Day 138

Seven years ago, on our second Christmas together as a married couple we were miserable. Earlier in the month of December we discovered our marriage was failing.  I guess I kind of knew things weren’t great between us, but I had no idea how bad they really were, until that day.  I was only 20, we had no kids, and I felt like throwing in the towel. I spent a few nights at my parents house trying to figure out my plan.

I will never forget the morning I woke up and something inside me had changed. I no longer felt like throwing in the towel, I felt like fighting… fighting for our marriage. I went back to our tiny house on Brookside and told Josh how God had changed my heart. I forgave him and he forgave me and we started our new life together.

Before everything fell apart that December we talked about starting a new family tradition. We had our real Christmas tree that we got right after Thanksgiving, but we thought it we be fun to rescue another tree on Christmas Eve. To find a tree that no one picked, one with some deformities, one that was too skinny, or totally misshaped and rescue it. We would take it back to our house Christmas Eve night and decorate it. Give it a chance to fulfill it’s purpose. To be the Christmas tree it was cut down to be.

It was really hard to get into the Christmas spirit that year, but we decided to start the new tradition anyway. We went out on a cold and rainy Christmas Eve night looking for the perfect imperfect tree. We drove past an Ace Hardware and spotted the most pathetic tree you’ve ever seen. It was the only one left and it was laying on it’s flat slide getting soaked in the rain. We turned the car around, went back and rescued that tree. We brought it home, put it in our kitchen and strung bright blue lights around it and hung some mismatched ornaments on it. It turned out adorable.

We have kept the tradition alive every Christmas since then. Although I didn’t think about this the first year, I did the next year and all of the years after that. God rescued us that December like we rescued that little tree. We were not fulfilling the plans and purposes that God had for us.  We were unhappy and unfulfilled.  But when we decided to take ownership of our relationship with God, He took ownership of us. He brought us home, strung light around us and turned our lives into something beautiful.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other.

I’m so thankful for our fresh start and the constant joy that has been present in our lives over the last 7 years.

  1. The tradition lives on.  Rescued a tree tonight!
  2. We have two perfect kids that love the rescue a tree tradition.
  3. We were lost, but now we’re found.
  4. Joy!
  5. Started my day with a nice hot shower.
  6. Home made, delicious cinnamon rolls thanks to my sweet friend Anna.
  7. 30 something years ago today my sweet friend Anna was born!  So thankful she’s my neighbor now and we get to do life together.
  8. 40 something years ago today my big sister Amy was born.
  9. Josh got an awesome fire going today.
  10. Gus & Papa got to go out for hot cocoa this morning.
  11. Watched Christmas movies all morning.
  12. Took an awesome nap on the couch by the fire.
  13. Tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch.
  14. Egg nog and Coke.
  15. Josh found a song called “Rejoice” we heard at the symphony last night.  It will forever be on our Christmas playlist.
  16. Tried Chicken Express for dinner.  It was tasty and the restaurant was really nice and clean inside.
  17. Nana & Papa made it back safely to Tulsa.
  18. One more sleep til Christmas!!
  19. Pajama exchange Christmas Eve tradition.
  20. Josh got me some very cute PJs and threw in the best pair of camp socks.
  21. Beau looks unreal cute in her own night gown.  It might be the cutest I’ve ever seen her.
  22. Gus loved his Spiderman PJs!
  23. Made cookies for Santa aka Dida.
  24. Filled all of the stockings tonight.
  25. All packed up for Tulsa and rounds 2 and 3 of Christmas next week!
  26. Hickory Farms Christmas set.
  27. It’s A Wonderful Life Movie Night.
  28. My children are nestled all snug in their beds!

Day 137

I read this verse today and it reminded me of all of the Christ-less Christmas celebrations that take place all over our country each year.

Isaiah 1:13 (NIV) Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me.  New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations- I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.

Christmas celebrations that don’t mention Jesus are worthless assemblies that I think God despises and detests.  Christmas has become so commercial that unsaved people everywhere celebrate it and don’t feel an ounce of guilt.  They exchange gifts, decorate a tree, and eat a ham all in honor of “Christmas” without ever honoring Christ.

I think this portion of a poem called “Happy Birthday Jesus” by Donald Arey, Sr. issues a great challenge to all of us who do celebrate Jesus at Christmas.

