Here’s My Fingerprint; How About Yours?

A few years ago, I knew that I needed to figure out exactly what my role in this world should be.  My children were almost grown and I had friends grieving through empty nest syndrome.  I knew, after 30 years of raising children, homeschooling them, being with them 24/7, that empty nest could hit me hard.  But only if I didn’t have a purpose beyond raising  my kids.
I think most of us come to that place several times in our lives, where we aren’t quite sure what to do next.  Or maybe we know what to do, but aren’t sure how.  Or maybe we know how … but something’s blocking us.
  • Maybe you’re a younger person, just starting out in life, wondering how you’re going to make it in the world, what kind of mark you can leave.
  • Maybe you know your purpose, but there are things getting in the way … depression, habits that don’t serve you well, disorganization, or a simple lack of confidence.  You may or may not know how to change those things, but you’re still having a hard time.  
  • Maybe there’s an area of faith that you want to work on.  You want to grow closer to God and be able to follow Him intimately, and you need someone to help you along.
  • Or you’re a new or proven homeschooler who needs some help getting organized, scheduling, choosing curriculum … or juggling the needs of family, school, a business, and everything else you’ve got going.

 

  • You might be a stay-home mom or a single parent who’s starting to feel like she’s lost track of herself and needs to know how to take care of herself so she can better serve her kids and others.
  • Perhaps you’re nearing or in your golden years and you’re thinking about how to leave the greatest impact on those in your circles of influence.  You want your life to really count.  You have wisdom to share or gifts to still be used.  You don’t want to waste a moment.
If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve probably heard me say (or seen me write) that I strongly believe every single experience in our lives — good, bad, success, failure — and each of our gifts, talents, skills, and resources all add up to basically a customized school that God put together for us, training us for our very unique contribution to the world.  Your contribution is so unique that it’s like your fingerprint — no one else, anywhere, at any time, has the same unique fingerprint you do.
I’ve realized that my contribution to the world is to help others discover and define their fingerprint and leave their indelible mark. It’s what entices me out of a cozy bed in the morning and brings joy to my day.  I’d love to work alongside you in finding yours and helping you do whatever is necessary to be able to leave your fingerprints in the strategic places God wants you to place them!
The thing that can make the difference between success and failure is having someone on your team who can look on from the sidelines and make suggestions, encourage you, educate you, celebrate with you, and give you that bit of oomph to make it to your goals.  
As your life coach, that’s what I do.  We talk about your goals, your dreams.  We figure out where you are, where you want to be, and how to get from here to there.  We work together to bring it down to steps that you can’t help but succeed with.  If accountability helps, I can do that for you without judgment or shaming, but with a lot of helpful encouragement.  We’ll figure out what’s blocking your progress, and I’ll help you find motivation in the rough spots.  I’m there to celebrate your victories with you and plot your course with you as you reach higher and higher.  So often, this is the one thing that makes all the difference in the world.
I’m invested in helping you reach your goals.  I strongly believe that you have something to contribute to this world that no one else, now or historically or in the future, is able to give.  If you don’t do it, the rest of us lose out.
If you’re ready to step up and work on leaving your fingerprint on the world, sign up for a free breakthrough session with me.  Let’s get to know each other and get you moving forward. 
If you’re not quite ready, feel free to sign up for my mailing list – use the link at http://lifecoachalycekay.com/  You’ll receive a series of emails from me over the next couple months with questions to help you think through the process.  You can journal about them privately, or share your thoughts with me by email. In the meantime, stop by my coaching blog, leave a comment … let’s start getting to know each other.  Pretend we’re sitting on my swing in my yard in Tennessee, with the dogwood blooming and a pitcher of tea between us.  🙂  (Yeah, I’m homesick.)
dogwood
Hoping that this spring brings you so close your dreams that you can finally touch them.Alyce-Kay

http://lifecoachalycekay.com/

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A Look Inside: Next Year In New Jerusalam

As we near Passover, I wanted to share in detail about my book, Next Year in New Jerusalem.  It’s still available as a print book, but is newly available as a 23-day email series, which can be used for personal study, devotions, or as a step-by-step guide to putting on your own Christ-centered Seder.

