Browsing Tag

Holiday Contest

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Ideas for Growing Faith: Holiday Gifts and Activities

Several more ideas from the holiday contest are worth a mention. Anything’s worth a mention that might plant a seed in the heart of a child that may yield souls for heaven; perhaps even in multiple generations. SO, here are a few that rise to the top of the list of entries.

Kelly Rhodes suggested making a colorful songbook that’s child-specific. Each time your child or grandchild learns a new Bible song or verse set to music, put the words of that song in a decorated and durable binder, so that the child and parents will always remember the words to those sweet little hymns of budding faith.

Bobbie Goodnight suggested a story time using the book “If Jesus Came to my House” by Joan Gale Thomas. She also recommended accompanying it with a song called “In the Image of God” by Andy Robison. Click on the picture (left) for words and music. (Permission granted by the author.)

Erica Grieves’ idea was born of a quarantine. Missing the caroling and fruit basket-making and all the great congregational service projects, Erica set her kids to Bible-searching for scriptures about joy to include in  cards the family plans to send to those who need holiday encouragement.  As Erica puts it…”This year I’m gifting my kids the opportunity to turn our blues to the scriptures. Since cards bring joy to both giver and receiver, my children will spend the rest of our quarantine looking up verses that bring JOY. We plan to incorporate these into the cards. It’s an opportunity to remind us and others that no matter the circumstances, scripture always has the answer. It’s my prayer this will stick no matter what life may throw their way.” 

Lots of you moms are making blessing bags for the needy people your children see in parking lots or at intersections as you run errands. My grandkids’ bags include some simple toiletries, bottled water, snacks and info about the church. Blankets for distribution in winter are just $2.50 currently at their local WalMart, so they bought a few of those, too.  All of these blankets and small bags were placed in a large durable bag that now lives in the back of their van, just in case they see someone in need. Believe me, they were plenty excited when they did see  their first man in need last week. (The bag preparation was accompanied by Bible stories about giving sacrificially and the kids gave generously from their piggy banks to help purchase the  bag contents.) I believe this is an important and direct mental tie for kids to the judgment scene in Matthew 25.

Many of you are also distance-caroling this year for the widows in your congregations. These faithful elderly people will never forget the joy of this event and it just might be the highlight of their Christmas. If you do this, practice with your children. Make them understand the import of what they are doing in view of Matthew 25 and James 1:27.

Finally, Kathryn Baker’s kids were writing cards to all the members of the congregation during the Covid quarantine. Kathryn admitted that after a while, this became a tedious task. It was Kathryn’s mother-in-law who purchased for each child personalized stationery, markers, address labels, stamps and stickers to put some extra flair into this great, but challenging, service project. (Grandmothers, here’s a great place to step in and make a helpful contribution!)

Happy Holidays to all of you and may each of us give our children “good gifts”                                                                                                                                                                          (Luke 11:13, 14).

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Winners in TCH Holiday contest!

This year’s holiday contest was all about gift ideas for kids. The hitch is, every gift idea has to be “eternity friendly”–it has to help children find the way to heaven through Jesus. Time, talent, products and service ideas all came our way.

The three winners are (…DRUMROLL…):

 

                              Rachel Valentin

                              Kathryn Baker

                              Erica Grieves

Rachel

Kathryn

Erica

Lots of good ideas are in our inbox and I’ll be sharing some of those in a couple of blog posts next week. Lots of resources (some that I was not aware of) and also some creative servant ideas were among the submissions. Great job, moms and grandmothers!

Rachel, Kathryn and Erica…please send mailing addresses today to byhcontest@gmail.com today, so I can get these in the mail asap.

Congratulations and thanks to the kids who inspired all these submissions. You are blessed children, being given the greatest gifts of all this holiday season and every season. I love this group! I love the Word we get to live and give!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Heaven’s Hearing

Just a couple of things: Tomorrow is the deadline for the holiday contest. Read about it here and get your ideas in: (https://thecolleyhouse.org/its-contest-time). This is going to help some new moms who are watching for your responses. I’ll publish the best ones! (I spoke with a mom of new twins last week who is really looking forward to reading your ideas!) We’re helping kids go to heaven through Digging Deep in several key ways! You can be a big part of this. 

