GMG Christmas Devotional eBook has arrived! & Link-Up Party!

 

 

I’m so excited to announce our upcoming session on GoodMorningGirls.org !

It’s a 4 week Advent Study – Keeping Our Hearts Focused on Jesus,

It begins  November 26th!

We would LOVE for you to join us!

For this session we have written a FREE Advent eBook which will guide us through our 4 week study.

The {GMG} Advent eBook includes:

  • Weekly Devotions
  • Assigned Scripture Reading
  • Daily Family Activities
  • Recipes
  • S.O.A.P. Journal Pages

Our Advent eBook is available free to ALL subscribers at GoodMorningGirls.org. (so if you are already a Good Morning Girl – you should find the link at the bottom of your weekly emails.) 

Not a subscriber to Good Morning Girls yet? Not a problem! Click here to subscribe! (Note: Once you subscribe, the eBook will be listed at the bottom of your Good Morning Girls email the next time we write another blog post.)

Now before you email me to say that all you see is the Proverbs 31 ebook in your emails – that’s because you are looking at your “WomenLivingWell” emails – please subscribe to Good Morning Girls to get this ebook.  Why you might ask?  Because this study is not happening here - it’s happening over at Good Morning Girls – I’ll be over there! :)  (So not only will you get the ebook, but you will also get our daily devotionals, videos and extra resources to follow along during the Christmas season!  We don’t want you to miss a thing!)

You do not need a group to participate and there’s no enrollment for this 4 week session.  Just come as you are on November 26th as we blog along side your home study.

(And in case you’ve never met my high school BFF – here’s Angela – we made this video in our hotel room at Allume :) )

(Not seeing the video? Click here!)

Please feel free to invite your family and friends to join you for this upcoming study by sharing this image with them. You can post it on your Facebook pages, pin it on Pinterest, or upload it to Twitter or your blog! To save the image, simply right-click and select “Save Image As”!

We are so looking forward to you joining us this Christmas as we keep our hearts focused on Jesus, this Christmas season!

 Walk with the King,

 

 

If you have never taken the time to check out these other bloggers – you are missing out! The ladies that link-up below are amazing writers and creators and I just know that one of them is going to encourage you today! So you’re invited to come on in!

Join the fun, do a little blog hopping and don’t forget if you link-up below -please add the Women Living Well Wednesdays button to your post so your readers can find us here!

(Posts can include the topics of marriage, parenting, homemaking, homeschooling, finances, recipes, organization and more!)

 

 
To find the code go to the sidebar – or right click and “save as” the button and then upload it into your post! :)
 



My Christmas Planner – A Tutorial

Christmas 2011

 There are only 10 weeks until Christmas!!! Woohooo!

Last year, after reading the ebook “Untangling Christmas” by Karen Ehman and LeAnn Rice, I decided to make my own Christmas Planner! I LOVE having everything I need all in one place on the shelf!

My planner holds my to-do list, baking list, gift list, decorating list and thank you list along with my Christmas card addresses, recipes, traditions and receipts from purchases – all in ONE place! Not only do I feel organized for this holiday season but every Christmas season I can pop open my planner and reuse everything I have created from years past!

Here’s how it works (and some things I added that weren’t mentioned above)!

(If you can’t view this video click here)

Visit KarenEhman.com this week where she is giving away copies of this ebook all week long along with some other fun things like a retro apron, holiday cards, and Bath & Body Works lotions!

AND visit her co-author LeAnn Rice at SheCooks.org where she is also doing fun giveaways of the ebook all week long too!

 

Chime In: 

I can’t WAIT to start playing my Christmas music. When do you start playing Christmas music? I usually start it on November 1st so I’m just 15 days away! Do you have any tips on how to stay organized?

Walk with the King,

 

My Christmas Pictures

Christmas Eve Morning! (we opened presents Saturday morning so we could attend early church on Sunday morning.)

 My husband is a pilot…and now my son is a pilot in training lol!!!  Alex got a flight simulator for Christmas.

 Christmas day we went to my sister’s house.

