Blog, Mission Ideas

Service Ideas: “Love” Month

IMG_1656.PNG

My oldest came home the other day talking all about Valentines Day but she kept referring to it as  “Love Day”. It made me giggle a little bit to hear her call it that, but It also got me thinking about what we celebrate and why and how and why it couldn’t be more than just one day. What if we set aside time throughout the month, and really the whole year, to love and be loved. 

How can you love others well this month? Maybe you need to slow down and show love within the four walls of your home? Maybe you need to walk across the street and show love to the new neighbor that just moved in? Maybe you need to share love to the complete stranger who you pass in the grocery store?

Here are just a few ways we hope to show love around our home:

1. Valentines Mail  –  Before the little ones came along, we would write little notes on hearts, put in a “mailbox” and enjoy opening them up randomly each day leading up to Valentine’s Day. Now with the little ones, they LOVE checking the mailbox and hanging their heart mail throughout the month.  We write things we love about each other, silly jokes, or just a quick hello – whatever we want to say!

2.  Loving Others Sticker Challenge  –  Throughout the month, we are going to play a little game if you will. Each time I see the girls loving and serving others, we’re going to get a heart sticker on our Love Month Heart.  Stickers could come for helping our sister pick up their room, feeding Nola without being asked, helping mommy make cookies for others, being kind and loving with our words and any other “act of love”.  There are lots of things that you can do with the game board once it’s full like give prizes, etc., but we will just be celebrating all the stickers and all the loving! Have fun being creative with it and see how much love you can share!

3. Sharing the Love – Last year the girls and I had such a fun time making and decorating cookies and delivering them to some of our homeless friends. We plan on doing that again this year and making sure they continue to feel extra loved on a day when they are often forgotten.

How will you be celebrating “Love Month” with your little one? It’s so fun to share our ideas and pictures to encourage one another. Be sure to tag us @onmissionmoms so we can all see and celebrate loving and serving others.

For more ideas and ways to serve others, be sure to click over to our Pinterest Board too!

Blog

I’ll do my part…

We’ve come a long way but I believe we still have an even longer way to go when it comes to racial equality and truly loving and respecting those that are different from us.

I have to be honest – I have so much more to learn from my brothers and sisters of different races, cultures, and nationalities. My parents did an amazing job teaching me to love all people – but I’m still a white young mama who hasn’t really ever experienced racism toward me in my life. Yes, I’ve lived in different cultures and been the only white gal in a store, but still I can’t truly understand. I’m kinda clueless honestly…

I can try though.

I can meet a friend from a different race for coffee and ask her to tell me what it’s like and I can listen. I can speak out for those that are forgotten and downright mistreated. I can also speak out against things that I know go against Gods word even when it might “cost” me. I can share with my daughters the truth about slavery and injustice and equality in ways that they understand at their age. (And my oldest has already been asking! So I’m answering so I know she gets the answer I long for her to hear – not the world’s answer)

I can do my part.

Will you do yours?

Here are a few great books to help guide you as you share with your little ones:

What resources have you come across to help your little ones understand, love and value all people?

(On Mission Moms does receive a small portion of your purchase if you use the links above! Thanks for supporting us!)
Blog, Friday Faves

Friday Favorites!

IMG_1536.PNG

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Friday Favorites, but I’ve come across quite a few really super cute, fun and important things lately and couldn’t help but share them with you this week!

dozen_easter_eggs_001_400x400.jpg

Picture taken from Mercy House Global
  1. Felt Easter Eggs – Mercy House Global

These are super cute and who says you have to use the plastic eggs for your Easter basket?! Also these help change the lives of some pretty beautiful ladies from Street Hope, one of their artisan groups. You can read more about Street Hope on their website. 

 

IMG_1534.JPG

Picture taken from Kids Read Truth
  1. Scripture ABC Cards – Kids Read Truth

We have a scripture that we use with the girls each week but what better way to reinforce scripture and help them learn their letters at the same time – and these cards are just beautiful! 

  1. World Watch List- Open Doors  

Do you know the top 50 places around the world where it’s hardest for our brothers and sisters to follow Jesus? Open Doors just released their 2019 Watch List and it’s interesting to me to see what countries make the list each year and how some countries have been on this list for years and years. Be sure to download the list, read the stories from those living there, and pray for each country that is listed. Maybe pray for a country each week? 

