January is about new things. A brand new year has begun, 2019. The old year, 2018, is in the past.
A new year is exciting. A fresh new snow fall makes everything around you look new. You look forward to what the New Year will bring. You may already have new things, new mitts, a new scarf, and a new toque. Perhaps some new toys and books.
Now you’re back in school. A new term has begun. Perhaps you’ll make a new friend. You may learn a new skill. You’ll read a new book. And this year you’ll have another birthday. You’ll be a whole year older.
New things are exciting. But what about the old things? They are not gone. They remain as important as ever. What are these old things?
First, there are old buildings. Old buildings tell us of a certain time. They have history. What was happening when they were built? Why was a particular building built? Was it an important business that helped the community to grow? What is the style of the building, the architecture or design? What were the materials used to build it? Was it stone, or wood? All of these tell us about that time, perhaps long ago now.
Then there are old stories. Old stories you may have heard many times before. They make you feel good because you know them well. Maybe you feel you are a part of the story because you have experienced something similar. Take, for example, the stories of Winnie the Pooh. You may have had your own stuffed animal you took with you wherever you went. You thought of it as real, a real companion. You may have created stories about it.
Sometimes old things become new again. This means they have a new use. Look through a collection of old buttons. Your grandmother may have some. Is there a particularly pretty or unique button? Put it on a ribbon and wear it as a necklace. An old button can become a board game piece to replace a lost one. An old bottle can be used as a vase. An egg carton can be used to organize and store small items like a pin collection or stickers. Do you have old Christmas decorations? Each one will have a back story. How old is it? Where did you get it? Why is it still important to you?
Old things connect you to the past, to your history. They help build your story; they are a part of who you are, and what’s important to you.
What about old sayings? Old sayings have wisdom. They are as true now as they ever were. For example, Smiles are free, but they are worth a lot. Or this one, A journey of a thousand milesbegins with the first step. Both of these are to encourage you and show what has value.
There are many old sayings in the Bible that are important. One is in James 1:19: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction and in the end you will be wise.”
Activity: Find an old item.
Need: an old item, camera, drawing paper, pencil crayons
Do: Choose one item that is old and is important to you.
What is its story? Find out what it was used for? Where did it come from? Who owned it?
Why was it important? You may want an adult to help you.
A winter walk is different from a summer walk. It takes planning. The first thing you must do is check the weather. How cold is it? Is a storm coming? This will determine everything else, what you wear, where you’ll go, what you’ll do.
You’ll be happy longer, playing outside, if you dress appropriately. A sweater over your indoor clothes will keep the cold out. Wear long socks and cozy snow pants and you’ll feel toasty warm. Winter boots will keep out the snow even if it’s deep. Wear water proof mitts to keep your hands dry and warm. Pull a warm toque over your head and ears. You don’t want frostbite. Keep your neck covered with a scarf so the wind won’t blow in. And zip up your parka against the cold air.
There, you’re all set. Now step outside. Take a big breath. Isn’t that refreshing?
Where will you go? To a park? Into the forest? Around your neighbourhood?
Look around. What do you see? Snow has turned everything white and sparkling. The trees are bare. Paths are covered. Did any birds stay for the winter? Do you spot any other animals? Even if they’re not within sight, there may be signs they were here. Look for bird tracks, or rabbit paw prints. There may be the hoof prints of a deer around a tree trunk or going into the woods.
How does the sky look? Is it a winter sky? Any signs that a wind is blowing? Look for branches swaying or the rustle of dry leaves still hanging on.
What can you hear? Are the sounds natural, like birds singing, or the chatter of squirrels? Or are they man-made sounds, cars going by, an airplane overhead, a train whistle or a siren? You may even hear children shouting.
Touch the bark of a tree trunk. How does it feel? Can you find something soft, like moss, or smooth like a stone, or a bench? Is it warm or cold?
Can you taste the air? What does snow taste like? Make sure it’s clean snow.
What do you smell? What does a tree smell like? Choose a spruce or a pine. Sniff a small branch with needles and describe its smell.
Walking outside is good for you. It’s good exercise. It builds muscles. It will keep your bones and joints healthy. It lowers your body’s blood pressure. Walking among trees and breathing the cool air will make you feel refreshed and light. You’ll be ready to relax indoors, eat a good supper, and sleep well.
Remember, all the things you enjoy God has made. Remember to thank him.
Read Psalm 65:9-13.
Activity: Things to do on a walk.
Take a sled. You can ride it, pull it, or slide down a hill, if there is one.
