Keep on Celebrating Christmas

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I’m here today to tell you to keep on celebrating Christmas!!” It’s not over!!!

To me the day after Christmas is one of the saddest days of the year for so many people. They are in such a hurry to start Christmas, but so many don’t even realize that Christmas has really just started.   They don’t realize what they are missing.  Radios turn off all Christmas music (including the Christian radio stations) and have gone back to their regular programing.  (Let me just throw out there that I think that is ridiculous because there are so many families that I know have Christmas several days after Christmas with the “other side of the family.”)  Stores have all Christmas décor pretty much sold, put clearance, or moved back to the warehouse and are putting Valentine’s Day Candy out on the shelves.  Please keep on celebrating Christmas yet!!

As I said before, for me Christmas is just starting.  In fact Christmas for me will last well into December.  We love to celebrate for an extended amount of time the joy that came with Christ’s birth.  We even have a day were we celebrate the wise men’s visit to Jesus and the presentation in the temple.   So as I’ve said before.  Christmas is not over!!  Keep on celebrating Christmas yet!!

Keep on Celebrating Christmas
Christmas Isn’t Over Yet

This year we have an extra long weekend, so take this time to really spend time with the family!!!  Get down on the floor and play a game with your children or sit and read a book with your wife by the fire or build some legos with your son or play tea party with your daughter and her dolls or visit your grandparents.  Whatever you choose to do this weekend, be there for your family.  Don’t forget to keep in mind the steps we learned yesterday…. “Listen, take others seriously, understand and put yourself in their shoes, and do what you can!”   But above all keep on celebrating Christmas yet!!

Just in case your radio station turned off your Christmas music!!

Three more hours of the old classics!!! Of course it’s Christmas music!!!

Christmas:  May the Love of Christ Be With You

posted in: Advent, Christmas, Family, Love | 1

I’m pretty certain very few people will read today’s blog.  Santa and Mrs. Claus might, but other than that most everyone else will be too busy with Christmas.   There will be presents to open and caroling to be done.   There will be scary ghost stories and tells of the glories of Christmases long ago!  Why?  Because it’s truly the most wonderful time of the year!!!

Everyone will be traveling home for the holidays because there’s no place like home for the holidays.  For no matter how far away you roam, when you pine for a friendly gaze, for the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home.   There Grandma and Grandpa may be waiting with your dad and mom by the front door.  Perhaps your favorite uncle will be there or your brother who got leave from the military.  Or maybe it’s just your grampa walking across the street.  In any event, family will be together enjoying each other’s company, playing games, and eating Christmas Dinner together.

Remember, today to show love to those around you!   Listen, take them seriously, and put away the electronic devices while you are talking with those around you.

Most of all, take a moment to reflect on all that we have prepared this Advent.  Welcome the infant Lord Jesus into your heart.  He is knocking.  Will you open the door of your heart to him?  This is what we have prepared for.  All Advent we have eagerly awaited his coming in the past, present, and future.   He has now arrived in the past as we remember his birth on that day so very, very long ago.  And he is here now standing in our midst.  He is here with the power to heal our broken hearts and the grace to forgive the wrongs we have made.   If we say yes to him today, then we will be ready for his Second Coming.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!    God bless us, everyone!

Check out Pinterest for fun activities to do after the gifts have been opened.Christmas Acrostic

Steps to Show Mercy and Love to Those Around Us

posted in: Christmas, Love, Mercy | 0

Love one another as I have loved you. Today we will conclude our four part series on How to Love Others as Christ Loved Us. Christ showed his love towards us by showing us mercy.  Join me today as we learn three easy steps to showing mercy to those around.

Today is Christmas Eve.  Most of us will attend a Christmas Eve Service of sometime.  Some will start opening gifts.  Some will be getting “ready” for Santa.  Some will be singing carols.  Some will be going to a party.  But beyond all the hustle and bustle that you will experience today try to show Christ’s love to every person you come in contact with today.  Christ showed us mercy throughout his time on earth from birth to his parable about the Prodigal Son to his death on the Cross.  And by showing mercy, he showed us loved.  Today let’s work on showing one another mercy.  Follow the three easy steps below as you visit family and friends over the next couple of days and weeks.

Step 1:  Take others seriously.   In today’s society, we see people more interested in their cell phones, computers, tablets, and the television.   Turn everything off and take those around you seriously.  Show them that you care about them and that you love them enough to turn off the electronic device to pay attention to them.  Once you begin listening to them, make sure you are actually listening and not just thinking of what you are going to say next.

Step 2:  Take other people’s suffering personally.  For some this can be very difficult and may even seem overwhelming for others.  Put yourself in other people’s shoes.  Realize what it would be like to really go through the pain and suffering that they are experiencing.  And then do what you can do relieve their situation.  If even you can’t physically help someone, you can always pray for them.

Step 3:  Do what you can, not what you can’t.   We’ve talked a little bit about this in the last step.  People get so focused on what they can’t do that it almost paralyzes them from doing what they can!  Here are some ideas for you….Again….Do what you can, not what you can’t.  These Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are taken from Jesus’s example. Remember, Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

The Works of Mercy

 

 

Today on this Christmas Eve, use thes steps to show mercy towards those around you.  By showing mercy you will be loving those as Christ loved you.   Remember love came down that blessed night Christ was born.   This week love one another as Christ loved you!

17 Ideas for Christmas Eve

Birth Announcement That Showed Love to All

posted in: Advent, Christmas, Love | 1

Love one another as I have loved you. Today we will continue our four part series on How to Love Others as Christ Loved Us. Join me today as we talk about how Christ’s birth announcement showed love.

God the father in heaven showed us love when he’s sent Jesus to us as a baby in the manger. He could have sent him as a king on a white horse riding in with the army of glistening soldiers decked out in helmets with feathers paraded on white stallions.  But he didn’t!! He showed love to all mankind by sending him to us as a baby. Not only did he come has a baby, but Jesus chose to come in the most humble fashion. He came in the lowliest state. My goodness, he didn’t even have a place to stay. He didn’t even have a roof over his head. Instead he was born in a manger where cattle and sheep and animals eat hay.  Then love was shown that night when the angels announced to the shepherds in the field that the Messiah was born in Bethlehem and a star was placed high in the heavens to lead the three wise men to where Jesus lay.

Christ's Birth Announcement

Jesus showed us love by announcing his birth to both shepherds and wise men.   Christ showed no partiality.  He chose very ordinary parents to be born to—Joseph was a simple carpenter and Mary was a young girl who assisted her mother around their home.   And the angels announced his birth to the shepherds while they were watching their flocks.   Now let me point out to you that the shepherds where part of the lowest cast of people in that time era.   They generally had no homes, but instead slept with their flocks and night.  They were very poor.  Now on the other hand a star was placed high in the sky so as to direct the wise men who were very wealthy to the Messiah.   These men were powerful, extremely wise, and very rich.  So how can we show love to those around us like Jesus showed love to us by allowing his birth to be announced to both the poor and the rich?   Well, we can show love to those around us by showing no partiality.  We should show no difference between showing love to someone well accomplished business professional and that of the Burger King order taker.  Nor show we show any difference between the rich doctor that sits in the pew next to you at church and the almost homeless family that sits on the other side of you. Nor should we withhold love from those whose lifestyles we don’t agree with whether someone who is gay or someone who is on drugs or an alcoholic.   We should show genuine love to all those around us no matter how hard it can be at times.  By showing love unconditionally, we will be loving as Christ loved us.

