Giving God the Glory Glory

I have been up since about 3ish.  Wasn’t because of the baby.  Although the baby did wake up.  The reason is really not all that important to blog about.  But I was unable to go back to sleep.

So I wandered out to the kitchen.  Made myself a cup of coffee and enjoyed the stillness of the morning quietness till I started hearing whispers from the bedrooms.

I have been reading.  A little bit of this.  A little bit of that.  I have been reading a lot lately.  Tucked into the spare time I have between balancing my kids, their schooling and my other commitments.  I have given up playing my iPhone games to read extra.  I can get lost in my readings.  Some stories, some learning books, some life lessons.

My favorite to read though are scripture verses.  I have a new habit of just randomly picking someplace of my bible app and reading from there.  I discover so much from the bible that way that I had never seen before.  It is kinda of fun and addicting.  I been pondering writing a devotional series titled: Random lessons and stories from the Bible. Ha like that one I am sure has been done before.

I have been all about reading.  Not much about writing.  My words have failed to find me lately.  Maybe I have not been listening to them.  Maybe when I put words down on paper, they become to real, to raw and I don’t want to deal with them.  Words are powerful and many read them.  Words written can make life seem perfect, and I am far from perfect.  A sinner more like it.

But every morning I try to give God the Glory Glory.  That is my goal.  My focus.  Even if only for a few minutes.

I have started new Accountability Binders and Chore list with my kids. I got the idea from over at thirty handmade days. And I got my chore list idea from my friend.  We have always had morning and evening routines.  The first thing on their morning routine is give God the Glory Glory.  I want them to learn how to start their day out focused on God.  Because some mornings are not so Glory Glory.  And we have to work through them.

So have you given God the Glory Glory this morning?


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Is Holy Week for Kids?

Through the last 12 years of being a parent I have struggled with parenting and worship.

It is not always easy.  Kids have whined, screamed, thrown, (no really I had one child throw a shoe in worship), fallen in the pew and bumped their head.  I have dragged children out unwilling. I have had Cheerios spill, coffee spill (yes I have no shame-I have had coffee in church), bottles leak, diapers leak, poppy diapers and gassy babies during “quiet time.” Fights over crayons, who has the most paper and tears when pencils break.

I have walked out of church either so frustrate and frazzled or content that I never could figure out this parenting in worship concept.

Is worship for kids?  Is it for families? Am I to be feed?  If I was dealing with kids all service long-should I just stay home?

Yet every worship service we bring our kids.  Everyone.  Most of the time we are on time.  Every now and then late.  And there are even a few sightings of us attending early service.  Yes I know-early service.

Palm Sunday

While my kids during worship are coloring, or drawing, or talking (shhhhhh) I feel like-with 4-5 kids I

finally got this.  I think.  I feel good at balancing worshiping with parenting.  I think.  I hope.

They are growing and learning.  They don’t always listening -or I don’t think they are, but they know the liturgy.  And they know some hymns.  In fact they will hum the tunes through out the week.
So I have really started teaching my kids about the church year now.  And we have been focusing on Holy week for a while.  Starting with Palm Sunday last Sunday.  They knew this was the week we spent 5 days in worship.  Each worship day special and unique.

Yesterday AnnieQ woke up and asked “So today is Monday Thursday-right?”  And so more teach and learning happens. When does everything go away?  Today they were asking what happened today?  Jesus died-who killed him?  The camp fire is Saturday-right?  Isaiah will always ask, “Can I roast a marshmallow?”

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Last night at Maundy Thursday Worship.  Service started at some of our kids bedtime. They all had been looking forward to the stripping of the Altar, we had been talking about it for a few days.  Robby got to help strip the altar. But Isaiah had fell asleep before the end of the service.  I was disappointed that he missed the end of the service.

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Chances are tonight, he will fall asleep too.  While this means one less child to deal with, I have to wonder is Holy Week made for families or for just adults.  I walked into church with 5 kids last night at 7:30p.m.  when most of them on a normal night would be getting ready for bed if not in bed.  It was a calm night.  Babies fussed a bit, one got taken to the nursery.  Isaiah fell asleep.  The other two colored and drew.  Over all it was stressless worship.  But I have to wonder if there would have been kids there if worship had been a wee bit early, and if Isaiah would have stayed awake to see the end. I wondered at the end if Holy Week services were for kids and families.  I wonder these things often.

A tradition is built on something you do year after year.  Something that your family does every year.  Our family goes to church.  Sunday service.  Advent and Lenten services.  Christmas Eve and Holy Week.  We are there.  My 12-year-old is excited to Acolyte tonight at the Good Friday Service.  Excited.  My kids have been asking me all day, when is church.  This is our Holy Week Tradition.

So the question is Holy Week for Kids.  Yes, for our family. And yes, I would like to see the worship time early so more families can experience this and get their kids to bed at a good time for school the next day.  Maybe some do.  But I like the anticipation that our family has.  I like that my kids look forward to each service and the meaning held behind each one.  I like that in their own way-Holy Week is for them.  Holy Week-the journey of Jesus to the cross.

