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Showing posts with label prayer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prayer. Show all posts

Books to Turn to God's Word -- Mommy Time Reviews

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

My main goal this year is to take care of me. My goals are to connect with God and to exercise. The exercise is not going very well, but I have been finding ways to connect with God most days. Today I am going to share two books that are helping me. The first book is also a perfect gift for any Christian mother. It is God's Words of Life for Mothers by Zondervan. 

I Am Devotional Book Review & Game

Disclosure: I was sent these books to review free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

We had a very fun weekend celebrating the United States' birthday. Hazel and I went to my parents at Cape Cod and got to see the fireworks, a parade and we went to a powwow. Plus we had time for swimming, mini golf and the John F. Kennedy Museum in Hyannis. Then it was time to come home and get ready for work. Now I finally have a few minutes to share with you a wonderful new devotional for kids. It is I Am Devotional: 100 Devotions About the Names of God by Diane Stortz and illustrated by Diane Le Feyer. 

Religious Gifts (and One Non-Religious) for Baby

 Disclosure: Kregel Publications sent me copies of these books free of charge for this review. 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. The Gymboree links are affiliate links where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through them. Thank you for supporting Crafty Moms Share!

It seems like just about everyone I know is posting about new babies or new pregnancies. And almost all of them are having their second or more baby. This of course means baby gifts. Now I love all the adorable baby clothes. Gymboree has the most adorable baby clothes!! However I remember always getting baby clothes from people and the most recent baby girl already has a big sister (who has plenty of hand-me-downs for her little sister). I wanted to give this new adorable baby something more meaningful for her baptism. Kregel Publications sent me two great ideas. The first book is perfect for any new Christian baby at any time and does not have to be for a baptism. It is First Prayers for Baby, Gift Edition, by Sophie Piper and illustrated by Annabel Spenceley. 

Colour Your Day & 99 Prayers for Children -- Book Reviews

 Disclosure: Kregel Publications sent me a copy of this book free of charge for this review. 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.

I love finding ways to bring God into our lives. I know I personally need time to reflect and pray and want to teach Hazel to do the same. I found some books to help me with both of these things. The first is for me--some Mommy time. It is Colour Your Day: A Spiritual Colouring Book by Marcel Flier. 


http://www.kregel.com/christian-living-and-devotionals/colour-your-day/
Now I have mentioned the adult coloring craze previously and reviewed a fun adult coloring book already. What is different about Colour Your Day is that the focus of each page is on God and/or Jesus. There are scriptures quoted, blessings and such on these pages as well as crosses.

Patriot Day


Today I am going to just say a prayer and a thank you. Thirteen years ago a tragedy rocked our world. I remember that morning so well and still get chills thinking about it. Although I was not there or even near there and no one I knew personally was injured, the day changed my life. It is a memory I do not share with Hazel. I am thankful I do not have to yet. She is too young to understand--we are all too young to understand. So today I say thank you to all the emergency workers who risked their lives that day and every day and to their families. So thank you to our police officers, fire fighters, EMTs and to all who did something to help another. The blessing in such a tragedy is to see how as a country we step in and help and care. In our society where everyone seems to only look out for themselves, a tragedy like this unites us and puts us back into a place where it is about others. With that I offer this prayer on this sad day.
Wtc-2004-memorial.jpg 
Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.


Dear God, Please help us move past the wars and fighting to find the peace we all want and You desire for us. Please be with all the families who lost someone during the horrific events eleven years ago. Provide them with your love and care and peace of knowing loved ones are with You now. Please watch over all the people who were injured that day--both physically and emotionally. Be with each one to help strengthen him/her. Please also, God, help the terrorists who caused these horrific events understand that this is not the way to get what they want. Please help them learn about your love and peace. Finally God, please watch over all the firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and armed forces who risk their lives every day for the safety of our country. Please bless America and all of your children. Amen.

