Sprinkling Spirituality Into Our Summer

Sprinkling Spirituality into our Summer

We live in the desert so playing in the grass in our yard is NOT an experience that our kids have, they do not get to run through the sprinklers like most other children do in the good ‘ole summer time. So, instead, we sprinkled God and spiritual things into our summer in some new ways for our family both last year and this year.

Last year we…

Fell  in love with Lamplighter books, and have invested in buying not only books but the audio dramas. They held a Summer Reading Challenge that ended at the end of August. The reading challenge awarded points for each book read, audio listened to, and had awesome extra challenges that were easy for each of our boys (ages 7 and 6) to take part in easily. But, that’s not the best part, adults could participate too!

We spent family time listening to the audio dramas. We drew pictures of our favorite parts of the stories and even earned extra points for listening to them with a senior. We earned enough credits to buy many of their ebooks, that are also character oriented and Bible based with special meanings that are applicable to Christian living. Some of our favorites are The Hedge of Thorns, Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince, and Teddy’s Button, although it really is difficult for us to even choose because they all keep you on the edge of your seat at times as you listen.

We also memorized scripture with the Abeka Bible Memory Cards. These cards are the ABC’s, just with a Bible word associated with them and a verse. A is for all, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23” B is for Believe, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” We would just sit the kids down on the carpet in front of us and repeat them regularly. The awesome thing that is our 3-year-old daughter had many verses memorized and will still quote them from time to time on her own.

We did take part in our Vacation Bible School. I taught the 4 & 5-year-old class and my husband was the organizer of the event. It was a fun spy theme complete with crazy skits my husband loved to be in. The kids always have a fun time in class and participating in the Penny Race. This year we’re planning a Kid’s Crusade in the fall, so no summer-time VBS for us this year.

This year…

In a search for devotions to do with my kids, someone suggested Keys for Kids audio devotionals from KeysforKids.org. The stories are read by the friendly voice of Uncle Charlie, they offer great illustrations and examples of how Biblical living can be done in a child’s life. They ask questions at the end of the story and have a “key” for the day that the child is supposed to think about. For example, the key for today is: Be blind to outward appearance. The only thing we have to do is look up the Bible verse in our KJV, because they read out of the NKJV, and I always want to make sure they have not left anything out. The neat thing about Keys for Kids is that they have an app that can be found on the App store as well as on the Google Play store so we can listen to it almost anywhere. This has been a highlight to our summer days, making it easy to learn and listen together.

For the past 2 years we have bought the Imagination Station series of books for our boys. They are awesome!! We have all 13 books so far, and we are waiting for the next books to be published. If you are familiar with the Imagination Station radio program, these are books with different adventures for kids to read on a 2.3 reading level. Each book has something to do with cousins Patrick and Beth traveling to a Bible site or finding themselves learning about a Christian hero. Another neat thing about the Imagination Station series is that the kids can figure out a “Secret Word” from reading the book and then go to The Imagination Station website and type it in and listen to a special audio story. The boys have picked these books back up again this summer and are enjoying them for the 100th time!

In May The Ministry Papa was able to attend a Music College with Ron and Shelly Hamilton in Colorado and he came home with a set of Patch the Pirate CD’s. It was Volume 7 of the Story and Song Treasure Box with the following CD’s, The Colonel’s Colossal Character Quest, The Villain of Venice, The Kashmir Kid, and Shipwrecked on Pleasure IslandIf you’re not familiar with Patch the Pirate then I like to describe them as musicals for kids. You have the story that happens with great dialog, creative voices and storyline, then all of a sudden you can feel a song coming on. Each song fits into the story with either a godly or funny theme. In The Villain of Venice, one of the songs is about how a man ate so much garlic he reeked so bad that no one wanted to be around him and his mother just called him on the telephone.

When we need the kids to have an early bedtime because they’ve been wild and wooly part of the day, then we will put them in bed at 7:30 to listen to some Patch.  What I love about them though is that they are doctrinally safe, written by someone with a heart for God and children, and they always have a message that is right on. The songs will stick in your head and when you have a problem sometimes you start singing them so the kids will remember how you are supposed to do to be kind to others and love the Lord.

The Ministry Papa and I have listened to The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom on audio book and I have also been listening to The Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot. Both books have challenged me to have a better faith in God and allow God to work through unexpected or unwanted circumstances and trust Him. It is amazing how testimonies from other believers can help you realize that your situations in life are not that bad and how you can have hope and trust no matter the circumstances.

I hope that our investment in taking the time to listen, read, and take part will make a difference in the hearts and lives of our children. Sometimes it’s a trip to the zoo, or the holding of a lizard the kids caught to teach them about God’s world and His knowledge. It is always about sprinkling spirituality in not only our summer but our life. We thoroughly enjoy how we can sharpen the axes of each person individually as we do things together. The summer break has not been a break from God, it has been an open door to view life differently outside our normal day-to-day routine. This is why I love summer!

*This article does NOT contain affiliate links. Only things we like and enjoy that we would like to share with other believers.

 

 

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Making My Sick Kids Feel Special Part 1

It’s our turn! 3 of 4 kids are sick with some type of virus that has caused a sore throat, fevers, and now a cough in that seems to be in their chest. This sickness has been going on all week and we have watched our share of movies and recorded TV shows and I am tired of feeling like that is the only activity kids can do while they’re sick. I came up with a list last night to plan for our day today of things we can do to make my sick kids feel special.

