building character

I have to share the most amazing website I've recently come across!  First, of course, you must know the backstory....

In the last while, I've been convicted about how and what I'm teaching my kids to live as followers of Jesus.  Two of the three have made professions of faith, but I wondered if I was giving them the right TOOLS for christian living - was I being a strong enough example, was I showing enough of Christ to them.....

I read in the Duggar book about the homeschooling material they use that also introduces the child to character traits of Jesus.  This lead me to (for the first time EVER) wonder about homeschooling - just to get this material!

Not 2 weeks later, this magazine appeared in my mailbox:

did you get it too?

On the inside of the front cover, there's an ad for a brand new website put out by Focus on the Family that was like an answer to my prayers!  CHECK IT OUT - it's an amazing resource for families with lessons, memory verses, fun ideas and charts to help build Christ-like character into the heart of a family!  It begins with a lesson and scripture study for mom and dad, so even those of us who don't 'have it all together' can learn with our children.  I was so thrilled and excited by this website that I emailed FOTF to tell them so.  I was even MORE thrilled when they replied and said they were encouraged by my comments and excited with me!

So the first character trait we downloaded the stuff for was contentment.  We decided that would be the best place to start given that the holiday season is rapidly approaching and the littles have already formulated their LONG lists of 'I want's.  The first night we tried some of it out, we began by asking our eldest to choose the verse that we should memorize as a family - the one she felt best applied to our situation.  Out of the list of 18 verses she chose Hebrews 13:5 (and I was pleased to see it wasn't the first one on the list...she really read them all and chose carefully!):
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and 
be content
with what you have,
because God has said, 'Never will I leave you;
 never will I forsake you.'" 

We took a family trip to Fargo/Minneapolis last weekend and spent some time talking about this verse and encouraging one another to practice and sow seeds of contentment.  It was such a blessed time!

But - and why exactly does there always seem to have to be a but? - today I found myself in the downward spiral of "I wish I had ______like _____" humph!

Praise God, the word "contentment" quickly blazed across my mind!  I'm a visual person, so I google-imaged the word contentement.  What a mish-mash of pictures!  I leafed through the pages of images until it struck me that none of these pictures spoke of contentment to me.  

I decided to look through my own photo albums intead.  The picture that lept out of the book at me was taken about 2 1/2 years ago in one of our favourite family places, Niagara Falls, ON.  This time we were there with my brother and his family (Teresa took this beloved shot!), but we spent many lovely Saturdays there just the 5 us.  Hand-in-hand, spending time together doing something we all loved.  This is when I feel most content.  This is why we took the weekend road trip to Fargo - to be together, with no distractions, no one vying for our attention or for an answer to this or that... This is one of the reasons we've considered missions to a far away place....

On the list of verses from the Kids of Integrity website is one that I think I'll have to put to memory on my own is this:

"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Proverbs 14:30

Nothing anyone else has - not even the most lovely or wonderful thing - means more than the gift the Lord has given me of these 4 souls to love and be loved by.

thank you, Lord.


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