A Generous Grace

ideas on practical spirituality and loving each other

Month: May 2016

FREEBIE FRIDAY for educators: peer evaluation/writer’s workshop rubric

I’ve been energized by the enthusiasm for this super-cool rubric (evaluation tool) for peer, self, and even teacher evaluation form for speeches and oral presentations. So I wanted to follow it up with another tool I’ve just created for use with my own students: a rubric for peer, self, and teacher evaluation for students’ writing (fiction or non-), for use in our new “writer’s workshop”.  It’s roughly appropriate for grades 4-6, complete with Lego minifigure clip art! There are two per page. I laminate these for reuse with dry- or wet-erase markers.

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Turn here: Roadsigns for a Grateful Happiness

A friend of mine who eventually lost his wife, and the mother of his four children, to Lou Gehrig’s disease once recalled to me a profound moment with God. While he still cared for her as her body spiraled downward, he had lain on his bed, overcome by loss.

But God seemed to be pointing him toward thanks. Not able to immediately turn to full-on gratitude, my friend simply started small. He thanked God for the ability to breathe; for the bed he wept on; for the air conditioning. From there, his gratitude snowballed, steering him into praise.

My friend’s attitude has revolutionized my approach to my bad days; to my pain.

 

thank you neon sign

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Friday quotables #2: For when loving is hard and success is vague

friday quotables

 

“I am still tempted to assess the ‘good’ of a day by whether it pleased me versus whether I pleased God and was loving toward others. I am still tempted to live as if I own my life and still fail to remember that I was bought with a price…

“When you’re living for you, the call to love others is always a burden for you.”

-Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies: A Gospel Devotional

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

-Galatians 5:6

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With African eyes

It was one of those weeks when the phrase from the Morton salt box from my childhood had to occasionally be batted from my mind: When it rains, it pours.

It started on the way to the airport, where my husband would fly to Kenya for two weeks. (Perhaps you’re already seeing the writing on the wall with me.) That was when neither of our ATM cards were working; problematic in a nation nearly entirely functioning on cash. Of course, it wasn’t until paying for my parking that I realized I didn’t even have the eighty cents to make it out of the parking lot. (“Kids! Start looking under all the car mats! In the cupholders!” We were still about forty cents shy.)

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Ten Discussion Questions to Take Your Relationships Deeper in 2016—Set #6

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New to these questions? See these notes first, along with Set #1 .

 

  1. Talk about a realization (or more than one) that changed your perspective and understanding of a past event. (i.e. I found out the parents of that bully in school were getting a divorce. I discovered I’d totally misunderstood my sister’s perspective, and she hadn’t been malicious at all.)
  2. When you get to heaven, what are some questions you hope to ask God?
  3. When is one time in life when you felt most alone?
  4. What’s one regret you have of your past? (Have you sought forgiveness from God and the people you affected?)
  5. What are some of your greatest strengths as a spouse?
  6. What is one of your greatest weaknesses as a spouse?
  7. What are some of your greatest strengths as a parent?
  8. What is one of your greatest weaknesses as a parent?
  9. What are your dreams for your kids?
  10. For what do you pray most often?

Like these? Consider subscribing to A Generous Grace and receive a FREE E-BOOK of Discussion Questions to Better Understand Your Family’s Subculture. They’re great to process with a friend, spouse, or small group.

 

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God’s Leash

 

Last Sunday afternoon, while on his bicycle, my eleven-year-old was hit by a motorcycle.

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While he was applying his brakes, sliding on rust-colored mud into the intersection, I was at home, deciding I would take a Sunday nap. I’d barely closed my eyes when one of my children called my name. This happens quite frequently, as one might imagine, and my husband has lightly chided me on contributing to our children’s entitlement with my jumpiness to their needs. So I waited to see if they’d come get me. I don’t remember what finally tipped me off that this was not the typical, “She won’t share the biiiike!”

I didn’t expect the stranger at the gate, or my weeping son, clutching his shoulder, a small tear in the new shirt his grandma had brought over from the U.S. The sight of his mangled front tire unsettled me; somehow torqued metal seems to accentuate the gravity of an accident, alluding that our limping bodies don’t tell the whole story.

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Ten Discussion Questions to Take Your Relationships Deeper in 2016—Set #5

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New to these questions? See these notes first, along with Set #1 .

 

  1. When you are looking back at your parenting, what is one thing do you suspect you’ll wish you did differently?
  2. What specific action makes you feel most loved? (i.e. If someone listens to me. If someone touches me. If someone asks me good questions and draws me out. For more ideas on this, see these posts on 20 practical ideas for each love language.)
  3. A previous question asked about one of the highest compliments you’ve ever received. Talk about meaningful things people have said to you (not necessarily compliments). (i.e. I felt validated when someone with whom I’d had a conflict for a long time came and apologized. Or, My dad said he was proud of the man I’d become.)
  4. If you could take a class or learn a skill, what would that class or skill be?
  5. What do you daydream about?
  6. A previous question mentioned what made you feel immediately connected or disconnected to a person. What qualities do you immediately find magnetic about a person—and what qualities are immediately off-putting?
  7. At what times in your life have you felt closest to God, or when do you feel closest to God now?
  8. When Jesus was tempted in the Bible (Matthew 4), he was tempted by three key lies. What lies about yourself or reality or God are you most likely to believe—in the “tapes” that play over and over in your head? (Talk together about God’s truth that would counter those lies, like Jesus did.)
  9. Talk about a realization (or more than one) that changed your perspective and understanding of your parents. (i.e. I had no idea my dad had experienced that. I was clueless to the pressures my mom was facing. I see now that my expectations were largely unrealistic.
  10. What are symptoms that tell you that you’re weary and/or not doing well? (i.e. I snap at my kids. When I wake up in the morning, my jaw is sore. I daydream about being alone and doing whatever I want.)

 

Like these? Consider subscribing to A Generous Grace and receive a FREE E-BOOK of Discussion Questions to Better Understand Your Family’s Subculture. They’re great to process with a friend, spouse, or small group.

 

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Guest Post: Helping Our Kids Turn Suffering into Praise

In dealing with our kids’ pain, we’re sculpting their thinking about God and His relationship to the bad things that happen. Kids learn methods to encounter suffering in these moments—and to choose trust and courage rather than fear at those little, and large, forks in the road. They’re also answering the question, “Where is God in my pain?”

I’m posting on weareTHATfamily.com again, on a topic so close to my heart: How do we help our kids turn their challenges into worship--without being insensitive or coming across Pollyanna? There are at least ten practical ideas for that hard, hard place of helping our kids in their pain. Hope it helps…and may God give you what you need as you love on your your kids.

Because of a Generous Grace,

Janel

 

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Shut the front door! and other thoughts on a worshipful life

My house is…well. Noisy.

Most of the time, I think like that this place gurgles with life. Someday, I think, I will be sad when my house is silent more often than it is loud.

But the current season is saturated with boy sound-effects of all varieties and odors; um, arguing; constant requests (I count an average three “Mom!” calls whenever I attempt to use the bathroom); and the din of my generally rowdy offspring. Quiet can be a hard-earned commodity.

John and boys crazy faces

 

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