This is more than a Seder script (Haggadah).  It’s also an explanation of the depth of spiritual wealth in the Passover celebration, followed by a Christian Haggadah, using the traditional 6-hour Haggadah as a guide, condensed into 3 hours (including supper), with the institution and celebration of footwashing and the Lord’s Supper woven into the places in the Seder when they would have taken place during Jesus’ last Passover with His disciples, before He was sacrificed as the final Passover Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world.

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The new version of Next Year in New Jerusalem

What will you find in Next Year In New Jerusalem?  One of the things you may not realize is the importance of preparation for Passover, both logistically and spiritually.  This edition is the same as the original edition — intentionally, so that you can use it together with any of the old copies you have.

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Working with the original edition, updating and rechecking the references.

I’ve tried to include lots of ideas as well as detailed instructions in this edition of the book.  Below is the table of contents and I’ll explain a little about each chapter.

Table of Contents

Introduction  5
Getting Ready for Passover  9
When to Celebrate Passover  13
Preparing the Home  15
Preparing the Hearts  19
The Four Questions  23
Preparing the Table  25
Shopping List  29
Items for the Great Leaven Hunt  30
Additional Activities to Keep Children Busy  31
The Great Leaven Hunt  33
The Passover Meal & Ceremony  37
How to Make Jesus Your Messiah  69
Glossary of Terms  73

While the bulk of the book is the Seder script, I’ve included a number of chapters to help you understand Passover and help it to be a heart experience.  And because the logistics of the Passover Seder can be complicated, I’ve included lists and detailed descriptions to walk you step-by-step through the preparation and execution of your Seder.

In the Introductory section, I explain how Christians can benefit from a celebration of Passover.  While there are many benefits, one of the main thrusts of Passover is to remember and to teach — remember what God has done for us, and teach that to our children and others.  I believe this is a very important thing to do, through Passover and through other events in your life.  We see throughout Scripture how important it is to remind ourselves and others continually about what God has done for us.  This is how we grow our faith and keep it alive.  When we have a rich repository of God’s work in our lives, we are able to face the challenges of life with a stronger belief in God and trust in His guidance, protection, and provision.  The Introduction section helps you to understand the philosophy of Passover celebration … the why’s.

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Elijah’s place at our Seder table last year

Getting Ready for Passover helps you begin to understand the how’s of the Seder script preparation.  The script is written, using the traditional 6-hour Seder script (haggadah) as a template, but the entire Seder (including supper) in Next Year In New Jerusalem is condensed to approximately 3 hours.  (More about the Seder later, along with a sample from it.)  Because we never know how many people will be at our Seder from year to year, and because I want to encourage you to include others in your celebration, the readers in the script part are left blank for you to fill in.  This section gives you tips for doing that, as well as ideas for helping your guests feel more at home during the ceremony … and some potentially awkward situations to avoid.  🙂

As Christians, we have many options for when to celebrate Passover.  This chapter, When to Celebrate Passover, explains some of those possibilities.  In Preparing the Home, you’ll learn about the role of leaven in Passover and you’ll be invited to dedicate your home to God each year.  This is a wonderful opportunity to make an intentional commitment to allowing your home be a place that glorifies God.  Preparing the Hearts suggests ways to focus your own and your family’s hearts on Jesus, the Passover Lamb, through stories, books, activities and music.  I’ve prepared a Passover playlist on youtube for my grandchildren and I invite you to make use of this as well.  There’s a lot in the Passover Seder to keep the time lively and engaging for children of all ages.

The Four Questions (which are really 5 questions) are an important part of the Seder and these are listed with the Bible references so that you can prepare the children to ask these questions and watch for their answers during the Seder.  There are also Additional Activities To Keep Children Busy during the waiting periods.

