12 Weeks of Virtues Summer 2017 Challenge

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For the last 8 years I have had the pleasure of attending a woman’s book study group ministry through the church we have called home for those same years. The group is comically named “Mastering Motherhood Plus” (MM for short) and I stumbled into the group right after we had ventured into the church as a family. I am so thankful God put it there when He did so that I could benefit so greatly and in so many areas of my life from the Ministry it offers. I am sure I will have a future testimony to write here at some point on God’s request about that ministry, but back to the topic at hand. I took a brief hiatus from MM to explore working outside of my home again for a short season this past fall & winter. I wasn’t able to attend at all during those weeks due to life’s other demands and oh did I miss it. After prayer & careful consideration my work situation changed making it accommodating once again to attend, but I rejoined in the middle of a session.

The way this ministry works, {as a quick explanation as to why beginning “in the middle of a session” is relevant} is that it meets almost every Thursday morning in a large space at the church from September (after the kids are back in school) through May (when they break for summer) except for the few weeks that holidays occur. We get together, a large group of woman, from all walks of life at all ages and places in their journey (being a mother is not a requirement though the title may imply) and we share a light morning brunch and time of fellowship with a short devotion. We then break down into small groups based on specific books and have a small book study time. The books change every season and we typically have between 6-8 book choices each session. During a full year cycle of attending MM you will choose 2 different books thus likely changing groups and going where God leads you.

It’s a beautiful dynamic for building relationships and meeting new woman who may need encouraging or may be able to encourage or Mentor you. The group offers free childcare for kids that are not school age and it is a wonderful break from our responsibilities to take time to encourage and interact with other woman. Each small group has 3 leaders, one being a designated “Titus” woman for her experience in her walk with God and another 2 ladies who volunteer to “Steer ” the groups week to week discussion & interaction with the book. These woman give selflessly so that those of us in the throes of life can have a sanctuary one brief morning a week. It truly is bliss. Anyways, back on topic.

I joined in the middle of a session, thus they were more than halfway through reading and discussing a book I had not yet begun to read. I hadn’t even purchased the book yet but hey, that’s what Amazon Prime is for! Now typically this type of thing would be the exact reason I would find to excuse my absence until the start of the next session but I was that desperate for a break that my natural introvert got out-of-the-way). It didn’t matter that I was 7 weeks behind, after an incredibly difficult start to our year (er…..Heartbroken…. and When heartbreak strikes again…too soon) my soul needed nourished and I needed to give my littlest girl the same fun weekly play opportunity I had afforded 2 of her older sisters. I made a plan, and I walked back in like I was coming home. After attending the first small break out group on the book title that I felt God lead me to the most I was hooked and had immediately decided this blog series was happening. The book is titled “In This House We Will Giggle”  and it is beautifully written by Courtney DeFeo.

As I said earlier, when I began reading it I immediately knew I was turning it into a blog series because I immediately envisioned how I was going to implement this with my kids this summer and I knew I would want to share it! I started the group with no book and zero understanding of the topics previously covered. While I had missed the first 8 weeks of that session my group had already discussed the first 7 chapters and subsequent virtues. The book is designed to be executed across 12 months and I can see myself going back through with my kids again at some point in the future when they are all a little older, at that time we will likely take the 12 month approach but for now 12 weeks seems attainable. Even more attainable during the summer when I have the responsibility of keeping them entertained and mentally stimulated all summer long! It was decided immediately in my head and in my heart that I was going to plow through reading this book and use it as the literal guide and inspiration for a summer virtue challenge I was going to put together to do with my girls. Below I have included the outline I designed in PDF form for the basic plan of attack for the summer! I would love for you and your kiddos to join us on this journey! If you decide to please share stories from your experiences as we go from week to week in the comments!