Christ's Birth Announcement

Love came down that blessed night Christ was born.   This week love one another as Christ loved you!

Love Came Down to Earth

Manger Filled with Loved That Blessed Night

posted in: Advent, Christmas, Love | 0

Love one another as I have loved you. Today we will continue our four part series on How to Love Others as Christ Loved Us. Join me today as we talk about the manger filled with love.

God the father in heaven showed us love when he’s sent Jesus to us as a baby in the manger. He could have sent him as a king on a white horse riding in with the army of glistening soldiers decked out in helmets with feathers paraded on white stallions.  But he didn’t!! He showed love to all mankind by sending him to us as a baby. Not only did he come as a baby, but Jesus chose to come in the most humble fashion. He came in the lowliest state. My goodness, he didn’t even have a place to stay. He didn’t even have a roof over his head. Instead he was born in a manger where cattle and sheep and animals eat hay.

Manger filled with Love

Jesus showed us love when he was born in a manger.  Think about a manger, the slobber from the animals eating the hay, and the smell of the animals.  I doubt it was a clean barn Mary and Joseph were sleeping in.  Instead it was most likely either a cave or a lean-to where the animals were kept.  And considering that is where the inn keeper kept all of his guests animals, I’m imagining that it was pretty noisy as well and rather smelly.   So for Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior of the World, the King of Kings, to be born in such a place was a significant act of love.  He showed us that wealth and possessions are unimportant and that one should be humble.  So how can we show love to those around us like Jesus showed love to us as he lay wrapped in swaddling cloth and laid in a manger?   We can love those around us by showing humility.  We need to let those around us know that they are more important than worldly possessions. We need die to self and take a lower position to show love.  For example, perhaps this year at the Christmas dinner, you can work on not “winning” every conversation.  Or perhaps you can show your wife that she is more important than the football game on the television.   Or maybe you can show love to your co-worker by doing the unwanted, undesirable, “manger” task at work this week.  By laying down our own self-esteem, pride, ideas, and desires we can show others that we are willing to take “a manger” position, and we will be loving other as He loved us.

Love came down that blessed night Christ was born.   This week love one another as Christ loved you!

Listen Celtic Woman Sing About Today’s Topic

Baby Born in Bethlehem Brings Love

posted in: Advent, Christmas, Love | 1

Love one another as I have loved you. This will be our theme for the last few days of Advent this week as I mentioned before. It’s actually part one of three. So how did Christ show his love for us? Join me today as we talk about how love came down.

God the father in heaven showed us love when he’s sent Jesus to us as a baby in the manger. He could have sent him as a king on a white horse riding in with an army of glistening soldiers decked out in helmets with feathers paraded on white stallions.  But he didn’t!!   Instead he showed love to all mankind by sending him to us as a baby.

Jesus showed us love when he came as a baby.  Think about babies.  Think about how helpless they are.  A baby has to depend on those around him to feed him, change him, love him, and bathe him.   He is completely incapable of relying on his own abilities to fend for himself.  So when Christ came to earth as a baby, he knew that he would have to rely completely on Mary and Joseph for the basic necessities to live.

Baby Born in Bethlehem

So how can we show love to those around us like Jesus showed love to us by coming to earth as a baby?   Well, sometimes our independent natures come strongly across towards those we love.   Perhaps you are like me and like to figure out projects on your own without of the helping hands of your family members (whether a child, a spouse, or your brother.)  Or perhaps you always like to do all the work yourself because your spouse may not do it the same way you like it done?  Let’s work on showing love this week by listening to their advice and trying their solutions.  Also let us work on becoming that helpless baby and allow those around you help you accomplish your tasks.  Don’t worry if things are not perfect.  By laying down our own will powers and becoming as a little baby and relying on others for help, we will be loving others as He loved us

Love came down that blessed night!  This week work on loving others as Christ loved us.

 

Infant Holy, Infant Holy

Love: The Fourth Sunday of Advent

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As we make the final week of our journey this Advent to prepare our hearts for Christ’s coming into our hearts, join me as we discover the love of Christmas.

Jesus gave us a commandment while here on earth saying, “Love one another as I have loved you!”   I want you to just think about this for a moment.   Think of what this truly means for us.   Over this next week we will examine further into what Christ meant when He said this.  But meanwhile, based on the little facts we’ve talked about so far, we know for one that Christ left His Father in Heaven to come to earth as a baby only to ultimately give His life for us in order to save us from our sinful selves.

So taking into those to very broad general facts of Jesus we can say without further explanation that we are to be willing to give up everything we have to save another person.   What kind of things can you give up in order to “save” another person?   Can you give of your time to “save” another person from their overwhelming load of work?   Or can you read a book to your child to “save” them from being lonely or getting into mischief?  Can you “save” your spouse from extra work in the bathroom by cleaning up after yourself?  Can you donate extra clothes to the poor to “save” them from being cold or naked this Christmas?  Can you donate a meal to a mother who just had a baby to “save” her from exhaustion?  Can you bite your tongue at work the next time you want to complain about another co-worker in order to “save” that co-worker’s reputation?  Basically if one gives of oneself then you will be showing love towards those around you.

Love—The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Join me this last week of Advent as we remind ourselves of what it means to truly love one another.

 

14 Ways to Follow Christ’s Example

Find Joy in the Symbols of Christmas!

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Wow!  Can you believe it!!!  Another entire week has flown by!!!  There many things during Christmas that bring us joy.   As we close the third week of Advent, join me today as we find joy in the symbols of Christmas!!

Today I want to talk to you about finding joy in the symbols of Christmas.   I have known some extremist over the years who have said that we should only focus on the birth of Christ during the Christmas season, because “he is the reason for the season.”  And that anything else that distracts us from Christ should be thrown out and avoided at all costs.   Well, I’m here to say that I disagree with them.

Yes, I believe that Christmas is the time to celebrate the birth of our Lord coming to us to save the world from their sins.  And I obviously believe that the Advent before Christmas should be used to re-evaluate our lives and repent from straying away from our Lord and to prepare our hearts from his coming in the past as the baby born in Bethlehem, and in the present as the Christ coming into our hearts this Christmas season, and in the future in His Second Coming.   But I also feel that we can use the symbols of Christmas to focus on Christ. Continued

Family: Celebrate the Joy of Family

posted in: Advent, Christmas, Family, Forgiveness | 0

This joyful week of Advent, I want to talk to you about experiencing the joy of family. In today’s society, many families are so disconnected with each other that they have forgotten the joy that can truly come with being a part of the family. Join me today as we talk about celebrating the joy of families.

You have a family. They are special part of you. I know that some of you may come from broken families. Some of you come from wealthy families. Some of you come from poor families. But I want you to find one family member that you connect with today. And I want you to celebrate that special person. I want you to tell them how much you appreciate them and love them and how much joy they bring to your life.

If you don’t have a family member that you can say that about, then I want you to look at someone who has hurt you. I want you to remember that forgiveness sometimes brings the greatest joy and what better time than this Christmas to forgive those who have hurt you.  I know it isn’t easy.  But forgiving those who have hurt you is the first step to building the bridge of relationships over the ravine of bitterness, hurt, anger, and time.   (Click here for past blog about forgiveness)

Joy of Family

There are many ways to celebrate the joy of families. Perhaps you can have dinner together. (Click here for blog on how to dinner time in your home) Or perhaps you can play game or maybe you can read a story next to the Christmas tree or you can go on a Christmas “light looking.”   Celebrate the joy of Christmas today by celebrating with your family.

