Lost Art of Relationships

Relationships with others are the most important thing in your life. Really! It’s critical to your well-being, your health, your source of joy, your way to impact others for good, a support system and actually the only thing that really matters in the end are our relationships!

Make time for family and teach

The Nativity: Jesus Christ, Our Savior’s Birth

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Make time for family and teach

The Nativity: Jesus Christ, Our Savior’s Birth


PREPARATION:
1- Down load the family chart HERE which is editable/fill-in so you can keep track of which family member has participated how and when. It’s a great way to keep track of assignments during family time and family home evening
Chart for Family time
 
2- Read through the lesson ahead of time, as well as provide support to all participating so they can be prepared. It may be helpful to young children or those needing extra guidance, to be ready with their part of the Family Time-Family Home Evening (FHE) Lesson so everyone can feel needed and successful.
 
3- Print of any pictures, coloring pages, etc., that you will be using during the lesson.
 
4- Here’s a big secret I’ve used with raising 5 kids and having Family Home Evenings.  Of course a treat is NOT necessary, but it IS a great help.  My biggest trick…ssshhhh…. keep a hidden purchased bag of candy or cookies that everyone likes as a backup, just in case there isn’t time to make a dessert.  I know it isn’t necessary to have something, but it’s easy to use it as an excuse for some reason sometimes. Having a treat, some fruit, something everyone likes, goes a long way in getting everyone together 🙂
 
5- Most important! Remember that not everyone is going to be cooperative and supportive all of the time.  But keep at it.  This is one of the most valuable and long-lasting ways you can spend your time with your family. Let discussions and conversations flow naturally. It will bring a spirit of cooperation, love and long lasting relationships like nothing else can.
 

LESSON TIME:

The Nativity: Jesus Christ, Our Savior’s Birth
1- Begin with a SONG: (you can sing along with just the music or the music and voices, as you click on the tabs provided)
The Nativity Song   Children’s’ SongBook  Click on the song title and choose music, or music and vocal
 
2- Opening PRAYER:   Take turns, or whoever is most comfortable saying a prayer
 
3- Ask this QUESTION:
1- Why do we need a Savior, or Jesus Christ? 
2- Why was it important that He was born and came to earth anyway?
 
4- Watch this video 

 
4 – SCRIPTURES: Luke 2:1-7 King James Version

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

 

5- Show this Video:

Mary taught her son Jesus to pray as parents do. She knew he, and all her children had much to accomplish here on earth.  Of course our Savior had the greatest mission of ALL.  We must try every day to follow Him and be like Him.
“(Mary)…kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19)

Jesus learned to work alongside Joseph to be a carpenter  (Mark 6:3) 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jesus learned and studied many subjects including the scriptures. He understood them so well, that he taught the most knowledgeable men gathering in the temple as they did in the day to discuss and learn the scriptures. 
Luke 2:
40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among theirkinsfolk and acquaintance.

45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Luke 2: 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature (took care of his body, and in favour with God and man.
Notice this verse includes: spiritual, physical, mental and emotional

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jesus took on His mission of teaching of His Father, God, Heavenly Father – who is the same for us, living a perfect life and being the example in all ways; so that we can go back to live with Him and our Father again.
Because He chose to be selfless, overcome the temptations of the world and loves us, He atoned for our sins, died and was resurrected and lives.  He gives us the opportunity to repent, change and be like Him more every day because of His GREAT LOVE for every single one of us – You and me.  He knows each person by name, individually. All He asks is that we follow His example and do the very best we can. 
1- I have given you an example, John 13:15.
2- I am the way, the truth, and the life, John 14:6.
Discuss the two scriptures and these two statements:
Through Jesus’ Atonement and Resurrection, those who repent of their sins and obey God’s commandments can live eternally with Jesus and the Father
Jesus Christ is the greatest being to be born on this earth. His life is the perfect example of how all mankind should live.
 
8- Closing Listening to one, or both of these songs, is a wonderful way to end this lesson.

 

 
8- Closing PRAYER 
9- Treat of choice
10 –  I hope you will visit the 25 Ways, 25 Days #LightTheWorld 2017 and consider participating in the  #LightTheWorld   with me and all of us at A Mother’s Shadow.  Even if it’s already begun, that’s OK!  Jump in, or catch up.  It’s a wonderful experience that will change your family forever. 
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2017
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

A fun activity for families to express gratitude and also for each other

Help Your Family LIKE Each Other!

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A fun activity for families to express gratitude and also for each other

A great way to express gratitude for what they have and also for each family member as individuals

Help Your Family LIKE Each Other!

Help your family like each other, or actually acknowledge they like each other with this easy and fabulous activity!

Families are the most important group or unit there is.

BUT getting each one to express, or say nice things to the others, often turns into silliness, or other off-topics because of awkwardness.

However, it is critical and the foundation of the home that every person knows that each one in the family does love and values them.

This activity provides that opportunity in a fun and natural way.

You can have a treat, such as small candy and after each leaf is filled out with meaningful content, the candy is awarded.  Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes with certain personalities to help them overcome their shyness/embarrassment of showing emotion/etc.

Teaching sincere kindness and service to another person is more valuable than any treasure on earth and it begins at home. This is service in the highest form, letting those closes know how you sincerely feel in GOOD and positive ways.

This attribute of recognizing the best in others and finding their strengths, is an investment of time and energy on your part.  Yet it will be a skill your family members will use to become better, which will benefit them for the rest of their life.

showing gratitude is easy

Easy way to express gratitude for blessings and to family members

 

Purpose:

1- The first part of the activity, each person writes down what they are thankful for.

2- The second part in a fun way, helps bring attention to every member of your family.  It identifies how each person is a unique and special blessing to the other individuals and to the family.

