Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mildred's Gift

I absolutely love a good Christmas story. I have a whole collection of them. A couple of years ago I decided to write a Christmas story of my own. (You can scroll down to the bottom for the inspiration.) This is my Christmas gift to you. I hope you enjoy it.

“Are you ok, Grandma?” Amy asked the elderly woman walking beside her.

“I’m fine,” Mildred replied pulling her coat more snuggly around her neck. “These 70 year old legs just don’t move as quickly as they used to.”

“Is your arthritis acting up, Grandma? Oh, I shouldn’t have brought you out in the cold; I’m sorry,” Amy said with concern while taking Mildred’s arm. Gingerly they stepped from the asphalt of the parking lot to the sidewalk.

“I’m fine,” Mildred assured her. “It was sweet of you to ask an old woman like me to accompany you on your shopping trip.”

“I love going out with you, Grandma. And you’re only as old as you feel,” Amy said while opening the door to their destination.

“Then I’m close to a hundred,” Mildred thought to herself. She was tired and tired of being tired. Though she’d rather have stayed at home, she couldn’t turn down this chance of spending time with her precious Amy during her Christmas break from college.

They stepped into the warmth of a quaint shop radiating the Christmas spirit with its twinkling lights, fine greenery, brilliant red poinsettias, and old fashioned Christmas trees. The holiday music softly playing in the background created a warm, cheerful atmosphere for assorted shoppers to “oooh” and “aahh” over unique and interesting treasures.

“I won’t be too long,” Amy said. “I just need a special something for a friend.”

“You take your time, Honey,” Mildred said. “I don’t have anything else to do.”

Amy went off to find the perfect gift while Mildred wandered among the displays. Just past a rotating rack of assorted Santa ornaments she spotted a chubby faced, curly haired toddler staring up at her. Mildred smiled and was rewarded with a shy wave and huge grin. A flood of memories washed over her, memories of her own children in days gone by. This little cherub smiling at her looked so much like Susan, her youngest daughter, when she was that age. Before Mildred had time to lose herself in memories, the child’s mother called for her and the enchanted moment was gone. She sighed. The holidays just didn’t seem right without little ones scampering around the house exclaiming over the tree, shaking presents, and begging for cookie samples while she baked. Oh, how she wished she could have bottled up just one precious Christmas past. She knew exactly which one it would be – 1954.

1954 was the year Joey, Rachel, Timothy, and Susan were 11, 9, 6, and 3 respectively. What a rambunctious group they were! Memories once again flooded Mildred’s mind.

1954 was the year her husband Robert bought a new Chevy pickup. The first new truck he had ever owned. Actually, it turned out to be the last new vehicle either of them ever owned. That Christmas he loaded the entire family in it to go out in the nearby woods searching for the perfect tree. Though Mildred usually stayed home wrapping presents and enjoying the solitude, this year she decided to join them. It was in her head to cut a holly tree for a change, and she wanted to make sure they got just the right one.

It turned out to be a wonderful day. She never knew it could be such fun traipsing through the snow with the children, having snow ball fights, and sitting on fallen logs sipping hot chocolate from thermoses. On top of that, they found just the right tree to suit her. Robert cut the holly along with a medium sized spruce which was standing nearby. Mildred couldn’t figure out why he cut the spruce too, but she wasn’t going to argue and spoil the magic of the day. Instead she just admired her holly tree and enjoyed being together. This yearly tradition would include her from now on.

Mildred was grateful for the spruce when, three days later, all the holly leaves turned black and fell off. Robert took one look at the mess, hugged her close and said with a smile, “Well, the ornaments show up real nice without all that leaf clutter.” The family had picked on her unmercifully every Christmas since. Even now, a smile hovered around Mildred’s lips in remembrance.

The children grew up, as children do, and though they stayed in touch, three had moved to various parts of the country. Thankfully Susan, Amy’s mother, still lived nearby. Her family always tried to make Mildred feel loved and included, especially this year. This was the year her beloved Robert died suddenly of a massive heart attack leaving her alone. Oh, she missed him so!

Amy interrupted her thoughts by calling, “Grandma, you’ve got to come here and look at this!” Mildred made her way slowly to where Amy was standing. In her hands was a replica of an old Chevy Truck, a 1954 model!

“Oh, my!” Mildred exclaimed with more excitement than Amy had seen in years. “It looks just like his! That looks exactly like your grandpa’s old truck. Oh, look! Remember, Amy, how he used to haul tomatoes to town everyday in it?”