As you focus with one another, be sure to turn devote your entire attention to the activity you are doing with those around you.  In other words, put the cell phone down!!!   Turn off the TV!!!!  Don’t answer the phone!!  Instead focus on the celebration of those around you.

So this Advent week take some time to really celebrate one another in your family!

50 Holiday Traditions to Start this Christmas Season

Born as the Baby in Bethlehem

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So very often we think of Christ as an adult.  We think of Him as a man who went preaching the good news around the countryside with his apostles. We think of Him as a man ready to take on the world.  We think of Him as the man who died on the cross to save us from our sins. But how often do you stop to think about the little baby born in a manger? Join me today as we talk about the baby born in Bethlehem!

Have you ever held a little baby in your arms? Think about the joy that you had when you held that baby.  Imagine the joy that Mary experience as she gave birth to her precious baby boy and held him for the first time in her arms. Now think about Joseph’s joy as he watched over his new family. Even though he knew that it wasn’t his son he still took joy in knowing that he was chosen to be the earthly father of God’s own son.

But the joy didn’t stop there!  No the joy continued as the angels announced to the shepherds on the hill that the baby was born in Bethlehem. And what did they do? They left their flocks, and ran to Bethlehem, to the little manger, to see the baby who was born as Savior of the world!!   But the joy wasn’t only limited to Bethlehem. Far away in other countries wise men were studying the stars and beheld a new star in the East.  They knew this was no ordinary star and that the star heralded the coming of the King of the Jews.  So they followed it to Jerusalem where they found in ancient writings that a ruler was to be born in Bethlehem.   The Wiseman came to visit the baby and his mother and they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.  And they fell before Jesus the little child and worshiped him and they gave him great gifts. But of course they joy spreading around the world didn’t in there.  As was the custom, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to be presented in the temple.  There Simeon, led by the Holy Spirit, met Mary and Joseph.  He took Jesus in his arms and was filled with joy.  This was the moment that he’d been waiting for!!  In fact it was out of joy and gratitude to the Lord that he prayed, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles (anyone not Jewish) and for glory to your people Israel.”

The Christ has been Born
Meditate on these stories and feel the joy that these people felt.   Rejoice in the birth of our Savior.  Rejoice in the celebration of Christmas.   Then spread the joy with your family members.  Tell them the stories about the birth of Jesus! Tell them how much joy there was that night in the world when Christ was born. Tell them about the baby born in Bethlehem and the joy that he brought that night to the world. Tell them of the joy that we can experience this Advent week by remembering the birth of our Lord, Jesus!!   Joy to the world! The Lord has come! Let earth receive her king!

Click here to watch a short clip of the Birth of Christ

Gift the Burden: Kindness in the Storm

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In the past, we’ve talked about donating our time or talent or money to various organization, or charities.  And we’ve also talked about showing random acts of kindness to everyone around us.   But today I want to put a special twist gift giving.  Join me today as we gift the burden rather than give a gift!

Has there ever been a moment in your life when you sat at the kitchen table with the bills laid out before you wondering whether to pay the electric bill or a Christmas present for your little boy?  Or maybe have you ever known a family who has seen their entire home destroyed by a fire, tornado, earthquake, mudslide, or other tragedy?   Or do you know a co-worker who was laid off just before Christmas due to budget cuts?    Or perhaps you know a neighbor who spends every waking hour as a caregiver for their dying mother?

I want you to think about each of these scenario cases and more.  Imagine yourself in their shoes.  Imagine how they must feel not be able to go out and pick something to give to their children or spouse for Christmas.   Look around you.  Pay attention to what people are saying about the situation they are in right now.   Listen while you are at work, at church, at the grocery store, in your neighborhood, to your friends, etc.  Find someone today who will not be able to buy gifts for their children today.   Then I propose to gift the burden rather than give gift!

What do I mean?   I mean that instead of you going out and buying presents for the co-worker who just lost his job this Christmas and can barely afford to pay the electric bill, that you pay the electric bill (the burden) and allow him the joy to take the money and buy gifts for his family this Christmas.  Gift the burden!!    Or for the caregiver who spends every waking moment with her sick mother, offer to sit with her mother for the day, so she can experience the joy of going shopping for her family for Christmas.  Again gift the burden!!!

So many times we are the selfish ones because we see a need and want to experience the joy of giving the gift ourselves, but oh what joy we can also find in gifting the burden, so that other might experience the joy of giving during this Christmas.   Advent this week is all about joy!!  So gift the burden rather than give the gift!!!

Gif the Burden Rather than Give a Gift

A Song about Gifting the Burden

Comfort and Joy During Christmas

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As we start our third week of Advent, we find that we take comfort in knowing that Christ was born to be the Savior of the world and we find joy during this Christmas Season in celebrating His birth.

Do you remember the song “God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen?

God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay!

 Remember Christ the Savior was born on Christmas Day!!

To save us all from Satan’s power when we’d gone astray!!

Oh tidings of comfort and joy comfort!

Comfort and joy!

Oh tidings of comfort and joy!!

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Think about how wonderfully the first verse of this song reminds of that we should be rejoicing in Christ’s birth this Season.  We truly need to focus this week on the joy that comes from salvation. On the joy that came to the world that blessed day when Christ was born. He came to the world to save us from Satan’s power!  Through Him we have victory over the sin that is stealing our joy.   Turn back to Him!  Remind yourself that He is the Savior and that He can save you!!!

Today let us remember the joy that they must have felt that Christmas morning when Jesus was born. Remember the shepherd’s joy as they ran to the stable to see the new Savior that had been born. Remember the Wisemen as they came and visited the Savior and worshiped Him.  This is the Savior who redeemed the world from all sin.

On this day of Advent, focus on the joy that fills our hearts as we remember Christ’s birth and the joy that we have in His salvation.  He came to save everyone one: rich, poor, happy, sad, etc.   So not only did he come to save the wealthy kings that visited him, but also the poor shepherds in the field, and he also came to ordinary  Mary and Joseph who was a plain carpenter—basically a working class fellow. Oh what a comfort it is to think that Jesus made no special privileges to save one group of people, but that he came to save the whole world and bring joy to everyone.  God rest ye merry gentlemen and do not let your hearts be dismayed!!  Oh tidings of comfort and joy!!!

Click here for the full song: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Joy: The Third Sunday in Advent

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It’s Joyful Sunday today and we are ½ way through Advent!!!    Join me this week as we celebrate the joy of this Christmas Season.

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding 
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

There is so much to be heard in those words from St. Paul.   First of all remember we talked about showing random acts of kindness to those around us?    Well, by doing a random of act of kindness for some not only will person receiving the act of kindness have joy, but you too will experience joy beyond measure for doing something for someone else.

Also did you notice that St. Paul writes, “Have no anxiety at all, but by prayer and petition and with Thanksgiving, make your requests made known to God?”  During this hectic, busy season, we have so many things to worry about.   Christmas parties to go to, volunteering to fit it, crafts to finish, presents to buy, finances, Christmas dinner, Christmas relatives, children, neighbors….the list goes on.   I’ve even been worried about juggling time writing this blog and finishing a cross-stitch blanket for my sister-in-law’s niece by Christmas.   But this week I’m going to really focus on not letting anxiety steal by joy and hand my worries and anxieties over to God.