  • Sometimes in our family, life gets so hectic and crazy that it is easy to forget to let each other know how much we much value them.
  • Siblings don’t often know how to tell each other what they like and appreciate about the other(s). 

This is a very simple and wonderful activity that can hang up in your home as a reminder, or in the family member’s room, and bring constructive results you might have never expected or had otherwise.

It’s So Simple!

Supplies-

You’ll want to print off the the two printables HERE – one per person

A Mother's Shadow

A Mother’s Shadow

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll explain and then you can decide how many leaves you may want:

A Mother's Shadow

A Mother’s Shadow

 

 

 

 

 

 

12″ x 12″  cardstock, optional – this is a great pack to look at

Glue dots or Glue-Stick

Thin Sharpies like this pack to give options so the writing will show up easily on the leaves

Clip boards, I LOVE having these on hand for all sorts of reasons, but you’ll see how I use them here

Let’s get started!

1- Explain to your family that fall, or November in the United States as we celebrate Thanksgiving,  so it’s natural time to express gratitude.

In many in other parts of the world it is also a time to celebrate Thankfulness and Gratitude. 

Regardless of where we live, or if we participate in the traditional Thanksgiving festivity, this is a tremendous activity for all of the family to spend a few minutes together and be NICE:)

Help Your Family LIKE Each Other!

Easy way to express gratitude for blessings and to family members

2- Everyone is given the ‘I am Grateful For’ paper that has a  leaf border with lines to write on.

 

 

3- Then ask your family to write whatever they are thankful for and grateful for in their life (ok…have them keep it off the ‘too silly’ radar, bribery aka rewards with a treat at the end really helps). 

I would begin brainstorming together so it is thoughtful and they dig a little deeper than things like: I am thankful for my phone, Wii, etc.  Get them to think of the ‘real’ stuff in life.  You might want to begin with things you are thankful for: sunrises and sunsets that I am able to see with my eyes, the breeze on my face because that means I have a body, knowing there is a God and He loves me.  You can help get the conversation going as you dig deep yourself and learn new things about your family.

 

4- Now, you can pre-cut out the leaves if your children are young, or have them cut them out if they are old enough during this activity all depending on the ages of your family members. If you are going to be short on time, you might want to pre-cut them yourself and have them ready.

Have enough leaves for every person to be able to write on ONE leaf to each person in the family.  For example:  I would write on a leaf to my handsome hubby Stan, and when my kids were all home, that would be five, so I would need six leaves for me, six for Stan and six for each of my five kids = a total of 42 leaves. There are 4 leaves on a page, so I would print out 11 pages, leaving a few extra for just in case we needed them.

 

5-  Now for the next extraordinary and eye-opening experience of this very worthwhile time together as a family.

  • Have one person be the focus, or spotlight at a time. IMPORTANT STEP!

 

  • For the model here, let’s say we are focusing on Stan.  He would be a bit embarrassed as the rest of us choose any leaf we wanted, pick a sharpie using a color that will stand out on the leaf, and wrote to dad/hubby/grandpa/uncle/friend (see how many uses this has!) an example of what we are thankful about for him.  We want to encourage specifics so that it’s not: he’s a great dad, he’s nice, etc.  If your children are too young, or there are other circumstances requiring assistance, write for them. 

This is where I love using the clip boards to put the leaf on to write to hold it and not risk any bleeding through onto my table, a book underneath or even denting my table by pushing with a pen. 

  • Too many times we generalize and each of us tend to feel not special, too ordinary, possibly not even wanted in our own family.  This activity can bring in tender feelings and incidents to mend hurts, soften relationships and stop sibling quarreling too – at least during this:) 

 

  • IMPORTANT!!!  Stop anything that might even start an argument or quarrel.  Do NOT let sarcasm or the slightest bit of criticism be in this activity AT ALL!!!!  

 

  • Pass the leaf to that person and then onto the next person, until everyone has been ‘spotlighted’ with a leaf.

Since the leaves are not large it isn’t intimidating to write something kind, nice and SINCERE.

*****You can write on the leaves once, or do this as a weekly activity during the month and keep adding leaves on the paper, or attach to a ribbon, on the closet door, the options are endless!

Help Your Family LIKE Each Other!

Easy way to express gratitude for blessings and to family members

6- When all the leaves have been written on, now it’s time to assemble.

Have the glue dots or glue sticks ready. 

Now it’s time to attach the bordered ‘I Am Grateful For’ paper to the center of the larger plain paper  as shown below

 

7- The fun really begins as each person attaches the leaves around THEIR paper with the leaves that the OTHERS have written on! 

You can see the examples here.  

Help Your Family LIKE Each Other!

Easy way to express gratitude for blessings and to family members

I want to give a HUGE thank you to the Woll family for doing this tutorial, and allowing us to share their experience with us. 

You can see for yourself what a fabulous family they are! 

I am so GRATEFUL for their friendship!!! 

Help Your Family LIKE Each Other!

Easy way to express gratitude for blessings and to family members

You might also enjoy my Family Time-Family Home Evening (FHE) series as well as many other topics!

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

Be Kind To All Animals, They Are God’s Creations

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A lesson about being kind to animals and our own value taken from a portion of George Dawson's life a real life person who lived to be over 100 and learned to read at 98.

Be Kind To All Animals, They Are God’s Creations

 

Family Time Family Home Evening:

Be Kind To ALL Animals, They Are God’s Creations

The purpose of Family Time-Family Home Evening (FHE) Lessons are to give your family the opportunity to be together: learn God’s commandments, His Gospel, strengthen family relationships, open communication and have the tools to teach important values and morals.   R

Remember the kite string allows a person to soar, not hold them back.  To learn more, click HERE  

TOPIC:

This lesson is about the importance of being kind to animals, being patient with them and realizing that they are not the same as people. It also addresses the value we have as human beings. 