“Oh, I can remember,” Amy exclaimed in mock frustration. “How could I forget? He had me out in the garden at 6:00 every summer morning picking those horrid things.” She stopped a moment to giggle. “He grew the best tomatoes in the county though. Everyone said so. I still miss those bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches.” She paused to glance at the toy truck, “Grandpa’s truck seemed a hundred years old.”

“It was,” Mildred laughed while lovingly stroking the replica. He spent more time fixing that old Chevy than it spent running.” She paused and sighed, “Oh, I wonder how much it is.” Slowly she turned over the price tag. $27.50. Her expression and tone changed as she turned the tag back over, took the truck from Amy, and replaced it on the shelf. “It is lovely, but you’ve got shopping to do.” Mildred was embarrassed to admit how badly she wanted the truck but didn’t have money enough to purchase it. Money was a precious commodity these days needed for medicine, food, and electric bills. She didn’t even have extra for presents this year. It would be foolish to spend money she didn’t have on such a thing, and Robert would surely turn over in his grave if she did. After one more glance Mildred sadly made her way to a comfortable seat near a fireplace to wait. She suddenly felt extremely tired. And old. And depressed. “One isn’t supposed to feel this way at Christmas time,” she thought wistfully, which somehow made it all seem worse.

Sensing her grandmother’s mood, Amy quickly finished her shopping. “One day,” she thought, “One day I’m going to come back and buy that for Grandma. Maybe I should tell Momma that’s what Grandma would like for Christmas.” She didn’t think it would happen though; her mother was very much like Grandpa. Neither could rationalize spending money on “frivolous” things. But Amy was determined that one day, when she was out of college and had a real job, she’d be able to spend more than a couple of dollars on gifts. Then she would come back for it.

Amy and Mildred were just leaving the shop when a stranger, about the age of Amy’s mother, approached. She had kind eyes and a gentle voice when she spoke, “Excuse me,” she said with emotion. “I know this may sound odd to you, but you remind me so much of my own dear mother. She passed away ten years ago, and I just wanted to give you this Christmas gift in her memory today. Will you take it?” The stranger thrust a Christmas bag tied with bright ribbon in Mildred’s direction rendering her speechless. How peculiar! Nothing like this had ever happened to her before. But it was Christmas, after all, the time for marvelous and miraculous things to happen.
Graciously Mildred accepted the gift and with a somewhat bewildered look expressed her thanks. The stranger slipped away unnoticed while Amy exclaimed, “Well, Grandma, open it. I’m dying to see what’s inside.”

Mildred pulled the paper back and gasped as a flood of tears drizzled down her radiant face. “What is it, Grandma? What is it?”

“It’s Grandpa’s truck,” she whispered in awe. “An angel just handed me Grandpa’s truck.”

Mildred didn’t see the stranger watching from behind a nearby Christmas tree, neither did she see the smile and tear upon the stranger’s face. As Mildred walked through the door with a new lightness in her step and sparkle in her eyes, the stranger’s eyes, too, took on a new twinkle. And somehow the stranger’s heart, burdened with unspoken griefs of its own, was also a little lighter as she glanced heavenward and whispered, “Merry Christmas, Mother.”

Author’s note: Though much of “Mildred’s Gift”, including Mildred’s history, is purely fictional, this story is based on a true encounter. The elderly woman actually was admiring a truck replica which reminded her of her husband. The “stranger” is a friend of mine who did, indeed, purchase the gift in memory of her mother. My friend had also lost her own husband that year.

By the way, my Aunt Mary Llyn had a similar experience with a holly tree; something we still pick on her about. And my grandfather, Lloyd Day, used to grow the best tomatoes in Marion County, though he never had me up early picking them. (I don’t think he trusted anyone but himself with his prize tomatoes.)

© 2006 by Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat all rights reserved. No copying or printing without prior permission

Saturday, December 1, 2007

What's happening in this picture?

What's happening in this picture? I'll make it easy. This is multiple choice.

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(A) We're going on a major camping trip and decided to take the entire refrigerator.

(B) I got energetic and decided to deep clean the kitchen.

(C) I'm looking for hidden Christmas presents.

(D) We're contestants on Trading Spaces.

(E) My mother-in-law is coming to visit. (Though in my case my own mother is more likely to notice dust and dirt.)

(F) Our refrigerator went out on Thursday, was declared dead on Friday, and is now waiting for transport to its great reward.

Scroll down for the correct answer.











The answer is..........











(F) The refrigerator went out on Thursday, was declared dead on Friday, and is currently waiting for transport to its great reward.