Joy-Rejoice in the Lord

I wanted to point out one more thing this third Sunday of Advent.   Then if you do these things (rejoice in the Lord, show kindness to all, give your anxiety to God in prayer, and make your request known to God) then you will have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding!  And his peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.    Happy Joyful Sunday!!!!

Make sure to include children in these random acts of kindess ideas!!!

Trust: The Archaic Definition of Hope

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Today is the last day of the Second Day of Advent.   Yesterday day we talked about the one of the definitions of hope.  But in that same dictionary there was another definition of hope.  The dictionary called it the “archaic” meaning of hope:  to Trust.   Join me today as we talk about putting our hope in God.

Putting our hope in God is so much easier said than done.  Let me just forewarn you.   It will take practice!  To put our hope in God means to trust him.   Sometimes as adults we’ve been hurt time after time after time and with each time our trust has slowly been whittled away.   For some of us it’s been whittled away so much that we only have a small sliver left.  But do not worry!   Jesus said if you have faith the size of a mustard seed (the smallest of all seeds), you will move mountains.

Putting our trust in God means to wait for him, to listen to him, and hope in him.   It means giving your worries, stress, and cares to him.  It means saying, “Lord, I don’t know what is going to happen with my family, job, stress, problem, etc, but I trust that you know exactly what you are doing and I place my hope in you.”    By saying this, you are telling God that you are waiting for him.  You are anticipating that he has better things planned for you.   And that no matter what seems to go wrong, we trust God because “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).”

So this Christmas season restore your hope in God.  Tell him that you trust that he is looking after you.  And even though you might be walking through the “valley of shadow and death” you will fear nothing because you know as the Good Shepherd “his rod and staff” will comfort you and he will take care of you.   Put your trust in Him for he cares for you!!

Trust in God

Francesca Battistelli Sings about Being Blessed

Psalm 23–For Inspiration

 

Anticipate: The Ultimate Definition of Hope

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Have you ever waited, hoped, anticipated, or expected something to happen?  If your answer is yes (and I’m sure it was), then you have hoped for something.  Everyone has it in them to wait or anticipate or hope for something.   Children especially have this built in them.  But realizing what they are doing is something entirely different.  They have to be taught what hope is and practice hoping.   Join me today as we learn how to teach children what it means to anticipate or hope.

Continued

Mercy Restores Hope and Trust

posted in: Advent, Christmas, Forgiveness | 0

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.   Advent focuses on the coming of the Messiah.   The Israelites awaited the coming of a Messiah who they thought would rescue them from the hands of their enemies and would declare himself king.   What they failed to realize was that the Messiah was someone who was coming to redeem the world from sin and would declare himself king of our hearts. Jesus restored hope through his message of mercy.   But many missed the fact that Jesus was the Messiah and many rejected Him.   Join me today as we learn how to embrace Christ’s mercy and restore our hope this Christmas Season.

Many times we will find Christ’s message of mercy spread throughout the gospels.  Remember the story of the prodigal son?   The son had gone to his father and demanded that he give him his inheritance.  He then took that inheritance and foolishly spend every last penny of the money on drinking, clothes, bad business investments, and on prostitutes.  He been rejected by every friend he had after his money was gone and he started to go around sleeping on the streets and begging for food.   At his lowest point, he was eating with a farmer’s pigs.  It was then that he decided that even his father’s servants ate better than him and that he’d go home and beg his father to allow him to be his servant.   But the father was watching that road as he had been every day since his son had left.  When he saw his son, he ran to him, embraced him, and kissed him.   The son wept and apologized to his father and begged for mercy.  The father then restored hope by showing mercy and called for a fine robe and rings and shoes and threw him a party.  He had forgiven his son.

Year of Mercy

Maybe there is something in your life that has stolen your hope.  Maybe you feel like you have done something or said something that is unforgivable.   Maybe you’ve committed a crime.  May be you’ve done something unspeakable.  Today hear Christ calling.   Turn to him, for he is ready to restore your hope and give you mercy abundantly.   Christ said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, and sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recover the sight of the blind, and set freely those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then he finished by saying, Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

So embrace Christ’s mercy.  Let this Christmas and coming year be the Year of Mercy!  He is coming into your hearts in a special way this Christmas.  Unlike the innkeepers, make room for him today!

Year of Mercy

Click here for a short reenactment of the Prodigal Son

Visit: Bring Hope to the Lonely

posted in: Advent, Christmas | 0

During the Christmas Season, you may read of the story of the Angel Gabriel coming to Mary.  He announced to her that she was to have a child and that He would be great and would be called Jesus.   This is a well-known story, but do you know what happened after that?    The Angel Gabriel had told Mary (so that she could know that what he was telling her was truth) that her cousin Elizabeth was due to have a baby in three months.  Mary knew that her cousin Elizabeth was well, well pass child bearing years, so she went to visit her and to be with her until her baby came.   Mary brought hope to Elizabeth with her visit.   Today let’s see how we can visit others and spread hope to others.

You can bring hope to someone today who is lonely by visiting them.   Christmas can be one of the loneliest times of the year for some people.  Often they think about when times were different—happier times.   So perhaps you have a lonely neighbor who has lost his spouse this year and lives all alone who you can visit for a while with and bring hope to their Christmas Season.    There are also many, many lonely people left in the nursing facilities and hospitals this time of year.  Maybe you can bring them a small gift of hope.  And hour out of your week would go so very far for them.   You can even take your children with you and you can have them sing Christmas songs for them.  Sometimes the skilled nursing facility/residential facility will let you come in and do the ladies finger nails and hair and get them ready for Christmas.  On the other hand maybe you have a grumpy, lonely relative that no visits anymore that you can visit.

Visit from Mary and Elizabeth

 

So this second week of Advent, let’s spread the message of hope to those who are lonely this Christmas.  You’ll be surprised at how one hour can bring so much happiness!!

Tips for spending time for with elderly including conversation starters and props!

Scrooge Syndrome:  Hope Being the New Cure

posted in: Advent, Children, Christmas | 0

During the Christmas Season, we’ve all heard the Charles Dicken’s classic Christmas Carol and the life story of Ebenezer Scrooge!  Whether by reading the book, seeing it acted out in a play, watching an animated version, watching the traditional version, or by watching a modern day version, the message of hope and generosity of Christmas has been portrayed over and over for us.  Scrooge of course had let the death of his business partner and his greed for money overtake his life and ruin every day of the year, but especially Christmas.  We all have things in our lives that have “overtaken” and “ruined” or turned our focus away from the message of hope and generosity of Christmas.

This second week in Advent we are focusing on hope.   Hope is the new cure for the “Scrooge Syndrome.”   But today I’m not necessarily talking about having hope, but of giving hope to those around us.

One way to give hope is by donating to an organization dedicated to bringing hope to someone whether an organization in your local town or a national organization or an organization that brings hope to those in other countries.   So maybe you have an organization in your town that brings hope to women who have been in abusive situations.  Or maybe you have an organization that brings a message of hope to mothers choosing life over abortion.  Or maybe there is a homeless shelter in your area that brings a message of hope to the hopeless.   Or maybe there is an adoption agency or a foster care organization like Boys Town who bring messages of hope to children.   Or maybe there is an organization that feeds third world countries.  Or maybe you know of an organization that is working to find a cure for cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or ALS.   Whether you donate your time, a hot meal, food, clothes, or money, you will bring hope to those who have done.  You will also cure that “Scrooge Syndrome” that may have crept up inside of you over the years.

