Beach Bash: Home Edition

In this new season of ministry, my hope is to provide our families with DIY events that you can pull off with a little planning, a little imagination, and the extra time we have together. This week? The Beach Bash: Home Edition

One of the greatest joys of my time in family ministry has been the beach bash. For the past 3 winters, we’ve gathered together in GSH, dusted off our sandals and Hawaiian shirts, and made memories together to the Sounds of Summer by the Beach Boys. I have to say that this is has been an unanticipated ministry moment for me these past three years, yet I have found it to be one of the best parts of the job. What I love about the beach bash is that it gives us the gift of lighthearted fun, flexes our imaginations, and gathers us together at an event that is messier and louder than anything else we do at church. Why not bring that same energy, imagination, and fun to our homes during this uncertain season?

In an attempt to bring the beach bash to life, I’ve pulled together some DIY ideas for you to pick and choose from to build your party.

First off? Music and atmosphere! What is a party without an amazing soundtrack? To the left is our favorite beach bash soundtrack of the last few years. YouTube has their own playlist, too!

This link will get you to one of our beachy backdrops we’ve used on the screens for the past few years. But if you want to feel like you are scuba diving with the ocean creatures, this is the link for you! I bet your families could have quite the beach or underwater dance parties!

Decor and Activities

Next up, activities and decorations! One of the staples of the beach bash is our grass skirts. Now, if you already have some around you are in luck! But if not, use this tutorial to put your old streamers to good use and make your own! This can decorate your food table, enhance your beach outfit, or both if you really stocked up on streamers! Don’t have green tape or green streamers, a little color never hurt anyone and a rainbow hula skirt sounds amazing! Beach parties require sand, and if you have flour and oil at home you can make your own kinetic (or moon) sand for the party! Finally, dust off your sandals, Hawaiian shirts, and sun glasses! Now is the time to put them to good use! You can even do an at home costume contest! Limbo contests are encouraged and yard sticks from the state fair come in handy for these!

lime rickey snow cone

FOOD

Finally, the best part of any party, in my humble opinion, is the FOOD! Traditionally, beach bash has had pizza for dinner and I don’t need to give you directions on that (pineapple is encouraged but not required- this can be VERY divisive :)).

But my new and favorite addition to beach bash this year was our dessert- SNO KONES! You don’t need a fancy machine and sugary syrup to make it happen, just use a blender or food processor and your family’s favorite juice! There are endless combinations and they taste just as delicious!

There is no wrong way to throw a beach bash as long as you use your imagination. I hope you all can find joy in the little things as we gather in this new way. If you want to share the joy you find in your parties, send me pictures and stories! I’d love to see your smiling faces!

Holding you in digital hugs and prayer, Bekah

Lay Down Your Burdens

Joshua Larson, our Messy Worship Music Director, shares many of his own compositions with us to sing at Messy Worship. His wife Karen and son, 6th grader, Jack make up the Messy Worship Band. We are so lucky to have them leading us!

Grab some tissues, your kids, and a few minutes to sing together as your home worship today. God is good, everyday! Every day, God is GOOD!

Lay Down Your Burdens, By Joshua Larson (sung by Joshua, Karen, & Jack Larson)

Lay Down Your Burdens, By Joshua Larson

Lay down your burdens for Jesus our savior. Lay them down, lay them down. Hope springs eternal for Jesus our savior. Lay them down, lay them down, lay them down

People get ready for Jesus our savior, lay them down, lay them down. A new beginning with Jesus our savior. Lay them down, lay them down, lay them down.

Lay down your burdens for Jesus our savior. Lay them down, lay them down, lay them down

Let's Go(d) Fly a Kite!

Hold onto your [winter] hats folks, it’s a windy day!

Something about the wind swirling around my face helps me visualize God everywhere, being breathed in, creating motion and direction, and surrounding me. And if I’m the ‘kite’- I soar, I crash, I try again and again and again, and the wind [God] is always there for me.

