Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts

Word for 2021--What inspires you?


Do you pick a word for each year? I started a few years ago. In 2019 my word was flourish, and Hazel picked believe. I spent the year trying to encourage her to believe in herself. In 2020 my word was connect. I hoped to connect with more people as well as God in more meaningful ways. I feel I did connect but not as I expected to due to Covid. As I reflected on words I thought about gratitude and then picked inspire. Hazel is choosing between strength and confidence. I love that she chose those two on her own! It shows so much growth for her this year. (Her new school is such a blessing!) What will your focus for 2021 be? Need some help? I made this word find with over 60 word of the year choices. What are the first four words you see? Do they have meaning for you?

Printable DIY Advent Calendars and Week 1--Hope


Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is always my favorite time of the year. I love the preparation building up to Christmas. It always seems like such a happy time to me. The lights are hung and trees get decorated. People seem a bit more bright and giving. This year even Advent is looking different. We are not physically in church yet, so there isn't the beautiful organ music of Advent songs. But even with Covid the meaning of Advent and Christmas remains. Jesus was born to save us from our sins. To celebrate Advent I created three printable "Advent Calendars". Now we have a beautiful wooden Advent calendar that I need to fill each year. I decided to use one of these in our Advent calendar and one in her lunch box (at least the days she will be in school). The first ones I have to share are the names of Jesus. I made two versions. The first is a small and plain one with the different names in different colors and fonts. 

Where are you from? A Diversity Discussion & Activities

I have to admit I have been disgusted reading much of my Facebook feed lately. I have friends on both sides of the political view and to be quite honest I can't stand posts from either side. I identify myself as a liberal but I also can see some of the conservative side--after all I'm married to a conservative. Awhile ago the discussion turned to President Trump's comment about the four female senators going back to where they came from. As a woman most of the president's comments bother me. As a Christian woman, they really bother me. But truth be told, the man bothered me long before he became our president. That said he is our president so I pray for him and our country and wish him well. But when he says things that insult other leaders of our country I do think he needs to be called out. But this is getting away from where I want this post to go. After that comment a friend from middle and high school posted on her Facebook page her own feelings about being asked "Where are you from?" She is a woman of color. She expressed how hurtful that question can be. After brewing over it all and seeing more than I wanted about politics on both sides in my newsfeed I started thinking about the question.

Kids' Activity Books Review

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of each of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

We have a spring break coming up and then it is almost time for summer break. I don't know about you but I know I will need some ideas to keep Hazel busy. Today I am going to share some fun books for kids that will keep them busy and help them learn! Our first book is from National Geographic Kids and it is Make This! by Ella Schwartz and photographs by Matthew Rakola. 

Books to Find Calm and Peace in our Crazy World -- Mommy Time Review

Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

My focus this year is on taking care of myself. I need to lose weight to be healthier. I want to take the time I need to connect with God. I need to focus on my needs and not always on my family's because that is the only way I will successfully take care of their needs. Today I am going to share with you two amazing book that help me meet these goals. They are life changing!! The first book is Hello Mornings by Kat Lee. 

Two Books for #BlackHistoryMonth and a Personal Journey Brought by One of Them

Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

It is hard to believe that February is ending this week. I know something I really enjoy in February is learning more Black History. I love all the new books out as well as my friend's posts on Facebook about various black people in history. (He is a vice principal now but was a history teacher and is black.) This year we have already shared with you many new books including ones on Frederick Douglass, the Underground Railroad, black heroes, Harriet Tubman, as well as about the black women of NASA. Today we are sharing two books. The first is a wonderful introduction book to black history. It is A Child's Introduction to African American History by Jabari Asim and illustrated by Lynn Gaines. 

What I Am Thankful For This Year -- Happy Thanksgiving!

This year for Thanksgiving I thought I would share what I am truly thankful for this year. It has been quite a year with many changes in my life as well as my family's. In many way this post is my own reflection or journal entry, but there are many things that I have been thinking about sharing here, so it is the perfect time to do it.

