Tuesday, November 20, 2012

$100 to Your Charity of Choice - Encouraging Character

We have so very much to be thankful for and to give to others. Sometimes during the holidays we get too busy with our own families to reach out to others, or sometimes we just can't think of a good family-friendly place to help.

This season, I would like to offer you a little incentive to share your ideas of how you get your family involved in showing God's love and generosity during the holidays.

I am going to mail a $100 check to someone made out to their favorite charity! It could be you!

All you have to do for your chance to win is:
1. Go to the comment section on my website (TheCharacterMom.com) within the next two weeks.
2. Post a picture of your child or the charity that your family likes to help with or give to.
3. Write a brief comment explaining why or how you like to help this charity.

Deadline for posting is Wednesday, Dec. 4.
I will announce the winner on Monday, Dec. 10th!
(You will have until the following Monday to claim your prize.)

I have posted the first one to give you an example. Watch a short video about the Kingdom Kids Christmas where my family and I have already given to this year.
Thanks for sharing about how you like to share God's love in a practical way during the holidays!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Give Thanks in ALL Things? Really? - Thanksgiving

Are we really supposed to be thankful in ALL things? Seriously?

God's Word says,
"Give thanks IN ALL circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."             - I Thessalonians 5:18

So does this mean when we go around the table at Thanksgiving, instead of saying we are thankful for our family, friends, food, health, etc.; We should say, "This year I am thankful for natural disasters, orphans in Africa, and suicide bombers?" 

Since Thanksgiving is coming up, this week I was feeling guilty for not feeling very grateful for ALL things including lice, throw-up, and seizures. Then I realized that God's will for me was just to have a grateful heart IN all circumstances not FOR all circumstances.

Last Thanksgiving, I remember being surprised when my sister, Mandy, said she was thankful for her eyesight. This was an odd answer since it was not a typical Thanksgiving answer, and since Mandy had recently lost her peripheral vision.

Here, Mandy was perfectly demonstrating how to, "Give Thanks in ALL circumstances."
1. She was trusting in Christ that He had a purpose in this new difficulty she was facing.
2. Also, instead of focusing on the negative that she had lost sight,
    she found a new appreciation and gratefulness for the sight that she still had left.  
    She has always reminded me a little bit of Polly Anna
     (- finding the good in bad situations and a little bit of a goody-two-shoes:))

A few weeks after Thanksgiving last year, Mandy gave birth to her seventh child, and we found out that Mandy's eyesight problems were caused by a tumor behind her eye, which led to brain surgery in January, which led to a damaging stroke and almost death, which led to a very difficult year for us here on "The Compound".

However, looking back, for every extreme difficulty, I can see:
1. not only God's hand of Providence (He is in perfect control with a purpose for all things), but also
2. an opportunity for a renewed thankfulness for many blessings that we sometimes take for granted.

When overwhelmed with daily difficulties,
 it is hard to find ways to truly be thankful IN ALL circumstances. 

If you are having trouble, try:

1.  Prayer,
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with THANKSGIVING let your request be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4: 6 & 7. 

2.  Playing "The Glad Game" - Putting a Positive Spin on your Problems.
Help your kids practice the essential skill of being thankful IN ALL things by using Pollyanna and her "Glad Game".  I was pleasantly surprised at how good my kids were at finding something good at just about any situation I could throw at them. (You can watch the whole 1960 classic on YouTube to learn more about the Glad Game.)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Try to surprise your family and friends by being GLAD about something different or difficult at your Thanksgiving table. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

3 Easy Steps, Once a Month - We Choose Virtues Review

I was extremely delighted to stumble upon the We Choose Virtues resources on Pinterest.
The creator of We Choose Virtues, Heather McMillan, not only provides beautifully designed professional quality resources to teach your kids character; but she is a kindred soul who organizes her Pinterest boards by character quality just like me (- making it easy to find topical resources.) Follow her on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/WeChooseVirtues/.

My favorite We Choose Virtues resources, is the Virtues Kid's Kit or the Parenting Flashcards ($30.00). They make it easy for my kids to learn and remember specific character qualities using memorable catch phrases and an adorable cartoon character complete with rhyming names, short story, Bible verses, coloring book, and more to illustrate each quality.