The purpose of the Family Time Chart is to give each person a responsibility so they have a purpose and reason to be involved in the lesson.  As they rotate in the tasks, they learn new talents they may not know they had!  

I hope you can use this lesson as a resource and adapt to your family so that each feels included, loved and it is a way to explain ethics and beliefs that God has given as a foundation so we can soar and reach our highest potential here on earth. 

 

PREPARATION:

1- Down load the family chart of your choice and lesson materials HERE

Using the chart, keep track of which family member has participated how and when; it keeps everyone involved.

Chart for Family timeWay to keep track of assignments during family time and family home evening

2- Read through the lesson ahead of time, as well as provide support to all participating so they can be prepared. It may be helpful to young children or those needing extra guidance, to be ready with their part of the Family Time-Family Home Evening (FHE) Lesson so everyone can feel needed and successful. 

 

3- Print of any pictures, coloring pages, etc., that you will be using during the lesson.

 

4- Here’s a big secret I’ve used with raising 5 kids and having Family Home Evenings.  Of course a treat is NOT necessary, but it IS a great help.  My biggest trick…ssshhhh…. keep a hidden purchased bag of candy or cookies that everyone likes as a backup, just in case there isn’t time to make a dessert.  I know it isn’t necessary to have something, but it’s easy to use it as an excuse for some reason sometimes. Having a treat, some fruit, something everyone likes, goes a long way in getting everyone together 🙂 

 

5- Most important! Remember that not everyone is always cooperative and supportive all of the time.  But keep at it.  This is one of the most valuable and long-lasting ways you can spend your time with your family. Let discussions and conversations flow naturally. It will bring a spirit of cooperation, love and long lasting relationships like nothing else can.

 

LESSON TIME:

SHOW KINDNESS TO ANIMALS

Show the picture of George and his mule.A lesson about being kind to animals and our own value taken from a portion of George Dawson's life a real life person who lived to be over 100 and learned to read at 98.

Be Kind To All Animals, They Are God’s Creations

 

Adapt this lesson in accordance to your family’s needs, so each individual is able to grasp the importance of being kind to animals, and how important they are to God.

 

1- Begin with a SONG: (You can sing along with just the music or the music and voices, as you click on the tabs provided.  If you/your family are unfamiliar with the song, have it play the vocal with the music through, then sing along the second time through.)

 Kindness Begins With Me, Children’s’ SongBook  Click on the song title and choose music, or music and vocal

 

2- Opening PRAYER:   Of course there are many ways to pray, just please include it since it’s so important for your family! For Family Time, take turns, or whomever is most comfortable saying a prayer may want to do it more often.

If you have any questions, or want to know more about prayer, this link will help you.

Also here is this video

 

3- Ask this QUESTION:

Have you ever hurt an animal just because you were mad, frustrated or angry?

 

4- Person in charge of the STORY: (give whichever version, or adapt to combine)

Younger Version

A long time ago a boy named George was asked by his Papa to go get their family mule so they could go to town.

Back then the mule was very important to the family to help with the work, to pull the wagon, and so many other things.  This family loved their mule and it’s name was Blue.

George went to get Blue as his Papa had asked.

He called to the mule, but Blue wouldn’t come.

George pretended to have a carrot behind his back, but Blue still didn’t come, so George yelled at him and called him names.

Blue started to run away from George because it frightened him.

This made George mad, so he picked up a rock and threw it at him, hitting Blue in the eye.

George felt so bad!  

He told his Papa what he did, which is so good he didn’t lie.

Blue got an infection in that eye and went blind.

George always felt so bad about that and promised he would never hurt Blue or another animal again.

He never did, even though he lived to be 103 years old!

We must treat animals kindly when we have pets or visit others who have pets. 

 

Older Version

George Dawson was a remarkable, kind and generous man who lived to be 103 years old!  He even learned to read at 98 years old because it was the first time he had the chance to do it! He had a wonderful outlook and loved life.

When he was asked if he had any regrets, his answer was yes.  It was when he hurt Blue, the family mule.

See back in the very early 1900’s cars were scarce and mules were very important, especially to poor people.  For plowing to put in crops for growing their food, pulling the wagon and other things that required strength.

The trouble happened when George was told by his father to go hitch up Blue to the wagon before going to town.

Well, animals are different than we are and they are supposed to be.  We think more, communicate at a much higher level and can reason things out.

George could have gotten a lump of sugar or a carrot to persuade Blue to come to him, making it easy to put on the halter in order to hitch the mule to the wagon, but instead, he only pretended to have a treat.

Blue must have figured it out by the smell or sight and wouldn’t just come by the demands of George calling, then yelling at him.

In fact, Blue started moving away, which made George angry.

Instead of going into the house for a carrot, or calming down and remembering it was an animal he was working with, George picked up a rock which hit Blue right smack in the head.

Blue started braying (the sound a mule makes) in pain.

George tried to get close to help him, but the mule didn’t trust him now and wouldn’t let him near. George worried because he could see the eye was really hurt.

He knew he had to go tell his dad what had happened.  This showed George’s character, he didn’t lie about what he did.

The family didn’t have the money for a veterinarian to care for Blue, however, they did the best they could; sadly Blue went blind in that eye.

George was very ashamed about what he did. How could he ask forgiveness of a mule?

In his book George said: “We was to have that mule for many more years.  Every time he looked at me, I hurt inside. To this day, I still feel badly about it.  I promised myself that I would never hit an animal again. And, though it’s been more than eighty-years, I never have.”  LIFE IS SO GOOD by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman

 

 

(Person in charge of this would be prepared to read from their scriptures or from online)

5- SCRIPTURE: (show picture of sparrows and coins)

King James Version – Luke 12:6

Questions to ask after reading the appropriate version of the scripture below (younger or older):

1- Are animals important to us?

