Craft/DIY Ideas, Uncategorized

Creation Jar Terrarium

Today I am sharing an idea that I just pulled off this past weekend for our church VBS.

The theme was “Walk Thru the Old Testament,” which begins with Creation!

As usual, I was the craft lady, so I wanted everyone to take home something neat that would last. As my second-oldest has been enthralled with making terrariums, I had a light bulb moment one day that a “Creation Terrarium” would be cool.

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It turned out to be a huge hit! As we had a different format this year and families did VBS together, both adults and kids had the opportunity to make one.

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I incorporated different elements of Creation–animals, rocks, plants, soil…

Some kids placed little frogs in theirs and others put in small animals that I had available.

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To pull this off for a group, I set it up like an assembly line. Here is the order in which I placed things:

  • plastic quart jar
  • gravel
  • potting soil
  • small fern (we used leather wood ferns)
  • moss (some foraged from our area and reindeer moss)
  • small animal
  • small rock
  • lid
  • twine or yarn, already cut
  • tag with markers to write their name on

I also put down brown roll paper on the tables to make for easy clean-up, which worked quite nicely!

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Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. Unfortunately I didn’t get good pics with my camera while this was going down:( The kids made some really neat ones, and they were all just a little different!

If you’re looking for a cool, non-junky VBS craft, this is a great option. A little more involved than what I usually have, but well worth it!!

Parenting Tales, Points to Ponder, Uncategorized

What I’m Into: May 2016

Happy late May. Our May has been SO gray here, but I’m thrilled to see more spring & summery weather in our weekly forecast. In fact, today is beautiful and I love having the windows and doors open. There’s nothing like it!

Here is what our family is into this May:

*Crazy Russian Hacker. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, look him up on You Tube. He does all kinds of science experiments and hacks. My boys are a little obsessed with him right now. I find him pretty amusing too.

*Canada Wintergreen Mints. I remember these minty Pepto-Bismol pink wafers from when I was younger, but hadn’t seen them in a long time until recently. I picked up a bag and have been sneaking in a couple a day. I’m a sucker for most anything minty. Love them.

*Earl Grey Tea. Though I am a serious coffee lover, I do enjoy the occasional cup of tea. (Especially since we’ve had all these yucky dismal days!) I really enjoy Earl Grey, which I like to brew nice and strong. Sheesh, I also just realized that I sound like a total old lady with my pink mints and tea bags;)

*Abide With Me by Matt Maher.  I absolutely, positively am in love with this song right now. It is such a great one that captures a bit about what it’s like to walk with the Lord everyday. Click on Abide With Me to give it a listen.

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*Colossians 3. My husband and I have been working through this chapter as a couple and in leading a group of young adults in Sunday School. The above verse was one I had adopted last year as a verse to dwell on and try to live by. The whole chapter is awesome though.

*Poppies. This is the right time of year to see vibrant poppies blooming along the road in certain spots. We just planted several in a flower bed in our yard, so I’m hoping they make it! I think they are SO beautiful.

I hope that you are finding beautiful and encouraging things in your day to day life as well, whether it be big or small.

Parenting Tales, Points to Ponder, Uncategorized

What I’m Into: January 2016

Here’s a quick peek at some random things either myself or the family is into as of late:

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*The A Team. My boys are currently obsessed with the old episodes of this show. Obsessed, I tell ya. The awesome van, lots of guns, vehicles constantly being blown up…what’s not to love, right?

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Also, they’ve nicknamed their sister B.A. For some reason she’s not a fan….

*Yo-yo’s. They recently had an assembly at school where someone showed off yo-yo skills while storytelling. I now have dueling yo-yo’s going on here in the wee hours of the morn. Fun times.

*Taxes. No, I don’t love paying them. The big new thing for me is that I found seasonal employment in an office which does tax preparations–for the Amish! It’ll likely be some clerical stuff, with maybe some e-filing thrown in. So..I guess I’ll be getting educated on tax forms and such ASAP!!

