May 28, 2011

Family Connect May 22-28

Oops!  I just realized I forgot to post the Family Connect this week!  Our house has been CRAZY busy getting ready for Creative Chaos next weekend, June 3-5, AND celebrating the upcoming marriage of our friends Glen and Amanda.  I'm a bridesmaid, the kids are the flower girl and ring bearer, and Jeremy's officiating the wedding.  So, we've been doing premarital counseling, bridal showers, stag(ette) parties, etc.

Last weekend at VAC Kids we were talking about the importance of taking initiative to make things right.  We looked at Jesus' teaching about leaving our gift or offering to Him at the altar, so that we could go and make things right with our "brother" (ie. friend, spouse, coworker, teacher, siblings...) FIRST.  If we don't have right relationship with those around us, how can we expect to have a right relationship with God???

 Have you ever done one of those spot the 10 differences between this picture and that picture game?  Well this week you are playing a 3-D version of that in your home!

Gather your family in one of the rooms in your house, and split into two teams (kids vs. parents, boys vs. girls, etc.).  Team 1 has 30 seconds to look around the room, memorizing where everything is, and then leaves the room while Team 2 takes the time to change around 10 things in the room.  They could move cushions and magazines, turn the coffee table upside down, turn on the TV if it was off, etc.  Team 2 then returns, and has to find all 10 things that have been changed, and make it right.  You could time Team 1 to see how quickly they can discover the 10 changes and make things right, if you like a little bit of competition.  Then swap roles with Team 2 leaving the room and Team 1 making things topsy turvy.  If you’re having lots of fun, play again in a different room, or change up the teams. 
Take time to discuss with your kids how important it is to take the time to make things right, especially with other people, and to not wait for them to come to you first, but to go first, and initiate forgiveness.

Further Discussion Questions
  • What can you do if someone isn’t willing to forgive you even after you’ve said you’re sorry?
  • How do you benefit by being the first one to step out and make things right with others?
  • If God wants us to make things right with others before we come to worship Him, what does that tell you about how much He values forgiveness? What else has God done that shows us how incredibly important forgiveness is to Him? 
  • What are some things you can say or do to start making things right with someone?

May 17, 2011

Family Connect May 15-21

This week at VAC Kids, we heard the story of Joseph, who even though betrayed and treated poorly by his brothers chose not to get even, but did the opposite!

Have an Opposite Meal with your family!  This can be as simple or as zany as you’d like!  Consider dressing up backwards in your clothes, girls dressing like boys and boys dressing like girls, having breakfast for supper, eating dessert first, cutting your food with a spoon or eating with the cooking utensils, sitting on the ground picnic-style, or making an entrée look like dessert or dessert look like an entrée (check out All Recipes for some great ideas like Meatloaf Cake and Spaghetti Torte).  Come up with some of your own fun ideas!

During the meal take time to talk with your kids about the difference between getting even with someone when they’ve hurt you or getting even God’s way.  Share about a time when you thought getting even would settle the score, but it made things worse, or about a time when turning the other cheek like Joseph did to his brothers made a big difference.

Family Connect May 8-14 - A little late, oops!

On the May 7/8 weekend we learned about the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus.  Our new storyteller Jason A. told the story and did a great job making it interesting for the kids and driving home the application points.  We talked about how technically Zacchaeus is the bad guy in the story, but because Jesus forgave him, he was changed... so much so that he because extremely generous in his desire to right the things he had done wrong in his life.  The Family Connect idea for this week is taken from the 252 Basics curriculum, but we thought it would be a better at home activity than at church!  Enjoy!

SUPPLIES: You’ll need a Bible; medium or large mixing bowls (one for every two or three children); spray bottles with a “stream” setting (one bottle for every two or three children); water; salt; blue, yellow, and green food coloring; towels; and smocks (if desired).

Open your Bible to Colossians 3 and read verse 13. Lead the kids to repeat the verse several times, one phrase at a time. What does the phrase “forgive the things you are holding against one another” mean? (It means choosing not to stay angry at others when they do things that hurt us; it means loving others even though they have done something wrong to us; it means letting go of the hurt and anger we feel when people do wrong things to us.)

Ahead of time, fill some bowls with water and place them in the freezer. This activity is best done outside.  However, if you choose to do it indoors, spread towels over the floor or a table and set out the prepared ice-filled bowls. For the spray bottles, you will also need to prepare a mixture of one part salt to three parts hot water. Stir until the salt dissolves. (If the salt isn’t completely dissolved, it can clog the spray bottle.) Pour about a cup of salt water into each spray bottle. Add about 20 drops of food coloring to each bottle. Replace the sprayers and set them to “stream.” Wrap the bottles in towels to keep them as warm as possible.

Give each child a spray bottle. Encourage the kids to take turns spraying water onto the ice. In the beginning, encourage them to repeatedly spray the same area. After about a minute, the water will begin to melt the ice, and a colorful ice sculpture will begin to take shape. Ask the kids to describe what they see (water melting the ice, water changing the shape of the ice, colors swirling together, colored water going into the ice) and possibly hear (water bubbling inside the ice, the ice cracking as it melts).

