Monday, December 17, 2007

"Tis the Season to be busy -Fa la la la la la la la la

I know this is supposed to read "Tis the Season to be jolly" but busy just seemed to fit better today. I've been all over Dacula, Lawrenceville and Buford today trying to finish last minute errands and I made three trips to Bethlehem to Spencer's school because I took him this morning with out giving him his seizure meds so I had to go back and give them to him. I'm trying really hard not to miss spreading Christmas cheer to everyone around, but it is difficult when the people in front of you in the return line at Target are cursing out the employees there - and they are cursing back. It's even worse when your four year old is standing there asking "Why is she so mad mommy?" Yes I was in the return line at Target today, but I went because I know the line will be even longer (and meaner) after Christmas.

This past weekend was busy too, but it was fun. On Friday we went to Lake Lanier to see the lights and have fun at the carnival and Santa Shop. We roasted marshmellows, ate cotton candy, saw Santa Claus, rode the ponies and other rides, bought gorgeous ornaments, watched a Christmas play and spent the night at the hotel there to eat breakfast with Santa the next morning. The kids had a great time. They especially loved the lights.

We also attended two birthday parties on Saturday too, one at Chuck E Cheese and the other at Oasis Bowling. Needless to say, I was wiped out by Saturday night. Sunday we did my favorite thing to do during Christmas. We all cuddled on the couch and watched It's a Wonderful Life. Spencer loved it. I'm going to make him watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington after Christmas. I love Jimmy Stewart.

We still have school parties left to attend, baking to do, presents to wrap, cards to send and a few more gifts to shop for, but it is nearly finished. I'm hoping for some much needed rest and relaxation after Christmas. We don't return to school until Jan. 7 so we plan to spend some time at home resting after such a busy year.

Maybe I'll even get to post a few more times before the end of the year... but I'm not promising anything.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Luke 3:11 Part 2

Ok, so here is the rest.

As I was reflecting on these memories from years past, I recalled how excited everyone was to hear the stories Greg would tell when he returned from his trips. We were always amazed at how God worked out the details. Then it occured to me that we should be telling stories like this to each other all year long, not just at Christmas. God is always working out the details. We should have stories to tell, because we should be blessing others all year long. God is ready and willing to lead us to the right person to bless everyday in all of our encounters. I know that often I am just too busy to take time to listen to Him.
In fact, he commands us to bless others in our lifestyle. Having recently been baptized (That's a story for another post) these particular verses stood out to me.

Luke 3:7-11 says;
"John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
10"What should we do then?" the crowd asked.
11John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."

The commentary on these verses on Bible Gateway says that true repentance is a matter of the heart and results in change in everyday behavior. It also says that John makes it clear that he is not interested in their being baptized merely to participate in a sacred rite, but that the act represents and should point to a new way of responding to God. John preaches that the one who pleases God seeks to serve others.

I would add - not to just serve others at one particular time of year, but everyday.
This is a challenge that I am giving to myself. I certainly have more that one coat and more than enough food (there is much evidence of that in my weight LOL). I want to spend the upcoming year seeking God's direction for people to bless that will allow me to share "Christmas Blessing" stories all year long.

One of the ways I am going to start is by helping with a project a family friend is working on in a school in Kentucky. You may recall some of the children from that school being featured on American Idol this past year on the "Idol Gives Back" show. Needless to say, they have not received all of the help they were promised. When I spoke to the lady working on missions projects for this area this past week, she mentioned that when they visited this area of Kentucky this past November, some of the children there were excited to get a toothbrush because they did not have one.

Yes, there are many less fortunate out there who need someone to listen to God's prompting to share from your abundance. My challenge to myself and anyone reading is to set a goal to bless someone else all year long. This is how the spirit of Christmas can be experienced everyday of the year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Luke 3:11 - Part 1

Starting in 1997 and continuing until a few years ago (when we moved), every Christmas my husband Greg would get together with a group of men in Greenville and participate in what they called the Christmas Blessing. These men would come together and donate money to be given to people they felt God was leading them to. Some years they collected a pretty substantial amount of money. They always prayed over how much each of them were to personally donate, and then they prayed about where to go to disperse the money.

