Archive | May 2013

Blooming in Christ: Singing

Hey all! Jenn here with a new Blooming Christ post.

If you missed the start of this it was a post titled Am I Blooming In Christ? Are You Blooming In Christ? And what I have realized is that I was not blooming in Christ so I have begun working on that. I made a list of the things I was doing when I felt the most growth to compare to what I am doing now…..so I can address the things on the list and correct them!

Our congregation recently had its Old Fashioned Gospel Singing. I love it so much! It is a time when people come from all around (we have had up to 300) to sing, pray, fellowship, and of course eat. It is so amazing to hear songs like A Common Love sung by 300 brothers and sisters in Christ! AMAZING! And this brings me to todays topic:

Singing.

I will be the first to admit I can not sing…there I said it! I do have a few talents, but singing is NOT one of them. I used to dread singing during services because I was afraid of what the people around me would think…..I could just hear them going…..WOW DID YOU HEAR HOW BAD SHE WAS! I know it sounds petty….but admit it, you have thought people were judging you before because of something you weren’t especially good at! We all have that fear. Well this fear kept/keeps me from really singing. I tend to hum or just mouth it. But over the last year I have really started to read and think on the words in the hymns and how they can really have an impact on any situation in our lives.

I split singing into 2 different categories:

-Singing during worship:

It is so easy to just sing during worship because “it’s what we do” and never really focus on what we are singing. It is also just as easy, at least for me, to overlook the fact that singing is a part of how we worship God.
I can’t begin tell you how many times I have heard the verse: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to The Lord” Ephesians 5:19 and I seem to just ignore that last part, but wow what a statement! “Making melody in your heart to The Lord!” I can tell you, I definitely am not always making melody in my heart to God when I am singing in worship. I even made a book for my daughter on worship and for singing I wrote “we sing these songs in a way to show love to God”….well I guess it’s easier to write it in a book and teach it than it is to apply it. But that is going to change! I am going to really work on focusing on what I am singing and focusing on the words of the songs….those hymns can really speak to you, if you let them. And it doesn’t matter how I sound to the person next to me, all that matters is that I am singing to God.
I think that if we focus on what we are singing, focus on the prayers being said, and combine that with really focusing on the lesson given by the preacher…..WHOA! I imagine what we would take from that service would be AMAZING! And it would be such a wonderful show of reverence, respect, and love to God.

-Singing everywhere else
I used to do a better job at this and I have really fallen off. I have a hymn book from church and I used to sing while I was cooking supper, washing dishes, and baking. (I don’t know a lot of songs by heart so I would prop the book up and sing while I did these things) I used to also go on you tube under Westside Church of Christ and listen to/sing with the videos they have posted. It amazed me how quickly I could learn the words and how the songs would pop into my head later on….even when I was thinking about something else. Alas, I have fallen away from this. When we moved I couldn’t find our hymnal….then I found it and just never got back in the habit.
I have been trying to improve this and pick back up. Today we made cookies and I had Westside pulled up on the iPad so we could listen and sing along. It is amazing how the songs can cheer you up and even more amazing how just listening to them can put them in your head to pop up later….sometimes when you need them to.
I think the important thing is to try to apply them in different aspects and again to really listen and think on the words and the message in the song! We recently started singing Count Your Blessings during Bible time, and I try each time to really explain the song to my daughter. That is a powerful song and it can get you through some tough times….if you think on it and let it help you.
Now just for fun I will add that I like to think about children’s songs sometimes :). I am in The Lord’s Army everyday! I do need to let this little light of mine shine (yes we can pause for you to hold up your finger and go around in a circle)…..there have been days where I recited 1,2,3 the devils after me! And who doesn’t smile when you randomly think of the hippo song….I have no clue what is actually the name of that song, but it makes me smile every time I see or think of a kid singing it and for your smiling pleasure I will say that we have broke out in that song and dance in parking lots and on the sidewalk of a busy street.

So here is our challenge:
Find some favorite hymns
Sing them at different times throughout the day
Sing ones appropriate to our situation
During worship make melody in our hearts to The Lord

I am going to start blooming by singing and thinking on hymns more frequently. And I hope you will bloom right along with me!

I picked a favorite hymn to go along with this post and I think it is only fitting:

Sing and Be Happy

If the skies above you are gray, You are feeling so blue,
If your cares and burdens seem great all the whole day through,
There’s a silver lining that shines in the heavenly land,
Look by faith and see it my friend, Trust in His promises grand.

(Chorus)
Sing and you’ll be happy today, Press along to the goal,
Trust in Him who leadeth the way, He is keeping your soul,
Let the world know where you belong, Look to Jesus and pray,
Lift your voice and praise Him in song, Sing and Be Happy Today!

