• 5 Ways to Appreciate Dad this Father’s Day

    By Eric Stoudt

    Dads are a lot different than moms in the way they relate , understand and communicate with us, so I couldn’t just change all the pronouns in from last month’s Mother’s Day article. (Full disclosure, I considered it, and I did copy and paste a little bit.) These manly suggestions for appreciating dads aren’t based on anything mushy like love languages just the cool stuff we enjoy. 1.) Do something with him that he likes. Men can be more relational when there is a common activity taking place. This is why men enjoy getting together for things like fishing trips and sporting events. Whatever dad’s hobbies or interests are, the companionship of a shared experience with you is something that can really speak into him. 2.) Allow him to teach you something. Dads love to feel like experts and they …

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  • Don’t Waste Your Summer

    By Annie Fox

    Summer—what a season! If you’re in a sour mood, it seems like all you have to do is step outside and soak in some rays to achieve an instant boost of energy and optimism. But when you have kids and you’re desperately trying to get them to turn off their TV, tablet, or phone long enough to bask in all the gloriousness that summer has to offer, it can be a challenge. Sometimes it’s not as easy as tossing them outside and shutting the door behind them while you channel your mother’s “Get some fresh air” grumbles. Planning activities doesn’t have to be a daily (or even weekly!) occurrence, but it can be handy to have a few tricks up your sleeve. That’s why I’m here! Hopefully, I can provide some ideas to keep your tots or teens entertained this …

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  • Recognizing Your Mom as an Individual

    By Jessica Fackler

    I am probably the worst person in the world to offer mother-daughter relationship advice.  In fact, I’m absolutely terrible at navigating my own dynamic. But over the years, I have learned a few things about this fickle female fraternity.  I’d like to share with you some lessons I’ve learned, some tactics I’ve tried, and some prayers I’ve prayed. It all began with love: Whether you are joined at the hip or you keep at an arms length distance,  your mother loves you. All of you. No matter where you go or how far she pushes you away, she loves you. She may not even realize it. She may never say or show it, but the love is there. You were created by a loving God. Whether or not she is able to translate and articulate that love does not mean …

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  • 5 Ways to Appreciate Mom this Mother’s Day

    By Eric Stoudt

    If you’re like me you have a mom, a mother-in-law, a mother to your kids, and a grandmother, maybe Mother’s Day can be a little confusing. Here are some suggestions for appreciating all the moms on their special day based on the 5 love languages. 1 // Serve Her – Do something for your mom. Moms spend years sacrificing their own lives while putting their kids first. They spend countless hours cooking for us, cleaning and caring for us. Take the opportunity to do something for her without the expectation of anything in return. Maybe that looks like cutting her grass, painting her bathroom or cooking her favorite meal (spaghetti works too, if that is the limit of your kitchen skills). 2 // Tell Her – She may not hear it often enough. Often times we get lost in the day …

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  • Helping Your Kids Process the Crucifixion

    By Jessica Fackler

    My son LOVES cars.  I mean is OB-sessed with them.  I don’t know if it’s the shiny and sleek shapes or the thunderous sounds of the engines. All I know is once his work is done, he is either memorizing the 423rd episode of Top Gear or racing his umpteenth lap in Forza. As a mother, it’s terrifying.  In 4 years he will be legal driving age. Notice I didn’t say will be driving. Just because the law says you can doesn’t mean you should.  Just sayin’.  But that’s another blog altogether. Sometimes I’ll sneak in the basement and watch him race.  Now, his racing game is nothing like the Pole Position I played. It features precise replicas of actual race cars and real race tracks from all over the globe. The graphics are completely INSANE!  So accurate that there …

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  • 5 Ways to Help Your Kids Share Jesus with Their Friends

    By Lisa Nuss

    Picture a preschooler belting out the song “Jesus Loves Me” at the top of her lungs on a crowded Walt Disney World transportation bus taking tired guests back to their resort from the Magic Kingdom. This was my recent experience when I was there on vacation. The bus driver was making a big deal over the intercom system about the princess with the beautiful voice that was riding with us. (I’m guessing he had overheard her singing while boarding the bus.) With a captive audience in place, he asked if she would like to sing her song for all of us to hear. She happily started in on “Let it Go” (of course). After a wild round of applause from all of the passengers, the driver asked if she would like to sing anything else. I was expecting another princess …

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  • Making Family Time for God’s Word

    By Megan Stubblebine

    Two years ago it was my personal New Year’s Resolution to start speaking into my children the Word of God in a very intentional way, the problem was as a newer Christian myself I felt unqualified and unsure where to start. Maybe you’re like me or perhaps you have been studying the Bible for quite some time but you again are feeling intimidated about how to teach into your children or family biblical truths and ways of living. It is my hope for your family this year that you will use these or other resources to start a consistent time of praise and teaching a biblical world view this year. GT God Time Cards: We receive these each Sunday in crossroads at GT West Lawn, these cards have been the catalyst for our family spending time in God’s Word together …

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  • How to Love Your Family Through Conflict During the Holidays

    By Salina Iavarone

    Aahhh, the holidays. The tree is beautifully glistening. There is Christmas music merrily playing in the background of your life. There are cookies everywhere you turn. The atmosphere literally smells of candy canes and chocolate.  There’s a car with a bow on it in your driveway that’s been lightly coated with freshly fallen snow.  You find out that indeed, every kiss DOES begin with Kay.  And your Instagram stories of oh-so-much family togetherness… well…make you want to throw up a little because your uncle is getting on your LAST NERVE and if he brings up politics at the dinner table one. more. time. you may actually strangle him with the garland.  And while you’re at it, if you’re really being honest, half your family is getting on your last nerve and that is NOTHING NEW. Reality check and mate. Conflict …

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  • Let’s Not Talk Santa

    By Megan Stubblebine

    Growing up everyone I knew celebrated Christmas and Santa regardless of their religious affiliation. All of the little ones excitedly made their lists to send to Santa for Christmas. It wasn’t until I began to volunteer in children’s ministry that the topic of “Santa” could become a real issue. A fellow volunteer gave me some advice to just not talk Santa and I’m grateful I heeded her words! There is nothing quite like trying to break up a heated debate between two six years olds on the existence of Santa. It did not take long to meet a few young kiddo’s who celebrated Christmas but just not Santa. Internally I struggled, what in the world would I say? How could we talk about the holidays and just ignore the idea of Santa? After speaking with some other educators and parents …

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  • 5 Places You Won’t Find an Elf on the Shelf

    By Eric Stoudt

    Hey GTers, I am Alabaster and I am a Christmas Elf on the Shelf. As many of you already know some of us elves are assigned to help the big guy up north get up to date behavior reports so he can accurately determine if a child belongs on the naughty list or the nice list in real time. It’s an important job however there are some pretty strict rules we have to follow to be successful at it. Generally, every elf adopts a family and we use our Christmas magic to report back to the North Pole and give an update on the kids’ behavior. When we return to the family’s house we find a new spot in the house to spend the day. The kids know that they cannot touch us because we are sensitive and their touch …

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