Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ramblings of an overloaded mind... "one of those"

*dusts off keyboard and blog*
*lays out her tangent...*

I received "one of those" emails today, the "Keep Christ in Christmas" ones. The ones that tell us not to get into the politics of being politically correct (but all the while still meddling in politics to keep things politically "incorrect"...) The ones that say "I will say Merry Christmas this season, will you stand with me?" I got one of those today. That's where my rambling begins...

I was at the grocery store this morning, and just before I said "Merry Christmas" to a sweet old lady who gave me her cart in the parking lot, I stopped. And I thought about it. Today is day 5 of Hanukkah - what if she's Jewish? Would she say to me "keep YWHW in Hanukkah"? No... she'd probably let it roll right off her back, reply Merry Christmas - even though it isn't her holiday - and go on with her day.

Because that's actually what most people who aren't "keeping Christ in Christmas" do. 

It's not that I have a problem with saying Merry Christmas - I say it! I guess my hang up is on the whole "keeping Christ in Christmas" debate that always surfaces at this time of year, as though He can actually be taken out of it. I mean, if your celebration is for Christ, then isn't He still there regardless of what others do? Isn't where YOU put Him at this time of year what matters?

To be honest, I'm not offended by someone saying Happy Holidays to me. I get the feeling from other Christians that I'm supposed to be, but I'm just not. The word holiday actually means HOLY day. :) How awesome is that?! For me, as a celebrator of Jesus, I think saying Happy Holidays is actually a really beautiful thing to say to someone.

And then there's the acknowledgement that Christ wasn't even born on December 25th... WE put Him there and claimed this time of year as our own. I get the history behind all of that, and I have no qualms with it. If I did, I wouldn't observe Christmas! But honestly, how can we be so offended by people celebrating winter solstice (a celebration that predates Christmas) and telling us happy holidays? Or by people who celebrate Hanukkah? (Which also has been held during this time of year since long before Christmas ever even existed - just ask Jesus, you know, since He observed it!) Or even Kwanzaa... I could go more into that one, because at least with Kwanzaa the founder originally shunned Christianity and Christmas (he later retracted that) but, really, if we're being honest - all he did was take the time of year and make it his own... sounds familiar, like what Christians did with Christmas. ;)

I used to be "one of those" Christians. The type who was offended if a city put up a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree, or if a city refused a nativity on their city hall lawns. I used to be the type of Christian who only saw the world through MY eyes... my very scaled eyes. Some would say that is the way I should be, that I should be offended. Some would say I'm now lukewarm. The thing is, nobody is taking away Jesus from me by calling their tree a holiday tree, or by not displaying a nativity. Nobody has taken Christ out of Christmas by greeting me in saying "Happy Holidays" - and Jesus is still in my Christmas, even if I say "Happy Holidays". I've never felt more on fire for Christ, and that fire for Him rages within me, commanding that I love ALL of His people. The ones who say Merry Christmas. The ones who say Happy Holidays.

Even the ones who say nothing at all, because they hate this time of year.

You ever wonder what hurts them so deeply that they can't even feel the teeniest joy at all the beauty of this season? What haunts them... what keeps them from loving...

I do. I wonder if it's ever possibly from the condemnation that we as Christians constantly throw at anything that doesn't fit our western-Christian norm of what this time of year should look like. I've met people so turned off to God because of the way His people treat others. Sometimes I can't say that I blame them.

If we really want to keep Christ in Christmas, shouldn't we just be more Christ-like? Breaking bread with those of different backgrounds and beliefs, showing them His light and His love. Being an example of who He is, who He was when He was here - not stomping on everything that isn't tagged as ours like we own the world.

We own nothing.
We are not even our own. We are His. (I would have it no other way!)
This is His world.
We know that our calling, our commission, in this world is to reach out to the world.
I'm not convinced that our stubborn determination to cling to two words actually fulfill our calling, our commission.

And I'm not saying to Christians that they shouldn't stand firm. Go on, say MERRY CHRISTMAS! Embrace it. It's beautiful! But if someone says Happy Holidays to you, don't take it as an attack. They can't take Jesus out of your Christmas. They aren't hijacking the holiday. They aren't waging war on Christmas. Really. I promise. :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Simplify this blog?


That's the last month I posted anything on here.

Have I been simplifying this life? Kind of, I guess. I've been spending less time blogging, that's for sure. :)

In all seriousness, and if I'm being honest, blogging isn't my "thing", at least not at this point in my life. I have tons of ideas, and tons of things to share, but writing them down takes time. I'm a busy mom of four ever growing kids. Homeschool, extra-curriculars, sports - those things take mucho time. Plus, I have the husband who I enjoy tending to. Many chances I have to blog here are during my time with him, and nothing personal my dear blog, but I'd rather spend it with him. ;) And the church plant! God is moving! I praise Him for the way He continues to grow and shape this ministry into what He has created it to be. As any "infant" it takes much time though. It keeps us all very busy, and I enjoy every second of it.

