Monday’s Funnies…

Here it is – the video of my sedated daughter.  Again, don’t think I’m advocating the sedation of children.  But, you know, sometimes it needs to be done and why not have a little fun with it, right?  Honestly, I just think it’s the sweetest thing and it makes me smile.

There are three different videos.  They’re only 30 seconds a piece so it won’t take long to watch them  The third is the best – that’s when she discovers her hand.  The quality of video is not that great – I don’t have one-a them fancy phones, ya know?  Also, the video is sideways – sorry, I can’t do anything about it.  If you turn your head just so, you’ll be able to see just fine.

Aren’t you excited?  Do enjoy…

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Moving on.  Have any of you seen the site, Awkward Family Photos?  Well, if you haven’t, you absolutely must!  Lee and I surfed it the other night and laughed so hard we had tears in our eyes.  What a brilliant idea – take the random, horrible, awkward photos of families and post them for all the world to see.

Glorious.

Just to prove to you the the hilarity of this site, I’ll give you two sneak peeks.  Then, you’ll have to head over and see for yourself…

Cabbage Patch

That last photo – oh the glory.  That’s just so funny.  So, for those of you out there struggling with Monday, remember, the world is full of goofy, awkward moments that scream for a laugh.  So, in that spirit, may you all have a day full of joy and laughter!

A birthday wish

There are certain moments in my life that I would love to live all over again. Several childhood days stand out as good enough to relive – most of college I would relive – not a ton of high school though!

One of those memories that I would love to walk just one more time is the night, eight years ago, when my brother and I walked the “streets” of the city walk in Orlando, smoking cigars and just talking. It was the first time the two of us really talked as adults. He was preparing to embark upon a mighty adventure in the Navy; I was a newlywed and living independently.  We weren’t kids anymore. 

It was the first time I recognized my brother as an adult. It was the first time that I realized how cool he was (he wasn’t just my goober-y little brother anymore). It was the first time I really realized that he and I had a lot in common. We had drifted apart during the years I was away at college, and in that late night stroll, a lot of healing took place in our relationship.

We talked about dreams, hopes, goals – all over cheap cigars. And isn’t that how life is figured out – over a pack of cheap tobacco?

I would do that night again. That was a good night.

Happy Birthday, Brett. I love you and miss you. Hope your 28th year sees your dreams become a reality.

You can read more about my “little” brother here.

The Jenkins Family

I’m delayed getting this up, but wanted to finish out Missions Week with this family.

JenkinsDan and Sue Jenkins, along with their three children, will head to Costa Rica in the next couple of months to serve as permanent missionaries.  Rather than try to sum up what they’re going to do, I’m going to let Sue tell you herself.

What will you and Dan be doing in Costa Rica?
 
Dan will establish a micro-enterprise development program for ReachGlobal in Costa Rica.  Micro-enterprise development is a way of assisting impoverished peoples through small business development; business counsel/consulting; new market development; product assessment; connections to training and micro-loans (very small loans of $50, $100, etc.) that will enhance business performance and increase productivity and income.  The idea is to provide people with a dignified and esteem-building path out of poverty–a means to better provide essentials (food, clothing, shelter, schooling) to one’s family.
 
What called you to Costa Rica in the first place?
 
When we applied to ReachGlobal, we were open to God’s leading, but felt a particular call to Latin America, broadly.  ReachGlobal selected Costa Rica, based on a number of factors:  ease of transition; centrally located to the countries in which ReachGlobal is serving in Latin America (Brazil, Honduras, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Venezuela); the regional director is serving in the same country (so Dan can work closely with him to develop the program); safety; etc.
 
What specific roles will you be playing, Sue?  What roles will Dan be playing (i.e. what are each of you focusing on primarily in your work down there?)
 
Dan, I explained above.  To add to it, however, he will be working alongside pastors and lay people in the congregations as a focus group to begin the program.  We hope in doing so to bolster the finances of the congregations and better equip them to reach out with the Gospel message.
 
I will wear a number of hats:  assisting with the public relations/communications of the region (by this I mean the Latin American countries in which ReachGlobal is serving); administrative duties relating to the micro-enterprise development program; donor relations & newsletter writing for our “ministry team” (i.e., Dan and I); and getting involved in a local church in children’s and/or women’s ministries.
 
