20 Memory Making Ideas for Summertime Fun

20SummerTime
“There is a time for everything,  
and a season for every activity under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1

I love the summer! How about you?

Everything is alive and lively. The days are longer, the air smells sweeter, the kids are out of school and it’s time to play!

Unfortunately, when my children were young, I often found school was knocking on the door of our summer fun before we really got to enjoy the season that seemed to all-too-quickly slip through our fingers.

Making memories with our kids means we have to intentionally plan our days; purposely putting some things on the back burner and giving up certain daily routines and replacing them with some family time.

Below is a list of 20 ideas that might spark your creative fuel. You can also go to your city’s website and look at the calendar of events. If you don’t find one, go to one of your local television station’s websites. You should be able to find out what’s going on in your town through one of those outlets.

So grab the family, the camera and a smile and get busy making memories!

Oh… and check out our FREE RESOURCES for to help you make YOUR SUMMER FUN & MEMORABLE!

1. A DAY AT THE ZOO – They are normally inexpensive and if you’re on a budget, pack your lunches (and drinks) in a cooler.

2. A JOURNEY TO YOUR LOCAL PARKS – Map out a few of the parks in your local area and see how many of them you can hit in a day. Take pictures at every park you visit. Pack your lunches (and drinks) in a cooler and have a picnic in the park. Stop by the store, develop your pictures and when you get home make a fun family timeline of your exscursions with your pics.

3. A DAY AT THE MUSEUM – Take the family to the museum. Enjoy taking pictures in front of the attractions. To make a day of it, take your lunches (and drinks) in a cooler.

4. THEME PARKS – Most towns have some sort of theme park within a three hour radius. Save up and take the family to one of the theme parks in your area. Again, you can pack your lunches (and drinks) in a cooler and save money by eating outside of the gate. The walk back will give you enough time to enjoy the rides when you get back in. :-)

5. PLAY TENNIS AT A LOCAL PARK – You may not be able to join a team, but many parks have tennis courts where you can play for free. If you don’t know the rules, you can either take the time to learn them or just do what I do – make them up as you go.

6. HAVE FUN IN THE SUN – Spend a day at the beach, lake, river or pool in your community. Be sure to pack your lunches (and drinks) in a cooler. Contrary to popular belief, sun is good for you. So get out there and absorb all the vitamin D you can…just don’t get a sunburn – and use sunscreen, especially if you’re fair skinned.

7. VBS OR BACKYARD BIBLE CLUBS – Be part of making an eternal difference in your kid’s and other kid’s lives. If your church doesn’t have anything going this summer, ask if you can help at another church and let your children join the fun there. You may want to put on your own backyard Bible club to reach out to your neighbors. Ask some families to help you and make your neighborhood your mission field.

8. TAKE A HIKE – Many towns have a natural habitat area that offers hikes and exhibits. You’ll not only want to take your lunches (and drinks) in a cooler, but you’ll want to take your binoculars too.

9. GO CAMPING – That’s right…tent and all…take your kids for a good, old fashioned camping trip. Hotdogs on the grill, marshmallows over the fire and all the mosquitos you can imagine. There’s really nothing like it!

10. BIKE RIDING – Go on bike trail and enjoy the ride. Stop, smell the roses, hang out and enjoy the lunch you packed (with drinks) in the cooler :-)

11. SKATE-BOWL – That’s right! Go skating and bowling all in the same day. Kind of a marathon fun day.

12. TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME – Go to a major or minor league baseball game. Hoot and holler for your favorite team together. Don’t forget to eat all the hot dogs and pop corn you can!

13. GO FISH – Take your family on a fishing trip. If you can’t bait your own hook, tell your son it’s time he learn :-) OR just use the fake stuff. You’ll have fun whether you catch anything or not.

14. INDOOR GAME DAY – Plan a day for indoor games. Get a few families together or just hang out with your own family and spend the day playing games. Board games, card games or make up your own (This time you won’t have to pack your lunch). :-)

15. A TRIP TO THE LIBRARY – Local libraries often offer summer reading programs. You can spend the day at the library and join in the activities.

16. DO SOME GOOD – It’s always a good idea to look for ways to make a difference in the lives of others. Paint an elderly neighbors house or mow his/her lawn. Work in a local homeless shelter. Volunteer to help at a local nursing home. Find a way to do good – it will do you all good!

17. CRAFT SMORGASBORD – Organize an all-crafts day in which your children can choose from 3 or 4 different crafts that they can actually complete them. There are great benefits to knowing they have accomplished something and being able to hold a tangible object made with their own hands.

