Sunday, December 31, 2006

December 31


Auld Lang Syne (lyrics and MIDI - both popular and original version)


New Year's Resolutions

How to Make a New Year's Resolution

1.  Be realistic by setting achievable goals.  For example, "winning the lottery" is not an achievable goal.
2.  Describe your resolutions in specific terms. Instead of "I don't want to be lazy," go for something like "I want to exercise regularly" or "I will cut down on my television watching."
3.  Break down large goals into smaller ones. For instance, instead of saying, "I will lose weight", make your goal to join a gym or Y, and to improve your eating habits.
4.  Find alternatives to a behavior that you want to change, and make this part of your resolution plan. So you want to quit smoking but you smoked to relax yourself? What other forms of relaxation are available to you?  Make a plan.
5.  Above all, aim for things that are truly important to you.
How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions
1.   Don't aim higher than what is achievable.  You are only setting yourself up for failure and will quit.  For instance, don't say, "I will lose 35 lbs. by April 30th."  Set a realistic goal instead.
2.   Don't overload yourself with too many Resolutions/Goals.  You'll only feel overwhelmed.
3.   Tell others your Resolution.
4.   Take baby steps.  Set a small goal, make it, then set another one.  For instance, if you want to lose weight, consider losing ten pounds at a time.
5.   Reward yourself (in some way other than breaking the resolution!) with little rewards from time to time.
6.   Don't worry if you have a setback.  Pick yourself up and try again!
7.   If you are tempted to give up, remind yourself why you started in the first place.
8.   Consider using a buddy system.  Find a friend who wants to work on the Resolution/Goal with you.
9.   Consider joining a support group of like minded people.  (ie, AA, the gym, a class, etc) 
10.  If you can't find a group in your area with goals similar to your own, consider going online and finding a chat room, or even starting one.
What is your New Year's Resolution?  Take the time to make one if you want to!
Quitting Smoking (an interactive community smoking cessation site)
Gospel reading:  Luke 2:41-52
Krissy :)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

December 30


A few ideas for New Year's Eve

                           Photo by REUTERS
Gospel reading:  Luke 2:36-40
Krissy :)

Friday, December 29, 2006

December 29


      Facts About New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve is celebrated on December 31st every year by those who use the Gregorian calendar.  The main regions of the world welcoming in the New Year on this day are the United States, Australia, the British Isles, North and South America, Europe, Scandanavia, and the countries comprising what was the former Soviet Union.
At the stroke of midnight a new year is rung in.  Celebrations may be parties or times of prayer, depending on what part of the world you live in.  In the United States, people dress up in silly hats.  The seconds are counted down till midnight, and as the new year comes in, everybody turns and kisses the one they love.  Then the noise begins!  Noisemakers are used to express the excitement and hope in the year ahead.  Some people bang pots and pans at midnight.  Others set off firecrackers.  The point is to make as much noise as you can to celebrate. 
At parties Auld Lang Syne is sung.  The custom of singing Auld Lang Syne at midnight goes back to the British Isles from the 18th century when guests ended a party standing in a circle and singing this song.  The custom first was rooted in Scotland, because the lyrics were written in 1788 by Robert Burns, their favorite folk poet of the time. 
What does this song mean?  In the Scottish language, "auld lang syne" means "old long since", or as we would say - "the good old days".  The song starts with the words "Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind...".  The entire song's message merely means to forget about the past and to look ahead to the new year with hope.  But many of us sing it without really knowing what we are saying, but just to be part of the group.   
Another tradition is for Americans to gather in New York City's Times Square to watch the "ball drop".  Some go to Atlanta, Georgia, USA to watch a giant Peach being dropped.  This started as a competition to New York's (Big) Apple that was being dropped at Times Square.  Of course Times Square no longer has an Apple that is dropped, but instead a ball that is cut by hand and by laser.  It is made of crystal. 
In London crowds gather in Trafalgar Square to count down the closing of the old year and welcome in the new.
Sometimes New Year's Eve celebrations get too rowdy, due to excessive drinking.  That is how a popular trend called "First Night" got started.  In the United States, many cities now hold First Night celebrations.  They are outdoor community-oriented gatherings that are geared towards the whole family.  First Night events include cultural events, performances by singers and musicians, non-alcoholic beverages, and food.  Often ice sculptures are viewed throughout the town that have been carved several days beforehand.  Also a walk or run usually takes place throughout the town.  The length can be as short as a mile or as long as a 5K Walk/Run.  By the way, the first First Night was in Boston in 1976.   Find out if there are First Night activities in your town or city, they are cultural and lots of fun.
Many who prefer to have a very quiet New Year's Eve stay at home.  They watch fireworks and the "ball drop" on TV.  They watch what is going on in their own country, as well as celebrations going on in other countries.
However you bring in the new year this year, please be safe, and have fun!
Gospel reading:  Luke 2:22-35

Thursday, December 28, 2006

December 28


I'm sorry that I'm posting at such a late hour.  I'm feeling sick today.  But I wanted to add something for today to this journal, because I have posted every day this month.  So I thought I would show you the picture of the Madonna and Child above.  I found it to be such a beautiful picture. 

I also wanted to tell you that I will be posting about things to do with New Year's Eve and New Year's Day starting tomorrow.  It may seem a little early, but I thought we would get to talking about Resolutions (or goals) that we want to consider having for the new year.  We will also have some fun and talk about ways to celebrate.  So please continue to visit through January 1st.

Okay, I must get off now.

Gospel reading:  Matthew 2:13-18


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

December 27


                                St John The Beloved

December 27 - Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, Beloved Disciple of Jesus

St. John was born in Bethsaida, and like his brother James, was a fisherman.  St. John, the son of Zebedee, and the brother of St. James the Great, was called to be an Apostle by Jesus in the first year of Jesus' public ministry.  He became the "Beloved Disciple" and the only one of the twelve who did not forsake the Savior as He died on the cross.  He stood faithfully at the cross when the Savior made him the guardian of His Mother.  His later life was lived mainly in Jerusalem and at Ephesus.  He founded many churches in Asia Minor.  He wrote the fourth Gospel, and three Epistles, and the Book of Revelation is also attributed to him.  Brought to Rome, tradition relates that he was by order of Emperor Dometian cast into a cauldron of boiling oil, but came forth unhurt and was banished to the island of Patmos for a year.  He lived to an extreme old age, surviving all his fellow apostles, and died at Ephesus about the year 100.

St. John is called the Apostle of Charity, a virtue he had learned from Jesus Himself, and which he constantly modeled by word and example.  He lived an exceptional life, and we have a lot to learn from him.


Here is something fun to use in emails!  Just paste the code of the banner you choose in the "Signatures" section of your emails signature setup.

New Year's2007 Countdown Banners


Gospel reading:  John 21:1a and 2-8


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

December 26


The Twelve Days of Christmas

In the Western Church the Christmas season lasts 12 days.  (This includes the Catholic Church as well as some Protestant churches.)  The 12 days of Christmas begin on December 25th and end on January 5th.  January 6th is the Epiphany.  So you see, in many churches, the Christmas season does not end on December 25th.  It starts on December 25th.  That is why I have decided to continue this journal.  I am not going to continue it all the way until January 5th, but I have decided to continue it through New Year's Day.  It just doesn't seem right to end it abruptly today when the holiday season is still upon us.  So I will finish out the year and end on January 1st.  I hope you are enjoying this journal.   

Sorry I am so late in posting today.  I have not really felt well.  But I wanted to get an entry in today.  Today is a special day.  Today is St. Stephen's Day.  And it is also Boxing Day!  Let me tell you a little bit about both.
St. Stephen's Day
St. Stephen's Day, or the Feast of St. Stephen, is a Christian's Saint Day celebrated on December 26th in the Western Church.  St. Stephen was the first martyr for Jesus Christ.  He was martyred (stoned to death) in Jerusalem about 35 AD.  For the success of his preaching and his devotion to Christ, St. Stephen was stoned to death by a mob. As he died, he begged God not to punish his killers. We can read about him in Acts 6-7.
Boxing Day
Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated in the UK and Commonwealth countries (Australia, New Zealand, and Canada).  It is celebrated on December 26 (the Feast of Stephen). It is a day of giving.  It is also celebrated by many activities.

Boxing Day started in medieval times. Priests would empty their charity boxes in church and give the money and gifts away to those who needed it. 

As time went by, Boxing Day gift giving expanded to include those who had rendered a service during the previous year. This tradition survives today as people give presents to tradesmen (plumbers, electricians, etc), mail carriers, doormen, and others who have helped them. 

To read more about Boxing Day, including Boxing Day activities and fun, here is an article.

Boxing Day in England


Good King Wenceslas

I thought today we would also talk about Good King Wenceslas.  He is also known as Saint Wenceslas.  While we celebrate his Saint's Day on September 28th, we sing the song "Good King Wenceslas" as a Christmas carol.  That is because Good King Wenceslas "looked out on the Feast of Stephen", which of course is December 26.  Here is a biography of Good King Wenceslas.

Good King Wenceslas   ~The Real Story ~


Gospel reading:  Matthew 10:17-22



Monday, December 25, 2006

December 25


                       The Birth of Our Savior          

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there, the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shonearound them, and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2:1-14

Sunday, December 24, 2006

December 24

Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent.  It is also the last day of Advent.  I hope you have used this time to prepare your hearts to meet the King of Kings, who came into this world as a little Baby to die for you, so that you could live with Him in Heaven forever.  This time of year is a very fun time, as well as a serious time.  I hope you are having a special time with family and friends.  I also wish for you a time of relaxation and reflection amidst all the busyness of this hectic time of year.  Please take time out to spend by yourself if you can, and just relax.

Valerie and I wish you a very Merry Christmas.  Don't stay up too late wrapping presents.  Now go eat some chocolate!



How Silent Night Came Into Being


Children Say What Christmas Is To Them



game:  Christmas Online Coloring Pages

Gospel reading:  Luke 1:39-55

Saturday, December 23, 2006

December 23

The "Christmas Truce" of 1914

In 1914, on Christmas Eve, the German and British troops on the Western front of WWI ceased fighting for a day.  It was an unofficial, unplanned cease-fire.  It began by the Germans decorating trees with candles, and then singing Christmas carols (Stille Nacht).  The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English Christmas carols. 

The two sides began to shout Christmas greetings to each other.  Soon they were calling each other to cross enemy lines and visit.  And that is just what they did.  Small gifts were then exchanged.  A game of football (soccer?) was played.  Recently fallen soldiers were brought back and given proper burials.  The artillery in that region fell silent that night.

The "truce" spread to other areas of the lines that day.  Soldiers spent Christmas together, talking and playing soccer. 

In many places the truce lasted through Christmas night, but in some areas it continued until New Year's Day or longer.  

Letter Documenting WWI Christmas Truce Found 


Okay, so It's A Wonderful Life is not theologically correct in some ways.  Angels don't earn their wings.  But it is a cool movie in some other ways.  Check out this link to read about the movie.

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

Check out this link also.  But keep in mind the beginning of this little movie is not theologically correct.  God is represented in two persons.  As bunnies.  Ok, so that's pretty bad, but we all know God is One God in Three Persons.  And not a bunny.  Watch the cartoon anyway and ignore the "God is a bunny talking to Clarence part" in the first second of the film.     

It's A Wonderful Life (in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies)


No, I don't believe you should actually do what this next article says.  I am kind of horrified that somebody would regift like this.  What if the original giver is at the party?  But I am including this article because it is so bizarre and funny! 

How to Throw a Re-Gifting Christmas Party 


game: Sled Game

Gospel reading:  Luke 1:57-66


Friday, December 22, 2006

December 22

Today is Miscellaneous Mish-Mash Day!  I'm not feeling too cohesive, so you are going to get a few unrelated links and ideas!  I hope you enjoy today's entry.



Cat Treats to make your cat for Christmas

1 cup  whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1/4 cup  soy flour
1/3 cup  dry milk
1 teaspoon catnip
1/3 cup  milk
2 tablespoons Butter
1   Egg
1 tablespoon Unsulfered molasses

Mix dry ingredients.  Add remaining ingredients.  Roll on a greased cookie sheet.  Cut into bite sized pieces.  Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.  Let cool.  Store in air tight container.

Dog Biscuits

2 1/2  cups whole wheat flour 
1/2  cups  dry milk 
1 tsp. garlic powder 
1 egg, beaten  
broth (enough to make a stiff dough).   
Combine flour, dry milk and garlic powder in a medium sized bowl.  Add egg.  Mix well, adding enough broth to make dough stiff.  Roll to 1/4 inch thickness on floured surface.  Cut into shapes and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

How to Make Your Christmas Tree Pet-Safe

How to Prevent Pets from Chewing on Electrical Cords



Christmas Cranberry Punch

4 cups of Cranberry Juice Cocktail
2 cups of Orange Juice
1 - twelve ounce can of Sprite or 7 UP
box of Sherbet or Sorbet

Combine the Cranberry and Orange Juice in a punch bowl.  Pour the soda down the sides of the bowl.  Add box of sherbet or sorbet if desired. 

Yields 16. 

We have made this punch every year in my family since I was a child, and drank it on New Year's Eve.  I think this recipe would be good for either Christmas or New Year's Eve. 

We used to also replace the orange juice with grape juice in my family.  I think either orange or grape would be delicious.  I think I am going to try the punch with orange juice this year. 

Krissy :)


The White House Decorated for Christmas!

East Room

Green Room

Blue Room

Red Room

State Dining Room

Center and Cross Halls (wow!)



game:  Snowman Salvage   

Gospel reading:  Luke 1:46-56

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dec 21


A Charlie Brown Christmas


Recipes for Adults:

Cool Whip "Cheater" Pies

Favorite Brand Name Cookie Recipes

Children's Cookie Recipes:

Kids' Turn Cookbook

Rocky Road Fudge (microwave recipe)

Kids In The Kitchen, Easy Christmas Recipes


Christian Christmas email cards:

123 Greetings

Vintage and Victorian ecards:

Christmas Greeting Cards Selection

Stavar Victorian Postcards



Mistakes in Christmas Specials:

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

The Year Without A Santa Claus (1974) 

The Santa Clause    



Gospel reading:  Luke 1:39-45


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

December 20


Christmas in England

I thought many of you might want to know what Christmas is like in England, as we have many journal friends who live there.  Click on the links below to learn a little bit about Christmas in England.

Christmas Day

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Crackers  (these crackers are not Saltines like I thought they would be, LOL!)

Mince Meat Pie

Father Christmas

Mummer's Plays and Pantomimes

Wassailing (now I finally know what this is!)


Christmas in a few other places

Christmas in Mexico

Christmas in Bethlehem

Christmas in Iraq

Christmas Around The World 


How to say Merry Christmas in Many Languages:

Merry Christmas In Many Languages


Another present to make:

Journal Jar


game:  Toboggan Sled Jump Christmas Game 

Gospel reading:  Luke 1:26-38


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

December 19

Okay, so I am feeling a little bizarre today and I want to have some fun!  






Politically Correct Santa

'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?

His workers no longer would answer to "Elves",
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the north pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.

So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!?

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.

And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened."

And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows:
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose
And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.

So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd enough of this life,
Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.

And as for the gifts, why, he'd ne'er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacific.
No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.

And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football...someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you've got to be careful with that word today.

His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere...even you.

So here is that gift, it's price beyond worth...

"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."

This document is copyright (c) Harvey Ehrlich 1992.


Rudolph and Friends Tie & other Christmas Ties -(Click on ties to enlarge.  If you would like to look at or shop for additional ties just google "Christmas ties".  There are some great Christmas ties out there!)  

Christmas Bow Ties (click on bow ties to enlarge)

Eight Maids A-Milking Bow Tie


game:  ICE Slide

Gospel reading:  Luke 1:5-25


Monday, December 18, 2006

December 18

Gift Baskets to Make and Give

Some of you may still not have gifts for everybody on your list yet.  Everybody likes to receive themed gift baskets.  Here are a few suggestions of ones you could put together.  

Use a large Pasta Bowl for a "basket"

Fill the bowl with:

  • a package or two of gourmet pasta
  • tongs
  • a package of sun-dried tomatoes
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • spices: oregano, basil, garlic powder
  • a collection of your favorite pasta recipes hand-printed on recipe cards
  • and/or a pasta cookbook

To make a Stationery Basket, fill a square basket with:      

  • stationery 
  • envelopes (choose a variety of sizes)
  • note paper
  • letter opener
  • a pen or a pen and pencil set
  • some fun stickers 
  • personalized return address labels
  • For your Grandparents who are far away:

    Fill a basket with:

    • your children's artwork
    • gifts made by your kids 
    • framed family pictures (let the kids buy or make frames and decorate them)
    • videos of the family
    • a long-distance calling card

    Extras: fill out the basket with candy, coffee, tea, biscuits, Christmas ornaments, candles, etc.

    The Ice Cream Sundae Basket:

    Fill a basket with:

    • ice cream scoop
    • gourmet sauces
    • sprinkles
    • cones
    • maraschino cherries
    • assorted nuts
    • sundae glasses and spoons
    • coupons for gourmet ice cream  

    For the Student or the Home-office Owner, use a garbage can as a "basket".

    Fill the can with:

    • stapler
    • tacks, paper clips, pens, pencils
    • notepads
    • hole punch
    • desk lamp
    • desk calendar

    Here are some additional ideas.  Use your imagination on what to put in the baskets:  gardening theme (use a flower pot), crafter's basket, photographer's basket, kid's art supplies, sport's enthusiast, guitar player, chili theme kit, cookie theme kit, rainy day basket (playing cards, game, cup, tea, etc.), basket just for men (socks, tie, etc.), stuff for the computer buff, basket for a teenaged girl (small cute purse, lip gloss, key chain, etc.), expectant parents kit (baby magic, etc.), New Year's Eve party pack (confetti, hats, glasses), crochet enthusiast's basket, vegetarian basket (sun dried tomatoes, beans, etc.), basket for a baby (sleeper, story book, rattle, etc.), women's accessories basket, Christmas basket (cookies, Christmas music, ornament), coffee gift basket (gourmet coffees, pretty coffee mugs), movie buff basket (store bought movies for VCR or DVD, gift cards to rent movies, microwave popcorn, etc.),          

    **After choosing the items you want to assemble the baskets or containers.  Fill the baskets with some filler such as shredded paper (you can shred your own with a shredder, or buy it at the store), crumpled tissue paper, or a hand towel.  Then carefully arrange your items over top the filler.  Put the largest items on the bottom in the center.  You can then tuck in candy canes, hard candy, Christmas ornaments, tangerines, nuts in the shell, etc.  Wrap your baskets by gathering cellophane around them and then securing them with a twist tie at the top.  Cover the twist tie with a ribbon.  Baskets that are in decorative containers such as tins do not need to be wrapped with cellophane.  Just place a bow on them!

    I hope you enjoyed some of these ideas.



    If Jesus had never been born...

    game:  OUT' AHERE! (challenging)

    Gospel reading:  Matthew 1:8-25


    Sunday, December 17, 2006

    December 17

    Hi.  I hope you have been having a good Advent Season.  Today is December 17, the third Sunday of Advent. 

    Let's take a look at the Gospel Reading for today:

    Luke 3:10-18

    The crowds asked John the Baptist,
    “What should we do?”
    He said to them in reply,
    “Whoever has two cloaks
    should share with the person who has none.
    And whoever has food should do likewise.”
    Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,

    “Teacher, what should we do?”
    He answered them,
    “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
    Soldiers also asked him,
    “And what is it that we should do?”
    He told them,
    “Do not practice extortion,
    do not falsely accuse anyone,
    and be satisfied with your wages.”

    Now the people were filled with expectation,
    and all were asking in their hearts
    whether John might be the Christ.
    John answered them all, saying,
    “I am baptizing you with water,
    but one mightier than I is coming.
    I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
    He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
    His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
    and to gather the wheat into his barn,
    but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
    Exhorting them in many other ways,
    he preached good news to the people.

    In today's verses of the Bible, John the Baptist speaks to us.  When those present ask John the Baptist, "What should we do?" when he proclaimed the Good News to them, he had a two part answer.  First he told them they should live a Godly life.  But in order to do this, he told them they must have Jesus as their Savior. 

    Part of the answer was an invitation to live a Godly life.  He told them to share their cloaks and food.  He told the tax collectors to stop collecting more than what was prescribed.  He told the soldiers not to practice extortion (to take money under false pretenses), to not falsely accuse anyone, and to be satisfied with their wages.  

    To accept the good news means that we be a person of faith, a person who believes in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. 

    It also means we strive to be a good person.  When we become baptized in Christ, and become a new creation in Him, we have the Holy Spirit within us and are able to obey God's commandments, by His grace.  Jesus said that if we loved Him we would obey His commandments.  He also said, "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect."

    Often today, the tendency among us Christians is to emphacize the belief aspect while not stressing the importance of the Christian to have good behavior.  Let us not profess to be Christians and not match it with practical behavior.  If we don't allow our behavior to reflect who we say we are in Christ, we will cause a stumbling block for those who may consider becoming believers, who are often attracted to the person and teachings of Jesus, but are turned away by the behavior of those who claim to be His followers.

    The best preparation we can make for the coming of the Lord this Christmas is to repent and ammend our ways, and to guide our actions by the selfless teachings of the Bible.  This is what is needed today to make our faith perfect so that we can stand with our heads raised high in joy, at the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.      


    An American Christmas - Decade by Decade

    The Antique Christmas Lights Museum

    game:  Christmas mad lib

    Gospel reading:  Luke 3:10-18


    Saturday, December 16, 2006

    December 16


    Gifts children can make

    There's nothing like receiving a homemade gift.  Perhaps you want to encourage your child to make a gift (or two) this year instead of buying it.  The recipient will be thrilled to receive it.  Here are a few ideas.

    Placemats and Coasters

    Your children's art can be made into placemats or coasters for friends and relatives.
    For placemats, have your child draw, paint or color a picture on a large piece of paper, then laminate it.
    For coasters, have your child trace his or her hand on colored paper and laminate. Don't forget to have him sign and date the back!
    Remember, if you don't have a laminating machine, you can take the placemats to a Copy Store such as Kinkos.  They will laminate your child's artwork for a very inexpensive price.


    Make bookmarks the same way.  After laminating, punch a hole at the top of the bookmark with a hole punch, and add a ribbon or yarn tie.

    Memory Jar

    Christmas Coupons

    Touring Christmas Lights Without Driving Around


    Christmas House (almost one million lights on this house!)

    Tacky Christmas Lights in Fairfax County, Northern Virginia (I like some of these, LOL)

    game:  Attack Of The Mutant Artificial Trees

    Gospel reading:  Matthew 17:9a, 10-13


    Friday, December 15, 2006

    December 15

    Good morning, it's Valerie one more day today and then it's behind the scenes for the helper-elf.  I may not speak with you all one-on-one again so I wanted to wish everyone a joyous Christmas and a happy and serene and blessed New Year!  I wanted to thank Krissy for allowing me to post the past three days.  It has been a true honor!  Thanks, Krissy!  Now on to a fun, fun day!...


    Today we are going to play in the snow!! 

     Virtual online snowflake making site
    Click this link to Popular Front: Snow Days!

    I have spent many hours of snowflake making fun on this site!  I have seen many beautiful, creative and incredible flakes on this site and wondered how in the world they were created!!  I have found out that there are tutorials on the web for this very site!  There are those out there much more of a fan of this site than I am!!

     Flake School Flake school takesyou from beginning to grand master.  Good luck!

    How to make a face flake

    Here's my face flake?  Do you like it?  

    The more flakes you make this month the more
    Popular Front: Snow Days
    contributes to The Salvation Army so pass along the word and the website to your friends and family!

    If you would like to use my flakes for your use feel free to "Copy as" and save.   If you make any flakes and share them in your journal, please share your entry URL with us in the comments section.  To capture a screen shot of your flake press Print Screen + Ctrl and then open an email and press paste in the email.  The flake should appear in your email.  It is rather small.  You will want to resize it.  If you have any questions feel free to email me at  Have fun!

    Stocking stuffer ideas penned by Krissy...

    1.  nail polish
       2.  batteries
       3.  lipstick

      4.  chocolate
       5.  candy (think childhood candy!)
       6.  silly putty
       7.  Christmas ornament
       8.  gum
       9.  gift card to Wal - Mart, etc.
      10.  gift card to McDonald's, etc.
      11.  candles
      12.  slinky
      13.  popcorn seasoning
      14.  pen (colored ink!)
      15.  pumpkin seeds
      16.  snow globe
      17.  Christmas costume jewelry
      18.  harmonica or kazoo
      19.  calculator
      20.  napkin rings
      21.  throwaway camera
      22.  magnets for refrigerator
      23.  long distance calling card
      24.  deck of Uno cards
      25.  ball and jacks

    game:  Sketchy Extreme Snow Sledding

    Gospel reading:  Matthew 11:16-19



    Have a nice day, everyone and God bless!!!  xox



    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    December 14


    Good morning!  It's Val the helper-elf here again this morning!  I hope everyone is well on their way to having a happy and safe and fun Christmas!  I do hope this journal is providing you with a lot of ways to make your Christmas richer and more enjoyable!  Today I wanted to talk about something that is very near and dear to my heart every year.  We have eleven days left until Christmas Day.  Most of us have all or at least most of our shopping done.  I was wondering WHO you have left on your Christmas list and am going to challenge you to put someone very special on the top of this list... JESUS!  Every year I put Jesus on my Christmas list.  How do you give to Jesus you ask?  Well, in the Bible Jesus says when you give to others you are giving to Him.  When you give even a glass of water to someone who is thirsty you are giving him something to drink.  I find this concept very amazing!!  It has made giving for me much richer over the past years as I have realized this.  I know some of you already put Jesus on your list as I have heard from you.  Many like to keep this gift anonymous - between just them and God.  I was going to keep my Jesus gift anonymous, but for the sake of this entry, I will give you a glimpse of what I am doing this year for my gift for Him.  My boyfriend and I have befriended an elderly gentleman in my neighborhood who has no living relatives.  It appears he has not many friends and will have no Christmas.  He is 80 or 81, I believe.  We are going to visit him on Christmas Eve and bring him a few small things and make sure he knows he is loved.  One can do something so small as to try to smile more than usual, put money in an expired parking meter, bring food to a food drive, donate clothes, or decide to make it more personal just between them and Jesus and no one else.  The possibilities are endless!  Imagine if everyone did this!

    There are other ways to keep Jesus the focus of Christmas.  When my children were small we used to make a birthday cake for Jesus and sing Him "Happy Birthday".   We also set a place at the table for Jesus at Christmas dinner.  It is a tangible way to help the little ones understand the meaning of the day.  Do you have any traditions like these?  If you do, share them with us in the comments section!  If you would like to share some ways that you have put Jesus on your Christmas list, too, we would love to hear from you!

    Poll:  Christmas Isn't Christmas Without...

    game:  A Christmas Puzzle

    Gospel reading:  Matthew 11:11-15


    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    December 13

    Making Christmas Ornaments

    Ornaments for Children to Make
    Stocking Ornaments
    Glitter Pine Cones

    Greeting Card Ornaments

    Photo Ornament


    Ornaments for Adults and Older Children To Make
    Starry Night Christmas Ornament
    Bejeweled Christmas Ornament

     Painted Clear Glass Ornament Balls

     Quick Gilded Ornaments

     Glitter-Dotted Christmas Ornament

     Microwave Salt Dough Ornaments

     Cinnamon Stick Ornaments

    BlackDog's Christmas Image Maker
     (Write Merry Christmas, or your name, etc. in the line where it says "Text".  Choose a Font.  Then press "Create Image".  You can save the images onto your computer and use them in  your journals or emails!) .  
    Memory Christmas Game
    Gospel reading:  Matthew 11:28-30