  1. Qadimi Rugs

I have a dear friend who is doing great work in one of the countries listed above. The ladies she works with recently released a new line of beautiful rugs. If you are looking for a beautiful new rug for your home, why not support the work of women around the world at the same time?! I’m so proud of this sweet friend and ways that the Father is using her gifts and talents to impact the world! You can also follow them over at Instagram  to see all the beautiful work that they are doing. 

 

IMG_0166.JPG

  1. King Cake and praying for New Orleans 

I’ve had lots of questions lately about what is King Cake!?! If you’ve never had one, you have got to try it! This recipe from Brown Eyed Baker is my tried and true one. I’ve tried a few others and added filling but I always come back to this one. (Which by the way, I don’t know this beautiful lady or blog but her king cake recipe is legit!)  Or if you would rather just use a mix (no shame!) you can purchase them from our Amazon On Mission Moms Link! (we do receive a small portion of your purchase so thanks for supporting us!) 

What fun resources have you come across this week that will help you and other mamas live “On Mission”? Share with us and encourage others!

Also be sure to check out some of our latest posts with resources and ideas for you and Follow along over on Pinterest to see some other great ideas!

Blog, On Mission

Hitting the Pause Button

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it really means to be an “On Mission Mom” and if you saw one of our latest posts, I shared my own heart and calling that it is my job, our job, to expose our littles to the world and the needs around them. We can’t raise world changers if we never show them that there is a world out there that needs to be changed.

IMG_1504.PNG

However, I, and maybe you too, get busy and overwhelmed and I’m just happy to be surviving day by day at times. Like some times I’m over the moon happy that my dinner wasn’t a fail and the girls actually ate it, and they were playing quietly with playdoh when daddy got home instead of wrestling in the living room floor (I thought that was a boy thing?!?)  and the laundry got moved from the washing machine to the dryer in a timely manner, not two days later! Yikes…  and then we crash into bed and do it all over again the next day and before I know it, I’ve not shared Christ with one person that I’ve met in the last month and I’ve not served anyone else in any capacity… you get the picture…

That has had me thinking a LOT about why and what is sucking my time and joy and life at times.  AND, I’m not sure that is what God intends for our lives and for motherhood. Yes, this season is hard. Yes, it’s busy. But sometimes, I wonder if it’s busy and hard because I’ve filled it with things to make it busy and hard. Or maybe my priorities or expectations aren’t set in the right place. I often say with my lips that I want to raise world changers, but the decisions I make day to day and how I plan and spend my time, doesn’t always reflect that.

If I truly want to raise little world changers, then I have to do the work. I have to live in my calling as a wife and mom. I have to plan and invest my time in to those eternal things — it’s just not going to happen on its own.  I have to say yes to some things and I have to say no to some things and honestly, that’s hard and sometimes just stinks and apart from Christ, I can’t make those decisions.  I’ve been reminded over these last couple weeks that I must remain close and connected to Christ, my true vine. I also must seek out wisdom and encouragement from other mamas who desire the same thing — that’s you!

img_1442

More than anything I want On Mission Moms to be a place where we can land and be encouraged to keep our focus and our heart on what truly matters, the eternal things — raising littles to love Jesus and love others. And sometimes that means that we have to hit the pause button and do some real evaluating and seeking and asking to make sure that we haven’t veered off of the course.

So, where is your time being spent? 

Where are your finances and resources being spent? 

Who or what are you saying yes to? Does it matter for eternity?

Does that line up with God’s calling on your life
to raise littles to love Jesus and serve others? 

What is Christ asking you to do about it? 

As I spend the rest of the month of January looking at what it truly means to be an On Mission Mom, I pray you will join me. That you will hit the pause button, ask the hard questions of yourself (and answer them honestly), and recommit to doing the work — to focusing your (my) heart on what truly matters.

Join us over in our Facebook Group and share your thoughts and what God is teaching you about being an On Mission Mom!

Blog, Mission Ideas

Prayer Meal: New Orleans

I’m always super eager to pack up the Christmas decor around the first or so of January because I know that my next favorite season is coming up soon after – Mardi Gras! Throughout the months of January and February this year,  people in New Orleans (and all over the world) are celebrating Carnival. I’ll be the first to admit, I love a fun parade and all the beads and ridiculous trinkets that we stand for hours to catch as floats pass by. If you have never been to New Orleans, you really need to go – it’s so much more than Mardi Gras and what you see on TV. It’s an amazing city filled with incredible people! Can you tell how much I miss living in that city!?!

