Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

So, here we are. It is Christmas Eve. The frantic running of "one last errand" is slowing... The counting of presents, the making of lists, the worrying and scurrying and flurrying are falling away. And, here we are.

This is what I know. Christmas is not about any of that. Those busy things are what distract us from all that matters most.

What matters most is this:

With great compassion, God wrapped His love for us in a fragile, tangible, beautiful child. There is nothing more important than God offering us a way... a way to be with Him, a way to be forgiven, a way to see and know and feel love. The birth of Jesus offered all of this to us.

So, together let's take a breath. Together, let's remind ourselves that what our families will take from this sweet holiday has more to do with love than presents, more to do with being than doing, more to do with God's gift than our holiday trappings. We have these two days to shower upon our families the love that was showered on us.

Yep, it's Christmas Eve. What comes next will not be perfect... all will not go as planned... Focus on what matters and store up the rest as memories. Hold the faces of those you love and give to them what was given to you.

How deeply we are LOVED.

Merry Christmas, friends.

Blessings on your day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Social Network Christmas

Blessings on your day...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook--Christmas Edition #3

If you blog, you can do this, too. C'mon, you can do it! Join in the fun!

Outside my window... it is COLD. This morning, it is 9 degrees with inches of snow on the ground. It is sunny and beautiful...

I am thinking... about the balance of Christmas. I want to be sure that I am using this time of the year to teach my kids about the Biblical story of Jesus' birth. I don't want to be distracted by the consumerism that attacks us from all sides.

I am thankful for... heat. As I sit here in the family room, my feet are toasty-warm and I don't want to take that for granted. A warm floor is a wonderful thing...

From the kitchen... Yesterday's chicken pot pie is still in the air... but I have hot beef sandwiches bubbling away in the crock pot today. Smells amazing!

I am wearing... corduroys, a long sleeve t-shirt with a pretty, flower scarf and slippers.

I am creating... my next newsletter. I really want this to get out! If you are not on my email list for the newsletter, get a hold of me and let me know. I am happy to add you. It is separate from this blog so even if you get the blog, you need to sign up separately for the newsletter.

I am dreaming... about the new year. I am going to start subbing some and am looking forward to several speaking engagements. I still have time in winter and spring so if you still need someone to speak for your group, conference or retreat, be in touch!

I am going...keep working on our Christmas plans. Now, I am saving some nights... We need the downtime to be home together.

I am reading... Mary Beth Chapman's book. Love it.

I am hoping... for a relaxing break with my kiddos. They are eager to be on break and I am eager to have them here! :)

I am hearing... the dog in the kitchen, the ceiling fan in the kitchen, the glorious sounds of quiet in my home.

Around the house...We still have some decorating to do. I wish we were done... but we are chipping away at it a bit at a time. Are you all set?

One of my favorite things... the crock pot. I love that I can dump things in and let it do its work and then we have a dinner ready to go! Yum!

A few plans for the rest of the week...a bit of shopping, lots of laundry, keeping up with making dinner and hugging my kids.

What about you? : )

Blessings on your day!

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Monday, December 13, 2010

A Story That is Meant to Touch

It is a beautiful table. A beautiful spot in my home where pretty things are supposed to sit untouched. Near my entry, situated on a red wall, is a wood and iron table that holds pictures of my children, a candle, and something seasonally pretty. I love that spot.

In October, I put a scarecrow there and the whole scene looks so harvest-y. In November, I take the scarecrow down and put a pumpkin with a turkey carved into it. It reads: Happy Thanksgiving! I tell my kids "don't touch" and have them set their many things elsewhere. It can be a battle... but I love to have a little corner that is beautiful in the midst of the fallout of family.

And then comes December. I put the pumpkin away and carefully unpack a simple but beautiful Nativity set. Onto the red wall table go the pieces and before I can catch myself, the words pour forth.

"Don't touch!"

"This is momma's and it is breakable!"

"Be careful!"

And in a moment of thoughtlessness, I have given my children lies.