Looking for a DIY kid project for today? Homemade kites!

Don't miss it.

This quarantine business is overwhelming. No doubt. No basketball tournaments. No concerts. No soccer games or track seasons. No toilet paper at Target. No hectic weeknight or weekend schedules.

BUT, WHAT IF…this is the opportunity we’ve always wanted to slow down and reconnect with and invest in our families? A break from our “busyness”. A chance to play and pray and REALLY listen to each other!

Image may contain: possible text that says 'FAMILY WE MAY NOT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER, BUT TOGETHER WE HAVE IT ALL'

An opportunity to be reminded of what’s really at the center. What really matters.

Don’t miss it.

adapted from Pastor Hans Dahl

Attitude of Gratitude

As our rhythms change and things feel big, I have to ask myself, “what’s really happening here”? Do you? Is it helpful for you to stop and take a minute to find your center? Writing down the things that we’re grateful for can help us to reorient ourselves in a time of chaos and uncertainty. Print this out and hang everyone’s on the fridge, screenshot it and post it to your Facebook or Instagram story, use it at the dinner table, however its helpful to keep you centered and your tweens/teens talking or writing!

#stayathomephotos

INTRODUCTION
Here’s a twist on the traditional scavenger hunt – instead of gathering items from a list, you will make photos of each of the list items. All of these items can (hopefully) be found inside your home. Feel free to change items, or add your own!

PHOTO SUGGESTIONS
For these photos, think creatively and not just literally! The goal is not to take a documentary photo of the objects, but to create a new work of art that has feeling and meaning to it beyond representing the object. Your camera is not a copier, so use the camera as a your paintbrush. Feel free to do whatever YOU want to create these photos. Move stuff. Put your camera in a place you wouldn’t normally. Think abstract, not literal. Also, think, “one more” when taking photos. If you already have a photo of an object, and see a different one later, take one more photo.

REFLECTION
When you are done with the photo scavenger hunt, take a moment to think about: what specific objects did you take photos of and why? which photo(s) do you like best and why? what did you learn about how you create?

Post your photos here so everyone can see your artistry!

Thanks to my friend @msladekphoto for helping us create art together!

The Next Right Thing

Talking about what’s happening in our world, keeping open communication with our kids (teens especially) is so important.
There’s lots of grief for our teenagers right now. Missed proms, cancelled sports seasons, cancelled graduation ceremonies, distanced from friends which are kids’ life line, the list goes on. Keep communication open with them, let them lament, let them be mad, sad and everything in between, for teenagers, those things that seem small to us, are so big, and their whole world.
Its OK to say you don’t know, there’s no guidebook to parent through pandemic, but we all can do the next right thing.

Enjoying Family Dinnertime…

It’s dinnertime. Yum! Hooray!

But let’s be honest…if you have a *real messy* family like mine, dinnertime can be a ‘just-get-it-done-and-check-the-box’ job. And why wouldn’t it? Food prep while crowd-controlling hangry siblings and my own end-the-of-day-fizzle-out happen simultaneously while trying to get food on the table with everyone at it. It’s. A. Lot. Can I get an ‘Amen’??!

I want dinnertime, especially right now, to feel different. More closeness, less anxiety. Many of us are going to have more opportunities to eat family meals together in these next weeks- can we find ways to savor these gatherings? To feel close to God in these times spent together?

My family has gotten hooked on conversation starters after praying. I added a few to try from createcraftlove.com (visit the site to find more!) that we really enjoy. We also like family storytelling while we eat. One person starts the story and passes it on to the next person by saying ‘and then…’ Even my preschooler loves to join in- it makes for hilarious plot lines! Our family’s version of the ‘Moment of Gratitude’ from Messy Worship is another crowd-pleaser.

Don’t get me wrong- it’s still messy at our dinner table! But the fun and looseness in this type of messiness helps us feel connected to each other and God.

Okay! Let’s lean on each other! Please share your own dinnertime prayers and fun conversation ideas so other families can use them too!