How to Seek Peace in the Holiday Hustle

I stared at the half-dangling greenery, feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

Laundry waited to be washed, presents waited to be purchased and wrapped.

My work schedule was full and our family calendar even more full.

I wanted this Christmas to be different than last year’s holiday. I wanted to really savor the season, but I felt like I was failing.

Where was the peace I longed for?

How was I missing it? Where was I going wrong?

Because the overwhelming emotion ruling my heart lately was an awful lot of stress.

Like the world before Christ’s birth, I felt the reality of “sin and error, pining.”

Between book writing, and client work, and church-planting, and home life, it often seems like there just aren’t enough hours in a day.

But I need some peace.

I need to savor this season because I’ve had oh-so-many reminders this year, friends, that our time here on earth is short, our days and hours and minutes never guaranteed.

Are you longing for a bit of peace in the holiday hustle? Christian women|Being Confident of This|holidays|busy|overwhelmed|chaos|full schedule|seeking Christ|Bible verses|devotional|encouragement  #peace #Christmas #freeprintable #Bibleverse

And as our oldest son prepares to head out into the world, I feel that reality all the more keenly.

So, how do we make the most of Christmas without becoming burdened and overwhelmed?

How do we truly seek peace without creating additional stress by adding another thing to the to-do list ?

4 Meaningful Ways to Find Peace in the Holiday Hustle

1. We put first things first for peace in the holiday hustle.

When I feel overwhelmed, I can often pinpoint one of the root causes as a lack of consistent quiet time. Whenever my calendar gets too full, my time with Jesus often becomes less and less. This is a reality we must guard against, friends.

We may even be tempted to justify spending less time in His presence because we’re spending time doing advent activities with our family, attending extra church services, and so forth.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4

Truthfully, nothing can take the place of that one-on-one time with Emmanuel, the God who came to be with us.

We’re literally starving our souls when we neglect this most important relationship, and we will reap the fruit of that neglect in our lives. Stress, lack of motivation, discontent, worry, impatience – all can be indicators of a spiritual problem.

A return to right priorities goes a long way toward helping us regain peace in the holiday hustle!

2. We content ourselves with “good enough” for peace in the holiday hustle.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but perfect holidays don’t exist in reality.

When we fail to reign in our expectations for what a “good Christmas” entails, we set ourselves up for failure every time!

I have to continually remind myself this year that some is better than none.

Some exercise is better than no exercise.

Some Christmas baking is better than no Christmas baking.

Some advent devotions with the kids is better than no advent.

Some planning is better than no planning. You get the idea. :)

It’s all about showing yourself some grace. After all, would your husband and children rather have lots of Christmas goodies but a stressed-out, grumpy mama, or would they prefer less treats and a mama who is at peace? I can guarantee mine would choose the latter every time.

I cannot have a perfect Christmas, and neither can you, friend. Let’s just toss that impossible notion right out into the cold.

What we can have is a meaningful, peaceful Christmas, and that happens when we slow down and savor the season.

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3. We pray for peace in the holiday hustle.

It seems to me that the Enemy works overtime during the Christmas season. As we plan and prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth with our loved ones, he’s planning for our destruction.

But we need not fear his tactics, friends, because his power is limited while our God’s power is limitless. In Christ, we have the power to resist temptation, to choose peace, to choose kindness, to choose love, and all of the other fruit of the Spirit.

Ask the Father for a special covering this Christmas. I know I will be asking the same for our household – that God’s peace will rule our home, that we will be free to joyfully celebrate Jesus’ birth, that we will be free to enjoy loved ones and gift giving and delicious food, and so on.

Peace, Father, give us peace this Christmas!

I’ll be asking for all of these things that I might be able to give God the glory for the kind of supernatural peace that can only come from Him, and trusting that His peace is already ours to claim. :)

4. We seek scripture to give us peace in the holiday hustle.

I can’t tell you how often the Spirit brings a verse to mind that I’ve previously memorized just when I need it most. I’m certain you know what I mean, friends.

God’s Word brings us peace through His promises and His guidance.

So when I was thinking of you all, faithful friends and readers, and wondering what small gift I might be able to give you this Christmas, I thought of what busy women needed most during the holidays.

Are you longing for a bit of peace in the holiday hustle? Christian women|Being Confident of This|holidays|busy|overwhelmed|chaos|full schedule|seeking Christ|Bible verses|devotional|encouragement  #peace #Christmas #freeprintable #Bibleverse

Peace.

