Friday, December 21, 2012

Keeping Christmas

This Christmas season God has been revealing something to me. It isn't pretty, nice, or festive. In other words, it doesn't give me ANY warm fuzzies. :P He has been showing me how selfish I am, and how Christmas is so not about me. 

Isn't it so true? That we find out how tightly we are clenching our fists around something exactly when it starts to get pulled away? That the things we would never call idols are revealed to be just that, when God starts to gently lift them from our lives?

I went into the holiday season with MY expectations, MY wants, MY hands open looking to be filled. There was nothing of Christ's serving and sacrificial spirit in the way I pouted when things weren't going "my way."

At the worst of it all, my mother lovingly showed me the small printing about Christmas that our church's bulletin had on the back this week. She simply said, "Read it." I read it. And cried. It was exactly what I needed. In fact, it seemed to have been written for me specifically! :) It's by one of my favorite authors, Henry Van Dyke, and you can read it here.

It's all about forgetting yourself and seeing what you can do for others. Make someone else's holiday bright this year. Put a smile on someone's face, even if it costs you something. What is sacrifice without cost, anyway?

I'm here this morning writing this to encourage you, but also to thank you. I cherish you, my friends! You have done that service for me. You have blessed me and made me smile even if it didn't bring you some reward or blessing in return. I thank you, and wish you the very merriest of Christmases! :) 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

In which I share my own opinions, and those of another's.

There's no question that The Hunger Games is one of the biggest crazes going on right now, in both film and literature. I will admit I had a strong interest in it when it was first becoming pop. The romantic and anti-governmental themes throughout made it a strong curiosity for someone like me who rates Animal Farm as one of her top favorite books. I even got it from the library and started reading it. But I knew I shouldn't. Because hadn't my parents and my pastors and my teachers and God taught me that "it's never right to do wrong to do right"? Suzanne Collins had a good idea: write a series attractive to young adults that brings attention to the corruptness of society and leadership, and perhaps spurs them on to find a way to make a difference and make their voices heard. But she first had to make the series attractive. What sells these days? Violence - check. Hate - check. Loose romantic relationships - check. Alcoholism being made light of - check. The list goes on. I found my hopes of an okay story drowning in way too many non-negotiables. I mean, even Katniss's love for Peeta turned out to be phony by the end of Book 1. Oh sorry, did I ruin it for you? :P Anyway, needless to say I felt like the only person on the face of the earth who disagreed with the picture as a whole and decided to steer clear. Just today I found and read this article. As the author says, "If you can't take it, don't read it." In it I found several sentiments similar to my own, and I appreciated her taking the time to put into words some opinions that hopefully will ring a bell in our Christian hearts. Please read it if you're interested.

P.S. - I realize that several of you who will read this have read, seen, and loved The Hunger Games. I also realize that there are different limits for everyone, and what's not okay for one is okay for another. I read most of the book and have seen several clips of the movie, and for me the Holy Spirit said no based on principles of truth and separation. I'm not trying to tell you what's right and wrong; I'm simply sharing my thoughts.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Win a Copy!

Interested in reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts? Enter to win the devotional book here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012 Wedding Photo Contest!

If you're on FB, and if you have a free second, I'd really appreciate your help to win Chris and I a canvas print of one of our wedding photos! Our photographer, Jessica Shae, is doing a contest in which the couple with the most "likes" on their picture by Dec. 21st wins a canvas. Click here to vote for us! Thanks! :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Chicago

Yesterday Mom, Charlotte, and I went downtown all day to see the Christmas decorations. Along the way we saw two of these kiosks that were taking free pictures of you in the city and then let you email it to yourself. Just thought I'd share. :P





We Won!

Last Saturday was our church's annual adult Christmas party. Chris and I participated in both the gingerbread house making contest, and the puzzle contest, and we won both! (Along with some awesome teammates!) Here's a pic of our (fantabulous) house!