Can preschoolers celebrate Lent?

This year, for the first time ever, I’m trying to do a bit of teaching on Lent with my kids. We talked a bit about Ash Wednesday and how people put ashes in a cross shape on their face. When they went to bed I traced a cross on their foreheads with my finger, which got a little weirded-out chuckle from them. BUT they did remember it for a few days! 😉 The next day we started our own version of “giving up for Lent”. Every time they do something kind or sacrificial for someone they get to put a dry bean in a jar. The plan is that the jar will be full of beans by the time Easter comes around. They are really getting into it, and both older boys got to add a couple beans today. At supper, Daddy accidentally knocked over the salt, and Dodger (age … Read More

Speak Your Child’s Love Language

mom speaking love to her child

Every child has a love language. Learn to speak your child’s love language with these tips and gift ideas. We all learn languages as children:  We learn to speak words, like English or Dutch or Cantonese. We learn body language and how to understand what adults and friends are saying without words. We also learn a primary love language. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of “The 5 Love Languages“, our primary love language develops as a function of the home we grew up in. If your parents were extremely affectionate, your primary love language is likely to be physical touch. But if no one in your house was a hugger, you are less likely to interpret physical touch as love. Instead, your language might be gifts, acts of service, quality time, or words of affirmation.  Of course, personality also comes into play, which is why we can have 3 … Read More

Explaining The Bible To A Child…Starting With Jesus

explaining the Bible to a child

Explaining the Bible to a child (or teaching the Bible to a child) can seem tricky, but it gets easier when you start near the end: with Jesus. Read on to find out WHY you should start with Jesus, HOW to start with Jesus, and some great Bible-teaching resources to use with kids. Why explaining the Bible to a child is so hard… If you’ve ever tried to sum up a novel, you’ll have a small inkling of why its difficult to explain the Bible to a child. For starters, it’s ridiculously long. The Bible is so long that people often commit to reading it in a year…and fail because there are just SO many words. The Bible isn’t written as a single narrative, which makes it far more complex than any other book you use in teaching your child. The Bible contains poetry and story and wisdom literature and … Read More

Your Ultimate Guide To Celebrating Lent…No Matter What Christian Tradition You’re From

Lent for all Christians

I first heard of Lent waaaay back when I was about 20. That first year, I decided I wanted to try celebrating Lent by giving up something: sugar. That was SO hard. And to be honest, I didn’t really understand why I was doing it.  Since then, I’ve learned a bit more about celebrating Lent. If you’re unfamiliar with it, here are a few myths and truths: Myth #1: Celebrating Lent is only for Catholics. Truth: Lent is observed by Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians alike. Lent is an ancient practice that began long before Christians used such labels to define ourselves. Myth #2: Lent is 40 days long.  Truth: It’s actually 46 days! Those extra 6 days are Sundays, when tradition says that you can break your fast. Myth #3: Lent is about fasting. Truth: Well, that one was partly true, but Lent isn’t just about giving up something.  There are 3 traditional Lenten … Read More

How To Find Comfort in God

the God of all comfort, comforts us

The Bible claims that God is “the God of all comfort”, but what does that even mean? This post gives 5 ideas on how to find comfort in God. I waited patiently for the Lord;he turned to me and heard my cry.He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire;he set my feet on a rockand gave me a firm place to stand.He put a new song in my mouth,a hymn of praise to our God.Many will see and fear the Lordand put their trust in him.(Psalm 40:1-3 NIV) David wrote this Psalm from outside the pit of despair. He had the benefit of hindsight, and was able to look back and see the God of all comfort lifting him from the pit and placing him on a rock. But we don’t always have access to hindsight, and when we are sitting in the mud and mire, it can feel like we’re never … Read More

The Secret Ingredient In Habit Change

the secret ingredient in habit change

Welcome back to The Power of Simple Habits! In the first lesson I taught about how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward. Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits. In the previous lessons I shared the brain science behind creating a brand new habit, which we applied to family breakfast time. We also talked about how to change an old habit like a child’s bedtime. But sometimes it’s just too hard to start a new habit, or too daunting to think about changing an entire bedtime routine, which is why we look for keystone habits that initiate great change in our families.  Full series: The Power of Simple Spiritual Habits Starting a Brand New Habit … Read More

How To Sweeten Your Family Life With This Keystone Habit

learn to pray blessings over your child

Welcome back to The Power of Simple Habits! In the first lesson I taught about how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward. Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits. In the previous lessons, I shared the brain science behind creating a brand new habit, which we applied to family breakfast time. We also talked about how to change an old habit like a child’s bedtime. WE NEED THIS SPECIAL KIND OF HABIT But sometimes it’s just too hard to start a new habit, or too daunting to think about changing an entire bedtime routine.  That’s when we turn to keystone habits. Keystone habits are very simple habits that have the power to unlock huge changes … Read More

How To Change An Old Habit (Like a Tired Bedtime Routine!)

change a bad bedtime routine

Welcome back to The Power of Simple Habits! In the first lesson I taught about how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward.  Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits.  In the previous lesson I taught the brain science behind creating a brand new habit. So now let’s talk about how to change a habit.  THE BEDTIME HABIT For example, let’s talk about bedtime. What is your family’s bedtime routine? Some people have awesome bedtime routines, but for a lot of families, bedtime is frustrating. Everyone’s tired and cranky, and kids know how to push mom and dad’s buttons. Parents want to just chuck their kids and shut the door but kids want to get 18 … Read More

How To Start a New Habit (Like Reading the Bible With Your Kids)

how to start reading the Bible with your kids

Welcome back to The Power of Simple Habits! In the first lesson, I taught about how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward. Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits.  So let’s talk about how to start a new habit. I’m going to give the example of reading the Bible at breakfast time because it’s a habit I struggled to start. I wanted to, but I didn’t know how. You can apply these same principles to ANY habit you wish to start from scratch. So here’s where I started: I would wake up after my children then I would rush around grabbing food and changing diapers and helping kids get dressed and emptying the dishwasher then … Read More

The Power of Simple Spiritual Habits For Family Faith

the secret ingredient in habit change

Spiritual habits can be an incredibly powerful influence on our lives. Read on to find out why.  Last week, I walked into a McDonalds with my husband. I ordered a salad, and he ordered a big juicy burger and poutine. The next day he was bemoaning his horrible food choice because he felt so crummy afterward.  But I don’t think what he ordered was truly a choice.  THE POWER OF HABIT Way back in 1892, William James, an American psychologist said “all our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits”. More recently, scientific studies have shown that 40% of all our behavior is actually automatic habits, not actual decisions.  A habit is something that started as a conscious decision, but eventually, our brains just turned it into what’s a “habit loop” – we stop making a choice and we just do it. My … Read More