Sunday Worship: A Family Affair or Not?

How do you normally spend your Sunday mornings? For some, Sunday mornings revolves around attending a church service and hopefully, a nice brunch afterwards at a local café. For some, however, the thought of having young children among the congregation, for an hour-long church service, is just as bad, if not worse, as a poorly prepared sermon given by a monotone preacher!

toddler, church, worship, family worshipMost regular churchgoers know about the babbling toddlers who insist on babbling alongside the preacher’s sermon. It seems no matter where you plant yourself in the church, the babbling toddlers find you and in the next hour or so, you wonder what to do.

Should you try to decipher the preacher’s sermon lesson as your head is uncontrollably nodding itself to sleep or simply give in to the toddler’s distracting babble and try your hand at understanding and translating the toddler dialect instead?

Hmm, as you ponder this great mystery, you may begin to wonder as well; maybe young children belong in the age appropriate children’s church instead?

I say, no! Children should be encouraged to attend Sunday services with their family from an early age. Having children learn patience through “uninteresting” events–no offense to any pastors out there– is lessons that may help to squish the, BUT…BUT… “I thought the world revolved around me,” syndrome!

One may argue, but why not offer an age appropriate Sunday service for the children. I simply have to disagree because this demonstrates to the children that one; you do not ever need to learn to be patient especially if boredom sets in! Second, families really should worship together. I love seeing a whole family take up the entire pew.

I know, you say it is hard to discipline and train kids to sit relatively still and remain relatively quiet. Yikes! As adults, do we sometimes have to practice such atrocities?

Of course, we need these skills and so much more the reason to have children become part of the Sunday church congregation to learn these waiting skills. This may seem unattainable but I know a young couple from church who believes in rearing their children in the church. They have a six-year-old boy, two-year-old girl and less than a year old baby just starting to learn how to stand. Their children do not go over to the nursery or children’s church. Every Sunday they worship together. Both parents actively supervise their children, quietly reprimand the older two if need be and the mom uses the baby sling and breastfeeding method to keep their baby calm.

I am not sure how much of the sermon the parents actually hears to gain any wisdom from it, but it may be just a passing season for them. During this lean winter months, they may find little to nourish their own souls but instinctively feed their growing family first. As the children get older, I suspect the solid foundation built will allow the parents to relax and hear more of the sermon. Once the children grow up and branch out on their own, the parents can finally enjoy the warm and lovely season, summer. In peace.

What do you think?

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Do you feel children should attend Sunday worship with their family instead of an age appropriate children church services?

 

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Inspiration came from this,  Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap.

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Single Working Moms (and Dads): You’re Solid!

Sunday Post, solid, single parent, single moms, parenting,family,single working mom,intention, sacrifice

Working on a ‘solid‘ prayer…
–photo source: Wikimedia common

On a prayer their morning starts,
Seeking wisdom, guidance and Divine light
dedicated single working moms (and dads)
Silently and solidly running their households far from the rich and famous,
No nannies, chauffeurs or personal assistants,
just children, and a few of the neighborhood ones too, fishes in a bowl and the family dog whose name gets mixed in the lot when a frantic parent names out every child’s (and dog’s) name simply because they momentarily forgot the one child they were trying to address
dedicated single working moms (and dads)
For the sacrifices in both time and effort, here is an appreciation ‘hug’

Found in a few simple words, given to honor you and to let you know how valuable you are:

“Single working moms (and dads) are teaching their kids a solid work ethic;
You’re teaching them that we don’t just have things handed to us, and we have to work for the things we want.” –Unknown

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Everyday find something new to pray for…
… All single parents living a life of sacrifice and with the intention to raise their children with a solid work ethic by being the role model for their children.

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Has your community been affected with many ‘solid’ single working parents and how are they reaching out to support these parents?

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If you are new to WordPress and are looking for ‘solid’ inspiration, Jakesprinter offers a weekly theme for you to participate. It’s easy, fun and a great way to kick off your week so do it with the SUNDAY POST : (this week) Solid.

Force Yourself

Force, Harrison Ford, savings, self-help, life, personal finances, birthday

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Well, Gypsy Mama-Five Minute Friday host– is off to the lake for a bit of fun and relaxation and (*gasp*), her vacation site  has no internet source so here we are, left without a Five Minute writing prompt.

