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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Why can't adults evangelize like children?


I just wanted to share this short story with you.  It happened very quickly but it has stuck with me...maybe because it all seemed so innocent and Almighty at the same time...

My kids and I were hanging out with a couple of other children.  I know the 2 other children don't go to church.  We were all outside and one of the kids remarked about how nice something looked.  One of my kids said simply - God made it.  God made everything.  One of the other kids said - God didn't make everything.  To which one of my children replied - Yes He did.  The other child thought for a second and said - He didn't make ME.  My children very calmly said, "Yes He did.  God made all of us."

Boom.  End of discussion.  Nothing else was said.  The other two children were lost in thought after that and it didn't come up again.  It didn't need to - the seed was planted.  These 2 children who know nothing about God were just handed the key to His unfailing love but two unsuspecting and unprepared  children.  They didn't argue, they didn't yell, they didn't push anything on each other...they simply spoke from their heart and let it go.

Why can't we as adults do this? It pains me when I see people stop others on the street to push religion on people.  Or when people knock on my door at always the worst possible time to tell me that God loves me or that I'm going to hell.  Why can't we be like children?  God will provide the when and where, all you have to do is follow through - not by "Bible beating" or yelling or pushing and prodding...but by simply being.  If you allow it, God can and will use you to spread His word.  Why do we get so scared to evangelize?  If we are asked to share our faith story sometimes we get embarrassed, nervous and sometimes flat out refuse.  Why?  Because we might get turned down? Because we may not be eloquent speakers or know the right thing to say?

May we all be able to share our love for God with others as children do - with no ulterior motive or agenda, with the willingness to share with anyone, anytime and with the acceptance that we are not in control...but God is.  Don't worry that you're not prepared, that you're not eloquent, that you're not dressed properly or look your best...God is.  We are just God's instruments.
Before I went to Peru I attended an information meeting to learn more about where I would be going.  There were other churches there as well.  It was only a few months before I would be leaving to go live there for a while and I was pretty psyched :)  Fast forward a few years...I was at a Christmas party with a church group that had gone to that meeting and had sent a few groups to where I was living.  There was a man there that took me aside and said - "You probably don't remember, but I was at that meeting with you a few years back.  I almost didn't go and I was convinced even before I went that I was not going to go to Peru.  But, when I saw you there, and saw how unafraid and excited you were...your passion ignited a passion in me and I've now gone twice.  It has changed me and I want to say thank you."  Wow.  Not only do I not remember him being at the meeting, I had completely forgotten that we had a meeting!  I was so involved in my own life at the time I didn't really see anyone else there.  Even in my ignorance and selfishness, God used me to bring someone closer to Him.

Go with God, live your life as He would have you to live it and God will do miraculous things through you that you may not even be aware of.  Peace

 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Christian Easter Egg fillers :)



I haven't written a blog in a while...I could blame it on the fact that our computer was on the fritz...but that's not really true ;)  I've been busy!  However, I want to get together some ideas for Easter Egg fillers that are church and Jesus related.  So, I figured my blog was a good place to do it!!  The Happy Home Fairy (my favorite blog to follow :) has wonderful Easter ideas, and I even heard her speak once about great Religious items to put in the kids' Easter baskets.  BUT, I am in charge of my prek's Easter Egg hunt AND my church's hunt...so, I need egg filler ideas!!  I know Oriental Trading has tons of trinkets and items that may be good...but I want something more.  So, I searched for a bit and found a blog that had a neat idea she did for her son's Easter egg hunt on Easter morning...and I changed it a bit to fit my church and class hunts!  But first, a few things that I did like from oriental trading ;)

Crystal Cross NecklacesStretchable Candy Cross Bracelets“He Lives!” Sticker Scenes“He Lives!” Necklace Craft KitPastel Cross ButtermintsSticky CrossesHeart & Nails Cross NecklacesEaster Inspirational TattoosEaster Inspirational Friendship Bracelets

