The Handicraft that Got My Kids Excited about Books

HandicraftEver since I saw an idea like this for rain gutter bookshelves, I’ve wanted them.  I thought it would be awesome to have each child have their own little bookshelf space for their favorite books.  We have plenty of bookshelves around the house, but it is dificult to see all the books that are there.  So I thought having a little shelf of their own, to put the books they got for Christmas or their birthdays, in a place that was easy to reach and easy to see might encourage my kids to enjoy books more.

I mean, they love books.  They love it when I read them stories.  But I would like to encourage some independent reading and some independent book perusing (for the non-readers in the home).

However, I will just admit to you that the DIY Pinterest Project Magic does not reside in me.  For both my husband and I, our talents lie elsewhere, far outside the region of handiness or craftiness in home projects.  So I knew better than to really make any effort toward the rain gutter bookshelf idea.

Along those lines, I am not a particularly crafty person (I love scrapbooking, but that’s about it).  So although, as a Charlotte-Mason-style-of-homeschooling fan, I think Handicrafts are a good idea, I’m not all that great at doing handicrafts with my kids.  (I found this blog post recently and am newly inspired in this area, though!)

Anyway, the other day, I was at my friend’s house.  She had these little Ikea wall shelves– spice racks, as they are called on Ikea’s website.  She had them all over her home, several of them holding books.  These are just what I was looking for!  They are the perfect size for each child to have their own personal bookshelf. So I went home and ordered ten of them.  One for each child, and several for our living room and school room.

Two days ago, they arrived.  They came in little packages of 11 pieces: a base shelf, a stick, two side pieces, four screws, two wooden pegs, and an allen wrench.  In my excitement, I looked at the instructions and immediately put one together.  What?  A DIY project even I could do!  And if I could do it, my kids could do it.  Handicrafts are supposed to be useful and add beauty to our lives.  And learning to put together a shelf from a kit with instructions is totally a useful life skill.  Time for a Spontaneous Handicraft Class! 8 April 20151 I called all the kids- from my almost 8 year old down to the 2 year old- to gather in the living room.  I gave a package to each kid and took one for myself.  I demonstrated how to put together the shelf as they watched and then I helped the 2 year old assemble his (though I was pretty impressed with how far he could get on his own) as the 4 year old, 6 year old, and almost 8 year old got to work.

They assembled these shelves with great ease and enthusiasm and then were so excited that they had made a shelf of their very own.  They proceeded to go to the bookshelf and rifle through the books to find their favorites to put on their very own bookshelf.  The next hour they spent looking through books!  Success! X-man's Shelf

My Three Step Process for Tackling the Tough Stuff

Messy Room

I hate cleaning my house.  I wish I could have Mary Poppins’ snap cleaning powers.  That would be awesome.

I know there are plenty of people out there who enjoy cleaning.  Or who find the result of a clean house so motivating that they are willing to put forth the energy frequently enough to keep up with the housekeeping.

I am not one of those people.

I do have a level of cleanliness need- I absolutely hate crumbs under the table.  That is sufficiently motivating for me to sweep once, maybe twice a week.

Another highly motivating strategy is to invite someone over.  I definitely find myself in panic mode the night before company is due.  I’ll whip this house in shape then.  But other than that, I have a hard time getting up the energy and motivation to clean, de-clutter, pick up, and do all those household things I really should do.  I’d rather plan out my scope and sequence for my children’s schooling for the next 12 years.  Again.

Part of the problem is that three years ago, I birthed child number 4 and then I moved that summer and every summer since.  Around that same time, I began this homeschooling journey as my oldest entered Kindergarten.  Trying to clean and go through things to get rid of excess stuff when under time constraints with moving (while trying to manage four children and trying to stop them unpacking every box you pack and writing on every surface with the black permanent markers), and with homeschooling, and settling into to a new church and a new area is extremely challenging!

Another part of the problem is me.  I get overwhelmed by the mess and the clutter and then I berate myself and hate myself for my laziness and absolute failure to keep things tidy.  Not all that surprisingly, this does not lead to a more joyful, hard-working approach to my household tasks.  It ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.  When I tell myself I’m lazy and a failure, that is just what I become.  I know I need to have grace for myself (“Cleaning the house while the kids are growing is like shoveling snow while it’s snowing,” after all), but I also know I need to be faithful and hard-working in my God-given tasks.

