Monday, November 29, 2010

The Most Inconvenient Christmas.....Ever

This morning, i headed to the kitchen to do the dishes. But before i could begin, i HAD to get my Christmas CDs out & ready to go. I love Christmas music!!! It just fills me with the joy of the season. And i love Christmas. I love celebrating Jesus birthday all year long, but this time of year, especially.

But unless you are super organized, you're thinking about all that you have to do before December 25th. I know that i am. After i finish writing this & posting, i want to get our Christmas letter done & the cards started.....or at LEAST get the letter done. What else is on my To Do List? Let's not even go there today. =) I'm sure there are quite a few of you that can relate. We tend to get so busy this time of year, thinking of all that we have to endure, that we forget about that very first Christmas. It was....

Among the bills that I'd received 
Was a postcard marked apologies
The Christmas gifts you ordered aren't in stock.
So I packed up the kids for Grandpa's house
The blizzard blew in & the car broke down
So we shared a quart of eggnog at a truck stop.

And I said, "Kids, this is unfortunate.
You think it's bad? Well it's inconvenient.

But the most inconvenient Christmas ever was
Was the first one. When God came so far to give Himself to us
So when stressed out each December,
How it helps me to remember
God is with us most when things just can't get worse.
The most inconvenient Christmas ever was, was the first.

By the time we got to Grandpa's house
His Christmas lights had burned it down.
So we had to take him home to live with us.
But he couldn't stand to leave the farm
And now there's cattle in the yard,
Sheep on the rug, pigs in the tub,
And a rooster at dawn.

And I said, "Now Honey, this is unfortunate.
Ya think this is bad? Well it's inconvenient.

But the most inconvenient Christmas ever was
Was the first one. When God came so far to give Himself to us
So when stressed out each December,
How it helps me to remember
God is with us most when things just can't get worse.
The most inconvenient Christmas ever was, was the first.

A young girl expects a child she can't explain
Forced to walk a hundred miles just to give birth in the hay.
While the king at the same hour
Fulfilling the challenge to keep his power
Sent his troops to track them down & wipe them out.

Yep! Hands down!

The most inconvenient Christmas ever was
Was the first one. When God came so far to give Himself to us
So when stressed out each December,
How it helps me to remember
God is with us most when things just can't get worse.
The most inconvenient Christmas ever was, was the first.
(recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys)

"Today in the town of of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
Luke 2:11-12 (NIV)

 So this time of year, when you get overwhelmed with all the chores & activities, remember the most inconvenient Christmas ever was, was the first...HANDS DOWN!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Making Every Day Thanksgiving

From a retail observation, Thanksgiving seems to shrink more & more each year. Compare the display space that is given to Halloween & Christmas merchandise, to the space given to Thanksgiving merchandise. If we're lucky we'll find a few cards, some fall decorations, & probably a few displays of turkey roasters & platters. I am guilty of this in my own Etsy shop. I have only 2 items listed for fall/Thanksgiving. But i've had my eyes opened yesterday & will try to do better next year. But, it seems like we have forgotten why we celebrate Thanksgiving...
thankfulness for survival.

In 1621, when the historical feast between the Pilgrims & Indians took place, the Pilgrims had been in America less than a year. During this time, they lost over half their population due to disease or starvation. But the Pilgrims hosted this feast with their new friends to give thanks to God for His provisions in difficult circumstances.

"Your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs & He will give you all your needs from day to day if you live for Him & make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."
Matthew 6:32-34 (NLT)

Now that's something to be thankful for. And i can tell you that over the last couple of years, God has provided for my household's needs. He's kept a roof over our heads & food on our table & the electricity to cook that food.

So, Thanksgiving morning, before all the chaos begins, even if you have to set your alarm clock a little earlier, stop & give thanks to God for all He has given you, including the privilege to come to Him in prayer. God loves to hear from us & He loves when we say thank you & give Him all the praise & all the glory. In fact, why don't you make every morning a Thanksgiving morning.