   So Oriental Trading does have some good stuff :)  I love the DIY necklace - my young girls will love that!  I'm trying to figure out how to stuff the sticker scene picture in an egg...gotta be a way!  All my kids (even elementary) have loved these in the past!  (and the sticky crosses...oh my - even my middle schoolers love these ;)

I love the idea from this blogger about telling the story with your eggs. I do this every year for Church school, but it never occurred to me that I could incorporate it into the hunt...cause, well, what child likes getting a nail in his egg...or a whip...or a palm leaf?  I mean, really.  We can only go so far...  BUT, this got me thinking...maybe we could make this fun!!  Let's say there are 5 parts to the story (I know they're tons more, but lets start off with 5...maybe you can think of an idea for another part!?) - when Judas was offered 30 coins, the last supper, Judas betrays Jesus, Jesus was nailed to the cross, Jesus rose from the dead.  Now let's see if I (with the help of the aforementioned blogger) can come up with something that symbolizes each of these parts of the story that is FUN and the kids would want to take home!  This would also give them a goal for the hunt - see if you can find all 5 parts of the story!  Maybe this would promote sharing as well...so that everyone goes home with all 5 parts :)

1.  Judas takes the bribe of 30 coins to betray Jesus.  The blogger above suggests 30 cents or 3 dimes.  Perfect!  I put quarters and other coins in some of our eggs last year and the kids flipped :)  money is always fun!  I think it'd be funny to stuff 30 pennies in an egg...lol
2.  The last supper.  The blogger suggests crackers.  Since everything in our hunt has to be wrapped, I'm going to put individual packets of cheez-its...or maybe oyster crackers - they look very similar to our communion wafers! :)  I saw this box on amazon.  but they come in quantities of 150 :) a little too much for my church!

3.  Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss...well, this is an obvious one :)
However, in the Florida heat, I have to pretty much rule out chocolate - sad, I know :(  But, here is another alternative...
Gummy Lips
oriental trading has these individually wrapped "kisses" - lip gummies :)
4.  Jesus was nailed to the cross and killed.  I think I would go with one of the nail cross necklaces pictured above from oriental trading.  But I also LOVE this little nail cross charm that kids could put on their loom bracelets, make earrings or a necklace.  And I love to support Etsy! :)
If I am reading this correctly, it says 10 charms for $1.88!!
5.  Lastly, and most important, you leave some eggs empty.  This is to signify the empty tomb.  These should be the BEST eggs to find...because this is why we celebrate Easter - Jesus is risen!  I think I will have my children trade in their empty eggs to get something special...maybe the sticker scene (pictured above from oriental trading), or maybe Easter books or music or something that says "He is Risen!" (like the bracelets from oriental trading above).  

This would at the least, put a religious twist on my Easter egg hunts!  I realize some people frown on Easter egg hunts because they are secular...but what better way to bring people into the church than to use something innocent like an Easter egg hunt - and then teach them about Jesus!  Before our church egg hunt, I always have the children gather to play a few games and do a few crafts - almost all related to Jesus.  Then, when I see that everyone has arrived, I gather them together and we read the story of Jesus.  I've done different stories in the past - last year I used the resurrection eggs and had children search for them inside.  The lucky ones that found them got to tell what they knew about the contents.  If they didn't want to I opened it up to the group.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it.  This year, I'll make sure and talk about the 5 parts of the story (maybe I'll add a few more...any suggestions?!)...and explain about the 5 eggs.  If they can find all 5 different eggs that tell the story - then they get something extra (maybe a Bible?  I'd love to give every child a Bible! :)  

Happy Hunting everyone!!

In Christ,
Laurie j.






Thursday, February 20, 2014

50 Years old...what you have to live up to!




Ok, so just for a little perspective...this is what you can look forward to at 50.  No excuses about how you look, feel or act.  These men are 50...and HOTTTTTT!!!