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Preparing the Table is probably the most logistically focused section of the book, as there are a number of things that have to be included on the table and need to be arranged in a specific way.  The chapter takes you step-by-step, in detail, through setting your Seder table.  By the time you get to this chapter, you will have a good grasp of the components of the Seder.  I have to say that I, somewhat selfishly, I suppose, reserve the preparation of the Seder table for myself, because I enjoy the special time with the Lord as I pray for the participants and saturate myself in the Passover symbolism and wealth of reminders of God’s goodness.  For pictures from our celebration of Passover in 2013, you can view my Passover album at https://www.facebook.com/alycekay.hanush/media_set?set=a.10200419487223559.1073741826.1047433008&type=3  For an album of ideas for your Seder Table, https://www.facebook.com/alycekay.hanush/media_set?set=a.10202458128148308.1073741855.1047433008&type=3

The Great Leaven Hunt is an optional pre-Seder activity which is based on Jewish tradition, but takes on a distinctly Christian flavor here.  During the Seder itself, you will be celebrating the Passover, Jesus Instituted the Eucharist (a.k.a. Communion) during His final Passover celebration with His disciples. The Bible warns us of celebrating the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner.  The Great Leaven Hunt is both an educational and fun activity for the children, and an opportunity for each participant to examine his or her heart and leave anything at the cross that shouldn’t be brought to the Table.

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The Passover Meal and Ceremony make up the bulk of the book, of course.  I’ve excerpted a couple sections below, so you can see how it works.  But a bit of explanation first.  You’ll notice blanks before each new line in the Seder.  These blanks are for you to fill out with the names of your reading guests.  Detailed instructions and suggestions are given earlier in the book.  This takes some time to prepare, which is one of the reasons you don’t want to wait until the day of your Seder to start preparations!  I recommend filling these in a few days ahead of time, then the day before the Seder, sitting down with your children or a couple helpers and filling in the names in all the copies (in pencil so you can change these for next year).  It’s best to wait until close to the Seder to fill in all the Haggadahs which will be used by your guests, just in case there are any changes in your guest list.

This Haggadah includes appropriate Scripture references all throughout.  These are not meant to be read, per se, at the Seder itself, but are meant for additional study and reference.  There are many Scriptural allusions in the Jewish Haggadah, and I’ve included even more here; this way, you can spend time, if you like, familiarizing yourself to the Scriptures the Seder is based on. I can’t begin to express what a wonderful blessing this is for you and your family.  You might even want to spend the week before Passover reading these passages in your family devotions — or make one of these references each night into your family devotions from New Years until Passover.

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The following are two of the sections of the Haggadah in Next Year In New Jerusalem, so you can get an idea of how the script works and how the traditional Jewish haggadah is overlaid with the fulfillment of Passover prophecy in Jesus and His institution of the Lord’s Supper.

Breaking of the Middle Matzah

(________ standing, lifts up the plate with the matzah for everyone to see.)

________:  This is the Bread of Affliction which Israel ate in the land of Egypt.  Let all who are hungry come and eat.  Let all who are needy come and celebrate the Passover with us.  (Deuteronomy 16:3; Psalm 146:7; Deuteronomy 15:11)

(________ seats himself.)

________:  Now we are here; next year may we be in the Land of Israel, or better yet, in the New Jerusalem, which will come down from Heaven.  We were formerly slaves; now we are free.  (Revelation 21:1-4, Romans 6:20-22)

________:  Let’s pray for those who are still slaves to sin.

(Pray generally and/or specifically for friends and relatives who do not know Christ.)

________:  There are three pieces of matzah here.  They are each distinct, yet they are one on this plate.  This matzah reminds us of God.  He is three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — but He is one God.  (Deuteronomy 6:4)

________:  This is a mystery to us, one we will probably never fully comprehend, but it is true.

________:  Jesus, the Son of God, is the only person in the trinity that anyone has ever seen or touched.  Likewise, the middle piece of matzah is the only piece that is ever seen or touched.  To the Jews, this is a mystery.  To us, it represents Christ.  The Jews remove the middle piece of matzah and break it.  (I John 1:1)

(________ places the matzah plate on the table.  He removes the middle piece, being careful not to expose the other two pieces.  He holds the middle piece of matzah up and breaks it, reciting I Corinthians 5:7b:)

________: “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.”  (I Corinthians 5:7b)

(He wraps half of the broken matzah with the extra napkin and puts the other piece back on the plate.)

________:  Jesus was sacrificed like the Passover Lamb, so that death would pass over us.  When He died, His body was wrapped in cloth and hidden away in a new tomb.  (Exodus 12:13; Matthew 27:57-60)

(All the children must close their eyes while ________ hides the wrapped and broken matzah.  The traditional hiding place is behind the father’s cushion, but you may feel free to break with tradition and hide it anywhere you want.  The children will search for it later.)

