Want an easy habit for 2017 that will bless your kids?

the sun rises over Lake Superior

As the sun rises, are you ready for the start of a New Year? Are all-systems-go in the annual building of resolutions? How about just one more easy habit to take on for 2017 – one that I guarantee will generate good-feelings in your child.

AND, this intention only takes about 30 seconds. And, it’s flexible: it fits into your morning, or your evening routines, or whenever. What could be better!

What is this simple practice?

Bless your children.

Blessings are simply saying good things to your kids, on behalf of God. It’s giving them a daily stamp of approval! Like swearing on a Bible, you state truthful words; language your children desperately need to hear.

Easy instructions: Get started today! Trace with your finger, the sign of the cross either on their forehead or on their hand, while saying their name and something up-lifting about the new year ahead. Try this…

'You are a very special person, created by God to do good in the world. May you eagerly approach the New Year, open to change and excited by new beginnings.

Tomorrow, either repeat the same words or use something else.

Want to know a secret?

You can even use these affirming words to bless yourself!

(I’m thinking that I’ll start off the new year doing just that.)

Whatever words you use, start an easy, new habit and bless your child every day.

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Photo credits:
A sunrise over Lake Superior by Sharon Mollerus, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things

Have you ever said to yourself, “I can’t do that, I’m not ____ enough.”

(Enter your word of choice: smart enough, or experienced enough, or perhaps brave enough?)

A cautious boy clings to the edge of a swimming pool

In our current Rotation on the story of Esther, I imagine that Esther herself wasn’t so keen about doing what her wise cousin Mordecai was suggesting:

Open quote markGo to the king and beg for mercy (Esther 4:8).

Surely Mordecai knew that in the kingdom of Xerxes, one didn’t just pop in to see the king without an invitation! No, no, no! That would result in certain death! Yet Esther takes that heroic, risky step.

Wow. She was brave.

But wait a minute. Esther was just an ordinary girl. Esther didn’t seem bold or courageous. Sure, she was just caught up in a strange series of events that led her to queenly status, but that was just fate. (Or was it?)

Once again. Another example: God chooses ordinary people to do his work.

We see this as a pattern in the Bible, look at all those humdrum humans carrying out amazing achievements: There are the disciples (including obscure fishermen, chosen to be Jesus’ students), and David (a lowly shepherd-boy chosen as king), and Mary (a simple, young girl chosen to birth God’s son)…

And then there’s you.

That’s right, you!

Open quote markGod can do anything you know–far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us (Ephesians 3:20).

How can you (and your family members) believe this?

It helps to have spoken reminders, both in your self-talk and in your speech to others.

Use words of expectation; expecting only good to come from you.
Offer a blessing to yourself and to those around you:

Open quote markGod envisions you as worthwhile.
Live this day fully aware of your potential.
Go out with courage! Confident of your value to God.
God is making a difference through you.


Click on a box if you would like to…
A check-box Satisfy your curiosity about why you should bless your child.
A check-box View other suggested blessings.

Photo credits:
Cautious boy by Devon D’Ewart, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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A Christmas Blessing for you

{Be sure to bestow this blessing on others.}

May you have a child-like faith.

children at the Christmas eve church service
Bowled over with the wonder of it all!

Always looking for what comes next.

May you be open to explore God among us.

Peanut crèche

Perhaps Immanuel is experienced in memories — provoked by a long-ago-made ornament.

Or noticed in nature’s ornamented arrangements…

Iced over American Cranberry Bush Viburnum

May you be awed by God’s redeeming love.

a sunset on a lake creates a cross in the water

May you have a blessed Christmas!

–Love, Carol


Photo credits:
Cross in a sunset by Rich Herrmann, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.
Other photos from my archives.

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Loving God by loving others with our words

It has been a while since I’ve written a blessing for you to use with your child. How about one that ties to our current Rotation story on the Jesus’ Greatest Commandment? Something about loving God with all you’ve got, and loving others as you love yourself.

A blessing is a way of giving someone love, and when you love others you are loving God.

DESCRIPTION HERE

Here is a suggested blessing that is good to use with little ones (and touches on the all you’ve got portion of our Bible story). Touch each part of their body as you say the words…

May your head always think thoughts of God.
May your ears hear whispers of God’s love.
May your eyes see God’s wonders.
May your lips speak kind words to others.
May your heart beat strongly in tune to God’s ways.
May your hands do the work of God.
May you spend time on your knees in God’s presence.
May your feet always follow God’s path.

You will be speaking words to your child that are like love letters from God, delivered by you.


