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The Wise Words of a Young Widow

FF_pic01I met Jennifer at a writing conference last summer. She lost her husband when she was only 36 years old with two young kids. I asked her the best way to support widows, and she shared these memorable words:

“Aside from serving, just sit and listen to her; for many of us, we want and need to talk about our husbands, our kids, our hopes, our dreams, our fears. But, after time goes by, people stop asking and assume it’s time for us to ‘move on’. Check in with your friend emotionally and be a ‘heart with ears’ for her. Asking and listening are things people tend to stop doing as time passes.”

With George H.W. Bush passing on, many of us have probably reflected on our own lives. Repeatedly, people said he led a life of humility and love. In what ways can we also lead with humility and love? How can we point our kids to loving in this way?

Making meals (with our kids) for friends going through difficult times, watching their kids for them, and sharing stories of Jesus loving first, are just a few ways our children can see what it means to ​love. And, as Jennifer said: Be a “heart with ears” so our friends know they are not walking alone​, but that we are in it with them. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus

To all of you missing a loved one this holiday season, just like Jennifer, we remember you. To another young widow, Kelly, who lost her husband in service to our country, we remember you and are praying for you also. I pray the Lord would comfort each of you, show you his love in an unexpected way, and fill you with his presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.

You can read about Kelly and Adam’s inspiring story in their book, “Fearless”. THIS day, let’s choose to love the Lord with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds, and love our neighbors as ourselves. Today, who can you surprise by loving them in a simple way? “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa.

 

Noonday Necklace Giveaway!

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And, the winner is…….. Amber!!! Congratulations!!!!

If you want to learn more about Noonday or get some of their cool jewelry, check out my friend Emily’s website at Noonday: EmilyStokes.NoondayCollection.com

Noonday Impacts impoverished communities around the world.

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Noonday Necklace Giveaway Next Week!

IMG_1634Follow my Blog so you don’t miss the Giveaway! You can subscribe in the right sidebar and you’ll be automatically entered with a chance to win! (Your email will not be shared and you can unsubscribe any time).

Noonday empowers people living in impoverished areas by selling their artisan jewelry, and we’ll be giving away one of their necklaces next week! If you follow my Blog you’ll be automatically entered to win.

Since Mother Teresa spent so much of her life loving the poor in India, my friend, Emily, at Noonday is giving away one of the handcrafted necklaces that supports people in India next week!

This quote by Mother Teresa is both inspiring and challenging to me. It completely transforms the way I look at serving and why I do it. I don’t think any of us want our children to help someone because they have to, but rather because they see a need and want to meet it.

How do we teach our kids to do this? I think it starts with us as they mimic just about all we do. How does it change our day when we don’t grudgingly do daily tasks, but do them out of love? If we take a moment at a time to pray and shift our perspective, maybe it will change our outlook and rub off on our kiddos. Wouldn’t that be awesome.

For more information about Noonday, visit noondaycollection.com.

A Thanksgiving Craft & Story

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Here’s a fun craft (and a story) to keep the hearts in our homes grateful!

1. Create a massive turkey together. We used “Art for Kids Hub” tutorial to draw it.

2. At the top, write, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 118:29). Then tape it to the wall.

3. When you walk past the turkey, write or draw something you’re thankful for.

Share this story from Luke 17 with your kiddos to show how giving thanks is close to the heart of Jesus:

On Jesus’ way to Jerusalem, there were ten really sick men who no one would come close to. They stood at a distance and loudly asked Jesus to heal them. Jesus walked right up to them and healed every one of them.

When ONE of the men saw he was healed, he praised God loudly, threw himself at Jesus’ feet, and thanked him. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten healed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner? Then he said to the man, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Let’s be the one who also “comes back” to give thanks to the Lord. Happy Thanksgiving!


 

Our three kids had what I think was the flu the last two weeks. Tylenol, thermometers, LOTS of movies, and little sleep defined our days.

In the nights of little sleep and kids’ moans, I thought of and prayed for those of you dealing with chronic sickness in your family, lack of sleep probably being typical for you.

When we struggle, what’s our go-to? How do we deal with a day, a week, a year, filled with distress and difficulty?

We can be refueled and find hope in how Jesus told us to pray: “Give us TODAY our DAILY bread.” (MT 6) Not tomorrow’s bread, but today’s.

There will always be troubles yesterday, today, and tomorrow, but there will also be hope in Jesus. Today, he will bring us our daily bread when we ask him for it.

