Saturday, December 24, 2011

Advent Adventure #24 & 25

Today's adventure will be easy to follow - all you have to do is STOP reading, turn off your computer, and leave it off until Monday morning - enjoy a bit of a Computer fast as you celebrate Christmas with family and friends.  And since I will also be doing that - I am going to let you in on tomorrow's adventure - read the Christmas story found in Luke 2.  Enjoy some time together as you celebrate the Christ child's birth by attending a worship service together!

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Advent Adventure Day 22 & 23

Well I made my best effort to blog from my phone yesterday on my way to my parent's house - however, sometimes my best efforts don't lead to a successful needless to say - today's advent is a "twofer" as my husband would call it.

Today's adventure is to sit back and enjoy a little holiday cheer right here on your computer - over the month of December Joel has a tradition of posting a new holiday video each day.  There are so many different ones to choose from, so today head over to his blog and enjoy a little holiday cheer as you are surfing the web, wrapping presents, or just killing some time as you relax and enjoy the evening!

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #21

Can you believe there is only five days until Christmas!  Wow - how the time flies!  Thankfully I think I am finished with my Christmas and birthday shopping (my hubby is a New Year's Baby).  As I laid in bed last night I was thinking about there only being five days and thought today I would have a theme of 5!

For our advent adventure today I am encouraging you to take a moment or two and come up with a list of five things that you are thankful for about each family member.

I am thankful for Joel....
1.  I am thankful he is a Godly man
2.  I am thankful he is like Mary (I am like Martha) - he chooses relationships over tasks.
3.  I am thankful he is compassion and forgiving
4.  I am thankful he is an awesome daddy!!!
5.  I am thankful he is a man of integrity

I am thankful for Ella....
1.  I am thankful that she is fearfully and wonderfully made by God
2.  I am thankful she is a happy and content baby
3.  I am thankful for the times that I can just sit and watch her smile and chatter
4.  I am thankful she sleeps through the night
5.  I am thankful she is so loved and prayed for by so many others

and yes I am also thankful for our furry friend - Tucker
1.  I am thankful he is good with Ella
2.  I am thankful that he listens (most of the time)
3.  I am thankful he is a good traveller
4.  I am thankful he is likes the dog food that I get on sale with my coupons
5.  I am thankful he likes to cuddle (aka he thinks he is a lap dog!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #20

I hope you are enjoying the Advent Season as much as we are.  It has been so fun to be creating memories and traditions with each other and with our little girl.  This past week at our women's bible study we talked about Christmas traditions and we each shared different traditions.  One of the traditions that I would really like to start this year is to have a book each Christmas that Ella can open on Christmas eve and we will read it together before she goes to bed.  I have yet to pick her book out for this year, but I do already own one of my favorites of the Christmas season - The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

Whether you are a family with little kids or big kids - I believe we never grow too old to have a story read to us.... in fact most of the books in Ella's collection are my favorites that I collect when I was in my Twentys.  So tonight grab a Christmas book - or any Children's book and sit down together and read.  Maybe even consider starting a Christmas book tradition.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Advent Adventure Day 18 & 19

I do have another good excuse for not posting yesterday.... it was Sunday!  I was resting.... I wish - it was a busy day of ministry concerts and fellowships..... and it is quite funny that yesterday's advent adventure was going to be about attending a concert.

One of the best ways to bring in Christmas is with music - and I especially love listening to Christmas music.  If you haven't attended a concert this Christmas season - check out a church or a school near you - I am sure you will find one.

And if you haven't found one but live in our area - our church is hosting a Cantata on Wednesday night at 7:30pm we would love to have you join us.

Now for today's advent adventure..... today I want to challenge you to look at a passage in scripture.  Just yesterday we got a Christmas letter and this was on the bottom and I thought it was a great passage for us to read and reflect on as we think about the purpose of Jesus life.

John 1:9-14

"The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who received him, to those how believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.  The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #17

Happy Saturday Everyone!  Today is family day!!  I want to encourage you to spend time today with your family!  God has blessed us abundantly with a little girl who brings us joy and today we celebrate his coming as a baby with our baby.

Maybe you don't have a family to spend time with today or over the holidays - remember your church family is your family - call someone up today and ask them to spend time with you... or you can go and join them on a family outing.

