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Monday, February 20, 2017

The Legend of Gabonland

My eldest son is a very talented author. He has been completing fictional works of art since before he knew how to spell. Every year his talent grows stronger. I am very proud of all the hard work he has put into creating stories and new worlds for his characters. Each year a new book is completed.

Right now, his latest book he has wrote is titled The Legend of Gabonland. In order to share his story with more people, he created a blog. This book has taken him two years to perfect, and I'm very proud to share it for him. Every few days or so, he plans to upload a new chapter to the story on his blog.

The book is geared toward young adults, but can be of  interest to those in elementary school. The story is original, and exciting. It has action, adventure, love, and more. I highly recommend you give it a shot.

castle with lightning strike at the top

When competitions are held in the region of the world Gabonland, many questions are raised. Why is King Condronson of Bacnaltica holding contests in countries he isn’t king over? Why is the reward for these competitions left so vague? Five competitions are held in all Gabonland. The winners, Cornelious, Flitican, Asher, Elderain, and Sarnam, are summoned to Thektow Tower to claim their reward. Instead of a reward they are sent on a dangerous quest to stop an evil lord called Lord Vallan from taking over Gabonland with an army of monsters. The fate of the world is on the Five Heroes shoulders, as they head to Malicina to destroy the evil hanging over Gabonland, knowing that the quest could claim their lives.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

This is one of my very favorite holidays! Valentine's Day is a big deal at our house. It's almost like a second Christmas. We draw names for our "Secret Valentines," where we make a homemade gift for one member of the family. I prepare a 5-course dinner. We dress up. We play games. We always have a photo booth. We spend a few hours in the evening celebrating the love we have for each other. We remember how Christ first loved us. Valentine's Day dinner is a tradition we ALL look forward to.

I despise cooking, but on this special day, I put my feelings aside and I spend the entire day in the kitchen creating a feast for my loved ones. I put as much time and detail as the day will allow.  I serve my family with all my heart.

We decorate the room with candles, Christmas lights, and rose petals. Instrumental music plays in the background. Love is shared by everyone present. The night is magical.

We started the tradition several years ago, I saw a friend sad and alone on this holiday, and it broke my heart. I hate exclusions. It's unfair to label this a holiday for romance between a man and woman. We all desire for someone to pursue us. We decided then that our family would celebrate Valentine's day a little differently. My husband and I stopped celebrating the holiday as a couple. We started celebrating instead as a family. I never want my kids to feel they must have a romantic relationship in their life to be complete. That is not the message you find in the Bible.

God hasn't called all of us to be married. He does implore every one of us to "love as Christ first loved us."

Christ romances our hearts. We have a mysterious, idealized, exciting, passionate, devoted love affair going on with our Lord who created us. He wants to capture our hearts. Every day He buys us chocolates and flowers with the way He pursues us. He whispers words of love in our ears. He declares His love for us from the mountain top.

His love never fails us. His love is always about what is best for us. He wraps us in a warm embrace. He gives us security in His strength. His passion never grows cold.

That is something worth celebrating! God's love doesn't discriminate or leave anyone out. God's love covers us all.

For as long as my children are willing, I will celebrate "love for all" with them. Anyone who needs a reminder of Christ's love has a place at my table.

"Faith, hope, love... the greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:13

John 3:16 Valentine's Day coloring page

I put together a sweet coloring page for the holiday. Feel free to use it however you wish. "Valentine: This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." John 3:16

And that's a fact!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

One Body in Christ

Two Wednesday nights a month, I have the privilege of teaching the 2nd and 3rd graders at my church. I look forward to these moments I am given with the kids. I usually spend a few hours preparing a lesson, and praying about what I will say to them. 

This week we were reading in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. We were discussing spiritual gifts and the fact that we are all part of one body in Christ. "God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful." 1 Corinthians 12: 4-7 (The Message)

To illustrate this point, I had the kids work with play dough while I read through the chapter in the Bible. I find the kids listen so much better if their hands are busy with a simple task. I use play dough a lot when we are reading in the Bible. It also helps illustrate the point even further.

Before I began reading, I assigned a different body part to each child. While I read, they designed and perfected their part. When we finished, we discussed how each part is very special, but is missing something when it is off by itself. The parts couldn't accomplish much all alone. You couldn't tell the foot to go tell someone about Jesus. The foot doesn't have a mouth to speak. You can't tell a head to go somewhere, it needs the neck and other parts to move it there. Each part is important and necessary to achieve God's plan.

 one body in Christ

 The body parts aren't as useful alone, BUT when we all put our parts together, it makes one body, just like we are one in Christ. We all bring different things to the world, but our goal is the same. We need each other. We each have different spiritual gifts that God has given us. They work best together, not separate. Together we can accomplish a lot for God.

To illustrate the point a little further to the kids, I put together a worksheet for them to fill out. I did not draw the boy and girl. I found them on Google images. This is not their typical paper they fill out in class. It's going to require some research and help from other members in the church. It's homework they must bring back next week!

There are arrows pointing to all different parts of the body. For each arrow, they must find someone in the church who fills that part. The kid's not only need the person's signature on the arrow; they also need to write down what that person's spiritual gift is. God has given each of us a gift to be used for Him. It's a treasure that must be found.

"A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other." 
1 Corinthians 12:7

Spiritual gifts coloring page 1 Corinthians 12:7

I challenged the kids to talk with several different ages of people in the church. If they can bring back their worksheet completely filled in, that's 15 extra names, then I will give them a surprise. I encouraged the kids to figure out what part of the body they represent in our church too.

They could be the feet, bringing the good news about Jesus to others, teaching what they know.

They could be the nose, sniffing out good vs. evil. Having discernment is very important.

They could be the hands, serving people who have needs.

They could be the knees, bending down praying for others to be healed.

The list of parts goes on and on...

To help the kids figure out their own gift, I printed out several copies of a  Spiritual Gifts Test I found online.  The kids had a lot of fun ranking the questions from 1 to 5. Even the ones who didn't like tests, responded well to this survey. I did need to help a few kids add up their scores, but several could do it on their own. They were so excited after taking the test to see what gift God had given them. After the kids figured out their gift, they each took turns writing their signature and gift on their classmates worksheet.

1 Corinthians 12:7 coloring page about Spiritual Gifts

I believe it was a very eye opening experience for the kids. We all need each other, and we are all equally important to God. It doesn't matter if you are an adult, or if you are a kid. God gives gifts to each and every one of us. There are no gifts that are better than the others.  

"If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share its suffering. If one part is praised, all the others share in its happiness. You are Christ’s body and each of you is an individual part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:26-27


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