Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fourth Sunday of Advent--Love All

On this last Sunday of advent the Advent Conspiracy focuses on another way to make Christmas memorable.
It all boils down to love. Love from a savior. Love to a neighbor in need. By spending just a little less on gifts we free up our resources to love as Jesus loves by giving to those who really need help. This is the conspiracy three churches began a few years ago, and has since grown to an international movement where thousands of churches have raised millions of dollars to love others in life-changing ways. But it doesn't have to be about money. And we are able do this on an individual basis.  Love those around us who have less, those who are going through loss, love those who need someone to walk along side of them.

Mark 12:30-31
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Third Sunday of Advent--Give More

On this third Sunday of advent the Advent Conspiracy focuses on another way to make Christmas memorable.
We know what you're thinking. "Wait, didn't they just say I should spend less, and yet here they are telling me to give more? What gives?" The most powerful, memorable gift you can give to someone else is yourself. And nobody modeled this more than Jesus. So what does this look like for you? Tickets to a ball game or the theater? A movie night? The main point is simple: When it comes to spending time with those you love, it's all about quality, not quantity.

1 John 3:23 
And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Quiz About Me

Acting Balanced
Welcome to Monday Quiz About Me - hosted by Acting Balanced.  We are continuing to answer questions together.  

Here are FOUR QUESTIONS that everyone can answer and then you have the option to add a fifth question of your own for those who are visiting your blog to answer in the comment section, along with commenting on the four standard questions you answered! Grab the badge for your post if you like: 

Here are the Questions:

1. Today is National Christmas Card Day - do you send Christmas Cards?
I send a few hand crafted cards

2. What item do you "always" buy when it goes on sale at the Grocery Store?
Seattles Best Coffee

3. Certain flavours are associated with Christmas/December - what flavor do you most associate with the holiday season?
Gingerbread and mint

 4. Do you think gift cards are a good idea for Christmas or are they a cop-out?
Depends on the person.  For teenagers--cards are good, or for those super picky people.

And now a question for you
5. What is your weather like?
Mine--Cold for Phoenix.  33 degrees at six in the morning, with an expected high of 55 today.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Second Sunday of Advent--Spend Less

On this second Sunday of advent the Advent Conspiracy focuses on another way to make Christmas memorable.

Quick question for you: What was the one gift you remember getting for Christmas last year? Next question: What about the fourth gift? Do you remember that one? Truth is many of us don't because it wasn't something we necessarily wanted or needed. Spending Less isn't a call to stop giving gifts; it's a call to stop spending money on gifts we won't remember in less than a year. America spends around $450 billion dollars during the Christmas season, and much of that goes right onto a credit card. By spending wisely on gifts we free ourselves from the anxiety associated with debt so we can take in the season with a full heart

Jam 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

2Cor 9:15
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

David and Bathsheba

David and Bathsheba is a spellbinding story of a gifted king and the woman he loved but could not have.  Told from Bathsheba's perspective, author Roberta Kells Dorr brings to life the passion that almost cost David his kingdom and tested a people's courage and faith in God. David and Bathsheba is colored richly with details of Bible-era Israel-from the details of the everyday way of life to details of the Jewish religion.  Dorr merges reality with folklore as she tells the story of two great characters of the biblical era. The book starts out with Bathsheba as a young girl and David as a strong willed rebellious military leader.  It details the way they met and follows them all the way through their difficulties. 

The one fault that I had with the book was that I found her Bible knowledge lacking because she presented facts in the story as happening one way when the Bible says differently. Example: Nathan found out from Urial about the pregnancy, not from God. But it does give a good look at the history and tradition of that time in history.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Cookies--Bullets

This year I am giving tins of cookies as gifts.  I am cutting back on spending so I can make a donation to help drill water wells in Mozambique, where thousands of people die every year as a result of drinking contaminated water.

I have a few favorite cookie recipes, but one that everyone loves are Mexican Wedding Cookies--those little round bites covered in powdered sugar.  They are easy to make but in our family are called Bullets.  The first time my mom made them, she did something wrong, and they came out hard as rocks.  When my dad tried one, he told my mom not to worry, they wouldn't go to waste, 'cause he would use them for bullets.  Well, the name stuck.

