A Light in the Darkness (Especially on Halloween)

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“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
~John 1:5

According to the calendar, today is Halloween.

And while there may be some disagreement about whether or not Christ-followers should participate in Halloween, we know God asks us to live as light in the midst of darkness.

So here are just some easy-to-implement suggestions of ways to redeem this day– Halloween.

1)  As a family, research Reformation Day, which is also October 31st, and spend the day learning about and celebrating it instead:

–Read Martin Luther Little Lights: What Should I Do?

–Add in some fun crafts or activities that go along with Reformation Day.

–If you have older children, watch the movie Luther together.

2) Decide that your family (and your home) is going to be a literal light in the darkness.

–In a society where neighborhood relationships, community and interaction is becoming more and more rare, use tonight as an opportunity to leave on the lights and to connect with neighbors that you might never see or talk with otherwise.

–Make sure your porch is well lit and have a candy bowl that is full of “good candy”.  Take time to meet and interact with each parent and child who arrives on your doorstep.

–Consider making or purchasing little bags of pumpkin treats (muffins, bread, or cookies) to take around to give your neighbors.

–Make plenty of hot apple cider to hand out to the parents of trick-or-treaters.

3) Get a jump on the season of Thanksgiving.

–We know it’s God’s will that we “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess 5:18) so shift the focus to giving thanks– today.

– Check out these 7 Mini Challenges for helping your children become more thankful.

–Start your own collection of Jordan River Rocks.

–Print out a foldable count-your-blessings-card for each family member and start the counting today.

–If you’ve been in the Valley of Massah (grumbling and complaining)…read through this list of verses together as a family and ask God to grow an attitude of thankfulness.

4) As a family, commit to– “Letting your lights shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”   ~Matthew 5:16

–Buy or make seasonal treats to deliver to teachers at the your child’s school or to the staff at your church and make sure you include a note telling them how thankful you are for them.

–Choose one family that you know has been struggling with sickness or financial difficulties and bring them a surprise dinner tonight.

–As a family, use the afternoon to help a neighbor who needs some leaf-pick-up help.

–If you know of family with younger children that don’t have grandparents in the area, offer to watch their children for a fun movie-popcorn-trick-or-treating-night so that the parents can have a date.

5)  Above and beyond all, remember that God’s light triumphs over darkness.

…even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.  ~ Psalm 139:12

And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.  ~ Isaiah 42:16

–  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  ~John 8:12

May each and every one of us live as light in the midst of darkness, for Him, today.

Blessings,

You’re Not the Doctor {Are you a Kingdom Woman?} & a Giveaway!

Friends, I am so thrilled to introduce you to a friend of mine who I just adore! I got to know Chrystal recently at a Leadership Retreat we both attended in Colorado with Sally Clarkson. Chrystal and I connected instantly and stayed up way too late that first night talking non-stop! :)

Chrystal Evans Hurst and Ruth Schwenk (Are you a Kingdom Woman?) ~www.thebettermom.com

Here is a little bit about Chrystal….

IMG_0573Chrystal Hurst is a writer, speaker, and worship leader in addition to serving as the chief executive operating officer in her home as a wife and mother of five. She is a self-proclaimed “geek” and bibliovore, who is actively seeking help for her addiction to Starbucks, sweet tea, and chocolate chip cookies. Chrystal is co-author of the recent release, Kingdom Woman and also blogs regularly at Chrystal’s Chronicles.

Chrystal joins us today as a guest and I know you will just LOVE her!  Chrystal writes:

As I laid my two little ones down to sleep, I knelt down next to the toddler bed and leaned in for a snuggly hug. “Are you going to lay with me?” my 3yo asked me with bright eyes. “No, sweet boy,” I replied. I explained that Mommy had to go get some rest too.

