One of the things that I think is often overlooked this time of the year is the simple gift of yourself.
We are bombarded with commercials, social media and T.V. specials about giving gifts and the deals that we can get to buy all of those gifts. In all of the hubbub we can begin to think that “simple” gifts aren’t enough.
Gift giving is so much more than the physical gifts sitting under the tree. It’s the giving of yourself. Your time, energy, thought, and sometimes money.
James 1:17 tells us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
Yes, God does provide us with our physical needs and blesses us beyond measure in that area. But I also think that He gives us gifts that aren’t physical. Viewing the sunrise or sunset. A kind smile on a busy day. Friends that will listen to your plight and offer godly advice. The prayers of family and friends just because they happened to be thinking about you…
You see, we are urged to imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Christ gives us more than the physical things in this life. We shouldn’t be made to feel as though our gifts are any less just because they can’t be held in our hands.
Sometimes the greatest gifts are held in the heart. A kind note of encouragement from a friend. A helping hand on a hectic day. Doors being held open by a stranger. And so much more.
This holiday season lets look for ways to give more of ourselves to those around us. Family, Friends, and friends we just haven’t met yet. Remember that gift giving isn’t just the physical things that we can hold in our hand, it’s also the things that we keep in our hearts and memories for a lifetime.
Until next time,
This picture along with several other Christmas images are for sale on various products here.
I don’t know about you but one of my favorite things to do this time of the year is to curl up on the couch clad in some comfy festive jammies with a warm drink and watch some Christmas movies.
But something that I’m noticing is that life (especially Christmas) isn’t like the movies. Have you ever noticed that usually the characters in the movies are hardly ever seen cleaning? I’ve never seen a Christmas movie where one of the main characters does a load (or two) of laundry… And yet amid all the holiday festivities the house never gets dirty.
I’ve also noticed that the people are never affected by the cold. I don’t know about you but if I go outside in winter it doesn’t take long for my face to look as red a Rudolph’s nose…
And they NEVER seem to get tired: they can bake dozens of cookies during the day and still manage to have the energy to attend a church function and give to those in need. All without needing a nap! I mean, for me that’s just impossible.
As much as I LOVE Christmas movies I find that they seem to be the biggest culprit of unrealistic and unmet Christmas expectations. We are constantly told of Christmas miracles and happy endings. I know that miracles and happy endings do happen. But at times life doesn’t always have that perfect movie ending.
Something that I think we all need to remember (especially myself) is that movies are just books on camera. Although they may be inspired by real life events they aren’t real life. Movies don’t replace spending time with family or actually making Christmas memories. In order to make good memories we have to choose to live. Not only do we have to make a conscience decision to get up off the couch and do something we have to embrace the life that we have right now.
Just because my life doesn’t look like the newest Christmas movie doesn’t mean that I don’t have a life. I have things to do, people to see, and Christmas to celebrate right here, right now. And so do you. So, quit living for that next movie and start making your own! Realize that this season of your life contains joy and happiness that only last for a moment. Soak every bit of it up and live it to the fullest. Thanking God for every blessing along the way!
Until next time,
Welcome to your Friday! I hope that you have had a good week filled with some Christmas cheer! Here’s a few blessings from this past week.
1) A NEW gingerbread recipe
Last weekend we explored a local historical park’s Christmas festivities. One of the old houses had people dressed in the historical clothing selling gingerbread cookies made from an 1845 recipe and roasted chestnuts (which weren’t as good as I expected). But if you went over to the summer kitchen there was another man dressed in historical clothing that was making the gingerbread cookies and you could take a copy of the recipe that was printed in their print shop. So, earlier this week we decided to make them. And let me tell you; they are some of the BEST gingerbread cookies that I have ever eaten! As a bonus they smell amazing too!
We had some errands to run yesterday and as we were leaving snow was falling from the sky! It’s been very cold here–I think the weather finally figured out how close Christmas was. Nothing stuck yet but that didn’t diminish our excitement. We all wanted to break out in song!
3) Being DONE with Christmas shopping!
Woohoo! I have finally finished all of my Christmas shopping this year! We went to a few stores yesterday afternoon and I was able to finish all of my shopping. Which means that all that’s left is my favorite part. The wrapping! How are ya’ll coming along on your Christmas shopping? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
I hope that ya’ll have had a great week! I’d love to hear some of the blessings that you’re experiencing in your life in the comments below! Have a great weekend!
Until next time,
As some of you may know I LOVE Christmas music. We start listening November 1st and don’t stop until December 26th (at least). So, I thought I’d take a minute or two and share with you my 6 favorite Christmas songs. I know that it’s a little odd to list just six, but that’s me… (Note: These are in no particular order).
1) Bing Crosby “White Christmas”
I grew up listening to Bing Crosby. We even have a Bing Crosby singing/dancing doll (he was so well loved that he now has a permanent case of laryngitis). Out of all the different versions of “White Christmas” his is my absolute favorite. 🙂
2) Andy Williams “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
Another classic. Every time I hear this song it makes me smile. A few years ago one of the non-cable channels that we have was playing a bunch of his Christmas variety shows and we loved them. Sadly, we haven’t been able to find it again. 🙁 As a bonus this song is also the title of one of our family’s favorite Christmas movies.
3) Steven Curtis Chapman “Christmas in Kentucky”
This song always reminds me of Sherrodsville and spending the holidays with my Great-Grandparents. Listening to it takes me back to my childhood and riding along all the curvy roads.