 

 

3 sisters (left to right – Me – baby, Kristen – oldest, Jennifer – middle)

 All the boys in the family (Top – L to R- Kristen’s 2 boys, my husband, Kristen’s husband, Jennifer’s husband and their son; bottom L to R – my son, my father, my father’s brother, Kristen’s 3rd son)

 The women of the family (Top – L toR – Me, My mom, Kristen, Jennifer; Bottom L to R – my daughter, my mom’s mom, Jennifer’s daughter)

 Before opening presents the girls played piano for us (my daughter is first – she has only played for 3 months – so she’s just a beginner – and then my sister’s daughter is second)  Later her son played the guitar but I did not get that on video.  Here’s a little peek into our Christmas via a family video :) !

I pray you had a very Merry Christmas. I know all of you worked so hard to create a special day for your families. If your Christmas was less than dreamy, it serves as a reminder that all this world offers is empty.

If I place my hopes in presents and good days, I will always be chasing the next rainbow, the next high, the next good thing, rather than chasing my Savior. Nothing this world offers can satisfy our souls like knowing and walking with the King! So as the Christmas lights fade, I pray that the light of Jesus in your heart would shine brightly.

Walk with the King!

Merry Christmas!

 

 From my family to yours – “Merry Chirstmas!”

Today we celebrate the first coming of the King of Kings!  I can’t WAIT for his second coming!

Joni Eareckson Tada helps us to remember:

“On this side of eternity, Christmas is still a promise. Yes, the Savior has come, and with him peace on earth, but the story is not finished. Yes, there is peace in our hearts, but we long for peace in our world.

Every Christmas is still a ‘turning of the page’ until Jesus returns.

Every December 25 marks another year that draws us closer to the fulfillment of the ages, that draws us closer to… home.

When we realize that Jesus is the answer to our deepest longing, even Christmas longings, each Advent brings us closer to his glorious return to earth. When we see him as he is, King of kings and Lord of lords, that will be ‘Christmas’ indeed!’”

Walk with the King,

Christmas is Not Your Birthday

My husband and I have served in the church nursery on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of every month for many years.  Since Christmas is falling on a Sunday this year…this means we have to be up bright and early and to church for the 1st service to work in the nursery on Christmas morning…and guess what this has done to my typical Christmas morning plans?  It’s messed them up!  Serving Jesus has messed up MY plans! 

 It’s so easy to get caught up in all the excitement and traditions of Christmas…and to work ourselves so hard finishing our to-do list…that selfishness oozes out. If you have followed my blog for very long you are familiar with my birthday posts.

I’ve shared in the past that on my birthday, I always read verses addressing the issue of selfishness.

 Why address selfishness on my birthday? Because I have noticed in past years – since having children – that the temptation to feel that I deserve a “special” day on my birthday has begun to creep in.  Of course – when it actually turns out really special and everything goes my way – I am happy. But oh – if the kids are difficult and my husband has forgotten to buy me a present – I turn into a grouch and for some reason I feel justified – it’s my birthday! But I don’t see an exception clause in the Bible for selfishness on special occasions (like Mother’s Day – for some reason selfishness creeps in on that day too – yucko!).

And so I wonder if we need to beware on Christmas day too?  Is there a chance that if things don’t go our way on Christmas day we are going to lose our cool?  We have labored so hard to make this day perfect for everyone – we can feel entitled to a dreamy day…this is dangerous…we need to lower our expectations a tad. lol!

Indeed we have worked hard to make this day special…but it’s NOT about us. 

Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

This principle is true everyday of the year and on Birthdays and Christmas too – because God’s word is always true. 

And as for the nursery issue – we’ll be opening our presents on Christmas Eve morning at our house – so we can have a quiet day as a family.  In the evening we will do our family tradition which is to drive around and look at Christmas lights and slip pictures of the nativity that our children have colored,  onto all the mailboxes of homes who display the nativity, thanking them for displaying “the reason for the season”.  Then on Christmas day, we will serve Jesus as a family in the nursery holding babies – while their parents worship the King of Kings!  I can’t think of a better way to spend Christmas morning than to be serving Jesus.  This will be the first Christmas morning I can remember where it won’t be all about us and…maybe, just maybe, this will be the best Christmas morning yet?

