My Fitness

Monday, November 30, 2015

advent craft - my first

I've never celebrated any kind of advent event with my kids. On my own I lit candles at church a few times. I've always been interested in advent calendars and something called a Jesse tree where you walk through the Bible leading to Jesus' birth. But I never did anything other than just be interested.

Sunday at church our speaker emphasized and our group discussed various things to do and we were encouraged to do something even if it's just a minute or two before bed. So I put on my creativity cap and went to Pinterest. I rejected Pinterest and all my ideas and threw my materials on the bed hoping something would come together. And it did!

I used 25 toilet paper rolls wrapped in gift wrap to make a tree. Only well afterward did I learn that *real* advent calendars only have 24 days. See I thought on the 25th you open it up to find Jesus. oh well. No big deal. Everything I used was basically trash: an actual box that was headed for the trash, toilet paper rolls, ornaments that were also headed for the trash,a baby Jesus from a broken nativity set, and even a bunch of mismatched gift tags that were headed for the trash.

 I painted a tree for some reason and later decided we'd "hang" the scripture on it after we read them in our Bibles every morning. Someone from our church group printed some suggested readings.

I'm actually going to use THIS one because it starts on Dec 1.

This is my end result:

I put it on my bedroom bookcase next to my Nativity. 

This nativity, unrelated to the advent calendar, is the one I got from a garage sale for either free or like $1 for the kids because I knew they'd break it eventually. 

Sure enough Felipe told me yesterday that he turned around to find Jesus missing his arms. lol! Today I found a bunch of rocking horses in the scene. It's all good.

 In summary, I don't know what I'm doing, but it looks pretty.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

yesterday the blackest of days

Did you know that Satan was once Lucifer, the brightest of angels? His name literally was "morning star". Nowadays this Father of Lies still deceives his children with beauty and light. Remember his lies to Eve? "You will be like God." Even God wants us to be like God. But you can't be like God by following any path other than the one he paves. This lie still persists today...especially yesterday.

I feel like there is a constant tug-o-war for our holidays. Some esteem one day higher than another and each should be convinced in his own mind. It seems that God doesn't really care about days. He established seven holidays and not many Christians even acknowledge them. Christmas is not one. Neither is Thanksgiving.

Christmas has pagan origins that Christians stole and redeemed for the celebration of the birth of Christ. I see it as a bright day in the middle of darkness. Winter is scary. Jesus' birth brings hope. But today we (as a society) still use pagan symbols like the tree, which in many pagan nations were thought to keep witches away. But we took these superstitious symbols and decided that we'd use these trees to remind us of the tree that took Christ's life and our sins.

Paul showed us on Mars Hill that we can take pagan symbols and use them to point others toward Christ. I'm okay with doing this with days if Paul is okay with doing this with an actual false god and his altar.

Even Halloween. Halloween has ancient Druid pagan origins. They used squash and pumpkins to scare away evil spirits and sacrifice their children. Maybe. But Christians have been using this holiday to spread the good news and bring light to their neighbors by handing out tracks, and let light shine in jack-o-lanterns, and use this day as an excuse to gather with neighbors and share love.

Thanksgiving was instituted in the US by President Lincoln as a day specifically to thank our Creator for his goodness and provision. But immediately after this day of thankfulness is the darkest day of greed that we don't even pretend isn't and have called Black Friday. Although not a holiday it is certainly a day where worship of self and altars of greed are set up.

Black Friday is advertised like this:
they smile because they're about to steal your soul
And just like Satan's lies, all sin is advertised as being full of light. Bad guys don't know they're bad. Even ISIS thinks they are the good guys. Satan says this sin will make you feel better, this sin will complete you, you will feel like god, this is a good deal.

This advertisement shows smiling models and low(ish) prices. The prices aren't even that great. People are killing each other over bad deals - that's what sin is, people killing themselves over a horrible deal (i.e. brief satisfaction for an eternity of emptiness).

The reality is people trampling, stealing, fighting for the possibility of giving money to big corporations. The reality is this.

Satan uses greed and hedonism to steal Thanksgiving. One day we share our thanks with our friends and family. We celebrate our God and all the good he has done for us and the very next day, wait, actually that very evening we set ourselves up and plan how we can best serve ourselves. We give in to our darkest on Black Friday. We may even say shallow things like, "I'm trying to be frugal." or "I'm getting this gift for a loved one." No. You're only fooling yourself.

This is what I am NOT say: I am not saying that it is unchristian to buy things on Black Friday. I am not saying that if you participate you are a bad person. I am not saying that if you refrain you are a better Christian. I am not saying that you are evil because of Black Friday.

I am saying: Black Friday reveals our darkest, innermost souls. I saw a video where a gal grabbed an item from a toddler and then tried to steal a second item from the toddler's mother and then the gal started screaming that the toddler's mom was being aggressive. What is that about? It's evil. Black Friday just gives us opportunity to show our vileness. If we refrain we simply show it in different ways.

So if you saw your darkest yesterday, whether by participating in Black Friday fights and mobs or by refraining and arrogantly snubbing "those animals" just remember that the desire to be a god is ancient and the ability to become the least of these and serve each other in Christlike humility and grace is available for all. God loves you whether you show your true colors or not. He sees straight through your veils. He loves you at your blackest and he loves you at your holiest.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

thanksgiving with homeschoolers

Thanksgiving in a homeschool household means...

you don't get a break from school because you're already there!

But they had fun!

 I set up a table with Thanksgiving theme projects. The dining table became the crafts table. The kids had to discipline themselves to keep from touching things. It was so hard for them but they did a good job.

 Micah played with a thankfulness "fortune teller" that I made him. It has questions about what are you thankful for. I had to look up directions - I can't believe I had to look up the directions for something I've done 9,346 times. But once I did I remembered quickly. Ah, childhood.

Caleb and Micah have thankfulness Turkey books. Micah had to spell his name with turkey feathers. Holly matched colors for her turkey.

In summary, I did over an hour of preparation for fun turkey school work for the day that they completed in minutes. I don't think I'll do this again. ha! But it was fun.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

pre-thanksgiving crafts

I saw this project on Facebook and thought it looked fun. This is my version! I'm really happy with the end result. If you want to make your own version, one tip is to help the handprint by helping the person push their palm and each finger down. Maybe do a trial version on an extra paper. I used poster cardboard from Walmart for like $3 and acrylic paints for 50c each. If you look closely you can see how the younger the child the less cooperative they were! It's too fun to squish through their fingers! 

My favorite part is where Felipe and my tree are holding hands and our roots are entwined. If there were also a way to incorporate Christ as our solid foundation or vine that we're grafted into or our stream of life, I'd like to have done that, but I wasn't creative enough to figure out how to do that. I figured the verse would have to do. And what a verse! I feel like this verse is emphasizing that the point of our family is to glorify God. There is no greater calling!
They will be called Oaks of Righteousness, the planting of the Lord that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:3

With the kids being so excited to get paint on them, I thought we'd do another painting project that I saw on Facebook. Turkeys!

Turkeys for my turkeys!
This project is plain but complicated. You have to wipe each kid's hand between paintings. But they just need to touch everything. They don't follow directions. Very frustrating. One child touched something he shouldn't with his painted fingers and "ruined" something. I tried to explain to him that I didn't care about the object but that I was fighting for his soul. I want him to follow directions and resist temptation...but I think this lesson (that most adults have difficult comprehending) was a bit much for his poor four year old mind.

Anyway, we glued the turkeys to some old hanging folders that I'm not using. Looks great!

Caleb wanted pink letters. Micah wanted orange and he only wanted to use three hands. Holly wanted orange and purple (which she initially called "likey" -how cute is that?).

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you really will use this time to remember what you have to be thankful for and not as a time to fill your head with lists of stuff that you imagine will bring you happiness...but that will never truly fill your vacant soul that was intended to be filled with God.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mandy Gann Introduction!

Hi:  I’m Mandy Gann and I am currently honored to serve as your DCHSA Secretary.  My family and I just celebrated the one year anniversary of our move to this area and our choice to lead a more rural life.  God was amazing to grant us the desires of our heart.  My husband, Christian, and I have two fantabulous daughters:  Mahaley (age 11) and Lillian (age 7).  Mahaley is an “old soul” and is currently on an equestrian drill team and is also raising a Guide Dog for the Blind.  Lillian had a business card made that says her title is “Artist and Chicken Keeper,” and that is an awesome example of her personality.  There is never a dull moment in our household.    We live 8 miles west of Denton and we have quite an assortment of animals and wildlife.  Christian works for SABRE and he often travels internationally, so the girls and I are use to running the ranch when needed.  We have been homeschooling for 2.5 years and we are part of a CC (Classical Conversations) community in Justin.  Mahaley has also started Sonlight (an enrichment program through FBC Denton) this year so that is a big new adventure.   My husband and I met, married, and had kids a bit later in life, so “Mom” and “Teacher” job titles were added to my resume after a few other roles.  ( fashion designer- I even have a university degree in this, international finance administrator, department store buyer, and product developer to name a few) I was fortunate to spend almost 4 years traveling around the globe working with people of all walks of life and promoting global understanding.  I am also a liscenced massage therapist.  I’m an introvert by nature, but I love getting to really know a person.  So….. if you have a minute, let’s sit down and grab a cup of coffee (or some Kombucha) and have a chat.  I sincerely look forward to getting to know you.