Help For the Man Who Hated Christmas — A Kindness Story

This is a moving story – and a creative solution … I like it.

Help For the Man Who Hated Christmas — A Kindness Story.

Christmas Dinner Conversations

To bring that focus back to Christ during the holidays, you can make a conversation jar to steer you in the right direction.

Purchase a Christmas jar or canister, or decorate one of your own.

On 2″x4″ strips of paper, write questions that pertain to Christmas. Fold the strips and place them in the jar.

During dinner each night in December, have a different family member pull a question from the jar. Then go around the table, taking turns giving answers.


Here are a few questions to get you started, but part of the fun is coming up with your own.

  • Describe the sounds that might have been heard in the stable on Christmas night.
  • Who do you think took care of the sheep when the shepherds ran off to see baby Jesus?
  • Describe a Christmas tree to a blind person.
  • What do you think the wise men wore when they visited Jesus?
  • What smells do you imagine were in the stable?
  • What do you think the animals were thinking when Jesus was born?
  • What is your favorite Christmas present ever?
  • What Christmas tradition means the most to you?
  • How much light does it take to drive out darkness?
  • What are some amazing facts about the Christmas story?
  • What is your favorite Christmas carol?
  • What is your favorite Christmas smell?
  • What is your favorite Christmas food?
  • What is your favorite Christmas memory?
  • Describe how the sky looked when the angels appeared to the shepherds.
  • Which person in the Christmas story would you like to have been?

by Sharon Jaynes

  • Publisher: Moody Publishers (August 1, 2001)
  • ISBN-10: 0802416993            ISBN-13: 978-0802416995 

Burkha Rage


QP : email

… I think that emails are not the best way to disagree with or to correct someone.

Old fashioned telephones or face-to-face conversations are better. Then intonations and gestures (the para-language cues) give more information – and less chance of hurt or misunderstanding.

It Makes Sense

For MUMSense Magazine, NZ, (c) April 2009

Living Each Day of Your Life

“What a wonderful world!”

“Life is for living.”

It’s a great day, a beautiful day;
The kind of day that makes you want to say
“I’m glad that I’m alive”,
I’m happy to be me,
and that’s the way to be … (thanks, Barney).

As much as I liked my children watching Barney, that purple dinosaur on TV and videos, sometimes he and his singing-dancing friends were just too chirpy and cheerful.

At least once in the days when I was surrounded by the never-ending piles of laundry and the cleaning, wiping burping cycle of existence, I said, “I hate my life”.

I didn’t feel blessed with a home, a committed supportive husband and two lovely little cherubs. But after some hugs and kind words about being a good mum and wife from my husband, I got better, well, saw life differently.

I changed some expectations I held, especially as they really belonged to other people.

So, my house wasn’t a picture out of “Our Home and Garden”, at least the lounge had clear seats to sit on. So, shirts didn’t get ironed more than once a month and DH had to iron his own, they had been washed and hung up.

To remind myself of what I had achieved in the roundabout (or was it a Trabant, that twirling roundabout you get strapped in to that goes up and down as well!), I jotted in my diary the things I did do. There was a repetitive pattern to them with nothing noticeably startling like from my working days. But there was sufficient in those daily notes to remind myself that I was a ‘good mum’ of littlies – cleaning, playing, book time “reading”, feeding, visitors, and – a highlight in my social calendar – going to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).

Life changes over the years – so do our children. And so do we as mums.

Choosing a healthy and positive perspective helps us get through.

Do what you can. Enjoy your days!
Johanna W
President, MOPS (NZ) Inc.

MUMSense Magazine is a great little publication. 16 pp. NZ$6 at present for 4 issues per year (for NZ addresses only).
Enquiries:    ~ 
Or post with subscription form to : MUMSense, P O Box 12-307, Hamilton, NZ

Distracted 9yo

My 9yo boy gets distracted doing workbooks, cleaning his room, doing all sorts of chores and tasks around home, but sit him in the middle of his lego or brainbox circuitry and he’s focussed for ages! So, I know he can focus in. (He’s a dreamer. I love him dearly.)

I set the stove timer beeper for 20 minutes – not always so he’s finished (though I think he could be with sustained effort), but for him to learn how long 20 minutes is.

But after an hour eg of doing 4-6 pages of maths workbook (I can’t always sit with him to focus him in to work), I stop him and we have a break and on to something else. I know that if I sit with him and ask questions, he knows it and often very well. It’s the sticking-with-the-programme by himself that’s the issue! along with getting started quickly – often he twiddles with pen and bobs up and down out of his seat for this and that.

When there’s a strong external motivation (ice cream, outing, computer time), he does much better – but I’d like him to have internal motivation to get things done smartly.

“When you have finished that, then you can …” or “You have one hour to do your maths and ride your bike. You do your maths first, but at o’clock we are then going to …(something else)”.

I think it’s a long-term training – and finding a balance (sorry no simple answer, wish I knew one!)

  • awareness of time and its value
  • finding different methods of working that produce learning and understanding of topics (not always written in a book)
  • allowing times for their creativity and imagination to develop
  • awareness of fitting in with others
  • self-discipline to do work set by you/teacher
  • following instruction, coming under rightful authority

9yo sped through a writing exercise the other day because of some strong external motivation and, when finished, he clearly saw that going slow actually doesn’t produce better work. His handwriting in the fast work was markedly better than his slow work – so, we learn and build on these times.

Try all sorts of methods and motivations. Build on what brings positive results. 

Lord, give me patience.

~ Jo

Th : Marsalis Weaves A Song

Weaving Glory out of Goofiness

I HAVE to share this with you, having found this in my archives.
Wynton Marsalis is an immaculate classically trained jazz trumpet player – absolutely mesmerising.

Wynton Marsalis Rescues a Song

Journalist David Hajdu recently told a memorable story about Wynton Marsalis, one of the most easily recognizable jazz musicians in our day and one of the premier jazz trumpeters of all time.

One night, Marsalis was playing with a small, little-known combo in a New York basement club. A few songs into their set, he walked to the front of the bandstand and began an unaccompanied solo of the 1930s ballad, “I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You.”

Hajdu records that the audience became rapt as Marsalis’s trumpet virtually wept in despair, almost gasping at times with the pain in the music.

Stretching the mood taut, Marsalis came to the final phrase, with each note coming slower and slower, with longer and longer pauses between each one: “I… don’t… stand… a… ghost… of… a… chance”

Then someone’s cell phone went off. It began to chirp an absurd little tune. The audience broke up into titters, the man with the phone jumped up and fled into the hallway to take his call, and the spell was broken. “MAGIC—RUINED,” the journalist scratched into his notepad.

But then Marsalis played the cellphone melody note for note. He played it again, with different accents. He began to play with it, spinning out a rhapsody on the silly little tune, changing keys several times. The audience settled down, slowly realizing that they were hearing something altogether extraordinary. Around and around Marsalis played for several minutes, weaving glory out of goofiness.

Finally, in a masterstroke, he wound down seamlessly to the last two notes of his previous song: “… with… you.” The audience exploded with applause.

In the same way, our brilliant, adaptable God is at work throughout this sin-sick world, bringing beauty out of baseness, heroism out of holocaust, love out of loss—even salvation out of sacrifice. He calls us to believe, and then do the same.

Citation: John G. Stackhouse, Jr., Faith Today (May/June, 2003), p. 54;
submitted by Kevin DeRaaf, Burlington, Ontario
When I read this again this morning I thought this is like us with our children. We take their behaviour and graciously guide, mould, and train them – bringing out their beauty and the beauty of God’s plan.
Be inspired,
Hn, NZ