FREE Character Counts: Diligence Planner

Happy New Year! We have made it through 2020 and entered a new year! With a new year comes goals, dreams and plans. We all like to sit down and dream with our spouse, and with our families to plan. Especially after this past year we have had, it is a nice break to think of a better future. It is important to sit down and discuss or write out what we want to achieve in a new year. It is a whole different thing to make those goals a reality. This is where diligence comes in.

This month’s subscriber freebie is on the theme of Diligence.

A diligent person is one who may come across as a go-getter. They set their sites on something that they want to accomplish and they don’t stop until they achieve their goal. Then there are those people who look back on regret because they can never follow through on things. They start something and never have a way to accomplish it, or it gets hard and they just give up.

It is not an easy thing to stick to something and follow through. We see this a lot with New Year resolutions and goals. If you don’t have a plan, then you plan to fail. And it happens every time. Did you know that diligence can be practiced and taught?

This is actually a good character trait that can be worked on. In today’s society it can be hard to push through and not get lazy. There are so many things that make life easy, like technology, gadgets, different devices. Yet it is important to teach our children to follow through, and be true to their word. This is why teaching diligence is so important! When you are diligent, you have a better chance at succeeding and completing your goals!

This character study is perfect for a new year with goal setting. It will give you tips and suggestions on how to practice being diligent in your home. There are ideas and helps for how to follow through on simple tasks to complete goals, and resolutions. Felice always has some great, practical ideas to work on things together as a family.

What is in this month’s planner?

Our Character Counts planners will guide you in planning out a 4-week study on the specific character trait for that month. So this month is on the theme of Diligence. Our planners are always open and go. So all of the hard work of planning is done for you. They are also customizable so you can pick and choose what you would like to use from the planner printables. They are also not dated and can be used  anytime of the year. We like to store ours in a character training binder broken down by theme. Character training is a great addition to a family morning or Bible time in your homeschool. The activities are good for all ages in your family, including parents!

Check out what is inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study on Diligence
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Diligence Journaling Sheets
  • Diligence Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Activity Sheets
  • Diligence Goals Sheets
  • Printable Motivation Posters
  • Certificate of Completion

Could you use some extra help and encouragement in training up your children?

You don’t want to miss the Makeover Your Motherhood Summit full of workshops and support in a private community group with authors and workshop speakers.

Each week we send the free access to download your Character Counts Planner in our ezine. The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. There is a new planner every single month. If you are not signed up, you can sign up HERE.

Making Christmas Memories plus a freebie

What was your favorite Christmas childhood memory? You may remember one or two of the most important childhood events in your life. But often, our childhood memories are vague remembrances fueled by a retelling of stories by our parents. In truth, we rarely remember some of the most amazing events in our lives.

Making Christmas Memories plus a special Christmas Memory Book just for kids

This was evidenced in my own family when I began talking about the time we had to replace our Christmas tree. The Christmas tree disaster was a wonderful event for our kids. What kid doesn’t want to decorate a tree twice! And, we talked about it for years. When the kids asked for pictures, I had nothing to show them. I mean, who wants to take a picture of a tree with falling needles and ornaments on the ground? Which made me consider having the children create a memory book.

Just like we chronicle different events with journals, why not do a memory book of special events with our kids? And what I wanted to create was something we could add to each year. And that turned into the Thanksgiving Journal, the Christmas Journal, and the New Year’s Journal. The Christmas journal is the topic of this post.

Our schedules are overflowing at Christmas time, and while school work may wind down, it seems that instead, our social lives speed up. There are plays to rehearse, gifts to buy or make and wrap, and gatherings to attend. Of course, there are decorations to put up, and baking begins in earnest or, at the very least, the purchase of Christmas cookies to share with family and friends. Why this rush? Well, it’s tradition and expected.

Family Traditions:

But, do you have a family tradition that you cherish and hold dear? For us, the one stabilizing fact is that we have an Advent Calendar  with our countdown to Christmas. It begins one month before Christmas, and each night we light one candle (there are 4 in total), and we celebrate the coming of our Savior with readings from the Bible. I love it, and the children enjoy it as well. After our readings, we go around the room and share what we are thankful for each day. It is a beautiful way to celebrate the countdown in a less materialist way.

