Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here's Where I've Been

I can not believe that today is the last day of 2014. 

This has been a whirl wind of a year! 

Before I get to some Really Big news (You want to keep reading for this!) I want to share with you our top 6 posts from 2013!

Thank you, my readers, for helping to make 2013 a great year in the world of blogs!
I love all of my readers. 

Hang around for 2013.  

Starting tomorrow I'll be kicking off a series in January called #KidsMin from A to Z! 

I'll be starting tomorrow by talking about two huge topics... AWANA and Attendance! 

Check back daily to see what each new letter will be (I've even come up with a word for the dreaded Z!)  

In other big news... Here's where I've been for December!


My sweet boyfriend  fiance' got down on one knee on December 27th and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.  I said, "Yes! Of course I will!"  And I've been floating up in the clouds ever since!  To say that I've found the love of my life is an understatement.  Jesus couldn't have paired any two people up more perfectly!  I'm so excited about wedding and life planning right now!  

I'm even more excited about what 2014 will hold!  
Jesus has been so good to me!  
I am blessed and favored beyond measure by His grace, mercy and faithfulness! 

Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve!  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jesus! Kids Christmas Party Recap!

Last night was our last night of AWANA for our 2013 year!  And all my #KidsMin said a big AMEN!  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my AWANA program and all of my sweet kiddos.  It is actually one of the highlights of my week.  However, I am ready for a three week winter break and plan to take full advantage of these free Wednesday nights (I'll be home catching up on laundry)!  

Last night we ended our last AWANA with a bang and I threw my kids a Happy Birthday, Jesus party!  I will say this, I have nothing against Santa, but when I'm at church I want our entire focus to be on celebrating the birth of Jesus who is our Savior.  That's what we did last night.  Our kids came in and I opened us with prayer and then sent my kids to their classrooms for a 20 minute lesson and fun time with their specific teachers.  At 7:00 PM our kids came back into the sanctuary and our party began.  

I read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and then it was time for pizza and Happy Birthday, Jesus cake!  Can you say excited?  I didn't serve pizza last year so the kids were thrilled to discover an extra treat this year!  Afterwards, I read them the story of "The Crippled Lamb" by Max Lucado and on a total whim invited 4 kids up to pray out loud with me as we thanked Jesus for coming to earth to be our Savior.  

I'm telling you, it is out of the mouths of children that I see the glory of God in ways I have never seen before.  By the end of their prayers, I had tears in my eyes and had a hard time finishing my own.  The love of God was so real and so tangible to all of his children that I was overwhelmed with God's goodness.

After our prayers we played one round of "Merry Christmas" bingo so everyone could win a piece of candy and sang a few Christmas carols together.  Despite having the longest and most lingering cold I was able to lead the kids in: We Wish you a Merry Christmas, Silent Night, and Joy to the World.  I will also say, there was nothing quite like hearing 50 little voices sing Silent Night.  Again... tears to my eyes.  

I'm officially ready now for our 3 week break!  

I'll still be blogging throughout our break but you can also follow me on these other networks to keep up:
Twitter: @KidsMinCalling
Instagram: @KidsMinCalling

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Miss Mary's Favorite Bible's 4 Kids {Gift Giving Guide}

Can you believe that Christmas is only 15 days away?

This year, I've been asked a lot about my recommendations for kids Bible's for your little one's.  There is no greater investment that you will ever make into your child's life than one that is made into their spirit.  A Bible is the perfect gift for your little one's this year at Christmas. 

As a #KidsMin there is nothing that warms my heart more than to see kids walk into Kids Church or AWANA with their Bible's in hand.  
It's so important to teach our kids the value in God's word and about how God's word is the guide book for our entire life as a Christian. 

If you've been thinking about whether your kids are ready for a Bible... Yes!  
I believe everyone needs a Bible whether you are a baby or 90 years old.  

Here are a few of my favorites to get you started!

Bible's for Little Ones

While this is not a full-text Bible it is perfect for those little one's reading with mom and dad or learning to read on their own.  
It's filled with pictures to keep even your smallest one's engaged with learning God's word. 

This Bible is seriously adorable. 
I'd recommend this Bible for any of your kids who absolutely love Veggie Tales. 
The great thing is that throughout the Bible they will see scenes from their favorite Veggie movies. 

Bible's for Elementary Kids

It's the number one Bible for kids right now. 
This is a full-text Bible that I would recommend for 5-12 year olds.

This is the Bible that my Kids Church uses on Sunday mornings. 
It has an easy to read font that makes following along for reading simple. 
It also has great study notes throughout the Bible and at the beginning of each book.

Bible's for Pre-Teens

This Bible is designed specifically for the young girls in your life. 
This Bible is recommended for pre-teens (5th-6th graders).  
It's stylish but packed with truth. 

This Bible is just perfect for the young boys in your life.
Recommended for pre-teens it's designed specifically to help young boys grow into young men.  

Do you have a favorite Bible that you use with your kids?
What is it?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas {Volunteer Appreciation}

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

That was the theme for last night's volunteer Christmas party and have a holly jolly Christmas we did.  And sadly, I took absolutely no pictures!  (I know... I'm a terrible blogger.)

Today, I'm talking about why volunteer appreciation is so important and the little things that we can do to make them feel loved.  Last night as I was welcoming my volunteers, this is what I said... "I want you, my volunteers, to know that I am thankful for you.  I can plan.  I can direct.  I can organize.  I can promote events.  I can do many things.  What I cannot do is take care of 75+ children by myself.  I have to have the help of volunteers."  There has never been a truer statement.  As #KidsMin we often feel like we do it all and like we can do it all, but we can't.  We have to have the help of our volunteers.

It's so important to make sure that our volunteers know that they are loved and appreciated.  This year I threw a Holly Jolly Christmas party just for my volunteers.  I served finger foods and dessert.  I decorated our dining hall with bright table cloths and Christmas prints.  We spent our time talking to one another and playing a few fun games.  It was all very low key and meant to be a fun and joyous time for everyone.  And I truly believe that it was.  

However, it's important that our volunteers feel loved and appreciated all year round.  

Here are some simple ways to show our thanks.

1) Say Thank You!  It's such a little thing but often overlooked.  I try to make it a point to stop by our nurseries every Sunday morning and tell our volunteers thank you for serving that Sunday.  

2) Send Cards!  At the end of every VBS I write out a short note to all of my volunteers and send it to them via snail mail.  I include in the card things that we accomplished through VBS because of their service.  

3) Post status' updates about them!  Any of my facebook friends could tell you that I love to brag on my volunteers.  There is no better way to do that than social media.  Here's a status that I posted last night telling everyone how much I loved my volunteers!

4) Bring them treats.  There are such cute ideas on Pinterest that are simple to do.  Visit my volunteer appreciation board here and be sure to follow to see new things I pin.  Bags of hot cocoa during the winter, or candy corn during the fall, are easy ways to let your volunteers know that they are appreciated. 

5) Have your kids write them thank you cards.  Nothing says thank you more than a 3rd graders hand writing to their favorite volunteer telling them why they love them.  Every once in a while I'll have a classroom spend 10 minutes making cards for a certain batch of volunteers and my volunteers always appreciate them. 

There are so many other ways that we can share our thanks and appreciation! 

Here are 2 cute ways that I saw on Pinterest to tell your volunteers thank you!
And they are super simple too.  

Thanks a Latte!

We wash you a Merry Christmas!

How do you tell your volunteers thank you?

Come back by on Thursday to see the pictures from my kids Happy Birthday Jesus party!