2- Are animals important to God 

3- Are we important to God?

 

Show this picture

Family Time, Family Home Evening, Be Kind To Animals

Family Time, Family Home Evening, Be Kind To Animals

 

Young Version

King James Version – Luke 12:6  Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

In Jesus’s time, people would go to the market to buy food instead of the store like we do. 

Poor people ate sparrows because they were so cheap to eat.

Jesus is telling us that even though the sparrow wasn’t worth very much money at all, God still knows about every single sparrow. 

Just like the sparrow, God knows about you and me.  He knows our name, and He loves us.

Like the sparrow, all animals are important to God because He created them and wants us to be kind to them.

 

Older Version

King James Version – Luke 12:6  Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

Back in the time when Christ lived, birds were generally used for food.

There were many types of birds, but the sparrows were the least expensive that could be purchased, and cost only a farthing for two of them.

Actually, if you bought a large quantity, you could get them even cheaper.

So how much was a farthing worth?

The ‘farthing’ was a tiny copper coin that held only a very small value.

So to Jesus was telling us that the farthing, which is almost insignificant in value still purchases two sparrows.

The value of two sparrows would be considered nothing to that of a human life.

 YET, Jesus is saying that God knows and cares about every single sparrow.

God has a reason for every single creature and animal He creates.

We have the responsibility to be kind to the animals we have a responsibility for as our pets and any that we can otherwise.

 

6- Person in charge of this, should have it copied off in advance, with colored pencils or crayons ready –

ACTIVITY:

The younger kids may want this picture

Family Time, Family Home Evening, Be Kind To Animals

Family Time, Family Home Evening, Be Kind To Animals

 

And the teens and adults may want to color this picture

Family Time, Family Home Evening, Be Kind To Animals

Family Time, Family Home Evening, Be Kind To Animals

 

7- The person in charge of this can talk about it, or arrange it as an activity for the family

ACTIVITY Go to, or donate to a shelter.  You can see our experience when we did this HERE

 

8- Closing PRAYER: Person Assigned 

 

9- TREAT/Dessert:

These Cream Cheese Cookies are sure to be a hit! You can get the recipe HERECream Cheese Chocolate Chip CookiesCopyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2017

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

National Anti Abuse and Violence Awareness

Part 2 of Domestic Abuse or Violence

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National Anti Abuse and Violence Awareness

Anti Abuse and Violence Awareness and Prevention

 Part 2 of Domestic Abuse or Violence is a perfect topic for October, because it  is National Domestic and Abuse Awareness Month.

However, this is a topic to be address all year long – Every. Single. Day.

Why?

Every minute a child, a woman, a man is affected by this horrible circumstance at the hand of another.  This is part 2 in my series.  Remember that men, women and children can all victims.  Be aware of what others may be trying to tell you with words or actions as a cry for help.

To begin, continuing with information from the Multi Faith Leaders Conference, it is important to understand HOW a person gains control or exercises dominion over another. This chart helps explain how this is possible and the ways it can be done slowly over time also.  The language here is for a woman being abused, but remember that men are also and it is never ok, nor acceptable, in any form or manner.

Recognizing Power & Control vs. Equality Domestic Violence Wheels

Created by Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Duluth, MN

When Violence IS Used

 Abuse 6

This is how a healthy NON VIOLENT Relationship SHOULD Work

Abuse 7

    If you suspect abuse who do you report to:

  • Any Law Enforcement Agency
  • Any Peace Officer
  • Nearest Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) office

What do you report?:

  • Victim’s name
  • Victim’s age/date of birth (if known)
  • Victim’s current location
  • Victim’s home address (if known)
  • Allegation/concern

   ***It is very important to look after those who are vulnerable and cannot speak for them self; such as the very young, the elderly, etc. It is wise to use judgement when reporting an incident to have the facts and information so that the victim is not victimized more in the legal system or by the one(s) who are harming her in the first place. Some accusations or allegations generate cases that involve law enforcement, more than quickly than others might. These underlined types most often involve law enforcement.

  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse/ Lewdness
  • Child Endangerment
  • Domestic Violence Related Child Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • All Types of Neglect: Physical, Environmental, Medical, and Dental.

SIGNS

What can you look for if you suspect someone is being abused?

Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises or welts in the shape of an object (belt, stick, hand, etc.)
  • Bite marks
  • Anti-social behaviors
  • Won’t interact with others
  • Seems withdrawn
  • Problems in school
  • Displays fear of adults
  • Hyper-vigilance, shows characteristics of ADD/ADHD

Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Inappropriate interest or knowledge of sexual acts.
  • Nightmares or Bedwetting
  • Drastic changes in appetite
  • Over-compliance (goes overboard in trying to please) or excessive aggression
  • Fear of a particular person or family member
  • Suddenly refuses to participate in physical activities
  • Becomes pregnant or contracts an STD (particularly under age 14)
  • Runs away
  • Seductive behaviors

 

Signs of Emotional Abuse

  • Apathetic or passive behaviors
  • Depression
  • Hostility or stress
  • Lack of concentration
  • Eating Disorders (severe weight loss or rapid weight gain)
  • Age inappropriate behaviors (parents other children or is extremely immature

 

Signs of Neglect

  • Unsuitable clothing for weather
  • Dirty or other hygiene issues
  • Extreme hunger
  • Apparent lack of supervision
  • Frequently misses school
  • Begs or steals food or money
  • Lacks needed medical or dental care




Environmental Neglect & Child Endangerment Includes

  • An environment that poses a threat to the physical health or safety of a child
  • Cited DUIs with children in the vehicle.
  •  Homes where there are lab paraphernalia, chemicals for manufacturing of illegal drugs, access to illegal drugs, distribution of illegal drugs in the presence of a child, or loaded weapons in the reach of the child.
  •  Giving children illegal drugs or substances, alcohol, tobacco, or non prescribed/ not recommended medications for that child.
  • Involving a child in the commission of crimes, such as shoplifting.