What are specific prayer needs that you have at this moment?
 
Wisdom, strength & courage as we begin a brand new program for ReachGlobal.  Our initial year on the field will be spent researching and developing the micro-enterprise development program while we attend language school.
 
Grace & peace as we adjust to a new city, home and culture.
 
Funding.  We are encouraged, despite the economy, that people have been generous with their giving.  God has blessed us with a significant portion of our needed funding; however, we have to raise the remainder of our budgets prior to our departure.  (Our departure date is contingent upon this happening.)
 
What ways can people be involved in your work in Costa Rica?
 
1.  Joining our support team (prayer, financial and “care” teams)
2.  Telling others about our organization and what we hope to accomplish
3.  Making us aware of interest (individual or church group) in short-term mission trips (we can help people get connected in this way)

When do you hope to move to Costa Rica permenantly?

We hope to move to Costa Rica by late September, but anticipate possibly needing more time than that to complete our fundraising.  Fall 2009 is a good, generic answer.

If you are interested in learning of more ways that you can participate with Dan and Sue as they begin this journey, please visit their blog for more information and to contact them personally.  You can also read more about them here.

It has been so much fun focusing on the ways that God’s people are reaching out to the world this week.  I have enjoyed this process very much.  I will be adding a new page up top with links to all of these posts so that you, and others, can be reminded of the need to pray and support those who are living in the trenches of the mission field.

There are so many others who I want to dicuss and feature – I will likely being hosting another Missions Week early next year and will try to make this a frequent occurance.

May you all have a blessed weekend.

IsleGo Missions

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This next organization is near and dear to my heart because it is founded and run by my aunt and uncle, Dusty and Corinne Cooper.

I’ve already told you about the amazing heritage of my family.  Starting with my grandparents, my family has a long and rich history in the Caribbean.  I am proud of this history.

IsleGo Missions is a unique, team-led organization with a deep love for the people with whom they work and serve.  It began as a means to better connect short term mission teams relationally to those they were serving.

So often, teams of students and adults head on missions trips where they work hard at building homes, churches, hospitals and more.  But many times, a key component is missing: that of building relationships.  

IsleGo Missions’ purpose and reason for existence is to connect the Church of the USA with the Church everywhere else. 

Says Dusty, “National pastors and churches can reach their own better than someone from outside but they are usually lacking the training, resources, and encouragement they need to see their God-given vision become reality. Connection with the Church, the Body of Christ, outside their own boundaries meets those needs while simultaneously transforming the American church as well.”

So while the teams they lead to different countries are indeed involved in the construction of buildings, the IsleGo staff member that accompanies them works to ensure that relationships are built first.  These relationships are further nourished and grown through the constant communication and help received by the many mission teams that participate.

We tell our teams they could build a cathedral to rival Notre Dame but, if they fail to build relationships during that week, then they have failed,” Dusty explains.  “This is one of the reasons IsleGo, in every country we serve, works with the same established relationships that God is using to transform communities and nations. We are tied into their vision for their people that God has given them to do – We are truly partners with them.”

So where exactly does IsleGo go?  Well, to name just a few places, they travel to the Bahamas, Haiti, Trinidad, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Haiti, Cuba and Brazil. 

But the impact does not lie soley in the countries in which the serve.  The teams of students, from high school to college age, as well as medical missionaries and pastors, young and old, they all go home challenged and encouraged in their faith.

We emphasize that Christianity is a life of worship. Worship too often today is seen as music that moves emotions, when instead God shows worship to be a lifestyle of proclaiming His “worth-ship” in our lives. Our teams start each day with worship music and prayer as well as end the day that way. In between those events, however, we worship during the day with our work, our giving hope to others, our serving God by serving others. This also allows our team facilitators to build into the team members that what they do on this missionary journey can and should be replicated in their home church and city.” (emphasis mine)

In addition to being an amazing opportunity for growth, and the chance to visit some of the most beautiful areas in all of God’s creation, IsleGo mission trips are fun.  Every team is led by IsleGo staff, my aunt and uncle often acting themselves as team leaders. 

