Sunday, December 20, 2015

Experiencing Advent: week 4 Peace


How do we teach our children about Peace when we live in a world of chaos?
Our lives in the 21st century are go.go.go!
We have work, school, sports, dance, gym, church, playdates, family time, screen never ends.

The word Peace is all around us and our children hear it constantly
"I need some peace and quiet"
"That was so peaceful"
"Love, Peace & Joy"
"Peace on Earth"

Christmas season can end up being one of the least peaceful seasons of the entire year, school programs, piano recitals, dance performances, Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, Christmas lights, Christmas decorating, Christmas baking, Christmas wrapping, Santa visits, card mailing, the list is never ending.

Some people thrive on and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, others are exhausted just reading that list, and are counting down the days not for Christmas but for Christmas to be over!  They find no peace during this season.

I'm right in the middle, I love Christmas and everything that it includes.  I do it all and more!  I enjoy celebrating things and I enjoy being active.  I also enjoy a night at home in my jammies doing absolutely nothing.  And I happened to be married to a man that would prefer to spend the entire Christmas season doing absolutely nothing on the above list.

Our family's take on Peace during the Advent season, is to not do too much, which is different for everybody and every family.  We make the call on activities like this, is it something that we have made a commitment to {sports, music, dance performance, work, etc}, is it something that we will enjoy or that will add chaos to our life.  If the activity is not a commitment and/or its going to add more stress than enjoyment to our family we say, "No!"

Another way we choose peace is to choose NOT to make dinner some nights.

Yep, instead of "dinner" we will either make breakfast;
eggs & bacon
pancakes & fruit
a waffle bar {waffle recipe to follow*}

...making breakfast at breakfast time can be so involved, but for some reason breakfast at dinner seems like an easy throw down meal.

Or have leftover buffet, {clean out the fridge and eat all the leftovers}.

Or a Sunday night favorite in our home, popcorn for dinner...yep, we have popcorn for dinner!
Image result for bowl of popcorn
We have a huge bowl of popcorn with some sides of fruit and maybe some cheese, serve this on paper plates in the living room while watching a Christmas movie or an episode or two of Americas Funniest Home Videos.

However you choose to do it, whatever works for you family, please find away to embrace the advent season without ruining the Peace of the season.

Peace doesn't have to mean quietness, it's a feeling, the state of your heart.  If your house/life being filled with activities and noise is something that fills you with joy, then let that Peace fill your heart.  If the busy-ness is taking peace from your life, then that is not what Christ desires for you.  Peace is a condition of your heart, and peace looks different for every.single.person.

May the peace of Christ fill your lives, your heart, this Advent season.
Pastor Kiera

*Breakfast for Dinner Waffle Recipe
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups melted butter 
2 egg
3 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter and syrup, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add the milk, melted butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.

Preheat a waffle iron. Do not use non-stick spray on the waffle iron; the butter in the batter will allow the waffle to release easily. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles. Serve warm topped with fruit and whipped cream or yogurt.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Experiencing Advent: Week 3 Redemption

Christmas season is in full swing.  Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating, Christmas burnout!

Almost everyone loves Christmas, but the further we get into the season the busy-ness, rush, rush, rush, of the season can rob us of our Christmas joy.

My hope for you & your family this Christmas season is that you will find time to stop, and experience Shalom {Peace}.  Focus on the babe that came that first Christmas morning.  The child that brought redemption to our world, to us, to you!

This weeks advent theme is redemption.  Focus on that word...redemption...and what it could mean for you this Christmas season.  Advent is about expecting, the arrival of something.  Stop the rush, rush, rush of the "Christmas season" and embrace the Shalom, the peace that Jesus has brought for you.

Two small, easy activities that I ONLY want you to do, if they are helping you find the Peace of the Advent season and not adding to your long list of Christmas To Do's.

The first, a simple recipe, so simple, a 3 year old can do it {with the help of an adult}.

Christmas Rolo Pretzel Bites
1 bag small Pretzel twists {or rounds, or squares}
1 bag of Rolos {or Hershey kisses}
1 bag of M & M's {or any small candy or nut you want to use}

Preheat oven to 200 {not too hot!}
Line baking sheet with parchment paper, foil or just spray it good.
Place pretzels on baking sheet.
Place one Rolo {or hershey's kiss} on top of each pretzel.
Place in oven for 3-5 minutes, you want the Rolo/hershey kiss to be soft but NOT melted. Immediately start placing the M&M's on top of each Rolo/hershey kiss.  Let cool before eating {10 min in the fridge or 1 hour room temp}

Source Life Scraps Ink Blog

Coloring Time
Find some Shalom with a night or afternoon of good old coloring.  Break out the coloring crayons, pencils, markers.  Visit these links below and print off some great coloring sheets, turn on some nice soft Christmas music or movie, and just loose yourself in the peace of coloring.

source:Made by Joel
Here is a beautiful nativity that you can print out and leave just as it is, or color it, from made by joel.