  It is so important that we are aware and looking out for those that we live by, associate with, go to school with, work with and that our kids play with.  We may be the ones that can make all the difference in the life of another.  There is a site, Loveisrespect that is a fabulous resource for a wide range of questions and information regarding those who are being abused and want help, those who want to help someone who they suspect/know someone is being abused, as well as those who are the abuser and want to quit. At the LOVEISRESPECT.org site, there is a Chat line.  A Text line.  A Call line. 

In fact, an amazing amount of knowledge to help you and others all at the Loveisrespect.org site, click HERE for a direct link 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015, 2017

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  



National Anti Abuse and Violence Awareness

Is There Domestic Abuse or Violence In Your Life? Part 1

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National Anti Abuse and Violence Awareness

Anti Abuse and Violence Awareness and Prevention

Is There Domestic Abuse or Violence In Your Life? 

Do you know someone who is trapped in this cycle as the perpetrator or the victim? 

Once a month the ladies in my church, as well as all women in the area who are invited and welcome, get together to learn, socialize – and eat of course.

At one of the meetings we were presented the same information given at a Multi Faith Leaders Conference which was centered on Domestic Violence Training.

I found it so informative and pertinent, that I asked for permission to pass it onto you. 

Adding to what I was given and heard that night, I have also included other information I found while doing some research on this important subject.

I hope you will read it and pass it on to anyone and everyone you can. 

You never know who is suffering in silence and just does not have the information of where to turn for help.  Possibly you, or someone you know is the abuser and wants to change, there is also help.  This is the first in this series.

Men can be abused as well as women, and it should be taken very seriously as well. Women never, ever have the right to mistreat men physically, emotionally or verbally. “Man-bashing” is terrible in all its forms and is to be shunned. For this post, I will focus on women for ease in writing and for my purpose here.

Years ago, I was able to help with a service project, again with ladies in my church and women in my area, as we remodeled a room at our local YWCA.  We took a little tour before beginning the job of cleaning, painting and such. 

An aspect that very much surprised me, was learning that there were Domestic Violence Shelters known as “safe-houses”.  These safe-houses were available in the area for women who were were in a life-threatening situation and running from their husband or boy-friend.  They and their children could stay at this safe-house for a time and get help from police and others.

It had not occurred to me before that, how complex the woman’s choices would be when trying to leave an abusive situation; here are a few scenarios:

  1. If the woman seeks shelter from family or friends the partner can easily track her down – meaning she puts them in danger and she realizes this gamble.
  2. Running to a ‘safe-house’,  there may not be room for her, which is a risk, and she may be turned away.
  3. If she were to move to her own place that would require her own money and independence, which is not common in an abusive situation.
  4. An abuser can keep the woman so isolated that she knows no one to go to for help, or has been isolated from family, or shut herself off from loved ones.
  5. Many run to the streets, and there be abused and violated, as much or more, as they were at home.

 To begin this series we will address understanding what abuse is and how to recognize it.

CRITICAL POINTS OF ABUSE

Domestic violence is never acceptable, it is a crime.

  • It is never deserved
  • Never ok
  • Never asked for
  • Never to be tolerated

Domestic violence is preventable.
If we will be involved and watch out for others and what is going on around us, we can be instrumental in reporting if necessary, or at least offering support and relief to others when we can see they need help.

Victims/survivors are not to blame.
It is NEVER the fault of the wounded. No matter what they said or did, it was never deserved.

Perpetrators are responsible for their own actions.
We all come to this earth with personalities, strengths, weaknesses and tests to overcome. However I believe that each person (that are able minded of course) has a conscience of right and wrong; which includes how to correctly treat others. A person can control their actions and words and has the responsibility to do so.

 

RECOGNIZING TYPES OF ABUSE

Physical Abuse:    Everything from shoving to hitting

Emotional Abuse:     Isolating, threatening, name-calling, demeaning

Sexual Abuse:     Forcing unwanted sex acts, forcing to watch pornography, use sex to demean or control

Spiritual Abuse:     Using scripture, doctrine, or dogma to justify abuse and control

 

CONTRIBUTING TRIGGERS TO ABUSE

Certain outside forces can promote anger and other emotions in an abuser, such as:

  • Alcohol & Drug Abuse (6 in 10 abuse cases are affected by these)
  • Apartment Dwellers (when it is a small, cramped, no privacy or yard is a large initiator)
  • Financial Problems
  • Infidelity
  • Holidays
  • Uncontrolled Anger/Rage
  • Unmarried Partners with Prior Relationships (70%)
  • Untreated Mental Illness

 

RECOGNIZING WARNING SIGNS

Offenders May:

  • Appear attentive and protective…when actually being jealous and controlling
  • Make the decisions about how and when the family worships
  • Have a history of violent and abusive acts, such as destroying property, harming pets, etc.
  • Use the premise of the patriarchal role within the family to rationalize abusive behavior

 

Victims May:

  • Seem quiet, devoted and dutiful…but may actually feel frightened, and isolated because of threats and abusive behavior
  • Have injuries and/or illnesses which may increase in frequency and/or severity
  • Tend to minimize the situation
  • Feel uncomfortable and make excuses if you approach them about the abuse

 

RECOGNIZE FACTORS THAT PROMOTE OR FUEL BARRIERS HINDERING A WOMAN IN LEAVING AN ABUSIVE SITUATION, OR EVEN REPORTING IT

Here are some of the reasons a woman (or man) may not leave a situation of abuse, even when their life is in danger.  Frustrating as it may be to an outsider, it makes sense to the abused:

  • Children
  • Money/financial dependency
  • Need for companionship
  • Hopes abuse will stop- that abuser will change”
  • Commitment to relationship
  • LOVE (or what is construed as love)
  • Doesn’t want to feel like a failure. Guilt.
  • Stigma of divorce
  • Fear of being alone, doesn’t want to start over
  • Low self-esteem
  • The cycle of violence is familiar
  • The unknown is scarier than the known
  • Threats of suicide/harm/harassment by abuser
  • Pressure from or lack of support from family, friends or church
  • Wants to preserve reputation
  • Single parenting an unattractive alternative
  • Sex/affection is good some of the time
  • Apologies/crying from abuser
  • Lack of awareness that it’s ok to leave
  • Victim doesn’t recognize behavior as abuse
  • No support system
  • Nowhere else to go




THERE ARE RED FLAGS TO WATCH FOR IN A RELATIONSHIP

From LoveIsRespect.org: It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive.

In fact, many abusers may seem absolutely perfect on the surface — as if they are the dream partner — in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

If you’re beginning to feel as if your partner or a loved one’s partner is becoming abusive, there are a few behaviors that you can look out for. Watch out for these red flags and if you’re experiencing one or more of them in your relationship, call The Hotline to talk about what’s going on:

  • Embarrassing or putting you down
  • Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
  • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
  • Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing your friends or families
  • Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions
  • Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
  • Preventing you from working or attending school
  • Blaming you for the abuse, or acting like it’s not really happening
  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
  • Intimidating you  with guns, knives or other weapons
  • Shoving, slapping, choking or hitting you
  • Attempting to stop you from pressing charges
  • Threatening to commit suicide because of something you’ve done
  • Threatening to hurt or kill you
  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
  • Preventing you from using birth control or pressuring you to become pregnant when you’re not ready

Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partners.  If you’re concerned about some of these things happening in your relationship, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

 The National Domestic Violence site has many resources to help, click HERE for more information.

How can I help my Friend?  What if my friend is the Abuse and needs help? 

Click HERE for informationAbuse in all of its forms is hideous and does not have a place in a loving and caring home or relationship.

Too often a person may have grown up with the same treatment and thinks it is the way to act, or to be acted upon.  I will continue with this topic to give information and resources, in the hopes that suffering will stop, mistreatment and cruelty that has been perpetrated (even for generations) will cease, and coarse and harsh language and words in a relationship and family will stop all together.

Can you imagine the change if families only knew safety, love, righteous teachings and the path to true happiness?  We can find our way there, I know we can! Together, as we watch out to help others, then have the courage to do what is needed so peace, calm and joy can be in the life of every child, woman and man.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015, 2017

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today




Grandparents and Summer Fun

WHY Should I Spend Time With MY Grand-kids?

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Grandparents and Summer Fun

What to do with your Grandkids this summer

Strengthening bonds between grandparents and grandchildren of all ages is not just a good idea, but it’s critical to family stability.  

Your children will find strength in the foundation of family (even more so, as teens and adults) as they know their grandparent(s) on a personal level.

Summer is a GREAT time to take advantage of this opportunity to nurture this relationship with grand kids of ALL ages because there are so many inexpensive and free things to do.  Also, being out in nature instantly brings a relaxed and open atmosphere which is perfect for communication – whether it’s the first time you talk, or  you chat every day, the outdoors lends a natural setting for open dialogue. 

Have you considered that Grandparents have a unique position from that of parents or friends?

WHY?

 

This is For Parents:

  • Parents who let their children, older kids and teens spend time with grandparents* are wise to promote this connection in anyway possible.

 

  • As a parent, don’t you need a break is sometimes? Having a grandparent(s) for the kids to go visit for even an hour; where the homework battles, the daily duties and necessary responsibilities are set aside for awhile, there is a healthy environment they can thrive in. The reason for this, is they can focus on the relationship, which will prove incredibly valuable as the years go on. Studies show that cognitive and social behavior is greatly improved the more time children, older kids and teens spend with grandparents. 

 

  • Grandparent(s) are a pillar of support to you, as a parent, to reinforce the values and guide in the morals you are teaching.  In stories and in other ways, give wisdom and tidbits of advice, which balances what you are doing in the home.

 

  • In this day and age of busyness and often living far from relatives, it is vital with the disintegration of the family in our society today, that you do not allow that in your family.  By promoting communication with grandparent(s)* the abundance of love, care and attention, that only they can give will pay off immensely as the years roll on.*
Fun With Grandparents

Fun With Grandparents

This Is For Grandparents:

  • Make time for ALL of your grand kids. They are a treasure beyond any gems on the earth! No amount of money can compensate for the cherished time you will spend together.

 

  • I know it can be difficult to deal with the noise, chaos and a bit of a mess that comes with little ones when they visit.  However, the energy, love and hugs will far outweigh the temporary inconvenience.  They will love you unconditionally and in a way, that no one else can.

 

  • The older kids will open up to you with their problems if you give them the opportunity.  They may be dealing with small or large challenges that only you can help them with due to your experience, or that they may trust only to you.

 

  • And teens – they need you! Do not assume that with the changes in technology and life style, that you have nothing in common.  Remember, people are people, and the time in history does not change that.  We all have emotions, feelings, trials and tests to overcome.  They need your wisdom and perspective!  Be there for them, they are listening.  Don’t lecture, but share and have fun together.

 

  • When they become adults, they will come for to you for advice, look to you as a confidant and a source of comfort.  Be there to let them know that things will get better.  To persevere, always do the right thing, never compromise values and all will be well. 

WHAT IF:

What do you do if you have grand kids that you do not know as well, or that you don’t ‘connect’ with as easily?

