On one of our first Sundays here in China Dave and I introduced the kids to the “theme” we wanted to have for our family while we’re here.

And we just barely got it up on the wall.

We’ll always have our family motto of course, which we refer to often (more on that HERE), but as we anticipated all the things we wanted to gain and learn here as a family during this semester we figured it would help to put it all into something concise and all-encompassing.  So that’s what we came up with.

We want to take advantage of this time to really read like crazy, to develop writing skills (especially in journals), and to “Shine” (which is my “word” for the year which I’m sharing with my family because it just fits).

Let’s look at that little puppy a little closer just to appease me:

There we go.

The kids all helped make that thing.

Elle had the idea to write the books we’ve read so far on one of the letters.

 Claire helped paint the “Light.”

It’s not very professional by any means, but I’ve always believed in putting a lot of meaning into what we put up on our walls (see my post on that back HERE), and this particular thing we’ve hung sure has sunk in at least to one of my kids:

Ha!  She decided that little theme was important enough to paint for one of her art projects at school.

And in another burst of creative energy decorating her room, she felt it was important to do another rendition there.

Love it.
I have said before that I believe the act of having goals and writing down the things you want to come to pass has power.  At first I had to prod and cajole the kids into reading more (they’ve never been much of readers and I think it is so important in so many ways).  But gradually I’m seeing stuff like this:

 and this:

and this:

And it makes my heart soar.
Writing, on the other hand, still needs a little help for these kids to get passionate but it’s gonna happen.  I just feel it!  Max has been working his tail off on writing for college applications (oh boy!) and all the kids are working on journal writing but I hope we can get into some creative writing while we’re here too.  
And the shining part?  I just love that reminder to all of us to let our hearts shine as we look for others who may need a little extra loving.
So grateful for a set-apart time to work on things together as a family here.  
Speaking of grateful…I love the great tradition ideas (and gratitudes) coming in on the give-away post comments (here).  So grateful for the inspiration…thank you!  Tomorrow’s the last day for entries so don’t forget if you haven’t had a chance to enter yet.

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  1. Would love to see whenever you have a time a list of your kids favorite books (to help with Christmas gift ideas 😉 I know you've had blog posts on books but would love to see what the 5 of them all think are their top ten or top five favorites!

    You and Dave are amazing parents…thanks for all the tidbits 😉

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