Tag Archives: Family

Day # 4 GOODchristmas – Love A Stranger

It’s crazy and crowded wherever you go this time of year. Put to practice loving a stranger today by letting others go in front of you – at the store, in your car, when at your local coffee shop; maybe even while waiting for a table at a busy restaurant.

 

“There are no great things, only small things done with great love” – Mother Teresa

 

December is HERE! GOODchristimas has begun!

Growing up, one of my favorite traditions was the Advent calendar. I loved the anticipation and having something special every day. It made it about the journey building up to Christmas, and not just about the one day.

Now that I’m a mom and building traditions for our family, and doing all the “Christmas-y things”, it seems like December just flies by. I’m sure it feels that way for a lot of you too. And sometimes it seems like the busyness just steals away from the purpose, the joy, the love, and the true meaning of Christmas.

About 3 years ago, I wanted to bring in the Advent calendar as a tradition for my kids, but I was challenged to try something a little different too. I loved the anticipation part, but I had been learning about what it meant to be more intentional about the way that I lived, and I really wanted Christmas and the things that I did during this time to be intentional towards the real meaning and purpose of Christmas as well.

So, I set out to create an Advent calendar that had intentional actions that incorporated the heart of Christmas. I hoped that through these intentional experiences and actions I could better celebrate and enjoy the beautiful gift of Jesus and God’s love, by actually living out the meaning each day: in my home, with my community and church, as well as with strangers.

For me, it’s was more than just reading the Christmas story from the Bible each day, it’s about LIVING it out in the everyday ordinary hustle and bustle. It was about choosing how to spend those moments and minutes, not just letting myself be overtaken by them. It was about not letting the meaning get lost in the chaos of one day, but about living a season of intentional love, joy, goodness, and compassion towards others. I’ve learned, both from Christ’s life and his birth that he was about action and living out his purpose and love.

And that’s what GOODchrstimas is about. From December 1st to the 25th, each day taking an action step in living out Christmas.

GOODchristmas — Finding Christ in Christmas

Day #1 – Ethical Consumerism

“Business will change the world. It will do so faster and more drastically than ever. And we hold the controls. If we begin to base our business decisions on our values, business will transform to accommodate us, and will take the shape of the values that we hold in common – fairness, compassion, and respect for the earth.” – James Pearson.

‘Tis the season! Everyone has shopping on the brain, right? And the pressures on to find the PERFECT gift! So this season put the true meaning of Christmas into gifts that you buy. Don’t just buy gifts, but let the gifts you do buy share love and compassion with others – just like God has done for us by sending Jesus. Put your money where your heart is (not other other way around). Let your purchases reflect the true heart of God – love and compassion.

Purchase gifts from businesses that are making a difference in the lives of the marginalized like:

TOMS shoes – With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One

Krochet Kids – great beanies and scarves made by and that support Ugandan women

Acholli Beads – beautiful paper beaded jewelry made by and in support of women in Africa

Roozt – All featured brands are fashion-forward companies

Charity: Water – where 100% of the money that is given goes to water projects in impoverished areas around the world

Plywood People – Artistic and one-of-a-kind bags and wallets made with reclaimed & recycled billboard materials by Guatemalan urban artists. A percentage of profits builds new homes for Mayan widows.

Or even…Starfish Projects, International Princess Project, Urdenet, Freedom and Fashion

 Do ALL your shopping this Christmas with social justice woven into every purchase.

 Past GOODchristmas post

Day 20: Kind Words Towards the Ones We Love

All I have to say is that this Christmas season has not gone the way I was expecting. It’s hasn’t been bad, just not as “planned”.

I started prepping and planning early this year in hopes to relish-in and embrace every moment. I had “GOODchristmas” experiences planned out and was determined to blog or at least post everyday. I envisioned expected everyday to be infussed with this joy that carried me through this season like I was floating on clouds {sigh}. But then…

 LIFE happened.

 

As much as I prepared and made a conscious decision to not be caught-up in the hustle and the bustle; I did! I was busy with work (not my “mommy” and “wife” stuff, my “nurse” stuff {wink}). I fell behind on some projects and prep, which left me being more like my normal procrastinating-rushing-last-minute self.

Then sickness set in for the whole family. And that really annoying  kind too (not like there’s any other kind). Just sick enough to make the day difficult, but not enough to need to see a doctor because there just isn’t anything that can be done except to rest and hydrate. BUT… now it’s less then a week before Christmas, I have 2 night shifts to put in at work and a LIST of “fun” things to do with the family as well as finishing up a few gifts I’m making this year. “REST” and “hydrate” was not on any of those lists.

Anyways, today’s GOODchristmas experience was what I needed. I was loosing it yesterday…being frustrated and angry with my kids and husband. It wasn’t pretty. (confession – I thought this “experience” was going to be easy by this point; remember so much joy…“floating on clouds!!!!). God knew I was going to need this experience for myself when he placed it on my heart back in October/November.  So here it is::

Day 20::  Kind words towards the ones we love

Christmas is getting closer and we maybe starting to feel the pressure of “time running out”. Resist the urg to be rushed, upset, or easily angered with your spouse, kids, family or friends. Try to go out of your way to be extra kind to someone close to you, without using a bought gift or with expecting anything in return.
I’m glad my heart can be changed TODAY!
How about you?
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Day 10::

Last Saturday marked the first weekend of the Christmas season. It was a little busy, but is was so much fun. In the morning we had a family pictures taken by Sam Song of Christmas Mash Up/ Love Mash. CHRISTMAS MASH UP was an alternative to crazy parking lots, long lines and cliche holiday photos. They had 2 beautiful portrait stations, fun props, kids craft table, food, drinks and entertaining holiday movies playing. The best part was that all proceeds from the event went towards funding HELP PORTRAIT | LAUNDRY LOVE: SANTA ANA, they will be giving free portraits for families and individuals in need. It was such a fun morning, and the pics turned out great! Take a look:

Love Mash 2011

After, we went over to our friends house for a cookie making and decorating party!!!! JC loved rolling the cookie dough into candy cane shapes.

