Blog

National Book Lover’s Day!

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Today just happens to be National Book Lovers Day and what better way to expose our little ones to other cultures than through reading books! Most of us can’t pack up and go to these different countries, but we can read to our little ones and help them understand a little of what it’s like to live in a country far away or live in a different culture 

Here are some of my favorite books that we have on our book shelf right now or we’ve grabbed from the library recently:

 

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My Name is Yoon

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The Name Jar

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Rain School 

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We all went on Safari 

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How many Donkeys? 

And here are a couple of my favorite missional books to encourage our Mama hearts: 

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Raising World Changers in a Changing World

Kristen Welch

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Imperfect Courage 

Jessica Honegger

*This book is set to release NEXT week! I was able to be a part of the Book Launch Team and had my hands on a prerelease copy and it’s GOOD! 

 

What books are your favorite to read or to read to your little ones?! 

 

*I am not being compensated for sharing any of these books or links to Amazon, just love them and want to share the love! 

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Blog, Mission Ideas

Prayer Walking Scavenger Hunt: Free Printable

 

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If you have followed along for any length of time around here, you will see that one of the most talked about activities for us to use with our children is prayer walking. Our little town has made it so very easy to go for a quick prayer walk around the city center by installing these really cool lightbulbs. So we’ve gone on several prayer walks through our city on a hunt for lightbulbs. So much so that when my four year old finds a new lightbulb, she makes us stop and pray. (Haha)

Prayer walking is easy and fun and a great way to expose our little ones to the constant need for prayer. It also helps them see the needs around them and emphasizes the importance of praying right then. And of course there is always the added bonus of helping them think of other things and people besides themselves. And to top it off, what little one doesn’t love to go on a fun scavenger hunt?!

As the new school year begins, we’ve created a fun “Back to School” Scavenger Hunt Printable that you can print and use with your little ones as you prayer walk at their school or a school in the neighborhood.

As a family you can look for the items and stop and pray together. If you’re one of those competitive families though, make a game out of it and see who can find and pray for the most items in a certain amount of time. Whatever you do, let’s make praying fun! Let’s encourage our little ones to see things like flag poles, school buses, and crayons differently this year!  And most importantly, let’s begin our school year by praying!


Back to School Prayer Walk Printable

 

And as you’re starting the school year, be sure to check out the Back To School Tips for you and your family to start the school year ON Mission!

Be sure to post pics in our On Mission Moms Facebook Group of your fun Scavenger Hunt Prayer Walk or tag us at @OnMissionMoms!
Please only use the printable for your personal use! 

 

Blog, Mission Ideas, Uncategorized

Heading Back to School

It feels like this summer has FLOWN by for us! It was my first summer at home with the girls full time and in between visits with their cousins, Vacation Bible School, swim lessons, and play dates, we enjoyed just being together. If I’m honest though, I’m kinda sad that they will be heading back to school in just a couple weeks. I know that not everyone feels that way though! I have several friends who are counting the hours down! That may be me by next week! HA!

As we are gearing up for school this coming year, I am beginning to think of ways that we need to get ready. Yes, we will be buying the school supplies and the new backpack. (Who knew that preschoolers needed school supplies!?!) But I also want to prepare their hearts to go back too. I want them to see this as a new year, a new start, and new opportunities to see others around them.

Here are some ideas for us as we head back:

  1. PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!  Begin praying even now before you go back. Pray with your kiddos for their new school year. Pray for their teacher. Pray for their friends who they already know and for the new friends that they will make. Pray for the administration of their schools and for those in authority over them this coming year. Invite and encourage them to pray for these things too! Meet up with other parents and friends and prayer walk at your school too! I know locally there are several prayer walks that happen at schools at the beginning of each year. Join one or organize one!
  2. Look for the NEW Families! This is fresh on my mind this year because my girls will be the new kids this year. We’ve loved our previous preschool but when I resigned my position, we also made the decision to move them to a preschool that was closer to where we lived. As my four year old was chatting with me before bed the other evening, she shared that one thing she was nervous about was not having any friends. She’s four and already feels the pain of not knowing anyone. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the third grader or the eighth grader or even the senior in high school. Let’s be parents that open our hearts and our lives to the new and encourage our kids to do the same! Encourage them to play with them, invite them in, make them feel at home. And let’s do the same for the new mamas too!
  3. Be FOR your child’s teacher! I believe that teachers have one of the hardest jobs – hands down! Not only do they have to be at their best all day for 20-30 children at a time, they have to answer to the authority over them, and meet state and national requirements, all the while keeping parents pleased too… whew, that’s tough! Let’s do our best to offer encouragement to our teachers, to be patient with them, to back them (maybe even if we don’t agree with them). You can do that by asking them what they need, showing up to offer help when they need it, sending a goody or two (even when it’s not a holiday), thanking them. We never know what battles our teachers are facing – they are people just like you and I and sadly, many people forget that during the course of the school year.
  4. Be involved! Sign up to go on that field trip. Help with that class party. Check to see if you can read to your child’s class. Ask how you can be involved. As believers, we have lots of opportunities to shine the light of Christ in our child’s classroom. Don’t miss those opportunities. For mamas that are working, many times there are morning activities for children who have to arrive early. Several years ago, I had a fun opportunity to go and read to kids who arrived early at a local school. It was early but it was fun and all I had to do was read, which was about all I could muster so early! ha Look for ways to use your gifts too. Some schools have book clubs, drama clubs, art clubs, computer clubs,  running clubs, and so on… Just ask how you can get plugged in! And keep asking!
  5. Serve kids and families in need. There are many kids who will come to school with your kiddo who may or may not have enough to eat or clean underwear.  They will head out on Friday unsure of what they will eat over the weekend too.  There are ministries that provide a backpack of food for a child to take home on Friday and return on Monday to receive it again the following week. Donate canned goods, your time or financially to those ministries. Also many schools have food pantries or keep extra clothes for those families that need assistance. While teachers and administration can’t give you specific children and families, they can share the needs with you.  Just be sure to keep your eyes and your hearts and your hands open. Also, just know that many teachers take it upon themselves to buy that new pair of shoes for the child in their class who’s shoes have fallen apart. So maybe you could send a teacher a gift card to help with those items too!

I’m mostly new at this heading back to school thing, so what ideas have you put in to practice to help you and your kiddos get ready to head back to school! Let’s share our ideas and encourage one another as a new school year kicks off!

Blog, On Mission

Serving with Your Little Ones

Each summer my nieces (ages 11 and 9) come down and spend about two weeks with us and it’s always super fun! This year we had the fun opportunity to all serve together at The Bridge, a ministry of our church, that helps others in our neighborhood with financial, food, and clothing needs. It’s pretty dear to my heart so it was the perfect place for us all to serve together. After our time serving, I shared a few pictures over on Instagram and was so encouraged by several of my friends who reached out to say that they really wanted to start serving with their little ones too, but weren’t sure exactly how to get started or connected. I also realized that I’ve never really shared any insight to serving with little ones although that is a pretty big piece behind my desire to start up On Mission Moms (duh….)

So here goes:

1. Know your children! That seems kind of silly to say but it has to be said here. If you know your little one can probably only stay focused for an hour or so, you don’t want to volunteer little “Suzy” for a four hour shift. Or if your child struggles with carrying or lifting heavy items, you probably shouldn’t sign up sweet “Bobby” for unloading the food truck with 10 pallets of #10 cans. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean they can, and you have to keep in mind that the experience is not really about you.

2. Get connected with the right place to serve! What does your child like to do? What are they good at? What does a specific ministry do? How can they use your gifts and talents and the gifts of your little ones? What rules or policies do they have in place for volunteers? There are tons of great ministries out there – soup kitchen, homeless shelters, children’s shelters, community centers, pregnancy centers, and on and on but they may not always be the best fit for a four year old or a twelve year old. One way to do that is to email or call them and chat and ask questions like “Can my four year old serve?” “What types of things would my eight year old be doing?”, “what do you expect from my family if we volunteer?” It may also take a few times and a few different places before you find your sweet spot of service!

3. Keep the end goal in mind! I’m a “doer”. When I serve, I wanna put my head down, get my hands dirty and just get to it; however, when Ivey and my nieces are with me… my goals and responsibilities have to change. My desire when I serve with them is that they have the opportunity to actually serve. So I may never get to stack a can, hand out a bag of food, help a shopper pick out food they like or hang a stitch of clothing, but if I have led my little one to do that, then we have had a great day! It won’t be as productive but they will walk away having a fun experience and a chance to learn. My expectations have to be that of what a four year old can get done not what a nearly 40 year old mom can do! And the expectations of the ministry site must be the same too! If they are expecting you to unload those pallets and your six year old can barely lift a pound of potatoes, there might be unmet expectations and frustrations all around!

