Parasitic Poop Twig!

Did you know the word Mistletoe essentially means Poop Twig and that it is a devastation to trees around the world? It made me wonder, how in the name of all that is pure and lovely that we romanticized that! Think of all the Christmas Movies we see and how those in love dream of that kiss beneath the mistletoe. It kind of puts a new perspective on things. 😀

This made me think of how often we have almost made the Christmas Story too cute. I am from the Appalachian Area. We are no strangers to barns around here. We see these soft, clean images of Jesus laying in the manager. Anyone who knows what a manger is knows that this is unrealistic. A manager is a trough in which animals are fed. Have you ever watch a hog, horse, or cow eat? They drool, slobber is stringing down from their mouth into the feed. No matter how many times you clean a stable if there is animals in them there is going to be poop. When you read this does this resemble the manager scene we see in movies or on the front cover of our Sunday School literature?

Jesus The Saviour of the World was born in a barn in Bethlehem. I do not imagine that barn varied tremendously from our barns today. His first smells could have very well been that of animal dung and hay. How is that for humble beginnings?

Not everything needs to be storybook clean and romanticized. We need to be realistic. We need to understand what really happened to appreciate what Jesus really did do for us from the manager to the cross. We need to reflect to appreciate his true love for us.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
~Luke 2:12

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The Big Hill & a Yard-Sale Come Spring

Today while I was standing in my little alley kitchen washing dishes and making sweet tea. It was dark and pretty gloomy looking out over the Appalachian Big Hill area. I was thinking about Christmas and feeling inadequate at buying what children of my family would want. I was doing it again comparing myself to my sister and her fabulous ability to find and buy the perfect gift.

I then began to think about children in classrooms that I had taught in throughout the years. I began to look at my big hill I was facing with a better perspective. I am not my sister. I do not have the ability to pick out the latest in fashion or the highest tech items, but what I do know is children. I know that through raising my own and being in classrooms what they want. It isn’t the latest in fashion. (unless they have been taught that makes them who they are) It isn’t the highest going tech item. What they do want is our attention.

Just as we as individual adults want to be treated like we count or we seek validation, so do they. They need our reassurance, a confidence builder, a positive speaker with the ability to speak life over them, an encourager. I found here in the Appalachian classrooms children, if given a choice of to watch a movie or me reading to them almost ever child chose me reading.  They would be a few that would rather watch a movie. Usually, these were children who did not have a TV in their home or was only allowed limited time watching it.

Should a child be permitted to watch as much TV as they choose? I personally think it is overused, because parents in today’s society feel pressured to buying everything their child’s friend has or what is advertised on TV. They are working for a house they cannot afford, because of social status. They are paying for a house that they nor their child lives in. They are doing good if they sleep in it 6-8 hours a night, because they work so many hours they are too tired to interact with their own children and they use TV to pacify them.

Why do we buy into it? Why do we choose social status above raising our own children? Is it benefiting them or us? Have we been successful if we allow our children to be raised in daycare? Shouldn’t they supersede all other thoughts of what is acceptable in society? Family Matters! Balance does as well. I realize many of us have had no other choice, but to work and leave our children. If you are blessed and do not have to leave them and can make it on one income I would encourage each of you to do it. I speak from the point of once being a single mother who worked, went to school and cried as I dropped my daughter at daycare.

As I had a big hill in my life not knowing what to buy and thinking back what children liked most in classrooms. It was someone who cared enough to take the time to read them a story, or make one up as they went along. The second item that younger ones loved was play-dough. Children like to feel as they are, our top priority. I did go buy toys that my niece and nephews would like. I bought tech toys, Octonaut launching toys, educational toys, but I decided to buy what I know which is books. I realized I didn’t have to compete with anyone when I purchased a gift and I didn’t want them to believe that I did. I wanted them to know I cared and loved them. I am hoping this helps someone facing the same big hill that I did this afternoon. We need to teach time is important. More important than expensive gifts that will be thrown in a mount in a closet or in a yard-sale come spring. Frugal is our responsibility!  Time -we will give an account of how we spend it. Spend it well!

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.~Romans14:12

 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,~Ephesians 5:15

Do not Conform to the things of the world!

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.~Romans 12-2

Here is a play-dough recipe I found, as we say here in on the big hill it kills to birds with one stone. You get to spend time with your children and they get a fun gift too. They will cherish the memory more than the play-dough. It may be a tradition they carry on into parenthood.

