Jesus Prince of Peace

"The people who walk in darkness
      will see a great light.
   For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
      a light will shine...

 For a child is born to us,
      a son is given to us.
   The government will rest on his shoulders.
      And he will be called:
   Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God,
      Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace."

                           ~Isaiah 9: 2, 6

Dearest Jesus,

You offer me peace.

In the last minute hustle of christmas shopping.  
When clerks are rude and customers are rowdy.  
In the frantic holiday baking and the merry present making.  
When my house is a mess and my sinus is dripping. 

You offer me peace.

In my mad dash of wrapping and secretive stashing.
When my kids eat all the sugar cookies and are driving me batty.
Through stubborn winter colds and piles of dirty clothes.
When the husband works late and the babies stay awake.

You offer me peace.

Hands held out, Your gift to me.

And I receive you with joy.

My Prince.

My Peace.

*written and posted Dec. 2010


just because God loves you

..::: this is a repost from last year, but I needed to remind myself to slow down and really see :::...

Her hair hung down in limp and dirty blonde strands and a little girl Astair's age clung to her leg.
 I noticed but I was distracted.  Astair tugged on my arm and twirled in the fast food line.  She danced in circles around me, darting in between my legs, just escaping my grasp.  It was our mother-daughter date night and we chose Arby's.  But my little pixie just couldn't stand still.  Through the corner of my eye I noticed again the pair in front of us and I couldn't help but make the comparison between this mother and her daughter and me and my own.  It was then my eyes landed on the child's bare feet.  And my heart lurched inside me.  No child should be barefoot even in a mild Louisiana December.  

 Astair skipped out of the line and I went to retrieve her, even while I peered more closely at the girl.  Her blonde  hair was pulled back from her face with an office clip and she stared back at me with eyes that looked much too old for her little face.  Eyes that had seen too much of this world.  I smiled and she frowned, her big blue eyes solemn and distrustful.  The lady with the child stepped to the side and glanced at me for a moment.  She wore a plain white t-shirt with nothing underneath and I knew in that instant what she was.  I knew and it hurt my heart.  Wrenched my soul for her and her little girl.  I wanted to help her.  But I didn't want to offend her.  Or hurt her pride.  What if she rejected my help? My mind scrambled for a loving way to reach out to her.  How much had she paid for her meal?  Five dollars? One combo meal?  And what would the child eat?  

 The cashier was staring at me, waiting for my order and I fumbled through it, still desperate not to let this lady leave.  I ordered an extra sandwich and an extra drink and then I approached the woman and the child.  I smiled at her shyly, trying desperately to cover up my discomfort, hoping she wouldn't read it wrong.  I told her I had ordered more food than we needed and I would be so happy if she would accept some.  Her face looked relieved and her humble nod shamed all my selfish fears.  I wished I had bought more, so much more.  I wished I had noticed her earlier, had forgotten about myself for a moment and not been so concerned about her rejecting me.  

 Our food came and I let Astair give the bag to the little girl.  Astair walked up to her so innocently and sweetly, only too happy to share.  But the little girl frowned deeper and hid scared behind her mother.  If my heart wasn't already broken, that would have crushed it.  I could only imagine what this poor child had lived through.  And I wanted to judge the woman for putting her through it.  But I couldn't.  I couldn't.  Not knowing that Christ died for her, that He loves her, that maybe she's never known it.  I gave her a hug and quietly slipped a card into her hand.   A card that read the words "JUST BECAUSE GOD LOVES YOU".  And I smiled at the little girl in the woman's eyes and I whispered "He does, you know."


I haven't written this to toot my own horn, or to bring attention to myself, because to be honest, I'm ashamed that I didn't give more.  Ashamed that I didn't notice her sooner, that I hesitated in fear of rejection.  I can only pray God will help me take my eyes off myself and notice the needs around me.  And when I see the needs, to rush to meet them.  Arms wide open, bleeding love as my Savior does. 

 Isn't that what Christmas is all about?