Next: Some are asking about details about the March for Life trip. They are here: (https://thecolleyhouse.org/saving-babies-march-for-life-trip-update). We’re still planning to go if things remain as they are now. We have a good crew and I am especially looking forward to our DD time together at the Alexandria Westin in Olde Town. The main thing you need to know is NOT to call the hotel to make your reservation. Make that with me by January 10th! We’re making matching hoodies for the group at a special price (No one will make any money on these, sold to those who are going!) I’ll put the info about those up soon! We have a cute design already in the works. They WILL be available for a very limited time to those who are not attending, but for a slightly higher price.  Come on and represent DD at a great event!

Finally, know that I am praying hard for your families this holiday season. It’s very hard for some of you who will be missing some very important people around your tree. I’m thinking of you, especially as I pray. There are some of you who are suffering with pain like I’ve never experienced. Cancer is a horrific burden, as are other diseases and physical and emotional maladies. There are many of you who are dealing with the fall-out that comes from a pandemic with which we are, in no way, finished. It’s not always those who have the disease who are the burden-bearers. I’m especially concerned for those who are separated from elderly loved ones who are needing family more than ever. Lastly, there are many who are suffering spiritual losses among family members. You’ve cried and prayed and walked a difficult line of influence and caring. You are sad beyond words that those you love have walked away from Him. I’m praying for you, too. 

Some of these things would be excruciating—unbearable, really— except for the cross. Because he walked there, we can walk in hope, here. I’m praying. He’s interceding. And heaven is in very close proximity to those who trust in that refuge. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

It’s Contest Time!

We can’t let a challenging year go by without a Colley House challenge! So here it is this year. Send me your best idea for an eternity-friendly gift for the children you know. It can involve time, money, products you have discovered, communication, prayer, or all of the above (and more). Be creative and practical and give us gift ideas to help kids grow toward the ultimate goal. Send me your ideas to byhcontest@gmail.com. by December 12th. at noon. You can enter as many times as you want. Three winners will receive the classic kids’ book “Picking Melons and Mates” along with the newest book at the Colley House (on racism and the Scriptures) “It’s there in Black and White,” and this year’s Digging Deep study book “The Ten”…all in time for gift-giving. (That’s a $40.00 package!) All three winners will receive all three books! I’ll quickly publish the best entries for quick holiday gift ideas for the precious souls within your sphere of influence!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

2020: In Like a Lion

In Huntsville, Alabama, 2020 brought great torrents of rain. Glenn and I telephoned 9-1-1 from our car last night to report some pretty serious flash flooding across streets that were still open and being treacherously navigated. As he made the call, on this evening in which the last of our sweet holiday company had flown back home, I thought “This is a pretty apropos ending to a torrentially blessed, but chaotic season. All we need now is to be stuck in this raging deluge.” 

But they say, “When it comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb.” Maybe there will be some “lamb” days—some gentle and serene days in 2020 for work and contemplation and especially for Digging Deep (https://thecolleyhouse.org/digging-deep). I’m ready to put the house back together and search for some semblance of routine. Remember, the December podcast is next Tuesday night!

We had a ton of fun company in this house (that included a suicidal squirrel…https://thecolleyhouse.org/and-prior-to-the-lesson-this-morning), a lightning storm (that took out our largest backyard tree, our internet, Roku, modem, router and a window in the cabin), a virus that hijacked our Christmas morning plans, and one awful day when they could not hear a heartbeat from my grandchild that’s still in the womb.

But you know, there’s always that blessing trail (https://thecolleyhouse.org/the-blessing-trail). All of our children, viruses and all, were here with us. (My husband is going to speak at a baby’s funeral this very morning.) We are wealthy enough to be extremely dependent on our internet. The most stressful part of its absence was that I was falling behind on my Digging Deep research and my communication with the greatest group of encouraging sisters in the world! My husband, who was standing only a few feet from that giant oak tree, is alive and well (although his hearing may be a little worse for that wear)!  Our baby was just hiding the heartbeat, after all, and went galloping like a champ during the next, more intensive sonogram. The man, who came to work on our internet, took the time to talk with me about God’s plan of salvation, about baptism for the remission of sins, and he even tested the internet by going to our West Huntsville page. He says, “My wife and I will definitely be visiting your church. It sounds like you are teaching just the Bible and that is a rare thing.” The blessing trail, now and always, just goes on and on. He is so good.

