Thursday, December 19, 2013

Four Gifts

Have your heard of  4 gifts for Christmas?

About a month ago, I was riding back from a mother/daughter retreat with a friend and our daughters when we started talking about Christmas shopping, presents, and budgets.  She said this year she was going to give her children 4 gifts each... a want, a need, a wear, and a read.  I had read about this on different blogs and after talking with my friend, I decided to jump on board.
For birthdays, our children know it is about them and things they want; at Christmas, it is about Jesus and giving to others.  Still, I would run myself ragged at times trying to get their gifts together.

Boy oh boy, had I known how wonderfully this four gifts idea would work on so many levels, I would have done it a lot sooner.  My husband and I told our kids our plan and they each gave us a lits of things they may want in each catergory.  I can't share what we got them since it is not Christmas yet; but let me say, it was fun shopping for them and so easy.  My stress levels went down and our budget stayed intact.  I even found free printable tags at Jones Design Company.

I just cut them out and glued them on red scrapbook paper... 
a hole punch, string, and reinforcements were the only supplies I used for these tags.  

It is now 6 days before Christmas and I am done shopping.  This is a wonderful feeling.  

If you are still in the midst of Christmas shopping and feeling overdone... try this idea.  You will not be disappointed.  

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It's Ironic, Isn't It?... Christmas Ponderings

It’s Ironic Isn’t It?

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus, I watch as the people I encounter run around in a frenzied state.  Stress levels  are increasing, tempers are short, budgets are tight and stretched, expectations rise, disappointments grow, and advertisers tell us we can get something for everyone on our lists… including ourselves.  I find myself joining in all of the craziness.  And then I stop.  It’s ironic, isn’t it?  Jesus loved us so much that He came in to us… in a humble stable, the form of a helpless babe.  In my preschool class, we talk about Christ’s birth.  I ask the children to image a stable… the sights… the smells… the sounds, the animals.  We’ve been to a farm as a class, so we know what some of those smells would be like; we’ve been on a hayride, so we know how scratchy that hay is.  We’ve seen animals eat their food… no fine china there… and let’s not even talk about their dental hygiene.   But this is what the book of Luke describes the birth of Jesus as this…

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Among the muck and mire of this world, there He comes to us in a meager setting.  He comes not with fanfare, not with riches, not with a high station.  Rather, He comes in such simplicity; in a lowly state.  This inconceivable plan messes with us in our understanding of how things should be.  Isn’t that just like Jesus?  His love and ways are radical.  He loves us in a way that knocks out status, prestige, wealth, position.  He simply comes for us.  And, here we are readying ourselves for Christmas… the celebration of His birth, running around stressed and frazzled… trying to do more, to buy more, to be more.  And that is where the irony lies.  All He asks is that we open our hearts to Him and let Him in, just as we are.  He comes into the muck and the mire of our lives… not the shiny, lit, prettily wrapped packages we like to present.  
So come and adore this precious babe… the Prince of Peace, Immanuel God with Us… for that is what He wants… just us, just as we are.  The gift He offers is free.  Take some moments to sit and ponder this.  Make room for Him… this One born in a stable and laid in a manger because there was no room for Him at the inn. 
Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday and a Proverb to Clothe Yourself In

Join me in What I Wore Wednesday... Linking up with Lindsay from The Pleated Poppy.  Take a couple of minutes to pull yourself together in the morning... add a scarf or some jewelry... whatever makes you smile.  I promise you will feel differently.  Also, check out Lindsay's link... you will be inspired by all of the ladies who link up.  Try a new combination of clothes today.  I am amazed at how far my wardrobe stretches when I mix it up!

Here are a couple outfits from the week...

Boot weather makes me smile!

The mustard yellow flower pin in from Lindsay's shop... it is made very well and I wear it a ton! Righgt now she is sold out of the mustard but she has many other colors in stock.

 Please excuse the blurry picture...

About Wisdom...

She will give you a garland to grace your head
    and present you with a glorious crown.
Proverbs 4:9

So, who is going to join me today... take a few minutes to clothe your spirit... the grab something pretty to wear.  You are so loved!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

If We Could Sit and Have a Cup of Coffee... Some Things I Want To Tell You

I am in a reflective sort of mood.  I think running at full speed with the beginning of the school year and settling into (if one ever settles into the craziness life in this day and age brings) the full swing of Fall schedules with two teens, one preteen,  a husband, teaching preschool, home repair projects in our bathroom and kitchen amongst so many other things,  makes me want to slow down and truly live...not run.   I need time to ponder... and to create... and to love... and to be thankful... and to dig deep... to make sure I am spending more time with people and in relationships rather than doing all the things this world calls me to do.   Yes, many of the things on my "to do" list still need to get done... but I don't want to miss what is truly important because I am focused on the "doing".

So, if you and I were to sit and have a cup of coffee, here are some things I would want to tell you...

1- You are created by a Master Artist that loves you so passionately and unconditionally that He sent HIs only Son to show us that love by dying on the cross and bearing all of the ugliness of our sins and paying a price we should have been required to pay.

2-  You are unique and priceless... there is no one quite like you.  Even identical twins have different fingerprints... that is how special and unique we all are.    Amazing if you stop and think about it!  Don't work so hard at trying to be like someone else... just be the wonderful you that you were made to be.

3- We are all sinners.  Yep... no exceptions here.

4- Sometimes God says no and we don't understand why.  We live in a sin-sick broken world that will never be set right this side of Heaven.  That being said, there is nothing so broken that He cannot fix... or maybe a better way to say it is that there is nothing and no one so broken that He cannot reach, restore, heal, and make into something beautiful.  He brings beauty out of ashes.  Sometimes the process is painful and hard... excrutiating even... and yet there is such beauty!

