crafting a meaningful little project at a time

Thursday, December 12, 2013

3 Ways to Make Facebook Work for YOU This Christmas Season

Here we are, almost halfway through the month of December, a couple weeks into Advent, and so close to Christmas you can almost count the days on two hands…how are you feeling? At peace, at rest, and prepared to celebrate the true reason for the season? Or do you find yourself overwhelmed, overstressed, and overloaded? Do you log onto Facebook each day and find yourself deflated, demoralized, and just asking yourself how everyone in your newsfeed seems to have more than you and do more than you…and you log off feeling bummed out? Don’t do it! I invite you to revisit the way you are using Facebook this Christmas season…or the way it’s using you! Here are three tips to help make Facebook work for YOU this Christmas season!

1.       Clean Up Your Newsfeed


Are certain “friends” blowing up your newsfeed with drama? Do you find yourself obsessing over one person’s constant updates about her great cooking skills, extravagant vacations, and general together-ness? Do you feel depressed, inadequate, and ineffective as a human being after viewing certain people’s status updates? Why are you torturing yourself? For Pete’s sake, just hide their updates from your newsfeed! If you feel like bumming yourself out someday, go ahead and look them up. But save your sanity and get that negativity out of your face. Flip this around. Are there certain Facebook friends who always seem to inspire you, brighten your day, or make you laugh? Be sure to like their posts often; this will make them show up regularly in your newsfeed.


2.       Be the Good You Wish to See on Facebook


You know those people who drive you crazy on Facebook? The ones who post 10 duck-face selfies a day…the ones who vague-book about something mysterious going on, waiting for someone- anyone- to ask what’s wrong…the ones whose posts make them sound absolutely perfect in every way…Don’t be that guy! Take a moment to scroll back down through your own wall posts over the course of the last month, and apply the preschool think-before-you-speak test to your posts. On the whole, do most of your posts meet the following five criteria:


T-      Is it true?

H-     Is it helpful?

I-        Is it inspiring?

N-   Is it necessary?

K-      Is it kind?


Ok, unless you’re really into image crafting and you’re trying to make yourself over into a nicey-nicey fake version of yourself, you’ll find that there are times you just want to vent a little bit and be snarky on your Facebook wall. But this idea still sticks- are you spewing hate and rage all over your wall, or are you looking for a little camaraderie and laughter from some folks with common issues? Give an honest look at what you’re putting out there, and if you don’t like what you see on your own wall, make a change.


3.       Add God to Your Newsfeed


This is the best strategy I can offer to bring you peace and perspective via social media this Christmas season: if you are looking for a way to put God at the center of your life this Christmas, get to Him on Facebook! He doesn’t have His own page, but there are plenty of faith-based pages out there that can point you to Him every time you pop onto Facebook.


Like the following pages:


·         Proverbs 31 Ministries

·         Ann Voskamp

·         KLOVE Radio

·         Good Morning Girls

·         Time-Warp Wife

·         Amanda Lynne Designs
·         Biblical Homemaking
Once you add these to your “Like” list, you’ll find that every few posts in your newsfeed are suddenly sprinkled with scripture, inspiring quotes, printable verses, and POSITIVE Christian messaging. Even if your newsfeed still has the kinds of posts that make you wonder, "What am I doing wrong that I can't be more like THIS guy?" At least those thoughts will be tempered by thoughts of "What can I do to be more like THIS Guy?"  :)

Now click back over to your Facebook page, and get to work: make Facebook work for YOU this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Treasure Hunt Scripture Advent Calendar

Can kids find more than candy in their advent calendar this year? Is it possible to spend advent turning them away from the world, and steering them toward the Word?
I came across this awesome, creative scripture-based advent calendar DIY on Pinterest, and would love to share it with you, along with a twist to make it even more interactive for the littles in your life!
This idea came from Sweeter Than Sweets in 2011- here is the link

I followed most of her directions to make the calendar itself, but I took it a step further to make it into a daily “treasure hunt” for the kids. Here’s what I did…

I bought a decorate-your-own paper mache advent box from Hobby Lobby with a 50% coupon, which means I paid about $8 for it. I used scrapbook paper from my own stash to cover the box fronts, and printed off the numbers using Microsoft Word.

I downloaded the scripture document she included for free on her site, and cut each verse apart. I made or collected the items she suggested from my own craft supplies, and I hit up Hobby Lobby and Michael’s for some of the more random things I didn't have on hand (tiny plastic babies from the baby shower aisle, for example). I customized this awesome idea a bit to fit more with my kids’ interest level and needs at this point.

Each day I place an envelope at the kids’ places at the breakfast table. One envelope contains the slip of paper with the day’s scripture printed on it- that child is responsible for getting the Bible and helping me look up and read the verses. The other envelope contains a clue to help that child find the object of the day. For example, the scripture the author of Sweeter Than Sweet included for Day 1 was Luke 1:26-28, 31...

“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you… You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.’”

The object she suggested for use to represent this scripture reference was a craft store pair of angel’s wings. So I took my set of angel wings and taped them behind the kids’ toothbrush holder in their bathroom. The clue I left for my son that day said:

“Joey, God sent an angel to tell Mary she would have a baby…check for a sign where we make our smiles shine…”

So then his job was to go find the object, and both kids placed their stuff in the Day 1 box to look at again later. There are other great ideas for hands-on advent calendar activities that get kids away from the Santa and candy obsession and into the Word…in ways that don’t seem corny or forced. Check Pinterest- my Christmas board has a few I found, but there are tons of ideas out there…I’d love for you to share what you’re doing this season to get your kids’ (and YOUR) eyes fixed on Jesus in the midst of the wish lists and elf frenzies!