Chloe Renzema Posts

Five Ways to Battle the Winter Blahs

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It’s an elementary school highlight—winter break. I don’t know too many kids who have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads anymore, but the freedom of rolling around in the snow, having no homework, and just playing are definitely floating through many kids’ pre-break daydreams. But as days stretch into weeks the winter break glee can quickly wear off and is often replaced by a chorus of “I’m bored.”

We have a few ways you can not only get through the winter break blahs but also use this time to grow as a family by hiding God’s Word in your hearts. And—it’s FREE!

On hiddeninmyheartbible.com there are FREE interactive downloads to help memorize 10 of the most beloved verses in the Bible. These include songs, coloring pages, devotionals, and games. Here are five ways you can to use these resources to have fun and remember God’s Word!

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Bible Memory Song Party: Especially if you live in the frozen north, kids—and moms and dads too—can quickly catch cabin fever. Ward it off with a fun Bible Memory Dance Party. Download the free Bible memory songs, then play them as you dance around the house. You can turn it into a Bible Freeze Dance game where you pause the music sporadically and everyone has to freeze in their current position. See who can hold their pose the longest.

 

psalms-activityBible Game Challenge: Download the 10 Bible memory activities and see who can complete them the fastest and still get them all correct. Then take the memory verses and create your own games. See if family members can beat the quiz master.

 

 

 

 

psalms-coloringColoring Contest: There are free coloring pages and verse line-art to color. You can have a coloring contest, even posting the entries on social media to see whose pages get the most votes.

 

 

 

 

 

psalms-lyricsWe’ve Got Talent Videos: Whether you want to be a superstar or hide behind the camera, you can have a fun family activity making Bible Memory Song Videos. There are several different ways you can do this. Pick a song, memorize it together, and then record the performance as a family. Make it into a contest. Have every member of the family pick a different song to memorize and perform. Tape the performances and then post on social media for friends and family to pick who they like best. Don’t sing? Video the dance party, lip sync, or just have fun displaying your family’s unique talents.

 

psalms-verseFamily Devotional Time: One of the best parts about winter break is the chance to step out of the normal, hectic schedule and spend time together. Included in the free downloads are samples of the Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible’s Core 100 devotional section. This includes the memory verse in three translations, a short devotional about how to apply the verse to daily life, and a prayer. It’s a great way to come together as a family and grow closer to each other and God by hiding his Word in our hearts.

 

 

ll%20imprinting%20standingThe Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible was created to encourage kids not only to read God’s Word but also to hide it deep within their hearts. One hundred of the Bible’s core verses have been set to music by renowned children’s author and song writer Stephen Elkins. The 100 songs include a variety of genres and are available in the New Living Translation, New International Version, and King James Version, and all songs are free with the purchase of the Bible.

Shop now HERE.

Over the River and through the Woods: 6 Fun Tips for Holiday Travel

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Now that Halloween has passed, we are hearing Christmas songs coming through TV ads, and turkeys are flying off the shelves at the grocery store. It’s officially the Holiday Season! And for many of us, that means holiday travel. For those with kids, this may elicit nightmares of cross-country airplane trips with screaming toddlers or hours packed into a van with siblings whose inability to form a peaceable coexistence makes hours stretch into days. Is it possible to arrive at your relatives’ front door on Thanksgiving or Christmas with your holiday cheer intact? “Sure,” you say, “but that means gluing my kids’ eyeballs to the iPad.” While a little extra screen time on long trips is a good way to pass the time, here are some tips for surviving the holiday travel season with your sanity and without screens.

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  1. Play visual games. This works better for road trips than air travel, but especially with new flyers, there is a lot to observe in airports and on planes. Games like I Spy, the License Plate Alphabet Game, and Twenty Questions occupy a lot of time and will have your whole family engaged together. Click here for a great list of twenty car games.

