Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Royal Appointment

This is a picture looking out my kitchen window.  I took this picture to try and capture the snow on the trees, however, I don't think it really worked.  As I looked at the picture it made me stop and think about my prayer time.  Pray Often.  Sure I pray often.  I pray everyday, many times a day.   I "prink" (pray+think) often and I also "popcorn" pray often.  But how many times do I deliberately  set aside time to stop from busyness to be quiet with The Lord to just pray and seek Him. 

Recently I heard a friend describe her memories of her mother’s daily quiet time.  She told me her mother would make time for prayer and Bible reading each day.  If her children would whine about her leaving them to go be alone, the mother would simply - but confidently tell them she had “an appointment --an appointment with The King”.

There is much talk about the upcoming Royal Wedding that will take place next Spring.   I hate to admit this but Royal weddings have always interested me.   Imagine for a moment receiving an invitation to the Royal wedding next year.  If it were my invite, I'd be instantly thinking about what I was going to wear, who would be there, would I have a spot of tea (though I'd prefer a cup of java) with the Queen?  Of course this is silly but my ever wondering mind ponders scenarios like this from time to time.   After amusing myself with this non-sense I immediately remembered the Royal invite that I (and you) have been extended on a daily basis.  The King of kings has extended an invitation to spend time with me (and you) at HIS THRONE at any given time.  He is not just a king but THE King.    Yet, often I am guilty of neglecting my royal invitation on a regular basis as I hurry on to things that are temporal. 

 Oh how thankful I am that the invitation has been extended.  We are invited to enter His courts through prayer to tell Him our deepest fears, our most painful struggles.  We can even enter and just cry if needed.  He is always there to meet with us and He eagerly awaits our time together.   

As the year ends and many of us sit down to write out goals and resolutions for the New Year, I want to accept the royal invitation that has been given to me.   Will you join me in being intentional with our schedules and appointments - especially with the daily Royal Appointments?  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Birthday

We are drawing near the end of 2010.  The anticipation of Christmas is increasing!  I am excited about the upcoming weekend as it is full of celebrations which happen to include my birthday  (two days after Christmas). Instead of ice cream, I hope we can eat snow cream for my big day (we have a chance for some snow this weekend in our area).   That would be a dream come true since I have been singing, "I'm dreaming of a White Birthday" for the past forty-something years.  We will see.

As I prepare to turn another year older and we close out another year, I think of all that has happened in 2010. I am blessed and have much to be thankful for as I sit and ponder.    Here is a little recap of our family's 2010.  It was packed with awesomeness :

  • Celebrated 20 amazing years with my precious husband in September

Here she is with Santa at 8 months old

  • The little church plant that started in our den with 20 people and 2 dogs celebrated 5 Years (click here for our story)!  Love our church and love all our CCF'ers!!  

  • Traveled to Colorado for our little miracle grand-baby's birth.  Colorado became my new favorite place on earth. 

  • The amazing Zulina (a.k.a. ZuZu) (Two years ago I asked Jim, "Can I get another Yorkie ?".  Jim replied, (laughing) "Sure, if it is free!  Me, "Okay! It's on!!".   So I started to pray.  After praying for two years, I received a "blessing"in April.  Yep--my free Yorkie.   The Lord knows the desires of our hearts.  Can I get an amen?  AMEN!

  • It is finished! (homeschooling that is!)  Though bittersweet, my 13 years of homeschooling came to an end as Miss Jordyn graduated.

  • "I Do" - My baby brother married an amazing lady!  

  • Life's short --so enjoy it!!  Girls just wanna have fun and I am no exception.  Life is tough but it is what you make it!  Our family is flawed with imperfections but we love Jesus and we love each other.  As a result, we love "us some fun".  I look forward to many more "funny faces" in 2011

The Lord has been so gracious to us and has provided for all our family needs.  We have a home and we have income.  Our bills are paid (for now! lol) and we have our health.  We may not have much according to the world's standards, but we are blessed beyond measure.  I am eternally grateful to Him, My Lord and Savior, Jesus.

I pray you and yours have a very, Merry Christmas and an amazing New Year! 
Until I write again.....
Merry Christmas!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

This week is one of my all time favorite weeks of the year. I look forward to being intentional about slowing down this week to just "be" and enjoy this precious time of year.  The week before Christmas bring me so much joy and peace as I think about spending time with my family, visiting with friends and loved ones, resting, doing a little baking, doing lots of wrapping while catching up on Christmas movies and most importantly just savoring time with The Lord.  Reflecting on His birth.  

Last week, we received a little bit of unexpected snow.   Of course, I wish we had received more, but the small amount we received was fun nonetheless and made my heart leap for joy!!   There is a chance we will receive some snow flurries for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in my area.   I can not even imagine a "White Christmas" other than one on TV  but you never know.  A girl can dream (and pray, right? Right!)  Enough snow talk... here is a picture of my little puppy, ZuZu, in the snow.  She LOVED it!!  (Like mama like know what I mean! )

Monday, December 13, 2010

Perfect Plaid Bows and Christmas Love

Over the weekend blogger Stephanie at Urban Momma  posted the following reinterpretation of 1 Corinthians 13.  This touched my heart tremendously. I wanted to share with each of you today.  I pray this will touch your heart so I ask that you take a moment and please read:  

In Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas, Sharon Jaymes reinterprets 1 Corinthians 13 with the following:

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's time for Company!!!

