Acts of Love

On Motivation and Encouragement

Fat Tuesday February 22, 2012

Filed under: Family,Teaching and Learning — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 2:52 am
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For the next 48 days I will be preparing my heart and home for Easter Sunday. My teacher and leader at the community bible study I participate in, gave everyone a list of 48 reflection points for each day of the Lenten season. She writes; “This is not meant to be an exercise in perfection, a burden or just one more thing to do. It is to open your heart to gratitude thereby releasing joy.”

Lent is about self-relection and fasting, in order to prepare the soul for the joy of Easter. I will be taking up this tool in order to prepare myself. When we take something up, it is generally a good idea to likewise put something down, for balance. So I will be ‘fasting’ from the morning news.

Wow, I said it, so now I really have to do it…I do love watching the morning news shows, mostly because I am obsessed with pop culture and the goings on of royals and celebrities. But really, lets face it–the kind of news show I am choosing to watch will not been winning any prestigious awards for hard-hitting journalism. Its entertainment at best, and a distraction. So, farewell Robin, George, Laura, and Sam–as of tomorrow I am choosing to spend my mornings in self-reflection rather than self-gratification.

For tomorrow:

Define Mercy

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The Blessing Tree: Honoring God in our Traditions February 21, 2012

Filed under: Family,Hospitality — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 1:46 am
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I am in full-on birthday planning mode. This is not a task I take lightly–I have already written about how birthdays are very special in our home. The first birthday in particular is significant in any culture, but especially the Korean culture. So, I have been thinking about the importance of all of these traditions–the cake, the gifts, the decorations…and I have been asking myself, how can these traditions serve to honor and glorify God?

I just finished reading Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper. I was both disappointed and inspired by the book. Based solely on the title, I was expecting actual ideas and creative hints for how to honor God during the holidays, and there actually was not a whole lot of that. Instead, there was two sections–one on how to honor God in our everyday life, and another on how to honor Him during special celebratory events.

I was encouraged to commit to being deliberate and intentional with the everyday practice of being in the word, praising, worshiping, praying, and serving together as a family. I was also reminded that what we celebrate reflects what is important to us, and in a Christian home this should be Jesus–He is the anchor of our daily life and special occasions.  (She also had an incredibly compelling section on why she does not incorporate Santa into her families Christmas celebration, and I could not agree with her more. Most people are aghast when I say we ‘do not play Santa’ in our home. apparently I have a kindred spirit in Mrs. Pipper–right on sister! But I digress…)

So while reflecting on all of this I set out to make one of the focal point decorations for Harper’s birthday, a blessing tree.  According to Korean custom, a ‘wishing tree’ is set out at a special occasion and decorated with paper tags of some kind for people to write wishes on for whomever is being celebrated. These ‘wishing trees’ have become popular at Korean first birthdays, or Dols. I am sure there is much background info on where this tradition originated and what exactly is signifies, but I was not really interested in that. Rather I thought, how can I use this in a way that honors God. I thought the trees themselves were beautiful and really wanted to make one. So, I crafted what I am calling the ‘blessing tree’ where guests will be encouraged to write a special blessing for Harper. I thin the term bless points to God, whereas wish really does not. Makayla helped me to put it together while Harper slept, and we are really happy with the outcome.

In honoring little Harper, it is essential that we honor and acknowledge Harper’s Maker, the one who knit her together and knew exactly who she was when we could only imagine. I will close with the verse that I will surely be contemplating on Harper’s birthday;

“Every good gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17