Often we are troubled and tried, Sick with sorrow and pain,
There are others living in sin blest with earthly gain,
Take new courage we cannot tell what the morrow may bring,
When the dark clouds vanish away then your heart truly can sing.

(Chorus)
Sing and you’ll be happy today, Press along to the goal,
Trust in Him who leadeth the way, He is keeping your soul,
Let the world know where you belong, Look to Jesus and pray,
Lift your voice and praise Him in song, Sing and Be Happy Today!

Oft we fail the see the rainbow up in heaven’s fair sky,
When it seems the fortunes of earth frown and pass us by,
There are things we know that are worth more the silver and gold,
If we hope and trust Him each day, We shall have pleasure untold.

(Chorus)
Sing and you’ll be happy today, Press along to the goal,
Trust in Him who leadeth the way, He is keeping your soul,
Let the world know where you belong, Look to Jesus and pray,
Lift your voice and praise Him in song, Sing and Be Happy Today!

LOVE THAT SONG!

So let’s lift our voice and praise Him in song and sing and be happy today! And bloom in Christ through singing.

Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today!

Bye for now,
Jennifer

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Page-Turning Mondays: Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!

Hey y’all! Jess here with the latest PTM featured book. It’s…

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Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! (words and pictures by Mo Willems)

This is a book my boys love, and ask to check out at the library over and over again! I actually enjoy the Pigeon series of books, too. Mo Willems has a good sense of humor that appeals to both kids and adults alike. My oldest son loves this book so much that he chose it to read to Bailey, our library dog. He “read” the book word-for-word, and was so cute! Just goes to show you that kids love and thrive off of repetition!

This story follows the antics of the Pigeon, as he tries to persuade you, the reader, to let him stay up late. He tries all sorts of clever tricks, much like our own children, but eventually he succumbs to sweet slumber…again, much like our own kids!

Here are my suggestions for some fun activities to supplement this book:

-Talk with your kids about how important sleep is for their growing bodies, and how important it is for humans and animals. You can even talk about how God rested on the 7th and final day of creation. God knows how important rest is for us, and created us to rest!

-Read or research about how people in other countries sleep (not everyone sleeps in beds! In Latin America, it’s very common for folks to sleep in hammocks), or about how different animals sleep (in trees, caves, in the ground, etc).
-Not all animals sleep at night. Discuss with your children the definition of nocturnal, and read some books about nocturnal animals (there are some good stories about owls, one of the nocturnal birds out there).

-Help your kids sequence their bedtime routine. You can draw or take pictures of your kids getting ready for bed at night (brushing teeth, reading a story, saying prayers, etc.), and let your kids sequence the order of events. If your kids don’t have a particular bedtime routine, this may be a good time to start one. From my experience with my own two boys and as a teacher, kids love to have a general routine to follow. It helps them prepare for the events in their day, and gives them a sense of security in knowing what’s coming next in their day (or evening, in this case).

I sure do hope you and your family enjoy this book just as much as we do! And be sure to check out the other books in the Pigeon series, as well as other works by Mo Willems.

Until next time!

Blooming in Christ: How is your blooming going?

Hey Everyone! Jenn here!

I wanted to take sometime to check on you and see how you are blooming. So how are you doing?

Below is the list of things that I was going to work on and I added how I have been doing…..I thought that it might be time to reflect on how I/we have bloomed in praying over the past few weeks.

1. Return to writing in my prayer journal everyday.
I have not returned to writing in my prayer journal everyday. I want to, but I have not made the time to do it. I used to do it after my daughter fell asleep, but lately I have been going to sleep when she does or I have let other things distract me (Pinterest mainly). So I have a new goal of making time to write in it. It is so easy to let other things take my focus….I really need to work on that!
2. Pray before I get out of bed every morning.
Sadly I have not gotten in the habit of doing this every morning, I am doing better…but it does not happen every time. I am still working on it, and hope to get there soon!
3. Pray before I go to bed every night.
I have really improved in this! It does not happen every night, especially when I am laying with my daughter and end up asleep. But I have gotten much better!
4. Pray before meals (currently when it is just my daughter and I she says the prayer and I don’t)
This one has been difficult. I started out the month strong, but then my daughter started asking me to not pray. She says she wants to say one by herself, so we are working on her getting used to us both saying a prayer. It really surprised me that she said something, but I think it is because she says a fairly short prayer and I say a longer one. (She wants to hurry up and eat)
5. Pray when I see an ambulance, police officer, fire truck, or solider.
Alas, this one is a failure. My daughter does good with it, but I have not been doing good. I definitely have to work on this!
6. Pray when ever I think about our country.
Our country hasn’t really been on my mind lately…..I have been focused on my daughter. You can refer to my post A Long 4 Weeks to read more about that.
7. Pray whenever a child in my life crosses my mind.
I have done better about this. I have been praying for my own child a lot, but I have really improved when it comes to other kids. I recently went back to visit some wonderful kids I miss dearly and I found myself praying for them and thanking God for them, without really thinking about it.
8. Pray whenever I start to feel discouraged, angry, upset,or that I am slipping away from God.
9. Pray when I am happy.
10. Pray when I think of all my blessings.
These last three I have been working on, and I seem to be improving. I have been praying a lot for my relationship with God to grow and I feel as though it has. And I think that improvement has come from my focus on it and my focus on praying for different things.

