Jul 08 2010

Summertime Ways to Stimulate Your Brain!

1. Plan day trips for your kids. Public libraries host summer reading programs for children that include story-telling time.  Kids can get involved and ask the reader questions after each session. If your child does not particularly like to read you can also plan day trips to local factories and landmarks that might spark their interest in the specific topic.

On these day trips your children can learn firsthand from chocolate factories, toy museums and gold mines!


2. Let your kids produce and perform their own plays. For the child with a dramatic flair you might consider letting them write a screen play and acting it out. It doesn't have to have all the pizzazz of a Broadway production. Props are easy and fun to make.  You can create costumes using items you have laying around in the attic and hanging in the back of your closet or get them at your local consignment shop. The last thing you'll need is a standing ovation so be sure to invite some friends to the show's debut. Not only will your child improve their writing skills, their confidence will also get a huge boost!


3. Teach your kids a new craft or skill. Embroidering, sewing, crocheting and beading all have one thing in common – they require lots of concentration! While the simple skill of concentrating on the task at hand may be may be easily overlooked it will be useful when your child must sit at a school desk for long periods of time.


4. Start a lemonade stand. Like an oasis in the middle of the desert a summertime lemonade stand can be refreshing and instructive for your child. All they will need is a little "seed money" and a financial advisor to get them started. Instead of purchasing Chrystal Light or some other mix let your child invent a recipe and make their lemonade from scratch. It will teach them responsibility and entrepreneurial skills, not to mention the value of a dollar!


5. Turn your kitchen into a science lab.  Most people are born with either a talent for reading and writing or they're gifted in math and science. There are of course a few exceptions, but generally speaking you fall into one of these two categories. For those that find themselves in the latter group science experiments can be a fun way to learn over the summer. There are dozens of Web sites online that offer experiment ideas using recycled items or things you can find around the house.


6. Encourage your kids to learn another language. Summer vacation is not long enough for your child to become fluent in any language but by laying a foundation you can spark their interest as well as give them a greater respect for different cultures. Don't worry about verb conjugation, simply tackle the basics. If you are not familiar with any foreign languages it's a great way for you to further your own knowledge as well!  Just visit your library for language resources like videos and CDs, or buy a language-learning kit from a bookstore.


7. Volunteer at a local non-profit organization. There are some things that you cannot expect your children to learn in a classroom – sympathy, meekness and charitableness are learned at home.  If there is no greater love than to give oneself for another, then volunteering for a good cause is an excellent example of love. Let your kids choose the organization and join them as they develop these admirable traits.

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Jul 07 2010

4 Day Belief Challenge - Dr. Gary Smalley

If you are struggling with things like pride, anger, unforgiveness, selfishness, lust ... Dr. Gary Smalley encourages us all to take the Four Day Belief Challenge! In areas where we shouldn't let our heart and mind wander, taking those thoughts captive and surrendering them to God.  It starts by memorizing these four commands of Christ through these 4 verses (Dr. Smalley says to think upon these things 7-14 times a day and see the difference it makes in your life) :

1) Matthew 5:3 - (Listen Here) Blessed are the poor in spirit.  Instead of being boastful and arrogant (pride), be humble.

2) Mark 12:30 - (Listen Here) Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength

3) Mark 12:31 - (Listen Here) Loving your neighbor as yourself.  Serving others, instead of using others for our own gain and pleasure.

4) Matthew 5:9,10(Listen Here) Trials are not bad. Thank God for the pain.

Jul 06 2010

Living with HIV - Pastor Shane Stanford

He made a choice to not let being diagnosed with HIV be a "death sentence".  Pastor Shane Stanford found out he was HIV positive following a bad blood treatment when he was a teenager.  But he didn't let that "positive" diagnosis, become a negative. His life has become a story of perserverance, faith, forgiveness and God's Grace.

A Positive Life by Shane Stanford from Anthony Thaxton on Vimeo.

Jul 05 2010

Staycation Ideas

You don't have to have lots of money or time or even go far to have a great vacation.  This summer, maybe try a "staycation".  Here are some fun staycation ideas, courtesy of imom.com.  Got a great staycation idea?  Let us know ...

1) Visit a nature center, or wildlife rescue or refuge center.

2) Camp out – you can do this at a campsite in your own area, or you can even have a camp out in your backyard. 

3) Sign up for a workshop or activity you can do as a family.  Look into cooking lessons, tennis lessons, or walking tours.

4) Let your kids choose their dream destination and then go there – without leaving home.  Decorate a room in the style of that country or city.  Watch a movie shot on location.  Eat the food of that locale.  Try to learn a bit of the language.

5) If you have friends who are also taking staycations, see about trading houses with them for the weekend.

6) Enlist the help of grandparents and other relatives.  Let your children spend a few days away from home, and see if you can join them on the weekend.

7) Join a country club or community pool.  Some clubs in smaller cities offer membership for as little as $50 a month.   Consider it an investment in keeping your kids active, this summer.  Call around to see if you can find "summer only" specials.

8) Take the train.  Many railway carriers offer short trips of an hour or two.  Pack a lunch and enjoy the scenery with your kids.

9) If you have a beach, lake or river nearby, check the paper or internet for bargains on rentals.   Since fewer people are traveling this summer, you might be able to get a great deal. 

10) Visit a local art museum with your kids. Once they've seen the paintings, sculpture, photography and other creative works, give them some drawing paper, some modeling clay or a camera and let them recreate their own favorites at home. Then create a gallery in your family room, featuring their finished works of art.