New Year’s Resolution

As I look back on my past resolutions, it has dawned on me that I set myself up for failure just by what I resolve myself to do.

You see, I have been choosing things that I thought, if I succeed, I would feel so much better about myself.

For the past 5 years or so, I think I have had the same resolution with the same miserable results.

I always say that I am going to lose weight. ” this is the year that I start eating right and exercising regularly. I am going to get healthy and then I will feel better about myself”.

I don’t think that I have ever gotten past February when I realized that I have already given up. And believe me, that is not a good feeling!

So, this year I am rethinking my resolution.

20121231-083345.jpg

I am taking the attention off of me and turning it on to others.

I have had so much fun and have felt so good this holiday season by doing the Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, that I have decided not to end it just because the holidays are over.

This year, my New Year’s Resolution is to always be aware of the needs of others. Also, I am going to try to be more patient and kind towards others.

For those people who are rude or pushy, I am going to treat them as if they are having a bad day, because there is a good chance that they are!

I am going to make up some packages to keep in my car to hand out to those people on the street with the “please help” signs.

I am going to keep some dollar bills in my wallet to hand out where needed.

I am going to try to smile more at the cashiers and waitresses and I am going to return those stray shopping carts to the cart return stations.

I have found that when you think of others first, that is when you find your true JOY!

Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

20121231-083503.jpg

May you all have a blessed New Year!

Party Favors

I am hosting Christmas dinner at my house this year. Since Christmas is the day that we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, I guess you can say that I am throwing him a birthday party!

Everyone at a birthday party usually gets a party favor and they always go along with the party theme.

Since we are celebrating the birth of our Savior, I know that the party favors need to be very meaningful yet fun.

When I saw this wonderful idea on Pinterest from Lily Fashion I knew that it would be perfect for my party favors.

20121221-072326.jpg

I didn’t have as much room on my Christmas letterhead, so I had to shorten the
message, but it still gets the point across.

May these sweets help you celebrate Jesus, the very sweetest gift of all…

A candy-cane, shaped like a shepherd’s staff, to remind you that Jesus came to be your Good Shepherd (John 10:11).
A gold-wrapped Rolo, shaped like a crown, to remind you that Jesus is the King of Kings (Revelation 19:16).
A Dove, a symbol for peace, to remind you that Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
A Starlight mint, to remind you that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12).
An Almond Joy, to remind you that Jesus is the source of joy (John 15:11).
A Hershey Kiss, to remind you that Jesus loves you (John 3:16).

Wishing you a Christmas filled with His sweetness!

20121221-072415.jpg

Thank Lily for this wonderful idea and
Thank you Jesus for the gift of eternal life!

The M&M’S Christmas Story

Can I just tell you, the Capt. and I had a great time handing out my RACKED packages last weekend.

We went thru Dunkin Donuts drive thru and when we got to the window to pay for our order, the Capt. told the cashier that we would like to pay for the car behind us too. He handed her one of my
YOU’VE BEEN RACKED cards to give them with their order.

The cashier read the card and when she came back with our receipt, she said ” this is really great what you are doing”!

She had us pull ahead because our breakfast sandwiches weren’t ready. That gave us a chance to see the reaction of the car behind us. The guy yelled out ” thank you” and honked when he went by.

Then the girl came out with our order. She also said there was a gift for us. As I looked into the bags, I saw our sandwiches in one and in the other one, the girl had put a donut and some munchkins.

That is when it dawned on me that the simple acts of kindness affect more people than just the recipient! What an awesome feeling.

Today, I made a little gift for Marley’s sitter. Along with her payment, I always like to leave her a little something to show her how much we appreciate her.

20121219-061813.jpg

I thought the M&M’S story would be perfect. We leave for our cruise on the 6th of January so we will still be in the holiday spirit and as the story says, it’s a love story that never ends!

20121219-061900.jpg

I wanted to do something totally different with this project but I am still having some problems with my printer and as a result of that, I have used up most of the colored ink. So I opted to just put the red and green M&M’S in a jar that I had already painted the lid. I tied a ribbon around the jar and printed the Christmas story on to some Christmas letterhead and it will worked out just fine

20121219-061950.jpg

20121219-062008.jpg

20121219-062027.jpg

I can’t believe that Christmas is less than a week away!

