Monday, 30 November 2009

First Monday of Advent - Creation



Today we are looking at the story of Creation.



Genesis 1 - 2:3 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Genesis 1

The Creation
 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.   2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and He called the darkness "night." Evening came, and then morning: the first day.
    6 Then God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters, separating water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above the expanse. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." Evening came, and then morning: the second day.
    9 Then God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry land "earth," and He called the gathering of the water "seas." And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, "Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit with seed in it, according to their kinds." (I) And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it, according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 Evening came, and then morning: the third day.
    14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for festivals and for days and years. 15 They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made the two great lights—the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night—as well as the stars. 17 God placed them in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth, 18 to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 Evening came, and then morning: the fourth day.
    20 Then God said, "Let the water swarm with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the large sea-creatures and every living creature that moves and swarms in the water, according to their kinds. [He also created] every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 So God blessed them, "Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth." 23 Evening came, and then morning: the fifth day.
    24 Then God said, "Let the earth produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that crawl, and the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. 25 So God made the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and creatures that crawl on the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
    26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the animals, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth."
    27 So God created man in His own image;
    He created him in the image of God;
    He created them male and female.
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth." 29 God also said, "Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you, 30 for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth—everything having the breath of life in it. [I have given] every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Evening came, and then morning: the sixth day.

Genesis 2

 1 So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed. 2 By the seventh day, God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

First Sunday of Advent - Introduction of the Jesse Tree

Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  I will be posting our bible readings for our Jesse Tree each day from now until Christmas.

1 Samuel 16: 1-13 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Samuel Anoints David
 1 The LORD said to Samuel, "How long are you going to mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem because I have selected a king from his sons."
    2 Samuel asked, "How can I go? Saul will hear [about it] and kill me!"
    The LORD answered, "Take a young cow with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.' 3 Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will let you know what you are to do. You are to anoint for Me the one I indicate to you."
    4 Samuel did what the LORD directed and went to Bethlehem. When the elders of the town met him, they trembled and asked, "Do you come in peace?"
    5 "In peace," he replied. "I've come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice." Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and said, "Certainly the LORD's anointed one is here before Him."
    7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart."
    8 Jesse called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. "The LORD hasn't chosen this one either," Samuel said. 9 Then Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, "The LORD hasn't chosen this one either." 10 After Jesse presented seven of his sons to him, Samuel told Jesse, "The LORD hasn't chosen any of these." 11 Samuel asked him, "Are these all the sons you have?"
    "There is still the youngest," he answered, "but right now he's tending the sheep." Samuel told Jesse, "Send for him. We won't sit down to eat until he gets here." 12 So Jesse sent for him. He had beautiful eyes and a healthy, handsome appearance.
    Then the LORD said, "Anoint him, for he is the one." 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil, anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the LORD took control of David from that day forward. Then Samuel set out and went to Ramah.

Isaiah 11:1-10 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Isaiah 11

Reign of the Davidic King
 1 Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
    2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him —
    a Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    a Spirit of counsel and strength,
    a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
    3 His delight will be in the fear of the LORD.
    He will not judge
    by what He sees with His eyes,
    He will not execute justice
    by what He hears with His ears,
    4 but He will judge the poor righteously
    and execute justice for the oppressed of the land.
    He will strike the land
    with discipline from His mouth,
    and He will kill the wicked
    with a command from His lips.
    5 Righteousness and faithfulness
    will be a belt around His waist.
    6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
    and the leopard will lie down with the goat.
    The calf, the young lion, and the fatling will be together,
    and a child will lead them.
    7 The cow and the bear will graze,
    their young ones will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like an ox.
    8 An infant will play beside the cobra's pit,
    and a toddler will put his hand into a snake's den.
    9 No one will harm or destroy
    on My entire holy mountain,
    for the land will be as full
    of the knowledge of the LORD
    as the sea is filled with water.
Israel Regathered
 10 On that day the root of Jesse
will stand as a banner for the peoples.
The nations will seek Him,
and His resting place will be glorious.