Is there a family recipe you wish you had? I know in my own family, we lost several cherished recipes, and after my mother died, I found one in, of all places, her address book! At that point, I urged my children to start recipe books of their own and add recipes they liked and wanted to keep for “someday.”

Where do these unique recipes and events get recorded? For many, they do not get recorded, and that is the shame of trying to remember those wonderful events. Sure, we can look at the pictures, but the pictures are often only part of the story. Having your children create a Christmas Memory Journal is half of the fun! They can add to this each year with additional pages.

Christmas Memory Journal:

Here is a FREE Christmas Memory Journal that you can print this out and have your children use this book each year to add favorite memories.

What are some things they can add to this book?

  1. Favorite family recipes
  2. Special family traditions.
  3. Special family events.
  4. People who attended or gathered together.
  5. A unique or memorable gift.

The best part of this journal is reading what took place in the past years. It does not have to be long; a page or two will suffice! For some kids, it is a drawing and two words; for others, they do a beautiful job in writing down what they want to remember. The Christmas Memory journal has been a great hit in my own family, and I pray it is in each one of yours as well!

 

FREE Character Counts: Joyfulness Planner

We have discussed this before, but everyone knows this year has been extremely rough. It sure can be hard to find joy in these tough situations. The stress and worries of the world, and an unknown future can rub off on our children and cause stress in the home. It is so important to teach our children about how to show joyfulness in all situations.

FREE Character Counts: Joyfulness Planner

It is hard to smile back at someone when they are crabby and scowling. But a simple smile can light up the face of a stranger, or a family member. Just the routine of smiling and laughing daily can bring joys to others.

Some of our children come about this trait rather naturally, while others may struggle with finding joy. Many of us can tend to worry and have anxiety. Those thoughts and anxiety can rob us of the joy that God so freely gives to us. If you have a child that tends more towards worry and stressing over situations then it is very helpful to teach them about being joyful.

It isn’t easy for us as parents either. All you have to do is turn on the news or social media and worry will start to seep in. This is when we need to turn our focus on God and the joy that He so freely gives us. Nehemiah 8:10 says “The Joy of the Lord is your strength.” God’s joy can bring us the strength we need to get through each day, month and year. It gives us the strength to continue on and parent our children with love and with joy.

This Character Counts planner is on the theme of Joyfulness.

If you struggle with being joyful or teaching your children how to be joyful you will enjoy this month’s subscriber freebie. It will give you tips and suggestions on how to practice joyfulness in your home. I love the practical ideas that Felice gives for us to do together as a family. Sometimes when things are hard it is difficult to think of what to do next, or how to tackle an attitude problem. Simple and practical ideas are always helpful!

What is in this month’s planner?

Our Character Counts planner will help you plan out a 4-week study on the character trait of joyfulness.  Our planners are open and go. This means that all the planning is done for you. They are also customizable. You are able to pick and choose what you would like to use within the planner printables. They are not dated so you can use them anytime of the year. I like to print ours out and store them in a character training binder. I create tabs for each character trait. Character training is a great addition to a family morning or Bible time in your homeschool. The activities are good for all ages in your family, including parents!

Check out what is inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study of Joyfulness
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Joyfulness and Your Gifts Journaling Sheets
  • Joyfulness Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Activity Sheets and Create a Joyfulness Poster
  • Joyfulness Goals Sheets
  • Joy Printable Motivation Posters
  • Certificate of Completion

The directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner are sent in each weekly ezine. The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. If you are not signed up, you can sign up HERE.

 

Simple Soup and Salad Christmas Eve Tradition

I love finding out the different ways that families celebrate with their Christmas traditions. Some of them are very unique and fun, with something random and obscure that was just passed down as a family tradition. Others may be more traditional, like attending a Christmas Eve candlelight service at church and opening one present.

Simple Soup and Salad Christmas Eve Tradition with recipe card! #holidaytraditions #familydinner #soupandsalad #homeforlearningblog #uhpn

There are also different cultural ways that families celebrate. These may differ from one culture to the next. I have some friends whose family have a mix of different cultures throughout. They all get together for a formal Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. They eat very late, and then they open all of their presents at midnight. Christmas Day is then spent with family and children playing with their toys. If you don’t have to get up early the next day then staying up so late wouldn’t be a problem! This was always such a fascinating idea to me.

