Christmas · Family life · memories · Prayer

Christmas Favorites 2017

Since I was absent the week after Christmas I didn’t get to share SOME of my favorite pictures and moments.  There were lots of them, but let me show you just a few.

We got to spend an early Christmas weekend with Whitney and her husband.  They’re great hosts – taking us to see the lights in the downtown city near them, fixing great food as you can see below, and giving us a cozy guest room to stay in.  We got to visit their church and loved worshiping with them!  Whitney doesn’t just blog about comfort at home – she lives it out!  Her house was decorated so beautifully for the holidays!

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If you can’t visit Dollywood any other time of the year, you must go at Christmas.  It’s just breathtaking.  We got to go see the lights and shows (many that share the Gospel!) with dear friends and it was a great evening.  Sights like this one are at every turn!

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Our little grandsons were sick on Christmas Eve, so they missed going to their other grandparent’s home or going to church.  However, after the service, we all went to their house where I fixed brunch for all of us.  Then we got to watch these little sweeties open the gifts we gave them and big teddy bears from their great Nana and Papa.  Wow!  That was special.

To see Alli and her husband love and parent these boys is a reminder every day that God answers prayer!

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Christmas afternoon we headed to Kentucky to spend Christmas with my family.  What a special joy it was to have my sisters and our husbands and our parents all together for Christmas Day!  It was also a time to celebrate my dad’s 85th birthday.  We are blessed beyond measure, and so thankful to the Lord for wonderful relationships, and time together to share a meal, laugh (lots!) and praise the Lord for His blessings this past year.

My brother-in-law on the far left has recovered miraculously from a fall from a roof in early September.  To see him standing, walking and enjoying the day with us was a gift in itself!  God sustained him and my sister as she cared tirelessly for his needs all those months.  Many of you prayed for him, and we are grateful.  Thank you.

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I thank the Lord for a wonderful 2017 where I saw the Lord answer prayer after prayer.  Guess what?  On the first day of this year, another longtime prayer was answered!  I can’t wait to see what else God is going to do.

I was moved to tears by many who requested the prayer journal I shared about in the previous post.  Your names are all in my journal and I can’t wait to hear how your prayer life will result in blessings untold as you wait on the Lord to answer!

Be refreshed this weekend as you gather in a local church to study, worship, pray and fellowship!

What was a highlight of your 2017?

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Christmas

Christmas Wishes

Our family had so much fun the day before Thanksgiving having family photos made in the field behind our country house.  The farmer hadn’t cut his hay yet, making it the perfect backdrop.  I wish I could show you all of them, but for sake of our little guys in foster/adoption process, I can’t show you their faces, so you’ll have to settle with just my photo with my husband, Dale!

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This is our 36th Christmas as a married couple.  You know what we say to each other?

I like you.

And

We like us.

I really do like him.

A lot!

Of course I also love him, but liking someone means you

accept them for just who they are,

look more at their good qualities than their faults,

smile when you know the punchline of the joke they’re telling (again),

serve them when you’re tired,

listen when they talk,

smile when you catch them looking your way,

and stay together for as many Christmases the Lord gives you together because you never know which one will be the last.

Yeah, we like us.  And we look forward to spending time together this Christmas.  Our girls are spending the holiday with their in-laws and because we really do like “us” we will have a great time together!  We won’t be sad, because we’re back to where we started all those 36 years ago, and WE LIKE IT!

Merry Christmas to each of you!  Rejoice in Christ and let all the things troubling you fade into the background as you keep your eyes on Him!  I’ll see you after the holidays are over!!

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Christmas

Three Ways to Make This the Best Christmas

I guess we could count these days as “Crunch Time” in regards to prepping for Christmas!  How are things going on your end?  Are your plans coming together?  Are the purchases all made, the cookies all baked and the gifts wrapped?  Maybe you simplified this year, so the answer is “Yes!”  Or you might be in the panic mode because you’re feeling the pressure of Christmas pressing in on you.

There are many things that make Christmas a time for upset stomachs and I don’t just mean the viruses going around!  I’m talking about the pressures and demands we put on ourselves and others and the relational tensions.  I thought about these scenarios and realized that there are three simple ways to reduce these hardships right now and turn this Christmas into one that will be remembered as the best yet!

Watch the video below for those three simple suggestions.

Which of these three do you need to work on most?

 

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Christmas · Life

Without Christ in Christmas

Image result for chocolate chip cookies without chips

A heavy tray is extended towards you full of fluffy, golden brown cookies.

“Take one, please!”  your host offers.  “They’re Chocolate Chip Cookies, except they have no chocolate chips.  We just don’t do those.”

Odd.

The outside of the bookstore is inviting and charming.  Signs in the windows boast of new titles and the arrival of authors who will be in house soon.  A lover of good books, you step inside, anticipating lingering over the newly bound pages and reading in a comfy chair.  But your head jerks back and forth across the shelves that are…empty.
“You have no books?” you ask the clerk at the cash register.
“Oh, no.  We just like having a store.  We don’t do books.”

Image result for empty shelves at bookstore

Bizarre.

A jolly clerk at the retail store had to wait to finish ringing up my purchase, because a price check was needed.  The awkward wait was broken when he asked,
“Where will you spend Christmas this year?”
“Lexington, KY!  How about you? came my response.
“Oh, I’ll stay right here.”
I continued the dialogue,  “And how do you celebrate Christmas?”
“How? Oh, just with giving gifts – that’s all.”
My husband chimed into the conversation by asking, “Do you know the Christ of Christmas?”
“Oh, we usually don’t do the religious thing at Christmas” was his answer.