12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Plan

My kids break for summer on the 25th of May this year but I have decided to officially kick off this challenge during their last week of school instead. The first Weekly Virtue we are tackling is Joy and I have a plan for my kids to show Joy in action that week with thank you surprises for their teachers (my girls don’t consider the end of the school year a Joyous time because they actually enjoy school and “will miss everything about the class and teacher” they had every single year.) Therefore I am kicking this challenge off on Sunday May 21st. Each Weekly Virtue will run from Sunday – Saturday and I will post each new weeks outline and any accessory printables that I have created for the entire week on Sunday mornings. This way hopefully you can plan your week around it and at that time you can have all my provided tools accessible for the whole week up front to implement at your desire through each week. I am introducing this with just enough time for you to order a copy of the book through Amazon Prime and get it before we kick-off if you so wish, that way you can support this author and have it hands on to personalize to your family. If you do want to follow along, you can always look for it at your nearest Barnes & Noble to pick a copy up as another alternative to Prime. Here is the weekly overview that I will be adapting to each Weekly Virtue. 

Weekly Implementation To Use As Your Family Chooses:

 

Sunday- Introduce New Weekly Virtue for the Week & Assign Weekly Activity

* I recommend you print or write out the weekly verse so it can be posted somewhere regularly viewed by your children (even if they are too young to read, seeing it may prompt them to remind you)

* By “Assign” I really mean discuss. Not every Weekly Activity will span the entire week though some may, but either way I encourage you to reference the Weekly Activity at this time to plant the seed.

Monday- Daily Devotion Verse & include some time to focus on the Weekly Activity

* I encourage that you try to do your Devotion Verse in the morning to get it into your children’s heads early in the day for it to be mentally referenced by them all day.

* Encourage a small amount of time devoted to the Weekly Activity as a family in the evening and also discuss tips/tools to include the Virtue daily.

Tuesday-  Daily Devotion Verse & Family Discussion Questions

* Each chapter & Weekly Virtue includes a series of Family Discussion Questions and I plan to utilize these during dinner discussion across two week nights. The amount of questions may vary a bit from week to week.

* I recommend you consider the age of your children when considering the length and depth of discussion time.

Wednesday- Daily Devotion Verse & “Bring Out The Giggles” Fun

* Throughout the book there are “60 Ways to Bring Out the Giggles” and I included in my schedule a day devoted specifically to these fun ideas In my 12 week challenge I have chosen a few of my favorites to implement in my home but this is another bonus reason to buy the book so that you can follow along. With the book you will have all 60 ways at your disposal so you can choose the right ones for your family or even choose more than one!

* I have consciously chosen hump day for this to boost the mid-week slump in my home. Again if you want to see the other 48 of the “60 Ways to Bring Out the Giggles” I encourage you get the book (in case I haven’t managed to sneak it in enough times already) to follow along with our family’s challenge and personalize it to your own family but I’ve taken the prep work out of it for you when it comes to scheduling it across 12 weeks if you do.

Thursday- Daily Devotion Verse & Family Discussion Questions

* This is the second day I had set aside for the remaining Family Discussion Questions each week.

* Again I recommend evaluating the age of your children & their attention span when setting a time frame for this discussion time. One question or all of the questions, it doesn’t matter as long as you spend time to discuss as a family unit!

Friday- Daily Devotion Verse and Encourage Activity Day

* At the end of each chapter the author has provided additional Optional Activities one of which is an Encourage Activity so I utilized some of these provided ideas to make Fridays Devoted to Encouraging!

Saturday-    Daily Devotion Verse & Family Activity Day

* This was the perfect way to end the week with a Family Activity focused on the Weekly Virtue!

 

Now that I have shared with you my personal goal for instilling 12 very important Virtues in my girls this summer based off of this awesome book “In This House We Will Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo and I truly do hope you will choose to try to follow along. Whether you follow it to the letter, whether you just do one day a week, whether you choose to lag a week behind it doesn’t matter at all. If you try to implement this in any way you are doing your family a service for sure! And don’t forget, if you give it a try share with me your experience!

As always thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

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