4) The Carpenter’s “Christmas Portrait”
Okay, technically speaking it’s an entire album of songs. But, I love it. It’s one of my absolute FAVORITE Christmas albums. It’s so relaxing and soothing. One of my favorite things to do (at least once during the Christmas season) is to put the CD in on repeat and lay down in front of the fire with a warm blanket and take a nap. If you listen carefully to track 16 you’ll hear the first verse of “White Christmas”. We’ve never been able to find it recorded anywhere else. But listen close–it’s there.
5) David Bowie and Bing Crosby “The Little Drummer Boy”
I have no idea how we even heard about this song, but it’s really neat. The lyrics have a nice meaningful message and I’m still amazed that they can be singing two different things and don’t get lost!
6) Matthew West “A Christmas to Believe in”
This song just sounds so pretty. I can envision every scene as he sings it. I love the reminder that Christmas isn’t just about the large things. It’s in all the small things that we often overlook. Let’s remember this year to take the time to look for and be thankful for all the little things that this Christmas brings.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on and on about why I love several other songs, but I think that this list sums it up quite nicely. I’d love to hear what some of your favorite Christmas songs are in the comments. Share them below!
Until next time,
I don’t know about you but when I was younger I just couldn’t wait for Christmas. I was anxious to see what Santa had left under the tree. Once December got here I was so overly excited I didn’t know what to do with myself.
As I got older and figured some things out for myself. Christmas seemed to loose a bit of it’s magic. I was no longer bouncing off the walls and I also learned the lesson that when you bake cookies the kitchen won’t clean itself ;).
For years I thought that the excitement of seeing what Santa left under the tree was what Christmas felt like. I ended up feeling a little down and depressed because although Christmas was almost here it just didn’t feel like it. I didn’t have the excitement that I once had and often wondered what happened.
As I’ve been thinking on this I realized that I just got older. I began to understand that Christmas is more than getting nice things under the tree. It’s about helping others and celebrating the wonderful blessings that we have been given by a loving God. Things like spending time with family, giving things to others, and helping those in need.
The magic of Christmas hasn’t left; it’s just taken a different form. Instead of bouncing off the walls and driving my Mom nuts I am now able to help her. I can wrap presents for another member of the family (as long as it doesn’t ruin the surprise of what I’m getting–as in no one is allowed to wrap their own presents). Instead of baking cookies for three hours and then having to clean up the kitchen for another four (I’m a fairly messy cook)– we can clean the kitchen more as we go. I now understand that every job in the kitchen is important and necessary instead of thinking that I always have to be the one to roll out all the cookies.
The older I’ve gotten the more I understand that not everyone is as blessed as I am. Some people don’t get to go home for Christmas, some don’t have families to go home to, and others won’t get to have a visit from Santa even though they’ve been good…I am now excited to help make Christmas brighter and cheerier for those in need.
Something that has really helped me get in the Christmas Spirit this year is taking it one day at a time…Trying to do one Christmas-y thing each day. Whether that be playing Christmas music all day long, journaling using Christmas stickers, baking a batch or two of cookies, navigating the crazy stores, attending a Christmas party dressed like an Elf, or coloring a Christmas picture… Just doing something small each day that celebrates Christmas.
Maybe this year you’re finding your Christmas changing. Let me encourage you to approach this Christmas season looking to God. Look around for the little Christmas-y things in your life. Don’t try to do it all–just do a little bit each day. Take each day as it comes and find the joy there. Thank God for what He has given and ask Him for guidance to use what you have to bless others.
Until next time,
Ladies and Gentleman…
WELCOME TO DECEMBER!
I can’t believe that Christmas is so soon! I’ve noticed that it doesn’t really feel like Christmas I think that it’s in part to this week’s first blessing…
1) The Spring like weather
When most people think December they think frigid temperatures and snow (I’m still praying that we get a white Christmas though). This week we’ve been blessed with some very nice weather. It’s been in the 50’s most of this week and very sunny. The other day I was wearing a Christmas t-shirt with a flannel over top and wasn’t freezing. I plan on enjoying it while it lasts. Because before you know it, it’ll be January, cloudy and cold. So soak up the sun and warmth while you can!
This weekend my Grandmother and Step-Grandfather are in town to celebrate our annual Thanksmas. We have a big meal and exchange gifts.
Once again everyone does a little something to help. Grandma always brings Overnight Salad–this stuff is my absolute favorite. I could eat an entire bowl myself given the opportunity. She also brings dinner rolls.
This year we’re going to have ham, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and a few other sides. And of course we’re going to have pumpkin pie. After we eat we’ll exchange gifts and check out a local historical park’s Christmas festivities.
3) God’s hand of protection
As we were putting the finishing touches on the Thanksmas preparations last night Bradley, Billie Jo, and Mom heard this noise. They said that it sounded like someone had blown a tire on the road outside our house. At the time I was downstairs doing some laundry. As I came upstairs I knew something had happened but I didn’t think that it was a big deal. I went to sort the laundry and then heard a car horn that wouldn’t go off. Upon further investigation we discovered that the driver had run the car off the road narrowly missing a couple of trees and power polls. The driver just got a broken nose and no one else was harmed.
Although I don’t wish harm on anyone I am thankful to see the help that was received yesterday. All of our neighbors came out to see if they could help and worked to keep the driver calm. They stayed out there and helped to make sure that the driver’s children got picked up from daycare and gave some of their time to help a fellow human being.
What are some of the blessings that you have noticed in your life this past week? I’d love for you to share them in the comments below! Have a great weekend!
Until next time,