Since I love hearing so much about other families and their traditions, I thought it would be fun to share our very own Christmas Eve tradition:

This tradition started 5 years ago. We used to gather up the family and drive to the other side of town for family dinner. We then ended up at another family member’s church for a late night Christmas Eve service. This was always so exhausting with small children, and we really wanted to attend our own home church. Somehow, I was able to entice my in laws to attend our church and have dinner at our house instead.

I have an amazing soup recipe that I have tweaked over the years that my father in law always requests that I make. It is a labor of love, so I don’t make it often. I offered to host Christmas Eve dinner at our house with the promise of Tortellini soup, and a new tradition was instantly born!

Our Simple Soup and Salad Christmas Eve Tradition:

I love making soup, because you can simmer it on the stove all afternoon, turn it off and it’s still going to be hot an hour later. You can even keep it warm in a crockpot, but I like to make mine in a large stock pot. For our Christmas Eve tradition, we attend the early Christmas Eve service at our church. This is usually around 5pm. That give us the afternoon to clean the house, to get it all ready for Christmas and to prep our soup and salad.

The reason this soup is a labor of love is because there is so much chopping involved. This soup has lots of herbs and veggies, and chopping it all up can take awhile. It is totally worth it though! If you love Italian food, and hearty wholesome soups, this is the soup for you. The entire family loves it, even small children! Once the soup has simmered for awhile, the last step is to add the tortelilnis. Since we plan on eating when we get home from our church service I leave this step out until we get home. Our service is short so we are home within an hour and the soup is still hot. If you plan on eating after church and will be gone awhile I recommend putting your soup in a crockpot.

My in-laws will meet us at church, and when service is over we come back to our house for dinner. I love the compliments when they walk in the door because the house smells absolutely amazing! I turn the soup back on and add the tortellinis for the final step. We usually snack on some cheese and crackers while the soup finishes up. This soup is very hot so I like to give it some time to cool off before we eat it. We go ahead and ladle it into bowls so it has some time to cool. While it is cooling down we go ahead and make our salads. I like to make a very light salad with fresh lettuce from our garden, cucumbers, tomatoes, freshly grated parmesan cheese and Olive Garden Italian Dressing. Once we are done with our salads the soup is ready to go!

After dinner there is very little clean up as we only have one pot, and bowls and salad plates. It is super easy and makes for a relaxed and simple evening. When dinner is over we read a Christmas story together, and the grandparents hand out gifts. This is such a cozy, sweet and simple tradition we look forward to each year.

I have included my recipe for you below. You can save the image and print it out for your own recipe book. This has been tweaked over the years to make it large family friendly and is a double batch recipe. You can half this if you need to, but it does freeze very well. This will easily feed 10 people with about a quart, maybe more for leftovers. My father in law happily brings some home with him every single time.

You don’t want to miss this special giveaway:

This year has been pretty intense for many families. The struggle is real and there are many that are worried about the bills, the presents, the tree, and even the food itself for Christmas dinner. It doesn’t need to be an anxiety inducing season though. There is a hope that can be found in help that others offer. This help can come in various forms and may it be found in a quiet moment, a shared laugh, or a restful night. This year I have teamed up with a group of amazing bloggers that want to also be a part of the help during this Christmas season.

We are so excited to share that we are going to be able to bless ONE family this year with $500 in PayPal cash. Together we pray that this will help with any of the worries and anxiousness of the season. All of us are wishing for a wonderful Christmas filled with blessings and sweet memories for you and your family!

This Christmas Cash Spectacular runs from 11/30/2-12/07/20 and you can enter on the form below. It is hosted by KingSumo. There are numerous ways to enter and gain extra entries too, so please take a few minutes to visit each entry to increase your chance to win. You MUST have a PayPal address to win this giveaway and the winner will be chosen at random on 12/08/20 and notified by email that same day.

