During the pandemic, Illustrated Ministry is providing free resources for at-home family faith formation. Check out this week’s (Easter week 7) coloring sheets, activities, and family guide!
The Holy Spirit gives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5: 22-23
I don’t know about you, but at my house, we all could use an ‘extra helping’ of the fruit of the spirit towards ourselves and each other right now.
Grab a bowl of fruit! This week as a family, spend time boosting your ‘fruit of the spirit’ morale. Take turns pointing out ways each person shares these gifts during difficult times.
Today feels like a big re-calibration day for me. Last week we made the difficult decision to cancel the summer youth trip, schools won’t meet in person again this school year, camps will be closed, beaches and parks unavailable for the foreseeable future and we have no idea when we might be able to gather as a faith community face to face.
There’s lots to process.
As I talk with youth and parents about all this, I’m hearing a theme of uncertainty. People are not even sure what to look toward because each bench mark that gets passed makes it more challenging to figure out where to put a marker.
There’s lots on our minds.
When to watch the news, when to turn it off.
What to tell our kids (big or small), what to leave out.
How to re-enter from a pending lift on stay at home, how not to.
How to stay positive while being realistic with our kids.
Wondering when things will feel “safe” again.
The question and worry train seems endless.
I’ve been meditating on the statement “What’s on your mind is on God’s heart” and I need reminder so I can sleep at night. I need to be reminded (a lot) that God is a VERY present help in trouble. I need to trust the promise that God’s hand is leading and love is supporting me, always, especially right now.
Maybe you need to be reminded of those things too?! Maybe your high school senior, or your new college grad needs to be reminded of those things?! Maybe your middle schooler needs that reminder?
Maybe we ALL need to be reminded! Consider this your reminder, that what is on your mind is already on God’s heart, and that God has got you. No conditions or exceptions.
I don’t know about you all but I feel like one of the silver linings of this pandemic is the way we’ve reconnected with appreciating each other. I was in a park downtown a few weeks ago and heard the banging of pots and pans and general hooting and hollering that I found out is a nightly occurrence to show health care workers appreciation. HOW COOL IS THAT? The signs in yards, the hearts in windows, the cheerful chalk art? It fills my heart to see all of the ways we’ve learned to show appreciation for one another, in ways we’ve maybe never even done before!
This week is marked by a few appreciation holidays that existed before the virus but will exist in a new and maybe bigger way this year. This is a week marked with celebrations of many nurturing roles in our society, teachers, nurses, and mothers. That is a lot of people to celebrate and appreciate! Now I know we have reached the end of nurses and teachers appreciation week and you may have already planned a mother’s day celebration, but I wanted to share a few distance friendly ways to show appreciation to people who fill those roles for us whether or not it fits into this week. If I’ve learned anything from this season of life, it is to appreciate more, hold hugs tighter, and always be kinder. I can’t wait for those long hugs! But until then, appreciation and kindness will reign. People have shown appreciation from a distance for years, so there are some standards that can be used. Flowers, cards, videos are always meaningful ways to share your love from a physical distance.
Cards rule all celebrations it seems. But in a time when we can’t as readily browse the card aisle at Target, homemade is the way to go! Any paper folded with a kid’s handwriting and drawing on it is a win in my book! But if you want to do something new, try one of these pop up card ideas for a special hero in your life!
Flowers are another standard sign of care. But they can get expensive and many people are limiting exposure to delivery people right now. A few ideas to show how your appreciation is blooming! First, now is the time where tulips and lilacs are popping up! Make a homemade bouquet and leave it on a teacher/nurse/mom’s doorstep. Don’t have a green thumb? (I’m with you!) Make flowers at home!
To put a teacher spin on any of these flowers, swap out the stem for a pencil 🙂
While we are physically distant, hearing the voice of a loved one is comforting to say the least. Send your teacher/nurse/mom a video to tell them how appreciated they are! Or record an audio message to accompany a card or a picture. Sending a scan or photo of a card is a way to really keep your germs to yourself and a picture of a card that comes with a recording is the icing on the cake!
No matter who you are celebrating, or being celebrated by this weekend, I hope smiles and sunshine fill your days. You are loved! Now go out and remind others it is true for them, too!
We checked in with Westwood Parents who are raising elementary kids or preschoolers to get a feel for how it’s going at home. The assignment: share 2 words to describe your family’s world right now…133 words later…what we learned: whatever you feel, you are not alone!
One of the most uplifting parts of the last few weeks is seeing the love spread throughout our communities, shown in hearts in the windows, signs on the lawns, and distance birthday parades. I have a friend from college who is a talented chalk artist and she has been taking her talent from her own stoop to our community. I love the idea of spreading this love beyond our own front stoops and doors (safely of course!). This weekend for some family fun, here are a few ways to spread love (while keeping your germs to yourself!)
Chalk Someone’s Stoop
Do you have a family member you miss, or a community leader you want to thank, take a trip to their house and leave a message for them in chalk! Maybe there is a neighbor in your community you know lives alone and you want to leave them some hope! Don your masks, pile in the car or walk down the block, and spread some chalky cheer! Text them or call them when you are finished so they can come wave out the front door, or leave it as a surprise for them to find later!
Homemade Yard Signs
Do you have a paint stick, a wooden kebab skewer, or an unused ruler? That is all you need to bring a yard sign to a friend! (besides art work and tape of course!) Make some encouraging signs and leave them in someone’s yard that you think could benefit! Bring them to your essential worker friends and family members and write on them “An essential hero lives here!” or just include encouraging messages and leave them for strangers. How cool would it be to open your door to a sign that said “You matter!”
Thank You or I Love You Parade
With the physical space between us, the list of people we miss is much too long. Take a “Thank you!” or “I miss you!” or “I love you!” tour of those people! Decorate your car like you are in a parade and take a trip to drive by those loved ones’ homes! Text them when you are on your way or honk really loud and surprise them 🙂
Spreading this love in your own yard is also special and a great way to get the family working together creatively, and outside! No matter how big or small the sign, the sentiment is huge and meaningful! Join us in spreading kindness (not germs!)