(This next portion comes quite a bit later in the Seder.)

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The Lord’s Supper: The Bread

(________ passes the broken half of matzah around.  Each person breaks off a piece and holds it. ________ takes an extra piece to crush.)

________:  This bread, free from leaven (which reminds us of sin) is a symbol to us of Christ.  Notice that it is striped and pierced.

________:  “He was pierced through for our transgressions.  (Isaiah 53:5)

________:  “He was crushed for our iniquities. (He crushes his extra piece in his hand as this is said, for all to see.)

________:  “The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

________:  “And with His stripes we are healed.”  (Last line is King James version.)

________:  “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to You, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks …”  (I Corinthians 11:23-24)

(________ stands, holding a piece of matzah in one hand, with his other held over it in blessing.)

________:  We bless You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who gives us bread to eat.  We bless You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who sets us apart to be holy and freed us from our sins.

________:  “… He broke it, and said, “This  is My body, which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  (I Corinthians 11:24)

(EACH PERSON eats their piece of matzah.)

The section after the Seder, How to Receive Jesus the Messiah, is written for your guests who have not yet received Jesus.  It’s written in an easy to understand manner which doesn’t assume any church or biblical knowledge.  I hope that this section will be useful in introducing others to the Messiah they’ve just celebrated.

The final chapter, The Glossary of Terms, sounds a little boring, but I hope it’s actually one of the most interesting.  It explains some of the terms used in the haggadah that you might not be familiar with, as well as some of the background meaning and interesting facts.

To purchase Next Year In New Jerusalem, you can use the link below.  Feel free to contact me, either on Facebook or through the comments section below, with any questions you have.

To sign up for my book updates – Click Here – This will score you the latest info about new books, specials, and occasionally, a plug for a book I think is really great by another author.

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Next Year in New …

Alyce-Kay Hanush

$6.50

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https://www.etsy.com/listing/224328069/next-year-in-new-jerusalem-email-series?ref=shop_home_active_1

Spiritual Journeys

Tools for Godly Living/Alyce-Kay are considering offering some courses in Christian topics and we would like to know what subjects would most interest people.  Here are some of the details (and see Q&A/update after the survey at the end):

  • You would not go anywhere for these.
  • The classes would meet as a teleconference call every two weeks.  If you can’t make the call, it would be recorded for you to listen to later (you’d just miss out on participating in the discussion).
  • There would be daily or weekly Bible study assignments and application projects which you would print from online (you would choose your level of difficulty by how much time you want to put into it).
  • There would be a dedicated Facebook page for further discussion, questions, and sharing.
  • Each class would be 90 days long.
  • They would be appropriate for high school through adults, as well as some junior highers.
  • These could also be used by groups; for example, church groups, Sunday School classes, home Bible study groups, families, and homeschoolers.  (If you’re a group, we can talk about how this can best be used by your specific group.  If you homeschool, we can help you determine which  school subjects these could apply to.)
  • If you’ve ever taken any of Alyce-Kay’s SoD (School of Discipleship) classes, these would be something like those.

Note that Tools for Godly Living courses are always biblically based, strong on helping you discover for yourself what God’s Word says.  They are meant for study, not for just sitting back and listening.  My personal commitment is always to bring you to a closer relationship with God and a stronger commitment to Him.

My background is a BA from Westmont College in Religious Studies (emphasis in theology and Greek).  I’ve taught Bible classes for all ages most of my life and have written my own curriculum for almost all of them, as well as curriculum for individual home Bible study and homeschoolers.  My doctrine & apologetics course for children was approved by pastors from 17 denominations, and I generally try to stick to what is appropriate for all denominations in most of my teaching.  (In other words, I try to stay focused on essentials.)

I want these courses to be accessible to anyone,  so there would not be a set charge.  You are completely welcome to take them free of charge.  If the Lord puts it on your heart to pay any amount for them, it would definitely help and would make it more possible for me to continue offering these courses in the future.

