Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Advent Wreath

Just put this all together from a local fabric store here in SJD, Mexico.  We light it tomorrow at The Gathering

It's not too late to make an Advent Wreath this year.   I did this with my family almost every year as my children were growing up.  We would take turns reading a devotion that was specific to that week and then we would light the appropriately colored candle.  On Christmas Day we would light the center candle which is the Christ candle.
  There are many sites available where you can find and download the information you need to learn the significance of each candle.  You can find the devotions and more so you can start this great family tradition.  It's fun and it will teach everyone the right way to prepare for Christmas.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Giving Starts At Home

Giving Tuesday is today.  I'm not sure how many years we've been doing this but it's a great idea.   As I was watching a morning news/talk show this morning I heard a guest talk about ways to give back  Although most of her ideas were great there was one area she didn't even mention.  Loving others and giving back is so important and I feel strongly that giving begins in your own home, with your own family.  With this thought in mind here is my list of how to prioritize your giving on Giving Tuesday (and any day, really!)

~~Love and give to the one you're with.  If you aren't accustomed to taking time alone with your significant other, set aside a day, right now,  so you can really talk and be present.  As a busy woman and a Grandma I realize that there are sometimes days where I go without really "hearing" what my husband is saying.  I regularly need to be intentional and make a date day or date night where it's just the two of us alone.  The same goes for your children.  They are second only to your spouse.   Giving starts at home.

~~Offer your heart.  Extend one of your most valuable possessions to others in your family-your time.   Ask if you can pick a grandchild up at school.   Take a day off of work to take them to the beach or to the park.  I babysit my youngest grandson several times a week.  He keeps me grounded and focused on what it important-"and the greatest of these is love." 

~~Reach out to your (very) extended family.  Early last year I found out that my cousin's 11 year old daughter (my second cousin) had cancer.   Instead of focusing energy on strangers in need (there are plenty), I try to put her needs first.  She's my cousin, after all.  

~~Carry a bag of food in the trunk of your car.  The next time you see a homeless person or someone who is carrying a sign that says, "I'm hungry,"  hand them the bag of food.  You'll know right away if they really need it. 

~~Give some time to a local charity.  Even if it's just a day a month.   *Remember-shelters and other places that care for the needy are overrun with volunteers this time of the year and when January hits it's back to "business as usual" (as people flock to the gym!)  One solution might be to call today to schedule a time to volunteer beginning after the first of the year.   Ask the charity what they need.  Don't assume they need clothing when what they really need is basic food and/or hands to prepare it.
Helping children learn to read is a great way to volunteer.  

~~There are many international mission projects that are worthy of your time and money but if you have U.S. Veterans who are sleeping on your city streets it might be more important to focus on getting them in warm shelters.  Call your city and ask until you get an acceptable answer. 

~~Remember your church, place of worship, or other faith-based charities.  Mother Teresa once said that the most important needs of people are emotional ones. (paraphrase)  Remember how important your pastor's words of encouragement are.  Inspiring words of hope can change someone's outlook on life which has a direct impact on their family, their co-workers, the people they encounter on a day-to-day basis, and their world.  

~~Diversifying and giving a "little here and a little there" is a great idea.  The more you give the more rewarding your life will be.  Remember you can never out-give God.

*Join my husband and I on THE CALL which is coming up again on December 15th at 6pm PST.  Dial 530-881-1300 and key-in 642848# when prompted.  Join us every month only on the 15th at 6pm PST

For more information about our minstry click HERE. 

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