I had a birthday party, most everybody came. They danced and ate and had a ball, But no one spoke My name.  They gave each other presents, as nice as they could be.  People came from far and near, But no one mentioned Me.  The stores were filled with shoppers, The restaurants crowded out, But no one seemed to really know what the party was about.

No one seems to know what the party is all about these days, but we can do something about that.

1 Peter 3:15 (AMP) But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.

It’s more than saying “Merry Christmas” or putting a “Jesus is the reason for the season” sign up in your lawn or on your Facebook wall.  People should be able to tell that you acknowledge Jesus on Christmas and the rest of the 364 days each year by the way you live your life.  It should be super obvious that He is your hope and if they want to know why, you should be able to verbalize it in a kind and courteous way.

My new year resolution is to save a few people from ever having worthless Christmas assemblies again by being ready to give anyone who asks about the hope I have an answer that changes their life.

  1. Officially done wrapping presents.
  2. Josh helped me size, print, and frame a bunch of pictures.
  3. Gus got out of school early today, so I got to take the morning off, no lunch packing.
  4. Josh got to take Gus out for a guys lunch at Whataburger.
  5. The cold wintery weather day.
  6. Josh and I got to have a date night with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
  7. Getting dressed up to go out!
  8. When I came out of my room after getting dressed Beau said “Pretty dress!  Spin!”  She had to come see my skirt and touch it and wanted me to spin for her.  What a fun little girl she is!
  9. Talking uninterrupted with my husband on the way into Dallas.
  10. We had the perfect amount of time to travel to Dallas, eat dinner, and figure out where we were sitting before the performance started.
  11. Found a really neat Japanese restaurant for dinner.
  12. We felt like we were out of town, seeing new things we’d never seen before.
  13. Beautiful Christmas lights and trees lining the streets downtown.
  14. Nana & Papa were here to watch the kids for us.
  15. My ears can hear!
  16. Music and the way it all went together so beautifully tonight.
  17. Being able to enjoy the gifts and talents God blessed all of the singers and musicians with that preformed tonight.
  18. The Christmas story was read from the Bible during the show and there was such an emphasis on the birth of Jesus throughout.  It was so moving to hear such beautiful music about my Lord and savior.
  19. The Christmas children’s choir.  Their voices were beautiful and so sweet and pure.
  20. Making memories with my husband.
  21. Gus and Beau had a fun Christmas movie night with Nana and Papa.
  22. Josh and Anna brought us homemade cinnamon rolls.  I can’t wait til breakfast!
  23. I found some Star Wars cupcake holders for Gus and Snow White for Beau.  Perfect stocking stuffers.
  24. Gus got to wear his Santa slippers to school today for Christmas head to toe.
  25. Gus’ school has really majored of Jesus this Christmas and minored on Santa.
  26. His teachers gave him the cutest Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus block set.
  27. 31 years ago today my sister in law Mandy was born!
  28. How good it feels to take off tights after wearing them for 6 hours.

Day 136

The Wise Men were tired and probably discouraged.  The star they had been following seemed to have disappeared.  What were they doing in Bethlehem?  Was this all a big mistake?

Then… the star reappeared.

Matthew 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.

The message translation says, they could hardly contain themselves!  They were pumped!  Their mission was not in vain.  They had not failed.  All of their blood, sweat, and tears were about to mean something.  Here goes nothing…

They walked into the house underneath the shining star and they knew right away they had got it all wrong.  They packed up their camels and headed back home.  This was no king.  It was just a cute little baby.  He had no servants, just his mom and dad.  The house was not fancy, it was just a little cottage.

No.  Actually,  Matthew 2:11 says And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.

They fell down on their hands and knees with the faces to the ground and worshipped this king without a throne.  They had no idea that 33 years later this baby would change the world forever, yet somehow they knew He was worthy of praise.  So there they were three, or however many wise men there were, laid out on their faces before a baby that they knew nothing about.

We on the other hand do know something about Jesus, we actually know a lot of things about Him. We have stories of Him in the Bible healing the blind, casting out demons, raising the dead, walking on water, calming the storm, feeding thousands with a few fish and a piece of bread, taking stripes on His back for our healing, enduring the cross for our salvation, and conquering the grave for our victory!  We have our own stories too, our first hand experiences with Jesus.  He saved my marriage, blessed me with an amazing family, loved me when I didn’t deserve it, healed my body, calmed every storm I’ve ever faced, and never once left me alone.