"I will thank You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done. I will be filled with joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High"
Psalm 9:1-2 (NLT)

I am thankful for my Lord & Saviour & for the price He paid for my life. I'm thankful for my family, friends, & cyber friends that He has given me. May you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving.  <><

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Brings Out The Gratitude Attitudes

Thanksgiving is less that 2 weeks away. I love Thanksgiving. The food will be awesome & in abundance. And yes, i'll probably eat way too much. But this time of year, we tend to show more of a gratitude attitude as we remember all that we are thankful for.

The list of blessings that i  have received from God is endless. There is no way to count every one of them, although though the song says, "Count your blessings....." I may have a college education, but  i still can't count that high. And even though, we may verbalize what we're thankful for on Thanksgiving, we need to give our gratitude to God every single day.

"Give thanks to Him & praise His name.
For the Lord is good & His love endures forever
His faithfulness continues through all generations."
Psalm 100:4b-5 (NIV)

Do you remember the story of the woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair & then anointed them with rare perfume? (Luke 7:36-50) She was looking for forgiveness of her sinful life. Responding to her love & repentance, Jesus forgave her sins. The woman realized the extent of her sins & the extent of God's love. In this scripture passage, Jesus teaches that those who are forgiven much tend to love Him more because they are more aware of their sins that have been forgiven. Now that doesn't mean that we need to sin more to be forgiven more. It just means that we need to really see how much we've been forgiven & will probably need to be forgiven in the future. And we need to express our gratitude for that!

Here are some ways for us to cultivate & show your gratitude to God.

***The easiest way is to remember your past before you came to know Christ. Think of what your life was like: what your spirit was like; what you mind & thought process was like; what guilt, habits & sins were part of your life....Now think about how you've changed & been transformed. Go to God in prayer & give Him thanks & praise for all the changes in your life.

*** Write a thank you note to Jesus for all He endured on the cross for you. It doesn't have to be pretty, just write from the heart. When you're done, tuck it away in your Bible, perhaps in Luke 7, next to the woman's story. This will help serve as a reminder to cultivate gratitude for forgiveness.

***Keep a record of your gratitude. Write down 1-3 things that you're thankful for each day. Write them down on a calendar, a notebook, a journal, post it doesn't really matter what you write them in or on & the things can be anything. As your write them down, just tell God of your gratitude & appreciation.

***For at least one month, read a Psalm a day. They are reminders of God's mercy & that He is the source of everything we have. Go to God in prayer & express your gratitude for anything & everything that comes to mind.

Try one or all of these & see if you don't experience more & more gratitude to our Heavenly Father. 

"Give thanks for the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever."
I Chronicles 16:34 (NIV)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sticks and Stones....AND Words Can Hurt

"Sticks & stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me." We were all taught that saying as young children. But as we grew up, we learned that really wasn't the case. We learned that words can tear down any relationship or they can build it stronger.

"The tongue has the power of life & death. Those who love to talk will reap the consequences."
 Proverbs 18:21 (NIV/NLT)

When i'm angry or hurt, i have been known to lash out &/or be defensive. But i have learned to go to the Lord in prayer when this happens. And i am trying to go to the Lord, before i say things that i regret. I vent to Him. I pour my heart out to Him. I've found that when i do that, He changes my heart & brings me to a place of calmness & repentance. I might still be a little mad, but i'm able to let go of the anger &/or pain & move on. If the situation calls for it, i'm able to talk to the person in a calm & loving manner & the relationship heals.

Scripture tells us that God's words have the power of life. In Genesis, we learn that God created the entire world with His spoken words.

"And God said, 'let there be light' & there was light."
Genesis 1:3 (NIV)

John 1:1 tells us that Jesus is the Word. All through the Gospels, Jesus heals people with the power of His words. In the same manner, God wants our words to heal & build relationships. We can choose the words we will sow, words of life, or words of death, & we will live with the consequences.....good or bad.

