How to Start Your New Year Right

How to Start Your New Year Right

A new year is truly a new season that God brings us. And what we do with that new season is just as important. So, let’s look at how to start your new year right and enter this new season.

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV

God knows infinitely more than we do; He is Creator and without Him there would be nothing.

He knows the end from the beginning. So to get the heart and mind of God for our lives in the season we’re in, is significant so that we can continue living purposeful, intentional, power-filled, full lives.

The Lord Has Good Plans For You

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

Here are some promises you can be certain of from God:

  • The Lord makes all things work together for good. (Romans 8:28)
  • What the enemy intends for evil in your life, God meant for good. (Genesis 50:20)
  • We cannot do anything without the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us. (John 15:5)
  • For all the promises of God are yes and amen! (2 Corinthians 1:20)
  • Every good gift and every perfect gift is from God. (James 1:17)
  • We are to fill the earth with His glory by living our lives fully for the Lord, hearing what He says and doing it. (John 17:20-23) 
How To Start The New Year Right + 30-Day Renewing My Mind Bible Scripture Challenge

** Get your FREE printable at the end of this post **

Embrace The Season

With the confidence in the Lord concerning His promises, we know that whatever season we’re in, it’s is not meant to last.

Seasons in our lives change constantly. 

Not every season is easy, and not every season is hard. Just as sure as we can be that winter turns to spring, spring to summer, summer to autumn and autumn to winter, what we’re facing is always temporary and meant to change.

And the season you’re in right now is not only about you; it’s about what God wants to do in you, so that He can reach others through you.

God sees so much more than you do about your life and how you’re to impact others through the season you’re going through. So, moving forward in your season, whether it’s easy or not is for your growth, for the glory of God to be seen, and your testimony as a witness of God’s goodness.

Consider embracing the season you’re in. 

By recognizing the season, you choose to change or at the very least know that things are going to change. You choose to move forward in your life by embracing the season.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9 NKJV

It’s Time For Transformation

We become like what and whom we surround ourselves with.

Everything around us, including social media, friendships, relationships, media, government, education and those you follow, are all forms of influence.

Whatever or whomever you allow to speak into your life is feeding your mind. So it’s crucial to protect yourself from being influenced, and instead be an influencer for Christ.

So what we need to do is change the way we think.

God’s ways are so much higher than our ways. By having a relationship with Him, it’s about becoming conformed to the image of Christ and our the renewal of our minds is where it starts!

How we do renew our minds?

By digesting, meditating and speaking the Word of God!

Romans 12:2 TPT says,

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.

How to Start Your New Year Right

IDENTIFY, ACKNOWLODGE, CHANGE

A new year brings about a desire to change things in our lives and resolve to create goals and achieve them.

Let’s go through a process of self-examination through identifying what in our lives needs to change, acknowledging that change is needed, and finally, making and seeing the change.

ACTION STEP #1 – IDENTIFY

Examine your life in the areas below and identify how you’re doing. By doing this, you’re empowering yourself to start the new year right!

  • How do you spend your time?
  • Whom do you spend your time with?
  • How are you doing in your health in these areas:
    • Mentally
    • Emotionally
    • Physically
    • Relationally
    • Financially
  • Am I being fully present and engaging mindfully in all that I do?
  • How am I moving from information and inspiration to application and transformation?
  • What new goals do I desire to see in my life?

ACTION STEP #2 – ACKNOWLEDGE

So now that you’ve identified how you’re doing in the areas above, acknowledge what you need to change and that you need to change.

Acknowledgement is important. Without recognizing that these areas need your work and attention, you’re denying yourself God’s empowerment to change these areas.

God’s grace is sufficient for change. But, if we don’t want to change and see that it’s necessary, the enemy would love nothing more than for you to stay the same.

Be honest with yourself this area; it’s important!

ACTION STEP #3 – CHANGE

With the areas you’ve looked at above, fill in these statements.

  • I need to stop spending my time ________________ and start spending my time ________________ .
  • The people that I need to spend less time with are ________________ . The people that I need to be spending more time with are ________________ .
  • For the sake of my:
    • mental health, I need to stop ________________ and start ________________ .
    • emotional health, I need to stop ________________ and start ________________ .
    • physical health, I need to stop ________________ and start ________________ .
    • relational health, I need to stop ________________ and start ________________ .
    • financial health, I need to stop ________________ and start ________________ .
  • In order to be fully present and engaging mindfully, I need to stop ________________ and start ________________ .
  • I’ve taken in a lot of information and inspiration in these areas ________________ and now I will apply what I’ve learned so that I experience transformation in these areas ________________ .
  • I desire to see these new goals in my life ________________ .

 

How To Start The New Year Right + 30-Day Renewing My Mind Bible Scripture Challenge

Be Doers, Not Hearers Only

To see the results of the change you are hungry for in your life means you’re acknowledging that you need to change, identifying the steps to change it, and putting in the work which is the most challenging part.

We often lack consistency, dedication, self-discipline and self-control when it comes to putting in the work.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22 NKJV

We deceive ourselves and deny ourselves change when we don’t follow through with it. And we have a habit of making ourselves feel bad, wrong and guilty for it.