We know Jesus on a way more personal basis than the Wise Men ever did, but when is the last time He brought us to our knees?  Are we too familiar with his awesomeness?  Is it just something we have become used to?  Take time to refresh your knowledge of Jesus, take time to get on your knees and worship the King who you know is worthy of your praise.  Rejoice today with exceeding great joy like you rejoiced the day you found Him, like the Wise Men rejoiced the day they found Him.

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!

  1. I have a personal relationship with Jesus.  I know Him.  I’ve experienced Him first hand.
  2. He is worthy to be praised!
  3. The Wise Men worshipped even when they didn’t know Him.
  4. The Bible helps us to know more about Him.
  5. Josh let me sleep in.
  6. Ginger bread house and Ginger bread train kits!
  7. Had a great time watching Josh & Gus make their perfect little house while Trudi and I struggled to make our train.
  8. Beau votes for the train, Papa voted for the house so Gus declared it a tie!
  9. Gus gets so excited about stuff!  He had SO much fun decorating his house with his dad.
  10. Got my check book balanced.
  11. Josh made the kids their lunch this afternoon… and their breakfast.
  12. Leftover egg drop soup.
  13. Got to listen to the Muppet Christmas Carol while I worked this afternoon.
  14. Shopping with Beau, Nana, & Josh.
  15. Got to shop for baby boy clothes for a friend of mine’s new baby boy.  I loved it.
  16. Gus fell asleep in the car and Papa stayed with him while we shopped.
  17. Peppermint bark and apple cider samples from Williams Sanoma.
  18. I ate solid food at Panera Bread tonight and it hit the spot!
  19. Light looking at a beautiful neighborhood in Plano.
  20. It was so nice out we had all of the window rolled down as we drove around admiring all of the pretty lights.
  21. Nana got to read to Gus before bed.
  22. Ginger bread houses smell so nice.
  23. Clean hair!
  24. Enjoyed being a girl and trying on lots of different outfits for my date with Josh tomorrow night.
  25. Home Alone 2.
  26. Josh took the day off!
  27. Beau was in shoe heaven tonight at Nordstrom Rack.  She had to take her boots off so she could try on all kinds of different shoes in my size.
  28. Josh added 3 new presents under the tree for me and I have NO idea what they could be.  Yay for surprises!

Day 135

The star of every nativity scene is obviously baby Jesus, but there’s another star in the scene that I’ve been thinking a lot about today… it’s the star.  The star that led the wise men to Jesus.  We don’t know much about the star, what it looked like, it’s name, or if it really had a tail as big as a kite.  The only detail given about the star is found in Matthew 2:2, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

It was HIS star.  Every beam in that star shone forth for Jesus. (Spurgeon)  It shined so brightly that the wise men could not resist following it.  It drew them in.  So much so that they travelled days across the desert to find the new born King of the Jews.

I was excited to discover today that I was born to be a star, born to be HIS star.  To shine so brightly for Him that people can’t resist following me, and when they follow me they find Jesus because like the Christmas star, that’s where I’m heading.

You were born to be HIS star too.  To be a light in this dark world.  And if you haven’t noticed the world seems to be darker than ever these days.  You were not born to shine for yourself but to radiate for Jesus with every beam inside of you and to attract people to Jesus like a porch light attracts crazy bugs.

I heard my little girl singing this song to her baby today, Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.  It reminded me that it’s okay for people to wonder what you are, but they should never have to wonder whose you are, and you shouldn’t have to wonder either.  Like the famous star that shone the night that Jesus was born, you are HIS star.

Where are you heading and is anyone following you?