Well….this reflection has been good for me…..I have not bloomed as much I would like, but I am blooming! So if you haven’t bloomed as much as you wanted just take comfort in knowing that I haven’t either. But we can still bloom more! That is one of the best things about blooming in Christ….you can always grow there is not a time limit. All that matters is that we are honestly trying our best to bloom in Christ.

Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today!

Love,
Jennifer

Page-Turning Mondays: “Class Three At Sea”

Aaarrggg! Listen up you scalawags! Jenn here with the latest page turning Monday installment!

Today’s book is Class Three At Sea written by Julia Jarman and illustrated by Lynne Chapman.

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This is, hands down, our FAVORITE book right now! We just borrowed it from the library for the third time in a few months. I hope to find it for sale so we can have it at home to read anytime we want!

This book is about a class “class three” who go to sea, and their ship is boarded by pirates who want them to take them to an island where treasure is buried! The fun rhymes and exciting story always leave my little one asking me to “read it again!” Which I don’t mind doing at all! I truly love this book!

The writer has also written another titled Class Two Goes To The Zoo….we have read that one once, and although it shares the fun rhyme scheme of Class Three At Sea, my daughter and I didn’t enjoy it as much as…..but it could just be because we love pirates 😉

I mean really, wether it’s Jake and his crew, Capt Hook, or Jack Sparrow…..we love pirates, we love to read about them, we love to pretend we are defeating the old codfish Capt Hook, and we love to pretend to be hunting for buried treasure!!

Now for some pirate fun!

First I would suggest dressing up and talking like pirates, that is always a blast! If you aren’t sure how to talk like a pirate just google it, tons of sites come up!

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Second: I would suggest hiding treasure for your little one and then letting them go on a treasure hunt! We used an empty diaper box and filled it with necklaces, gold coins, and a few toys. She loves this! She asks me to hide it over and over so she can hunt for it!

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Third: I suggest letting them decorate their own pirate flag. Kaitlyn had a Jake and the Neverland Pirates birthday party last year, we did this at the party and the kids seemed to really enjoy it! Simply buy a piece of felt from the craft section (.23 at Wal-Mart) and let them draw on it with a marker, making their own pirate flag! I added dowels via hot glue to make the flags be on a “pole”.

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Forth: I suggest a cannonball fight! It’s simple….blow up black balloons and then hit each other with them! If its hot, take it outside and add water to the balloons!

Fifth: I suggest making a spy glass (telescope). Simply paint a toilet paper or paper towel roll (we painted it yellow) and then let your little one decorate however the want.

Last: HAVE FUN! the possibilities are ENDLESS! You could have an entire pirate day combining the book with crafts, activities, and even food! At her party we had cannonballs (cheese balls) catch of the day (fish sticks) and taters (potato chips). You could wrap up the pirate fun with your little ones favorite pirate show or movie. We love Peter Pan, Peter Pan Returns, and of course Jake and the Neverland Pirates. And if you want more ideas simply look up pirate crafts or pirate party on Pinterest.

As I write this, I am thinking that we may have to have an entire pirate day for the next “Talk Like A Pirate Day!”

Hope you enjoy this post and I hope that you go have some pirate fun with your little one….or with your friends….there is, nor should there ever be, an age limit on dressing and talking like a pirate! Right Mateys!

Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today!

Love,
Jennifer

One of my favorite things-Anchor and Pyrex Glass Bowls with Lids

Hola y’all! Jenn here with another one of my favorite things!

I am in LOVE with the glass bowls with lids from Anchor and Pyrex! I love that they come in a variety of sizes. I love that they stack neatly in my cabinet. I love that I can buy them in packages of different quantities or even individually. I love that the lids are interchangeable between brands. And most importantly I LOVE that they are BPA free!

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Some of them stacked neatly in my cabinet 🙂

A few years ago all these studies came it about BPA and the hazards that come with products that contain it. The products were/are plastic and varied from bowls to baby bottles!! A big problem with it was when you heat up food or drink or baby bottles that are in containers that have BPA it is release into the food or drink and then consumed by you or your baby!! WHAT!! Now you see it clearly printed on products “BPA free”, but I am still very scared of plastic products so I do not heat things up in plastic at all. If I use plastic containers for storing leftovers (which is rarely), I make sure they are BPA free and I still move them to a glass bowl or a plate before heating them up in the microwave. I would love to completely get rid of my plastic containers, but I can’t send Kaitlyn to preschool/school with glass containers for obvious reasons. You can easily google BPA to read all about the hazards and what products it is in.

