By Pastor Lisa Holliday
I am going to guess you have a family calendar. You probably have dance lessons and sports practices listed. You might have dinner plans and weekend fun written down. You might include time for exercise, errand running, and household chores. But I wonder if you have scheduled consistent family time with God? In our busy lives, we need to be intentional about our spiritual life as a family.
Begin this fall by placing a specific time on your schedule for each week. You may be able to set aside the same time or you may need to vary it. Begin with a fifteen or twenty minutes time period. Read a Scripture passage and participate in the family activity found in the adult GPS guide each week. Choose a way to serve others. Pray the blessing over your children you can in the KiDS COR newsletter each week. Share the high and low points of the past few days, then share prayer concerns for yourselves and others. Pray together, thanking God for your blessings and asking for guidance in the days ahead.
Do something unique to your family as you grow in your faith. You might go on a walk and celebrate God’s creation. You might invite friends over. Maybe you want to design a creative project. Cook a yummy treat to share.
Give thanks to God for the gift of time and pray for the wisdom to use it wisely.
Screens and technology certainly have an important place in society. However, God created us to be creative and use our bodies and minds to play and be active in many ways! This week, turn off the screens for an evening (or an hour!) and enjoy playing together using a free and open-ended material: CARDBOARD BOXES!
Anyone who has had a toddler or preschooler knows that the joy of opening gifts is often found in the container and not in the actual toy inside. So gather your family and some boxes, large and small, and play together!
Here are some ideas:
Create a box city. Draw windows, doors, signs and murals on the boxes and set up your very own neighborhood!
Assemble a vehicle—a car, plane or truck can all be created with the use of boxes and paper plates for wheels!
Cut head and arm holes to design a robot. Invite each person to take a turn wearing the boxes!
Design mailboxes for each family member. Encourage everyone to write letters or draw pictures for each person and place them in the mailboxes. You might even add Scriptures to your mail.
Do you want to expand the fun and creativity beyond your family? Share in fellowship together by inviting neighbors and friends for a box-building party! Ask everyone to bring some boxes to play with along with a snack or drink to share that is found is a box—juice box, box of crackers, etc. Take pictures and post them on social media, encouraging others to explore their God’s given creativity and spirit of fun! Blessings on your family as you play!
(Adapted from TruceTeachers.org)
Today we are continuing the list of seven “R’s” for back-to-school! Last week we covered remember, rest, relate and routine. Today, let’s take a look at three more ways to help make the transition back into the school year a little smoother and easier for everyone!
- Recreation: Build some play time into your family schedule! You might want to choose a family night once a week and/or be intentional each day about enjoying each other! Though it might be tempting to always have a family movie night, consider some “screen-free” ideas as well! Playing outdoors, visiting neighbors, enjoying a simple meal out, serving others, playing board games and discovering a new venue are all ideas of ways to have fun as a family!
- Review: Each evening, chat informally about the highlights (and lowlights) of your day. Invite open-ended responses with openers such as “How was…” or “I wonder about…” Affirm what has gone well and listen carefully to challenges. Pray as a family, thanking God for celebrations and asking for God’s help and guidance with difficulties.
- Renew: Place spiritual growth as a priority for your family! Renew your hearts and minds through prayer, worship and serving. Read Scripture together—include children’s Bibles—and spend time appreciating the world God created. Care for your bodies through good nutrition and exercise. Slow down and be grateful for all of God’s gifts.
Blessings on your new school year and may each of you experience God’s peace and love!
(Adapted from mylifetree.com)
School has started and as parents, you have probably already experienced some ups and downs with your kiddos! Transitions are rarely easy, so as you all continue to easy your way into this school year, take a look at these seven “R’s” to help make the changes a little easier! (Bonus: These “R’s” do not include reading, writing and “rithmetic!”) Today’s post will include four—watch next week for the final three!
- Remember: Invite your child to remember some great experiences he/she had at school last year. What new friends were made? What life lessons did they learn? What new skill did she/he learn? Add your thoughts to theirs. Doing this helps kids remember the positives of school and new beginnings!
- Rest: Get it! You and your child need time to rest—because if we are honest, when kids are tired and when parents are tired, family life just isn’t pretty. When you are scheduling your fall, include plenty of time for rest. Everyone will be happier and better for it!
- Relate: If your kids lost connection with some friends over the summer, plan some time for these friends to come over. Grab some pizza and let your kids have a movie night or provide a special treat while kids work on homework together.
- Routine: Post a weekly or monthly calendar that shows activities and responsibilities for all family members. In addition to school and extracurricular events, be sure to prioritize time for growing in God! Include time for worship, prayer, being in God’s creation and serving others!
See you next week for the final three “R’s”!
(Adapted from mylifetree.com)
By Pastor Lisa Holliday
Today completes our series of “Prayers for Parents.” As your child heads back to school, I hope these are a blessing to you!
Dear God, thank You for all the gifts and abilities you have given our children. Thank You for creating each one unique and for loving them as if they were they only one to love. Please help our children to always remember everything they have and can do is because of You and who You are. May they use their gifts to honor and glorify You always. Help them to use their skills and abilities to help and serve Your people near and far and may they always draw strength from You. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen
(Based on Ephesians 2:10)
Dear God, thank You for always being near to my child and to me. Thank You for your constant and faithful presence every moment of every day. Help me child to know You are with him/her in all circumstances and at all times. When my child is nervous, fearful or anxious, help my child turn to You and draw calm and peace from Your love. Surround my child with your comfort and protection, God, and help my child to share Your peace and comfort with others. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.