For children, you can teach them the importance of giving hope to those who have none as well.   A great activity is to go through your child’s toy box and pick out 2-3 three toys to give to someone who has lost hope.  You can even read a children’s version of the Christmas Carol or watch an animated version and then use this as a jumping place with your child.  This will teach your child that “It is better to give then to receive.”  Of course it also helps make room for the new toys. Fight the Scrooge Syndrome with Hope

So for today, find an organization to bring hope to!   Again whether you send them some money or donate some toys, clothes or food, the message you bring will still be the same: hope!!

In today’s world fraud runs rapid, click here to us Charity Navigator to ensure the hopeless will really be getting your donation and not some Scrooge!

http://www.charitynavigator.org/

Sing Christmas Songs About Hope

posted in: Advent, Children, Christmas | 2

Sing some Christmas Carols today!!   Have you ever really paid any attention to the message that some of the carols bring?   Today we are going to explore the message of hope which Advent brings through Christmas Carols.

Remember that hope is the anticipation of something to come.  For centuries before Christ was born, they waited and hoped that a Savior would come and He did!    Now in our Christmas Carols we sing about that glorious event.    Even the wise men in other parts of the world where hopeful and were waiting for something which is why when they saw the star in the East, they were ready to come find out the special meaning of the star.   Today, we wait not only in hope for the coming of Christ in our hearts this Christmas Season, but also for His Second Coming.  Remember, just as he was taken up to heaven in clouds of glory, He promised us that He would return in the same manner someday.  So we wait in hope for His return.  So today by singing songs about his first coming as a baby in the manger, it will restore our hope in His Second Coming.Sing Silent Night

Silent Night is one of my favorites as it sings about the night that He was born.

Silent Night, Holy Night, All is Calm, All is Bright

Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child

Holy Infant so Tender and Mild

And don’t forget to go on to the second, third, and fourth verses as you sing the Christmas Songs!!  This song goes on to talk about the shepherds quaking at the sight of the angels announcing the birth of Christ.   What a happy night that must have been as the shepherds ran to Bethlehem.

Which brings me to another song:  O Little Town of Bethlehem.

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

The song goes on to say that Christ has been born unto Mary and again sings about the shepherds.  Did you notice the theme of hope?   “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight!”   Incredible isn’t it!!

These are only two.  There are many more to sing today….Joy to the World, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, The Holly and the Ivy, O Come all ye Faithful, Angels we have Heard on High, and many more.

So today, sing of the hope of Christmas!!!!  Have a Christmas Carol session today with your family!!

For more Christmas Carols

Hope: The Second Sunday of Advent

Today is the second Sunday of Advent.   This week we will focus on the hope that comes with the Christmas Season.  Especially during our trying times of unrest in this world with famine and poverty, and diseases like Ebola, diabetes, heart complications, and cancer, and with terrorism on the rise again in recent attacks, wars and rumors of wars, and with attacks on police officers, and with so much political unrest, and so much more, life can become very depressing and discouraging.  It is important that this week we take the time to restore our hope-o-meter, so that we can fully enjoy this Christmas Season.  The prophet Isaiah wrote this lovely poem full of hope.  The refrain of the responsorial psalm says it all:

Responsorial Refrain:  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

He shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.

Responsorial Refrain:  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.

Responsorial Refrain:  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Responsorial Refrain:  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;

Responsorial Refrain:  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.

Responsorial Refrain:  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.

Responsorial Refrain:  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.

Responsorial Refrain:  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

Responsorial Refrain:  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

And a little Child shall lead them

Wow, to live in a world where the “cow” and the “bear” shall be neighbors.  What if we to put that this “cow” was translated to “Isis” and “bear” was translated to “Americans?”  Wouldn’t that be incredible!!  No more fighting!!   This Christmas let’s focus on the hope that Christ will come and justice will flourish and there will be fullness of peace forever!!!!

Today think about the hope that we have that there will be peace in the world someday!

Click here for quotes on Pintrest related to today’s topic!

Spread Peace Today, Tomorrow, and Forever

posted in: Advent, Christmas, Crafts | 0

Today we finish the first week of Advent.  We finish our week of peace.  So for the last thought of the week, spread peace to others today!

Remember how I said that little acts of kindness spread peace to those around you?  You can do this by simple tasks.  Perhaps take out the trash for your wife today or volunteer to help wash dishes.  Or maybe you can polish a pair of shoes or make a special meal for them.   Or you can sit and listen to how their day went.

Spread Peace

Parents can remind their children how little acts of kindness spread peace too.   Remember the manger scene?  We should be seeing lots of little pieces of hay or paper.   Children can make beds for their siblings, help with folding laundry, pick up toys for siblings, share their favorite toy (or popsicle 🙂 ) make a craft for a grandparent, and so much more.

Sometimes we can also spread peace by just simply sharing a quiet moment with those around you.   I always enjoy the peaceful time where we light the Christmas candles around the room and sit around the Christmas tree.   If you live in a place where the weather is warm enough, a walk with someone may bring peace.   Showing your neighbor that you care enough to volunteer to bring the newspaper in and watch their home while they are away on vacation will bring peace to your neighbors that his house safe.   Saying a word of kindness to a co-worker at work who sometimes is the underdog at work may bring peace to the workplace.  The possibilities are endless!!!

Prayer for those around us also brings peace.   For those of us who have lost a loved one this Christmas, we need special prayers for peace during this season.   For those of us who are stress because we go, go, go during the Christmas Season, we need extra prayers.   For those of us who are struggling with making important decisions, we need prayers.   For those of us who are lost and lonely, we need prayers.   There are so many people who need your prayers.   You can simply pray for them anytime really or at night before you go to bed or in the morning when you wake up, but whatever you do, don’t stop!!!   Another way to bring peace to someone is by sending them a “spiritual bouquet.”   A “spiritual bouquet” can be mad of real, artificial, or paper flowers.  Several or all of the flowers then have a special prayer on a little piece of paper attached to the flower telling what prayers will be said for the person.  You can do one week worth of prayers or a month or a year.  It’s up to you!!!!

Spread Peace

So, I know today’s blog was a little late in the day, but take today, tomorrow, and every day and spread some peace to those around you!!

Click here for some ideas for random acts of kindness

Simple Idea for a Spiritual Bouquet

Take a Break and Enjoy a Moment of Peace

Are you ready to take a break and enjoy a moment of peace this Advent?  Well today that’s what we are going to do!   Start thinking of things that give you peace.

 

There are so many things in life that give us peace.   For some of us it might be taking a walk through the park and enjoying nature.  For others it might be sipping a cup of tea as we read a book.   Still for others it might be playing a game with the family, watching a Christmas movie, or sitting in front of the fireplace and daydreaming.    Whatever gives you peace, think about trying to fit it into today’s busy schedule.  If you can’t fit it in today, for sure try to plan for it this weekend.   Continued

Giving of One’s Self Brings Peace and is the Greatest Gift

posted in: Advent, Christmas | 0

Are you having a hard time figuring out what to give someone this Christmas?  Well, the answer is simple.  Giving of one’s own self is the greatest gift you can give.  And it comes with a bonus for you!   It’s one of the fastest ways to restoring peace within you and your family.

