Friday, 30 November 2012

Advent calendar ideas

If you're like me, you woke up this morning shocked that it was the last day of November.

What does this mean, you ask? Advent calendars go up TOMORROW!

I always like to have an Advent calendar in December. I shy away from the chocolate-y ones, and have opted for one that I can put a little message in every day. We've indulged in Playmobil ones in the past, but I don't see a great need for more Advent playmobil sets here.

Here's a post I did last year with a variety of ideas for Advent calendars - made of paper, socks, fabric.

And this my idea for this year: a photo memory Advent calendar. This calendar made me think of printing off photos of Christmases past and putting one up every day. I'm going to try to post them in a shape like this as the month goes on. We'll see what it ends up looking like!

I think it will be fun to relive memories of Christmases past, as well as look ahead to our Christmas celebrations this year.

Off I go to print off photos! And it's even snowing. Perfect.

A little update (Dec. 2): my youngest was less than impressed with this photo Advent calendar idea, but I'm sticking with it. I think that by day 25 it will look wonderful and bring back lots of memories. She hauled out the calendar I made last year with one little instruction/idea on it every day. That made me a bit nervous, because experience has taught me that while it's fun to create calendars like that, it's hard to follow through. Like when it says make Christmas cookies on a day when you don't have any of the ingredients around. So, I proposed a reverse kind of Advent calendar for Eden this year. Every day, we will write something down AT THE END OF THE DAY that we did to prepare for Christmas. December 1st: bought a Christmas tree. Success! We'll see what we write at the end of today...

Another update (Dec. 26): I think this was my favourite Advent calendar ever. The girls really liked seeing photos of Christmases past. 

Here's the evidence:

Here's another Advent calendar idea I'd love to do with our Hallowe'en candy next year. Brilliant!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

tangible prayers

There is a group at our church that meets each week to make prayer shawls. They knit these shawls and have a stash kept at church that people can draw from for various reasons. The church gives out a prayer shawl to 18 year olds in the church as a way of wrapping them with love and prayers in their 18th year as they chart new territory and are sent out into the work or post-secondary school world. It's always a moving time to see the shawls presented and to hear the parents talk about their children.

The shawls are also given to people who are going through a hard time or illness, or who are preparing for a challenge. My husband was given a shawl when he was about to defend his Ph.D. dissertation. Our family was given a shawl to take to France with us for our 4 month sabbatical, as a reminder of our church's prayers and support for us while we were gone. We felt very blessed by these tangible expressions of prayer and love.

My daughters and their friend had a meaningful opportunity to give a prayer shawl this past Sunday. I will never forget this experience, and I doubt they will either. A friend of Eden's has been going through treatments for brain cancer. We visited him at his home and the girls gave him prayer shawl along with a big card from the children at our church. When they finished telling him about the card and shawl, he said, "That's the nicest story I've ever heard."

Because of his brain surgery, his sight, speech and mobility have been affected. But his spark is still there. He cracked jokes, laughed loudly, and played a mean game of Connect 4 with his guests. Since visiting him, we have shed many tears for a world where a 6 year old like Nolan could get brain cancer. We are praying fervently for Nolan's brain and body to be restored. Will you join us?