18. COLLECT FOOD AND CLOTHES FOR THE NEEDY – Rather than just volunteering at a local homeless shelter, make it a family project to collect food and clothing for a homeless shelter or for needy families.

19. INDOOR PLAY FACILITIES – Spend the day at an indoor play facility and enjoy playing with your children without the sweat and regardless of the weather. Great option for fun for the family and memories you’ll be glad you made.

20. GO HORSEBACK RIDING – Take the kiddos to some local stables where they can ride the horses and spend some time enjoying nature. It’ll be a time they will never forget… and that’s the point, right? 😉

So there you have it…a few ideas to intentionally plan the upcoming days with memories instead of wasted moments. (If I could do it all over again, I’d schedule two or three activities a week.) Don’t forget your camera for all your events so you can decorate your home with the memories you make. Dedicate a wall for your summer pictures, cover your refrigerator with the fun-filled photos. Whatever you do…make memories…intentionally.

By Stephanie Shott

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Here’s a little something we’re working on for YOU!

2betterthan1

Do you REALLY believe that two are better than one? Have you experienced the joy of the journey that comes with fostering a real friend? If you haven’t, would you like to?

Life is so much better when we walk through each season together! 

That’s why we are finalizing the details of offering CHURCH HOSTED BETTER TOGETHER CONFERENCES! 

If you were in Jacksonville when we held our first BETTER TOGETHER conference, you discovered how one event can change your life and give you strength to go the next step, take the next breath and fully enter into the sacred calling God has given you!

BetterTogetherLOGO2

BETTER TOGETHER is a life-changing conference for women of all ages and in all stages of life! 

We’ve been working behind the scenes to offer you and your church what so many experienced at BETTER TOGETHER in Jacksonville, Florida last July – a life-changing conference you can afford, your women’s ministry leaders will love and that will reach out to women in the community to help them discover the beauty of being better together!

HERE ARE A FEW WAYS THAT YOU CAN HELP BRING A BETTER TOGETHER CONFERENCE TO YOUR CHURCH:

  • Contact your women’s ministry leader, teacher or pastor and ask them if they would be interested in having a conference for women at the church

  • Assure them that The MOM Initiative makes it easy and affordable for the hosting church

  • Share information about church hosted BETTER TOGETHER Conferences with your friends

  • If you don’t feel comfortable asking your leadership team, please feel free to contact us at info@themominitiative.com and provide us with the contact information for your church and we will take it from there

Here are a few comments from the survey forms from BETTER TOGETHER:

  • “It changed my life” 

  • “As a pastor’s wife, I’ve been going to conferences for 40 years and this is the best conference I have ever been to!”

  • “BETTER TOGETHER has something for everyone!”

  • “The quality of speakers was amazing!”

  • “Please hold another BETTER TOGETHER here next year!”

At The MOM Initiative, we understand what it is like to hope and pray for a conference that will have a lasting impact. We also know how much work it takes to put together an event marked by biblical truth, practical application, sweet fellowship, and qualified leadership. Our experienced team from around the United States understands the potential of a great conference, and we are passionate about serving alongside of leaders who share our vision.
  1. The MOM Initiative provides a complete planning guide to help you with the process and is committed to serving you and the women in your church
  2. The MOM Initiative offer constant contact and consultation to make planning easy
  3. Our recognized ministry team brings the combined resources of The MOM Initiative
  4. Four qualified speakers with established chemistry and shared vision serve you together
  5. A variety of women come propelled by the prayers of many to serve your women
  6. Keynote messages and varied workshops reach women in all ages and stages of life
  7. The heart of Titus 2 takes hold as the team models and shares the heart of mentoring
  8. Quality teaching founded by biblical truth is communicated to meet real women where they are in real life and provide real solutions they can take away and live out
  9. Better Together has a missional component designed to leave a lasting impact on your church and community
  10. The MOM Initiative provides printable flyers, bulletin inserts, promo videos and 
  11. The MOM Initiative team is very accessible and relational and we enjoy connecting with the women at your event on a personal level, not only at the conference, but also beyond it
  12. The MOM Initiative is available to help women’s ministry leaders weave a solid Titus 2 ministry into the fabric of their church through pre or post-confernece consultation
We know that hosting a women’s weekend conference is an investment of time, energy, and resources. You need to know your efforts will be well spent and make a life-changing difference.  The MOM Initiative team would love to partner with you in bringing the BETTER TOGETHER to your community.
Would you like to know more? Just email us at info@themominitiative.com with the subject line, “I want to find out more about BETTER TOGETHER!” and we’ll contact you to start the conversation.
 