Let’s just think about the greatest gift for a moment.  God sent his only Son down to the world as a baby to be born in a manager.  He gave of himself unselfishly to ultimately redeem the world from their sins.  And remember what the angels said to the shepherds the night the herald his coming, “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.”   That blessed night peace was restored to the shepherds, to Mary and Joseph, and to all who would believe in him.   Later on, Jesus would again give of himself as he gave his life, so that we might of eternal life free from sin.   Jesus said:

Giving is the Greatest Gift

The peace that Jesus gives and we receive, is not always the same peace that the world thinks we will have.  Instead it’s a reassurance and calmness we feel inside of us.  It’s a peace from fear.  It’s a peace from within even when turmoil and anxiety and worries are all around us.   It’s that inner peace.

Today let’s focus on giving of ourselves.  If a co-worker at work asks you for help, freely give your help.  If your child needs your help, again freely without sighing or getting annoyed, give of yourself.   Giving of your time and talent can sometimes be the best gift of all to give to another person.

Little acts of kindness can also be a way of giving.     If you have children you may want to create an empty cradle/manger.  This can be as big or as small as you’d like it.  We don’t have a lot of room at our house, so we use tongue compressor sticks and build a manger that can sit on the counter.  We used shredded yellow and brown paper to represent the hay.   Others build one from sticks or boards or cardboard and make it big enough to use real straw.   The idea behind an empty cradle/manger is to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ at Christmas.   We can do this by doing little acts of kindness unselfishly for others and through prayers.   So every time a member of your family does an act of kindness or says a prayer, they get to add one piece of straw/paper in the manger.  The straw/paper will make a nice soft place for the baby Jesus to lay when he comes on Christmas morning.   Just like by doing acts of kindness and praying will create a soft place for Jesus’s coming within our hearts.   Be sure on Christmas morning to use a doll of whatever size that will fit to lie in the manger.

So this week focus on giving of yourself to those around you.   In no time at all you be will be restoring peace to your family and your home.

 

Click here for more about the acts of kindness and manger (there’s even a lesson to do with your children.)

 

 

Worries? Toss them to the Lord

posted in: Advent, Christmas, Stress | 0

I know you have them!   So today we are going to take our worries and toss them to the Lord.  I can assure you that by giving our anxieties, burdens, and worries to the Lord, we will be on the road to bringing peace to our lives this Advent Season.

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t be anxious.

Rather with prayer, petition, and thanksgiving,

Make your needs known to God.

Then God’s peace,

Which is beyond all understanding,

Will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

 

So how do you let go of worries and anxieties?  And how do you know God will help you out?  Well both answers are rather simple.   Jesus told his disciples not to worry about what they ate or what clothes they wore. He said that if the Heavenly Father knew every sparrow that fell out of the nest, don’t you think he’d know what you need?   To cast your burdens on Jesus for he cares for you.   So I know that he cares for each one of us and he cares for you.

Now for your question, “How do we toss our worries to the Lord?”   That’s pretty simple too!   Think about what is stressing you out and causing you to worry and have anxiety.   Then think of what you need from God to help resolve the situation or ease your anxiety.  This could be courage, patience, joy, knowledge, or it could be something more tangible like $50, a new broom, some extra help with a party you are throwing, a new dress, a ham, or a clear result from a test you took.  As silly as it may seem, God will be listening.  Then try at least three times today or tomorrow to ask God for what you need to make the situation more manageable.  God will take care of us.  And by giving your worries over to someone else, you can breathe more easily and focus on enjoying the Christmas Season!!!

Bing Crosby once sang this song:  If you are worried and cannot sleep, then count your blessing instead of sheep and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings!  If my bankroll is getting small, I think of when I had none at all and I fall asleep counting my blessings!

Remember it’s all about preparing our hearts for Christ’s coming this Christmas!!!  Eliminating worries is just one step closer to restoring peace to our homes.

Click here for seven tips to stop worrying

Here are some wonderful prayers to pray in the midst of worrying! (My favorite is the one from Thomas Merton!!)

Click here for Bing Crosby in person singing “Counting My Blessings” (Incidentally it’s a clip from my favorite Christmas movie!”)

De-stress: Another Road to Inner Peace

posted in: Advent, Christmas, Stress | 0

Since Christmas can be one of the most stressful seasons in the year, how do we de-stress our lives and restore peace?   Join me today as we journey on the road of peace. Let’s de-stress!!!

Stress is the symptom of a lack of peace in our lives.  So as we journey today let’s pay attention to what is stressing us out.  Is it a co-worker or a deadline at work?  Is it a child or a next door neighbor?  Is it a Christmas party or shopping?   Is it a relative or money matter?    Whatever is sapping your peace, try to distance yourself from the problem.

Remember no one situation is “good” or “bad.”  You are not shunning the situation.  You are destressing the situation.   Taking two or three steps back and saying, “Why am I getting stressed?”  Some situations, you will be able to de-stress, others you will still have to work through.   Ultimately, by this time tomorrow, you should have de-stressed and restored some peace into your life.

If it is a person, friend, or relative that is draining your peace, it’s okay to put a bit of distance between you and them.   Maybe only talk to them once this week instead of daily.  Or maybe send them a card instead of calling them.   Obviously, there are certain people you simply cannot get away from.  With these people just try to be as positive as possible!!   Positivity counteracts negativity!!!

Let’s grab a cup of tea, take a bubble bath, read a book, play the piano,do some meditation, take a walk, bake some cookies, or do whatever you can do to de-stress.  Today’s goal is to become a happier you by restoring peace to you and your family!!   Don’t forget your children get stressed too!  So teach them to de-stress too!   Remember our goal is to work inside out this Advent season to restore peace to the world.   Starting with you, then your family, the your city, then your country, then the world!!!!

Click here for five ways to de-stress your holidays

De-stress your Holidays
Inner Peace is the key to a Happy Holiday!

Prepare for Christmas: Peace by Removing Clutter

posted in: Advent, Christmas | 0

Every mother and father has to do a prepare for a baby right before the baby arrives in the world.  Whether it’s preparing a whole room or finding a place for the baby in the corner of your room, there sometimes is a painting to be done, clutter to be removed, or simply making room for the new baby.  Today we are going to focus on peace by removing the clutter in our lives.

Continued

Peace: First Sunday of Advent

posted in: Advent, Christmas | 0

Today is officially the first day of Advent as well as the start of the first week of Advent.  Each week we will have a theme which all of our topics will in some way relate to.   This week’s theme:  Peace

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heaven’s all gracious King!”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

We all wish that we had peace in the world, peace in our families, and peace in our own lives, but how do we obtain peace?  Peace is tranquility and quiet and the freedom of disturbance.  Unfortunately, until people experience peace within their own homes and within their own lives, the world as a whole will lack peace.   So this week let’s focus on restoring peace to our own lives and homes.

Continued

Advent: A Way to Prepare for Christmas

posted in: Advent, Christmas | 0

I’m sure many of you have heard people mention “Advent” around the Christmas Season.  Some of you may even celebrate/participate in Advent as the Christmas Day nears.  Some of you have heard of it but didn’t really know how you felt about it because you have no idea what it is.   Well, today I’m here to give you a very brief introduction to what Advent is.

