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Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow”— when you now have it with you. Proverbs 3:27-32 (NIV)

No doubt your family has watched numerous news programs about the earthquakes that devastated Port-au-Prince in Haiti last Tuesday. The devastation and needs are unfathomable, and your children have been touched by what they have seen.

How can children and families respond to this need? A great example of a project can be found on the Kid Mission website.

In our enthusiasm, it is important to be aware of some bottle-necks that will temporarily keep early donations from being helpful. In fact doing these things may only cause increased hardships for a while.

The airport in Haiti is small and can handle only a little traffic. The roads are so damaged that it is nearly impossible to move clothes and household goods, they are only in the way at this time. The shipping ports were also damaged for getting goods into the country. Initially we must wait patiently for this bottle-neck to be cleared.

Our first line of defense is prayer. There is no bottle-neck preventing us from praying for the people of Haiti. Pray for the people’s health and safety, and pray for the bottle-necks to be repaired so help can get to the people quickly.

The second thing that can be donated immediately is money. Cash is flexible and can be used to meet whatever need is prominent at the time. Children may not have much cash available to them to share, but God will honor their generosity. Don’t belittle their willingness to give. We may think we can’t afford to give in our tight economy. That’s when we need to turn the TV back on and make some comparisons. Can we truly say we have nothing to give to these desperate people? Children may recognize this truth before their parents do.

We can also start organizing other forms of help to have them ready when the bottleneck is cleared. The Haitian people desperately need water, food, clothing, and volunteers. We can work with our children to have these supplies ready for shipment as soon as the bottle-necks are removed and the all-clear signal is given.

The following organizations are excellent for getting resources to the people. Not only do they work long and hard to meet the needs of the people, they also provide these services in Jesus’ name and offer spiritual encouragement as well.

Samaritans Purse

The Salvation Army

Mennonite Central Committee

World Vision International

United Methodist Committee On Relief

Global Aid Network (GAiN)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Some exciting websites and blogs for Christian Parents have come to my attention recently, and I have added them to my links. I hope my readers will check them out.

Today I found a blog entitled “The Greatest Mission Trip You’ll Ever Take.” This blog was started a year ago, and it is loaded with great ideas for teaching your children about Jesus and empowering them to live their lives for him. The current discussion is “52 Ways to Teach Your Child to be Charitable.”

Yesterday I found another blog: “Intentional Parents: Average parents follow the crowd. Intentional parents persue the goal.” This blog was started in May 2002 and is filled with useful information and ideas for teaching your children about the Bible and about life. It has the added dimension of learning to live with an autistic child.

There are many more great websites in the links I discovered. I encourage my readers to check them out.

The first beverage served on the moon was communion wine. NASA didn’t allow the service to be broadcast at the time, so the witness has trickled to the public a little slower through magazine articles and blog posts.

I love how God get’s his witness out, sometimes in soft whispers in spite of the world’s attempt to squelch it.

I refer you to a blog I discovered this morning, God Is in the Compost Pile and other ordinary places where I found this gem. I encourage you to read her informative post.

Carla Williams has written an excellent blog post on how to deal with a child who is a finicky eater. Her advise seems very wise. I know of a child who fits the picky eater description very well. She doesn’t like much of anything so her parents give her peanut butter sandwiches. I like Carla’s no fuss, no nonsense remedy better. If you struggle with a picky eater I recommend you read her article, Dealing with a Finicky Eater, on Carla’s Weblog.

I just discovered a wonderful audio Bible website. I’m getting a six-day late start, but I’m going to listen through the entire Bible in a year. I listened to day one on Wednesday evening. This podcast included most of Chapters 1 & 2 of Genesis, 1 & 2 of Matthew, Psalm 1, and part of Proverbs 1. I’m excited about the plan and look forward to following it all year. I should easily catch up those few days I’m behind within a week. Find it at Daily Audio Bible. The website also offers a kid’s version that takes children through the New Testament. Both groups have community forums, chat rooms, prayer forums, and more. I’m thrilled to have discovered this website.

I am continually looking for good resources to bring to the attention of my readers. Today I discovered an interesting article about an author I would like to learn more about. Here is the article: 

http://www.statesman.com/news/texas/christian-author-connects-with-teen-girls-their-moms-159702.html

I did a Google search and found her blog. Again, I was very impressed. I give her a thumbs up and hope she is able to reach many teens through her ministry.  http://vickicourtney.com/

(Note: My writer friend and adoption counselor and coach, Sharon Brani, posted this as a Facebook Note this morning and it was so good I asked to share it here. She graciously agreed.)

Well it’s that time again when you hear about resolutions and goals. I’ve been asked from time to time if I set goals. Yes, I do. Each year I spend some time alone to evaluate the previous year and then focus on what is important for the next year. I set a number of different goals and among them are my personal parenting goals and then a few family goals.

Goals give me a vision and a sense of direction. I make them specific and measurable. Some goals are for one year and other goals span the course of many years. It is all too easy to get discouraged if you don’t reach a goal, and just give up. I tend to set a realistic goal and then am usually pleased if I surpass it.

For example, it is important to be intentional about your parenting. This is nothing to take lightly or settle for being passive. The parenting years fly by quickly and before you know it you are helping them leave the nest to make their way in the world. There is much to teach our children during those short formative years. Setting goals helps to keep you on track with an eye towards preparing your children for the future. Spiritual goals, physical goals, educational goals-these and more are some possibilities.

All goals need to be made as we wait upon the Lord. He knows what our children need even more than we do. Listening to the Lord in the quiet gives one an awareness of His Will and Path. As we seek Him He will draw near to us.

Some of our goals for the coming year are still being tossed back and forth. Others we already know-for instance making more time to pray together as a family and planning to be involved in ministry. Don’t miss this time to begin again and to stretch your family in new directions.

So what are your goals for the coming year? Get everyone involved. Listen and then write them down. Place those goals in a place where you can read them throughout the year. Make this year a year filled with promise and hope in your family.

(Sharon is a mom, a licensed professional counselor and life coach. She also helps adoptive parents to build strong families. And she is a published freelance writer. She is a lover of life, people and the Lord. You can find out more at www.heartprintsadoption.com)

Another jewel from the Internet… I found a web site that suggested three Bible games for little children. There are also links to other Bible activity articles on the side of this short article.

Since I am currently working on a Bible story book about Noah, the song “Old Man Noah Built an Ark” caught my attention. It is simple enough, just sing to the tune of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and identify the animals on the ark. There may be a catch in knowing how each sounds, however.

This website appears to have discovered many fun ways to teach Bible stories. Check it out at Best Way – Bible Games for Kids.

I found an artsy-craftsy blog today that had the most darling Bible carriers for her children’s new Bibles. They were made to fit their individual Bibles and had special places for color pencils or crayons and paper for them to be able to occupy themselves in “big church.” Check out her blog at The Pleated Poppy.