Category: Printable Resource

Snuggled Under God’s Wings and the Butterfly Prayer – Two Practices for Children Experiencing Natural Disaster

Dear Friends,

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, I want you all to have two practices from Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home that can be used with families and children after a trauma. Both of them allow opportunities for children to feel safe, loved and cared for in the midst of chaos all around.

Pastors and children’s ministers: you can make these available to your congregations so that children may have some practical and hands-on ways to cope.

Parents: these practices require only materials you have at home, and you can do them with children of any age.

The first, “Snuggled Under God’s Wings” provides assurance of safety and an opportunity to talk about what it means to be safe.

The second, “The Butterfly Prayer” is modeled after The Butterfly Hug.

Both of these practices can be downloaded for free HERE, courtesy of Chalice Press. Excerpted from Faithful Families

All of my prayers and love,

Traci Smith

PS – For more practical and hands on way to talk with children after a natural disaster, please see THIS POST. 

 

 

Sabbath Notecards: Helping Families Rest – (Spiritual Practice) #FaithfulFamilies

Sabbath, to rest. Rest. Rest. So many of the parents I know are desperate for rest. Incidentally, rest isn’t the same as sleep. One can be well rested on very little sleep. Conversely, one can get many hours of sleep and still not feel rested. True rest comes from a sense of peace and calm and sabbath. Sabbath is the opportunity to reflect, recharge and renew. Often people use the metaphor of a cup filled with water to represent Spiritual well being – one can not help fill the cup of others if her own cup is empty. This is as true in parenting as it is in ministry.  Sabbath keeping for parents can be a challenge. As my friend Nicole, a family therapist writes, many of us make excuses for why we don’t have time for self care or Sabbath. We’ve got deadlines, and busy lives. Children have needs around the clock. That said, developing a routine of Sabbath is so important to spiritual well being and health.

The Sabbath Practice in Faithful Families uses Sabbath Notecards. In order to help families save time on this practice, I made printable notecards to download and use. They can be downloaded HERE.

It’s easy to use them, just print out the one minute Sabbath Cards on a different colored paper from the five minute Sabbath Cards. When your family has time for a short rest, choose either a One Minute Sabbath Card or a Five Minute Sabbath Card and do what it says.

Use them regularly and come up with your own ideas for for one and five minute Sabbath!

As I was revisiting these and typing them out for the notecards it occurred to me that many of these activities are geared for older children and parents. Five minutes of silence, for example, is a definite “yeah, not going to happen” for preschool families. Start small, though, and work your way up. Enjoy these Sabbath Notecards! I look forward to hearing how your Sabbath practices develop.

For Further Reading: Sabbath in the Suburbs, A Family’s Experiment With Holy Time

 

Sunday Planning Calendar – Free Download

Two years ago I put together a very simple “Sundays Only” planning calendar that lots of people downloaded. I’m happy to offer it again here as a JPG (just right click the photo and “Save As”) or a PDF (just click on the link!) I’ve also decided to make an editable version available for purchase on the Etsy site for just $2.00. You can check that version out here. Enjoy, and happy planning! Also, if there would be an interest in other calendars of this sort (either this sort of thing in other sizes, or any other sort of planning calendar for ministers or church leaders) let me know. I may be interested in creating more. I like to offer a balance of free resources and other inexpensive resources to grow the shop and store! Would love your feedback! Thanks to all who encouraged me to make this planning calendar again, and found it useful in previous years!

 

 PDF Download HERE

Editable Version HERE

New Printables!

familyfaithjar3

I’m so excited to be offering two new printables, one for family use, and one for personal use. The Faith Jar is easy to use… here are the instructions:

Designed for Ages 5 +

Materials: This printable, a glass jar & scissors

Time Investment: Varies, but most of these practices can be done in 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of your family

How to:

Make the Jar:

• Print out the practices and cut along the lines in between each of them
• Shuffle the practices and put them in the jar

Use the Practices:

1. Decide when your family will go through the practices. Some times that seem to work for families: at dinner, before bed, or once a week (Saturday Mornings, for example).
2. Each time your family decides to use the faith activities jar, one person will take a practice from the jar and read it (pre-readers can select the practice and have someone else read it.)
3. Take turns answering the question or doing what the card suggests.
4. Put the used card in a drawer until you’ve gone through all 48 cards, then replenish the jar.