Friday, 27 November 2009

Free Recipe Friday - Make Ahead Dishes

Now that the Christmas Season is upon us time is often short for everyone.  In order to help keep the stress down in our house I spend a couple of afternoons making extra meals and freezing them.  This way when I come home late and I don't have time to cook my family can enjoy a delicious homemade meal and I am not pulling out my hair!    Another way to accomplish this is to double your favourite dinner recipe and freeze half of it for another time.  Believe me you will be so relieved when you are able to just pull something healthy and delicious out of your freezer.   Sorry I don't have a photo for this.  My family ate it all up before I had a chance to get out the camera!

Cheesy Chicken Packets
This recipe makes 12 servings.
2 cups Bread Crumbs
1 cup Grated Chedder Cheese
2 tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
12 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 cup melted Butter

Serving Day:
4 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

Assembly Directions:
Mix together bread crumbs, cheeses, salt and pepper.  Dip chicken pieces in melted butter, then in cheese mixture.  Tuck sides of chicken breasts under to form individual bundles.

Freezing Directions:
Wrap each bundle in plastic wrap then place in freezer bags.

Serving Directions:
Remove each chicken packet from the plastic.  Thaw and place chicken in large, shallow baking dish.  Melt remaining T of butter and pour over the bundles.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees approximately 1 hour until chicken is crispy.  Goes great with a side dish of rice and a salad. 

The Christmas Countdown has begun....

Time flies and Christmas is now only one month away.  Here, at the McGibbon Zoo the preparations have begun.  Our outside decorations are up and we are planning on decorating the inside of our house this weekend.  Our Christmas lights although hung, will not be turned on until this Sunday as it is the first Sunday of Advent.

Last year, as a family we took some steps towards simplifying Christmas and keeping the importance on Christ.  (If you would like to read some of my thoughts and ideas about what we did last year this is the Advent Link.)  It is so easy to get wrapped in all the business of the season and to never actually celebrate Christ's birth and all the God has done.  This year, in order to help us focus everyday we are in the process of building a Jesse Tree.  Jason made the tree frame and cut the ornaments out of wood.  Our boys helped to sand the ornaments and they drilled the ribbon holes.  Caroline and I have begun to decorate the ornaments and Trinity will have the job of stringing the ribbon through the ornaments so that we can hang them.  It has been a fun process through which we have all been involved.

If you would like to celebrate this tradition you it is really easy to do.  We chose to make ours out of wood but if you don't have time for that this year, there are lots of sites on the internet about making different kinds of trees out of paper or other craft materials.  You can even print one off the internet and place it on your refrigerator.  It really does not have to be elaborate.  The important part I think is spending the time together as a family each day to focus on God's story.  I am really looking forward to this Sunday when we will gather together as a family to read God's Word and begin to trace the journey of God's unfailing love for us.  We will meet together as a family everyday during the Advent season to read God's story and to hang an ornament.

If you have never heard about this tradition the representation of the Jesse Tree is taken from the Bible, in Isaiah 11: 1
"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
       from his roots a Branch will bear fruit."

The tree is named after King David’s father, Jesse, with twenty-eight different ornaments that symbolize promises from God or milestones in the faith. Typically one ornament is placed on the tree for each day of Advent, but Advent can range from twenty-one to twenty-eight days depending on the year, so adjustments must be made to how many ornaments are placed on the branches each day. The ornaments are placed on the tree chronologically from creation through the birth of Christ, and they also are placed from the bottom of the tree to the top, so Christ is alone at the top of the tree on Christmas day.  If you would like more information about the story of the Jesse tree and how to build one for your own family follow this link.

I will be posting our bible readings and a photo of our ornament each day throughout the advent season.  If you already have a Jesse Tree I would love to hear about your tradition and if you decide to make one with your kids I would love to see photos.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Free Recipe Friday - Roasted Root Vegetables

The weather today is finally feeling more like November.  Today's recipe is a great side dish on these cool and crisp fall evenings.