Thanksgiving Memories and Deals

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I don’t know about you, but this year has absolutely flown by! I know that many people are excited for Christmas, but Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. The food, the family, the cozy, warm fall colors and smells just calm my spirit. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect with a grateful heart on all that God has done for us.

Thanksgiving Memories and Deals

I know, this year has just been awful on so many levels, but even in the midst of all the craziness and uncertainty God is still good. There is always something to be grateful for. It can be hard as an adult to see this, children are so much better at having thankful hearts. This is a great time of year to set back and watch our children enjoy themselves. Watch them do crafts, and think about what they are personally thankful for. It really helps to put things into perspective when you see what your children are thankful for.

Thanksgiving Memories:

Thanksgiving is a time to make memories and share joy with others. A great way to do this is by making thankful crafts with your children, and writing down what you are thankful for. Felice always has the best ideas for immersing your children in the holidays by creating special memories with your children.

In this podcast, Felice speaks directly to kids, sharing with them ideas on how to make memories this Thanksgiving. There are also some fun craft ideas and help to get them thinking about what they are thankful for. She has also included a FREE Thanksgiving Memory Book! This sweet little memory book is a place for your children to record their favorite memories of Thanksgiving. There are even Thanksgiving craft ideas and scripture copywork pages for them. You can find this in the show notes HERE as an instant download. 

Thanksgiving Deals:

With the Thanksgiving season also comes lots of deals! Homeschoolers sure are a frugal bunch and love deals. We have some great sales that are running for Black Friday and through Cyber Monday. These are perfect to help you plan out your family and your homeschool, as well as help instill good character skills in your children.

It’s time to prepare to move on from 2020, and build a foundation to make 2021 the most amazing year ever. We can do this by helping or family grow in our knowledge of God’s love and the character traits He wants us to pursue.

Check out the deals on these resources that will help:

Grab our set of our set of 3 planners on Awareness, Decisiveness, and Forgiveness for 50% OFF with our special coupon code!

Use code: CHARACTER2020 at checkout.

Get this fun Homeschool Calendars & Goal Setting Bundle for the entire year made specifically for homeschoolers! Enjoy 4-square planning themed for each month, monthly and weekly planners, activities for your kids, planning tips and more.

Take 30% off with code BLACKFRIDAY

A Few Minutes With God

In this fiction account, author, Felice Gerwitz shares a story about redemption and the power of listening to that small, still voice of God. If you love Christian Fiction you will enjoy this special book!

Retails for $12.99. On sale for 50% off through 11/30/20.

FREE Character Counts: Gratefulness Character Planner

Gratefulness is one of those character traits that we can always improve on. I have noticed in my own life that when I am showing gratefulness it seeps down to my children and my entire family. If I am grumbling and complaining about circumstances, or petty things, that gets passed down too. How many times have you found yourself complaining about something little, and then you hear the same thing come out of your child’s mouth the next day? OUCH.

FREE Character Counts Gratefulness Planner

This year, more than ever is a time to really settle down and focus on what we are grateful for. It has been a tough, tough year for so many families. Job losses, sickness, civil and political unrest. Vacations and special events cancelled. Disappointment. Worry for what the future holds. We need to be able to take a step back, enjoy our family and the resources God has given us.

Being thankful for the simple things.

How many of you are so thankful that you have toilet paper in your house right now? Who would have ever taken something like toilet paper for granted until this year? We literally jumped for joy when my husband found a pack of 1 ply. That is something I would normally complain about, and we rejoiced to have anything! Can you believe it? It sounds silly, but it is absolutely something to be grateful for.

Every little step at showing gratitude, helps you to be more grateful for even the hard things. Sometimes it is the hard things that shows us the simple things we can thank God daily for. It helps your children to be grateful and complain less as well when they see you modeling this in your home. Before you know it, gratefulness will be flowing from your heart, and you will see true change, joy and happiness.

This month’s subscriber freebie is our Gratefulness Character Planner:

November is always a great month to hone in and focus on being grateful and thankful for our blessings. Even more so this year, but it is just more easily done during the time of Thanksgiving. With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, our family always enjoys doing unit studies on thankfulness.

This is the perfect time to gather your family around and work on these activities together. Felice always includes some creative ideas, experiences, activities, printables and worksheets to help your family work together towards the specific trait. There is a lot of room for discussion, and very good thinking and conversation points as well.