I also recommend this book as a great way to spend time with your kids this Christmas.

http://www.amazon.com/Crippled-Lamb-Max-Lucado/dp/1400318076/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418942629&sr=1-2&keywords=max+lucado+christmas+books

I also recommend this as it is one of the gifts I purchased for my niece.

http://www.amazon.com/LeapFrog-Read-Me-Violet-Toy/dp/B00CZBHQ5Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418944465&sr=8-1&keywords=read+to+me+dog

Give Generously

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ~ Charles Dickens

Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. Deuteronomy 15:10 (NIV)

We hear so often of all the stories of giving to the financially poor at Christmastime. It cross my mind that they are not the only ones in need. Furthermore, it doesn’t mean the financially poor doesn’t have anything do give. It is a proven fact that people who have more money are more apt to commit suicide and more suicides happen during the holidays than any other time of year. If you know someone that is alone this Christmas that has money invite to your home or take them a meaningful gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be impressive. Many financially rich people are just wanting to know someone cares about them, that they are thought of and appreciated without expectation of getting something out of them. Remember one of the most generous gifts that can be given is your time. When we give time to a material wealthy person they understand that time is valuable. Time is money to most of them. They understand if you care enough to give your time, that you have given a portion of your life to them. They value investment.

Christians need not wait for others to be loving, caring, generous,friendly, or forgiving. We should be taking the love of God to a lonely world regardless of a social status.

Here are Six Ideas that You May Try:

1. An Invitation to Participate in a Christmas Program at Church
2. Or an Invitation to Watch your children in one
3. Spend time with the person
4. Make it personal, if you know a particular food the person likes make it for them.
5. Invite them to participate in a tradition that is personal to you and your family, such as cookie making, skating, tree decorating, pancake breakfast, or pizza. Do not try to make it fancy or fake. They have enough of that in their lives, many of them want real.
6. Make them feel loved by including them is Key! Make just one, someone happy! 🙂

“The bank of love is never bankrupt.”~Steve Maraboli

A Baby Changes Everything!

A baby changes everything~ We find out we are expecting and immediately we think of all the things we must do to prepare. We have to plan a shower or delegate it to our friends, we must decide on a theme of what we are going to do our nursery in. Then finding everything possible to match that theme from pacifiers to mobiles, to bedding and rugs. Not to mention many of us have been guilty of matching all the mobile devices with that theme and clothing. We proceed by planning a day to release the gender of the baby and spend hours on Pinterest for the most creative way to do this to out do our peers. From releasing pink or blue balloons to doing something outlandish as announcing it on a largely viewed media source. Then we can never know what to expect when the day arrives to meet our newborn baby. We must come to a final decision on a suitable name.

When Jesus was born he changed everything! To our knowledge he didn’t have a baby shower to welcome him. He didn’t have a furnished nursery, or soft bedding with a sterile white environment awaiting him. There wasn’t balloons released at a party to announce his gender.

He did however have angels announcing his birth to shepherds in a field! In Luke 2:8-12, the Bible describes the scene in the Bethlehem area during the first Christmas: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

The King of Kings born to be the Saviour of the World lay to rest in a manger!

When we are down about what is fair and isn’t with our babies, and think we can’t get them this or that for Christmas or for their nursery think on these things~ A baby born in a barn in Bethlehem. As he continued to age the Bible teaches us he didn’t have a place to lay his head. It stumps me why we believe we should have and deserve better than the God of the universe was born to! Jesus was God in the flesh and came into the world with a barn of animals. Jesus came and left this world without a place to call home because he was only passing through as we are. Value the gift of salvation not the thing you won’t remember next year!

Era of Redemption

We can be redeemed because of the birth, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Good News!!We no longer have to live without hope, because of Jesus! Exit Egypt forget about the past! Accept the hope of new life that is offered to us all freely and equally!

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. ~Isaiah 43:18-19 KJV

While I Was Yet an Embryo

Today I decided to take on the challenge to redo some of those chunky ornate end tables left from the seventy’s, that are hidden and mildew covered in basements all across America. Pinterest makes me believe I am something I am not a professional or master of crafting. Here in the Appalachians one might say, I was a Jack of all trades, but a master of none aka as a handy-man or tinkerer. 🙂 Although, I have dabbed in crafts all my life I do not believe I am a master at any particular one. I have big ideas that I am not always able to implement. I never like to start small when doing something. If it isn’t very challenging I become bored quickly and am unable to bring it to completion.

This makes me ponder on how our Lord looks at me. Does he see me as a challenge? Does he get bored with me? Does he look at me and say, why in the heck did you do that or why didn’t you expound upon the opportunity I clearly gave you? I really do not know the answers to these questions, but one thing I do know many times I look at myself as a total failure. He looks at me as his own-the handiwork of his crafting. He is a master of all trades- the creator of the universe that took time out to love me before I was born. While I was yet a substance (an embryo) he loved me and was concerned about me. I wasn’t hidden from him, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in my mothers womb. He has a plan that he is able to implement and bring to completion in my life. He rejoices over me with singing! I can not help, but wonder what he sings!

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:~Philippians 1:6

The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.~Zephaniah 3:17

Your eyes could see me as an embryo,
but in your book all my days were already written;
my days had been shaped
before any of them existed.~Psalm 139:16 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

This Christmas as you reflect upon yourself and others focus on-how Jesus views us. We may see flaws without hope! He loves us despite all our imperfections and sees us as a piece of clay that he is skillfully and artistically put together, creating us into a mature intricate work of art. He is hope for our future!

