Mommy & Me Monday: Muddy Valentine

This week Pristina joined her piggy friends to make heart shapes in the mud for you. (oops) Happy muddy Valentine’s! Enjoy coloring these cards together and focus on one of the important qualities of God’s love: patience.

As I made these cards today I was convicted of my own lack of patience. My kids are home from school and have been pestering each other all morning (apparently this is the best fun they could think of). I snapped at them (more than once) and found myself counting the hours until they would be back in school and I could have peace and quiet in the house again. But then I remembered that God is slow to anger. Abounding in love. That one of the signs of the Spirit in our lives is patience (Galatians 5). That God is putting up with a lot worse in this world than irritated siblings, because His patience is so great and he wants everyone to come to Him before the end…

In Princess Pristina, the king forgave Pristina over and over again for playing in the mud – just as God is patient and forgiving toward us when we make many bad choices. Jesus told us to forgive each other 70×7 times, because we are called to be like God who generously forgives over and over.

God – love Himself – is patient.

Lord, give me your heart today, that long-suffering love, so that my kids can see how patient and kind You are to us in Jesus when we are coming up short. And thank You for your tremendous grace and patience with me.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Mommy and Me Mon– *cough* Tuesday…Stick puppets!

Some Sir Bumble fun for Mommy & Me today! Sorry for the delay – I hope it’s worth the wait. 🙂 I thought I would add to the stick puppet collection (see here, here, and the DIY shoebox theater here) with a Sir Bumble who can flip from brave to running away, and a jointed dragon puppet. You’ll need three sticks for this one (I used thin bamboo kabob skewers I found at the dollar store), and 4 metal fasteners (smaller is better), and some tape or glue.

Instructions are printed on the sheets, but one little tip – you may want to print the dragons at 110% so you’ve got larger individual pieces to work with – easier to push the fasteners through. And use cardstock if you have it for a sturdier puppet.

Here’s what your finished dragon could look like. I was apparently inspired by rainbow sherbet today… 🙂

This week I watched a pretty intense movie about a natural disaster (based on a true story). And I saw and understood how bad things can suddenly come upon us. But the promise of the Lord is that He will never leave or forsake those who belong to Him. What a gift! Spend some time together memorizing this Psalm, planting it firmly in your heart for the time when trouble should sneak up on you. And rest in Him.

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.
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

Psalm 121

Mommy & Me Monday Special: DIY hidden sparrow

sew sparrow
Simple Sparrow pattern

After a long break for holidays with family, Mommy & Me is back!

I hear often that the hidden sparrow search (and crown search) in Sir Bumble and Princess Pristina are a favorite feature of the books. So to continue the fun, here’s a simple sparrow you can make and hide for each other around the house! This is also a great opportunity to teach or practice sewing with an older child.

Click below to download the simple PDF pattern and instructions:

Sir Bumble sparrow pattern

And if sewing isn’t your thing, cut him out of firm construction paper and hide away!

While you’re crafting, talk about the comforting truth that Sir Bumble learned – the Holy Spirit is near to us even though we can’t see Him. Jesus promised to send His Spirit to comfort us, encourage us, give us spiritual gifts, and remind us of all Jesus taught. What a wonderful, Kingly gift!!

Verses you can read together

John 14:15-17 “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

Romans 8:26 “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Galatians 5: 16-17a, 22-23 “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

If you’d like to explore more of the what the Spirit does in our lives, go to a searchable Bible website like Biblegateway.com and do a search for Holy Spirit. And be sure to pray and ask God to help you understand these things – the Holy Spirit is here to help!

