Treasure Hunter Week

Last year, when my daughter went to camp, Asa and I had our own Dragon Week. This year, Asa’s last year before he can go to camp (*sniff*), we had Treasure Hunter week!

Treasure Hunter Week: fun family devotions that help kids discover the treasure of God! //

There are lots of treasure symbols and word pictures in the Bible. I didn’t necessarily want it to be about how Asa is a treasure (although he is!) because can I be honest? I think it’s a very overdone theme in Christian children’s books and movies. I wanted Asa to know that God is a treasure and His Word is more precious than rubies.

After dropping off all the kids at camp (we always take a crew of at-risk kids from a nearby apartment complex to camp along with our daughter), I set a box on Asa’s booster seat. He was delighted to find it and even more excited when inside was his own treasure box with lock and key!

Inside the treasure box was a small wooden coin beautifully decorated to say TREASURE HUNTER. I explained that all week we were going to add these coins (or gold doubloons) to his treasure chest as we had all our adventures (kinda Jake-and-the-Neverland-Pirates-ish).

Our first adventure was of course, a book. It’s an old book from the thrift store called, The Pearl That Changed a Life. It’s a fictional, rhyming retelling of Matthew 13:45-46. Yes, a story based on two verses. Simply put, a merchant finds a pearl of great value so he sells everything he owns to buy it.

I read Asa the book before bed and then asked him if he’d ever heard that story in the Bible–and then told him we’d read the real version in the morning. When we read the two verses he wasn’t very impressed. Why would someone sell everything for a pearl? As a comfortable American, I think it was hard for him to understand something of such value. What could be possibly be worth selling all his legos, stuffed animals, our home for? It almost boggles the mind.

So, what does have value beyond the price tag on our stuff? The kingdom of heaven.

Now, even to me, as an adult who’s been around the Bible a long time–this is a hard one to understand. What exactly is the kingdom of heaven? Heaven with the pearly gates? Or some spiritual-in-your-heart awareness of goodness while you’re on earth? Or a mind focused on God’s plans?

Sally Lloyd Jones says it best in The Jesus Storybook Bible, “The kingdom of God is wherever God is king.” She retells the story of Matthew  13:44 (just one verse!) about a man who finds a treasure in a field, buries it again, sells everything he has and then buys the field so he can have the treasure. Again, what could be so valuable? How can God’s kingdom, the kingdom of heaven be worth giving up everything for? Selling all your possessions?

God is worth that. I want Asa to see God’s majesty, his power, his might, his ferocity, his complete otherness. I want Asa to see God as a treasure, worth giving up everything!

Treasure Hunter Week: fun family devotions that help kids discover the treasure of God! //

So, we set about making gold doubloons to go with our story. We pulled out our gold sharpies and glittery paint and a glue gun to make our wooden coins a reminder of this simple and huge truth.

Asa absolutely loved decorating these. It was complete free form crafting and I loved seeing what he came up with on each little coin. (100 of these bad boys were only $9–totally worth it!)

We also made gold doubloons that reminded us of our activities–our first of which was geocaching! Now, if you’ve been around here for a few years, you might remember my first interaction with geocaching. If you don’t want to click over and read the story let me just say this: it was pre-smart-phones-with-apps and it did not go well.

Treasure Hunter Week: fun family devotions that help kids discover the treasure of God! //

This time, however, we had the time of our lives!

Treasure Hunter Week: fun family devotions that help kids discover the treasure of God! //

When we found three little treasures hidden within two miles of our house, my Ace felt like a real treasure hunter. Over the next few days, we found about 10 caches!

We also watched Disney’s Treasure Planet which I sincerely liked! I saw it when it came out in theaters, I guess but couldn’t remember most of it.

I thought it was creative and really kinda beautiful. Asa thought it was exciting and there was just so much treasure! It also made for great conversation about what it means to be a “bad guy” or a “good guy”–as it follows the story of Treasure Island and Jim Hawkins’ relationship with the fickle Long John Silver.

My favorite part of our Bible connection was our memory verse. I had a few I liked and read them all to Asa. He picked Job 22:22-23. Mainly because it says “gold nuggets” in it.

Treasure Hunter Week: fun family devotions that help kids discover the treasure of God! //

We made up motions and said it in our best pirate voices (ok, I said it in my best pirate voice) and then made gold doubloons to help us remember it. Quoting from Job is always weird because so much of it God laughs at but I think the idea is good–God is a treasure and even gold nuggets are like dirt in comparison to Him!

