Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Farewell November

Wow! Who can believe it is the last day of November already? It just seemed to fly by for me--so much to do, so little time.

This month is all about Thanksgiving.

You know, I think we learn (or are reminded of) something when we reflect on what we are most thankful for. Sometimes we are reminded of just how lucky we are. Sometimes we learn that good things come to those who work hard. Sometimes we learn that while the day to day is important, nothing compares to time shared with family. Sometimes we learn something completely off the wall!

So before we enter a season of sparkling snow, blinking lights, carols, and a special birthday celebration...let's consider what we learned.

I learned that even in the midst of chaos and craziness when you can't celebrate holidays with traditions, just being with your family can fill you with that special holiday spirit.

What did you learn?

Monday, November 29, 2010

To Kick off the Christmas Season...

It’s official folks! We have entered into my favorite time of the year. Christmas. I look forward to December from the moment we flip over into the new year all the way until the day after Thanksgiving (which is when I am able to convince hubby to finally pull out the Christmas decorations). I am one of those weird people that would let my house look like Christmas all year long if my husband didn’t threaten to chuck all of the decorations. Hehehe…

My favorite part, though, is definitely the aspect that has diminished over the years. I love celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. That’s the whole reason for the holiday, right? My girls are getting old enough to start understanding what Christmas is all about, and I so look forward to imparting this bit of good news to them.

Know what else? I love Christmas music.

Yep, that’s right. I would also listen to Christmas music all year long if…well, you know. My favorite Christmas song is “Mary, Did You Know?”

As parents, from the time we know we are expecting, we dream of what our children will be when they grow up. We have lofty aspirations for them and try our best to equip them to be the best person that they can be. I’m sure Mary and Joseph were no different.

In the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, an angel comes to Mary and relates to her God’s will for her. “But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

Now, talk about some lofty aspirations. I wonder how hard it would be to grasp that kind of news. Never mind the part about being a virgin and giving birth, but to know that your son is meant to be THE king in the house of Jacob, or as the angel says in his next line, the Son of God.

When Mary gave birth in a stable and laid her son in a manger, how hard was it to comprehend how this lowly birth would rise to the right hand of God? How would we even know how to train our child for something like that?

One other thing that I love about the song, “Mary, Did You Know?” is that it does a wonderful job of displaying both the deity and the humanity in Jesus. I can’t listen to that song without tearing up each time. Just imagining myself in Mary’s place is enough to humble me.

I have been blessed beyond belief with two daughters and a son. Of course, I dream of what my children will be when they grow up. My biggest hope is that they will be compassionate, God-fearing people who aren’t afraid to make a difference.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mama's Holiday Wish List

TodaysMama (link to: http://bit.ly/tmwishlist) and GameStop (link to: http://bit.ly/gamestop10) are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What is your holiday wish for your family?

That we will have a safe and smooth transition from Kansas to Hawaii (yes, we’re moving over the holidays).

2. What is your Christmas morning tradition?

We get up when the girls do, open presents, read the Christmas story while monkey bread bakes in the oven.

3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?

A new laptop! Mine is 2 ½ years old and, as much as I use it, has started overheating (even with one of those air fans), and sometimes the internet freezes for no particular reason that I can tell.

4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?

Remembering that Jesus was all about helping others, it’s fun to find ways to help friends and neighbors. We also make time for family night with special dinners and Christmas movies.

5. What games did you play with your family growing up?

Oh we are a big game family and played lots of different board/card games. Our favorite was Scrabble for many years, but Cranium may have taken over.

6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?

Opening one present on Christmas Eve, and monkey bread for breakfast on Christmas Day.

7. Where would you go for a Christmas-away-from-home trip?

To visit family, of course! Or somewhere that really goes all out for celebrating Christmas.

8. Check out GameStop (link to: http://bit.ly/gamestop10) and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?

1. Nintendo DS
2. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (for hubby)
3. Zumba Fitness for Wii

New Photos

So, a few weeks ago, my blogger friend, Kimchi, and I spent the morning with a professional photographer. We had an amazing time! I don't normally like having my picture taken, but we were having so much fun that I didn't even care. hehehe... The photographer did a fabulous job of making me look halfway decent. lol... Anyway, I thought I'd share a sampling of those photos:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mini-Review of "Rooms"

I am on page 115 of the novel, Rooms by James Rubart. I had heard so many good reviews about this story that I just had to pick it up. So far it is living up to all the hype.