  1. Pray to know what to do and how to reach them.  
  2. Ask the parents for help of what they like to do, what they like to eat, find something you could have in common.
  3. Be persistent, but considerate of the person’s personality, as you work to make the relationship strong.
  4. Don’t be afraid to get out of YOUR comfort zone to open the communication:)  

Now, here’s  some Summer FUN ideas you can do with the Grand Kids!
   




Summer is one of my very favorite times of the year.  There are so many places to go and tons of FUN to have!  

Fun With Grandparents

Fun With Grandparents

I KNOW it can be difficult to get the family together, with so many schedules, ages and different interests, but I hope you will take on this CHALLENGE –

Which is: 

  • Do something with each and everyone one of your great-grand kids THIS summer
  • Do something with each and everyone of your grand kids THIS summer
  • Do something with each and everyone of your kids, if you have them THIS summer

 

It may take a lot of effort to accomplish this little challenge, depending on location and availability, but it will be worth all the effort even it it is not apparent at the first. 

Here are a few ideas of things to do:

  • Skype with grand kids. If the children are young, read them a short picture book via Skype.  If they are older have some jokes on hand (check out the local library or bookstore for a good one)
  • Play a board game
  • Have a little party at your house, just simple with one or two of them.  Another grandma I get to share my grandkids with did facepainting!  How fun is that!!!
  • If you can’t get everyone together at one time, still spend time with each one somehow that fits into your budget and health. 
  • Lunch or breakfast at your house, or at a restaurant, with a smaller group gives the opportunity for visiting.
  • Go to the park and feed the ducks and play on the play ground.
  • Visit an outdoor garden or easy trail to walk.
  • Play an internet game at a set time once a week – you can agree on one that is fun and appropriate for both of you.
  • Go to the zoo.
  • Visit an aquarium.
  • Take them to a water park, or a splash pad.
  • A museum geared for children, or older, depending on the age of grand kid.  Many are free and afterwards get an ice cream cone or small treat.
  • See a play – serious or fun.
  • Go fishing.
  • Go bowling.
  • Go on a bike ride together.
  • Go on a hike or an easy to walk trail.
  • Play the X-Box/gaming system together for a set time with the condition they walk around the block with you afterwards.  You will have something to talk about, maybe your poor ‘gaming’ skills??  But hey, you can laugh together about it and have that in common.
  • Sports such as tennis, 4-square (does anyone play that anymore?), hop scotch, you can come up with great ideas to ‘challenge’ them with.
  • This list could go on for pages and pages
  • Most important –  do NOT, I repeat, do NOT give up!! 




Some family members are more receptive to strengthening relationships and bonds within the family, and some may be a bit more resistant.   Keep at it, keep inviting, keep loving and be patient.

Picture1Take the opportunity to be with your family of ALL ages. 

We share grand kids with Derek and Donna Jaco. These two are very supportive of all of their grand kids and enjoy being involved in all they do.

Fun With Grandparents

Dinners and get-together s with all the grand kids are cherished events for the Jaco’s. 

Fun With Grandparents

Fun With Grandparents

And, we share a brand new grandson!

Fun With Grandparents

Fun With Grandparents

Another set of grandparents we share with are amazing and so incredibly creative!  They can make anything – seriously –  you can’t believe the elaborate FUN parties!!!

Fun With Grandparents

Fun With Grandparents

One of the events they enjoy doing with the grand kids is – 

Fun With Grandparents

Fun With Grandparents

Face painting for any holiday, or just because!

Fun With Grandparents

Fun With Grandparents

We also share a couple of grand daughters with another set of grandparents who are really fabulous.  That Grandpa enjoys taking them into the garden and picking the delicious produce he grows.  The Grandma is an extremely talented musician and teacher.  She reads to them and sits with them at the piano either playing alongside, or helping move their fingers along the keys as they learn how it sounds. Tremendous people!

I'll Tell You Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll give you ideas on how to plant one, as well as why It’s important

It’s never too early – or too late – to build a strong family foundation.Collage Corn Huskers

Relationships are spending time, talking, laughing and simply being together.  That’s how communication flows, and love deepens.  Enjoy your family today, and everyday!!!

Fun With Grandparents

Fun With Grandparents

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, 2017

*Disclaimer: If there are issues with grandparent(s) or any family members, that could harm a marriage or children, you may want to seek professional help, or counsel as needed. 

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.




Hot Cocoa and Apple Cider Bar

EASY Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

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Hot Cocoa and Apple Cider BarEASY Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

You too can set up an easy Hot Cocoa bar — really you can! I will show you how.  In fact, you can simply have hot water and the dry mixes and that would be really fun too. 

Wondering when to have it?  It’s always a good time!  

Stan and I have done 30 Open House style Dinners I believe, but we decided to do a Hot Cocoa Bar this time, and it turned out fabulous, or I should say scrumptious.

So who do you invite?  

Well, you could invite your family, or your friends, or what about your neighbors?

We decided to put the word out there, but to make sure that every single house in our neighborhood – all 171 was invited.

Did people come?  YEP!

How did we do it?  We asked for help of course and you should too!  I’ll tell you more about that.

I’ve also included tips and recipes, just in case you might want them:) Click on any blue for easy linking

Let’s get this delicious party started:

To begin: we got hold of some really inexpensive Chinese take-out containers like these HERE

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa bar

Then we filled them with my yummy White Chocolate Covered Corn Pops.  You can find the recipe HERE

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

We had some help as I mentioned, because angels always come to our rescue.  Natalie, who has a FB page HERE  made the adorable tags.  She  makes all sorts of cards and tags that are handcrafted, unique, each one extraordinary and always special gifts.  Make sure to check out her page!