Because, I was so close to him, I could see right up his nose and noticed that it needed cleaning. I grabbed a tissue and proceeded to clean it for him. He promptly proceeded to tell me, “You’re not a doctor, Mommy”…

I stifled my urge to laugh in his face because he was so serious. I said, “No, I’m not a doctor, but I’m a Mommy and I need to clean your nose.” I made my way downstairs thinking how wonderful it is to be a mother and how great it is to be able to catch great moments like that.

I arrived downstairs to find the mess from this morning awaiting me. I sighed…I’m the cleaning lady…

I made my way from the living room to the kitchen… No, I’m the cook…

The refrigerator caught my eye and I noticed the menu for this week. Really…I’m the nutritionist…

Our kitchen island got my attention because the screwdriver was there were I left it earlier. I’m a handi-woman…

I remembered I needed to go get the hammer to hang a few pictures… cuz I’m the interior decorator…

I picked up the massage oil I use when I give my smallest son his daily stretches. No, I’m a therapist…

The shelf sits near to the area where we did school work today. Looks like I’m a teacher…

The schoolwork rested close to the playpen and the other baby paraphernalia…

Oh, I’m a childcare provider…

I glanced at the stack of bills of on my desk. Wait, I’m the financial manager…

The thought crossed my mind that we ought to get our W-2 soon. Even better. I’m the tax lady…

On my way to the laundry room to dump the dirty clothes I realized. Hmmph! I’m a personal shopper…

The laundry room gave way to the bedroom. Aha!…I’m the keeper of the love nest!

Out of the bedroom back into the hallway…

The hallway closet was open and my mouth dropped as I stared at the shelf of medicines, Band-Aids, and supplies. Wow! I AM the doctor!

It’s true that moms wear quite a few hats as they raise their children. In my experience of mothering toddlers, tweens, teens, and a twenty-something, I’ve  learned that the roles of a mom are innumerous and impossible to count or quantify. But I’ve also learned that when we mother out of the strength, power, and joy available to us in our relationship with Jesus, we can do everything He has called us to do for our families.

Chrystal, Chrystal’s Chronicles

Are you a Kingdom Woman? {giveaway} ~www.thebettermom.com (NOT a bad link)

We are SOOOO excited to share with you Chrystal’s just-released book Kingdom Woman!!

A kingdom woman gives the devil as much reason to fear as a kingdom man. She lives confidently in the knowledge that Christ died and rose for her so that she can experience the significance of the destiny to which she has been called.

In Kingdom Woman, Tony Evans and his daughter, Chrystal Evans Hurst, remind women of their calling from God to be free, delivered, healed, and to have hope. The authors bring insight that encourages women to correct distorted perceptions and understand who they really are in Christ—never settling for less when connected with the One who gives them hope. All believers are covered by God’s covenant with Abraham. Evans and Hurst want women to know these rights and confidently claim and live by them. The new covenant offers more than a life of mediocrity. A kingdom woman is called and empowered to live a life of victory through Christ!

We have three copies of the book Kingdom Woman by Chrystal Hurst and her dad Tony Evans to give away!!  To enter join the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Five Ways to Help Your Family Memorize God’s Word

Biblememory

“I have stored up Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” ~Psalm 119:11

Memorizing Scripture is something we value–
We know it is commanded.
We know how much it helps.
We know how often God calls to mind a particular passage at a much needed moment.

Here are five suggestions for helping your family memorize God’s Word (from our family to yours)…

1.)  Choose verses that are key (and sometimes less is more).
When our children were very little, we memorized foundation verses
“Foundation Verses are strategically chosen Bible verses for children preschool through age five. The pack includes short verses with picture prompts to help non-readers remember the passage.”
75 verses total.
One verse per week.
Often adding hand motions to go along with the words.
The whole family focusing on the same verse.

Foundation VersesFoundation verses 2

2.)  Which leads to– as a family, focus on the same verse or passage.
There was a time, when we had to decide, as parents, that we wanted our family to focus on one-same-verse-per-week together.
The reality was that with four children involved in multiple settings and classes, and each class asking us to help each child memorize a weekly verse, we were looking at close to 20 different verses per week that we could-should-be-helping them memorize.
And it felt overwhelming.
And we weren’t effectively memorizing any of the verses, let alone all of them.
So, we explained our decision to the various teachers/leaders and found them all to be very supportive.  It was amazing the difference it made to have one passage to focus on together as a family.
And the next year, our school decided to have one-family-verse per week instead of each teacher choosing a verse per grade.