What is in this month’s planner?

Our Character Counts planner will help you plan out a 4-week study on the character trait of gratefulness.  Our planners are open and go and all the planning is done for you. They are also customizable, meaning you can pick and choose what you would like to use. The planners are not dated so you can use them anytime of the year. I like to print ours out and store them in a character training binder. Character training is a great addition to a family morning time in your homeschool. The activities are good for all ages in your family.

Check out what is inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Gratefulness/Thankful vs. Ungrateful
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Gratefulness and Your Gifts Journaling Sheets
  • Gratefulness Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Activity Sheets and Create a Poster
  • Grateful Tree Craft
  • Gratefulness Printable Motivation Posters
  • Certificate of Completion

The directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner are sent in each weekly ezine. The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. If you are not signed up, you can sign up HERE.

 

 

Homeschool Planner Bundle and Encouragement for Mom FREEBIE

Our podcast network is celebrating 7 years of sharing hope, encouragement and tips with homeschooling families. Earlier this month, we told you that we would be celebrating with some freebies, giveaways and really awesome sales. Today, we will be sharing these gifts with you. These are time sensitive and you don’t want to miss out on them!

Homeschool Planner Bundle and Encouragement for Mom FREEBIE

If you have been an email subscriber with us, you may have seen the detailed planners that Felice creates each month. This year she has focused on character planning studies that are open and go with no planning on the part of the parent. We look forward to getting these in our emails each month and using them for our morning homeschool Bible time. If you don’t already subscribe to our ezine you can sign up HERE. We send a brand new freebie every single month. A lot of time and love is put into creating these for you.

Before the character planners, a brand new homeschool calendar would come out for each month. These were themed with special themes for the seasons, or holidays of that month. Once the month was up, they were not available any longer. Until now! We have brought back our popular homeschool calendars and goal setting sheets in one bundle as a special release for our birthday celebration.

Homeschool Calendars and Goal Setting Bundle Deal:

The Homeschool Calendars and Goal Setting Bundle is good for an entire year of homeschool planning and goal setting. These were created specifically for homeschool families! Enjoy 4-square planning themed for each month, monthly and weekly planners, tips, notes of encouragement and more. Each planner also comes with printable posters and scriptures with pretty borders to match the season. There are even activity sheets for your children to work on while you work on planning out your month. I especially love the meal planning and printable lists for holiday meals, and celebrations.

There are 12 planners for each month in the year. Some of these planners have at least 50 pages of activities and resources, and a few of them are almost 100 pages long. This is a great value! 12 planners have a retail value of $24.00.

You can grab them HERE for only $7.00 to celebrate our 7 years on the air! Hurry! They will go back to full price in November.

Homeschool Moms Album FREEBIE:

FREE Homeschool Moms Album for homeschooling moms. The Songs of Prayers for Homeschool Moms has music and printable lyrics to refresh and encourage you. These are very soothing and uplifting. They are great to download to the device that you listen to your podcasts on, or to your computer when you need an encouraging moment in your busy day.

Use coupon code momsalbum to get it for free.

Expires 10/31/20.

$200 Birthday Celebration Giveaway:

We have partnered with our homeschool podcast hosts to giveaway over $200 in gift cards! There are two prizes in this giveaway. One winner will receive their choice of a $200 gift card to Christian Book Distributors or Rainbow Resources. Another winner will receive a $100 gift certificate for any of our Media Angels products, ebooks or memberships.

This giveaway ends on 10/31/20/

You can Enter the Giveaway HERE.

Giveaways

 

FREE Character Counts: Generosity Character Planner

Generosity is a trait that some people have and give of generously. Other people may struggle greatly with being generous, and may be seen as stingy, cheap, or down right selfish. You probably can see this difference in your own family unit. Not everyone has a love language for giving gifts, and some children struggle to give with a happy heart. This can be a hard habit to break and to encourage the opposite of.

