Family Traditions

Family Traditions

The word “tradition” is defined as the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation. I love this! Traditions are multi-generational, crossing all lines of age and even ethnicity. When we share with our kids and grandkids their lineage and heritage it broadens their perspective and worldview. God made us one and all, so different and yet so much the same. Some of these traditions have been passed down from several generations and keeping them alive will teach your kids about your family culture and faith.

Family traditions can create not only identity in the lives of our kids but can also be the bond as they share things that are unique and special about their individual family. What are some of the family traditions you remember as a child? I love thinking back and remembering things that I did as a child, after all these years it brings me such joy. Many of my childhood memories are the foundation for the traditions that I carried over to my own kids and it is so much fun to watch them pass these traditions down to their children, the legacies live on! My Grandmother’s cornbread Thanksgiving dressing (as she named it) is one of the things my boys love about the holidays, it was passed down from several generations of great Southern cooks. I love that God gives us so many gifts to share and food is truly one of the biggies in our home. Purely by accident I began a “tradition” with our grandkids of creating a bucket list of things to do when we all come together. We have so much fun bringing out the chalkboard and rainbow of colored chalk to create our “wish list” in pictures and in words. They now want to do one for each new season; it brings such joy and anticipation as they dream about the fun seasonal things we can do together.

As we enter this wonderful fall season filled with pumpkins, football and s’mores may we focus a bit on the faith traditions that are important for us to pass to the next generation. What are some tangible ways to pass down your values and passions? As you ponder and pray don’t forget to have fun doing them! Fun can be found in making Thankful Trees to decorate your home, serving a hot meal at your local shelter or baking cookies for your neighbor next door! Modeling love and generosity will change your family and community!

Thanksgiving is coming up quickly, what will that day look like for your family? Start dreaming and planning now so you can create a memory and hopefully a tradition will be born! As you gather your family and friends around the bounty this year what is it that you want them to remember and never forget? You may be surprised that the “little” things are truly the “big” things that matter the most!

A Gratitude Adjustment

A Gratitude Adjustment

Of all the qualities God tries to build into our character, gratitude seems to be one of the most obvious. It doesn’t take long to tell if someone is thankful or not. It’s the kind of quality that sets a pattern for the rest of an individual’s personality. “Gratitude,” “gratis” and “grace” come from the same Latin word.

So do “ungrateful” and “ingratiating.” No one straddles a middle line when it comes to gratitude. Either you’re thankful, or you’re not, and everyone usually knows which one you are (or aren’t).

Why do you suppose God has so much to say about the importance of gratitude? We hear “Give thanks” repeated throughout the Psalms, and Jesus Himself pauses to give thanks to the Father before setting a table for five thousand hungry guests in Galilee.

I guess God not only knows that gratitude makes us more gracious, but He also knows what happens when gratitude is absent. Have you ever stopped to think about what gradually happens to your child’s heart when they learn to show gratitude to others and even to God? Or what happens gradually when our children neglect to demonstrate gratitude?

If they don’t learn to be intentionally grateful, they develop some pretty unhappy habits: an unhealthy ego, burned-out friendships, taken-for-granted family members, a sense of entitlement, constant discontentment, frustration, anger, relational dysfunction . . .

If kids don’t learn to be intentionally grateful, they develop some pretty unhappy habits.

Sometimes people turn over and over trying to figure out God’s mysterious will for their lives. This one’s not a mystery. I Thessalonians 5:18 makes it clear. If you want to know what God’s will is, it’s gratitude. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Something extraordinary will happen in the heart of a child when they learn to look for something to be thankful for in every situation. Gratitude is something that will affect every relationship your child will have. It will affect how they see God, how they see others, and even how they see themselves.

So, take a gratitude check. If you can help your child make a gratitude adjustment, that is something you can be thankful for.

Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom

Posted by Autumn Ward | Blog, Imagine The End, Just A Phase

There I sat, probably with slumped shoulders at this point. Mind totally saturated with gallons of new information, dates, deadlines, fees, dos and don’ts. I had already made a dozen mental to-do lists for the coming weeks, all while still processing the fact that I had to check-in at the “parent” table when we arrived.

And then it happened.

In the final hours of a two-day college freshman orientation whirlwind, I was given a notecard and told to write a few words of wisdom to my son. The notecards would be delivered to the students—to my son—later in September as a surprise.

I thought of my son and felt a burst of renewed energy.

Aww… how sweet!

How thoughtful!

What a great idea!

