Tag: christmas

Four Months Til Christmas!

Yes it is only four months, from today, until Christmas!  I love Christmas and, in my secret way, I celebrate it all year long.  I know some of you are reading this right now and rolling your eyes and telling me to zip my mouth!

Some people think of Christmas as busy, not enough hours in the day, HAVING to shop for gifts, spending way too much money and having to “perform” or keep up with the expectations of others.

Well what if this year we started now?  WHAT!!!  No seriously.  What if we started now thinking of things we can do this far in advance to help minimize the stress?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1.  Start making a list of people you want to send Christmas cards to.  Minimize it.  Maybe you send electronic Christmas wishes to those you see frequently and cards to those you don’t.  Or don’t send cards at all.  Say What????!!!   Yes, hours saved and I bet you might just take some pressure off of others who wish they could do the same thing.
  2. Start putting money back now for Christmas shopping.  You can start a savings account at your local bank or find a safe place to keep $20 a week.  It adds up and by the first of December you will have saved a couple hundred extra dollars.
  3. Start your list for those you wish to buy for and start looking for gifts now.  Then take a box and place it in the corner of your closet or basement and keep your gifts there.  Look for sales and be sure to keep your list with you at all times so you don’t “double purchase” when your normal Christmas shopping time comes around.
  4. Start showing acts of kindness NOW.  It seems like around Christmas time is when everyone gets the kindness gene in full gear.  We can do that all year long.  Kindness matters and you can give your donations and random acts of kindness right now!
  5. Consider minimizing your decorating to be just what you and your family want and not try to meet the large expectations that you THINK others want.  And if you have an Elf visit your Shelf…….start pinning some Pinterest ideas now! haha

But with all this being said, we really need to remember that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus.  We get so caught up in all of the fun things of the season that sometimes we forget the real meaning.  I love all the decorations, baking, lights, gift giving and gatherings, too.  But since we are still four months out from the big day of celebration, maybe we start now to create the perfect Christmas.  The one fit for our King!

Merry Christmas in August!  🙂

Put A New Spin On Your Day

Have you ever had a toy spinning top? 

Some of you more “mature” readers may remember these.  They are now called “retro”! hahahha  I loved these tops.  You pull on the lever and pump it getting the toy top to spin faster and faster.  It’s so fun pumping up the spinning mechanism and watching it twirl around with excitement!

But the spinning gradually slows down and eventually comes to a halt.  Christmas time can be that way, can’t it?  We build up for weeks decorating, purchasing, wrapping, baking, cleaning and visiting with our family and friends as we are spinning with excitement and joy!  Then it slows down and gradually comes to a halt.  The Christmas-hype is over.

One of my favorite Hallmark movies is “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”.  Jennifer is just going through the motions of Christmas and says to her new friend, Morgan, “I will be glad when Christmas is over”.  Morgan, who loves Christmas and reminds Jennifer of her childhood excitement at Christmas, says “December 26 is the saddest day of the year”.

We may feel that way, too.  Work time off is either over or winding down.  Kids are tired of new toys and dreading to go back to school.  Schedules and “old normal” are rearing their ugly heads.  For some, true depression starts to set in as the excitement of Christmas is over and the darkness of winter days appear.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!  We need to start the new year with a positive spin.  We too can be like the retro toy top!  We can still be full of spinning excitement for EACH new day!  When we understand the true meaning of Christmas, that Jesus came to earth for us, then we can truly live each day full of the spirit of Christmas.

Reality says that we cannot live pumped up like a fast spinning top every day.  We will wind down and can’t always be positive, but what we have available to us for the taking is the one that can fill us with His Spirit and get us full of the spinning excitement again.

As the new year approaches, I encourage you to think about the excitement of the toy top’s spin.  The fun of pumping up the spinning mechanism and watching it twirl with excitement.  I want you to be filled with the spinning excitement of living each day with and for Jesus.  And even though the commercial excitement of Christmas is over just like the winding down of the spinning top, we can keep it going by showing Christ’s love to others all year-long.

We just need to keep pumping ourselves up with God’s word, prayer, worship and daily encouragement.  And when we feel ourselves winding down and falling flat, reach out to the One who can get you pumped up with excitement again.  Let’s vow to try and start each day with a POSITIVE SPIN!

Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 8

Online shopping is all the rage these days!!
“Cyber Monday”.
“Extra 25% off online orders.”
“Free Shipping on all orders over $50.”
“Order now and it will be there by December 24th.”

Shoppers count on the shipping magicians to make it happen!  If the vendor says it will be here on time, then by George it will be here on time.

But do the vendors and the shoppers realize that their packages are not the only ones promised to be delivered on time?   Do people realize that UPS, Fed Ex, US Postal Service and Elf Express are working as many hours with as many vehicles as humanly possible?

