I’m a Boring Shopper

Maybe I’m just too practical, but
I buy boring Christmas presents.

My brain thinks ahead
“Can they use this in more than one way?”
“Will it still be appealing in six months?”
“Will it drive their parents crazy?”

I guess that may NOT be what most people
think when they’re Christmas shopping, but
being a good steward of our money stays
with me… always… in every area… including…

This year our church has adopted several families
and will be providing a wide range of gifts
to care for a variety of needs in their families-
food
clothing for each member
shoes & socks
toiletries
household necessities
gift cards
and of course TOYS!
(a 15 passenger van FULL of toys was kindly
provided by Rochester Michigan Assembly of God!)

Everyone has eagerly grabbed up the cards
that describe one of the needs in each family.
I happily took some cards for children’s clothing.
(I have a little experience with this, huh?)

I wanted to buy great striped or patterned
sweatshirts and funky jeans & tennis shoes.
Then, “Practical” kicked in.
It’s more than likely that whatever we buy
for these children will be worn several times
a week. So… stripes and patterns are going to
be rather obvious and possibly invite teasing
(which they may already be enduring).
Enter “Boring Practical Shopper Lady!”
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Basic colors that won’t be too obvious if worn often.
Jeans that are dark & won’t show as much dirt, crayon marks,etc.
Boot shoes. Not snowboots,
but OK if worn when snow is on the ground,
yet still a shoe.

Not exciting.
But then again, maybe it’s because most of
us have MORE than our basic needs met.

Thank you, Lord, for meeting our needs
and allowing us to share!

Giving can be Selfish, too

Yes, the title is not a typo.   

When we bake a treat for the neighbors just so they’ll think we’re the nice family on the block…that’s selfish.

When we give that really awesome gift to our boss so he’ll think more highly of us… that’s selfish.

When we share the coveted Christmas treat with everyone just to hear them rave about it’s goodness… that’s selfish.

When we buy what we cannot afford to assure ourselves that we’re good parents… that’s selfish.

When we take pride in making homemade presents because we’re not giving into the greed of season… that’s selfish.

See, none of these things are wrong… NOT at all. But the motives in which we do them can become the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of JESUS! (and that is wrong!)

He gave because He LOVES us!

As I give, share, buy & make whatever this season, I want it all to be for the sheer joy of blessing the recipent; for the absolute thrill of seeing there delight. And expecting NO thanks; no little cards in the mail to validate my worth & prove their proper manners. I wanna give just because it’s what Jesus does.

 

 

Menu Plan Monday, Dec. 19, 2011

Some menu planners have a list of all the meals they make & just rotate them. I get kinda bored with that. (I’ve tried it.) Other ladies repeat the exact same set of meals every week. (UGH, wouldn’t everyone get bored of that?) Some ladies comb the internet looking for ideas… that keeps it interesting & also takes a ton of time. So I needed a change.

 

Last week I tried something new… and really liked it. As I was going to bed that Sunday night, a “not-original” idea jumped into my head; I grabbed a pen on my nightstand and the closest thing to blank paper I could find (aka: back of a magazine, pictured below).  I made up some categories and, off the top of my head, filled in one meal for each. Then every morning after that I picked a lunch & dinner choice from the list. It worked well and took much less time to plan.

(Note: I had to edit the magazine page since it was a fruit of the loom ad. ha!)

Here were my categories for Dinner:

Pasta
Beef
Hearty Soup
Pizza
Casserole
Meat & Potato
Random

Lunch Categories:

Salad
Wraps
Eggs
PB & J
Sandwiches (cold cuts)
Pasta
Soup

 

My sister-in-law did something similar to this a while back. She has a blog (and will be posting something new at any moment), and she said I could post’um, too. Her ideas are super cute & creative. Thanks, Lana!

Slow Cook Sunday
Meatless Monday
Taco Tuesday
Whip it up Wednesday     (fast meal – seems to always be a busy day)
Throw-Back Thursday      (those oldies but goodies that we haven’t had for a while)
Fun Food Friday                (pizza, fried chicken, or anything else NOT whole grain and balanced. ha ha)
See What’s in the Fridge Saturday

 

So, aside from Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, I’m gunna try a combonation of these categories & see how it goes. Do you have any special way you come up with our menus every week?