And they are crazy fun.  I’m not just saying that because I’m biased.  Dusty is crazy!  He loves the islands, he knows the islands and he’s not afraid to have fun in the islands.  I’ve even seen video of them swimming with pink dolphins.  Pink dolphins!  It’s just a fun organziation to travel with…and shouldn’t serving the Lord be fun?

IsleGo Missions does a great job of organizing and facilitating group trips from securing the planes tickets to housing to food and product management.  They know how to get a group of people mobilized and ready to serve. 

For more information on how you can be involved with IsleGo Missions, visit their website.  If anything, you should probably click over just to see the amazing pictures and read the stories of what they’re accomplishing in so many areas.

If you are interested in taking a team on an IsleGo Missions project, contact Dusty or Corinne for more information.

I leave you with this final, amazing quote from Dusty regarding the heart and philosophy around IsleGo Missions:

We see life as a journey with a “missions trip” just a missionary journey, but still only part of the life journey. The time spent overseas should be a continuation of the journey we all started when we accepted Christ, a journey that ends at the throne of God with every tongue and tribe and nation in praise of the Lamb.

It is not a “hiccup” or a parentheses in our lives but a vital part of God leading our lives from point A to point B. What He shows us on this missionary journey should become a part of who we are and our service to Him. If this happens, then missions happen wherever we are, home or abroad.”

So…will YOU Go?

Missions Week – Day One

Missions Week – Day Two

Missions Week – Day Three

Servant’s Heart Ministry

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Missions Week – Day Three: Servant’s Heart Ministry

Sometimes, it seems that if you listen closely enough, you can hear the hollow strains of an orchestra in the forground.  If you stop, open your eyes and strain your ear intently, you’ll hear the soft beat of a well played harmony…

I can testify personally to the heart behind this amazing new ministry based out of Nashville, Tennessee.  One of the founders, Rob Dublin, is a dear friend and is someone who, along with his wife, Kyna, has a deep love for missions.

Servant’s Heart Ministry has a unique focus.  Primarily working in the Dominican Republic at this time, Servant’s Heart is working to empower and support the work of a local church, and in doing so, is impacting the lives of children and families.

Sshhh…listendo you hear the strings?

Born out of a love for orphans, the founders of Servant’s Heart Ministry all met while actually doing ministry together.  In 2006, Rob Dublin, Rex Sexton, Kenneth Hill and Jay Weinstein worked together in the country of Ukraine building homes for orphans.  Upon returning to the US, they continued to meet with one another regularly and encouraged each other in their shared passion of ministering to the orphans of the world.

Add the bass…

After learning of the plight of children in the Dominican Republic, the idea of Servant’s Heart Ministry bubbled forth.  With a little bit of research and a lot of planning, the four men planned their first trip to the Dominican Republic where they witnessed firsthand the cruel fate of an impoverished people.

But how did they get to the Dominican Republic?  Well – that’s where the cello starts humming a harmonic continuum.  Can you hear the sounds?

In a small village, roughly 45 minutes from the booming town of Santiago, people are living in extreme poverty.  Children go to school where they spend roughly 4-5 hours a day learning, but receive only a small cup of milk and a piece of bread. 

Sometimes that’s all those children will eat all day long.

A local church, run entirely by Dominicans, recognized the rampant hunger of the children and established a program for the kids to come to the church after school and receive a solid meal as well as spiritual training.

It’s a simple concept.  Nourish the body and develop the heart.  Immediately the church noticed the impact they were able to have in their community.  But how would they sustain this program under such harsh conditions.

In rolls the timpany. A beautiful thunder of sound is beginning to resound.   

Servant’s Heart Ministry is now working in conjunction with this local church, partnering with them to establish a feeding program, as well as providing training materials for the children, school supplies, school uniforms and so much more.

They are also working to develop a clean water program, providing filtration systems for the church and local water catchments.  The money they raise will go toward power generators and food storage (refridgeration), building supplies and whatever other needs arise within the community.

Listen to the sounds.  The symphony is beginning!

For now, the focus of Servant’s Heart is concentrated in this one small town in the Dominican Republic.  But the vision is much grander.