Don’t do the religious thing?  

Me either.  Rather, we Do Jesus.  He is the reason we have Christmas!  Without celebrating His coming to earth to die for my sins, there would be no Christmas, and certainly nothing to celebrate!

My first two scenarios in this post were totally fictional, but I use them to make a point. If you’re celebrating Christmas and leaving the worship of Christ out of your celebration, you have a far greater crisis than a chocolate chip cookie without chocolate chips or a bookstore without books!  You have life without meaning.  When the tinsel has lost its glow, the wrapping paper is stuffed into the trash can, the last cookie is eaten, and the final gift unwrapped, you are still left with that empty hole in your heart.  The void in your life will still be unfulfilled on December 26th, because without Christ in Christmas you…

  • have no meaning all the other 364 days of the year.
  • don’t understand the sacrifice Jesus made to come to earth for you.
  • have no hope for eternal life with God.
  • have no peace in your heart.
  • don’t understand true satisfaction and contentment.
  • have just another party.

But if you will receive the greatest gift – the gift of eternal life THROUGH Jesus Christ, you can celebrate the joy of Christmas every day of the year.

If Christ is your Savior, I challenge you to make Him the center and focus of your celebrations this year.  Without Him you’ll have just a plain ol’ holiday, but when you center everything around Him, you’ll have CHRISTmas!

Lovingly,

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Christmas · Gifts

A Gift for Jesus

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I’m sure most of us are consumed right now with Christmas preparations, and that includes buying and giving gifts. We give gifts to those we care about with the desire to give something that will display our love.

While you’re thinking about what to give, have you considered what you’ll give the Lord this Christmas? It is, after all, His birthday! What could you and I give that would demonstrate our love for Him?
Need a few suggestions?
  • A monetary gift to a missionary
  • The provision for a child to go to Christian camp this summer
  • A Christian book or CD to an unsaved friend or loved one
  • How about sharing a tract with the people standing at the Salvation Army posts?
  • Take Christmas cookies to the waiting rooms at the hospital on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and share God’s love and care for them
  • Deliver goodies to the Fire department on Christmas Day and include Gospel tracts
  • A donation to the Christian radio station that has encouraged you this year

We give gifts to each other because God gave us the greatest gift – His Son. Let’s thank Him by remembering to give Him a gift this Christmas!

Do you have any other good suggestions for a gift to give Him? Tell us about it!

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baking · Christmas · Gifts · Uncategorized

Hot Chocolate Mug Cake

How does this sound – Hot, gooey, fudgy cake ready in 90 seconds?! Not only is it really delicious cake, it can also be assembled to give as a special gift for the chocolate lover in your life!  Can you think of anyone who would appreciate a hot little cake that is ready except for three little ingredients?  Mix it up, pop it into the microwave, and in 90 seconds the cake is ready to eat!

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I found this recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake in the recent edition of Southern Living Magazine.  I whipped up four of these for my neighbors this week and they were super easy and cute as well!  Each mug makes a really generous portion – so you could even share, but hey, it’s Christmas, right?  You might want to enjoy the whole mug yourself!

Here are the ingredients:

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake

Ingredients

DRY MIX

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons mini marshmallow

 

How to Make It

Step 1

For each cake, combine all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, kosher salt, unsweetened cocoa, chopped toasted pecans, bittersweet chocolate chips, baking powder, and cinnamon in a small food-safe gift bag. Place mini marshmallows in a separate bag. Place both bags inside a 12-oz. microwavable mug.

Step 2

To prepare each cake, stir whole milk, canola oil, and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients in mug. Microwave on HIGH until cake rises and is cooked through, 60 to 90 seconds. Remove from microwave; sprinkle marshmallows on top. Microwave on HIGH 5 more seconds. Serve immediately.

Here’s how I wrapped mine up to give away:

 

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You might not be able to have everyone you love over for chocolate cake, but with this simple recipe, you might be able to give them all a cake of their own!

You can watch a video of the process here:

Happy baking/Gift-giving!

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Christmas · Home decor · Uncategorized

My Simple Christmas Decor 2017

We’re down to the Twelve Days of Christmas!  Rather than giving you  three french hens or six geese a-laying, I thought I’d share some pictures of my Christmas home decor.  I’ll give you a few glimpses into most rooms, which have just little touches here and there.  Step inside…

The entryway ~

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My foyer has no outlet on this side of the wall, but it needs a soft light, so I love using these battery operated strands to brighten up the hallway!

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Just a simple drawing on the closet pantry chalkboard. (You can go here to see how I put the chalkboard on the door.)

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My Gingerbread Coffee House is on the buffet.  After 10+ hours of work, I had no intention of eating this confection, even though everything about it is eatable! It still smells gingerbread-y and delicious!

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All the front windows of our house have a wreath, red bow and battery operated candle hanging from them.  You can see the back of the wreath from this guest room.  I’ve added just little touches in here – Christmas pillow, greenery on the shelf above the bed, and Christmas magazines in the tray.

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You may remember my post last week stating that I wasn’t putting up a tree this year, due to time constraints.  Well, when we were out of town last weekend, Santa’s elves came and put up this adorable and beautiful tree in our bedroom!  It was exactly what I’d hoped to do.  I guess I’ve been a good girl this year after all!

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Now you see what I mean by that fact that I was just adding small Christmas touches here and there.  But you know, I love it and it looks festive enough for us!  Simplifying is a good exercise!

Thanks for taking a tour of my home, via these pictures!  Was there a favorite spot you enjoyed?  Are you finished decorating your home for Christmas?

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