Chat with your kids about how the ice is like our hearts, and that God can use forgiveness to change people’s hearts the same way their colored water is changing the ice, just like it changed Zacchaeus’s heart.  Share a time when forgiveness changed you or someone close to you.

Further Discussion Questions:
  • Why does God not want us to live weighed down with hurts and bad feelings toward others?
  • Are there ever any situations in which it’s okay not to forgive someone? Explain.
  • What are some reasons people give for not forgiving someone? What do you think God says about that?

May 9, 2011

A Late Celebration of the Royal Wedding

As mentioned before, I was away at Orange Conference in Atlanta last week, and wasn't able to watch the wedding!  I wouldn't have been a die-hard like some out there, getting up at the crack of dawn to watch it live, but I would have liked to have sat down and watched a replay of it as a whole, rather than in the snippets that I was able to catch whenever we happened past a television.  Did you notice how it seemed to be on every single channel???  I was so encouraged to see the world stop and cheer on a marriage, in a time where divorce affects us all to some degree and it seems like the question we ask regarding the likelihood of a marriage lasting is not "if" but "when".  I know for my husband and I we have always said that "divorce" is not a word in our vocabulary.  It is not an option.  We made covenant promises to one another that I don't ever plan on breaking.  But, I digress...

So, on Monday, once I was safely home, we set up a tea party in the living room for Aria and Roscoe so that we could watch the Royal Wedding.  Aria made a fancy hat to wear.

Notice the glass slipper and jewelery taped to it?  And the big pink bow was a leftover from her birthday a couple weeks ago!

Roscoe lasted all of 10 minutes into the PVR recording of the wedding.

Here's something I wished I knew about before, so I could've made it for our tea party.  Prince William's favorite cake is a chocolate cookie cake.  Davison Orchards, a local attraction was offering it last weekend at their season opening, and they've kindly put the recipe on the their website.  I'm definitely going to have to try this recipe, especially if it is fit for a Royal Wedding!

May 3, 2011

Family Connect May 1-7

This month we're looking at the virtue of FORGIVENESS... deciding that someone who has wronged you doesn't have to pay.  We have the privilege of freely experiencing God's forgiveness in our own lives if we confess the wrong that we've done to Him (our sin), and ask Him to forgive us. Because of His great love for us, He died on the cross and rose from the grave, so that we could know forgiveness to its deepest measure, and the privilege of knowing being His child. He has the power and the ability to remove our sins from us, as far as the east is from the west, so that we can live in freedom in our relationship with Him and with others! But, if we have been forgiven, then we should also forgive others! Our memory verse this month is...

“Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13, NIrV

As a family write up a Bucket List of things you would like to do this summer.  Include ideas from every member of the family.  When you’re brainstorming, remember that no idea is a bad idea!  When you’re finished pick your Top 10 ideas that are your family’s "Must Do’s" for the summer.  

Here's our family's: 
  • go swimming
  • go to Eagle Bay Camp (I'm speaking at Camp C in July, and this is one of our favorite summer family activities.  There's just something glorious about hanging out with kids and young developing leaders, food that I don't have to cook, sunshine and swimming, and the four of us sleeping in a room together for a week!)
  • go fishing (my husband's favorite pastime)
  • play in our wading pool in the backyard
  • grow vegetables in our new square foot garden boxes, and eat them!
  • pick strawberries
  • make jam
  • Aria wants to learn to ride her bike without training wheels
  • Roscoe and Mommy want him to be potty-trained
  • read lots of books (my favorite summer pastime)
  • holiday in Alberta
  • have a visit with our cousins
  • meet our new cousin/niece Baby Lucy!
  • go watersliding
  • go hiking
  • build a fence (its been in the works for the past three summers)
  • use our new patio umbrella that we bought super cheap last fall
  • go to the IPE parade
  • do a garage sale
  • go shopping for Kindergarten this fall
  • fix the deck 
 Next, try making a “bucket list” of things as a family and as individuals you need to forgive. As a family, list some things you can forgive so you can live lighter, more freely, and together with the people around you.  If this is tough, try listing situations that often cause tension and hurt, and work on changing those situations before they cause hurt (ie. not doing chores when asked the first time, taking turns with the TV, getting homework done before playing with friends, etc.)

Can't get it out of my head!

While at Orange Conference this past week, one of my great joys was to be able to sing and worship God!  Because I'm normally hanging out at VAC Kids on the weekends, I often miss being a part of the congregational worship time, which is tough on a gal that really enjoys singing, music, corporate prayer and a general soaking in of the Spirit as He moves among His people.  One of the songs that I LOVED was this one.  Actually, I didn't love-love it at first... but it definitely grew on me, and now it keeps playing and re-playing in my head.  It's called Beautiful Things by Gungor.  Enjoy!