From Amazon description:

"On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny."

There is quite the wide range of reviews on Amazon concerning this novel. Reading through some of them, most of the 1 star ratings come from people who were bitter because they didn't realize ahead of time that it was a Christian novel and felt "duped". Others just missed the entire point of the book and thought it was just about how money/success and God don't mix (which in not what I am getting so far).

Anyway, so I'll keep you updated as I read this book. I hope to finish it this weekend. Have a fabulous day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let's Share! -- Thanksgiving Traditions

As a child, I always looked forward to Thanksgiving. Most years my family headed out to my grandmothers for the weekend. Now, this may not sound too exciting, but you'd have to know my family. Here are some important stats:

1. My grandmother had 9 kids--all married--all with at least 2 kids of their own. Talk about a full house!

2. My family is VERY big on board/card games, and people are always bringing new games to try out.

3. One of the favorite things for the kids was BINGO. The parents collected little prizes throughout the year and put them in a big box. Yay!

4. BIG family means LOTS of food. I mean TONS! (And not just for the actual Thanksgiving Day event)

5. My grandmother lives in the middle of nowhere. This means all kinds of things for kids to do outside. Dig holes. Play ball. Walk the creek. Go deer hunting. Play with electric cattle fences.

6. Nothing compares to the wonderful feeling of togetherness when surrounded by family.

Now that most of the grandkids are grown and having kids of their own, Thanksgiving isn't quite the same. Not everyone makes it out anymore. A lot of the family has diabetes, so the food has changed as well. Still, I retain those fond memories from childhood of a true Thanksgiving complete with all the trimmings of family.

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Memories?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankfulness with a Kick

Every now and then it occurs to me that my attitude towards certain areas of my life needs some adjusting. I think it always comes to my attention at the end of the year. With Thanksgiving and Christmas, my focus is more finely tuned to the things in my life that I’m thankful for (and too often take for granted).

Monday I talked about joy in all situations—and today delves into that from a different aspect. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ for you.” (1 Thess 5:16-18) Not only should we have joy, but we should give thanks in all situations.

Too often I dwell on how much I despise housework. Yet, how often do I stop and thank God that not only do I have a house, but I have a family who would benefit from the loving care of a home. Some people consider home under a bridge or a cardboard shanty.

Too often I grumble about making dinner at the end of a long day (yeah, not so much the cook here). But how often do I thank God that not only do I have food to prepare, but that I have choices—when so many people across the world survive on the basics of basics, if any food at all.

Too often I feel stressed with all the demands on my time. When do I stop to thank God not only for my health, but for such wonderful opportunities to make friends and witness to others?

Too often I get down on myself for neglecting housework, not eating healthy, or being sick a lot. How often do I remember that I was bought at a price? That I am redeemed by a Savior who loved me enough to die for me? That I am a daughter of the King of kings? Why is that not a daily encouragement—the first thought in the morning, and then last one before I go to sleep?

We have so much to be thankful for, and I think we forget about that sometimes. We see reminders sometimes—a commercial on TV to help the starving kids, walking downtown in a larger city, when this time of year comes around and we start seeing more on all the charities like Operation Christmas Child, Salvation Army, etc.

We have a life and we have abundance—we need to live life abundantly with joy and thanksgiving. What do you need to remember to be thankful for?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Joy in All Situations

Matthew 1:18-23

I grew up a military brat, and the middle of my sophomore year my dad received PCS orders for Fort Knox, Kentucky. When were we moving? Christmas break.

Now Christmas is, and always has been, my favorite time of the year. I love celebrating Christ’s birth. I cherish the family traditions—from decorating the tree to fixing monkey bread for breakfast to hearing the Christmas story one more time. How were we going to maintain those traditions if we were “on the road”?

Over 2000 years ago, a young man faced a situation he dreaded as well. Joseph took a wife who was already with child, a mark of shame in their culture and grounds for divorce.

God had other plans.

An angel appeared to Joseph and revealed the joy in his situation. This baby was the answer to the prophecies of old. His destiny would be to save the nations from sin.

