sprite, for sweeter) over sherbet in a punch bowl.  Stir and chop up the sherbet.  It’s a hit every time.

 

Sister to Sister: Guest Writer/Resource for Teachers

It’s the melon time of year in the deep south. It’s also the beginning flurry for many a homeschooling mom and it’s the start of a new quarter for most of our Bible classes in our congregations. Today I want to share a resource that was so patiently forwarded to me by Renee Hunter. It’s an adaptation of the book “Picking Melons and Mates” and I think it’s creation was too time intensive and creative NOT to share. She’s graciously agreed to make it yours and so…here it is. Teachers like Renee just keep on investing time for eternity. This is a four week curriculum, designed for girls ages 8-12. It would take about a month if you did it at home in short increments of Family Bible Time. If you do it in 30 minute Bible class increments, you could easily spend a whole quarter.  When you look at the four topics below, you will be taken aback by the importance of the material she was putting in their hearts.  She did it with sweet girls who loved getting together. Good stuff. All you need is the Picking Melons book (http://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/Picking-Melons-and-Mates/p/14051571/category=3290196), the following, and a few supplies that are obvious as you go…. Oh, and a few tender hearts. (Be sure and get the lap book and homework links at the very bottom!) Thanks very much, Renee, for this great resource for teachers. What a blessing!)

LESSON1: PICK OR PICK
Decorate front of lapbook with verse and title “Choosing in Christ” Read:
“Picking Melons and Mates” by Cindy Colley, through p.11. Activity 1 (Day 1 #2 and #3)
Use concordance and dictionary as needed.

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Complete wisdom scripture lapbook activity: Put glue on three sides of the Bible picture to make a pocket. You will slide the “Wisdom Scripture” paper into the pocket. Have the children write down their favorite wisdom verses.

Complete character lapbook activity: Look again at the wisdom verses and
write down characteristics of wise people on the paper with an owl. Glue in lapbook.

Activity 2 (Day 3 #1 and 2) Discuss
Banana split break Activity 3 (Day 18 #1) Discuss

Activity 4 (Day 18 #2)
Complete Fruit of the Spirit lapbook activity: Use dictionary to look up the words. Glue the pear in the lap-

book. Have the children glue or write the words around their pear. Activity 5 (Day 19 #1)
Discuss

Put title of lesson 1 on page 1 of the lapbook “Pick or Pick”

Homework

Memorize the fruit of the spirit

LESSON 2: APPEARANCES
Recite Fruit of the Spirit homework
(love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, selfcontrol)
Read: “Picking Melons and Mates” by Cindy Colley, through p.1217
Activity 1 (Day 5 #3)
Activity 2 (Day 6 #3)
Discuss
Activity 3 (Day 6 #4)
Break into groups and discuss
Complete lapbook verse 7 activity: Glue scroll in lapbook. Have the children write the verse on the scroll.
Activity 4 (Day 10 #1 and 2)
Discuss. Use concordance as needed.

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Complete “darkness” lapbook activity: Glue three sides of the “darkness” paper to make a pocket. Have the children write down the verses that talk about darkness on the lined paper. They will slide this into the pocket.

 

Activity 5 (Day 12 #1) Discuss
Activity 6 (Day 13 #1) Discuss

Activity 7 (Day 13 #3)

Complete lapbook activity: Cut out the hearts and staple on one side to make a book. Glue the last page down on the lapbook. On the pages of the book have the children write down ways they can follow Jesus.

Put title of lesson 2 on page 2 of the lapbook “Appearances” Homework: memorize 1 Samuel 16:7

LESSON 3: CONSEQUENCES OF CHOICES

Recite memory verse homework

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Read: “Picking Melons and Mates” by Cindy Colley, through p.1823 Activity 1 (Day 6 #2)
Discuss
Activity 2 (Day 5 #4)

Discuss
Activity 3 (Day 19 #2)
Break into three groups and discuss
Activity 4 (Day 9 #1)
Discuss
Activity 5 (Day 16 #1)
Discuss
Activity 6 (Day 20 #2)
Discuss
Activity 7
Read Ephesians 1:314

 

Complete lapbook activity “Being in Christ”: Glue the “in Christ” and “out of Christ” papers on the lapbook. Have the children make a path using yarn leading to each paper. One will be wide and one will be narrow. Have the children glue or write the words around the correct path.

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Put title of lesson 3 on page 3 of the lapbook “Consequences”

Homework: memorize “Matthew 7:1314”

LESSON 4: WISE PICKER
Recite memory verse homework
Matthew 7:1314

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Read: “Picking Melons and Mates” by Cindy Colley, p.24 to end Activity 1 (Day 4 #1)
Discuss
Activity 2 (Day 4 #2)

Discuss
Activity 3 (Day 5 #1 and 2) Discuss
Activity 4 (Day 8 #1, 2, and 3) Discuss
Activity 5 (Day 9 #3)

Discuss and complete “prayer” lapbook activity: Staple the hands together on one side. Glue the back one onto the lapbook. Have the children write a reminder to pray for wisdom on the inside of the hands.

