Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Columbus Women Encourages Kids

Columbus Businesswoman Encourages Kids

By Shelly Burke, Editor

As every mom does, Tracy Buzynski wanted her daughter to become a well-rounded, happy child (Tracy gives her mom credit for her own happy childhood). Tracy saw the pressures her daughter Shannon, age 11, and her friends faced every day at school, and wanted to find a way to encourage them. “We are all given positive and negative labels throughout our lives,” Tracy says, “so why not give kids positive labels to encourage them? How would a positive label make a difference in kids’ school and personal lives?”

Tracy prayed to find a way to give her daughter and her friends positive labels, as well as build character and instill life values. Her prayers led her to combine her background as a graphic artist and her experiences owning an advertising agency, and start her business, Encourage Me Kids. The Encourage Me Kids website features products kids will see and use every day—bookmarks, refrigerator or locker magnets, posters, book-bag tags, and agenda markers. All items are personalized and carry a positive, value-filled message for that child related to his or her interests.

For example, the True Friend line reinforces three values:
• Be Yourself! GOD made the one and only perfect you!• Be a Friend! The only way to have a friend is to be one.• Be Forgiving! No one is perfect, forgive and you will be forgiven.

The Cowboy series, perfect for little boys, encourages:
• Cowboy Up! Be courageous and do what’s right.• Be Honest! Tell the truth partner, honesty is absolute.• Show your true grit! Stand up for what you believe in. A cowboy worth his salt lives by the golden rule.

Shannon helps her mom come up with wording and design ideas, which they then present to Shannon’s friends for input. Tracy says, “They are the best critics.” The kids have approved lines featuring Kool Cat, Monkey, Patriot (with sayings from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin), and a Penguin. The items are appropriate for children in grade-school.
Tracy’s future plans include expanding her line to include products for middle-school age kids.

Tracy’s husband, Mark, has supported Tracy in her business. “I couldn’t follow my dreams without his love and support,” Tracy says. As all business owners do, Tracy has faced challenges. Keeping up with doing business through the ever-changing Internet and the social media craze (including Facebook) are a challenge, as is finding the time to get ideas from the design stage and on to the web site (www.encouragemekids.com).

Tracy has seen God’s hand at work throughout the process of building Encourage Me Kids, from product design to getting funding. Tracy says, “The Lord is my business partner. I have started a journal of all the great things that have happened along the way. I am tithing with all the proceeds. In the Bible, God tells us to test Him in this (Malachi 3:10), so with every order I take His portion off the top.”

May God bless your business, Tracy!

For more information e-mail Tracy at: info@encouragemekids.com, or contact her by phone at 402-562-8255 or by mail: Celebrating Design, 2804 8th Street, Columbus, NE, 68601

Reader Questionnaire

The goal of the Nebraska Family Times newspaper is “To inspire, encourage, and motivate you in your Christian walk.” My prayer every month is that I will write and publish articles that will do just that. How am I doing? Please fill out the following questionnaire and let me know what parts of the paper you enjoy, what you don’t enjoy as much, what you’d like to see more of, and any suggestions you have for improving the paper.

Please mail your completed questionnaire to: Shelly Burke, Nebraska Family Times, 42887 G. G. Road, Genoa, NE, 68640. You may also e-mail your responses to shelly@shellyburke.net.

This questionnaire will appear in the June, July, and August issues of the Nebraska Family Times.

If you include your name and address, your completed questionnaire is a chance for you to win a prize package that will include books, CD’s, and CHOCOLATE! One winner will be chosen every month. You do not have to include contact information if you wish to submit your questionnaire anonymously.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Columbus Kids Prepare for PINK Trip

1C, Peace Kids Prepare for PINK Trip

[NFT] For the sixth year, the PINK (Peace Inspiring Native Kids) group will be traveling to Cormorant, Canada, to teach native children Vacation Bible School. This year participants from 1C church in Columbus will be going as well. The group of 12 kids and 7 adult chaperones will be leaving July 23 and returning July 31st.

According to Tamra Boettcher, Youth Leader and chaperone, “Several of the students have been on this trip before and are very passionate about the mission. The newcomers are equally excited about the experience to get to meet children of the Native American culture and help them get to know Jesus.”

Reid Fullner, Alea Smith, and Ryan Coffee have all been on the trip before, and when asked what they’re most looking forward to, each said the same thing: “Seeing the kids again and watching them grow in their faith and learn more about God.” Mariah Spady is going on her first trip to Canada, and she anticipates the trip will “help me in my spiritual walk by allowing me to share my faith with others more freely and readily.”

The kids have weekly DEN meetings to help grow their faith and prepare them for the trip, and they have been working throughout the year to earn money for the trip by doing fundraisers and service projects.