A new one was purchased last night with promised delivery this morning. The delivery man arrived around 4:00....PM not AM! He arrived with the WRONG refrigerator! All our cold food is in ice chests. (I'm having flash backs to Katrina.) However, there is no great loss without some small gain. I choose to count my blessings.

1. It is now clean behind my refrigerator.

2. It is now clean underneath my couch and recliner. (Had to move them to move out the old and bring in the new.)

3. This happened before I bought groceries so I didn't lose too much when it went out.

4. This didn't happen next weekend when my cookie swap takes place.

5. I'll miss the Florence parade because we're waiting for the delivery to return and then I'll have to put everything that's in the ice chests in the refrigerator and clean up my kitchen. (I've been to the local Christmas parade for the last 5 years. I think I can handle missing this year. Oh the joys of having a daughter with her driver's license!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Will Sing for Chocolate

You should know something about me...I love chocolate! When someone does something good I often say, "You deserve a Hershey's kiss. Of course I don't have any because if I did, I'd eat them." Well, one Sunday at choir practice I asked if anyone had listened to the choir music on their CD that week. To those who raised their hands I said, "You deserve a Hershey's Kiss. Of course.... (You get the picture.)" The next Sunday I actually brought some kisses and tossed them to those who had practiced during the week. The next week, before practice began, someone said, "I listened to my CD this week! Where's the chocolate?!?!" I haven't missed a week since. The choir has grown (by the grace of God), but I often joke and say, "My choir will sing for chocolate!"

Bear with me...

A little over a week ago our homeschool group went to Harry the Potter. (This place has nothing to with socery or books, it's just the name of a ceramic/pottery shop.) All my creativity left me as I saw all those blank, ceramic surfaces longing to become beautiful works of art. I finally chose a mug, because I love mugs. (Especially ones filled with hot chocolate or French vanilla cappuccino!) Perhaps it was the thought of a chocolate delight, but I did manage to come up with something I think turned out quite cute.

Drum roll please.....................

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Now I'm afraid to use it! I don't want it to break!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas Bookshelf Part 1


by Peter Spier

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This is one of my all time favorite Christmas books. No words, but the most detailed and delightful illustrations one could ask for. Spier most definitely captures the Spirit of the holiday.

© 1983 by Peter Spier

ISBN 0-385-13183-6

(Neither nor Books-a-million have this title. can direct you to a seller though.)

The Story of the Other Wise Man

by Henry van Dyke

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The Bible never says there were three wise men, only that three gifts were given. This story explores the possibility of a fourth wise man that didn’t make it to Bethlehem with the others, yet still met the Savior in a poignant way. (The ending still gives me chill bumps!)

ISBN 0-345-31882-X

Mary Did You Know?

By Mark Lowry

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Anyone who has ever heard Christian comedian Mark Lowry knows this Song turned into gift book had to be inspired. I mean, how can someone so incredibly funny have written such an incredible song? This is a definite chill bump song for me. This gift book combines the song with reflective thoughts designed to turn our minds toward Christ.

Song “Mary Did You Know?” © 1991 by Word Music ASCAP and Rufus Music ASCAP

Mary Did You Know book text © 1998 by Mark Lowry

ISBN 08499-5445-2

Follow the Star (all the way to Bethlehem) and A Christmas Carol

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Both by Alan and Linda Parry

Both these books by the Parry’s are incredibly fun for children of all ages. (I still like them!!) Follow the Star has “pull-out letters, games, and other fun activities”. A Christmas Carol is a fun interactive book as well.

Follow the Star

© 1994 Hunt & Thorpe

Text © 1994 by Linda Parry

Illustrations © 1994 Alan Parry

ISBN 0-8499-1144-3

A Christmas Carol

© 1996 Hunt and Thorpe

Text © 1996 by Linda Parry

Illustrations © 1996 by Alan Parry

ISBN 0-8499-1304-7

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

By Barbara Robinson

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If you’ve never laughed (and cried) with the Herdmans as they discover the true meaning of Christmas, then you’ve missed a special holiday treat. It may well be that you see Christmas just a bit differently after experiencing it the Herdman way.

Text © 1972

ISBN 0-06-440275-4

An Unexpected Christmas Guest

As Told by Alda Ellis

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(Poem originally written by Edwin Markham 1852-1940)

“For I was the beggar with bruised cold feet.

I was the woman you gave something to eat;

And I was the child on the homeless street.”

What does Jesus really look like? It may surprise us.