4. Be ready to follow up and debrief with your child. They may have questions like “Why don’t these friends have food?”, “Can we take home some juice and chips?”, “Where does all this food and clothing come from?”, “Why does he smell funny?”. Also, be ready to help them walk through their experience. With my four year old, I ask questions like “What was your favorite thing about serving this morning?”, “What did you not like about serving.” “Why do you think we should serve others?” Help them begin to process the “whys” behind it all. They may not understand it all completely and that is okay but help them process. Pray with them about their day and experience.

5. Make it relational and personal! This is pretty important to me because while it’s important to help our little ones hang clothes and sort food, it’s even more important for our little ones to begin to “see” people. Look for opportunities to let them interact with those that are being served. Introduce yourself and your children. Ask your new friend their name. This really depends on the place of service and what they will allow a volunteer to do. I’m so thankful that at the Bridge we had an opportunity to help a couple ladies shop for their food. The girls got to hold their bags and we got to introduce ourselves to them. We got to talk about foods we each loved or didn’t like. How do you cook an artichoke?! It led to great opportunities later to pray for them too, by name. The day was fun because we served together, but it was also fun because we made a new friend!

Above all, just serve! It doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t always have to know all the answers, you may or may not even interact with people, but just get to it! Your little one will love it and when they begin to serve at a young age, it begins to build in them a foundation of service and a love for others!

Have you had an opportunity to serve with your children? If so, what tips would you add to the list? Comment below!

Blog

Sharing Our Story

We all meet new mamas – at the park, at the pool, and of course, at our favorite Chick-fil-A play area. For me, It usually starts with basic introductions and claiming the wild child climbing backwards up the slide. But it usually doesn’t move past that basic “get to know ya” conversation.  And besides, It’s usually five minutes into a conversation when my oldest has to run to the potty. Or is it three minutes? 

Lately that has kind of bothered me though. I’m not okay with surface conversation. I’m not okay with just the nice “how are ya’s”, especially if I don’t know the lady I’m chatting with and I’m not even sure if she knows or loves Jesus. And maybe, Jesus sent her my way for a specific opportunity to hear about Him… (Or maybe, He sent her into my life to encourage me and teach me something new? but neither of us know because we can’t get past the weather!)

I’ve been reading from Romans lately about having beautiful feet. I’ve heard that passage a lot, but I usually think about it in the context of “going overseas”. But I’m pretty sure those gospel feet apply to each of us, right where are – at the park, pool, and the playground. It also applies to our homes too.  

So why don’t we? Why don’t I open my mouth and share my story and the gospel of Christ at work in my life? It’s usually because I begin to think crazy thoughts like, “how can I share my story about Jesus, I just yelled at my child on the way here for hitting her sister.” And mostly, if I’m truly honest, it’s just my own fear and pride that keeps me silent. We speak nice things about the weather, the cute dress her daughter is wearing, or how well behaved her children are because they are actually going down the right way on the slide. But I never get to the gospel or what Christ is doing in my life. 

Sharing our story is simple. It’s really just three simple questions. 

Who was I before Christ? 

How did I come to know Christ? 

And How is Christ working in my life today? 

And the cool thing – it doesn’t have to be super long. I mean, like three minutes because if your kiddos are like mine, that’s really all the time you have anyway, right? 

So can you answer those questions and share your story? I recently met with two sweet gals who were heading to share Christ overseas and as I introduced myself to them, I shared my story in about four minutes then I challenged them to share their story with me. I encouraged them to practice and be ready. We even laughed and talked about how we can even practice in the shower or driving down the road – the more you say it, the more comfortable you will be and the more you will share.

As I’m meeting new friends, I want to see and seize every opportunity to share about Christ and what He is doing in my life.  Let’s move past the weather or how hard or fun or challenging these days are as mamas, and let’s offer them Christ. Let’s share what He is doing in our lives! Christ is all they need anyway, right? 

Who can you share your story with today? Are you ready? 

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Mission Ideas

Idea: July Prayer Meal

 

Throughout July, we often think of a pretty important holiday for America and we celebrate with yummy burgers and hotdogs, corn on the cob, and apple pie. During this month, we decided to stick a bit closer to home and focus on a city and work in the USA so we will be praying for Rob & Annabeth Wilton as they are planting Vintage Church in Pittsburgh. They have already started the work there and will be officially moving there with their fun kiddos toward the end of the summer.

