Thursday, December 18, 2014

5 Tips to De-stress (Next) Christmas

Christmas is almost here. Are you delighted or debilitated?
Use these 5 tips to make next year's holiday season more joyful than Tiny Tim on Christmas morning. 


nativity scene
courtesy of stockimages @freedigitalphotos.net


5) Prep for next year. Get in the habit of post Christmas and other clearance shopping. Watch for new-in-package items at garage sales and thrift shops. Keep the gifts in a tote, and you'll have a head start for next Christmas. Works great for birthdays and baby showers too. 

4)  Limit spending. Fix a gift budget and stick with it. Last year my sister-in-law, Murph, gave me a gorgeous plaque she'd found at a thrift store. It was in perfect shape, and fit my d├ęcor wonderfully.
Re-gifting is great. When you receive a potential re-gifting item, tape a note on it. Include the date and who it's from to keep from giving it back to the original giver.

3) Break Tradition. If you always cook a feast for your extended family, ask each member to bring along a side-dish instead. You'll save time and money. Plus it assures your guests of one dish they'll enjoy-their own.
Create new traditions, like taking a special family outing in lieu of gifts. Seriously, how many gifts do your children need?  

2) Under-commit. It's OK to say no. "Sorry, I can't host the ... cook the... head up the ..."  No need to explain why. A simple, "I'm sorry, I can't." suffices. You might need to repeat it several times, but it will work. That goes for parties too.



nativity scene
courtesy of digidreamgrafix @ freedigitalphoto.net

1) Remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Focus on the joy of Jesus birth. Let cooking, cleaning, and shopping take a back seat to the great news found in Luke 2:11:

"The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Does God Play Favorites?


Cecil Murphey has authored and co-authored over 135 books, including 90Minutes in Heaven and GiftedHands: The Ben Carson Story.


Thanks to his generous sponsorship, last month I attended HACWN's 2014 writers conference in Kansas City.


Sounds straightforward, right? There's more to the
story.


author Kat Crawford

Kat Crawford
, author of Capsules of Hope, and co-founder of the Wordsowers Christian Writers group, urged me to attend the 2014 Heart of America Christian Writers Network conference.

I said, "I'd like to Kat, but it's not in our budget."

She insisted, "You need to be there."

It's hard to say no to Kat. She's a tiny fiery planet orbiting the writing world. When she emits her cosmic wisdom rays, people listen. So at her continued urging I said, "I'll pray about it."

She leaned close, patted my arm and said, "Get ready to go."

 
I sought the Lord, both alone and with my husband, Jake.
NOTE: Fancy way to say, "Asked God about stuff."

On Friday Aug. 29, during my morning bible study, Revelation 3:8, a message to the Church in Philadelphia, stood out:

 
"I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me."

 
Late that night after much prayer Jake and I agreed that, due to our other commitments, I could only attend the HACWN conference if the Lord fully opened the door of provision.
NOTE: Fancy way to say, "Paid for stuff."

courtesy of Anusorn P nachol @freedigitalphotos.net

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Kat Crawford contacted Cecil Murphey and asked him to sponsor me.

 
His one word response waited in my inbox next morning.


"Sure."

God's provision didn't stop there.
 
Teresa TierneyWordsowers team leader and "Roadblocks to Forgiveness" writer Teresa Tierney invited her fellow attendees a ride to Kansas City.
                            Whoo hoo! No car rental needed.

And because of their friendship with Kat, a lovely couple opened their home to us.                      Yes! No hotel bill.

 
Here's the best part: God doesn't play favorites. He has wonderful things planned for you, too.

 
In Acts 10:34 Peter said, "...'I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism.'" NLT.


Here's what God says about you:



White cross against blue sky
courtesy of artur84 @freedigitalphotos.net
"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 TLC

 


To discover his amazing plan for your life, spend time with God reading his word, the bible.


I'd love to learn what doors God opens for you. Drop me a line and I'll intercede for you before the throne.
NOTE: Fancy way to say I'll pray for you.