Text © by Alda Ellis 2001

ISBN 0-7369-0572-3

( can direct to a seller.)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

By Dr. Seuss

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Alright, I confess, I love Dr. Seuss, and this is one of my favorites. Through whimsical drawings and fun rhymes, he manages to clearly convey the message “Christmas doesn’t come from a store.” Who doesn’t need that reminder this time of year? By the way, go for the book. It’s much better than Jim Carey’s rendition in the movie. (At least in my opinion.)

© 1957 by Dr. Seuss

ISBN 0-394-80079-6

On My Christmas Bookshelf - Part 2

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On My Christmas Bookshelf - Part 2

Punchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift

By Max Lucado

Illustrated by Sergio Martinez

If you’ve never read any of Max Lucado “Punchinello” books, then you should go out today and buy some. (Or at least look at your local library.) One day I’ll post how these children’s books have changed my life. Punchinello and the Most Marvelous gift is another fine edition to this series. All of Wemmicksville is busily working on special gifts to give Eli at the Maker-Day Festival. What happens when Punchinello “messes” everything up? I think you’ll agree, it is really a marvelous story about us and what our “Maker” really wants.

Text © Max Lucado 2004

Illustrations © Sergio Martinez 2004

ISBN 1-58134-546-1

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens

I realize this is considered a timeless classic, but, to be quite honest, though I’ve seen several movie renditions, several parodies, and the play, I’ve never actually read the book until this year. (I just thought a good homeschooling mom should have read it at least once.) DD14 and I are reading it together, and while we’ve needed the dictionary a time or two, we agree is a great read-a-loud that will find its place in our hearts, our “togetherness” memories, and on our Christmas Bookshelf.

Written in 1843

The Velveteen Rabbit

By Margery Williams (1880 -1994)

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Illustrated by Allen Atkinson

I know this isn’t really a Christmas story, but The Boy does receive this special rabbit as a Christmas gift, so I’ve placed it on my Christmas bookshelf. What a heart warming story about the imaginings and affections of a small child and what makes a toy “real”. If you’ve ever had a special stuffed animal or toy, you won’t want to miss this delightful read-a-loud.

I really love my copy of The Velveteen Rabbit

© 1983 by Armand Eisen
ISBN 0-394-53221-X

Christmas in My Heart

Compiled and Edited by Joe Wheeler

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© 1996 by Joe Wheeler

ISBN 0-385-48567-0

Though filled with many heart warming stories, there are four which I’m especially fond of and try to read aloud each year. They are:

“The Last Straw”

by Paula Palangi McDonald

© 1979

The McDonald mother reaches her wits end with all the bickering and fighting among her four children. When she hits upon a creative way to turn their attention toward the true meaning of Christmas, she finds everyone is a little kinder and the house more loving. You might be surprised to find out what the last straw really is. But I won’t tell. J

“The Jubilee Agreement”

by Terry Beck © 1990

I choke back tears every year as I read this story. Who can’t identify with the mom who loves her family with a passion, but sometimes needs a little time for herself? Or the family that loves her enough to let her go for her “Jubilee”?

“Trouble at the Inn

by Dina Donohue

© 1966 by Guideposts Magazine

Though it may be a very short story, “Trouble at the Inn” is tall on heart and compassion. You may not read this version of the Christmas story in Luke, but you won’t doubt it pleased the Lord.

“The Gift of the Magi”

by O. Henry

© 1906

Has there been any other (save, perhaps, A Christmas Carol) that has sparked more parodies than “The Gift of the Magi”? Though published in 1906, it remains a timeless story of selfless giving.

Christmas Stories for the Heart

Compiled by Alice Gray

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©1997 by Multnomah Publishers

ISBN 1-57673-456-0

Though filled with wonderful stories, my most favorite from this collection is:

“If You’re Missing Baby Jesus, call 7162”

by Jean Gietzen

When a family discovers an extra baby Jesus in their newly purchased Nativity set, they embark on a quest to return Him to His rightful owner. What they find along the way is that Jesus was never missing, He was right where He was supposed to be.

The Night Before Christmas

By Clement C. Moore

Pictures by Dorcas

Even though we’ve never “done” Santa, I must confess, I enjoy the jolly rhyme and beautiful pictures in my copy of this book. It is extra special because the copy on my Christmas bookshelf belonged to my mother when she was a little girl. It is copyrighted 1948 and doesn’t even have an ISBN number.

