Friday, December 30, 2011

You can tell it's the week between Christmas and New Years

...when you are posting videos about the Christmas story from New Zealand.




...when you are re-posting a video you've already posted a few years ago.




...when this makes you laugh every time you watch it.




Happy New Year!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

My floor is merry and bright!

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An annual tradition at our house is having my brother’s girls over to bake cookies right before Christmas.  This year we made these snowmen (which aren’t baked at all – they’re N*tterButter cookies and I found the recipe at BrownEyedBaker, though hers don’t have the messy character these guys do!).

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We also made some chocolate cut-outs and decorated them with LOTS of sprinkles.  LOTS.  There were sprinkles on every surface of my kitchen.

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This was very serious work.

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Madison is decorating ‘gingerbread Jesus.’

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Well, I guess it wasn’t all serious.

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We had LOTS of fun!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Interrupted

I couldn’t sleep last night and I’m not sure why.  But I finally got up at about 3:30, turned on the coffee pot and curled up on the couch by the Christmas tree.  I do love early morning (although this was a leettle early – even for me).

I’m in Ephesians right now, trying to go through it slowly, letting God help me understand and apply so many weighty things.  Did you ever notice how God’s word absolutely requires you to spend time in order to even begin to understand it?  I like that.  No skimming with this Book.

Today I read:

“I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power.”  Eph 3:7

I serve the gospel.  It doesn’t serve me.  It’s a wonderful master, actually.  The living message of hope and peace and life through Christ.  But I am not the one directing my life, my decisions, my days. 

bond servant:
  1. a slave
  2. metaph., one who gives himself up to another’s will, whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing His cause among men
  3. devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests


Mary, Jesus’ mother, probably had some plans for her life, even though she was a young teenager – long engagement to the man she loved followed by a happy wedding with joyful family and then children after they were all settled. I wonder if she wanted a daughter first? I can only guess what some of her plans might have been. And then… a visit from an ANGEL.  

I keep thinking about what my pastor said on Sunday morning when he shared about Mary and her response to the news that her life would not be taking the course she had anticipated.

She trusted – even though she certainly didn’t know all the answers to her questions.  I cannot imagine the things swirling in her mind and heart.

She surrendered and told God “I am your bond servant.” 

She took her hands off the control and ownership of her life and gave it willing to God.  The angel showed up and interrupted her plans.  God gave her a completely new and radical script for her life and she said “I trust You and I’m not going to withhold anything from You.  I’m Yours to use in the ways You decide are best.”

Amazing.  She let her life serve the gospel – literally.  But I know that’s exactly the attitude God expects me to have.  In light of some decisions I need to make, this helps me so much.  I can look at them not so much about how they affect me but how they might line up with God's plans. 

God, I am Yours.  Use me however You decide is best.  By Your power and strength working in me, not mine.  By Your grace, not mine.  If You show me what to do and where to go, You are in charge of making it happen and giving me what I need to do it.

And then she worships! 

Do I worship in response to something God is asking of me? 
Do I worship when my day doesn’t follow what I had planned? 
Do I trust Him enough?

Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. 
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
Luke 1:46

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All Is Calm

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I am looking forward to when all the shopping is done, all the baking is happily sealed up in pretty tins, all the gifts are wrapped and under the tree.
 
I am looking forward to some time in the living room with only the Christmas tree lights on, Christmas music and a big mug of decaf. Doing nothing but sitting and quieting my racing heart to worship.
 
I am looking forward to welcoming my kids home, all the chairs full around the table, playing games, noise and laughter.
 
But THIS day is the one that counts. Right in the midst of lots to do, lists and appointments, a messy desk and unfinished work.
 
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  
Luke 2:19

I imagine Mary had a few things swirling through her mind as she sat looking at her tiny Son.  I wonder what things she treasured up and pondered.  God had done a miracle in her physical body and He was also working in her spirit… she couldn’t help but burst into praise!

That’s how I want to be – like Mary.


Oh, how I praise You, Lord. 
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior! 
For You chose me, a nobody in the world’s eyes,
and because of You, many can see the hand of God in me.
For You set Yourself apart from every man-made answer, every religious dogma, every prideful theory.
You have done GREAT things for me and in me.
You extend Your mercy down through the generations
to anyone who humbles themselves before You. 
Your mighty arm has done AMAZING things! 
(paraphrase Luke 1:46-51)

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Past

What Christmas music did you listen to when you were growing up?

For me, it was Julie Andrews.  Yes, that Julie Andrews.  The Sound of Music Julie Andrews.  Mary Poppins Julie Andrews.

    

My parents belonged to a record club and we got the whole "Firestone Presents" series.

Remember record clubs?  Remember Green Stamps?  Remember the Alamo?

I put a stack of those albums (because in those days you could stack your albums) on the stereo console and danced around the living room to the lights of the Christmas tree.  (BTW, those were the days when you screwed your Christmas light bulb sockets onto an extension cord.  This was such a dangerous practice that I couldn't even find a picture of one to show you on Google images.)  We also had Mitch Miller, Vic Damone and Andy Williams Christmas albums.

So... because I was listening to Julie Andrews Christmas songs on my iPod today, it got me to thinking about Christmas past.  And I thought of these:



I love how she describes the "wholesome blending of whole food flavors."  Wonder why they dropped that as a jingle for Coke?


And who can forget the Norelco ads with Santa riding down the slopes on a shaver?




I always wanted these but never got them...





This cheery ad features ET and a really cool new gaming system...





Speaking of technology...



I'd better stop before I get carried away into Christmas past.


Okay, one more.  Everybody sing!




See what happens when you play Julie Andrews Christmas songs? 

Merry Christmas!!

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

December links



Here are a few things I've loved on the internet at the start of this Christmas season...



@PaperZoneBlog


@MarthaStewart.com

@eighteen25



Brownie Bite Surprises
@Scissors&Spatulas


definition of maturity
Debt Free
@ThriftyDecorChick
I guess this is a pretty appropriate post for this season of shopping.  I love this family's story of attacking their debt with ferocity and the peace that results.  We love Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University - we've had the privilege of attending and of teaching several small groups.  It's made a HUGE difference in how we live.  Check it out if you haven't heard about it!


And last (but most certainly least) I have no idea why I thought this was so funny but I did:



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