Monday, December 29, 2008

Advent isn't just for Advent anymore

Tonight I went to a meeting about my upcoming mission trip to Haiti. While praying about ways to raise money the Lord showed me something new.Well not all the way new..but new to my understanding. This Christmas we took part in the Advent Conspiracy ( . I got into my spirit and changed me. But what Jesus was telling me today is that this in not a once a year thing. Worship more, spend less and give more are for all times. Relational giving is for every day. So what does this have to do with Haiti?? and raising money. Here is what I am seeing: The Lord says what do you have in your hand?? Maybe you like to take photos or maybe you like to cook or maybe you are skilled at preparing taxes. God has put something in your hand that He wants to use to in His kingdom work. So maybe I could go to a manicurist (Sp??) and simple ask for a donation OR I could go to her and say will you donate two hours of your time to support our trip to Haiti? A second person can now go to the her making a monetary donation to the trip and have the benefit of her service and the benefit of the time spent together. The point being that not everyone has money but everyone has something. I would love to hear comments about creative ways to use this truth..What is in your hand?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Hands of Jesus

I am feeling very grateful today for my mother and the way she taught me the important things. She taught me that if you go walking on the beach on a cold afternoon you can find beautiful shells AND that if you add glue and a little glitter your Christmas tree will one of beauty and delight. She taught me that the things that we have are the things that God will use to bless. Christmas does not have to be expensive to be bountiful. This year was very different. The Advent Conspiracy had a big impact on me. I did worship more, spend less and give more. It was hard sometimes because I love to give gifts to my children and grandchildren. The temptation was real and often to spend more, and then some more. But today as I looked under my tree the pile was not very high. And if was alright. My daughter Gretchen has a little saying she uses about her Christmas shopping for the children "Something you want, something you need, something you wear and something you read." So between her three children that means 12 gifts. But her gifts were creative and the children were not one bit deprived or disappointed. Gretchen made a beautiful dress for Katie with a matching one for Katie's doll. Jon made gun that shots rubber bands for Micah. It was so cute to see Micah all dressed up in his Christmas suit carrying that gun around. Gretchen took a used flower girl dress, added glitter, a crown and some sparklie shoes and Abbie became a princess.
We spent the afternoon at the nursing home. It was awesome. Abbie was so loving toward the residents there. She sang to them and patted them and hugged them with real hugs. The kind of hugs that stick with you. She sat on one woman's lap for quite a long time. When i neared time to go I spoke with Abbie about what she did and thanked her. I asked her if she could see Jesus' hands. She said no and we talked about Jesus using her hands to be His hands.I think she got it. This truth my mother taught me. It is so exciting to see this lived out in this new generation.
So this year there is not a lot of wrapping paper to throw away or sweaters to exchange. The gifts this year are far more enduring and while they will not be exchanged they will be passed on and on and on....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

She makes me smile.

After we got the tree up last week our three yr. old grandaughter Abbie came for a visit. No sooner did she see the tree than she we laying on the floor with her face inches from the manger under the tree. A few days later she was over again. This time there were also wrapped gifts under the tree. Including gifts for Abbie. I expected her to ask what I thought was obvious "Nanny is there a gift for me?" Instead this little blonde beauty said "Nanny, are these gifts for the poor children?" She never did mention gifts for herself. I am so blessed to be able to have this granddaughter who thinks of others before herself.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Little Bit of My far