The Jesse Tree

The Jesse Tree

Christmas 1991, when My now 19 year old son and 14 year old daugher were three and eight months respectively, my creative juices flowed resulting in an advent calendar made from baby food jar lids (Hey, who said I wasn’t resourceful?), glitter, and old Christmas cards. Each was Velcroed to an appliquéd wall banner each day in December. (OK you home-schooling moms, Just how do you change “Velcro” to a past tense verb?) The next year my mother introduced me to the Jesse Tree, a unique advent chart using Biblical symbols and devotions to herald in the season. I was hooked. That first year I made each day’s symbol as it was needed and used the original Christmas tree banner.

This will be our 16th year doing the Jesse Tree which even traveled with us overseas during our two year missionary adventure. It is one of our most beloved Christmas traditions.

We use Let’s Make a Jesse Tree by Darcy James. (1)

She says,“The Jesse Tree Advent calendar reminds us of some of these stories that add up to the long story of God's compassion and challenge for humanity. Jesse was the father of David, Israel's greatest king. The idea of the tree comes from Isaiah 11:1-9, where God promises a discouraged nation that the glory they remember from David's time will come to them again. They will have another king from Jesse's family, in whose reign the whole earth will know God. Christians see that promise fulfilled in Jesus, and so we put up a Jesse tree and decorate it with reminders of how God prepared the world for that kingdom.

Beginning on December first with a banner that is plain, except for a tree stump with a small green shoot, each day there will be a Bible story to read and a symbol expressing it to attach to the banner, until on Christmas Day the manger and a golden star are placed at the top.”

Beginning December 1st and continuing through the 25th we gather each night around the table, light a candle, and sing “Light of the World (2) (Scroll down and click on "Light of the World.)

“You are the Light of the world, O Lord,

And You make Your servants shine.

So how could there be any darkness in me

If you are the Light of the World?

You are the Light of the World.

(Additional verses are:

You are the Bread of Life, O Lord,

Broken to set us free.

So how could there be any hunger in me

If You are the Bread of Life?

You are the Bread of Life.

You’ve overcome the world, O, Lord,

And given us victory.

So why should I fear when trouble is near

If You’ve overcome the world?

You’ve overcome the world.”)

We then take turns reading that night’s story from either the Bible, or a Bible story book, depending on the reading level of the child or the length of the story. Then the symbol is placed on the tree, and we close in prayer. The entire devotion takes about ten minutes, but it helps keep us focused on the reason for the season.

(1) Published by Abingdon Press (June, 1988) ISBN#0687214394

(2) By Wayne Watson on his 1982 album New Lives for Old

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Allowed to Rest

Allowed to Rest
1 Samuel 30:10; 15 – 25

Feel free to read all of 1 Samuel 30 for more background on this story, but really, the most important thing you need to know is that 400 of David’s men had just defeated their enemy, the Amalekites, and reclaimed their children, wives, and all their possessions. Not only did they reclaim what was theirs, but we can infer that they actually came home with more than they had lost. (Verse 16) In Verse 21 these four hundred men meet back with the 200 men who had not gone into battle - men who had stayed behind to rest. Can you imagine what was going through the minds of those who had just risked their lives to get back what was theirs while the others sat on their duffs? Let’s take a look at this reunion.

In verses 21 – 25 we see two opposite reactions to those who “stayed with the supplies”. What was each reaction?


David’s men:

Carefully look back at these verses. Did all of David’s men feel this way?

What words are used to describe the ones who were bitter?

Why was David so gentle with those who stayed behind?

While some of David's men may have taken credit for the victory against the Amalekites, David clearly realizes that it was God who handed over their enemy. He also realizes that each man had a different role to play. Some went into battle, but some needed to watch the supplies. It was the "evil men" and "trouble makers" who didn't have sympathy for those in need.

The main truth I see in this story is "permission to rest". Those two hundred men stayed behind because they were exhausted. It wasn’t that they were lazy or fearful; it was that they were beat and unable to go on. They needed rest.

Can you relate? Have you ever been too worn out (not just physically, but emotionally) to continue on? Maybe you feel that way today. Perhaps, like David’s men, you need permission to simply rest. Well, God is giving you permission today. Read what each of these passages say about resting:

Genesis 2:1-3
Exodus 14:14
Psalm 23:1-3
Psalm 46:10

Psalm 91:1
Isaiah 40:11
Isaiah 40:31
Matthew 11:28–30

Mark 6:31

In early 2000, my family and I left the United States to serve two years as missionaries in Europe. It is the most difficult thing I'd ever done in my life. Language, cultural, and religious barriers often seemed insurmountable. While people back home applauded and patted us on the back for "being on the front lines", I felt anything but applaudable or victorious. It was one long spiritual battle after another, and quite frankly, I felt more like a small child than a "soldier". A song I'd heard ten years before often came to my mind, and for some reason it came to mind today as I was studying this lesson where David's men rested at Besor Ravine.