Last night we got together as a family and made cookies - not only was the end result and the product wonderful it was a blessing to have those memories and traditions to share.  Make a tradition today with your family - maybe it is getting a tree together for those late folks or making cookies together.  Maybe it is a road trip, or my favorite going to look at lights.

But whatever you do today - do it as a family!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #15 & 16

Today is a double adventure!  I apologize for note getting my blog in yesterday - it was one of those days that I had a bunch of things on my to do list and only got through a couple and by the time I got to my computer it was already 11pm.

So your double adventure today starts with a call to a friend.  I have so many friends that live long distance and we don't often get a chance to chat and catch up, so I encourage you today to call a friend that you haven't talked to in a little while and catch up.

Your second adventure also involves a friend - send a message to a couple friends and schedule a time in the next couple days to get together for a meal or a night of games.  One thing I have realized over the years is the importance of friendship within my church family.  Scripture talks about friendship - "a friend sticks closer than a brother","a friend loves at all times","greater love has no man than this that he would lay down his life for a friend".

Have a friend filled day!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #14

I love getting mail!  I will be so disappointed if the post office closes.  Our mail isn't delivered to our house so each day I make a trip down to get the mail... if I miss the office hours I literally get frustrated and disappointed thinking I may have missed out on a personal piece of mail (bills don't count).

Just this week we went away for a couple days and the first thing I wanted to do when I got back was to get the mail in hopes of seeing a box filled with Christmas Cards.

This year since our kitchen addition is complete I am hanging the cards from a clothes line that is strung between two doors - I love how it looks.

Today's Advent Adventure activity is to select 3 cards from your pile.  You can select them randomly or pick your favorites - either way once you have picked three take some time this evening as a family and pray for that person or family.  It is such a joy to know that you are being prayed for.... then after you do that - drop them a message on facebook just so they know you lifted them up in prayer.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #13

Just the other day I finally got out my Christmas nativity.  Despite the dog knocking off the shepherd and breaking his arm (which my mother in law fixed) it finally found a new home instead of being scattered all over my living room.

There is something majestic about the Christmas nativity.... it is so peaceful to look at.  Joel's mom collects them and she has close to 200 different renditions of the nativity.  But there is another part of me that each year when I put of my nativity I realize that this is not anything close to what it looked like that day Jesus was born.

So for our Advent Adventure today - check out this video we showing at CRUX a couple weeks ago - I think they did a great job revealing the myths behind the nativity.  Hope you enjoy it and though I know my nativity is a bit commercialized and does not show the exact picture of his birth - I still love to look at it and display it as a reminder of His coming to the earth as a baby.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #12

As we have mentioned before Advent is a time of preparation....we look forward to remembering Christ's birth as a baby and we anticipate his return to take us all home.  As we look back and remember the story of Christ's birth I want  you to take some time to look back and remember your journey to this point.  Beth Moore said in one of her studies - you can't have your destiny without your history - we each have been on a journey to this point and that journey has shaped us into who we are.

Today I want to encourage you to get out some old photo albums, maybe an old year book and remember!  This journey we have been on up to this point is shaping us into who God wants us to be.  Not all the memories will be good ones, but it is often those ones that do the most shaping!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #11

This past Wednesday we did an Advent activity with our youth group.  We had 11 prayer stations set up throughout our sanctuary.  It turned out so well!  One of the stations that we did was a Shepherd station.  Throughout scripture there are many references to us being the lambs and Jesus being the good Shepherd, He teaches us and leads us.

At the station we had several little lambs for the students to pick and reflect on their spiritual journey as lambs - they were asked to then write down who were the people in their life that shepherded them in their spiritual journey as they wrote their names down they were to pray and thank God for them and how they have invested in them spiritually.

Who are your shepherds - the people who have helped to mold and shape you as a Christian - it can be friends, parents, pastors..... take a moment today and drop them a note to say thanks!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #10

Sorry I am a little later in the day posting this advent adventure, but it has been a busy morning of working and decorating our youth room at church.  I hope some of you were able to go out on a light tour last night.  My family enjoyed our drive - we saw many beautiful houses and some very unique houses.  My favorite house was very unique - I tried to take a picture but it didn't turn out.  Their entire from lawn was covered with lighted Christmas gifts of all shapes and sizes - it was really cool!  And speaking of gifts.... that is today's adventure.

