Monday, December 31, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ten Two Studios Christmas Countdown

For you paper crafters out there Lisa Volrath still has her Christmas Countdown up at her site . But hurry because she'll take it down soon!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Advent was a busy time for me this year. Truly the picture of a world waiting for a Savior! But today I am celebrating the birth of our Savior and I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening

Take caution as with all youtube videos, but this Robert Frost poem read by the author is something wonderful to share with your children. The illustrations are by Susan Jeffers and from this book.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Reason for the Season

I came across this writing by Charlotte Mason in Volume 5 of her series on education that I think helps to put a parents focus in proper perspective for Christmas. It was very convicting for me and I plan to read and reread it during this season.

Actions do not speak louder than words to a young heart; he must feel it in your touch, see it in your eye, hear it in your tones, or you will never convince child or boy that you love him, though you labour day and night for his good and his pleasure. Perhaps this is the special lesson of Christmas-tide for parents. The Son came––for what else we need not inquire now––to reinstate men by compelling them to believe that they––the poorest shrinking and ashamed souls of them––that they live enfolded in infinite personal love, desiring with desire the response of love for love. And who, like the parent, can help forward this "wonderful redemption"? The boy who knows that his father and his mother love him with measureless patience in his faults, and love him out of them, is not slow to perceive, receive, and understand the dealings of the higher Love.
But why should good parents, more than the rest of us, be expected to exhibit so divine a love? Perhaps because they are better than most of us; anyway, that appears to be their vocation. And that it is possible to fulfil even so high a calling we all know, because we know good mothers and good fathers.
"Parents, love your children," is, probably, an unnecessary counsel to any who read this page; at any rate, it is a presuming one. But let me say to reserved, undemonstrative parents who follow the example of righteous Abraham and rule their households,––Rule none the less, but let your children feel and see and be quite sure that you love them.
We do not suggest endearments in public, which the young folk cannot always abide. But, dear mother, take your big schoolgirl in your arms just once in the holidays, and let her have a good talk, all to your two selves; it will be to her like a meal to a hungry man. For the youths and maidens––remember, they would sell their souls for love; they do it too, and that is the reason of many of the ruined lives we sigh over. Who will break down the partition
between supply and demand in many a home where there are hungry hearts on either side of the wall?

Her admonition to parents is well taken. It is not enough to teach our children the facts of Christmas...the birth of a savior, the plan of our God. We must also speak to their hearts. We must SHOW them the love of Christ first hand as we love them despite their failings and let them know we do, just as God does us. I'll be striving for this through "Him that gives me strength" and I hope that you will too.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jesse Trees to Help Orphans

James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune...

I was told by a local friend about a wonderful family who has managed to share their love of Jesse Trees by turning it into a project to help orphans. Here are the words of the Mom who started this project:

I bought my first one [Jesse Tree] about ten years ago when my first son was just a few months old. We have used it every year and it is our family's favorite Christmas tradition by far. We wrap each ornament like a little package and place them under the tree (we also put the number of the day on them so we will know which one to open). Then each day, one of the kids takes turns opening the ornament and reading the devotion.

Two years ago, my oldest two decided they wanted to sponsor children from World Vision. So I asked them what their plans were to pay for the sponsorship of the kids and they both enthusiastically said, "Let's make Jesse Trees to sell!" So that's why we sell these :-) We make 90% of the ornaments during the summer months to have them ready by fall. 100% of our proceeds goes to the kids they sponsor and if we have any proceeds left over, we use it to buy animals, medicine, food, etc. for other families through World Vision. We are also considering adding on Shaohannah's Hope as an additional foundation to sponsor. It is an organization started by Steven Curtis Chapman and helps fund orphans in China. We LOVE doing this!
...We made 50 sets of ornaments to sell this year. We are very close to meeting the kids' requirements for sponsorship right now and I believe we have sold around 35-38 boxes of ornaments. We have two sets that we sell: one set is $35. This set of ornaments comes premade along with a hardbound book for devotions. Our second set is a "kit" with all of the supplies and instructions needed to make 25 ornaments along with the hardbound book. This set sells for $25. We also have 24" trees if people need them. Some people like to buy the tree; others have trees that they will use from home.

If you would like to contact this family to purchase your own Jesse Tree ornaments and help the orphans they have adopted you can do so by emailing

Green Challenge: Stay married

I found this article in the Washington Post fascinating:

Their paper, published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also found that if the divorced couples had stayed together in 2005, the United States would have saved 73 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and 627 billion gallons of water in that year alone.
Married households use energy and water more efficiently than divorced ones because they share these resources -- including lighting and heating -- among more people, said Jianguo Liu, one of the paper's co-authors. Moreover, the divorced households they surveyed between 1998 and 2002 used up more space, occupying between 33 and 95 percent more rooms per person than in married households.
"Hopefully this will inform people about the environmental impact of divorce," Liu said in an interview yesterday. "For a long time we've blamed industries for environmental problems. One thing we've ignored is the household."

Staying's very praiseworthy.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Jesse Tree

We have started a new tradition in our house of a Jesse Tree. This is a tool for teaching, remembering and preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Here is an excellent explanation of a Jesse Tree:

What is a Jesse Tree? Basically it's just an evergreen branch or small tree—sometimes even a bare branch. During the season of Advent biblical symbols are gradually added to the tree, symbols that tell the story of God's redemptive plan for the world and reveal the strong ties between the Old and New Testaments.

For our family we use Ann Voskamp's The Glorious Coming which I blogged about last year. This year I have implemented the ornaments provided in the book to make my own ornaments. I decoupaged them onto a wood cut out I had covered with brown paper.

Then we hang them onto some branches I gathered from my yard.

If you think this is something you'd like to start right away and therefore don't have the time to make ornaments, or if you just want a simpler approach, you can just have your children color ornaments and paste them to a picture of a tree.
Here is a link for more information on Jesse Trees. This link includes devotions or you may even want to write your own. But I urge you to take a look and consider doing your own Jesse Tree with your family.
*Here is another idea that I think would make a great Jesse Tree. The ornaments could be stored in the pockets.