 

  1. Bring new-to-them books. Hit the library before a big trip and pick out several books. Pack them away so kids are not able to read them before takeoff. The novelty of new reads will be well worth the wait.

 

 

  1. Dig out your favorite old-school toys. There’s a reason toys like Etch A Sketch, Magna Doodle, Wooly Willy, and Rubik’s Cube are classics. These timeless games are durable, easy to pack, and tons of fun. Introduce them one at a time to maximize your mileage with each.
  1. Provide a variety of snacks. Think mess-free and slow-to-eat when it comes to travel snacks. Ideally, a snack break will pass time without leaving crumbs and sticky fingers. Suggestions include day-old bagels (a little dryness means slower snacking), raisins, granola bars, string cheese, carrots, and apple slices. Steer clear of sweets to avoid a sugar rush hitting while you’re confined to a small space.

 

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  1. Pack simple craft items. Stickers, coloring books, pipe cleaners, yarn, construction paper, and a little creativity can go a long way. For road trips, cookie sheets can be used as lap trays; the rim will keep supplies from rolling off the edges.
  1. Listen to audio books and radio theater. Dramatic readings of old favorites and new stories are sure to provide hours of entertainment. A bonus is that most are captivating enough to entertain even the adults! For plane trips, load audio onto your phone or even pick up a cheap CD Walkman for kids to operate themselves. An earphone splitter is a good solution to evade fights when everyone wants to hear the same story.

 

Will you be traveling this holiday season? What tricks and tips do you have for passing the time?

 

radio-theaterExperience an audio movie that plays on the biggest screen of all … your imagination. Focus on the Family’s Radio Theatre has been entertaining and enriching the lives of both young and old for decades. From timeless classics like Dicken’s Oliver Twist, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, and Ben-Hur, Radio Theatre makes timeless stories come alive and real to a whole new generation of listeners. Radio Theatre features award winning actors, orchestral scores and riveting scripts that will draw in the entire family. Browse our Radio Theatre collection to unleash your child’s imagination today.

 

5 Reasons Kids Should Memorize Scripture

A photo by Samantha Sophia. unsplash.com/photos/NaWKMlp3tVs

 

The old Sunday school song tells us, “Read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow.” Though there is truth in these words, it is just the start. If we truly want our kids to “grow, grow, grow” in their faith, the words of Scripture need to be hidden in their hearts. Moses understood this as he prepared the people of Israel to enter the Promise Land without him.

“And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your foreheads as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

 

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Every day we send our kids into a world that can be confusing and filled with different ideals and temptations. We try our best to protect them. We want to put a shield around them, to guard their hearts and minds. But the time will come when they are faced with circumstances where the decisions they make will be their own.

As parents we need to prepare our children for how to respond in a Christlike way when faced with temptation or difficult decisions. What did Jesus do? He quoted Scripture.

“But Jesus told him, ‘No! The Scriptures say, “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’” (Matthew 4:4)

With smart phones filled with easy access to Bible dictionaries and quick reference searching, Bible memory can seem as old fashioned as that Sunday school song, but the reality is that it’s more important than ever. Here are a few more reasons why we should have our kids, and ourselves too, hide God’s Word in our hearts.

1. Deep roots. For a tree to flourish and grow it needs to have deep roots to stay strong when storms come. This is true for our spiritual growth as well. By memorizing Scripture, God’s words are planted in our memory and grow deep and strong. They become a natural part of our thinking and responding.

 

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2. Future battles. We don’t know what the future holds or what battles or struggles our children will one day face. What we do know is that in this world there will be trouble, but having Scripture hidden in our kids’ hearts can help them face whatever life throws at them.

 

3. More like Jesus. Not only does memorizing Scripture allow us to act more like Christ in the face of temptation, it also allows us to hear His voice and His words as we go through each day. When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus said, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind’” (Matthew 22:37). If we want our kids to be fully immersed in loving God, they need His words in their hearts and coursing through their thoughts.