Heather recommends a more wholistic approach to using her resources daily. However, since I am so easily overwhelmed, I find it more realistic for me to use her great resources to teach one quality a month in 3 easy steps. Each month:

1. Resource from We Choose Virtues - Hang up the Focus Flashcard on the Fridge -As I hang it up, I read the cute short story on the back that introduces the cartoon character to your kids. If you have the kid's kit, have your child color the character as well.

2. Reward - Offer some kind of incentive for when you catch your kids displaying this focus quality - a sticker (sold at We Choose Virtues), marble in a jar for big prize at the end of the month, etc.

3. Reinforce - Use my FREE holiday downloads, to compliment this resource with fun and simple games, activities, crafts, holiday traditions, etc. that also teach the same focus quality. Find these at (http://thecharactermom.com/downloads/ ). (Heather does offer a few teaching ideas on the back of her Parenting Flashcards, but hers seem to be more learning focused while I try to make mine more fun, family-friendly, and holiday tradition focused. I of course, am naturally more partial to my own ideas. Try them both and see which ones work best for your family.)

Don't worry if $30.00 is too pricey for you. Check out We Choose Virtues website or facebook page for regular deals and giveaways from Heather and other bloggers!

Monday, November 12, 2012

FREE Adventures in Odyssey Episodes! - A Weapon for a Veteran Mom

Happy Veteran's Day!

To become a veteran mom, one weapon that will help bring peace to chaotic car rides is one of my all time favorite resources - Adventures in Odyssey from Focus on the Family!

These entertaining episodes of stories on CD will not only give you the gift of quiet car rides (I know you are skeptical but it is true.), but they are also packed full of lessons about:
Christian character,
how to show God's love in practical ways,
Christian World View,
true historical events, and more.

To celebrate Veteran's Day, listen to this FREE Adventures in Odyssey episode at Whitsend.org. In this episode, fictional character Jimmy Barclay becomes a veteran in several different wars while he believes he is in the "Imagination Station" invented by Mr. Whitacker. The Imagination Station is a place where kids can pretend to experience time travel. Really, Jimmy was experiencing something incredibly different. You will have to listen to find out what. (The idea behind this episode was even purchased as a spec for the famous show The Twilight Zone!)

Also, to get ready for Thanksgiving, order the Adventures in Odyssey album "The Truth Chronicles", This 4 CD set has eleven stories on the Power of God's Truth including the true stories of the Pilgrims called the "Stepping Stones".  You can buy the complete set from me for $24.99 (just e-mail me at TheCharacterMom@gmail.com ) or download just the two episode about the Pilgrims straight from Whitsend.org for $2.00 each.

To get a MULTITUDE of MORE FREE episodes, go to faio.org! 

Do you know any great freebee sites like this one?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vote Your Values - Teachable MOMent #9

Cliff Notes on the Candidates
Freedom of Religion, Family, Sanctity of Human Life.... the list goes on and on. There are so many lessons you can teach your kids during this election.  
Just because our kids are too young to vote, does not mean they are too young to learn about the importance of voting and the issues different candidates represent.

People are talking about it everywhere, some schools are even having mock elections. Your kids probably have questions.

Go to this link to print of this Cliff Notes chart from Family Research Council that shows where both Romney and Obama stand on important issues. http://downloads.frcaction.org/EF/EF11L04.pdf
Go to http://www.citizenlinkvoter.com for more info.

Look over this printout with your kid, and ask them which President they would vote for according to their values.

Pray that mighty men and women of God go out and vote their values tomorrow!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Get Ready to Be Grateful - Free Thankfulness Download

My monthly fun and simple download is finally ready!
http://thecharactermom.com/downloads/ to print & view

Get Ready to be Grateful!

Get my monthly download and weekly encouragements the second I publish right in your inbox, by sending me your e-mail address or following me at my real website.

Just click on the cute little frame at the top of the page at TheCharacterMom.com.

Your friend and fellow character mom, Sarah