Ebola Prayer Needs – November 12: Sierra Leone & Mali

November 12, 2014

I’ve been a bit preoccupied with Advent blogging preparations, but have continued to Tweet about Ebola and related prayer needs.

The biggest prayer need right now is the situation in Sierra Leone, where Ebola is totally out of control – 90 – 100 cases per day in recent days.  Pray for breakthroughs there:  treatment facilities, staff, effective education about prevention, trust of health workers and outreach workers.  Pray too for PROTECTION for health care workers in Sierra Leone.  Another doctor there has come down with the virus.  Health workers in parts of Sierra Leone are on strike.  Pray for a quick resolution of the strike.

Secondly, please pray for Mali.  The news up until late yesterday had been very promising with no new cases reported since the initial case on October 24.  That has now changed with reports of two deaths from Ebola (unrelated to the initial case) in the capital city, Bamako.  Please pray against any further spread of Ebola in Mali!


Anglican Heritage: Charles Simeon – an excellent series of blog entries at TitusOneNine

November 12, 2014

Today is the feast day commemorating Charles Simeon (1759 – 1836), and our friend and Anglican blogger extraordinaire, the Rev. Kendall Harmon, has an excellent series of posts today at TitusOneNine. (Anglican blogging lesson 101:  When Kendall posts 6 entries on a topic:  PAY ATTENTION!!!  LOL!)

Here’s an excerpt from that final entry, which I’m thinking sums up why Kendall believes Charles Simeon is important for us to reflect on today:

In closing, permit me to highlight three areas of Simeon’s ministry which have greatly challenged me in my reflections and which, if we were to follow them, would have the potential to rejuvenate our ministry.

1 Giving priority to an effective devotional lifestyle, with a commitment to spending ‘quality’ time in Bible study and prayer.

2 A commitment to living a holy life, recognizing the need of the renewing and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.

3 That, along with Simeon, our understanding of the purpose of our preaching would be: ‘Sir, we would see Jesus’ (John 12:21).

Advent for the 21st Century – Good Advent Apps?!?!

November 12, 2014

Ok, I confess… I do NOT have a smart phone, nor an ipad, nor a tablet of any kind.   I have a laptop running Windows 7, a Kindle… and a dumb cell phone… that’s about it for my mobile technology.  So, I’m not really your go-to-girl for Apps.

But I did discover a Musical Advent Calendar app that looked quite promising.

*** A new day, a new piece of classical music – FREE! ****
Naxos’s new musical app for Advent features 25 complete tracks behind numbered doors. Each day, a new door is ‘unlocked’ to reveal a new piece of seasonal music from Naxos’s classical music catalogue.

=>  Can any of our more tech-savvy readers suggest any good Advent apps?  There must be some out there!


P.S. And yes… just merely typing Advent and Apps in the same sentence sets my teeth on edge a bit!  In my mind, Advent is a time for slowing down and disconnecting from our gadgets for awhile.  My favorite Advent “technology” includes candles, matches, evergreen boughs, and a CD player, and a printed Bible.  But of course, the very fact that I’m blogging about Advent means that I recognize that technology *can* be a great blessing.  I’m incredibly thankful for the wealth of wonderful Advent resources the internet has opened up to us all.  So, I know that Advent apps can and will be a blessing to some.  But please don’t mind me if I try to encourage myself and us all to step back from our reliance on technology a bit during Advent!

An Invitation to Celebrate Advent 2014… Please share your favorite ideas and resources!

November 12, 2014

This post is sticky. Look below for new entries.

SwissAdventHouseHello friends!  As regular readers will have noticed, we’ve been gearing up for Advent here a little early this year.  Partly that’s to give people time to *PREPARE* for Advent in terms of ordering and obtaining necessary devotional books and resources, but it’s also due to the fact that I (Karen, the Advent-blogger-in-chief here) will be traveling in late November.

We’ll continue posting good Advent resources in the next 10 days and doing all we can to help you and your family prepare for a blessed and Christ-centered Advent. We’ll have an index of all our newly-posted Advent resources soon, but we’d like to invite all our readers and visitors to share your own favorite Advent & Christmas celebration ideas in the comments:

  • a favorite devotional book, or children’s craft book
  • a great Advent calendar
  • a delicious recipe
  • an inspiring hymn or song
  • a link to a helpful Advent resource website
  • a picture of a family Jesse tree, or a favorite ornament
  • a meaningful quote or devotional excerpt
  • Scripture readings that have encouraged you and drawn you closer to Christ during Advent

This year we hope Lent & Beyond can truly be an Advent COMMUNITY with all of our readers participating!

You’ll find all our NEW Advent posts for 2014 here.  

All our Advent entries past & present are here.


Art credit: Swissworld.org  (I love this picture of a Swiss town (Lucerne, which I’ve had the joy of visiting – but only in summer) turning its houses into a giant Advent calendar!  It seemed the perfect illustration for this post inviting our online community to share Advent resources!)

“My Jesse Tree – the Ultimate Guide” and “Bible Characters for Advent” storybook

November 12, 2014

One of our commenters, Theresa, has created a fantastic site all about Jesse Trees:


This is a fantastic guide for making a Jesse tree with your family. It is clear, beautifully laid out with wonderful pictures and organized into 5 sections.  The readings and the pictures that accompany each day’s story are AWESOME.

  1. What is a Jesse Tree
  2. How to Choose Your Tree
  3. Jesse Tree Symbols
  4. Jesse Tree Ornaments
  5. Jesse Tree Readings


The authors (husband and wife) are Franciscans.  The site includes several levels / types of ornaments  (crafts & printables & coloring sheets), awesome pictures and instructions, and readings with full color pictures go along with each ornament.

Note: the readings can be used for free, but they are excerpted from a longer children’s story book:  Bible Characters for Advent, which has a 5-star rating at Amazon!  (There are 20 5-star reviews as of the time I’m writing this.)

ABSOLUTELY WORTH CHECKING OUT the Jesse Tree site and the eBook Bible Characters for Advent

Here are a few of the ornaments:


In case you need MORE Jesse tree info (e.g. for an older age group), here is our Jesse Tree Category with lots more helpful resources.  See especially our All About Jesse Trees entry.

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