3.) Surround your family visually with God’s Word…especially the verse you are currently working on.
We use whiteboards, frames with glass & no backing, old tile remnants or glass squares from my husband’s construction jobs, and blank business cards to help make our current verse visual.  I usually have the verse memorized by the time I’m finished writing it in all our different “spots”.

verse 2 verse1 verse3 verse4 verse6
4.) Use Music.
We still listen to the Seeds Family Worship Collection.  Often.
There is just something about putting God’s Word (or really almost anything) to music that makes it easier to remember.
And if you can’t find music to the verses you are trying to memorize, make up your own melody or use one your children are already familiar with, but switch out the words for a verse.  The melody of Edelweiss (think…Sound of Music) works well.
I maybe can’t recite all of Psalm 103, but I can still sing it to you…and when God knows I need those words, they are still deeply hidden in my heart.

5.) As a family, discuss the reasons for memorizing God’s Word.
It helps so much to understand the value of hiding God’s Word in your heart.  There are so many verses that point to how much God wants us to memorize.
We can pray and ask Him to help us!

“You shall teach them to your children,
talking of them when you are sitting in your house,
and when you are walking by the way,
and when you lie down,
and when you rise.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house
and on your gates…”
~Deuteronomy 11:19 and 20

What has helped your family commit to memorizing God’s Word?
We’d love to hear your suggestions or ideas in the comments
below…

Love,
Kara @ The Chuppies

 

Finding a Little Quiet in All the Busy

Finding a Little Quiet in all the Busy TBM

It was 5:30 am and I could hear him calling out over the balcony,

“WHAT ARE WE DOING TODAY, MOM?!”

Not that this was unusual. It was his typical morning routine – and a rather painful one, I might add. After all, what mom wants to be woken up by loud shout from her little guy?

But it was like he couldn’t help himself. He was so full of enthusiasm and excitement for what the day might hold.

“I don’t know, Son…why don’t we just take it slow today?”

Somehow that was never a good answer for him. He was looking forward to Big Plans and Lots of People. Like the rest of our children (who apparently take after their father).

Now don’t get me wrong. I like people. And I like getting things done.

But I crave quiet too.

Not merely as a personal preference, but I’m convinced there’s genuine value in pulling away from the noise and bustle of each day. I don’t want our children to feel as though they always need to be doing and going and moving. Even the most outgoing children can benefit from a bit of tranquility. And it’s most definitely a blessing to their busy mother.

So how do you find quiet in the midst of full and overflowing days?

While it’s going to look different in each family, here’s how it works in ours:

On most days after lunch and clean-up, our children go to their “assigned” spots for Rest Time which usually lasts for an hour or more. It’s naptime for any and all sleepers. The younger non-sleepers listen to story CD’s and either color or play with special toys reserved for this time. Our older children tend to use the early afternoon for reading or focused study.

And their mom? Mostly I use this opportunity for my personal devotions, then reading or writing. Sometimes I simply bask in the silence – thinking and praying. Listening, too. It’s my refuel time.

Our children have grown to truly enjoy our restful routine. It seems to refresh their spirits, almost as much as it does mine. They play together more peacefully in the late afternoon, after their short break from each other and the world. They’ve heard some wonderful stories, colored some lovely pictures, and built a number of fantastic creations.

But more importantly, they’re learning to quiet their hearts and be in a place where they can hear God’s still, small voice. That Voice that can be lost in the constant noise. It’s good to stop at some point and simply listen for Him.

Because even though I’m all for Big Plans and Lots of People, I also want to be able to come away where we can catch His gentle whisperings.

Found in a Little Quiet.

In His grace,

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