Walk with the King!
Courtney

 

Disagreements & Maturity in Marriage


The first disagreement of our marriage came right after we made our vows…literally.  My husband and I had just lit our unity candle and all eyes were on us as the music played.  We could see our bridesmaids and groomsmen giggling…and we looked to see what was so funny – and there was our unity candle – snuffed out.

Right before the Unity Candle went out!

We have on video, me whispering – “should we relight it“?  Then my husband saying “no“…then me looking at him very longlingly as to be saying “pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease, can we relight it?” and his facial expression saying “sorry but nope!” lol!  I followed his lead, which was to stand there holding hands and gazing into each others eyes smiling, while inside I wanted to go light that candle!

On our honeymoon in Hawaii, we would faced our 2nd disagreement over what television show to watch!  I can’t remember what show he wanted but I wanted to watch Miss. America lol!!!  I always watched it with my sisters growing up, so this seemed normal to invite him to watch it with me!  He on the other hand, was quite appalled that I even cared – and went to sleep!  That hurt my feelings!

On our honeymoon in Hawaii

Looking back at the honeymoon scenario, I can see a lot of immaturity on my part.  I dug my heels in over watching a  silly show like Miss. America!  I’d NEVER even invite him to watch a show like that (with girls in their swimsuits!) nowadays.  My how times have changed!

I’d like to believe that I’ve matured…but it wasn’t long ago we had a heated moment over him not eating the eggs, toast and oranges I had made him for breakfast because he was late for an appointment!  I was not a happy camper!  And he ended up eating them lol! But then he was mad that I was mad…and well you know how it goes – all down hill from there!!!!

How MATURITY could have helped in these situations:

1.  Unexpected things will come into your marriage that you have to deal with.  No one could have predicted our unity candle would go out.  When these unexpected scenarios arise, lovingly listen and respect your husband’s wisdom.  It will save you a  lot of heartache.  I’m glad I didn’t bother trying to change his mind – he saved me from embarrassment!

2.  Sometimes fights are our a result of our selfish expectations. I expected my husband to act like my sisters rather than like a guy!  Maturity has helped me to realize I married a MAN and men are well…men! 

3.  Sometimes we fight because we don’t get what we want.  James 4:1 says that fights often start because we want something and don’t get it!  Like the breakfast scenario.  I wanted my husband to eat and appreciate my food.  At first glance, that doesn’t seem so awful of me.   But due to my criticism - I got what I wanted – he ate it…and then he was LATE… 12 minutes late…to his grandmother’s funeral – oh ya!!!  Don’t details change everything in a story!

4.  That last detail in number 3 is so important.  Often times we can think we are so right…but we all have blindspots…

Disagreements are inevitable in marriage.  The key to overcoming the inevitable and maintaining emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy is to be mature enough to recognize the areas where we were at fault and apologize. 

Maturity means we learn from past mistakes and do it differently this time.  Have you lost your cool and rambled on in anger and said things you regret to your husband?  Move on to maturity. 

Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many , sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” 

Boy do I wish I could master this one little verse because I know it works wonders in my marriage when I hold my tongue!

I think of parenting and how I say to the kids – “whoever is more mature will be the first to apologize“.  Isn’t that how God sees us, his children.  It’s the more mature one who has the strength to apologize.

As the holidays are upon us, disagreements are bound to arise…this is a very stressful time of year.  I want to encourage you to diffuse disagreements by being mature…hold your tongue, pray over your words, look to the interest of your husband, remember that you are extension of God’s hand to your husband when you bless him. 

 Walk with the King!
Courtney

Decorating for Christmas & WLWW Link-Up Party

Our Christmas Tree :)

I so desire to make my home warm and cozy for the family. Think for a moment about how God has surrounded us in the winter season with scenery that is just gorgeous! The fresh fallen snow and icicles display God’s glory! Think about the crackle of ice and snow below your feet as you walk – the same crackle sound you heard when you were 5 we hear at 35. There is a continuity about the remembrance of the crisp air and the smell of pine that gives me peace.