5- His math is not our math.  When we set our hearts and minds on Jesus and His purposes, He always provides.  Not always in the way we think He will or timing we want... but He is oh so faithful.

6- When you reach the end of yourself... where you cannot do it alone... where it is too much and you cannot walk another step... there Jesus will be... and He will be enough

7- A grateful heart is a happy heart!  It turns what you have into more than enough.  When you give thanks to the Lord, it changes you...

8- God isn't done with any of us yet... for that reason alone I am so very very thankful!

9- Sometimes we have to learn the same lessons over and over... oh, this stubborn heart knows this all too well.  Thankfully the Lord is patient with His children.

10- The Bible is the Living Word... don't believe me?  Try it out... just spend some time praying and reading it each day... I promise it is truly life-changing, living, God-inspired... see if you are not changed by it.

So, grab a cup of coffee and think on these things I want to share with you... if we were sitting across from one another.  You are loved beyond measure.  I wonder what you would want to tell me if you and I were sitting together...

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - And a Proverb to Clothe Yourself In

It has been while since I have joined in with the fun with Lindsay from The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday  You ladies are all precious daughter's of The Lord.   Take a few minutes to put yourself together each day and I promise you will feel different.  True beauty comes from deep within yourself and permeates out.  That being said, if you take a few minutes to choose your outfits, you will notice a difference in how your carry yourself.  This has been so evident to me in the last couple of weeks.  I had an eye injury and was feeling off with my sore eye and blurred vision.  Since I was home from work for a couple of days, I figured wearing sweats would be just fine... but I that only made me feel worse.  So, I put some effort back into my outfits, and you know what?  I did feel a bit better.  Try it... honestly, it changes how you feel...

Here are some recent outfits...

oh how I love wearing boots in the Fall and Winter!

Even on a run around day with sneakers and a comfy shirt,
 adding a necklace and hair clip make an outfit a little special...

or adding a pretty fabric flower pin and some earrings...

This outfit is so cozy and comfy... and way cuter than sweats!

Here are a couple of ways I have worn this pretty gold sweater...

And, changing up the shoes and scarves make this combination a little different (love these new colored jeans and I got them on clearance for under $8! which makes me love them even more!)...

I love cardigans too...
they are the perfect layering piece and can be worn with so many things!

(my husband and I went apple picking recently...
oh, what a glorious Autumn day and the sunflowers make me smile!)

And, here is a Proverb to clothe your soul in...

"Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you."
Proverbs 4:6

So,. will you join me in this challenge?  I don't care if you are young or old... the weight you want to be or not... short or tall... wishing you had different hair... different colored eyes... or just plain different... Instead, let's see ourselves as a precious child of God.  You are loved and you are beautiful!  Take a few minutes each day to first clothe yourself in God's Word... then put on something a little special!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ceiling Fan Facelift

Here is a quick, easy, and frugal way to spruce up a worn looking ceiling fan...

I love old things... with character... but this fan didn't have any of that.   I tried adding a drum shade which added a certain amount of charm... until my children grew taller and kept walking into it...

So. I had a few choices... live with it... replace it... or improve it...

Here is what the fan blades looked like to begin with

See what I mean?  No character...just old and ugly!

I headed out to Joann Fabrics and picked up some spray paint...  I ended up with this textured brown... okay, that is not the official color name... but you get the picture...

this side by side comparison shows a big difference even with just a coat or two of paint

I put the fan blades back up after a few coats of paint and already I liked the change

With the new paint job, the old globes looked a lot better... now this old fan had character...

no more worn out ugly ceiling fan for my kitchen... you can see a sneak peek of the new paint on the walls too:)

This little update cost a total of $5.00 (plus tax) for a whole lot of charm.  Now that is what I call a good DIY project!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Back in the Blog

September and the start of the school year came on fast and furious.  The pace has been exhausting; I was not made for this.  I wonder if anyone is made for this flurry of activity... this racing around like chickens with our heads cut off... running as if our very lives depended on it.  I wonder how much we take for granted when we go at such a pace.  Now that October is here, we are settling into more manageable routine for which I am thankful.  And, I am seeing in so many ways I takes things for granted ... I can be blind to so many blessings as I go at full-speed.  I need to heed these words in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances.  For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  Always... Constantly... In all circumstances.    This is a daily surrendering of my will, my plans, and my ways in exchange for The Lord's ways.  A lesson this complacent heart needs to learn over and over again.

Here are a few things I am thankful for:

- Jesus loves me always ... no matter what
- He will never ever leave or forsake me
- He provides is ways far beyond what I could ever ask or imagine
-  my husband and three precious children (two teens and one preteen in all their growing and changing)
- extended family and dear friends
- my eyesight - this week I suffered an eye injury affecting my sight ... I am healing but this was a good reminder of how blessed I am every day to see
- music ... Songs of praise to The Lord... my son's trumpet playing in the high school marching band, preschool children singing and playing instruments with joy, my three kids singing in the car with me at the top of our lungs
- cool Autumn nights to sleep well
- warm sweater and blankets
- changing leaves... This fiery art gallery given to us by Our Creator each year
The list goes on...

I am learning as I follow the words given to us in Scripture we are giving gift and offering to The Lord: We acknowledge His holiness and Lordship, express our gratitude, and keep in constant communication and contact with Jesus.  And this offering in turn, in God's mysterious ways, becomes a gift to us... drawing us into His arms, filling us with joy, and growing our gratefulness for all He is and all He has done for us.

What blessings are our you thankful for today?

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!