In the early 90's I heard a song by Twila Paris entitled "The Warrior is a Child".

The Warrior is a Child
By Twila Paris

Lately I've been winning battles left and right
But even winners can get wounded in the fight
People say that I'm amazing Strong beyond my years
But they don't see inside of me I'm hiding all the tears


They don't know that I go running home when I fall down
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
'Cause deep inside this armour The warrior is a child

Unafraid because His armour is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
People say that I'm amazing
Never face retreat
But they don't see the enemies
That lay me at His feet

Chorus x2

I drop my sword and look up for His smile
Because deep inside this armour
Deep inside this armour
Deep inside this armour
The Warrior is a Child

May you find Besor Ravine today and rest in the palms of your Father's hands. (Isaiah 49:15 & 16)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Chocoholic that I am...

...I absolutely have to tell you about a contest going on at Well, the only reason I HAVE to tell you is so I can be entered twice. (I want that T-shirt. *grin*) You can click here for details if you really want to. (You don't really want to. You don't really want that really cool T-shirt. You want Drewe Llyn to have that really cool T-shirt so you're not going to go check out the contest......)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Golden Compass --- Viewer Beware!

A seemingly innocent children's movie is scheduled to come out this December. Don't be fooled. The Golden Compass is anything but innocent. It was written by Phillip Pullman, a proud athiest....He hates C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and has written a triology to show the other side. The movie has been dumbed down to fool kids and their parents in the hope they will buy this trilogy and buy the books where in the end the children kill God and and everyone can do as they please. This movie stars Nicole Kidman so it will probably be advertised a lot. This is not an over exaggeration. has confirmed. (You can read about it here.) My own, often skeptical, 19 year old son read all the Sparks Notes on the books and says they really are as bad as the article says.

Please pass the word around so that unsuspecting parents will be informed. Also, pray for Pullman. He is a man desperately in need of the transforming power of Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 5, 2007

What am I putting in those boxes????? Read on to find out

I'm making lots of cool boxes for Christmas this year. (Click here to read more.) Now I will tell you what I plan to put in each one.


Our church has an awesome choir that I am tremendously blessed to direct. Here is a picture of them after our patriotic musical. (The children were flag bearers.)

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I want to give each of these special people a gift for Christmas, but, as you can see, it could be quite expensive to buy so many gifts. So I'm going to give them the gift of prayer. Here's how it works. I flipped through my Bible and gathered together some Scriptures I wanted to pray. I typed them up turning them into prayers using each person's name. For example:


Please don’t allow _____________ to walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. But let her delight be in the law of the LORD. May she meditate on it day and night becoming like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season and whose leave does not wither. May whatever she does prosper.


(Based on Psalm 1:1-3)

I take one person a day and pray the prayers just for that person then add the prayer papers to the box after they have been prayed. The last paper in the box is a poem I wrote:

Dear ________________,

Inside this box all tucked away
Are prayers I prayed for you today.
I went before God’s throne of grace
Seeking out the Father’s face
For mercy, joy, guidance, peace,
For blessings that will never cease,
Protection as you go your way
And strength enough to meet each day.
For zeal to always live for Him
And never let your light grow dim.
I pray you’ll always know it’s true
God’s loving hands are holding you.
Inside this box all tucked away
Are prayers I prayed for you today.
May this gift remind you of
The Father’s ever present love.

(c) 2007 Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat


Drewe Llyn

Date I prayed for you:

Then I date it and add it to the box.

Here is a list of Scriptures I used:

Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 5:6, Psalm 51:1-2, Romans 15:13, 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17, Ephesians 1:17-19, Ephesians 3:16-19, Psalm 91, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 1:1-3, Pslam 19:14, Psalm 20:1-5, Philippians 4:4-8, 13 & 19, Numbers 6:24-26, and for those with children Deuteronomy 5:6-7.

I'm also including a short, handwritten, more personal prayer.

If anyone would like to use this idea along with the poem, feel free. I only ask that you include the copyright information with the poem.

Be blessed!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Check Out My Contest

Click on over to my other blog for my give-a-way contest. (Maybe I'll do one over here too someday!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Operation Christmas Child

(Did you realize Christmas is ten weeks from today?!?!?! We have already begun our first tradition of the season. Since these are due the middle of November I thought I'd post this now.)