In time, and as the orchestra gains momentum, there are plans to expand this model to other villages, towns and countries.  The goal is to support locals – to provide them with the materials they need to minister to the people in their own backyards.

The best part of this story is that you all can be a part of the grand symphony that God Himself is conducting through this amazing ministry.  There are so many ways to be involved:

  • Prayer.  Will you pray for Servant’s Heart Ministry as they work to bring about the vision that God has laid upon their hearts?  Your prayers are the whispers that drive the beat of the symphony.  They are the measures within which all the notes are contained.
  • Donations.  Of course monetary donations are always welcomed and appreciated.  Funding is important in helping provide these churches and children with the things they need, like water filtration, power generators, uniforms and, most importantly, food.  But Rob told me that there is also a need for supplies.  They need Spanish books, literature, scriptures, coloring books, supplies for water filtration, anything that you can offer that would allow the church to better serve the children.
  • Your time.  In 2010, Servant’s Heart will be taking a second trip to the Dominican Republic and they would like to take a team of people with them. Let’s face it – when you are living life, sometimes, going on a foreign mission trip is difficult. One of the benefits of serving on a mission trip with Servant’s Heart is that, while it is to a foreign country, it is relatively inexpensive and easy to get to.  The trips last only 4-5 days and the cost is much lower than many other overseas mission trips.  This makes a trip with Servant’s Heart much easier for many people.  Perhaps you are one of those people? 
  • Table Sponsorship.  For Nashville residents, Thursday, October 22 is the first official fundraiser for Servant’s Heart Ministry.  This would be a fabulous event to attend (it will be held at the spectacular Factory at Franklin).  I encourage you to attend so you can hear in person the heart of these dedicated men as they cast their vision for the Servant’s Heart Ministry.  Table sponsorship is available as an option to show your support (and you don’t even have to be a resident to do that.  Wink, wink…)
  • For more information, please visit the Servant’s Heart Ministry website (again, I have left you a bajillion links so there’s no excuse for not at least clicking over). 

    You can also check out the beautiful video they put together of their first visit on their very own YouTube channel.  Or, you can join their Facebook Fan Page.  Or follow them on twitter.  The possibilities are endless!

    To contact someone personally about how you can be involved with Servant’s Heart Ministry, or to get their address so you can send supplies, click here.

    God, the Almighty conductor, has lifted His Hand, tapped the music stand and begun waving His Arms, inciting a glorious melody.  And, through the involvement of others, that melody will swell and grow, making something beautiful out of the ugliness that is poverty.

    Will you consider joining Servant’s Heart Ministry as they change the world one child at a time?

    Missions Week – Day One

    Missions Week – Day Two

On the Homefront

I was a little late in getting my requests out to the people I want to feature this week so I’m still gathering the information I need for the rest of the features.  I was planning on this being my last post of the week, but I’ve decided to post it today in order to keep up the Missions Week flow.

Perhaps the most important mission any of us will ever experience is that of parenthood.  Now, I realize that not everyone who reads this blog is a parent, but a majority of you are, or will be someday.

I am living my mission field every single day.  And while I have deep desires to be more involved in missions outside of my home (and, truthfully, outside of my country) for now, this is where God has me.

Lee and I work really hard to support one another as the missionaries of our own little battlefield.  And I call it that because every day we are waging a spiritual battle for our children.  We are their intercessors at this point in their tiny lives.

Well, and also because, if you’ve spent any time with Sloan and Tia you know that it really can feel like an actual battlefield around here.  They are the best of friends, but oooh m’goodness

Each morning, before he leaves for work, Lee prays over our children.  He speaks blessing over them.  And he rarely forgets.  Unless he has to leave the house before they wake up, he blesses them before walking out the door. 

The kids have come to so expect and look forward to this that on the rare mornings when Lee forgets or is in a rush, they remind him to bless them before leaving.

It looks a little like this:

Summer '09 146

Summer '09 147

The reason I don’t have a shot of him praying over Sloan is because the day I took these, Sloan had already left for school.

