Archives for 2011

Fun Christmas Questions—and a Winner!

Let’s have some Christmas fun today! Announcing a winner is always fun so let’s start with that. The winner of The Spirit of Christmas (a Christmas book with one of my stories in it!) is Kristin! Congratulations, Kristin!! This sweet girl of mine started entering my blog giveaways back when I started blogging in 2007 and never had any luck winning one until this year. And now she has won two. Yippee for her! :)

Now for a little holiday fun. Christmas offers us a natural time to celebrate our favorites, whether traditions or treats. Let’s see if we have any of the same favorites. I’ll pose the questions and give my answers, and then you chime in by answering any or all with a comment. *Warning: Choosing favorites may prove to be next to impossible! :)

1. What’s your favorite Christmas movie? I LOVE White Christmas, but I also love While You Were Sleeping (set during the Christmas season). My newest favorite is Christmas with the Kranks. I so identify with this one now that our girls live away from home.

2. What’s your favorite Christmas dinner menu item? It’s a toss up between my Mom’s mashed potatoes and homemade noodles and the birthday cake I make for Jesus—our family’s famous Fresh Orange Layer Cake.

3. Do you have a favorite Christmas book, story, or poem? I’ve gotta go with the greatest story ever told—the birth of Jesus as recorded in Luke chapter 2. Another favorite, for nostalgic reasons, is Clement Moore’s classic poem “The Night Before Christmas”.

4. How about a favorite Christmas candy? Fudge! The Kraft Marshmallow Creme label recipe. Yum!

5. What’s your all-time favorite Christmas song? I love so many Christmas songs, but if I have to choose just one, I’ll say “Silent Night”. I’m a classics kind of gal :) I love all the fun Christmas songs, though, too. Love the sound tracks from the Home Alone movies.

6. When you’re not eating your favorite Christmas candy, what’s your favorite Christmas cookie? Mine is another family favorite—Christmas cut-out sugar cookies made from a recipe that a long-time family friend, Joyce Lee, gave my mom many years ago. It’s called Mary’s Sugar Cookies.

7. Do you have a favorite Christmas tree ornament? Another hard choice because of so many favorites. I have several Precious Moments porcelain tree ornaments, though, and my favorites among those are the first two I ever got (back when my girls were little). One is a ballerina that I bought because she reminds me of Kristin, and the one that reminds me of Kelli is a little girl in a nightgown and nightcap holding a strand of cutout hearts.

8. Not counting your main Christmas tree, what’s your favorite Christmas decoration? Mine is a lighted porcelain church that I place on top of our piano. Love the way it glows and fills my heart with a spirit of worship.

9. What store/shop do you most love to visit during the holidays? I love to go to Williams-Sonoma and see all their nifty holiday items and also to get tastes of their cider and peppermint bark. Double yum! But I also like to go into Dillard’s or Macy’s and score a box of Harry & David Dark Chocolate Truffles from the holiday display :)

10. What’s your favorite Christmas tradition? Our traditions have changed since our girls have grown up, and my favorite tradition now just centers around having them home (along with their hubbies) for a few days right before Christmas—just hanging out, eating, playing games, etc. Throughout the month, though, one of my best-loved traditions is watching our favorite Christmas movies. I also enjoy including an original Christmas poem in my Christmas cards each year. Have been doing that for nearly thirty years now. Does that make me old? :)

Your turn now. Share some of your Christmas favorites!

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1

*Flickr photo by wsilver

A Christmas Shopper’s Prayer

Before we get any deeper into the Christmas season, I’d like to share the poem I wrote for Christmas last year (I write an annual poem to include in my Christmas cards). Many of you are up to your little elf-like ears in Christmas shopping right now, and this prayer-turned-poem may be just what you need to sustain you in the coming days. Enjoy and be blessed!

A Christmas Shopper’s Prayer

Lord, I’m headed out the door
It’s my Christmas shopping day,
Please give me strength and good ideas
For gifts to put on Santa’s sleigh.

Help me as I brave the crowds
Keep a smile upon my face,
Please bless with sales and quick lines
And maybe a handy parking place.

As I dash from store to store
Help me enjoy the festive mood,
Remind me to allow myself
A tasty treat, a little food.

And as my shopping day winds down
Fill my heart with thanks and praise
For You whose birth we celebrate,
Who gives peace to all our days.

“…and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6b KJV

*Flickr photo by shimelle, Creative Commons License

*Don’t forget to enter The Spirit of Christmas Giveaway. Deadline to enter is noon Dec. 7. Good luck!

Carol Your Way to Worship

11155059216_f0dc9d47a0_zHave you ever caroled your way to worship? One thing I hope for you this holiday season is many sweet moments of personal worship, and one of the best ways I know to enter into such meaningful times with the Lord is through singing the carols of Christmas.