In The Arms of Jesus

My heart goes out to the families in CT.

I pray that they will be able to find some peace this holiday season in the midst of such sorrow!

The one true comfort is knowing that those precious children are in the arms of Jesus!

20121217-193314.jpg
source

My niece emailed me this poem and I thought I would share it with you.

Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air,
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.

“Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“This is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.

And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King.
And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”

Then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“May this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”

Then He and the children stood up without a sound,
“come now my children, let me show you around.”
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran,
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

You’ve Been RACKED

You’ve been RACKED,
Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. What better way to glorify Jesus, than to do something nice for someone, just because!

I have been inspired by Tracie at tsj photography and decided to make up some cards of my own to hand out.

I made 2 different sizes. The smaller ones, I can keep in my purse so that when I pay for the person’s food behind me in the drive thru line, I can hand the cashier this card to give to that person.

I also packaged up some dollar bills, change, and candy canes to leave on vending machines, ATM machines, car wash stations and parking meters

20121214-094908.jpg

20121214-094931.jpg

20121214-094951.jpg

20121214-095008.jpg

20121214-095026.jpg

20121214-095043.jpg

Brighten someone’s day, it will surprise you how much JOY you will receive!

Have a blessed weekend!

Christmas Decorations

I love love love decorating the house for Christmas!

My tree is decorated with the different shades of greens and blues with some silver added in. I have always had an angel for a topper ( as if she is watching over everything).

20121212-064313.jpg

20121212-064334.jpg

I also put an angel in every room . I used to use snowmen, but I just feel like the angels add a special feel and they’re pretty too!

20121212-064437.jpg

I always want to remember the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior! On a shelf in the living room, I display a figurine of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus along with this “Happy Birthday, Jesus” plate I painted at a ceramic shop.

20121212-064534.jpg

I have been seeing lots of decorations using red and white and I am really loving them! I have decided to use those colors in my kitchen and dining room this year. I even painted pots that hold poinsettias to look like Santa suits.

20121212-064620.jpg

20121212-064636.jpg

20121212-064723.jpg

20121212-064740.jpg

But to keep Jesus front and center, I am going to display this picture. I am having trouble with my printer at the moment so I haven’t printed it out yet. I got the picture from this free Jesus pictures Website and I added the wording. I just love this!

20121212-065105.jpg

You see these ” I believe” signs everywhere at Christmas time. Sadly, they are meant to be for Santa instead of Jesus.

20121212-065151.jpg

20121212-065209.jpg

I made this a few years ago and It stays there year round!

20121212-065302.jpg

20121212-065320.jpg

I want everyone who enters my home to know that

THIS FAMILY BELIEVES!

Regifting

My pastor was on vacation this Sunday so the family pastor filled in for him. His sermon was on regifting. He was speaking about families and how we raise our children is our legacy. We need to gift our children with the knowledge of the Gospel.

Well, that got me thinking! We ALL should be regifting!

20121210-094710.jpg

God has given us the greatest gift of all. The gift of salvation!

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

If ever there is a gift that should be regifted, this is the ONE!

20121210-094936.jpg

As Christians, we are called to witness to others:

Mark 16:15 says And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

And Romans 10:17 Tells us that faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

So, this Christmas season, when you are making your Christmas list, don’t forget to REGIFT!

Key For Santa

This is a pin inspired project.

I saw this on Pinterest and knew I had to make some of these for my grandkids.

20121206-072435.jpg
source

I just love how these Santa keys take the worry out of ” how is Santa going to be able to leave me presents”, just like Jesus takes the worry out of “the pressures of life” with his presence!

I wasn’t sure where I was going to find some skeleton keys until I was at JoAnn Fabrics to get the rest of the supplies for this project. There in the ornament section where these 2 big, beautiful keys! I was so thrilled to find them that the whole store probably heard me gasp. I really wanted 3, so I bought these 2, at 40% off, and then found a 3rd one at Target, in the ornament section.

Here is what I used:

Skeleton keys
Red scrapbook paper
Wire ribbon
Card stock and greeting card program

20121206-072619.jpg

I used my greeting card program to design the tags for my card and to write the poem.