Preparing for Advent

 

The word “advent” means “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” This is why the time before Christmas is considered “Advent.”   Whether you celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Christ or as a day of spreading love to friends and family, the time leading up to Christmas is waiting for the arrival of something. Continued

Thanksgiving: The Starting Gate for Christmas

posted in: Autumn, Thanksgiving | 0

It’s Thanksgiving!!   And my favorite time of the year is upon us!   Santa’s has already made his first run on the Polar Express, which reminds me to tell everyone, it’s not too late to sign up for a magical experience with Santa on the Polar Express!!!   Over in my region of the North Pole they were even calling for snow flurries this morning, which turned into the first snow!!!!   Oh it’s beginning to look a lot like….Christmas is coming!!!

Thanksgiving

This week is Thanksgiving.  For me it’s one of my favorite days of the whole year!!!  I think because I think of this day as the starting gate for the Christmas Season.  We spend the day laughing and talking with family, playing games, and cooking yummy food!   We remember how grateful we are to be sharing this special day in freedom, and before we dive into the delicious food we say a prayer thanking God for the many, many blessings he has provided for us.

Thanksgiving can also be a day for so many memories of times past!  I know there are often lots of “remember when” stories that we tell throughout the day.   For some families this may be the first Thanksgiving without a loved one.  That’s all the more reason to make this day extra special for those around us and share our favorite memories of them with each other!!

So, this Thanksgiving treasure every moment you spend together.  Play a game, sing, talk, play football, make hot cider, eat some turkey, tell a story, but most of all realize that no one knows what tomorrow may bring, so make the best memories today.  Tell those around them how thankful you are to have them in your life, and tell them how much you love them. Continued

Forgiveness and Tolerance: Let us Remember Paris Today

posted in: Daily Living, Forgiveness, World Events | 0

It wasn’t so very long ago, that we ourselves experienced the weight of what it feels to be attacked by terrorists. Today we remember Paris, France, as they mourn the loss of their own. Let us pray for peace and an end to the violence that has become an infectious disease. Let us teach our children how to show peace in our daily lives among friends and siblings. How do you teach peace? By teaching forgiveness, meekness, patience, self-control, sensitivity, deference, and above all tolerance. Here is how we can practice forgiveness and tolerance.

Continued

Thank You: Two Simple Words

posted in: Daily Living | 0

Family Meal: Building Blocks for Healthy Families

posted in: Children, Christmas, Daily Living, Family | 0

So many people today don’t even take a moment to sit down and have a family meal together.  I want to challenge you this week to try to have at least two meals with your family where you sit together and eat the full meal.

What does a family meal entail?   This means no one leaves the table until everyone is completely done eating.   Ask your children and your spouse how their day was today.   Don’t let “good” or “bad”be an answer. Ask why? Then ask them what one thing changed their life today or what event made you happy or sad.   Also be prepared.   If it has been a long time since you’ve had a meal together, then it made need a conversation starter or two.  Have a few in your back pocket just in case.   I won’t lie….the first couple of “family meals” may be awkward, annoying, and silly, but keep at it and don’t give up!  The rewards will out-weigh the rocky patch in the beginning. Oh, yes, and don’t worry about fixing a fancy supper.   Even if you just order pizza or Chinese and everyone sits down to the table, the “table effect” will still work.

After doing “family meals” together for a while, you will notice your family bond growing stronger and your family will start communicating once again.   One more thing….no electronic devices of communication nature at the table!  Finally, at the end of the meal….. “Many hands make light work!!!”  Even the three-year-old can help clear the napkins and put them in the trash.

Having a family meal together will start to prepare you for the Holiday Season and especially for Christmas!  Wouldn’t it be wonderful your children, your spouse, your family was able to actually hold a conversation over dinner with your guests without looking at their cellphones?

So mission this week: Start having a family meal with your family a least twice a week!!!   Have fun!!!  Good luck!!!

family meals

Click here for some more tips related to the “Family Dinner Project!”

Letters to Santa? What are you Waiting For?

posted in: Children, Christmas | 0

Continued

Commercialization Christmas Flu

posted in: Christmas, Thanksgiving | 0

I know commercialization is starting to bombard us, but let’s take some precautions to avoid what I call the Christmas Commercialization Flu.  Join me today as we take preventative safeguards for staying healthy this Christmas Season!!

First of all, you’ve all been in Walmart a hundred of times, and you should know by now that they’ve had their Christmas decorations up for almost a month now.  Now you can take one of two strategies.  The first strategy is for those who tire quickly of Christmas and catch themselves saying, “I’m so sick of that song,” or worst, “I’m so sick of Christmas, I can’t wait until it’s over.”  The second strategy is for those who are strong enough to beat commercialization.   Here they are:

First….for those of you who have a short toleration for Christmas and everything it brings….boycott the Christmas sections like the plague.   Run!!!  Turn the basket another direction!!   Skip those isles….look at the dog food instead as you turn your basket to head the other direction.   Of course the nearer to Thanksgiving, the harder this will become, but you can do it!!!!!   If you know that a certain store has already started playing Christmas music, take some ear plugs….no I’m serious!!!!  I want you to enjoy Christmas.  I want you to enjoy every Christmas song….well…almost every song!   I want Christmas to be special for you and your family.   General rule for you: avoid Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving or the first of December.

commercialization

Second…for those of you who love Christmas, breathe Christmas, and embrace everything it brings….now is the time to get into the Christmas section at Walmart and get the pick of the liter!!!  You know that beautiful star you need to replace because you dropped it last year, well now is the time to get the crème of the crop!!!  Or the best wrapping paper….or the perfect ornaments!!!  Now is the time!!!  If you wait too long, you’ll just be getting the leftovers.   Now to prevent burn out (you are not completely safe from catching the Christmas Commercialization Flu), make sure you take precautions and tuck your purchases away until after Thanksgiving.  And I would try not to get a head start on any of Christmas music either.  Part of the joy of Christmas is the anticipation….the waiting….the excitement of knowing something spectacular is on its way.  Just as those of old awaited the coming of the Messiah, the Christ, with great anticipation, we too can join in their eagerness for the celebration of the coming Messiah as we wait patiently yet with bated breath to celebrate Christmas.

For more information about Christmas Consumerism, click here!

Playing Discovers Imagination

posted in: Children, Christmas | 0

When was the last time you played?   When was the last time you told your child, “Go play?”  Playing is a part of every person’s life.  Playing discovers your child’s imagination.   But did you know that children must be taught to play.  Now I know that children can learn from other children how to play, but think of how special it would be if you sat down and played with your child and taught them how to use their imagination.   Playing with your children whether you are a dad or mom, grandpa or grandma, aunt or uncle, will create a family bond with your children.

Here’s how to start.  Sit down on the floor and get the farm animals out or pull out the doll house.  You pick a doll or an animal and then have your child pick an animal or doll.  Let’s say you pick a cow and your child picks goat.  The first step is to name your pieces…pick a name that goes with a theme….such as castles, cowboys, Indians, princesses, or fantasy characters.  Once you’ve named your character, begin talking to one another.  Start with, “Hello, my name is….how are you today….I’m 200 years old…how old are you….”   The conversation should keep going back and forth for a few minutes.  Then introduce a problem.  For example if you are a cow maybe you are getting ready for an adventure on the Oregon Trail.  Start talking about what you’d take on your trip.  Don’t forget to engage your child by asking questions.  Of course then bring some friends on your trip….get the pig and horse out.  Start holding conversations between your two characters by alternating voices.  This will teach your child that if you are busy that they can play by themselves.  Bring in lots of excitement, a bit of tragedy, and some silliness and you will create a perfect afternoon with your child. Sometimes use realism and sometimes complete fantasy.

