Advent, Christmas, Faith, Hope, Inspiration

ADVENT – My Hope Is in Him – Week 1

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This is a season of hustle and bustle.  I love this time of the year.  As I was out and about today picking up some things, I couldn’t help be more joyous, more polite, and more caring seeing how busy the checkers were, and I took some extra care in being kind and speaking to each one.

This is also the first week of Advent.  For so many years I did not have a clue what Advent was about, but today our church (yes, we are Baptist) celebrates the Advent season, and I’m studying along with sisters from church through the She Reads Advent series, and also participating with some of my on-line Bible study friends in Max Lucado’s Advent study.

Advent means “coming or arrival“.  It begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas.  This year it began on December 3, and I was so excited to get to church.  We had guest singers I love – Chris and Diane Machen, and they sang during our service.  The church was all decorated and the choir was just amazing.  Our preacher is amazing.

Christians around the world (including many of us Baptists) celebrate Advent.  Advent is  about celebrating the birth of a baby in a manger – our Lord Jesus Christ, and the hope He brings.

And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.  Psalm 39:7 (KJV)

The themes for the four weeks of Advent are hope, peace, joy and love.

This first week is about HOPE and the hope He brings to the World.  I love this season of hope.  For me, it’s all about His birth and how He died for me. It is about light – He is the light, and I think about that every morning when I light my candle on my kitchen counter.  It is one thing I love about the time change – it’s dark for a long time in the morning, savoring my coffee and seeing that light, and sitting here in His presence reading my Bible, doing my Bible studies and studying about Advent.  It is also dark early in the day now so double blessings in watching my candle burn.

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Advent speaks to me to slow down, savor my study time learning more about the hope Christ brings.  I love this time of year – the Christmas lights, presents, Christmas cards, shopping, decorating, musicals at church.  I don’t enjoy crowds,  but what if we paused and spoke to all we see – just a “Merry Christmas”,  “Have a blessed day”.

I wish the season would slow down because I tell you for me it just goes so fast.   Advent speaks slow down to me each day as I sit down with my books.  I love sitting here looking at my tree with all the special ornaments – ornaments my parents gave us over the years, religious ornaments with the names of Jesus – King of Kings, Lord of Lords, etc., and the ribbon I bought that also has the names.  I love walking in my office to pick up this laptop and looking over and seeing the beautiful manger my Mom gave us over a couple of years a few pieces at a time. Take a moment and see it here.  I just had to write about it this year as I pause and remember Mom and Dad.  Hoping to get to the cemetery today or tomorrow and leave a Christmas wreath on their graves.  It’s the coldest day of the year here in Texas – in the 40s and the winds make it feel really cold for this old Teas gal

No,  Christmas is not about presents, it’s not about the lights, but I sure enjoy the lights on the house.  It’s about the King of Kings.  It’s about a man who loves us, who knows us, who came and died for us, and who gives us hope.  Our hope is in Him.  He is the light – the light of the World – our light when things seem dark and gloomy.

 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.  Romans 15:13 (KJV)

Look to light today – to Bethlehem.  Share the HOPE of Christ to all you come in contact with each day.  My hope is that as you and I touch a life here and there planting seeds that we will see our World change.

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Christmas, Kate Motaung Five Minute Friday

Because of Christmas – He Is Near

Blseptember 9, 2019 | 2_00 pm | findlay residence.pngAdvent begins this Sunday.  It is about the joy we have because Christ entered the world.  That is what Christmas is all about – Jesus’ birth and Jesus in us-not only at Christmas but every moment.  Jesus is our joy and without Him I am not sure how you hang on to joy.  I know I could not.

In His presence we can find joy no matter what we are going through.  In His presence as I am working frantically to get all the decorations out of the attic.  In His presence when I am out shopping in crowds.  In His presence as I am addressing cards and praying for each family as I do.

I am savoring the moments with Him.  Jesus is my joy.  If He is not present I find no joy.  He is near if I call on Him.

He is near as I pull those ornaments out of the boxes and place them on the tree, and think about cherished family and friends that gave them to me.  Mom shared so many ornaments with us over the years.  How can I not think of her and give Him thanks for all the years we had, and I pause and remember how much she loved Christmas and passed those traditions and that love down to me.  That nativity above is one she gave us over several Christmas’ piece by piece.

In your presence Lord.   This December will not become a production in my home, in my life – it’s all about You!  May I remember that not only this Christmas season, but every day of the year.  May I reflect on YOU this day as I decorate for this season and pause to give thanks for all You have done in my life.

Joining Kate Motaung in Five-Minute Friday today.  The word is near.

 

Christmas

Shepherd on the Search Advent Activity for Children – Great Gift

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I bought two of these to give to both our children to use with our grandkids.  They are really cute, and wow the activities suggested to do with the kids while hunting for the shepherd each day are so neat.

I tell you it’s going to be fun.  I can’t wait for the toddler boys to come to my house and tell me what they did that week or day, and well I might just have to blog about it and share some pictures.