Happy Friday to all my Company Girl blog friends!  Per Rachel Anne's request, I shared one of my favorite  Christmas memories in my post from yesterday:  Clothespin Jesus.

Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Clothespin Jesus

 You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father's face and tell him you have received His Christmas gift."  John R. Rice

Twenty two years ago I was a single mom trying to get myself back on the right path after an unexpected twist in life.  It was two weeks before Christmas and with the assistance of my amazing parents, Amanda and I moved into our own apartment.   Our meager den was furnished with a hand-me-down couch, TV and a small borrowed Christmas tree.  Our poor little tree made Charlie Brown’s  tree look like the one at Rockefeller Center.
Our only other Christmas decor consisted of a precious little Clothespin Jesus snuggled in a construction paper manger that Amanda had made at church.  Amanda and I proudly perched her baby Jesus on our hand-me down TV.  We thought we had arrived at the big-time!

In my attempt to teach Amanda the real meaning of Christmas, I would read the  Christmas story to her each night from The Bible.  Little did I realize at the time that an almost-two-year old could hardly comprehend the significance of this most amazing story. God coming to earth in the flesh, being born in a barn in Bethlehem. The King of Kings coming in such a humble way to do what only He could.   Each night I read to Amanda, starting in Bethlehem and going to the Cross, where Jesus gave His life for our redemption.  The crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus all in one sitting.

Nightly, I would ask my sweet little girl questions about what I had read (I was trying SO hard to be a good mommy). 

I asked “ Amanda, where does Jesus live?”. 

Night after night, she gave me nothing but a blank stare before she would turn over and go to sleep (thumb in mouth no less).

I repeated this “new” tradition for about a week hoping for her answer to be “Heaven” or even the standard Sunday School answer of “Jesus lives in my heart”.

One night when quizzing Amanda, I asked her where Jesus lived.  Much to my astonishment, she replied:

   “Ahnoo!  (translation – “I know!”)

“Where?? Where??"  I asked. 

I was thrilled and instantly filled with motherly pride.  I anticipated her answer as I knew it was another Christmas miracle and my “good mommy” award was around the corner.

“Where Amanda?  Where…where does Jesus live”, I repeated. 

She confidently replied”  “Dowwwstairs  awn TeeeVeeee"
 (translation "Downstairs on the TV!")

I was mortified!  I had thought I had failed as a Mommy!!  My daughter thought Jesus lived on the TV!!   Obviously I recovered from my failed attempt and Amanda knows the real meaning of Christmas.  Over the years I now realize that I had not failed- after all- and was doing the best I knew to do at the time.  I also have realized that even if I had failed God still loved me.

If I had a “do-over” that Christmas, knowing what I know now, I would do the same thing.  I would explain the Christmas story starting at the manger and go to the Cross.  I believe the manger is just the beginning of the Hope we all have. 

In Luke 2 of the Message Bible the angel described the birth announcement as 

a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."

A great and joyful event indeed! For everyone, worldwide!  For you, for me! Because of God’s great love for each of us He sent us His precious son, to a manger, to ultimately go to the Cross for each of us to have life eternally.     

1 John 4:9-10 says: 
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

My only regret from that Christmas many years ago is that I did not keep Amanda’s “clothespin Jesus”.  It got lost through the years.  If it was still in my treasured Christmas possessions, I would proudly perch Clothespin Jesus on the TV as a visual reminder of how much God loves me (even when I think I have failed). 

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A bunch of Words

This time of year brings out the "crafty" in me.  Not sure why but I just like to make things.  If you know me, then you realize that fact (me making things) is indeed another Christmas Miracle!!

I recently found a neat (and free) website that I wanted to share.  Check out Wordle   

I made these neat little name tags using Wordle:

Just type in a bunch of words (names, adjectives to describe the name, etc). and it makes a "Wordle" word cloud for you. Then you decide how to use your word cloud.   It is "simple", free and easy!!

I added the name tags to a box of my Christmas favorites:

One of the finished projects:

Just a small side note:  I do not receive any monetary payment for advertising any products on my website.  I do it because---well---because, um... I just do!  I like sharing some of my favorite things with others.  Sorta like show-n-tell.  However, with that said -if anyone from any of the companies see my Blog and you want to send me money for advertising their products then feel free to do so!)

Speaking of advertising, how about this little piece of cuteness:

Lastly, if you like the create things/crafts then be sure to check out this fantastic site:  U-createcrafts

Monday, December 06, 2010

Simple Salty Cracker Candy

This week is our Christmas M.O.P.S. meeting.  I have only been a M.O.P.S. Mentor Mom for a few months but I really love what M.O.P.S. is all about!  On Tuesday, we will be having a Christmas Cookie Share Day!!  Mmmm, Mmmmm good!  Makes my mouth water thinking 'bout it!

