Sunday, November 14, 2010

Challenge 5

So we actually completed the "bag trash" challenge and we had a great time doing it.  The boys each had a bag and I pulled our wagon (in case a certain 4 year old got tired or if we found something big) and we made a game out of finding trash/items that didn't belong on the ground.  By the time we got back to our house, our bags (and part of our wagon) were full.  I love that I listened to my sweet son's heart and did this challenge.  I know this is something we will for sure do again.

Last week at church our preacher started preaching on the topic of listening to God's whispers.  Some of his sermon comes from this book and all I can say is WOW.  I love this sermon series so far.  I guess you could say that this blog was started because of a "whisper" from God.  A nudge.  A push to change our mindset and step out of our comfort zone.  I encourage you to get this book if you haven't read it.  I haven't read it yet myself, but I can tell you that the info that has been shared from it has been wonderful.

Challenge 5 starts today and will go through next Sunday.

Act 1
Purchase something for a child/family through Compassion, World Vision, or some other organization.

Earlier this week, we got our World Vision Gift Catalog in the mail.  While eating breakfast one morning, I had my oldest son read some of it to us.  One page that really made an impact on my boys was a section that talked about a little boy that had worms in his bloated tummy.  As H read on, he learned that most kids living in Africa only have dirty water to drink and many of them get dangerous diseases because of it.  They kept asking lots of questions and this really sparked some good conversations about this topic.  In my head, I knew that buying something from WV was something our family would for sure do this year but I kept thinking that the impact on my kids would not be as great if we simply opened our checkbook and made the purchase.  After some brainstorming, we came up with the idea of the boys having a hot chocolate stand in order to raise money.  They thought it sounded fun and this is a pretty simple way for them to earn money themselves to put towards this purchase.  You can come up with lots of good ways for your kids to earn money to go towards these gifts.  In my opinion, it will make a bigger impact on them if they really have a part in it.

Did you know that:
  • $18 will provide 3 ducks for a family in need? (these will produce hundreds of protein-rich eggs to feed a family year round.  They will also multiply fast and allow them to be sold for extra income)
  • $25 will provide 2 chickens
  • $30 will provide 5 fruit trees (oranges, mangoes, bananas, papayas and apples)
  • $40 will provide a fishing kit for a family
  • $75 provides a goat
  • $100 buys a goat and 2 chickens

You get the idea.

How many times have you walked into a store ( it's Target for me personally) and walked out with $50+ worth of things you don't need and didn't go into the store initially wanting.  When I look at these small amounts, yet the HUGE impact they will make for these families, I can't imagine not buying something from the list.  So, I encourage you to make a purchase for a family this year - one that will keep on giving!

Act 2
Make and deliver cookies, cupcakes, or treats for firefighters, police officers, etc......  and express how THANKFUL you are for their service.  I know that I take these positions for granted and we don't carve out enough time to say thanks.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Our Week and Challenge 4

I hope everyone had a good Halloween!  We did......especially my husband, who went to the World Series game with his dad.  My MIL and SIL came over and went trick-or-treating with us.  The boys looked super cute.  I mentioned a few posts ago about the idea of collecting canned food while going door to door.  We did it this year and had a pretty good turnout.  My youngest was really more concerned with the candy but I have to say that I'm so proud of H for asking at almost every house.  I was quite surprised at how many people told him no- but that's okay.  That's life and hopefully it taught him to just keep on asking.  We did manage to get over 20 cans and some people were really sweet about it.  I loved this idea and plan to do it from now on.  It was a simple way to impress on my boys' hearts that we can do for others while having fun for ourselves.

We are still working on our challenges for this week and hope to finish them by Sunday.  It's been pretty cool here this week and we have yet to bag trash.  I'm not letting this one pass without getting done!

Week 4 challenges will start this Sunday, November 7 and will end next Sunday, November 14. Don't forget to turn your clocks back on the 7th!

Act 1
Clean out your closets and toy boxes and donate toys/clothes

You can donate your items to a family in need, Goodwill, a church that accepts donations, or any other place that will get these items to others less fortunate.  With Christmas just weeks away, this is a great way to help others and simplify your home at the same time.  Allow your kids to be a part of this process.  Again, the conversations you have with them are just as important as the act itself.

Act 2
Turn off the TV for a day (or a week!)

That's right.......have a TV Free Day!  It's so easy to flip the TV on and before you know it, several hours have gone by.  We've got a pretty good handle on our TV time (more on that to come!) but I have lots of friends that admit that their kids watch way too much.  Think about all the productive things you can do during that time.  Play games, read a book, go for a walk, help someone else, just parents we often miss out on these sweet moments with our kids because they are stuck in front of a TV or video game.  So, I challenge you to have at least one day of zero TV.  Then, see if you can turn it into two.......

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Family Nights

Over the past several years we have tried to have regular "family nights".......meaning we turn off the TV, get out the games, and just hang out.  I love the idea of family nights, although it's been hard for us to be consistent with them.  Like most things, you have to be intentional about keeping them going and often life gets in the way.  We get busy and time just passes us by.

When my friend posted about the Family Nights at her house, I was immediately intrigued. I shot her a quick email and asked for more information.  She sent me to this site and I started looking around at all the products they sell.  There were so many to choose from- most of them looked like activities I'd like to use.  (fyi.....I actually found a used copy, in excellent condition, through Amazon and paid about $6 total with shipping)

Like Jessica, I decided to start with this one:

My oldest loves science.  The fact that this book combines science with Bible/life lessons is a huge bonus.  I know my boys will love learning this way. 

I got my book last night and am so excited to start.  More than anything, I'm excited to have resources that will help me keep our Family Nights meaningful.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children."  Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Joyful Heart is Good Medicine

A couple of months ago I had the privilege of hanging out with one of my best college friends- just the two of us- no kids.  It was bliss.  We went away for the entire weekend and had a blast.  We did lots of shopping, eating, laughing, and even crying.  Don't you love friends like this?  They are a rare find, I can tell you that!

During our weekend, we spent some of the time talking about our kids and things we do to shape them into better people.  We discussed Bible lessons, activities, community outreach projects, and all sorts of things geared at making our children well-rounded, Christian kids.  Whew, what a job we all have.

She told me about these CD's that she plays while riding in the car and she shared with me how helpful they have been for her.  I decided to order them and I'm so glad I did.  Not only do they teach Bible verses...but they also teach character traits as well.  There is a mix of fast and slow songs and my boys LOVE them.  They probably don't love that I start to sing "do everything without complaining" or "children obey your parents" when their behavior becomes less than desirable but I can say that we've all really enjoyed the overall message these songs deliver.  My 4 year old will often ask for the "joyful heart" song and I love that he wants to listen.  So, if you are looking for some new songs for the car or home, I'd definitely say these are worth getting!

Speaking of joy...........
.......these 3 girls have brought a lot of joy to my life the past 14 years!!