Anyway, just thought I'd post a little something. Let it be known that I am still alive, still well. I've made a lot of simple changes around our home in the last 9 months (*GASP* I really haven't posted in nine months!) and hopefully I'll have a chance to share them soon.

Thanks for stopping by! Blessings!

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's my party!

Today is my birthday. :)

Being able to actually acknowledge today as my birthday, and not an anniversary of my 29th birthday, is a huge milestone for me. Turning 30 was kind of a panicky moment. 31 wasn't much fun either. 32 was better - and the whole last year has pretty much rocked my socks off (one can only accept a compliment about not looking older than their early 20's so many times before it goes to their head!) so I figure I can embrace 33.

MUCH earlier in the month I got myself a birthday present. Behold "my precious"...

aahhh! :) I LOVE IT! I'm just learning to play, and I dare say I've actually learned one song on it - a rough version of How Great is Our God. So, early birthday present AND accomplishing learning a few things about it, all in celebration of my birthday.

This past weekend we officially celebrated my birthday. Friday the husband and I went out to dinner, for FREE!!! (Thanks to a $10 off coupon, and a gift card we received for Christmas from my sister. Date nights rock, but free date nights go beyond rocking and into realms of excellence that I can't even begin to describe.) That night, God sent some icy-snow - and yes, I'm the odd ball that considers snow "lovely" and a "gift".

Saturday the wonderfully-amazing husband made me a Black Forest Cake!
It even has FRESH whipped cream!
Yes, somebody loves me very much. :)
We had homemade skyline chili spaghetti for dinner, and he even made chile rellenos! Bizarre combination? Yes. Pero, sin embargo, delicioso! 

After dinner, our older girls went a friends house to spend the night, and then we spoiled our younger offspring with a trip to the cheap-o theater to see The Muppets. (My review of the movie - the best part was the muppet show. The rest was pretty much blah!) It made for a fun night out with our littlest ones though, and that's what made it great. 

Sunday we had church, finished my cake, and lounged around. My parents stopped over and my mom gave me a beautiful, handmade birthday card (which she designed herself! My picture simply doesn't do it justice. She makes these all the time. If you're ever in the market for a handmade card, let me know - I can hook you up!)

On to today... well, we aren't really celebrating too much today - hence the weekend festivities. I slept-in a little, waking up after the husband left but before the kiddos. Started week 2 of a Bible study I'm doing. Took a looong, hot shower. Did school and Bible study with the kids. Put on new socks...
eeeeeee!!! I heart knee-high socks!
Had a green smoothie (spinach, apple, and a few pieces of frozen mixed fruit)  
nom nom nom
 Played with Ellie, Elijah, and the camera... 

That's pretty much all we've done. Tonight Ellie and I have cheer practice. We'll probably hit the Y before that though. Then later tonight, the husband and I will have an at home date after the kids have gone to bed. :) 

On a more serious note, God and I have had some pretty intense conversations these last few weeks over this year to come. I don't want a lot, at least not by the standards of men. I want to be healthy. I want to continue on this simplifying journey - simplifying our budget, especially. I want to live like I truly love my family, my friends, His church, and His people. I want to HEAR Him speaking to my heart. I want to FEEL Him as I draw closer to Him in my walk.  I want my children to desire to know Him. I want to see Him glorified ~ moving in our home, our community, our state, country, and world. I want Him to use me in the ways He has planned for my life, and I want to bend to that, in His will and not my own.

I think 33 will be pretty grand. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Random Baking Tip...

Do you remember there was always that one mom on the block who couldn't make cookies? It wasn't that she didn't try, it's just that her recipe wasn't really all that good. Yeah... you remember...

Well, you too can be that mom if you do the following:
1~Cut the amount of butter the recipe calls for in half, and substitute applesauce.
2~Forget to use baking soda.
Yes, you too can be that mom, just as I was today. Now, in my defense, my oldest offspring totally cut my recipe up -  you know, the one from the back of the chocolate chip cookie bag! Yeah, she cut it all up and so I couldn't see that it called for baking soda. Of course, I knew it did - which is why the baking soda was sitting on the counter waiting to be used, I just forgot to use it. We'll blame it on someone else though.  The applesauce - that failure was all on me. Never, ever substitute applesauce for butter, at least not in cookies. Unless you want to be that mom whose cookies suck. In that case, go for it! Hey, at least you won't have the neighbor kids banging on your door, looking for cookies! (Your kids will be gone, too... could be good?!)