We are working hard to offer you and the women at your church and in your community treasured time together with friends, solid leadership with workshops that are both biblical and practical, time to get away and be refreshed, refueled and geared up to go home more equipped, more encouraged and more determined to be the woman, the wife and the mom God created you to be!
 
WANNA FIND OUT MORE? 

Email us today! 

OH…AND PLEASE SHARE AND HELP US GET THE WORD OUT!

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Happy INDEPENDENCE DAY from The MOM Initiative!

Happy Independence Day!

When I think of the 4th of July, I think of the passionate people who sacrificed so much to secure our freedoms.

I think about the men and women who were willing to sacrifice their homes, their safety and their lives to assure that future generations would be free.

But, I also think about how Jesus came to give us the ultimate freedom…the freedom from sin.

I think about our independence IN Christ and our dependence ON Christ.

And my heart turns to the generation that depends on us to pass down the freedom that was so sacrificially passed down to us. The freedom we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America, and the freedom we enjoy as citizens of heaven…as children of the Living God.

Today, I want to wish each of you a very Happy 4th of July and ask you to not only remember that our freedom came at such a great cost, but that our children are depending on us to pass the baton of freedom as well as our forefathers did.

InGodweStillTrust

So, from The M.O.M. Initiative, Happy 4th of July, sweet mom! Enjoy your freedom today and be sure to pass it on! :-)

For those of you who have never read through the Declaration of Independence, we have provided it for you below. Perhaps this time in our nations history beckons us to remember where we came from and the price that was paid for our freedom. (Provided from http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/)

 

The Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

SIGNERS of THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE!

New Hampshire:
Josiah BartlettWilliam WhippleMatthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John HancockSamuel AdamsJohn AdamsRobert Treat PaineElbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen HopkinsWilliam Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger ShermanSamuel HuntingtonWilliam WilliamsOliver Wolcott

New York:
William FloydPhilip LivingstonFrancis LewisLewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard StocktonJohn WitherspoonFrancis HopkinsonJohn HartAbraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert MorrisBenjamin RushBenjamin FranklinJohn MortonGeorge Clymer,James SmithGeorge TaylorJames WilsonGeorge Ross

Delaware:
Caesar RodneyGeorge ReadThomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel ChaseWilliam PacaThomas StoneCharles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George WytheRichard Henry LeeThomas JeffersonBenjamin HarrisonThomas Nelson, Jr.Francis Lightfoot LeeCarter Braxton

North Carolina:
William HooperJoseph HewesJohn Penn

South Carolina:
Edward RutledgeThomas Heyward, Jr.Thomas Lynch, Jr.Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button GwinnettLyman HallGeorge Walton

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CLICK THIS LINK & CHECK OUT HOW YOU CAN HAVE A CHURCH HOSTED BETTER TOGETHER CONFERENCE

(As we finalize the details, we wanted to give you a peak at how you can have a BETTER TOGETHER Conference at your church!)

 

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Tools for Seeking God

tools

Psalm 5:3 “In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart! When young and inexperienced it is natural to have glorious dreams and plans of holding a precious baby to your breast, breathing in the sweet smell of soft skin, and teaching and raising your little cherub to be a good citizen and follower of God.

It isn’t until you are in the midst of the experience that feelings of inadequacy start to slip into your dreams. So often in my mothering experience I have had the thought, “No one told me about THIS before I became a mother.”

Yet, I realize now that motherhood is just one of the ways that God teaches me to go to Him for all my needs and insecurities. Though I have always tried to spend time with God on a daily basis, never did I feel the need more desperately than when I became a mom. And never did I find the need so hard to fulfill.

The words of the Psalmist should be our prayer as well. “In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” But how do you achieve this when you have a passel of children clinging to your legs and constantly filling every waking and sometimes sleeping moment?

This was my dilemma when my children were younger. I understood more than ever my need to spend time with the Lord, soaking in His strength and the comfort of His presence. But I didn’t know how to do it in the midst of the hubbub and exhaustion that life with small children can bring.

Maybe you are experiencing this dilemma, too. As I grew both as the mother of my children and a child of God, my Father gave me simple tools to hear His voice on a daily basis – even when my life was not my own and alone time was not at a premium.

