Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays and Happy Birthday Jesus!

Happy Week After Christmas!

I believe this is one of my favorite weeks of the year - my husband is home on vacation, family visits are still lingering, leftovers are still being reheated and the Christmas tree is still glowing; all is well as gifts are being enjoyed, meaningful conversations are taking place and quality time is being had with the people I love. It doesn't get much better than this!

I don't have too much to say this week, as I'm coming off my sugary-carb-loaded diet and relaxing after the madness of shopping, sickness, teaching and's nice to have a quiet morning (I'll admit, it's 12:28 and I'm still in pj's. Don't worry, I'm on my way out for a run), but I will leave you with one thing I've been pondering - this truly is the most special time of year. Remembering the LIFE of Christ, his birthday, and the price He paid just for me (and you). It's the best gift of all - one I've really taken to heart this year. Listening to my family talk as they exchanged their gifts on Christmas morning - most gifts were given with a story attached. I overheard my dad explaining why he gave a certain gift to my mom and my sister explaining the gift she gave to B and I - it made me think that behind every gift is a story. Behind the ultimate gift, Jesus Christ, is the ultimate story - and sadly, so many people choose to refuse it. My belief was made strong this year as I tossed the guilt of throwing myself into the holiday spirit, but kept close the reminder that the tree that sits in my living room is a precious representation of that cross Jesus carried with all of MY sin, so that I may live freely. My name was written on that cross, along with many others, and my heart made clean the day I decided to believe. So this Christmas, my prayer is that you too would be in awe of the price paid, the life given, and the birthday celebrated - it's like none other! One worthy of all the praise, excitement and celebration throughout all the earth! Hope you're enjoying this week of rest as much as I am and hope you never forget the magnitude of this yearly celebration - the birth of our King.

Love and blessings!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's a handmade Christmas for me!

So I'm pretty sure that I love wrapping gifts much more than receiving them! I finally completed my Christmas shopping today - whew! I had never intended on being such a last minute shopper, but between traveling, working and being sick, who has time for anything else? Just one more project to complete and I can declare the job done! Until then, tonight's focus was wrapping! I went a little less traditional and totally handmade. I traded the ribbons for twine and construction paper and the bows for tissue paper. With Christmas music in the background, I crafted (if I may say so myself) the cutest little garland of multicolored dots for my solid colored gifts and found a new use for those famous Martha Stewart pom poms - a garnish for my fancy paper. I want to douse my house in the dotted garland - I just love it! I took a few pics to share, hope it inspires your wrapping...enjoy!

Happy wrapping!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chocolate Therapy...

(Are you drooling over this yet? Cause I am!!)

After SEVERAL days of "bed rest," some serious chocolate therapy was in order. So Sunday afternoon I packed up my goods and headed to my mom's house to do some Christmas baking. She has one of those marvelous Kithenaid Mixers (I'm SO jealous) - mixing, folding, whisking and whipping was a breeze. In honor of the latest food fad - cupcakes, I tried my hand at Chocolate Pepermint Baby Cakes (they were delish if I may say so myself!) and I also made cocoa dusted, sweet white and candy cane truffles. Here are a few pics of my creations:

Instead of finishing them off myself, B and I made up cute little Christmasey Chinese take out boxes of goodies and took them to our surrounding neighbors this evening and we invited them to Christmas at the Sanger. It was fun chatting with people we don't see often and it's always a joy sharing goodies I've made! :) That was my big adventure for the day - tomorrow it's back to teaching and rehearsals! Hope you're enjoying the Holidays as much as I am! Lots of love...d

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My First Love....

Happy Sunday!

I couldn't be more thrilled with the slight temperature drop - high 40's I believe, cool enough to justify cozying up on the couch with a warm cup of tea, journal and Bible. I have to admit, I stayed home from church this morning. I'm definitely on the upside of this virus and infection, but I'm afraid to toss myself into a sea of people. I simply cannot afford another week of illness, so I played it safe and brought church to my living room.

B and I have been going through a Max Lucado study through Revelation and this morning's segment was about returning to my first Love. It couldn't have been more timely. December is always a nostalgic month for me. I'm a creature of great comfort - I love tradition, I love all things cozy and I love to soak in the season of happiness and giving. This year has been a little different - it's my second married Christmas, so I'm still establishing my own traditions amongst B and I. We've put up a tree and we've discussed our Christmas budget and gone over our lists for family and friends. We've shared childhood memories of Christmas' past (well, I have atleast - ha!) and have begun to imagine what Christmas' future will one day look like (I'm a total dreamer). I'm also looking back on our first full year together. It was a wonderful year - certainly had it's ups and downs and was a total adjustment; it was filled with so many firsts as B and I have begun to figure out just what life looks like together. But this morning, as I read about the church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation, I saw so many simiarities in my own life. Rev 2:2-4 reads, "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love." What a statement! These people were doing everything right - they were dedicated, they were honest, good people, but God was jealous for them - their hearts had been lost somewhere along the way.

