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Full circle

I love it when life comes full circle. Like when you become a mom for the first time and all of the sudden appreciate your mom for all the sleepless nights and dirty diapers. Your tunnel vision gets swept away in a sea of reality and you learn some thing about yourself and about life. {And then you call your mom!}I had one of those moments tonight at our church's VBS. I was teaching some pretty sweet kids about the miracles of Jesus tonight and one of our activities was listening to a story about how the circumstances {some miraculous} in his life led him to trusting in Christ.

I had the kids think of the circumstances God has placed in their lives that have helped them know more about Jesus. One idea was that God had given his parents the idea to bring him to vacation bible school every year.

As the evening drew to a close and I was prepping my room for tomorrow night, that thought came rushing back to me. That God has worked circumstance out in the lives of each of these children to be right there in this room to hear about his Son. He is beaconing these kids to believe. And he did that to me too.

It is crystal clear to me because I am outside the looking glass. The backdrop of VBS is visible to me. I have come full circle. I am so thankful for the teachers who poured so much into the vacation bible schools I attended as a child. Who prayed and prepared, who loved me enough to give up 5 nights in order to tell my captive heart of the one who loves me. I may not remember all the decorations, the key verses and songs, or even what stories we learned, but I do remember one thing. The name of Jesus.

I love teaching VBS. This is my 5th year and I am looking forward to many to come, God willing. To be a part of his plan to draw children to himself is exhilarating.

Please join me in praying for the Father to do a mighty work in the hearts of the children in vacation Bible school this week and thank him for drawing them there to hear the name of Jesus.

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Oh yea, I'm that VBS teacher!!!

Baseball Boys {and a room tour}

The three big kids are playing tball this summer for a little church league in town. Our church has a ton of kids in the age 3-6 year age range for tball, so we have quite a team.

It's the Little Dude's first year to play. His first game didn't go so well in that he gave up because he was hot and tired about half way through. But his endurance has improved over the last few weeks.

Bear is becoming a pretty good little ball player.

 

 

And Monkey is blessed with althetic ability that I never knew myself. Trust me when I say- she gets it ALL from their dad. Her skills on the piano, maybe I can claim a bit of that, but not the sports. Just bein' honest.

 

 

 

Part of the fun of moving into a new house is getting to start over with the kids' rooms. Actually every room, but kids room are extra fun! It's taken me a while to put anything on the walls, but I finally broke out the hammer and put up the boys' decorations. I still have a few things to do, like curtains and a Texas Rangers poster, but it's a good start.

Right now, Bear and Tiger are sharing a room until the Dude finishes some bunk beds he is making. Then the Little Dude will move in here too. The Dude's grandma has made each of the kids a quilt, all of which coordinate beautifully together.

Tiger sleeps with a rainbow trout. The love of fishing starts early around here. And grandma also knitted those beautiful blankets. One for each child. Tiger claimed three of them.
 

 

 

Hobby Lobby had a big sale on their metal decor a few weeks ago, so I basically cleared out the baseball section.

 

 

All of the decorations are from Hobby Lobby, with just a few exceptions, although not all from this year. The baseball drawer pulls are from Michaels. The dresser is from IKEA.

 

I'm looking forward to many baseball loving summers with these kids!

 

Thanks for visiting my blog today!

Elizabeth Ann

** Photo credit for the tball pics goes to my buddy Melanie Dixon! If you're local, look her up for your next kid photo session, she is awesome!

PSS Review: "God heals Naaman"

God heals Naaman Scripture: 2 Kings 5:1-16

Target Age: 4-5 years

Focus: God offers salvation to all people. God is merciful and sovereign.

Opener: Cut large hearts out of construction paper and write a friendship action on each one (i.e., give a friend a high five, tell a friend 'Jesus loves you', smile at a friend....)

Laminate the cards if possible to save for future use. Place the cards face down on the floor. As the children arrive have them stand in a circle around the hearts. Each child takes turn picking up a heart and the whole group does the action.

Lesson: I read the lesson from the Gospel Storybook Bible. Here are the key points. (If you use these points, I recommend printing them out and placing the paper in your Bible so the kids know this is God's word!)

- Naaman was a general for the army of the kingdom of Syria. He was a very important man. But he had a big problem. He had leprosy. (Explain what leprosy was and that they had no cure for it.)

- Naaman had a little girl living in his house who was from Israel. She told Naaman that he should go see the prophet Elisha in Israel. Elisha would pray to God on Naaman's behalf and he would be able to heal him from his leprosy.

- Naaman prepared to go to Israel and speak with the king of Israel. He took a lot of money to pay Elisha for his healing.

- When Naaman arrived in Israel and went to the king the king of Israel thought it was a trick. He thought the general of the enemy army was coming to start a war! So he sent Naaman straight to Elisha's house.

- When Elisha heard that Naaman was coming, he sent a servant out to tell Naaman that God would heal his leprosy if he would wash 7 times in the Jordan river.

- Naaman was very irritated. He thought he was going to meet with the king. After all, he was a very important person.