Though heaven is our eternal home, God has given us gifts of beauty here on earth – there is beauty in the fields covered with snow, in the sunset over a chilled pond, the frost in the morning on the blades of grass and smoke rising from the chimneys.

Our homes are temporary but they are an opportunity to reflect God in a small measure. Genesis 1:26 says “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.”

We have been created in the image of God and some may be very talented in this area while others are like me…(only average) but we all have the ability to create something special for our loved ones.

Edith Shaefer says “For the Christian who is consciously in communication with the Creator, surely his home should reflect something of the artistry, the beauty and order of the One whom he is representing, and in whose image he has been made!”

God has given you a home whether it’s an apartment you share, a farm house, a city home, or a home identical to all your neighbors – it is your home to reflect God’s artistry in. So express yourself this Christmas season and take joy in being made in the image of God. Surround those you love with beauty, warmth and love.

!

If you saw my house today – it resembles the ginger bread homes my children have built through the years. It’s not perfect – it has quite a few messy spots. But it’s cheery – there’s evidence of children and fun. And though my home does not look like it popped off of the cover of a magazine – it’s my creation. And I hope to one day look into the face of God and see him pleased with the home I have labored to build.

I like in Proverbs 15:15 where it says “the cheerful heart has a continual feast.” I would love for my home to be as joyful and as satisfying as this ginger bread house was to my children!

I cannot wait to see all of the amazing things you’ve been up to as you’ve prepared your homes for Christmas – please join me as I blog hop!

 It’s link-up time! It’s Women Living Well’s Wednesday Link-Up Party!!! Join the fun, do a little blog hopping and don’t forget if you join below -please add the Women Living Well Wednesdays button to your post so your readers can find us here! (Posts can include the topics of marriage, parenting, homemaking, finances, recipes, organization and more!)


To find the code go to the sidebar – or right click and “save as” the button and then upload it into your post! :)

Walk with the King!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Thursday I went to a dinner party at my dear friend Kelly’s house. 

The table was beautiful and the food – perfect.

This is one of my troubles with the holidays…everywhere I go the food is perfect.  

I have this terrible love/hate relationship with food in December.  I seem to not be able to restrain myself very well…a nibble here and a nibble there and by New Years Eve I don’t fit in my jeans! lol!

 

But sweet Kelly had served a healthy meal of soup and salad and then off to the family room we went to talk and laugh and enjoy one another’s company.  

Midway into the evening, I wandered into the kitchen with one of the girls where we were greeted with a plethora of Christmas cookies.

 

In usual fashion, I picked up a cookie and immediately felt guilt…hmph…“I really shouldn’t be eating this” I thought…then my friend verbalized it…she said something like “I have not been able to work out in a few weeks…I really shouldn’t eat this.”   We both laughed because I was thinking the SAME thing!  But here’s the annoying part, we just ate a perfectly healthy meal…why are we in the kitchen beating ourselves up over these cookies?

I’ll tell you why – because very few women feel they are thin enough. 

With every bite we enjoy - there’s this tinge of guilt…stealing the joy of the gift of food God has given us.

Recently I’d been reading in Ecclesiastes and right there in the kitchen with my friend, I quoted this verse:

 ”So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad.” Eccl. 8:15NIV
Eat, drink and be Merry!   Ecclesiastes 2:24, 3:13, and 5:18  all say that food and drink are a gift from the hand of God to be enjoyed! 
  

The smiles around this table are gifts from the hand of God.

The food is a gift from the hand of God.

The drink is a gift from the hand of God.

And oh yes, even the cookies in the kitchen are gifts from the hand of God.

And while I want to acknowledge that indulging in anyone of these gifts is not healthy…I also want to add, the enemy does not want us to enjoy the gifts that come from the hand of God.

The enemy loves that I can be having a perfectly enjoyable evening and yet find misery there in the kitchen! He wants to steal our joy!

And so I say with vigor – Enjoy these moments in December.   Savor the food, the drink, the laughter, and the love.  These are all gifts from God’s hand that he intends for you to enjoy.   Give thanks and enjoy!  Eat, drink and be Merry.

“The merry heart has a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15

Walk with the King,