Christmas time is here…

hello christmas & welcome Truth in the Tinsel

Hello cold weather.

Hello we-need-to-send-out-Christmas-cards.

Hello Christmas carols.

Hello red cups of coffee.

Hello baking cookies.

Hello ornaments.

Hello frost.

Hello Christmas.

Hello Jesus!

It’s here! The second Halloween was over, Christmas seemed to hit. Stores and television are already jumping on the Christmas train and while I get tired of the over commercialization of Christmas–I can’t help but be excited about it all, too!

I love that our culture turns its eyes to the celebration of Jesus’ birthday for such a long time! I know, I know, it’s not all about Jesus’ birth. In fact, it seems to be covered up more and more every year. But as Christians, as parents who want our kids to know the true meaning of these bright and shiny Christmas celebrations, we can make this season point to Jesus. We can choose to lead our kids to Jesus!

If you’re new to Truth in the Tinsel, I hope you’ll stick around the blog and our Facebook page. We have lots of tutorials, fun ideas and encouragement to help you make this the year your kids recognize Jesus as the best gift of all!

Merry Christmas! And Happy Truth in the Tinsel. :)

And if you haven’t snagged your copy of Truth in the Tinsel, you might wanna do that now…

 

 So, what’s your favorite part of the season to say HELLO to?

Now what?!

impress god's word on your kid's heart

It’s been two whole weeks since Christmas! It seems a lot longer than that, doesn’t it?

A lot of people have been emailing and Facebook-ing wondering what they should do with their kids now. After 24 days, you’ve pretty much started a habit of crafting, talking and studying God’s Word with your kids.

Maybe your New Year’s Resolution is to keep the momentum going and somehow keep up with regular times to impress God’s Word on your kids’ heart.

Well, I’ve got just the thing! Beginning on Friday, I’m beginning a new series on my blog, ohAmanda.com about the Armor of God! We’ll be making crafts, doing fun activities and memorizing Scripture to help our kids learn how to stand on their own relationship with the Lord. I want my kids to see they are empowered to love and live for God as much as anyone else. I’m really excited about this series–and I think the little boys are gonna love it, too!

In order to keep up with all this newness and other fun stuff that will help you impress your kids with God’s Word, I’d love for you to sign up for my spankin’ new newsletter! This is a monthly email blast that will give you some fun tips, ideas and resources focused on helping you raise your kids for the Lord.

PLUS! You’ll get my newest ebook, Praying God’s Word for Your Kids for free! It’s a simple book that leads you in praying Scriptures over areas of your kids’ lives. It’s near and dear to my heart—I think you’ll like it!

So, what are you waiting for? If you liked Truth in the Tinsel, I’d love to partner with you all year and walk together as we lead our kids to Jesus! Just enter your name email below and you’ll be set.

 

 

Save Your Truth in the Tinsel Ornaments

truth tinsel paper coterie

Last year, when it was time to clean up the Truth in the Tinsel ornaments, I got a little sad. Those ornaments were more than ornaments–they were 24 days (ok, probably more like 19 days…) of memories with my kids! I wanted to be like Mary and treasure up all these things in my heart!

Lots of people on our Facebook page said the same thing, “What should we do with our ornaments?!”

I didn’t keep Lydia’s first ornaments from when she was 1. *sniff* And I so wish I had! But I do have them from when she was 2 and she loves loves loves to look at them. It’s amazing at how much I remember holding those little memories in my hand.

However, do you really want a box of ornaments every single year for each of your kids? Yowza. That could be an episode of Hoarders waiting to happen.

Then. I had an idea.

I have some beautiful (and I mean beautiful) photo memory keepers from Paper Coterie. One is for Asa’s baby stuff, one is for all our ticket stubs to local events and special activities. The other is all of our souvenirs from our last Disney vacation.

These boxes are gorgeous to display and super fun to look through.

HOW PERFECT WOULD THEY BE TO KEEP ORNAMENTS IN?!

I made a Truth in the Tinsel Memory Keeper this year and look how awesome it is!

truth tinsel paper coterie memory keeper cover

truth tinsel paper coterie memory keeper cover

truth tinsel paper coterie memory keeper

I could not love it more. I just couldn’t!

Then, I had another idea. Say you don’t want to keep the ornaments. You could make a photo book including close up pictures of the ornaments, Scripture references, memories from the craft-making time or additional pictures of your kiddos crafting.

Here’s a few pages of the book I’m working on right now…

How much do you love that?!

How are you preserving your Truth in the Tinsel memories?

