Saturday, November 26, 2011

our jesse tree

This is our first year using a Jesse Tree during Advent. Jesse Trees come in all shapes, styles, and sizes. This is what Doug put together for us to use and a few pictures of the process.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

happy new year

Advent begins this Sunday and so starts the church year. Advent builds the anticipation of the light coming into the world, both then, now, and again when Christ returns.
Our family has used the Advent Wreath for the past two years, and it has greatly enriched our Christmas season. Advent is a time to actually try to slow down and meditate on waiting. Using the Advent Wreath can help your family in this endeavor.
Here is a link to the Common Ground Advent worship guide, which contains Advent wreath devotionals and Jesse Tree devotionals.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

inspiration from the kids

Maegan's fellow classmates have joined the campaign to "find" 50 million pennies on behalf of the 50 million women and girls that are missing from India's population.
I'd like to feature a few of the thoughts from Mrs. Abell's class on this blog, and you can see them on IGP's blog (

Malakhi (age 8)
"We can collect pennies to help girls in India by having lemonade stands, findng pennies, asking your mom and dad, doing chores, and selling some things. You can also make things to sell. If you are grown and have a job you can give some of the money you earn. Sell some drawings if you are a great artist. Kids can help to stop girls from disappearing from India. We all can help it doesn't matter how old you are. Please just help! Some pennies is all it takes to stop women from disappearing from India."

Katie F. (age 8)
"We need to help girls in India because in India people aren't caring for the girls. Here is a way to help. Collect food, send medicine, real and tell stories about India to others, and help. These are things that are happening: girls are starving, girls don't always get education, girls are dying. You can help by collecting money. Here are things you can do to get money:
-Get a job -Make jewerly
-Play music -Sing
-Make clothes -Look for money
-Paint -Lemonade stand
-Make wood things -Make food
-Give hair supplies -Do chores
-Do people's hair

People join Mrs. Abell's class in the effort to "find" 50 million pennies for the Invisible Girl Project. Click on the link for IGP to learn more!

Monday, April 11, 2011

1 out of 100 million

The book "Half the Sky" is a compelling read that emphasizes turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide. I'm just at the beginning of this book and it can be completely overwhelming to handle the details of the suffering of little girls and women around the world. I was driving today and thinking about, even if I could just help one person avoid some of the horrific scenes from this book, my life and work would be worth it. It's this idea of one person helping one that can keep us from giving up hope. If one isn't enough for me, than am I saying my life is worth more than theirs?
There are 100 million women missing. In places where girls have a deeply unequal status, they vanish. Every year, at least another 2 million girls worldwide disappear because of gender discrimination. This discrimination comes in many forms. Girls aren't valued so they are sold into sex slavery in order to make income for their family. Most end up dying of AIDS. Many infant girls are killed at birth because families can't afford another girl (dowry), or because killing the baby girl might lead to them having a boy the next time around. In countries where girls aren't valued they are the last to receive medical care (vaccines or care when they are sick) and food. A little Indian girl dies from discrimination every four minutes. A "bride burning" takes place once every two hours. This abuse doesn't just happen in other countries. In America, millions of women and girls face beatings and other violence from their husbands or boyfriends, and more than 1 in 6 undergoes rape or attempted rape at some point in her life.
All this is overwhelming, but there is always hope. You are part of this hope. Education is a huge factor in ending gender discrimination. Please take time to visit "The Invisible Girl Project" and "Purchased" which are linked on my blog.
If you hit the "Purchased" link it will take you to the "Run for One" event coming up in June.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Eucharisteo...the practice of giving thanks. I have recently realized that the one thing my children do that frustrates me the most is verbalize their ingratitude (or show it all over their face and body language.) Sometimes I so amazed that they can't see past their own selfish desires to see how much they have to be grateful for. So today I'm reading about this word 'eucharisteo'. Inside this word is 'charis' which means grace and 'chara' that means joy. So I can't understand why my kids aren't bopping around in a constant state of gratitude and joy, while I have a festering annoyance and frustration just lying beneath the thin surface. This annoyance and festering comes out by provocation of my children's complaints. I guess I find it easy to be thankful for the obvious things...."thank you God for my family, my friends, and all that you provide." But still, the lack of joy.
"On the night that Jesus was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it." Wait. On the night of His betrayal, and impeding torture and death....He gave thanks. Am I really grateful? If my gratitude isn't producing joy in the midst of what I considering frustrating and annoying (not even in the midst of betrayal), then am I really living in true thankfulness?
Paul wrote, "I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything." I always read this with material living in mind. But, today I read it..."what is the nothing I think I living with?" If I'm irritated for what seems to be no reason, I must think I'm missing something. What is the "everything" I living with? I've been told I have everything I need in Christ. Now it's time for me to open my eyes to this "everything" and give thanks and embrace the joy of this grace.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

sudden realization of great truth

January 6 marks the day of Epiphany. For Western Christians it's the day to commemorate the day Jesus, the Son of God, was revealed to the Magi gentiles. For Eastern Christians it's the day to remember the day of Jesus' baptism. Regardless of what event you commemorate, both events were God revealing Himself in human flesh. The mystery of Incarnation. I like the definition of epiphany: a sudden realization of great truth. Do you ever have the feeling of awe rush over you when you realize anew how amazing God really is? Epiphany isn't a one time event, but a "take your breath" away occasion that can happen over and over again. I almost have to laugh when I really try and think about the reality of God and how it all blows my mind. We can get so hunkered down into our everyday lives that our lives seem big and maybe overwhelming. But, look up to the sky and think about the galaxies, and the solar systems (yes, that is plural). Think about how scientists keep finding ways to break our cells down into smaller and smaller parts. These scientist have even said something about there being 11 dimensions. Just let it all blow your mind. And this God, who spoke it all into being, came as a helpless baby. Emmanuel. Light breaking through the darness. There is so much more than this.