But God is so much greater than our insufficiencies.

He is faithful when we bring our challenges before Him. He knows that our pursuit is His pursuit, especially when we’re living set apart for Him, and the changes we want to see are positive for our lives and others.

I encourage you to spend devoted time in prayer, fasting and journaling this new year.

God will speak to your heart as you hunger and thirst after Him. And then rest in who God is by trusting in Him.

You can’t control the outcomes, but you can do what you know to do and God does the rest. His grace fills the gaps, because God can do things that you can’t.

Respond to the Word of Truth, allow it to change and transform you, and see what God will do. This is truly how you start the new year right.

Take the 30-Day “Renewing My Mind” Bible Scripture Challenge below. Refresh yourself concerning the very nature and character of God!

Renewing My Mind 30-Day Bible Scripture Challenge

How To Start The New Year Right + 30-Day Renewing My Mind Bible Scripture Challenge

How are you starting the new year right? Let me know in the comments below.

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

Cultivating a Heart of Thankfulness + 30-Day Thankfulness Scripture Challenge Printable
Trust in the Lord + 30 Day Bible Scripture Trust Challenge FREE Printable
11 Ways to Surrender to God + 30-Day Surrender Challenge FREE Printable
5 Ways to Find Hope + FREE 30-Day Hope Challenge Printable

Why I’m Adding Evan-Moor’s Basic Phonics Skills Level B

Why I’m Adding Evan-Moor’s Basic Phonics Skills Level B

Although choosing our homeschool curriculum is done at the beginning of our homeschool year, we also love adding new curriculum along the way. The reason for this is to change things up, work on new areas and refine skills.

So, I’ve decided to add Evan-Moor’s Basic Phonics Skills Level B to my son’s kindergarten curriculum for the year.

Why I’m Adding Evan-Moor’s Basic Phonics Skills Level B

With my son in kindergarten, we’ve been working on letter recognition and sounds.

He’s doing so well and understanding fairly quickly. But, I feel like I need to take a few different angles to help fill and prevent any gaps.

And Evan-Moor’s books are great for applying this thought so I’m incorporating the Basic Phonics Skills Level B.

Why I'm adding Evan-Moor's Daily Basic Phonics Skills Level B to our Kindergarten curriculum

REVIEW: Evan-Moor’s Basic Phonics Skills Level B (and how we’re using it)

Listen for…

The first page to a letter begins with recognizing the sound that the letter makes. This helps to identify the sound being learned by saying the word for each picture.

This works well for my son because he’s a visual and auditory learner.

I also say the word for the picture accentuating the sound. Once we’ve gone through the pictures, I do it again to make sure there’s understanding and confidence.

Handwriting with the letter sound

Anytime a page involves handwriting, my son resists.

I’ve added handwriting to what we do, but it seems to have to be on my son’s terms right now. He resists and is unwilling to do it if I point out the instructions. A benefit of homeschooling is to take this kind of thing slowly.

So I’m approaching the handwriting portion of Evan-Moor’s Basic Phonics Skills Level B book in a different way. This is in part to keep my son’s attention in learning, but to also prevent him from not wanting to do what I know he can.

How we do handwriting…

When it comes to the handwriting portion, my approach has to be creative. So I get my son to write letters on the whiteboard or chalkboard, he air-writes them, uses bands with a geoboard, or even using teddy bear counters.

We talk about the words we’re seeing and emphasize the letter sound.

When any of the pages are asking to identify if the letter sound is at the beginning or end of a word, this becomes trickier for my son, but a good challenge as he masters his phonics.

Why I'm adding Evan-Moor's Daily Basic Phonics Skills Level B to our Kindergarten curriculum
Basic Phonics Skills, Grades K-1 (Level B) - Print
Why I'm adding Evan-Moor's Daily Basic Phonics Skills Level B to our Kindergarten curriculum
Why I'm adding Evan-Moor's Daily Basic Phonics Skills Level B to our Kindergarten curriculum
Why I'm adding Evan-Moor's Daily Basic Phonics Skills Level B to our Kindergarten curriculum

Interactive activities

These types of pages my son loves, whether it’s matching, cutting and pasting.

Phonics readers

Although we haven’t gotten to the phonics readers at the back of the book just yet, I’m excited to have him read these little books and know that he is reading and can do it!

A bonus for me!

Tracking my child’s progress is important to me which is why i love the Student Record Form. It allows you to identify and write down the progress of your child. This is why I also like that this book comes in an E-book format.

Why I'm adding Evan-Moor's Daily Basic Phonics Skills Level B to our Kindergarten curriculum
Why I'm adding Evan-Moor's Daily Basic Phonics Skills Level B to our Kindergarten curriculum
Why I'm adding Evan-Moor's Daily Basic Phonics Skills Level B to our Kindergarten curriculum

If you’re looking to help your child with phonics, the Evan-Moor’s Basic Phonics Skills Level B is a great resource!

Have you used this book in your homeschool?