If you think you might be interested (no obligation), I’d like to know what kinds of topics interest people the most.  Please note that there are actually 2 surveys below.  You may vote for as many of the following as you find interesting.   You may also add other choices.  If you don’t find enough room in the survey,  feel free to add your suggestions in the comments area (scroll all the way to the bottom of the page).

Please  share this with your friends, church, Bible study group, homeschool group, on Facebook, etc.  Thanks so much for your help!

You are not required to fill out the contact info in order to vote, but please do fill it out, if you’d like us to let you know when we offer these classes.

Since posting this, I’ve received a few really good questions, so I thought I would share them here.

Q:  Would people outside the USA be able to join these classes?

A:  Yes!  The only thing is that it would be an international call to be on the teleseminars (including listening to the recording of the calls).  I’m sure there must be a way, since we would be recording them, to put them on mP3 or some other format that could be listened to online or downloaded, so that you wouldn’t have to make an international call.  If someone overseas is interested, then I will check around and find out how to do this.  I’ve been on teleconferences (seminars held on a conference call) with people from all over, and it is incredibly effective.  You can just sit in your own home and participate — or get together with a group of friends so you can participate together.  I really love this format!

Q:  Will you (Alyce-Kay) be teaching the classes?

A:  Yes! You know I LOVE to teach.  🙂

Q:  Will there be a charge for the classes?

A:  It will be up to each person whether or not they pay or how much. I want people to be able to do it, even if they can’t afford it, so I don’t want to charge a set amount. As a single mom barely getting by, I know how that is. Also, there are some people who wouldn’t pay, but would benefit from it, so I don’t want to hinder them either. If God puts it on anyone’s heart to pay, it would help me, obviously, to pay bills, etc, and I will be putting a lot of work into it.  It would also make it easier for me to offer more classes, as those who pay would help free me up from having to put overtime in at work to pay the bills.  Bottom line, I don’t want anyone to not do it because they can’t pay or don’t want to pay. It will be between each person and God. If you benefit from the classes and don’t pay anything, that’s perfectly okay!

 

Update:  The first class offered will be on Building Your Faith.  It will be taught at 3 levels (you will choose, depending on how much work you want to do/have time to do).    I’m working on writing the course and the workbook materials at this time, and will announce it here and on facebook when I’m ready to take registrations.  If you want to be notified by email, please let me know at Alyce-Kay@LifeCoachAlyceKay.com  I’ve had a number of requests for an actual bound workbook, so the workbook materials will be available for purchase as a bound workbook, or to download and print yourself for free.

Slaves You Might Know

“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”  — Bob Pierce

I think there have probably been times when I’ve recommended a book that would be appropriate for anyone (and sometime soon, I hope to write a review of a book like that, that I recently read), but I think this is the first time I’ve ever said that there’s a book I think everyone SHOULD read … I would almost say that everyone has a moral obligation to read. (The reason I say “almost” is because I know I have friends — God bless them! I’m kind of the same way — who would balk at me defining what their moral obligation is. If I were not to use that word “almost,” my statement would cause them not to read it, for that reason alone.)

This book was not easy to read. There were times I found it so disturbing that I had to put it aside and regain my composure enough to continue. But that’s exactly why it needs to be read. Not to decondition us or make us calloused, certainly not to get us used to seeing this kind of thing, but because we NEED to be disturbed by this. Too many turn their heads away — they’re afraid to face these facts, they scorn the people who are victims, they don’t know what to do, etc.  There were people in Theresa’s life — the school security officer, teachers, friends, and others, who turned away when they saw what was happening, and even when she begged them for help. Many of us would possibly be guilty of the same thing.

When I shared this story with a few friends while I was reading it, their response was that she was stupid to not get out.  This is why we need to read this.  We need to understand what holds people in those situations.  If we think that they’re stupid, that should be a red flag to us that we need to gain better understanding.  I learned in acting class in college that people do things because they think it’s the best thing to do.  In our omniscient wisdom (tongue in cheek), we may be able to see that their decisions are foolish, or we may be able to see other options, but it makes us more human, more humane, and more godly, when we take the time to figure out why they think it’s the best thing to do.  Not necessarily a good thing; but sometimes, our only options (or at least the only ones we can see) are all bad, and we choose the best of those bad options.  Hint:  Someone doesn’t live through the terror and pain this young woman lived through if they think there are better options.   We need to allow God to give us compassion.  We need to beg God for compassion.   “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”  Bob Pierce (founder of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse) said this, and I think it’s one of the godliest prayers we can pray.