(And of course, there’s always www.orgjunkie.com for a zillion more ideas & links. Amazing!)

 

I Want a Star!

 

The “Christmas Star” was a sign, a miracle, a guide, an answer to the questions. Could you even count the number of times you’ve asked Jesus for same thing; “Lord, I really need a sign, a miracle, your guidence & some answers! Please!” Yesterday morning as I was saying similar words I realized some things about that special star and how it was similar to the “miracles” that I’m seeking.

 

 

THE STAR (miracle) is…

Normal, yet extraordinary– Many people see stars, but not everyone looks closely enough to notice it’s magnificence or it’s power. They look right at it but never recognize that it’s a direct act of God.

 

THE STAR (miracle) is…

Something only God can do– No one else makes stars. Committees don’t. Influencial people cannot do it. Only JESUS!

 

THE STAR (miracle)…

Was expected – The wisemen noticed the star because they kept their eyes up; they knew the scriptures and they realized when it actually happened. NOTE: This does NOT mean that it appeared as they’d expected nor does it mean that they totally understand what it meant.

 

THE STAR (miracle)…

Prompted Action– When the miracle/star appeared, the wiseman acted. They left the normal & travel into the unknown. But the result was seeing the Savior’s face and the joy of being compelled to worship Him.

 

I don’t want to ask for a miracle if I’m not willing to see it, whatever it looks like, and and to do whatever it’s reality requires of me.

 

(Another Christmas-ish article that I wrote last year was featured on a Nat’l Church Planters website.  Click here)

 

 

 

The “No Blog” Blog

 

What?

No blog?

 

Here’s what I mean…

and why…

 

 

Jesus.

While reading Mark 3, I just had to stop & praise Him for being so

kind & patient, even when other people must’ve driven Him crazy.

(The very people He made, who then questioned His every move & word)

[box]Only those who are truly confident can display real humility.[/box]

Sigh.

I’m far from humble… especially at home.

So I must be far from confident.

Sigh… again.

Then, the conversation went something like this…

“Lord Jesus, confidence usually alludes me most

at home cuz I’m often frustrated about “always feeling behind”

and having an ever-growing ‘to-do’ list.

I just cannot do everything I’m supposed to.”

“Then what will you cut out?”

“Well, um.. I like everything! (except cleaning house… can I cut that? hee hee)

Seriously, Lord, what am I supposed to do? Please. Please instruct me.”

“Blogs.”

“Blogs? My blog? What blogs?”

“The many “Mom-Homeschooler-Craft-Decorating-Homemaker”

type blogs that you subscribe to via your email…

Stop reading those… until at least Easter.”

“Um, OK. Why?”

They take up your time, attention and make you feel that you’re

not living up to some standard. They make you feel like you’re

failing. Stop comparing yourself. Stop reading them for a while.

Fast them.

(sigh… the pleasant, happy kind)  “Yes, Lord!”

And, also… make more eye contact with your kids.

Look at them. Seeing their faces reminds you of how much

you love them & that makes being patient much easier.


(whipping tears) “Yes, Thank You, Jesus. Thank You.

Oh, I love You so much!”

 

 

 

The Right Order

(Cute Shepherds)

Angels told them the Great message…

and then sang…the first Christmas Carols!
Then Shepherds go, “Hey, The Lord just told us
something great. We can’t sit around. 
We’ve GOT to go see this baby!”
They sought Him out… and found Jesus.
THEN… they rejoiced & spread the news all around.
And people were amazed at their words.
——-
Don’t try to tell people about Jesus & expect them to
be amazed at the Story if you haven’t
first spent time seeking Him out, seeing Him, Face-to-Face..
being with your Savior & Lord.
Only when we’ve been with Him first will other people
take note of our words (and our life).
Have you spent time with Jesus today?
What did you do?
Where was it?
What did He say to you today?