I have had such a wonderful Christmas season. I have had some great relational good times. Thanksgiving with Jon and Gretchen hosting started things off and here on Dec 20th I still have good times with people I loved planned for the next week. My best girlfriend Candy and I traveled to PA the first week in Dec for a whirlwind holiday celebration. Eight hours in the car and we never ran out of things to talk about. On Wed afternoon we went to The Miracle of Christmas at the Sight and Sound theater. It was wonderful...angels flying, camels on stage and the best line of the show was "I am going to be God's grandmother!" Candy and I laughed and cried and for a few days we were free of the responsibilities of our grown up lives. On Thurs. night we were my son in law Chris' guests at a Point of Grace Christmas concert. We had dinner and all access passes and great seats. What a happy time this was. Melody is such a great hostess and Evie such a dear baby and were so blessed to spend a little time with them. We got home just in time for the Christmas tree lighting in downtown Manteo where Gretchen was singing and directing the community choir. Abbie rode the yule log. Several hundred people from the community gathering to celebrate. Josh and Jenny were down for Jenny's bridal shower and Josh helped Katie decorate the play house. I've watched Bernstein Bears Christmas at least three times, The new Miracle on 34th Street and I am now watching Elf. I Elfed Myself about a million times and made for than 30 dozen Christmas cookies with family and friends. I've been caroling with the youth group.I decorated the display case at the Post Office and I've decorated our Christmas tree twice.(it fell down!!!) I worked on a special project with Katie, Micah and Abbie and tomorrow I will go to their Christmas program at church. THEN on Monday I get to go to Raleigh and see Gwenn and Nick do a program at their church. Christmas lasagna of course! And so this year I can say without a doubt that the best gifts we can give are the ones that are given of our time, love and our commitment to celebrating each other as we celebrate the one who gave of himself on that first Christmas.
So tell me ...all of my two readers..what is making this year a memorable one for you??

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pray it Forward...the waiting room

So today I gave my friend Candy most of what is left of our 50-60 bottles of vanilla. Now we wait to see how God will work this. Sometimes I wonder "did I just think this up or did I hear from God about this?" The answer comes and says "The good you know to it." So in faith I believe that these bottles will do what they were intended to do. Not because I came up with some catchy idea but because God is faithful when we are obedient. This is my prayer for this project:
"Abba in faith I am believing that you gave me a plan and a task to complete. I thank you for the vision and for the people you have put in my life who made this possible. I thank you for the blessing of spending time with people I love making cookies. I thank you for Nicole and her teacher and their willingness to put in the time and effort needed to print up the fl yer. I thank you for the people who are actively endorsing the Advent Conspiracy who first got my attention about this. Lord I ask you to pour out your blessings on each person who has so far touched this project and for each hand it will come in contact with in the future. I ask that you would meet all of their needs according to your riches in glory. I ask that you will give them hearts to obey you and that they will minister to the Haitian Children's Home and to Gwenn and Nick as they seek to care for the orphaned children in Haiti. Lord you know each need, each care and each desire. Lord meet them where they are and minister your peace to them. Jesus I thank you that you love me and that you love the person who may be reading this right now. Use our efforts and multiply them for your glory. I praise and thank you Jesus."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pray it Forward- is moving forward

Thanks to Nicole Mills and her teacher at the High School we have offically begun to Pray it Forward. They put together the flyer to go in with the cookies to explain this project and did a great job.The tins are being passed out and prayfully we will see God's hand move in all of this. I was so blessed to be albe to pray forward three tins yesterday afternoon. One to a grandmother, one to a young mother and one to a teenage girl. I was so blessed that this girl has asked for money gifts for Chirstmas so that she can share what she is given to bless others. I know that is idea is not my own and was given by God and I know we will see the fruit that He has intended. This is an exciteing time! I would love your to hear how God is recreating Christmas for you this year!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cousins Chirstmas

I love this picture of a bunch of my cousins. We always shared the holidays together. It was a happy time.In this picture is Karen and Steven Cancellieri, my sister Janice, Ricky Muller, Jimmy Aery, me, Mosey Muller and Margie Aery. This picture was taken at the Aery's house I believe. Note the cigeretts and matches just sitting on the table in front of us. This summer all of us except my sister were together for a little reunion party. This is only a small part of our cousin group. There were 26 in total counting the Arey's who were really second cousins. And that was only on my mom's side of the family! So the youngest in this group is about 50 now. Even though I don't see any of them much I still love them. I am so blessed to have been raised in a family that knew the importance of family.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Raise a Cup

I sit at the kitchen table and raise a cup to the memory of my father. Hot choclate with whip cream. In a Santa mug. Not the one he gave me, that is long gone. The undressed Christmas tree waits it adorment. It's crooked. Worst things could happen. The play house sparkles in the evening shadows. The Chirstmas lights on it's porch and roof match the big house. It's sweet.My husband's guitar music drifts through the house with Chirstmas music and random riffs. The two clocks tick. My life if good.

Tomorrow Pray it Forward will be ready to go. I pray that God will use this to His glory.