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I’m Eating Chocolate Ice Cream for Lent

The question started about a week ago.

“What are you giving up for Lent?”

Many different answers appear from foods to time killers.  Some go the opposite way and give into to something.

I have given up food items and time killers.  But I don’t think by giving them up I filled or replaced them with something that represented Lent.  I struggle with that.  What is this giving up.

I mean God gave up His Son.  His one and only Son.  How was anything I was to give up to come anywhere close to that?  And how do I fully comprehend that giving up.  How do I give up like God gave up?

And was this giving up a show?  A Facebook post would be like “Week three of no coffee- my children hide from me as I roar through the house trying to focus on cleaning and pretending the tea is just as good…..I can do this!!” OK OK  you get my idea, but should not what we give up be something we do be between us and God and not to torture others with our suffering ?

I was reading from the book of Joel last night.  I was pondering  the words and what did they mean for our Lenten tradition of “giving up”.  And what did this mean for me.  And for my kids.  For my family?  How do I get them ready for Lent?  How do I get them ready for Easter ?  Do we give up?

I am not give up “something” like chocolate ice cream. I am eating it.  Instead I am going to focus on the #40 this lent, starting Ash Wednesday. When I get frustrated so quickly with my kids,  I am counting to 40 when things spiral out of control.  I learned about 40 bags in 40 days, so I am getting rid the clutter in my house. I’m reading 40 verses a day in the bible.  I’m going to be freezing 40 meals. I have many more “40” ideas to explore. Thinking 40 ideas to make my kids laugh more.  40 ideas to make worship more enjoyable and meaningful with my family.  40 books to read to my kids.  40 songs to teach my kids.   I am going to focus on 40 days of teaching my kids more about prayer.  40 days of more.  More with God-less of worrying about what isn’t.

My giving up is what I need to give more of.  My giving up will help me focus more on God.

And I am pretty sure chocolate ice-cream will not do any of the things listed above.


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Epiphany Season and How We Can Celebrate It.

Epiphany

 

12 days of Christmas is done.  It is time to put away our Christmas tree and decorations.  It is now Epiphany.  Epiphany is really the day the wise men showed up to worship baby Jesus.  Or a toddle Jesus.  It is widely celebrate all over the world, in some places more that other others!

Matthew 2

King James Version (KJV)

2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. 13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. 19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. 21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
So while we celebrated by bringing the wise men to the manger, singing We Three Kings, and talking about what Myrrh, frankincense  and gold were, the season of Epiphany continues in the Church year.  We are still in the Time of Christmas: Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Epiphany season is for 9 Sundays ending on March 2 this year with the Transfiguration of our Lord (Matt 17:1-9) So I am wondering how do I help my kids understand Church season better.  I focused on three area.  The way to Jesus.  Gifts and stars.

  • I had the kids role play the wise men coming to visit baby Jesus.  Correction-my kids did this on their own.   They used our different manger scenes.  They also added in cars and other toys.  They had fun.
  • We researched what Myrrh, Frankincense and Gold were.  We had just studied gold in our science class so that was easy!
  • We talked about why they brought those gifts!
  • We talk about the study of stars.
  • We looked at astronomical theories.
  • Kids made their own star crafts.  They just made stars and decorated them.
  • We looked at the stars in the sky.
  • We read the Christmas story.

And now the season continues.

  • We will continue to make our way to Jesus.  Worship each week is the way we start our week.
  • We are going to make a church year display.  I have given this assignment to the kids and they have to come up with a project.  I will post a picture when they finish.
  • Using our Lutheran Hymnal we will sing and learn some of the Epiphany hymns.

So these are just some of the ways we can celebrate Epiphany this year!


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I Am Not Wise-I Admit It

Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths smooth. Do not consider yourself wise. Fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7 GWT)

I read this verse this morning-the sentence “Do not consider yourself wise.” Jumped out.

I am not wise.

I admit it.

There are so many things I want to understand right now. Why things are the way the are? Why people lie? Why people hurt people? Why people play with other people minds? Why?

Why?

“Do no rely on your own understanding.”

I have no understanding of these things. I don’t. But what gets me through all this, is the first part-

“Trust The Lord with all your heart” and that I do.

There is my wisdom…it is my trust. Trust that God has a plan.

I just wish He would mail it to me. Or Facebook it. Or Google + it.

But to His scripture I turn. To God’s Word I find wisdom.

Because I admit it -I am not wise without God in my life and His words in front of me.


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8 Days as LiveLove(d)-CLB Training

For about a year, I had been preparing to serve as a CLB Community Life Builder- for our Nation Youth Gathering for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.  The gathering happens ever three years and takes years to plan. This was my 6th gathering, my first on being 1989 in Denver Co as a youth.  But this was my first gathering as a CLB.

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July 1, 2013 25,000 youth gathered in San Antonio  TX for 5 days.  I arrived on June 28 along with 200 plus other brave adults to serve as CLB’s.