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

Why Kids Should Memorize Scripture

Why Kids Should Memorize Scripture

We might know that the Word of God is important to have in our hearts and on our lips. But find out why kids should memorize scripture and how it’s a matter of their destiny!

  • Isn’t reading the Bible enough?
  • Why is it important to memorize scripture?
  • Wouldn’t we just be going through the motions by memorizing scripture?

If you’ve felt this way about all these questions, don’t worry, I have, too.

We Are Created With Purpose

Our God is purposeful. We are all on assignment here at this very time.

We each have a destiny and calling to be fulfilled in our lives.

We aren’t designed to be on this earth just to maintain our salvation and go to heaven; we are to impact the earth with heaven’s ways, changing the atmosphere wherever we go, and hearing what Holy Spirit says to us not only to change our lives but others around us.

The Enemy Wants To Stop Your Children

We have an adversary, Satan, that doesn’t want to see us or our children fulfill their destiny.

His main purpose is to steal, kill and destroy according to John 10:10.

And how Satan accomplishes his purpose is by seeking whom he may devour with fiery darts. (1 Peter 5:8 and Ephesians 6:16)

 

Find out why kids should memorize scripture

How Do We Combat The Enemy’s Fiery Darts?

Let’s look at the life of Jesus as our example in order to combat the fiery darts of the enemy.

In Matthew 4, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Here, Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days.

You can imagine that after 40 days, anyone is hungry, thirsty and tired, including Jesus.

So we must know this… the enemy will come at our weakest moments – when we’re tired, frustrated, hurt, angry, stressed, anxious, afraid, weak, hungry, thirsty, lacking self-confidence, etc.

Looking at Jesus’ response to the enemy’s three questions, you’ll find that Jesus responds to the enemy with, “It is written…” followed by a scripture. (Matthew 4:3-11)

So what was Jesus weapon against the fiery darts of the enemy?

THE WORD OF GOD! 

Hebrews 4:12 says,

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (NKJV‬‬)

When it comes to fulfilling our God-given purpose and assignment in God, the Word of God is our highest priority in combating the evil one.

Deuteronomy 30:14 says,

“But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.” (NKJV)

Why Kids Should Memorize Scripture

Knowing that the enemy’s fiery darts (when they come), can be distinguished when we respond with the Word of God, is enough to think that this is why kids should memorize scripture.

It’s important to also teach our children that the Word of God is not just something to be memorized, but believed, breathed and lived.

What the Word of God Does

The Word of God does amazing things within us and when we spend time with God in the Word, speaking it, memorizing it and meditating on it, you’ll find the Word is:

  • Proven (2 Samuel 22:31, Psalm 18:30)
  • Heals us (Psalm 107:20, Matthew 8:8)
  • Cleanses us (Psalm 119:9)
  • Helps us to stay away from sin (Psalm 119:11)
  • Revives us (Psalm 119:25)
  • Strengthens us (Psalm 119:28)
  • Forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89)
  • Better than honey (Psalm 119:103)
  • Trustworthy (Psalm 119:42)
  • Life-giving (Psalm 119:50)
  • A light to our path (Psalm 119:105)
  • Hope (Psalm 119:114)
  • Life (Psalm 119:116)
  • Light and understanding (Psalm 119:130)
  • Pure (Psalm 119:140)
  • Truth (Psalm 119:160, John 17:17)
  • A treasure (Psalm 119:162)
  • Deliverance (Psalm 119:170)
  • Helps us find good (Proverbs 16:20)
  • Nourishes us (Jeremiah 15:16)
  • A sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17)
  • Discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
  • Saving our souls (James 1:21)

As parents, we are training up our children in the way they should go. And knowing that the enemy is always ready to steal, kill and destroy the destiny within us and our children, we have an absolute important duty: we are to impart, share and teach our children that the Word of God is their lifeline and absolutely necessary for them to live.

So Where Do We Start?

There are so many great ways to digest the Word of God helping our children to memorize it, including:

  1. Praying the Word together
  2. Reading Bible stories (for young kids) or kids starting to read
  3. Reading a devotional
  4. Memorizing particular scriptures
  5. Doing a Bible study
  6. Singing praise and worship songs
  7. Bible coloring books
  8. Scripture copywriting
  9. Bible journaling

God Is In Every Sphere Of Our Lives

Teaching our children the spiritual disciplines of life, such as prayer, reading their Bibles, memorizing scripture, fasting, etc. is important, but we need to remember that discipling our children is not separate to living life.

God is in every sphere of our lives – there is no separation between devotional time, and cleaning, or homeschool and prayer.

EVERY part is in God and of God, and He is in all things. So helping our children see that nothing is separate from the other cultivates a lifestyle of faith as children of God.

I’d love to hear from you…

What are some ways you help your children to memorize scripture? Share with me in the comments below.

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

REVIEW: Evan-Moor Daily Phonics Grade 1 E-book

REVIEW: Evan-Moor Daily Phonics Grade 1 E-book

I was looking for a resource that would supplement and provide extra support in helping my child with phonics and reading. I found that Evan-Moor has a Daily Phonics Grade 1 E-book, and thought it might be a good fit and I was pleasantly surprised!

