Saturday, December 25, 2010

Jesus - the Son of God...

Shepherd, Sheild, Master, Prince of Peace, Protector,
Husband, Abba,
Eternal God, King of Kings, Great Physician, our Provider, Creator,
Hope of Isreal, Judge, Refuge, our Righteousness,
Strong Tower, Teacher,
my Banner, Healer, Dwelling Place, Bread of Life,


God with us

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Joseph - the father...

Matthew 1:18-21, 24-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

A father who lived a life of obedience, to the Lord... what could be better?
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mary - the mother...

Not unlike many of you, Mary was a mother.
She was choosen to be the mother of Jesus.

So, what's it like? Being a mother, I mean.

the best ever?
the scarest ever?
the most work?
the happiest experiences?
more than ever imagined?
the most heartbreaking?
absolutely rewarding?

I imagine that you are imagining moments of motherhood that fall into each one of those descriptions.

I believe mom's are awesome.
My mom is awesome.
My sister's are awesome moms.
You are an awesome mom, too.

There are three particular verses, found in the book of Luke, that speak about Mary. They are my favorites - in regards to her. From the words written about her, one could certainly assume that she would have been an awesome mom as well.

Let me share.

Luke 1:38
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:45
"Blessed is she who has believed what the Lord hs said to her will be accomplished."


Luke 2:19
"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."

Oh that I would be a servant of my Lord, everyday.

That I would believe He will do what He says He will. And not doubt.

Oh that I would, intentionally, treasure events and situations from my life - and the lives of people I love - for the purpose of pondering God's wisdom and leading.

Thank you Mary, for being the wife and mother you were. But especially for being such a woman of God.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Star of Wonder...

"We (Magi) saw his star in the east and have come to worship Him." Matthew 2:2

"...and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star they were overjoyed." Matthew 2:9-10

The star, literally, lead the Magi to the place where baby Jesus was.
It did what it was made to do.

The Magi worshipped Jesus.
They did what they were made to do.

Please notice, however, that while the star lead the way, it could not make the Magi worship.
To worship or not to worship, was their choice.

Let's try to contextualize a bit...
We can attend a church that believes in and teaches a way of living that is devoted to Jesus. (for illustrations sake we'll dub that church the "star")
But the church can't make us, you and me, worship. Our choice.
(we'll dub us as the "Magi")

Get it.

Another slant...
We can invite people whom we love, to join us in our faith journey. We can act like the star.
The people we love choose to worship. Just like us, they have opportunity to act like the Magi or not - their choice.


Sometimes confusing isn't it? Our roles change all the time.

So - how about this...
When God asks you to be a star - to point the way - be His star.
When God asks you to worship Him - worship Him.

Leave all the rest to Him.
He has it all figured out, anyway.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010


This is the little guy who hung (and still does) in our kitchen doorway, every Christmas. He gave my dad an excuse to grab ahold of mom and kiss her, anytime.
Hey - maybe that's why dad loved Christmas!?!?

I remember as a little girl, seeing dad and mom kiss under the mistletoe, and giggling while thinking my daddy was so silly.
I remember seeing them, as a teenager, and thinking, "Oh brother - gross! ".

And now, I'd give anything to see them smoochin under the mistletoe again.

Hang some mistletoe.
Grab a "honey".
Smooch er up!
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Letters to Santa...

Written below are some letters to Santa that I read on the web HERE and thought you would, also, enjoy.

Do you have to keep a car battery and some jumper cables in the back of the sleigh,you know,just incase Rudolph's nose ever goes out? Well just to be safe I'll have some extra light bulbs next to the cookies.....60 watts ok? - Jessica, 11.When you come to our house would you sign my brother's cast while he is sleeping. That would be SWEET!! - Terri, 8.

Dear Santa, all we want is for the new baby in Mommy's tummy to be a girl. Mommy said if she has another boy she is going to nail down the furniture! - Kelsey, you very much. Please use the front door, we do not have a chimmney. Don't forget my Daddy gave you a magic key when I was born. - Thomas, 5.Thank you santa for making toys for little kids. Thank you to god for making santa so he could make things for little kids. - Tarryn, 5.

Could you please bring food, blankets and toys to all of the homeless kids. I was homeless when I was younger, but I've now been adopted and have a great life! - Ricky, 8.

Whatever you bring me Santa will be nice enough, I know that I won't get everything I want; but the most important thing is that I have a Mommy and Daddy who loves me. Thanks Santa........Love, Caitlin, 6.Try not to wake up my Grandma, she'll be sleeping in the lovingroom and she can be a grumpy bear! Kelsey, 7.

And, one more...

Oh by the way, my cancer is all gone this year and my hair has grown back. You might night recognize me so I will leave you a new picture - Kyle, 6.

Do you have memories of a particular letter to Santa, form your child(ren)?
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Silver Bells...