 

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4. Others. Jesus went on to say, “A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:39). When Christ’s words are our words they help us to better relate to others and to put others above ourselves. They remind us of Christ’s sacrifice for us and how we, too, should put others above ourselves.

 

5. Bonus: Peace of Mind. As parents we will never be able to keep our children from being hurt or facing difficult circumstances, but if w
e have helped them to hide God’s Word in their hearts we can have peace of mind that they are facing life with the best protection. God is with them every step of the way.

 

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The Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible was created to encourage kids not only to read God’s Word but also to hide it deep within their hearts.

One hundred of the Bible’s core verses have been set to music by renowned children’s author and song writer Stephen Elkins. The 100 songs include a variety of genres and are available in the New Living Translation, New International Version, and King James Version, and all songs are free with the purchase of the Bible. Additional interactive features encourage school-age kids to engage with the Word in every place of their life.

Learn more about the Bible features and download free memorization resources HERE.

Purchase Hidden in My Heart HERE.

Bible Memory as Easy as 1, 2, 3!

A photo by Ben White. unsplash.com/photos/4K2lIP0zc_k

 

Think Scripture memorization sounds difficult and intimidating? It doesn’t have to be. Remembering God’s words grounds kids in the faith, equips them for the future, and solidifies their relationships with Christ, family, and others. The Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible was created to encourage kids not only to read God’s Word but also to hide it deep within their hearts.

 

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Within the text, 100 of the Bible’s core verses are highlighted and listed in the New Living Translation, New International Version, and King James Version as options for memorization. Notes on each verse apply the Scripture to issues kids face every day. A better understanding of what the verse means and how it applies to life makes it easier to memorize.

 

These core verses have been set to music by renowned children’s author and song writer Stephen Elkins. The 100 songs include a variety of genres and all songs are free with the purchase of the Bible. What if, instead of ‘Wheels on the Bus,’ your kids could easily recite scripture? Elkins’ memorable and fun-to-sing songs make that possible.

 

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Ready to get started? Take the Power of 10 Challenge! Jump start your Bible memory with FREE resources for the 10 most powerful verses.

 

1. FREE Hidden in My Heart “Power of 10” bookmarks are available to encourage your child to get started. Start with 10 and grow from there! Download the bookmark HERE.

 

2. FREE Downloadable “Memory Enhancer” Booklet

For each of the Power of 10 verses, you’ll receive the Hidden in My Heart Core 100 Bible page, which includes the verse in 3 different translations (NLT, NIV, KJV), an easy-to-understand Bible application study note, and a prayer that reflects the topic of the verse. You will also receive a coloring page, an activity page, song lyrics, and a verse line-art drawing, to help children hide God’s Word in their hearts. Download the activities for Psalm 23 HERE. 

psalms-resources_verttrack-5-83. FREE Hidden in My Heart downloadable memory songs, performed by Steve Elkins and children who love the Lord, that directly correspond to the Power of 10 verses. Download the Psalm 23 track HERE.

 

 

 

 

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Download all the Power of 10 Resources HERE.

Learn more about the Hidden In My Heart Scripture Memory Bible HERE.

Learn more about Stephen Elkins HERE.

 

 

The World as We Know It By Brittany Buell

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“Each moment in the life of a parent, with or without a child who has special needs, is a moment that can be used to teach, to serve, to love the lives we live, and to be thankful that we have been given the opportunity and ability to share this beautiful world with our children.”

When living in the world of parenting a child with special needs, life can become a bit stressful. Being an adult, a mother, and a wife is already difficult enough, especially in today’s society where lines are constantly blurred as to what living a Christian lifestyle means and entails.

On top of trying to live a life for God, add the pressure of sustaining a successful marriage, working a job, doing daily household chores, and keeping up with the tasks of life in general, and things can quickly get overwhelming. Additionally, toting the weight of caring for a terminally ill child, with a diagnosis so rare that the doctors and medical professionals who treat your child have not yet seen another case where a child lives long after the pregnancy, let alone to his second birthday, and that certainly equals a daunting set of circumstances to face every day. Long days in the hospital or at doctor’s appointments sometimes feel like wasted time, because no one truly knows your child the way you do.

