Thursday, October 31, 2013

50 Ways you Know You're a #KidsMin

50 ways you know you're a #KidsMin

Your breakfast on Sunday morning consists of goldfish and animal crackers.
When you need a minute to take a breath you hide in the bathroom- because no one bothers you in there. 
You plan your summer calendar before Christmas is even over. 
You know all the names of everyone in your ministry.
You also know all the names of their imaginary pets.  
You created a formula to figure out the exact number of pieces of candy you will need for large events. 
Your mind is consumed with one thought the first 6 months of the year... VBS!
You have a wild and wacky costume for every theme night.
You don't mind temporarily dyeing your hair for Crazy Hair night.
You know every word to the VBS songs, before VBS even starts. 

You can't go anywhere without kids running up to you wanting to give you a hug. 
You frequent your local thrift shops constantly looking for just the right props.
Your pockets are constantly stuffed with Kleenex and candy. Lots of candy.
You read more picture and story books than you do novels.
You know every word to the Veggie Tales theme songs.
You cannot walk by the nursery without peering in to coo out the babies. 
You give out high fives more than you give out hand shakes. 
You always find yourself sitting at the kids tables at church dinners. 
You always have a baby on your hip or a small hand in yours. 
You listen to kids praise and worship music... for Fun.  
Your office has more markers, crayons & colored pencils in it than it does actual pens.
You are everyone's emergency substitute on Sunday mornings. 
Your phone goes off at 6:30 AM on a Sunday morning and your first thought is to wonder whose calling in sick today. 
Your night time reading is this year's VBS catalog. 
You cry at the beginning of your VBS week because you are so stressed and you cry at the end of your week because you are sad it's over. 
You see kids raise their hands to accept Jesus and you burst into tears. 
Your desk is always covered with with half-drawn coloring pages.
You go shopping the day after holidays to buy things at 75 % off for next year's parties.
You plan your summer beach vacation for the 1st week of August after VBS is over and before AWANA begins. 
You buy goldfish and animal crackers in bulk- it takes up the whole buggy bulk.  
Your time clock on Sunday mornings is the big service. 
You frequently find yourself asking if the big service is over on Sunday mornings. 
Your fingers are constantly covered in paint spackles and markers. 
You sing Happy Birthday to someone every week- sometimes 5 times. 
You tell people that you have 75 kids- and you mean it. 
You arrive at church almost two hours before anyone else. 
You don't consider Sunday a part of your weekend but the beginning of your work week. 
You've tried to figure out how to clone yourself so that you could be in two places at once like everyone else thinks you should be. 
You get excited when you buy a brand new glue gun. 
You can't think about singing a song without motions attached to it. 
You know all the nursery toys with battery's in them and discreetly put them out of reach when it's your morning to serve. 
You have a no-glitter policy and you lose your mind when you see glitter on the floor. 
You cry when you see your babies getting baptized. 
You stay up late at night wondering if you really are making a difference. 
Your volunteer list is longer than your arm. 
You spend two hours every week just telling your volunteers thank you. 
You can read a baby a book and talk to an adult simultaneously. 
Your office constantly looks like it's playing host to the circus. 
Your work outs for the week include teaching children's church and leading game time. 
Your purse is filled with toy cars, candy, crayons, a pair of scissors, and glue sticks.
What would you add to the list?  

Let me know by leaving a comment! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Let's Be Friends- 2

This is my second week co-hosting the Meet & Greet and I am so thrilled. 
Last week was so much fun and I loved meeting all of you and becoming friends. 

To keep up with #KidsMin Calling be sure to connect with all of our social media pages!
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Meet & Greet Blog Hop #49 Welcome to the Meet & Greet Blog Hop! We would love for you to join in, meet some fellow bloggers, and create new friends in the blogging world! Interested in being a Co-Host? Send an email to 2justByou(at)gmail(dot)com with "Co-Host" in the subject line for consideration and include your blog link!  photo BlogHopIntro_zps23f39a11.jpg  photo hostsimage813_zpse3b8f8a3.jpg

Spread the Word, Grab Our Button!

Now Link Up and Have Fun! * Please be sure to follow the Hosts, and Co-Hosts (Who change weekly!) If you would like to sign up for email reminders for the Meet & Greet Blog Hop, please sign up below. (Your email address and info will not be used for any other purpose.)

10 Songs I'll use in #KidsMin for the Rest of My Life

I love music.  I love everything about it.  I love the instruments, I love the voices, and I love the way it makes me feel.  It's only natural that I incorporate music into everything that I do as a #KidsMin.  I love singing with my kids, dancing with my kids, making up silly motions, and playing the tambourine, drums, maracas, and whatever other instruments we have.  