I've always enjoyed the Christmas Carol, Silver Bells.

It brings back memories of Bing Crosby singing in our kitchen - well, not really IN our kitchen... but his Christmas album (and, yes, I said album) would be playing in the backgroud while my mom would have me and my two sisters baking Christmas cookies.
This was always our pre-Dec 25th snow day activity and Bing was always there, too.

However, I enjoy Silver Bells for another reason as well.
I can picture the entire scene of this song, in my mind, as I sing it or listen to the words.

Thoughts of:
city shopping.
rushing home with treasures for friends and family I love.
the hustle and bustle that accompanies the Christmas season
children laughing

All enjoyable parts of the season for me.

And you know, besides the season being a fun and social time, that very hustle and bustle helps to accentuate the absolute stillness of Chritmas Day.
How the world... just... stops... for one day, every year, has always amazed me!

But, back to Silver Bells.
Check out the lyrics and share which ones fun scenes of the season to your mind.

Silver Bells
City sidewalks busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There's a feeling
of Christmas
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on ev'ry street corner you'll hear

Silver bells silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring a ling hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day

Strings of street lights
Even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush
home with their treasures

Hear the snow crunch
See the kids bunch
This is Santa's big scene
And above all this bustle
You'll hear
Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Centerpiece

I don't consider myself very creative but I was recently inspired by a lovely lady to make a Christmas centerpiece. She used many items with sentimental value and great memories attached. Also, she used many organic items such as branches, berries, pine cones and water. I was in awe of how simply yet beautifully she crafted these centerpieces in mere minutes so I thought I would give it a whirl.

First I bought something to start with, I went to a second hand store and pick up this beautiful rectangle red metal tray for $4.99 and while I was there I spotted a set of ornaments (red & orange with gold) for $.99. I then went through my own ornaments and picked up what I thought would go with it and put it all together. In the end, it did not cost me much and it brightens up my table. :)

Thank you Tanya Payzant for the inspiration!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Melt in your mouth...

I remember being little, being outside playing in the snow, and hearing these words, “Would you like some cookies?”

Would I like some… cookies? (did you hear my voice raise an octave?)

Would a mouse like some cheese? A dog a bone? A bird a target?

I would, absolutely, LOVE some cookies!

And, with that question I knew I was about to be a recipient of our neighbour’s homemade shortbread cookies.

Mabel made the best shortbread cookies, ever.
Melt in your mouth shortbread cookies, literally.
Heaven in your mouth, shortbread cookies.

I can also remember asking mom, How come our shortbread cookies don’t taste like Mabels?” (that has got to be one of the most favorite questions a mom could ever be asked. not!)

Of course, the reason for the taste difference was that Mabel used real butter and whipped the life out of those little delicacies.
While Mom, being conscious or my families' bellies and budget, did not use real butter. But she does now – Ohhh yeah!

Sadly, Mabel is not living any longer.
Yet, every time I eat a shortbread cookie I can't help but think of my sun loving, clothesline loving, baker extraordinaire, neighbour. And wish I had her recipe.

What, about Christmas time, reminds you of someone special?
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Homemade Christmas Ornament

Homemade gifts are so special to receive. I started making ornaments two years ago and I'd love to share with you how I do it.

Step 1. Buy your materials and fill the ball. The clear balls seen above are at Michaels for $8.49 but are usually on sale for 50% off. You can fill the ball with whatever you like. I use scrap paper and curl it, stickers on paper, ornamental snow, pom poms, beads and ribbon. The list can go on forever.

Step 2. Once you have your ball filled, you can finish it off by decorating the top with glitter, a bow and a string to hang on the tree.

Step 3. Let dry and wrap for someone special.

These ornaments can be as expensive or as inexpensive, as detailed or as simple as you like. Here are a couple pictures of ones that I have made.

I started this one with ornamental snow and curled scrap book paper on top. To finish, I put glue on and then the glitter. Hot glue gunned the bow and tied a string.

I filled this one with string red beads and red foil star garland. Hot glue gunned a bow and tied a string.
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Guest Post - Sharelyn Stone: Happy what?...

Happy Holy Days!

Do you know that’s what it used to be called?
Not Happy Holidays, but Happy Holy Days!

Days set apart for worshiping God.

I decided to look the word holiday up on Wikipedia, and here is what it said:
The word "holiday" comes from the Old English word hāligdæg. The word originally referred only to special religious days. In modern use, it means any special day of rest or relaxation, as opposed to normal days off work or school. The word derived from the notion of "Holy Day", and gradually evolved to its current form.

So don’t be surprised if I wish you a “Happy Holy Day” this year.
Wish someone the same!
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Guest Post - Sharelyn Stone: Memories...

Several years ago my mom gave me a book called Christmas Memories.

It's a keepsake journal that has space to write about 10 different Christmas seasons.