Teaching to Pray

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The other week, I was in charge of Hazel's Sunday School class. I love the craft we made and had to share it here. It came from the Kingdom of the Son Vacation Bible School Curriculum. For the summer we are doing Vacation Bible School lessons in Sunday School and having volunteer parents teach it. The goal of this Vacation Bible School is to teach the Lord's Prayer. I had the first week and we worked on the first part of the prayer and the message that God listens. The craft we chose to do was a simple one.

We traced each child's hands and had them cut them out. They decorated them with crayons or tissue paper squares. (Hazel did not make the best one, but I still love it. The squares make it hard to see the hands.) After they finished decorating we glued the hands together at the fingertips and then onto a piece of cardboard at the wrists so the hands would be in prayer position. Then we wrote "God Listens" on the cardboard.


Isn't it a cute craft. Plus it reminds children the position of their hands for prayer and that God listens to them pray. 

Looking for some more fun Christian crafts and/or lessons, check out:

Remembering and Praying


Note: All images today came from Patriot Icon.

So last night I was tired and did not feel like sitting at the computer, so I did not get my post ready. This morning I was trying to get Hazel to school with a bit of crying, but not too much. Then I ran to the gym to get my work-out in. While at the gym, I was watching the television (from the treadmill) and realized the date. Good Morning America was on and they were doing a moment of silence in remembrance. My mind went to twelve years ago as tears began to form in my eyes. It is a day I will never forget. I think it was the saddest and scariest day of my life. I then realized that the reason I did not want to post last night was because I needed to post my memories and a prayer today.

Twelve years ago my life was very different. I was teaching at Wellesley High School. Wellesley is a couple of towns away from Boston--literally there is one town between it and the start of the city. I had a prep period when the planes hit. I went to make copies for a class and one of the teachers I didn't really know mentioned something about it to me and it didn't sink in. I thought he was telling me a joke. Then the kids came to my room and they had been watching it on television in history class so I got the whole story. It was a sad and somber day. Then when no planes were suppose to be in the air over the United States, we hear planes flying overhead. Wellesley is in the airpath for the air force to get to Boston for the investigation. Hearing them sent chills and fears through us all. Then the stories came out of people who didn't go to their office in New York that day. (Yes, there are people who commute from Boston to New York often.) And the saddest one of the brothers who knew their father was on a flight to LA but not sure which one. Their mother called after the first plane to say he was not on that one. Then the flight he was on was lost, she came to school to get the boys so they could be together and when she walked into the office they announced the flight number of the second plane--his flight. Being so close to people involved really makes it even more sad and real for me. Although I was not personally involved and did not lose a loved one, I felt and still feel the pain and sadness. I knew the world for me changed that day.

In memory of that day, I would like to offer a prayer. I hope you will pray with me.

Dear God, please watch over the survivors of the tragedy that occurred twelve years ago as well as the loved ones of those we lost. May we always remember those we lost and how we worked together to help others survive and get through this horrible time. Please help us find a way to live in peace with one another and to end this violence that is still happening throughout the world. Please help us to learn to be compassionate and understanding to those who are different and let us find a way for us all to feel your love and peace. Amen.

Prayer Beads for the Jesus Prayer

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Ok, I know I have mentioned how active I am at church. I am a Christian and I truly believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I tend not to be one who discusses it everywhere, however I do try to keep God in my life every day. When I visit my parents I have my favorite shops to go to and one of them is the Priory Shop at the Community of Jesus. It is located right at Rock Harbor and it is always so calming to visit there. You can also get tours of the Church of the Transfiguration, their million or maybe even multimillion dollar church that opened about ten years ago. While there I always love to browse the books and often find some inspiring books. This last visit was no different. While keeping Hazel busy with samples of the homemade jam on crackers and granola, I was able to find a new book. I'm only in the second chapter, but I am very interested in it. The book is The Jesus Prayer by Frederica Mathewes-Green.
Knowing nothing about the Jesus Prayer, I was intrigued. The book says that learning the Jesus Prayer and praying properly will bring you closer to God and hear God speaking to you. The prayer is simple, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me." is the simplest form of it. A longer form is "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Now the trick is you need to say it one hundred times each day. To do this, you need some prayer beads to keep track of it. So I had Hazel help me make a prayer bead necklace and she wanted one too, but we did not put one hundred beads on hers.