There are times when we have to be willing to say, “No, don’t turn your head. This is important.” Asking you to read this book is one of those times.

The main purpose of this book is to help us understand how someone gets trapped in sex trafficking … in this country. A nice girl from a good family. An intact, loving family. A girl who was not promiscuous and was committed to saving sex for marriage.  There may be people you know who are stuck in this lifestyle and you don’t even know it.  But I think that it goes beyond that. It can also help you understand what it’s like to be abused or bullied — and why people stay in those situations when you think they have options.  I can almost guarantee you know people who are in that situation, whether you realize it right now or not.  I think this is a book we should read so that we can become better educated about things that need to be changed in our society (not just some place on the other side of the globe), but mostly so that we can become better human beings.

Btw, I know that my posts are read by a number of homeschoolers, so let me say this about using this book in school.  Yes, I think it would be valuable, in about junior high or high school.  And having your child read it could quite possibly save their life (which is why I would recommend junior high), in addition to helping them become better human beings.  Having said that, though, I think it’s a very good idea for you to read it first, so that you have a heads up as to what kinds of questions and discussions would be helpful in working through it.  This book is disturbing.  There’s just no way around that.  You might even want to read the book out loud to your kids so that you can have those discussions as you read … and so you can decide if you need to censor any details.  The woman who wrote this — about her own experiences — is quite conservative and has strong family values, but she does occasionally give some details your children may not be ready to hear.  If you read it ahead of time, it’s easy enough to know what to skip over (just a few sentences in the entire book).  If you decide to read this with your kids for school and you’d like help with coming up with discussion questions, leave me a comment asking for that, and I’d be happy to put some together.

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(Btw, I’m not an Amazon associate and I don’t get anything if you buy this book.  Just want to let you know:  You should read this. It’s also available in a print version.)

http://www.amazon.com/Slave-Across-Street-Theresa-Flores-ebook/dp/B0034KYZQ8/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1390266358&sr=1-2&keywords=the+slave+next+door

To Pay or Not to Pay: That is the Question

Should you pay your children to do chores?  This is an ongoing debate among parents.

Some people pay their children for everything they do around the house.  This can be a good way for teaching children a work ethic — if you don’t work, you don’t get paid.  (II Thessalonians 3:10)

Other families don’t want their children to expect to be paid for everything.  They want their children to grow up with a serving attitude.  We know, of course, that serving is a very biblical attitude.

Both of these approaches make sense.  Pray and ask God what would be best for your family.

For my family, I actually adopted a mixed approach, which went something like this.
•There were certain chores that each person was required to do and they were not paid for.  (This corresponds to things in the grown up world that you do without getting paid.  We don’t expect someone to pay us for cooking dinner for our family, working in the nursery at church, driving our kids to their piano lessons, etc.)  These included most of the things that needed to be done daily, such as keeping their room picked up, mealtime chores, etc.
•There were also chores that they would get paid for each week.  These were required chores and it basically provided them with an allowance.  (This corresponds to a job that you go to every day and get paid for.)  I generally included in this category the chores that didn’t have to be done every day, such as mopping and cleaning the bathroom and dusting, and as they got older, things like mowing the lawn or helping change the oil in the car.  There were times when I paid for these, and other times when I had a certain amount set aside to give them at the end of the week, but I deducted from that if they didn’t do a chore or if they didn’t do a good job of it.
•There were chores which were optional, which they could get paid for.  (This corresponds with opportunities we have in life to make extra  money, such as odd jobs or overtime at work.)  These were often seasonal or periodic jobs, such as washing windows, detailing the car, or extra things I wanted done, such as making a cake for a potluck.
•Service projects.  For most of their growing up years, my kids were involved in service projects of some sort.  Often, they didn’t realize it — it was just part of the fabric of our family.  Other times, I made it a school requirement to have a certain number of hours of “community service.”  Or I would require them to choose someone to serve each week, each month, or each semester.  It could be someone in our family (babysitting for their older sister), or someone outside our home, or a group effort, such as Teen Missions or something their youth group was doing.  It didn’t have to be an “official” charity.

