Monthly Archives: November 2011

What Came First? {Guest Posting at The Better Mom}

Have you ever found yourself talking to or treating your husband as though he is one of your children?

Me, too.

I’m guest posting today at The Better Mom, talking about how we can ensure we are a wife first, mom second. Its amazing how badly things get out of whack when we put our lives in any different order. (I’m speaking from experience and need grace daily!!)  Come on over and join the conversation!

I’ve linked up with
Growing Home

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“Manger Mondays”

I’m taking a break from Manic Mondays for awhile while I reevaluate in what direction I want to go. In the meantime, I’m very excited about a new endeavor I’m going to embark upon with my girls this advent season. I have never really done any kind of Advent activities with my kids (I tried last year, but it fizzled). But, this Thursday, December 1, I’m going to start going through Truth in the Tinsel. If you’re not familiar with it, you can read my review of it here.

So, on Mondays between now and Christmas, I’m going to be writing about the highlights of our weekly Advent activities, with loads of pictures and thoughts on how things are going, what our conversations are like, our favorite bits and maybe even things we would change or do differently next time. If you are doing Truth in the Tinsel with your kids, Other advent activities, a Jesse tree, etc, I encourage you to join me here on Mondays! I’m going to try to set up a Linky here so you can share what your family is doing as well! I’ll also be doing the Truth in the Tinsel Facebook Challenge.

So, get those photos and posts going and come join us for Manger Mondays!

Also, have you found us on Facebook yet? C’mon over and join the conversations there!

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Truth in the Tinsel {Review}

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this review! I have been wanting to incorporate some Advent traditions/activities/conversations into our family’s Christmas celebrations for awhile now. Last year I tried a set of devotionals a friend gave me. The ideas and everything presented in it were great and sound and based in Scripture (which is the most important thing for me), however it wasn’t very conducive to our family’s stage of life right now, with our children all under the age of 7 currently.

So, when I saw Amanda from Oh, Amanda was looking for people to review her new Advent eBook, Truth in the Tinsel, I jumped at the chance!

For those of you not familiar with Advent, it is the time leading up to Christmas day. You may have seen the fun, secular Advent calendars selling like hotcakes in the shops right now. (Our girls have a cute princess one) But, friend, Advent is truly about so much more than counting the days until Santa’s visit! I really wanted a way to help my family really think deeply about the whole meaning of Christmas, and the impact it has on our lives as followers of Jesus.

Truth in the Tinsel honestly far exceeded my expectations! It is extremely well put together, organized and very professional looking. Amanda really thought of ergonomics when putting this eBook together. She starts out with a thorough but not overwhelming introduction of the book and the ideas and methods used in it. The idea is to participate in a short Advent activity involving reading a short section of the Bible, talking about it and making a craft to go along with it. She then provides a complete supply list; but she doesn’t stop there. She then provides a supply list by day, so you can look ahead in one easy glance at what you will need the next day to get it all ready. As a former classroom teacher, this made my day!

The crafts are all adorable, chalk full of meaning, and easily and quickly made. As Amanda points out several times, the goal is not the craft itself, but in the message the craft is helping to cement in our wee ones’ minds and hearts. I love that it is not meant to be a long, drawn out ordeal everyday, and that it’s designed with young children in mind – their attention span, interests, and abilities.

One of my favorite aspects of Truth in the Tinsel is that she recognizes that life is, well…life. And as good as our intentions may be, this can be one of the busiest times of the year, and the last thing we need is something else to stress over or feel like we’ve failed at. In light of this, Amanda has also broken down the days into alternate schedules if you want to just hit the highlights, or focus on the main characters, or feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought of 24 straight days and need something shorter, she has done all the grunt work and research to pull together the easiest, most effective ways to do these things with our kids.

I also love that the crafts aren’t mandatory. So if I can’t find the supplies for a particular one, or just don’t have time to make one everyday, we will still get something out of the time in the Word and discussing it.  I went today to the Euro Saver store (think Dollar Tree) and got a bunch of craft stuff (I’m rubbish at keeping a lot of crafty things in the house) for about $15. Not bad for a month’s worth of daily fun, simple crafts.

One last thing. If you’re new to the concept of Advent, or don’t consider yourself a very religious person (heck, I don’t consider myself religious) or a person of faith, I encourage you to try this out. She even gives hyper links to the Bible verses for each day so you don’t have to fumble around in a Bible you’re not familiar with to find the verses for each day. This is a great, easy, non-threatening way to give the Bible a try with your family!

You can buy Truth in the Tinsel for the great price of $7.99.  Just in time to start on December 1!

You can find Amanda at her website, Oh, Amanda, on Facebook and on Twitter. You an even join her Facebook challenge by posting photos on Facebook of you and your kids doing your crafts, talk with other moms, and more!

I received a free copy of Truth in the Tinsel for the purposes of this review. I received no other compensation, and the opinions expressed above are my honest thoughts and feelings. 