FREE Character Counts: Generosity Character Planner

So what is the opposite of being generous? It is plain and simple and its called selfishness. This is a sin nature that all children are born with. I think one of the first words out of a toddler’s mouth is “NO! That’s mine!” If you have multiple small children you may hear them yelling this at one another often! I remember reading a book with that title to my little ones when they struggled with sharing.  I think for a time that we read that book almost every single day. It took awhile before it finally caught on that what they were doing was being selfish.

We can read books to our children, and speak to them and tell them to share and to give freely, but it isn’t always that easy. If you have been following along with these planners each month, you will know that Felice always says that character is caught, not taught! We can model generous and giving behavior to our children, and they will quickly catch on to how they should behave.

This month’s character training planner is on the character trait of generosity.

If you have children that are struggling with sharing, or giving, or just down right being selfish then this month’s character planner is for your family! It will give you helpful and practical suggestions to teach you how to model a generous and giving spirit to your family. There are many wonderful ideas and experiences that you can do together as a family to work on this trait as well. I love the worksheets, posters and activity sheets. This planner is great for all ages and has many different things you can print off and use.

What is in this month’s planner?

The Character Counts planner helps you to easily plan out a 4-week study on the character trait of generosity.  Just like our previous planners, the planning is done for you. Yes, these planners are completely open and go. It is also customizable, meaning you can pick and choose what you would like to use. The planners are not dated. We do that on purpose, so that you can use them at any time. I like to print ours out and store them in a character training binder. You can easily access them and pull them out when you are dealing with a certain issue that needs to be focused on in your family. Character training is a great addition to a family morning Bible time. These are designed to be simple and fun, with activities for your entire family to participate in together.

Check out what’s inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Generosity vs. Selfishness and Self-Focuses
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Flexibility and Your Gifts Journaling Sheets
  • Generosity Vocabulary Words
  • Activity Sheets and Create a Poster
  • Generosity Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Make a Generosity Blue Print
  • Generosity Printable Motivation Posters
  • Certificate of Completion

The directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner are sent in each weekly ezine. The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. If you are not signed up, you can sign up HERE.

Lessons Learned from God’s Plant Helpers ~ plus a $100 giveaway

Plants have always played a big role in my life. From the time I was little into my adult years, the forest and fields were dear to my heart. And, when I had children, I made sure to encourage this same love in them through outdoor learning adventures. We trekked through the woods on hiking expeditions, sometimes following letterboxing clues.

Lessons Learned from God’s Plant Helpers plus $100 Giveaway.

We visited nature centers, preserves, and caves. And, whenever possible, I encouraged them to see—really see—the trees and plants surrounding us. If God speaks to us through his creation, he speaks to us through his plant helpers, too. What secrets does God wish to share with us through them?

Invasive species, if left unchecked, take over.

An invasive species is one that is not native to the area, but brought in artificially. Very often, human activity is the root cause, but not always. Whatever way it happens, trees and plants that aren’t supposed to be there take up residence. Because they tend to be aggressive, adaptable, and hardy, they crowd out the native plants. Soon, the landscape is full of the invasive species and the whole habitat changes. It is no longer able to sustain the native wildlife. All the beauty and diversity leaves. Sometimes, a controlled burn is necessary to eliminate the problem.

Think about what happens when an “invasive species” (or new bad habit) enters our lives. If we don’t address it right away, it can spread like a weed. It becomes harder and harder to get rid of it and pretty soon, we succumb. We end up needing a “controlled burn” from God to get rid of the entrenched bad habit. Then, we need to cultivate good habits again and be on our guard.

Deep roots allow us to stand when a storm hits.

When hurricane winds hit or a tornado, are the trees uprooted? Almost never. Sometimes they crack or branches are broken off, but very seldom is a tree pulled out of the ground and blown about. The root system of a tree is as extensive underground as it is above ground. Not only is it able to stand in the worst storm, but it also lives through harsh winters. Why? Because of its deep roots!

Jesus tells us to build our houses on the rock so that when the wind and rain comes, we aren’t blown over (Matt. 7:24). We cannot minister to others, providing protection and shade, if we have shallow roots.

Even in a desert, if there is a little bit of soil mixed in the sand, life blossoms.

