Thursday, November 20, 2014

Best Thanksgiving Books and Crafts for Children

Thanksgiving brings thoughts of turkey, black Friday deals, and family time.  What have you planned for your children or grandchildren?  Spending time making memories will be more important ten years from now than what you bought at a 75% off sale. 

 Where to begin?

1.  Make some paper plate pilgrims and Indians.

(Items needed: paper plates, feathers, construction paper, markers or crayons, glue, scissors.)

Photo Credit: Jason Lander (Creative Commons)

2.  Make some hand turkeys.

(Items needed: construction paper, makers, pencil, glue and glitter.)

3.  Make a Thankful journal.

(Items needed:  scrapbooking paper, images printed from computer or from magazines, scissors, glue.)

For small children, glueing pictures of what they are thankful for will do.  For older children, letting them write a sentence or two will be a valuable keepsake one day.

Cut 8x10 pages in half, 3 will be plenty.  Fold the pieces in half and staple them in the middle to create a small book.

If you want to have a more fancy book, follow the instructions here.

4.  Have lots of books to read on Thanksgiving.  Nothing better than snuggling up on a couch in front of the fireplace, (if you have one), and reading with the kiddos.

Here are a few lists of Thanksgiving books for children.

Amazon Best Sellers Children's books for Thanksgiving, click here.
Goodreads Best Children's books for Thanksgiving, click here.
Barnes & Nobel's Fun Thanksgiving books for children, click here.
Reading Rockets' Thanksgiving books for children, click here.
Scholastics' Thanksgiving recommendations, click here.
SheKnows 12 Best Thanksgiving books for kids, click here. Kid's Thanksgiving books, click here.
Apples 4 the Teacher Kid's Thanksgiving books, click here.

What's your all time favorite Thanksgiving book for children?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What I learned from Watching Evan Almighty

Whenever I watch a movie that makes me pause and think, I grab a pen and take notes.  Evan Almighty is one of those fun "what if" movies that included serveral take-aways. 

Here is my Part-1 list of take-aways from Evan Almighty.

1.  God may ask you to do something that doesn't make much (if any) sense.  

When Morgan Freeman (aka~ God), shows up and gives Steve Carell, (Evan) a mission to build an ark and saved his community, it seems ludicrous.  Has that ever happened to you?  It has to me. I've found myself double guessing if this is really me or God.  If God's giving you a job to do, He'll let you know through other WISE people, His word, and that nudging in your heart.  Take a step and if it works out and continues to work out, you're on to something.  

2.  Obeying God can lead to loss.

Bless Evan's heart, (that's what we say in the south when someone isn't getting it), he didn't realize the very people he was trying to impress were only using him.  They weren't REAL friends.  When you make choices to obey God, you won't be popular with those people who choose to disobey God.  They don't want to be reminded that they aren't doing the right thing.  Some may not understand what God is doing in your life so they become critical.  Some can be down right jealous.  Those are the ones that are insecure with who they are and as long as everyone around them are insecure, great.  If someone becomes courageous, it makes them feel even more insecure, so they lash out.

3.  When God calls you to do something GREAT, others may mock, ridicule, and abandon you.

You're Great will probably not include building an ark and saving the planet. But God has a Great for everyone.  You're Great could be becoming a faithful wife, loving mother, fabulous employee or employer, you could be a motivational speaker, teacher, writer, nurse, scientist, doctor, senator, congress(wo)man, and possibly president.  Only God knows what you're Great is and how to get you there.  Don't despair if others don't understand. DO make sure to include WISE people who love and care for you in your decision making. Evan's family returned to his side to help complete his mission.  In the end, Evan got the last laugh when everyone had to board the ark.

4.   When others abandon you, You have to stand strong in your convictions.

It's hard to stand your ground when you feel completely alone.  But it will be harder to look back if you give up and realize you missed out on an awesome opportunity.  Evan wanted to give up a hundred times each day. Eventually he knew that his mission was important not only to him but to everyone he cared about.  We may never comprehend the hundred's or thousand's of people that our right decisions impact for the good or bad. Always choose the good.

5.  God will supply all that you need to complete the task he assigns to you.  

Evan mysteriously purchased all the surrounding lots to have enough space to build the ark.  Next wood and supplies appeared, and animals, (where did they come from?). Of course this is a movie, but God can supply your needs too. This is where trust and faith come into play.  If God gives you an assignment he will equip you with the necessary gifts, abilities, talent, and skill.  It won't be easy and it can be really hard.  But that's ok, you were made for difficult times.  When things get tuff, you see first hand how strong you really are. It's like working out with weights.  The heavier the weights, the more you exercise, the bigger and stronger your muscles get.  No one starts out with the heaviest weights, they work up to them.  This is why we have difficulties.  It's how we exercise our spiritual muscles to gain strong faith.

Don't believe me?  Look at all the characters in the Bible. They were asked to do some incredibly hard things that didn't make sense at first.  God equipped them and gave them direction and confirmation.  He'll do the same for you.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Taking Risks-One Word at a Time

These last three months have been so difficult to watch one of my kids go through some of the most heartbreaking moments of their life.  But God was at work, slowly working behind the scenes. And here we are, walking into the light at the end of the tunnel.  

I made this poster and placed it on our refrigerator.  

I can't tell you how many times a day I would read it out loud.  It's so hard to watch the people we love the most go through difficult times, even if we know it's for their benefit

I also read through this post I've included again.  I wrote it during another season of tests and trials.  

No one likes those, but for maturity to come, everyone has to go through tests and trials.  So, what to do, what to do, when someone you love is hurting?  I came across this article on Lifehack and it perfectly puts "what to do?" in perspective.   


Life is all about growing.  Taking risks is part of that growth that can't be substituted.  

When my kids were little, we would go to the beach.  They loved and hated the water.  It was overwhelming to them.  Its vastness and power intimidated them.  It wasn't until their dad would pick them up by the arms and swing them gently over the water that the enticement of fun overcame the fear. 

You're a new writer, or maybe you've been writing for a long time.  There are so many enticements calling to you.  Is is a novel, magazine writing, a how-to book?  You'll never experience the joy of publishing that great work rumbling around in your heart and mind if you don't take a step forward.  

My children are grown now, but they all love visiting the beach.  They have been stung by jellyfish, smacked down by diverging waves, endured sunburns, tolerated sand in their sandwiches, experienced a tropical storm instead of a nice sunny vacation, fought off hermit crabs, and plucked sand spurs to numerous to count.  But it was all worth the risk to them.

Don't let fear keep you from your dream.  Step out, have faith, know that your father in heaven is gently holding you by the arms over the turbulent waves.  

  1. Taking risks will always be uncomfortable.  
  2. Taking risks will require sacrifices.  
  3. Taking risks will require you to be  true to yourself.  
  4. Taking risks will require effort & hard work. 
  5. Taking risks will require that you have a servant’s heart.  
  6. Taking risks requires that you stay determined & focused.
  7. Taking risks as a Christian writer means to never compromise obedience to God first. 

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Phil 4:7

Keep going toward the light, the end of your tunnel will come.