Another thing you can do is say that you will pay them chore chart rewards or tool tickets for the first 1-3 months that they’re learning a chore; after that, it becomes just part of being a member in your family.  The book featured below has lots of ideas about creating rewards using “tool tickets” for work done.

You could also allow them to continue earning rewards for a chore they’ve mastered if they teach it to another child — a sibling or cousin, or maybe a friend’s children.  (This last option will make you very popular with your friends!)  Teaching others is always a great way to cement what you’ve learned.  It will also make your child more confident in their skills and will give them a great sense of accomplishment.  Teaching others will provide them with leadership skills as well.

Most of the above article is excerpted from The 21st Century Kid’s Book of Chores.  For more information about the book, see previous posts.  For ordering information, click on the link below.

http://www.thebookpatch.com/BookStoreDetails.aspx?BookID=21860&ID=40d1059a-c536-4448-9382-e259b257b92c

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How to Teach Children to Complete A Chore

So you want to teach your children how to do chores, but you’re not sure how to go about it?  Here are some ideas, from The 21st Century Kids’ Book of Chores, to help you out.

Ages At Which To Teach Chores

Everyone teaches their children how to do chores at different ages … and within those ages there is a big variety of maturity levels.  Teach the chores at the level that’s appropriate for your children.  For example, a 4-year-old may not be able to fold towels as intricately as you do.  Come up with a simple way for now, and as they get older, you can teach them the way you really want them to do it.

There are many resources for figuring out what chores are appropriate to teach at which age.  I’ve pinned some of these resources on the Tools For Godly Living page on Pinterest.  http://www.pinterest.com/tools4gl/chores/   I do suggest that you take these lists and charts with a grain of salt.  Children — and even families — have varying maturity levels.  Something that’s not appropriate for one child at 4 may be completely appropriate for another at 2, depending on the maturity of the child, the perfectionist factor in the parents, time and family resources, etc.

Avoid the temptation to follow behind your child and redo their work to bring it up to your standard.  They should be doing the best they can, and this is a great opportunity for you to practice accepting them as they are, just as God accepts us in our imperfection.  If you can do this, you’ll help them understand how God loves us when we honor Him with our best, but He doesn’t expect us to be perfect.

Steps in Teaching a Chore

Before you teach a chore, do it yourself and think through every step.  Break it down into the smallest steps possible.  You don’t want to just say, “Pull the sheet up.”  What exactly does it mean?  Do you want them to tuck in the bottom first?  Do you care how far up the top is pulled?  Do you want them to smooth out the sheet after they pull it up?  Do you want the sides of the sheet to hang over the sides of the bed?  Don’t tell them too many steps at once.  Show them how to do each step and make sure they understand by doing it, before moving onto the next step.  Children who are 4 and older can usually handle 2-3 steps at a time, if they are simple.  Children who are 6 or older may be able to handle more.

I’ve found that the best way to teach something like this is to take 4 steps:

  1. Do it in front of them.  Make the bed yourself, explaining as you go.
  2. Have them do it with you.  Make the bed, with them, helping them with any parts they have a problem with.  You may need to do this a few times on subsequent days.  It’s very important to be patient.  Encourage their efforts.
  3. Have them do it in front of you.  Have them make the bed by themselves, with you watching.  Remind them of anything they’re forgetting.  Praise them for doing a great job.
  4. Let them do it completely by themselves.  Once they’ve mastered step 3 and are able to make their bed without any help from you, you can leave it for them to make their bed without supervision.  You should check it before letting them check off the blank in their book or put a sticker on their chart.  Once they’ve been doing the chore consistently, you’ll only have to check occasionally.

Give your children tons of positive reinforcement.  Tell them how proud you are of them.  Brag on them in their hearing.  Post their achievements on Facebook — you’re welcome to post these on the Tools for Godly Living page, as it will feel kind of like a club when they see other children’s accomplishments.

By the way, most kids really enjoy learning to do chores.  After all, this means they’re a big kid!  So don’t approach it as a dreaded task.  This should be exciting and rewarding for your child!  Make chore time fun.  Put on some happy music and sing along while everyone does their chores.  Put on a cheerful attitude yourself and your kiddoes will likely follow suit.

