Wednesday, December 07, 2016

A Stocking for Kit - Ella & Elfina's Adventures Day 7

Today's Adventures had Ella and Elfina making a stocking for Kit (Ella's American Girl Doll).  Last year during Advent we made a stocking for Lucy (Ella's other doll) so we thought it would be fun to make one for Kit as well.  So Ella found Elfina in the closet with my stash of felt thrown all over the closet.  Kit and Lucy were right there as well watching Elfina make a mess.  Here was her note this morning....
Day #7
I am glad that you found me
I am not trying to hide
I was looking for some fabric
To help out a friend of mine. 
You see Lucy has a stocking from last year,
But Kit wasn’t around so let’s make one my dear.
I need some help because I am not good at sewing
But together we can work and figure out what we are doing

Verse of the Day: Ephesians 2:10 

In addition to making the stocking for Kit - we also spent some time talking about what it means to be God's creation and his workmanship.  It was a fun day of crafting together.  

Meals on Wheels with Elfina - Day 6

Today Elfina was racing around in the critter jeep, towing some bread behind.  The church directory was located next to the car with an arrow to the location of delivery.  Today they would deliver a meal to a woman in our church who has been having some medical issues.  This is what the note said:

Day #6
This car it drives so very fast,
I don’t even have to put on the gas
I was driving around all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even the mouse
The bible tells us that when someone is sick, we should visit
So today would be a great opportunity, you won’t want to miss it
Follow the directions that are posted above,
And please take a meal, that was made for them in love.

Verse of the Day: Matthew 25:36

At first Ella wasn't too excited about her adventure for the day and she wanted to do something els., however I reminded her that her letter the first day said that Advent is a reminder that Christmas is not about you.... it's about Jesus and we are to visit the sick.  Reluctantly she went and had a blast. She loved it like always and they loved having her visit.  

Monday, December 05, 2016

Elfina's Gift - Day 5 Advent Adventures

Today's adventure involved a gift.  Elfina wrapped the gift but not so well, but she wrapped the gift and herself.  Ella thought it was so funny that Elfina was all wrapped up in the paper and ribbon.  She hopes she does something messy every time.  Not sure I am up for that.  Here was the note that she received today....
Day #5
When the wisemen found Jesus it was years after his birth
They brought him gifts to show Him his worth
Gold, Frankincense and myrrh were the gifts presented to the king
To celebrate the birth of Jesus, whose songs we do sing.
So today once you get to Mim’s house
Be helpful, kind and gentle as a mouse
This gift is for you to open after your Mom and Dad leave
I hope you will like it, if not you can cry on your sleeve

Verse of the Day: Matt. 2:11

Ella was so excited when she woke up, and was happy to be able to take Elfina to Mim and PaPas house for the day.  She loved opening her present (Color Wonder glitter pages - which I got for a great deal).  The focus today was on the gifts given to Jesus by the Wisemen.  

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Day 3 & 4 - Advent Adventures with Elfina

As usual our weekends are busy and full of ministry events and other typical December joys.  So I had to be a bit creative this weekend with our events as I knew that we would be super busy on Saturday and with my MS my body was probably going to crash on Sunday.... so I used both events to teach a lesson about God.

Day 3 - The Live Nativity - It was such a really cool event.  Ella loved it and I really thought they did a great job.  We did have to wait due to a medical emergency in which one of the actors actually passed away on site right before they started taking people through.  They came out and told the families that he was sure of his salvation and that he would have wanted them to go on with the program.    Here was what her note said on Saturday....

Day #3
Now you caught me on the back of the camel
You see, Ella, I just really love these animals
They are all gathered to see a wonderfully great sight
Jesus the Messiah who was born one December night
The only thing I don’t really like as I sit here today
No one around me is moving, not even to naaaah.
So how about you join me for an adventure tonight
To see a live Nativity, that would be out of sight!

Verse of the Day: Luke 2:1-7

We were so thankful to be able to join a few other families from the church.  Ella asked if her friend Ali also had an elf that was taking her to the live Nativity.  Thankfully she forgot to ask.  But Elfina did enjoy being able to sit on a Donkey named Reuben and Ride on a school bus.


Registering as Hebrew citizens 
Elfina meets a calf

Elfina meets Reuben the Donkey

Day 4 - Sunday - Today is the day of rest - though ministry doesn't always allow for that, so we have to be creative.  I had worked most of day at the church doing a meal for our mentoring program so I knew I would need a night to rest, so that was our focus, resting, being still and spending some time together.  So Elfina thought a movie would be a great idea - but couldn't choose.