Lee and I are working hard to establish in our children the idea that there really is no place like home.  We want them to know that home is safe, home is a place where they will experience blessing and love.  We want them to know that no matter what happens in life, they can always return to the comfort of home.

As Laura Ingalls said in the first episode of Little House on the Prairie, “Home is the nicest word there is.” 

Season 1, Episode 1 – Harvest of Friends…Yes, I’m a geek, but didn’t that little bit of TV knowledge fit perfectly with what I’m trying to say today?  You. are. welcome

Aaaaanyhooo…

I’m so thankful for a husband who is willing to take his role as leader of our family seriously.  Praying blessing over our children is not something that comes naturally to me.  I have a hard time with it and so I am grateful for my husband, who so naturally speaks the blessings of God over our children.

His prayers over them usually go something like this:

Lord, I pray for Sloan today.  I pray that you reign down your blessings upon him – that you go before him as he goes about his day.  I pray that he would know how loved he is today, not just by his family, but by you, God.  I pray that you would give him a spirit of peace and of obedience.  I pray that he would be a leader in his class today.  Lord, we thank you for Sloan and the blessing he is in our lives… 

And that’s all there is to it.  It takes less than a minute, but the impact is eternal.

I would encourage all of you to take the time in your days to speak blessings over your children.  If, like me, it doesn’t come naturally, then I urge you to pray for them on your own.  We are in a time and age when our children’s generation could potentially suffer greatly.  We need to be paving the way ahead of them with our faithful prayers.

So today’s mission focus is the family.  May you all be encouraged…

Compassion International

Sponsor a child online through Compassion's Christian child sponsorship ministry. Search for a child by age, gender, country, birthday, special needs and more.

I’ve written about Compassion International before, and they are a large organization, so what I’m going to tell you may not be new information, but it is information that bears repeating.

I love this organization.  They are well run, well led and are really making a huge impact worldwide in children’s lives.

I’ve been to areas of the world where poverty runs rampant.  I’ve seen children living in conditions that are heart-wrenching, filthy and, seemingly, destitute.  I’ve looked into the eyes of children who have nothing and I’ve listened to their sweet voices, all inflected with the same innocence that my own children possess.  Here or there, rich or poor, children are still children and they need love, care and…well, compassion

So what exactly does Compassion International do?  I’m so glad you asked!  Because that’s why I’m writing up this little feature.  To tell you what they do

The better question to ask, though, is probably what doesn’t Compassion International do?  From their Child Survival Program, where they provide prenatal care to pregnant mothers and offer preventative medications to children to give them the healthiest life possible, to their Child Sponsorship Program, where they offer children the funds to receive educational, spiritual and vocational training so that those same children can grow into self-sustaining adults, to the Leadership Development Program, which allows those excelling in high school who have a desire to pursue post-secondary education the opportunity to do so through help in funding - through all of these amazing programs, Compassion is changing the world.

Have any of you ever looked into the eyes of someone who has lost hope?  Have you ever seen the hollow chasm of a lost future?  It’s so easy to forget that there is a world of desperation out there.  But, through organizations like Compassion International (and another group that I’ll tell you about in a couple of days…oh, I can’t wait!) there are simple and easy ways that you and I can help be a part of this global impact. 

Do you realize what I’m saying?  With minimal effort, you can restore hope to a child who’s lost the spark?  It takes a few short minutes to sign up and requires a fraction of a fraction of your monthly income.  And just like that, a life is changed. 

The Stuart family have been a child sponsor for a couple of months now and I will testify to the fact that it is immensely fulfilling to know that 6-year-old Jonri in Indonesia now has opportunity that he did not have before.  I love hearing our kids pray for him at dinner time.  I don’t love them fighting over who gets to sit “next” to him (his picture is on the fridge) but I’ll take it because it means they’ve embraced the concept.  It’s very sweet to watch them get the idea of blessing others out of the abundance with which we ourselves have been blessed. 

Another thing about Compassion that has impressed me is their spectacular use of social media.  The internet is used to bring so much pain, so much destruction, so much hurt to the world.  But Compassion is using the internet to the glory of God.