In my ponderings on how to solve this motivation problem, I’ve been thinking about something Charlotte Mason quoted in her Original Homeschooling Series (Volume 2), “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

It starts with sowing a thought.  That’s all I can handle right now.

So here is my three step process to sow a thought (well, three thoughts I guess) to motivate myself to tackle my housekeeping.

#1:  “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8:1  I quote that to myself first, to remind myself that I do not do dishes to save myself.  God does not condemn me for my laziness or discouragement.  There is no condemnation.  I am free.

#2:  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13    I admit to myself that I cannot do this.  I cannot face my dishes, my sweeping, the toys and the clutter.  But Christ, who lives in me, can.

#3:  “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”  

With these thoughts ringing through my mind, I find the strength to get up and get to work.

I Call That Spring!

Kite Days

A kite, a sky, and a good firm breeze,
And acres of ground away from trees,
And one hundred yards of clean, strong string —
O boy, O boy! I call that Spring!

 Mark Sawyer

OHC Spring 1

We introduced our kids to the movie Mary Poppins a few weeks ago, and ever since they’ve been going around the house singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” which is a very appropriate song for the beginning of spring.  We’ve been watching our yard and neighborhood for signs of spring this month and we have not been disappointed.

As March began, the branches of trees all over the neighborhood blossomed in bright white flowers.  The breeze rushing through the trees caught white petals in its breath and all month we’ve seen white petals floating down to the ground.  My California born and bred kids exclaim, “Snow!”

OHC Spring 2

With the warmer weather (and the returned health after a few months of flu season ravaging through the household), Terrace Hill Academy students can be seen riding bikes, taking walks, climbing the apple tree, drawing with chalk, searching for flowers, and painting outside.

OHC Spring 3

The second week of March we found a few poppies in our yard and observed first hand nyctinasty (new word for us!)- the blooms fold up (“like a carrot,” my kids say) at night and open up to the sun in the morning.  Princess K was pretty fascinated by this as we observed the flowers day and evening after day and evening.  This was also the week we started seeing a few leaves on our grape vine.  The kids found a little ladybug, decided to keep it as a pet and called it Curly, drew it in their nature journals and then lost it.   (It reminded me of A.A. Milne’s poem Forgiven.)

OHC Spring 3b

OHC Spring Collage 1

OHC Spring 3c

 At the beginning of March, all that could be seen of our apple tree (we’ve been observing all year) was dry brown branches.  Today, March 25th, when we went to examine our tree, we found a few buds and a blossom!  It was exciting.

OHC Spring 4a

OHC Spring 4

OHC Spring 5

OHC Spring Collage 2

Our roses are in bloom again, the breezes are fragrant, the rain is sporadic, the kids are barefoot, all the world is in color.  Oh boy, oh boy, I call that spring!

OHC Spring 6

A Sure Sign

 Evaleen Stein

When you see upon the walk
Circles newly made of chalk,
And around them all the day
Little boys in eager play
Rolling marbles, agates fine,
Banded, polished, red as wine,
Marbles crystal as the dew,
Each with rainbows twisted through,
Marbles gay in painted clay,
Flashing, twinkling in your way,
When the walk has blossomed so,
Surely every one must know
None need wonder who has heard
Robin, wren, or Peter-bird;
Sure the sign as song or wing,
          It is spring!

Homeschooling through the Seasons of Life

Digging in the mud

Every season of the year has its charm.  Summer holds beach trips, ice cream, bare feet, and long, lazy afternoons.  Autumn brings crisp apples, crisp weather, the crunch of leaves and the mouthwatering aroma of pumpkin pie.  In winter, you blow out your breath in frosty clouds, go ice skating, and drink hot cocoa by a roaring fire.  Then spring breezes in warmly with new life, bright and beautiful blossoms, and the promise of summer break arriving before long.