It was really a very low-key week and not crazy full of crafts and games and activities–but as always, I’m amazed at what a small Bible activity can do for a child’s heart. Many times that week and over the last few weeks, Asa will pick up on a treasure theme from another book or Bible story. His eyes will be wide and he’ll say, “Treasure Hunter!”

As he continues to grow in his relationship with God, I pray he sees God as the ultimate treasure–not himself, his future plan, God’s blessings or even God’s “will”, but God Himself.

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Pixar’s Inside Out Family Movie Moms Review

Pixar's Inside Out Family Discussion Guide & Movie Review // #familymoviemoms

If you haven’t been here for one of my movie reviews you should know that I’m not going to talk about cinematography or acting. I want to help parents discover how they can use movies to bring up eternal conversations with their kids. I also want to help parents know if they should avoid a movie–not because it’s lame but because of themes that hit closer to home like family relationships, worldview, etc. (See my Brave review for more!)

Let’s begin with a mini, spoiler-free synopsis, shall we?

An 11 year old girl named Riley has five emotions in her head–Joy, Anger, Sadness, Fear and Disgust. These emotions navigate her through a life-changing event. Much chaos ensues.

Sounds fun, right?

Now, a slightly spoiler-ish, but-not-going-to-ruin-the-movie-for-you more detailed synopsis…

11 year old Riley has super-fun parents who play hockey with her, make jokes and spend lots of time with her. When they decide to move across the country, Riley puts on a brave face but the transition is hard and she eventually takes drastic moves to get her old life back.

Meanwhile, we get a peek into her emotions when we meet Joy, Anger, Sadness, Fear and Disgust—five little emotional characters who man “headquarters” in Riley’s head. They watch what’s going on in Riley’s life and use their special abilities to control and steer Riley’s responses.

When Sadness keeps touching (and permanently changing) the joyful “core memories” in Riley’s memory and eventually dislodges all the awesome core memories that make up who she is, disaster strikes. Joy and Sadness are swept away to the recesses of Riley’s memories while Disgust, Fear and Anger have to navigate Riley through the big move.

Joy and Sadness travel through dream land, imagination and more to get back to headquarters. But it’s harder than they think and of course, learn big lessons along the way.


Now. Let’s talk about what you’re going to want to talk about after you see the movie with your kids. Because if you see this movie and do NOT have conversation about it afterwards, you are missing out on such a big opportunity!


1. Kids don’t need happy-happy-joy-joy, perfect days every single day of their life. HUGE SPOILER: Joy finally learns that Riley needs Sadness, too. She sees that when there’s sadness, there’s others around to help and comfort. Sadness can often lead to joy.


It is not our job to make our kids happy. It is our job to lead our kids through life so they can be amazing adults. They need to know their car will break down, they might not get the job and they don’t give participation awards in college. We don’t need to snowplow the roads of life for our kids. Let them have sadness, disappointment and rejection.

2. As your kids get older, they do not have to hate you.

Riley is only 11 in this movie but she loves her parents. Her core memories are of amazing times spent with her parents. Everything about who she is on the inside is because of her parents. Be encouraged, moms and dads–your kids need your hugs, they need your kisses goodnight, they need your protection and love no matter how old they are!


This movie is about an 11 year old girl. My niece is an 11 year old girl and is as sweet as the day is long, but I can see her transition from little girl to teenager. Lots of stuff goes on in an 11 year old kid’s heart and mind and emotions.


When Riley moves, Sadness creeps in. Sometimes the sadness was totally unexplained. Sometimes the sadness was about a happy memory. Eventually, all the emotions were mixed up (in a good way) in her memories.

Talk to your tweens about how emotions can change. Explain that as they grow into this new almost-adult season of their life, that inexplicably, an emotion might pop up at the exact wrong time.

Disgust, Fear and Anger were controlling Riley through all her big mistakes during the movie. As tweens, they might feel those emotions rising up in them–but unlike Riley, they can control their emotions. Let your kids know they don’t have to give into being controlled by their emotions. They can choose to lead and act on any emotion–not just the one yelling the loudest.

Read Romans 8:5-6 (or even the whole chapter) and talk about how we can be controlled by the Holy Spirit and not our flesh.