The first thing I am thankful for this year is my family. We have had a tough year with the choice to pull Hazel from her school in April and homeschool her for the rest of the school year. Then finding a new school for this year. Can I just tell you what a difference finding the right school makes? She wants to go to school now. It is not a fight every morning to get her moving and to school. In fact she gets upset if we are running late. 

Within this great choice also came new friends for Hazel. This has been huge for her. Her classmates are supportive and caring. They are not competing and putting her down like her previous ones. The entire school is full of people who are more down to earth and caring. The environment is homier. It is a wonderful place for her and I love visiting the school and helping out there. 

The next thing I am thankful for is my family and how we made the choice for me to quit my job at Paper Source. I loved my job there. It was truly my happy place, however due to a staff shortage my hours increased to a level I could not keep up with my family responsibilities. I have worked almost every weekend since June and I just couldn't continue that and be the mother and wife I want to be. I am thankful that I can stay at home and be the mother and wife I want to be without really worrying about finances. Let's face it everyone tends to have some struggle, but I know we will be fine without me working. I feel so blessed because of knowing that. 

I am also thankful for my sisters, parents and mother-in-law. I love how close they are with Hazel. Hazel's favorite thing is to be with family. She truly loves them all and wishes she could see them more. I love how excited she gets to see each of them. 

I am also thankful for you, my readers. I love having this place to share our activities, favorite books and products and ideas. I hope you enjoy them as well. And for now I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

Reflections on the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther KIng, Jr. and a simple craft

As I thought about what I wanted to do this year for Martin Luther King Day for Kids I reflected on what we have done in the past. We have shared numerous books on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as other Civil Rights Activists. We have done various crafts about unity and diversity and peace. I'll be honest I wasn't sure what to do. Hazel understands the teachings of Dr. King and we have focused quite a bit on the Civil Rights Movement in the past. I want to first reflect on a few things.

Happy Thanksgiving 2016 -- Reflections on Thanksgiving

Today I am spending time with my family. On the third Thursday of each November the United States takes a break from our busy lives to celebrate Thanksgiving. Most schools teach about the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth Colony.  Many Native Americans see Thanksgiving as a day to mourn because of this. I can understand this view and see why it could be a day to mourn for the groups of people who were so brutally oppressed and had their land and in many cases lives taken away from them. However I like to think about Thanksgiving as a day where my family stops our busyness and takes time to thank God for our blessings. It is a time where we get to gather with the people we love and enjoy some quality time together. My family has the traditional turkey meal with stuffing and potatoes and vegetables and homemade cranberry sauce (Hazel and I always make it). We try hard not to have too much food so that we can actually just enjoy the meal and company. So as much as I understand what Thanksgiving means to Native Americans I think most families in America do not think about the first Thanksgiving all that much as part of the meal or at least I hope they do. I see it as a time for family and God. How do you see it?

 Our guests are greeted by our colorful turkey on our door this year. Hazel and I put this turkey together from a Paper Source kit

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!! I am thankful for each of you as a reader of Crafty Moms Share!!

The Perfect Gift for a Child: Personalized books

Disclosure: I See Me! Inc.  gave me a copy of this book and ornament free of charge. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Last year I had the pleasure of reviewing a personalized book from I See Me! Inc. Hazel describes Hazel Can Change the World as her favorite book ever!! She often pulls it out just to look at it and now reads it to herself as well as to my parents at story time. (She reads to my parents over the phone almost every night.)

She has literally made paper hearts for all of her classmates because there is a page in it where the brown haired girl gives out hearts to spread love.  I have to say it is one of the best things I have gotten her. Therefore I jumped at the idea of getting another personalized book for her. This year we got My Very Own Fairy Tale by Maia Haag and illustrated by Joyce Patti.

My Christian Values

Sharing Saturday is still open. Please stop by and share your child-oriented crafts and activities and/or be inspired but what has been shared already!

A little different type of post. One that is very personal and controversial. I have gone back and forth about whether I wanted to write/post it, but I have decided for me to stay true to my own beliefs I really need to. Don't worry I'll be back to my child-oriented crafts and activities tomorrow!