Here was the poem for the day:

Day #4
Oh the fun, we had on our adventure last night
To see those live animals was truly a delight.
But I am tired and weary from all we have done
So why don’t we just sit back and relax, doesn’t that sound like fun.
Since today is the day, God tells us to rest,
Let’s just sit back and relax, that really sounds best.
S0, let’s watch a movie, but I am not sure where to begin
There are so many choices,  so I decided to just jump in!
Verse of the Day: Gen. 2:2

Even God rested on the 7th Day so it was nice for us to do the same.  After Ella found her this morning, she said, Elfina told me that she wanted to watch Ariel.... so Little Mermaid it was, followed by some cooking shows that we love to watch together.  It was a great relaxing night! 

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Silly String - Elfina's Advent Adventures Day 2

Thursday was a long day for Ella and I - long meaning we didn't get along the greatest - I was super tired, she was overtired.... we are both a little bit strong willed (hard to believe, huh).  I felt as though we just needed to let loose and enjoy our time together.  So one of the things I am very intentional about during Advent is to find simple fun things to do together that brings us joy and laughter.  It is a great reminder that Jesus came so we could have joy and freedom from our sins and the things that hold us down.  So today - Ella was greeted with this poem.

Day #2
1,2,3,4 I declare a silly string war!
Meet me after school is done today
In the back yard where you run and play! 
We will have lots of fun as we empty our cans
We just have to be sure we keep it off of the van
Laughter is a gift that comes from the Lord
Let’s celebrate that together, so we never get bored.
Verse of the Day: Prov. 17:22

Note to self and others - don't leave silly string hang on your elf all day - it leaves stains and is very difficult to remove 
So after school we got home and Ella started looking around... where is Elfina she asked I said she was waiting inside for us to get home... and Ella said in her very concrete thinking... the note said she was going to meet me outside after school.  


A fun time was definately had by all!!!  

Thursday, December 01, 2016

A Thankful Start to Elfina's adventures Day #1

So this morning, Ella woke up to find an elf sitting on her new writing tray with a marker in hand and thank you cards ready to be written on.  She was so surprised and has continued to ask all day long... "who did that - who put her there?  I wonder what she will be doing tomorrow"  Along with Elfina I included a letter that I came up with late (very late) last night along with a little poem about the event of the day.

My Name is Elfina, I am a kindly sweet elf,
I come around at Christmas, not just to sit on a shelf.
Adventures are my passion, I love them, I do
You may even find me one day, hiding out in a shoe.
New places you will find me, with the dawn of each day
With clues for the adventure that will be coming our way.
I need you to make me a promise that’s true,
That you will always remember that Christmas is not about you,
It’s about Jesus, the Savior, the king of all Kings
So remember to celebrate Jesus with all that this adventure will bring.
Much Love for you sweet Ella, I can’t wait for the start of the fun,
Christmas will be here before you know it and then off I will run
You see my job is just for Advent, a great time to celebrate
God coming near
Then after Christ’s birthday, I must then disappear.
So what are you waiting for, let this adventure please start

For I know that you, dear Ella are an adventurer at heart.

Then next to the letter was a clue for what today's activity would include.  Unlike Elf on the shelf - this elf is invited to come on all the adventures with us... so Elfina helped Ella write thank you notes today.

Day #1

Today is the first of our Kindness Advent Adventure
We will start with a note to thank those who have blessed you.
A thanks for the special Calendar from Mim
And a thanks for the tray from a very kind friend.
Giving thanks is something that is dear to God’s heart.
So writing letters of thanks is a great way to start.

Verse of the Day: Psalm 107:1

It was a great start to our Advent Adventure.... I think Ella is really going to enjoy this and though it is extra work for me.... it is so fun to be creative as I come up with ways to incorporate the things we normally do during advent with the whimsical fun of the Elf.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Elfina's Advent Adventures

For a few years now I have been contemplating the whole Elf on the Shelf craze.  I look on pinterest and see lists of ideas of how to make your elf find itself in  great predicaments.  I even enjoy taking a few minutes to see what my friends have done with their elves on my facebook feed.  I love the creativity and the adventure of the elves.... I am not sure I love the total concept behind the elves. Now before I continue on - I will admit I haven't read the book, and I don't know the exact story behind what the elves do but if I understand the bits and pieces that I have heard it involves reporting to Santa on the behavior of the children... so if the kids are good - then they will tell Santa to bring gifts.  