This month I will be preparing a yummy New Orleans meal probably more than once. I gotta squeeze in my favorite red beans and rice, jambalaya and maybe even some gumbo. I will also be making King Cake and hopefully trying my hand at pralines (pronounced correctly, of course!).  Be sure to check our our Pinterest page for all the yummy recipes and fun Mardi Gras activities that you could do with your little ones to lead you to the most important thing – to pray for that great city and her people.

img_0166

New Orleans Prayer Meal Idea

Red Beans & Rice

Salad

French Bread

King Cake

There are several great churches doing great work in the city of New Orleans and I wish that I could highlight them all. As my family enjoys our yummy meal of red beans and rice this Mardi Gras season, we will be praying for many of our friends and churches including Page & Ashley and their fun family at Canal Street Church. Pray that this church (and many others) will have lots of opportunities to serve the thousands of tourists that come to New Orleans during these weeks. Pray for open doors and conversations that lead to life change and salvations.  Praise the Lord for families like Page & Ashley and others who serve Jesus so faithfully with their families in this great city. And if you are ever visiting NOLA, be sure to stop in and worship with them!

Here are some fun things that you can add to your Mardi Gras dinner to make it more festive! (These are affiliate links so On Mission Moms does receive a super small portion of any purchase that you make! Thanks for supporting our work!)

(If you aren’t up to making your own King Cake or Red Beans & Rice, these are a “great” quick way to enjoy a taste of New Orleans and still pray for this great city, although not quite the “real” thing. )

*The links above are great recipes that I’ve prepared myself; however, there are LOTS of other great recipes over on our Pinterest page too! I’m not endorsing these particular websites.  Be sure to share your favorite Mardi Gras or New Orleans recipe with us in the comments below or over in our Facebook Group!

Blog

A New Year and Exposure

exposed
source unknown – found on Pinterest

I came across this pic the other day over on Pinterest and while it made me giggle just a bit, it also caused me to take a pretty long pause.  It reminded me of the deep importance of my job as a mama to my little gals. While I pray often that they would have a personal relationship with Jesus, have a deep burden for the lost, and care about serving others – it’s not really my “job” to make them “catch” that burden. It is however my job to expose them to the need and the opportunity and the lostness all around them.

But the question that I often ask myself is, am I exposing them to those things?  Am I putting before them the “eternal” things that really matter? Are they seeing in me a burden for the lost? Are they watching me stop to give someone a bottle of water or point them to the nearest homeless shelter – or are they watching me walk by without a care? Are they hearing me pray for my lost friend who desperately needs Jesus and then sharing truth with that friend? Are they seeing me seek reconciliation and forgiveness when I’ve done wrong? Are they seeing me praying for the nations?

I desire more than anything to be intentional about exposing our gals to Jesus and ways that they can serve and love Him and others and  I see that fleshing itself out in several ways:

  1. Making sure that we (my hubby and I) are in the Word of God together as a family. The Bible is the most important book that we will ever read together and on our own. God speaks through His word so therefore we must be reading it and seeking wisdom from it. My deepest burden for serving others has to start here.
  2. Putting before them opportunities to “go”. Maybe it’s across the street to the neighbors house because we baked them cookies after their baby was born. Maybe it’s encouraging them to use their own money to buy supplies for a children’s shelter. Maybe it’s stopping to pray for a different country each night at dinner. The list goes on – but I gotta do the work to create that list. That part is my job. My four year and two year old aren’t going to ask me to teach them about other countries. They can’t plan a playdate where they focus on prayer walking or go Christmas caroling at a nursing home. But I can, if I take the time and do the work which Christ has called me too.
  3. Evaluating my own heart to see if I truly have a burden for the lost? How do I spend my time? How do I spend my money (says a LOT about what I value!) Do I intentionally pray, give, go, welcome, and send in my own heart and life?  And then how does that show up in the life of my children.

As we begin a New Year here over at On Mission Moms, I’m looking forward to seeing how we will lead our little ones to love Jesus and serve Him together and it starts with me, with you. So let’s expose them to all the things that will draw them closer to Christ and His work around the world!

Here are just a few resources to begin to expose them to the world around them:

(These are affiliate links and @OnMissionMoms does receive a super small portion if you purchase them from the link above. Thanks for supporting our work!)

 

Follow along over at our On Mission Mom Pinterest Page for other fun ideas, recipes, books, activities and more that will help you be an On Mission Mom!