A few coloring pages for the grownups....just click on the link below each image.
Source: Free Coloring Pages
Source: Everything Etsy

Source: Buzz Feed

A few for the kids....just click on the link below each image.


Source: Education dot com
Source: Color it by Number
Source: DIY Network
source: honking donkey

Pastor Kiera

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Experiencing Advent; Week 2 Know

I hope you were able to experience the shalom of advent this past week.

This Sunday/week is about 'know'...

What does that mean?  What does that look like?

Depending on the age and or personalities of your children you can take this discussion on 'knowing' 2 different ways.

1} You can discuss what they 'know' about Christmas & Jesus. {an intellectual know}
2} You can discuss that Jesus knows them and that they can know Jesus. {a relationship know}

A few simple ways to celebrate these two different versions of know with your kids this week...

*Set up your nativity {or if you're like us, your many, many nativities} 
While unpacking and setting out each piece. Talk about the meaning of each piece.  Make this as detailed or simple as needed for your kids.  You can take this either direction with 'know' you can 'inform' your kids {intellectual know} about the pieces of the nativity.  Or you can talk with them about the why {relationship know} Jesus came as a baby.  

*Make Christmas ornaments; A simple ornament 3 ways
          a} Reminder Bulb
               -1 empty clear glass bulb
               -1 piece of straw/hay/rafia
               - nail, 1 white feather
Place the hay, nail & feather into the glass bulb.  Each of this items are symbols of Jesus and can serve as reminders of our relationship with Him.  The hay = he humbled himself and came as a baby, being born in a manger, so we could know Him.  The nail = He died for our sins, so that we could know Him.  The feather = he sent the Holy Spirit so that we may know Him!  Print off or hand write a Bible verse that your family chooses to attach to the ornament and hang it on your tree.
          b} The Emmanuel Bulb 
               -1 empty clear glass bulb
               - small strips of paper{any color you choose} & something to write with
               - a permanent marker.  
Write ways that God was with your family this past year.  {he comforted me when I was scared/sad/lonely, he healed my broken bone/body/heart, he supplied our needs, we enjoyed his creation, we saw a waterfall, a new friend, an old friend, a great church, a good school year, a hard school year, etc, etc, etc}.  Roll these strips of paper up and drop them into the ornament.  Replace the metal hangy thing.  Using the permanent marker document what this ornament is on the outside, {ex. "Emmanual 2015,"  "Our Journey with Jesus 2015," "Jesus Loves Us 2015"} Place on your tree.

          c} Jesus is the Word Bulb
               -1 glass bulb {does not need to be clear {you will be covering the bulb up}
               - a computer & printer
               - white glue/mod podge
               - foam paint brush
Using your computer print off Bible verses {either Christmas related Bible verse, ones about Jesus, or your favorite verse} in a small, easy to read font.  Cut the verses into strips.  Glue these strips onto the outside of your glass bulb.  Cover the entire bulb with strips.  Let dry and then hang of your tree.
Idea from the turquoise home blog 

*Know-in the kitchen...
     2 different ways to experience know in your kitchen this week with your kids...
          a} Intellectual Know-find a simple recipe that your kids might be able to memorize/know and make it.  Something simple like a 1 cup Snack Mix {5-6 different ingredients, raisins, dried cranberries, peanuts, sunflower seeds, dried mango pieces, coconut, chocolate chips, chex cereal, popcorn, etc} measure 1 cup of each ingredient into a large bowl {or large bag} and mix together.
          b}  Relationship Know-do you have a favorite family recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation {relationship}.  Together make this family/relationship recipe.

Our goal with these advent ideas are just that...ideas.  We want your family to experience the shalom of advent this year.  We do not want to add to the busy-ness of the season and give you more to check off your to-do list.  Please do not see these as added stress.  Choose 1, maybe 2, of these activities, and ONLY if you don't have other ways your family is already celebrating advent.  Relax and experience the shalom of the season!

Pastor Kiera