Crazy Chickens Create Traditions #GIVELIVESTOCK

I love this picture.

It was June of 2009. The 2nd annual Livestock Music Fest. We were a hot mess! No really, it was 110 degrees outside, with an added 20 fleecy costume degrees. At days end we’d lost our marbs. We had fun, yes! We did it for purpose, yes!

Raising money for livestock animals like chickens, pigs, cows, and goats is no easy task.

Photo Credit: World Vision, USA

What I love most about that “crazy chicken” picture is the small onlooker in the background. I’ll bet you missed seeing her. My daughter. She was three years old and taking it all in. As the years pass with intrepid speed and another Livestock Music Fest is planned and commissioned, I look at this picture and my heart slows. It’s always the small things. Often overlooked. These are the moments, the pictures of life that make the biggest impact. It’s how traditions are formed. Quietly and unrealized. They are the organic things that we do, make, and celebrate. Over and over, again.

This is it. This is what it’s becoming. A tradition. For her, my daughter now 9 years old, a legacy of learning how to give to those in need. A legacy of creating fun and celebration because God is so good. 

But, there’s more.

This community. It is becoming. You and your families and your children. Together, each year gathering as one to celebrate through music, food, and festivities. Each year a tradition of giving cows, chickens, and goats to help give a hand up to someone in need. These are the things that bind us in unity.

Photo Credit: World Vision, USA

What are some traditions you’re noticing in the corner of your life’s frame? Your chicks are growing–grown. It’s never too late to do something new.

LIVESTOCK MUSIC FEST — SATURDAY, JUNE 21ST — ST.PETER, MN

Market Shopping: Last Chance to #ShareJoy

There are a gazillion ways you can give.

Today is the last chance to SHARE & GIVE to be entered into my giveaway tomorrow morning. Hopefully, you’ve been able to browse World Vision’s gift catalog. If not, then click here. 

A pair of chickens is only $25! {Cluck, cluck}

Each year at the Livestock Music Festival we create a World Market experience where we offer a variety of handcrafted items from all over the globe. {Psss…side note, mark your calendars for the 7th annual LMF on Saturday, June 21st, 2014!}

Today, another way you can give is by making a donation to World Vision’s “most needed” fund to receive a world market item for yourself. Come with me as we stroll through the market…

{Click on the image for a direct link to order}

PURPLE THAI SILK SCARF {$50}

COLORS OF AFRICA SET {$100}

FAIR TRADE COFFEE SET {$65}


HAND-WOVEN GUATEMALAN HEADBAND {$25}

KENYAN PATCHWORK TOTE {$125}

Again, this is just a quick sampling of the adorable market items you’ll find over at World Vision’s gift catalog site.

Thanks again for coming with me this week. One of the many reasons we rejoice at Christmas is to give back. Wishing you and yours a very blessed Christmas!

*****

{THE GIFT GIVEAWAY}

This week I’m telling stories with World Vision that #sharejoy. I’m also giving away this gift package!
The Hole in our Gospel book, Zakale Christmas Ornament set from Kenya,  Artisian necklace, and Staci Frenes Wise Men & Angels CD. 

{HOW IT WORKS}

1. Share this post using #sharejoy and you will be entered into the drawing. That’s it… just SHARE and you’re entered! No strings attached. 
2. Give a gift or sponsor a child. If you respond by giving, leave a comment on my blog with your families gift, and you will again be entered into the drawing.
3. Throughout the week your Sharing and Giving will accumulate, giving you more chances at winning the gift this Christmas. **WINNER will be announced Saturday, December 21st** 
{Disclaimer: This post is not a paid advertisement. World Vision pays me nothing. I support and promote World Vision through this blog because I’ve seen first hand the life changing difference a gift can make to ONE family through the gift of ONE generous person.}

I’m Going to Africa!

This is not a typo. I know you thought I would say I’m going to Ireland but in fact I am going to Africa! 

The True Spirit of Christmas

I must confess that this has been the ultimate-easy-joyful Christmas on record. In the past I would do my darndest. Making lists, sorting, and containing all the things I could fathom wrapping my mind and heart around. It never worked. By the eve of Christ’s birth I would become an hurried, hassled mess. But not this year.

So what’s the difference? For the past couple weeks I’ve taken a mini-sabbatical from my day job. Historically a slower time of year, I went to my boss (aka: the hubz) for permission and he said Yes!
Here we are just a few days from Christmas and I’ve been able to quiet myself during long hours of baking, spend time reading that ole’ Christmas story, and ponder what the true spirit of Christmas really is.
As I reflect, I consider all the wonderful details in the story. I come to imagine, placing myself within the scene like a love-struck fictional bystander. I’ve found myself catching my breath a time or two…and with each passing year a new discovery unfolds.
This year I delight in the Magi. These scholarly, well-to-do foreign men traveling from the East. They were simply following their religion (astrology) and where it was leading them. In this case they were following a star (well, duh) when their journey just so happened to divinely collide with the greatest story ever told.
“When they saw the star , they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they open
ed their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”
(Matthew 2: 10-11)

Enter the True Spirit of Christmas.
Imagine the kind of faith it takes to journey into a foreign land. If you’ve done it before then you know what I’m talking about. It’s exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. To cross over cultural lines rocks our comfort level and requires an extreme act of inner faith. This is the character we find in The Wise Men. On a journey so filled with conviction that they could not rest until they found the king they set out to find.
And when they came upon the house and discovered the child, they bowed down and worshiped him. That’s odd…don’t you think? When was the last time that you became so tripped up, flat on your face humbled, that all you could do was bow your head in worship? In my experience, this usually happens to me when I’ve been blown away by the overwhelming power of something only divine nature could unfold. Almost always completely unexpected. Something mighty, a long hard journey, and the beauty before them caused them to fall in favor of the child before their eyes.
Their story could end here and it would remain magnificent but it doesn’t. Instead they add one more element to the saga. They came giving gifts. Precious, valuable, symbolic gifts. I won’t go into the symbolism of each gift (Google it if your curious) but what I find most fascinating is what is left unsaid. Later on post-Jesus’s birth we see the dynamics shift from sheer bliss to dire circumstances. With little warning, awoken from a dream from God, Joseph is told that he must flee to Egypt to escape King Herod who is on a quest to kill the new King Jesus. I imagine the significance of those gifts. A means of survival. Life sustaining gifts.
So as we embark on this Christmas journey, that we have traveled so well over the years, what gifts do we bring this season? World Vision, a Christian Humanitarian Organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and families around the globe offers one such solution. Titled none other than The True Spirit of Christmas, they offer folks like ourselves an opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone else through the gift of a livestock animal. Are you looking for a way to play a part in the story this year? Consider the True Spirit of Christmas. Make a gift today. Change a life.