Monday, December 24, 2012

From our family to yours...

Merry Christmas!

the Christmas program is done, 
gifts have been exchanged with friends,
we've decorated our hearts out,
goodies have been made,
and the presents are all wrapped sitting snugly under the sparkly lights of the tree.

now, we anxiously wait.
we wait for the birthday of the One Who was born to take our place.
Who lived the life we should have lived,
only to die the death that should have been ours.

the Greatest gift that we could ever receive.

can you even imagine the scene that night in the manger
when the Savior came into this world so humbly?
my heart flutters at the thought. 


And a loving thought sent a snow white lamb
To a little town known as Bethlehem
And the little lamb thought of you and me
As He hung His gift on the Christmas tree.

blessings to you and your dear families at this most wonderful Season!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Our home for the holidays:::CHRISTmas 2012

come on in, friends.
it would be really fun to have you over in real life for lattes or cocoa,
but since that won't be happening this year, here's a little peek into our home.
we have had so much fun decorating for the birthday of our Savior!
only three days left!

my friend, jennifer, made the adorable twine star garland.
it's totally me and i love it so much!

this year, i broke down and put a star on top of our tree.
we have always had this simple wooden angel that i just LOVE, but nathan and the kiddos really wanted a star.
i made this one with twigs, twine, red dogwood branches, hot glue, and floral wire.
then i added a small strand of lights to make it SHINE!
we all love it.

the kiddos made the glittery chain garland out of pipe cleaners.

nevermind the dust on that cupboard!  :)

making these orangeaments was our favorite project this year.
i was inspired by this sweet girl over here.

i'm keeping this Christmas cactus alive and thriving.  a Christmas miracle!!!

i made these wreaths last year and decided to bring them out for Christmas, since i couldn't find any reasonably priced boxwood wreaths.

i have to admit, i have really dropped the ball on the advent this year. :/
i made this last year out of an old $1 cork board, some fabric,
ribbon and those little boxes from michaels push-pinned into the cork.
simple and fun!


thanks so much for taking the time to stop by today.
i pray that your Christmas is filled with His blessings and all those you hold dear.

we are so ready to celebrate!
are you?


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Spreading the Good News:::A Printable

i have been contemplating the horrific event from last week and the evil that is present in our world.
my heart breaks for the losses of family and friends and for the  innocent children who were gunned down senselessly.
i cannot imagine BEING one of those parents or being the parent of the man who orchestrated and carried this evil out.
as darkness and sin waxes worse and worse in our world today, there is this great opportunity for the Light of the world to shine brighter than ever.
after all, darkness is simply the absence of Light, and people around us need to know the Truth of that Light Who came to save us.
Who came to save them.
He is no respecter of persons.
i am the same as the murderer.
only saved by His wonderful grace.  sinner, still.
but now, i am a Light bringer.

so what better opportunity do we have to share Him than the season that we celebrate His birth?
it's like an open door that God is just waiting for us to walk through.

do you know anyone that needs to know?
has the Holy Spirit whispered in your ear as He has mine?
i have come up with some pretty lame excuses as to why, "i can't, Lord!"

"what will they think?"
"will they be offended?"
"i don't know what to say!"
"now's just not the time."

i have struggled to present the Gospel to them because they are people that i don't see on a regular basis.
my hairdresser, the owner of a shop that we love, our neighbors, the librarians and so.many.more people.
my prayer is that God will use this to plant a seed.
to open the doors to greater conversations than, " 'bout that weather!?".
that as i grow these wonderful friendships, i am able to share with them my Best Friend.
who knows how God will stir in their heart?

i know this comes a bit late in the season, but i think all of our grieving hearts needed days to process what has happened and love on our families.
i am so grateful for my children, and that they are here with me.
my hearts aches with the families that are enduring such grievous loss and pain, especially during such a joyous season.
it would never, EVER be easy, but just seems worse.  ya know?
my prayer is that hearts would be turned to the Babe in the manger.
the One who came to reconcile us from sin, such as we have seen of late.
the One Who radiates HOPE and longs for us to look up.
may we look up.
may we pray.
may we reach souls for Him.
He is the answer.

with the help of my dear friend, Jennifer, i was able to bring this printable to you.
i designed it, and she so graciously(and quickly) made it so that there could be four on a page.
my computer and brain have limitations.  :)
thanks, dear friend.  :)

they are nice to just hand out as is, or to attach to gifts.
they spread a message of Hope and the true Meaning of Christmas

what you will need:

paper (i printed on cardstock for weight)
hole punch
twine or ribbon
exacto knife(for the slit for the candy cane)
candy canes

i hope you all are having a wonderful week!
i treasure your friendship SO much...each and every one.
you are a gift to me!