If you’re already on my subscriber list, you should have received a link to the printable below in your inbox. But if you’re new here, just fill in your information at the bottom of this article to access all of our free resources, as well as join the list for encouraging monthly newsletters.

Above all, take time to seek real peace this Christmas.

The best Peace you’ll ever find came to Earth as a mere babe thousands of years ago, just so He might know us. If you’ve never accepted the gift of His love and salvation, you can do so today. Just cry out to Jesus.

Lay down your burdens.

And let Christ give you peace.

Jen :)

8 Verses of Hope for Every Woman (free printable!)

You wake up already weary, thinking of all that you need to accomplish for the day but also keenly aware of the obstacles in your life.

It’s one of those days when adulting feels too hard from the get-go. You’d rather just crawl back in bed and hide from the world.

Your body is weary, your mind overwhelmed, and your spirit oh-so-weak. But you must press on because you are wife, mother, friend, worker, leader…

People are counting on you!

Where do you find hope to persevere when you are overwhelmed by life? How do you find motivation to keep pressing on?

My personal favorite place to start is in the Word – looking for verses of hope to remind my heart and spirit of God’s truth!

Yes, maybe today feels too difficult and I’m tempted to believe Satan’s lie that I’m not enough or that this is too hard for me. However, God’s promise to sustain me remains true. His promise that my hope in Him will not be put to shame remains true. His claim to love me anyways remains true. No matter what my feelings tell me!

These verse of hope will encourage you to keep persevering even when life gets tough!  Being Confident of This|bible verses|bible study|devotional|hope for women|encouragement|inspiration|free printable|weary woman|wife|mom|parent|leader|christian women|faith resources|spiritual growth

Studying and memorizing verses of hope helps me to remember who I am in Christ: beloved daughter of God Almighty, chosen one, fully equipped for every good work, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, filled with the Spirit, able.

Friend, we can choose hope in Christ despite our current circumstances because we know the power of Christ in us. We believe His Word is true, and we will not let Satan win this battle for our day!

Today I’m sharing with you 8 of my favorite verses for hope to celebrate the launch of our book, Hope for the Hurting Wife. Stop by and enter the giveaway if you haven’t already!

Print these verses of hope out and keep them near you as visual reminders of God’s promises!

Verses of Hope for Every Woman

  1. Psalm 71:14 (NIV)

“As for me, I will always have hope;

I will praise you more and more.”

I’ve been reading in the Psalms lately, and one recurring phrase stands out to me: “let me not be put to shame” (Ps. 22:5). The phrase recurs time and again throughout the early Psalms, and the context is that of crying out to the Lord and not being put to shame. We can be unashamed of our hope in the Lord, friends, because we know our God is faithful!

 

  1. Jude 24,25 (NIV)

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

One of my favorite verses of hope to cling to to in tough times, these verses in Jude remind us that it is God who works in us. He never gives up. He always perseveres. He is still at work in us and in our circumstances (Phil. 1:6).

 

  1. Palm 121:1-2 (NIV)

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Your hope is never in vain when you place it in the Lord alone, friends! We may have trouble in our families, with our children, with our marriages, with our finances, and so forth, but we have a God who cares about us deeply. Cry out to Him for rescue, for strength, for the will to persevere!

 

  1. 1 Cor. 13:7 (NIV)

“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

God’s love for you – agape love – is perfect. We can always find hope in His love for us, even when we feel unloved, underappreciated, and totally inadequate Find rest in His perfect love today!

 

  1. Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Sometimes when we feel completely exhausted and at our limits, we don’t sense the Lord’s presence with us. We may even begin to believe that He has forsaken us altogether. But that’s not true, friends. His Word claims that He is close to us, especially when we’re brokenhearted, especially when our spirits are crushed.

Don’t let the Enemy convince you otherwise, friend. Believe these verses of hope and act on them!

 

  1. Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV)

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

This verse should probably come first among these verses of hope. Instead of wondering what is wrong with you when you have days of discouragement, recognize that the battle we fight is not against flesh and blood but against a very real Enemy who wants nothing more than to see you fail (Eph 6:12)!

 

  1. Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

As a wife who spent the better part of a decade learning how to fight for her marriage instead of against her husband, I often grew weary. Sometimes I even gave up for a time. This verse of hope has been key for me these last several years to keep persevering even when I’m not seeing the fruit that I want to see quickly enough to suit me. ;)

If we persevere in doing God’s work, we will reap a harvest!

