Sunday at 5:30pm we all start gathering toward the dinner table.  Sunday at 5:30 we have our own little church at home, family meal, and group activity.  Sunday at 5:30, we stop what is going on in our world, and draw our attention to God.

It wasn’t always like this.  We weren’t always awkwardly singing in our living room to the lyrics of worship music on screen from the YouTube station.  It might not always be like this.  But, for right now, Sunday at 5:30 is important and sacred.

My husband, Toby, and I will take turns leading a Bible lesson.  We try to make it relevant to all three kids, aged 15, 12, and 7.  It’s not always easy.  We get silly.  We act out scenes from the stories we read.  We let the kids read and hear sweet pronunciations we adore and can never change; the city of Babylon will always be read “Baby lion” per our seven-year-old’s enunciation.  We gazed at the girls with big eyes to stifle laughs so he would keep reading.  Toby and I both smiling, bigger on the inside.  Around the table, reading together, learning together, discussing together, trying to find relevance and application together.

Together, we are teaching our kids that worship and church can happen wherever you are.  We are trying to emphasize the connection we have with humanity on a spiritual level and how the love of God is the key to trekking through this complicated gift of life.

The first lessons we shared with our children were how to handle disappointment and the knowledge that life is hard.  We shared how God wants us to respond to discouraging parts of life with examples in scripture.  It was revealing to me and changed me, in trying to teach them.  We get stronger by leading them.  We’ve talked about Jacob, Moses, and Jonah.  We’ve studied David and Goliath and had an amazing two-week lesson on the story including an actual slingshot competition in the backyard.  I think Toby won.

The kids came back to compete a few weeks later.  A family nerf war of parents VS kids ended with a dramatic, and very sneaky shot, right to Toby’s butt!  Tripp was so thrilled, “I feel so victorious!”  His arms were both in the air as he ran through the obstacle course of furniture and blankets we had set up in the house.  We all laughed.

We’ve baked cookies.  Played lots of games.  Read scripture together.  Memorized verses.    We started the Book of Daniel last week.  Last night we had a taco night.

Before dinner, we sprayed some old canvases with various colors of spray paints.  We then made connection points for hands – each of us would paint a snowman that resembled ourselves and the hands of the snowmen would connect our family together in the end.

These will be a treasure for years to come.  We had the old canvas from old stock at the shop.  The acrylic paint and glitter were on hand in our craft box.  I did buy some new brushes, make sure to get smaller ones, we didn’t have enough detail brushes.  We used a blow dryer to speed up the drying so we could add personalization to our snow people.

Mine has a sunflower, of course, and a bit of glitter.  I am holding a heart that connects to Toby’s.  Toby made his snowman have a jiu-jitsu belt, muscles on his stick arms, and big blue eyes.  Tatem is smiling and has a sparkly yellow hat and paw print buttons to show her love for animals.  She is handing her daddy a star.  I have Tripp on the other side of me.  He is a police officer, obviously, as you can see the “PD” on his badge.  We clearly didn’t discuss brush size with Tripp!  His nose went on quicker than any of us could say anything and it is perfect!  In case you can’t distinguish it, he also has a remote control because he likes video games.  Our Quincy had a bit of her own artwork to finish for a Monday deadline and we were also out of red paint for her brightly tinted real-life hair.  Hers is not yet finished but on display.  She made a snow-doggy-man to resemble our Olde English Bull Dog, Butch.  She is a perfectionist and I am not sure when she will complete here, but I am excited to add a finished photo.

I got some of the 3M command strips for a different project a few weeks ago at Walmart for like, $7.88, which I thought was ridiculous.  I was able to use them to quickly hang up the set under the window in Toby’s office, and I think the $7.88 might have been worth it.  The completion of a Sunday night project is worth it.

Sunday at 5:30 is worth it.  It is worth the time to prepare and study scripture and gather gear.  Sunday at 5:30 will change the trajectory of our journey and the quality of our relationships with God, the strength of our family and marriage, and growth of our children.  As we approach the winter holiday season, we pray the same love and connection poured out on you and yours as has been blessed upon us.

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