A Fun And Memorable Way To Encourage Thankfulness In Your Home

Thankfulness Tree

Developing a thankful heart in our kids is a top priority for many families, and one that becomes a bigger priority when autumn (and Thanksgiving) rolls around! If you’re looking for a fun way to encourage thankfulness in your family, consider creating a Thankfulness Tree. This is the one we had a few years ago. We added to it afterward but I neglected to take a picture when it was more full of leaves. For one season I hung this tree in our front entryway, and during another Thanksgiving season I hung it in our kitchen. I created the paper tree out of butcher paper and attached some pre-cut leaves. The following pictures are from my friend’s house – her teen daughter made this one with her friend! The year we had our Thankfulness Tree in the entrance, it was the first thing that you saw when you walked in … Read More

why Christians need to care about the environment, and 5 tips to get you started

Environmental awareness is important for Christians! 5 tips to get you started.

My son came home from kindergarten, thrilled about the fact that Earth Day is coming up. His class had a litter-less lunch day and he’s been learning all about the importance of recycling to help our environment. For some reason, this is something all our kids know (and remind us of on repeat!) but we tend to forget about in the daily grind of raising families. Christians are notoriously resistant to the idea of caring for the environment, usually because of misleading end-times theology…if we think we’re going to be raptured off the earth before it goes to pot, why bother caring?* There are, however, two compelling reasons to care for the earth. The best reason to care about the earth is because it is filled with Image-Bearers of God – people created and adored by our God. When our overconsumption and waste affects the atmosphere, severe droughts happen in sub-saharan Africa … Read More

the Christian word that makes people cringe

blessed

There it was again, right in the middle of my news feed. Some friends had bought a new house, and were saying how blessed they were. Blessed. That word gives me the willies. Like the friend who escaped a car accident with mere scratches, and they all said how blessed and protected she was. Blessed. Like the friend whose baby was born without defect. Blessed. Like the perfect family vacation to a hot place. Blessed. Like the women who was healed from cancer. Blessed. So what happens when the house doesn’t sell, the baby is born with Down’s Syndrome, there is no money for a vacation, and the person you need most in the world dies of cancer? Cursed? If all these good things are God’s blessings from his generous right hand, the flip side seems to be that all the bad things are the removal of his hand from us in a cosmic “screw you”. … Read More

when God asks you to do something crazy

A Bible study on Esther with a surprising personal twist.

Have you ever met someone who has had an incredibly hard life? Maybe you know someone who was in the foster care system, shuffled around from home to home so that she could never firmly attach to anyone. Maybe you know someone who was abused by a parent as part of a generational cycle of sin and despair. Maybe you know someone so strong-willed that every person she ever met got into a fight with her. Maybe you know someone with paranoid schizophrenia, or bipolar, or a personality disorder, or ADD, or ADHD, or FASD, or autism. For some people, life is just plain hard. They have been given, through no fault of their own, poor raw material for their lives. Other people get fabulous raw material: strong family, intelligence, pleasant personality, and healthy body and mind. For some people, it’s easy to be good. They have been given, through no strength of … Read More

A letter to my white, suburban friend (from a white suburban mom)

racism in the suburbs

Dear friend, You and I probably have a lot in common. I never had to think much about racism. I grew up on a block that was 99% white. The only kid I remember being slightly different was Aliya, although the most memorable part of her existence on our street was the trampoline we all coveted. There were two girls of Asian descent in my grade, but beyond that, everyone else that I knew was white. Church, school, piano classes…all very monochromatic. I didn’t intend to live in white suburbia when I grew up, but my husband was offered a job at a local school at a time when no one was hiring, so here we are, back in the same, mostly white community. It’s easy to be colourblind when there are no other colours around. It’s also easy to look at America now and see the pain and suffering caused … Read More

when kids fight over STUFF…

Sharing

I believe in sharing. But not always. Sometimes I make my kids share, and sometimes I don’t. Sounds confusing, right? I was confused for a while as well. I grew up, as most of you probably did, learning that I should always share…I was taught that it was what God expected of me. The “Sharing” camp tells me that children should always share their toys because it’s an important life skill, and for Christians, because we have to turn the other cheek. I get it, I want my kids to be generous with their stuff.  But then I read an article a few years ago called “why I don’t make my kids share”. The “non-sharing” camp tells me that children shouldn’t be forced to share when they are playing happily with something because they should be allowed to finish what they are playing without someone snatching their materials. I get that … Read More

Kicking out the ingratitude attitude this Christmas

I find kids (mine included!) to become very “getting” focused this time of year. How can we, as parents, help them move from an ingratitude attitude to an attitude of gratitude? Is it just me, or do kids get a little bit whiney this time of year? As they start dreaming about the toys they want for Christmas, making lists, eating treats every day, having parties in class, I think they (and their parents, *cough cough*) find it easy to get caught up in the gifts aspect of Christmas. Maybe they start to feel a bit entitled. Or a bit deprived. Or a bit of both. Either way, that is not something I care to live with for 1/12 of my year x 3 kids for the rest of my life. No, thank you! Here’s a few ways I’ve discovered to help kick ungratefulness to the curb. 1. Can the … Read More