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Friday, November 28, 2008

Issue #14, Dec 1, 2000


Nurturing our children in the freedom of Christ
Issue #14, Dec 1, 2000
Sr. Editor & Publisher: Elissa Wahl
Assistant Editor: Teri Brown
Contributing Editor: Angel Dyke


1. Welcome from the Editor
2. Introduction to Our New Contributing Editor
3. Preserving the Essence of Christmas, by Angel Dyke
4. The Reason for the Season , by Karen Mullins
5. The Holiday Book Box, by Deborah Taylor-Hough
6. Some Holiday Crafts
7. God is Crazy About You, author unknown
8. Closing letter from the editor
9. Subscription Information
10. Reprint Information

1. Welcome from the editor

Hi all, hope this newsletter is received in the manner it was
sent love and through God!

It's getting to be that time of the year....when we are all hectic;
decorating, running ragged buying gifts, baking cookies and who knows what else! Christmas! It might be easy to overlook the true meaning behind the season, so let's take a bit of time to reflect on Jesus, and the reason He came!

John 18: 37
"You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right
in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for
this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the
side of truth listens to me."

This issue includes some practical ways to remember Jesus, read on
and we pray you are blessed!

2. Introduction to Our New Contributing Editor:

Hi everyone, I am Angel Dyke (31), wife to Joel for 13 years, and
mommy to Hannah (11) and Rebekah (8). Here's a little bit about me.
It's wonderful to share my heart with you through articles in

Three years ago I began to feel quite unsatisfied with our lifestyle. I realized that my children were growing up quite quickly, and honestly I was missing out on most of their lives. Our days were a jumbled mass of worksheets, packed lunches, rushed suppers and harried lives. It was obvious that God had something very special in mind for our family. My husband is a pastor, and I had been blessed to be at home with my children. But then the girls went to school, and it seemed that our precious family had to contend daily with a pressing school and church schedule. I missed my daughters, Hannah (11) and Rebekah (8). Even more surprising was the realization that they missed their parents. Over the period of a year, God began to rearrange our lives in a pattern that was more harmonious to family life and service to His Kingdom. That is when we decided to bring our children home, and begin a real living quest for learning. We have found such peace and joy by having our girls home with us as part of the family unit. We are devoted to delight led learning, instead of dry dull textbooks. It has been a joy to journey daily in our search for wisdom, through the Bible and by experiencing God's creation. Learning is a natural part of our lifestyle and happens almost spontaneously. As a wife of 13 years and a mommy for 11, I can say I have truly found my calling, and I love what I do!

Angel Dyke

3. Preserving the Essence of Christmas
Angel Dyke

It's that time of year again. The lights, the noise, the rush,
children crying in the mall while frantic mommies are stressing out
those credit cards and themselves. Ah, Christmas, the most wonderful
time of the year. If this is what you hate the most about Christmas,
then you will enjoy this article. In our family, we love to
celebrate Jesus' birth. Unfortunately, our society has made
Christmas a commercial mega-giant, which leaves people disheartened
and depressed after the season. For one reason or another I seem to
find myself fighting the never -ending war against commercialism each year. Here are some ideas to help us preserve the essence of what Christmas is truly about, and give our children a wonderful chance to learn through the season.

At our house we love to decorate for the season, so while you are
decorating the tree take time to pass on some of the history of
Christmas. We are trying to make this tradition less stressful. I
plan to re-do this tonight, in a much more relaxed setting, cause I
tend to get a little fussy over our tree. (Oops, true confession
time! I am a compulsive perfectionist.) Let the kid's help decorate,
even if you won't have a Martha Stewart tree! My youngest daughter
complained quite vocally this year when I mentioned getting rid of
the older ornaments and getting some new elegant Victorian
decorations. I realized that our tree has been a Christmas memory for her, and she wanted to keep it that way. Why not make some
decorations as a family, or even have a small tree from the dollar
store that is strictly full of homemade decorations?