Many of you today will be shopping, some in our area will be out hunting - either way you can give a gift. One of the best gifts we get each year from a family in our church is meat for our freezer - a couple steaks, some hamburger and other assorted pieces.  It saves us lots of money and is very practical.  Today I want to encourage you to give a gift of food... maybe to a food bank, maybe to a family in your church or a shelter that is near your home.  For those hunters out there - you can share some of your meat with a neighbor or a co-worker - what a practical way to give!  It has been a blessing to us so I hope that we can in turn give that same blessing to others!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #9

The weekend is upon us and it is time for a big adventure.... but before I start with todays adventure - let me remind you that you have until noon EST to send me a picture of you with your Christmas socks to be entered to win another pair of socks.

Now for today's adventure.  Pile in your car with your friends or your family and go on a Christmas light tour.  If you evening schedule has you running to pick up the kids - take a different route home to take in some new house lights.  As a family take a vote for your favorite house!  And if you think of it - take a picture of your favorite and pass it along to me.

I just can't wait for tonight as we take our little girl for her very first Christmas light tour!  And if all else fails and you aren't able to get out on a house light tour then check out this video

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #8

I loved Christmas time when I was in school - especially elementary school.  As soon as I got my homework done I was given permission to sit at my desk and create a one of a kind masterpiece - a snowflake - or my hope many snowflakes.

There is something so beautiful and creative about a snowflake - maybe it is because no two snowflakes are the same.  They so pure and clean and a great reminder of what scripture promises - "though your sins are like scarlet they will be washed white as snow"

Take some time today to create some snowflakes to hang at your home or in your office or maybe the youth room at your church.  For those with little kids - just fold the paper and begin creating.  For those that would like a little more of a decorative elegant snowflake - I have just the pattern for you.  The directions are found here 3D Snowflake Pattern.  If you want more snowflake ideas go to a site called for more ideas

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #7

It's the most wonderful time of the year..... is the song playing in your head yet?  I love Christmas Carols - I do usually hold off until Thanksgiving to listen to the publicly however they go through my head as soon as I see the first sign of Christmas and/or winter (whichever comes first).

If I wasn't so shy (I know hard to believe but true) I would just go to random houses and go caroling by myself since it does seem to be a challenge to get people together.  So last year I came up with an idea called Phone Caroling - I got a few of my girls from Crux together and we called a dear friend of mine who is also in Youth Ministry - Stephanie Caro.  The answering machine picked up and after the tone we sang our rendition of Silent Night.

Well just last week - that same group of girls quickly reminded me that it was time again for our phone caroling call to my friend Stephanie - so the only quiet place to make the call was the bathroom at the church so off we went and as people came in they joined in the singing of Joy to the World.  The girls were thrilled and Stephanie was blessed!

Who can you bless today by doing a little phone caroling?  It is so easy all you need is a phone and a joyful noise!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #6

It's game day on our advent adventure.  Our little girl is too young to understand the importance of family time now, but I know that if we don't get into the habit of doing that now - it will be much harder as she gets older.  So tonight I want to encourage you to have family time (if it doesn't fit tonight please schedule a time during this upcoming week!)  During your family time - play a Christmas game together.  Maybe it is name that tune with Christmas Carols, or Merry Christmas Jumble Words (try to come up with as many words as possible made from the words Merry Christmas)  Maybe is a game that you found online.

If you are really bold and want to do a fun messy game you can play one of my favorites - Santa Beard - put shaving cream on someone's face and throw cheese balls at them to see how many you can get to stick!  Such a mess but what a laugh you will have.  Christmas Tree Dress up - have a volunteer be the tree and dress them up with tinsel, lights and ornaments.  If you don't have family of your own - this is your chance to branch out and invite a family over or do this with your youth group!

Have a great time celebrating with your family!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #5

Happy Monday Advent Adventurers - during the Christmas season you will find that many people will be sporting Christmas T-shirts, jewelry, and even the imfamous Christmas sweaters, but to me the most important piece of Christmas attire is the socks!  I love crazy fun socks and that love is multiplied during the holidays.   In fact when I was a Phys. Ed teacher back in the day once a month I would have crazy sock day and my students would get extra credit for wearing their crazy socks to class.