Often, we describe our lives in terms of seasons.  “It’s just a season,” reminds us that the experiences of the phase of life we are in is transitory and soon a new season of life will arrive.  There are good seasons of fun and growth and happiness.  There are times of transition and change.  There are periods in life where things are difficult and sad and challenging.  And there are seasons of new life and new beginnings.

He has decided that he would like mommy's sunglasses

As homeschoolers, we have the challenge of trying to educate our children as we go and grow through the seasons together.  There will be exhilerating seasons of new beginnings, enthusiasm, when you plant seeds and faithfully water them.  There will be times when homeschooling and life is going well and you see the fruit of your labors blossoming in your children in their skills, understanding, or habits.  There will be times of transitions when you are trying to adjust to changes to your life or routine.  And there are seasons of difficulty, sadness, or grief, when things are hard and school seems an overwhelming burden.

So how does one homeschool through all of these changing seasons?

1.  Lean on God’s Strength– Abide in Him and let his words abide in you by spending time in prayer and in his Word, meditating on it and memorizing it.

Lean on God’s strength and abide in Him when things are going well, when life is shifting all around you, when everything is impossibly hard.  Abide.  Always.

Peace despite his casted leg and his box top bedding

God’s grace gives peace despite your circumstances

2.  Live in Grace– Remember that your worth, your value is not dependent upon your accomplishments or failures.  Your value is determined by the price paid for you.  The blood of the one and only Son of God.

Thank Him for his gracious provision when things are going well and trust in his sovereignty, his wisdom, power, and love, when things are hard.  It is God’s grace that enables you to be victorious and it is God’s grace that carries you when you fall.

Thy compassions, they fail not

His grace carries you

I’ve noticed that moms have that thing called Mom Guilt.  We all experience it.  We are not doing enough.  We are failing our husbands and ruining our children.  We look around at other peoples’ best, judge ourselves on that impossibly high standard and find ourselves wanting.

You know, whenever I talk to any other mom about this, I can see that Mom Guilt is ridiculous.  I encourage them to “Let it Go!”  Have grace for themselves.  But it seems that the hardest thing is to have grace for yourself.  I know.  It is for me too.

What we have to remember is that God is sovereign.  Our best efforts will fall far short.  We will fail.  We will yell at our kids unfairly.  We will neglect some important habit.   We will forget things, fail to fulfill promises, disappoint our kids from time to time.  God’s grace enables our successes in parenting and covers our failures.  If we can use our failures to point to the One who never will fail them, we will have done our job.

My two year old almost drowned a few months ago.  How I castigated myself!  I wasn’t there to watch my son.  Why wasn’t I watching?  But God was watching when I wasn’t.  He saved my son.  He’s the only one who can truly save our children.

Live in God’s grace so you can reveal God’s grace and love to your children.

3.  Rejoice Always– Give God thanks for the good times and be thankful for God’s grace and strength and sovereignty in the bad times.  This will make your good times better and your bad times a bit lighter.

Hospital Visit

4.  Record God’s Faithfulness– Write down the ways in which you see God work, in the good times and the bad.  This can later be a great encouragement when things are challenging (again).

Write down the things you do in your homeschooling.  Take pictures and make a scrapbook or a Shutterfly Yearbook.  Then when you are feeling discouraged (perhaps going through a season of illness like we recenty when through- when no school gets done for 6 weeks) and feeling like your kids are learning nothing and doing nothing valuable, you can look back at how far you’ve come and the fun things you’ve done.

5.  Be Flexible in Times of Change or Challenge– If no school gets done for a few days or weeks, that’s ok.  One of the beauties of homeschool is the wonderful flexibility with the schedule.  We school from August to June so there are plenty of weeks we can take off for travel, illness, or when we need a break.

Perhaps you need to purchase some special materials for those times of change- audiobooks, educational films, special craft kits, sticker books, computer programs or online learning website memberships.  Get help if you can.  Grandmas can do a baking “class” or read wonderful stories to their grandkids.  Perhaps Dad can help with school when he is home- or he can take the kids to the zoo or local museum for a field trip.

Four kids on a stroller- I love my Joovy Caboose!

This is how a dad takes the kids on a field trip

You might need to shorten up your school schedule.  Times of transition or hardship call for a “just the basics” schedule, rather than worrying about all the extras we homeschoolers like to include in our days.  Make a short list of the basics- depending on your children’s current needs, and just aim to accomplish those.

In the end, the most important thing is to abide in Christ.  Abide in Him and He will carry you.

3 Super Simple Christmas Crafts

SAM_9979

I am not a super crafty person, but my kids love to do crafts.  So whatever crafts we do in our household need to be super simple.  My oldest son is a very independent, out-of-the-box thinker and his favorite kind of craft is one where he is free to follow whatever creative path his brain suggests.  This works out well for me since my favorite kind of craft is one where I gather up some supplies, dump them on the table and let them explore the materials and be creative.

1.  Construction paper ornaments- Everyone knows how to do this.  X-man had been begging to make ornaments all morning one day last week.  So I thought, why not?  I pulled out some green and dark pink cardstock (this was as Christmas-y as I had on hand), scissors, markers, glue, tape, and yarn.  I helped with the tying of the yarn so they could hang their ornaments on the tree.  I also cut out little gingerbread people for them to decorate.  Otherwise, this was a totally independent craft that took at least an hour.  I gave my two year old scratch paper and markers so he could craft with his siblings.  I played Christmas music and it was a very merry time!

Construction Paper Ornaments

Construction Paper Ornaments

2.  Craft Stick Snowflake- I gathered smal craft sticks, glue, glitter, sequins, white paint, and paper with which to cover my table.  Yesterday, I showed the kids how to make snowflake forms with the craft sticks.  They formed a variety of snowflakes and glued them together.  Today, they decorated them with white paint, glitter, and sequins.  Once they are dry,  plan to tie some sort of yarn, string, or wire around them and hang them in our windows or on our tree.

5 December3

5 December1

5 December

3.  Button Tree Collage– Next week, I plan to give my daughter (and any other interested parties) a piece of cardstock or green felt in the shape of a Christmas tree, some glue, and a bunch of buttons of a variety of sizes and Christmasy colors.   She can fill the tree with the buttons in any pattern or arrangement she wishes.  It sounds easy, fun, and pretty -3 important components of any successful craft!

I like these crafts since they encourage my children to explore their own creativity.  If any of you have any more ideas like these for this craft-challenged mommy, I’d appreciate them!

 

Great Christmas Books for Kids

SAM_9837

We love reading stories.  And I love getting into the holiday spirit with my kids by reading them Christmas stories during the month of December.  Here are some recommendations and ideas for good books to read at Christmastime.

Christmas Picture Books We Like

These are the books we’ve (or at least I’ve) read and enjoyed:

1.  The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt  -I cry every time I read this story.  It works for Christmas and Easter and I like how it ties the two together.  I think it is important to remember at Christmas time, when all is sweetness and light with babies and shepherds and gifts of gold, that the little baby came to earth to die.  For us.

2.  A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe  -This is a sweet little picture book about love and friendship and kindness.

3.  Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck  -A boy gives a precious gift to his father.  As a mother, I want my children to get ideas from this book and carry them out!  :)

4.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss  -A classic story that we love.

5.  The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers  -I love the ballet and I was excited to introduce the story to the kids.  This version has great illustrations.

6.  The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall  -I really like telling the legend of St. Nicholas.  I tell my kids that this is legend- so we don’t know how much of it is true- but it seems like there was a guy who loved God and out of that love God poured forth generosity toward others.    He is a hero worthy of emulation- we also should be generous with what God has graciously given us because of our love for Him.

7.  Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant  -This is a sweet story of the ‘circle of generosity.’  It even touches on having a good attitude and a thankful heart, even when you don’t get what you wish for the most- this is a good lesson and a very needed one for my kids!

8.  Stephen’s Feast by Jean Richardson  -A tale of King Wenceslas and his page.  A boy learns from his king to follow in his footsteps and give to those in need.

9.  The Christmas Knight by Jane Louise Curry  -A fun story about a generous, loving man and what happens when he gives all that he has away.

10.  The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden  -A very sweet story of a little homeless girl and her Christmas doll.

11.  Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening– by Robert Frost and illustrated by Susan Jeffers  -A great way to introduce this poem to kids- with lots of fun snowy illustrations!

12.  Jolly Old Santa Claus by Mary Jane Tonn  -This was a book my mother read to us when we were little, every Christmas Eve.  So now, I read it to my children every Christmas Eve.  Ah, tradition.  I love it.

13.  The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore  -This was another book my mother read to us every year on the night before Christmas.  The version I read to my kids is a pop-up book from Barnes and Noble I picked up one year when I started having Christmas at home.

14.  The Story of Christmas illustrated by John Walker  -My mother also read a pop-up book of the very first Christmas to us every Christmas Eve.  So, again, when I started my own family traditions, I found this book.  I fell in love with the amazing illustrations and I liked that the text was taken directly from the Bible.

Chapter Books & Books for Advent

1.  The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens  -I like to listen to the Focus on the Family Radio Theater version of this classic tale.

2.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis -when I taught school, this was the book I assigned at Christmas (to my 7th graders.  I assigned The Christmas Carol to my 8th graders.)  It isn’t a Christmas story really, but since Father Christmas is in it, it is Christmasy enough for me.

3.  The Jessie Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean -We read this last year as our Advent family devotional time.  I love that it starts at the beginning and traces God’s plan for the coming Messiah throughout the Old Testament.

4.   Jotham’s Journey by Arnold Ytreeide (and also Bartholomew’s Passage and Tabitha’s Travels) -We are reading Jotham’s Journey this December, with daily readings throughout the advent season.  It is exciting and scary and we are all really enjoying it- the kids are at the edge of their seats with wide eyes and we are all excited to read the next section.  My plan is to read Bartholomew’s Passage next year and then Tabitha’s Travels the year after that.  Ah, so many books to read, so little time.

Books On Our List This Year (But We Haven’t Read Yet)

I searched the internet for recommendations for Christmas books to read to my children that I could also find at my local library.  Here was the result:

1.  The Snow Queen retold by Sarah Lowes and illustrated by Miss Clara  -We haven’t yet read this book based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale, but I was drawn to this story by the beautiful and whimsical illustrations.  It is long tale, comprised of 7 chapters, about a young girl who sets off to rescue her friend from the Snow Queen’s clutches.

2.  A Certain Small Shepherd by Rebecca Caudill  -We like this author and so I am looking forward to reading this story about a mute boy who longs to do something special at Christmas.

3.  The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson  -The bad kids in town get involved in the Christmas Pageant in this chapter book.  I hear it is funny and sweet.  My kids are totally into funny.

4.  Albert and the Angels by Leslie Norris  -A boy and his dog try to find a gift for his mother.

5.  The Remarkable Christmas of the Cobbler’s Sons by Ruth Sawyer  -A playful goblin king pays a visit to the cobbler and his sons.

6.  The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett  -We enjoy Jan Brett’s fun stories and vivid illustrations, so this year,we’ll give this one a try.

7.  Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera  -A little girl stows away in her Aunt’s luggage to discover her Christmas secret.

8.  Dance in the Desert by Madeleine L’Engle  -All sorts of animals come to dance for a child who is traveling to Egypt with his parents.  I am intrigued by this different take on the Christmas story.

9.  The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans  -A boy buys a magic candle that changes how he views others.

Five Things We Don’t Do to Keep Christ the Center of Christmas

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

-Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

If you ask my kids what Christmas is, they’ll tell you, “It’s Jesus’ birthday.”  If you ask them why they like Christmas so much, they’ll tell you, “Because of PRESENTS!”  When pressed, they’ll agree that the festive decorations, the fun activities, the food, and giving to others is fun too.  But it’s all about the presents right now.  And you know what?  I understand that.  Presents are fun.

It is just important to my husband and I that we take that excitement in our children for presents and turn that passion toward the Lord.  The presents they get are a symbol, a picture of the amazing gift we were given on that very first Christmas.  If we had that same excitement our children have when they wake up on Christmas morning and see the gifts under the tree every time we thought of the gift of salvation, how that would change our lives.

So here are a few things that we don’t do in order to keep Christ as the focus of our Christmas celebrations.

9 Reading stories on Christmas Eve

1.  We don’t neglect our time with the Lord.  I carve out time, usually early in the morning, every day (as best as I can), to spend time with my Lord.  During December, we pause our regular Bible lessons and go through the story of the very first Christmas, from Luke and Matthew.  I use flannelgraph or paintings as visual aids, we sing Christmas Carols that (attempt to) tie to the theme of the lesson each day.

Today, X-man noticed with a look of dawning understanding that in our Bible story, “Mary is almost going to have Jesus.  And it’s almost Christmas when it’s Jesus’ birthday!”  I know it is awfully obvious, but for my 7 year old son to notice the correlation himself fills me with delight.

We also go through a Advent storybook together as a family every evening.  Last year, we read through and very much enjoyed The Jesse Tree.  It was wonderful to have a review of the whole Old Testament and how it all points to the coming Savior.  This year, we have begun the story Jotham’s Journey.  It was highly recommended by our pastor and so far it is really enjoyable.  It is exciting and scary and the kids all groan when the chapter is over.  Then we sing Christmas Carols and rejoice and worship our Savior around the lit up Christmas tree.  It is a beautiful family time of worship together.

SAM_1997

2.  We don’t try to modify behavior by threatening lumps of coal instead of presents.  In fact, we don’t tie gifts to behavior at all.  Sometimes the idea of presents only coming to good children does come up in the stories we read or the movies they watch.  Then we explain that Christmas is a time to celebrate the gift God gave us in His Son- the gift none of us deserve at all.  Although we all are sinful and deserve to be on the naughty list, if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, our names were crossed off of that list with His blood and He has signed our names on the good list, the Book of Life.  Christmas is all about grace.  Just like we don’t deserve the gift of God’s Son, none of us deserve presents under the tree.  We get them anyway, because of love.

3.  We don’t forbid Santa and we don’t lie to our kids either.  We read stories about Saint Nicholas (and watch the Veggie Tale) and explain that legend has it that St. Nicholas was very generous with his family’s wealth, giving away what he had to those less fortunate because he loved Jesus.  Now people love to make up pretend and magical stories about him that are fun to read and watch.  We enjoy reading and watching stories about Santa ourselves.  He is a good role model- a generous, loving, joyful guy who loves to share and give.  We should all be like that- giving to others because we love Christ.

4 Christmas

4.  We don’t just think about what we are going to get.  I definitely let my kids give me ideas for their Christmas lists.  I break up the list into the four categories- Want, Need, Wear, Read- so that they are thinking about more than just toys.  I am also very careful to remind them that this is just to give their parents and grandparents ideas and they will not get everything on the list.

Then we try to talk more about what we are giving to others at Christmas time.  We pack boxes for Operation Christmas child.  This year, each of our older three kids (7, 6, 4) got to fill a box for a child his or her age.  We also went to the grocery store to purchase items for a “Stocking the Staples” (cute play on words there) drive for a local mission that helps out the homeless.  I also encourage them to think of what they might want to get for their siblings.  We want to teach them while they are young the joy of giving to others.

5.  We don’t complain or accept entitled attitudes.  We are currently working on the habit of gratitude and thankfulness.  Whenever I hear a complaint, I (try to) stop the child in his tracks, quote I Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Then the child has to tell me something he is thankful for. Then we will get into the practice of focusing on our blessings, instead of our wants and filling our minds and words with thanksgiving instead of grumbling.  The more gratitude, the more joy and praise will fill our home.  The more joy and praise we have in our hearts and home, the more it will feel like Christmas.

12 Crazy Christmas Family

What we do is try to make the most of every opportunity we have to point our whole family’s eyes to Christ.  As we turn our eyes to Jesus, the things of the world, the stuff, the frantic stress of the season, the many worries and concerns, fade in the light of his awesome glory and his amazing grace.

*Need some Christmas Bible lesson ideas?  I’ve attached my Christmas Bible Lessons– my Christmas gift to you.