Pray A-Z

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Meet the talented Amelia Rhodes, a speaker and author from West Michigan! Check out her free resources on prayer. Her new release is Pray A-Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community.

A verse, ideas, and a prayer accompany each topic A through Z on topics that help us uplift those in our communities. I love the range of topics: abundance, emergency responders, homeless, justice, refugees, teachers, zero prejudice.

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How many of your meal time prayers sound like this, “Thank you God for our food. Amen.” Or you say that you’ll pray for a certain person, but in the busyness of life completely forget. Sometimes it’s just easy to have prayer block and not even know where to start when you want to talk to God.

This guide is perfect for families to use together.

  • help your kids learn about issues that affect families and people in your community
  • think of people you know that might need prayers for a specific topic
  • learn about praise, petition, and listening to God’s answers
  • consider who God is through prayers of praise
  • pray together as a family

As we pray for our communities’ deepest needs, we bring God’s light into the darkest corners. As we praise Him, we come to appreciate the glory and beauty of His creation.

We know prayer is powerful.

God hears us and longs for us to talk to him about everything.

Our communities, families and friends need to be uplifted and that is something we can give.

 

Comment below to be entered to win a copy of the book. How do you pray as a family? 

(I received a copy of Pray A-Z as a part of Litfuse Publicity Blog Tour.) 

Talk Justice Together November Edition

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How can you talk justice to close out the month of November?

Happy Giving Tuesday! Remember to give to your favorite make a difference organization today. Make sure your kids know about Giving Tuesday right along with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Hunger: A farm to school program that tailors its lunch menu to tribal communities. Bison or Buffalo anyone?

Creation Care: Talk to your kids about the Standing Rock Conflict. What do they think?

Pray for Syria together: Half a million children under siege. Below is a photograph of “Land of Childhood” an underground playground in Syria.

On 17 September 2016, two girls play at the 'Land of Childhood' underground playground in a besieged town in in the Syrian Arab Republic. "My friends and I come here because it's the last theme park that is still working [...] the one we used to go to was attacked and is not working anymore," one of the children said. A group of volunteers, led by a fourth-year former architecture student, links two basements with a tunnel and turns them into an underground playground to provide children with a relatively safe place to play and have fun together.

@UNICEF 9-17-16  http://weshare.unicef.org/archive/-2AMZIFPDSVB.html

Play: Check out these repurposed play spaces for families, including one in a laundromat. What do you think? What ideas do these give you?

Labor: Attached to technology? An intensive look at cobalt mining for lithium ion batteries. Did you know?

Human Trafficking: Ten Ways you Can Make a Difference in the Fight Against Modern Slavery. What could your family do?

Refugees: Photographs of the The Refugee Crisis from Doctors Without Borders.

What is your family talking about this holiday season? 

Love Mercy

 

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We have to be continually jumping off cliffs and developing wings on the way down. Kurt Vonnegut

You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe. Leymah Gbowee, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

I am thinking about these quotes this week.

It has been a long one- I’ll leave it at that for now. The world does not need my thoughts- it needs my actions.

 

For now some encouragement in the form of fiction. I have these four beauties to give away this week. Fall and winter is a perfect time to curl up with some great reading.

The Light Between the Oceans, Brooklyn, Little Bee, and All the Light We Cannot See.

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Here are some exciting book releases coming up that I also have to give away… 

Amelia Rhode’s Praying A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for your Community

Amy Sullivan’s Gutsy Girl Book Three: Fanny Crosby dropping December 1!

and newly released…

Leslie Manlapig’s STEAM Kids Christmas

Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way

Lysa TerKeurst’s Uninvited 

 

 

To be entered to win just leave a comment…

What are you reading? What is giving you encouragement right now? 

 

 

Talk Justice Together October Edition

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The leaves in Michigan are beginning to make their descent to the ground, which means around the corner is snow… for now we will be thankful for every day of sunshine, warm breezes, and the ability to see green grass. Here are ideas for talking justice with your family.

Poverty: We should be talking about it. 3 TVs and No Food: Growing up Poor in America.

Literacy: Barbershop reading.

Education and Technology: Bicycles bringing the internet to rural India. 

Forgiveness: An Amish community and radical forgiveness. 

Creation Care: Urban Gardens and in Paris! 

War: Artist Rania Matar photographs the children of war in Yemen.

Health Care: Umra Omar bringing health care to coastal communities marked with conflict via boat.

Prayer: Litany for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church 

Disability: Wheelchair costumes that are epic. 

Hunger: What about this creative solution to hunger? Paying for parking tickets with food pantry items. Found by our friend Diane Harvey straight from Australia.

What is your family talking about? 

 

 

 

 

Your Voices

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I have piles of books, paper flying, ideas moving, so many prayers.

We have a Kids Talk Justice book coming! I’m so excited and terrified. I’m longing for Jesus to be close.

I know we feel that closeness most acutely in the voices of our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. I can’t wait to include those voices in the book! They are fantastically brilliant at this stuff and I want to hear from them as the pages take shape!

