For years we have heard the importance of family devotions. Taking time as a family each night to read a passage of God's word, spending a few moments in prayer, and growing as a family all sounds good and exciting but, we suck at it!
Anyone else in the same boat?
It's not that we don't want to do family devotions, believe me, we've tried. Over and over, we have tried to create some kind of regular opportunity to explore God's word with our kids. Some seasons we've done well, using various books, object lessons, or holiday themed devotionals. But in other seasons, well, we just failed.
But worse than not being able to lead family devotions, is the guilt and shame we often feel when we hear that we SHOULD be having family devotions. EPIC fail!!
1. Go To Church Together
As a family, we make every effort to be at church together as a family. Attending church together is our first act in training up our children. We've determined that our Sunday morning priority is worship. We believe that the role of discipleship is from parent to child and it begins as we attend church together. Worship, Sunday School, and youth group in the evenings. For us, Sunday means we are in church.
When parents make church a priority, it demonstrates the level of commitment they have in their relationship with God, and places God at the forefront of all things family. But more than church, or corporate worship, as parents, you need to also put a priority on Sunday school, Bible studies, the children's ministry, junior high ministry, and high school ministry among other church related activities. It's not just attendance, but participation. Involving yourself and your family, helps to show your children the importance of establishing a lifestyle that puts God first. It also emphasizes the significance of corporate worship, bible study, fellowship and what it looks like to be a part of the body of Christ.
Does it mean church is the ONLY thing we do on a Sunday? NO. But, it's the first and most important thing. Our teenagers know that they cannot work their part-time jobs on Sunday mornings. And while there have been one or two occasions, for the most part, they have been able to keep that commitment. Sports, very rarely have our kids missed church for a sporting event. We either miss the game or make arrangements that we attend an earlier service.
2. Use Seasonal Devotional Resources
One of the fun holiday traditions that we practice throughout the year is making use of holiday devotional resources. Whether it's a storybook or short devotional booklet, we use different resources that help our kids focus on the season or holiday that we preparing to celebrate. For example, each Christmas we read one of the Advent books associated with Jotham's Journey. We shared these books in a blog post titled, Celebrate Advent With One of These Books. These books are an incredible way to help your kids prepare for Christmas. There are a number of resources like these, and they are perfect for short-term family devotions.
Aside from published storybooks or devotionals, seasons like Advent and Lent, allow for the setting aside of the normal routines for something a little more holiday related. Both seasons have a time of preparation, four Sunday's in Advent, 40 days in Lent. As a family, you might decided to set something aside during this time. Maybe you choose to go out somewhere to serve as a family. Perhaps this it just a time where your families unplugs from their devices and committees to family dinner hour or game night or movie night.
However you decide to spend your time, be sure to take advantage of the time to talk about what that holiday season means to you, your family, and your faith. Explain why your faith tradition celebrates Advent or Lent. It's not always easy, but with a little work, you can create new traditions around the holidays.
Just this past week, our meal started with our daughter making the comment, "Did you know that when we poop, it's our body's way of getting rid of the waste? It's what we're learning at school!"
3. Engage with Your Kids as they are Growing Up.
Dinner time can be a special time for your family, and a great time to engage with your kids to talk about the things that are happening in the culture around them. Just turn on the TV and listen to the news, go to the movies, watch a TV sitcom or pay attention to the commercials; you will find plenty of material to talk about. From current events to music, movies, even products, our kids are growing up in difficult times. The dinner hour serves as a great way to talk about some of the issues and topics their seeing in the media. It might take a little homework on your part to educate yourself, but it will be a benefit for you and your time as a family. As you talk, you can discuss what they see happening from a Christian worldview.
Does it mean that every dinner is a topical debate or lecture? No. We don't have serious conversation at every meal. Just watch our family vlog as we sit around the table. It's not always hard hitting discussion. In fact, just this past week, our meal started with our daughter making the comment, "Did you know that when we poop, it's our body's way of getting rid of the waste? It's what we're learning at school!" Is poop appropriate talk at the table? Well, if it's what they're learning at school, yes!
The point is, make the effort to have dinner together as a family, but instead of stuffing our faces, take the time to slow down and talk! If you can't have a regular family dinner hour, use the time in the car, driving to and from sporting events or school activities or even while you're running errands to talk with your kids. Turn off the radio and have them take the ear plugs out, and talk. They might reject the idea at first, but keep at it. When they see that you are interested in what's happening in their world, they will begin to open up.
link for FOR THE FAMILY. There we have shared books, devotions, and other resources that we have found helpful!
As always, we want to hear from you. What do family devotions look like for you and your family? Do you have regular family devotions? Have you found an incredible resource that your family loves? We'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and share your story. Perhaps your story will encourage another family! And that's what this blog is all about!
- the higham family
It's Monday, the day after our third, non-stop weekend of busyness. Three weekends ago our oldest son graduated from high school. The very next day we hosted somewhere between 150 and 200 guests at his graduation party. The next morning Jay preached at both services at our church, followed by a graduation luncheon, a graduation party for one of our students, and dinner with in-laws. And while it was an amazing weekend, it was a bit exhausting.
Two weekends ago was almost as busy. It started with a wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner on Friday night. Jay had the privilege of officiating the wedding of a former student. Saturday morning we woke to a list of errands before the 4:00 ceremony followed by reception. On Sunday, Jay again preached at both services at church. After church, Amy went to visit some friends who have a son in a local hospital, while Jay ran errands and prepared for a church function we were hosting at the house. It was another amazing weekend, and almost equally as exhausting.
This past weekend was spent getting ready for Vacation Bible School at the church and Day Camp which Amy is running at our favorite summer camp. Needless to say, we were fairly busy.
We want to share with you, three simple reminders that could make this your best summer ever!