 

 

Mommy & Me Monday: Poinsettia cards

mnm-poinsettia-sheetr

It’s Mommy & Me Monday again! This week enjoy coloring a set of Poinsettia cards together! These could be fun to attach to gifts or send to friends & relatives who would enjoy the personal touch of a hand-colored card. I recommend printing on cardstock or a heavier paper, but nothing too glossy or it will be harder to color on. 🙂

Instructions: When you click on the image above, be sure to then click on the link that says “See full size image” -or a similarly worded link – before printing. (The image you see above is actually a low resolution one and will print very small or grainy.) Cut the sheet in half along the dotted line. Then fold each piece in half at the center so one side has the poinsettia and side has the Bible verse. I envisioned the poinsettia to be on the front of the card and the verse on the back, but of course follow your creative and God-led inspirations 🙂

As you color, you can talk about the legend of the poinsettia and what gifts we can give to God this year. The poinsettia’s story originates in Mexico where two poor children longed for a nice gift to leave by the baby Jesus’ manger. The story goes that as they walked to church one evening, an angel appeared to them and instructed them to pick the green weeds that were growing beside the road and place them beside the manger in the church’s nativity. The children did as they were told. After placing the weeds, the plants bloomed into these beautiful star-shaped crimson flowers before their eyes. A beautiful gift worthy of a king.

While this story is a legend, it reminds me of many stories in the Bible where God asked people to do strange things that might have gotten them embarrassed or in trouble. Yet those who obeyed saw miracles!

Jesus told the servants at the wedding in Cana to bring water to the host who had run out of wine. But before the host drank it, Jesus had turned it into wine.

Noah was asked to build an ark when a terrible rainfall like what God was predicting was unheard of then or ever since. But he built it, and the flood came.

Jesus told the lepers to go show themselves to the priest, and only as they went on their way in obedience was the leprosy cured.

Joseph was told to take Mary as his wife, even though she was already pregnant. This would have been very embarrassing to him in that day, but he believed that the baby really was from God and obeyed. And he became the earthly father of our God and Savior!

Hebrews 11 is full of more stories of those who had great faith. And we even now join them as we await Jesus’ return. We follow Him faithfully even though it has been 2000 years since He first arrived, and many people think its silly to believe that He is alive and will return, or that He was God in the first place. But we hold on to our faith that what God has said will come to pass. We continue to worship Him with our whole lives, knowing that one day our Savior will return to destroy evil once and for all. His glory truly will “shine over all the earth.” And we will join Him forever!

 

Mommy & Me Monday: Colossians 1:17

Welcome to Mommy & Me Mondays. Take a few minutes to color with a little one in your life (or not-so-little one, or your inner-little one!) and reflect together on this week’s verse!

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17

Things don’t always go the way we want or plan in our lives. From not getting the toy we wanted for our birthday, to not getting the job or house we were so hoping for, and everything in between. Sad things happen to us all and it can even feel like everything is terrible, awful, and very bad. But here is our great comfort: Jesus is Lord of everything. He made it all and holds it all together. And He is GOOD. He sees our hurt, and when we are confused or frustrated. Tell Him all about how you are feeling – He is listening! Then choose to trust Him to bring about good and perfect things in your life and in the world. The One who made the sunsets and starry skies and keeps everything moving along is watching over each of His children personally and carefully.

“Take heart, for you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7

Mommy & Me Monday: Song of Solomon 2:10

Mommy & Me Monday is back! Spend some time coloring Princess Pristina with a little one in your life and talking about God’s love together.

PLEASE NOTE: I’ve heard of some problems with these coloring pages printing grainy or pixellated. To avoid this:
1) Click on the image you want to print
2) When the image pops up with the black background around it, look to the bottom right of the picture for a link that says “view image full size”.
3) Click on that link
4) When the full size image pops up, click on that one to save/print.

Please let me know if you still have trouble with them!

I think if we only understood how passionately God loves us, we wouldn’t find faith so difficult. He is not far away, not passively observing the lives of His children. No, He is so very close to each of us, and so passionately eager to be close to us. It is a mystery, to be loved like that. And because it is a mystery it’s easy to just not think about it – but we must! Read His words, His love letter to us in the Bible. Dwell on them. Pray and ask the Spirit to give you a greater understanding of the depth of His love. I used to feel like God just tolerated me because of Jesus’ sacrifice. But no, no no – He LOVES me, and all the joy and longing that implies. When you read the Scripture you feel it there in the words. Who else but a lover would go to the cross for His beloved? How else could God compare Jesus and the church to a bride and groom? Think of the person in your life who has loved you most and best. And consider how at times they have hurt you, even accidentally. Now consider that God loves you even BETTER than that person. Never failing or suppressing His love. If you are His, you are His beloved!