Sadly, I feel that has happened in my own life this year. My life has been more full of love than ever before - but it's been gushed out all over my husband and not my Jesus. I've been dedicated, attending church, serving in the youth group and leading worship on a regular basis. I've attended events and even helped run them. I've done my devotions and I've journaled and even prayed regularly, but somewhere throughout all of the motions, my first Love was left behind. It's a tricky thing - learning to balance love for a person who you've committed your life to loving, and eternal love for the King, my personal Creator and Savior. I now understand what Paul meant when he said it is better to be single than it is to be married, but if you must marry, then do so - for it is not sin. (1 Cor 7) Prior to marriage, loving Jesus was my priority and it came easily. But these days, I find it hard to balance my love for Christ and my love for my husband. With that said, I believe we are all prone to fighting this battle, single or married. We get caught up in our responsibilities as a wife, as an employee, as a mother, as a friend, as a volunteer within the church, or wherever it is that you spend your time and energy. While all of those things are good - examine your heart. Have you left your first Love? I recognize moments that I have, and I now see that God is jealous for me (as He is you). He longs for my heart more than anything I have to offer and so often I hold it back. This is my personal challenge this year as I say goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011 - I want ALL of my heart to be His. He deserves it. Don't let the busy season take away from your worship to Him. It happens quickly and before we know it, we've left our first Love. Be encouraged today, He is after your heart, He is jealous for YOU!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

1 Yr, Bucket List and Women Who Challenge Me....

So, I'm truly the lamest blogger EVER. My last post was what? July or something like that? Oh well - no more vows to be a better blogger, I'll just take advantage of my "bed rest" (sinus infection + virus = bed rest for the next few days) and update those who read, on my little life.

It's been a busy busy season. Brenton and I just recently celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary! I can't believe it's been a year - where has the time gone? It's been one of the best years of my life this far, one I'll cherish forever. Brenton took me on a weekend get-away to a lovely condo in Destin. We celebrated at a cute little French restaurant called Bisou at the Wharf. For memory's sake:

I recently checked off two BIG dreams from my bucket list this year - NYC and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade WITH my HUSBAND! I've been dreaming of this since I was a kid. Traditionally, my sister and I put on a pot of coffee, light the fire and snuggle up on the couch as we watch the parade and then later prepare Thanksgiving dinner together. Sadly my sister was not able to accompany me to NYC, but I got to live out the dream alongside my hubby.

It was a fabulous trip. The parade was just bigger than life. And don't get me started on NYC. It was a bit overwhelming to be in such a big city. We went during the busiest time of year, which was why it probably felt so overwhelming, but I have to say it's a city that truly never sleeps, is rich with our nation's history and not lacking in anything creative, expensive or magnificent. Another bucket list thing was seeing Phantom of the Opera on Broadway - utterly amazing. Words won't do it justice....if you've never seen a true broadway show, DO IT. You won't be disappointed! Here are a few of my favorite shots of our trip:

I feel this is getting lengthy, but I can't neglect to share one of the most amazing events I had the honor of attending. My wonderful mother took me to the Birmingham, AL Deeper Still Conference featuring Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore. I can't even begin to describe how amazing and inspiring these women were. With 14,000 women in attendance and Travis Cottrell (sp?) and praise team leading worship - it was a refreshing weekend, one I desperately needed.
Kay Arthur taught through the entire book of Matthew in 1.5 hrs - incredible. The woman makes me want to lock myself in my house and do nothing but sit with a cup of warm tea and my Bible 24/7. What a wise and anointed gal she is.
And Priscilla, this was my first time hearing of her, but she was no fluffy teacher - she gave it to you straight. She spoke of emptying your quiver completely and walking in faith, trusting that God will take charge. My favorite quote from her was, "Use what you have at your disposal, it will be enough for God to use."
Last but not least, Beth Moore - the woman is on fire. She spoke of learning to recognize the treasure in our lives. If you ever have the opportunity to hear one of these women speak, I highly encourage it. God refreshed my heart and brought me back to life. Sometimes I feel as if I've lost my spiritual pulse, but it's moments like these that He reminds us that He is alive and LIVING INSIDE of us. What an amazing King He is. It's my life goal to be like one of these amazing women - living their lives to the fullest for His glory.

May you remember the true reason for this season and be blessed by all He has given you. Until the next time I have a stolen moment to update, Merry Christmas and Happy 2011!