Snail Mail

Snail Mail

Activity Children

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. ~Deuteronomy 6:4-9

I know something simple my children really really love. Mail! They love getting a letter in the mail. It makes them feel special.

I know something simple I like to do to help my children learn. Write letters! Spelling, handwriting, stringing together thoughts and sentences, small motor skills, artwork… the list can go on and on. Having my kids write letters is a way I help them to learn and grow. And it is not just for educational growth. When they write thank you letters after getting a birthday present, we can have all kinds of talks about family and friends and generosity. Letter writing is a big deal!

I was never a big card person. Growing up, the birthday card was always optional. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just the way it was. But I had a friend that changed that. She was taught early on that a handwritten thank you was a necessity. Birthday cards were a must. And at Christmas, without fail, you sent out a letter. It took me awhile to catch on, but I finally realized (after receiving many letters and thank yous from her) that letters/cards were important to her. And if she is my friend, and it was important to her… than I guess it should be important to me too. So I started writing thank you cards to her.

My husband writes letters (I think… I’ve never gotten one since we were married*). Just little notes to encourage others, or to let someone know he is thinking of them. One day he told me he was going to try to write one letter a week. At least that was his goal, when he asked me to get him a lot of blank cards. Proud of him, I bought the jumbo pack. I think about 100 cards were in there. I don’t know if he has used them all, but it is a really nice thought.

Snail Mail.

I was just thinking about it because I mailed out a few letters today, and my kids were asking when they would get some mail. So of course I told them they would have to write letters first. And the only thing my daughter wants to put in any letter she writes is, “Please write back!” And I was laughing at her, but I got to thinking… is anyone sending mail to kids these days? Is anyone sending mail at all?

So if you have someone who needs encouragement, let me encourage you to write them a little card. If you haven’t thanked someone, then maybe you could send them a card? Or if you have a child in your life, then why don’t you go ahead and send them a card. (Just a note on cards to children: if you put a piece of gum, or some stickers in the card- you’re a hero for months to come! Mail is good. Mail and gum- can’t be beat!)

I don't have pictures of my kids writing letters, but this is a grocery list my son wrote for me... when I got to the grocery store and looked at it, I realized we were in trouble.
I don’t have pictures of my kids writing letters, but this is a grocery list my son wrote for me… when I got to the grocery store and looked at it, I realized we were in trouble.
And just for fun... I call this picture, "Can you spot the two-year-old?"
And just for fun… I call this picture, “Can you spot the two-year-old?”
If you found the two-year-old, then I'm assuming you are a professional at hide and seek? Obviously my children are not...
If you found the two-year-old, then I’m assuming you are a professional at hide and seek? Obviously my children are not… (but they are entertaining!)

May the Lord Your God write his love letter clearly upon your hear so that you will be a blessing and encouragement to others! In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*With the obvious exception of birthdays and anniversaries.

**Just a note to let you all know that while I was writing this a woodpecker decided to start knocking on the wall. Since I’m on the second floor and did not know it was a woodpecker, I kinda freaked out a little. So, if there are some disjointed sentences… it’s because I jumped ten feet in the air, and hit my head on the ceiling.

 

Repurposed

Repurposed

Activity Children

IMG_20150726_090818330For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. ~1 Peter 1:23

My kids are really into fort making. Every chair and blanket in the house is constantly being dragged into a giant pile. I see that pile, but I do not always see my children’s creativity. I see a gigantic mess. When you are daily having to separate, and then drag bedding back into the correct rooms, and then remake beds for the 10th time… well, it might get a little old. So I got to thinking. And I called Mom. Mom doesn’t throw stuff. She is not a hoarder, their house is clean and neat… but there is a lot of stuff in a certain room in the basement (organized on shelves). Since she saved all our childhood toys, and now has grandchildren who love exploring these ancient relics that can only be found in her basement or at toy museums, she feels she has proven the worth in keeping things. So if I ever need something, I know who to call.

I called her and asked for sheets. They are light weight, and a lot easier to make forts out of (hence the kids always grabbing all their bedding). And Mom obliged me and said she would bring some when she came to visit. But never one to do things half way, she talked to a coworker who informed her that one of the best gifts her kids ever got was a fort making kit. So Mom looked around and found our old suitcase. Then she had Dad run and get a few materials (clothes pins, clips, and twine). And when she arrived she did not have sheets, like I had thought, but an entire kit. The kids have been endlessly busy with the kit. And I have not had to remake beds once!