If you don't sing with your kids (whether in your ministry or at home) you should!  Learning to worship Jesus through song is such a special thing.  It's one of the ways that we communicate our love, praise, and adoration to Jesus.  

"Worship the Lord with gladness, come before Him with joyful song." -Psalm 100:2

Here are 10 songs that I'll use in #KidsMin the rest of my life:

1) Jesus Loves Me
2) Shout by Yancy
3) King of Majesty by Hillsong Kids
4) Not Forgotten by Israel Houghton & New Breed
5) The Word of the Lord by Seeds of Faith
6) Alive by Hillsong Kids
7) Sing Sing Sing by Chris Tomlin
8) God's Great Dance Floor by Passion
9) My Savior Lives by New Life Worship
10) Living For You by Gateway Worship

What are some of your favorite songs to sing with the kids in your ministry? 

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Letter to my Future Children

Yes, I am a #KidsMin.
No, I do not have kids.

This is the reason that you don't ever see me offer a lot of parenting advice on my blog.  Simply because I am not a parent.  I am not a parent but it is my greatest wish and my greatest desire to become one in my life.  I wanted to share with you all a letter that I have written to my future children.

Dear Loved Ones,

I am your mommy.  I am your best friend, your biggest cheerleader, and your number one fan.  I am your protector and defender.  I am your laughing partner, joke teller, and the person who wants to hear all of your knock-knock jokes.  Yes, when you discover 'Orange you glad I didn't say banana' I want to be the first person you run to and tell it to 100 times.  I am your tears wiper, feelings soother, and soft embrace after your first fall.  I am your advice giver and motivational speaker after a rough day of middle school.  I am your 'that dress is too short or those pants are too low.'  I am your 'life gets better' after your first real heartbreak.  I am your 'it's time for you to fly and here are your wings.'

I will be there for your greatest success and also for your greatest failure.  Succeed you will.  Fail you will.  I will be there for both.  I will be there for your preschool chorus concert, soccer and football games, cheer leading competitions, dance recitals, and chess tournaments.  I will be there to bandage scraped knees, cheer louder than anyone else, bring your team snacks, and tell you what a good game you played even if you lost.  I will be there when we buy your first prom dress or letterman's jacket.  I will be there through the good times and the bad.  If there is one thing mommy will be... it's constant.

I promise to wake you up early to watch the sunrise with me while we are at the beach.  I promise to surprise you with a picnic dinner in the park after your first day of Kindergarten.  I promise to rake leaves into a pile for you to jump in, to set up sprinklers for playing when it's hot outside, and to help you make a snowman in the cold of winter.  I promise to encourage your creativity by covering the floor with newspaper, giving you paintbrushes, and letting you create whatever you want.  I promise to cherish every single moment that I get to be your mommy.  I promise breakfasts in bed and movies with popcorn in the middle of the afternoon.  I promise you forts in the living room and a drum set made out of pots and pans in the middle of the kitchen.  I promise you craft days, shopping days, and days to watch football and play video games.  I'll enjoy every small thing that you bring to the table.

I promise to give you a foundation that will carry you through the rest of your life.  I promise to introduce you to the greatest love of my life.  I will do my best to walk with Jesus in such a way that inspires you to be like mommy and walk with Jesus yourself.  I will sing you songs about Jesus, tell you stories about Jesus, and live a life that shows you Jesus.  I promise to pray for you and with you.  I promise to take you to church every Sunday morning.  I will speak blessings and joy over your life.  I promise to safeguard your heart in Jesus for as long as I can.  

Oh, how loved you are.  Even now at the young age of 24 I love and cherish you are.  You are not yet in this world or even conceived, but my love for you is beyond what I can comprehend.  You were not a mistake.  You were not an accident.  You are my greatest blessing that I will ever receive.  You are my proudest accomplishment, my shining moment, and my pride and joy.  I promise to tell you every day that you are loved.  I promise to tell you how beautiful you are, how handsome you are, and how smart you are.  I promise to tell you every day that you can change the world.  I promise to tell you to never give up, to try one more time, and to stand up even when you want to crawl.

I promise to love everything about you.  I promise to fight for you.  I promise to always believe in you.  I promise to give you the very best of myself.  I promise to never give up on you.  I promise to walk with you through life.

I am your mommy.  

I am not perfect, and I never will be.  You will see mommy make lots of mistakes.  Mommy will cry tears of laughter and mommy will cry tears of sadness.  Mommy will have days where I succeed and days where I fail just like you.  I will never be a perfect mother, but I will be the perfect mother for you.  

For you, my sweet child, I will love deeply.  I will love sweetly.  I will love fiercely. 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

When do I teach my kids about God?

