Thursday, December 11, 2008

Psalm 82 - Injustice

A couple nights ago we listened to a podcast about issues of violent injustice. Modern-day slavery, corrupt governments. The speaker asked the can people suffering under this type of oppression believe that there is a God and that he is good? He went on to suggest that God has a plan to show them his goodness. Ummm...ya...His plan is You and Me. Seriously. That's the plan. WE go and do and show God's love, his goodness expressed through our actions. I just want to shake my head. God, what are you thinking? I hope you have a backup plan. Because I don't think we've been doing our part. At least I know I haven't been doing mine.
Isn't it amazing how a book written hundreds of years ago still speaks to TODAY?
Psalm 82
A Psalm of Asaph. AMP
1God stands in the assembly [of the representatives] of God; in the midst of the magistrates or judges He gives judgment [as] among the gods.

3Do justice to the weak (poor) and fatherless; maintain the rights of the afflicted and needy.

4Deliver the poor and needy; rescue them out of the hand of the wicked.

5[The magistrates and judges] know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in the darkness [of complacent satisfaction]; all the foundations of the earth [the fundamental principles upon which rests the administration of justice] are shaking.

6I said, You are gods [since you judge on My behalf, as My representatives]; indeed, all of you are children of the Most High.

So can you guess where I see myself? I am not fatherless, I have a great dad. I am not poor. I have everything I need and more. I'm not in verse 3 or 4. No...I'm in verse 5. Walking on in the darkness of complacent satisfaction. Doesn't that sound gross? Like, don't you just want to spit that out? The darkness of complacent satisfaction. Yuck! Satisfaction is nice, it's the complacent part that turns my stomach. I need to be uncomfortable with this. God is trusting ME to be his representative on the earth. I'm the plan. Help me Lord! Keep shining your light on this darkness!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Relational Gift Fair 2008 - Web Links Advent Conspiracy…this is where it all started for us
This site is like a centralized charity finder where you can check the efficiency and expenses break down for charities when choosing where to give. Visit World Vision’s online gift catalog for tangible gifts – 2 chickens for $25, a goat for $75 Heifer International online gift catalog Give a heifer for $500 other farm animals available as well
Charity Water – Give a $20 bottle of charity: water to a friend or loved one, and provide clean water to a person you've never met for 20 years. 100%* goes to water and sanitation projects on the ground. Ships within 7 days only to U.S. and Canada +$6 s&h. donations for animal lovers Order Fair trade gifts that help families across the globe - lots of yummy treats and fruit of the month club a great gift for the older generation Who wouldn’t love a fresh new flower bouquet every month for a year? - buy a garden flag stand and seasonal flags for the whole year A great resource to find ideas/share ideas Check out the “alternatives” tab A Do-It-Yourself Christmas: 34 Great Gifts You Can Make Yourself. This article includes 34 great ideas with links for further instruction. amazing resource for goodies you can make and give Check out the Containers Store for great ideas for packaging your handmade gifts - create unique gifts with your own photos - create unique gifts with your own photos – create unique gifts with your own photos For those who sew Full of free patterns for those who crochet
Blog full of ideas and comments on the season Parents magazine clip with adorable child friendly ornaments From her 2008 magazine thrifty ideas From a recent show we are displaying the treasure box of childhood memories Melissa Smith’s website –she donated our Make and Take project for today beading, card making, ornaments, wreaths, gift tags, stockings, just to name a few variety of Christmas crafts kids can make--paper crafts, no sew, felt, etc.. I have used this site for 10 years! This is "The Better Homes and Gardens site. Everything from painted picture frames, low-cost crafts, crafting a mini holiday village, snow globes, garden gifts Crafts Kaboose has every odds and ends crafts you can think of..From very simple, to more advanced. Very fun! This is a great site that gets the kids involved in crafting for gifts. They have it divided up by age groups. - never go without your on-line coupon! - gather newspaper insert coupons, also check out your local store for workshops focus on the family has a great collection of books and media - Books are incredible gifts, buy two and meet again to share your thoughts - great resource for aprons, foam art, etc - look for mail out coupons

Of course - don't forget our own Shoreline bookstore - where proceeds from your purchase fund the Imagine Children's center campaign.

