Showing posts with label Blessings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blessings. Show all posts

Sunday, January 1, 2017

One SMART word for 2017: THRIVE


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Last year at this time, I wrote a post about how I always set goals for the new year instead of resolutions.   This year, for 2017, however, I decided to pick a SMART word for the year.  What is SMART?  Attributed to George Doran, SMART means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time based.

Why am I not doing goals this year?  It's not often like me to vary from a tradition.  I usually have a huge list of things I want to accomplish in the next year.  This year, however, is very different for me.  I am not sure where I am headed.  Some might call it a mid-life crisis (or is that what happened when I got married for the first time at age 42?)  But I want the second half of my life to be better than the first half.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Embracing Grief at the Holidays

I think most of us can remember a time we loved the holidays.  Santa Claus. Our grandparents giving us huge hugs -- and even bigger gifts.  The smells of the once a year treats from the oven, and laughter of cousins.  I think for many of us somewhere along the way the magic of Christmas has turned into dread or endurance.

My husband and I didn't put up a Christmas tree this year.  It has always been my favorite part of Christmas.  I love looking through the ornaments and remembered so many good times.  The doll my 2nd grade teacher made out of a pack of lifesavers and a styrofoam ball head.  Yes, I have a roll of 33 year old candy in my Christmas decorations.  I loved my teacher, and the fact she made something for me was so special.  (She made one for each of us in our class.)But then there are the other ornaments.  Childhood creations from people who won't speak to me any longer.  Ornaments bought on years the holidays wouldn't be considered "good".  The year a family member threw out all the gifts I gave him.  

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Why I believe in Giving Children REAL items instead of Toys (when appropriate)


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I've always been a bargain shopper.  I also always thought the things my grandmother could do with yarn was absolutely amazing.  When I was about six, I picked up a child's toy "Learn to Crochet" kit at a garage sale for a quarter.  I took it to my grandmother's house and asked her to teach me.  She took one look at it, and threw the plastic hook in the trash and gave me a REAL one.  She said she could never crotchet using that hook and she wouldn't expect me to, nor would she teach me using such a cheap thing.  That was the first time I ever had an adult replace a toy with a real item.  Now, looking back, there is no way someone could have learned to crochet with that little kit I bought, but handing a six year old a skein of yarn and an adult crochet hook?  Absolutely it can be taught.  (And even easier now with youtube videos and such.)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

8 Ideas for Keeping Christ in Advent

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At the church I attended when I was really little, there was little celebration in the way of holidays with the exception of the Christmas pageant and something mentioned in Sunday School.  I still remember my line from the pageant the year before I was in the angel choir.    I'll be a little light too, and quietly shine the way.  I'll do my part, with all my heart, to shine for Him each day.

I didn't realize until just a few years ago that Advent is NOT a celebration, but a longing.  A yearning for Christ to appear.  I have always loved the song "Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel".  The tune is so haunting, so mournful.  I always thought after I was a teenager the Christmas season began on the first Sunday of Advent and ended on Christmas Day, but Advent is the time of preparation for the Christ Child.

Advent and Lent have a lot of similarities.  When observed the way that has been done traditionally, there's a lot of focus on what is about to come.

But how in this busy world do we take time out from Christmas parties, shopping, and decorating to focus our hearts?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Bible Journaling and Scrapbook Stickers from Faith That Sticks!

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  I received samples of the products from the company for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

I have been a sticker fan since I was a child.  I can remember counting my stickers by the hour to see how many I had in my collection.  So whenever there is a new sticker product on the market, I want to try it.

I've tried my hand at Bible journaling, and while I love the creativeness of it, my art skill are somewhat lacking.  I often stick to coloring Bibles or when I do Bible journaling, just doing fancy lettering of the Scripture in the margins.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers and Faith that Sticks,  I had the opportunity to review their coloring stickers and Bible journaling stickers.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Saving so you Can Give to Others

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When I was a teenager, there was about a year that my mother and I had nothing to eat but potatoes because we were trying to make ends meet.  That is when I decided I was going to do what I could to figure out a way we could afford a bit more variety in our food as well as being able to have the heat set above 58 degrees in winter.