I will include their voices as sidebars throughout the book

and also in social media that encourages. 

 

Everyone who participates will be entered to win a $25.00 gift card to Barnes and Noble. Any parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher or friend who recruits and helps a young person with the questionnaire will be entered to win a $25.00 Starbucks gift card. I’m looking for ages three through eighteen.

I will deliver, send to you via email with attached PDF, or mail with return envelop. Just let me know your preference for recieving the questionnaire! aboutproximity@gmail.com

Beyond your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews etc… do you have a small group, classroom, or team that might like to contribute? We love all voices!

Thank you so much for being a part of this work.

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believe you are worthy

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I had the blessing of attending Breathe Christians Writer’s Conference for the third time this weekend. I’m so thankful to live so close to this space of great encouragement.

I wanted to share some of that encouragement.

 

 

Brenda Yoder shared that when we honor God by honoring our stories, we become whole.

It is so important that we embrace who God made us to be.

We can embrace those things that make us uniquely who we are.

We don’t need to bury our talents.

Or ratchet down our successes.

Lynn Austin reminded us to give our families the gift of encouraging us in our dreams.

 

I have always loved these beautiful words from Lupito Nyong’o during her 2014 Oscar acceptance speech. “No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.”

 

and from the keynote speaker James Scott Bell

fall in love with the gift God has given you.

 

Today, I give you permission to hold the frailty of your dreams and the beautiful ways God has created you close. Take them to heart. Share them. Believe you are worthy,

because you very much are.

 

 

Never Give Up

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For the past year I have been in the humblest spaces. Places where no echoes, pathways turn into dead ends, and the silence is never-ending. Somehow in the midst of all those questions and rejection, God gave me the biggest surprise.

We have signed a contract with Kregel Publications for a book about Kids Talking Justice!

I am so excited to share this journey with you. So many of you have supported me from the very beginning. I could not be more thankful for your voices, hearts, and encouragement.

My heart is so happy to be writing something that means so much to me.

And I would love to ask for your voices!

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Would you be willing to lend your voices? Here’s how you can help!

  • Help your kids answer the Kids Talk Justice Questionnaire! You can print it off in PDF, or let me know you are interested and I’ll get a copy to you! You can access them here: elementary/teen questions and young kids questions.
  • You can lend your voices with one simple question. How do you talk justice with your family? 
  • Sign up for the Talk Justice quarterly newsletter for updates on the right side bar of the website or let me know and I’ll sign you up.

Here is my encouragement to you:

never give up- for God is able to do immeasurable more than we could ask or imagine.

 

Talk Justice Together September Edition

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Happy September and start to a new school year. Praying you feel the beauty of a changing season. Here are some talking points for your family to talk about justice together.

Loss and Hope: The children of 9-11 and what they can teach us. More than 3,000 children lost their parent that day. Their stories of loss and hope.

Refugees: I am Syria. A gentle, illustrated look at the reality of Syria and the needs of refugees. Perfect for children.

but in my heart I look ahead to the rebuilding of our cities.

Poverty: Landfill Harmonic a coming documentary about a recycled orchestra born out of a slum alongside a landfill in Cateura, Paraguay. Hope. Watch the trailer here. Ask the members of your family what they are thinking!

Kindness and Innovation: A teen the creates an app called Sit with Us, so no one has to sit alone in the cafeteria.

Our Global World: Follow the Out of Eden Walk from Paul Salopek, a reporter who has set out to retrace our ancestors global migration on foot. He will cover 21,000 miles. The photographs and stories are striking. Follow his travelogue together.

What happens when you become a war refugee? You walk.

Literacy and Education: Emma Watson interviews Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, authors of Half the Sky and A Path Appears.

School to Prison Pipeline: When School Feels Like Prison. What do your kids think? How would they feel?

Clean Water: What do your kids think of WarkaWater Towers in Ethiopia?

Hunger: Watch this powerful 30 second short from Feeding America called Empty Plates. 

Refugees: Photo series of refugee fathers. Humanity.

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Encouragement for You

pretty-3Today, I want to offer you encouragement. Someday soon, I can tell you about the past six months, all the closed doors, false starts, waiting, questioning, being humbled again and again… and the open doors. The ones that move the slightest bit and leave you stunned.

This is what I know, God cares for us with a gentle, careful love. He always has and always will. Even if we don’t at all see clearly what he is doing in our lives. That in itself is a tremendous thing.

To call you friends is a tremendous thing.

I want to give away three books I read over the summer- as we all free fall into a new season where our calendars expand and responsibilities pile up.

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Hand Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford

Present-over-Prefect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte

 

I pray for you all to be able to slow down this fall season and see the cracks of light streaming through the doors God opens for you.

Leave a comment to be entered to win. Or direct someone over to our Facebook Page if you think they might be encouraged there, let me know to be entered.

How do you practice being present over being perfect?