I changed the poem up a bit, here is what I wrote:

Dear Santa,
This key works just for you
Please open the door and come on through

Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of Jesus, a very special day
And tonight safe travels for you and Rudolph I pray

Thank you Santa for the gifts you bring
Thank you Jesus for everything!

20121206-072919.jpg

Then I used some craft scissors to cut the scrapbook paper, slightly larger than the tags, and glued them together.

20121206-073006.jpg

I added the wire ribbon and the key.

20121206-073050.jpg

It is now ready to be hung on the door on Christmas Eve!

20121206-073134.jpg

This may be the key to let Santa in on Christmas Eve,

But Jesus is the key to eternal life, have you let him in?

Elf On A Shelf

As Christians, we struggle with how to handle the whole santa and the elves thing when our kids are little.

While we want our children to know Jesus, we also want them to enjoy all of the childhood fantasies that are part of being a kid.

After doing a google search, I have found some very clever ways of incorporating our Christian beliefs with the childhood fantasies.

My daughter was interested in getting an elf on the shelf for her 4 year old son but it just didn’t seem right to tell a kid that this elf was going to tattle on him, to Santa, for being bad yet it would do naughty things each night while everyone slept.

Leana at A Small Snippet shared a very clever way to use the elf as a tool to teach her kids about forgiveness, just as Jesus forgives us.

I loved this idea so much that I put together an “Elf on the Shelf” package for some of my grandkids.

Here is what I did:

I bought 3 elf ornaments from Hobby Lobby for $3.99 each.
I added a scarf to the boy elves and a dress to the girl. I added pom poms and rhinestones to the feet and the girl got earrings as well.

20121205-080743.jpg

I used 3 small priority boxes lined with red felt and ribbon to house the elves.
I wrote the kids name on the front of the box, The North Pole for the return address and added a snowman sticker for a stamp.

That way the parents can leave this by the front door for the kids to find on December 1st ( I have read where some parents put it in the freezer for about an hour first so that it feels like it just came from the North Pole).

20121205-082658.jpg

20121205-082731.jpg

20121205-082750.jpg

I torn off the sticky part on the box and replaced it with some Velcro so that it would be easy for the kids to open. Also, this box becomes a perfect way to store the elf for use year after year.

20121205-082857.jpg

I added a letter from Santa, addressed to each child. It explains that there is no naughty or nice list because Santa knows Jesus and knows that he forgives us when do something naughty, this is called grace! He tells the kids that he has a special friend that he wants them to meet. This elf sometimes does naughty things and Santa was hoping that the kids could teach the elf about how Jesus loves us and forgives us when we do bad things by forgiving the elf when he is naughty.

20121205-082942.jpg

I searched the Internet for some ideas on what to put in this letter and after combining wording from several different ones, this is the letter I came up with:

20121205-083022.jpg

Just as the original Elf on a Shelf came with a book, I included this book, where Santa is telling the story of the first Christmas.

I ordered the books on Amazon for $9.99 each.

20121205-083113.jpg

20121205-083149.jpg

20121205-083210.jpg

If we make Jesus the center of our children’s life, then they won’t have to be confused with their spiritual beliefs and their childhood fantasies.

We can teach them to look for Christ in everything!

Keeping Christ In Christmas

Without Christ, there would never have been a Christmas celebration.

Christ is Christmas, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ!

So, from now until Christmas, I will be posting about how I am keeping Christ in Christmas.

The first thing that I do is to make sure that I always send out Christmas cards that reflect the true meaning of Christmas.

In the past, I have used Vistaprint to design my own cards. They would always send out offers to get free cards, you just pay for the shipping. I actually designed a very good card this year, I kept waiting for that good offer from Vista print, but I think that they are changing how they do things and I decided to just buy my cards this year for fear that I had waited too long to place my order and get them in time to mail out.

This card that I had designed was actually inspired by a sign that I had pinned on Pinterest.

20121203-074038.jpg

On the inside, I had this Bible verse:
And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:7

I did however, find some nice religious cards at the store that I am sending out this year instead.

So just remember, whether you make your own Christmas cards or you purchase them, these are good reminders to everyone you send them to, that the greatest gift of all is the gift of eternal life, given to us by our Heavenly Father, through the birth of his Son, Jesus Christ.

And to everyone that wishes me a Happy Holiday, I reply, with a smile,
” Merry Christmas”!