Monday, December 28, 2009

This Can be a Great Week!!

Do you enjoy this week as much as I do? The pressure of all that mom must do to make the Holidays special is past and the lull of expectations and places to be are a current (albeit short-lived) welcome relief. The kids are hopefully playing happily with their new toys and there is the slight possibility that mom may be able to relax just a little bit before the regular routine rolls back into full throttle.

As we look forward to the new year, let’s consider some of the things we may want to do differently from last year. As a mom, prayerfully think about what went well in your home last year and what you want to change from the past year. Sometimes we need to do a little closet clean out and recognize some things we want to do differently. There may be a routine you want to change, or a way of disciplining you may want to rethink or an activity you may want to rearrange.

This is a good time to make positive changes and move in a new direction. I like the turning of the new year as it can offer the opportunity to make a fresh start. Here are a few gentle questions to ask yourself as a mom in looking toward the new year. No self-condemnation, just some things to consider:
· Am I disciplining wisely? Remember every time you discipline your kids it is an opportunity to teach and train and show them that you love them.
· Am I being a positive example to my kids through my words, attitudes and actions?
· Am I making our family dinner time a priority? Studies now show the powerful and positive benefits of family dinner.
· Am I looking at the good in my kids or am I focused on the challenges?

As you ponder each of these questions, ask the Lord to show you how to make positive changes. Seek His power and strength as you glorify Him in your home in 2010. Post the following verses on your refrigerator as a reminder of His power at work within you for the coming year.

II Peter 1:3 – 8
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tis the Week

It’s the big week! It’s the week that we have all been working toward with anticipation and excitement mixed in with a slight dose of exhaustion and anxiety. This is the final stretch where the rubber meets the road and the wrappings meet the receiver.

As you put the final touches on all the gifts, I want to encourage you to sincerely pray for each person for whom you are preparing a gift. Ask the Lord to show you how to love the recipient and show him or her kindness. Think about it? What good is a gift if it is given with frustration, hurt or unkind thoughts? What does a carefully wrapped package mean to someone when it is simply given out of duty or obligation and not with love?

Let’s add true, sincere, Christ-like love to our gift giving this year. As we reflect on God’s gracious love for us, may we in turn pour out that kind of gracious love toward others. I’m reminded of I Corinthians 13:1-3:

"1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."

The passage goes on to remind us what true love (a Christlike love) looks like:

"4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. "

This week invite the kids to help you wrap gifts and prepare the Christmas dinner, and as you work together pray together for the people you are serving. Talk about the most significant part of any gift or most important ingredient of any casserole is the love that goes into it. Read I Corinthian 13 together. Have a Merry Christmas my friend.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Traditions

Often I am asked about some of my favorite Christmas traditions with my own family. I have several that are unique and special just to us. One tradition is that I give my daughters a gift of a new set of pajamas and slippers, which they open on Christmas Eve. We also have tamales and chili every Christmas Eve after going to the candlelight service together. On Christmas morning we enjoy (or maybe tolerate) green eggs, and Curt reads the Christmas story from Luke 2 before opening presents.

During the month of December we look for ways we can serve. One tradition I have started just recently is going downtown to help out with Operation Care. This is a giant Christmas party for the homeless in downtown Dallas. It is an incredibly beautiful gift of love to the people in our community. Hundreds of volunteers help literally thousands of homeless people, some who are bused in from surrounding cities. If you live in the Dallas area consider helping out on Saturday, Dec 19 at the Dallas Convention Center. Go to to sign up as a volunteer and for more information.

One last tradition I want to mention is that of buying a Christmas book for the family. When the kids were little I bought children’s books which we read over and over again. As they grew I bought lovely coffee table books, and lately I’ve bought some wonderful Christmas novels and story books. This year I purchased Mike Huckabee’s A Simple Christmas, filled with touching stories that remind us of the true reason for the season. Another book I recommend is, William J. Bennet’s The True Saint Nicholas. The reason I like this book is because I think it is important that we teach our kids about the real Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas) and the heart of giving which he displayed in his life. He was a true hero of the faith.

This week we celebrate the Advent week of Joy. As Christians, we find our joy in the Lord and in the fact that He sent Jesus to this world as a gift to pay the penalty for our sin. Joy to the World! May we proclaim it as we experience a joy that no one can take from us. I hope you have a wonderful week of enjoying family and pointing to Christ continually during this season.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Recipe for Fun

One of the best ways to enjoy the Christmas season with the kids is to spend time with them doing something that is both fun and productive. Baking goodies to give as gifts is a great opportunity to encourage our kids hearts toward giving to others as well as enjoy some good family time together. Here’s a recipe from my friend Jane Jarrell ( It’s easy to do with the kids and makes a great snack or gift. Jane presents this recipe on our Fresh Start Holiday show. Go to

Chocolate Cookie Crunch
1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate morsels1 (12 ounce) package white chocolate morsels 2 tablespoons peanut butter10 chocolate sandwich cookies
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Place semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate in separate medium microwaveable bowls. Microwave 1 cup morsels in an uncovered microwave-safe bowl on medium-high power for one minute. Stir to combine. Some morsels may retain their original shape. If necessary, microwave an additional 10 – 15 second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted.Add peanut butter to white chocolate; stir until well blended. Crumble half the cookies over chocolate in each bowl; mix well. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate mixtures onto wax paper-covered baking sheet, alternating the colors of the chocolates. Cut through chocolate mixtures several times with knife for marble effect. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
Makes 1 ½ pound

The second Sunday of Advent was this Sunday as we lit the candle of Love. This is a wonderful time to dwell on God’s great love toward us. Memorize the following verse with your kids as you celebrate God’s love this Advent season. “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” I John 3:1