However, not to worry, like a good mama she is, Lisa-Jo shared:  Because your Story Matters… an encouraging post to keep creating while she is away from her desk and to keep life flowing.

Today is Harrison Ford’s birthday. You know the action guy from Indiana Jones and Hans Solo from the Star Wars trilogy movies. Yep, on this day, July 13, 1942, Harrison arrived onto planet earth. It is no biggie, really, just sharing a bit of Hollywood birthday trivia with you.

Raise your hand if you remember this trivia, famous line from Star Wars:

“May the Force be with you.”

Harrison went on further and said:

“The Force is within you.
Force yourself.”

I find this quote so applicable when it comes to saving money.

Parents, teach your children to save money early in life so when they become the responsible and successful adults you imagined they would be; saving their earned money would be as natural as breathing and not a labored and forced activity.

Therefore, I am taking Mr. Harrison’s advice and leaving you not only bits of trivia but a charming financial tip for the day:

Force yourself to ‘gently’ grab the dollars you earned by the ears and march them straight into your savings account–the minimum is ten percent of what you earned–ignore all the resistance and take no ifs, ands, or buts…force yourself…your future depends on it.

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What do you need to ‘grab by the ears’ and force yourself to do?

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In Comes Silence

SUNDAY POST : Silence.

Silence came today…

Silence, love,poetry,Post a Day, 2012, Sunday Post, Writing,poetry,life,

–photo credit:flickr

to be close to the girl soon to be–
a grown daughter and the future’s hope
Yet, in this moment, a mother and daughter face–
Silence freely flowing between them both

No tears flow, only words–
Just a mother’s concerned words, questioning words, words…
From the mother to the future’s hope: the daughter–
Comes Silence…powerful, Silence

Future’s hope: the daughter, shuts down and goes within
Every question heard but not a sound–
the daughter remains with Silence
Somehow future’s hope: the daughter, has become skilled, a master with Silence

As time walked around with Silence in the room–
A mother waited patiently for the future’s hope:
the daughter to break free from powerful, Silence’s grip-
Not bad this time, for Silence left at three this morning

Mother and future’s hope: the daughter, drew closer again…goodbye, Silence

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Silence can be used as a powerful tool by giving absolutely nothing for your opponent to grab hold of and use against you, or, silence can be used as a tool to journey within ourselves to hear the Divine within us.

Where did Silence find you today? As a power tool against you or a tool that brought you peace and inner reflections?

Thank you for sharing your time here today…

~May your week be filled with abundant peace, light and inner silence.

My Summer Get Away to Cookson Hills

One thing I love about summer is the opportunity to take some time off from the usual routines we keep throughout the year and simply get away. Now, some of us have unlimited time and finances to take elaborate and well-planned get away trips while others on a more limited budget, ahem, like me, have to do with what you got.

Of course, having limits both in time and in finances does not mean you cannot have a meaningful, relaxing and fun summer get away. One can visit unlimited places via online travel blog sites or you can incorporate a simple summer get away–perhaps on some weekend.

This weekend, I took a meaningful summer get way to the open house of Cookson Hills Christian Ministries.

Cookson Hills, Photo, summer get away,ministries, children

Located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in rural Northeastern Oklahoma, children experiencing neglect, abuse, abandonment and estrangement within their own biological family, can live at Cookson Hills and find help, hope and healing.

The children live in family homes with each home having their own “surrogate mother and father” who offer support, love, structure, discipline and guidance like the family they should have had if circumstances were different.

Cookson Hills has over 1,000 acres with family homes, a Christian school, gymnasium, counseling services and a small area for senior citizens to live and work as staff grandparents!

goats, Cookson Hills, ministries,

No, sorry, I’m not a staff grandparent!

What I found the most interesting about Cookson Hills is their Equine Program. The open house main event was a rodeo and all the participants were children living at Cookson Hills.

Our tour guide mentioned that horses have a sixth sense and are able to sense a person’s behavior and even a person’s emotions. Therefore, a horse’s reaction or response “will always reflect truth back to that human.”

rodeo, Cookson Hills, ministries

Cookson Hills rodeo

According to the tour guide, a young man came very angry into their Equine Program. As he was cussing and carrying on, the therapist led this young man over to a horse, and the horse was calm and nuzzled up to the boy. The therapist told the boy if the horse had sensed true anger raging within him,  the horse would have reacted in the same angry way.