Blog, On Mission

Thoughts on Christmas Traditions

Several other mamas have asked me recently about our family traditions during Christmas or Advent. Honestly, I feel like we are just establishing those traditions and learning and growing as our little ones are fairly young and have struggled to put my thoughts into words this season. I know, rare for me!  But I asked my friend and another On Mission Mom, Kylie, to share her thoughts on Christmas traditions with her family and a new one that her fun family started this year – The Giving Manger! Her kiddos are a few years ahead of mine and they have had a few “extra” years to really establish the traditions. I also just totally respect the wisdom and intentionality she and her hubby, Eric have in discipling and leading their fun, sweet, and talented kiddos!

IMG_0735.JPG

I love Christmas.  I love the traditions.  I love the sights and sounds.  The familiarity. The time with family.  And I love the gift giving.  Really.  Nothing makes me happier than finding the perfect gift for a special friend or family member. 

But that is, as Eric will tell you, as much of a curse as it is a blessing.  As with most parents at this time of year, we find ourselves fighting the temptation to overindulge (and by “we,” I actually mean “I”).  To give in. To over-do. And to justify/excuse/dismiss it all by claiming that we are doing it in the “spirit of Christmas.” 

But, we are finding that it IS possible to steer your kids away from consuming and toward contributing.  Away from commerce and toward compassion.  It takes intentionality.  But it is absolutely possible.  And absolutely worth it. So, here are our ideas—please, take them and make them your very own!

Thankful Tree:  Instead of decorating our tree with traditional ornaments, we spend time every night of Advent doing a family devotion with our Jesse Tree (more on that in just a second) and as part of that devotion, we make it a point each night to identify and discuss one thing/person/experience for which we are thankful. We then write those down on gift tags (generally of the nondescript, burlap variety) and hang those on our tree instead.  By the time Christmas Day arrives, we have a tree showcasing the multitude of blessings that God has already given us.  His faithfulness in the past sets the stage for that same faithfulness in our future and sometimes it’s a really good exercise to slow down and reflect on that and to be reminded of the immaterial gifts that have shaped us and made us who we are.

Jesse Tree:  I can’t encourage this enough.  This was the tradition that started it all for our family.  For those of you who haven’t discovered the joy of a Jesse Tree experience, please just take my word for it and commit to making it part of your yearly celebration. There are tons of variations and resources–and you can personalize it for your family.  For ours, we have a scraggly, pre-lit, needleless tree that remains dark as we work our way through the different Old Testament stories and prophecies that point us to the coming Messiah.  On Christmas morning, we do the final devotion of the year, hang the final ornament on the tree and light the scraggly, leafless tree, symbolizing the power of the incarnation and the moment at which the darkness of humanity collided with the light of Christ.  Interestingly, we’ve expanded this tradition for use during Lent, too, as we look toward Christ’s death and resurrection.  And since the two presentations are similar in nature, it really helps us underscore to our children that Christianity spans the spectrum from the cradle to the cross. 

Giving Manger:  This is our newest tradition and one that my family has embraced wholeheartedly.  Again, we use it in conjunction with our Jesse Tree devotions each night, but in this exercise, we turn our sights outward to those within our circle of influence.  Our classmates.  Our coworkers.  Our teammates.  People in our neighborhood.  And this  year, we are specifically trying to be intentional about “seeing” the overlooked.  We are praying for Christ’s eyes for the world.  And once we see them, we seek to figure out a way that we can bless them in a tangible (but not necessarily financial) way.  For each “good deed” that is performed, we add a piece of straw to the wooden manger in an effort to “prepare the manger of our heart” for the arrival of our Savior.  Again, just our attempt to keep our focus centered on Christ and others instead of on “me and my,” during a time of year when the latter seems much more prevalent than the former.

Our three “go to” activities to offset this kind of built in consumerism are battle tested and (believe it or not) kid-approved.  In fact, they have become our three favorite traditions of the season!  If you have any questions or need direction about resourcing your own traditions, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to share my sources with you!  Merriest of Christmases to you and yours!

What do you do with your little ones to help set your heart on Christ during the Christmas and Advent season ? Here is a link to the resources that Kylie mentioned above:

giving manger amazon pic.jpg

The Giving Manger

 

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift – a Jesse Tree Resource

Also join us over on our On Mission Moms Pinterest Page for more Christmas and Advent ideas!

*Affiliate links are included above and On Mission Moms does receive a small portion of any purchase that you make using those links.