Only if more 50+ year old men looked like George Clooney
George Clooney at 50

John Stamos is seriously sexy. Let me give you 50 reasons why...
John Stamos at 50
The Johnny smirk, looking better than ever at 50 years old.
Johnny Depp at 50

Robert Downey Jr. The only sexyyyy 50 year old.
Robert Downy Jr at 50

Guaranteed the sexiest 50 year old man in the world. Hello there, Dilf.
Forgot his name...but SEXXXYY!

Troy--Survivor One World, who says 50 year old men can't be hot???
No idea who this hotty is either...said something about Survivor...doesn't matter.  He's 50 and CUTE! :)

Had a little trouble finding this one...since, now at 83, he's just as sexy!  1980...Sean Connery was 50

seriously, has Harrison Ford not gotten cuter as well?  1992- Harrison Ford at 50

and last but not least...
Cool daddy: The 50-year-old casually walked toward fans waiting outside
Yep, Brad Pitt is 50...and still pretty darn hot :)


Now that you've seen what you have to live up to (and what to look forward to...I mean Sean connery at 83...look at this!)
  

Here's a few things to make you laugh...smile...or maybe cry ;)

50 year old jokes | 50 Year Old Birthday Jokes http://www.ebay.com/itm/FUNNY-50TH-BIRTHDAY ...

What a great way to think of my 50th.


And lastly, a little something interesting to finish off...I found a neat site that had every day in history...I picked a few that I thought were cool :)


Happy Birthday Uncle Kevin!  Hope you have a great day!  
A few Bible verses to remember on your BIG day :)
Psalm 71:6 
From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you. (NIV)

Psalm 139:13 
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. (NIV)

Psalm 148:5 
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for at his command they were created ... (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 11:8 
However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. (NIV)

Isaiah 46:4 
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 11:12 
For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. (NIV)

Ephesians 2:10 
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

James 1:18 
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created. (NIV)


Friday, February 7, 2014

Parent/Child Valentine Dance!!


I've always wanted to do some type of daddy/daughter activity at church!  I'm so excited that it's going to finally happen!  Now we just need participants :)  At the moment we have around 40 people signed up...so fun! I thought though - why stop at father/daughter?  Why not mother/son? And why not some mother/daughter or father/son time?  So, in the end, it's turned into a parent/child dance :)  it doesn't have the same "ring" to it as Father/daughter dance, but that's ok :)

At our Valentine's Dance, we're going to have a sit down dinner, a craft you can make for your loved one, a few games and of course - dancing!  I've created a board on pinterest that my organizers and I are pinning to so I thought I'd post some of our findings here.  I love pinterest and gathering all my ideas onto one board...but what's better than one board? one blog! :)  so, if you're also interested in planning a Valentine's Day Dance party with intergenerational attendees...here are some great ideas I found!

First, when you come in, get your picture taken that we will print out and give to you...here are a few fun backdrops we could do...
party picture idea - for Linda - not too hard! would look cute outside with a palm tree in the background ;)
which i found here
OR this one...
party picture - another adorable idea for Linda for the pictures!!
whose link is broken

And lastly, we realllly want to do this one - with the help of clings from the dollar tree hopefully we can :)
Is it not adorable?!
Next on our list is games.  I pinned a few, but we've decided on just these two.  With the crafts, food and music I don't think there will be much time for games - but these seem to fit right in!
Musical Hearts Game.  Like musical chairs, but you perform the task that is written on the heart you are standing on when the music stops.
Musical Hearts!  This is a wonderful group activity.  Lay the hearts around the room on the floor and play some music.  Have everyone walk, dance, skip, jump around the room while the music plays.  When it stops, everyone has to put a "toe" on a heart.  If you have a lot of people you can just say to "stand near" a heart.  Then, everyone near that heart has to do what it says!  For example, I wrote, "hug someone", "high five everyone around you", "turn around 3 times", etc.  I like this game because no one is a winner or loser...and it's fun to watch people be silly :)
Hands-On Preschool Math:  Estimation Station for Valentine's Day #preschool
Using either candy hearts or M&Ms like pictured below, we want to fill up some baby food jars and put one on each of our tables.  Then, we are going to place pieces of paper next to it where people can write their name and estimation of how many pieces of candy are inside.  After everyone has guessed we can see who is the closest - and they get to take it home! :)
BIG List of Valentine's Day Crafts! ~ from TheFrugalGirls.com ~ you'll love all these fun projects to make with the kids, share with your sweetie, and spread some love this Valentine's Day! #valentine #thefrugalgirls