That's when I started reading books like The Complete Tightwad.  Although this book has advice from 20+ years ago, much of it is still quite useful, and one I would recommend to be in any penny pincher's library.  I still read my copy from time to time, usually getting it out every two years or so for a refresher course to see if I'm still doing everything I can -- or even if I can implement something new.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

On Being Bullied: A Letter to 13 Year Old Me

Dear 13 year old me,

I know it's hard right now.  I remember and I hurt for you.  So much of my advice would sound trite, but please know you have two choices.  You can believe them and wither away or you can remain strong and find a solution.  I know you.  I know which path you choose, and you are going to do amazing things, things you could never begin to imagine.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Thoughts on One Year of Marriage (Or What NOT to say to the Happy Couple)

This week marked one year of wedded bliss for my husband and me.  We celebrated by baking a cake the same flavor as our wedding cake once the tradition of year old wedding cake was deemed "gross" with the freezer burn forming puddles of water on top of our actual wedding cake.  We also went out to eat at a restaurant where we had won a gift certificate.  There were a couple kids screaming that had they been drunk adults they would have been asked to leave.  (In fact, most drunks I have ever seen have behaved better than these kids did.)  We killed two bugs at our table, and had mediocre food.  We have decided that after our wedding night in the ER and then later a trip to a resort that looked like it could have staged a 1970s horror film or 1970s porn movie, we're not going to try to do anything special for our anniversary again.  

Monday, March 28, 2016

Why you MIGHT be Given More Than You Can Handle

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people misquote Scripture.  I was in Bible quizzing in high school as I mentioned in my post about memorizing Scripture. Having memorized so much of the Bible, I cringe when I hear it misquoted.

God will never give you anything you can't handle.

It's in the Bible, right?  Actually it isn't.  Most people think that is what I Corinthians 10:13 says, but let's take a look at that verse in a few different versions.

 13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  (NIV)

Monday, March 14, 2016

3 Tips for Fast, Easy, and Fun Scripture Memorization

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When I was in high school, I memorized the entire book of Matthew.  All 28 chapters.  Every verse. (There are 1,071 of them, by the way!)  Needless to say, I was the top Bible quizzer in my part of the state, and in the top half in our region of the country.  But it wasn't always easy for me to memorize Scripture.  I had to find the way that worked for me.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Tips for Familes to Focus on the True Meaning of Easter

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Easter is just around the corner, and it doesn't matter if you celebrate for one day, or for a whole season, with the egg hunts, plush bunnies, and chocolate filled baskets, it's sometimes too easy to get distracted about why we celebrate the holiday.

I have friends who do everything fun on the day before Easter.  They are Protestants, so they have no problem with that.  Personally I would not want to make Holy Saturday a "fun" day but would instead opt for Easter Monday to have the egg hunt, give fun gifts such as candy and bunnies. (And hey, if you want until the day after Easter, if you get up early enough you might be able to take advantage of half off sales!)  On Easter Sunday, they give their children gifts, but they are usually something like a Bible, spiritual DVD, or the like.  You could even give a milk chocolate cross on this day as well.  (Maybe if you stock a basket with treats that are good for the soul you wouldn't even have to have a second gift giving day.  There are plenty of candy with Bible verses on them.  Stickers are always loved by children as well!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Five Favorites: My Favorite Charities

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It's Wednesday so that means it's time to link up with Ashley over at The Big White Farmhouse for another Five Favs!