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  1. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

My favorite among these verses of hope. The world tells us weakness is humiliating, but God’s Word claims otherwise. Take your weakness straight the the Lord, friend, and let Him demonstrate His power in you!

 Click here for Verses of Hope free printable

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As you spend time with these verses of hope, study them, meditate on them, memorize them. Hang them in your home where you will see them frequently! Pray to the Father who loves you to give you motivation and strength to keep fighting the good fight (Eph. 6:12)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

Press on toward the goal!

Jen

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Are you frustrated by failure you in your marriage? Do you wonder if there is any hope left for you? Hope for the Hurting Wife is a 30 day devotional journey written by two women who survived the muck and mire of marriage problems. Christian marriage|difficult marriage|encouragement for wives|hope for marriage|should I get a divorce|how to stay married| healthy marriage|trusting God with marriage|wife|husband|christian woman

7 Scriptures for a Steadfast Heart

Steadfast.

The word brings to mind a calm assurance, an unwavering faith, and unchanging character. Steadfast is a gentle power complimented by humble quietness.

A steadfast woman is a woman at peace.

This is my desire, friends, to be a woman who is steadfast in heart, faithful to Jesus and to her family.  I want to be the kind of steadfast woman who is Christ-confident rather than self-confident, who utilizes the gifts He’s given not for her own glory but for His glory.

Steadfast.

Last year the Lord kept bringing to mind the word Persevere, and if you follow along with this blog or the BCOT facebook page, then you know why I needed that word! We’ve been through a season of turmoil and change that still hasn’t quite settled.

Yet in the midst of all the chaos, I’ve found a more confident faith.

I’m not just referring to the recent reminders that Jehovah Jireh provides for all of our needs, but also to the understanding that He directs our paths in ways that don’t always make sense. What I’m learning is to trust His voice rather than letting doubt seep in through cracks chiselled by the questions of others and by my own fears.

So this year, my One Word is steadfast.

If you want to walk through this year with a steadfast marriage, a steadfast ministry, or a steadfast faith, no matter what curve balls life throws your way, then this one is for you!  Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence.  Becoming a Steadfast Woman

 

That word applies to so many areas of my life in which I wish to remain secure and consistent. So, I’d love to share with you these verses for a steadfast heart.

7 Scriptures for a Steadfast Heart

Steadfast faith

Over these past few years of writing and speaking, my faith journey has taken many unexpected twists and turns. As I continue to grow in Christ, I want a steadfast faith, one that remains consistent no matter what challenges life throws my way.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Ps. 51:10 (NASB)

I want to remain confident in that work-in-progress promise found in Phil. 1:6.

Print out this free Scripture reminder of how to be a steadfast woman! Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence. Becoming a Steadfast Woman, christian women, bible verses for confidence, studying the bible, faith, faith blog, christian mom, christian wife, free printables, free faith-based resources

Steadfast Marriage

Faithful readers will already know that my husband and I have faced significant challenges in our marriage.  However, the Lord has been faithful to see us through many trials and to help us see the progress along the way. I find that I don’t panic anymore when conflicts come.  I’m no longer enslaved by the enemy’s lies that our marriage will never be any different or that we might as well give up trying to change it!

“After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore you and make you strong firm, and steadfast.” 1 Pet. 5:10 (NIV)

Being steadfast in my marriage this year means that I won’t despair during difficult seasons, but I’ll have a calm assurance that we will come out on the other side not only intact but stronger!  It also means I’ll keep doing the good work of becoming a wife after God’s own heart.

Steadfast Parenting

Lately, the Lord has been convicting me that we need to keep persevering in our parenting methods even though our children are getting older and more self-sufficient. I want to be a steadfast parent who stays the course rather than one who gives in to laziness. My job is not yet finished! :)

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Gal. 6:9 (NASB)

If you want to walk through this year with a steadfast marriage, a steadfast ministry, or a steadfast faith, no matter what curve balls life throws your way, then this one is for you!  Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence.  Becoming a Steadfast Woman

Steadfast Writing

Being steadfast in the area of writing means I will aim to be more consistent, and that I will obey that still small voice when the Lord prompts me to sit and write.