A friend told me the other day that she saw the mailman driving his car that was so packed down with packages he could hardly see!!   It’s not safe!  hahhaha  And have you ever seen a delivery driver speeding to the next house with the long-awaited packages?  He might as well have a red light flashing on top of the vehicle so everyone can pull over and let the “emergency personnel” drive by.  hahhaa

Today’s Twelve Days of Christmas Kindness Challenge is to show a little love to your postal worker or delivery person.   It’s a hard time of year for these folks and showing a little extra kindness will brighten their day.  Some ideas may include a gift card for lunch somewhere, a WalMart or Target gift card, a coffee mug with candy, a water bottle, a batch of homemade fudge, tools for a male driver or fingernail polish and lotion for a female driver, etc.  The possibilities are endless!

I know it’s Sunday, but get prepared today, and leave it for them tomorrow.  It’s just a little Pick-Me-Up for the people who do the heavy lifting!


Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 2

Sometimes I think in life we are kinder to the strangers we come in contact with than we are to our own family.  Our family sees the real us!  They see the good, the bad and sometimes even the UGLY!

Jesus was kind to everyone He met. He did not discriminate between the rich and the poor; the sick and the healthy; the righteous and the sinful.

Challenge #2 – be kind to a family member today.  Do something extra special for them.

Make your husband’s favorite cookies.
Do the dishes for your wife.
Pick up the kids’ toys for them instead of making them do it.
Give your mom flowers.
Make dinner for your dad.
Do a chore for your brother or sister.
Write a thank you note to your parents.
Babysit your niece or nephew and let your sister or brother have a little time to themselves.
Visit grandparents and just sit and talk.

Think of something you would like someone to do for you……….then do it for a family member.

Let the KINDNESS spread and continue every day……………………….

Twelve Days of Christmas

We sing about it.
We write about it.
We countdown to Christmas by it.

What is it?  The Twelve Days of Christmas.

So………why don’t we DO SOMETHING with it.  Every day for the next 12 days, I will put a challenge out for you as part of  Twelve Days of Christmas Kindness.  I encourage you to see if you can make a difference to someone each day through Christmas.  Maybe you will enjoy it so much, you will want to continue kindness acts throughout the new year!

Jesus is the Reason for the Season, and He is the greatest gift of all.  He came into the world as a baby who was not born in a hospital, but rather was born in a barn with no monitors; no sterilization; no bottles.   He was perfect.  No flaws.  No colds.  No cancer.

But there are a lot of children in this world with serious medical issues.  Many are fighting for their life at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.   When children go to St. Jude’s, all services are free.  It takes a lot of money to run a research hospital like this but due to this research, there have been breakthroughs for cancer cures.  Unfortunately the journey to finding all cures is very long.

I have visited St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.  As a matter of a fact, they were the first hospital to where Bucket Buddies Mission delivered buckets. It is a cause close to my heart.

Today, as Day 1 of the Twelve Days of Christmas Kindness, I encourage you to donate to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to be a part of a cure.  Christmas started with a gift OF a child.  Let’s start our kindness journey with a gift FOR a child.

Merry Christmas!


When Is Enough Enough?

I really like the movie Last Holiday with Queen Latifah.  It’s about a gal who worked as a clerk in a retail store and lived in a very poor part of town.  She was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and found out she had 3 weeks to live.  She quit her job, cashed in all her stocks and bonds and went to live the life she had dreamed of living.  She traveled to Prague and ran into the greedy CEO of her retail company but didn’t tell him she worked for his company.  Of course as the story goes, he learns from her and becomes a better person just as …………(wait for it)……..she was misdiagnosed with a faulty CT Scan machine.  She has met the love of her life in the meantime and opens a restaurant she had always dreamed of opening.

During the movie she says to the CEO, “when is enough enough?”  and his response is “enough is never enough.”  But as the movie goes on he realizes money can’t buy his happiness and he needs to change his attitude and the way he treats people.  He realizes that whatever he has really is enough.

How many gifts are enough at Christmas time?  How much money is enough to spend on each person on our list?  When do we stop racing around and trying to keep up with what the world expects us to do?  Cards, Christmas letters, gifts, cookies, fudge, parties, trees, lights, toys, gingerbread houses, concerts.

My question for you today is this:  When is “enough enough” for us?

God sent His Son as the perfect gift.  He was not born with trees and lights and gingerbread houses.  He was born in a barn with cow poop and sheep slobber and smelly straw.   It was enough.  So if God sent Jesus into this world in this way and it was enough, then He is enough for us.

Keep your focus on the reason for the season and realize when enough is enough.  Stop before it gets TOO MUCH.  Trees, lights, gingerbread houses, cards, and gifts are all good things……….but don’t let that take over your Christmas.  Don’t get so exhausted that you don’t enjoy the season.  Remember no matter what you do or what you have, Jesus is ENOUGH!

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

This is my favorite song…….It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!  I love this song because it is like a ribbon cutting to begin the excitement of an event; of a season; of a whole month of fun with family and friends.

We watch the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving Day and see Santa arrive into town as the official start of the Christmas season.  Time to decorate and shop and send cards and bake!

We see beautiful Christmas trees lit.  Gifts surround our trees.  Wreaths dawn the doors and posts of every street corner. Nativity scenes are in the yards and amidst the landscaping and outdoor lights.