Let's stand back for a just a second and see it in a different way. Those little nick-knacks so careful displayed on a table in my entry tell a story that is one of the most important stories I will ever tell my kids. And it is not for those who must stand a long ways off... No, this story is one to touch and hold and feel deeply. It is not breakable at all... It is, in fact, a story that shows the Divine Creativity of a God who is overwhelmed with love. He is willing to sacrifice that which means the most to Him to open His arms to you and me. This is not a story of cautiousness. This is an opportunity for us to run with reckless abandon into the Kingdom of God. Those nick-knacks show the way... The Way He used... The Way for us to find what was lost.

In this season of great love and beauty, let's find a way to make the Christmas story real to our families. I cannot let meaningless figurines stand between my children and the truth. Because nothing, NOTHING, is more important than allowing them to come to the edge of the stable and peer inside. Nothing is more important than helping them to understand that all of it is a lesson to us... the animals, the people, the baby... all of it points us to the truth of who God is and how we can find our way to Him.

In the midst of this busy season, let's help each other out. How do we teach this story well? What do you do with your family that helps to draw their attention back to the Biblical Christmas story? I would love to hear your ideas. Please leave a comment below with some idea to share... the title of a book... a family tradition...

And if you are struggling to find a way to teach this story, I have written a set of devotions for families that might help. Take a look at to see the set. Every devotional comes with Nativity set that your children can touch and that you can use as a teaching tool to draw your little ones into the story, into the truth. There are only a few still available this season so be in touch soon, if you are interested!

Now, let's share some ideas! I am always looking for new ways to celebrate this season with my family. What works for YOU?

Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook--Christmas Edition #2

If you blog, you can do this, too. C'mon, you can do it! Join in the fun!

Outside my window... there is snow! :) It is cold in Chicago-land and I am grateful for it all. I know there are folks that fuss and such but for me, this is winter. The ebb and flow of the seasons is a wonder to me and, even when the temperatures fall into single digits, I am grateful for it all.

I am thinking... that silence is wonderful. After a full week last week, I am so happy to have a little bit of quiet in my day.

I am thankful for... a great week last week. I had the amazing privilege to speak to hundreds and hundreds of women over 5 days, in four locations. Oh my goodness, did I have fun! : ) I love my work.

From the kitchen... Prepping for Supper Swap again this week. I am making the Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti and Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole. I will start today or tomorrow by boiling 4 chickens! :)

I am wearing...Grey yoga pants, a white cami and a black sweater. Comfy after last week's dress clothes!

I am creating... my next newsletter. Do you get it? If you don't but would like to, get your email address to me and I will add you to the list. The next newsletter will offer for sale any of my remaining Nativity Devotional Sets for families. If you want to know more about that, drop me a line! :)

I am dreaming... about my winter and spring speaking seasons. I had so much fun last week that I just cannot wait to speak again. If you are looking for a speaker for the winter or spring, I still have some openings... and am booking into next year. I speak at groups, conferences, retreats, etc... nationwide! Love it.

I am on a bit of cleaning this morning and some cooking this afternoon. I still have a lot of Christmas shopping to do... maybe tomorrow? :)

I am reading... Mary Beth Chapman's book. Holy. Cow.

I am hoping... for a calm, productive week. We are going to see our "China family" soon and I am so excited about that. Being gone will mean that I have to stay organized though... I am also hoping for a van miracle. We need work done on our Sienna... emissions stuff... and have NO idea how to get that done.

I am dog breathing deeply in her sleep, a commercial on TV...

Around the house... We are decorating for Christmas. The tree is up and and decorated. The snow village is not done. We are calmly just chipping away at what needs to be done. I will not be distracted by stress during this season of worship. Every single day, I want to remind myself that this holiday has everything to do with the birth of Christ and little to do with what is shown on TV.

One of my favorite things... quiet. I don't get a lot of that... but I really love it. I have learned that a little goes an awfully long way. :)

A few plans for the rest of the week...Supper Swap cooking, cleaning the house from last week's busyness, chipping away at my Christmas to-do list, and hanging out with some of my favorite people in the world... China fam, we love you.

What about you? : )

Blessings on your day!

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