I had the pleasure of reviewing Evan-Moor’s Daily Phonics Grade 1 E-book in exchange for my honest review.

The Struggle With Reading

My daughter has found reading to be a challenge. Although she can easily tell me individual letter sounds, it’s reading blends and sight words that have been a bit of a struggle.

She’s been so disheartened at times.

I see her lack of self-confidence and the disappointment in herself for just having to work so hard to get what she feels like she should already know.

So to avoid any resentment towards reading, we have slowed right down and chosen to be intentional in what we do to help her read.

With that, I’ve decided to add in reinforcements and supplements to my daughter’s grade 2 curriculum helping her see quick wins and build confidence. This has proved to be a great decision using Evan-Moor’s Daily Phonics Grade 1 E-Book!

Evan-Moor Daily Phonics Grade 1 Curriculum Review E-book

How We’re Using Evan-Moor’s Daily Phonics Grade 1 E-Book

Our approach and goal in using this curriculum is to:

  • reinforce the phonics that have already been learned
  • help build my daughter’s memory work
  • develop confidence
  • see quick-wins
  • move at our own pace

Because this is our approach, the e-book works best for us. (The HP Instant Ink subscription has been a life-saver!) I just print out the sheets we need as we go along.

How We're Using Evan-Moor's Daily Phonics Grade 1 Our approach and goal in using this curriculum is to reinforce what's already been learned and to help build my daughter's memory work. Because this is our approach, the e-book works best for us. (The HP Instant Ink subscription has been a life-saver!)  Based on what we're working on during our reading lessons, or the review we're doing, I print out the sheets we need. We don't go in order of the book, although, that can work, too if it's being used as a complete curriculum.
How We're Using Evan-Moor's Daily Phonics Grade 1 Our approach and goal in using this curriculum is to reinforce what's already been learned and to help build my daughter's memory work. Because this is our approach, the e-book works best for us. (The HP Instant Ink subscription has been a life-saver!)  Based on what we're working on during our reading lessons, or the review we're doing, I print out the sheets we need. We don't go in order of the book, although, that can work, too if it's being used as a complete curriculum.

The Pros of the Daily Phonics Grade 1 E-book

  • Lessons are short. This made the curriculum approachable for both my daughter and I. With shorter lessons, it also brought quick wins, which is exactly what I was looking for.
  • You set the speed. Although we could follow the lesson plan (which is daily for 32 weeks and simple to follow), we found that we could also do what worked for us. So we sometimes combined 2 days into 1 or skipped some days if my daughter had the concept mastered.
  • Lessons are simple to understand. There’s no confusion as to what was being asked of each lesson.
  • Language Arts fundamentals are included. I’m fond of the multi-sensory approach involving listening, reading, writing, speaking and spelling.
  • Print what you need. If extra review was needed, I could print out extra copies easily.
  • Scripted Teacher’s Manual. I like a scripted format when it comes to a teacher’s manual, and this curriculum has it and it’s easy to follow.
  • Answer Key. Found at the back of the book. It’s a great inclusion if needed.
How We're Using Evan-Moor's Daily Phonics Grade 1 Our approach and goal in using this curriculum is to reinforce what's already been learned and to help build my daughter's memory work. Because this is our approach, the e-book works best for us. (The HP Instant Ink subscription has been a life-saver!)  Based on what we're working on during our reading lessons, or the review we're doing, I print out the sheets we need. We don't go in order of the book, although, that can work, too if it's being used as a complete curriculum.
How We're Using Evan-Moor's Daily Phonics Grade 1 Our approach and goal in using this curriculum is to reinforce what's already been learned and to help build my daughter's memory work. Because this is our approach, the e-book works best for us. (The HP Instant Ink subscription has been a life-saver!)  Based on what we're working on during our reading lessons, or the review we're doing, I print out the sheets we need. We don't go in order of the book, although, that can work, too if it's being used as a complete curriculum.

The Cons of the Daily Phonics Grade 1 E-book

  • Nothing. We didn’t find anything that both my daughter and I didn’t like, although a colour option would be a great alternative.
Daily Phonics, Grade 1 - Teacher's Edition, E-book

For your copy of the Evan-Moor Daily Phonics Grade 1 E-book, get it here.

What products have you used to help your child with phonics?

Have you used Evan-Moor’s Daily Phonics Grade 1 E-book? How did it work in your homeschool? Let me know in the comments below.

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

Nativity Bible Study for Kids

Nativity Bible Study for Kids

Christmas is really such a special time of family, friends, food and gifts. But the true meaning of Christmas is found in teaching our children about the birth of Jesus.

Nativity Bible Study for Kids

Light some candles, bring out a snack and come together as a family to listen to the story of Jesus’ birth.

It all began with the prophecies of Jesus’ birth then Mary having a powerful encounter with the angel, Gabriel. Then Joseph had a dream where an angel spoke to him about the Christ-child, and finally Jesus’ birth and all those who went to see him.