When do I start talking to my kids about God?
When will they understand?
Can their little minds understand something that my mind can't?
How long before I start asking them to pray for our meal? 
When should they hear about Jesus' death on the cross?

These are such critical topics, and while I will be speaking from the view point of how it all relates to children's ministry, this topic is important to everyone.  It's not just about those who lead children's ministry and their volunteers.  This is for everyone. 

When do I teach my kids about God?

A question that I get asked a lot working in kids ministry is exactly this in some form or another.  Everyone wants to know how soon is too soon and when can they really understand.  When do our kids understand about Jesus and about having a relationship with Him? 

Please understand the following is strictly my opinion, my beliefs, and what my heart tells me is true.  

I believe that we can begin teaching our kids about God from the first day that they are on this earth and in our arms.  I try to spend time in my nursery room for babies every month.  If I can't get in there for a whole service I try to spend at least 15 minutes in there one week.  Why do I do this?  I do this because it's my opportunity to teach them about Jesus.  How do I do this?  How do I get my volunteers to help?  Every Sunday our babies listen to the gentle sounds of Praise & Worship music specifically designed for them.  We use PraiseBaby and I love it.  So while they are in our care, they are hearing about Jesus the whole time that they are in our room.  When I personally am with them I take the time to pray over every child that is in my arms.  I make sure to tell them that Jesus loves them, and yes I say it out loud.  I sing "Jesus Loves Me" to crying babies as they are rocked in the rocking chair.  I truly believe that you are never too young to learn about Jesus and I practice this with every child in my care. 

My kids begin listening to Bible lessons and stories at 18 months old.  Our toddler's have an approximately ten minute lesson every Sunday where they learn a basic truth from the Bible that is easy for them to understand.  God loves me.  God helps me.  I can talk to God.  From that age on anytime that they are in my building I am responsible to make sure that they are learning about Jesus until they hit the 7th grade.  At that time I get to hand them off to the youth ministry.  

Start talking to your kids about Jesus now.  Don't wait.  Help them have a love for Jesus in their heart that feels like it's always been there.  Sing to them, pray with them and over them, and show them that Jesus loves and cares about them whether they are babies, toddlers, or 5th graders.  

Friday, October 25, 2013

10 Easy Activities to do with your Kids this Weekend

Here are 10 things for your family to do this weekend. 
Because weekends are for families. 
Let's all be intentional about spending time with ours this weekend. 

Sister and I are heading out to a corn maze tonight!  

10 Easy Activities to do with your Kids this Weekend

Make a fort in your living room.
Grab a blanket and head out for a picnic in the park. 
Finger paint. 
Surprise them with breakfast in bed or breakfast for dinner on Saturday. 
Pumpkin picking. 
Go shopping and let each child pick one Christmas ornament for the tree this year. 
Watch a movie as a family that your kids picked out. 
Pull out your pots and pans and start a drum line. 
Take a nature walk in the woods. 
Roast marshmallows and drink hot cocoa.  

Because life is meant to be lived. 
Find a moment or 2 or 3 to enjoy with your little one's this weekend. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

BARF Night

And no, before you get grossed out I am not talking about throw-up today.
But as a random side note one of the biggest things that I am most thankful for is that in my year and  a half in full time children's ministry I have not had to clean up anybody's throw up!  That's what I call something to be grateful for.  Any of my fellow KidsMin or volunteers out there on that one? 

Today when I say BARF I'm talking about last night's theme.  


That's right, it was BARF night.  

BARF night is so much fun for so many reasons. 

1) It's a great night to see lots of new people.  
2) Hello, the kids think it's hilarious because it's called BARF.  
3) I incorporate BARF bags into their game time.  
4) Everyone who brings a friend gets to go to an ice cream party and since I'm the lady in charge I get to go too.  Being in charge has to have its perks somewhere. 

The week before BARF night is scheduled I send all of the kids home with two BARF bags that they use as their invitation to their friends.  I grab regular, brown paper bags from my local store and put our churches information on the outside.  I make sure to include our website and phone number so that if any parents have any questions they can easily reach me throughout the week.  Here's a look at this week's invite. 

The Big white space at the bottom is where I put my churches information.  
I tape this print-out onto my brown paper bag and do my best to encourage my kids to invite their friends. 

I also offer incentives, rewards, bribery, or whatever you want to call it for kids who bring friends:
1) 10 AWANA bucks for the 1st friend they bring. 
2) 5 AWANA bucks for every additional friend they bring. 
3) Everyone who brings a friend and their friend are treated to an ice cream party after the opening ceremony.  

I am very intentional about the date that I pick for BARF night.  I always pick the Wednesday that falls right before our Fall or Spring Festival.  Why do I do this?  I do this because this brings a whole new group of kids and parents who I can invite back to come for two of our biggest event of the year.  When every child left last night they received a flyer about next week's Fall Festival or Fear Not as we call it. 