“This hope we have as an anchor to the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast, and one which enters within the veil…” Heb. 6:19 (NASB)

It also means that I will grow in confidence in the voice He has given me so that I don’t make comparisons or look for outside approval. My heart’s desire is to write for an audience of One.

Steadfast Weight-loss Journey

(Sigh….) Many of you know I’ve been working toward some weight-loss goals since last year.  I only got rid of a little over 25 pounds, yet I persevered through injuries, illnesses, schedule changes, and the upheaval of changing ministries this past fall.  This progress was only possible through the power of Christ in me!

“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!” Ps. 57:7 (NASB)

This year  I’m aiming for another 50 pounds gone, an average loss of a pound a week.  So, being steadfast in this area means I’ll keep plugging away at healthy eating and exercise while trusting the Lord to take care of the results.

Steadfast Church-planting

Being steadfast as a church-planter means I’ll be secure enough to be a fool for Christ, willing to take risks because my faith is firm and my identity is secure.  It means I will keep doing the work the hard work, but I’ll trust Him for the results.

I can also be steadfast by pushing myself beyond my own comfort zone, especially when it comes to evangelism and by trusting the Lord to continue providing for our physical needs.

 

I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman who does not fear the future but greets trouble with an unshakable faith (v.25).

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.” Isa. 26:3 (NASB)

As this year progresses, I’m excited to see how the Lord continues to use the word steadfast to teach me.

Will you choose to be steadfast this year?

Jen :)

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Print it out, hang it where you will see it often. Or save it to your phone or tablet for easy access. Enjoy!

Print out this free Scripture reminder of how to be a steadfast woman! Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence. Becoming a Steadfast Woman, christian women, bible verses for confidence, studying the bible, faith, faith blog, christian mom, christian wife, free printables, free faith-based resources

 

 

Are you frustrated by failure you in your marriage? Do you wonder if there is any hope left for you? Hope for the Hurting Wife is a 30 day devotional journey written by two women who survived the muck and mire of marriage problems. Christian marriage|difficult marriage|encouragement for wives|hope for marriage|should I get a divorce|how to stay married| healthy marriage|trusting God with marriage|wife|husband|christian woman

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If you want to walk through this year with a steadfast marriage, a steadfast ministry, or a steadfast faith, no matter what curve balls life throws your way, then this one is for you! Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence. Becoming a Steadfast Woman christian women, bible verses for confidence, studying the bible, faith, faith blog, christian mom, christian wife

 

 

Kid-friendly Advent Printables

Every year the struggle remains the same: how do we keep their little hearts and minds focused on Christ when Christmas has become such a consumer-oriented holiday?

Enter the Christmas Adventure Box, a kid-friendly advent activity for the whole family.  Explore the spiritual significance of many of our favorite Christmas traditions, such as Christmas lights, candy canes, St. Nick, and more.

I first wrote about how we use this kid-friendly advent as a family tradition a few years ago.

If you haven’t read that post, I highly recommend you start there (just click this link).

I also recommend visiting my friend Lana’s site, which is where the idea originated. She gives more detailed instructions in a lesson-plan type of format which would be very helpful for teachers, homeschoolers, children’s church leaders, AWANA leaders, and so forth.

One of the things I love best about this kid-friendly advent activity is that it is very flexible!

Choose to do every day or just a few days a week, spend as little as five minutes or as long as an hour, and if you get behind (that never happens to us…haha), complete multiple days in one evening.

It’s advent that works for your family!

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This year, I wanted to be a little more organized since last year flew by so quickly that we never actually completed the Christmas Adventure Box advent acitivity.  I was such a holiday hypocrite.

So, I created some free printables to attach to the items in the box (see below) with simple instructions for how to complete each day’s activity of advent for kids.

Using this method will prevent me from having to look up the blog each day or print out a new set of advent instructions when ours gets lost (which also never, ever happens, right?).

Want to keep Christ at the center of your family Christmas?  These printables make kid-friendly Advent easy! The Christmas Adventure Box is a fun, frugal, and kid-friendly activity for advent that will teach your children the true reason for celebrating the Christmas season!  Learn the spiritual significance behind some of our favorite Christmas traditions, such as Christmas trees, lights, stockings, and even candy canes!

 

And I thought if I was going to take the time to make printables for this advent for kids, then I might as well share with you all. :)

So, Merry Christmas to you, my faithful readers – here are free, downloadable printables to go along with your Christmas Adventure Box advent for kids. Just click the words below to download.