The Nativity Bible Study for Kids is more than just a story about a baby being born. It’s about helping your kids to see how God uses unlikely people and situations, the power of the Holy Spirit, and what Jesus’ birth represents for us today – Immanuel, “God with Us”. 

Printable Nativity Bible Study for Kids for ages 5-11 in11

What the printable Nativity Bible Study for Kids includes:

  • Recommended ages: 5-11
  • BIG idea to focus on the main point of the Bible story / topic studied
    Bible story study
  • Discussion questions as it applies to the Bible story
  • Definition copywork
  • Discussion prompts applying the Bible story to everyday life.
  • Scripture memory work
  • Crossword
  • Colouring page

If you’re looking for more items related to Christmas or Bible studies for kids, check these out:

How are you being intentional in sharing the story of Jesus’ birth with your kids and what it means in our lives today? Share with me below.

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

Scriptures for Encouragement + FREE 30-Day Scripture Challenge Pack

Scriptures for Encouragement + FREE 30-Day Scripture Challenge Pack

We all experience challenges in our life and the Bible is the perfect resources as our scriptures for encouragement.

Fill our hearts, renewing our minds and speaking the Word of God stirs with us faith, the promises of God, strength by the power of the Holy Spirit and so much more!

In fact, this is what Hebrews 4:12 says,

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Scriptures for encouragement + FREE 30-day scripture challenge pack

Filling Our Hearts

Our hearts are a very sensitive place where we hide God’s Word.

Out of our hearts also flows everything we are whether good or evil. It’s essential then that we protect our hearts.

How do we protect our hearts?

We protect our hearts by being mindful of what we choose to allow our eyes to see and our ears to hear.

Everything around us can affect us, so guarding and protecting your heart from what could penetrate it is of highest priority.

In Proverbs 4:23 in The Passion Translation it says,

So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.

The Word is also something we can hide in our heart.

Our loving Father allows us the choice of what we fill our hearts with and we can either choose to pursue the Lord and His ways or the ways of this world.

For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure. Matthew 6:21 TPT

 

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45 NKJV

Transforming Your Mind

Renewing our minds is a process of setting or fixing our mind and thinking on things that are from God. As we do this, we start to become who God says we can be.

We are to also be the salt and the light of the world by thinking differently, acting differently and speaking different. By having scriptures for encouragement, we can constantly examine if we’re staying true to the Word.

If we’re no different than the world then we’ve conformed and lost our flavour.

The environments around us can change us if we’re not perceptive and watchful of what’s going on around us. What we allow in our minds can conform us to this world and the way it operates.

Transformation is a continual process and not something that happens overnight.

Romans 12:2 TPT says,

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.

Scriptures for encouragement + FREE 30-day scripture challenge pack

Speaking the Word

We need to intentionally meditate on the Word so that that is what comes out of our mouth.

Joshua 1:8 NKJV says,

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

To meditate means to: moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, meditate, devise, plot and speak (source).

We are to literally utter, mutter and speak the Word of God.

It’s not to just speak words either for the sake of saying them. It’s that we’re to say these words to hear them, and when we hear them it’s affecting our heart and the way we think.

Just as food is fuel and nourishment to our bodies, the Word of God fuels our spirit and the way we think allowing our words to change.

Download your FREE 30-Day Bible Scripture Challenge Pack

Scriptures for encouragement + FREE 30-day scripture challenge pack

What are some scriptures for encouragement that are your go-to?

Let me know in the comments below!

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

Teach your kids obedience with this 60+ page family Bible study!
Christmas Bible Story + FREE 30-Day Scripture Printable

Christmas Bible Story + FREE 30-Day Scripture Printable

There’s nothing like coming together as a family every night, lighting a few candles, grabbing a hot chocolate or tea and reading a passage that leads up to the birth of Jesus.

Take a journey over 30 days with a Christmas Bible story scripture challenge, from the prophecies of Jesus, to Mary and Joseph’s encounter with the angel, and then finally Jesus’ birth.

Christmas Bible Story + 30-Day Bible Scripture Challenge FREE Printable

Read the Christmas Bible Story in 30 Days

The story of Jesus is significant.

Why? Because without Him we would not have been redeemed and restored living in a new covenant of grace.

Our loving God in His great mercy, having given His created image (people) the ability to make their own choices, made a plan of redemption from the beginning.

Jesus was already prophesied about in Genesis 3:15, which says,

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

As you continue to look in scripture, Jesus is prophesied about and foreshadowed in the Old Testament. God was set on redeeming His people, and there was an appointed time for Jesus to come.

Christmas Bible Story + 30-Day Bible Scripture Challenge FREE Printable

The Unlikely…Mary, Jesus’ Mother

I love a good story about an underdog.

I think about how Mary must have felt being visited by an angel to say she will carry the One whom God will send to redeem His people AND have a child without being intimate with a man.

To think that God would plan something so unlikely, having a woman become pregnant miraculously, by the power of the Holy Spirit overshadowing her, is beyond my understanding.