Twelve Days… Kid Style

Twelve day of Christmas usually makes me think
of a bunch of weird stuff and a strange bird in a tree.


This year our church was inspired to put together
a list of 12 things to bless others & share the
Love of JESUS!   You can view our list here and 
click on the bottom left “What’s New.”


But… My kids & are NOT gunna do that list.
Instead, we are doing our own version of the list.
We don’t get out much… so we’re having to be 
creative.  What things are you doing this Christmas
to be purposeful about sharing the LOVE of JESUS?


_________________________________________________
TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FOR KIDS

Day 1 – Write a note or draw a picture for your Kids Pastor/Director
Day 2 – Help select a gift for “Joy to the D” (see day 12)
Day 3 – Select 3 toys ( in nice condition) to give to a shelter
Day 4 – Make a thank you card for the mail carrier & attach it where it’ll be seen
Day 5 – Let your brother and/or sister go first or get the bigger piece
Day 6- Draw or  list 3 things you love about your Grandparents & then
            Mail it to them
Day 7- Make a treat for your neighbor & deliver it
Day 8 – Do a chore that isn’t assigned to you
Day 9 –  Take a short walk on your street & pick up garbage
Day 10- Perpare a food gift for a homeless person you see regularly
Day 11- Call a friend & invite him/her to church
Day 12- JOY to the D (an outreach to the children/parents of Detroit)

Not Expected

Last night some sweet young ladies from our church came
over to help me decorate our house for Christmas.
This has been a tradition since the start of my “grown-up” life…
an all-girl night of putting up the tree, eating cookies, laughing, etc..

They were all nothing but adorable, helpful & sweet.

But I felt poopy.
But I wasn’t sick.
Truthfully, I was completely disappointed in myself.

-My kids were arguing with each other & acting like people I didn’t know.
What kind of a mom am I anyway?

– My gorgeous historic house deserved beautiful holiday decor…
and I don’t have much… and I’m lacking the skills to do anything with
it even if I did have more.
What kind of homemaker am I anyway?

– The lights were hung uneven, so the top of the tree is dark-ish.
It looks kinda silly. Who strung those lights?  Oh… me… sigh
 Apparently I can’t even do the simplest tasks of decorating.

– etc….etc…

This morning in prayer I pathetically told Jesus how I felt
bummed out… for no reason.

Oh, there’s a reason!


Really, Lord? What?

Expectations.


Huh? Oh… yeah. You’re right. (Like Jesus needs me to tell Him, that! ha)

Sadly enough, I’d let my “ideas of what it SHOULD be” cloud my
gratefulness and it robbed me of the joy of the actual moment.

Expectations keep us thinking about self… ick.

Forgive me, Jesus, for thinking about myself and what I think
things should be. 
That’s so NOT like You. 
It’s NOT the joy of CHRISTMAS.
I refuse to think of myself.
JESUS!!!!!

Just thinking about Christmas…

– We’re supposed to be telling people about Jesus,
not just inviting them to church. Give them a reason to come.

Talk ONE minute for every FIVE that you listen

– Since no one on my  “Christmas List” actually needs anything,
I’m going to give loving tokens of from my heart so that there’s
more to give to those who are really in need.

– Jesus radiates God’s glory & expresses the very
character of God (Heb.  1:3). And Jesus has asked me,
His follower, to imitate Him. Hmm, asking myself wha
kind of expression/impression of Jesus I give to others.

This post is NOT about Baking!

Baking!

I love to bake!
Haven’t done too much of it this year, though.
BUT…
while I was making a couple batches of yummy treats & adding
the ingredients together it struck me…
– All the things added to cookie dough are kinda gross on their own:
raw eggs, baking powder, flour, sugar, etc…
– But mixed all together and then baked they’re irresistible!
JUST LIKE THE CHURCH!
-Each of us has something to offer, but by ourselves were not
very appealing or effective.
– Mixed together and baked in the warmth of the Holy Spirit
our efforts are WONDERFUL!
So…
eat and cookie… (or two) and thank God for the Christians
He’s put in your life.
Name them.
Pray for them.
Then go eat another cookie…
it IS Christmas, after all!