  1. I was born to be a star!
  2. The awesome Charles Spurgeon message on the star and the wise men I read today.
  3. If we shine for Jesus and are headed to Jesus people will follow and they will find Him too!
  4. I’ve found a way to shine and I so enjoy doing it everyday.
  5. Beau singing Twinkle Twinkle little star today.  So sweet!
  6. I slept for 10 hours last night… finally getting rid of this strep throat.
  7. Had a fun morning running around with Beau.
  8. Found Gus a Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster shirt for his Christmas dress up day on Thursday.
  9. Chic Fil A date with Beau.
  10. Beau was saying her memory verse loud enough for everyone at Chic Fil A to here her.  She was really shining!
  11. The sweet man who helped me carry a high chair to the table for Beau.
  12. Josh came home for an hour to watch Beau so I could go to Gus’ Christmas party while she was napping.
  13. Gus was so excited that I got to read Frosty the Snowman to his class at school today.
  14. Gus is THE sweetest four year old boy alive.
  15. I got the present from Gus today.  A really sweet and adorable baby Jesus in a manger made from his handprint.  I told him I’d keep it forever and I will.  I love it.
  16. Clean house!
  17. Nana & Papa had a safe trip to Texas today.
  18. Yummy dinner at Kenny’s paid for by Kenny aka Papa.
  19. Ice cream for dessert.
  20. We got our Christmas chair today!
  21. We are sitting around watching TV and no one has to sit on the floor!  So nice having an extra seat.
  22. Gus’ teacher told me he shared the Christmas story from Luke 2 with the class today and she then took him around to all of the classrooms so he could share it with them too.  He was really shining!
  23. I don’t know how it’s possible but only 4 more sleeps until our Christmas morning.
  24. The kids are still young enough that if we want to move Christmas up a few days they won’t realize it.
  25. Gus was surprisingly understanding when I told him dinner took longer than expected and we would have to wait until tomorrow to do our gingerbread houses.
  26. The weather guys are predicting snow in Tulsa on Christmas day!
  27. I think I finally found a reliable data entry software for work.
  28. I’m swallowing right now and it doesn’t hurt!  Whoo Hoo!!

Day 134

This morning while I was cleaning up after breakfast my sweet little kids decided they wanted to have Bible time.  Beau got out the yellow quilt that she likes to sit on and came marching into the living room with her laminated picture of Jesus, saying,  “sing songs?”

Of course, I could not say no to her pretty little face.  I stopped what I was doing and we had Bible time.  We sang Christmas carols, hugged our Bibles, and watched a little cartoon on YouTube about the Wise Men.  After the video was over I asked my four year old Gus if he saw the wise men give Jesus anything.  “Yeah,” he said, “Presents!”  I told him about the gold, frankincense and myrrh and then I asked him what kind of presents we can give to Jesus.  His answer was cake.

Although cake is a pretty good gift, it’s kind of hard to give Jesus cake… or an iPad, or  a watch, or a tie, or cologne.

After a few hints Gus finally started to get where I was going.  We have to give Jesus things that we can’t buy from a store.  So he decided he could give Jesus the gift of a song. He could write a song just for Jesus and sing it to Him.  He did and it was awesome.  I know Jesus absolutely loved it.

The countdown is on.  8 days left until Christmas.  It’s time to start checking your list twice and making sure you got everyone that means something to you a special gift.  Your parents, your kids, your spouse, your boss, school teachers, your lawn guy, etc.

This year don’t forget Jesus.  Make sure He’s on your list.  He’s not as hard to shop for as you might think and the things on his wish list require no wrapping.  Need some suggestions?  Here are a few more ideas we came up with his morning that I think would make lovely gifts.  Your time, your trust, your praise, your worry, your obedience, your listening ears, control.

Give the one who gave everything for you something special from you.  He loves a cheerful giver.

  1. Teaching my kids always teaches me.
  2. Beau’s pretty face asking to spend time in the word.
  3. Singing Christmas carols.
  4. “Fa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa” – Gus
  5. Had another fun Christmas ornament crafting project to do this morning.
  6. Beau calls candy canes “yummy canes.”
  7. We don’t have to have lots of money to give a good gift to Jesus.
  8. The song Gus gave to Jesus.
  9. We can’t out give God.
  10. Beau’s love for Miss Piggy.  She recognize her voice on the radio right away today.
  11. Found a restaurant with egg drop soup.
  12. Josh used to bring me egg drop soup when we were dating.
  13. Those crunchy things that you put in the soup.
  14. The kids enjoyed their egg rolls and I enjoyed  not cooking!
  15. The sweet note from my sweet dad.
  16. Josh got to have a guys night out.
  17. He has good guy friends.
  18. Kids in bed by 7:30.
  19. Hot bath.
  20. Miracle on 34th Street.
  21. Natalie Wood who changed my take on having a girl before we had a girl.  She was such a doll.
  22. Me in bed by 8:30.
  23. Wireless internet.
  24. Jesus is my healer!
  25. My list making keeps me from throwing pity parties that last too long.
  26. Over 200 people read my post on praying protection over our kids.  Thanks for all of the shares!
  27. While waiting for a prescription the other day I got to shop for new makeup and really take my time and I really like everything I picked out.
  28. Someone from Australia called to order the Love Out Loud DVD today!