Besides the controlling of emotions (which is appropriate to all ages at one level), there’s a really meaningful, long character arc about Riley’s imaginary friend Bong Bong. <<SPOILER ALERT>> As he helps Joy and Sadness get back to Headquarters, he ends up sacrificing himself–leaving Riley’s memory forever. He put Riley’s future happiness before his own desires.

It was one of the most beautiful parts of the story to me. Talk to your kids about how Bong Bong put Riley first even after he’d been ignored and forgotten for years. Ask them to think of a time when someone sacrificed what they wanted for them. Encourage them to put others first even when they really want to do things their own way.

Read Mark 10:44. Talk about choosing to be a servant and slave to others.

Now, a few little things:

1. If you are a parent, this movie will make you cry and want to pull out photo albums of your kids’ first years. (ps: look for some UP scenes hidden in Riley’s memories!)

2. The dream land Joy and Sadness go through had some nightmare related stuff–Riley even has a nightmare at one point. There was a giant clown, dead rats, ghosts, etc. I don’t think it was super scary–more silly. But beware if your kiddos are bothered by nightmares.

3. Anger really wants to use a curse word. (Although, the first time he mentions it he says, “that curse word we know”…meaning they only know one! So innocent.)

4. This movie totally reminded me of my long-lost favorite attraction at Epcot, Cranium Command! Right?!

5. Did you see Wreck-It Ralph? I thought it was one of the most boring Disney movies ever. One reason I didn’t like it is because of the long long journey the two characters had through all those weird candy lands. It was like never ending. Part of Inside Out felt that way, too. The whole time Joy and Sadness were trying to get back to headquarters they were going through all these weird made up places in Riley’s brain and always hitting a dead end. I’m not saying it was boring, just kinda long.

6. The end of the movie (maybe it was the credits, now that I think about it) finally showed everyone’s inner emotions (including cats and dogs!). It was probably the funniest part of the movie and I especially liked the “popular girls” inner thoughts, “Are they paying attention to me? Do they see how much I’m trying?” Her calm, cool and collected exterior did not match her inside. Another great conversation starter–people are not as they appear. And are usually more insecure than they let on.

7. You may have seen the preview where the mom dreams about a long-lost lover…that part really irked me. There was a slight recovery to it at the end but…eh. Wishing someone else was your husband doesn’t make me happy.

8. There was a super cute Hawaiian-volcano-song short but there wasn’t a secret at the end. Just a sweet dedication: “This movie is dedicated to our kids. Don’t grow up. Ever.”


I really did like this movie and as I’ve thought about it over the past few days, it’s grown on me. It’s not as amazing to me as Up or even Frozen. It doesn’t have the epic quality of Tangled or Toy Story. But parts of it are completely heart-squeezingly sweet. The parents-child relationship alone makes it worth watching!

I can see my sensitive 9 year old being a little overwhelmed by all the emotions and thoughts…especially if she relates them to her own thoughts. My funny six year old will like it but it won’t be something he’s going to watch over and over again.

It’s appropriate for all ages but I don’t think it will be adored by all ages. It definitely had an older feel to it. It is about an 11 year old girl and her 11 year old emotions.

Overall, I say THANK YOU Pixar for a movie about how great parents are and how emotions are fickle. Take your kids to see Inside Out and afterwards talk about your family relationships, how much you love your kids and are ready for any and every emotion that comes up in their life!

ps–Check out the Family Movie Moms Podcast where Heather and I talk about Inside Out, Tomorrowland and other fun movies for you and your kiddos!

I attended a screening of Inside Out as a member of the media. All opinions mine. Photos belong to Walt Disney Pictures. 

Summer Read & Do List

mountain biking kids

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source: chiots run

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The Warrior Poet

warrior poet 1

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2015 Reading Progress

bible 90 days kindle

Last year I read 64 books. The year before that, 66. This doesn’t include the multitude of books I’ve read to the kids. But this year? This year, I’m at a mere 10 books. At this rate, I’ll be lucky to read 30. Why? Well, because of one other book I’ve been reading. A book […]

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The *Little* Commission

source: d sharon pruitt

Easter Sunday has come and gone but with Spring breezes and beautiful flowers all around, I cannot stop thinking about the huge excitement of the Resurrection. It’s everywhere–in the new grass, the new blooms, the new life of Spring! After Jesus came back to life, He appeared to His disciples only a few times. It […]

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