A Modern Version of the Christmas Story

I posted both of these videos last Christmas season and I thought I’d post them again  because they are so well done.
They tell a modern version of the Christmas Story. Enjoy!

Walk with the King!

My Christmas Mantel

The above picture is NOT my mantel lol!  This was my inspiration for my Christmas Mantel!  Melissa from the Inspired Room shared her mantel above and I {swooned} and dreamed and thought – hmph – wonder if I could do something like that?  (By the way, her mantel was featured on HGTV and in Cottages and Bungalow Magazine and she’s a contributor over at RooMag.com with me!!  This girl has talent!)

So I went to my favorite stores…like Target, JoAnn’s, Walmart lol!…and dug through my old Christmas items…looking for something similar to the above.  And here’s how it turned out…(since my fireplace has darker wood it doesn’t look quite as similar as I had hoped…but I tried :) )

I found the snowflake hangars similiar to Melissa’s at Target – hooray!  And the white stockings were at Walmart for $6.97 each – FAB!

While I was at Target I found these – so simple and cute – the green wall needed some color:

But after I put them up it looked terribly lopsided and boring because I was too cheap to buy a second red tree for the other side lol! 

So I stood back and pondered…what can I put on the other end of the mantel?  And then it came to me…my Dayspring Set of 2 Glass Hurricanes that say “Giving Thanks”.

Voila! Done!

 

 

 

Edith Shaeffer says in the Art of Homemaking
 

“If you have been afraid that your love of beautiful flowers and the flickering flame of the candle is somehow less spiritual than living in starkness and ugliness, remember that He who created you to be creative gave you the things with which to make beauty and gave you the sensitivity to appreciate and respond to his creation. Creativity is his gift to you and the ‘raw materials’ to be put together in various ways are His gift to you as well.”

 Enjoy decorating your homes!  You reflect the image of our creator when you create.
 
Walk with the King!
Courtney

Home Stories A2Z

5 Steps For Determining God’s Will

Lately, I have wrestled with trying to figure out God’s will for some areas in my life.  Two weeks ago, my pastor gave this 5 step process for determining God’s will:

1. God’s will is revealed in his written word – the Bible.

2. God often uses wise people in our lives to advise us and help us determine God’s will.   

3. God reveals his will through open and closed doors.

4.  God reveals his will through inner peace or turmoil.

5.  God uses our obedience for his glory.

Number 5 resonates with me during this holiday season…because Mary the mother of Jesus comes to mind – her obedience to God’s plans are staggering! 

Have you ever thought about Mary’s friendships and how they must have been affected by this baby that appeared to show up out of wedlock…how some of the women probably talked behind her back and said “ya right – an angel appeared to her!”  Those stares and the slander must have stung. 

But Mary followed God no matter what the cost.

Then Mary gave birth to this perfectly behaved child…do you know how hard it’d be - to be friends with a new mom whose child is PERFECT!!!  Let me be the first to raise my hand and say that going to a play date is already intimidating for me…I never know what my sugar plums are going to do next!  But then to live next door to the woman whose child NEVER does anything wrong…oh dear…again Mary was most likely the talk of the town!

But Mary followed God no matter what the cost.

Mary enters the scene in the Bible at Jesus’ conception and then she is only mentioned a few times throughout Jesus’ life. She is there at the foot of the cross on the day that he is crucified. Jesus was her son and Jesus was her Savior – can you imagine?    What did people think of her – the mother of this perfect man? The mother of this hated man?

But Mary followed God no matter what the cost.

This must have been a hardship yet we never see her asserting herself – trying to control Jesus so people will think better of them. She understood she was just the vessel that God used to bring this God/Man to earth. How her heart must have ached watching her son be beaten and nailed to the cross…the cost…

Though Mary could not possibly understand all that God was doing – she was open to God’s plan for her life. She offered all of herself – her pride, her plans, her time and talents to be a servant to God. She understood that her life was not her own.  She followed God no matter what the cost.

I Corinthians 6:20 says “You are not your own. You were bought at a price, therefore, honor God with your body.”

This baby Jesus, who we are about to celebrate the birth of, was born to pay the price for my sins.  I am not my own…

I want to live my life completely surrendered to him no matter what the cost.   

And yet,

I

falter

because of the cost…

and I

wrestle

because of the cost…

and I doubt God’s will

because there seems to be a cost attached…

and then I am reminded of this beautiful young woman Mary…

and I find strength. 

And then I reflect on her son Jesus and I’m reminded that – yes – there is a cost…but not the selfish one I’m so focused on…there was a cost for my sins and it was paid by Jesus’ shed blood on the cross…and I serve a Worthy Risen Savior…I surrender!

Walk with the King!

Courtney

This Means War!

Ready or not – here comes Christmas! This is it! This month it all HAS to come together!

This is the month that Jesus’ birth is celebrated around the world! There is no day on earth where Jesus gets more attention than on December 25th and you better believe our enemy, Satan, does not like it!