Day 133

We have not allowed one second of coverage on the heart breaking school shootings into our home this week.  After finding out about the tragedy on Facebook I read an article about what happened and that was the end of it.  I got what I needed to know.  Innocent lives were lost and their families need my prayers.  I don’t know the shooters name, what he looked like, or any other gory details.  I don’t want to spend my time  pondering Satan’s attack on those babies.

Philippians 4:8 (MSG) I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. 

I agree whole heartedly with that!  If we sit in front of the T.V. and let the news media fill our minds with bad reports what good is that doing us?  Why would we ever want to waste a second of our lives mediating on evil?  I think satan is loving all of the attention he is getting this Christmas season.  I think he’s enjoying watching spirits of fear, depression, hopelessness, and anger enter into the homes of Americans through the glowing box that sits in their living rooms.

“If it bleeds it leads” is the mantra of all news stations, but it’s not the mantra I want for my family.  I want my family to fill their minds with things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and things that are virtuous and praise worthy.  What are you meditating on today?  God’s light or Satan’s darkness?

Remember, what the angel told the shepherds on the night that Jesus was born.  Fear not, I bring you GOOD NEWS of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Turn off the T.V., put down the newspaper, pick up your Bible and start mediating on good news.

  1. We can control what we meditate on.
  2. We have control over what spirits are allowed into our home.
  3. God’s word is full of good news.
  4. Got to sleep in.
  5. Christmas cartoons and cuddling with Gus & Beau in bed.
  6. Took Gus toys for tots shopping at Kroger.  He was so excited to give!
  7. Salted watermelon… good snack to sooth my throat!
  8. My friend Kristen texted to let me know she was praying for me.
  9. Streamed the whole Gateway service this morning.
  10. Oh Come All Ye Faithful was so good during worship it moved me to tears while I was folding laundry in my living room.
  11. My Felix was part of the heavenly choir this morning, singing with me.
  12. Rebecca Pfortmiller.  That lady can sing… and so effortlessly!  Me and Beau loved hearing her sing Joy to The World.
  13. Del Taco family pack.  That’s a lota food for $9!
  14. The cashier at Kroger told me I was pretty… I worked extra hard on my makeup and thought it was so sweet someone noticed!
  15. Was reminded what a difference kind words can make to someones day.
  16. Fun night out at our staff Christmas party.
  17. Josh gets to work with some pretty awesome people.
  18. Their spouses are pretty awesome too!
  19. Kids did great for their baby sitter.  They were sound asleep when we got home!
  20. My sister Mindy sent me the best text ever.
  21. Josh is so good at telling me he is proud of me.
  22. Dale recommended apple cider vinegar to help with my sore throat.  I think it’s working!
  23. Josh got a Cowboys win!
  24. Got some extra Christmas break writing done this afternoon.
  25. Kids ate their dinner in total silence.  They must have really enjoyed it because that never, ever happens.
  26. 6 more sleeps til our Christmas morning!
  27. The way my new fridge lights up when you open the doors… it feels so fancy.
  28. Cuddling with my favorite person in the world while watching some Food Network.

Day 132

I woke up this morning thinking about all of the innocent lives that were lost yesterday in the Sandy Hook shootings.   As I sat alone in my kitchen by the glow of our Christmas tree I asked God to help me understand.  How could somebody do such a horrific thing and how can I keep my children safe?  It seems like the world we live in gets more sick and twisted with each passing year.  This is not the kind of world I imagined raising my kids in.

God let me know that He understood.  His one and only son, Jesus, was born into a sick and twisted world and then hunted by a complete psycho path, King Herod.

Herod was known for being a very paranoid and cruel person.  He murdered his wife, his mother-in-law, and his three sons.  When he got wind, via the wise men, that the King of the Jews had been born, his paranoia kicked into high gear.

Matthew 2:16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under…

Precious, innocent new born babies.  Sweet, happy toddling toddlers.  Murdered.  Weeping and great mourning took place, mothers refused to be comforted.

But Herod didn’t get to baby Jesus.

Matthew 2:13 …an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

God is God, right?  He could have just put a super natural bubble around Jesus to keep Him safe, or He could have sent some nasty plague to stop Herod, but He didn’t.  Instead, He used Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, to protect His seed.

Joseph heard a word from the Lord through an angel.  He trusted the word and obeyed the word!  He got up that very night and fled with Mary and Jesus. They stayed put until Joseph got another word from the Lord letting him know that Herod was dead.

