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 Amazon.com nor Books-a-million have this title. Amazon.com 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

(Amazon.com 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 chocolatebytes.com. 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. Snopes.com 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!