Here's another great thing about BARF night!  It's another low-cost night!  
This year, the only expense I had was the ice cream for the ice cream party.  That's what I'd call a win in a KidsMin budget. 

We had a great turn out last night!
Our best BARF night since I started working there.  This was our 3rd. 

We had 59 kids total (remember my AWANA goes from Puggles-4th graders).  
Which was our highest number yet this year! 

Do you guys and gals ever have a BARF night?  
What are some interesting things that you do?  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Let's Be Friends!

I am so excited to be co-hosting this week's Meet & Greet Blog Hop! 
I'm so glad that Kim & Laurie host this every week! 
If you are new to the blogging world, like I am, this is a great link-up to find new blogging friends.
And I LOVE new blog friends! 

Let's Be Friends!  

Welcome to the Meet & Greet Blog Hop!

We would love for you to join in, meet some fellow bloggers, and create new friends in the blogging world!
Interested in being a Co-Host?
Send an email to 2justByou(at)gmail(dot)com with "Co-Host" in the subject line for consideration and include your blog link!  

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Spread the word,
Grab our button!

Now link up and have fun!
*Please be sure to follow the Hosts, and Co-Hosts (Who change weekly!)
If you would like to sign up for email reminders for the Meet & Greet Blog Hop, please sign up below. (Your email address and info will not be used for any other purpose.)

10 Things I Believe- Life & Fall Edition

About Life
Jesus is the only way.
Kids ministry is essential to any growing church.
God -> Family -> Work -> Always in that order.
Mothers are the foundation of life.
Ministry isn't always glamorous but it is always life changing.
If it's truly your best it's always enough.
Every life is important.
Everyone has the power to change the world with Jesus' help.
The most beautiful picture of redemption is Jesus on the cross.
Jesus wins. The end.


About Fall
Everything is better with boots and tights.
Leggings don't count as pants.
The sound of crunching leaves is pure bliss.
Weekends were made for jeans and sweatshirts.
Hot cocoa is always best with marshmallows.
Electric blankets are the greatest fall invention.
October is simply glorious.
Pumpkins were meant to be painted.
Starbucks makes the best fall coffee.
The morning chill is the best part of the day.

What do you believe about life and fall? 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fear Not 2012

This week I am finishing up all of my final preparations for my 2013 Fall Festival or Fear Not as it's called at the church where I work at.  In thinking about what I'm doing this year I decided to share the pictures from what we did last year.  It was such a fun event with an estimate of 750-1000 people in a 2 1/2 hour time span.  With close to 10,000 pieces of candy, 1,000 hot dogs, and lots of games we had a great time.  Here's some ideas for everyone who is in the process of planning this year's event.  

I had a wonderful decorating team last year and they did a fabulous job with putting together tons of little touches to make a Fall masterpiece.

Get ready for a picture overload! 

Our dining room where we served our free hot-dog and chips dinner. 

Bean Bag Toss

Family Photo Booth

The lobby

Hayride, pumpkin races, and a candy table

Bowling and Balloons

Guessing Station

Face painting, digging for treasure, and pin the nose on the pumpkin

Craft table, pumpkin ring toss, and bounce houses


Left side


Right side

I'll see you on Friday, November 1st for a look at what I'm pulling together for this year! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Social

Sunday Social is my favorite link-up that I participate in.  I love not only having a set of questions to guide my blog post for the day, but I love getting to link-up with other bloggers and see all of their thoughts and get a small glimpse into what their life is like.  I also love giving my readers the opportunity to truly see who I am as a person.  I love my work in children's ministry and it is a ginormous part of my life.  There are also lots of other pieces in my life that make me who I am and I want you, my readers, to know those pieces to.

Sunday Social

This week's questions are all about value. 

What do you value most in life?
My relationship with Jesus.  
It is the foundation of absolutely everything that I have been, everything that I am, and everything that I will be.  
Without Jesus my life is empty.

What do you think is the greatest invention in your life and why?
Since I haven't invented everything I'm going to assume this means an invention that I use in my life. 
Airplanes!  They are my favorite invention ever. 
Airplanes make it possible for me to travel around the world in 9 hours instead of 9 months by boat. 
Airplanes allow me to reach people groups who could never be reached otherwise. 
I used to be terrified of airplanes and terrified of flying. 
After flying 10 times in the span of 3 months for my internship I quickly grew to love being in the air. 

What do you think is the secret to a good life?
A relationship with Jesus!
Life without Jesus is nothing. 
Life with Jesus is absolutely everything. 