As for me, my parents made the trip memorable. They gave my sisters and I a set of small ornaments and strung a wire around the interior of our van—our mobile Christmas tree. They stocked up on Christmas CDs, goodies, and a couple of presents. We got to spend two weeks visiting family, both in Kansas and Virginia. I had my family.

What I had anticipated to be a horrible holiday turned into one of the best. Even in the darkest of moments, there is joy to be found. Is your heart searching for those possibilities?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let's Share! -- Who are You?

Happy Friday everyone!

The year has passed by to quickly and we're already in the last couple months of 2010. November, as we all know, is a time to be thankful. Our blessings make us realize how fortunate we are.

This year one thing I'm thankful for are my blog readers! Yes, that's right. Each and every one of you. You have shown me encouragement and support, you've challenged me to be better and delve deepers. You've cheered with me and prayed with me--you've witnessed me at my best and at my worst.

I could not have asked for better friends over the last year.

Then I came to realize...I don't know all of you that well. So, for this week's Let's Share!, how about we turn the tables. I want to get to know you! Share with us a thing or two about you and let's get to know each other better.

Have a FAB weekend!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Let’s pretend.

It’s late at night. You had to work late and now you’re rushing to the car to get home to catch the tail end of dinner and a few moments with the kids before they head off to bed. In your hurry, you fumble the keys and they fall to the ground. When you bend over to retrieve them, the sound of footsteps echo in the parking lot.

You spin around to find that pesky guy on the third floor who’s had his eye on your job for awhile. He thinks you did something nefarious to get the promotion instead of him. With a wild look in his eye tonight, who knows what he’s got on your mind.

You open your mouth to greet him. Before a sound gets out, his fist slams into your nose. Your mind reels as your body falls back. Your unsteady legs search for balance when his fist sinks into your stomach. Doubling over, you stumble to the ground.

He goes to kick you, but you block his foot with your arm. He tries again. This time, you catch his foot and shove him. He stumbles back and trips over the curb, flips over a fence, and slams his head into a tree before sinking to the ground. Dead.

Now you find yourself in a precarious situation. You did nothing wrong—but there is a good chance you will go to jail on manslaughter charges—especially if there were no witnesses to the incident.

My husband and I got into a discussion about this yesterday. Self-defense that leads to prison. Or another example. The robber who breaks into the house, hurts himself, and then sues the owners because he was injured on their property.

Where’s the justice in that?

We live in an imperfect world. Sometimes the bad guys win. Sometimes we do nothing wrong, and still our lives are ruined.

Jesus did not promise us a life free from injustice. Being a Christian doesn’t grant us an immunity to this fallen world.

God does assure us, though, that vengeance is His. He is the ultimate Judge. Each person will have to answer for what they’ve done.

I may get frustrated with events like the ones described above, but I know that God sees all. What goes unpunished or without justice here on earth, will be rectified in Heaven. Praise the Lord!

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Month, Renewed Hope

“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Eph 1:15-23

Praise the Lord!

We serve an awesome God. A God who created this world and everything in it. He spoke and it came into being. A God who demonstrated His power over and over again in the Old Testament—from raising a young boy from shepherd to king of Israel to stopping the sun in the sky to bringing victory to an army of 300.

We serve a God who sacrificed His own Son for our sins—and then raised him from the dead.

Hallelujah for Jesus reigns!

Jesus, the Son of the Most High God, sits at His right hand. The Son who was made man, who walked among us for a time, showing us how to live and love one another. A Savior who, in obedience, hung on a cross that we might live. He offers us eternal life through his death. King of kings, he rules the church—his bridegroom, his body. And now, he is the Great Intercessor, interceding on our behalf.

What an encouragement to contemplate as we enter the holiday season! We have so much power at our fingertips. We are sons and daughters of God, we share in the same inheritance that Christ has (1 Peter 1:3-5). We need only have faith. Faith that God is who He says He is, faith that Christ’s death was not in vain. When we embrace who we are in Christ, we open the door for God to work in our lives and bless us beyond what we could ever imagine.

Let’s start this month with praise and worship for our Creator and our Savior. Let us raise our hands, our voices, and our hearts, pouring out our thanksgiving and our hopes, but also allowing God to fill us with His Spirit that we may live life…not just live it, but live it abundantly (John 10:10).