Happy Thoughts

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laugh-417268_1280Every night as we tuck our children into bed, we give them a happy thought.

This started when our children began to have bad dreams and became afraid to go to sleep. Our assurances and the night lights didn’t seem to help, so we started to give them something happy to think about to send them off into dreamland. While we’ve been doing this for at least 6 months, and they’ve worked so well for us, that we thought we’d share them with you too ! (These are also really great conversation starters for dinner time!)

  1. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and what would you do together?
  2. If you could make your own movie, what would it be about, and who would be in it?
  3. If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?
  4. If you were to build a boat, how would you make it and where would you take it?
  5. If you created your own park, what would it look like?
  6. If you were asked to be on TV, what show would you want to be on, and what role would you play?
  7. If you could have any super power, what would it be and what would you do with it?
  8. If you could plan our next vacation – where would we go and what would we do?
  9. If you created your own candy village, what would it look like?
  10. If you were in charge of school, what would you do all day?
  11. If you could have been in The Lego Movie, what character would you play?
  12. If you could be any animal in the ocean, what would it be?
  13. If you were a cartoon character, what would you look like?
  14. If you could create a brand new animal, what would it look like, where would it live, and what would be special about it?
  15. If you could do anything tomorrow, what would it be?
  16. If you were to build your own house, what special parts would you put in it?
  17. If you could give any gift in the world to one person, what would you give and who would you give it to?
  18. If you were to create a robot, what would the robot look like, and what would the robot do for you?
  19. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  20. If you could fly to the moon, how would you get there if you couldn’t take a rocket ship?

One thing I LOVE about these happy thoughts is that every morning at breakfast, I try to remind the kids about what they started dreaming about before they went to bed. We have some of the best and some of the oddest conversations about their ideas. But, we learn a little bit more about how their brains work, what is important to them, and how we can better love them. These conversations are priceless!


How Does Our Family Start?

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DSC_2851Quite a few people have asked us, “How can my family do Love Projects too? We don’t even know where to start!”

On Monday, we shared with you how, as parents, my husband and I learned how to dream big again. While this is definitely the first step in starting bigger Love Projects with your family, I’d like to share with you four steps that can help you simply get started.

1. Talk to your children about the importance of looking out for the needs of others. This is something that does not happen naturally for most kids and needs to be taught, and an example set. Share with your kids what Love Projects are (or, whatever you want to call them for your family. For us, Love Projects are simply a way for our family to share God’s love with other people). Then, encourage your children to start thinking of how they can do this.

2. Give ownership: Find out what interests your children, or what their passions are. If they were going to start a Love Project, what would they want to do? When you allow your children to create the vision in their mind, you give them ownership and excitement over the entire process. Encourage them to create a list of 3-5 Love Projects they would like to do.

3. Research the ideas your children have come up with and discuss the results with your children. Good questions to consider would be:

  • How much will the total Love Project cost?
  • Will you need to raise money, materials, or goods?
  • How big do you want to make this Love Project?
  • How much time do you want to devote to this Love Project?
  • Can this be done locally?
  • If you homeschool, how can we incorporate this Love Project into school each day?
  • If you don’t know where to start, do you personally know anyone in the field of your Love Project that can help point you in the right direction?

4. Start Small, but Take Action: Choose the idea that best fits your family’s passion and schedule, and run with it. While Jordyn’s idea to send Jenna to Disney World was the first Love Project of Faith Like A Child, this was not the first Love Project we had done as a family. Jordyn had been a part of at least 25 different projects before this one. Most were very simple such as baking cookies/brownies for our local fire department, handing out bracelets to other children, picking up trash at a park, and writing notes of encouragement for people who clean public bathrooms. FLAC’s first Love Project was truly a culmination of each act of kindness along the way, which encouraged Jordyn to dream big.

Please don’t be intimidated by the starting process. Just start somewhere and grow from there. How big the Love Project is does not matter. When we look out for the needs of others, no matter how big or small, we teach our children to be less self-focused, and more others-focused, an invaluable lesson for all of us.

We’d love to hear from you! What other questions do you have about starting a Love Project? We are happy to help!