- Naaman decided we was not going to do what Elisha said. But one of his servants convinced him to do it and so he did.

- And guess what?!? Naaman's leprosy went away! God healed Naaman!

- After that, Naaman believed in od and said "There is no God in all the earth but Israel."

Where is Jesus in this story?

In the new testament, Jesus told the story of Naaman. He used this story to tell people that not only people who were in Abraham's family (Israelites/Jews) were able to benefit from the promise of eternal life through Him. Jesus has people in his family from every nation!

Activities:

Every nation explanation

Bring a globe or large map and perhaps photos of children from different parts of the world. Point to the United States (if that's where you live) on the globe or map and explain that this is our 'nation'. Explain that there are many nations all over the world filled with people who may look, act, and speak differently than us. But that's great, because God created them and loves them, and the message of salvation is for them, too! Take turns spinning the globe or pointing to different countries and talking a little bit about that country. (If you don't know anything about the country, say that!) And then repeat again that Jesus died for people in this nation and they will be part of his forever family if they trust in him!

Then say but some of theses nations have never even heard the name of Jesus before. They don't know about him or what he has done for them. How will they every believe if they don't know?

One little girl in my class jumped up and said Someone has to tell them!!!

Bingo.

Craft

This week we started preparing our hearts for Easter. So we made playdoh to create tombs for Jesus. But if this lesson does not fall around Easter for you, you could  water color paint. As the children paint ask if they remember the part about water in the story today and see if they can tell you about Naaman washing in the Jordan river.

 

Painting class for young children

It started like this

Me: "What are some of your goals and dreams for the new year?"

Monkey: "I want to learn to paint better."

Supplies (for each child participating and for the instructor): one canvas, a sponge brush a medium brush and a small brush, a disposable plate, a glass of water; tubes of acrylic paint to share

Prep: Check out a step by step painting book from the library, preferably the children's section. We used   1, 2, 3, I can paint!   by Irene Luxbacher.

Choose with your child which picture you would like to paint. Cover your work area with a plastic tablecloth and wear paint clothes or smocks.

Paint! I explained to the kids that we would all be painting the same picture, I was going to paint something and then they would do exactly what I did on their canvas. Our picture called for six colors, purple, white, black, blue, brown, and green. I squirted each of these paint colors on their plates with stick instructions to not touch until I asked them to. (Keep and eye on your 3 year olds!)

Read the instructions in the book, execute it yourself, and then help the kids along with encouraging words as they work. Try not to help them by painting their picture for them or by "fixing" "mistakes". The way children express themselves by painting is awesome!  The goal is not for all the pictures to look exactly the same at the end, the goal is to have fun and to get a little more experience behind a paintbrush. If some of your older ones get frustrated with the fact that it doesn't look quite like yours, encourage them that the more they paint the better they will get and that you love their painting exactly how they did it because it is uniquely theirs and you love them!!

Even if you don't consider yourself artsy or a good painter, I think you should try this activity. The big kids (3, 4 and 6 years old) really loved it so much and we were all very happy with our paintings. I can't wait to do it again!

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What special activities do you like to do with your kids?

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Consider your calling

For consider your calling brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 I've never been one to miss a bandwagon. Picking a word for the year seems to be pretty trendy right now so I think I'll give it a shot. I thought for a while that I might cheat and pick two {less and more: less junk, more Jesus; less tv, more reading....}. But since I am a rule follower I will stick with just one. And it is......

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What is keeping me from stepping out in faith on things that the Lord has laid on my heart? On the heart of my family? What will I say when the He presents new challenges and opportunities this year? Will I be brave enough to say yes? Will I be brave enough to ask Him about things that I desire, to lay them at His feet and then be brave enough to walk away? Am I brave enough to be "just a homemaker"? Am I brave enough to trust him to let my influence be what it is? Am I brave enough to let the gospel speak for itself and to not worry about eloquent speech and crisp pictures? Brave enough to trust, to let go of control, to follow?

This morning I read 1 Corinthians 1:10-2:5 as a part of Gospel Meditations for Women.

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This passage was so encouraging to me today... and convicting. Something in me wants so badly to be an eloquent, compelling, and interesting writer so that I will have a large audience to hear the gospel evidenced in my life. But then I could boast in my eloquence and not in the gospel of Christ. And I don't want people to rely on my words, but on the gospel.... or do I? Am I motivated by pride and jealousy or by a true desire to make Christ known and exalted? Probably both, most likely more the former. Time for a heart change - just be faithful to the gospel and stop worrying about all the things that I don't have that would make it so much better in the eyes of man. Because it can't be any better and anything I offer in my own power would just take away from it. I will use what God has gifted me with, what He so graciously put in my bag-of-tricks, to proclaim Christ crucified and raised for our redemption from sin.

Let's be encouraged to stop looking at ourselves in light of sharing the gospel and only seeing what we lack. Because if we are offering the gospel we aren't lacking anything at all.

 

Do you have a word for the year? Share it with me in the comments!

My graphics are from a paper pad by American Crafts, called Neopolitan. I got it on clearance at Hobby Lobby.