Tag Archives: love

Season of Wonder: Love

4 Dec

straw in a manger

Find a basket, shoe box or other container similar in shape to a manger. Cut long strips of yellow paper. Sit in a circle around the “manger.” Discuss that God loved us so much that He sent Jesus. He came as a baby and was placed in a manger for a crib. When we look at a manger scene this Christmas, we can think about LOVE. Love in the manger. Ask everyone to think about ways they’ve seen love the past week. Place a yellow strip of paper (straw) in the manger as each instance is shared. Try to fill the manger with straw.

LOVE

Read: God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 1 John 4:9

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4: 19

Ask: What is eternal life? Why can we love others? What are some ways we can show love to others this Christmas season?

Pray: Thank you God for loving us and sending Jesus into the world so we can have eternal life. Help us to accept your love and to see your love in the world. Help us to love others.

Other things to do:

*Keep the manger some place that the family will see. Continue to place straw in it as you see acts of love.

*Draw names without telling the name. Secretly do acts of love for that person until Christmas (no gifts- just acts of service). Reveal your name on Christmas Eve.

*Write a love letter to God.

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Monday Mornings: She Said Yes

19 Aug

I prayed for her.

Not every day. Not even every week. But every so often. Watching my son playing on the playground, I might think of her and pray. When long strokes of cursive filled my journal, she would make it into the prayer requests from time to time. Sometimes I’d see him across the living room and I’d wonder. Where she was. What was she doing. Prayers would come.

I don’t believe there is one person God has picked out for you and you must find that person. To be honest, I’m not really sure how my prayers for her work. I’ve thought that part of praying for another is softening your own heart and preparing you for how life changes. That one day instead of my son looking at me with his big brown adoring eyes, his head would turn and he would be looking at another with those same eyes. One day instead of him reaching for my hand when he was scared or anxious, he would be reaching for another’s hand. Her hand. And when you’ve prayed for her for all those years you smile and you know. Your heart opens to encompass another.

That one day I saw the tenderness and the love in the midst of an anxious moment. The understanding for each others strengths and weaknesses. They walked out the door. Tears ran down my face. I asked God was she the one I had been praying for?

Then there was the conversation. The two asking us if we thought they were ready to be married. I cried. “So, you are the one I’ve prayed for all these years.” She cried, too.

The little boy who would gaze up at the stars and who memorized all the constellations took his telescope. . . the one his uncle and aunt bought him when he was in junior high and dreamed of being an astronomer. . . and he took her hand leading her into a field in the Minnesota countryside. The meteors fell from the sky. Somewhere between Saturn and the moon he knelt down and asked.

This morning perhaps I am thinking back a decade or two remembering the little boy now grown into the man. I’m thinking of all those prayers for him, for his future, just begging God at times to keep his safe from harm but not so safe that he didn’t learn a few things along the way. I’m remembering all those prayers for her- for a heart that loved God, for confidence in who God made her to be, for whatever it was that she needed right then. And my heart is full.

She said yes.

10 Fun Things to do with Your Family for Valentine’s Day

11 Feb

I can remember loving Valentine’s Day as a little girl. You know- the fun boxes that we made at school to collect the Valentines. The trip to the store to buy just the right box of Valentines to give out to the class. The lining up of Valentines across the floor- in order- from the degree of  “gooshiness” to those that were “friendly.” The boys had to have only friendly ones just in case someone might get the wrong idea. The party at school complete with red Hi-C and cupcakes and games and a room mother and a box full of Valentines. And then inevitably my dad would bring home a heart box full of chocolate goodness. He rarely bought us candy so this was a huge treat.

Today, Valentine’s Day has become so commercialized. The simplicity of the day has been lost. No longer are Valentines alone good enough- they must be accompanied by candy and trinkets to be worthy. Expensive dates. . .over the top gifts. . .always looking for that perfect way to say “love.”

So in the spirit of simplicity- here are 10 fun, simple ways to have fun with your family without breaking the bank.

1. Make individual homemade pizzas. Form a heart with the crust.

2. Sing a love song to your mate in front of your kids. Video it for posterity or to simply embarrass you on Facebook.

3. Cut out red hearts. Write a fun message on each heart. Place them around the house. Be corny. Be funny. Be serious. Be whatever makes your family’s heart beat a little faster.

4. Cook spaghetti with marinara sauce for supper. Have a little fun doing the “Lady and the Tramp” spaghetti slurp. One piece of spaghetti with ends in two people’s mouth. Take pictures!

5. Write messages on large hearts (or chalkboard hearts!) to family members far away telling them how much you love them. Take pictures of family members holding the hearts with your phone and send them the message.

6. Make Valentine’s Day breakfast parfaits. Just layer yogurt and strawberries.

7. Do an act of love for someone who might be lonely. Perhaps a recent widow. Bring her a box of chocolates, a plate of cookies or a Valentine. Just because.

(Side note: When my grandpa died, I remember my grandma telling me that she would miss the heart full of chocolates he would bring her on Valentine’s Day or the random candy bar he would bring her from town. Every so often- I send her chocolates. Just because.)

8. Buy a box of conversation hearts. Give everyone a heart or two. Start a story using one heart. Go around to each family member adding to the story- but it has to use the phrase from a conversation heart. (Um. For younger kids you might want to check the sayings on the hearts first. Just in case, you know.)

9. Have a heart healthy night. Go to the Y or to the park and do something active a family. Make hearts that have active things to do written on them. Take turns drawing the hearts from a hat and doing them (jump on one foot for one minute, do 20 jumping jacks, do 10 sit ups).

10. Pick a Bible verse about love or the heart together. Make it the family verse for the month. Write it creatively and place it on a wall, mirror or fridge.

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Found on Etsy

Check out more ideas for Valentine’s Day on our Pinterest board. Click here to visit the board.