Saturday, November 1, 2014

There's a First Time for Everything...

Last night was the very first night my kids had actually ever gone trick or treating...door to door...in a neighborhood.



We live on a tiny little dead end street and the other 2 kids who live on our street go trick or treating elsewhere, so we've always just gone to Fall Fests and Carnivals at either our church or other churches.

This year, our church tried something different. And it was awesome! We and several other church members went to a friends house. She lives in a very popular trick or treating neighborhood. We passed out hot dogs, water, balloons, glow sticks, and candy....can't forget the candy ;)

Before the night was over, we were completely out of glow sticks and balloons. Those 2 items were a hit!

The jar with the glow sticks had a Bible verse on it about Jesus being the light of the world. How cool is that?!? Many parents actually read it and commented about it. And, along with the candy in the bags, we also added a small card inviting the kids to come to Awana. Awana is a super fun activity our church offers on Wednesday nights. You can come for a free meal, play games, hear Bible stories, learn Bible verses, and earn awards. The kids love it!

Sometime during the evening, my kids got to go trick or treating...and they had a blast! This was also a great time to talk to our kids about safety ;) We knew several other people in the neighborhood so it was nice visiting with everyone. At one house we went to, my kids just started playing a game of basketball with the other kids at that house while the parents chatted. 

Back at our friend's house, her yard was so full of kids running around, playing football, or just having fun, we couldn't tell the neighborhood kids apart from the church kids. Some kids didn't have anyone walking around with them and others were just dropped off at the neighborhood entrance, so it was great to have a safe place for those kids to go and hang out, eat some food, get a drink, or just rest.

Some people might frown on participating in anything "halloween" related or anything taking place 'outside' of a church carnival or festival. With this being our very first time in a neighborhood trick or treating, I have to admit, I was a little hesitant myself. 

A friend told me several days before tho...."Satan doesn't own Halloween. He doesn't own any day." We have to search our own hearts and convictions and question why we are doing what we are doing. 

Some people might say Satan is getting glorified when others participate in ANY Halloween activities. But is this really true? I personally do not think so. At least not for the people who don't put the focus on evil and dark things. Sure, there will always be those people who choose to put the focus on evil or Satan or witchcraft. They are going to do that regardless of what day it is. We need to be aware those things are going on and we need to pray for the people involved in those things, but should we let those people stop those of us who want to glorify God on this day? (I also took the time yesterday morning to talk about Reformation Day and Martin Luther. This was a pivotal point in church history that is so often overlooked and overshadowed by everything else going on.) I don't want to hide away, lock up my doors and turn out my lights, I do NOT believe the day belongs to Satan and it CAN be redeemed by God. 

What an awesome time to be a witness of God's love and light to others! I so wish I lived in a big neighborhood (at least on Halloween night...lol). I mean, what other time are people willingly going to come to your door looking for a handout?....well, mainly candy, but what a perfect time to give them something more :) Not in an 'in your face', 'shove it down your throat' kind of way either ;)

Last night was about food and drink for tired and hungry kids and parents, a safe place to sit and rest, an invitation to church, bright yellow balloons, and glow sticks with a simple reminder that Jesus is the light of the world. Last night was about getting to chat with old friends, meet new people, and share life with others. 

We loved it and we look forward to doing it again next year!


**Each Christian must search his/her own heart and convictions. It's a matter of conscience before God. Regardless of our levels of participation, we must remember to honor God in all that we do. **




Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes...

I decided to visit my blog today. I haven't been in a while - just haven't had the time.

I read through several posts that were never published (which is probably a good thing ;)  ). Sometimes I just like to get everything out and written down without telling the rest of the world...my way of venting I reckon.

School is in full swing and has been for about a month now; lots of changes taking place this year. 

My daughter is taking competition dance classes at a Christian dance academy. We are SO thankful for Steps of Faith. If it wasn't for this academy, she probably would not be dancing anywhere. The music, the costumes, the movements, etc all bring glory and honor to God. 

My son is in band again. The intermediate band he was in year before last fizzled out. He plays the trumpet. He is excited, but he wasn't thrilled about starting over in a beginner band. It will be good for him especially since he needs the practice after not playing for over a year. His band instructor is great and very experienced; she can meet each child where they are at regardless of skill or experience.

We let go of MFW (for now) in order to try out a fairly new fine arts academy that includes history, art, music, and drama. Letting go of MFW was REALLY tough for me, but I didn't let go completely ;) We plan to add in several of their recommended read-alouds for the 1850's to Modern time period this year. The kids seem excited about Artios Academy - my daughter more so than my son, but I think it will grow on him. If not, we'll change gears and try something different for next year.

We changed math curriculum. We are now using Dive in conjunction with Saxon - so far so good. The work load has doubled (and the kids weren't thrilled about that, but they are adjusting). It is a more thorough curriculum than what we had been using. It gives my daughter the continual practice she needs on past skills and challenges my son to do more difficult problems.

My daughter will also be in an art club this year. She absolutely loves art! I can't really draw, nor do I like to (probably because I'm no good at it), so it will be nice for her to get some solid instruction from an experienced artist.

Then there's 4-H. We are trying that too this year. I know, I'm on overload this year! I'm still trying to figure out how we are going to juggle it all. People who say home schoolers have socialization issues must have never home schooled before because my kids have SO many opportunities to be out and about and around all people groups and walks of life that we have a hard time finding any down time nor can we fit everything in that we'd like to do or be a part of. Anyway, this 4-H group is more for my son. There are TONS of boys in this group, which is awesome, because it is hard to find groups with many boys. They have rocketry, robotics, shooting sports, fishing (possibly), and lots more. There are plenty of things for my daughter to participate in as well, but her plate is already so full that she may not do much outside of the once-a-month club meetings.

There's also AWANA on Wednesday nights at church. LOVE AWANA! The kids memorize Scripture, play fun games, and hear Bible and mission stories. 

They also have an opportunity to be in children's choir, although they are signed up, we haven't made up our minds completely about it yet...just don't know if we can fit it in with everything else we have on our plates :/ We'll just have to see how it all goes. 

We dropped a few mission activities the kids and I had been doing during the day and replaced them with activities we all (including dad) could be involved in. We are looking forward to doing missions together as a family this year as well as focusing more on the people right around us...like our neighbors :) 

Everything kicks in this month...dance, 4-H, Artios, band, etc... This month will be a trial month and we will make the final determination of what ultimately stays or goes. I don't want to be so busy that we don't enjoy anything and just feel like we are running from place to place. If it all works out the way I have it planned out in my mind, it will be fine. 

Ha! We'll see...