Did you know that the only deserts that have plants and animals are in the Americas and Australia? African and Asian deserts cannot support life, but these can. The reason is that the American and Australian deserts have a small amount of soil in them and they tend to get a little more rain. Not a lot. Just a bit more. But, this small difference makes all the difference. And, because plants can grow with this small amount of soil mixed into the sand, animals can flourish, too.

God can do amazing things with that little bit of faith you hold on to in the midst of life’s deserts. He can bring blessing in your life and use you to bless others.

Beware the pretty flowers.

Some of the prettiest flowers bring pain and suffering. Think of the beautiful rose, so fragrant and silky. But, hidden beneath its blossoms lie painful thorns. The delicate lily-of-the-valley, with its nodding bells and inviting aroma, delivers death to anyone who ingests it. These flowers—and many more—remind us to exercise caution when confronted with attractive options. Sometimes that opportunity that sounds so perfect ends up ruining us.

Nothing is ever wasted.

When plants die, they become part of the soil or forest floor. Insects, fungi, and microorganisms reduce the plant to dust and thus, the dead becomes part of the living. From acorn to leaf and from pollen to root, God doesn’t waste anything. He is the great recycler. And in our lives, he takes what was once dead and breathes life into it. And we are reborn into His Kingdom.

The next time you are running through the forest or prairie, exploring the dunes, or driving through an American desert, try to really see the plants. God is teaching. Always.

$100 Natural Living Gift Card Giveaway!

 

Crunchy Christian Podcast, Master Herbalist and veteran Christian unschooler, Julie Polanco, shares hope, how-to’s, and a bit of humor from her unschooling family’s adventures as city homesteaders pursuing God’s best naturally. Visit her website, Julie Naturally, for more information about how she can equip you in four areas of natural Christian living.

FREE Character Counts: Punctuality Character Planner

This month’s subscriber only freebie is perfect for a new school year, and a busy Fall schedule. It is on the topic of punctuality. We all know that homeschoolers are not known for being on time. A big joke is that we don’t send our kids to school because we don’t want to get up early to take them! All joking aside, punctuality is a very important character trait to teach our children. Being late is a bad habit that can be hard to break, and it is important to start teaching them when they are young.

FREE Character Counts Punctuality Character Planner

Why punctuality is important:

The stigma that homeschoolers are always late is not a good one. It really does paint us in a bad light. I know it is extremely difficult if you aren’t used to getting up early, to try to get everyone ready and out the door on time. This is even hard to achieve when you have multiple children of all ages, including babies and toddlers. Most homeschooling families have a lot of small children, so it does make it harder for those mamas. It is important to try to make it on time.

I remember leading a homeschool group once and being so frustrated on field trip days. There would be many families waiting at a business for the rest of the families to arrive so that we could all go in together as a group. It was embarrassing and frustrating to the company that allowed us to come and tour their facility. That’s when we started changing the times to 15 minutes earlier so we could actually be on time!

With this month’s theme being on punctuality, Felice shares her heart and her experiences with you. She talks about how when she was an adult, she struggled with being late and getting her to kids to places on time. She also shares some many practical tips and advice on how she was able to break that habit with her children. This month’s planner provides some serious reflection on this topic. Your kids will have a chance to really think about why it is important to be on time. How being on time demonstrates care and love for others, and how to avoid being late by preparing in advance.

What is in this month’s planner?

The Character Counts planner helps you to easily plan out a 4-week study on the character trait of punctuality.  Like always, the planning is done for you, which makes it completely open and go. It is also customizable, meaning you can pick and choose what you would like to use. The planners are not dated so that you can use them at any time. We like to print ours out and store them in a character training binder. You can easily access them and pull them out when you are dealing with a certain issue that needs to be focused on in your family. They are also a great addition to a morning Bible time. These are designed to be simple and fun, with activities for your entire family to participate in together.

Check out what’s inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Punctualilty vs. Tardiness
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Flexibility and Your Gifts Journaling Sheets
  • Activity Sheets and Create a Poster
  • Punctuallity Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Motivational Words Worksheet
  • Punctuality Blue Print
  • Create a Punctuality Poster
  • Certificate of Completion

The directions on how to download your free Character Counts Planner are sent in each weekly ezine. The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. If you are not signed up, you can sign up HERE.