I used the cross I had gotten that is made out of olive wood from Jerusalem. Then we lined out ten rows of ten beads. It was great to see Hazel figure out what one hundred looks like. I changed the first and last beads of each row so I could count by ten by the feel of the beads. I did not use a pattern to the beads beside that since I figured my prayers and my sins will be both small and large. Then while I strung my beads, Hazel laid out some for herself. She decided the round ball ones rolled around too much, so she used the flatter ones and we had a butterfly bead left from the Melissa & Doug butterfly bead collection she was given for her birthday, so we used that one.
We made hers into a necklace so she can wear it even when she is not praying. Then I taught her the Jesus Prayer. We of course did not make it through all the beads on either necklace before she got bored and I have yet to take the time to do it one hundred times let alone each day, but I'm still reading the book, so at least I am ready when I finish it. Supposedly doing this practice will get you to the point where your mind is praying continuously even when you are doing other things and thus living out the instructions Paul gives in several of his letters including 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
and in Romans 12:12
"12 Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times."
and in Ephesians 6:18
"18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints."
and finally in Colossians 4:2
"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving."

The Jesus Prayer is widely taught in Eastern Orthodox Churches. The book goes through some history of it as well as some of the difference between Eastern and Western Churches. However if you want more information you can check out the book or you can read some more on Wikipedia.

So this is what I am exploring right now when I have time to read something that is not a children's book.



Recovering from the Horrific Tragedy

As I sat and watched the news, I knew I would not be doing my Cinderella post today. For those who have not heard, there were two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon today. Now we live in Greater Boston. As a grad student I watched the Boston Marathon in the city and when I lived in Ashland, I always watched the race more from the beginning. I even taught a year at Hopkinton High School where the marathon begins and the marathon was a big deal in Hopkinton. For more details about the explosions, you can read this article from the Boston.com.

I have spent the evening listening to the horrific news. The latest count is three dead, including an eight-year-old child; over 100 injured many having to be amputated. The good news is that I have heard from my friends who I knew were going to watch the marathon and they are all fine. 

Having had this act of terror so close to home, made me realize that today all I can do is ask for your prayers for Boston, the people injured and killed and their loved ones as well as for the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the entire country. I know to get through such a tragedy I need to feel God's presence. So please send your prayers.

While watching the news I was thankful my mother had her surgery at the end of February and is no longer in one of the Boston hospitals. I was watching SWAT teams outside of the hospital. The rumors are there is a person of interest that was injured and is there. Apparently the hospital has been in lockdown since 3:00 p.m.

So if I do not post as much as usual or we do not get as much done this week, please be aware we are dealing with this crisis that is definitely too close to home. Thank you for your prayers.

Update: CNN has a good list of ways anyone can help those affected by the bombs. 

Coping with Tragedy

We had a lovely weekend this week. Hazel and I left Friday to visit my parents to help decorate their Christmas tree and then Steve joined us on Saturday so all five of us went on a Polar Express Train Trip. I will tell you more about that at Happy Family Times on Tuesday. 

It was very hard in the middle of this nice experience to turn on the television and hear about the tragedy that happened in Connecticut on Friday. (For those who may not know what I am talking about here is a report from CNN.) Now this tragedy hit me on many levels. First I grew up in Connecticut and have many friends and family who still live there. As a former teacher all school shootings really scare me. I think of my students and my friends who still are teaching. Plus a close friend from high school is an elementary school principal in Connecticut somewhat close to Newtown. Then add to all of those reasons that this happened in an elementary school and really could have happened anywhere. It was not like many of the other shootings where the shooter was out to get people who had hurt him, but rather this shooter went to the school where his mother worked and shot innocent children and staff. I know I was thankful that Hazel was not up to see the news (we wouldn't have had it on if she was) and that we have decided to send her to a Waldorf School where I feel they are a bit more protected.

