Today kicks off my 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge that I am doing with my family this summer. As explained in my introduction to this 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer 2017 Challenge This blog series is based on a 12-week challenge I designed around the book “In This House We Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo that I read this past April. The line up of virtue’s and schedule during which I am completing this challenge with my family is included in PDF form 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Plan. Our first virtue is joy…..
I agree with the sentiment of this picture wholeheartedly and I feel like the first step we can take to “Prepare their hearts to persevere, no matter what” is to teach them at an early age the difference between “Happy” and “Joy-filled”. We can’t always control our circumstances but we can control our reaction to those circumstances, knowing and understanding that Joy is a choice is pivotal to helping them choose Joy in even the scariest or most uncertain situations as an adult. I truly believe that like most things, the sooner we are taught this difference the easier it is to demonstrate and live out when we face trials so it’s a pretty important virtue to instill at our children while they are still little.
I want my girls to know how to choose Joy when they think it’s miserable that the other sisters are having sleepovers at their friend’s houses and they don’t have one scheduled. Rather than jumping straight into a temper tantrum because “..It’s not fair!!!!” I want them to learn how to pause and look for a reason to choose Joy, maybe it’s realizing they can have full control of the tv controller or appreciating that they will have one on one time with mom & dad because of the sleepovers. This leaves them in a better place emotionally and behaviorally and begins creating a pattern in their thinking. Just because we have feelings that arise inside of us doesn’t mean we need to act on those feelings or let them control our thinking.
I personally probably struggle with this virtue more than any other. I have a lot of the feels a lot of the time and I was not necessarily taught the difference between happy & joy-filled as a young child. I don’t qualify my thoughts as well as I should before turning them into words MOST of the time when I speak. I am great at letting something that I can’t control have control over my mind and my thoughts and this virtue alone is what sold me on this process when I was reading Courtney’s book. I am not a good example of this virtue at all (I am embarrassed to admit it but when creating this blog I promised myself that I will admit my flaws because I am not a perfect mother and I live in that knowledge daily so I would never want to imply I think anything else.)
I am a good mother with the teachings, influence, and GRACE of Jesus Christ my Savior alone. He brings my thoughts back down when I let them get the best of me. He reminds me to focus on Him because He has it all figured out anyway! It’s because this isn’t an area that I feel good about in my own walk that I knew this was a journey to giggle more that God wanted for my family this summer and this blog series was born. I will be including printable decorative PDF’s for each virtue with a quote that I have found either in the book “In This House We Will Giggle” or elsewhere to encourage me each week as well. This weeks quote jumped off the page at me when I read it so I will be printing it for my office so I can reference it easily & regularly. JOY-quote for inspiration
Each week I am going to share with you my “Weekly Outline” for each new Virtue and the PDF’s for the printables that I created and intend to use with my children for this 12 Weeks of Virtue Challenge.
Sunday – Introduce JOY Virtue & the Memory Verse for the week & explain the Weekly Activity (the weekly activity alone is a great reason to order or buy the book. For each chapter, there is a two-page Activity Idea detailed and explained. This weeks activity is to be on the lookout for joyful people and to use your Joy Field Journals to document & track those people and experiences.
Memory Verse “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”-Proverbs 15:13
I have created a PDF that includes a printable Memory Verse that I plan to print and display on my refrigerator door for the week on the top and the Family Discussion Questions for the virtue that you can print for free to use.
Monday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Romans v. 15:13 and introduce “10 ways to break a bad-mood cycle” that I pulled straight from the book “In This House We Will Giggle” and included a printable version that I found online.
Tuesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Galatians 5:22-23 and discuss first 6 Family Discussion Questions included in the Memory Verse PDF
Wednesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read James 1:2-3 and partake in a Bring Out the Giggles Idea. The book includes “60 ways to bring out the giggles” and in my 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer Challenge Schedule, I included 12 that I chose for my family. I encourage you to pick up the book at your local Barnes & Noble or pick it up online through Amazon so you can read the whole book and also have the full list of “60 ways to bring out the giggles” to choose what will appeal to your family most!
Thursday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Peter 1:8-9 and discuss the remaining 6 Family Discussion Questions.
Friday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Psalm 5:11 and participate in this weeks Encourage Activity, to write a letter of encouragement to someone in your life that embodies Joy!
Saturday – Daily Devotion for the day, read from “The Jesus Storybook Bible” Nememiah 8-10 as well as participate in a fun Family Activity Day! This week I would use this time to show off the progress made in our Joy Field Journals and share our favorite example that we documented.
Virtue One-Joy Overview of the week
Lastly, I also created a FREE printable PDF including the other six Daily Devotional verses. I encourage you to look up all 6 of the Bible Daily Devotions at the start of each week. You can just look them all up at the start of the week and then cut these cards apart to use each one as a page marker for the verse in the bible so you can be prepared.
I hope you choose to join me & my family in this 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge and if you do decide to, please let me know in the comments! I will be posting the remaining Weekly Virtues outline’s in the morning part of the day on Sundays for the next 11 weeks. My weekend was exceptionally busy and I just couldn’t find the time to put the finishing touches on this post until this evening, my apologies! Have a blessed and Joy filled week and check back tomorrow for an unrelated post about how I plan to keep my kids’ brains academically fresh during the summer!
As always, thanks for reading!