The 24th Day

christmas begins with a manger & ends with a cross

In just a few days we’ll be unwrapping gifts and wrapping up Truth in the Tinsel. The 24th and final ornament and activity is centered on the cross.

Why the cross?

Why introduce such a big and sometimes sad event to our kids on Christmas Eve? Why not focus on the happy, glowing baby Jesus?

Because Jesus came to die. Oh, friend. He didn’t hold onto his power and wealth in Heaven. He poured out His God-ness so he could be born as a little baby in a smelly stable.

He was born in the smelly stable to normal, human parents so he could grow up among people like you and me.

He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.

Then He taught about the Kingdom of God, His Father’s love and plan.

Finally, he humbled himself. Humbled himself to death on the cross.

Jesus was born to die. Celebrating the cross at Christmas. #truthtinsel

He died for you and me. He died for your children.

But joy of joys! He came back to life! He’s at the right hand of the Father waiting on a relationship with us!

I pray as you’ve enjoyed Truth in the Tinsel this year, you and your children would recognize it was really just a path to bring you to an understanding of the huge love, the big sacrifice and the enormous plan God had in sending His Son Jesus to die for us.

If you don’t get to make the cross ornament on Christmas Eve, will you take time to do it after Christmas? Will you sit down and remind your kids that the whole month wasn’t just about a little baby–but about a plan to save us, about the God-man willing to give His life for us so we can spend forever with Him in Heaven!

If you’d like some more information about talking to your kids about salvation or Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, check out my Salvation series.

O Little Town of Bethlehem

abide with us print from besmallstudios.com

Do you know the lyrics to “O Little Town of Bethlehem”? It seems funny that there is an entire song dedicated to a place in the Bible. The detail of Bethlehem (and day 13 of Truth in the Tinsel) seems more geography than theology.

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

However, the Christmas story taking place in Bethlehem is not a geographical detail but a gorgeous reminder and picture of the miracle of Jesus coming to earth as Emmanuel, “God with us”.

I mention in the ebook that Bethlehem means “house of bread” and that Jesus describes Himself as the “bread of life” (John 6:35). Did you also know that King David was born in Bethlehem? King David, the shepherd boy, the man after God’s own heart born in Bethlehem where the King of Kings Jesus, the Good Shepherd, God’s own Son would be born. What foreshadowing and fulfillment!

Every detail of the Christmas story seems to be connected with layers of meaning and significance. And I think He gives us these details to further convince us of His love, His miracle and intimate care for us.

One of my favorite Christmas books, Why a Manger? by Bodie Thoene explain that Jesus was born in Bethlehem for another reason: this is where the sacrifical lambs were born and raised. The shepherds who saw the angels and then found Jesus in the manger, were the shepherds who raised lambs to be sacrificed in the temple. So, “where else would ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29) have to be born if not Bethlehem, among the sacred Temple flocks?”

God sent Jesus to be Emmanuel, to abide with us as the Lamb of God, to take away our sins. He was born to die. He came to give us life. Thank you, Jesus, Lamb of God!

My friend, Annie from Be Small Studios recognizes this same wonder of Jesus, King, Bread, Lamb, Emmanuel. She’s created some beautiful paintings (like the one pictured above) based on beloved Christmas carols. Please check out her site!

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?

Your Advent Experience

It’s time! December is finally here! Advent has officially started and Truth in the Tinsel is in full swing!

#truthtinsel #truthinthetinsel

I’m already having so much fun seeing all the updates on Facebook and Instagram. Thank you for sharing your pictures. Not only does it make me happy, I think it’s encouraging and inspiring to others who are doing Truth in the Tinsel, too. I love thinking about all of us all over the world doing these mini-crafty-devotions with our kids. It spurs me on to not skip over a day or hurriedly rush through it.

You inspire me with your creativity, passion and love of your kids and God’s Word. I’m excited to be a part of a force of parents who are pouring God’s Word into their kids’ heart this Christmas season!

So, how have you enjoyed Truth in the Tinsel so far?

:: :: ::

If you’re blogging about your experience with Truth in the Tinsel, I’ve set up a linky below for you to add your blog posts. This will be the central linky for 2012.



{ps–if you are blogging, I’d appreciate if you’d make sure not to share any tutorials or large portions of text from the ebook. Thank you!}

My Favorite Christmas Books

I’m kind of a sucker for a Christmas book. I just can’t get enough of them. Like all Christmas traditions, I think many of these books and illustrations will stick in kids’ hearts and memories forever. Some of these books tell more than just the facts of the story, they tell the heart of the story.

Favorite Christmas books to use with Truth in the Tinsel.

Here are some of my favorite Christmas books that I think showcase that heart and will enhance and supplement Truth in the Tinsel.