How to Dream Big Again

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DSC_1118When Jordyn was six years old, she had a really BIG idea! She wanted to send a fifteen-year old girl named Jenna to Disney World after Jenna “finished her medicine” for brain cancer.  Now, 18 months later, Jordyn has gone on to create and complete two additional major Love Projects.  And, through this process, the way we operate as a family has changed:

  • We listen more intently to the hearts of our children and try to support their ideas.
  • We actively pursue ways we can love other people.
  • We talk more about the importance of loving God and loving others in response to our Christian faith.
  • We have grown closer to God, as we watch Him do what only He can do.

To make these changes, Todd and I needed to recapture our child-like faith, release our adult-sized limitations, and simply, say YES!

1. Recapture our child-like faith. One morning Jordyn was lying on the floor, grabbing her ankle and screaming in pain. When I asked what happened, she said, “I don’t want to tell you!”

Knowing she was hurt, I asked again, which is when she told me she jumped off the table. Of course I had to ask, “Why did you jump off the table?”

She said, “Because I wanted to fly!”

When I asked why she thought she could fly, she said, “Well, the Bible says I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!”

There is a beauty of child-like faith where children have absolutely no limitations, no boundaries, no financial concerns, and no idea of what is or is not possible.

2. Release our adult-sized limitations. Once upon a time, we believed anything and everything was possible! We believed in the magic of Disney, the mystery of Santa Claus, we battled bad guys and had tea parties with other Princesses. And then… we grew up and “reality” set it.

Our bank accounts became finite, bills multiplied like bunnies; we had our share of success, as well as failure.  We were told “No!” time and time again.  We were rejected and our ability to believe anything was possible grew jaded. Sadly, we lost our ability to think and dream big.  However, our children are overflowing with ideas that helped us re-learn what it is like to dream big again.

3. Say “yes”! Many excuses flooded our minds when Jordyn came to us with her idea for Jenna:

  • “We don’t know the family!”
  • “Do you have any idea what this will cost?”
  • “We do not have time to raise all this money!”

But Something compelled us to support Jordyn’s crazy big idea.

We have come to learn that if as parents we are trying to squeeze our children into our dreams, our plans, and our lifestyles, we have it all backwards. Instead, we believe it is important to invest our time now into the child-like dreams and big ideas of our children while they still believe anything and everything is possible. All too soon we will blink and they will be all grown up.

Friends, the beauty is that your family can do this too, and we’d love to help!! Over the next few months, we will be rolling out a new blog series on how to help your children turn their big ideas and dreams into reality.  We’d love for you to join our mailing list, and join us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on this series!

Q.  What big ideas and dreams do your children have? You can leave a comment below!


One Person, One Passion, Lives Restored

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DSC_3077While we were at St. Jude delivering the toys for the children, we were fortunate to have a private tour of the Pavillion. This stunning building is chock full of information on the mission, purpose, and history of St. Jude. It was again, a whirlwind of emotions. There were moments that caused me to get choked up as I saw the beautiful faces of the sick children. Yet, at the same time, there was so much hope instilled in that room!

As we toured the Pavillion, a few stories and statistics stood out to us. Like these two:

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How amazing is that?? And, then we reached these two beautiful faces:

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When I asked Jordyn if she remembered who Jennifer Anniston was, she looked at me and said, “Of course. She’s in Just Go With It!” Yes. Yes, she is. But, that’s not exactly what I was referring to. I asked Jordyn if she remembered the commercial from St. Jude that made her want to do this Love Project. Oh yeah!! That’s HER! It was so fun to stand in the middle of the Pavillion and see a picture of the two people who reached into our daughter’s soul and tugged at her heart strings.

And, then just a little while later, I saw this….

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I got full body chills as I read what Jordyn is pointing to above, “Tony Thomas works with Jennifer Anniston and JORDYN, a patient, on the set of a St. Jude Thanks and Giving Commercial.” The precious girl who was receiving treatment from St. Jude; the girl who was the very inspiration behind this Love Project, the girl whose eyes locked with our daughter’s through a television screen and reached into the depths of who our daughter is - HER NAME IS JORDYN!! Same name as our daughter – spelling and all! I was totally blown away! Wow!!!