Activity 6 (Day 11 #1 and 2) Discuss
Activity 7 (Day 14 #1) Discuss

Activity 8 (Day 14 #2)

Discuss and complete “wise man/foolish man” lapbook activity: Staple the booklet together. Glue the last page on the lapbook.

Activity 9 (Day 17 #1, 2, and 4)

Discuss and complete “vine connected” lapbook activity: Glue the Bible and the pic- ture of Jesus on the lapbook. Connect the two together using a vine. Staple the vine to the lapbook.

Put title of lesson 4 on page 4 of the lapbook “Wise Picker” Make watermelon charm bracelets.

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Sister to Sister: Caught Praying on the Monitor

13344646_911796716419_9022849487098569765_nCaught on the video monitor the other night, Ezra, who was twenty months old, at the time, was praying. In his own crib, in his nursery, door closed, and darkness gathered round him, he listed his little litany of people , ending with Baxter (his cat) and ended with a simple, but very audible “Amen”.  I know God heard little Ezra, because he’s the God who takes time for the little ones (Mark 10:14). 

What makes a twenty month old talk to God when He’s all alone? You know what does. It’s pretty simple. It’s night after night of “practice”. It’s doing it when he’s not alone each night. It’s story time with parents who know it’s important, for the development of faith in God, to talk to Him every night. It’s intrinsically knowing that, in his daddy’s arms, hands folded talking to God, all is right in his simple little world. That’s why Ezra knows how to pray. That’s why, however simply and trusting, he talks to God when he thinks he’s all alone. 

One day you will think you are alone. There will come a time when you are facing your own alone-ness and darkness. You might not know yet exactly what that darkness will be. It may be the loss of someone you love. It may be that someone you love disappoints you deeply. It may be the loss of your health or wealth. It may be the fall of your freedom or encroaching national enemies. It might be loneliness or divorce or addiction. It might be sin.

When your darkness comes, will you be able to talk to the Father, even from the darkness—when you need Him most? The answer is yes…if, like Ezra, you’ve been talking to Him every day in the light; if you’ve spoken with Him daily from your safe and happy place when surrounded by those you love. 

The simple faith that gives us the solace and strength of prayer in the dark times of our lives is not instantly gained when we need it. It’s developed during the good times. It’s having a relationship with the Almighty that’s constant and secure through the ups and downs of regular and normal days. That’s what gives us the peace and assurance of knowing He hears us when life gets irregular and abnormal…and sometimes even, very nearly, unbearable. I have friends  who use prayer as a panic button. I have other friends who never need a panic button because they’ve got the security that comes with a life time of communication through prayer and Bible study. They deeply understand and cling to the promise of Romans 8:28…that He’s making every day, and even the darkest night, turn into ultimate blessings for them, as His children.   They are secure when they are alone and life is dark, because, like Ezra, they’ve  “practiced” when times were easier and gentler. 

“Amen” is a very comforting word. It means “let it be so”. I’m glad “amen” is in little Ezra’s limited vocabulary. I’m glad he says it already to the One Who transcends everything Ezra will ever learn or know in both majesty and power. But that One is also the One who knows how many little red hairs are on His head (Luke 12:7). He knows his down-sitting and his uprising (Psalm 139:2). He knows Ezra’s litany of loved ones and He even knows His cat, Baxter. Are you talking to the One who loves you that much? You should be living in that kind of sweet security right now. Someday, when night falls, you will very much need the sweet security of prayer. 

Sister to Sister: Just a Minute for Apologetics Press

Banner-APEarlier this week the good folks at Apologetics Press (www.apologeticspress.org) were targeted by Facebook trolls who made it their goal to post many negative reviews and to, in the most vulgar terms imaginable, openly criticize the site and revile the good work it does. My husband took the opportunity to say some good things about the work at AP and, almost immediately,  a response appeared on his Facebook timeline that also spewed hate and vulgarity toward AP.

I cannot think of a tool that did more, as my children were growing up, to put faith in them, than the materials from Apologetics Press. I visit the site regularly, cite it often in writing and speaking and recommend it almost everywhere I go to talk to groups of women. My husband and I are indebted to the men at AP for the research and writing (and fundraising) that have produced volumes like “How Do We Know the Bible is from God?” and episodes of “Digger Doug”  and the various series of AP readers and many more volumes that developed faith in the hearts of Caleb Colley and Hannah Giselbach. Their materials were core to out homeschooling endeavors, our classroom teaching in the church and our Family Bible Times in our home. Currently our daughter is using one of the books to answer questions from little people in her class of nine-year-olds in Montgomery, AL. and as they find the real evidence to answer the question “How do we know the Bible is true?” They are making their own newspaper chronicling their discoveries to share with the congregation. When nine-year-olds are inquisitive about such an eternally important matter, the time to stop and answer is now. Apologetics Press has, through the years, made for parents and teachers, preachers and elders and, yes, our children seeking truth an indispensable resource.

