Handling Halloween

A lot of folks don’t celebrate Halloween these days. Frankly, I get it, and I’m not a huge fan myself. For me, it’s not so much about religious convictions as it is that I don’t like the idea of mixing scary stuff and kids. I also don’t like how sexy some of the costumes have gotten, even for little ones.

The idea of any costume, friendly or scary, is frightening for some children. If yours is one of them, here are a few tips for handling Halloween.

1. Respect your child’s fear by staying a safe distance from costumed people.

2. Don’t laugh at their fear, no matter how silly it may seem to you.

3. Offer comfort and reassurance.

4. Remind them it’s only pretend, but they still don’t have to like it.

5. Avoid places with people in costumes.

Some of these may seem extreme to you. But your child is probably only going to be fearful while he’s young enough to be confused about what’s real vs. what’s pretend. Often, by school age, kids can tell the difference. Is it really worth scaring your child just for a party or event you want to attend? For me, the answer is no. I can put off going to these Halloween events until he’s old enough to not be frightened by them.

I’d much rather focus on fall, pumpkins, harvest and such. There are lots of fun festivals and activities that younger children can participate in at this time of year that aren’t so scary. They provide family fun and lasting positive memories.

How do you plan to do Halloween this year? Will your children dress up? Will you? Will you go trick-or-treating? Attend an alternative event at a school or church? Or will you ignore Halloween altogether?  

Book Review – Hugs & Kisses, God

Title:  Hugs & Kisses, God

Author: Allia Zobel Nolan

ISBN: 978-0-310-72263-2

SRP: $6.99

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

I really enjoy reading this book to my son, Caleb.  It reminds me of what Caleb and I do on a daily basis, and that is…to be thankful for all that God gives us in this life to enjoy. When we go on walks together, we like to point out Gods beauty that we see around us like…leaves on the trees that are turning a beautiful shade of red, orange or yellow. Looking up at the sky and seeing that the sun has turned a lovely orange-pink with a hint of yellow.  Seeing the squirrels hurry around gathering their nuts and enjoying the day.  Or birds singing sweet songs of praise as the fly so elegantly across the sky.  All of these things make my heart smile, and Caleb’s too.  That’s why I like ‘Hugs & Kisses, God‘ so much.

This book is a Lift-The-Flap Book.  Fun for kids ages 3 & up.  The children in this book are children from all over the world who are learning and understanding how to be thankful for everyday gifts that God gives them.  Saying your prayers in the morning before you do anything else – is showing God you love him.  Being thankful for the food you eat – is showing God you love him.  Smelling fragrant flowers along the way – is showing God you love him.  Helping a friend and showing that you care – is showing God you love him.  Blowing bubbles and catching fireflies, along with sparkling stars that light up the sky…are all ways that children say – Thank you God for this day.  Learning about God’s word – is showing God you love him.  These children are giving Hugs & Kisses up to the Lord for all that He has done.

I highly recommend this book for all young readers.

Reviewed by: Melissa Staehli 

A Faith-Stretching Activity for Kids

Give your child a piece of paper and ask him or her if they could step through it. They will probably say something like “No way!” or “That’s impossible!” Next take a pair of scissors and make a cut through the middle. Ask if this will make it easier? (Of course not)

Example 1 - cut 3X5 cardThen use the scissors again making several cuts from the center going out but not cutting all the way to the edge. Then cut from the outside going in toward the center between the first cuts being careful not to cut all the way up to the opposite edge.

Study this picture:   I drew lines on the lower right corner to make it easier to see how to cut the card. The left corner has already been cut. I find it is easier to cut the center from near the top to near the bottom, and again near the right side to near the left side first.

Example 2 - 3X5 card stretchThen work around the card in four sections. Be sure none of the cuts go all the way from the inside to the outside or you will break the loop and have to start over. On the right is a picture showing three of the sections cut.

Now you can pull on the paper to spread it out. By the time the fourth section has been cut the paper card can be stretched far enough to pull it down over your head and slide it all the way down your body and step out of it.