So today - let's pull out a fun pair of Christmas socks and if you dare - wear them with sandals so you can get the full affect.  If you want participate in this, take a picture of your feet (with your socks on, of course) and mail it to me for a chance to win another pair of Christmas socks.  Just send your picture with your full name and email address to  Pass this blog along to your friends so they can also have a chance to win.  You have until Friday at noon (EST) to send your picture.  Help to pass the word by liking my blog or leaving a comment.  Let's see if we can get 100 people to participate.

A winner will randomly be chosen on Friday!  Can't wait to see your Christmas socks!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #4

Today is the day the Lord has made - let us rejoice and be glad!  Today is a very special day in the life of our family... Ella's being dedicated in church today and we couldn't be more excited.  While I was pregnant and having some complications in the early pregnancy we felt God's peace knowing everything would be okay and that he had a special plan for our little one.  We had countless friends (especially our group of Youth Pastor IT team members) who committed to praying for our little girl!  We were overwhelmed to know how much she was loved and prayed for before she was even born.

Today we present her before the Lord and the congregation trusting he will do great things through her - I just know He is going to use her in a mighty way.

As part of our advent adventure today I want you to pray specifically for your children - ask for wisdom in raising them.  If you don't have children yet - pray for the ones that God may provide in the future.  If children are not on your radar then choose a child in your church and spend time praying for them.

As a special gift to the child - write out your prayer and give it to them - if they are too little to understand read it out loud and save it in a special place for them to look at later.  As we think about Jesus coming as a baby what a perfect time to look for a child or an infant around you to lift up to the Lord.

Happy Sabbath Day my friends!!!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #3

Happy Saturday everyone!  I know many of you will be heading out to shop today so our adventure for the day includes a little shopping.

One thing I have learned as a new mom is how expensive it is to clothe and diaper a child and thank goodness for breast feeding or I would have that expense as well.  This time of year can be hard a new mom especially one who is just trying to make ends meet, so you have an opportunity to help them out just by getting a pack of diapers, a sleeper, a bottle or a container of formula.

Find a Pregnancy Care Center near you and drop off your donation as a family or as a group so they can see the ministry that occurs right in your own neighborhood.  I had a great opportunity to work for a center for a year - I had no idea how many expectant mothers came through the center for counseling, support and for baby items that they needed.

As we celebrate the birth of the Christ child this year - think about all those other children that God has blessed our world with and take time to love on them by making a donation!

Happy Shopping!!!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #2

I don't know about you but there is nothing quite like snuggling up with a blanket, some hot chocolate, some popcorn and the ones you love and watching your favorite Christmas movie.  It would be hard to pick a favorite - but I do love How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the old cartoon one).  

It is amazing that up until last year I had never seen the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" where had I been all those years that I missed out on that classic?  I am sure it will make an appearance this year as well.

Just two days ago I was having a Tastefully Simple party and one of the guests (an Adult) had to leave the party early so she could go home and watch Rudolph.  It is just something that we never grow out of I guess.

So call up some friends, some youth group kids, or your family and pick a favorite Christmas movie to enjoy as you sit back relax and enjoy the evening.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #1

The Advent Adventure Begins today.... for the first day of our adventure I want to encourage you to do some kind of Advent Calendar or Jesse Tree or something that you can do a daily something for Advent.  If you don't have anything available maybe that is something that you can make each day so that next year you will have an Advent Calendar to use.

Here are a couple ideas - one of the Sunday School teachers at my other church would do calendars each your made out of felt and match boxes and each of the 25 days before Christmas were filled with tiny gifts or symbols of Christmas that would fit in a match box.

Another idea is to make a Jesse Tree - if you have never heard of a Jesse Tree - you can take a branch or dowel rods and make a tree out of it.  Then you will use different items that you hang on string to tell the story of Christmas.  Check out the picture above for an example.

Our French class in high school used to sell advent calendars that were filled with Chocolate - that was a fun treat to have each morning during school!

If you have a great advent calendar idea - please share it with us!  Happy Adventing!!!