From One Parent to Another: Kids Workshops

Apparently, October is Fire Safety Month. Do you know how I know this? Because in the past two weeks, Savvy has built not one but two firetrucks.IMG_3151

Lowe’s and Home Depot both hold kid’s building workshops at least once a month and they both focused on Fire Safety Month this time.

They don’t always do the same thing. At Home Depot, Savvy has built her own chalkboard and a football game.


While at Lowe’s she spent the summer building vehicles for each of the Avengers (my favorite projects thus far).


They’re on Saturday mornings. You can check the schedule at their websites (Lowe’s and Home Depot). And the best part: they’re free!

You get to spend a couple of hours with you kid while you build a toy or game together that your kid gets to then take home and play with. There is nothing bad about this.

Sure, at this point, most of the work is done by me, but it is totally worth when my daughter pauses during her bedtime routine to look up at her toys and say, “I love my Avengers toys.”

(An aside: Lego store also has a kids building workshop but your kid has to be 6 or older. And they will not budge on this. Lowe’s and Home Depot have decided that I am able to supervise my 4 year old with a hammer and nails, but Lego has decided she can’t put a few plastic bricks together. But I’m not bitter or anything…)

Have you done any of these workshops? Are there any I’m missing out on?

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Foxes At the Zoo

A couple of weekends ago, we went down to Chapin for a missions conference. One of the things the church did for the missionaries was line up a few different activities for us during our downtime. We took this opportunity to take Savvy to Riverbanks Zoo for the first time. We assumed she would really enjoy it.

IMG_1489Steampunk giraffe

But it took some convincing. Mostly, we had to convince her that she couldn’t just sit and feed the bronze orangutan pretend food all day.

Feeding the Oragutan

But, a ride on the carousel was enough to turn things around (see what I did there)

On the Carosel Savvy on sholders

The highlight of the day, from our daughter’s perspective, was feeding the goats and giraffes. While our host was in line to buy the giraffe food, Savvy would simply pick up what had fallen on the ground and feed it to the giraffe.

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The day was a lot of fun and we are very thankful for Chapin’s missions team for giving us this opportunity.

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The Missing Prodigal Son

Back in the day, Jesus told this story about a family; a dad and two sons. One day, the younger son asked his dad for his share of the inheritance so that he could leave his father’s house and do his own thing.

Eventually, the money runs out and he wakes up to realize that he has hit rock bottom and decides to humbly head home and ask to be his father’s servant.

Unbeknownst to him, the father has been waiting for him and runs to him, bringing him back to the family.

And, according to every children’s Bible that I’ve read (and quite a few sermons that I’ve heard), that’s where the story ends.

Which is a problem for me. Yes, right now, my daughter is the younger son in the story, currently rebelling against her Father, but a lot of kids grow up to be the older brother.

Remember the older brother? When their dad threw a party to celebrate the younger son’s return, he stomps off in a pout because his father is making a bigger deal out of his younger brother than of him. After all, the older brother hadn’t left in the first place.

Savvy will undoubtedly be raised in church and, at least for some of her life, be an MK (missionary kid). She needs to know not only that her Father will embrace her when she returns to him, but also how to not be bitter when other prodigals return and parties get thrown for them.

I wish that children’s Bibles understood that.

Let’s not end the story before Jesus does.

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From One Parent to Another: The Jesus Storybook Bible

timelinestorybookSometimes its hard to find good resources to give kids that will help them learn the right lessons, especially when it comes to teaching them the Bible and the Gospel (outside of talking vegetables).

So I want to share with you what I’ve found in a new series I’m calling “From One Parent to Another.” I would love to hear what you’ve found as well.

The first one I’ve picked because, in many ways, it’s the most obvious. When Brandi and I first saw The Jesus Storybook Bible at the bookstore (well before we were even pregnant), we knew we wanted it. And, at that point, not many people had heard of it. But now it’s the go-to children’s storybook Bible, and for good reason.

Let’s be honest here, the Bible is a hard book to understand. Because it’s not just one book, it’s 66 books written by multiple authors in different genres and over hundreds of years.

What Sally Lloyd-Jones has done has distilled the message of the Bible to its core – that everything about the Bible points to Jesus.

“No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne–everything–to rescues the ones he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

You see, the best thing about this Story is–it’s true.

There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling on Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby.”

So often we make the stories of the Bible lessons in morality (Jonah teaches you to obey God) or character studies (we should be more like David), but we do a disservice when we simplify them like this – Jonah obeyed God, sure, but he was a jerk about and should we be like David? The adulterer and murderer?

I look at my daughter and I see a little legalist in the making – someone who has to have rules to follow (or break) and I don’t want her to see the Bible like that. For so many years, that’s how I saw the Bible and it hurt me.

The Jesus Storybook Bible, with its beautiful illustrations and well-told stories is a must have on every kid’s bookshelf or any adult’s for that matter.

(Fun fact: they’ve also taken the stories and animated them. Savvy loves watch the movie as well.)

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Sometimes you have to make a video for a church missions conference

Sometimes it takes more than one take.

Sometimes you stand there awkwardly letting your cat bite you while your wife tries to convince your daughter to be quiet while we finish filming.

Sometimes your wife spits at the moment your video should be ending.

Sometimes you make a blooper reel even though some of the best moments weren’t filmed.

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You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan

Brandi and I like to be constantly reading a marriage book. Our latest one (and current favorite) is You and Me Forever. Here’s a snippet that jumped out to me this morning:

[We] believe that more than any other attribute of Jesus, His humility is the key to a healthy marriage. If two people make it their goal to imitate the humility of Christ, everything else will take care of itself. It really is that simple. Arguments escalate when we want to be right more than we want to be like Christ. It is easy to get blinded in the heat of disagreements. Soon, all we want is to win, even if victory requires sin. The one who wins is usually the one who acts less like Christ.

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Brandi and I have spent the past week at Cru’s national staff conference. Every two years, staff from all over the country in every ministry under the Cru umbrella descend onto Colorado State University in Fort Collins for fellowship, worship, teaching and being reminded of the scope of the vision that God has given us, both as Cru staff but also as Christians.

By the way, here’s a fun fact for you: the downtown area of Fort Collins served as visual inspiration for Disneyland’s Main St. U.S.A. (Happy Birthday Disneyland!)

Every afternoon there have been breakout sessions on how to use various social media in your ministry. I have loved hearing ideas and stories from what other people have been doing and I want to take that with me to MTSU when we go.

They also hosted a bloggers and authors meetup yesterday which I was excited to go to, until I got there. Then fear and inadequacy set in. But Brandi was there and helped me so it was good. I talked with someone who has published a book while on staff and was able to get some of my questions answered that I’ve had for awhile.

The main theme for the conference is “Together” and the past few days have focused heavily on what it means to be together in terms of ethnic diversity. This has been a hard topic for me because prior to the conference I would hear a lot of people talking and complaining about white privilege and racism, but nobody was offering up any solutions.

As conversations happened here at the conference and as I wrestled through my own thoughts and questions, the ideas of power and pride kept popping up. Am I willing to give my pride, my rights to help those who don’t have them?

There is so much more to this subject, but as one friend of ours said, “This is the place to talk about these things, because the Gospel is the only thing that will create lasting change.”

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