 

 

Our neighbors, more angels; Bret & Teresa Cutler and their sons, helped us deliver almost all of them after Stan and I put them together.

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

For the BIG event I made my Crock Pot Creamy Hot Chocolate.  It’s so easy and you can find it HERE  I did make a change of part semi-sweet chocolate chips and part milk chocolate chips so it was not too sweet or too dark of a flavor for the add-ins/mix-in’s.  (See the notes at the bottom.)

This thermos kept the drinks perfectly warm and it didn’t pick up the taste of either the hot chocolate OR the cider either – at least not in my situation. 

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

eighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

And I also made my Caramel Apple Cider, the recipe is HERE

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

I didn’t want to exclude anyone, so I had hot water in the 2 thermos’s and Steven’s Milk Hot Chocolate which is gluten-free.

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Now for the FUN part!  I had add-in’s or mix-in’s you may call them.   (You can click on the links for easy ordering) 

You simply can’t have a Hot Cocoa Bar without marshmallows!

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

For the paper products we found these awesome cups.  You can get some like it, WITH the little stirrers HERE

Don’t forget the Napkins!

 

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

And of course you MUST have Spray Whipped Cream in the can for the Caramel Apple Cider AND the Hot Cocoa!

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

The drinks kept extremely well in the Igloo Jugs, which you can find HERE

Oh, and I mentioned, I use my fabulous thermos all the time to keep water and drinks hot, like I did for the party, or when we go out to events and activities – you will find one HERE

Now, to save you frustration and calculations, for a party of 75-85 people, and some people had both kinds of drinks; while others had many ‘tries’ of hot cocoa flavors too:)

  • I used only one bottle of all the syrups, the larger one of the chocolate
  • 3 bags of miniature marshmallows
  • 4 cans of spray whipped cream
  • 1/4 can of Stevens hot chocolate mix
  • 1 – 1/4 can bag of heath toffee bits
  • about 1 1/2 cups total of crushed candy canes
  • 1/4 cup approximately of Mexican vanilla
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of orange and almond extract

 

TIPS:

  • Put towels on the floor to absorb any drips from the Igloo jug
  • Garbage cans around to collect the empty cups, spoons and napkins.  We line 5 gallon buckets and have around the rooms.
  • Have a bowl of ice for parents to put in their kids cups if the drink liquid is too hot.

 

I will give you the formula that I used for making large batches of the Creamy Crock Pot Hot Chocolate and the Caramel Apple Cider.  I made it the day before, kept it cold and then warmed it slowly over the stove and poured it into the Igloo jugs.  The jugs kept the drinks much hotter than I expected, so warm it just a little hotter than you would drink it if it will be used within 4-5 hours.

This is what I needed with a little left over for 75-85 people, kids and adults included:

 

CREAMY CROCK POT HOT COCOA  

4 quarts or 2 half gallons half and half

8 cans sweetened condensed milk

3 gallons of whole milk

1/4 cup vanilla (I like the Mexican vanilla)

3 packages  semisweet chocolate chips

5 packages of milk chocolate chips

Full recipe instructions are HERE

 

CARAMEL APPLE CIDER 

3 recipes of cinnamon syrup*

9 quarts apple juice ( not apple cider)

6 envelopes dry spiced cider drink mix

1  1/2 cups caramel sundae topping (use one 14 oz. bottle and that’s perfect)

Follow recipe instructions HERE

 

I hope you get a chance to have family, friends and even YOUR neighbors over for a hot cocoa bar and maybe you’ll want the caramel cider too. 

Here are all my hot drinks so far that I have created that are family friendly and delicious. Simply click on the picture and it will take you there!

9 Fabulous Family Friendly Hot Drinks

 9 Fabulous Family Friendly Hot Drinks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Groneman’s recipes

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2017

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Affiliate links as described.

2nd Sunday Dinner

2nd Sunday – Oct 2016

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2nd Sunday Dinner

I had my left knee replaced, making both with total knee replacements within a three week period and this Second Sunday was even more difficult than the last one….but our awesome neighbors came to our rescue!  I feel terrible that I didn’t even take ONE picture of the set up, or dinner – that’s how weak I was feeling, sorry folks. 

So, before the first surgery I had made Au Jus and purchased the deli style cooked roast beef to serve as French Dip Sandwiches.  Both were in the freezer along with a few batches of brownies and Circus Sugar Cookie bars.

However, the problem was sides/salads and more desserts.  I was not feeling well and Stan had his hands full of taking care of me AND getting the house ready.  Our son Derek came over Saturday night to help set up the tables, chairs and some other things (thank you a billion times over Derek!).  But, during the week, I was worried about it and just knew I couldn’t make anything….I wasn’t even making food for us, unless making a glass of chocolate milk counts.

So I put out a call for help on the neighborhood facebook page, and boy, everyone was so willing to help! In no time at all people volunteered to bring the food we needed and it was all set.  Stan and I are incredibly grateful to our friends-neighbors (same thing) who came to our dinner and help to strengthen our community in such positive ways. 

ANNOUNCEMENT:  We have a new grand baby coming in November and we are SO THRILLED! However, because this little one is not geographically close to us, we are on stand by and will be traveling as soon as we get ‘the word’ the baby is on it’s way:) This means that we will be taking a hiatus to our 2nd Sunday dinners for November and also through the holidays.  When we start up again, we will post and let y’all know!!!

Now for the dinner:

I served the BEST EVER FRENCH DIP SANDWICHES and you can get the recipe HERE

Au Jus and Beef Sandwich for French Dip

The BEST Ever French Dip Sandwich with Homemade Au Jus

Also CIRCUS ANIMAL COOKIE BARS and you can get that recipe by clicking HERE

Circus Animal Cookie Bars

Circus Animal Cookie Bars

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2016

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.