Monthly Archives: June 2012

Marble Painted Fireworks- DIY

‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.2 Corinthians 3:17

By: Sarah Smith

Marble Painted Fireworks

In celebrating our country’s freedom one year at a local July 4th festival, these were made at the craft table.  Of course, it could be done in any color for any occasion, but I’ll always remember this project as “Marble Painted Fireworks”.

Supplies needed

  • Red, white and blue paint
  • A disposable (or washable) cup – one for each paint color (I used an egg carton this time.)
  • A marble for each paint color
  • Paper
  • A box large enough to lay paper flat on the bottom
  • Large shirt or apron



  1. Place a piece of paper into the bottom of the box.
  2. Put a small amount of paint into each cup.
  3. Drop a marble into the cup and roll it around to cover it in paint.
  4. Drop the paint-covered marble into the box on top of the paper and roll it around by tipping the box to create your ‘fireworks’.
  5. Repeat with a new color and continue until you feel it’s finished!

We did this one on a large piece of paper behind a mat to frame but this also makes great note cards.  I may remove the paper someday and put a photo behind the marble painted mat.  Try it on a variety of sizes and colors as well as different mediums.

The key to having fun with art is to not be afraid to get messy.   Your kids will remember these moments….especially if you remember to take pictures.  And, if you like to use art to teach lessons, a few facts about our flag, fireworks and the red, white and blue colors are listed below.

FLAG – On June 14, 1777, (now known as “Flag Day”) the Continental Congress adopted the national flag in order to promote national pride and unity. “Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

RED, WHITE AND BLUE – Apparently no official reason is known for the colors of our flag.  However, in 1782 the Congress of the Confederation chose red, white and blue for the Great Seal of the United States and their meaning is listed as “white for purity and innocence, red for valor and hardiness, and blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice.”

FIREWORKS (Illuminations) – John Adams wrote to his wife on July 3, 1776 after the Continental Congress chose to proclaim the American colonies independent of England.

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews*, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776, “Had a Declaration…” [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society.



They Will Fall

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10   “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

By: Sarah Smith

This next post has to do with perfect children.  My first-born was ‘by the book’.  He did everything pretty much on cue from the ‘What to Expect the First Year” book.  As a matter of fact, if you check the Milestone Charts, his name would be right by the “Mastered Skills” and sometimes even “Advanced Skills” for his age level.  He was even right in the middle of those growth charts at the doctor’s office.  He was, in fact, a perfect baby!  He even had the ‘fussies’ (a.k.a. colic) right on schedule.  (That might make him not-so-perfect in some people’s minds)

In his toddler through pre-school years, I was always right there making sure he was making good choices and treating others kindly.  I remember one mom fussing at me telling me I didn’t know what my son did when my back was turned as I complained about her child hitting mine.  I remember thinking “that’s why I don’t turn my back!”

Wow, do you realize what I had done?  I had wanted him to be so perfect that I really wasn’t allowing him to make mistakes.  I was right there…all the time.  Now, to be honest, you won’t find me saying I should have turned my back more.  But, I do admit that I should have held back and not opened my mouth so quickly.  I should have given him the chance to make the wrong choice (without harming others) and then used those opportunities to teach him.  Instead, I created a mindset in this child that the right choice had to be made each and every time.

It hit me one day what I had done when he was going to a friend’s house.  I waited in the driveway for him to go to the door.  He came back to the car and asked me “Should I knock or ring the doorbell?”  I just stared at him and calmly said “You decide.”  Poor kid was frozen.  He didn’t know how to decide because over the past 7 years, I had made those decisions for him.  Wow, I’m glad I saw the errors of my ways but I must tell you, trying to fix that has been difficult.  I am proud to report that he has turned out to be quite the independent young man.  And, yes, he’s even made a few mistakes along the way and those have been the lessons he has learned the most from.

One of my favorite pictures of my son was taken on a snowy slope as he was snowboarding.  I was taking several shots as he came down faster and faster…until finally, he landed FLAT ON HIS FACE!

And this Bible verse speaks to me.  Proverbs 24:16 ”For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.”

And, I realize, if I am raising my son to trust in the perfect power of God.  He doesn’t have to be perfect…it says right here that the righteous will fall…he just has to get up again, with the help of God!  And, he did!  With a smile on his face!  And, he went back for more and he didn’t fall on his face again!


So, when the weatherman showed my submitted photo on the news that early morning along with all the other photos submitted by other moms of their children in their cute little snowsuits proudly standing next to their cute little snowmen, he asked his audience “What kind of mother sends in a picture like this?”  And, I thought, “A mom who loves her son, even as he falls flat on his face.”  You know the one, the one who doesn’t expect perfection from her children because she trusts in the perfect power of the God who created them.

Related Article: Broken

Birthday Project: Hands and Feet

by: Kerri Young

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”  Psalm 77:11-12

In honor of my littlest man’s birthday a few weeks ago, I thought I would share one of the traditions we started with my oldest on her first birthday: Hand/Footprint Tablecloths. I liked this idea right away when I saw it because it seemed like the perfect, practical way to mark the years and be sure not to forget how much our kids have grown.  I honestly don’t even remember where I found this idea (this was before pinterest), so I can’t really give credit where it’s due, but this is one of my all-time favorite creative finds that I know we will cherish for years to come.