*Kettle bells. I meant to put this in my December post, but I completely forgot until after the fact! Anyway, I was doing really well with consistently working out earlier in December, then fell off the wagon over the holidays. Now I’m starting back up with them again.

*Raising Kingdom Kids by Tony Evans. My husband and I will be co-teaching this series in a Sunday School class beginning next weekend. We are very excited about presenting this material to our church and learning as a couple in the process.

Well folks, that’s it for now. Thanks for tuning in.

I’m currently hearing kids humming the A-Team theme music, so I better go.

Catch you next time–fool!

Points to Ponder, Uncategorized

The Christmas Story: Wise Men

As Christmas is quickly approaching, I am writing a very short series featuring different people in the Christmas story. For the first post I focused on Joseph, and for the second round I wrote about the shepherds. Today I would like to look at the Wise Men and their role in this wonderful account.

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In studying Matthew 2, there is much speculation surrounding the Wise Men. I have read a whole slew of different opinions, studies, and commentary regarding these men. Were there only three Magi? Probably not, we just assign the number three due to the fact that they brought three gifts. Did they visit Jesus, Mary, and Joseph at the stable like you see in typical nativity scenes? Again, probably not. It likely happened when Jesus was a bit older, not an infant. I will tell you that I am NOT an expert, so I won’t go too much into all of those details.

However, this is what I do want to share about the Wise Men, or the Magi:

In sharp contrast to the shepherds, these were probably wealthy, well educated men. In my last post I mentioned about the shepherds and how they would have been on a very low rung of the social ladder. These guys? Totally different story. They would have been well versed in the prophecies as well as astrology and many other studies. Also, the gifts they brought to Jesus would have been very costly items, so they must have been wealthy.

Another thing I’d like to note is that they truly sought out Jesus and recognized him as the Messiah. This may sound obvious, but it has lessons for us. It’s not like they saw something unusual in the sky and just happened to hop on over to the next town to check out why. They would have studied past scriptures and prophecies and recognized the signs. These men must have been attuned to God’s word and leading. Upon reaching their destination, they were “overjoyed.” They didn’t find a fancy king on a throne, but a little boy with humble parents. In Matthew 2:10-11, it says that when they saw him they “bowed down and worshiped him.” Also, they presented their three gifts, very costly items that were truly meant for a king. These guys recognized Jesus as king of the Jews and honored him for who he was.

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The last mention of the wise men in Matthew tells us what happened after they worshiped Jesus. Herod had known they were seeking out the Messiah and had wanted them to come back and report to him about this future king. However, after they visited Jesus, they were divinely warned not to return to Herod. Instead, they returned to their homeland by a different route. This part of the story tells me that they were not only receptive to God’s leading, but obeyed Him rather than man.

So, what is my take-away from learning about the Magi? They studied God’s word, followed its leading, recognized Jesus for who he was, were quick to worship Him and honored Him with their all, and obeyed God rather than man. All things that I would like to aspire to today as well.

 

 

Points to Ponder, Uncategorized

The Christmas Story: Shepherds

Today I am writing a second installment in a short series based on the Biblical account of our Savior’s birth. The last one was all about Joseph, but today I will focus in on the shepherds.

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I will readily admit that I didn’t think much about the shepherds’ role in this story until recent years. My husband is actually the one who was most impacted by their role, and from that I sat up and took more interest in their part of this wonderful story.

Here are some things I find interesting about the shepherds:

They were on an extremely low rung of the social ladder in that time, yet God chose them specifically to receive the news of Jesus’ birth before anyone else. Though they were initially terrified by the angelic appearance, their fear turned to joy as they took in the news about Messiah’s birth. That joy combined with great excitement as they visited Mary, Joseph, and the baby. Immediately they spread the word about this baby, and people were amazed at what they said.