Just like the whole concept of Santa - some are all about Santa, some are against Santa and some fall somewhere in-between.... my goal is not to get into a deep theological discussion on Elves and Santa and all those other made up characters that come around on different holidays throughout the year.  To be honest I love holidays and the fun fictional characters that come along... but for me... it is important to make sure that my child understands that they are a fun part of the holiday...a fairy tale feature that allows us to pretend and be creative... while still not loosing sight of the real meaning of the holiday.  And lastly it is a priority for me to be honest with my child... I don't want to tell her something is real and then later tell her it is not real.... do we have conversations about Santa - yes! But I try my best to never talk about him as a real person that watches to see if you are good.... That is my personal conviction!  Not one that I expect others to fall in line with.

More than anything I want my child to know that she is getting gifts because God is good to us!  And he is gracious!  Not because she has earned it, because if I am honest - I haven't earned any of the good gifts that God has blessed me with - it is God's grace and goodness that he lavishes his love upon us.  That to me is what I want to be promoting to my child. In the same way I want her to be a giving person, knowing that we give not because people deserve gifts but because whatever we do for others, we do unto the Lord.  I want my child to be giving.

So with that being said - I wanted to come up with a way to stay true to my convictions while also enjoying the fun and creativity of the Christmas elves.  So after doing some research I found some information about a few alternatives such as the Kindness Elves and one I learned about just tonight which was the Shepherd Adventure and Wondering Wisemen.

So I decided to marry two ideas into a fun new tradition called Elfina's advent adventures.... so as in years past we have turned over a Christmas tree to find out what we would be doing that day, now this year instead of having the adventures on the paper trees lined up on the wall I am going to have Elphina doing something fun as a clue to what we will be doing as our advent adventure for that day.

I will be posting daily through Christmas about Elfina's adventures.... I hope you will follow along with us and share your advent activities or your favorite Elf activities and maybe I can use your ideas to help create an awesome Advent Adventure for Ella and her new friend Elfina.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Claiming Truth in the Trenches of Life

Have you ever had one of those weeks.... as a whole the week was generally good, but it seemed as though there were one or two little things each day that pulled you down?  That was my week.  Many good things happened this week, and it was clear that God was working, but it was also clear that the enemy was also working overtime to try to knock down what God had been building up.

Being in a helping profession I find myself at times burdened by the choices of other people.  I feel a heavy heart for them and a burden to pray.  I am so thankful God has given me a heart for people, but there are times when it can be overwhelming as you look into their lives and see the hurt, the pain and the choices.  It breaks my heart... but if my heart is this broken, imagine the level of hurt the Lord feels as we watches his children struggle.

I also struggle to know my role.  This was definitely a struggle while we were away last year in Romania, but honestly I think it is an underlying struggle that has continued to lay heavy on my heart.  There are days in my quest to know what I am called to do that I flourish.... but there are also days in the journey that I just want to "pack my bags" and move on to something new.

I struggle with being overly sensitive.... I know that there are times when people say and do things that aren't meant to hurt, but they seem to anyway.  Times that I work really hard on something just to have it brushed aside.... or thrown out.  I wish I wasn't so sensitive.... I wish I could just let things roll off my back like so many other.  I was just thinking last night... I probably should never write that book that I have been thinking about, because I will never be able to handle the critiquing that comes along with it.  I guess my hard outside shell can't always protect my ultra sensitive core of who I am.

I wonder sometimes if this is God's way of teaching me something.... I also wonder if it is God's way of answering my prayers to continue to drawn me into a closer relationship with him.  A relationship of being more than doing, a relationship of trusting and relying on Him instead of me calling the shots.  A relationship of brokenness turned to beauty.  A relationship of being loved unconditionally without me having to do anything - ANYTHING to earn his love.

So today I will be reminded of these truths to claim as I struggle to not feel defeated:

1.  "I am fearfully and wonderfully made"- he gave me a heart to care for people, he allowed me to be sensitive (though I do know I am at times overly sensitive).

2.  "God is my refuge and strength"  - He is all I need to weather the storms of my life.  I need nothing else.

3.  He has a plan for me.  His plan is perfect and I claim that promise today!  He created me to be a reflection of Him and that is how I must define success.

4.  "Holy and Blameless" - Because of the cross - I am Holy and Blameless.  This one I struggle with an 18 inch problem (the distance from my head to my heart).... I know it to be true in my head, but I struggle to live it and experience it in my heart.  Today I will claim it!

5.  "Be still and know that I am God"  - He's got this.... now I need to rest in Him and his promises!  I give up trying to do for others on my own strength..... today let me be reminded to just BE forgiven, BE loved, and BE still in the presence of the creator.