The smell of cinnamon and pine are in the air.  The sound of sleigh bells and Christmas music and kindness……….wait a minute………yes kindness.  People tend to be more kind this time of year (except on Black Friday sales).  You can see money being dropped in the red kettles as the Salvation Army bell rings……….people look for less fortunate people they can help have a joyous Christmas.  Volunteers are at an all-time high in soup kitchens and homeless shelters.  Gifts are purchased for people we tend to take for granted the rest of the year – the mailman, paper boys, hair dressers and pastors.

Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I love it all but don’t leave out the most important gift………the most important part……….the whole reason there is even a season…….JESUS.  He was kind His whole life.  He looked for people to help His whole life.  He enjoyed the beauty and sounds of every season.  He celebrated at every victory and every chance He could with others.  He didn’t wait until a specific day of the year!

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Therefore, look around.  See past the trees, the gifts, the lights, the bells.  Look at people.  Normal, every-day, pass-them-on-the street, behind-the-counter-at-Starbucks, people.  Be kind.  Give a little extra.  Keep it going all year long.  Keep Jesus in first place all year long so that there is no beginning of Christmas – it’s a season, a feeling, a celebration to last all year long.  It’s beginning to FEEL a lot like Christmas kindness and happiness!  See it.  Feel it.  Keep it all year long.  It’s just the beginning…….Merry Christmas!

Gifts that Light Up Your Life

I love giving gifts.  It doesn’t have to be Christmas or a special birthday (although I absolutely love giving Christmas gifts).  I just love to make a difference to someone every day and to show people how special they are.

Think about a gift you have received that was very special and that you use a lot.  When you use it, it makes you think of the person who gave you that gift and maybe brings a sweet smile to your face.

Last Christmas I got a gift from a friend that was a beautiful decorative lantern filled with fun kitchen items.  She had rolled up a tan kitchen towel, another complimentary brown kitchen towel and strategically placed small bright orange kitchen utensils in the lantern sticking up from the towels.  It was absolutely adorable.  I use that small orange set of tongs and spatula all the time.  I placed a battery-operated candle in the lantern and have it setting on my fireplace mantle.  Every time I use those utensils and look at my lantern, I think of my friend, Brenda and smile.  I am very thankful for our close relationship.

That is how our spiritual gifts are from the Lord.  He carefully chooses the gifts He gives us.  He wraps them in His love and strategically places them within your heart to be revealed at just the right time.  When you start using your spiritual gift, you will be overwhelmed at the joy you receive.  When you experience this joy, you will smile as you remember who gave you that special gift – your Heavenly Father.  And when He sees you using that gift, it warms His heart.

Romans 12:6-8 says:  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

If you aren’t certain what your spiritual gifts are, then take a spiritual gift survey.  Your pastor or leader in the church should be able to help you with that.  If not, just email me and I will find one especially for you!!

One of the ways to recognize a spiritual gift from the Lord, is to think about what you do for others that brings you joy.  Perhaps it is sending cards to encourage others.  Or maybe it is leading the teenagers.  Maybe it is hosting gatherings in your home and serving others.

I don’t know what YOUR gift is, but I know that God will reveal it to you when you ask and seek guidance from additional resources if you need to.  He is so happy to be able to give you that gift and loves to see you enjoy it and use it for good.  And when you do, you can’t help but smile and thank Him for that special gift.

Now excuse me, while I go turn on my lantern and enjoy a little light from my friend!

All Aboard!

I love watching toy trains.  I love watching the train go round and round a track especially if it’s under a Christmas tree!!  The sound of the “chug chug”  of the train and the sparkle of tiny little lights glowing bring a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart.

It’s so aggravating though when the train gets derailed and the normal roll of the train wheels is interrupted. But the good news is that when the train gets set upright again, it hugs the tracks and gets back in rhythm.

That’s how our lives roll.  We chug along enjoying the ride and all the sights and sounds along the path.  Sometimes we get comfortable and something we do takes our eyes off of the right path and we get derailed.  It may take a while for us to get back on the track and start rolling again.  The good news is that we have Someone who can set us upright and put us back on the track.

Sin derails us.  Forgiveness from God puts us back on track.  I’m so glad to be on the train to heaven and even when it gets derailed by something I do because of taking my eyes off of the path, I am thankful for the ultimate Conductor to put the train back on the right track.

Won’t you join me on this joyful ride?  The seats are unlimited.  The destination is to die for.  Grab your coat and sit down.  All Aboard!

Life is Too Short to Live the Same Day Twice!

I’ve been watching Christmas movies all week and weekend on the Hallmark Channel as it celebrates Christmas in July.  I love Christmas and although I know it is very early (and way too hot) to celebrate Christmas, I do love the feeling I get from the Christmas music and watching the movies.

Tonight my daughter said, “I wish people could be in the good mood they are in at Christmas time all year long.”  I thought about that comment and realized that is why I love Christmas so much.  I love the kindness and the gift giving and the way people want to do things for other people during the Christmas season.

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