Through their Compassion International Bloggers, Compassion is reaching a whole new world and generation with their mission for changing children’s lives.  They are using new media brilliantly and with great intention.  And, by doing so, they have expanded their message tenfold.  And I believe God is blessing the ministry because of their faithful obedience to Him.

To get more information about Compassion International and child sponsorship, visit their website.  You can also follow them on Twitter at @compassion or follow Shaun Groves (@theshaungroves), who is their Blogger Relationship Manager and fields the blogger trips to compassion sponsored areas.  The next trip they will take is to El Salvador and two of the bloggers going on that trip are Kelly and Dana, two fantastic bloggy ladies who will do a spectacular job of spreading Compassion’s message even further. 

(Incidentally, Shaun and I are both graduates of Baylor where we both participated in Baylor Religious Hour Choir.  Shaun graduated a few years before me, so we never met, but this practically makes us related, so I feel like I can write about him as though he’s my BFF – even though he doesn’t know me from Adam.  Is that kind of creepy? No?  It’s fine you say?  Great – so go visit my BFF, Shaun’s site, and learn more about him and about Compassion!)

Compassion International is a great organization to be involved in, if you are looking for a way to live out your faith tangibly.  If you’re still not sure, jump over to their site (I’ve left you about a thousand links in this post so you should be able to find your way over there for more information).  

Or you can keep checking back all week this week to find other people and organizations that you can be involved in.  But, no matter what, may you all leave your computers encouraged to know that there are ways that you, too, can make an impact on the kingdom of heaven – both great and small! 

May you have a blessed day…

Missions Week

This week, I’d like to dedicate my writing energies to focus on people and organizations who are faithfully and passionately following God’s calling in their lives. 

Whether they are planting churches, helping children in need or simply pouring into the lives of others, these dedicated individuals are all making an eternal impact.

As you read about these faithful folks, will you join me in encouraging them and praying for them?  And, if you feel led to participate further, please contact them through the information that I leave you, and let them know of your interest in participating with them, whether it be through prayer, financial support, or physically.

My prayer is that not only will the people I feature be encouraged and lifted up this week, but that you will be also.  “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20

Scroll Down to read the Missions Week features…

The First Sleepover

On Friday night, we hosted our first sleepover.  Sloan had two sweet friends over and they spent the evening playing Star Wars, watching Star Wars, eating S’Mores, playing UNO, and altogether wearing Lee out.

In typical sleepover fashion, they hopped up on junk food and got very little sleep.  But they also made sweet memories.  We are blessed with good, good friends.  The two boys Sloan had over are great kids.  They’re the kind of kids you want your child spending time with.  They bring out the best in Sloan and we altogether enjoyed watching the three of them play together. 

Tia and I went to my mom’s house while the boys played.  Mom was out on the town, but Tia and I had fun girl time watching Little House on the Prairie and painting our fingernails.  I let Tia paint my nails – she also managed to paint a majority of my fingers as well.  Though my nails are now an assortment of colors (red, purple and orange were her color scheme) she was so proud, I couldn’t bear to take the polish off.  So I sported my sassy nails at church this morning.  I think, though, that I’ll clean them up tonight :)  

Suzanne and Nicole, thanks for lending us your children for the night.  They were absolutely fantastic.  For your enjoyment, I’m going to list some of my favorite quotes from the boys and a few pics from the super awesome, totally cool first ever sleepover!

Me (upon returning home and finding the boys all nestled shirtless into their sleeping bags in the tent): “How was your evening, guys?”
Bobby: “Mr. Stuart just told us an…unusual story…
Apparently Lee told them a rather animated story that scared them just slightly…Luke ended up practically sleeping on top of Lee.

Sloan: “When I go to heaven, I’m going to see Granny. I have a Granny (his great-grandma) from my Arkansas. She died.”
Luke: “My grandma died one year ago. She made the best muffins.”
Sloan: “Your actual grandma died?” I love his distinction between a great-grandma and an actual grandma…
Luke: “Yeah – she made good muffins.”
(Don’t you love their sweet honesty?)
Bobby: “I have a great-great-great grandma who’s an Indian. An American Indian I think.”

Bobby: “The only thing that would make this sleepover better is if we could stay two nights.”
Luke: “Yeah. I like everything about this sleepover…except the sleeping.”