When I got my first set of Pyrex bowls withe lids I was beyond EXCITED! I started using them immediately and was IN LOVE! They come in sizes that are perfect for holding different amounts of leftovers, perfect for separating out snacks ahead of time like carrots and trail mix, perfect size for packing a salad in or yogurt….and again, there is no worry of BPA! I love glass, I always choose to drink out of a glass, I always choose my glass mixing bowls, and now I always choose my glass Pyrex or Anchor bowls with lids when packing leftovers, yogurt, trail mix, energy balls, mixing up some DIY cinnamon butter, whatever….I simply love them!

Hope you can give them a try and that you love them as much as I do!

Don’t forget to something to make someone smile today!

Bye for now,
Love Jennifer

Page-Turning Mondays: “The Horse in the Striped Pajamas

Hola y’all! Jenn here with the latest installment of Page-Turning Mondays.

Today’s book is one that was given to us and the first time we read it I was in LOVE!

It is titled the Horse In The Striped Pajamas written by Cherney Berg and illustrated by Edith Hillinger.

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This book is about a little boy who doesn’t quite see things the way everyone else does. For example his Daddy sees a man with a beard but the little boy sees a man with a fur coat on his chin :). The Daddy takes the little boy to the zoo and before they go in the Daddy ends up sitting the little boy down and asking him why he sees things different from everyone else to which the little boy says “I’m just a different kind of boy” then the dad tells him he needs to start seeing things like everyone else sees them. But, after being in the zoo for a little while, Daddy comes around and begins to enjoy his sons imagination, saying that he is a “different kind a Daddy”, and joining in on the fun!

I simply love the encouragement to imagine and the encouragement to have fun with everyday things!

I will definitely be reading this book when we go to the zoo! And while at the zoo we will most certainly be looking at the animals differently to see what our imaginations see.

The main lesson I took from this book is encouraging imagination. I think sometimes children aren’t encouraged to imagine and pretend anymore. They have so many avenues of entertainment from TV to smart phones and tablets….it seems some of it has been lost. I want to apply this thinking to everyday! Just driving down the road or going for a walk….let your and your child’s imagination run wild!! Have fun! Laugh! Not everyone gets to see a horse in striped pajamas….only the ones looking for it 😉

I am sure you can come up with some other activities, there is a world of animal and zoo things on Pinterest, but the above was my big focus from the book.

Bye for now!
Love,
JD

How Will Mommy Be Remembered?

Hola all! Jenn here! I hope that all of you are having a wonderful Mothers Day! I have been loving it! I am so blessed to be Kaitlyns Mommy!

I wrote the below post almost a year ago on my first blog and I still think on it often. I thought I would pull it out of the archives. Hope you enjoy!

I often wonder how Kaitlyn will remember me when I am gone. Will she remember that I was busy with house work, things for myself, my want of worldly things such as status, fancy cars, a fancy house, etc. Or will she remember that I took time to just play? Will she remember that we went to the library, the playgrounds, the pool? Will she remember that we made a point to include everyone or that we only invited the people that we “liked more” or the people that were more “important/higher status”. More importantly will she remember that we went to church activities and worship every chance we could, that it was important to take time to study about God, that we talked about God, that we sent cards and made things for others, that we prayed, that we invited people to services, that we helped with anything we were able? Will she remember that I love her more than I could ever say? Does the way I treat her show her that? How will she remember me talking about others when they weren’t around? How will she remember me dressing? How will she remember me speaking (I do not cuss at all, but I still have to watch what I say in frustration and anger) What will she remember as being the most important things to her Mommy? We have such an amazing responsibility to ground our children in God and what He wants. It is amazing to me to see how much a child picks up on from their parents. Katilyn is only 3, but she already repeats words and actions that she sees and hears. Children know when we say one thing in front of people and act another way home or say something completely different to someone else, children know when we constantly ignore what they want and only do what we want, children know when we snap at them constantly. It is my prayer that I do everything I can to show her what a Christian wife and mother really views as important.
So how will mommy be remembered?(I am not saying that you let your child run your life, they need discipline and they need structure, they need to see you taking care of the home-but I don’t see anything wrong with asking her what she wants to do and then as long as it is possible doing that, I do see something wrong with being so concerned with a spotless house or cares of the world that your child has little or no one on one time with Mommy or with being so focused on other things that you don’t just “enjoy your child”)

Have a wonderful day and don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today!

Love,
Jennifer