Kid-friendly Advent free printables

 

I plan to print ours out on card-stock, cut them apart and attach them to the wrapped items in our box, making this family advent activity even simpler than it already is.

I’m all for simplifying the holidays for less stress, especially with four kiddos in the house (okay, three kiddos and one young man).

Don’t forget to visit The Christmas Adventure Box post for details on how to get started and a handy list of needed items. Once your box is filled and the cards are attached, you are all set to go for this easy, kid-friendly advent that that whole family will enjoy.

Teach your children the stories behind holiday traditions

and, most importantly, how Jesus is the Greatest Gift of all!

Jen :)

If you find yourself worried about how to give your kids a good Christmas, read here.

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Top Free Preschool Resources for Teaching at Home

Do you have toddlers or preschoolers in the home?  I’m planning to teach our two preschoolers at home this year, for reasons like teaching the faith and values that our family upholds as true and also for financial reasons.

While I’m really excited to exercise my teacher muscles by homsechooling our preschoolers, I’m also feeling a little overwhelmed since preschool is not exactly my specialty.

So, lately I’ve spent a good deal of time on Pinterest and Google trying to gather up the best free preschool resources out there – from curriculum, to themed units, to printables, to hands-on activities, and more.

So, on today’s Mama Monday, I thought I would share these free preschool resources with you so that you don’t have to spend all of the time I did on collecting them! :)  I won’t have room to mention everything I’ve pinned while searching, so if you want even more material to consider, look at my Learning at Home board on Pinterest.

This huge list of free preschool resources will make homeschooling preschoolers so easy!  For teachers, parents, homeschoolers,  child care providers, etc.

  1. God’s Little Explorers Curriculum

    Motherhood on a Dime offers this FREE, faith-based preschool curriculum online for homeschoolers, and it looks to suit our family’s needs.  The free curriculum includes basic plans for daily instruction (based on a four-day school week) as well as printables.  I plan to use the free version of this curriculum as my foundation and supplement it with some of the activities and ideas listed in the categories below.   Note: the creator of this program also has a paid option format that includes better graphics and more printables.  The paid option is still very inexpensive (less than $15 )for an entire school-year’s worth of plans!

  2. Seasonal/Themed Printable Packs

    I plan to use this free fall printable pack from Homeschool Creations as a supplementary material for this season along with the curriculum mentioned above.  Homeschool Creations offers many other printable packs as well.  1+1+1=1 is another amazing printable packs resource with everything from princesses and my little pony to solar systems and star wars. These two free preschool resources make both teaching and learning fun! :)

  3. Writing Skills

    My children are not yet coordinated enough to form actual letters (although our daughter is close), so we’ll be working on some pre-writing skills before anything else.  I picked this floral printable for my daughter  and these printables will work well for both children as well as these from 3 Dinosaurs .  I love the idea that this mom had to put the printables or workbook pages into sheet protectors in a binder so that you can use dry erase markers with them.  You could even let your preschooler decorate the front of his or her binder to personalize it.  Use them over and over again! :)  Once they grasp the concept, I plan to introduce alphabet letter formation.  The Measured Mom offers these writing stations as homeschool alternatives to using printables alone.  You could use the same methods with shapes and numbers, as well.

  4. Letter Recognition

    I love the idea of starting out with my children’s names as well as other names in the house.  You can read about name kits at Fun-a-day.  If you’re intersted in a montessori method for introducing letters, Living Montessori Now offers excellent advice.  Hands on as we grow  has a list of 50 fun activities for learning both upper case and lower case letters.  At Crystal and Co. you can find instructions for fun letter-of-the week crafts, too, as well as other free preschool resources.

  5. Number Recognition

    DLKT offers a number of counting and number worksheets here. Turtle Diary offers these printable options.  What I think will most appeal to our preschool boy and girl will be more hands-on activities like this paper tube one from Learn With Play at Home and a method using easter eggs from Reading Confetti.