Three things to ask God to help you with to sow words of life:
     *Communicate in ways that will build up relationships.
     *Hold your tongue when you're about to say something that will hurt, or tear down a relationship.
     *Don't let pride, stubbornness, selfishness, or any other sin, prevent you from speaking words that will heal or build up a relationship.

"May the words of my mouth & the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock & my Redeemer."
Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

Guided by God's wisdom & love, may your words to & about another build a protective wall around your relationships.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fear Not

Did you all get scared enough from all the ghosts & goblins that were out this Halloween? Personally, i prefer the cute & fun aspects of Halloween rather that feeling the fear of the scary stuff. You know what else is scary? Christmas is just around the corner. This time of year, i start feeling the fear or uncertainty of trying to find the right gift, will i have time to get all the handmade ones done, will the budget stretch as far as i want it to, will i be able to get it all done in time. All this can cause an overwhelming fear, if we let it. 

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power & love, & self-control." 
IITimothy 1:7 (ESV)

Now healthy fear warns us of danger & prepares us appropriately. Healthy fear tells us to keep an eye on the weather when storms are expected. Healthy fear keeps us from eating only pies, cakes, cookies & brownies. Healthy fear tells us to look both ways before crossing the street.

Unhealthy fear overwhelms us with doubt & insecurity & drains not only our physical strength, but strains our spiritual life as well. It can steal God's peace from our hearts & the joy in our everyday life. Unhealthy fear controls us & is a weapon of Satan to distract us from, & can even destroy our relationship with our Heavenly Father. 

When i think of confidence in God that overcame fear, i think of the story of David & Goliath. David could have cowered in the corner, but his confidence in God was so strong, he actually volunteered to slay the giant. He saw his "giant problem"  through God's perspective. His faith allowed him to rest in God's power & strength in order to defeat the enemy. David relied on the One who supplies our needs.

Giant problems seem hovering at this time of year, especially with our economy & job losses, house foreclosures, rising prices. But if we follow David's example, we will remember that we have the same assurance, that God's very presence will sustain us, as we can use the tools He provides. We can replace unhealthy fear with the courage & confidence that's found in trusting God alone. By placing your hope in God & not your circumstances, we're able to alleviate unhealthy fear & can face any giant in our path with confidence. 

"The Lord himself goes before you & will be with you; 
He will never leave or forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged."
 Deuteronomy 3:8 (NIV) 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ignorance Is Bliss. Or Is It?

I just enjoyed a snack of carmel corn. I have no idea of how many calories, carbs, or fat grams i just ingested. But it was really good! And do i even want to know that information? Maybe not today. Today, i just had the munchies. But as responsible adults, for the most part, we do pay attention to the foods we eat. I'm not saying we all make the right decisions in our diet. Sometimes, we just ignore the consequences & enjoy. But i know when i do that...there WILL be consequences.

"Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship Him as God or even give Him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused." Romans 1:21-22 (NLT)

There was a time in my life when that scripture could have been about me. I believed in God, but i didn't got to church unless i HAD to. I made poor choices in life. One particular evening, my emotions were in total turmoil & i was probably closer to a complete breakdown, than i will ever know. Thankfully, because of the roots instilled in my by my family, i started flipping through a Bible until i found.....

"It is to be with him & he is to read it all the days of his life so he may learn to revere the Lord his God & follow carefully all the words of this law & these decrees."   Deuteronomy 17:19 (NIV)

Sometimes, it's easier to ignore God - to pretend that we really aren't accountable to Him. But that night... that scripture...turned my life around I knew i had some changes & decisions to make. My eyes were opened & i realized that i had not done myself any favors by ignoring God. So, i started to not only read the scriptures, but to study them.

Scripture is one place where we can find all we need to know about God. However, like myself, many people  try to figure God out on there own. They want God on their terms. Like diets that promise tremendous weight loss by eating all you want of what you want & without exercise. We would be in denial if we believed all that type of hype. It's a conscious decision to daily invest in our health and there are no short cuts. As denying God's existence is not going to change the fact that He is there either. 