 

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Yellow shirts being our nicknames.  I was a rookie CLB, walking into the unknown-full of excitement.

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As I had been to 5 gatherings before this so I was no rookie to a National Youth Gathering, just to being a yellow shirt.  I wanted to experience the gathering in another way, one where I could learn more about how a gathering worked.  I believed I learned on a small-scale how the gathering works and I must say, the Gathering Planning Team is awesome!

Our training began on a Saturday morning with what felt like ping-pong balls being tossed at us with information. Personally I am use to being on the go all day- sitting is hard for me!  But along with my new-found friends  and some old ones I had not seen in a while, we processed the information on how the gathering worked, from hotels, to traffic flow, to maps of where everything was, to the bible studies on the themes, to the yellow shirt game.  By Saturday evening we broke off for evening dinner on the river walk and a nice river walk cruise.DSCN3173

Sunday we again started training, finally learning more about  detailed jobs.  I was in working Nightlife -Bingo, along with Randy who has been to 12 gatherings.  After some basic instructions, and then some hotel assignments direction, we soon found ourselves sent out in our yellow shirts.

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Yes they sent us out, the 200 plus Yellow Shirts-to welcome  the 25,000 youth and adults rolling into San Antonio Texas that would be soon wearing the blue back packs above.


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10 Commandments and Their Meaning: Memory Card Game


10 Commandments Memory Game

It was my goal this Lent to create more faith building activities from Luther’s Catechism. This was not as easy as I thought! We made the Morning Prayer Poster . My next idea was making a game for the 10 Commandments. I had the kids draw pictures of each commandments, thinking I was going to use them in the game. After thinking about it, I decided to just use the commandment’s and their meanings.

So we made a simple memory game. 10 cards have the 10 Commandments on them, the other 10 have their meanings on them. There are 3 ways you can play

  1. Traditional Memory Game. The is great! I had Robby read the cards each time-as well as I did. The first time I played-Robby won cause I could not remember where the cards where!
  2. Matching game-Have them match the commandment with the meaning.
  3. Put the 10 commandments in order. Simply use the 10 commandment cards.

I made a sample of these memory cards. You can use mine or make your own. I find the kids love to create their own cards and it helps reenforced the facts.

backside of 10 Commandments MC

10 Commandments MC

10 Commandments Meanings MC

10com

 


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Luther’s Morning Prayer Poster

Lent family friendly Lutheran

I had decided to start at the beginning of our day.  It had been in the back of my mind to create a simple poster for the kids to put by their beds of Luther’s morning Prayer and Evening prayer.  Even to put it in bathroom rooms.  If you have been to my house, we have scripture all over.  The bible tells us to

“Take these words of mine to heart and keep them in mind.  Write them down, tie them around your wrist, and wear them as headbands as a reminder.  Teach them to your children, and talk about them when you’re at home or away, when you lie down or get up.  Write them on the door frames of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 11:18-20 (GWT)

Luther wanted to get into the hands of the father’s to guide their children in faith.  He believed that parents where the first people in charge of their children’s faith, since they where with their children most of the time.  That was why he wrote the small catechism to place it in the hands of parents to teach their children at home.

So today, my kids helped me make a simple poster to put by their beds.  Robby will help the two younger ones learn the prayer.

I love this prayer because after you pray it Luther suggest that everyone goes to work happy and singing, or reciting God’s word.

Luther’s Morning Prayer Poster

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You can use mine, Luther’s Morning Prayer Poster, or you all can make up your own.  My kids chose the fonts to make it fun.  It is their creation.  The yellow circle was for the sun.  They wanted Martin Luther’s Signature at the bottom.  Now their mornings will begin with this prayer.


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Pocket Advent Devotions: Day 7 Names

 

Day 7 Name

Luke 1:60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”

More Reading: Luke 1:57-62

A Little Extra Thought: Naming a child is always an interesting process.  Some people know before the even become pregnant what their child’s name will be, others spend the whole nine months working on it.  Some are named after family.  Other’s are named from popular names.  Some are named from odd and strange reasons.

Activity: Look up the meaning of each persons name.  Take it step future and look up the meaning of your last name.  Look up the meaning of John and Jesus.

Day 1 Angels

Day 2 Waiting

Day 3 Favored

Day 4 Pregnant

Day 5 Kick

Day 6 Praise


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Pocket Advent Devotional: Day 6 Praise

 

Day 6 Praise

Luke 1:46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,

More Reading: Luke 1:46-56

A Little Extra Thought: Mary had a lot of unknown  at this point in her life.  She was adjusting to being pregnant.  She was adjusting to being pregnant with the Son of God.  She was adjusting to the life she knew change faster than she knew.  But instead of complaining, she took time to praise God.  How easy is it for us to complain about our situation instead of praising God.

Activity: Make a praise shakers our of recyclables in the kitchen.  Crank up the Christmas music and sing and dance. Come up with other ways to praise God.

Day 1 Angels

Day 2 Waiting

Day 3 Favored

Day 4 Pregnant

Day 5 Kick


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