Satan hates children.  This summer he murdered our seed.  Yesterday he murdered the seed of all of those families in Connecticut.  He wanted to murder Jesus before He could die on the cross for us, but he failed, and Joseph, played a very important role in that.

I know this now more than ever, As parents we have a very important role to play in protecting our seed!  We might not have an angel that appears to us to give words from the Lord, but we do have the word of God, our Bibles, and we can speak the word over our children everyday.  We can pray prayers laced with scriptures on protection and know that His word will not return void!  We can pray in the Spirit and trust that because He knows all things that we are praying perfect prayers of protection.  We can plead the blood of Jesus and cover our children with it like the Israelites covered their door posts.

Be alert, be sensitive, be offensive, and be obedient!  Let God use you to protect your seed!

  1. The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Prov 18:10)
  2. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. (Psalm 121:3)
  3. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. (Ps 121:7)
  4. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. (Ps 121:8)
  5. No evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. (Ps 91:10)
  6. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. (Ps 91:7)
  7. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. (Ps 91:5,6)
  8. For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. (Ps 91:11)
  9. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (Ps 18:30)
  10. Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. (Ps 30:5)
  11. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; (Is 54:17)
  12. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one (2 Thess 3:3)
  13. …For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Heb 13:5-6)
  14. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
  15. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. (Ps 41:2)
  16. My parents and grandparents spoke God’s word over me when I was growing up.
  17. God showed me today how important my role is in my children’s protection.
  18. Gus knows the word and can speak protection over himself too.
  19. Good time of worship this morning in my car.
  20. My parents got to spend time playing with the kids this morning.
  21. My parents had a safe trip back to Tulsa.
  22. My doctor’s office was open this morning… so much better than having to go to after hours… and cheaper too.
  23. Josh brought me home popsicles after church.  Felt so good for my throat.
  24. Campbells homestyle chicken noodle soup.
  25. Gus told me I was a cute mom.
  26. Gus was very sweet when he heard me telling Josh I was going to stay home and rest.  He came in and told me if I was tired he would help take care of me.
  27. We got our new fridge today!!!  It’s HUGE!
  28. My dad was here to help Josh move the old fridge.

Day 131

When I was in junior high there was a really pretty, really popular, really rich girl named Kristen.  And toward the end of the school year it was known that Kristen would be throwing a huge pool party at her very impressive home to kick off the summer.  I wanted to be invited so bad.  I was a cheerleader, but not a super popular cheerleader, but I was hoping just the cheerleader title would be enough to get me in.  I can still remember walking in to school one morning and Kristen and a few of her friends were handing out fliers to the pool party and I got one!  I was so pumped.  I made my mom take me swim suit shopping all over Tulsa.  I don’t remember much about the party except that I had to go in and use the restroom and I used her parents bathroom which had a fireplace in it… I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped.  I thought that was awesome and still do.

I was reminded of that party today when I was thinking about the night Jesus’ was born and the people who were invited.  The birth of Jesus was no doubt THE event of the decade, the century, the millenium, and whatever comes after that.  It was more important than Princess Diana’s wedding, the Super Bowl, The Beatles, or man walking on the moon, yet only a few people made the guest list.

Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Shepherds.  That’s it.  Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and shepherds who were on call that night.  The angel appeared to them and told them about the birth of the savior and they went and found Him just as the angel described.  They were there for the party of all parties.

God could have made the all of Bethlehem light up to let everyone know what had just happened in their sleepy town, but He chose to tell only the shepherd and then to let them tell everyone else.

Some people believe He told the shepherds first because Jesus would later refer to Himself as our shepherd. Some people believe He chose the shepherds to honor men like Abraham, Moses, and David who were all shepherds.  I believe He told the shepherds because He knew they would go.  He knew they would take advantage of this once in a life time opportunity to see the savior of the world on the night of His birth.

“Because of their defiled conditions, shepherds were not allowed to go to the Temple, to offer sacrifices, or to go to the synagogues, so any religious experience a shepherd might enjoy had to be between himself and God. But to a Jew of that time and especially the Temple authorities the idea of worshipping God apart from the Temple was thought to be anathema. True religion was not a personal thing in their eyes, it was corporate.  So, for all these reasons, even the most pious shepherds were labeled as being unclean, and could not come into the presence of God.” (Nick Harris)

God wanted to send a message.  This baby boy, His one and only son, was for ALL people.  Not just clean people, not just rich people, not just popular people, He was for ALL people, even the lowliest shepherd.  Titles mean nothing to God.  He doesn’t care if you are a cheerleader, vice president of a bank or a carhop at Sonic, all He is looking for is the kind of heart the shepherds had that night.  A heart that seeks to find the savior.

Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

  1. Jesus came for all people.
  2. When we seek Him, we find Him.
  3. God chose to invite the shepherds to Jesus’ birth night and let them be the ones to go and tell!
  4. Gus was so excited to have his old dog Norah at our house today.
  5. Gus accomplished his goal of “wanting to make Norah feel welcome.”  He is so ridiculously sweet to that dog.
  6. Fun morning hanging out with my parents watching the kids play.
  7. Original Pancake House.
  8. Bacon Pancakes.  Little pieces of bacon cooked into fluffy pancakes covered with syrup.  Yum!
  9. Took a nice little nap.
  10. Arthur Christmas movie afternoon with Gus.
  11. Chloraseptic.
  12. Hot tea and honey.
  13. Sore throat lozenges.
  14. The kids got to see Santa tonight and looked so nice for their picture with him.
  15. Beau is so great about stuff like that, she had no fear of the man with the beard.
  16. Gaylord Hotel.  So beautiful at Christmas time.
  17. Gus got to go snow tubing in Texas!
  18. His adorable little smiling face after each ride down the hill.
  19. Beau’s pearl necklace.
  20. Hard 8 BBQ!
  21. Got to sit in the back of the car and snuggle and talk with Gus on the way back to our house.
  22. Gus was overcome with compassion for the little kids who won’t get presents this year and asked if we could help them all.  His heart is huge!
  23. Settlers of Catan game night with my parents… which I of course won!
  24. Enjoyed listening to some of my parents Christmas memories from when they were growing up.
  25. Christmas bonus!
  26. My children are alive and sleeping soundly in their beds.
  27. The Lord is my light and salvation–whom shall I fear?  Ps 27:1
  28. Jesus will return!

Day 130

A few months ago I took my Strengths Finder assessment.  You answer questions online for about 20 minutes and at the end of it the computer analyzes all of your input and gives you a list of your top five strengths.  It was pretty interesting.  There are 34 different strengths.  My top five were belief, developer, relator, achiever and maximizer.  When I read the descriptions of each strength I was pretty impressed at how accurately they described me and the way I tick.

After I took the test I wondered how Jesus would have taken the test.  How would He have answered all of the questions?  Out of the 34 strengths what would be His top 5?  I think the computer might implode trying to analyze His answers.  He is the one who all of the strengths and gifts that we each have originated from, so I’m guessing not even Gallup could figure out His list.

I did find it interesting this week as I was studying the names of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6 that there were 5 names.

  1. Wonderful
  2. Counselor
  3. Mighty God
  4. Everlasting Father
  5. Prince of Peace

That’s a pretty good top 5 strengths list right there, and then Matthew gives us a plus one in chapter 1, verse 23.

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

I think it’s very helpful to know what gifts, talents and strengths that God has given to you, but it’s also very helpful to know that it’s in our weaknesses that Jesus’ strengths are made perfect.

2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.  

I really like how the message says it too, My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Jesus, the one with the most impressive strengths list is with us, and his impressive strengths are made perfect where we are weak.

Wonderful is with us.  Counselor is with us.  Mighty God is with us.  Everlasting Father is with us.  Prince of Peace is with us.  I really like that plus one.  No matter what our top 5 strengths are, Emmanuel is God with us, perfecting his strength in our weakness.

