Let’s BSAK Together

Normally on Fridays I write a “Dose of Sunshine” post. These posts are intended to bring a smile or even a chuckle to your day. Today’s post is a little different, although I still hope it will result in a smile – maybe a smile from your heart.

As I have been absorbing all the news from the last few weeks – watching in horror as people are gunned down, listening to heated arguments between men and women who hope to lead our country through these difficult days; answering questions from my scared and confused children; dealing with a kidney stone that refuses to vacate the premises; and in general just feeling the effects of a world cloaked in sin and darkness – I keep longing for peace, hope and comfort.

My soul is so overwhelmed, and my heart breaks at the world my kids are growing up in. It came to a boiling point for me last night when the doorbell rang at 6:30 and my kids freaked out because they thought it was a terrorist. It made me realize just how far reaching fear is. I try to shield my kids from the news as much as I can, but let’s be honest – in this day and age kids are going to hear about evil, see acts of evil, talk about effects of evil, or God forbid even experience evil.

Are you feeling the sunshine yet? Sorry….I’m getting there 🙂

With a heavy heart I opened my Bible this morning, begging God to give me a word, a glimpse, a shimmer of light. And He did.

He did! Not because I deserve it, not because He owes it to me, but because He is full of grace and mercy. Because He delights in His children seeking His face through His Word. Because even though the NY Times accuses Him of not fixing the problem our blatant sin has caused, He still loves us and wants us to experience true healing. Not a genie in a bottle / Santa Claus answer to our problems; not a band-aid fix for sheer evil – but a total and complete heart change resulting in peace that transcends circumstance, problems and acts of terror.

God is SO much greater than the box humans try to put Him in. He is our Creator. He is the Sustainer. He is on His rightful throne surrounded by a calm see of peace. And what our limited view sees as chaos, is in fact the master plan of a purposeful Creator bringing all things into order. The Bible is so clear about the fact that history will continue its crescendo toward evil until the day Jesus reappears and drives every knee to the ground in worship of the One True God.

Whew! I feel better…thanks! So with all of that said, here’s my idea for achieving a real dose of sunshine in these dark days: Let’s have a day each week to BSAK. No, I didn’t misspell bask. I want us to BSAK: Be Still And Know.

Be Still

What if we as God’s children, set aside one night a week to be still and know that He is God? How might that transform our hearts and our children’s hearts? To turn off the news, to keep our devices in a separate room and just be still as a family, and as individuals before the LORD. To focus on our King instead of the chaos. To choose to see the Light of the world instead of the darkness in the world.

So here’s my plan for tonight in case you want to join my family:
*Important rules: no news, no phones, no grumpiness, no lecturing (that last one’s for me;)

  1. Make a dinner everyone likes (ie pizza night!)
  2. Answer silly questions during dinner (see below for some questions)
  3. After dinner, read a Psalm together (We will read Psalm 34 because it is my Psalm for the day.) Choose one verse to focus on and draw a lesson and personal application from.
  4. Engage in a family activity that focuses on God as the Great I AM. (see below for ideas)
  5. Write Psalm 46:10 (Be still and know that I AM God) and display it in kitchen so family can memorize it together.
  6. Close in prayer; asking each family member to praise God for a characteristic of who He is.
  7. End evening with a family game or Christmas movie.

This is just a prototype. I’m sure things will change and morph as we go. But I am done focusing on the bad. I need a night to sit with my family at the precious feet of my Savior and ask Him to fill us with peace.

Witty sunshiny stories are awesome and helpful, but I today I need more.

Today I just need Jesus.

Wanna join me and BSAK too?

Much love,
Jen

Ideas for silly questions:
*If you could go for a ride on any animal, which animal would you ride and where would you go?
*If you could travel back in time for a day, which day would you relive?
*If you could meet a person from the Bible (other than Jesus) who would you want to meet?
*If God would answer one question, what would you ask Him?

Ideas for Family Activities that focus on God as Almighty King:
*Go outside, lay down and look up at the stars. Talk about God making each one and knowing them by name. Sing “Awesome God.”
*Write names and descriptions of God on strips of paper and turn it into a paper chain. See how long you can make your chain. Can you reach from one end of a room to another if you put all your chains together?
*Go on a creation scavenger hunt. Make a list of things from creation (ie: stick, pebble, grass, flower, feather etc) and see who can find all the items first. Discuss how God created this world and is in control of it.
*Watch a God focused movie such as the “Jesus Story”
*Snuggle up and read from the “Jesus Storybook Bible”
*Invite kids to ask questions about God; have a Q&A time.

 

Confessions of a 80’s TV Junkie (Dose of Sunshine)

You are my sunshine
You are my sunshine

As a kid I was a total tv junkie. I could quote you every line from every episode of Punky Brewster, Facts of Life, Care Bears, Rainbow Brite and many other 80’s girl shows. I could also sing you every line from any commercial shown during those years. Random fact: my all time favorite show was Kids Incorporated. I rehearsed every scene; you know just in case Renee quit and they needed me on a moment’s notice!