(Based on I Peter 5:7)
By Pastor Lisa Holliday
Today, we continue with our “Prayers for Parents” series. As school begins, parents may have some concerns and fears about your children beginning or returning to school. Always remember you are not alone! God is with you in every circumstance and KiDSCOR is present to partner with you on this parenting journey! Feel free to use one of these prayers as a beginning place for your own conversations with God.
Dear God, I pray my child would find all of his/her strength in You. Thank you for being so faithful to my child and our family. Thank you for celebrating with us in our joys and holding us up through our struggles. Please help my child be willing to stand up for others when they see injustice or harm being done. Help my child to always have a spirit of love and hope and to remember that nothing is impossible with You. In Jesus, name I pray, Amen.
(Based on Philippians 4:13)
Dear God, thank You for blessing our child in so many ways. Please give our child eyes to see Your love and people in need. Help him/her to have ears to listen to You and to the cries of others. Please give our child hands to raise to You in prayer and to serve others. Please help our child use his/her feet to follow You and guide others in Your ways. Thank You for loving our child even more than we do—which we can hardly imagine, but we believe is true. We praise You, God. In Christ’s name, Amen.
By Lisa Holliday
I recently vacationed with friends in Sanibel Island, Florida. I had never been to Sanibel and was amazed by its beauty. The sunsets were brilliant shades of pink and purple. The ocean displayed varied shades of blue, green and turquoise. Walking along the beach, I saw sand dollars, sting rays and sea anemones. While I was “shelling,” (yes, it is a verb), I discovered dozens of shell types and colors—each uniquely intricate and beautiful.
I gave thanks to God for His creation was reminded once again of God’s creativity. Nature and creation are God’s art galleries, free for all to enjoy. God designed, created and blessed us with carnations and roses, hummingbirds and blue jays, butterflies and bugs, snails and seashells, water and sky, sand and dirt, and so much more.
Summer is a wonderful time to stroll through different parts of God’s art gallery. Take a drive through the country. Walk beside a lake or a stream. Stroll through a flower garden and eat from a vegetable garden. Chase butterflies and lightening bugs. Play in the water and view clouds in the sky. Breathe in fresh air. Visit the zoo.
God has given us so many gifts. Take some time and enjoy them. Give thanks for them. Celebrate both creation and the Creator! And invite someone along for the journey. Blessings!
By Pastor Lisa Holliday
One of the highlights of our New York City mission trip each year is worshiping at a Jewish synagogue. The service we attended was filled with singing in the Hebrew language. Though we did not understand the words, we did understand the spirit. The congregation was filled joy and gratitude towards God.
About halfway through the service, the rabbi identified us as a visiting group and we were asked to join him at the front. He spoke briefly on the importance of accepting and loving one another and understanding our differences. He spoke of us as part of the family of God and asked the children to bring forward cups of white grape juice for us to drink as a symbol of sharing our faith with each other. He also asked the congregation to sing a song of blessing upon us. We were all very moved by this amazing act of hospitality and love.
How does your family seek to understand those of different faiths? Do you know how they pray and worship? What traditions or rituals do they honor? What are the basic theological beliefs? What is the history of the faith? What special days to they celebrate and why?
Build relationships with those of other faiths. Seek to understand and love. Be people of peace and hope. Reach out to all.
By Pastor Lisa Holliday
Have you ever played in the dirt? My mom tells me when I was a little girl, I liked to dress up fancy for church, but would always come home covered in sand and dirt from playing outside! (And since she was a kindergarten teacher, she was perfectly fine with that!) Though I don’t like to dress up much anymore, I still like to play in sand and dirt. Maybe your family would enjoy scooping, digging, and sifting in God’s creation of earth, too, and possibly do some gardening while you are at it!
As you play in the dirt and garden, consider enjoying an experiment together! Help your child plant two identical seeds in two pots. Place one pot near a window. Place the other one in a dark place. Ask children to predict what might happen to each of the plants.
As they (or one) grows, talk about why. Share with your child the importance of light and warmth for the growth of most plants. Then plant some more seeds in one pot and keep them in the sun. See what happens to these seeds!
You can also let them know how important light and warmth are to our bodies and how important to be outside so our bodies can be healthy! Pray and thank God for dirt, gardens and sunshine! Ask God to help you enjoy His creation each day!
In the heat of July, outside activities can be a bit of a challenge to enjoy and indoor ones can be difficult to create! How much reading have you done with your child this summer? Maybe now is a good time to start!
Sometimes we read to our kids or want kids to read to themselves in order for them to keep up their reading level, test well in the fall and build vocabulary. But what if we chose some books simply for pleasure—both for us and for our children? The benefits of reading far outweigh school purposes alone!
Consider these additional reasons for reading together!
*Snuggle time! You and your child can spend a few minutes at the start or end of the day curled up in bed or in a bean bag reading an exciting or calming book!
*Quiet time! In the middle of the day, time reading aloud or silently can be just what your child needs to rest and relax for a bit.
*Creative time! After finishing a book, invite your child to write and design a prequel, sequel or a different ending to the book. For even more together time, design and write it together! Share it with the rest of the family!
*Active time! Are there parts of the story you and your child could act out or recreate? Have fun doing that!
*Interest time! Take your child to the library. Ask him/her to find a book about something he/she wants to learn more about!
*Connecting time! Simply spending time together reading brings a sense of joy and calm to many children and parents.
Along with books from your bookshelves or the library, read aloud from the Bible or a children’s Bible storybook, too! Thank God for the gifts of reading and of books.