When I was growing up, my dad was a huge volunteer.  He was a volunteer fireman for five decades.  When health problems prevented him from being able to fight fires, he did worked on fundraising and selling raffle tickets.  I grew up seeing him volunteer.  I, too, wish I had even more time than I do to volunteer, but here are my five favorite charities.  You will often find me donating to them through my eBay sales.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Six Ways to Best Use Your Income Tax Refund

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It's that time of year again when the tax refunds come in.  Some people seem to think it's Christmas and go out and buy the latest and most expensive stuff they can't afford the rest of the year, but that's not really the best use of your refund.   Here are some better ideas.

1.  Unless you are getting Earned Income Credit, make sure you don't get much of a refund.  Why let the government hold on to your hard earned money all year when you could be using it?  If you like having a "windfall" once a year, start a savings account!

Monday, January 18, 2016

How to Create Your own Topical Study Bible

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When I was in college, I bought myself a very average, very plain, King James Version Bible.  My friends, after some time, thought it was a Rainbow Study Bible.  To be honest, I had considered that Bible before purchasing my plain one, but there were topics that didn't interest me, and others that did.  So I decided to DIY my own study Bible.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Why you Should Set Goals Instead of Resolutions

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Tis the season to see tons of resolutions floating around the Internet.  Lose weight.  Read More.  Get out of Debt.  Come February, how many who wanted to lose weight will have given up and spend Super Bowl Sunday celebrating the day that ranks second of the year for calorie consumption.

What did you accomplish in 2015?  Did you fulfill your resolutions?  If you are like most people, probably not.

One reason is GOALS ARE DEFINABLE.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Want to help our own first? Here are some ideas!

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Want to help those in the USA before you help others?  Well, remember if you say that you SHOULD be helping.  If you need some ideas, here are a few:

1.  Call a soup kitchen and ask what they need.  Buy it, then stay to help serve a meal.

2.  Take an elderly neighbor who is struggling to make ends grocery shopping.  Give them a gift certificate to the store you are taking them to so they can purchase what they need.

3.  Leave a Thanksgiving basket on a family's doorstep who might not be able to afford a turkey otherwise.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Growing up in a Family of Holiday Workers



My husband and I aren't going to get to visit family for Thanksgiving.  To be honest, it's not that big of a deal to me.  Thanksgiving never really was much of a holiday for us.  When I was eight years old, that was the last time my family celebrated.  My mother invited her mom, step-dad, and my dad's mother and step-dad for Thanksgiving.  Dad was the 1970s equivalent of a 911 dispatcher, and he worked nights, but by day he was a volunteer EMT.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Late October Adoption Update

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It's been a long month of classes.  So far this month, we have spent five evenings going to classes.  Because of where we live, it takes us as long to get to class and back as it does to sit through class (two hours and three hours depending on where the class is.)  This week, we only have five hours of classes, but they are also my husband's only days off.  One week we had seven hours of classes (and seven hours of travel) in three days time.  Oh, and did I mention we also have homework in addition to getting the house in order and trying to come up with enough money for adoption expenses?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Simple Ways to Show Support to your Friend who Blogs

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I think everyone has a friend who blogs.  You might read their blog but never mention it to them.  It's great when people are supportive of those of us who blog.  Not sure how to be supportive, here's some tips:

  • Mention their blog posts to them in person.  Sometimes it feels to bloggers they are writing to an anonymous world. Let them know you are reading their posts.
  • Comment on their blog posts.  It's always great to get a friendly comment on a post.  Sometimes a blog post can take hours to write and then it's just crickets from the Internet.  See one you like?  Comment.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Our First Snowfall Family Tradition

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I was probably about five years old the first time I remember this tradition.  It was the middle of the night.  My mother woke me up, and told me to go to the living room and look outside.  It was snowing.  To a five year old, it has been a long time since it has snowed, and I was at the age I loved it.  The moment was magical.  My mother made some popcorn and hot chocolate and we ate and watched it snow.

Every year after that popcorn and hot chocolate became our first snowfall family tradition.  If it snowed earlier that day and was just a cold rain by the time we got home from school and work, we still celebrated the first snowfall.