He is good, not just to those like me who are in a season of extreme prosperity in so many ways. He is good, even to those who are suffering horrible reversals today. It’s my prayer during 2020, that I can behave, EVERY day, as though I really believe He is glorious and good. When there is stress and when there is peace; when there is encouragement and when there is sharp criticism; when there is devastation and when there is exultant joy; when there is danger and when there is safety—may I constantly be reminded of his supremacy and ultimate blessing in my life as His faithful daughter (Romans 8:28). 

I know the Digging Deep study will help me to keep my mind focused in exactly this way. I’m going to invite someone to do this study with us this very week. I hope you will, too. As women are making their New Year’s resolutions, it’s a great time to ask them to jump in and make this a deeper year in His Word.

Finally, I’m going to share a few more entries from the “Merry Music” contest that concluded over the holidays (https://thecolleyhouse.org/tch-contest-the-merrys-in-the-music), because they will make you smile. But mostly, because I said I would. Have a great first week of a brand new decade. (That’s a sentence we’ll not be saying once we embark on eternity.)

 

 

 

In Oklahoma City there is a jewelry store that has their anniversary sale each December. Every year they have ads with the same jingle they’ve used for decades. One year we were singing Christmas carols and one of my sisters started singing the jingle. We all knew it so just joined in. Where I live now I no longer get OKC channels but thanks to the internet I can hear it if I want. I’ve included a link to a video of the jingle. 

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Betty Charlene Walker

The Original BC Clark Anniversary Sale Jingle

 

 

Music has always been a huge part of my life and I’m so excited to have passed that down to my girls. We LOVE to sing! I’ve been told I sing too loud during worship (I can’t help it! I love to sing praises to God) and both of my girls sing loudly and proudly the songs they know (and some they don’t know!). We sing in the car, at home, really whenever and wherever the music hits us.   I’ve always been on the shyer side, as is my youngest, but my Lizzie Jane definitely did not get that trait. She is very animated and dramatic when it comes to singing, especially if she has an audience. Since her first school program, I’ve eagerly anticipated with slight dread what she might do, whether it be sitting down during her performance to take off her shoes or taking off clothes because she was too hot on stage. This year for her Christmas concert, however, we were prepared. We talked about singing but not shouting, picked out comfortable shoes, bought a dress with short sleeves, made sure she was well rested, and practiced at home. She was really excited and couldn’t wait to get on stage. I watched her wiggle and dance in her seat, along with her classmates, and quietly sing along with the younger classes while they performed, anticipating her turn. She walked up on stage and got in her selected spot just like they practiced and gave us a big, sweet smile, the picture of pure innocence. You might be thinking as you read this, that for once in her life she got stage fright or became camera shy, but you would be wrong! The music came on for a “rock” version of “Up on the Housetop” and my girl started head banging and doing moves I’ve never seen her do before! Her voice could be heard above most of her classmates as she proudly sang and danced through the song. Laughter rang throughout the audience as my very dramatic 6 yr old performed through their next song “If I were a Reindeer”.  Several people told me afterwards they could see her in high school drama production when she’s older and they are probably right. Lizzie asked me if I was surprised about the different way they sang “Up on the Housetop” and when I told her I loved it, she gave me a big hug and said “Me too, Momma! It was so much fun! I can’t wait till next year!” Since she always manages to surprise me, I wonder what she’ll do next?! 🤷🏻‍♀️

With love, 

Melissa Plowman

P.S. I have video of her performing both songs on Facebook but they are too large to email. So if you want a giggle or need your spirits lifted check out my FB page to see her performance. pastedGraphic.png (And you really should go watch her!… CC)

 

 

Hey Cindy, I am new to the Digging Deep study this year and was introduced to it by Mitzi Jackson. I have been so blessed by it and your blog. Thank you for all you do! I even had to listen to the Mary, Martha and Lazarus lesson after reading the squirrel story. It was much needed as I tend to be a Martha.