Each year about a week before their birthdays my husband and I (or my mom or whoever else is around to help) work together–because it takes a team with the little ones– to paint our kids’ feet and hands and make prints on their very own tablecloth. You have to do it at least 3-4 days before their birthday so the fabric paint has time to dry and then be washed before you use the tablecloth. We always use it at their birthday party, which means drinks and food get spilled and cause stains. But, I figure that just adds character.

For their first birthday, they either love getting their feet and hands all dirty or they hate it. The prints don’t turn out perfect, but that’s okay. Each year it gets a little easier as they learn to cooperate and understand what you’re doing. I figure we’ll probably be able to fit about 12-13 years of prints on each sheet, but I imagine much after that they might not want to do it anymore, anyway.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 sheet (for a family size rectangular table I use one twin-sized top sheet)
  • 1 paper plate
  • Paper to go underneath workspace (construction paper, newspaper, etc.)
  • 1 foam paintbrush
  • Fabric paint
  • Fabric marker

What to do:

  • Spread sheet out and decide where to start
  • Strip child down (if still at an age where he will make a mess)
  • Squeeze fabric paint onto paper plate & dip paintbrush into paint
  • Paint hands and feet and make prints
  • Write the date and age on top of or inside prints
  • Let sheet dry (follow instructions on fabric paint packaging)

After doing this ten times, we’ve learned a few things from trial and error. Here are my tips:

  • Don’t do it alone if you have 1-3 year olds. As I mentioned, babies are tricky.
  • For the little ones, paint one foot/hand at a time. My husband always holds the kiddo while I paint his/her foot/hand.
  • Cover each toe/finger with a good amount of paint, but not so much that it’s going to make a big, gloppy mess.
  • When it comes time to press the foot/hand down on the sheet, press down on each toe/finger for a second to make sure you get a good imprint of each on the cloth.
  • Have wipes or washcloths ready to wipe off the mess immediately for little ones; then start on the next foot/hand.
  • Put the sheet on the table you will be using so you can plan where you want to start and where the prints will be for photos.
  • This might seem like a no-brainer, but it wasn’t for us: Start at a corner of the table and work around clock-wise through the years. It just makes it easier.
  • Put paper underneath the tablecloth so the paint doesn’t bleed through onto your table or surface (it will bleed a little).
  • Pick a sheet color that will wear well. As mentioned, stains will happen. You don’t want it to be so dark that the paint doesn’t show, but white would be very hard to keep clean.

Here are some more pictures of our littlest man’s tablecloth (and the making of the tablecloth that my almost seven year old took) for you to see how it turns out.

As we think about getting rid of most of our belongings before we move across the world, I know our kids’ tablecloths will be making the journey with us. I’ve thought about giving them to them as wedding presents someday, but that’s hopefully a long time from now…and maybe I won’t want to let them go by then (the tablecloths…or the kids). Smile

Top Ten Things I Learned from My Daddy

by: Kerri Young

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4


In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to post a day early and honor my dad. So, here is a (certainly not exhaustive) list of the:

Top Ten Things I Learned from My Daddy:

#10: We should be lifelong learners.

My dad is the most intelligent man I know. He has three master’s degrees and two Ph.D’s. I think if he had his way he’d go back to school and get another degree because he just loves to learn. I kind of feel the same way. =)

Don’t they say when you stop learning you aren’t living? He has more information filed away in that brain than I can fathom and he just keeps adding more. But he’s not just philosophically, writing a book smart (yes, he has written a book). He’s hands-on, rebuilding a car, remodeling a house smart. This leads me to:

#9: When I don’t know how to do something, I can research and figure it out.

When my dad doesn’t know how to do something, he reads about it and teaches himself. I love that about him! Last year we were remodeling the detached apartment that came with our house when we bought it. My husband was a little nervous to do some of the work himself, but my dad came to help by encouraging him to read and figure it out. He was there to prevent any major mistakes, but he mostly let my husband do the problem solving. There is such wisdom in that, I think. How often are we tempted to just do things for our kids instead of letting them do the work of figuring it out?

#8: The importance of learning how to drive a standard transmission (and conquering other things I might think are hard) 

When I first learned how to drive a car, my dad made me learn on a standard because he said if I didn’t learn then I never would. I was frustrated and didn’t understand why because it was so much harder. But, looking back, I am so thankful he stood his ground and made me learn the hard way. He was right, I probably wouldn’t have learned otherwise. But, more than that, he taught me that taking the easy way is not always the best way. How much does that lesson apply to life?!?

#7: History is fascinating

One of my dad’s Ph.D.’s is in history. He was a history professor after he retired from the Navy Chaplain Corps. And I spent a considerable amount of my childhood in a place rich with American history: Virginia. Needless to say, history was a hot topic in our house. To this day I love hearing about how and why things happened and considering what in the world that has to do with me today. History not only tells us about where we came from, but also where we are headed if we don’t do things differently.