We are also going to do a Cake walk and some members of our church are going to make some goodies that we can use as prizes.  We are going to charge 50 cents to play to raise a little money (since our dinner is free).  Here are a few goodies we are thinking of making...
BEST Rice Krispie Treats  It must be the world's EASIEST Dessert since every 8 year old Girl Scout can make them.  BUT there are hints, tricks and DIY Tips to make them just a little bit better than the rest.  NEVER HARD, always soft and chewy and a few tips to dress them up pretty to stand out on any buffet table... THESE ARE BETTER!!!
Who can resist rice crispy treats? :)
Valentines sugar cookies pink red hearts sweets cookies white dessert sugar recipes valentines day
We were thinking of putting out some heart cookies with icing and sprinkles that everyone can decorate!
Softbatch Funfetti Sugar Cookies - Move over cake mix. These easy, super soft cookies are from scratch & loaded with sprinkles! Recipe at av...
These look so delicious!  Funfetti cookies!
Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms..pss Laurie I wonder if these could be made without peanut butter?
I want to make these...although if you know me at all, you know I do NOTHING with peanut butter...nor do I suggest that you take anything with peanut butter to any public event.  I have actually made these for Christmas and just made sugar cookies - you roll them in a ball, roll them in sprinkles, cook them, take them out of the oven...wait maybe a minute so they aren't super hot, then put the kiss on top.  you don't want the kiss to melt but the cookie needs to be soft...it's all about timing :)  oh, and while they're cooling - DON'T touch them.  The kiss will hold its shape pretty well  if you leave it alone :)
party food
I hope we can do this!  I would love to have a chocolate fountain and have lots of different fruits that can be dipped!  how yummy and messy!!
Of course, we can't forget the crafts!  I plan on putting out paper, hearts, scissors, glue, etc on one table so that everyone can make a Valentine for their loved one that they came with :)  I am also going to put out loom bands (everyone seems to love these :)  I also found a cute foam craft picture frame project with hearts so that they have a frame they can take home with them to put their picture in :)
party craft - cute, cute, cute
For those that are too little to do the loom, or don't want to, I thought this was genius!  Tube bracelets!
party craft - make a valentine for your loved one...these are cute :)
I thought I might put out a few examples of Valentine's as well - and these are cute!
We are also thinking of making a prayer wall where you can post a prayer for a loved one...here or far away.  And of course, you can't have a party without decorations!  Here are a few that I thought were adorable...but of course, we will also be making a trip to the Dollar Store to see what they have :)

Valentines Day Decor, Valentine Garland, Wedding Garland, Heart Banner, Valentine Photo Prop, Paper Heart Garland, Red Heart Garland, Hearts
Here's one idea...
party decoration - these are cut from a magazine...but they could be made from anything!
and another...
Valentine Garland
and how cute is this idea that you can find on etsy?
party decoration - very cool way to hang streamers...but seems very time consuming...?
And lastly, I thought the streamers and the hanging decorations were very cute!

Have a great Valentine's - whether you have a date night with your sweetie, a quiet evening with the family or go to a Dance!  I can't wait to post some pics from our fun time together!  Enjoy your loved ones and cherish every moment you have with them!  Most importantly remember...

"Love the Lord your God with all your Heart with all your Soul and with all your Mind."  Deuteronomy 6:5