My story involves my soon to be three year old grandson Weston. I have always enjoyed getting into the holiday spirit early and have often been teased about it by my children.

They even hid my Dolly Parton Christmas CD one year. Well, this year I started early and Weston learned every word of Jingle Bells the first day I played it, even the second lesser known verse. Well, it wasn’t long until my daughter called and said, “ Really mom! Teaching him Jingle Bells before Halloween?”  It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Have a blessed holiday season with your family!

Love and Prayers,

Rhonda West

 

 

Our 2 girls started taking piano lessons in grade school. They were excited learning a Christmas song that year and we were all going to gather around the piano and sing on Christmas Eve. The tree was decorated. Stockings were hung. The fire was burning and the wood crackling.  They took their seat on the bench. We were ready, eagerly anticipating. And it began D…E….C…K…. T….. H….E….H…A…L…L..S…. W…..I….T…H….B….O….U…..G….H….S. You get the picture . Each note was very slow and the accompanying singers followed along with much merriment

Those little girls are 49 and 48 yrs old now. We still laugh and remember that year. One daughter is a special ed teacher in South Carolina. She taught piano and violin to students for years. Our other daughter got a music scholarship and has a beautiful singing voice. She works for the government. Our 4 grandchildren are all very musically talented. It all began one Christmas Eve singing and playing Deck the Halls on an old upright piano costing $100 surrounded by lots of love. 

Bobbie Goodnight

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Winning Holiday Contest Entry: Elder’s Bowtie Gets “Misplaced”!

The Colley House congratulates Tracy Parsons of Erwin, Tennessee,  for submitting the winning entry in the Holiday contest. Picturing this communion scene made the judges laugh out loud. Tracy gets to choose $50.00 worth of materials from https://www.thecolleyhouse.org. Read her submission and then a couple of submissions that receive an honorable mention today!

One of our elders was teaching bible class Sunday morning and he clipped his mic on his shirt (but never actually turned it on) and made it through his entire introduction before someone raised their hand to announce that they couldn’t hear anything that he had said. In good humor, he thanked them for not waiting until the lesson was finished. He turned the mic on and then walks up to the front pew to pick something up. His mic comes unclipped from his shirt (the battery box is still attached at his waist) and the mic itself is dangling between his legs making loud noises every time the mic comes in contact with the pew, his pants etc. Someone raised their hand to inform him that once again they couldn’t hear what he was saying and once he located the mic, he reclips the mic to his shirt. He immediately tells us about the time that he was a young man wearing a white clip on tie while serving the Lord’s Supper. He was so focused on his position of serving that he didn’t even noticed that his bow tie had slipped down and was clipped between his legs on the front of his pants. He wasn’t sure what to do in a situation like that, leave it be or move it back up only to draw more attention to himself.

I love this elder dearly and he has truly made a difference in my life. I could never express to him how much I appreciate his service to the Lord and the impact that he’s made on the Lord’s Church. He is a wonderful man!

You have to commend a great leader that can still hold it together even when mics and bowties don’t cooperate. 

Honorable mention goes to Gail Walker for this submission about a Sunday School song request. Little people sometimes  innocently cause good teachers some consternation.

I always taught young children in Sunday school. I would begin the class going around the table asking each child to suggest a song.  One bright Sunday morning one of our members brought her granddaughter. We were going around the table and when her turn came, she thought for a moment and then said, “I like ‘She Thinks My Tractor’s sexy,’”.  For a moment I did not know what to say. And then I said, “ How about we sing Jesus Loves Me?”  She said K and we went on.

And finally, Honorable Mention to M. Vines. She made a splash with this baptism story.

Our congregation was about 50 members strong and another was about to be added. The man being baptized was considerably larger than the preacher. As the preacher slowly lowered the man into the water he got off balance, dropped the man, and almost went under with him! There were several reactions in the audience: gasps, cringes, and literal laughs out loud from a light hearted bible school teacher (who happens to be my mother). Everyone recovered just fine and at least we know he was fully immersed!