Greg always came home with the most amazing stories of what God had done on their trips. They always seemed to be led in the just the right direction - to just the right person. They often ended up in a Waffle House restaurant where they would heavily tip a single mom waitress trying to raise several children by herself; and then secretly watch through the window as she found the money. They watched many happy dances through the Waffle House window.

They also often visited the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville and there was never a shortage of needy families there. They always prayed with the person and shared Christ with them too. They were planting seeds of hope.

One year, one of the men had been called to jury duty. In a conversation with the bailiff, he explained what the Christmas Blessing was, and asked did he know of anyone they could bless. The man excitedly answered yes and provided the name and address of a woman who was disabled and whose husband had just recently lost his job. They had no income whatsoever.

As Greg and the guys finally found this lady's house, they found her on the porch with the lights on almost as if she were waiting on them. When they came up and introduced themselved, she quickly invited them into her home. This seemed rather strange to them as most people would not invite a group of men who were total strangers into their home. (Did I mention this was around 11pm at night)

As they began to talk, they asked why she was on the porch. "I was waiting on you" she replied. "I had been praying to God to send some help and I know he always sends his angels to help me. You men are my angels." They had a great talk with the lady, prayed with her and gave her some money too.

Greg always said he was the one who really received the blessing on these trips and in turn our whole family received a blessing, because it was always the topic of conversation at the Christmas dinner table. We couldn't wait to hear what God had done.

To Be Continued...

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm Back...At least for this post

So I know it has been forever since I posted. I told you guys back in September though that the first of October would start a downhill ball rolling so fast that I wouldn't be able to keep up... and it did. November came and went so fast and here it is almost half way way through December already. Where did the time go?

In November, both kids were sick and Thanksgiving traveling happened. Then, poof the month was gone. We did get an entire week off school for Thanksgiving which was glorious... but we traveled the whole time. I am just now catching up with the laundry.

I kept reading all these posts about all the things that everyone was thankful for and I really had lots of thoughts about all of the many things that I am thankful for too, but I never got them put down on paper or on the computer screen. Maybe next year.

December has also been very busy. We finally got the Christmas trees up this past weekend, a job that I have been trying to complete since the day after Thanksgiving. We have already had tons of birthday parties, Christmas parties, special church programs and musicals to attend this month - about 12 I think and since it is just the 10th, that tells you how busy we have been.

In the midst of all of the running around though, I have really tried to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas and to emphasize it to my children too. I don't want the month of December to feel so hurried and rushed that I miss it. I already feel like I sort of missed Thanksgiving. I want to savor the sweetness of the holidays and the wonders of His love and linger in this special time of year.

So, I am hoping the next two weeks will slow down and we will just enjoy sitting around the living room with the lights down and the Christmas tree lights twinkling, baking cookies and filling the house with their sweet aroma and wrapping gifts to put under the tree. Maybe even doing some shopping, but not with a list. Just shopping to enjoy the decorations and the people watching and the Christmas music playing in the background.
And, watching Christmas movies - It's a Wonderful Life is my favorite. And of course, we have to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolf, Frosty and The Grinch and throw in a little The Santa Clause 1, 2 and 3 and Home Alone. I could probably watch movies from now until Christmas.

Also, I want to spend some more time just talking about the true Christmas story with my Children. We are reading several story book versions and starting Adornaments on the 12th.
Our pastor has been talking about Christmas traditions during church, and one of ours is to record one of the grandparents reading the Christmas story from the Bible and The Night Before Christmas each year with our kids. It is neat to go back and look at those videos and see how much they have grown. Watching those videos really makes you feel like time flies.

And, it is flying right now. I've got to get ready for tomorrow. I hope to stay a little more current with posts for the rest of the month... but I'm not promising anything.

Sweet Blessings,