Friday, November 30, 2012

Let the Advent-ure Begin

I've been working on multiple Advent projects this year and I'm worn out.  I just tried decorating my front porch with poinsettias and a Christmas tree and couldn't make anything work.  I guess the creative juices spilled out at my trip to Walmart this morning.  *sigh* 

Here are a few tips on the projects I did and their sources.  

#1: Advent Calendar
Original Project from Pinterest:
Click here for tutorial.
My tips for beginners & non-sewers: find white stickers instead of embroidering the numbers (iron-on digits don't come that small and are expensive if you find them).  Hot glue all the felt INSTEAD of sewing.  Find one large piece of white felt (it comes by the yard) instead of the white squares.  Here's my finished project:

  #2: Reindeer Art
Inspiration came from a pillow knock-off and again, my sewing skills are threadbare so I did craft paper instead.  

Here's the pillow:
Click here for PILLOW tutorial
I used her pattern for the reindeer (print off, at a smaller scale if necessary, using two pieces of 8x11 printer paper).  Cut out the pattern and trace it onto 12x12 craft paper from Hobby Lobby.  After you cut the reindeer, tape or glue it to the back of another piece of 12x12 craft paper.  In the large frame section, find a 12x12 frame ($5 when half-off). Easy peasy and about $6/piece.
My final project:
#3: Daily Advent Traditions & Bible Reading

I need structure and knew I would especially need it to accomplish our Advent/Christmas goals and traditions.  Inspired by a "Christmas Fun List," I mapped out the 24 days leading up to Christmas and assigned each date a Bible reading and "fun" event.  
Click here for source
...combined with The Jesus Storybook Bible reading plan...

Click here for reading plan
Here is what I made:

And without getting into too much detail, start a new Word doc, make a text box, give it a border/frame, use some pretty fonts and holiday colors, and copy and paste the box until you have 24.  Shoot me an email or comment if you want me to send you my original Word or Pages doc.  

Happy Advent-ing!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Enough, already :: Christmas

Can you feel it?  That tug, that hunger, the inner discontent that starts as soon as Thanksgiving whisks away at midnight?  Black Friday is such an appropriate title.  Like a widow clothed in her shades of gray, grieving the loss of content.  The loss of happiness.  The loss of satisfaction.  She ventures out to find happiness.

It's a stronger pull this year.  The temptation is deeper, the callings are louder, the reminders are EVERYwhere.  My mind is overwhelmed with the sales, bargains, coupon codes, free shipping, door busters, and TODAY ONLY.  

Please, stop.  My weakness is begging you to stop.  But you just get louder, like a train engine coming down the tracks of consumerism and materialism and acquire-more-ism.  But will you deliver me...or slaughter me?    

I pray before I enter the winter wonderland of the red bulls eye.  I inhale and remind myself I have a list, for Pete's sake.  I don't need another holiday hand towel or snowman door mat or new bathroom towels or even a 70% off t-shirt.  My kids have enough clothes.  I have plenty of ornaments from last year and I really don't need antlers for my mantle.  And Pinterest is not helping my endeavors, either.    

Can anyone out there relate?  

Let's fight this together.  Let's not collapse under the very-real weight of want-want-want.  Let's model for our children who watch-watch-watch how we spend-spend-spend our money.  How we react to sales and gifting and the expectations of an invisible someone who will never be impressed by or satiated with our receipts.   

But then I turn.  Oh, Jesus.  You are the source and You are enough.  You are the humble King who has a great plan for my money and my traditions in a time of year we should be longing for YOU.  

Good News: the longing we feel is for Jesus.  The Messiah.  The baby King who arrived after hundreds of years of people standing watch for redemption and soul-begging rescue.  People were weary and discouraged and beyond empty.  Can you imagine how foolish they must have felt?  But can you imagine the heart ache?  That He would just come and banish enemies and restore health and wholeness and deliver healing.  That the dead would rise and the sick would be healed and the orphans brought into families and the poor given riches.  Yes, come, come, come.  

This is the drumbeat that fills our home during Advent.  That our children would hear the rhythm and groans of mankind and creation as we say come come come out of brokenness and weariness and all things imperfect and less-than.  Let's lead our families to the radical-truth source of Life and fill our homes with the purposeful Light that gives to those in need and sees this time of year as an ode to the people who waited for Him and reminds us that we still long for His return.

Come, King Jesus.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered to win the $50 Tiny Prints giveaway. Congratulations to Julia K. for her winning entry:

My fave holiday tradition... either the no holding back Chinese restaurant meal after church on 12/24 or Jesus' yummy birthday cake, complete with singing, on 12/25. 

You'll be receiving your promo code via email soon!

P.S. If you're wondering about the technicalities of how we got our winner, I wrote everyone's name of their own piece of paper and my husband drew the winner. ;-)  Fair and square!!