I love May! But lest we forget, this is also a time of sports, recitals, school awards and so much more for our children. The busy only increases as parents juggle schedules, work, and meal times.
Today I remind myself that unless I look closely I won't see the quiet beauty of the Wood Lilies. Daintily dressed in wedding white they sit on the hillside just beyond the walking path. I have to make an effort to find them. In a comparable way, it's easy for grown ups to miss seeing some really important growth; to overlook applauding those bright new blossoms in our children's lives. Slow down just a little. Recognize individual progress (not limiting the list to academics or sports; character growth counts, too) that has emerged since the school year began last fall.
This month's suggestion is for you to begin a new tradition. A "Blossom" party doesn't limit Spring blossoms to the outdoors. Spring happens in lives, too. A "Blossom" party is easy and can bless the family in multiple ways. In addition to ice cream, which is gobbled up in a few minutes, head off to a nursery. Give each child enough money to pick out a special plant meant to represent this year's growth: Marigolds, Petunias, Begonias, Daisies, Carnations, Geraniums ... the choices are well beyond naming. Variety of color is a good thing. No two children are alike. Whatever flower they choose is the perfect one to buy. And, don't worry whether you have a yard or not. The good news is a "Blossom" party works the same for both. Simply bring home the color wherever you are. Plant them in the yard if you have space or create a windowsill or table display. Celebration is the purpose.
Song of Solomon 2:12 NKJV The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
Don't let the rush of the Christmas season get the best of you or your familiy's finances. With 7 simple tips, the "merry" can be kept in Christmas.
1. Be smart. Know how much money can be spent before buying gifts. If there's $250 then don't spend $400-$500.
2. Make a list naming the people you want to give gifts to and attach a spending limit to each one.
3. Look for and take advantage of coupons and online specials.
4. Never feel pressured to buy or do more than you have the time for or the money to sensibly afford.
5. Homemade is wonderful: jams, doll clothes, knit or crochet items, potted plants, baked goods, beaded jewelry, wooden boxes... be creative!
6. Give to charities in the name of a family member: help a child, a women's shelter, a rescue mission, the city zoo... lots of opportunities abound. Helping others warms the heart of the giver, too.
7. Make a spending plan starting in January to be ready for the next Christmas season.
Luke 2:11 "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." (our greatest gift!)
Parents impart lessons that in turn shape their child's behaviors. Sometimes a parent is unaware he or she is leaving a lesson behind. It helps to remember children catch more of what a parent does than what is said. With school starting this month, it is good to check out how our children are learning to avoid foolish arguments. Is there a lot of nit-picking, arguing, and he's right she's wrong, going on at your house? If so, that foolish unprofitable behavior is possibly going to show up at school, too. Make it a point to teach problem solving skills at an early age. Avoid foolish arguments that resolve nothing and only create hurt and angry feelings.
Titus 3:9 NIV But avoid foolish controversies ... and arguments and quarrels ... because these are unprofitable and useless.
Summer is moving ahead very quickly now. But there is still time to impart valuable lessons. Is there a project the children can help you with; maybe lay down a new garden path, rearrange the garage, build a play house, plan a party? Two things to remember: 1) Training a child to have a good work ethic begins at an early age and 2) work should be a source of enjoyment, too.
Ecclesiastes 5:19b NIV ...and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God.
This is the perfect month to teach patriotism to our children and grandchildren. The United States of America is a land full of stories about brave men and women who fought for the freedom we get to enjoy as citizens of this great country. God's favor has played a strong role in the formation of the USA. Spend an evening or two this month learning a little history about The Boston Tea Party, The Minutemen, Paul Revere, and perhaps our Declaration of Independence. This can be made into a game of trivia and even simple prizes given out.
Psalm 143:5 NIV I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.