Sorry, I digress….so being such a 80’s tv savant I often liked to test out lines and catch phrases on my friends and family. Given the fact that I was such a shy kid, sometimes this created some hilarious and unexpected situations.
As was the case when my beloved, precious, petite, and oh so sweet Grandmother took my eight year old self out for a shopping day. She bought me several things, treated me to a movie, and followed that by dinner. On the ride home, while basking in the glow of new toys, I decided to try out  a line I had heard on the Facts of Life:
“Grandmother, you may be old, but you sure are loaded!”
I remembered that she laughed hysterically; my parents – not so much!

But hey – you take the good, you take the bad right? 😉

Grace and Jen Dec 1979

Oh how I miss that smile and laugh!

These Dose of Sunshine posts are created with the hopes of shining a little light and humor into your Friday. I hope they bring a smile to your face. If you would like to share a “Dose of Sunshine” story, please email me at jmbleakley@gmail.com

A Canine Evangelist (Dose of Sunshine)

You are my sunshine

A few days ago this happened:

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Um….when your dog says pray I guess you better pray!!!!

She got into my preschool Bible study signs. I wasn’t sure if this was a warning, a request, or an apology 😉

It was however hilarious when my kids were screaming: “Mommy, Bailey just got your prayer. Hurry, she is going to chew up your prayer. Mommy pray! It’s pray. Come get it. Bailey won’t let go of pray!”

Does this mean we have a highly spiritual dog? A canine evangelist? Or just further proof she is part goat?

Friday Dose of Sunshine

You are my sunshine
You are my sunshine

A Bible Study Fellowship children’s leader had been teaching her class the concepts of grace, works and salvation. Curious as to how much they were understanding she began to ask them questions:

Boys and girls, if I gave all my money away to the poor could I go to Heaven?
– No teacher, you can’t go to Heaven by giving money away.

Well, what if I went to church every single Sunday and sang in the choir, then could I go to Heaven?
– No teacher, you can’t get to Heaven just by going to church.

Ok, but what if I memorized the entire Bible! Surely I could go to Heaven then right?
– No teacher that’s silly. You can’t go to Heaven that way!

The teacher was very impressed at their deep understanding of grace versus works. She felt certain this class contained the next great theological minds of our modern day. She joyfully anticipated their answer to her last question:

Well, if none of those things can get a person into Heaven, then how do we get to Heaven?

A little boy raised his hand. The teacher sat up a little straighter with a look of admiration on her face. She called on the young theologian who proudly stood to impart his deep doctrinal understanding onto the class.

Teacher, in order to go to Heaven you have to get dead first!

I guess all great theological minds gotta start somewhere 😉

Happy Friday!

These weekly “Dose of Sunshine” posts are in honor of the sweet, funny and silly things kids do that bring laughter and truth into our lives. If you have a Dose of Sunshine story you would like to share please leave it in the comments or email me directly at jmbleakley@gmail.com

Dose of Sunshine

You are my sunshine
You are my sunshine

I almost skipped this today given the other 31 days writing I’m doing, but if I ever needed a “dose of sunshine” it would be today while surrounded with gray skies and rain.

A friend of mine who teaches preschool told me this story. Given that it involves Noah’s ark and I feel like I may need to build my own ark soon, I just had to share:

Ms. Dee was getting ready to tell her 4 year old students the story of Noah. As an introduction to the story she asked if the boys and girls knew what an ark was. One little boy raised his hand and said, “a big wooden boat.” Ms. Dee smiled at the boy and said yes, it was made of wood. Another little boy then raised his hand and said in a very dramatic voice with exaggerated hand motions, “it is a big, big ship with lots of wooden decks and it is called, The Disney Cruise Ship!”

Kinda puts a whole different spin on the story doesn’t it? 😉

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I could go for that kind of ark today!

These weekly “Dose of Sunshine” posts are in honor of the sweet, funny and silly things kids do that bring laughter and truth into our lives. If you have a Dose of Sunshine story you would like to share please leave it in the comments or email me directly at jmbleakley@gmail.com

Dose of Sunshine

You are my sunshine
You are my sunshine

One evening my then six year old daughter was taking a bath when she called me in, “Mama, come here! You have to see this!”

As parents of young children know, a command like that can conjure up all sorts of frightening images of what they are about to see 😉 but in I walked to behold whatever it was….

I was relieved to find that my daughter was simply looking at drops if water on her arm!

“Look mama, I have leprosy like the Tin Man in the Bible!!” – she said while smiling!
“Ummmm?????” (I didn’t know where to start….do you address the leprosy first or the fact the Tin Man was most definitely not in the Bible???)

I went with the Tin Man: “Sweetie, the Tin Man wasn’t in the Bible. And he definitely didn’t suffer from leprosy.”

“Mommy, your funny. There was a Tin Man in the Bible and Jesus healed them, but only one Tin Man came back to say thank you to Him.”

Sunshine Truth: Both the Tin Man and the Ten Men had reasons to be grateful 🙂

*The “Ten Men” aka “the Tin Man” story can be found in Luke 17:11-19.