Can you relate with Mary in trying to figure this all out? Our mind just can’t fathom this kind of thing.

The angel, Gabriel, actually encourages Mary about God’s miraculous nature by reminding her that Elizabeth was pregnant in her older age.

Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:36-37

And immediately, following Gabriel’s reminder, Mary says the most powerful words of faith.

“Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

Get your FREE 30-Day Christmas Bible Story Printable

Christmas Bible Story + 30-Day Bible Scripture Challenge FaREE Printable

How do you celebrate Jesus in this season of Christmas? I’d love to hear what your family does. Feel free to share in the comments below!

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

Cultivating a Heart of Thankfulness + 30-Day Thankfulness Scripture Challenge Printable
Trust in the Lord + 30 Day Bible Scripture Trust Challenge FREE Printable
11 Ways to Surrender to God + 30-Day Surrender Challenge FREE Printable
5 Ways to Find Hope + FREE 30-Day Hope Challenge Printable

How To Develop Godly Character In Our Kids

How To Develop Godly Character In Our Kids

Homeschooling has amazing benefits and one of them we view as a complete advantage, and that’s to help develop Godly character in our kids while we homeschool.

For our family, character development is very important; it’s what sustains us through our lifetime.

And in particular, Godly character is what makes us as children of God different than the world; it’s really the yeast in the dough, the light on a hill, the salt of the earth that others will see.

Being that we have this amazing advantage, we don’t want to waste any opportunity that we have to teach and train our kids.

Find out how to develop Godly character in our kids

How To Develop Godly Character In Our Kids

What we help develop in our kids when it comes to Godly character will be something our kids will take with them the rest of their lives.

Here are some ways to help develop Godly character in our kids:

We can help them think

What we think about has a huge affects on us, whether it be negative or positive.

Self-talk is a huge component of life as a child or adult. Our mindset would prefer the negative because it’s easier to think about. But the Word of God tells us that we have the mind of Christ and an ability to think on certain things.

We can be a good example

Teaching our children isn’t enough; we must model Godly character.

Children are great learners. They observe their environment trying to understand it and will explore their boundaries. The way they do this is by practicing the learned behaviour or attitude to see if it’s acceptable.

Homeschooling provides an environment where as parents, we get to be that good example. We also get to also talk to our children about their character if something needs to be addressed or encouraged.

For the rest of this post, join me over at Minnesota Country Girl where I have the privilege of guest posting for the 30 Days of Gratitude in the Homeschool series!

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

9-Step Guide to Managing a Project as a Volunteer Mom

9-Step Guide to Managing a Project as a Volunteer Mom

Are you a homeschool mom whose planning an event as a volunteer project manager or event coordinator and have no clue where to start?  Below is a 9-step guide to managing a project as a volunteer mom.

Some events or projects are fairly simple in nature, but some are more complex depending on the organization’s goals, finances available and staff or volunteers.

This list is a basic template to follow as a guide to help you from start to finish in planning the event, so that you’ll see its success, along with feeling a sense of accomplishment and a job well.

9-Step Guide to Managing A Project As A Volunteer Mom

What is a Project Manager?

A project manager:

  • is in overall charge of the planning and execution of a particular project or event.
  • carries the heart of the person, people or organization who has planned this event to see their goals fulfilled and carried out in the event.
  • communicates to their team.
  • must be organized and be steps ahead of everyone.
  • is decisive and clear about expectations.
  • needs to be available 24-7 as the last few weeks/days of the event approaches and during the event itself.

9-Step Guide to Managing a Project as a Volunteer Mom

STEP 1: Initial Planning Stage (information you’ll receive from the visionary)

You are leading and serving an important event. As the project manager you are carrying the heart of the person, people, organization or visionary to see the desired outcome/goals achieved.

The groundwork for planning is so important, and includes these details:

  1. What event, conference, retreat, gala, activity, etc. are you being asked to be in charge of?
  2. What is the organization’s vision and goals of the event? WHY is it being held?
  3. Is there a title or theme to the event?
  4. What is the event date(s)? Identify what days of the week those dates are?
  5. What are start and end time(s) of the event days?
  6. Where is the event located?
  7. How far away is the event from today’s date?
  8. Find out who your team is that will be available to help. Most often, it’s never just one person organizing AND doing all of the work (unless you’re a mompreneur).

STEP 2: Brain Dump

Organize a team meeting with those who are helping you with the event. In this meeting, you’ll:

  1. Thank everyone for committing to helping in the success of this event.
  2. Share the vision, goals and desired outcome of this event that was given to you.
  3. Get your whiteboard, pen and paper or laptop and ask everyone to share anything and everything on their minds about this event. (You could write this yourself or ask someone to write it for you).

Note: The reason it’s important to involve your team is to have them feel involved, included and own the project with you.

STEP 3: Organize Brain Dump / Create Spreadsheet

Take the notes from your brain dump (which are unorganized, chaotic and without structure) and begin organizing and placing into categories and subcategories, etc. in a spreadsheet that can be shared with others. Google Sheets is great for this.