I have always wanted something different than the Elf, and finally found it.  The Shepherd will point children to Jesus.  The kit came with a Shepherd which the kids will name on day 2, and there are is a site you are sent to in order to make fun projects each day.  I can’t wait to see the names they come up with for their shepherd.

Even the box he comes in is beautiful and thick so you can put away for next year.

Here’s a link to purchase the shepherd, and no I don’t get anything for this.  I purchased mine.  My comments are based on that.

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Christmas, Stress-Free Christmas

No Stress This Christmas

Christmas Squared Event

Photo Credit – Picmonkey

So how do I keep the stress out of Christmas.  I am sharing some of my tips here, but I tell ya’ this morning I was feeling better about it than I do now.

Here are some of my tips

  1. CHRISTMAS CARDS

Start addressing your Christmas cards now or earlier.  I always start before Thanksgiving and I try to mail them the day after Thanksgiving.  May not make it this year, but I have my cards I bought on sale last year and still have forever stamps I bought last year.

Christmas cards are very special to me.  Read all my ideas about Christmas cards and see some ideas for displaying and saving here.

2.  SHOPPING

Don’t know what to buy.  I bought a few gifts early this year as the girls and I were out.

I would see something the grandsons might want in their stockings.  I bought some little grabbers for the toddlers.  Well one of them saw one in my office and I said that is Colt’s, and then Colt saw one in a bedroom later and I said that’s Cals.  They didn’t question me.

I take the grown-up kids shopping and I ask them for lists.  They may not get all that is on the list and they will have some surprises in their stockings.  Keep it simple.  Everything does not have to be a surprise, and why not give a gift they love.

3.  PRAYER and BIBLE STUDY – Get up a few minutes early and spend some time in prayer and reading the Word EVERY day.  If you are looking for a study, don’t have a church home I love, love, love Proverb 31 Online Bible Studies.  Check it out.  We are finishing one up and take a little break during the holidays, but we’ll start up in January.  All you need is your book.

4.  Find some simple tasks to do each day – fit them in 20 minutes here and there.  Today after I got dinner in the oven I went in the office and shredded and filed rather than sit down and watch the news.  Some nights I’ll file while my hubby is in the shower.

5.  Listen to some Christmas music.  I love to pull out my whole basket of Christmas CDs.  I have them playing when I’m cleaning, when I’m driving, when I’m cooking.  They make me happy and thankful for this wonderful season.

6.  DECORATE.  

I don’t usually do any decorating until after Thanksgiving; however since we are not having company this Thanksgiving day, I took my Fall decorations down this past Friday.

I got out my decorations for the kitchen because they are stored in the kitchen cabinets and pantry – at least many of them – my pitchers, cabinet decorations, and Christmas coffee cups.

Put up the outside lights before Thanksgiving.  We are working on it.  Started today but didn’t finish, and we won’t light turn them on until after Thanksgiving.  I’m glad we got it started before the weather gets cold or rainy.

Do one room at a time and you’ll start to feel less pressure. I hope to pull a few boxes out of the attic today, and do a little decorating each day rather than a decorating frenzy week after next.

7.  CLEAN.

I deep clean as I go.  Polished the kitchen countertops on Friday and cleaned my office desk.

Yesterday it was my office – cleaned all the furniture and vacumned.

Tomorrow it’s the master bedroom and the dens.   I’ll clean mini-blinds and bookcases in one of the dens, and hopefully the other den I’ll get all the furniture polished.

Tuesday it’s the laundry room and ironing.

8.  Go for a walk.  I love putting on my headphones – yes I have an old transistor radio I carry and listen to Christian music while I walk.

9.  Go to church.   I can’t wait for next Sunday and all the Christmas music to begin and our programs each Sunday evening.

Take some time to relax and enjoy what this season is about.

If you don’t go to church find one and slip in for one of the music programs.  Check out a church website near you.

10.  BAKING – I’ve never baked early because I like it fresh, but if I am successful at everything else this year well I think it will be easy.

11.  ADVENT – Study the Christmas story.  I’m Baptist and we do talk some about advent at church, but I’ve learned a lot on my own over the years.  This year I bought two sets of “The Shepherd on the Search” to give to my son and my daughter’s families.  My daughter and daughter-in-love are excited, but I think I’m more excited.

12.  MAKE SOME MEMORABLE TRADITIONS – Read about my favorites here.

Goal Setting, Inspiration, Stress-Free Christmas, Stressful Christmas

DECEMBER GOALS and NOVEMBER UPDATE

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JOY

Joy has to be my favorite word .  I buy ornaments each year with the word joy.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.  Luke 2:19 (KJV)

Just as Mary was pondering these things – the birth of her baby boy, I am blessed to be pondering this season and picking up little things for two twin grandsons and a granddaughter all due in March.

As I reflect on Christmas I ponder all the beautiful things about it. I think back on past Christmas’ when I was so stressed and worn out.  Honestly, I may be a tad bit worn out this Christmas, but oh how I am loving everything about the season this year.

You know the older you get the more you realize this could be your last or at least I do.  Perhaps much of that stems from my word that God spoke to me this year – SAVOR and oh how I’ve tried to do that – savor each moment.  I’ve savored decorating, shopping, Christmas programs at church, finishing up my Bible study and anxiously anticipating the next one in the New Year.  I am savoring time with family, cooking for family and most of all my precious Savior’s birthday.