There’s a great quote by George Santayana, who, in his Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1, wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Some people find history boring and I suppose that’s okay (like my husband J), but I love it and have my daddy to thank for that.

#6: Music is glorious and leads my heart to worship the Lord without fail

Some of my earliest memories are of my daddy playing his guitar and singing John Denver songs. Because of that, I always wondered why he didn’t sing during church worship sometimes (when he wasn’t leading). One day I finally asked him and he said it’s because he is so moved to worship by the music sometimes that he can’t even sing.  Music gets me that way, too. And it doesn’t even have to be worship music. Just like my daddy, whether it’s the Edge’s guitar riffs in U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” or the violin and keyboard in Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”, music brings me to the throne faster than anything else. It literally takes my breath away. I can only imagine how glorious music will be in eternity….

#5: Integrity points people to Jesus

My dad is the kind of man who will never run a red light. He won’t even change lanes when no one is coming if he’s stopped at a stoplight and turning the wrong way. He’s the one who made my little brother take a 25cent fishing lure back to the store when he was five because he had put it in his pocket without paying. He’s the one who always insisted we pay full price for an adult meal the day after my 13th birthday even if we could have gotten away with a kid’s meal. He’s the reason I carried a toothbrush around for two months that my two year old daughter had put in my purse one day at a Wal-mart a half hour from our house (and it had to be returned there, not just any Wal-mart or it wouldn’t get accounted for). I think the lady at the customer service desk about keeled over when I told her what had happened and how long it had been in my purse. But, in a world where it’s so much easier to just keep the toothbrush or tell a white lie to get a cheaper meal, doing the right thing stands out. Jesus called us to be different, and often being different really just involves something simple like integrity.

#4: Jesus makes all things new 

My dad did not grow up in a Christian home. In fact, it was a very broken home in more ways than one. He actually came to Christ in high school because of a girlfriend who took him to church. He would say that before he chose to follow Christ he was on a rough path. But, God called him out of darkness into His marvelous light and his life was never the same. No, he is not a perfect man, but His Savior is and He has enabled my dad to rise above the hurts and baggage of his youth to live a life that has brought the Lord much glory. I am so thankful that no matter what we have been through, no matter what mistakes we have made, and no matter how old we are, Jesus can take all our junk and make it beautiful. And I’m thankful that my daddy is a perfect example of this promise.

#3: Don’t just believe something in the Bible is true because a pastor or leader tells you so, be a Berean and figure it out for yourself

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

From an early age, I was taught to study my Bible. When he wasn’t preaching, I watched my dad take his Greek lexicon with him to church and take notes on what pastors said while also checking to see what the words meant in the original text. We would discuss Scripture and it was okay to ask questions. I love it that my dad has taught me this lesson so well that he is even okay with the fact that sometimes we disagree on (minor) interpretations of Scripture. We should never substitute what other people think is true about God’s Word for our own hard work of studying it ourselves. It’s in the studying and wrestling that we really fall in love with Jesus and the Word itself.

#2: I am beautiful and God wants to use me to change the world for His Kingdom

Because of Jesus, I am a princess, beautiful and loved just as God made me, and I learned this from my earthly father first. Thanks in large part to my daddy loving me unconditionally and pointing me to find my identity in Christ, I have not struggled with a lot of the insecurities with which I know some women struggle. He has always made me feel special and supported me in every decision I have made. He encouraged me to chase after Jesus and told me there was nothing I couldn’t do without His help if it’s what God desired. He’s still doing that today and I take comfort in the fact that he has always been and always will be one of my biggest cheerleaders.

#1: When it comes to making decisions, follow your heart

Life is full of so many seemingly big, life-changing choices, as well as a lot of little every day decisions. Making these decisions can be stressful and I remember many times when I was stuck, not sure which path to take. But probably the biggest thing I have learned from my daddy is that if you are seeking Jesus with all your heart, He is going to make your heart’s desires His desires. Then the easiest thing to do is follow your heart.

How about you? What did your daddy/dad/father/stepdad/father figure teach you? I realize I am blessed with the gift of a godly, loving daddy who modeled Christ-like actions toward me and some of you might not be able to say the same. But, I encourage you on this Father’s Day to look for the good in the man you know/knew as father. And, if he’s still around, why don’t you share some of those things with him today? Then, be sure to come back here and share with us!

Happy Father’s Day to my amazing daddy and my just-as-amazing husband!




What Comes Next

by: Kerri Young

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations….” Psalm 46:10

If you have been keeping up with my other blog you know that some big things are coming down the pipe for my family as we seek to walk in obedience to the Lord’s call for our family. We have been seeking and praying and seeking and praying some more, as well as traveling across the world to discern where the Lord is leading us.  After all that seeking and praying and traveling we have actually come to an exciting decision about where we are headed next and we are very anxious to share with everyone where that is. The big reveal is coming on Saturday….

If you would like to know more, please check out my blog before Friday at midnight so you can stay in the loop!