It’s no wonder that forces of the devil regularly attack the work at AP and it is bound, as our country becomes more thoroughly secularized, to happen all the more often and with a greater vengeance. I hope every Christian mother and grandmother reading will go to the AP website (linked above) and give a brief positive review of the site. Further, I hope you will share this article in support of Apologetics Press on your Facebook wall. Two clicks and you’ve publicly stood for something great while standing against wickedness. Further, you’ve done it in a very public forum.

I know some of you may be thinking, “But I don’t want to share something that will draw the ire of wicked people and I surely don’t want vulgarity on my timeline.” That’s precisely the kind of thinking that’s silenced many people of God for way too long. Persecution like this is going to be more and more commonplace and, if we fail to stand together as the people of God, we let the devil have his way. On the other hand, when we are reviled and persecuted (and that’s exactly the intent of this attack on AP), we are blessed. I hope you will share (or write your own positive review about the work at AP).  You can do this on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ApologeticsPress/?fref=ts. Persecution is coming our way. Now is a good time to start reacting with meekness and boldness. (When you encounter those who post vile language on your wall, simply go to the right hand corner of their “comment”, click on the arrow and then click on “hide” and the comment will disappear. You can elect also to “block” this person from further commenting on your timeline.)

For an even more effective show of support, go to the site and do a little summer-reading-shopping for those children in your world who need to be prepared for the obstacles the devil has planned for them. (Here’s the store: http://www.apologeticspress.org/store/Store.aspx.

And most importantly, pray for the blessed men who continue the work at AP for the sake of our families and congregations. Know they are blessed because our Lord characterized them exactly that way.

“Blessed are ye when men shall revile and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.”

 

Survival Lessons for Kids in 2016

 

11357838_112293442443658_745312663_nIt’s New Year’s Eve and the blessings to our family have surpassed our hopes. We magnify Him for the opportunities and challenges, for Ezra and the joy he brought to this year from start to finish. We praise him for our children and for the doors he has opened for them to do His will. We are thankful for our parents who are still living and enjoying a measure of health (and, of course, for the continuing influence of my mother, who waits in glory).  Especially, as this year closes, we are grateful for our new daughter-in-law, Rebekah. She is the answer to many prayers and we will forever be thankful for Heaven’s response to those fervent daily prayers.

In this, the dawn of 2016, I’ve been thinking a lot about those who are younger parents trying to raise children for heaven in the present American culture. I know many of them who are doing a better job than I could ever do. But still, the mentality of the day is to ‘live and let live,” to deny the existence of truth and to, thus, affirm all beliefs and lifestyles. It has a strong undercurrent of  seeking human approval and material success.  So, it takes a lot of parental stamina to keep battling the devil as he tries to normalize behaviors that have, throughout our nation’s history, been considered shameful and diabolical. We try to battle on  while insuring that our families are seeking first His kingdom.

Here are five important lessons for the hearts of children in 2016.  I threw in a few examples from scripture in case you’re making a template for Family Bible time this year. Of course, there are many more examples in each case.

  • We will NOT always be like everyone else, but we will always be kind to everyone else (Joseph’s treatment of his brothers in the last chapters of Genesis, Israel clamored for a king in the early chapters of I Samuel, The one grateful leper in Luke 17).
  • We will love our country, but we will keep in mind that it is not this country that will abide forever (Paul turned to the Gentiles in Acts 13, Jeremiah—the weeping prophet, Hebrews 11 and the “better country”).
  • We will keep in mind that the most important things are not things at all (Esau’s bowl of stew in Genesis 25, Achan at Ai in Joshua 7, The rich fool in Luke 12).
  • We will put the Kingdom of God first in every decision this year (The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5,6,7, Hebrews 10:25, 26, Stephen in Acts 6).
  • We will take every opportunity to tell people about Jesus (Peter and John in Acts 3-5, Paul’s sufferings for the gospel in II Corinthians 11, Paul and Caesar’s house in Phil. 4:22).

 

The transference of faith from generation to generation is not accidental. In a year that promises to be hostile against Christianity and a time that is certainly an era of “taking offense” (everybody is offended by everything and political correctness has thwarted rationality), it will take diligence to put conviction in our kids.  I’m praying today for Christian moms and their New Year’s resolutions!

Family Bible Day 2013

KermitEight times over the last weekend, I came out of a giant suitcase dressed in an egg-shell mattress singing “I’m so cool” to the Carly Simon tune of “You’re So Vain”. Being the pompous primitive sponge that I was and touting all of my glorious colors and self-replaceability, I was, of course, infuriated by the human-sized worm that followed me and began singing about her own amazing vitamin emissions and slime excretions. By the time the fish, snake, frog, birds and mammals (including a humongous mole and the cutest dog ever) had all popped out and done their musical numbers the kids were not falling for the incredulous story that the professor was laying on them about billions and billions of years turning slime into humans that think and create and protect and love. In fact, the story that came from the little boy’s prized book in his small suitcase—the one that ended with “And so God made man in his own image,” is the one that won the day. I’m glad, because that book is the one that will win the final day (John 12:48).

Enjoy the slideshow. Come join us in 2014 for Family Bible Week: July 20-23.