There is a space to include a family photo, to record who you spent time with over the season, to record new traditions that your family has begun, list special gifts both given and received and to even record the food you enjoyed that year!

I've had my book for 5 years now, and it is really neat to read back over the pages and remember the different things we have done to help celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Maybe recording your memories could be a new tradition for some of you to begin, or maybe this would be the perfect gift idea for you to give.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Guest Post - Sharelyn Stone: A Christmas book for the Family...

My oldest son and I are reading through the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. We are having such fun.

I purchased another book called “ROAR” to go along with. It’s called The Chrisitian Family Guide to the Chronicles of Narnia. The cost was only $0.99 and there is so much inside!

Each chapter of the series has a corresponding chapter in "ROAR", and it has wonderful insights. Definitions of unfamiliar words, grown-up thoughts, "did you know?" and "look it up". All really neat tools to help bring out the Christian content in the Narnia books.

If you have never read these books, pick one up and be swept away in the fantasy of Narnia. And, as "ROAR" says, “if you’ve already been to Narnia, it’s never too soon or too late to return.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Guest Post - Sharelyn Stone: Advent

Each of the 4 Sunday's leading up to Christmas my family celebrates Advent. (my husband's name is Joe, and we have four children - Hannah, Noah, Oliver and Georgia)

We've done it for as long as I can remember.

We pour eggnog into tiny teacups, and eat 2 special cookies. One from Germany, and the other white chocolate dipped Oreo cookies.

With the lights turned off, we light our Advent candle, and have family time.

Since we're doing the Jesse tree this year (I wrote about this in an earlier post), we are reviewing all of the ornaments we placed on the tree that week and sharing what we love about God.

It’s one of my favorite traditions of Christmas.
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Guest Post - Sharelyn Stone: Nativity...

I love Nativity Scenes.

When I visit someone's house I'm always looking for their nativity.
Is it handmade? Store bought? A family keepsake, perhaps?

Over the last several Christmas's I've been receiving pieces from the Willow Tree Nativity. I love the simplicity of it.

Just like the gospel.
We’re sinners in need of a savior.
God loves us.
God sent His Son to save us.
All we need to do is believe.

It truly is that simple.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Guest Post - Sharelyn Stone: Hectic or Holy?

I was recently listening to a broadcast. The title was "hectic or holy?"

With all the business that surrounds and can consume us at Christmas I ask you, is Christmas hectic or holy for you?

I'll have to be honest, it's been a little hectic for me this year.

Organizing costumes for a drama our church is presenting, drama rehearsals, cooking, shopping, cleaning, parenting, play group, homework, dog training... H E C T I C !

I must admit, I was not surprised when I woke up with a sore throat and headache. Since I've been so busy maybe this is God's way of making me take a quieter day.

I'm going to take some time today and remember what Christmas is really about.

God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).

Wow. That is HOLY!
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Friday, December 3, 2010

A twist on the traditional cranberry...

Cranberry Clementine Relish: a definate add to your Christmas Dinner file

One 12oz pkg of fresh Cranberries
1 seeded Clementine - peel and all
1 & 1/4 cups sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse till relish consistency.
Store in fridge for up to 10 days.

and, it's yummmmmm mmmmmmmmmy!
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Guest Post: from the mind and keyboard of Sharelyn Stone

I love Christmas.
Shopping, baking, singing, sewing, eggnog, decorating… it all makes me smile on the inside.

With all the business that can come with Christmas preparations, I’m always conscience of making certain I keep Christ in Christmas. Which is why I want to share with you a new tradition, that we are starting as a family, this year.

It’s called a Jesse Tree. It’s a really fun way to teach kids about the Bible at Christmas. Each day we have an ornament that the kids color and then place on our Jesse Tree, along with a Bible passage that we read. Each ornament represents a Bible story, starting in Genesis all the way to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. I’m really excited about this great visual teaching opportunity.

Today’s ornament, Adam and Eve!
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's the First...

Oh my goodnessssssssssssss...
December one is here already (and... almost gone).

We have arrived at the very beginning of the 2010 Christmas season. And, it seems like just yesterday I was considering Jack-o-Lanterns. You?

Life can get really crazy, really quickly, at this time of year.

How can we guard ourselves against:
doing more than we actually enjoy, this season?
spending more than we can actually afford, this season?
and consuming more than is actually healthy for us, this season?

I'm quite social. So doing more than I actually enjoy is difficult. However, spending more and consuming more... well, now this conversation gets just a wee bit more personal.

Where spending more is concerned - drawing names within my family and spending time with friends, instead of purchasing gifts, has helped.

Where consuming more is concerned - I'm planning on purchasing a muzzel, one with a lock and throw away key. (good thing we drew names... I have extra money)

What secrets have worked for you?
We'd love to hear them.
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