Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Children's Advent Calendar

Besides lighting our advent candle each evening, I try to find a new way each year to keep the Advent season alive in our home and in the hearts of the kids. Here an idea for an Advent calendar from Loyola Press that I think I will post on my fridge.  My fridge that literally falls apart spewing out shelf pieces at me when I open it.  Should I have put "new fridge" on my Christmas list? Oops. I guess when December 13 comes around I will have to observe that date's suggestion.  "I will keep calm and not lose my temper when
I am pushed or treated rudely (by my fridge)."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Still Thankful

I am in the grocery store today (its Monday after all) and I hear a Christmas song over the speakers.  I know. I know. They have been playing Christmas songs for weeks now. But it struck me today that Thanksgiving is not over for me. It's still here. It was only four days ago for crying out loud. See, I have this thing about celebrating a holiday so soon that when it is finally here, one is sick of it and ready to move on. I like to live in the feast. In the moment of the day/event itself. Anyway, I am choosing to still be thankful and want to share one of my favorite books of the season. I spotted it at my mom and dad's house, where we spend Thanksgiving every year. The text of the book is the lyrics from the song "Over the River and Through the Woods."  Here are some of the illustrations from the book and our version from Thursday. Similar but modernized a bit.

"Over the river and through St. Paul, to Grandma's house we go.  The van knows the way, to carry us all through the white and slippery snow. Oh.
 Over the river and down Fairview, drive fast my handsome Ben, we only stopped for church and Dan for 'tis Thanksgiving day..."
Thankful for a warm house to celebrate in. Warm in the Ferber sense. It may have been about 63 degrees.  Thankful for beautiful smiling girls who help Grandma prepare the house one day prior to Thanksgiving.  Thankful for my husband who extends the traditional dinner to a friend who's family was out of town and he would have been alone.  Thankful for the snow that made a fun playground for the kids. It lit up the dark which I swear descended upon us at about 3:30pm.  Thankful for extended family who provided three different kinds of delicious pie to choose from when I am really really truly determined to not gain weight this season. Thankful for Aunt Barbara who knows how to bless a little chef with her very own chef's hat. Thankful for my mom who keeps our childhood treasures so we can enjoy them over and over every time the season comes around.  This is a lot. I may just stay thankful for a few more days.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kate and the Headband(s)

All it takes is a little cute fabric, five inches of elastic, a machine that sews a straight stitch and you can produced some adorable headbands. It also helps to have a well lit space, time, precision and determination. Kate has all of these. She spent hours in the basement helping me sew dozens of headbands to sell at my book/craft show on Saturday. I must admit that when I mentioned she could get a cut of the profit, she sewed faster. Nonetheless, I was impressed with how well she stayed to task and developed her ironing, pining, and sewing skills.  We followed the basic steps listed here, but finished off the headband so you can't see the stitch connecting the elastic to the main part.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christ Serving the Haitians

I teach Maddie's 5th grade Faith Formation class at our church every Sunday morning. One thing we talked about a couple weeks ago is the "Good News" we see around us, that is, the work people are doing in our world to solve problems.  The four kids in the class made a large poster with clippings from local newspapers and the Catholic Spirit that showed specific people in action serving humanity. Maddie also choose to write down some captions of her own from her experience in People of Praise, like the times she has served at the Feed My Starving Children program.

Yesterday I saw this video from the BBC of a nun working in Haiti's capitol at a clinic serving those suffering and dying from the recent cholera outbreak in that country.  She made me think of "good news" - one who is choosing to dedicate her time and energy towards a serious problem. The story really isn't about her, but the work being done to effectively treat/help the Haitian people.

Sharing the Good News from around our neighborhoods and our world brings hope and real solutions.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hot Cross Buns

 Music fills the air in our home! It is a beautiful thing. I think I have heard Hot Cross Buns on the piano about 100 times now. The girls watched a couple lessons at Free Piano Lessons for Kids and mastered their first song.  This guy is a great pianist himself and a good teacher. He understands kids, takes time with one aspect of piano playing, is friendly and talks to the young student as if he is right there with them.

The piano came into our home rather quickly. It originally belonged to one family in the People of Praise, was given to the Cunningham's, then to a third family. This last family is moving and needed to find a new home for the piano. In a matter of two days, we learned of the offer, made arrangements for it to be moved here, made room in our little space for it and started to fill the house with music.  I have hope that our skills and knowledge of playing will all increase as time goes by and we continue to learn from Mr. Hoffman.  I am thankful I found his site and his free lessons.  God provides.

One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

If You Want to Know What the People of Praise Is

 Check out the new video on our website. It is a great overview of the history, characteristics, and vision of our life in community. You'll find one picture of myself, Mary Lee and Shellee on our back porch from a few years back and a glimpse of my dad hammering nails on a house in Allendale when he was on a mission trip. The People of Praise has opened doors for all people of any age or stage in life to serve, love, teach, pray, and bless those around us.  There is joy in loving the people we are led to serve; you will see that on the faces of the kids and adults alike. It is contagious.