It was such a great idea, I had to share it. But of course I was thinking how Mom used stuff she had laying around to create a really great gift for my kids. Then I got to thinking about how my husband made me a pallet shelf (a really cute shelf made from an old pallet), and how ‘repurposing’ seems to be everywhere lately. There are shops all over town where people are ‘repurposing’ old stuff into cute new things that you would want to buy*. Web sites are full of design ideas for repurposing. It’s a booming business!

IMG_20150726_090459074_HDR
Making a fort, horses are welcome.
Tent making kit: Bag to contain all items, sheets, twine**, clips, and clothes pins.
Tent making kit: Bag to contain all items, sheets, twine**, clips, and clothes pins.
Yo. Tent making gang?
Yo.
Tent making gang?

But of course, then I thought how God was the original repurposer (is that even a word?). He looked down at sinful man, and thought, “Yep. I can do something great here!” And He did! It took a great amount of work (the cross), but He accomplished it. And now we who believe are repurposed for Christ. Think of the old things that people take and make into something new- rusty buckets become beautiful planters full of character and fun to look at. God is doing this in our lives! When you think of the transformation Jesus can make in any life, I think you can really see the power of God. And I do mean in any life! God’s promises are for everyone. Isn’t that great?!

Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,  but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. ~1 Peter 1:17-22

May God show you the ways He has already worked in your life. May your eyes be opened to the new things He is doing. And may you be blessed with the knowledge that God has a purpose for you! I pray that you would lay hold of that purpose and everyday become more the person you were created to be. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*At one store I saw an old bed pan repurposed into a flower pot… I did question that one.

**I was a little confused about the twine in the tent kit? But then Mom (of course) demonstrated its uses. You can wind the twine from chair to chair, making a support for the ‘roof’ of your fort. [picture me watching my mother with a very stupid look on my face]

Summer Activity

Summer Activity

Activity

July 8 2015 075The flowers appear on the earth;
    the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
    is heard in our land.
~Song of Solomon 2:12

We have a bike trail near our house, and last week we took our first walk on the trail. My kids noticed all the wild flowers growing in the ditch. They had a lot of questions about what the flowers were called, but I had no clue. I don’t like not having an answer*. But I wished that I knew the names. So it got me thinking, and a light bulb turned on in my head (it happens sometimes).

A week later we took the walk again, but this time I brought with a camera. I let the kids take pictures of the flowers (taking pictures was their favorite). I did help with the picture taking (there was some poison ivy**). My two-year-old took a lot of pictures of his fingers (he doesn’t understand how to hold a camera), but that was entertaining for us too. He also turned on the flash, which I didn’t notice for quite awhile. (Just so you know, having the flash on in bright sunny weather when you are outdoors and taking close up pictures results in very washed out pictures.) After our walk, we headed for the library and found a state flower field guide. At home, I quickly piled the pictures into a word document, and made a little book for the kids. I printed the book in black and white (because I have a laser printer), but that just means coloring for the kids- so it even added to the fun! Now they are going through the field guide, and identifying the flowers. So the next time we go on our walk- ta da!- we will have our book with and can name the flowers we see!

The three mini-biologists not posing for a picture.
The three mini-biologists not posing for a picture.

I am by no means a perfectionist. Our field guides are probably not accurate (Ok, they are guaranteed to not be 100% accurate). Nor will their coloring make the identification process easier on our next walk. (I will have to bring the real field guide with, I guess.) But it was fun, and we learned something. Did you know there is a flower called Butter-and-Eggs? Also Goat’s Beard? Who named these!? (Probably a brilliant mother who wanted her kids to be able to remember their names!) And the kids realized how taking pictures really far off of flowers makes them hard to identify later. When it was all done, it was a pretty great day. Here are a few more pictures to highlight our adventure (or possibly I should say misadventures? But since no one got poison ivy, we will call it a successful day?):

This is not a flower.
This is not a flower.
One of many finger shots.
One of many finger shots. … and no flower is sight?
What happens when the flash is on.
What happens when the flash is on.
Flowers.
Flowers! … oh wait… more poison ivy.

Thank you, Lord, for your beautiful creation! Thank you for this day! Thank you for our children! In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*My kids are really good at asking questions that don’t have easy answers. Deep and profound questions like, “Why do shoes have to go on the right feet, but socks don’t?” On the bright side, I’m really good at making a reasonable response that doesn’t actually answer the question. My grandpa once told me I would make a good politician. (I think he was jesting)

**If you are going to do this activity, make sure you know about poison ivy, wild parsnip, etc. You don’t want your flower activity to end in disaster! Wearing shoes and long pants (instead of shorts and sandals is a good idea too- just in case!)

***And just a note that the first (very blurry) picture is one my son took of moss. He really thinks that picture is neat… and I kinda do too.

Beware the wild parsnip!
Beware the wild parsnip!