He's making something beautiful out of my mess

I found this in my photo archives today and it always makes me smile!  A Christmas card I made of Legend at nine months...tooo cute for words.  It reminds me that it's the little moments that matter the most.  We were hanging out in the back of Joel's little red truck, the one with the Jesus sticker covering the cracked rear window.  The one that ran on prayers for nearly 300,000 miles.  Legend's belly laughs entertained us all, and we entertained each other with the antics we were willing to do just to hear that infectious giggle.

Today was a good day.  We rode the Christmas train and played on the swings in the dark with a million Christmas lights swirling and sparkling in the night.  I sang Christmas carols (all the ones about Jesus) at the top of my lungs because I was that happy and I wanted everyone to know that it's Jesus that brings that kind of happiness.

But the day didn't start out that way.  It began with some failed attempts to run errands and I felt myself desperately hanging onto the sweet moments Jesus held me last night as I cried into my laundry pile.  I literally just climbed on top of the mountain of clothes and cried.  It was late and my little Boston had been throwing up all night the night before and my dear man has been working seven days a week for thirteen hours a day and I've been angry with myself for not being able to "keep it all together" and "just be grateful".  But you know what?  Sometimes it's ok to be weak.  Because when I am weak, God's strength is made perfect in me.  And that's just what happened.  On my laundry pile.  While the prayer room streamed live worship anointed from heaven (I was listening to 2 PM Dec. 15, Thur in archives and 10 PM Dec 15) Jesus met me in my mess.  

Loved me in my mess.

Reminded me that messiness doesn't really bother him like it bothers us.  Like it bothers me.

Reminded me through that phone call from my dad, that amazing phone call where my dad read me scriptures my heart needed to hear.  Read me poems, the stanza of songs.  It is truly beautiful to have a dad that does that.  Truly.  To hear in his voice, that song I always loved by Ann Kiemel Anderson, the one she would sing in airport bathrooms to ladies crying into their purses...

Something beautiful
Something good
All my confusion
He understood
All I had to offer Him
Was brokenness and strife
But He's making something beautiful
Out of my life

Jesus isn't uncomfortable with messy.

He chose to be borne in a dirty, straw laden barn where the stench of animals was pungent and the only bed to lay him in was a manger where the animals had slobbered all over their food.

He chose this.

Humbled himself, so that He could lift us up.  Lived in our messy world (the very messiest parts), to bring us peace with God.  

Making something beautiful out of us all.


make your own nativity sets

DIY Cardboard nativity set on Little Scout
I'm a big fan of nativity sets that my kids can play with.  I want them to play with them, to touch and explore and enact and imagine all the wonder of that miraculous and holy night.  But at the moment, our Joseph is headless, our angel lost its wings, and a poor shepherd boy has gone missing.  We kind of need  a more kid friendly version.  I absolutely love this wooden silhouette nativity from Arks and Animals on etsy.   A nativity the kids can put together and make themselves (with hardly a dent in the pocketbook) is even more appealing, though.   I just love the simplicity of these wooden doll nativity sets.

peg doll nativity by goosegrease
DIY peg doll nativity by Our Life

Just in case my hobby lobby doesn't carry peg dolls, I think toilet paper tubes will work just fine.  There's a fun printable nativity scene that kids can color and create HERE.

And I absolutely L.O.V.E this Gingerbread Nativity idea found on KatherineMaries photography blog (inspired by the one on AOK Corral) ! 


P.S.  Just in case you haven't been redirected to enough sites as it is, I found the Gingerbread Nativity on the happy money saver blog  (which is an awesome blog and totally deserved the shout out).

P.S. #2 My cinnamon apple home scent is making me hungAry!  Thank God I didn't buy the cookie scent--I'd probably gain ten pounds just from the smell of it.

P.S. #3  That was totally random and unrelated.

P.S. #4  Have fun with your nativity set!  Jesus is to be well loved!


salt dough ornaments

Every year we break out the dough and roll us out some christmas ornaments.  We loooove this craft.  And they make great keepsakes, too.  I helped Legend and the twins paint theirs, but Thaddeus had fun making his own designs this year.  The kids love the whole process (it's kind of a lengthy one--plan on spending a half day at least on these).  Oh, and I whipped up some "real" cookies right before we started to curb the kids' appetites and keep them from taking a bite out of their ornaments (it happened anyway...Boston bit a chunk out of his heart shaped ornament...it just looked so yummy and of course he had to find out it didn't taste good for himself...pretty sure this happens every year).