Ignorance is not bliss - it is ignorance.

We must make a conscious effort daily to invest in our spiritual health - spending time digesting the scriptures & excising what we learn each day. Time in spent in scripture & in prayer will arm us in the truth; will keep us from making wrong choices & light our path in the right direction.

And as with most healthy weight loss programs, it's important that we surround ourselves with people who will be honest with us. I am very thankful that i have Godly, honest friends who i can share my celebrations & who i know will be there for me. This type of support system helps us all to grow in our faith. If you don't have that type of support system, let me know either in the comments below, or as a private convo through my Etsy shop. I will help in anyway i can. <><


Monday, October 18, 2010

The Aging Process

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we my gain a heart of wisdom." 
Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

I'm sure that there has been at least one person in your life that you've thought, i hope i'm like that person when i get to be their age. You know what i mean. Someone you want to be when age creeps into your facial features & your step slows.

Someone who showed you that beauty shines from within & has grown brighter with time & experience. Two very special ladies come to mind with me. Both are gone now, but as i grow older, i want to be like them.  And boy oh boy! Do i have a LONG way to go!!!!!

They both were women of strong faith. Recently, i read a bit of advice that could've have come from either one of them: 

"Be today who you want to be tomorrow."

How profound is that! So how do we apply that advice? First, i think we need to ask God to reveal our sins & flaws. Then repent & ask for forgiveness & start living differently today.  Sometimes, thinking about aging & watching our loved ones age, can generate fear.

"Even when I am old & gray
do not forsake me, O God.
till I declare Your power to the next generation
Your might to all who are to come."
Psalm 71:18 (NIV) 
But by facing the future with hope & faith, we can begin shaping our tomorrows today. Imagine yourself in your 80s. Which traits could become ugly when magnified by age? Now normally, this is where i would avow what traits of mine that i'm going to work on. However, this week, i've decided to keep my dirty laundry hidden. =) Sometimes, things are just too personal to share. But if we're honest with ourselves, we know what traits need work. My advice is don't limit yourself or think, "i'll work on that later". 

"Be today who you want to be tomorrow."

Monday, October 11, 2010


Have you ever had one of those thoughts in the back of your mind of something that you know you SHOULD do? You know what i mean - one of those things that you think you don't have time for, or your scheduled got discombobulated & you let that certain thing slip & have just never gotten around to getting back into the swing of things.

"Therefore tell the people: 'Return to me' declare the Lord Almighty, "and I will return to you''  (Zechariah 1:3 NIV)

This verse reminds me that God waits patiently for our return to Him. We may not even have gone anywhere, but this is something that we need to do again, & again, & again during our life.  It's not how many times we return to Him, but that we make an effort every time we need to.

 Physically, maybe you need to go back to church on a regular basis to worship & give praise with other members of your Godly Family. 

 Emotionally, maybe you need to remember to "worry not" & become determined to rely on Him through troubles. 

Spiritually, maybe you need to recommit to regular prayer & Bible study.

The last one is the one that really opened my eyes. Since we moved last spring, i had not gotten into my morning devotional & pray time. This is something that i have done for many years & i can only admit that i have been lazy in this. I have no excuses.

God waits for us every day with open arms. He wants us to continue to return to Him. Whatever your return might be, don't wait any longer. And don't ever be afraid that He won't return to you, because He is always there waiting on us.  

Monday, October 4, 2010

Father & Son

I've enjoyed today so far, reflecting on the wonderful weekend that we had in this household. Our 14 year old was here. And he & my hubby spent early Friday evening & Saturday afternoon in a hardy & healthy competition of lawn games.... Lawn Darts, Hillbilly Horseshoes (Ladder Ball), etc.

 They had so much fun & i had a lot of fun watching them. Hopefully the weather will hold out a few more weeks so the tournament can continue. But when the weather starts getting cold, it'll not only be time to dig out the board games, but there is talk of going bowling. I had so much fun watching them play these games over the weekend. But when it comes to bowling, they'll have fun laughing at me trying to bowl. I am definitely a Gutter Ball Champion!