Click on a box if you would like to…
A check-box Satisfy your curiosity about why you should bless your child.
A check-box View other suggested blessings.


Photo credits:
Father and daughter by Judy Baxter, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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Christmas Blessings!

{A Christmas blessing for you.}

This Christmas, may you catch a glimpse of this truth…

A creche scene with the words 'Love Came Down'

Love came among us on Christmas.

Yes, to us all!
The heart-sick,
the weary,
the lost,
the down-troddened.

To give us hope.
To show us how much God cares.

Share the gift

May you bring this gift to others.
May you be an image-bearer of Christ,
an agent of change,
a light for the world!


May you have a blessed Christmas!


–Love, Carol

Nativity scene with Christmas tree background


Photo credits:
Nativity by Jeff Weese, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License. Altered images here and here, by Carol Hulbert, at Flickr.

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Easter has come: Now run towards Jesus!

Mary Magdalene has reported that Jesus’ tomb is empty! Disciples John and Peter waste no time in quickly running towards the tomb; wondering what they would find (John 20:1-4).

Disciples John and Peter on their way to the tomb on Easter morning

Of course they didn’t find his body at the tomb, because Jesus is alive!

Later they would see the risen Jesus several times. And once more Peter would find himself “running” towards Jesus. (Okay, there was probably some swimming involved, see John 21:7).

How often do you find yourself wishing for an opportunity to run to Jesus?

What is holding you back?

When was the last time you reminded your child(ren) that running towards Jesus is always an option?

What is holding you back?

Open quote marks So turn to God! Give up your sins, and you will be forgiven.
Acts 3:19

A cross decorated with palm branchesAn Easter blessing:

On this day and everyday,
regardless of where you are at or how you are feeling,
turn and run to Jesus.

Happy Easter !
— Carol


Photo credits:
Disciples John and Peter on their way to the tomb on Easter morning a painting by Eugène Burnand. Offered by crazyapplefangirl, on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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For Lent: Add one small thing

Coffee and chocolate

We are in the season of Lent. Have you heard the standard question?

Open quote mark What are you giving up for Lent?

Rather than giving something up,

what about adding something?

Just one small thing, every day?

If you’ve been around these parts you have read what I have to say about blessing your child(ren). And about how…

  • Offering a blessing for someone means you see them as very valuable.
  • Blessings are words that communicate your child’s high value to God and to you.
  • They are special words that your child takes with them into the world.

Ideally I’d like to suggest that the small thing you add for Lent would be to bless your child(ren). But I know that that can be hard to start. (But for those of you who already bless your children, Bravo! Keep it up.)

For those who haven’t yet started, may I suggest a small something for you to add for Lent?

Give yourself a blessing.

Here is one to try. This blessing was written especially for you. It is based in part on 2 Corinthians 13:14, in the Message translation. Print it out if you’d like, here.

Fill in the blank with your name. Post it on the bathroom mirror or the fridge. Go ahead, speak these words to yourself; out-loud if you’d like! Every day.

Add one small thing for Lent.

Open quote mark _______ the amazing grace of Jesus, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, are always with you. Go, be a child of God, reflecting God’s love to all those around you.

Lenten blessings!

 — Carol

A cross decorated with palm branches It’s Lent! Here are some resources for the season:

Lenten activities for your family.

Short spiritual practices to try during Lent.

A way to tell the Easter story using plastic Easter eggs.


Photo credits:
Coffee & chocolate by Andrew Crookston, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.
FUMC’s palm-covered cross from my archives.

Off to school? Don’t leave without this…

Backpack? Check.
Lunch? Check.
Permission slip? Check.
Pencils? Check.

the kids, with their heavy backpacks, head out to the bus

Sounds like they are ready to head off to school. But wait! Don’t let them leave home without a blessing.

To your child, a blessing is a gift. It is a reminder that God loves them.

A blessing is words you speak to your child from your heart, but really they are words from God. God asks you to be his mouthpiece: to give your child words to carry with them. A blessing is meant to replace secular statements; words that can overwhelm and shut down. Such as:

  • You can’t do that. Why try.
  • Nobody believes in you.
  • You aren’t good enough. You have to be perfect.

Instead give your child these words:

Open quote markGod has given you skills and talents that this world needs.
May you be surrounded in God’s love, peace and protection.

Words can have great power. They can over run a child with disbelief or fill them with confidence. When we speak a blessing, we empower our children. We reach down into the deep well of living water that Jesus offers and draw up a refreshing drink. (John 4:13-14)

Send off each child with a blessing, reminding them that Jesus goes with them.

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Photo credits:
Off to school by woodleywonderworks, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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