I made the pictures above with a 3×5 card which requires a lot of very close cuts. If you are doing this activity with young children try a thin paper plate. You won’t need to make as many cuts and the plate is thick enough to hold up to some tougher tugging.

3X5 card stretched around toy dog

Even though a 3X5 card is pretty small, with enough cuts placed just right it can stretch around a person. This card wasn’t cut as closely as it could have been or it would have stretched even bigger.

Is there anything too hard for God? Remind your child that sometimes we worry about problems as if nobody could make everything right again. Getting through those problems might feel like walking through a locked door. But God in his unlimited wisdom and power can handle those problems as easily as cutting the paper or plate so we could go through them.

Jeremiah 32:17 says it was God’s own power and strength that made the earth and all of creation. There is nothing that is too hard for God.

By Janice D. Green, author of The Creation

What Must I Do to Be Saved? By James R. Anderson

What Must I Do to Be Saved?
■Author: James R. Anderson
■Publisher: Innovo Publishing
■ISBN-10: 1936076888
■ISBN-13: 978-1-936076-88-8
■SRP: $16.50
■Reviewed By: Cheryl Malandrinos

Rating: :) :) :) :)

What does the Bible say about eternal life? Purposefully ignoring denominational creeds and traditions, author James R. Anderson compiles scripture verses found in the New Testament of the Bible, which tell us how to gain eternal life in heaven.

What Must I Do to Be Saved? is an excellent resource for beginners searching for answers, in addition to those who enjoy reading scripture passages on the subject of eternal life. Beginning with Matthew and ending with Revelation, you’ll discover hundreds of Bible verses on the topic. The power, truth, and simplicity of what God has to say about gaining eternal life is discussed one verse at a time. Through these verses, it is easy to realize how much God wants to have a relationship with us.

The book is set up in an unusual format, in that it has no chapters. It is literally a journey from the Gospel of Matthew through to the Book of Revelation with stops at each of the verses that talks about eternal life. As someone who likes a definitive place to stop–like the end of a chapter–this style took some getting used to. In the end, however, I felt it worked well.

Anderson’s Introduction tackles the issue of whether the Bible is true and inspired by God, as it declares in II Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” He mentions a few of the proofs that the Bible is true. This two-page opening essay is an excellent start to a meaningful and moving devotional.

After the study of more than two hundred verses, the reader is treated to a conclusion that includes an old Scandinavian hymn, and then an alphabetical index that lists every Bible verse found within the book’s pages.

What Must I Do to Be Saved? is a great Bible study tool. It would make a wonderful gift for you or someone you care about.

I received a free paperback copy of this book from the author’s publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have received no compensation.

The End of the Starving Momma

Last year a teaching pastor at our church gave a talk about the ‘starving baker’.  The story went a little something like this, everyday a baker creates an array of delectables that generates lines out the door.  People flock to this bakery and the baker must work more and more to keep up production.  Day after day of toil eventually begins to take its toll on this baker, because of his tireless work he has neglected his basic needs.  Despite feeding so many others, he forgets to ‘feed’ himself. 

As moms can’t we all relate?  How often do we make time for everyone else in our family while neglecting ourselves?  Do we need to spend more time ‘feeding’ ourselves physically, emotionally or spiritually?  This school year I have found myself with four hours alone while my girls are at school or napping.  Rather than a respite, I usually find myself frantic trying to fit in as much as possible during this time.  Like the starving baker, I am realizing that I too need to make time to feed myself.  Recognizing this fact, for the first time in my almost seven years of motherhood I am taking a weekend trip with three girlfriends.

Our plans are simple:  surround ourselves in the beauty of God’s creation by hiking and spending time outdoors with plenty of time for conversation and quiet contemplation.  We will be staying in a cabin, absent of all the instant forms of communication that would typically keep us at least partially connected to what is happening at home.  As you can imagine, this trip does not come without guilt – shouldn’t we be spending time together with our family or doing things at home?  I am coming to terms with the notion that this trip to revitalize myself is actually the best thing that I can be doing for my family.  With days so full of making meals, driving, filling up my girls and husband with love and support, this does not leave a lot of time to make deposits towards my own well being.  This weekend I will be working on me.  And I plan to come home one full Momma!