As the season gets started, I urge you to find a hymnal or songbook of old-time Christmas carols and choose one to sing each day in your quiet moments with God. You probably know many of these long-time favorites by heart, but I want to encourage you to find the words written out somewhere so you can sing all the verses. I promise you will find treasure you have forgotten about or never knew was there.

Last year while singing “O Holy Night!” during one of my personal worship times, the Lord ministered such encouragement to me through the last half of the second verse—the verse that is usually left out when we sing it in groups or hear it performed. How grateful I am I didn’t leave it out as I sang privately to Him last Christmas season.

Join me today, won’t you, and carol your way to worship this holiday season. Here is “O Holy Night!” to get you started (text by John S. Dwight; melody by Adolphe Adam). May the King of kings minister to your heart as you sing to Him!

“O holy night! the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees, Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand;
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend;
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace;
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name;
Christ is the Lord, Oh, praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim.”

“Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness . . .” Psalm 96:9a

*Flickr photo by infomastern, Creative Commons License

*Don’t forget to enter The Spirit of Christmas Giveaway (below this post). Deadline to enter is noon Dec. 7. Good luck!

The Spirit of Christmas Giveaway!

You know me — I love giveaways. Love entering them and love hosting them—especially holiday giveaways. I wanted to offer this one early in the season since the prize will help make the winner’s days before Christmas a little brighter, a little more meaningful.

I’m giving away a copy of The Spirit of Christmas—a recent release that has a story of mine it. (Yay, huh?!) This book is definitely brightening my season, and I hope it will brighten the winner’s, too—along with readers all across the country. If you already have a copy, go ahead and enter and win one for a family member or friend!

Leave a comment on this blog post by noon Dec. 7, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win The Spirit of Christmas. (I’ll sign the copy if you so request but will send it untouched if you’d prefer). To make it fun, tell me about a time when someone shared the spirit of Christmas with you. If I don’t know you personally or can’t contact you via your own blog, be sure to leave your email address in your comment or you won’t be included in the drawing.

I’ll be the first to share a story. One year many years ago, my sister Debbie and her family traveled from Phoenix to be with us a couple of days prior to everyone gathering at Mom and Dad’s for Christmas. Neighbors of ours at the time, Henry and Faye, heard we were having company and made homemade cinnamon rolls for all of us. As they delivered those yummy pastries, they also delivered a heartwarming dose of Christmas spirit along with them. These are the kinds of surprises and smiles we never forget, right?

Okay, your turn. When did someone deliver some Christmas spirit to you? And while we’re thinking about it, let’s be alert to ways we can share the spirit of Christmas with others this year. Let’s deliver some surprises and smiles that folks will never forget!

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given . . .” Isaiah 9:6a KJV

Fall Family Time

A couple of weeks ago, we enjoyed a wonderful family weekend at my parents’ home, and Thanksgiving week seems like the perfect time to share photos of that special time. As you can see from the shot above, I’m never happier than when my girls are by my side.

We were blessed to have many other family members join us, and we packed a little bit of everything into a couple of days. I hope you enjoy a peek at our time together. I won’t be posting midweek since we’ll all be busy eating turkey, but I hope you enjoy soul-satisfying times with your families this Thanksgiving week!

Kristin and Kelli hit the crafting jackpot when my mom pulled out old quilt squares that had belonged to my grandmother. She had used many of those fabrics to make clothes for my sisters and me. So much fun pointing those out to my girls.

My sister Carolyn and my mom got another project going — making corn bags for any of us that wanted them. So toasty warm straight out of the microwave.

My sister Janice helped hand stitch the ends closed after the bags were filled with corn.

We always find time for silliness around the piano, and this trip was no exception. Kristin is a professional pianist and can even do her thing with a roasted marshmallow in her mouth. And nephews Cody and Gavin are always where the action is :) (Thanks, Dad, for roasting marshmallows for us while we were busy with all our projects!)

I spent some time on the deck taking shots of the gorgeous fall foliage in the afternoon sunlight. I want a backyard view like this someday!


The main men in my life enjoying some deck time — my husband Don, son-in-law Shawn, my dad, and son-in-law Jake.

The weekend wouldn’t be complete without man-handling Gavin :)

The perfect way to end the weekend? The grandkids helped Grandma and Grandpa by putting their Christmas tree up for them!

I am so thankful for the wonderful family time we enjoyed. So thankful for my family. Happy Thanksgiving to all! Enjoy your fall family time!

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other . . .” 1 Thessalonians 3:13a

*Check back next week. I have a little giveaway planned to help make someone’s holiday season merrier!