  1. Jesus is with us!
  2. His strength is made perfect in my weakness.
  3. He gave us all unique gifts, talents, and strengths.
  4. Strengths Finder.  Interesting and a lot more useful than your typical “personality” test.
  5. Group hug this morning with Gus and Beau.
  6. Lunch date with Josh and Beau.
  7. Beau finds Cheetos if there are Cheetos to be found.
  8. Frisco has a Jersey Mikes!  Josh was so excited.
  9. Officially finished with my Christmas shopping.
  10. Josh got a very nice hair cut.
  11. Gus got a very nice hair cut.
  12. Beau took an extra long nap.
  13. Got two blogs written, ready for Sabbath Friday.
  14. My niece Courtney and nephew Justin found out today that they lost the baby they were expecting this summer.  My heart breaks, but I know Felix has a new buddy in heaven.  Most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. (Eccl 4:3)
  15. Life Church BA.  Courtney and Justin have had such love and support from them and that makes me so happy!  It is so God they are there.
  16. The maturity of Justin & Courtney.  You would never guess they are “newbies” in the faith!
  17. Very exciting message from a very sweet friend today.
  18. The replies on my princess of peace post.  I so enjoy being able to share my heart with friends through writing.
  19. Magic Christmas capsules.  Gus loved those things. 97 cents well spent!
  20. My friend Gena was born 20 something year ago yesterday.  She is a wonderful person and I’m glad to know her.
  21. $27 check from CoServ!  Thanks CoServ, In N Out is on you tonight!
  22. Beau ate her first hamburger and it was from In N Out so she of course loved it.  Gus couldn’t eat a hamburger until he was 3 almost 4!
  23. Had a nice, quiet evening to myself.
  24. Had some church while I washed my hair!
  25. Great message on thankfulness by Steven Furtick.
  26. My parents (and Norah) had a safe trip from Tulsa to our house.
  27. Josh got to party with 500+ 5th and 6th graders tonight!
  28. A Frisco student brought a friend to the Christmas party and he got saved!

Day 129

Every good beauty pageant contestant knows that what the world really needs is peace. Peace is a word you see a lot of at Christmas time. It’s on cards, in carols, and written in Christmas lights. Isaiah 9:6 said that Jesus would be called the Prince of Peace, but what does that mean, what is peace?

The Hebrew word for peace is Shalowm and it means more than the absence of war or the absence of your children arguing over who gets to sit in the front seat. It means completeness and soundness. Jesus is the Prince of Shalowm. If you want your life to be complete and sound in every area- physical, spiritual, and emotional, at any given time, no matter what is going on, you have to know Jesus.

I’m not sure what princes do these days besides marry cute little princesses named Kate, but when Isaiah says that Jesus will be the prince of peace, he meant that Jesus would be the ruler of peace! Jesus rules peace. He tells it where to go and what to do, it’s under His control. Remember the story in Mark 4 when Jesus calms the storm. What did he say to get the wind and waves to stop? “Peace, be still!”

He summoned peace. Peace came. The wind and the waves immediately stopped. I wish we had the ability to do that… oh, wait! We totally do!

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

My Prince of Peace made me a Princess of Peace! Jesus left us, like a good father leaves an inheritance for his children, His peace, His shalom, which doesn’t even come close to the world’s idea of peace. We can, through the peace that Jesus left us, have a complete and sound life no matter what kind of storm might be raging around us. Our hearts can be free from trouble and fear.

If your father left you millions of dollars in His will you would be crazy not to take it. Jesus left you peace, you will be crazy if you don’t take it!

Peace out! (I’m sorry, I know that was really lame, but I just had to.)

  1. Jesus is the prince of peace.
  2. Jesus left of His peace.
  3. My heart never has to stay troubled or afraid.
  4. Jesus kept me in His perfect peace this year even through some really difficult times.
  5. Slept for 9 hours last night!
  6. Stomach bug is gone.
  7. Really nice hot shower this morning.
  8. Cuddling in bed and watching Mickey Mouse Club House with Beau.
  9. Gus vacuumed the whole living room for me today.
  10. Very productive work day.
  11. Play date with the Hall girls.
  12. Josh & Josh got home early and got to join us at the end of the play date.
  13. Josh got to play at Main Event all day for his work Christmas party.
  14. Found 30 minutes of the score from Star Wars today and Gus light sabered to it the whole 30 minutes.
  15. The Star Wars music seriously helped me work faster… I felt like I was entering data that would help the rebels.
  16. Pop BBQ Chips.
  17. First Snowfall Let It Snow by the Carpenters. I love this song. I wish I could sing like Karen.
  18. Gus asked me for a “holiday hug” today.
  19. Found some great frames at Hobby Lobby!
  20. More neighborhood light looking.
  21. Pandora coming to the rescue when I left our Christmas iPod at home.
  22. Tucking in my hilarious little boy.
  23. Josh helped me fold laundry.
  24. Fresh Balsam candle.
  25. Beau knows that you are supposed to kiss under our mistletoe.
  26. Kraft Mac n Cheese.
  27. Christmas Story Tracker.
  28. My niece in law Courtney is a warrior! She inspires me.