Disclosure: after reading this book, I believed in it so much I decided to become an affiliate. So, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you buy the eBook using one of these links, I receive a few pennies to help me with working towards hosting my own site. :)

Thankful Heart

I’ve been thinking for awhile now about gratitude, thankfulness, and of course, Thanksgiving. My mind kept circling around to the phrase, “Thankful Heart”. There are countless, beautiful, posts out there on the subject, and my own thoughts on the subject, as well as all the Word has to say about gratitude and thankfulness. I was prepared to add my two cents to the lot of them, but every time I sat down to write, Thankful Heart kept popping in my mind, and I was taken to this song from one of my favorite movies of all time. Granted, it’s a Christmas movie, but I believe the message of the song speaks volumes to the underlying themes and ideas behind the American holiday of Thanksgiving. But more than that, it encompasses an attitude I pray that I embody on a daily basis, year round.

So, my dear friends, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do, and I pray you find yourself filled with a truly Thankful Heart.

A Christ-Centered Christmas {Link-Up Party}

Thank you so much for joining us for A Christ-Centered Christmas! As we all know, it is growing increasingly more difficult to enjoy and celebrate a truly Christ-Centered Christmas with each passing year. Commercialism, Materialism, and Consumerism reign supreme and if you’re like me, it is easy to get blinded by the bling. That is why I, and my friends, have decided to host this link up. We wanted to share simple and fun ways that we keep Christ the center of our Christmas celebrations to encourage you as you seek to celebrate a Christ-Centered Christmas! You will find my post on Sharing Love by Sharing Goodies below, as well as links to the four other hostesses. You don’t want to miss out on what they have to say! So be sure to stop by The Humbled Homemaker, Through My Lense, Mama Java, The French Bird and The Encouraging Home and check out the great ideas, tips and resources!

However, we know we are far from having all the answers, so we want to hear from you! Be sure to link up any posts you have about how you celebrate A Christ-Centered Christmas! If you link up, be sure to grab the button from the sidebar to display on your blog! Thanks so much for joining us, and we hope you and your’s have a very Merry Christmas!

Sharing Love by Sharing Goodies

I absolutely love Christmas. It is by far my favorite holiday. I love the songs, smells, traditions. I love the cold weather, warm drinks, and crazy funky handmade ornaments that adorn our tree. I love seeing the wonder in my children’s eyes and feeling it in my own heart, even after all these years. Hubs and I long to instill in our children the true meaning of Christmas. To teach them that while its fun to wrap and open gifts, hang stockings, and glue cotton balls to construction paper to make Santa’s beard, it’s all meaningless and empty without the miracle that began it all.

As a person of faith who loves and follows hard after Jesus, my life is drastically and miraculously affected by the events celebrated during Christmas and Easter. You cannot have one without the other, and had He not so graciously come to earth in the form of a human babe, my life would look quite different. Even typing it as a hypothetical makes me shudder. So, we are always looking for and trying fun ways to celebrate Christmas in a way that places Jesus in the proper place: smack dab in the center.

One of the ways we do this is by sharing goodies love with our neighbors. We have an amazing family recipe for fudge. I’m serious. I’ve never tasted anything like it. If silk were edible and had a baby with the deepest, richest chocolate on earth it would be this fudge. Sadly the recipe is top secret so I cannot share it with you. However, how can I not share the fudge itself with those I care for? No one (unless allergic, of course) should be denied this pleasure.

So we began the tradition of making fudge for every house on our road. Granted, we only knew 3 of our neighbors really at all when we started this. So, one hope was that it would give us a chance to meet or get to know better some of our other neighbors. It also gave them a chance to meet us and get a taste (no pun intended) of our culture and traditions. But mainly, our hope is that by sharing something as small as a homemade goody we are sharing a tangible extension of God’s love.  This whole process teaches our children (and ourselves!) a few things:

* You don’t have to know someone to love them with God’s love.
* Generosity; sharing something you enjoy and could easily keep to yourself.
* Caring for others and being willing to take the first step towards friendship.
* Learning skills in the kitchen (or art arena, or whatever type of thing your family enjoys making/doing together).

I’m sure there are many other lessons we have and will glean from our little tradition of trekking our road every year with goodies in hand and love in our hearts. Don’t cook or bake? No problem! You can make cards, simple ornaments, or even just write out a nice note on a store bought Christmas card. The idea is to let the love of God that is given so freely and lavishly to us to spill over to those He’s placed around us in our everyday lives. And to take every chance given to us to be His hands and feet and be a tangible representation of His love.

There are a few things an activity like this are not:

*It is NOT a way to “‘make a sale”, hoping a quick one time conversation with someone will “win” them to Christ.
* It is NOT a way to improve your own standing in the eyes of your neighbors.
* It is NOT a way to check off some list. (ex.  “I’ve done my Christian duty.”)

Let’s allow His love to well up in us so much that It can’t help but overflow and touch those around us with thoughtfulness, compassion and sharing. And let’s get our kids in on the fun!

What kinds of things does your family do to be tangible expressions of love to those He’s placed in your path?

Now it’s your turn to share! Link up your post about Christ-Centered Christmas using the linky below!

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I’ve linked up with

Momma Made It Look Easy
Growing Home

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