These weekly “Dose of Sunshine” posts are in honor of the sweet, funny and silly things kids do that bring laughter and truth into our lives. If you have a Dose of Sunshine story you would like to share please leave it in the comments or email me directly at jmbleakley@gmail.com

Dose of Sunshine

These weekly “Dose of Sunshine” posts are in honor of the sweet, funny and silly things kids do that bring laughter and truth into our lives.” 

You are my sunshine
You are my sunshine

Over the summer my daughter’s very best friend in the whole wide world moved several hundred miles away. There were many tears as reality slowly set in and the permanence of the move became undeniable. Playing at each other’s houses turned into facetime playdates, giggling fits in the back of a car were substituted with text messages, and whispered secrets with each other turned to whispered prayers for each other.  

They have found a way to keep each other in their hearts, but even more amazing than that is how this family has chosen to keep God’s Word in their hearts and home. The family was able to build a new house in their new state. Once the walls were up the family went into the half-way finished home and wrote Bible verses on the walls. What a beautiful picture of building your life on God’s Word and His promises!

My friend sent me a picture of what her daughter wrote on her wall:

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It says: “Hide God’s Word in your heart, just like we are hiding His Word in our walls.”

What a beautiful reminder to all of us that we need to hide God’s Word in our hearts.

Lies and half-truths are at constant war with real truth. The only way we will be able to spot a lie is if we know the Truth. I love this precious reminder written in the script of a sweet little girl who means the world to my daughter.

Thank you sweet Libby! We miss you ❤

(If you have a Dose of Sunshine story you would like to share please leave it in the comments or email me directly at jmbleakley@gmail.com)

Dose of Sunshine – The True Street Evangelist

You are my sunshine
You are my sunshine

A few years ago my husband was out back burning some leaves while my kids were drawing with chalk on the driveway. My then 9 year old son asked me if it was ok for him to write some on the street. I walked out front to watch for traffic so that he could draw (that is what I thought he was going to do.)

I was so busy watching for cars, noticing the weeds growing by the mailbox, and chuckling at my then 5 year olds attempts at spelling that it took several minutes for me to realize what my son was actually doing.

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He was writing out the Gospel in the street! He tends to be very shy around adults, but he wanted grown-ups to know about Jesus so he decided to write out a message of hope and love so that anyone riding by or walking by could read it.

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He explained that Jesus loves them and wants them to be with Him in Heaven. He then said all you have to do is have your sins forgiven by praying and asking Jesus to forgive you and give you eternal life. My own little “street” preacher! He even inspired his sister to get in on the action – although her spelling made her message a little harder to understand 😉

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I think she was trying to write “Gospel”…thankfully her spelling has gotten much better!

While the street preaching was going on in the front, the burning leaves resulted in a captivating and inspiring moment out back.

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I know it was a result of smoke, air and sunlight, but I also know that God used those substances to make His pleasure known. How He must have smiled at the scene going on in the front yard. I know I sure did!

Sunshine truth: All it takes to change a life is a willing heart, and maybe a piece of chalk 😉

Dose of Sunshine: All Consuming Fire

You are my sunshine
You are my sunshine

A mom was at her wits end over her son’s unthankfulness and complaining. She had tried all sorts of discipline strategies, encouragements and rewards, but still the complaining and grumbling continued.

She decided to change tactics and send him to God’s Word instead, “I want you to search the Bible and write down verses about not being thankful and about complaining. Then come find me and tell me what God says about it.”

The boy slumped into a chair and started flipping pages in the Bible. After about 20 minutes he went in search of his mom. “Well son, what did you find out?”

“Mama, I’m so sorry. Thank you for everything! I will never ever complain again!”

Mom was taken aback by his attitude, and amazed at how instantly God’s Word had transformed her son. “Well, good. I’m so glad. So what exactly did you learn?”

Mom, fully anticipating him to speak about Philippians 2:14 or 1 Thessalonians 5:18, was shocked (and a little amused) when her son exclaimed, “God sets complaining kids on fire!”

“What???? What are you talking about?”

“Numbers 11:1 says, ‘Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the LORD heard everything they said. Then the LORD’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp.’ ”

Mom was wide-eyed and shocked at the obscure verse her son had managed to find. She knew she should talk about context and law versus grace, but she suddenly saw the glorious opportunity she had inadvertently been handed, “Yes, well…um….you just go think about that!”

Mom’s note: Surprisingly my son has been much more grateful and far less complaining recently! 😉

Sunshine Truth: Sometimes a simple time-out doesn’t look so bad!

Dose of Sunshine

You are my sunshine
You are my sunshine

While standing in another room this morning I was somewhat horrified by the conversation occurring in the kitchen:

Daughter: Mommy’s bottom is a lot thicker than Daddy’s.
Son: But her top is thinner.
Daughter: Yep, mommy has a thick bottom and a thin top, and Daddy is just thin all over.

You can imagine my relief when I walked into the kitchen and realized they were comparing our laptops!!!!

Sunshine truth: It’s all about context.