Notes
1. In the photo, you’ll notice that the practices are different colors. I did this so that each practice type (mindfulness, gratitude, questions about God, and prayer) were different colors. Choose how you’d like to make your own jar!
2. Try to encourage family members to not read the cards in advance — just dive in and choose!
3. Don’t give up on this activity! Some questions will resonate with your family more than others.

Variations
1. Make a family faith basket or box instead of a jar!
2. Take turns writing your own practices and adding them to the mix.
3. Instead of taking the practices out after you use them, add them back in to the jar, knowing that you might have some repetition.

GET THE PRINTABLE HERE

goodmorningworld2

The Good Morning World Printable is something that I’m really excited to offer for a personal reason: It’s based off of my own process for starting my day during times of high stress or anxiety. When I’m stressed or worried I need to start my day focused, calm, and with a clear sense of purpose. Oh yeah, and I need to somehow accomplish this in less than ten minutes. I tried a variety of different formats and decided on this one. It does the following:

  • Check in on how you’re feeling
  • A place to lay down three challenges or worries
  • A place to write down five reasons to be thankful
  • A place to set a daily intention

Notice that there are three challenges and five reasons to be thankful. This is HUGE… It helps me to remember that there’s always more reasons to be thankful than to worry. Research supports the benefits of being thankful and remembering gratitude.

GET THE PRINTABLE HERE 

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A TEA-RRIFIC $2 VBS Teacher Appreciation Gift #groan


tea-rrific graphic

About May, I start seeing a lot of hits on THIS post of Three VBS teacher appreciation gifts that are less than $2 each from 2 years ago. Clearly people are searching for inexpensive ways to say thank you to VBS teachers. I hear you! Thought I’d add to the list by showing you what we did this year..

This year’s thank you was plastic tumblers with iced tea bags that have a note that says “thanks for being ‘TEA-RRIFIC'” (Picture all of the kids slapping their knees and saying “ha ha ha” when presented with such pun-erific awesomeness.) Thank you Pinterest, home of all things pun and appreciation. As I said in the other post, my preference for appreciation gifts is that they be consumable (something to eat or drink or plant) rather than another item to put on a shelf or in a jar. I made an exception for these, though, because 1. They were adorable and 2. I think these types of reusable tumblers with straws make a nice way to bring lemonade or iced coffee or water from home and thus reduce extra trash from water bottles or coffee shops. 3. (Truth alert) I was in a rush. These are super easy.

1. Get some plastic tumblers with lids and straws. I found mine at Dollar Tree for $1 each. (Here are some from the Dollar Tree website). If you have to buy them from Amazon, it might push your overall cost over the $2 per item promised in the headline. The cheapest I could find them on Amazon were these which are $35 for 12 cups. (Might be worth it though, because the quality might be better…)

2. Put in some tea bags that are specifically formulated for iced tea.

3. Tie on a tag with ribbon or string. You can google around for one that looks super fancy, or write your own, or use this one I made, just for you! 

 

Yay! All done! Thanks VBS teachers!

 

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Labor Day Present for you! Downloadable Planning Calendars with Sundays only 2014-2015 or 2015 Alone

So, people in ministry of all kinds constantly need calendars with just Sundays on them, for worship planning, sign ups and all kinds of other things. I tried googling a “Sunday only” calendar and didn’t have much luck and so I made my own. I’m offering them here in the JPG and also PDF versions. Feel free to download and use however it’s helpful to you. For now they’re not editable (I’ll work on that for next year) but I hope they’re helpful to some of my clergy friends!

2014-2015 Sunday planning This one the “school year” calendar is the one I use for worship planning. I just feel like the year “begins” with the start of school. I think this would be really helpful for those who need to write out who’s liturgist, who’s Sunday school teacher, etc. Come to think of it, it would be useful for any sort of task that has to happen on a weekly basis.

Get the PDF here. 

2015 Sunday Planning Calendar

For those who need a calendar that begins at the beginning of the year, here’s one for 2015. It’s a little early, but I bet a lot of people will get going on these in the next month or two, so here it is!

Get the PDF here. 

The PDFs are designed to be printed on legal size paper.

Please leave a comment and let me know how they work for you. If you’d like other features for next year, let me know and I’ll work on it! Happy Planning, friends!