Here is the recipe that I use

Bullets  (Mexican Wedding Cookies) Daddy's Favorite
1 cup Margarine                     2-1/4 cup Flour
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar     1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla                     3/4 cup finely chopped nuts Walnuts or Pecans

Instructions:  Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla thoroughly.  Mix dry ingredients, and blend in.  Mix in nuts.  Roll in 1" balls, place on cookie sheet and bake at 400  for 10-12 minutes, until set but not brown.  While warm roll in additional powdered sugar.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas a Crime?

Which of the following countries criminalized the celebration of Christmas?

 a) England

 b) Scotland

 c) Germany

 d) Poland

The correct answer is "a". 

Between 1647 and 1660, Christmas celebrations were banned in England under the administration of Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. Soldiers were ordered to patrol the streets and take any food that was being cooked for a Christmas feast. Christmas carols were banned. The only acceptable way to celebrate the birth of Christ was to attend a sermon.

Although in theory and on paper the celebration of Christmas had been abolished, in practice it seems that many people continued to mark 25 December as a day of religious significance and as a secular holiday. Semi-clandestine religious services marking Christ’s nativity continued to be held on 25 December, and the secular elements of the day also continued to occur – on 25 December. 

At the Restoration not only the Directory of Public Worship but also all the other legislation of the period 1642-60 was declared null and void and swept away, and both the religious and the secular elements of the full Twelve Days of Christmas could once again be celebrated openly, in public and with renewed exuberance and wide popular support. The attack on Christmas had failed.

But I fear Christmas is under attack in America.  The enemy is consumerism. It seems that more and more people even hate the thought of the Christmas season.  Where is the peace and joy?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. According to Oxford Dictionaries, the 2013 word of the year is 'selfie'. Your thoughts? When did you last take a selfie? Do you post them online somewhere?  Do you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind the lens?
I definitely prefer to be behind the camera, however I have taken a selfie--I had a new haircut and wanted my daughters opinion.  I do not post selfies on line.

2. Will you send out Christmas cards this year? If so, are they ready to go? If not, are you glad or sad about leaving that tradition behind?
I will send out a few handmade cards to close friends and family.

3. Do you trust easily?
I find it very hard to trust, having been burned so many times in the past.  I have to pray daily for a trusting, kind spirit.

4. Pine-cinnamon-peppermint-vanilla (as in sugar cookie)...of those listed, which one is your favorite December scent?
Cinnamon with peppermint as a close second.

5. Did you do more talking or more listening yesterday? Was that by choice or necessity?
I always listen more than I talk.  It is amazing what I learn when I keep my mouth shut.

6. What's the last song that got stuck in your head? Sorry if it's back there now :  )
Probably "Lucky" by Jason Mraz

7. Which world explorer (in the whole history of the world) would you most like to have traveled with, and why? 
Jack Cousteau, I love all the things that he saw and experienced.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
This year I am participating in the Advent Conspiracy. Our church is part of a group of churches trying to change the emphasis from commercialism to showing the true meaning of Christmas. As part of this, I am cutting back on my Christmas gift giving, and sending the money through the church to Mozambique to provide 5 fresh water wells for the people. Tens of thousands of people over there die each year from diseases due to of lack of clean water. I think that giving the gift of health is more important than giving my friends and family things that they don't want or need. I will still give a little remembrance to them, but try to save enough to make a significant contribution to the Mozambique project.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanks for my home Day

Today is National Roof Over Your Head Day. It is a day of appreciation for the things we have, starting with the roof over our heads.

For most of us, a roof over our head signifies living in a house that protects us from the elements, keeping us warm, dry, and cozy. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as you and I. There are many homeless people right here in our country. Some people live in a cardboard box on the street...... literally. There are millions of people around the world who live in poverty or disaster areas, and do not have a home to keep them comfortable and safe.

Spend a few minutes appreciating your roof and home today, along with the many thins you have. And, also make a contribution to a homeless shelter, so others can come in out of the rain.