Why I Became a Stripper one Christmas!

 http://www.pinterest.com/lharr2006/christmas-wrapping/

Isaiah 58:10

10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:

Growing up in Kentucky it was very common in my day to raise tobacco. My Dad didn’t raise it, but practically everyone we knew did. Those of you who know the process knows part of that process is called stripping. Stripping was done in a stripping room where the tobacco was prepared for selling in grades. Tobacco farmers have a room in their barn designated for this. It is a cold, black, gummy, dusty and dirty job not for the faint or allergy prone individual.

I was a single mother. My daughter’s dad had passed away when she was three months old in an auto accident. I was young, uneducated, but determined. Determined to provide what I had been used to having growing up in a good family where my Dad worked 12-16 hour days in the Steel Union as President and Mom stayed home with us kids. I set unreasonable expectations for myself for years. I found it only made me miserable.

I set unreasonable expectations for myself for years. I found it only made me miserable and probably many people around me. I could not work and be a stay at home mom. That was how it was supposed to be in my head. I was supposed to be a Mom, a Dad, a provider and nurturer. I was overwhelmed! No matter how hard I worked I could not create for my daughter the lifestyle I was accustomed to. I only set myself up for failure in comparing what life was supposed to be and what God had given me now to make the best of. I couldn’t come to terms with who I was (a single mom) and I had no clue what God intended me to make of my messy life. I can tell you it wasn’t a stripper!

I took the stripper position because I felt my daughter needed a hundred packages under the tree. The odd thing is I can’t remember one of them and I doubt that she can. I found a little late that Christmas was not about keeping up with what merchants tell us on commercials. It is not about the massive amount of money spent on Christmas wrapping (and yes my wrappings had to match my tree), or the purchasing of gifts in large quantity with no quality, only to keep up with my married two incomed family members. It was about spending time with my daughter, teaching her to be a giver, and valuing the Gift of Jesus and sharing him with others. It wasn’t about stripping all that wrapping off either!! 😀

If I could encourage you to stop this season and spend time with your Children, ( do not work those extra hours for an unnecessary electronic device that they do not need) , but take them to a place where they see homeless children and ask what they are willing to give from their own Christmas list. I found in doing this many times my daughter chose her best to give. She to this day buys for children in toy drives and such. I didn’t teach her to give because we had plenty I taught her to give, because I knew how it felt to be a single mom and what it was like to watch my daughter not always have everything I wanted her to.

Share The Good News of Jesus this season by feeding the hungry, giving to the gift-less, forgiving the guilty, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and inviting the lonely.

“When people were hungry, Jesus didn’t say, “Now is that political, or social?” He said, “I feed you.” Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.”– Desmond Tutu

“The day that hunger is eradicated from the earth there will be the greatest spiritual explosion the world has ever known. Humanity cannot imagine the joy that will burst into the world.”– Federico Garcia Lorca, Spanish poet

If You are Looking for a Sign, Here’s Your Sign!

Three wise men… Seriously? I will tease my husband, saying that was sign enough, Jesus was born for three wise men to congregate in the same place- at the same time! In seriousness there may have actually been more than three! We assume there were only three, because of the record scripture gives us of the gifts they brought.

Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

We also assume that the wise men were at the manager the night Jesus was born, but according to the above reference it states when they were come into the house. The wise men worshiped Jesus in a house.

To be wise we must be like the wise men and worship Jesus. In this house we worship One God, and his name is Jesus! We are from the Appalachians, where Bill Engvall is a household name and Here’s Your Sign is a common phrase, but more common in our house is the signs that point to Jesus Christ!

Who Do You Think Could Believe Such a Thing?


Could you Believe that this story is true, if you had of been in Josephs’ sandals?

The birth of Jesus Christ took place in this manner. His mother Mary was legally pledged to Joseph, but before they consummated their marriage she became pregnant by the Holy Ghost! Her husband Joseph, was a just man and he was unwilling to put her to shame, so he was contemplating to divorce her quietly. But as he was considering these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Ghost.

There are people who are whispering
And the rumors are running wild
There’s a woman who’s not married
But she’s gonna have a child

Her name is Mary, she’s a virgin
From down in Nazareth, now listen close
She’s gonna marry a man named Joseph
But the baby’s father is The Holy Ghost

And who do you think could believe such a thing
Could believe that the story is true
And who do you think could believe such a thing
Well, here’s hopin’ to Heaven you do

Now there sayin’ she had a baby
In a barn in Bethlehem
And the stars moved ’round the Heavens
Till it stopped right over them

Then some shepherds said
An Angel came and told them ’bout the birth
They always knew, men went to Heaven
But now God had come to Earth

And who do you think could believe such a thing
Could believe that the story is true
And who do you think could believe such a thing
Well, here’s hopin’ to Heaven you do

Songwriters
REID, DON S. / REID, HAROLD WILSON

The Birth of Jesus
Read
(Isaiah 7:10-16; Micah 5:1-6; Luke 2:1-7)

Matthew 1:18-20
18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.