We've used this recipe for salt dough ornaments for several years now:


4 c. flour
1 c. salt
1 1/2 c. warm water


Mix flour and salt and gradually add warm water.  Mix until it forms a dough.  Knead with hands until the dough becomes soft and then roll it out on a floured surface till it's about 1/8 inch thick.  Use cookie cutters to make shapes or cut them out freehand with a pocket knife.  Poke holes near the top of the shape with a straw (much easier to thread your string through later--so don't forget this part!)  Bake 325 degrees for about 50 minutes to an hour, just until hard.

When they're cool, paint them with any paint you have on hand and add a little glitter for fun.  Tie a string or some Christmas ribbon through the hole for hanging and you're done.  I write my kid's names and the date on the back of their ornaments for a keepsake.  This recipe makes a ton of dough.  Our neighbor came over and made ornaments with us and we were still able to make about a dozen each.

This last pic makes me laugh.  You'd think we were freezing with Boston bundled up to his ears and Astair's hat on.  But really, we're only just emerging from our 80 degree weather and finally feeling some winter temperatures.  I guess we're overly anxious to wear all our woolies.


mommy meltdowns, grace, and roses

I've had my fair share of mommy meltdowns recently.  Following a trail of cereal up the stairs and into a bedroom I just recently cleaned definitely set the stage for a melodrama.  Toddler tantrums, bed times that drag on and on and on, mediating between aggrieved brothers and sister, struggling to be consistent with disciplining, schooling, training, teaching, feeding, cleaning.  Battles of the will with a very strong willed three year old and one stubborn eighteen month old.  Second guessing my ability to give my oldest the best education possible.  My heart breaking every time my middle son struggles with stuttering. And all of their issues make me feel like I must be failing as a mother.  I've let their behavior become my report card.  I forget sometimes that we're born into this world as sinners.  I forget sometimes that God doesn't expect us to be perfect.  So I shouldn't either.  He only expects us to be pliable, to be clay in His hands.  To know when to repent and how to walk in His grace.

I had meltdowns.  I acted imperfectly.  I yelled at my kids.  And then I crawled into bed with them and held them close and asked their forgiveness and asked God's forgiveness and prayed for the fruit of the Holy Spirit to be abundant in my life.  And their little arms wrap around me, so quick to forgive, so free of judgement.  So like Jesus.

His grace comes.  Right where I am.

Delivered to my doorstep.  A package of red roses from a man who loves me, who didn't lecture me for losing it, didn't judge, didn't criticize.  Just sent me roses.

Grace is a beautiful thing.

Undeserved.  Unmerited.  God reaching down into my mess and loving me in the midst of it. 

Grace is God's ability to do within me what I cannot do for myself.


our diy advent calendar and world vision

I've always loved advent calendars and this year I decided to make one for our family.  It's just another way for us to focus all our attention and expectation on Jesus' First Coming and what it means to us.  The word advent literally means 'arrival'.  Jesus' arrival on earth changed everything.  And I'm just as excited as my kids to spend the next 24 days (and everyday for eternity) unwrapping the greatest gift of all:  the love of our Saviour God.

 I've filled the boxes with little notes and some special treats.  Each note has an activity and devotion for us to do together as a family.  We'll read through the birth of Jesus in Luke 15 and we'll talk about the person and promises of Jesus revealed to us in Isaiah 9:6:  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  

We're also reading through Sharing Christ's Love , an advent resource for children that I found on the World Vision website under their free seasonal resources (click those words to view it and download for free)  I really love the focus in this resource on global compassion and the words of Christ in Matthew 25:40: whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Him.  That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

You can also view the World Vision Gift Catalog online with your family and give the gift of a goat, chickens, clean water, or even medical supplies.  The options are endless, the needs are great, and giving has never been made so easy.


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