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Don’t get me wrong, doctors are fantastic and should be credited for all their years spent learning their specific field of practice, and they should be appreciated for having the ability to save your child’s life in the blink of an eye. However, coming from a mother’s perspective, no doctor or nurse can ever replace the nurturing, loving, natural instincts that come from a child’s own parents.

As a parents, you know exactly what time your child will wake up in the middle of the night, and you know when your child is about to have a seizure even before they do, because you have memorized that frightened look that suddenly appears on their face. With every sound your child makes, you have the ability to know if they are happy, sad, upset, in pain, or require quick dialing of 9-1-1.

As if being an adult isn’t demanding enough, parenting a child with special needs raises your stress levels even higher. How on earth is it possible to still have the inner strength to walk around with a smile, knowing that just around the corner a seizure or emergency room visit awaits?

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Think about trips out in public, perhaps to the grocery store. Have you brushed shoulders with a family who has a child with a disability? Have you noticed the way that family was acting? More than likely, on the outside you will observe a mother or father who displays a smile. You will witness a family that finds a way to turn a challenging trip to the store into an obstacle course in the car buggy, turning every corner as if they are in a high speed race alongside the most famous NASCAR driver.

Why?

How?

And what is the point?

The point is actually quite simple. The world of parenting a child with special needs introduces you to new focuses and priorities, and nothing in the world matters more than making your family happy, no matter what it takes. Not only do you learn that there is no reason to begin the day with a negative outlook or expectations, but you don’t have that choice anyway. You’ve already made the decision to love your child unconditionally, regardless of health concerns or limitations that may arise, which means you choose to celebrate and cherish life every day. Your mental state has been altered in a way that can no longer withstand the capacity to look at life’s daily tasks as an annoyance. You may be tired and overwhelmed and heartbroken that your child endures what they do every day, but overall your focus and priority is on keeping your family happy at any cost.

We once looked at the trip to the grocery store as just another errand filled with frustrations like getting stuck behind slow drivers, hitting every red light along the way, waiting behind shoppers clogging the aisles, and choosing the wrong checkout line, which ends up feeling more like you’re in the wrong lane of a barely moving traffic jam. Now, after living the life of a family who has a child with special needs, we view our trip to the grocery store as an opportunity to teach our child. We teach peace by not yelling at every car or red light along the way. We teach reading by browsing the food labels on the items we’re purchasing and will be fueling our bodies with. And we teach about using our imaginations as we transform a boring old shopping cart with a squeaky wheel into a super-fast race car on its way to the finish line.

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Each moment in the life of a parent, with or without a child who has special needs, is a moment that can be used to teach, to serve, to love the lives we live, and to be thankful that we have been given the opportunity and ability to share this beautiful world with our children. Our children already go through so much, and the last thing they need in their lives are stressed-out, overwhelmed parents. What they truly need are God-fearing mothers and fathers who use the little moments in life to show love, compassion, and most importantly, patience. This will teach our children, our future generation and our future leaders, how to live well in an often materialistic, tragic, and fast-paced world.  This will teach them to appreciate a fulfilling, happy, and peaceful life.

 

buellsTo read more about the invaluable lessons that Jaxon has taught Brittany and Brandon about the inherent value of every human life, the extraordinary power of faith, and the key to living each and every day to the fullest, please read Don’t Blink (Tyndale House Publishers), available online or at your local bookstore.

Brandon and Brittany Buell are the parents of Jaxon Emmett Buell and the founders of the Jaxon Strong Facebook community and the Jaxon Strong Foundation. Their story has been featured on Nightline, Today.com, CNN.com, the Huffington Post, and hundreds of other media outlets around the world.