It was at that moment; the boy dropped down and began to cry.

He poured out all the hurt within his heart and the therapist was able to move a bit further to help heal this boy.

rodeo, Cookson Hills, ministries

Another resident from Cookson Hills demonstrates his fine ‘cowboy’ skills…

Restoring a child back to health is never easy, especially when it deals with so much pain and trauma from neglect and abuse, however, God can and does heal. 

Cookson Hills, horse, equine program, therapy, life,love,

Cookson Hills is a fine example of the power of healing using one of God’s creations, the horse.

Successfully helping children for over 50 years, Cookson Hills depends entirely on private donations only. They receive no funding from the federal or state government.

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about this awesome place that is helping to build better families by taking care of children who are unable to find the basic love and care from their own biological family.

Sometimes, it is in simple summer get away trips that teach us that hope begins with us. If we can help in some way just one person today, what a better world it would be for all of us.

Thanks for joining me at the open house of Cookson Hills Christian Ministries.

Do you have ideas or plans for a simple, yet meaningful summer get away?

a simple story for Mother’s Day: Sarah’s Specialty Shop

Beauty is but a flower

Which wrinkles will devour.

~Thomas Nashe

Sarah reflected onto a time, when in her youth, her beauty captivated many folks, in the small town where she lived with her mother, just north of the Hollow Ridge Bridge. Many thought she had what it took to grace the covers of the latest fashion magazines, and many would urge her mother to seek fortune and fame for her daughter.

Sarah’s mother, however, was wise and she knew the burden that can come with youthful physical beauty. She saw how quickly her own beauty faded in time and how her looks became like that of the dull shadows that eventually covers over on an old faded mirror.

Disregarding countless beauty pageant entries and mindless photo shoots to fill her young daughter’s modeling portfolio, Sarah’s mother, instead,  opened a ‘shop’  in her daughter’s mind.

This specialty shop began small and simple.

As far back as she can remember, Sarah watched her mother on many occasions, sitting with frail old Miss Taylor in the sun room of the Dragonfly Nursing Home. It had the same familiar old folk’s home smell and the drab furniture sparsely scattered around the room.

Sarah sat alongside mother.

The only inventory mother would stock were a handful of classic read-aloud books.

Miss Taylor, to the very young Sarah, looked to be at least ninety years old, but, when mother read aloud from the classic book, David Copperfield, every wrinkle seemed to disappear from Miss Taylor’s face and the room became magically lit and transformed.

As mother’s soothing voice slowly read over Mr. Copperfield’s  words, a smile beamed across the almost blind Miss Taylor’s aged face:

“My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.”

This smile appeared every time Miss Taylor heard those words and young Sarah, unknowingly, kept every smile locked in her heart.

Sarah found peace from the happiness that radiated from Miss Taylor’s being; and Sarah’s mother knew her daughter was receiving the secret foundation to eternal beauty and the key to success for her specialty shop.

Nothing any store-bought makeup would match so perfectly.

This foundation went beyond skin deep and covered any imperfections Sarah’s physical body would endure with aging.

Both Sarah’s mom and Miss Taylor have long left this world and the specialty shop operates with boundless energy and life. The Dragonfly Nursing Home residents are kept captivated, not so much with Sarah’s fading outer beauty, but with the golden glimmer of her radiant inner essence.

The funny thing is, when Sarah tries to read aloud from more recent novels, David Copperfield is still a favorite read-aloud story among her clients.

Go figure.

In honor of her mother’s birthday and every Mother’s Day, Sarah lovingly places a golden-yellow rose flower on top her mother’s grave.

If you listen closely, you may catch her whispering, “thank you, Mama, for wisely opening the specialty shop within me so long ago, and teaching me that the path to true happiness and true beauty comes by giving away the simple gifts in life.

Miss Taylor’s memories are living happily over at the Dragonfly Nursing Home.

When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age. ~Victor Hugo

Blessings to all mothers everywhere who teach their children valuable life lessons on the spirit of devoted giving and doing well with all their hearts.

Happy Mother’s Day 2012