  6. Shape Recognition

    Although our preschoolers already know most of their shapes, we still need to do some reviewing in this area.  Hands on as we grow demonstrates how to be hands-on when learning shapes.  Shape puzzles are another great resource as children can both handle the shape itself and also learn how it fits into the board. I also like this crafty approach to shape matching from education.com.  Creative Family Fun offers 12 fun ways to learn shapes.  Also, you can find printables for shapes here at Aussie Childcare Network. Printables are one of my favorite free preschool resources! :)

  7. Color Recognition

    Although our daughter is pretty solid on her colors, our son could use more help.  So, we’ll be continuing to practice our colors through the preschool years in our homeschool.  I’m working on a home-made version of Go Fish using colors for our preschoolers, so when it’s done I’ll be sure to share with you. :) Toddler Approved provides these hands-on learning methods for colors.  Inspiration Laboratories has a great idea for creating a color rainbow that I think our preschoolers would love.  We also plan to sort buttons, pom-poms, beads, etc. by color and create patterns, as well as learn colors through reading some books we have about colors.

  8. Music/Rhymes

    I plan to use youtube for much of our music, but I also like these printable nursery rhymes from Aussie Childcare Network.  DLKT offers these printables for making nursery rhyme characters to use as puppets or for a felt board.

  9. Bible Literacy

    I plan to incorporate Bible lessons into our home preschool, but I’d like to save this topic for a future post as I plan to review a few options in detail.  So, check back later for those options. :)

  10. Letter Formation

    Here are more free preschool resources – printables for the alphabet:

Other free (or nearly free) preschool resources to consider:

Pinterest – while I already knew of some of these free online resources, much of the additional material I found on pinterest. :)

Library books – the best way to teach your children (aside from play) is through reading to them.  You can find books on almost any theme or subject you plan to teach.  Libraries are great resources for supplementing the books you already have at home.

Youtube  – a quick search for alphabet songs, shape songs, days of the week songs, and more reveals that the options on youtube are endless… and best of all, free! :)  You can also teach nursery rhymes and other preschool favorites such as “Five Little Speckled Frogs.”

PBS/Netflix – Leap Frog, Word World, and Super Why are all educational animated shows that focus on letter learning, although Leap Frog has some that focus on numbers and shapes as well.  We have a subscription to Netflix’s online streaming service, so I plan to use many of these programs through Netflix.  The advantage to using Netflix over PBS is that I don’t have to wait for an episode to air.  Instead, I can hand-pick episodes to coordinate with themes we might be exploring that week.

Online learning – the internet offers a wealth of free online resources for learning games.  Check out our top ten educational websites – many are suitable for preschoolers.

Dollar Store Deals – I wrote a whole post on items you can find at the dollar store to use in teaching preschoolers or toddlers, complete with ideas on how to use them!

Toys – we have a few toys that I have set aside specifically for our preschool use (I do not keep these toys in their regular toy box, which makes them special since they can’t play with them whenever they want).  Any toy that says a letter’s name aloud and repeats the sound the letter makes can be a good tool to use when your preschooler just doesn’t want to sit and work with paper.  You probably already have a few of these “educational” toys laying around the house, so don’t feel the need to go out and buy new ones. :)

Additionally, much of the time spent during preschool should be free play, when children have time to pretend play using blocks, legos, dress-up clothes, kitchens, etc.  You can also use toys you already have at home to enhance themed lessons.  Finally, puzzles can be great resources for learning shapes, colors, letters, and numbers, etc.

I hope this helps to get you started on planning for your toddler/preschool years, whether you intend to teach formally by homeschooling or just as your children are interested.

Jen :)

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Much Ado about Missions: Praying T.H.U.M.B.

We’ve reached  the third and final week of our Much Ado about Missions series – helping you develop a missions mindset in your home!  If you missed the Introduction to this series, you can view it here.  Also, if you need to catch up, you can find all of the posts listed under the weekly wrap-ups:  Week 1 (teaching missions in the home) or Week 2 (missions experiences for the whole family).

In our third week, we’re focusing on praying for the Nations.

I don’t know about you, but I often pray for unsaved friends and family members.  And since my husband is a pastor, I usually remember to pray for the unsaved in our local community.  I also pray for our missionary friends and those we support.

However, one thing I seldom remember to do is pray for the most unreached people groups of the world!

Today I’m going to share with you the T.H.U.M.B. method, borrowed (with permission) from some new missionary friends.  The T.H.U.M.B. method is unique because it focuses on praying for the largest unreached people groups according to specific prayer points based on the spiritual beliefs of those groups.

One important distinction to make is that unreached people groups aren’t simply unsaved people.  

Unsaved people will always exist on earth until the end of time.  However, the Bible is clear that all nations must be reached with the gospel before Christ will return.  Unreached people groups are those who have literally no gospel presence. It’s not just that they are unsaved, but that they also have absolutely no opportunity to learn of salvation!

