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Christmas Contentment

It's December. Winter has been held at bay here in Texas as the temperatures have hoovered around 80°. For me, exchanging the grandeur of this year's autumn for the celebrations of the winter has been difficult. Our house is sparely decorated this year...and I think it will stay that way.

My daughter told me a few days ago that she loves that we don't put up a lot of decorations. She said,

"We have lights on the house and some garland, your snowman that you've had since you were 2 and the manger...what more do we want?"

Out of the mouth of babes, right?

I can so easily get caught up in the "stuff" of Christmas that it pushes aside the focus I am trying to keep in the forefront our hearts and minds during this season of celebration. I love, love winter decor and Christmas "cheer"...but it's just packaging, right?

NOW...Don't get me wrong! The twinkle of the lights and the warmth of the garland makes me smile just as much as then next person! And I know that beauty is such a reflection of our marvelous creator...but this year, I'm going to lay my desire to adorn our physical home in its winter array and practice contentment with the abundance that I already possess, spending my time resources to intentionally adorn our hearts with the Joy that comes from family and friends gathering, stories being told and reflections on the sweetness of a child King born to save the world.

WHY? Because Jesus is the LIGHT of our home, the heartbeat of who we are as a family, and the glue that ties us all together.

I am looking forward to joining creation as we Praise the Father for Jesus' birth, life, death and Resurrection...showering gifts on my sweeties, friends and family...eating good food...enjoying the festivities that bring people together...soaking in the joyous music that exalts the Lord... and even the relishing the memories of a year passing as the Christmas season concludes and a New Year is Born.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!  May you be blessed as you follow the Spirit in your celebrations this year and may the reason for Jesus' birth move you in a new and powerful way!

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Creating A Balanced Life

What does you day look like?  Is it hurried and bustled?  Do you feel like you are burning the candle at both ends?  Has the week, month or even ayear passed and you are left wondering where the time went and what you have to show for it?

I know I feel this way at times...If you have children, you probably do, too.

As Mom's we often get caught in the whirlwind of activities. From play-dates to soccer practice and all of the extras that seems so important.  Before we know it we are sinking in the quicksand of our calendars and are desperately reaching for a branch so we can pull ourselves out.

A little revelation for you:

You OWN Your Calendar!

I know that may sound very basic to some of you, but to others...This is a light-bulb moment!

So many times we fill our calendars and our lives before we have taken the time to build the framework of our hearts and family.  This is were the problem occurs.

Our God is a God of order.  Just as he formed and filled the Earth, we too can form and fill our schedules and lives...without the sinking, drowning  burned out feelings  we created when we fill first. Look at the example God gave us in His word.  From the very beginning, there was a framework...then the filling of it.

● Day One = God created light, formed heavens & earth ● Day Four = Filled wit sun, moon and stars ● Day Two = God separates water and sky ● Day Five = Filled wit fish and birds ● Day Three = Formed land and vegetation ● Day Six = Filled wit animals and man Genesis 1 **

Sally Clarkson challenges moms to examine what is Good, Better or Best...remembering that choosing what is Good can rob you and your family of what is Best. When you look at activities from that perspective...it really makes choosing easier.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a hope and a future. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Lay your busy-ness before the Lord and ask for His wisdom.  He ALREADY knows the plan!  How wonderful is that?! Not only that, but His plans are for a Hope and a Future!  He never intended for His children to feel like they were spiraling out of control! In fact He tells us in His Word to

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Matthew 6:33 tells us to

"seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

When we seek the Lord first...everything lines up. It doesn't mean we won't be busy. No. But we won't feel like we are drowning in the quicksand of too many commitments.  We won't feel like we're "Missing It" as the Mom continually tells Peter in the movie Hook.

Now for a little practical application:

At Allume, Tricia Goyer challenged us to evaluate our week by writing down EVERYTHING we do in a week (including diaper changes and showers) then rate them 1-4.

  1. Everything you have to do: feeding the kids, homeschooling, getting dress, spend time with God.
  2. Things you should do: laundry and housecleaning, cook dinner, homework with kids
  3. Things you enjoy and are helpful: Bible study,exercise class, play dates, social media
  4. Things you do because you were afraid to say no, or because you wanted to look good or have you kids look good.

Now the fun part:  CUT ALL the 4's and as many of the 3's as you can!

Now...OWN your calendar

Start fresh...buy a new one...erase the old one and ask yourself some tough questions: What Is important? What lines up with your framework?

Remember, When you seek Him first,

"God will empower you to achieve His purposes" ~Tricia Goyer, Allume, 2012

I pray you will redeem your time. I pray you will take back your calendars and in turn take back the Life that God has planned and carved out for you and your family.Be Intentional to Pursue God about the busy-ness in your life.  He is faithful and will guide you to the place He has for you.

**A Tricia Goyer Presentation Slide

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One Word

As the New Year approached, I began reading blogs, FB post and Tweets discussing individual's "word" for the year.  It made me think. I, too, have a "word" for the year.  I have for several years, but I have never labeled it as that. I know God has dropped words into my heart for me to concentrate on throughout the year, and I have seen the fruit of heading those words. Some of my words have been: Thankful, Deliberate...and, of course...Intentional...I've been here for a few years now! ;)

As I was praying about direction for our family in this New Year, God dropped His "word" into my heart.  I knew it immediately. So in the middle of a Youth Discipleship Weekend,when I least expected it, I began writing.

FAITHFUL

For me, Faithful means MY Faithfulness to God and His call on my life...not His Great Faithfulness to me, although it is only through His faithfulness that I can be and do all I am called to be and do.  The Lord has impressed upon my heart to walk in Faithfulness in every area of my life...from family & friends to ministry & laundry& homeschooling. It's Tenacity...Giving My All...Doing Every Thing I Do "As Unto the Lord."

His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' (Mat 25:21)

Don't misunderstand...I am not a flake, I just need to be Intentionally Faithful...to recognize the Follow-through, the Fruit, and the Why to what I am doing and who I am. To live each day Faithful to God's Word with resolve...especially in the little things.

I am linking up with Rachel at It's Our Long Story just as a form of accountability.

What has God been speaking to your heart so far this year? Won't you share...

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Christmas Challenge

Thanksgiving has come and passed...sigh...

intentional living

I am now turning my attentions to the hustle and bustle of the coming Holiday...Christmas.  I DO enjoy Christmas. I am looking forward to joining creation as we Praise the Father for Jesus' birth, life, death and Resurrection...showering gifts on my sweeties, friends and family...more good food...festivities that bring people together...Joyous music that exaults the Lord... and even the conclusion of the Christmas season as a New Year is Born.

The Christmas Holiday is fleeting.  Then Holiday bustles in and and leaves with a whirlwind of activities. If your not careful, you will miss it!  I am again reminding myself to be intentional with Christmas and all it entails. Soon the gifts will be gone, trees taken down and as a society we will be looking forward to Valentine's day.

My challenge to you is to take time to ask yourself WHY you do what you do.  Are you moved by conviction or the Spirit or do you act out of tradition and rote...because that's the way you've always done it.  Now...surrender to your Savior and ask HIM what this season is to look like for you and your family...what Peace will befall you!

Merry Christmas!

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