I don’t know exactly when I first learned of Operation Shoe Box (a.k.a. Operation Christmas Child), a ministry outreach of Samaritan’s Purse, but I was hooked from the first moment. Shoeboxes filled with school supplies, candy, age appropriate toys, and other assorted goodies to send to children around the world who live in extreme poverty, war-torn countries, or areas devastated by natural disasters appealed greatly to the Christmas Spirit within me. It’s been a family tradition ever since.

In the early days I let my children help pick out purchases and pack the boxes while I paid for the “goodies”. In more recent years I’ve encouraged them to set aside a small amount of money out of their allowance each month so that the gift is truly from them.

From nearly the beginning I had a burning desire to be on the distribution end of this project. I wanted to personally hand out the boxes and see the smiles of joy and appreciation on little faces, many of whom have never had a Christmas gift before. My longing turned into a prayer that God would give me that opportunity.

Be careful what you pray forJ.

In 1999 my husband, Raymond, and I felt a very clear calling to minister overseas as missionaries through our denomination. We weren’t sure for how long; we were just sure it was the will of God. Eventually, we landed in a war-torn, Muslim part of Europe that was in dire need of hope and Jesus. All the cultural and language barriers made it seem almost an impossible task to get the Gospel to the ones who so desperately needed it.

I’m not exactly sure how the door of opportunity opened, other than an act of God Himself, but we gained access to Samaritan Purse Shoeboxes! My husband, Raymond, knew exactly what to do with them, take them to the local school where he was assisting the English teacher. (I use the phrase English “teacher” very loosely, as English was not this teacher’s first language, and she was, quite honestly, butchering it.) There were approximately one thousand students in this 99.9% Muslim school. Did I mention that sharing your religious beliefs with children under the age of eighteen is expressly forbidden in this country?

Raymond marched into the principal’s office with a shoebox, a pamphlet (which all the boxes would contain), and a translator. “We would like to give this as a gift to each of the students in your school,” Raymond said. “But I must tell you, each box will contain one of these pamphlets.” The principal took the pamphlet, which was the Gospel story in the national language, and read through it carefully. Then he said to Raymond, “No problem.”

So, though I was unable to pack shoeboxes for Christmas 2000, I received the answer to my prayers and helped with distribution. This was hard work. The boxes had to be picked up in the capital city and transported to the school. Since we didn’t have a vehicle big enough for over a thousand boxes Raymond had to secure the services of a truck driver. (He says it was the scariest ride of his life!)

We turned a spare classroom into our base of operations. Stacks of shoeboxes and boxes of pamphlets were everywhere. It looked a bit like organized chaos as our team of Jeffcoats and translators gathered boxes for each group of students, attached pamphlets to each box, and then carried them to the various classrooms.

I was not disappointed by the response. The students stood beside their desks out of respect for us when we entered. (It is the norm for them to stand when an adult enters the room.) The looks of joy, gratitude, and hope on their faces were exactly as I envisioned them. They were so excited by even the smallest of trinkets. The ones who had cards or letters in their box begged for someone to translate them from English (These boxes came from England) into their language.

During the course of the day a stoic looking man made his way into our “base of operations”. He looked at us and glanced at the boxes. I was told by a translator that he was the one who taught the Muslim children the Koran at school. (For some reason this was legal.) Fear gripped my heart. He did not look like a “happy camper”. He moved near me and picked up a pamphlet. After thumbing through it he looked up and said (in his language), “This is good! This is very good!” (Again, an act of God!)

We passed out nearly one thousand shoeboxes that day and saw only one pamphlet on the floor, none were in the trash. Knowing how they value gifts, I’m sure the one on the floor slipped out of some child’s hand by accident.

Three years later Raymond, my son Kyle, two of our church members, and myself went back to that same area to pass out Bibles. I overheard a lady say, “Those are the people who brought us the shoeboxes!” And she took a Bible joyfully.

Shoeboxes: It is a simple project for all ages, yet the ramifications of taking the Gospel around the world by ministering to hurting children goes far beyond the simple contents of the box. They equal the gift of life.

Here are some pictures from my answered prayer (I would have more, but I was too busy! ):

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Boxes, Boxes, Boxes!

I love boxes! (Perhaps I should start posting pictures of the ones I’ve collected through the years.) I’ve been wracking my brain for a Christmas gift idea for the members of the church choir which I direct. Since the choir is an eclectic group it has to be something suitable for men and women, young and old. I finally saw an idea in a Christian catalog and have tweaked it into something more personal and more “me”. I’m not going to reveal that idea just yet. (Don’t you just hate cliff-hangers?) But I am going to show you the beginning stages. This gift requires lots of boxes. Instead of trying to find and purchase just the right ones, I’ve decided to make my own, each one a unique creation for the unique recipients. I can’t remember where I first learned to do this, and I’m sure you can find it all over the internet, but here’s my rendition. Ready?