During tree time is a wonderful time to share the symbolism of what
our decorations mean. Point out that the tree is a triangle shape,
representing the Trinity. The tree is also a reminder that while we
are celebrating His birth, we should not forget Jesus' sacrifice on
the tree. The lights remind us that Jesus is the light of the world,
and that He has asked us to let our light shine in the darkness. The
star reminds us of the sign for the Magi who followed in faith and
obedience to God's will. Gorgeous, glittery garland is representative of the Royal Son, leaving the richness of heaven to take on the humbling form of a servant. Doves are symbols of the Holy Spirit and his gentleness. Angels are reminders of the Christmas story. While you are hanging the balls, use the colors to teach! Red is for the blood that was shed for us. White represents forgiveness and holiness. Blue is symbolic of heaven, or eternal life. Gold ones are for heaven's streets. Green is for new life, just as the trees re-bud in spring. Purple is a symbol of His royalty, and a reminder that Jesus went through humiliation by the hands of the crowd. A nail ornament, get a big one! The hardware store will sell spikes you can place on the tree. It seems very ugly and out of place, but it is symbolic of the greatest gift ever given. I also like to wrap a gorgeous box, with a slide on lid. Make it the best package under the tree. Lay it on the side to reveal that nothing's inside. Then use it as a visual reminder that we daily give our lives as an offering to Jesus.

Instead of getting in financial pressure, why not make homemade
gifts? They are usually more appreciated and convey deeper sentiment
than store bought. Give a gift of service, last year my family gave
my aging grandmother a certificate for honey-do jobs that she is
unable to perform on her own. We took down all her drapes and cleaned them, and her ceiling fans. She was elated because it was something that had been really bothering her. Teach your children to give this season. Instead of having them focus on presents, take them to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter to serve others. Or visit the elderly and sing Christmas carols at the nursing home. Go buy presents for a needy family in your church. The opportunities are endless and you'll benefit by getting more considerate children.

Start Christmas traditions that are inexpensive and family-
oriented. We have several we like to do. We usually opt to have a
missionary family spend Christmas with us. It blesses our family to
learn of different people and cultures. We also make a traditional
jaunt out to see the lights; we bake candy to give to neighbors,
etc. Many area churches have free Christmas programs this time of
the year. Take time to read a great Christmas classic. Play in the
snow if you are lucky enough to have some! But most of all keep the
holiday centered on Jesus and you will have preserved the essence of
Christmas! May this holiday season be one of peace and blessing for
you and yours.

Read my articles at Themestream:

4. The Reason for the Season
Karen Mullins

Why bother having Christmas if you don't teach your children the
Reason for the Season? Jesus needs to be the foremost thought on our
minds during the holidays.

It is nice to get presents, but if there is no true reason for them,
why have them at all? Our family does a few things to keep a
constant reminder of this time of year.

The first day of December, we make calendar collages to count down
the days until Christmas. We scour the magazines in the house for
pictures of the true meaning of Christmas (angels, the star, families loving each other, etc) and then glue them on a piece of colored paper. Next, we make 25 cut outs and number them, securing them to the paper with tape in any order. Every day, including the first one, we pull off the right more asking how many days til it's the Big Day. When we put up our tree, the final thing we place is a nativity in front. It is not to be moved and nothing goes in front of it. Even in the midst of unwrapping their presents, the boys see the babe and know who gave them their greatest gift. Every Christmas Eve, we bake a Birthday cake for the Baby Jesus. We decorate it, (and that can take a long time) and have it ready for the morning. After that is finished, we open the family gifts and go to bed. In the morning, before we attack Santa's stash, we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and eat a piece of cake. Then we check out what Old Saint Nick has left. Have a Merry Christmas and may Jesus Bless you this Season!

Copyright 2000 Deborah Taylor-Hough
Used with permission. All rights reserved.

A great idea for the holidays is to set aside a special box or basket containing your family's special Christmas and/or holiday books. This Holiday Book Box only comes out during the Advent season, and is then put away again with the decorations after the first of the year.

For some ideas of the types of books you might add to your Holiday
Book Box, I'm including the following list of favorite Christmas
reading. This list was compiled following a discussion between a
group of mothers looking for worthwhile holiday books for their
family reading times. Use your own discretion about what would be
appropriate reading for your particular family.