There were so many other sweet quotes from the evening, but those are the only ones I could remember. Listening to 6 year old boys communicate with one another is a hoot!

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For the love of money

Thanks to everyone who participated in the conversation yesterday regarding vaccinations.  It’s an important topic and I’m glad people are talking about it.  And thanks for being so respectful of one another and of the differing opinions.  It was nice to read the different perspectives without feeling any tension.  You guys are great!

On Wednesday, I took the kids to Target to buy Tia a new stroller for her baby dolls.  An overzealous neighbor boy broke hers and I promised her a new one if she did a good job getting her ears cleaned out.  And since she didn’t scream (thank you Vercet), she got the much coveted stroller.

Sloan had seven dollars in his wallet.  Lee and I don’t give the kids an allowance, but on occasion we reward them for work they do around the house, particularly when that work is done from a serving heart.

And, oh my, that seven bucks was burning a hole in his pocket.  So, after picking out the perfect baby stroller, we headed to the Star Wars isle.  Did you know there is little to nothing you can buy for seven dollars?

Sloan found the toy he really wanted, but it is 25 dollars.  So he put it down and looked around and said, “Well, I guess I’ll just buy something I don’t really want because I’m ready to spend my money.”

At that moment, a huge light went off over our heads and a voice blared over the loudspeaker, TEACHABLE MOMENT, TEACHABLE MOMENT!!!!

Okay, not really.  But wouldn’t it be nice if that happened?

I did however, get down on Sloan’s level and explain to him the wisdom in saving his money so that he could buy the thing he really wanted.

“But that will take too long,” he protested.

It took a little convincing, but I finally helped him understand that waiting and working to earn the money for something he wanted would be better than wasting his money on something he didn’t really want.  What a lesson, huh?  I need to remember that myself sometimes.

So, we came home, Sloan’s back pocket still burning with unspent dollars.  Last night, Sloan rushed to his room and “cleaned” it up – which means he tossed all the loose toys into the closet and shoved the door closed.  Because that’s how we roll in the Stuart house…

“Can I have a dollar?” he asked.  Sound the alarm! TEACHABLE MOMENT, TEACHABLE MOMENT!!!

“Son, did you do that because it needed to be done, or because you wanted money?” Lee asked.

“Because I wanted money,” Sloan replied oh so honestly. 

Lee then tried to explain to Sloan that there are certain things we do because we’re supposed to.  But I could see Sloan get more and more dejected and confused, and I could understand why.  You see, once, maybe twice, we have given him money for cleaning his room.  It wasn’t because he cleaned his room, but because his heart was so pure and sweet and we were rewarding him for that.  But we obviously didn’t do a good job explaining that to him, so I could see why he would feel frustrated with us last night.  But then it got worse…

“I LOVE money, though.  I just want it so bad!” he cried.

Yikes.  We have some training to do.  Teaching kids the proper way to think about and handle money is a little daunting.  While Lee and I don’t spoil our children by any means, we are blessed to be able to provide them with not only comforts, but special privileges as well.  We try to make them aware of the fact that Lee and I work hard for our money and we work to spend it in the proper manner. 

I know as they grow older, there will be more opportunity to have a discourse over how and where it is wise to spend money, but we want to start training them now.

We also talked with Sloan about giving a portion of the money he earns back to God as a tithe.  Oh, he was not happy to hear that.  We had a lot of discussion about it this morning.

What are some things you’ve done to train your children in finanaces and the responsiblity that comes with money?  Nicole, could you leave the name of the piggy bank you guys use in the comments?  I would like to get one of those.

I think it’s important to not only model to our children the correct way to spend, save and give money, but also to give them the opportunity to practice.  So Lee and I are working on some projects that Sloan can do around the house to earn more money.  Today, I’m going to have him and Tia wipe down all the baseboards in the house.  Which, wow – I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this earlier!  I hate cleaning baseboards!  Is it bad that I’m excited about the benefits of teaching this life lesson?  Ahem

So, please, help me out.  What are some ways we can teach our children to be responsible in earning, saving, spending and giving money?  What are practices that have been effective for you?