However, Sandy Hook Elementary School had the security set up. They had recently installed a lock where the front office could see who was at the door before buzzing them in. I could not at first understand why they buzzed him in given how he was dressed and his mother was not there then. However later I heard there was broken glass which made much more sense. He shot his way in. So here this school had done what it could to protect the children, and still had such a horrible tragedy. How do we cope with that and how do we explain it to our children?

With Hazel's age, we are doing our best of her to know nothing about this event. We want her to feel safe in her world and at her school. However I know with older children you cannot keep such news from them. I was teaching when the Columbine Shooting occurred. I remember being glad it occurred during our April vacation so we all had time to digest what had happened. I also remember high school juniors telling me that they went over escape plans with their parents should anything like this happen at our school. (They literally went through the students schedule to figure ways out of the building from each classroom.)  This was in response to something that happened on the other side of the country and not a neighboring state. 

Now if teenagers were that fearful, I can only imagine how elementary students must feel now. I think the most important thing as adults is for us to be there for the children. If they need to talk, listen and reassure them. It is important for us to remain our calm and let them feel safe. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) have some great tips on helping children deal with a national tragedy here.

My heart goes out to the family of all the victims including the survivors. I pray to God to help all who were present that day and especially the young children that witnessed death that day. I know there have been stories of teachers who were shot while protecting their students. I can only imagine what those children will deal with knowing that. It breaks my heart that children so young have to deal with such violence. I hope you will join me in taking time today to say a prayer for all who have been touched by this act of violence and for God to help the families and the survivors process this horrible event.

The Ant and The Grasshopper and Prayer Bracelet for Lent

On Sunday, one of the crafts at the Lenten Simple Soup Supper was to make The Pearls of Life bracelets to use in our prayers. Each bead means something. Starting with the gold one which is to represent God. The clear oblong ones are for silence. The white pearl is the I bed. The white bead is the baptism bead. The brown bead is the desert bead. The blue bead is the serenity or calm bead. The red beads are for love given and received. The three small white beads are the secret beads. The black bead is the night bead. The translucent circular bead is the Resurrection bead.  For more details about the meaning of each bead check out here. For a bit about the history of them read here. Personally I like to wear it especially during Lent to remind me to prayer and to bring me closer to God.

Sharing Saturday is still open through tomorrow. Please go check out the amazing projects people have shared. There are many for celebrating Dr. Suess' birthday on Friday as well as St. Patrick's Day and more! And I hope you will follow me at Facebook!! And voting at Circles of Moms is still open. I'm at number 34 and could use some more votes. You can vote every 24 hours.
One of our favorite books to take out of the library lately is Ant and Grasshopper by Luli Gray. So today, we began to work on some ants and grasshoppers. We also plan to make Ant's house out of tissue boxes. Hazel has already included Ant and Grasshopper in her daily activities of shopping, etc. when she plays. She also repeats some of the things Ant says in the book. I for the most part made both of these, however Hazel is working on some as well. We will share those when they are finished.
The story is a take off of the Aesop Fable. Ant is rich and has a big house. He likes to count the food he has collected each day. Grasshopper sings and plays the fiddle in Ant's yard and bothers Ant while he is trying to count. As fall comes Grasshopper tries to come into Ant's house and get fed and Ant laughs at him and turns him away. One night Ant wakes up and finds Grasshopper on his stoop nearly frozen to death and covered in snow. He brings him in and saves his life. There are so many lessons that can be taught from this story. The Grasshopper is homeless. Ant admits in the story he wishes he could sing. And the last line is my favorite: "'Everybody counts.'"
I used pom poms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes and felt for the grasshopper's wings. Hazel is painting some egg cartons for them and I have a great grasshopper out of TP roll pattern I found in several places when I searched grasshopper crafts. Here is one location. Another with a template is here.

We will share more of our ants and grasshoppers and our Ant's house soon. Hope you are having a lovely day!