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Becky's Christmas, by Tasha Tudor
(The) Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson
Christmas at Long Pond, by William T. George
(The) Christmas Box, by Richard Paul Evans
(The) Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, by Susan Wojciechowski
(The) Christmas Stories of George MacDonald, by George MacDonald (out of print)
(The) Christmas Tree, by Julie Salamon
(The) Crippled Lamb, by Max Lucado
(The) Donkey's Dream, by Barbara Helen Berger
(The) First Christmas, by Marcia Williams (out of print)
(The) Glorious Impossible, by Madeleine L'Engle
Martin Luther's Christmas Book, by Martin Luther
(The) Night Before Christmas, by Clement Moore, illustrated by Jan
A Northern Nativity: Christmas Dreams of a Pairie Boy, by William
One Wintry Night, by Ruth Bell Graham
Rembrandt: The Christmas Story
Seven Stories of Christmas Love, by Leo F. Buscaglia
(The) Story of Christmas: Words from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, illustrated by Jane Ray
Tale of Three Trees, by Angela Elwell Hunt
This is the Star, by Joyce Dunbar


Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and
Joy Back into the Season, by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli
Don't wait until Christmas to read this book! The earlier you start
thinking about the holidays, the easier it will be to make any
necessary changes in your celebrations.

Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month, by Deborah
Less time in the kitchen means more time for activities you really
enjoy. This book will show you a step-by-step plan to simplify and
revolutionize the way you cook. Save time; save money; save your
sanity! Contains a special Ten Day Holiday Meal Plan -- perfect for
simplifying your holiday meal preparation.

Simplify Your Christmas, by Elaine St James
Simple ideas for taking the complexity out of the holidays.

Hundred Dollar Holiday, by Bill McKibben
"What we need and long for now are the gifts of time, meaningful
family connections, periods of silence, a relationship with the
divine," McKibben writes.

For further ideas and educational activities for kids, subscribe to
the new Bright-Kids email newsletter. You'll find encouragement and
practical tips for inspiring educational growth in your children and
family. To subscribe, send an email to:

SUBMITTED BY: Deborah Taylor-Hough
--Debi is the Editor, Bright-Kids E-zine and Simple Times mailto:join- She's also the author of "A Simple Choice: A
Practical Guide to Saving Your Time, Money and Sanity" and "Frozen
Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month" and the soon-to-be-
released sequel, "FROZEN ASSETS LITE & EASY" (special pre-release
orders now being taken at: ... limited time offer!)

A Frugal, Simple Life:

6. Some Holiday Crafts

Christmas Poops
This is too cute!! I know it sounds weird, but check it out!!

Chocolate Coffee Spoons

HUGE list of crafts...hope you all know how to copy/paste!! This site has so much to offer that I won't list any more links after this'll be too busy

7. God is crazy about you.
Author Unknown

If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
He sends you flowers every spring.
He sends you a sunrise every morning.
Whenever you want to talk, He listens.
He can live anywhere in the universe, yet
He chooses your heart.
Face it, friend-He is crazy about you!

8. Closing Letter

Well?!?! Did you all see the Special Edition? The book is ready for
pre-ordering! We are so excited, and feel so blessed to be a voice
for Christian Unschooling. We thank all of you who have stood by us,
supported us and shared your days with us!! The first chapter, and
chapter outlines are available at the publisher's website....go here
to
The pre-sales are slightly more cost efficient, come directly to your door, postage-paid and are autographed!

Please have a wonderful holiday season, stay safe and keep loving
your kids!!

Until next time,
Be blessed you all!

Elissa Wahl
Teri Brown
Angel Dyke

9. Subscription Information

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10. Reprint Information

Individual authors herein retain their own copyrights. You may
freely copy this entire newsletter or material from this newsletter
in other nonprofit publications (unless otherwise marked in the
article), but you MUST include the author's name and this entire

"Reprinted with permission of Elissa Wahl from Seedling, a
Christian Unschooling E-Zine. For a free subscription, send
any e-mail message to or visit

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