Archives for December 2013

Favorite gift #5

Twas the night before Christmas…

It’s the day before Christmas; the day for opening presents and sharing love.    Before all the traditional festivities begin, I want to suggest one more  gift-giving tradition to consider.  Choose an organization to bless and give a gift that will enrich/change someone else’s life.

For each of my grandchildren’s birthdays, we give a gift in their name and record it in a journal that we will present to them on their 18th birthday.   It is my prayer that each of my grandchildren will see a legacy of giving that began on their 1st birthday, and make the choice to continue that legacy.   A small investment today and then “passed forward” has the potential to multiply the blessings!

Here are four opportunities for you to consider.

Gift #1

A dear friend of mine, Deb Christian, introduced me to an angel whose name is Peace.  The following story is reality in Burundi as a result of God working through Peace’s life and through the support of friends like Deb.  Consider this an invitation to increase their story.

Sewing Kit 1

Growing up in Burundi, thirty-five year old Henriette was born from rape. When she was a young girl, her mother died of AIDS leaving Henriette, also HIV positive, in the care of a family who abused and beat her. One night, Henriette was so badly beaten that the family took her to a hospital and abandoned her there. No one came to bring her food or check on her. When she was released with a permanent limp, Henriette lived alone on the streets with no job and nowhere to go. Sometimes she returned to the hospital, seeking a safe place to sleep on its property.

One day, Henriette heard about the Tirzah International micro-enterprise training program and enrolled in the sewing class. There she not only learned to sew, but also that she was loved and valued by God and the program leaders. Now she belongs to a group that truly cares about her. Today, she is able to support herself and her big smile reflects the joy of being in a loving Christian group.

Thousands of women like Henriette need to know how much God loves them – and be shown God’s love in practical ways like micro-enterprise training. For as little as $53.50 a month, we can assure transformation takes place in the life of one woman.

How our family “wrote into” this story…
For our 2014 birthdays, we invested in 5 (we have five grandchildren) sewing kits to Tirzah graduate students to help them start their own business.  Each sewing kit is $33.80:

Also, gifts of $30 provide a nutritious lunch for a woman in Tirzah’s sewing program in Burundi … for an entire month!



Gift #2

Danita’s Children is an amazing story of how another woman allowed God to work miracles through her in Haiti.   Please take a minute and read her story HERE.   This ministry is close to Jer and Cassie’s (my son and his wife) heart and that’s how I was introduced to Danita’s Children.   Jeremy has viewed the ministry first hand as a part of a medical team and they look forward to ministering as a family in the future. Watch this short VIDEO of Jer’s last visit to Haiti to see this incredible work and catch a glimpse of how you can invest in the lives of these children.  Your heart will be moved… at least that’s my prayer!


How can your family make a difference in the life of a young child in Haiti?  CLICK HERE       Once you spend some time on this website and read about the children,  you cannot help but be moved to give and change a life.

Gift #3

BRING LOVE IN Creating new families from widows and orphans in Ethiopia.

I found out about Bring Love In through Lanise Santala who writes Moments for FirefliesBlog.   Oh how I wish I could take the time and space to share the story of Levi and Jessie.   Again, please take a minute to read about this dear family and how God is working in and through them to make a difference in His name.   Watch the videos on the site and read the story of how they were called to create this ministry.


Gift #4

A Dream Center in Washington, DC.   Here’s the BROCHURE [.pdf]

I’m starting to get emotional as I type this, realizing how blessed I am to have two children who teach me to give and make a difference in my world.

This last opportunity comes from my daughter Jamie and her husband’s heart – to create a place in DC to minister and bless families in need.   Michael and Jamie have been a part of this story since this dream was laid on the heart of the leadership of their church, National Community Church.


The Dream Center is dedicated to meeting both tangible and spiritual needs in our city, the DC Dream Center will be focused on serving the poor and the disenfranchised and being a place of reconciliation and refuge for Southeast DC.


