A few years ago our family adopted an approach toward gift-giving at Christmas that was swirling around social media. You may have heard some variation of this 4 or 5 gifts per child approach. In our family each child gets a WANT item, a NEED item, a LEARN item, and a READ item. While I love how this approach is a step toward minimalism and helps focus the holiday on gifts greater than material things, I have found that it is hard to shop this way. I thought one of the benefits to adopting this approach would be to simplify gift-giving; however, because there are four gifts and a category for each, this approach requires that I be so mindful and intentional with each choice. It turns out being mindful and intentional with what we buy, especially during this season, can take a great deal of time and effort – not to mention, trying to buy from businesses that strive to be ethical and sustainable in their production and practice. Oh and don’t forget to buy local and make sure it all fits within the budget!
While a bit overwhelming, I am grateful to have the opportunity to be aware of and buy from people and businesses seeking to make the world better for us all. I trust our efforts to shop mindfully and intentionally really do make a difference in ways we may never know. To aid your mindful gift-giving I’ve put together a list of items and shops I love that create meaningful products that inspire and cultivate a soul-filled way of living and being. You will notice I included several gift ideas for helping us nurture the younger souls in our lives. As a mother, I am always looking for guidance, resources, and tools along these lines, so I thought I would share the latest on what I’ve found. I would love to hear your soul-nourishing gift ideas in the comments! Also, be sure to take advantage of special discounts made especially for you!
Deep Listening: A Contemplative Spiritual Practice Workshop – Start the New Year off caring for your soul with this four-part workshop series I am offering this January. The focus will be on deep listening and cultivating an awareness of the presence of God through spiritual practices from the Christian contemplative tradition. Register before December 25 and receive $10 off 2 or more workshops with promo code: EARLYBIRD. Have questions or prefer to other payment options? Don’t hesitate to contact me!
A Sacred Journey Shop – This shop is owned by a fellow spiritual director, author and designer. Teaching us how to see life as a journey, here you will find a collection of handmade and designed items to inspire your journey, in the home and abroad. I just received the “Always, We Begin Again” tote. Love! Orders of $25 or more will receive free shipping with promo code: KIMBERLY
Sacred Ordinary Days – You planning types out there will love these all-encompassing planners that not only serve as a calendar but also a spiritual formation tool. This planner walks you through the liturgical church year. At the beginning of each season in the planner there is seasonal art, resources, plus space to envision how you’d like to embody this season in six listed areas of your life. Then there is space to reflect and reset for how you’d like to embody the season next time. Additionally, spiritual practices like the Daily Examen and Sabbath are incorporated each week. Even better, you can download a FREE sample week of the planner before deciding to purchase.
Contemplative Art by Christine – Christine’s intuitive paintings, handmade journals (from reclaimed books) and jewelry are all infused with the contemplative spirit. I love that Christine also threw in some Harry Potter jewelry that her daughter designed! One of my kiddos will be receiving a Gryffindor necklace! (I am not sure if Harry Potter is exactly soul care, but I am sure Harry Potter fans out there would argue otherwise!) Orders can be made through Facebook (the online shop will be open in the coming year).
Jesse Tree Treasures – This shop provides families ornaments and tools to share the Christian stories of faith. Often my kids request that my husband or I tell them a story. Oral storytelling is a powerful way to foster lifelong faith in your children, and to have a “hands on” symbol to associate with the story deepens the learning and reflection. This is why I love the Parable Pouch, which has wooden symbols that represent different parables of the New Testament with story cards to aid in telling the stories.
Books that Nurture Younger Souls in Contemplative Spiritual Practices:
My First Message, by Eugene Peterson – I’ve read several children’s Bibles and like and dislike different things about each of them. I am fond of the format of My First Message. The format follows the spiritual practice of lectio divina (holy reading), which asks questions throughout the story and at the end, gradually deepening the children’s understanding and reflection. Read. Think. Pray. Live.
Journey to the Heart: Centering Prayer for Children, by Frank Jelenak & Ann Boyajian – Teaches the spiritual practice of Centering Prayer (a prayer of silence) in an engaging and kid-friendly manner.
Praying in Color: Kids Edition, by Sybil MacBeth – This form of prayer helps kids focus through coloring and teaches a way to pray that does not require words. I find this prayer practice meaningful (adult edition, Pray in Color: A New Path to God). This practice often ignites new interest in prayer when introduced. Appropriate ages 5-11 years old.
Writing to God: Kids Edition, by Rachel Hackenburg – This book invites children to pray with their senses, reflect on their feelings, and look at nature – all in light of Bible verses. It fosters the idea of prayer as a continuous conversation through ordinary everyday life. The practice introduces new ways of connecting with God as well as cultivates creative expression through writing. Win, win!
Good Dirt: Volume 1, by Lacy Finn Bargo – This book is a family devotional that seeks to set a rhythm to family life through the Seasons of the Church. There are two more volumes to complete the series. Through this devotional families learn how to “Till”, “Plant”, “Water”, and “Weed” their souls through readings and twelve spiritual disciplines that serve as tools to work the soil of the soul. I love the gardening metaphors in this series. We are a gardening family so it really “clicks”!
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