What would you most like to be remembered for when you're gone? 
This is a tough one.  There are so many things that I would like to be remembered for.
Narrowing it down to the thing that I would like to be most remembered for is hard. 
I'd like to most be remembered for giving everything that I have. 
Every talent that Jesus has given me and every day of my life I want to use for Him. 
I want to make a difference on this world. 
A big difference. 

What accomplishments in your life are you most proud of?
Graduating college, my 1st mission trip, my Senior year internship, my job as a Children's Director, 
my 2013 VBS, and so many other things.  

What do you value?
Let's talk about it below!

I love making new friends!

Friday, October 18, 2013

High Five For Friday

It's Friday!  And what a blessed Friday it is.

Today, I'm linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for H54F! 
I'm also linking up with Jennie and Lindsey for Friday Favorites!

There are so many things to be happy about that I'm not even sure where to start.  
I'll try to do my best to narrow it down to my top 5. 

1) Spontaneity!  I am so happy that I decided to make a spontaneous and random trip home over the weekend.
I got to enjoy the fair with my mom and family and got to cross something off of my Fall Bucket List all at the same time.
Speaking of bucket lists?  How's your list for fall coming?

Enjoying the fair with mom!

2) Unexpected Blessings!  I can't share everything on my blog, but I will say this...
When Jesus pours out his blessings it is phenomenal.  I called my mom yesterday, in the middle of the day, because I was absolutely in awe at how much I have been blessed this week.  In fact, I was reminded of this song by one of my Southern Gospel favorites the GVB and only Audra will appreciate this.  Any other GVB fans out there?

"Greatly blessed, highly favored, imperfect but forgiven child of God." 

3) A great Wednesday night!  I loved seeing all of my favorite little one's as Bible Hero's!
It's seriously one of my favorite theme nights ever and has just been added to the must do list!

4) Finally getting my fall festival planned for work.  I've been putting off typing up the details for a few weeks and have been keeping all of my notes and to-do list mentally in my brain.  Yesterday was the day to end that.  I pulled out a legal pad, opened up a blank document and finally got everything on paper.  I now have a complete games list, to buy list, to make list, etc...

For lots of neat ideas for fall and other holidays be sure to visit and follow my Pinterest page.

5) Picking a costume!  I can't tell you what it's going to be, because I always keep my costume top secret!  It's more fun for my little one's to try to guess what Miss Mary might show up as, than for me to just tell them.  I can however tell you that it is going to be awesome.  Let's just say that it is going to be Biblical, but with a modern and very girly twist.  Last year I was a lady bug, and this year...

Sister and I in last year's photo booth.  
Please forgive my tired eyes.  As you can imagine this was a long day! 

What happened in your life this week?
Let's talk about it!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Like Being a Pumpkin

It sounds like an analogy that one of my 7 year olds would make. 

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin?

I'm pretty sure positive that if any of my kids tried to tell me that that I would plaster a big smile on my face and say something along the lines of, "Oh yeah... that's great! Sounds fabulous."  In my mind, I'd probably be questioning my teaching methods.  
It's one of those analogies that is so out there.

When I saw it explained like this, I don't think I could have said it any better myself.  

"Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path."
Psalm 119:105

Bible Hero Night- Recap

The Bible is filled with stories of great people of faith, those with courage in the face of adversity, and the most important hero of all... Jesus.  With the exception of Jesus who is everyone's hero, we all have certain stories or people in the Bible who speak to our heart and who impact our lives.  

The purpose behind Bible Hero night is to get the kids to think about all of the people that they are learning about and to experience what it was like to be them even in just a small way.  

Here's the postcard I sent out the week before to remind everyone.  

The great thing about Bible Hero night?  It didn't cost me one penny.  
That's right... Bible Hero night is a completely free event!

It's important that your parents don't feel overwhelmed or pressured to send their child in an elaborate costume.  
I encouraged my parents via social media to simply use old sheets or what they found laying around their house.  

I had kids show up in bath robes, scarves, sheets, and accessorized with staff's and shields.  Seeing their creativity was amazing. 
They came dressed as Rebekah, Moses, Deborah, Mary, Elizabeth, a Christian, and lots of my little one's came dressed as the greatest hero that they know... Jesus. 

I pulled out my costume box with old Babylon costumes for kids to use who didn't wear one, and almost all of my kids chose to put on a costume for the night.  I had little one's running around everyone in tan and brown robes and it was magnificent.

I personally went as Esther.  Something about her story just grips my heart.  Her simple obedience to do what was right knowing that it could cost her her life absolutely captivates me.  It's my prayer that I too will have that innate desire to always do what is right and to speak up for those who don't have a voice.  

That's how we planned Bible night.  
It's simple, easy, fun, and most importantly FREE!  
This is a great way to stay under budget and still have a great night!  