Set-up your spreadsheet row that include categories and subcategories, such as:

  1. Graphic design (logo, event design)
  2. Marketing, promotions or advertising (social media, posters, handouts, billboards, notebooks, pens, waterbottles, pins, stickers, workbook, etc.)
  3. Entertainment (music, comedy)
  4. Food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert)
  5. Special guests of honour (accomodations, food, transportation)
  6. Budget (what is available in each category)
  7. Media team (live videos, stills, etc.)
  8. Volunteers (how many people are needed and in what categories)
  9. Workshops (what is required in each workshop, what does the guest speaker require)
  10. Parking (parking attendants and overflow parking)

Columns are also necessary, such as:

  1. Task Assigned To (make sure everyone has a task and that no task is left out)
  2. Notes
  3. Priority (Low, High)
  4. Start Date
  5. End Date
  6. Budget
  7. Completed (Yes, No)

STEP 4: Team Meeting / Fill-in-the-Blanks

Share the project management spreadsheet with your team and organize a team meeting.

The goal of this meeting is to fill-in-the-blanks. Each category and/or subcategory must have someone assigned to it, the priority is set, the start and end date is noted, the budget is included and whether it’s completed.

Allow your team the ability to add notes to the spreadsheet and whether it’s completed.

STEP 5: Weekly Check-ins

One way to keep on top of the project is to review it weekly along with the WHY and the goals of the event.

As a suggestion, it’s often great to review your project spreadsheet every Friday and then have a team meeting on Mondays, so everyone feels ready to attack their lists again in the week. Be sure to do what works best for you and your team.

Whatever form you’re able to meet with your team (in-person or by video), it’s important to keep on the same page as you strive forward to seeing all the end dates met.

Although you’re managing a project as a volunteer, the end result falls on you as you oversee everything.

STEP 6: Crunch Week

The final week before the event is certainly a crunch week to see all tasks completed.

There is often a last push that takes place which might include late nights, making decisions quickly and creating solutions for any challenges that come up.

STEP 7: The Day Before the Event

Finalize all the details, and try to get some good nourishment through food and sleep; you’ll need the energy!

This is the point where you really can’t do too much that couldn’t already be done. You set the tone with your team, so be sure to communicate having everyone feel on the same page, excited and ready to go.

STEP 8: Event Day(s)! 

SMILE … the event is here!

All that you and your team have planned will come together and culminate in this great event. This certainly deserves a pre-party celebration and cheer (but it’ll usually be a mini one as you keep going).

During the event days, you’ll need to:

  1. Have water and your phone.
  2. Make yourself available at all times and every day.
  3. Answer questions (probably more-so from your team, but could be from the people attending as they recognize that you’re the one that’s always there).
  4. Move from place-to-place finding out how things are going getting a sense from you team.
  5. Be available to put out fires as they come up.
  6. Make on-site decisions and create solutions.

STEP 9: Thank-you’s, Evaluation & Debriefing

The event is over and it’s time to sit down!

As a project manager, you’ll easily magnify any flaws, but you have to remember that nobody will have noticed it as much as you. So instead for the moment, harness your thoughts and your focus towards all that went well! Celebrate the success of the event and your hard work in making it happen.

Thank the person who asked you to project manage

It’s truly an honour to be asked and trusted to manage an event, whether of small or large magnitude. Be sure to thank the people or organization who believed in you.

Thank your team

Be sure to message and speak to your team letting them know how much you appreciated them. A thank-you goes a long way and reiterates their value in seeing the goals met.

Consider having a team night where you come together celebrating the hard work. Include some great food, conversation, games, etc. Make it light and make it fun!

Evaluation & Debriefing  

This is important step as the company or organization gauges the success of the event by how everything went and whether the goals were achieved.

This process can also be hard for you, the project manager, as well. (Some personality traits in project managers show up, such as people-pleasing and perfectionism).

  • Arrange a final team meeting for the purpose of evalution and defriefing.
  • Bring successes/challenges. Ask your team to come prepared. Either you can leave this more general or specific, such as, “Come prepared with your list of successes and challenges” or if you have a set list of questions, you could distribute those before the team meeting. Come prepared with any notes you have about the event, having listed the successes and the challenges.

Evaluation & Debriefing Meeting

  • Begin the meeting positively. Thank your team, reiterate the successes, the testimonies and good feedback. Focus on the WHY and the goal as this was the main objective of putting on this event.
  • Hear from each person. This helps them feel heard and valued. Active listening is important and writing down the details of what was a challenge/success is key for the next event. 
  • Concluding the meeting. Reiterate the success of the event, focusing on the goal and how it was achieved and bring out briefly and gently, that anything that requires attention for the next time will be documented.

Self-care

If you can or are able to, take some time off and fill your cup.

Although serving and giving of yourself to this extent, is VERY rewarding, you’ve also drained, exhausted and depleted yourself of the resources that you need in managing a project as a volunteer.

Set some time aside to rejuvenate and recouperate physically, mentally and emotionally from all your hard work and efforts put in.