I will be sharing one of my family's Christmas favorites.  My girls use to love to help me make this treat each year.   It is super "simple" and pretty cheap to make.  Here is our recipe along with some pictures. (I know..I know...I'm a Bakerella wanna be.  So much for being a Pioneer Woman wanna be since I hate to cook!  As for the pics - I figured since Jim was watching football I would be creative with the camera while making cracker candy.  To all my photographer friends, have some mercy....please.)

Salty Cracker Candy:


2 sticks of butter (margarine does not work)
1 cup of sugar
1 bag of chocolate chips
2 sleeves of saltine crackers

Preheat Oven to 350

Step 1:   Line baking sheets with aluminum foil then line crackers neatly on the baking sheet.

Step 2:  In a sauce pan, bring sugar and butter to a boil.  Stir constantly for three minutes.

Step 3:   Pour sugar/butter boiling mixture on crackers and spread out evenly

Step 4:   Place crackers in oven until the sugar/butter mixture comes to a golden brown boil.  Remove from oven and spread chocolate chips on top.  

Step 5 - Let chocolate chips melt a little, then spread out over all the crackers. 

Step 6:  This step is optional.  You can add chopped pecans/walnuts.  This year I decided to add crushed candy canes to one batch.  

Step 7:  Place in refrigerator for about 2 hours (or until chocolate has hardened and candy is cool). 

Step 8:  Break into pieces, serve and enjoy!  It's that SIMPLE!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Feeling Flaky?

Miss little Suzy Snowflake showed us a few flurries tonight.  It is never enough for me, however, beggars can't be choosy.  The flakes made my heart leap for joy and caused me to do a little praise dancing too!

One of my Company Girl blogger friends, Dawn, shared a super cool link with me today that allows you to make virtual snowflakes.  It is really cute (and a bit addictive too!!).   Click here to make a few flakes of your own.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Suzy Soup

My dear, long-lost friend, Suzy may come visit this weekend.  Who is this Suzy I speak of?  Why none other than Miss Suzy Snowflake!  I am sad to say she may not "stick" around this visit.  

In honor of my friend, Suzy, I thought it was only fitting to  visited our local dollar store today for some Snowman mugs.  When the girls were little, I use to make "Snowman Soup" for their teachers, our neighbors, etc.  This year I decided it was time to bring back the Snowman Soup.  It is a cheap and fun (and SIMPLE) gift to give to others.   There are many poems to use but here is what I attach to my soup:

Snowman Soup

Our footprints always follow us on days when it’s been snowing.
They always show us where we’ve been but never where we’re going.
So to warm your spirits on a wintry night; this ought to do the trick
A cup of Snowman Soup complete with a stirring stick!!

Merry Christmas!

Yep, it is that simple.  Find a mug with a picture of a Snowman (or Snowlady----sorry, I couldn't resist!).  Put in a packet of hot chocolate, add a stirring stick (candy cane), personalize your poem and you have a gift for under a $1.25!

I think I'll have a cup right now!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

It's Simple

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.  His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation."  Luke 1:46-50

It's December!  To say I am thrilled would be an understatement.  It is the most wonderful time of the year—so they say—but it also can be one of the most hectic times of year.  In the past, I have felt that I have almost missed the preciousness of the season by being so consumed with busyness.  Rushing.  Shopping.  Stressing. Baking. Over scheduling.  As it is, I have felt recently as if life is running me over.  I don't like it.  I make my schedule so I can't complain to anyone but myself.  With that said,  I have been praying and seeking The Lord on the adjustments that I need to make.  I feel He has answered by saying "simple".  

  I have been pondering what “simple” means for me and my family this time of year.   (Honestly, if you are in ministry then you know it is never “simple”.) 
Like most, I am on a very tight budget these days so my shopping will be very simple.  Yet, I believe "simple" is to be applied to all areas of my life this season, not just to the gift giving.   
Simple means for me to set lower expectations for the season.  To just enjoy what I have and not strive for bigger, better or perfect.  To be content. 

Decorate simple.
 Bake simple. 
Slow down.  
 Enjoy the things that truly matter.  
Watch holiday movies and not feel guilty about doing it.
Listen to Christmas music with a cup of coffee and a candle burning.
Say "no" to extra Christmas invites and set boundaries.

Enjoy the season. 
 Enjoy my family. 
 Enjoy My friends. 
Enjoy My Lord.

Spend more time worshiping the Lord for His Son that was born in a lowly manger. Let's take time to bless The Mighty One this season.  Spend time with Him.  Worship Him. Thank Him!  He has done great things for us!!!

With that, I will challenge you to go “simple” this year and enjoy this Christmas season with your loved ones like never before.  I'd love to hear how you make this holiday season "simple".

Also, over the next few weeks I hope to share upcoming blog posts about “simple” gift ideas and even “simple” (and cheap or free) ways to spend more time with your family making memories that will last a lifetime.

Merry Christmas!!


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