But wait! What do I say?

This was kind of a big parent moment. I mean I’ve said lots of things over the years as he’s packed up and headed to sleepovers, a week of camp, a two week mission trip . . . But this was different. This time he’s packing up and beginning his adult journey. He wouldn’t be back after two weeks, or even two months.

All of a sudden, I felt like these were the most important words I would ever say to my son. Ahh . . . the pressure! My shoulders straightened and my focus narrowed. And then I thought, why not remind him of a few things I’ve been telling him all his life?

As I sat there and looked at the words on my card, I saw my son leaving for his first day of kindergarten and me telling him, “Work hard.” God made us to work. In fact, He has good works planned for us. Give everything your best effort just like you’re doing it for God.

I saw him sitting on the edge of his bed, feet dangling, arms crossed and me encouraging him, “Be kind.” Being kind is always the right choice. It’s how we make friends. It’s how we show people God loves them.

I saw him exhausted from not getting enough sleep and me reminding him, “Take care of your self.” God gave us this one body, this one life. It’s your choice to do things, like go to the dentist, eat your veggies, and get alone with God so you can be the best you God made you to be.

I saw him sitting at the kitchen table wrestling with hard choices and me advising him, “Remember who you are.“ Open the door for ladies. Look people in the eye and shake their hand. And above all else, never forget that God made you and He loves you, more than you will ever be able to fully understand. You are His.

Work hard.

Be kind.

Take care of yourself.

Remember who you are.

That’s what I wrote on my 3×5 notecard. That’s what my son will read in a few weeks.

Listen, I know my kids will never remember everything I say to them. Partly because I talk a lot! I’m sure a good portion has become white noise by now. But I do know there are a few things they will always remember because I have chosen to say them over and over and over again.

What few words do you want your kids to remember you saying? Think of your own words of wisdom and began saying them today and the next day and the next day. Your words will be a gift they will carry with them the rest of their lives. Even when they have packed up and moved away, your voice will still be there lovingly coaching them on.

Family Christmas Service

Family Christmas Service

Angels, Shepherds, Wisemen and more! Does your child want to be part of our Family Christmas Service? If your child does not already participate in one of our children’s choirs, and would like to be part of this beloved Family Christmas service, sign up here.

No memorization of lines required! Just dressing in costume and helping tell the story of Jesus’s birth in pantomime. Service is at 5:30 p.m. December 23. There will be several rehearsals beginning in December.

Kristin’s Message – Race to Nowhere

Kristin’s Message – Race to Nowhere

The Portico is hosting a screening of the powerful education documentary “Race to Nowhere.” Bring your small group, your spouse, your friends. Invite your child’s teachers and principals. You don’t want to miss.

Featuring the heartbreaking stories of students across the country who have been pushed to the brink by over-scheduling, over-testing and the relentless pressure to achieve, “Race to Nowhere” calls us to challenge current thinking about how we prepare our children for success. Through the testimony of educators, parents and education experts, it reveals an education system in which cheating has become commonplace; students have become disengaged; stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant; and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

Shown nationwide and internationally in more than 7,000 schools, universities, cinemas, hospitals, corporations and community centers, “Race to Nowhere” has become the centerpiece of a nationwide, grassroots movement for the transformation of education.

Vicki Abeles who directed and produced the film, says “that our children’s well-being comes first—and well before the ‘perfect’ college acceptance, before the championship soccer game, before the straight-A report card. We need to rally together as a whole community of parents, coaches, educators, administrators, lawmakers and students to upend our cultural definitions of ‘success’ and ‘achievement’ to include health, resilience, curiosity, relationships… all the intangibles of a meaningful and rewarding childhood and adulthood.”

“Race to Nowhere” is a film that calls us to challenge current thinking about how we prepare our children for success. Join us to view the movie, then discuss how our current educational structure impacts our children and their future. 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, The Portico.

Celebrating Family Fun Night 2017!

Family Fun Night Was…So Much Fun!

Our latest installment of Family Fun Night certainly lived up to its middle name…Fun! More than 175 children and adults attended the event, held on Sept. 15. Activities included a Dunk Tank, four-person Rock Climbing Wall, an inflatable dual slide and bounce house, plus face painting, fall crafts and a coloring area. Everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner catered by 4Rivers Smokehouse, topped off with ice cream and cookies!

Mark your calendar for our upcoming events:

  • Happy Birthday Jesus on Dec. 13
  • Family Christmas Event on Dec. 23.

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