Playing Inspires Imagination

Now if you are a little rusty on ideas for story lines, go to the library and pick out a few picture books to read to your children.  Then the next afternoon, play the book out with the doll characters or farm animals or cars.   You can also play pirates and castles and princesses outside without nothing but your imagination.  Blankets or sheets over chairs or picnic tables make create tents or wagons or castles.

I can’t even begin to go into this blog how important building your child’s imagination is!!!!   Through pretend play, your child will learn how to communicate, how to socially interact with one another, how to learn, how to problem solve, and these are just a few!!!!  See link below for more in depth information.

If you start practicing now, you’ll be all set to expand your child’s imagination this Christmas with pretending all about elves, reindeer, abominable snowmen, and of course Santa Claus!!!

Did you know that there are so many benefits to expanding your child’s imagination? Click Here!!

Reading Rocks!!!! Start Today!!!!!

posted in: Children, Christmas, Daily Living | 0

“I can go anywhere!  Just take a look!  It’s in a book…”  These are the words to a theme song on a show called Reading Rainbow—A show that taught children that books would take them places others could only dream of!   Reading is so important in our children’s future and present life.  It’s time we bring reading back into the home.  With computers, electronics, and TVs, families forget to read anymore with their children.

Continued

Life is TOO Short; Treasure Every Moment

posted in: Daily Living | 0

Life is too short!  In the recent light of a friend at church passing away from a short 6 month battle of cancer, my gramma passing away from a surprise heart attack and complications from a bypass surgery, and another man in our church being brain damaged in motorcycle accident, I realize that every moment you spend with your loved ones has to be special. Continued

Neighbors: Remembering the Golden Rule

posted in: Crafts, Daily Living | 0

This year let’s plan on doing something for your next door neighbors.   Do you remember that Golden Rule from old: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?”   Well, implementing that principle in your neighborhood can build a strong community.

won't you be my neighbor

If you see your neighbors needing some help bringing in the groceries, run over and help them.  If you talk regularly with your neighbors, you will start building relationships with them.  You will learn to know when they need help, if they are going through a rough time, and they will learn to know you as well.  You never know when there may be an ice storm or a fire which causes you to be without electricity or heat or a shower.  Getting to know your neighbors may save you in these situations!

There’s an old saying, “Better a neighbor close by than a brother far away.”  Sometimes they can be the only family you will have or vice versa; you may be the only family they have.  So try getting to know your neighbors this weekend.  Start with baby steps like waving hello and then move up to saying hello.  It may take getting out of your comfort zone, but building a community also makes your community a safe place to live.

So it’s a win-win situation.  If we start building relationships with your neighbors now, than at Christmas we can pass out gifts.  There are lots of craft ideas, gifts, and fancy ways to wrap baked goods on Pinterest.

Now I want to add just one little thing.  I know there are some very crazy people in this world today.   And if you feel like you would be putting yourself or your children in harms way by starting a relationship with your neighbor, then pick someone from church to be your neighbor or an elderly person and the nursing facility.  But at the same time use wise judgement and don’t confuse genuine concern with fear of stepping outside the box.

Remember….”A Good Neighbor is a Priceless Treasure.”  Be a treasure for someone today!!!!

Simple gifts for your neighbor

15 steps to being a good neighbor

Crafts for Christmas? Get Started Now!!!

posted in: Children, Christmas, Crafts | 0

Calling all crafters!!! Wake up!!! It is time to get started on those crafts you may want to do for Christmas decorations or gifts!! How many use Pinterest?!  I know I do … this year, however, let’s not keep adding hundreds of cute ideas to our boards; instead let’s find a few and actually do them!!!

Holiday Crafts

Crafts take time and supplies. So pre-planning is crucial for the elimination of last minute rushing or future regrets of not finishing on time. Browse Pinterest or your favorite craft book and add to your plan from last week. Decide who will receive crafted gifts this year and what the craft will be. Again be sure to add what supplies you will need, how much it will cost, and how long it will take you to make. Once you have everyone on your list, then you can start making a timeline of all the crafts you will need to have completed by Christmas. Also why not add some special holiday crafts to do with your children this Christmas.

Crafts-paper plates

Speaking of children and crafts, let’s also take some time and do a few crafts with your children … this fall. Crafts can be so simple! You do not have to be an experienced crafter or a crafter at all to do an art project with your children. And you’ll be surprised on how little supplies you’ll need. For example, trying looking up crafts to do with paper plates (everyone has paper plates) or how many have extra toilet paper rolls or left over tissue paper from a party or have you ever thought of making home-made snow globes? All these ideas can be found on Pinterest. Super simple! Just get started today! Pick one Saturday of the month for craft day! If you find a good idea, write a comment below.

For those who love to crochet:

Click here for random crochet ideas (including hats, scarves, slippers, and the popular boot cuffs)

Click here for crochet afghans

For those who love to craft:

Click here for some lovely Christmas ideas

Click for ideas for simple Christmas gifts

Click here for some ideas for gifts for kids

Click here for some simple gifts of bath soaps,homemade scents, and lotions

Click here for craft ideas for kids (most of they are super simple)

Click here if you love crayons and want to use them as art

For those who love to use canvas:

Click here for ideas on canvas art

Click here for ideas for wall art

 

Simplicity Versus Extravagance

posted in: Christmas, Planning, Stress | 0

So many people feel like they have to spend extravagant amounts of money on parties, gifts, decorations, and more gifts, and more decorations, and more parties.  STOP!!!  Simplicity is better!!!  Most people get wrapped up in the moment when they are at the store and they have to have this and that…oh and that over there….and Sam would really like this….etc.  Let’s keep it simple this year!

Continued

Christmas: Just Around the Corner

posted in: Christmas, Planning | 1

Well, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, and friends, Christmas is just around the corner! Santa has already started to prepare for Christmas as well as I’m sure so have some of you. Others of you will start thinking about it and then some of you will wait till it’s even closer to start planning.

This year Santa did a little recruiting and picked me to be his Elf Blogger! I jumped at the chanced and loved his idea for a blog to help remind us what Christmas is all about and how to enjoy the Holiday Season and make it a special time for the people in our lives!! As we start preparing for this season join me each week and check out my blog to find tips and helpful reminders to keep us focused this Season while at the same time making it the most wonderful time of the year for your family! Once we actually enter the Christmas Season, you can check-in daily for uplifting moments to help you and your child/children stay on track to a successful, relaxing, and uplifting Holiday Season! Now as you start to prepare for the Holidays, to make your lists, to brainstorm about gifts, to start saving money, to start crafts… remember to stay focused and don’t get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas (More on this in future blogs…).

It never ceases to amaze me how early the commercialization of Christmas starts and it breaks my heart to hear person after person say, “I’m so sick of Christmas.” This year, let’s not get wrapped up in the crazy commercialization that the industries throw out at us everywhere we go, but instead let’s have a plan to enjoy the season and recall the real meanings of Christmas. Join me next week to discover how simplicity can be better than extravagance!
Questions, comments, and ideas are welcomed!!

Click here for a sample Holiday Checklist