Just think of it : whole generations of men, women, and children are being born, living, and dying without ever hearing of God’s provision in the form of Jesus.

As a follower of Christ, I would like to be more intentional about praying for these unreached peoples, that they might have the opportunity to hear the Good News for God’s glory!  I want my children to learn by my example, too. Our plan is to use the T.H.U.M.B. method and pray for one group each day of the week, Monday through Friday.  

One apsect of praying T.H.U.M.B. that I love most is that it is so easy to remember!

T.H.U.M.B. is a simple strategy to teach your family how to pray for the world's largest unreached people groups. You can be involved in world missions right from your home by praying for the unreached! #missions #prayingTHUMB #prayerstrategy #parenting Christian parenting | missions week | missions focus | church |teaching children | teaching kids about missions | praying for the world | praying for missions |prayer strategy |missional family | missional women

The Praying T.H.U.M.B.

a strategy for praying for the unreached people groups of the world

T – Tribal groups – as you might imagine, these are people who live in remote locations, some only reachable by helicopter or boat or weeks of hiking.  They have their own languages, cultures, and spiritual beliefs.  Many tribal people live in fear of upsetting the spirits, beings they believe are responsible for the health of family members, the growth of crops, and so forth.  So, when bad things happen, it’s because the spirits are unhappy and must be appeased.  Often these beliefs lead to tragedies such as witch trials, ritualistic deaths, beatings and other brutality. These people live in oppressive spiritual darkness.

H – Hindus – Hindus worship many, many gods.  Therefore, one of the challenges missionaries and believers face in sharing the gospel with Hindus is differentiating between their gods and the One True God.  Sadly, Jesus can easily become just one more god that they add on.

U - Unbelievers in China – they cheated a little on this one to fit the acronym. :)  The unbelieving in China are over a billion strong!  One of the unique challenges faced by missionaries to this particular unreached people group is that because of the communist government, believers must be careful about how they share their faith.  China is not fully open to missionaries, so many believers enter as teachers, businessmen and women, and so forth. They work jobs while also trying to learn Chinese and develop discipling relationships with others.

M – Muslims – the Islam religion is spreading world-wide.  Muslims believe in only one god, Allah, but they believe that Jesus was merely a prophet, like so many other prophets.  The Islam faith rests on the pillars of Islam, many of which are based on “good works.” Like China, many parts of the Muslim world are still completely closed off to missionary presence.

B – Buddhists – There are various forms of Buddhism, but most Buddhists do not believe in a god or gods.  They do, however, follow the teachings of a man  named Buddha, who emphasized the need to understand self and the world in a more “enlightened” way.  While I don’t understand all of the Buddhist beliefs and practices, I do know that much of it is based on personal efforts.  Thus, the need for a Savior is a foreign concept.

For more information on the T.H.U.M.B. technique and its specific praying points, please visit Beyond the Bullingtons – the Bullington’s are nearing the end of their training to be church-planting missionaries with New Tribes Mission.

Use this free printable to be a prayer warrior for the world!  Using T.H.U.M.B. you can pray for the world's largest unreached people groups.  #prayer #freeprintable #missions #parenting teaching kids about missions | teaching kids to pray | praying for the unreached | praying for the nations | pray for the world | T.H.U.M.B. method of prayer | prayer methods for children | homeschool | Sunday School | church | purposeful parenting | raising godly kids

Why not make praying T.H.U.M.B. part of your daily or weekly prayer routine?

As your children, or even grandchildren, grow old enough to understand, you can teach them this acronym so that they might pray for the largest unreached people groups alongside you.

You might even consider praying for a different unreached group at a certain time of day, such as a mealtime or  bedtime.  The acronym is easy to remember, so why not connect it to an easy-to-remember time of day?

As I mentioned in the introduction to the Much Ado About Missions series, nearly a third of the world’s total population remains unreached.  Praying is one way that we can all do our part!

How can you use the T.H.U.M.B. method in your home?

Jen : )

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Use this #freeprintable to encourage your #family to #pray for the world's largest unreached people groups! Teach your children the importance of global missions right from your own home. T.H.U.M.B method of praying |Being Confident of This | teaching kids to pray | teaching kids missions | missional family | missions-minded family |praying family | Christian women | Christian parenting | raising godly kids