Roasted Root Vegetables

    •    1 T olive oil
    •    1 red onion, sliced
    •    4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
    •    2 carrots, peeled and diced
    •    1 turnip, peeled and diced
    •    1 yam or sweet potato, peeled and diced
    •    2 parsnips, peeled and diced
    •    1 t dried rosemary
    •    1 t dried thyme
    •    1 pinch salt
    •    1/2 t black pepper
    •    1 T balsamic vinegar, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl; toss to combine. Place mixture on a sheet pan. Bake 30 minutes, turning vegetables every 10 minutes until vegetables are tender and slightly browned. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar before serving.
Makes approximately 8 servings.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Free Recipe Friday - Kid Sushi for Lunch Twist

Last week Trinity Joy and I surprised the kids with a fun lunch. This was really easy and I think it would travel well in a reusable container if you were packing a lunch for school. Trinity was able to help me with almost all of prep work so she loved this recipe. At four years of age she loves to help in the kitchen and to be able to try anything that mommy is doing. Her favourite part of this particular recipe was flattening the bread with the rolling pin. We made Peanut Butter and Jam, Salmon and lettuce and Pizza Sushi. Really the possibilities for fillings are endless. If you have a peanut allergy substitute cream cheese for the peanut butter.


2 pieces of bread per person
Peanut Butter and Jam
Canned Salmon and Lettuce
Pepperoni, Pizza Sauce and Mozzarella cheese
(really any filling will work, hummus, deli turkey, thinly sliced veggies - use your imagination or try different combinations)

Lay a slice of bread on your cutting board and let your child roll over it with your rolling pin. Lots of smashing noises by your child is encouraged! Spread a thin layer of whatever filling you have decided over 3/4 of the bread. We used peanut butter in our photo below. Roll it up starting at the filling edge working towards the plain bread edge. Press to seal the edge. Slice with a sharp knife into sushi bite pieces and serve. This part is best for the adult to do! We served our sushi with chopsticks for the kids and they had a great time. This was a really fun surprise for lunch to shake things up and Trinity was very excited to be able to help me serve a meal.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

It Has Been A Year

It is hard for me to believe that one year ago today I was in the midst of the hardest day of my life and I was waiting. Many of you were also waiting for news from Liam's operating room. Can you believe it has really been one whole year? This photo was taken right before Liam and I went into the operating room together. As I look at it, I find it hard to believe that I did not really know how things were going to turn out that day and if I would get the same son back that I had kissed good-bye.

One year ago today on November 5th, 2008 Jason and I sat with family and friends and waited and prayed for Liam and his surgeons, and I was blessed. In the midst of this incredibly difficult time I learned more about my God. His infinite grace, His love for us, His faithfulness, His plans and how they are different from mine, and the way that He continues to work through His people. For the most part we are now on the other side of this difficult journey with Liam and looking back it is easy for me to see God's hands all over our walk in the valley.

Looking back it is quite clear to me all the moments of beauty that He designed to encourage us along the way. Looking back I don't just remember the tears and the heartache, I remember the moments when I felt God's presence through a hug, a warm meal, heartfelt prayers from people we did not know, emails of scripture and encouragement and God's church working at its best. Many of you stood in the gap for us during this time. Times when I felt all prayed out. Times when I no longer had any words to express how I was feeling. Times when I was so tired that I am sure I did not thank-you even though I was so very grateful for all you did. Times when I was so scared that even the tears would not flow. You prayed and you prayed and you prayed and God's peace overwhelmed us. Every time Satan tried to get a foothold, you prayed for us and you loved us and he was no match. As I look back it really was an incredible time that has become an important spiritual marker in my walk with Jesus. Thank-you to everyone who played a part.  God continues to be glorified in this situation, as just this week we have again been asked to speak at McMaster Children's Hopsital Event on December 2nd.  One year ago today I could have never dreamed all that our God had in store.  He truly is amazing!

 If you want to know more about Liam's journey click on Liam's health at the side of this blog under Labels and you can read all the posts about his story (it starts from the newest post so you would have to work backwards to get the story in order).  Here is a link to my first post about our journey which started July 2008.  It is called Breathe.