  • Find a time to talk with God. Although we can talk to God at any time of the day, it is important to find times to read His word and listen quietly for His voice. We must look for ways to soak in God’s word even when our techniques may not be what you consider optimum. Each person is different. Morning may be best, but if not then choose what is the best time for you. For years, I made nap time my personal quiet time. Even when the kids were past the age of napping I required them to spend alone time in their rooms reading a book or playing quietly. This was when I read my Bible and prayed.
  • Expect obstacles. Don’t become frustrated if there are some interruptions or if you are very tired. Quite often I ended up falling asleep myself as regular nightly excursions for crying babies or childish nightmares finally took their toll on my weary body. The key is to keep trying and make it a habit even if you can’t do it the way you wish you could. Even one verse can be a comfort for you if you think about it throughout the day.
  • Stay out of the ruts. Don’t do the same thing every time. Ask the Lord for creative ways to meditate on Him, even in the middle of the craziness of mothering. I got myself a CD player and listened to sermons while preparing food or working in the kitchen. This was a great way for me to grow and learn because when a child would interrupt I could hit pause, listen to the need, and then rewind if I missed something. This is even easier today with the Internet. There are so many free podcasts available and so much opportunity to learn and grow as you go about your daily chores.
  • Memorize Scripture. To this day I still tape index cards with special verses above my kitchen sink. I read over them and recite them to myself while cleaning up from a meal. You will be surprised how these nuggets of truth will come to you throughout the day, giving strength and encouragement that only God can give.
  • Maintain a little order. Try to keep at least one room of the house picked up and in order. Though the rest of our home was usually a disaster, I worked to keep our bedroom under control. That way I had a safe haven to escape to when things got really out of control. Even just a few minutes hidden away praying for needed wisdom gave me the strength and courage to step back into the frenzy of crying babies, grumpy toddlers, and bickering siblings.

If there is one thing I have learned from being the mother of five, it is that this job is not easy. But I have also learned that God’s grace – provided each day as I need it – is sufficient for all that comes my way. More than ever I can say with the Psalmist, “My voice shall you hear in the morning, Lord.” – or maybe it will be at naptime, or midafternoon, or evening?

Do you feel the need to seek God’s help in your daily job of mothering? We would love for you to share in the comment section some of your creative ways of making time to hear His voice. Together we can learn how to order our prayers and eagerly watch for Him.

 

 

 

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Helping a Child who Struggles to Fit In

 fit in

It’s enough to break a mother’s heart.

Your child comes home and declares that no one likes him. Or worse, you witness him being rejected by those he’s trying to befriend. Maybe it’s a maturity thing. Maybe your child is one of a kind. Or maybe their choices set them apart. But, for whatever reason, they don’t seem to fit in with the kids in their peer group.

Because we are made for community, feeling like we don’t fit in can be very disheartening. It’s instinctual to be part of a group, and being able to fit in gives us a sense of security, safety, and confidence. But, even as adults, we suffer through this. In fact, everyone feels as if they don’t belong at some point in life.

With that in mind, if you find this happening to your child, I encourage you to remember:

  • Don’t overreact. Early friendships ebb and flow. While your child is left out one day, he may not be the next day. Give it a little time.
  • Talk it out. Take time to hear your child’s side. If they are hurt by the reaction of others, let them express that. Use that time to talk about respecting others feelings so that he begins to see that not only are his feelings valid, but that he can manage them. Allow them to get it out without criticism. Keep it lighthearted.
  • Just one. While, as parents, we may feel the need for our children to have “lots” of friends, they may be happy with just one. Help your child to identify just one person that they have things in common with, who might make a good friend. Think outside of his normal circle. Maybe there are children in a nearby neighborhood, someone from church, or another activity that they enjoy.
  • Remind your child of all the things that make him unique. That he is deeply loved by you, and by God. Talk to him about what great assets these things are, even though at his age, others may not recognize them as such. Talk about times you’ve felt left out, and how everyone feels that way at times. Show him that he’s not alone.
  • Teach them how to be a friend. The older our children get, the more we tend to assume that they can handle things. The truth is, not everyone is adept at making friends. Talk with your child about what being a friend means. Make sure that they understand that it goes both ways. Kindness and empathy are two key actions to building friendships. Help him take small steps toward more confident friendships.
  • Don’t let them form a grudge. Being hurt by peers can cause children to isolate themselves and choose not to participate when they are eventually given a chance. Teach your child to forgive those who hurt him, so that he is free to give and receive love to others.
  • You can’t fix it. Accept this for what it is. Getting too involved will only increase the stress your child feels over the situation. Teach by example that you can’t change everything, but that you can work hard to fix the things you can.

Romans 12:10 says:

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

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