1. Plan Your Summer Before Your Summer Plans You!
Just like any other season during the year, life can quickly become overwhelming and out of control. What makes summer unique is that for most of us, our kids are out of school, at home, and looking for something to do. We have found that having a plan for your summer is a great way to stay in control and on top of your activities.
At the beginning of your summer, sit down with the calendar and a piece of paper. First, make a list of all the things you want or expect to do over the summer. This list might include activities such as a family vacation, summer camps, weekend trips, visits to museums or local zoos. You might even want to include trips to visit with grandparents or extended family that require travel.
Once you have your list, use the calendar to plan what you will do and when. Be sure to avoid overbooking with your regular daily activities. For example, we have to be careful not to schedule a trip that conflicts with work schedules or appointments
With your calendar carefully filled with your desired activities, post the calendar in a place where everyone can see it. This will help build excitement with the kids as the activity approaches, but also help with scheduling of new or unexpected activities. Having a plan for the days and weeks to come will help you stay in control of your summer, and provide you with a little structure and balance. And, that will help you to slow down and really enjoy your time with your family.
2. Realize That Time Can Be Your Friend!
We are a family of 7. That means, that someone is doing something almost every minute of the day. Too often, we wonder where the time went? But these next couple of months don't have to end with you wondering where your summer went. Time can be your friend.
So, you've already created your summer calendar, right? Great! Now go back to the calendar and let's create time. How? By setting time aside. What?
Every year we race through summer and never slow down long enough to appreciate or enjoy our time as a family. Just recently, we found ourselves doing this very thing. While at a graduation party, Amy and Jay found themselves surrounded by all four boys as they sat around a table and talked with us. It's been a long time since we have been able to enjoy time like that.
This summer, we want to create more opportunities for our family to sit and enjoy being together, so we are making sure to add time to our calendar. Time to sit by the fire at the end of a day. Time to enjoy a good story. Time to laugh and share. Time to just be. As you work on your summer calendar, make time your friend, set aside time to enjoy time.
3. Make Memories Be Your Motivation!
A couple of years ago, we determined that we wanted to do things a little different. After noticing that the kids were spending more time in their rooms and on their devices, we decided that we needed to be more intentional. So we set out to make memories.
As parents, we want to see our adult children gathering and remembering their childhood with stories, laughter, and joy. We realized that unless we made some changes, there wouldn't be many stories. Memories became our motivation. We started planning family activities and events that would lead to great memories. From thinking about how we would use our time on vacation to what we do around the house as a family, we looked for opportunities that would lead to the kinds of stories we hoped our kids will share.
As you look ahead at your summer, think about how you want your adult children to look back on their childhood. If you want the laughter that comes from stories packed with memories, then you need to think about how you can begin creating those memories.
We want the best for our kids. We want them to enjoy their time together as siblings. And we want them to have great memories. So we're doing what we can to create those moments.
Don't let summer just fly by. And don't let busyness dominate your time. Take the steps to plan ahead, use your time wisely, and make memories that last.
- the higham family.
Can we just say, Pinterest is AWESOME! We have been Pinterest people for a number of years. We love scrolling through the various pins, finding all sorts of wonderful ideas, life-hacks, DIY projects, recipes, and on goes the list. We especially love we come across an idea that really grabs our attention. But when it works...well, that's just the best!
A couple of weeks ago, I (Jay) was scrolling through Pinterest when I came across a pin that talked about regrowing green onions. I clicked on the pin and read the article. It suggested that one could regrow green onions by placing the roots in water.
Since I love growing things in the garden, I thought this was something I need to try.
So I did, and here is what I learned.
Select the green onions that you plan to use in your recipe.
Cut off the ends of the green onions as seen in the picture below.
Take the root ends that have been cut and set them aside.
Use the green onions as your recipe calls.
Get a shallow glass bowl and fill it with just enough water so that the ends of the roots are submerged.
You do not want to cover the entire cutting with water, only the roots.
Place the dish in a sun lit area such as a window sill.
You will need to monitor the water lever, adding or replacing as necessary.
But remember, you do not want to submerge the entire cutting, only the roots should be in the water.
Give the roots a couple of days to begin to grow.
In the picture below, I started with just one cut. When I saw that it was growing, I added 4 more to my bowl. They grew incredibly fast.
After the roots have had time to get some fresh growth, transfer them into some dirt.
I went to Walmart and found a few small candle votives. They were inexpensive and the perfect size
for the young green onions. I added a few small stones and them some fresh potting soil and placed them back on the window sill where I started them in the water.
Keep an eye on the moisture in each plant. I don't them to dry out or have too much water
Just a couple drops is about all the water they need.
When they get large enough you can transfer them to a larger pot or to your outside garden.
In the meantime, have fun as you watch them grow.
This is a great activity to do with your children. It's an easy project that comes with quick results. The green onions grow pretty quickly, so the kids can see the progression of growth.
Click on the link below to see the original pin that I read for regrowing green onions
For a few other ideas, check out my Pinterest board of Great Ideas!
Monday night we got to celebrate a special moment for our family. The elementary school honors students who demonstrate the "word of the month." Each month a word is selected for the month. Teachers then keep their eyes open for students who display the characteristics of that word.
The word for December was Caring. Keeping with the season of caring, teachers were looking for students who demonstrated acts of caring among their peers. Teacher nominates one student from their class. Then the teachers choose one student from each grade.
Breya was named December's Student of the Month for the second grade.
At the school board meeting, the students from each grade were honored in front of the board, parents and community members who were attending the meeting.
We are so very proud of Breya.
Sweet and caring; she takes after her mama.
It's fun to see Breya caring for her classmates the way she cares for her brothers and friends.
We are so proud of you and who God is shaping you to be.
Keep being sweet and caring.
- the higham family -
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.