inspiration from a small farm with a big heart

A {Peaceful} Advent

Remember that episode of Little House on the Prairie where Laura and her family exchanged simple gifts made with their own hands?  The simplicity of what Christmas used to be draws me in and creates a desire for me to experience more of that this year. 

You’ve heard this before and so have I, but it seems to be more difficult to slow down than it should be.  Maybe it’s not so much about doing less, but in doing something different, something more meaningful.  Folding peace into the moments of our day while storing enough joy that we can share it with those who have true needs the rest of the year.  Our homes may be a mess, the kids may not have matching pajamas and the meal may not go as planned.  But our souls will rejoice in the spirit of Christmas.  Please join my family as we search for a new December.

{Gift of Time}

Is it possible that you have adults in your life that would be more than willing to skip gifts this year?  Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate those you buy for and even more importantly who may feel obligated to buy for you. 

Ideas for Giving your Time

*Enjoy a meal together in each other’s home.

*Go out for coffee and spend time catching up.

*Exchange holiday treats or a pot of homemade soup.

{Giving to Kids}

Let’s share peace with our children.  As the day comes to an end turn down the lights and gather around the fire, or a couple of lit candles. Go outside under the stars, bundled up in a blanket to re-tell the Christmas story. Talk to them about the blessings we have and the needs of others.  Bring everything into perspective and watch your child come to life.

Ideas for Christmas Morning

  *Give each child three gifts.  In our home we do this because it represents the gifts given to Jesus by the three wise men.

  *Focus on gifts your child will really appreciate.  The after Christmas clutter stresses children too!

  *Focus on gifts that are made to last, possibly becoming a family heirloom.

{Handmade Gifts}

Photo 1 Caption:  The best part of making handmade gifts is spending time with someone we care about.  Carter and our neighbor Zach with a couple of our recycled crayon cars.

Creating a gift to be given to someone you love is one of the most rewarding experiences.  If you don’t feel like you are “crafty” maybe you have a friend who would be willing to trade for handmade treats or babysitting.  Our family is slowing down, spending more time together and making gifts for those we love.  Our favorite project is recycling broken crayons into crayon cars that can be used again.

  Step 1.  Gather broken and unused crayons.

  Step 2.  Remove the paper and break into small pieces.

  Step 3.  Place into a metal muffin tin and bake at 200 degrees (any hotter and your house will smell like hot wax).

  Step 4.  Let cool and remove from tin.

{Volunteer}

A small group is collecting items to be given to the families of patients moving into the care of Hospice. Your family can help collect items, label them (Hospice-Ted Hitchel) and drop them off at Broadway United Methodist Church (Melrose Campus). 

Items needed:  Socks, Peanut Butter Crackers, Children’s DVD’s, Chewing Gum, Hot Chocolate packets, and Women’s and Men’s Socks.

{Give}

Photo 2 Caption:  Justin and Ashley Guest are working towards full time missions saving children from the streets in Honduras.

Justin and Ashley Guest are missionaries raising support to be full time at the Manuelito Project in Honduras.  They will act as house parents to 40 children who have been saved from the streets.  Your family can partner with the Guest’s on their adventure to literally save lives!  Connect with them on their website and follow them on their journey.

http://www.guestsinservice.com

{Connect}

Connecting to volunteer opportunities can seem a little overwhelming at times.  When you realize how many needs there are right here in Bowling Green you may not know where to begin.  The ALIVE Center is an excellent resource for finding a service opportunity that works for you and your family.  To simplify things for you the ALIVE Center has created a website to give you all the information you need for ongoing volunteer opportunities.

www.wku.edu/alive/ongoing

 

A Moment from Home

Photo 3

The deadline for this article was approaching and I was thinking a lot about the ways that I prepare my home for Christmas.  My mind kept going to our nativity set and I couldn’t remember what our baby Jesus looked like.  The kids were sitting at the table coloring so I decided to go upstairs to find it.  Under gift bags, tissue and a winter jacket I found that brown box that was starting to show wear.  I carried it downstairs and sat down in front of the fireplace thinking that I could get it opened and put on the mantel before the kids noticed something new was going on.  My rush was to quickly get back to my job of picking up shoes, Lego’s and crumbs.  But before I even opened the box my children were at my feet.  One of them reached out to open it and the lid tore.  Another reached in and pulled out several pieces at the same time.  I started to find them something else to do until I looked down to see my sweet daughter holding Mary who had Jesus bundled in her arms.  I had forgotten that our nativity’s Jesus was held in the arms of his mother.  Tears began to fall as I apologized to my little ones, set the box down and asked them to help me.  What could have been a rushed experience that my children never saw became a moment of tenderness and love as we talked about that first Christmas and the sacrifices that Mary and Joseph made as they waited for our savior to arrive.  This figurine will remain on my mantel all year as a reminder that my children are only at my feet for a short time and they are my gifts.

 

A Peaceful Advent Checklist

  Things to Research Goal for 2010 Date Finished Goal for 2011
Kids Gifts        
Gift of Time        
Handmade        
Volunteer        
Give        
Connect        
         

 

Hello, I’m Michelle Howell, and I live in the world of laundry, having babies, and picking up messes.  I tend to be a mess myself which makes me thankful for Grace.  When naps begin I sit down with a cup of coffee and write.  Thank you for letting me share.

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