Humphrey’s First Christmas

Author & Illustrator:  Carol Heyer

Humphrey’s First Christmas is a must for every home library.  Just trust us – you don’t even need to read the rest of this post, just go directly to the bottom and order this book.  It’s a keeper.

Heritage 2 Legacy

This month we invite you to use Carol Heyer’s book as a prompt to share a story about a Christmas memory from your past.  Do you remember a special gift (one you received or gave)?  Were you ever in a Christmas program – if so, what part did you play?  Perhaps your family had a special tradition.  

If you are participating in H2L, then use Humphrey.., or another book you have chosen, as a prompt to launch a personal story.  Don’t feel as though you have to share all of your Christmas memories; leave another memory-moment for next year’s storytelling H2L.

Now back to Humphrey’s First Christmas.

Have you ever felt unappreciated? Overlooked? If so, you are bound to be a little grumpy and out-of-sorts.  You need to meet Humphrey.  He is a burden-bearing camel on a long journey, who has lost his precious carpet blanket along this tedious caravan route.  To make matters worse, no one seems concerned.  Will Humphrey ever find joy?

Carrying one of the three wise men who are bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus, one would think that Humphrey would be full of joy.  Instead, this regal beast of kings is grumpy, grumbling and disgruntled!  Why, he’s even complaining about his name, thinking –

Beloved
Most Beauteous and
Exalted King of All
should be my name…
And to make matters worse, Humphrey has lost his dearest possession.  Humphrey’s antics to retrieve his treasure may bring smiles to the reader, but as he kneels before the manger, this disgruntled camel himself begins to smile.  What gift could he possibly give to the ONE who truly is

Beloved
Most Beauteous and
Exalted King of All…

This beautifully written story, along with its gorgeous, yet whimsical artwork will clearly lead readers to an understanding of the first Christmas.

Don’t miss our 2014 PODCAST with author and illustrator
(and Fireflies’ friend), Carol Heyer.

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How can you not fall in love with this face?

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H2L: Mary Byrne Kline

Here’s my ‘simple memory’ of a family tradition from my childhood prompted  from this month’s H2L book.  After I read Humphrey’s First Christmas (one of my favorite Christmas books) I will share the following with my grandchildren.
What memory will you share?

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Mary Byrne Kline (center) and her sisters

My parents loved dressing me and my sisters alike and having our pictures taken every year. And although I may have been an adorable looking child,  my personality was quite a bit like Humphrey’s – I could be pretty grumpy and ornery. Just as my sweet mother had the three of us arranged perfectly on a bench by the tree, the photographer gasped, and said, “Perhaps we should just take a picture of two of your daughters.” Mother glared at me upon seeing that I had removed an ornament off the tree, stuck it in my mouth and was sitting with it bulging from my cheeks. It’s a wonder a picture was ever taken. So, just as Humphrey found what he needed, I too was given love and forgiveness. Isn’t that what Christmas should be about after all?

Love,

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We hope you are inspired to save and share your own personal family stories.  More Heritage 2 Legacy information HERE.

“Away in A Manger” craft

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We have come across some of the sweetest ways to not only celebrate Christ’s birth but also make memories of these wonderful times with our little guys.  Some of our favorite crafts are those that include the boys’ handprints since we can go back and see how cute and chubby their hands were in previous years.  I saw this craft on Pinterest and knew that its message was just perfect.

 

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Brown, white, and yellow paint
  • Star shaped foam
  • paper plate
  • paint brush
  • light paper for background
  • scissors
  • rafia
  • marker

 

First, paint the child’s hand brown except for the thumb.  Keep the thumb nice and paint free.

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Have them gently spread their fingers apart and place their handprint on your paper.

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After your little one has washed up, mix a tiny bit of brown into your white to create a softer, lighter brown that will show up against the darker brown paint used for the “manger”.  Paint only the thumb this time.

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Position the thumb to lay in the manger and gently press down.

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Add some glue below the “baby Jesus” in the “manger and begin cutting tiny pieces of raffia to be glued onto the “manger”.

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When you have a “manger” full of hay, set aside to let it completely dry.

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While the bottom portion dries, you can add a yellow star above the “manger” scene.

After it has had time to dry, come back with a marker and add 2 eyes, a halo and a smile to baby Jesus

Ours aren’t entirely dry quite yet, but when they are, we’ll flip it over and write this sweet little poem we saw associated with this craft,

“I used my hand to make a manger, a place for Jesus to lay. I’ll use my heart so full of love, as a place for Jesus to stay.”

 

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Author: Rachel Skvaril
Sugar Artist
Fondant Flinger

 

Tell Me a Story: Nutcracker

The holiday season is brimming with the spirit of joy, love, and excitement. Why not use this seasonal spark to help create a cozy, Christmas story hour! A warm blanket spread on the floor, a crackling fire, and a delicious plate of Christmas cookies. Gather your family around your “Tell Me a Story” box and let your imaginations soar!

After enjoying the classic tale of The Nutcracker, review the progression of the story with your child. Look carefully at the beautiful illustrations as you guide them through the story sequence. Let this precious time truly absorbing the book inspire great family conversations. This tale contains wonderful, teachable moments.

  • The Nutcracker and Marie both showed great bravery as they fought the Mouse King. Ask your child if they have ever been brave despite being scared. Invite your child to share a time when they had to muster up their courage and make a brave choice.
  • Conflict resolution. Fritz was upset that Marie received the Nutcracker and he ended up breaking him. Ask your child what they thought about the choice Fritz made – would they have made a different one? What do you do when you’re upset with someone?
  • Special gifts. Ask your child if they have ever received a very special gift like Marie did in the story. What was it? Who was it from? Ask your child if they know about God’s special gift to us. Discuss with your child God’s gift of Jesus and our salvation.

Now you’re ready to introduce this month’s “Tell Me a Story” box! It will be based on The Nutcracker, so choose prompts that will reflect the Christmas spirit. Remember to keep your items to a limited quantity. Too many prompts can overwhelm your child. Choose 3-5 items that will engage their senses and inspire them to create a simple story.

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Here are a few prompt ideas inspired by The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers:

  • Christmas ornament
  • Nutcracker
  • Small wrapped present – for an added element create the present so it can be opened to reveal a tiny item of your choice inside
  • Snowflake – you can use another ornament or simply cut one out of paper
  • Tulle (texture)
  • Jingle bell (sound)
  • Fresh-cut Evergreen (smell)
  • Candy cane (smell)
  • Cinnamon stick (smell)

Moms and Dads, please take a turn at the storytelling as well. Your child will love creating with you! Keep your stories simple, so your little one will feel their efforts match yours. Create an inviting, safe storytelling environment for your kiddo. They will cherish these memories!

To complete your experience try to find a local dance company performing the ballet of the Nutcracker. Your little one might have a friend in ballet class – you could attend their recital! What a special treat for your child and the little performer!

Jocelyn Bartle

Welcome to Fireflies Blog, Jocelyn!   We’re so glad you have joined our writing team.

Jocelyn will be creating scripts for Fireflies Presents beginning January 2015
along with inspiring us to create storytelling legacy moments with her “Tell Me a Story” Box posts.

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.

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HENRIETTE
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: http://bit.ly/SewingKit

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
CONTACT