Christmas is more than trees, more than decorations, more than presents – it’s the gift of His presence in all we do not only during this season but every day.  I’m so glad I get that.  How about you?

 FAITH GOALS

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;  Psalm 95:6 (KJV)

NOVEMBER  (All Done)

Begin new Bible Study called Wait and See by Wendy Pope.

DECEMBER

Complete Wendy’s Wait and See study.

FAMILY GOALS

NOVEMBER (YES)

Trip to deer lease with our son and daughter-in-love.  We had a whole lot of fun and cooked our Thanksgiving meal there on Saturday and had some friends over too.  Great trip.

DECEMBER

What an awesome month for time to spend with family, and we have so, so many plans.  I’m as excited as a six year old.  Can’t wait for all the food, fellowship and games.

Another trip to the deer lease with our son and daughter-in-law, and maybe a final one for awhile.  She’s pregnant with twins and well we don’t want to be four hours away from a good hospital.

Christmas Eve with my husband’s family for dinner.

Christmas Eve at home with the kids and grandkids.

Christmas morning breakfast and celebration of Jesus’ birthday and also our son-in-laws at home with our kids and grandkids.

Christmas day lunch with my family.

It’s gonna be busy around here, so this girl better get busier.  Menus to make.  House to finish cleaning and decorating and I will be so glad when school is out so that phone quits ringing for substitutes.  Yep I’m headed there today after the yearly mammogram.

HEALTH GOALS

NOVEMBER (Well not so well)

Working out, drinking water, and eating healthy to decrease this waistline.  This is still a hard goal for me although I did make a whole lot of trips upstairs and in the attic (too many to count), and I did walk down to the end of the block several times, and then there were shopping trips and lots of walking at the lease.

FRIEND GOALS

NOVEMBER  (I totally forgot to add friend goals on my November goals, but we did have some precious friends over on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for a Thanksgiving meal.)

DECEMBER

It’s hard to meet up with a friend at this time of the year, but this past week I was honored to meet up with an aunt who lost her husband a few months ago for lunch so I call this one done already.

Call at least one friend on the phone.   (Done.  I have a sweet friend going through a divorce and one day when God laid her on my heart (a heart drop as Karen Ehman calls it), I picked up the phone and called.  We talked, we laughed, we cried and we prayed for a hour and a half.)

The neighborhood tea still has not happened.  If only I could finish decorating, shopping, and cleaning maybe I could have them over next week before Christmas, but it’s looking doubtful this morning.

HOME GOALS 

NOVEMBER

Finish cleaning and organizing master bedroom closet. (Probably not happening this week.  I’m starting the Life-Changing Habit of Tidying Up and seeing where that takes me in they say the next six months, but starting with the clothes in the closet.)  (Not done)

Catch up on filing in office. (Not done)

Buy new mattress for master bedroom and move our old one upstairs to a new king bed frame my mother-in-law gave us.  (We got the new mattress and moved the other one upstairs, but the shopping for the things to go on that oversized bed was a wee bit of stress with all that is going on for Christmas.  It was hard but it’s done.)

Take down Fall decorations. (Done)

Begin Christmas Decorations.  (Done)

DECEMBER

Finish cleaning and organizing master bedroom closet.  ( I hope this can happen but with all the extra cleaning and organizing and the bed and everything else it might not happen.)

Catch up on filing in office.

Finish decorating, shopping, and cleaning.

Plan dishes for all the Christmas meals.

BLOGGING GOALS 

NOVEMBER:

Lesson 2 – Blogging Course. This is the 8th month I’ve had this as a goal. Not sure I can get it done even this month because the school is calling a lot for substitutes, it’s time to Christmas decorate now and who has time to write.  I just would love to be ready and be able to sit down and read a good Karen Kingsbury love love.

This is a big blog lesson, but I am working on the first part and that was going thru all of my old blogs. I cringe thinking it is already the 15th of the month and I’m just getting this blog post up that should have been up on the first, but sure has been a fun month, and I cleaned up a few more blogs with tags, categories, better photos, and rewrote some with better thoughts from now. (Partially Done)

Review and clean-up 15 more blog posts plus 20 I already completed, so it will be 35. (Done)

Delete at least 500 more emails.  (Done)

Linky Page – Work on a few more days of this project with a completion date of  January.  (Accomplished a bit of this, but haven’t had time to blog nor participate in any of the parties)

DECEMBER

Lesson 2 – Blogging Course. This is the 9th month I’ve had this as a goal and it sure is not going to happen this month, but I must keep it here or it will never get done.  I am adding a planned date of March because with Christmas and planning for the 3 new grand babies in March and showers and school it will be at least March, but part of that is the next goal so I am working on it each month, and it is progressing well, but there are over 500 blogs to go back and clean up, tag, and pretty up.

Review and clean-up 15 more blog posts plus 35 I already completed, so it will be 50.

Delete at least 500 more emails.

Linky Page – Work on a few more days of this project with a new completion date of February.