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I began with a regular 8 ½ x 11 inch sheet of tag board and decorated it. (My 12 year old daughter is helping me with this.) You can use any kind of paper, any size. (Old Christmas cards work nicely, just make sure you center the picture.) The main thing is to create a square out of whatever you are using. This will be the top, so I’ve trimmed it to an 8 ½ x 8 ½ inch square.

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On the back mark an “X” from corner to corner.

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Fold each corner to the center making your folds crisp and clean.

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Without unfolding those, fold opposite edges to the center, again making sure your folds are crisp and clean. Unfold those edges and fold in the other edges.

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Open the entire square. You should see a lot of creases.

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I’ve marked the ones that need to be clipped. (You’ll only do one pair of opposite sides.)

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I’ve now shaded four triangles. Cut these off.

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Fold the sides that haven’t been cut into the center like this…

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Now fold in the sides that have been cut.

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Make sure every thing is square and laying flat and tape the center where the points meet.

There’s the top of your box! Isn’t it pretty?

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Do the exact same thing for the bottom, only make sure you start with an 8 x 8 inch square instead of 8 ½ x 8 ½ . When your box is finished it will be 3 x 3 x 1 ½ inches.

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You can make these in any size using anything you can fold. The possibilities are endless.

Stay tuned for what I plan to do with those boxes.
(Insert maniacal laughter.)

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hands on learning...literally!

Some of you may remember that Cassie (DD16) wants to be an interpreter for the deaf when she grows up. With this in mind, I've really been trying to connect her with anything and everything I can to help her explore this interest. We've signed up for an online signing class, and we've toured the Mississippi School for the Deaf. (We're still waiting for word on whether we can volunteer there or not.) It seems like God is in on this whole thing too as He's made an interesting arrangement of His own. The mother of one of our friends is deaf. (I'll call the mom "L".) Because our friend recently had surgery, his mother has come to stay a few weeks. Last Sunday she taught Cassie some ASL (American Sign Language) signs for "Amazing Grace". Today "L", her daughter-in-law "C". and "C's" mom "D", came over for cake and coffee. (I've decided I still like the occassional tea-party even though I'm 43.) While my girls and I didn't get much done in the way of "book learning" today, we all had wonderful lessons in hospitality, cake baking, and ASL. Since none of us is fluent in ASL, it made for interesting conversation to use what we knew, plus lots of finger spelling and even paper and pen to communicate. Not only did we learn a lot, we had fun doing it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mom in Space!

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NASA had a display trailer set up outside the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science for three days this week. Since Candace is studying space, I thought it would make for a good field trip. I’ll confess I was a little disappointed (which is what happens when one’s expectations fall short of reality) in the space exhibit. The really cool interactive floor wasn’t working and there really weren’t that many interesting things to see. L We did have our pictures made in space suits and received a free pencil. (Well, actually, our pictures were superimposed on a picture of a space suit. Does that count?)

All was not lost, though, as we decided to go into the museum itself and have a look around. Their newest exhibit is Hunters of the Sky. It has to be their coolest exhibit ever. Though all of them were stuffed, there were many very cool looking owls, several eagles, assorted other raptors, and even a California Condor. We saw owl pellets, whole and dissected, real x-rays of wounded birds, and an eagle’s nest. There were several interactive stations such as viewing various feather types under a microscope, experimenting with air currents, and trying to identify different raptors. Unfortunately my girls weren’t quite as eager to read the wealth of information as I was, but I’m sure they learned a lot anyway.

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To me, the coolest thing was the eagle’s nest diorama. It was huge! I can’t imagine seeing such a sight in real life. I’m sure it would take my breath away. I had wondered where they got the birds since I know the museum staff didn’t go out and kill all these birds just to show them to us. One of the plaques said that the baby eagles in the display had been killed in a storm.

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Since Candace and I had been reading about owls, it was really neat to see all the different owls right there. And that California Condor! O, my goodness, if I ever saw one of those flying over I’d think the dinosaurs were back. That thing is huge. It is sad to note that the one on display had died from drinking anti-freeze. How tragic!

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We pretty much had the place to ourselves which was nice. Though we didn’t spend the entire day there, it was really cool. I’m so glad we went. I hope I can go again before it leaves December 30th.

Bonus picture:

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Ever see a giant praying mantis made of pine straw?