Author: Shannon Jones

Making this Summer a
Win for You and Your Family

School is ending and summer is upon us. With less extracurricular activities and no more homework, chances are we as parents have a little more space in our schedule to plan some fun and meaningful times as a family.

HERE ARE A FEW IDEAS:

Have some fun together //

  • Make homemade pizzas or a meal together
  • Play board games – let each family member take turns choosing one
  • Make s’mores in your fire pit, if you have one, or on the stove
  • Invite a family over for dinner, dessert and/or a game night
  • Play disc golf at a park
  • Go fishing
  • Go tortilla tossing at the Suspension Bridge
  • Create a picture scavenger hunt to do with another family
  • Fly kites
  • Get outside and play some sports – basketball, gaga ball, kickball, volleyball, etc.
  • Go paddle boarding or kayaking on Lake Waco
  • Go bowling
  • Go on a hike
  • Take a camping trip, or just set up a tent in your backyard
  • Make your own ice cream or frozen yogurt bar at home
  • Movie night
  • Have each family member take turns planning a family fun night
  • Go out for snow cones

Take some time to connect as a family //

  • Pray and wait on God for a word of encouragement for each family member
  • Ask God to highlight someone in need and bless them as a family – help the with yard work or a house project, write notes of encouragement, make them a meal, etc.
  • Have each person choose an area that feels hard or discouraging and ask God for a verse that reminds them of truth. Share those verses with one another.
  • Family worship time – have family members take turns choosing songs
  • Read a portion of Scripture and share insights with each other
  • Plan a Family Retreat – make it a staycation or take a weekend trip together
  • Have each family member take a personality test and spend time observing how different personalities impact communication and expectations within the family; there are several free tests online
  • Help each person identify their love language and share specific ways they would feel loved by family members
  • Take time to identify goals, as a family and individually; brainstorm ways to contend for each other to reach those goals

No matter what you do this summer, my hope is that you and your family have a ton of fun together and grow closer together.

Have a great summer!

By Shannon Jones, Associate Youth Pastor

Making the Most of Your Christmas Break // Youth Edition

Have you ever come to the end of a Christmas break and felt anything but rested or restored? Maybe you slipped into a lethargic state, ate WAY too much junk food or binge watched Netflix, or maybe you played video games for hours on end, got sucked into a book and forgot anyone else existed, barely tolerated your family or let the days unfold with very little intentionality?

IN THE END, YOU HAD SOME LEVEL OF REGRET ABOUT HOW YOU SPENT YOUR TIME.

HERE ARE SIX TIPS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR CHRISTMAS BREAK:

  1. Prioritize consistent time with God // This is one thing you need to hold on to in the midsy of ditching the routine and being in vacation mode. Set aside time to meet with Jesus daily. He will fill you, refresh you and give you His heart for those around you. If you have a little more time than usual, mix things up a bit. You could have an extended time of worship, go on a prayer walk, choose a book of the Bible to study or spend time journaling.

 

  1. Bless and serve your family // Look for opportunities to do things without being asked, and go out of your way to show your family love in creative, practical ways (i.e. do the dishes, make a special breakfast, fold laundry, write notes to each person, plan a fun night, etc.). Check your motives, and refrain from complaining or drawing attention to yourself.

 

  1. Invest in the relationships around you // Maximize this opportunity to build memories and deepen relationships with your family and relatives. Enter their world, do things they enjoy doing and pursue family members or relatives you don’t typically get much time with.

 

  1. Have fun // Identify things that are restorative and make time for them. Watching a movie or playing a video game is great in moderation, but don’t forget things like drawing, painting, playing an instrument, doing a puzzle or going on a hike.

 

  1. Unplug and be present // It’s such a huge temptation to get sucked into social media or really anything online. Carve out time to set aside your phone or laptop, and be fully present with the people around you. Come up with a plan for healthy boundaries in advance. One idea is to choose a day or two that you won’t use your phone at all.

 

  1. Reflect on 2017 and dream with God about 2018 // Spend time, individually and/or as a family, reflecting on things you’re thankful for from the past year. Ask God for words, verses, vision and goals for 2018.

Parents, one last thought is that you could designate a “free day,” where everyone has permission to spend unlimited time doing things they chose without feeling guilty. While this shouldn’t be every day, it’s fun to do every so often.

Ready to make a plan for Christmas break? Click here to get started!

By Shannon Jones – Youth Ministry Pastor