1. Listen to upbeat music! We are a conservative family as far as music goes but there is still godly upbeat music you can listen to and fun kids’ songs that can brighten the rather dull feeling of being stuck on the couch. I made a Pandora channel of kids songs and whenever one came up that was a little rockier than I like or allow we just push thumbs down. We have found some of our new favorite kid songs on that channel too, one about bubble gum stuck on the bottom of my shoe, knock-knock jokes, and a song in Spanish-English about what clothes a cowgirl wears. These songs bring a smile to everyone’s face and brings out laughter (which is the best medicine)!

Patch the Pirate is another great option of children’s music, which we listen to on a regular basis, that gets common Bible truths in their minds with great music and lyrics. They have serious and funny songs on each of their albums.

2. Read Stories. We are reading through the Little House series. Yes, the boys are the older ones but I want to get the quality history of the pioneers in their minds before they decide the books are too girly for boys to read. Farmer Boy was their favorite because it was all about Almanzo and the the food that he liked to eat. My boys love food so their little mouths would water as we read it.

Reading when children are sick can be easier because they may not feel like doing much other than sitting on your lap or lying around. They do not get as disinterested as they do when they feel great and have plenty of things they would rather be doing.

If you hate reading aloud then here are some tips to help you:

A. Kids do not care about whether you are a proficient reader or not! Let your hair down so to speak and get over your fears if you have a problem with reading. Children love to hear your voice and spending the time with you. They will often overlook any other stumbles you have because they love you. The more time you invest in reading aloud then the more you will become more comfortable with sharing stories with your children.

B. Use the 4 P’s. Here are 4 tips I learned in one of my teaching children’s classes that I took in Bible College, they are Pitch, Progress, Punch, and Pause.

Pitch – The level of your voice and the voice you use. Monotone is boring! At the climax of the story make your voice rise and create suspense; in a dark setting or if a character is telling a secret then lower your voice to a whisper. Create voices for each character if you are feeling bold enough to do so. Make your cowboy character have a drawl in his voice and your grandma character’s voice shake at times in the story because she is so old. Create a tune to a song that the characters sing together, Winnie the Pooh books are great at implementing little sing-song type songs that you can do this with.

Progress – Progress is the rate of speed in which you read. As you read about a race car going down the track racing the other cars to the finish line use an elevated tone and a fast pace of reading. It will create suspense in the child, you will be able to see them sitting on the edge of their seat with eyes wide open.Be lively when the scenario is lively, act like life is a drudge when the character is bored. Set the scene with how fast or slow you read the words.

Punch – POW! Using the punch of your voice is the pow factor. Interjecting a word with a little bit of force. Speak quietly and slowly through a scary scene of a book and then when the dog jumps from behind the door give your voice a POW of louder pitch to give the reader a startle. Do not over use this voice trick.

Pause – Take a breather and a planned pause. This gives the reader a time to think. Books are naturally broken into pauses using the chapters. Children often ask “Is that the end of the chapter?” When you say that it is then they usually have a strong desire to know what’s going to happen next and urge you to read the next chapter.

Use pauses whenever you feel necessary to address a situation in the book. I will pause and ask questions like, “Are they being kind to each other?” or “Is he being honest when he says that he did not take the candy?” This will ensure your children are listening and learning lessons that apply to their lives.

Using your voice in an interesting way is a lure to bring your children into the story and hooking them into walking through life in a different place and time.

3. Put a puzzle together on a special tray. This would be for the kid who has to stay in bed but has energy to do something, not the exhausted kid who just needs a nap. Put a puzzle out on a tray and let the child do the puzzle on their lap on the couch or in bed. Stay around in case they need help with the pieces.

4. Have a puppet show for them highlighting a Bible verse or manners type lesson. We have animal puppets and I sat behind the couch and did a little lesson using a toucan and a monkey. The toucan had a big beak and was telling the monkey’s secrets. I used the puppets to address when we blab what someone else trusts us with then it may hurt them. Later it encouraged Uno (my oldest son) to want to help me do another puppet show for the other children about hurting others. It made the kids laugh and captivated their attention for a 10-15 minutes. More merry heart = More inner medicine!

5. Take a bath and freshen up. It feels great even for your kiddos to clean up after lying around with snot dripping down their faces. The warm water relaxes them even if they just decide to sit there. Adding bubbles may even encourage them to smile and play a bit and get their mind off of their sore bodies.

Clean clothes can also lift the spirits, this is one of my personal solutions for feeling blah. When you make yourself look nice then your attitude and outlook usually come along and make for a better day, and this applies to your sick kids too.

6. Quote scripture and pray with them. Use every opportunity you have to encourage your children with God’s Word and go to God in prayer. God is our Great Physician and can do what we and doctors cannot do for our children.

Find verses that encourage you in times of sickness and distress. One Bible story in particular speaks of Lazarus that was sick and died (minor illnesses do not warrant death, make sure that you encourage your children to know that they are not dying even though they may feel really bad, no drama in minor cases). Jesus had this to say about his sickness in John 11:4, “When Jesus heard that he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” God uses sickness  for His own purposes. You could probably think of more encouraging verses to go along with illness than I can, so use them!

In prayer, acknowledge to God and your children that He allows these sick times for a reason. Ask God to help strengthen their bodies (ask and it shall be given unto you). Thank Him for special time together and for any improvements seen during their sick days.

My children almost always love to pray with my husband and I, especially when they are  we go to God on their behalf.

May these ideas spark your creativity when it comes to capturing your children’s hearts when they are sick. Make your home a loving haven where they are happy to become well because of your special care and attention. I will be adding Part 2 soon because I had more ideas than I could put on one post! That’s a good problem to have, don’t you think?