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We’ve actually never been to Pittsburgh, (yet…) but as they have been preparing and our church has been praying for them, we’ve been learning lots of fun things about this city. Did you know that the Klondike Bar is made there? Yep – that yummy goodness which always reminds me of my grandmother because she always had a box in her freezer. Pittsburgh also has more bridges than Venice – over 450 of them to be exact!  Also, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was right outside of Pittsburgh and he called the area home. Public TV was started there… Heinz Ketchup began there… so many fun facts!  And now it’s going to be the home of a great new church!

This month, as we pray for the Wilton Family and the other families that will be joining them, we will be praying and asking God for many more to be transformed by the gospel in that great city!

We will also be enjoying our rendition of a Pittsburgh sandwich. They are famous for putting cole slaw and french fries on their sandwiches…. weird yet yummy!

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Photo from https://www.macheesmo.com/primanti-style-sliders/

I also can’t NOT do a yummy Klondike Dessert! Yes, Please!!

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As you enjoy this yummy meal,  pray for the Wiltons as they make this move and adjust to a new city and make it home! Pray for their four kiddos as they begin school, make new friends and share Jesus too! Pray for several other families that will be making this move with them. Pray for the right connections and favor with their neighbors. Pray for other pastors and churches to get on board and support the work that is being done through Vintage. Pray that the gospel will be proclaimed through word and deed. Pray that many in Pittsburgh will come to know Christ through Vintage Church.  You can learn more about Vintage Church Pittsburgh here!

Be sure to capture a pic of your family prayer meal and let the Wilton’s know you are praying for them!

Blog, Mission Ideas

Summer of Service Fun

I absolutely love summer! Growing up, my father was a peach farmer so our days and especially the early mornings were spent on the farm, tromping through the fields, running in and out of the big cooler, hauling boxes and boxes of yumminess from S.C. to GA to TN and beyond. Looking back it was the best childhood, but I think I’ve blocked out the itchy peach fuzz, the 4am wake up calls, and the nasty peach smell coming from the rotten bin.

Summer also reminds me of family mission trips together. Each year, starting as early as third grade, my family along with many other families from our church, would pack up our vans and drive a few hours away and serve together for a week. The men mostly worked on construction of the church that hosted us, while the ladies and kiddos would lead backyard bible clubs in the morning and evening in nearby neighborhoods. We would also enjoy all our meals together prepared by some of the best ladies! It was the best and it laid a foundation in my life that loving Jesus was my priority and serving others was an expression of my love for Him. Those summers, all the way in to high school, were life changing for me and my family. We still reminisce about our summer mission trips together.

Summer can be such a fun time with our little ones and family, and it gives us great opportunities to share Jesus with others, but we must be intentional about our time and selfless with our lives and love. I would encourage you to look at your family and your time this summer and ask God to show you ways to be about the things that matter for eternity!

Here are some simple ideas to serve this summer!

1. PrayerWalk

Organize a prayer walk with your family or maybe a few other mama friends. Spend time walking in your town, around your schools, in your neighborhood and pray! Teach your children how to prayer walk. It’s just walking with purpose! Maybe end the walk with a special treat from the Icecream shop or the snocone shack!

2. Special Treats for Special People

Make some yummy IceCream or treats and take them to special friends like our police officers, fire fighters, ems. Or maybe take some to the construction crew that is working down the street in your neighborhood. Or maybe be on the lookout for your mail lady or ups delivery guy. Think of those that are out in the heat and could use some extra loving! Be sure to attach a note or card and share scripture or encouragement!

3. Lemonade Stand

Set up a lemonade stand and donate all the money that you raise to a local missions opportunity, to a friend going on a mission trip, or to a missionary serving overseas. Surprise them with the donation! Then spend time praying for BIG things this summer through that financial gift and gift of time.

4. Bottled Water giveaway

Get some super cold bottles of water and give it away to homeless friends on a super hot day. Sit and enjoy a conversation with them if they have the time, even though you’re hot!

5. Neighborhood Block Party

Plan a party or BBQ for neighbors to all get together and fellowship. Have fun together! Enjoy a yummy meal! Pull out the sprinklers or the water balloons and games. But Look for opportunities to share Christ during the night!

What other fun ideas do you have for your family this summer? How can you serve where you are? Share your ideas so we can learn from one another! And check out our Pinterest page for more ideas!