What did you do with your little one's last night?  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Never Ever Ever- Like Ever!

It's Never Ever Ever Tuesday. 

I'm linking up again with NeeleySteph, and Shelley for a list of 7 things that I would never ever ever do.  
The top 5 will be things I never ever ever do personally and my last 2 will be things I never ever ever do in ministry.

Never Ever Ever...

Will I stop having the urge to try out new hairstyles.
Will I wear shorts with tights.  I find it majorly tacky.
Will I look at myself as the underdog again.  I am a child of God covered with his protection.
Will I stop making spontaneous trips home for the weekend.
Will I like pumpkin flavor anything.  I know, something must be wrong with me.

Will children's ministry not be my number 1 priority.  I will stop talking to adults to talk to children.
Will I stop singing with my kids.  Learning to worship at a young age is so crucial.

What would you never ever do?

What's On My Nightstand

Today's post was supposed to be about my resource room only I didn't get it cleaned up yesterday.
Not getting it cleaned up yesterday meant I couldn't take any pictures of it.
It's so wonderful that you won't be able to really see it without the pictures.
Stay tuned to see a look at the resource room.

Instead of resource rooms today I'm giving you a look at the stack of books that's on my nightstand.
Last night I started David and Goliath: Underdogs, Mistfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell.

What leadership books are on your nightstand or in your to read pile?
Have you read any of the following?
Which one's were your favorite?

Let's talk about it!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday Social- On Monday

Hello, Friends!

I've missed you all while I was away over the weekend.
I woke up Friday morning with the urge to travel, and travel I did.
I took off on Friday morning and headed home to visit my family for the weekend and to cross something off of my Fall Bucket List!

I went to the FAIR!  I've also made smores, painted pumpkins, and decorated my house.
But let's face it... clearly the fair is the most important thing on the list.
Why do I go to the fair?  Let's be honest... for the food!
While I was at the fair I ate some delicious Fiske fries, a pronto pup, a caramel apple, and a piece of chicken on a stick.
Really this is a fairly mild list.  I missed out on my funnel cake and my doughnuts.
There's always next year.

I hated not blogging over the weekend, but I'm also happy that I didn't.
I've always said that I wanted to make sure that there was never a day when I put my blogging over actual people.
Putting blogging aside to soak up some love from my family was sweet bliss.

With that said, I'm back and busier than ever!
Yesterday's Sunday Social looked super fun, so I thought I'd go ahead and throw in my answers to another all about the blog social.  Today, I'm talking all about my blog's first.

Sunday Social

What is the first blog you ever followed?
Enjoying the Small Things by Kelle Hampton

What was your first blog post about? 
My first ever blog post was about why I was starting #KidsMin Calling.  Feel free to go back and read all about it here.  

Who left your first blog comment?
That would be one of my sweet friends, Franchesca on my post: "A person's a person no matter how small.

Who was the first blogger you ever met in person?
That would be my sweet friend Audra Kate! 
She blogs over at Southern Girl in Heels and Pearls
This girl is hilarious and she is the real deal. 
We were roommates in college and became best friends fast! 

What was your first blogging milestone?
Reaching 5,000 pageviews.  
I really couldn't believe it.  
I was speechless. 

Speaking of milestones, we are 1/3 of the way to our next giveaway!  
#KidsMin Calling has passed 100 followers on Twitter!
To help us reach our giveaway we need 20 more likes on Facebook and almost 4,000 more pageviews.
We can do it!  Hop on over and like us on Facebook and share your favorite posts via social media for your friends and family! 

Check in tomorrow to see a post on my Resource Room!
I promise you, you don't want to miss this! 

#KidsMin Calling only has 2 spots remaining for our guest bloggers in November on why you are thankful for children's ministry.  E-mail if you are interested.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Let's Go Fish!

Last night's theme was, "Let's Go Fish."

Here's a look at the post card that I sent home the week before to remind everyone of what we were doing.  
I truly believe that these postcards are absolutely crucial to making sure that we have good participation.  
For safety reasons kids are not allowed to bring fishhooks of any kind!  
If you'd like a copy of my template to customize please feel free to leave me a comment or send me an e-mail. 

Last year, this theme was hard to pull together.  Why?  I had this elaborate idea in my mind of what I wanted my fishing pond to look like and it just wasn't working out the way I wanted it to.  The fabric wasn't draping right, my fish looked very strange, I was covered in hot glue, and I ended the day a sweaty and hot glue covered mess.  This year?  An absolute breeze.  This is why I strongly recommend doing things right the first time and then keeping them to reuse!  

When fishing night was over last year I took my fabric, folded it up, and stuck it on a shelf in my resource room so that I could use it again this year.  Here's a look at what our fishing pond looked like last year. 