Ready? Let’s go…

1. The Wonder of Christmas by Dandi Daley Mackall

I. Love. This. Book. The pictures are of kids in a Christmas pageant. But the words are thoughts of a child, “I wonder what did Mary think…” and goes through each character. But the best part is the end when the words turn from questions to declarations like, “I will kneel like Mary, let my heart obey.” It is so powerful.

Perfect for Truth in the Tinsel days  4, 5, 9, 18, 19, 22

2. A Christmas Goodnight by Nola Buck

I bought this book because the illustrator is Sarah Jane, whom I have loved for years. The book is kind of a Goodnight Moon-type of book. A little boy says goodnight to the characters of the Christmas story. You discover halfway through that he’s actually playing with his nativity scene. It’s super sweet!

Perfect for Truth in the Tinsel days 5, 9, 14, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22

3. Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story

This book was written by Sally Lloyd Jones, author of The Jesus Storybook Bible. It’s such a gorgeous book filled with important phrases like “Might King”, “Prince of Peace”, “Bright and Morning Star”, “Good Shepherd”, “Light to light up the whole world”, “Rescuer” and Emmanuel.

Perfect for Truth in the Tinsel days 2 and 11.

4. Who Is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate

The animals in the stable get ready for someone coming to their house. It perfectly displays the idea of making room for Jesus in your home and heart.

Perfect for Truth in the Tinsel day 14.

5. A Star for Jesus by Crystal Bowman

This is part of a series of board books that showcase symbols of Christmas (Christmas tree, candy cane, angels, stocking, gifts) and give them Jesus-centered meanings. This one focuses on the Wise Men and the star’s meaning. It’s perfect for the preschool crowd.

Perfect for Truth in the Tinsel day 21

6. The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt

The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Hunt

This book is the only book I actually suggest reading in one of the “Do More Together” sections (day 15, the manger). I’ve read this one to the kids already this year and as usual, it made me cry. It’s the story of three trees with big dreams–one to become a treasure chest, one to be a king’s ship and the other to point to God. Their prayers are answered in different ways than they think–the first tree becomes the manger and holds the greatest treasure of all, the second tree becomes a fishing boat and carries the King of all Kings while the third becomes a cross that will always cause people to think of the living God.

As this is a traditional fable, you can find several versions of this book. I am partial to this recordable storybook by Angela Elwell Hunt (one of my favorite authors). You can record your voice and then your kids can hear you read it to them on their own. I so love this idea for a long-distance relative!

What’s your favorite Christmas book?

Top Ten Questions, Tips & How-To’s for Your Truth in the Tinsel Experience


The last few weeks all I’ve been doing is answering emails and Facebook messages about Truth in the Tinsel. We do have a FAQ page that covers most of the technical, download-y kind of questions.

Today, I’m going to answer some more questions, give some tips, clarifications and even a short video of little old me walking you through the ebook!

Ready? Let’s begin…

1. What ages is Truth in the Tinsel for? Are my kids too old? young?

I wrote Truth in the Tinsel when my kids were 5 and 3. I began doing this same make-an-ornament activity with my daughter when she was almost 2 years old. Last year, kids up to 13 years old were enjoying Truth in the Tinsel!

So, to answer the question: ALL AGES!

2. Is the book the same as last year? Do we have to do the same crafts again?

Yes, the book is the same as last year. If you follow the book exactly, yes, you will do the same crafts again. However, kids like traditions. Do you make the same candy-cane-red-puffball-pipe-cleaner reindeer every year? Do your kids like it?

Also, from year to year, your supplies, your kids’ abilities and your creative spur-of-the-moment ideas will alter the crafts. Not to mention, if you missed a craft last year, you’ll probably get to it this year!

If you’re really wanting to switch it up, grab the printable ornaments!

3. My kids won’t sit still to listen to the Bible reading parts.

That’s ok! You know your kids best. If they can’t sit still, read while they are making the craft. Or read a few verses at breakfast, a few at lunch and the rest when you sit down to do the activity. {Check out my tips for teaching the Bible to little kids!}

Reading the Bible with your kids {using Truth in the Tinsel}

I do think it’s important to read the actual Scriptures from the Bible (and even from a Bible versus your computer) so, make an effort. But don’t get stressed out if it’s not the perfect scene you’ve imagined!

4. Does it take a lot of preparation?

If you are completely void of craft supplies, you’ll probably need to take a trip to the nearest craft store. But if you have some pipe-cleaners, beads, some fabric and a little string around your house, you’ll be ok. You can easily substitute materials and make up your own fun ideas. Check out the pictures on our Facebook page to be inspired!