And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17b-19

Praise God!

Mommy & Me…Wednesday…

Well, Monday was one of those best-laid-plans kind of days. But I couldn’t wait till next Monday to share this one with you all! If you’re new to this series, I give you two coloring sheets – one for you and one for a younger child. Same idea, but everyone gets their own page at their level of coloring ability. 🙂

And as you color together, talk about Psalm 139:9-10.

I used to travel more, and have lived in and seen some wonderful places. But I have also experienced dangers – even facing bears out in the Alaskan wilderness or encountering storms at 20000 feet over the Atlantic. And I’ve learned that fear has this way of overpowering faith if we let it. Such a powerful emotion! And yet we must keep repeating the truth to ourselves – taking every fearful thought captive and setting it in its place by stating emphatically what we KNOW is true. God never, ever abandons His children. David knew this, even though time and time again he found himself in terrible danger, being hunted by an angry jealous king Saul. David was wonderful at telling God his fears (and his angers!) and then turning to praise and thanksgiving in the end. He KNEW and clung to the truth that no matter where he was or what was happening, God’s hand was holding him. And if we belong to God, then we too can be confident that He is always just a “Help!” away…

And we know that no matter what we face in this life, God is leading us on to beauty and goodness forever in His presence. Oh glory! No matter what I’ve seen on this earth, nothing will be more glorious than that!

Mommy & Me Monday: Menagerie Maze

PP managerie maze

Pristina‘s friends the pigs really love donuts. But these pigs are big on sharing. They’ve given out donuts to all their friends in the King’s menagerie. Pristina would like a donut too – help her find her way through the animals to the pig that’s carrying the box of donuts! And while you’re at it, count how many donuts the pigs gave out, and see if there are any friends who didn’t get one yet. Oh yeah, and have fun coloring together. 🙂

This week’s thought to share with your kids is about surrender. You could explain that word as meaning, “I won’t be in charge; I’ll let someone else be in charge.”It’s a word that people use when they’ve been at war and want to stop fighting.

The whole history of humanity has been one of war with God, for the most part. Something in us just *really* wants our own way. But the Lord tells us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Prov 14:12) When we are in charge, we end up in trouble. But God wants what is best for us. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” (prov 3:5-6) When we trust in God and follow His leading – when we surrender to Him – He leads us into good things. He makes us like new people, changing our hearts to be like His, full of love and truth. So even though it is hard to surrender, it is *worth* it!

Save

Mommy & Me Monday: Sleeping Dragons maze!

SB dragon maze

I would’ve posted this earlier but I was having a liiiitle too much fun drawing and adding details and, well, this just took a lot longer than I thought it would! But it is still technically Monday…on the West coast (and Hawaii!)… phew! 🙂

Have fun helping Sir Bumble to wander the maze and coloring a goofy dragon or two with a little one in your life. Careful not to touch those sleeping dragons or you’re gonna have to yell BOO a lot!

This week take a minute to remind your children (and yourself!) that you are deeply loved by God. We are totally free, as though we had never done ANYthing wrong! Paul opened many of his epistles with “grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” because that IS our reality now; that is what He sends to us. We have peace with Him, not strife. Acceptance and celebration, not rejection or fear of punishment.

It makes sense to us to imagine that God loves us more when we are doing good. Kids I think especially struggle with this concept because it is easy to equate a parent/teacher’s disappointment and frustration with a lessening of their love. But even if our affection DOES waver when we’re angry, God is not like us and His affection for His children (young and old) is at its peak right now and forever. What a tremendous gift Jesus bought for us!