Was this 9-step guide helpful for you? If so, would you also like access to a project management spreadsheet template of an event? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll put it together for you if it’s something you’d like to see.

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

30-Day Homeschool Prayer Challenge

30-Day Homeschool Prayer Challenge

Prayer can change the atmosphere or direction of anything, including your homeschool. But most often, it is us who needs to KEEP praying and speaking God’s Word. Join my 30-day Homeschool Prayer Challenge and see what God will do through daily prayer prompts, scripture, prayer, encouragement and support.

The homeschooling lifestyle isn’t easy.

Let’s just look at a list of what a homeschooling mom deals with:

  • Education – hoping that they’ll engage with what’s being taught and the ability to teach so that it’s understood.
  • Household – cooking, cleaning, laundry, finances, yardwork, organization.
  • Driver – activities, homeschool co-op’s, sports, kids/youth groups.
  • Relationships – having a good relationship with your kids, husband, parents, siblings, friends.
  • Ministry/Volunteer – getting plugged into a local church, charity or other volunteer organization.
  • Self-care – where does this fit in?

A homeschooling mom’s plate is full.

Just looking at this list makes me feel overwhelmed, but thankfully, it doesn’t all happen at once.

You can feel joy one minute and a failure to your kids the next. Emotions are everywhere for everyone.

We can do our best to prevent hard homeschooling days, but ultimately we need the help of the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and help us soften our hearts, discern what’s going on, pray into all things and believe that outcomes will change by the power of God.

You can change the direction and atmosphere of your homeschool with prayer. Join my 30-Day Homeschool Prayer Challenge and receive 'My Homeschool Prayer Journal" FREE!

So what does prayer do?

…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16)

Prayer intervenes, interposes, intercedes and makes supplication. (Source)

Life isn’t easy; it’s tough. We have an adversary, the devil, walking around like a lion seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

The goal of the enemy is to have you think that God isn’t good, causing you to question everything about Him, ultimately becoming separated from Him and even to the point of denying Him.

God has given us a free will. Everything about life is a result of choice, but not everything that happens to us is our choice.

Cling to God as if your life depends on it.

There are times when relationships with friends or loved ones are in turmoil, children are making choices that aren’t good for them and they’re not happy with the consequences of their actions, or there’s a lack of finances to pay all that’s due. You could also be experiencing ill-health in your body, mind or emotions or a tough go at homeschooling trying to figure it all out.

Whatever the case, we need to know that although our life experiences are tough that God does allows them and it gives us an opportunity to cling to Him as if our life depends on it. 

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (James 1:13)

Know the difference between God and the enemy.

God is so much greater than to teach us with evil, sickness or lack. These experiences do exist, but they are not from God, they are from Satan, whose purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came so that we would experience life, and life more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Be aware of the enemy’s devices. If we know the difference between God and the enemy, we’ll avoid falling prey to his schemes of doubt and questions.

God’s character. If we know the character of God by reading the Word, we’ll know that anything that we’re experiencing in life that doesn’t line up with who God is only temporary, but a matter of prayer.

Prayer connects our heart to God’s heart.

God is supreme and the final authority, which means if our heart isn’t longing for what God would have happen, it’s us that needs the change, not God.

By you being here on this earth at this very moment in time, is for your heart to connect to God’s heart through prayer impacting earth with the influence of heaven.

If God can make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28), then likely He wants you to reach out to Him, like a child reaches out to their father. God wants you to fervently knock, ask and seek Him, pursuing Him with hope as your anchor to your soul.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)

 

Prayer requires us to stand.

We have to know that prayer is a fight. 

Prayer is not a matter of flesh and blood (physical people), but of power and principalities and rulers of the darkness.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:13-18)

Angels are waiting for your spoken word.

God needs you to agree with His Word and speak it out loud. In fact, the angels are waiting for His Word, so that they can get to work actively accomplishing His will on the earth.

Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
(Psalm 103:20)

Would you like to join my 30-Day Homeschool Prayer Challenge?

Who is the 30-day Homeschool Prayer Challenge for?

This challenge is for someone who:

  • desires to see change in their homeschool environment.
  • craves creative and innovative homeschool ideas to help their children be their best at learning and your ability in teaching them.
  • hungers for other homeschool moms to be encouraged about their homeschooling endeavours.
  • longs for their marriage to grow stronger.
  • yearns for their children to fulfill their life’s purpose, destiny and calling.
  • believes they are blessed to be a blessing helping others in need.
  • desires to see their family’s income increase, so that they are the lender and not the borrower.
  • wants their relationships (family, friendship, etc.) strengthened.
  • believes they can be better and healthier in their body, mind and emotions.

 

What will you get from being involved in the 30-day Homeschool Prayer Challenge?

You’ll receive:

  • My Homeschool Prayer Journal ($6.00 value), absolutely FREE, when you join!
  • Daily prayer prompts will be posted, along with a scripture.
  • 30-day scripture challenges to continue on our journey of prayer
  • Prayer as you submit your prayer requests.
  • Encouragement, support and love from this group that is the praying homeschool moms.

 

Will you join me to see change?

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie