When Life Turns Out Different Than What You Expected

when life turns out different than what you expected
Some stories don’t turn out like we expect them to.

I’m sure Mary would agree with me. She said yes to God’s plan, despite her limited understanding. She put her hand right in His and followed the path laid down for her.

But I somehow doubt she ever expected where all it would lead her.

When my husband and I were first contacted about adopting a little unborn baby, we went right to our knees. We were Gideon with all his doubts. We weren’t strong enough, wealthy enough.

Four times I stretched out a fleece. Not just the twice that Gideon did. Four times.

Are you sure, God?

Every time He laid my fears to rest. This was His battle, His decision, His plan. Continue reading

What I Want My Daughter To Know About Christmas

What I Want My Daughter to Know About Christmas

I want her to know it didn’t start with a baby. Nor did it start with Joseph and Mary. They are all part of the middle, but not the beginning– nor are they the end.

The world was created in perfection, with love. All was beautiful, all was good. It was a glorious place where fellowship with God was possible. (Gen. 1)

Yet, the perfection did not stay. With the ability for true fellowship came the ability for broken fellowship. When Eve believed the lie, that all was not good, that God was hiding something from her, the relationship broke.

I want her to know the whole story. Not just about the manger, but about the creation of the world and man’s fall into sin and the God who gave up the glory of heaven for brokenness and betrayal. About His gift, the greatest gift of all. Continue reading

[advent] two.three

Day Number Two

[Fallen]

The man God created, Adam, named all the animals and birds and fish.

But he was lonely. 

Nothing in all creation seemed to be good for him.

So God made one more thing. 

Her name was Eve.

Adam and Eve lived in the garden of Eden, a beautiful home that God gave them.

There was only one rule. One single rule.  He pointed out a tree and said, “Do not eat from that tree or you will surely die.”

But they did.

They disobeyed.

They weren’t content.

They were greedy.

First Eve, then Adam, ate from the tree that God said, “No” about. Just because a snake said it was okay. And this was a very, very bad thing. 

God was so sad. Do you know why?

Because something awful and nasty had come into his world. Something called sin.

There is a thing you should know about God. He is perfect.

That means he can’t have or be in the presence of sin.

And now both Adam and Eve, who were created to be God’s friends, had sin in their lives. And God couldn’t be with them anymore. 

But God still loved them. Oh! did he still love them! So he made a plan.

And he whispered the plan into the pages of the Bible.

He told Adam and Eve that someday one of their children would fight the same snake that tricked them- but when this person does, he will win!

Adam and Eve had to leave the garden of Eden but there was hope. 

Someday, somehow, God was going to fix the mess. 

Someday they would be free from sin. 

And then, once again, they would be friends of God. 

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Advent activity:

Paper Chain Verse: write out the words to Romans 3:23 on separate strips of paper. Decorate! Link strips together in circles, fastening with tape or staples. 

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Day Number Three

[Saved]

Adam and Eve had many children. Their children had children and their children’s children had children. Soon there were lots of people in the world.

But remember how Adam and Eve chose to sin instead of obeying?

Their children did too.

In fact, everyone was selfish and greedy and full of nasty- so much that they didn’t care about God at all. Even though God loved. They made it clear that it didn’t matter to them that God was making a way for them to be friends.

And God was sad.

Even if he could be friends with the people.               They didn’t want Him. 

Except one man.

His name was Noah.

In all the world- he was the only man that wanted to be friends with God.

So God said, “There is going to be a great flood.” He told Noah to build a big boat. Then he explained that every single person or animal in the boat would be saved.

So Noah built.

And when the flood came- Noah and his family were the only people who went into the boat.

And they were the only ones saved.

After the flood God made a promise. A very special promise.

Never again would there be a great flood to cover the earth.

Noah and his family were saved by a boat. But the next time God saved all the people- it would be different.

The next time- they wouldn’t be saved from a flood.

They would be saved from their sins.

And then, then, they would, once again,                                    be friends of God.

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Advent Activity:

make paper links in the colors of the rainbow to add to your verse chain.

Put the paper chain on your Christmas tree or use as decoration around the house.

[advent]

This year I am writing the story of Christmas for the one and five year old boys that I watch. They get so excited to read each day! Here is a little glimpse into how I’m telling the story. Hope you enjoy it. -Natasha

[created]

In the beginning, I mean, the very, very beginning, there was nothing.

No sun. No moon. No stars.

No animals. No plants. No people.

There was only one thing that existed.

One single thing.

God.

He was before the beginning, during the beginning and he will be after the end.

That’s just how God is.

And in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

And it was dark.

But God spoke!

Really great things happen when God speaks.

He said, “Let there be light!”

and there was.

He made the light “day” and the dark “night”. And he said it was good!

Day by day passed and he made a lot of good things.

He made the sky and the seas and all kinds of plants. He made the sun and moon and stars. He made all the fish and birds and animals.

Then God did something very, very special.

He took the dust of the ground and formed a man.

Then he breathed into the man the breath of LIFE. 

Do you know what was so special about this man?

He was made in the image of God.

The only thing in all creation.

Because he was made to be God’s friend.

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advent activity:

Cinnamon ornaments

[1 cup cinnamon, 1 cup applesauce, 1/4 cup glue]

[mix ingredients, using extra cinnamon if sticky- roll out like cookie dough and cut with favorite cookie cutters. Let dry on aluminum foil for twenty-four hours.]

[advent]

How I love the advent season! I’m terribly nostalgic, which I’m sure plays into it. But I do adore all the pretty things and softness and, well, all the fun.

This year, I have been blessed. Oh, so very blessed. I have two little boys who will be at my house three days a week, all through the Christmas season. We shall have such a blast! I’ve been planning and scheming. (How many years did I long for even one child to share the Christmas season with? And now I have two.)

The very first thing I did was plan advent. And I don’t mean the four Sundays before Christmas. I mean, the twenty-five days of Christmas. I controlled myself and did not go spend a lot of money. I took  [this] idea and made it with the scraps around my house. (I did buy buttons) and this is what I created…

Inside is a prize, an activity and the reference to a story.

I do hope you’ll join us for our stories this Christmas season. To view them, go to the top of my blog and highlight “25 days of Christmas”. A list of the days will show up. My version of The Story, written for little children. I hope you enjoy!

[for other great advent posts and ideas: Wide Open Spaces: Advent Writing Project]

 

[weekend.cheer]

The day after Thanksgiving, in my family, was the day to play Christmas music [pause: I am stopping for a minute to go turn on a Christmas CD] and decorate the house for the holidays.

Since getting married that has changed some. I think, perhaps, because we don’t have children so some of the little things just aren’t as fun. (I often wait to decorate until I can borrow a niece or nephew…or three or four.)

Still, I love the Christmas season. I love the music. I love the twinkle lights. (mostly the twinkle lights) and I love the smells. And! I adore the fact that people are friendly, especially in our small town.

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Want a little craft?

Meg made these adorable walnut-shell candles for Thanksgiving but they will still make beautiful Christmas decorations: [here]

I think [these] mason jar decorations are so lovely. Maybe I will put some across my windowsill this year?

And aren’t [these] little boxes the darling-est things? Perhaps I will make some with tiny gifts inside for the nieces.

And of course! I will be making [these] cinnamon ornaments as soon as possible and putting them around my house (who says ornament need to just go on trees?) with strings of popcorn and cranberries…

yes, I made them. aren't they cute?!

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Thanksgiving.

May your weekend be full of cheer and good things and a few happy tears. xxooxx