As we left the Pavillion, we couldn’t help but be inspired and filled with HOPE! Truth be told, we didn’t know a whole lot about St. Jude before doing this project. We knew they were a Research Hospital, helped really sick children and didn’t charge one dime for their care. And while that is amazing, St. Jude is so much more than that. They provide phenomenal care, food, toys, and even have three homes available for families in need while their children are undergoing treatment. In fact, it costs St. Jude $1.8 million EACH DAY to provide for their patients and 70% of their support comes from families just like yours and mine!! It truly is remarkable.

St. Jude began with one man, Danny Thomas, who had a vision that no child should die in the dawn of life. He wanted a place that was not just a treatment center for children, but a research center to help cure children even if a family could not pay. And, that is exactly what St. Jude has become – a leading research hospital, curing childhood diseases, and reaching some of the poorest and sickest children around the world.

One man. One vision. Thousands of lives restored.

It is truly remarkable what can happen from the vision and passion of just one person. So, how about you friend? Dream BIG with us! What is your vision and passion? YOU can make a difference. Your reach is much bigger than you think.


St. Jude Love Project Complete – 2,187 Toys Given

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“Thank you everyone for helping out! I am sure it made all the kids very, very, very happy!” Jordyn

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We had a phenomenal trip to St. Jude yesterday. As the kids asked, “Are we there yet?” every ten minutes (it was about a 5 hour drive), Todd and I tried to keep reminding ourselves that we would eventually get there! As we pulled up to St. Jude, it was a very overwhelming experience. I had that gut-wrenching feeling of knowing there are so many children in that hospital who are really, really sick – some needing a miracle in order to live. Coupled with the extreme joy and excitement of what we were there to do, it was a roller coaster of emotions.

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We took a few pictures and met new friends. One of the employees wife and daughter had seen FLAC’s story on their local news that morning and came out to see us. It was such a precious moment to be able to share with another 8 year old and her sweet mama how God has provided all of these toys. The kids all took to each other quickly and were soon playing leap frog in the courtyard.

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When the local news media showed up, they interviewed Jordyn and we unloaded the trailer into the big truck. It was so fun to watch all our hard work over the last 4 months culminate to this moment of giving the toys to St. Jude. I watched as both of our kids struggled with carrying big boxes while grinning ear to ear. They were so excited!

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Jordyn told us this morning, “It felt amazing to bring the boxes of toys to St. Jude. I thought, wow, I could really, really do this! The kids will be SO happy!”

You won’t want to miss our post next week. Something happened yesterday that just completely took our breath away and we are VERY excited to share it with you! (We just need to get permission first!) Thank you again to every person who has supported this project! We could not have done this without you!


God Provided

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We find no irony that today, Good Friday, is the day we were able to work out with St. Jude to deliver all the toys. After spending about 4 months working on this Love Project, God not only provided more toys than Jordyn set out to collect, but also allowed her to reach her goal of bringing the toys for Easter.

A couple thousand years ago, on a different “Good Friday” God provided a way for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This immense gift of LOVE is not only what we celebrate this weekend, but the heart behind every one of these Love Projects.

“We love because HE first loved us!” 1 John 4:19

And today, we stand amazed at what GOD has done through so many people and organizations.

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2,187 toys to bring smiles to the boys and girls being seen at St. Jude Research Hospital. Thank you so much for all your love, support, and encouragement. We appreciate each one of you!

To see more pictures of the toys being brought to St. Jude today, please come visit our Faith Like A Child Facebook Page.


Toys R Us Shopping Spree

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Nearly FOUR hours after we arrived at Toys R Us – we COMPLETED our shopping spree. Here are just a few pictures for now and we will post tomorrow about our experience.

With this shopping spree, we were able to purchase 636 MORE TOYS, blowing through Jordyn’s goal of collecting 2,000 toys with a new total of 2,154 toys for the children at St. Jude!

THANK YOU Toys R Us employees for being so kind, thoughtful, and patient with us!! You absolutely went above and beyond to make this a GREAT experience for our kids!!

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Find more pics of the shopping spree to benefit St. Jude here on Facebook!!