Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Jesse Tree

Why it is called "The Jesse Tree"
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit, And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:1-2

The Jesse Tree is my favorite thing we do as a family. Last Fall, my mom gave me this tree and all of the ornaments (most of them, she made) as a gift. Each ornament is wrapped and has a number on the front of the package. Each ornament corresponds with a daily devo tion we do as a family in order to prepare our hearts for Christmas. The ornaments take us on a journey through the Bible, highlighting key
figures, events, ultimately resulting in the grand finale, the Incarnation of Christ. We did this last year with Ryann as a two year old. She enjoyed it, and loved opening the ornament each night. This year, however, was incredible, as Mark and I watched her begin to understand the significance of each ornament. I know it will get better with each year. This is an incredible tool for families during the season of Advent. You can google "jesse tree" and lots of information (including daily devotions for children) comes up. The Jesse Tree devotions go from November 29-December 25.

The Jesse Tree Box, filled with daily presents for Ryann to open as we participate in Advent...leading up to the celebration of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Mark and Ryann, ready to start the night's devotion

For example, Day 20 was the story of Daniel. We read Daniel 6 and then talked about how Daniel worshipped God even though it might cost him everything,even his own life. Ryann opend the package marked 20 and pulled out a lion ornament, representing Daniel's courage and loyalty to the one true God.

Ryann putting the Lion ornament (from the story of Daniel) on the Jesse Tree

Almost Complete Jesse Tree

Christmas was so Fun with Ryann this year....3 is really a great age.

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving was very special this year. My whole family flew in from Dallas and Dayton, Ohio to have Thanksgiving with us in Seattle. What a Blessing! We had such a great time showing them "our new world" here in the Northwest. Some highlights included: cooking Thanksgiving sides with my sister, Pike Place Market, seeing Tangled, visiting Santa at Pike Place Market, and the Seattle Half Marathon.

Some pictures of our Thanksgiving weekend:
We ate at The Pink Door, so far our favorite restaurant near the good!

Pictures of the family taken at the Olympic Sculpture Garden

The weekend ended with the Seattle Half-Marathon. Mark, Read, and myself ran it and had a great time. The scenery was much prettier than last year's White Rock, but I thought the Seattle Half was much harder....lots of hills!! My legs were sooo tired afterwards. Mark and Read were very patient with me and my slow pace.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Beyond the numbers..

It is World AIDS day. If you get a chance, please read this blog post from World Concern. My world is so very small. Until recent years, I never thought about AIDS. Or if I did, it was fleeting, a twinge of sadness. I am learning more and more about it, and my heart hurts...So today, please be in prayer for those with AIDS/HIV or those orphaned by the disease. Beyond the numbers and stats, these are people...sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, loved...