The above is an excerpt from The 21st Century Kid’s Book of Chores by Alyce-Kay Hanush.  To order the book, see below.  The book contains information about teaching chores, ideas for motivation, etc., but the bulk of the book is the program for kids, which is an organized system of learning new chores, practicing them, and constantly reviewing chores which are already learned, along with memory verses and mini Bible studies for building a solid work ethic.  The 21st Century Kid’s Book of Chores is recommended for ages 4-10.

http://www.thebookpatch.com/BookStoreDetails.aspx?BookID=21860&ID=40d1059a-c536-4448-9382-e259b257b92c

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First Week of Advent: Prophets

There are a few different ways of celebrating Advent, and with those come various themes, such as hope, peace, joy and love.  The theme I chose many years ago, when I started bringing Advent into our family celebrations is that of the various people who “saw” Jesus’ birth:

  • The prophets who “saw” and foretold Him hundreds of years before He came to earth.
  • The angels who had watched this amazing story unfold, and told Mary, Joseph, and the Shepherds about Him.
  • The shepherds who came to worship this God-baby who had been humbly born, Someone they could relate to.
  • The magi (wise men) who heard about Him through a star and sought Him out, traveling far with treasures to honor Him.

This week, the first week of Advent, we’re reading some of the prophecies about Jesus’ birth, along with the Scriptures that describe their fulfillment.

There are a couple of things I’d like to highlight about this week’s theme.  First of all, one of the reasons we read about the prophecies about Jesus is because they help to prove to us who Jesus was.  Without the help of the Holy Spirit, how could anyone have known these details about the Messiah ahead of time?  There are many more prophesies about Jesus, but these are the primary ones we think of at Christmas.  (My Passover Book, Next Year In New Jerusalem highlights many, many more of these prophecies — no promises, but hoping to have it back in print this spring for Passover).

Another reason we look at the prophecies about Jesus is because they remind us what we should be doing:  Telling people about Him!  In the US, we now live in what has been called “the post-Christian culture.”  In many ways, this is a tragedy, but in other ways, it can be good.  It’s very difficult to help people in a Christian culture understand that they can have a relationship with God or that they have a need for Jesus’ sacrifice.  Say what?!  Yes, you heard me right.  People who think they’re Christians because they’re American don’t understand their deep need; they don’t know what they’re missing because they think they’ve got it.  The contrast of God’s true love with our current culture is stark, making it easier to see that there is a need and that Jesus truly makes a difference in a person’s life.

Telling about Jesus doesn’t mean just … telling.  Anyone can talk about Jesus.  The strongest way to tell those who don’t know Jesus about Him is to let them see the evidence in you, your transformed life, the fruit of the Spirit.  There’s a famous quote about this that I love.  I’ve seen it attributed to various people.  “Always preach the Gospel … and if necessary, use words.”  The Apostle John said similarly, “Dear Children, let us not love with word or tongue, but with action and in truth.”  It’s all too easy to tell people about Jesus, to push Him on others, to make them feel condemned or inferior (which is not what He would want).  But to let Him shine through me, to humbly apologize when He isn’t reflected accurately in my life, to let Him express Himself to those around me through my hands and feet and mouth … can be a much clearer expression of the Gospel.

Am I saying not to ever use words to tell about Jesus?  Am I suggesting that the Gospel should never be taught or preached with words?  Absolutely not.  Scripture is full of exhortations to preach and teach, and most people can’t come to Christ without hearing the Gospel explained to them.  What I’m suggesting is that our actions need to precede and/or back up those words.  “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  YOU are a living photograph of what it means to have Christ in a person.

Let’s be aware all the time, but let’s be especially mindful this week of what our living photos portray.

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Advent is a four week daily focus that leads up to Christmas. It prepares our hearts to celebrate Jesus and to long for His presence. In this book, you’ll find instructions for celebrating Advent, as well as the Scripture readings for each day, carols to go with the theme for each week, skits to add to the fun and meaning, and other activities to help you experience Jesus in a very real way. Celebrating Advent is also a great way to establish family devotions.