sending lots of love your way, dear ones.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

all was calm, all was Bright

nathan and i finally had the opportunity to brave the stores(alone) and finish up(mostly) our Christmas shopping yesterday.
since giving gifts is my favorite, i have NO trouble seeking out treasures that i feel will best suit our loved ones and friends.  
money is always the issue.  always.
i would love to give SO much more materially, but that simply cannot happen and frankly, it's just not the point.
truthfully, i need to give more of my time and compassion to others, and they would probably appreciate that more than a gift card or any sweater that i think is just perfect.

it took a few minutes for us to get our brains aligned and really make some progress on our list.
does that happen to you?
in my frantic desire to provide someone with the perfect gift, i found myself entangled in the same lies that lead to the distractions that completely take my mind off of the Reason why we are doing this all anyway.
i get irritated with my poor hubby as he yawns and seems completely unstressed.
why isn't he stressed!?
then i get even more riled up over my assumption of his disinterest in it all, when, truthfully, he had it all right.

when i headed into target for the second time and heard jingle bells blasted for the millionth time, in the seventeenth version, it didn't take long for a still small Voice to ground my footing and become seriously grossed out by all of the commercialism that has completely overtaken the world.

i had fallen prey to it's lies and it made my heart hurt a little.  or a lot.

and then that Voice reminded me very clearly...

it wasn't like this that night.
it wasn't loud.
it wasn't flashy.
it didn't have glitter and music and a parade to make His presence known.
He was the Perfect Gift.
He still is.

all was calm.
all was Bright.

and as the Savior, our Rescuer, came into this world, He bore a burden so great.

it was us.
our sin.

so as i reassessed the day, and the hunting of the perfect gifts, the stressing over it all, i felt a great peace.
a peace that comes from the realization that Jesus broke the chains of death and sin for me, so that i don't have to be a slave to my sin anymore.
He has given me the victory.
forever and ever.  

but yet with the peace, came a very grave realization that not all have this Peace that i know.
my heart breaks for a nation that takes Christ out of Christmas and replaces it with meaningless nothingness.
even more reason for me to GO, tell and love.

and so i share this little vignette with you that is in my dining room.
a visual reminder of the Gift that was given to us over 2000 years ago.
the One that would forever change the course of this world.
One that can never get overplayed.

bear with me if i sound like a broken record over here.
He's just too good not to share.


Monday, December 10, 2012

our CHRISTmas mantel

hey, friendlies!  :)
i'm a little late to the partay, but i'm popping in to join in on the fun over at the lovely lettered cottage mantel linky!
plus, i wanted to show YOU my mantel, too.
it was really easy and fun to put together.
i'm a pretty simple decorator, and i love to use natural elements in my home, and that is what inspired me this year.  :)

i wanted the focus of our mantel to be on Jesus, Who is our only True Hope in this weary world.
the thrill of Hope, that we can be reconciled to God through the gift of His ONLY Son!

the only money i spent was on the beautiful print from lesley, the frame from target, and the mandarins.
i had the rest already tucked away here and there.
as you may be able to tell, the late 1800's mantel is still just propped up against the wall.
it may never get nailed down, and i'm okay with that.

anywho...we have been SO busy trying to finish up school before Christmas.
the girls have been crafting and creating maniacs and i can hardly keep up!
we have baked lots of goodies(and ate them).  #hello!muffintop
and after thanksgiving, let me tell's REALLY hard to buckle down and focus on school.
like realllllllyyyyyyyyy hard!
as a home school mama, once you get into vacation mode, it's really hard to get back in the focus of school.
but we're doing it.
most of us littlest is acting like he has serious ADD, but he is just super excited(kinda like me).  :)

i hope that you all are enjoying this blessed season, and remembering the True Reason that we celebrate.
from RECENT experience, i know just how hard it can be to keep the Right Focus.
the devil sure does try to steal my joy some days, but i am not going down with out a fight!

we, as a family,  have purposed in our hearts to have a different Christmas this year.
less about ourselves and more about Him.
and that means more about others.
God graciously led us to a family who could not afford Christmas this year so we were able to shop for them.
the kids had so much fun!  who am i kidding...nathan and i had a blast, too!
to God be the glory.  :)

we also bought the Jesus Storybook Bible and have been reading it every day for advent.
i'm pretty sure i have enjoyed it the most.
the simply written Bible stories that weave the perfect path to Him and mirror His perfect plan of redemption thrills me to my core!
the fact that my Savior was born in the lowliest of places and dwelt among sinners, born only to die for my wickedness and yours wrenches my heart in the best way.
i am so humbled and grateful for His free gift.
the debt that He paid so that I don't have to.
born to die, my Jesus was.

this is what Christmas is all about!
spreading the Good News that Jesus was sent for all sinners.
and just like any other gift, we have to take it for it to be ours.
my prayer is that i will be a light for Him this season...encouraging those among me to

"Let earth receive her King!"

have a wonderful day, friends!
i'll be back this week with a Christmas home tour....yay!


The Lettered Cottage