5. Do I need a swanky advent calendar to go along with this?

Nope. There is a printable paper chain in the back you can use or you can make a simple one like some of these on our Merry Truth in the Tinsel Pinterest board or Advent Calendar Pinterest board.

6. What if my kids don’t want to do the craft?

I think a lot of this is about expectations and delivery. If you go into the craft with a smile on your face and we-can-do-it attitude, your kids will catch on. Don’t expect a beautiful craft project–let them make it themselves and let it look terrible if it has to!

tips for doing Truth in the Tinsel with your kids

The point of the ornaments is to let the kids use their hands to focus on an aspect of God’s Word.

7. Advent starts December 2nd this year. When do we start Truth in the Tinsel?

There are 24 activities in the book to correspond with the 24 days between December 1st and Christmas Eve.

You can start on December 1st for ease of counting (that’s what I’m doing.) Or you can start when traditional advent begins. Or you can start a few days before so you have a few days of margin! (<–that is genius, right there!)

8. Am I too late?

No way! If you join the fun on December 19, you’ll still be able to participate! I have put in several additional schedules in the book so you can choose one that works for you. There are schedules to just cover the basics of the story, highlight the main characters or work through the prophesies.

9. What if I mess up?

You won’t. There is no wrong way to do Truth in the Tinsel. It’s simply a tool to help you focus, spotlight and lead your kids to Jesus. Don’t worry about doing it right, better than others or in a perfect way. Just enjoy this special time with your kids!

10. And now, I’ll walk you through the ebook…

{subscribers, click to the site to see this video! but you might not wanna watch the last 3 seconds as I fumble with turning off the camera. *wink*}

If you haven’t bought your copy of Truth in the Tinsel—what are you waiting for?! Download it now! Only $7.99!

Add to CartView Cart

 If you’re a Truth in the Tinsel alum, leave a comment & share your best tip!

 

Truth in the Tinsel in the church!

You have got to see this! One of the churches that is doing the Truth in the Tinsel curriculum went all out to get their families involved. Look what they did after buying the books with our bulk pricing:

truth in the tinsel church curriculum

source: Calvary Monument Bible Church

They printed the book for every family. Not only that, they got all the craft supplies and put them into individual baggies!

christmas family ministry

source: Calvary Monument Bible Church

Don’t you wish someone would have done that for you?!

Since my first real job was a Children’s Pastor, this gets my little ministry-heart pumping! I love seeing churches who empower their parents with resources and tools to raise their kids for the Lord. Church should be an extension and support for parents, not just another class to drop off their kid.

Thank you, Calvary Monument Bible Church for reaching out and equipping parents to impress God’s Word on their kids’ heart this Christmas!

Oh, and check out my Merry Truth in the Tinsel Pinterest board for more fun ways to hack Truth in the Tinsel! ;)

2012 BLACK FRIDAY Special!

It’s been one year since I launched Truth in the Tinsel. Last year on Black Friday I nervously let people buy a book I hoped was good enough to grace their Christmas celebration.

In just under 7 days, 4700 copies of Truth in the Tinsel had been sold. By Christmas Day, 6300. Today over 10,000 copies are on family’s computers, iPads and printed on paper ready to lead parents and kids into an experience with Jesus this Christmas. It absolutely puts tears in my eyes, flattens my hearts and makes my knees knock in thanksgiving to God.

It’s a mystery to me how God can take a little idea and make it into something bigger than itself. How God can take a little person and give them a voice bigger and louder than they knew. Somehow, God has allowed the little tradition I started with my own daughter to encourage families to find their best gift of all, Jesus!

This Black Friday 2012, I’ve got a little gift for you, too. If you purchase Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands you’ll get the new printable ornaments for FREE (regularly $3.99).

Buy Truth in the TInsel & Get The Printable Ornaments for Free!

It’s simple:

1. Buy the ebook for $7.99.

Add to CartView Cart

2. DO NOT add the printable ornaments to your cart. (If you do, you’ll have to pay for them.)

3. Click link on download page (after purchase) to get your free printable ornaments. Look, I even made a screenshot for you!

4. Get ready–we begin Truth in the Tinsel on December 1st! Update pictures of your kids’ ornaments and fun conversations you’ve had on our Facebook page. We’ll get to encourage one another and do this advent-ure together!

Additional Black Friday Sale Details:

  • Sale begins Friday 12:01am EST and ends Friday at midnight EST.
  • If you add the printable ornaments to your cart, the price will not be refunded.
  • Additional coupon codes are not valid today only.
  • If purchased separately, the ebook and printable ornaments are regular price.