Relational Gift Fair 2008 - Through the Year Coupon Book

As we were collecting ideas for this year's fair our Preschool Director Melissa Rodriguez sent in the following story:

When I was little and my dad was still in college he made a coupon book for me and both of my sisters. This particular year my parents had no extra money to buy Christmas gifts but wanted to give us all something special. So my dad made these coupon books on quarter sheets of paper. The book had a cover page that was personalize with art and different things that were specifically for each one of his daughters. Each coupon was perforated with our sewing machine so they could tear out easy and help make the book look authentic. The coupons contained something special that we would like. Examples: 1. This coupon is good for one pair of pants. Coupon Good January 1st – 31st. 2. This coupon is good for staying up one hour past your bedtime on a school night. Coupon good February 1st - 28th 3. This coupon is good for a one special day out with just you and both your Mom and Dad. This coupon is good March 1st – March 31st.
By doing this my dad was able to buy some things that we needed and some that we wanted and spread it out over the year between all three children. I thought it was so special and remember my dad spending several hours locked in his room making them. I knew how much he loved each one of us and really took the time to think about what was important to his children. I don’t remember if I cashed in on all the coupons but that Christmas, 20 years later, still sticks out in my mind as one of my favorite……and it was only paper…..but it was way more than that.

Relational Gift Fair - Create Your Own Worksheet

Use these questions to create a table/worksheet for your gift giving:

Who will I be giving gifts to/who do I have relationships with? (names)

What is my relationship with them/ role in their lives? (family, co-worker, friend)

Based on that role, what gift can I give that no one else can?

Listening ques (As I listen carefully throughout the year, what core values or desires do I hear?)

What do I see when I look around their world? (colors, taste, collections, d├ęcor)

What could I give that reflects their values, or shows that I've been paying attention?

Relational Gift Fair 2008 - Ideas Children Can Make

Magnets – you can make a magnet out of just about anything!

Re-write your favorite children’s story with your own family as the main characters, have your child illustrate

Create artwork - frame

Cement Garden stones

Decorate the matte for a picture or embellish the frame

Handprint/Footprint kits

Heart-felt thank you letter

Brag book with pictures and notes from the children

Use fabric paint to create onsies or t-shirts

Homemade play-doh for little cousins

Foam art Christmas tree ornaments with their picture

Fleece tie blanket

Decorate a craft/cooking apron

A coupon for washing the family car or cleaning the house

Relational Gift Fair 2008 - Ideas for Children

Use fabric paint to create your own onsies or t-shirts

Paint/decorate letters that spell their name

Dress up box filled with boas and crowns, or bandanas and eye-patches!

Homemade play-doh

Framed acrostic poem with their name and characteristics

Season passes to family theme park

Camping supplies and a state park pass – set dates for outings!

Board games, card games – institute a family game night

DVD, popcorn and a coupon for family movie night

Equipment for a hobby they love and plans go out and do that activity
Example: baseball bat and tickets to the batting cages

Christmas tree ornaments with their picture

Fleece tie blanket

Subscription to a child-friendly magazine – children LOVE to get mail!

Build a tool box (or buy a regular tool box) fill with art/craft supplies or toy tools

Print unique iron-on transfers for t-shirts, personalized place mats

Family Ice Cream party supplies –cups, toppings, sprinkles

Karaoke machine with silly songs

Personalize a craft/cooking apron - add pre-paid art or cooking lessons

Ceramics – visit the Ceramics Lounge in Round Rock

Disposable Camera for capturing family moments

Through the year coupon book – pick up idea sheet from Melissa Rodriguez

Gardening gloves and seeds indicating you’ll plant things together

Relational Gift Fair 2008 - Ideas for Friends

Invitation to a Monday Night Football party make homemade pizzas

Movie passes with a babysitting coupon

Stamp a set of note cards

Homemade foot scrub / pedicure supplies

Homemade goodies

Make your own hot chocolate chai tea latte mix

Just add butter cookie batter mixes

Coffee shop gift card with a proposed date for after post-holiday coffee

Decorate small jars with office supplies

Crochet a scarf

Give a family gift: game night/movie night/ice cream treat collection

Adopt a family in need in your friend’s name

Make a “soundtrack” of music that you think sums up the life of a friend

Plan a monthly dinner with a group of friends

Buy 2 copies of a classic book and read it with a friend – check out half price books!

Give a coupon for helping a friend build that tool shed

Two coffee mugs and plans to share a special time together throughout the year

Coupon for a Meals-on-Wheels you will prepare and deliver

Yard work coupon for an elderly friend

Oil change for your friend who is a single parent

Bead your own jewelry with their favorite color combinations

Relational Gift Fair 2008 - Ideas for Older Children

Type up a collection of family favorite recipes – add a mixing bowl, mixer, spoons

Build/fill a hope chest for your daughter

Pass on a family heirloom; take the time to write up the history and meaning

Share a favorite book; include a special dedication message inside

Gather their sports team, dance recital or school pictures in one “through the years” album

Take a trip together instead of exchanging gifts; wrap up maps of the states you’ll visit

Buy a mini-Christmas tree and ornament organizer for all those ornaments they made in school over the years – you get the bonus of moving them out of your attic to your child’s apartment!