And use it again I did.  This year's set-up took me about 30 minutes.  It was so much easier.  I pulled my fabric down off of the shelves and went to town.  Last year I draped my fabric over our mini puppet stage but this year I decided to go a different route.  We have a ginormous puppet stage that I considered using but just didn't want the hassle for an hour and a half program.  To save on space our puppet stage easily breaks down and is put away when not in use.  This year I used the same plumbing pipes and wooden blocks that I used to hold our crew signs up during VBS.  All I had to do was hot glue the fabric to the top and I was good to go.  
Easy as pie. 

I actually like it better this year.  I think the uneven line at the top makes it look like it's almost moving in little waves and I like that it's a lot longer this year and easier for someone to get behind.  

That's how I created my fishing pond.  
This is one of those theme nights that can cost you a very little amount of money, or it can cost you a great deal of money.  It is all dependent on how much you want to spend and how elaborate of a fishing pond that you want to have.  This year, this theme night cost me $0!  That's right, $0.  Why?  I saved everything that I used last year and didn't need to purchase anything.  

So how did I make the fishing pond?  
I used yellow, gray, red, and pink felt, green tulle, clothespins, and some paint.  
I cut out an assortment of ocean life from the felt pieces.  
I made dolphins, fish, and even one jellyfish.  
I made my seaweed on the bottom out of green tulle and lime green felt to give it some more contrast.  
I picked up a $5 fishing net at Wal-mart.

I painted my clothespins to look like worms with some simple craft paint and extra googly eyes I already had in my craft room.  

After that I grabbed my hot glue gun and just started hot gluing pieces onto my fabric.   and when I pulled it out yesterday, it was still intact!  

How does this night work?  
It's simple really.  As kids say verses they are allowed to come into the sanctuary and "go fish" for a special prize.  
The prizes can be anything from a piece of candy to leftover trinkets from last year's AWANA store.  
This night is used as an incentive to help kids learn those verses.  
Our kids love it.  Going to "fish" for their prize is one of their highlights. 

There are so many great object lessons and verses that you can use to theme your night around.  
My personal favorite is found in Matthew 4:18-20.  The moment when Jesus calls His first disciples to Him. 

"As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew.  They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will send you out to fish for people.'  At once they left their nets and followed him."  

How important is it for all believers to know that being a follower of Jesus is about more than ourselves.  Being a follower of Jesus is about sharing that love and that grace with other people.  Every Wednesday I have the opportunity to impact anywhere from 60 to 70 kids.  Let's just imagine that each of those kids had the opportunity to impact ten people.  Before you know it anywhere from 600 to 700 people have been impacted by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Isn't that amazing?  

I am constantly challenging my kids to share the love of Jesus with their friends, family, teachers and schoolmates, and I hear the stories when they do.  And oh my, it is absolutely glorious.  It's in those moments that I truly believe heaven opens up and the angels are celebrating.  Those are the moments that I live for.  Those moments when I realize that my five year olds, or that my 4th graders understand what it means to truly go fishing.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Known- Part 3

Throughout the last two days I've been sharing with you all what I learned from the two day leadership conference that I attended last week.  Despite the conference being over 4 days ago I have still found myself  thinking about all of the things that I learned over those two changing days.  If you follow my Twitter feed then you have seen me post lots of recaps over the last two days.

I wrote on Monday about what impacted me most deep down in my spirit and on Tuesday I wrote about what impacted my ministry the most.  If you haven't read them then I encourage you to.  Isn't it refreshing to know how much we can learn from each other?  It is always my prayer that God will use my blog as a way to reach out to those who I may never come in contact with in any other way.

Today, I want to share with you what I like to call truth nuggets.  We all know what I'm talking about.  These are those little statements of truth.  Those nuggets that are so good that when you hear them you sit up a little higher, you grip your pen a little tighter, write a little faster, and listen in closer because you know just how good those words are.  These are the nuggets that you remember out of every sermon.  These are the statements that you keep going back to days later.

Here are just a few of those nuggets that I have been meditating on over the last few days.

"I am known to make him known.  Remember who it's from and who it's for and know that God can cut it off in a minute.  
Your appetite for known will never be satisfied by a number.  It will only be satisfied by a who or a name, and never satisfied by a how many."  -Andy Stanley

"Don't underestimate the power of the heart or the power of your own faith.  David was not the underdog."  -Malcom Gladwell

"I am designed by God to display God's identity.  God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him."  -John Piper

"Jesus never promoted a childish life, but He did promote a child-like faith."  -Judah Smith

"Change from the inside out is the kind of change that lasts."  -Priscilla Shirer

"When you see how much time you have left you tend to get serious about the time you have now.  I am not God.  
I am not the Holy Spirit.  I can not change anyone, but I can love a few.  Inheritance is what you leave someone.  
Legacy is what you leave in them."  -Reggie Joiner

"Love the church you're in and not the one you wish you were in.  Love the calling you have and not the calling you wish you had.  Rejoice in the God who calls you and you will begin to rejoice again in what He has called you to."  -Jud Wilhite

Were you at Catalyst this year?
What have you been meditating on the last few days?
Did any of these nuggets speak to you like they spoke to me?

