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More Jesus at Christmas!

Christmastime can give any mom spiritual clutter. 

All of the extra holiday to-dos and events—and the feeling of panic that hits us when we realize it’s already December [fill in the date]—can push the Christmas joy right out of our hearts.  We hate to admit it, but even wonderful Christian moms like us need to be intentional about keeping our hearts centered on Christ at Christmas!

So this December, clear out some of that spiritual clutter.  Plan and prepare ahead as much as possible.  Skip “traditions” you don’t even like.  Simplify where you can and just do less…but, I also want to challenge you to do more in order to keep the joy of our Savior front and center in your heart.

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3 Ways to Journal Joyfully

Today’s moms are taking tons of pictures with their phones and digital cameras, which is fantastic—as long as we remember what our pictures are about.  Years from now, we don’t want to look at our pictures and think, Where were we? or worse, How old were the kids in this picture? or worst of all, Is that my oldest or my youngest?

And then there are the intangible things we want to remember but can’t really photograph…like the way my oldest used to say “strawbabies” instead of “strawberries,” or how my preschool-aged daughter’s favorite color was brown(!), or how thankful I am for my youngest’s joyful disposition.  We think we’ll always remember those kinds of things—but what if we don’t?

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55 Everyday Photo Ideas

Any mom’s spirit can be cluttered by the feeling that she isn’t taking enough pictures.  It’s easy to be overwhelmed by how quickly our kids are growing up.  We don’t want to miss it—and we don’t want to forget what it’s like right now.

With a little thought and some intention, you can take more pictures and enjoy more of your memories.  You can choose an everyday moment that you’d like to capture, or wait for inspiration to strike!  Keep your camera handy, because you never know when a great moment will happen.

Here are a few things to be on the look out for…or do on purpose, just for the pictures.  (Don’t knock it—who cares if it’s a little contrived?   You’re still having fun!)

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9 Ways to Party Heart-y!

Spiritual clutter is usually a bad thing, but sometimes persistent, nagging thoughts are actually useful. 

Thoughts like We haven’t gotten together with them in ages or I’d really like to get to know her better can remind us to reach out to the people in our lives.  They could even be Holy Spirit Nudges, urging you to minister to others and deepen your relationships through hosting.

We can accomplish the Lord’s work and further the Kingdom of Heaven through the gift of our homes.  Romans 12:12-13 says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.” 

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Will Heaven be…Boring? (Hint: the answer is no!)

Read it! Revelation 22

And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.

And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—

for the Lord God will shine on them.

And they will reign forever and ever.

(vs 4&5)

Think it through

I’m excited about Heaven—like, really excited. Sometimes I can’t wait to be with Jesus and see what it’s like there.

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Victory is Ours

It’s been raining in Ohio for weeks. If you live here, you know. If you don’t, well, I’ll just say that I’m not sure if there was more than one day in June that it didn’t rain and July has been almost as bad.

Being an “inside girl,” I really don’t mind rain…but things are getting pretty soggy, even for me. And my fellow Ohioans have been getting a little fussy about it. My positive rejoinder, “Well, at least we’re really using our bowling pass!” is starting to wear thin.

Last week there was a day with absolutely no chance of rain in the forecast. I’d been avoiding errands, so I hopped in my car and headed straight to Michaels (my favorite store—crafts!). I pulled into a parking spot, gathered up my coupons, and then spotted the umbrella that had taken up permanent residency in my purse. As I happily removed it, I prayed, “Thank you, God, for this beautiful sunny day!”

Immediately my heart swelled with a larger-than-life word, a sudden understanding:

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When it’s Hard to Wait

Read it! Psalm 33

We wait in hope for the Lord, He is our strength and our shield.

In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust His holy name.

May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You.

(vs 20-22)

Think it through

When you’re a kid, it’s hard to wait. To wait for dinner, to wait in line, or to wait for Christmas.

When you’re an adult, it’s harder to wait. To wait to make that purchase. To wait for that call from the doctor’s office. To wait for dreams to come true and hopes to be fulfilled.

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Why “Venting” isn’t Cool

Read it! Philippians 2

Do everything without complaining and arguing,

so that no one can criticize you.

Live clean, innocent lives as children of God,

shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked people.”

(vs14&15)

Think it through

The first step to living the sweet life that I really wanted to share with my kids is living with a thankful heart. So I created a page about complaining.

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A Little Redeemer, a Lot of Redemption

Read it! Ruth 4:13-17

“He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.

For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

(vs 15)

Think it through

Do you ever get the feeling that the book of Ruth is really more about Naomi?

I’d expect a book called “Ruth” to end with Ruth herself, happy with her husband and cradling her son in her arms. But instead we’re left with the image of Naomi holding and caring for the child, and her friends saying, “Naomi has a son!”

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Are You a Fool for Jesus?

Read it!: 2 Samuel 6

I will become even more undignified than this,

and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.

But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.

(vs 22)

Think it through:

When I was a child, my Dad and a family friend named Ray performed at various church services as the “special music.”   In fact, they still do on occasion!  The two of them would sing and play guitar, and one their regular songs was “I’ll Be a Fool for You, Jesus.”  (You can check out the lyrics here if you’d like.)  The older I get, the more I understand what they were singing about.

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