It was a priceless weekend, as anytime is spent with our boys. 

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
children a reward from Him."
Psalm 127:3 (NIV)

I continue to thank our Heavenly Father everyday for blessing me with this wonderful husband & my bonus boys.

But the most priceless part of the whole weekend, for me was watching Father & Son together, playing, laughing, & sharing

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Season Changes

Fall is officially here & one of the trees on our block is not only green, but has beautiful accents of  gold & orange.

I do love the color changes of fall with it's rich, full colors. But i'm not ready for the cooler weather yet. Most of us have had a extremely hot & humid summer this year & i should be welcoming the cooler temps....and i am. I'm just not ready to dig out the sweatshirts yet. But i suppose i'd better do that this week.

But when the seasons change, i can't help but remember the promises that God made to Noah after the flood.

"As long as the earth endures,
seedtime & harvest,
cold & heat,
summer & winter,
day & night 
will never cease." 
(Genesis 8:22 NIV)

The seasons keep changing. Summer, fall, winter spring. Each season has it's own palette of colors that God has created. Each season is a promise of His love & an illustration of His creativity. Each season is another chapter in our lives. Each season brings change. Every day, i am thankful for that day & that i am able to see the amazing colors & masterpieces that God creates.

But i am even more thankful that some things will never change.

"The grass whithers & the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."
(Isaiah 40:8 NIV)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do Puzzle Pieces Always Fit?

The past couple of days has been quite puzzling around here. My hubby's Facebook & email accounts got hacked. He has reported everything to Facebook & we're just waiting to see if they can resolve the situation. I'm one of those that tends to investigate & a few hours ago, found even more pieces to the puzzle. Luckily, he was able to get back his email account, but not Facebook yet. 

But it reminds me that life can be  very puzzling sometimes & there are times when the pieces don't fit. Don't you wish that things could fit together perfectly like this tote bag?

But the older i get, the more i realize that here on Earth, sometimes the puzzle pieces just don't seem to fit.

I was alway taught not to question why God gives us the puzzle pieces that He does. But I've realize that it is ok to ask Him why, after all, He's the one that gave us emotions. Just remember, that He may not always give us a reason & whatever puzzle pieces He gives us, He'll be with us to see it through. Sometimes, that reason may be years down the road. Sometimes we may never get the answers until we meet Him face to face. As a good friend always reminded me, " No one knows what the future will bring & the One that knows isn't telling."

So as we go through our life full of puzzle pieces, remember this....

When life hands you a puzzle,

And the pieces do not fit,

Remember God is always there
To help you deal with it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Pumpkin Time!

It's Pumpkin Festival time in Morton, IL. This is a fun festival with the festivities starting on Wednesday. So much to do, so little time. But as i think about pumpkins, it reminded me of how Christians are like pumpkins. I received this verse in an email quite awhile ago, but i still love it.....


God picks you from the patch, brings you in, & washes all the dirt off of you, 
some of which may have gotten from other pumpkins.
Then He cuts off the top & scoops out all  the yucky stuff
He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, unforgiveness, etc.
And then He carves you a new smiling face.
He puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.

This is such a simple illustration of what God can do in one's life. I am living proof of that. I could never begin to list all of the yucky stuff that He has scooped out of my life. I'm just so thankful that He did.

So what are you trying to scoop out of your life? Whatever it is, God can do the scooping for you if you just give all that yucky stuff to Him. And i mean give it ALL to him. Or do you know someone who is struggling to scoop?  Maybe they need your prayers. Maybe they just need a reminder that God can turn them into a smiling Jack O Lantern.

My life is so much different than it was before i gave that yucky stuff to God. I pray everyday, that His light will shine through me to all i meet & that they will know that it is HIS light.

Are you letting your light shine? Be a jack o lantern for Jesus! 

And for those of you who live in my area, if you want more information on the Morton Pumpkin