Monday, December 17, 2012

When the Children Cry...

Somehow this song seems entirely appropriate for the recent events...As the family and loved ones prepare to say their final goodbyes to their sweet sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandchildren, mothers, aunts...may we always remember that this did not take our Lord by surprise. He is waiting to help heal the broken hearts of so many...please continue to pray for others as you would want them to be praying for you.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart..." Psalm 34:1

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gingerbread Houses with a Christian twist...

I created this lesson to share with my Sunday School Class as we build Gingerbread Houses together.  Please feel free to use this with your family and loved ones too!  I gave each child a copy of the information below to explain the parts to family and friends.

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The Gingerbread House

God can be found everywhere and in everything. Using Scripture and the Gingerbread House, I’m going to show you how you can find Christian symbolism by looking at my gingerbread house.

As you can see, everything is edible. I was tempted to eat some of the candy as I was constructing my house, but I didn’t. I also had to exercise patience while constructing the house. At times, I had to hold each piece together waiting on the icing to set. I was impatient, but the Lord helped me be patient. I took my time with each part, and I did my best work. My bible tells me:

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My bretheren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Know this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 1:1-4

We used SEVEN graham crackers. God introduced the number SEVEN as a symbol of completion of His initial creative act. It is a number which represents perfection, obedience, and rest. My bible tells me:

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work, which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
Genesis 2:1-4

Each graham cracker is divided into TWO smaller crackers. Just like SEVEN has significant meaning in the Bible, so does the number TWO. God’s word is represented by the number TWO. For example, the Bible is divided into TWO sections: The Old and New Testaments; Noah gathered TWO of every living creature to board the Ark. My bible also tells me:

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.”
Hebrews 4:12

You will notice that each graham cracker is turned the same way, with the lines going up/down. When I pray, my bible reminds me from where my help comes from:

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning,
O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”
Psalm 5:3

There is only one DOOR, just as there is only one way to Heaven.

“Just saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life;
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6

There is a DOOR KNOB as to appear as if we could open the door.

“Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be
opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh
findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door,
I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:20
There is a TREE. TREES are very symbolic in the bible as bearing fruit and deep roots. A TREE is connected with man’s sin in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit of the TREE of Good and Evil. At Calvary, the Lord Jesus Christ died by crucifixion upon a wooden cross. The TREE is decorated with sprinkles to remind me how the Lord sprinkles our lives with His many blessings. My bible tells me:

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” Matthew 7:17

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, netither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8

There is a trinity SNOWMAN.

There are THREE Windows to remind me that God is Omnipotent (all powerful), Omniscience (all knowing), and Omnipresent (always present). Just as if looking through a window, God knows everything about us. My bible tells me:

“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
Psalm 139:1-5

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
Proverbs 15:3

The bottom part of our house is like a BOX for a Gift. I am reminded of God’s gift to me:

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 6:23

The ROOF is shaped like a triangle, reminding me of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It also reminds me of the process of life: Birth, Life, and Death. I am fearfully and wonderfully made with my Spirit, Soul, and Body. The ROOF being 3-sided also reminds me that the Jesus resurrected on the 3rd day. My bible tells me:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Matthew 28:19

“And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again.”
Matthew 17:23

The CANDY CANES on the roof are symbolic too! The stripes that are red are like the blood shed for me. The white stripes are for the Savior who is sinless and pure.  And also, my bible tells me:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

There is a gum drop for the CHIMNEY.  When a CHIMNEY is working, it is the one way for smoke to bellow out.  It makes me think of the sin and ugliness (unrighteousness) leaving us when we accept Jesus as our savior and daily ask Him for the forgiveness of our sins.  My bible tells me:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

The FOUNDATION is a scarlet plate and the gingerbread house is surrounded by SNOW. My bible tells me:

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:
 though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”
Isaiah 1:18

Now my house is complete. As I look over every detail, I am reminded how God is my refuge. He will provide all that I need: food, water, shelter, and rest. I am also reminded of the place the Lord is preparing for me!
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so,
I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
John 14:2


Ingredients for each house:

7 graham cracker halves (each cracker should have 2 smaller crackers)
            *1 box of crackers should make about 6-7 houses
4 miniature candy canes
1 Red (durable) plate
1 chocolate morsel
1 gum drop
Assorted seasonal candy, cookies, etc:
   I used the following:
*snowmen cupcake candy
*miniature tree cookies
*M & M's
*shredded coconut
*Zip lock bag filled with icing
      **when you cut the hole in the bag's corner, cut it as small as possible
      **I used sandwich bags, but next time I will use larger bags because some of them opened as the
          kids were squeezing out icing!

Ingredients and Directions for the Icing:

1 pound powdered sugar
3 egg whites (at room temp) 
     **room temp can be as easy as placing eggs in a bowl of WARM water for 5 minutes
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla
***Yields 3 cups
Combine all ingredients in medium size bowl. With mixer, blend until smooth, then beat at high speed until very stiff (about 5-7 minutes). 
NOTE: Because the icing dries very quickly, make each batch just before you are ready to use it. IF you must store for a few hours or overnight, cover tightly with plastic wrap. When using, keep container covered with damp cloth or paper towel.
If icing is too thick when using add a few drops of water.
For thicker icing, beat in a little extra powdered sugar.


Make your Door and Windows

Make your roof and add candy canes
Turn over and repeat

Build the base of your house

Add the roof and gum drop chimney
After waiting about 30 minutes to allow your icing to set,
add some icing to your roof &
decorate your windows

(Outline the entire house in icing and let dry)

Transfer to a red plate and glue down the house with icing
Spread some icing and add coconut.
Let dry for 4 hours to fully harden

*This activity takes longer than the hour I attempted to complete it.  Be sure you plan for enough time.   Next year, this will be an activity we complete over 2 Sunday School hours.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's Okay... Thursdays

Its Ok Thursdays

I've been stalking reading my friend Cat's blog for the past few weeks, and I decided to join in this week's link up...

It's Okay Thursday is about listing things in your life that you are okay with.  So, without further ado, It's okay that...
  • I'm a copycat when I can't come up with my own creative ideas for blogging....
  • Although I am almost finished Christmas shopping, I still haven't wrapped my first present....
  • When we forgot to move our Elf Kip the other night, that I quickly distracted the boys and found a new hiding place....
  • I'm the last woman alive who hasn't read the "50 Shades" series...(or "Twilight")...
  • I found I had put my son's clip on tie in my purse this week when I did laundry (I still don't know why...)
  • I've been experimenting with couponing to save some money for our family, but I'm still not the mom who can pay $0.25 for a cart full of groceries...
  • Although I finished my World Literature class yesterday, I still haven't completed my last week of bible study... (This is on the weekend's agenda!)
  •  My car's hatch is full of pine needles from bringing our Christmas tree home 2 weeks ago...
Overall, life is very busy...but it's okay!
I began blogging several years ago in search of new friends who, like me, were having a difficult time getting pregnant. Five years, 2 miscarriages, 4 failed IUI's, and a doctor who told us "It will never happen" later, we are the proud parents of Kade and Kohen. They are each an example of God's absolute perfection. We thank God where medical intervention stops, Divine intervention begins.