 

It was the best way to start out the month – remembering that the season is about spending time with family and friends as well as loving others in need and sharing hope and joy.

 

Today is the 3rd annual Progressive Posada in Santa Ana.

Posada is a Mexican tradition, a re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s cold and difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of shelter; in Spanish, the word means “lodging.”

Traditionally, a party is held each night in a neighborhood home. At dusk, guests gather outside the house with children dressed as shepherds, angels and sometimes, Mary and Joseph. An angel leads the procession, followed by Mary and Joseph or by guests carrying their images. The adults follow, carrying lighted candles.

The “pilgrims” verses of Las Posada asking for shelter, and the hosts sing a reply, finally opening the doors to the guests and offering hot ponche, fried rosette cookies known as buñuelos, steaming hot tamales and other festive foods.

The party ends with a piñata in the shape of the Christmas star.

It’s a great way to love on the community and their culture. We love meeting our neighbors and being about to build relationships with them that continue on through the year.  I can’t wait to hear the stories that come from this years Posada. Last year the neighbors that joined us said that thing they loved the most was how they we made to feel like “family” even though most of us had just met for the first time. BEAUTIFUL!

 

So if you are in the OC think about joining us tonight at our Posada  – Party starts @ 5pm. Hope to see you there.

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Day 3: World View

Today {Day 3: World View} we remember our beautiful girl Rakhelda we spounsor through World Vision. Three years ago we made in ornament with her picture on it and we hang it up on the tree and say a special prayer of bless on her and her family. It is also her birthday next month and today helps remind us to put her gift in the mail. We’ve been sponsoring Rakhelda since she was 5 or 6 (I was in college @ the time) and now she is turning 15 years old!!! She is a beautiful young lady now with dreams of becoming a teacher. She works so hard @ school and has a shinning smile that will light up your day.

 

We try to talk with the boys about her as much as we can. We have a flag with a push-pin to mark where Rakhelda lives on the map in the boys room. I hope to learn and teach the boy more about her and her culture over this next year.

Dear Rakhelda-

you are a beautiful addition to our family! We love to look at your picture and see how much you have grown and changed over the years. We are so very proud of you. We pray that God will pour down blessings on you and your family over this next year. We pray that you will hear and know the voice of God in your life and you will follow after it with all you heart soul and mind. We love you so much!

Love: Scott, Shannon, JC & Micah

Do you have a sponsored child? Do you have any special traditions you do with your kids to help them connect more with him/her? 

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Day #3:: WorldView

Worldvision muac
Image via Wikipedia

“Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” – St. Francis

Make an ornament with a picture of a child that you sponser – involve the members of your family (or roommates). Pray throughout the day for him/her as well his/her family and village. If you can, buy a special gift through the sponsor organization for his/her family or village. If you don’t sponsor a child choose a country to focus on, or start sponsoring a child today.

World Vision

Compassion

“The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped.” Proverbs 11:24-25

“Love put into action is a compelling and attractive worldview”. – Rich Sterns

Have you ever experienced a random gift that was just what you needed at the moment?

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Celebrations Day!

Every 6 weeks the TRU series does a Celebration Day – a time to show case and celebrate both what the kids have done as well as reflect on the lessons learned and God’s love, faithfulness and promises.  And as always, the Home Front coordinated with the coming Sunday.  So we celebrated our own time of “Jubilee” with fun, food, and family. Here’s our pictures from the day::

Retreat Family Fun

Fun time with the kids and friends. Thanks Newsong Staff for making this happen!

Family Weekend Fun

Family retreat this weekend. Having a little fun before checking in

Floating Prayers

Last night was Home Front night with the boys. We took a “caravan” with Abram to the land of Canaan [Genesis 12:1-9].  JC “played” Abram and hitched a ride on Scott [our Camel of the evening]. As we read through the passage we journeyed through our front yard. When we reached v8, we stopped at our little mound, which served as a hill. Then I remembered that I brought bubbles with us, so I opened them up and we read v8::

He moved on from there to the hill.. and prayed to God.

We blow the bubbles like prayers up to God. We prayed for JC’s friend/classmate that has not been at school this week. We prayed for God to keep him safe and to bless his family!

The visual of the bubbles floating up and up and up as we prayed, was like watching our prayers being brought up to God. It’s kind a silly comparison,  I know. I’m sure I could find a bunch of ways that “theologically” this is a bad comparison if you try to go too deep with it.

But I loved the JOY that our family had in the front yard, blowing bubbles of prayers to God together.

Scott, JC and Micah blowing "prayer bubbles"

JC with his backpack {representing taking all his possessions on his journey like Abram} blowing his bubble praise and prayers to God

When was the las time that you had FUN and JOY while you prayed to God?

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