Faith Steps Sacraments Workshop

Faith Steps Sacraments Workshop

11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. March 4

Parents and their children, grades 2-5, are invited to join the Children’s Team and our pastors for a Sacraments Workshop in the Harnish Activities Center. We will explore the meaning of Baptism and Communion in the United Methodist Church and enjoy some hands-on activities. We will conclude the afternoon by celebrating Communion together in the Chapel.

Register here.

Faith Steps Picture Bible Parent Class

Faith Steps Picture Bible Parent Class

Feb. 4, 11, 18, 10:45 a.m.

Spend three weeks with other parents learning practical steps for sharing your faith with your 2- or 3-year-old child. A blessing event and Bible presentation will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 9:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary.

Classes are from 10:45 a.m. – Noon on Sundays, starting Feb. 4. Register here.

Family Christmas Service – 5:30 p.m. Dec. 23

Family Christmas Service – 5:30 p.m. Dec. 23

All are welcome to join us for a family-friendly, joy-filled evening at our Family Christmas Service, 5:30 p.m. Saturday Dec. 23 in the Sanctuary. Cookie reception follows in the Sanctuary Courtyard.

This service is led by our children and youth. Join us for a fun retelling of Christ’s birth, featuring performances by our Angel (preschool) and Celebration (elementary) choirs and our Youth Praise team.

Continue the fun at our Christmas cookie reception in the Sanctuary Courtyard. Sign up here to bring cookies.

How to Make Good Memories Without Grumpy Side Effects

How to Make Good Memories Without Grumpy Side Effects

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We’re on the cusp of all things holiday and fun. The festivals. The fairs. The pumpkin patches. And the promise for more parties and holiday spectaculars just around the corner. It’s the kick off to a magical—if not insane—season, made all the more magical—and insane—with kids.

Not more than a few weeks ago, I was reminded of how magical/insane this time of year is.

Our family had planned and attended so many “fun” things that particular weekend we turned into tired, cranky, sugar-assaulted people of no use to each other or the world.

We wanted to be the fun parents. And to create memories. I wanted us to be able to look fondly back on weekends like this and hear my kids say things like, “Thank you!” “That was awesome!” I didn’t want us to be grumpy and short with each other. But with so much “fun” planned, we started running on less and less, our fuses getting shorter and shorter until it didn’t matter what we were doing. We were too exhausted to enjoy it.

And that’s when it hit me. When it comes to making memories, my kids are cataloguing more than the experience itself. They are taking note of the emotions that come along with them.

When it comes to making memories, my kids are taking note of the emotions that come along with them.

They see a stressed out mom.
A tired dad.
And they are living in sugar strung out bodies.

I’m learning if I want to create good memories that last a lifetime, then I have to do more than just plan for the fun. I have to be at a place to enjoy the fun. And they do too.

What that means for my family is something different than what it means for yours. For ours, it means for us to be at a place to engage fun in a positive and healthy way, sometimes we have to say “NO”. . .

To some birthday parties.
To some festivals.
To some fairs.
To some holiday shanningans.

Not because we are boring and straight-laced parents. But because we are learning ourselves. And we know to get the most out of an experience, we have to bring the most into it. Our best into it.

To get the most out of an experience with our kids, we have to bring our best into it.

When my kids remember their childhood. I want them to remember fun experiences. But I also want them to remember happy parents in those experiences.

A mom who is at peace.
A dad who is present.
A family where stressed out wasn’t the norm.

Emotions make great memories. And to have the right kind of emotions, sometimes we have to say no to some things to make room for the emotions we want to last a lifetime.

I want my kids to remember…

Those only come when you give them space.
We are sowing “no’s” now so we can reap the kind of memories we want to have later.

We can’t do it all, which means not every memory can be made. But that’s okay. Because when we push ourselves too hard for too long for the sake of making memories, the only memories our kids make are of tired and grumpy parents who just need to sit down for a minute.

So figure out what matters to you. When we start to pare down our crowded calendar, we’ll start to get a clearer idea of what actually matters—and not just entertains us.

As we pare down our busy calendar, we’ll start to get a clearer idea of what actually matters.

As we are on the brink of a season celebrating gratitude, peace, joy and connection with the people we love, we have the opportunity to dictate whether our calendars will rob us of those very things, or whether we will call the shots.

We can’t do it all. We don’t have to do it all. Don’t be afraid to say “no” this season so you can say “yes” to the sort of memory-making you want to go the distance in your kid’s lives—memories of a fun experience and happy parents.

Because when they get both, everyone wins. And mom and dad won’t need a nap.

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.

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