Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Jesse tree.

The first thing "TO DO" in our advent calendar is to make a JESSE TREE, a symbolic tree honouring the geneology of Jesus. It works much like an Advent calendar, everyday a story of verse is read about someone in Jesus' lineage and then you hang up a new piece on the tree, wall ,or wherever.
I really like this idea because it is not just for the kids but can benefit all in our family! I still learn so much from the "same old stories" when I really listen and stop assuming that I am familiar with it. The great thing about children is that they ask great questions that make us think about things from a different perspective.
Oh, to be a child again, but second best is to be with one.
Two sites for the devotions that go with each day.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Countdown to Jesus' birth.

I have a super inspirational friend who continues to keep me hopeful that Jesus can be part of any home. It takes some forethought , but it can be done, whether in teachable moments or in traditions that we establish as parents.
One idea is an advent calendar....(I know..not that new.) I was thinking to go beyond the chocolate.
My friend made one out of felt, and has a special activity for every day. Some are just fun and some are centered on Jesus, to help kids understand that Jesus is first this season, and all the other stuff is just fun. I will post a more detailed one with our own ideas.

Here are some ideas from a blog site:

It doesn't have to be something big every night--it could just be making hot cocoa. But just doing something everyday get us excited for the holidays.

Go Ice Skating
Watch It's a Wonderful Life, make spiced cider.
Exchange gifts
Make Christmas Cookies for friends.
Find Mistletoe, hang it in our house and kiss under it.
Address and Mail Christmas Cards
Go to Borders and Pick out one new Christmas CD.
Go to The Nutcracker
Listen to Handel's Messiah
Leave out wooden shoes on December 5 (This could pay homage to our Dutch heritage)
Drive around the city for a Nativity hunt.
Make Thick Hot Chocolate and Homemade Marshmallows
Host a Christmas Sweater Party
Put up a ribbon sash for Christmas cards
Donate canned goods
Give neighbors a present
Put up a wreath
Make a Gingerbread house
Make a popcorn garland
Make hot chocolate and read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Sing (or listen) to favorite Christmas songs
Drive around to see neighborhood lights
Go out and see public light display
Read Christmas story from the Bible and the Book of Mormon
Open a gift (new stocking or pajamas or pillowcase)
Make a family traditional dessert
Eat out at a festive restaurant
Go to a seasonal movie
Tell stories of childhood Christmas around the fire
Have a romantic candlelit dinner by the Christmas tree
Make decorative sugar cookies
Sign up to purchase gifts for a needy child
Host a Christmas dessert party
Write out a Christ-centered goal to start early for the New Year
Have a movie party (classic Christmas clips)
Go to a Christmas Concert
Attend City tree lighting event
Have a full traditional breakfast while listening to Christmas music

Here are some great ideas for the calendar:

Around the corner.

Christmas. Yes, it really is just around the corner. This is usually where i make all kinds of lists, start thinking about all he presents I have to buy, start digging up the decorations...
This year, we already have our tree up...sick early... I know...I felt a bit bullied by our 5 year old, but now I am happy it is up, despite the horrified looks i get from Dec 1 traditionalists.
Over the last two years, I have been trying to figure out how to bring Jesus into this season and edge out Santa a bit. How do you work both, or just one into a home.

Option 1: Just do Jesus, never say the S word, keep them from school, malls, no traditional stuff since it all "distracts" for Jesus. I thought that Santa would never even be mentioned in our home...good luck, even my own mother ix-nayed that on day two of Matty's life. I always think that if we ignore culture there will be push-back later. My mom grew up not celebrating Christmas because it was based on "heathen traditions" and when she had her own house it was rebelliously FULL of decorations .

Option 2: Just do Santa....i don't think so. Other than the threat, "Santa is making a list...", it is not that appealing to me.

Option 2: Work with both: Can the two live in harmony? Can kids distinguish them both? I always worry that they will think that Jesus drives a sleigh with twelve little disciples, delivering candy and toys, maybe they could make a delivery to baby Santa who was born in a manger...I dunno, weird, but in the back of my head that's what will happen.

We have friends who do a St Nicholas celebration earlier in December and then put everything away and start doing Jesus stuff. I have a friend who said that would never work unless it was opposite. But I want Jesus to be associated with he "good stuff" not Santa. I guess it is the same tension with Easter Bunny and Jesus' resurrection. It really feels like a competition, and I need to soup up the Nativity team...

So these next few weeks, I am going to hunt for some cool ways to celebrate Jesus' birth. Hopefully my kids will understand the gift that He is, no matter what happens in our home.
In closing , at least I know Jesus will show himself to those who seek, so pressure is off.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Just got off chat with an old friend, a girl who grew up under the teachings of Christ, knows all the right answers, lived a righteous life . After years of misery, she has 'had it" with living the good Christian life, obeying, abstaining, etc for the sake of God.
She has had a hard life. Abused as a child in a Christian home, suffering from health problems due to it, unemployed, lost her fiance because of health problems, frustrated with not having a child of her own yet, a dream which she has had for her whole life.

She said

......i can't bank on heavenly rewards if that's what you mean. I'm not sure God even loves me IF he's even there

likely he'll send me to hell cause after all the crap he put me through I wasn't able to believe or trust him anymore
....or maybe God's a sadistic prick who hated me since I was born... or a figment of devout imaginations we've held since childhood... to be honest I sometimes think it would be easier to accept that there's no good deity in control than it is to believe there's a god in control who enjoys lavishing pain on select people and blessing select others with favourtism and good things

It broke my heart to see all hope lost. I have no specific answers to much of the stuff she has gone through, and i know that. I have no similar situations to compare to hers, my life is a garden in comparison,.
I told her that God loves her, cares for her, has hope for her. But, I can't make her believe, trust,or hope again.

God, come and find your child, hold her, love her, open her eyes to see you again. I am am leaving her in your hands, I am at a loss for words.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Once a month Cooking

Here is a dream....I REALLY want to have a deep freeze. I think I will even put it on my Christmas wish list...along with 1700 other things. The I can just excuse myself downstairs to get already prepared whatever and bring it up..stress free.
Since watching Food Inc, I have been more conscious about what I eat, but it is hard when living on a budget, living with 3 small kids, and having barely anytime to plan anything but 'what can I use in my cupboard' meals. This would be a great way to buy local meat, local grown produce in an economical way, and not have everything freezer burnt by the time you are ready to use it!
I have been talking to a few of my friends about this Once a month cooking idea or as they say on the web OAMC recipes. It is not filling my freezer, but will definitely be great back-ups for those days when I don't have time to shop, prepare,or be creative.
I have wanted to do this for so long, but this has stayed on my TO DO list.
So this month, I will organize a group that will get together (mostly moms? I dunno) to exchange meals. I figure it goes like this, one night of insane cooking in exchange for a few nights of peace.
The idea is that everyone cooks ONE meal that can be frozen, with minimal things to add so that one can take it out of the freezer in the morning and be ready by dinner.
The rules are it can be over rice or noodles, but needs to be family friendly, but not to basic.
It has to be stored in a ziplock or tupperware, have recipe and instructions attached.
Everyone has to bring 2 other recipes, just to inspire the rest of us, because when stress happens, inspiration is hard to come by!
Let's see how it goes!