Make art with twigs and berries. Make shapes. Notice the texture (bumpy and lumpy, smooth or prickly). Draw with a pointy branch. Make a snow angel.
Look for animals or signs of them, like tracks, animal droppings, bark nibbled off tree trunks, digging or scraping for hidden food, tunnels in the snow.
Bring a camera. Take photos of your nature art, animal signs, trees, shapes, light, shadows, and angles.
Name as many plants or animals as you know.
Caution: Always go with an adult. Stay on the path and stay away from roads, fences, or water. Never put your tongue or lips on metal outdoors.
Apples contain many nutrients, good things your body needs to stay healthy. Because of this they are called the King of the fruits. Apples are attractive, shiny and round. They come in bright colours. Bright red apples attract bears. Bears can also smell their sweetness. Some apples are green, others are golden and pink. Choose one. Take a bite. It’s crisp, juicy, and sweet tasting.
Apples are easy to carry with you. You can take one in your pocket or in your backpack. They last and don’t spoil easily. But don’t drop them. If they fall and get bumped a soft spot will appear and turn into a bruise. The bruise will grow and the apple is spoiled.
You can eat an apple anywhere, walking to school, while playing on the playground, or riding along in the car or on the bus. They don’t make a mess.
You can eat apples made into apple sauce, apple pies, apple strudel, and in muffins and cakes. There are candied apples you eat on a stick. You can dunk for apples in a large tub of water, but make sure you hold your breath as you try to grab one with only your teeth.
Apples help digest the food you eat. Apples have vitamins, C, A, and B1, B2, and B6, and minerals, calcium,phosphorous, magnesium, potassium and iron. All of these help keep your body healthy and strengthen your teeth. Apples are good for your heart and your brain too.
Apples are a good snack. Eating an apple will fill your stomach so you can last from lunch until supper. Even though apples are 90% water, they give you energy. When you play hard at soccer, or swimming, or on a hot summer day at the beach, eating an apple will boost your energy and satisfy your thirst.
An apple will keep you from getting too tired and help you focus. It will help you think better. Eating an apple will help you do your homework.
There’s an old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”All the good things apples have for you are good reasons to eat one every day.
Have you heard the saying, “You are the apple of my eye”? It means you are the most loved. God’s people are the apple of his eye. They are his beloved. Read Deuteronomy 32: 9-14.
In Psalm 17: 7-9 King David prays for protection. “Keep me as the apple of your eye and hide me under the shadow of your wings,”he prays. God promises protection if you stay near him.
It’s October and time for Thanksgiving. You regularly give thanks before each meal. It has become a habit. But you have much more to be thankful for.
Like shelter, a house that keeps you dry and warm when it rains or when temperatures drop. It’s a safe place to eat, sleep, hang up your clothes, and store your collections. It’s peaceful. You’re in charge. You can lock the door, or open it.
Millions of people around the world do not have a home, they are homeless because of floods, or war, or because they lost their jobs. Be thankful for your house.
What about clean drinking water? You’re thirsty. You go to the fridge, open a bottle and take a sip. You expect it to be clean and safe. Millions of people do not have clean water to drink. They collect water from puddles or streams. Dirty water makes them sick.
When you’re hungry you get a snack or a sandwich. At supper you have a good dinner. You eat as much as you want. Food is fuel for the energy you need each day. Millions of people all over the world do not have enough food to eat. Constant hunger causes pain. They become weak and fall ill.
Are you healthy? To keep healthy you must eat healthy, get enough sleep and exercise. Being healthy you are able to listen and think better, you enjoy playing and working. Be thankful for your health.
Do you have good friends who share your fun, feel your sadness or excitement, spend time with you, are fair and kind? And don’t forget your family. They love and support you no matter what. You can depend on them. Be thankful for them.
At times you meet someone new who becomes a friend. Now you have another person to share and have fun with. You learn new things. Be thankful for that new person.
Are you thankful for technology? Do you have a PlayStation, Nintendo, Game Boy, or a phone? These are luxuries you may think of as necessities. You learn skills and have fun. Your phone keeps you connected. Remember to be thankful for these.
There are many ordinary things you enjoy. Sunrise and sunset give colour and light to your day. The sun warms you and makes things grow. Trees give you clean air. The ocean cools and provides you with salmon, tuna and lobster. Rivers and streams give you opportunity to go fishing with your Dad or Grandpa. Flowers make parks beautiful. Don’t forget to give thanks for these.
What happens when you face a difficulty? Overcoming a difficulty you may learn something new or grow stronger. Be thankful. Every morning when you wake up, be thankful for another new day to enjoy all that you have.