Cormorant, a village of about 400 people, is 1100 miles from Columbus. Many in Cormorant live in poverty, and crime and drugs are prevalent. Despite the challenges of the trip, Craig and Lisa Brestel, first-time chaperones, are looking forward to it. “The trip will help us both grow with God through helping others, and we’re looking forward to watching the kids in action,” says Lisa.

Kirk Nelson, a chaperone going on his first trip to Canada, summarizes the goal of the trip (and the goal we should all have, no matter where our journey takes us); “Our most important mission is to share God’s message of love with the people we will see on our journey.”

Please pray for the safety and success of this group as they travel!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Book Review: College 101: Campus Life for Christians

By Shelly Burke

I was looking for a book to prepare my son for college, spiritually as well as emotionally. College 101 is a small, unintimidating book, subtitled Campus Life for Christians. As I paged through it, I knew it would be the perfect book for him, and for any student heading to college.

College 101 covers a comprehensive range of topics relevant to college-bound students—from what to expect in a roommate, what to bring to college (including the “Rule of Fourteen”—fourteen days’ worth of clothes, forcing the reader to do laundry every two weeks and preventing smelly consequences of having too many clothes and not doing laundry), and preparing by getting to know the Bible.

The book discusses the emotional impact of moving away from home, actually meeting a new roommate, and making friends. Plenty of practical advice is included; options for buying books cheaply, why to lock the room door every night, and wearing flip-flops in the shower. The authors suggest finding the health center and asking about the routine of being seen, so the student is familiar with the routine of making an appointment and being seen, before he or she gets sick.

Many kids are unprepared for the increased responsibility they have while in college, along with less accountability to anyone. This book discusses the importance of making good decisions (like going to class regularly, finding and attending a church), and also points out the consequences of making negative decisions.

College 101 takes a realistic look at temptations every student faces while at college, even Christian colleges. The emotional and physical consequences of drugs, alcohol, and sex are outlined, along with techniques to avoid and deal with the temptations (drinking wisely, sipping no more than one drink an hour, or not drinking at all but carrying around a glass of soda all evening so as not to get pressured into drinking).

Biblical references are given throughout the book, to help guide students through their days at college. Readers are warned of threats to their faith that they’ll probably face—temptations, non-believing professors, friends who scorn their faith—and again are told of the importance of faith and techniques to deal with these threats.

I’m impressed with the amount of valuable, useful, easy-to-read information contained in just over 200 pages. It’s written in a style teens will appreciate, and at $9.95 is a bargain. I’ll be buying more copies as gifts for any graduate heading for college.

(The Abbey gift and bookstore in Norfolk carries College 101: Campus Life for Christians)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Editor's Letter June 2010

CONGRATULATIONS to all graduates, especially our son Cody, who graduated from Lakeview High School on May 16th. It was a wonderful day filled with family, fun, and pride in Cody’s accomplishments. He will be attending Kansas State University in the fall. What a milestone!

When I belonged to a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group years ago, one of our mentors said, “The days with your children may seem long…but the years will seem short.” Those were very wise words, and I pass them on to every mother of young children.

Most of May was filled with preparing for Cody’s graduation party and the graduation itself. We were blessed with good weather and the presence of many friends and family members to celebrate with us.

School is out now and Cody and Morgan are getting ready for summer cattle shows. I’m sure the summer will go fast! It’s my favorite season of the year—I even like the heat.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers! I am blessed to have a father who always encourages and supports me in whatever I want to do, and he’s always quick to encourage my family in their endeavors, as well. And he always, always can make me laugh, no matter what kind of mood I’m in. THANKS, dad!

I’m also blessed to have a husband who is a wonderful father. He never hesitates to spend time with and help Cody and Morgan, no matter how tired he is or how long his to-do list is. Tim is a huge factor in the happy, productive children Cody and Morgan are. THANKS, Tim!

In the paper you’ll find an article about parable of The Prodigal Son, but with the focus on the father, rather than the son. You’ll see how the father’s actions are like our heavenly Father’s actions as well.

As I was shopping for graduation gifts, I found a book called College 101; Campus Life for Christians. I highly recommend it as a gift; you’ll find a review of the book in the Playroom pages of this issue of the Nebraska Family Times.

I’ve also included a reader survey in the paper. Please fill it out to let me know how I’m doing as editor, and what you’d like to continue to see, see more of, or maybe see less of, in the paper. My prayer is to produce a paper that will encourage, inspire, and motivate you in your Christian walk, and I need your help and suggestions to do that.

I hope you enjoy this issue of the Nebraska Family Times! May God bless you this summer!