Let's talk about it!

Come back tomorrow for a recap of tonight's theme: Go Fish!
It's the one day of the year that I wear camouflage and I like it.

*#KidsMin Calling is looking for guest bloggers for the month of November to write about reasons they are thankful for kids ministry.  If you are interested please e-mail

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Known- Part 2

Yesterday, I shared with all of you my recap on what I experienced personally at the Catalyst conference.
You can read all about it here.
After that, I just have one question?  Did anyone dance yesterday?  Even now as I'm listening to Kari Jobe sing sweet worship songs through my speakers I have this overwhelming desire to get up and slow dance with Jesus.

Today, I'm going to be talking all about the message I heard that most impacted me as it relates to my ministry to kids.
While all of the speakers said things that can be applied to my kids ministry, only one speaker spent his entire session focusing on ministry to youth, children, and families.

Friday morning I had the opportunity to learn from Reggie Joiner who just so happens to be the founder and CEO of Orange.
To learn more about Orange and what it's all about feel free to visit here.

This was one of the most inspiring messages on the value of time that I've ever heard.  Time... this little something that we all need more of and before we know it our lives are here and gone.  Reggie put it this way, "When you see how much time you have left you tend to get serious about the time you have now."  We are all so incredibly guilty of this!  Myself included.  We are always looking out towards the next best thing.  What's the next event in my ministry?  Where am I supposed to be in the next service?  What am I teaching about on Wednesday?  I am always looking ahead in my ministry and I know that this isn't a bad thing.  What I'm wondering is if I look ahead so much that I forget what I'm doing right now in this very moment?

Reggie shared an illustration of something that he does in his children's ministry to remind his parents that their time with their children is valuable.  When a baby is born he gives the parents a jar of 936 marbles.  They get one marble in their jar for every week between when their precious bundle of joy is placed in their arms and when that precious bundle gets in the car at 18 and drives away.  Every week they take a marble out of their jar as a physical reminder that time is precious and that it is passing.  How much more so can this apply to our children's ministry?  The time that we have with each child is precious.  I get approximately 676 weeks with each child who comes into my ministry from the time they are born to the time they hit 7th grade and transition into our youth ministry.  After that, my time is gone and done.  How much more important is it for me to be fully present in everything that I'm doing when I'm with them.

Reggie Joiner shared it this way, "When you take love and put it over time it's believable.  Love over time gives someone a sense of worth."  My kids want my time right now.  That might involve me taking an extra 15 minutes to sit on the floor of the nursery and read a book or roll a ball back and forth.  Giving of my time might involve me taking the time to answer the questions of a curious 5th grader.  I don't know what this looks like, but I am determined that my kids know that they are valued to me because they are the one's that I pour my time into.

"I am not God.  I am not the Holy Spirit.  I can't change anyone, but I can love a few."  -Reggie Joiner

This is what it's all about.  I, in my power, cannot change anyone.  I can't make my kids love Jesus.  Yes, I can create a loving environment that helps nurture their love for Jesus, but I cannot change anyone.  All I can do is love.  All I can do is reach out with my time and with my life and invest it where it matters most.

Throughout the conference many speakers spoke on leaving a legacy.  What does a legacy look like?  How do we make that happen?  Reggie Joiner put it this way, "An inheritance is what you leave for someone.  A legacy is what you leave in them."  I don't want to just leave things for the kids that I spend my time with.  I want to leave a love of Jesus that is so great that is in them.  That is what I want my kids to think about 10 years from now when they are remembering Miss Mary.  I want them to think about how I showed them how to love Jesus with all of their hearts and all of their souls, and how that won't ever leave them.

I'm excited to read more on this from Reggie Joiner's book Losing Your Marbles/Playing For Keeps which has now moved to the very top of my nightstand reading list.

I'm challenging all of my readers today to be fully present in the lives of those you love.
Make a conscious effort to not merely leave an inheritance, but to leave a legacy.

How do you leave a legacy?  How do you make sure time doesn't slip away from you?
Let's talk about it!

*#KidsMin Calling is looking for guest bloggers for the month of November to write about reasons they are thankful for kids ministry.  If you are interested please e-mail