Just think – in the next 10 minutes on December 24th, with just a few clicks of your computer keyboard, you can make a difference in someone’s life for eternity.   Your family can be a part of being a part of a miracle-story in Burundi, Haiti, Ethiopia, and/or Washington, DC!

This Christmas, step out in faith and open your heart to God’s still voice.  Consider adding just one more present under the tree tomorrow, next to all the Lego sets and doll clothes.  Check out the websites for giving opportunities, print out the receipt, tie it with a big red bow to your Christmas tree, and teach your children in a tangible way how it is so much better to give than receive.

Bring Love In

Danita’s Children

Taziah International

DC Dream Center:  Southeast Whitehouse

May the heart of Christmas, which began with the wonder of a babe in the manger, inspire your family to draw closer to the One who IS Christmas.  Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Merry Christmas with deep appreciation from the Fireflies’ Team!

Deni Corbett

Bear Stays Up

imgres-3Author:  Karma Wilson
Illustrator:  Jane Chapman

Here at Fireflies we LOVE the “great brown bear”.   In his cave in the woods, in his deep, dark lair,  sometimes Bear Snores On.   During November, Bear learned a valuable lesson with all of his woodland friends in Bear Says Thanks.  Now we want you to join Bear and his friends for Christmas!

Bear’s friends are determined to keep him awake for Christmas!  But they have a problem.

“The day before Christmas,
snuggled on his floor,

Bear sleeps soundly
with a great big snore.”

With a stretch and a great sigh,  Bear awakes and his little friends soon have him stomping and tromping through the woods.  They’ve hoisted a Christmas tree onto his back to decorate in his cave. Soon corn is popping, tea is brewing, but Bear’s eyelids are drooping. “But Bear stays up.”  All the friends hang stockings and sing songs until all but one has dozed off… can you guess “who” has stayed up?

Bear works away, piling presents under the tree.  “Someone”  appears in the doorway to  the cave.  Who could be making this surprise visit?


Mary Byrne Kline

1.  What word is used for animals sleeping through the winter?

2. Name some ways the animal friends helped each another.

3. From whom did Bear receive the quilt?

A Wish to be a Christmas Tree

Author:  Colleen Monroe
Illustrator:  Michael Glenn Monroe

imgres-2Have you ever wanted to be taller… shorter?  Maybe you’ve thought someone would like you better if you could change something about yourself, so you tried to change.  True friends will like us for who we are on the inside and the outside.  That’s a lesson our tall, lonely pine tree at the edge of the Christmas tree farm needs to learn.

As families drive out to the tree farm to choose and cut down their Christmas tree, the excitement of being chosen builds among the fat Scotch pines –  all except for one.  He knows his days of being picked are over.

“I’ll never be taken home, I’m too big and too tall.”
His sobbing and crying made his pine needles fall.

However, tall pine’s wish to become a Christmas tree is about to be answered in a most unusual way.  Over the years, without ever complaining, he has provided shelter and resting places for countless woodland creatures.  That night while tall pine sleeps a special gift from all his friends takes place.

The first morning sun brought a wondrous sight,
as icicles glimmered and captured the light!

Tall pine realized that being a good friend and having true friends  was even more important than being a Christmas tree.

Mary Byrne Kline

1.  Name something kind you could do for someone.

2.  Does a treasure have to cost a lot of money?



Joy Joy Joy!


(Click on link below for the Youtube video!)

Joy Joy Joy!

Christmastime is here … and usually that means that Christmas music begins to play the day after Thanksgiving at the Ries house.  There is just something wonderful about Christmas music that stirs up memories for all of us.

The word that comes to mind for me is JOY.

It takes me back to memories of watching my sweet children sing with great gusto “Away in a Manger” while rocking an imaginary baby (my girls ~ ever so gently … my son ~ well, you get the picture)!

It’s the memory of snuggling up on the couch and watching Merry Christmas Charlie Brown and Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It’s taking almond pastries to our neighbors and caroling at their door.  All of this brings this mommy’s heart such JOY!

So sing … dance … make music with your family this Christmas.  I know that brings GREAT JOY to God’s heart.

JoyJoyJoy Lyrics (sheet music coming soon)