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It fascinates me that these shepherds, who were normally not held in high esteem, were able to amaze whomever they shared the news with. This tells me that the townspeople must have seen the genuine joy on their faces and knew that they were speaking the truth. Their excitement must have been palpable! I would have loved to see this play out for real. These men, whether they were old or young or somewhere in between, recognized God in this miracle and quickly glorified and praised Him.

Today I am thankful for the shepherds, ordinary men whom God used in a most extraordinary way. They sought out Jesus, wholeheartedly believed in the miracle of His birth, and glorified and praised God. Most importantly, they couldn’t wait to share the good news with everyone they met!

Points to Ponder, Uncategorized

The Christmas Story: Joseph

Today I am beginning a short series based on the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus. I love the Christmas season and some part of the Christmas story hits me afresh each year. I am always struck by the variety of people God used to participate in the birth of His son here on earth. One of those people usually impact me in a new way, or perhaps I am able to see the story more from their perspective.

As my children were part of a wonderful Christmas pageant last week, I was inspired to do a small series highlighting what I’ve learned from some of these folks–all ordinary people that God used in an extraordinary way.

Today I will focus on Joseph, the man who became an earthly father to Jesus and husband of Mary. In the pageant I just mentioned, my oldest son Daniel played the part of Joseph. I’m not sure why, but watching my young man portray Joseph really impacted me.

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Perhaps it’s because I’ve always seen Joseph as such a man of integrity, which is what I would love all my young men to grow up to be.

Joseph really was an example of integrity. There he was, a young carpenter, engaged to a young lady who suddenly lets him know that she is pregnant. He could have easily been enraged, putting her out of his life and disgracing her in a public way. This would have also gotten Mary stoned, the punishment back in those times. However, even before the angel appeared to him in a dream, he “had in mind to divorce her quietly” because he “did not want to expose her to public disgrace.” Now THAT is a good man, back in those days I’m sure and definitely in today’s world too.

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Joseph was also a man of quick obedience.

An angel did appear to him and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. The angel reassured him that the child was conceived in her from the Holy Spirit and that he was to name him Jesus. So, did Joseph mull this over and weigh out the pros and cons for weeks on end? Nope. It says that “When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” No hesitation or ignoring the dream or explaining it away. Joseph also was quick to obey the Lord when, after the visit from the Magi, an angel appears to him yet again and tells him to escape to Egypt with his family. No hesitation there either as he packed up his family during the night and fled King Herod’s wrath.

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Also, Joseph had to know that when her pregnancy became noticeable and people found out, he also would be humiliated for taking her as his wife under the circumstances. But the threat of public scorn didn’t stop him.

I also want to note that when we first meet Joseph in Matthew 1:19, he is noted as “a righteous man.” Note–it doesn’t say “self-righteous,” it says “righteous.” There’s a big distinction there. What a fine example he is to us all.

So, to wrap up today’s installation, here is my take-away from studying Joseph: I would like to strive to be a person who is righteous (not self-righteous!), obedient to God, not afraid to stand up for what I believe in, and a person of integrity. I am thankful for Joseph and how God used him in the life of Jesus.

(Note: All of my references today were taken from Matthew 1 & 2, NIV)

 

 

Points to Ponder

Thankful for the Little Things

Today I am thankful for the little things.

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Kids that all adore reading.

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Blooms picked by little hands and placed in a dish for me to enjoy.

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A Christmas catalog that reminds us to think of others more than ourselves.

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Bits of fall color to perk up my home.

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Just one of many recycled creations that I find all over the place.

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My family–the man I married and my 5 little (and not so little) pumpkins.

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A kid that loves playing music.

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One of multiple plants that my horticulture-loving kid tends to with TLC.

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Basement shelves filled with food that we grew and canned together.

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God-given creative abilities….

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In this beautiful season, let’s remember all of the big and little things we can be thankful for daily.

In closing, this verse has popped out to me several times over the past week. I don’t ever really remember hearing much of it before, but it has stuck out to me as of late.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 - Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands." Great verse.:

Great words of wisdom there.

Hope you are having a beautiful October.