 I am going to start with a little history about me. In my undergraduate degree my major was Pure Mathematics. I experienced sexism in a few classes. I was one of the only women in classes and in one was the only one. The rest of my peers were fine (I knew them all from previous classes), but I had issues with the instructor or I should say the TA. I was brought up in a family where at least my immediate family (parents and sisters) believed in equal rights and was exposed to many different cultures as well as family friends who were gay and of different races. As a teacher I worked with kids to help fight for equal rights. At one point a friend of mine who is an Asian American singer asked me why I do it. Here I am a white girl with many privileges but I will go out there and be active for equal rights for others. My response is the same as it is now, I truly believe in equal rights for all and I believe it is everyone's responsibility to speak up for them when we see injustices toward a group. What is more I believe that equal rights are the only way we can honor God.

Lately I have felt bombarded with different issues mostly homophobic in nature with people using their Christian values as a reason for their hatred. There is the whole Chick-fil-A thing as well as an elected town official spewing homophobic comments at a public meeting. I would like to take the time to explain my own thoughts. I know this is a controversial issue and many of you may not have the same beliefs as me, but I ask that you respect me enough to read through this and think about what I have to say and if you want to discuss it further, please send me an email and do not make the comment section a place to spew hatred. I reserve the right as always to delete comments I find negative or hateful. I will also state as I have before, I am very active in my church (former deacon, Sunday School teacher, Parish Council Member), and when I taught in public high schools I advised diversity clubs as well as a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). I went through a good amount of diversity training as well as attending workshops on being a GSA adviser. Not that I need to justify my own beliefs, but would like people to know my background when I say them.

I truly believe in equal rights for everyone. I believe God created all of us and loves all of us. In the Bible God repeatedly asks us to love one another as He loves us.
Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22
 God has commanded we do not judge each other.
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you. Luke 6:35-38
Jesus was constantly befriending, helping and showing respect to people who were considered outcasts during his time. He was befriending, helping and showing respect to everyone and not just outcasts as well.
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at a tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.
And as he sat a dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" Matthew 9:9-11
 He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." Luke 19:1-8
To me these are the reasons why the  homophobia and any prejudice is wrong. God sent his only Son to earth to help us learn how to live more like Him. Jesus reached out to everyone. He helped everyone who believed and asked us to do the same. How can it be Christian to show hatred towards anyone due to a characteristic with which they are born?

To me the ultimate goal (although unattainable) is love as God loves. This means we treat others as we would want to be treated--with respect. We should all have the right to love who we would like. We all should have the right to have a family--both legally as well as socially. I know many gay people who have been in relationships longer than most of my straight friends. I know children of gay couples. I have seen better family values in these families often than the traditional families. I am also proud to live in the first state to legalize same sex marriages.

And I know many gay people and can honestly say that being gay is not a choice for them. They would not choose to be put into the situations so many GLBT people must face every day. No one would. Who would want to feel the need to hide one of the most important parts of themselves from some parts of their lives? Who would want to be put in the danger so many of our GLBT people face with the hate crimes? And this is not even going into all the issues with gay teenagers--getting kicked out of their homes, not accepted by friends and family, drugs, depression, suicide, not feeling safe at school/be bullied (all higher rates than their straight peers).

I have had very serious discussions with several lesbians about when they knew they were gay. For one, I remember it was in the same way I knew I was definitely not gay. It was upon reading the book Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. If you have not read this book, it is an eye opener. It is a coming of age book where a young woman realizes she is a lesbian. As I read it my thoughts were "Wow, this is not me." (Yes, this book was that strong to have me even think this even though I really knew I wasn't already.) However, for the lesbian I mentioned her thoughts were opposite of mine. (This book was on a reading list for one of my graduate classes to be able to teach high school.)

So when I hear that people have Christian Family Morals/Values and do not believe in equal rights for gays (or anyone), I question where they are getting these morals/values. Everything I have read from God (the Bible) says to love one another and take care of one another even your enemy. So I will end this post with a prayer for all to have their eyes opened to the love of God and may we all walk closer with Jesus by loving all in our world and fighting for equal rights for everyone. Amen.