DVD/home video montage

A compilation CD of the your all-time favorite songs, or put them on a USB

Treasure box with childhood memories, school papers

Pass on a DVD of your favorite movie; add a popcorn popper, bowl, seasoning

Make a quilt out of their college t-shirt collection

Side by Side generational book, you as a child, me as a child through the years

Donation to a charity that is meaningful to both

Just add butter cookie batter mixes

A cooler filled with snacks and drinks

Jumper cables and a travel-sized first aid kit


Puzzle – there is nothing like a good old fashioned puzzle for bringing families together

Make your own hot chocolate or chai tea latte mix

Relational Gift Fair 2008 - Ideas for Parents/Grandparents

Re-write your favorite children’s story with your own family as the main characters

Frame a child’s artwork

Cement Garden stones

Frame a picture of a child or grandchild and let them decorate a matte for the picture or embellish the frame

Handprint/Footprint kits

Check out all the wonderful kits available at hobby stores

Photo Collage – Shutterfly

Scrapbook/Photo Calendar

Heart-felt thank you letter

Brag book with pictures and notes from the children

Give presence – plan a visit to grandparents/relatives, look over family photos, ask questions

Create a DVD of your home video and pictures

Sams, Walmart, Walgreens, Shutterfly…all have great things to create with your own pictures

Digital picture frame loaded with family pictures

Fruit of the month club – they’ll remember your gift throughout the year!

Flower of the month club

Gift in their name to their alma mater

Appointment for a mammogram and a manicure

Memory Box – filled with pictures and notes

Charitable gift – sleeping bag, water, goat, chickens check out our web-links resource page

Ceramics - Visit the Ceramics Lounge in Round Rock

Art canvas covered with photo collage

Record and interview with Grandparents and share with the whole family

Relational Gift Fair 2008 - Ideas for Couples

Steamy love poems – print and make a special book

Your own personal paraphrase of Song of Solomon – what is it you adore about your loved one?

Gift box alluding to a future themed date night
-mittens & scarf – for a downtown carriage ride
-new outfit – for a night on the town
-vintage travel bag – with plans for an overnight stay

Tickets to an event they would enjoy

Couples devotional book to read together

Frame a special certificate or diploma

The chick-flick DVD she would love with a promise to watch the whole movie

Sofa-snuggle coupon for the big game. No multi-tasking!

A years worth of love notes: one for each month or one for each week
could be placed in a deco-page box or covered tin

Date night compilation CD of your favorite music – Print your own CD label

Restore or enlarge an important picture

Two Journals: you each write in one for two months various things you see in each other, steps of growth they are taking, outstanding qualities, blind spots, things you adore….at the end of two months switch

Picnic basket– plan a picnic together even if it’s inside – check out World Market to fill your basket with unique treats

Locally made BBQ sauce, grilling tools, plans to invite new friends over for dinner

Pancake mix with real maple syrup and a breakfast in bed coupon

Basket of kitchen gadgets: decide you’ll spend more time cooking and creating together

Colorful post-it notes in each stocking; leave love notes in unexpected places

An invitation for a hike in a near-by state park

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Describing God Assignment

I have to give a shout out to a beautiful friend who sent me these readings. I'm so enjoying them Myles!

So today from Psalm 48
12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels,
that you may tell of them to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.

I love this invitation...Walk about...I've written about that before.

Walk about, go around, count, consider well, view...God is calling us to be intimately aquainted with his dwelling. To know him and his presence so that we can tell his story in detail. It is in knowing the details that we move from "this God" to "our God".

My oldest son has really grown as a writer this year. He has a wonderful teacher, Ms Demgen, who is challenging and encouraging him. There is one thing in particular he is learning to add to his assignments that was missing last year....adjectives. I simply adore adjectives...really I just like words in general. Just in case you're not sure what I'm talking about here is a definition: An adjective modifies a noun or a pronoun by describing, identifying, or quantifying words. I have to ask myself...what are my own personal adjectives for my can I describe, identify or even attempt to quantify his presence in my life? Can I tell the story with lots of detail? Or do I have only a casual, broad perspective? Ms Demgen loves detail! It is spelled out on her grading rubrics. For general get 1 point. For detail, get 5! Where am I on this Describing God Asssignment? Because....I want all 5 points! I need to spend more time just walking about...