He would love to see you buckle under the pressure of ribbons, bows, lights and cookie trays! He would love to see you frustrated and miserable.

He does not want this to be a month of peace for you – he wants you to dread every family moment and be highly sensitive to every word others say so you will be bitter, angry and say things that you regret.

He does not want you to find time to read God’s word or enjoy JESUS, the very one we are celebrating!

Friend, you are in the midst of spiritual warfare.

Visit me over at The Better Mom today for my thoughts on what to do about this!

Walk with the King,

Free Advent Devotionals

I am so excited to share with you this free resource titled Reasons for the Season!  It is 24 Ready-Made Family Devotions that will put the focus back on Christ and Christmas. Starting December 1st there is a verse, discussion starter, short lesson, activity, prayer and then an optional extra activity that you can do with your children!  Fun! :)!

Kathy from www.toddlerbitesblog.wordpress.com has created this ebook.  She sent it to me and I have permission to share it with all of you.  I think it’s a huge blessing!  I have it all printed out and I’m excited to do the activities with my children.

Simply click on the image above and the ebook will open!

Thank you Kathy for a great resource!

I also wanted to include two other resources for family devotionals:

John Piper’s website, Desiring God, recommends this Advent Guide 

And my friend, Ann Voskamp is offering this Free Jesse Tree Family Advent Devotional to all those who subscribe to her blog.

For many women, the demands of Christmas will be heavy over the next month. 

I pray that you will create moments of solitude – alone with Jesus – to recharge your batteries. 

I also pray that you will nuzzle your children in closely each night for a time of worship. 

Often times we think it’s the shiny ribbons, bows and twinkling lights that the children will cherish when they are grown…but truly it’s those intimate moments of family time together. 

Christmas independent of God is empty.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

A Christmas Gift Suggestion for Your Kids!

I know the toy catalogs have all arrived in the mail and the kids are circling their little hearts out…but many of those toys promise to deliver much more than they ever could deliver and we’ll find them on the garage sale table this summer.

It’s Black Friday and you might be Christmas shopping so I wanted to suggest something to add to your list that is of eternal value!

What’s in the Bible? It’s a series for kids created by Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tales.  We have 6 of their DVDs plus their Christmas DVD and LOVE them – they truly are like a Muppets Christianity 101 class for children.

I am a contributor over at The Better Mom and the star of the series made a video special just for The Better Mom  readers!  Check out how cute this is!


 

Following this video over at The Better Mom, Ruth did an interview with Phil Vischer where he explains how he left Veggie Tales, his concept behind What’s in the Bible?, and what resources they have available.

Phil writes:

VeggieTales was a great way to introduce specific Christian values or specific Bible stories, but it wasn’t a good format for explaining tricky concepts like “redemption” and “sanctification,” or walking kids all the way through the Bible.”

The Better Mom asked

“What do you hope children and families take away from this ministry?”

Phil answered:

 “A very clear, life-changing understanding of all the basics of our faith.  What is the Bible?  Where did it come from?  Why do we say it’s so important?  And what difference does it make in my life?  It’s Christianity 101 for the whole family to enjoy together.  As if the Muppets went to seminary, came back, and decided to teach it to all of us.  What Sesame Street did for literacy, we hope to do for biblical literacy – to help raise a generation of Christians who know what they believe, and know what it looks like to live out that belief in front of a watching world.”

OH this is  my hearts cry for all of our children – that they would know God and his word! 

To read the rest of this interview head over to The Better Mom and I hope you will consider this series as a gift for your children, grandchildren, or neighbors children! lol!  They also have an on-line website for kids where they can play games and view videos at JellyTelly.com.  I just love what Phil is doing and there’s no greater gift we can give our children than to teach them “What’s In the Bible“!  Shine brightly mamas!   

Walk with the King,

My Christmas Planner – A Tutorial

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 it will be nice next season to pop open my planner and reuse everything I have created this year!

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

 

(If you can’t view this video click here or click on the title of this post to refresh the page.)

Please share – how do you stay organized for the holidays?

Walk with the King!

Courtney

 

How To Cook A Turkey in a Roaster Oven

 

 

I love my portable roaster oven!  There are 2 great reasons why it’s perfect for roasting your Thanksgiving Turkey. 

1.  It opens up oven space for all your side dishes.

2.  You are guaranteed a moist turkey!

Here’s how I make mine:

 Chop the veggies, apples, herbs and butter

 

Rinse the turkey

Stuff the turkey with yummy things and spread butter all over it. 

Place it in the roaster and salt and pepper it.

Cooki it according to your roaster directions.  Easy Peasy – now you have a minute to make your table beautiful for guests!

When the button pops – it’s ready!  

And then get your sisters to carve it lol!  That’s what I do (notice the first picture! ;) ! )

Here’s a few other fun recipes for Thanksgiving:

Pilgrim Hat Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Turkey Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you hosting Thanksgiving at your house?   How will you cook your turkey and what will you serve with it?

Walk with the King,

 
 
This post is linked to Tasty Tuesdays.