Today, Jesus will walk with us in it.

In John 11, when Jesus saw Mary and her friend weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Even though Jesus knew he would raise Lazarus, he wept with them. He was in it with them.

Jesus sees your heartache and is in it with you. Jesus has great news for each of us: “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world!” And, Psalm 30: “Weeping may remain for the night; but joy comes in the morning!” Amen to that!

And, for all those affected by the devastating California wildfires and other tragic events that have recently happened, we’re praying for you!

 

A Practical Way to Thank Veterans & Their Families ❤️

IMG_1435A practical way to thank Veterans and their families is to make a meal with your kiddos for a family whose loved one is deployed. Write thank you notes for the family and send a care package to the one serving. Or, bring a meal to a veteran who’s close by and include a thank you note to show gratitude.

To the men and women who give so much to serve and protect us – Thank You. We are so grateful for you and are praying for you.

For those who remain at home while your loved ones serve – Thank You. Even though you might feel unnoticed, we see you too. We see the sacrifices you make, and we are so grateful.

Lord, may your perfect peace and protection cover veterans everywhere. Be with families of those deployed as they experience the daily chores, and ups and downs, while their loved ones serve. Remind them they are not alone. Give us eyes to see and encourage them. Fill veterans and their families with the power of your mighty hand, your love, and your joy. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

30 Would You Rather Questions!

IMG_4868To receive weekly content via email, subscribe in the sidebar to the right. (You can unsubscribe any time and your email will not be shared.)

Get the giggles going with these WYR Questions!

Would You Rather…

  1. Swim in ice cream or donuts?
  2. Never brush your teeth again or never take a bath again?
  3. Have stinky feet or stinky hands?
  4. Have to crawl everywhere or walk upside down everywhere?
  5. Have a cupcake-making machine in your room or a donut-making machine?
  6. Not wash your hands or not wash your hair for a month?
  7. Eat a chocolate cricket or chocolate worm?
  8. Hiccup or burp all the time?
  9. Be able to walk on the ceiling or sideways on the wall?
  10. Have 5 noses or 5 eyes?
  11. Sleep on pinecones or spaghetti?
  12. Be smaller than an ant or bigger than a tree?
  13. Hop on one foot or spin everywhere you go?
  14. Have feet on your head or hands on your knees?
  15. Have Olaf or Snoopy for a pet?
  16. Live in the sea or in an underground prairie dog tunnel?
  17. Have noodles or broccoli for hair?
  18. Have a slide or pole instead of stairs?
  19. Have an elephant’s trunk or a giraffe’s neck?
  20. Be a bird or dolphin?
  21. Be a chameleon so you can change colors, or be a cheetah so you can run as fast as a car?
  22. Live on a cloud or in the bottom of the sea?
  23. Stand barefoot in a bowl of smooshed bananas or slimy mushrooms?
  24. Have your tongue or hands stuck in a bottle?
  25. Only be able to yell or whisper?
  26. Have rain turn into chocolate syrup or Twizzlers?
  27. Be sprayed with a snail’s gooey liquid or a spider’s web?
  28. Be able to walk on water or on the top of trees?
  29. Sleep with a helmet on or with your shoes on?
  30. Ride on a Cloud or a Rainbow?

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” PV 17:22

Where’s your Treasure?

analogue-art-box-366791 3When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up to a mountainside, sat down, and taught his disciples: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” (Mathew 6). Right after these words, is when he said, “Do not worry” and “Seek first his kingdom.”

When our “treasure” is Jesus, our hearts will be there also, and our worry will lessen.

What is our treasure? Where are our eyes and hearts consumed? I don’t want my kids’ treasure to be in clothes, worry, or momentary things. I want it to be in things like relationships, loving God and others, in joy and thankfulness. If that’s where I want their treasure and hearts to be, that’s where my heart should be also. Every day is a new opportunity to aim for that: “His mercies are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:23)

“In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the LIFE THAT IS TRULY LIFE.” 1 Timothy 6:19:

Go to my blog page to find simple ways to encourage our kids’ treasure to be in things that last. Search “Freedom in Simplicity” and also “Women in the Bible” in the search box on the right sidebar (link in profile).

Lord, help us to release worry and a focus on temporal things. Give us wisdom to have our eyes set on things that matter. On our own, we can’t do this. We need you. Jesus, mold us, shape us, change us, make us more like you. As we hold on to the life that is truly life, I pray our kids would also. In Jesus’ Name, amen.