This post strays a little bit from the ministry...but it's christmas, so I am gonna post mostly about including jesus in our christmas celebration and how God reminded me of his goodness with a gift regarding the ministry.
I would like to start by showing you my imperfect eclectic collection of our advent activity!
I will admit that I greatly enjoy the pottery barn life....everything in it's place, nothing broken and all things surrounding perfectly placed giving the illusion of warmth and comfort. Which is exactly why God hand picked me to live in the muck of eight people residing in one house with a dog and two cats! Only half of my "pottery barn" decorations have made it out of hiding...only then to be marred by children and covered in animal hair. My balloon drapes that I slaved to make adorned the windows of our dining room only to become a magnetic cat brush for our white cat hutch who loved to rub past them as he went to sit in the window....a MILLION times a day :) I write all of this to say, that God had to shake me and get me to the point where I now teter with acceptance that maybe I can't do every thing exactly they way I used to or similar to those around me with more emotional resistance or less children (big smile)...but I can create my own new normal...and it is good.
SO, I am very excited to bring you the Roswarski Advent Activity which is a hodge podge of what I really loved in others activites, scaled to fit into our life....with no guilt of it not being enough...because jesus is and I am doing my very best to etch him into the heart of all six of my beautiful children.
1. I did put 25 bags up, they were not stamped beautifully, just written with a sharpie, hole punched them and tied them to gold ribbon I placed on the wall with thumb tacks
2. My close friends and pastor at our church shared an activity that his wife had found on Pinterest LOVE that website. It was simply having everyone write something that they were grateful for on a small piece of paper and place it in a jar to be read on Christmas day. I adapted this a little and choose about 15 different items which included: What you love most about each individual family member?, what the best thing Jesus has ever done for you?, why do we give gifts on Christmas day?, what was your favorite memory of your mom at Christmas? (four of my children lost their mom as well as my husband), what are you grateful for today? (that one is held in the Dec 25th bag)
3. A friend on Facebook posted a link to this fabulous blog Random Acts of Kindness. She takes her kids out and does 25 different RACK's (Random Acts of Kindness) I already talked about how I knew I couldn't do all 25, so I picked out 7 of my favorite and lined them up for us to do on our weekends together or after school. Some of them include: taking their teachers their favorite starbucks treats, taking a plate of candy to the attendent working xmas eve and xmas day, taping quarters and notes about jesus to vending/toy machines, taking a gift to the local postal workers.....see below
3. So for the part about Jesus.....A very dear friend of mine gave me the book one thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp. She is a mother of six who has made it to the new york times best seller list, writes for compassion international and lives a simple farmers life the rest of the time. Basically her book is about embracing your reality and being FULLY alive right where you are! Great concept huh! So as I began lookinf for advent ideas, I saw this author's name pop up! She also has a great advent activity called the jesse tree. She goes through and writes a story for each of the advent days and gives an activity for your children to do and a paper ornament for them to place on the tree. Click the word FREE below which will take you to her blog, subscribe to her feed and you can download the book for FREE!
SO....I loved all three of these ideas, so I combined them all...I will ATTEMPT to do the advent reading daily as I have placed the ornaments in the numbered bags, we will go as a family and do a few activities and we will list what we love about each other and what we are grateful for! Yup...I started late and I am sure with our schedule, I will have to double up on a couple days and that's OK.
So...I write this whole post to those busy mom's out there who want the focus to be on Jesus, but struggle with how. It's ok if you just do one activity...it's ok if you start your advent activties on the 15th.....just do something to focus your family on Jesus! You DON'T have to be perfect...just have a willing heart.
And for the ministry part :)
I had a bad week, I'll admit it and I was swimming in it. I never get to the place where I doubt God's love and provision for me, but I was there. I had tripped over too many rocks that day and this time when I fell, I floundered on the floor like a child, wailing and kicking my arms and legs, kinda like the scene in bruce almighty where he doesn't want to get out of bed
I LOVE that scene, I have actually re-enacted it on Steve, yup, I'm that girl :).....So, as I am kicking, as the above picture shows, about how hard all of this is......wondering if all this work I am placing into the ministry is going to be fruitful......my doorbell rings.....it's the UPS man with this......
It's the adored fabric that I got from haggling my way at the AIBI fabric show in chicago with my great friend Jess Snell, owner Rockin B Clothing. Basically they only sell fabric to their clients and to be a client you have to make a 120yrd order of fabric. That's around $600-800 depending on the price! So after talking with Jess at lunch, I decided to be brave and ask for sample yardage because I LOVED this fabric. To my surprise, the rep said YES! It had been about 8 weeks since the show and no fabric :( I had assumed it was a no go......so in the middle of my ranting, God had perfectly timed this present! As if to say, Nicole, I hear you and you make me laugh....You are right where I want you to be, have faith, I've got this!
The above picture includes fabric with super cool vintage cars, guitars, route 66 and surf theme. Ever been out looking for little boy baby or toddler bedding that was COOL and just couldn't find anything other than trains and animals....well, look no more! Thank you god for putting up with my "Jim Carey" rantings. I love that you love us Just the way we are!