Friday, December 16, 2011

A few more of my favorite things...

So, I recently shared about "bows" being one of my favorite things and you can read about it here. But yesterday, when a friend complimented my snowflake pin, she said, "You should blog about that" after she heard the story.

Here I am with SNOWFLAKES...another one of my favorite things.

The story goes that in 1992 when I met my husband, Jason, we shared our first kiss at Concord College. We can remember the exact location in the science building parking lot and what happened started snowing! This is no Hallmark movie friends, it really happened!

That year, we made ornaments for each other and one was a snowflake I painted. This is the ornament that started it ALL!
The idea caught on. We started exchanging snowflake ornaments every year. Now, almost 20 years later, we have a wonderful marriage, a tree full of snowflake ornaments, and a son to share them with.

There aren't really any rules, but it goes something like this...each of us picks out the other a snowflake ornament in secret, wraps it up as a Christmas gift, and we usually open them on Christmas Eve. Then, after Christmas, each snowflake is delicately wrapped in tissue paper, put into a zip lock bag, with an index card filled-out sharing who it was to, who it was from, a short description of the snowflakes (so we can can tell them apart), and any reason it was chosen for the other. Then, each year as we trim the tree, we get out our snowflakes and read the cards back to each other.

Here are a few of my favorite ones...

TO: April
FROM: Jason
Golden snowflake with a picture of our ultrasound of Jeremiah
"Celebrating our first Christmas as parents with our GIFT, Jeremiah!"
TO: Jason
FROM: April
Red and white felt snowflake
"Jason's new job as an elementary school principal and "Daddy" has made him soft around the edges."
TO: Jason
FROM: April
Snowflake Bell
"Honoring Jason's mom's passing and a wonderful life...When do "angels" really get their wings?"

TO: April
FROM: Jason
Snowflake Jingle Bells
"Having our son in preschool has given us a lot to make a joyful noise about!"

...just a few of my favorite things. I could go on and on. Somewhere in the mix, Jason started picking up snowflake pins that I wear through the holidays. Each is sentimental (although not wrapped in tissue and kept in a zip lock bag with an index card - LOL!) Thanks for encouraging me to share Amanda!

Now, I have a question for all of you. I want to hear from you. As we celebrate God's gift to the entire world, His Son Jesus, who hung on a tree, displaying God's love to forgive us of our sin, and His power to rise again from death that we might have life abundantly...what has that life looked like this past year? If Jason's snowflake ornaments, remind me of our life celebrated together and of his love for me, what would God's ornament to you look like from this past year?

A heart as He reminded you of His Love? A dove symbolic of His Peace? A smiley face as you experienced His Joy? A lamp to remind you to be is His Light?

Think about it and let me know what you come up with. What God hung on the tree for us is ETERNAL, no seasonal and He is ever faithful to remind us. Celebrate Him!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bows...are a few of my favoirite things!

Hi Friends,

Remember me?! As our family has faced lots of transition and illness since school started, I have struggled to continue to post to my blog. But as recent events over the weekend displayed God's faithfulness, I had to visit and share with you.

On Friday, I received an e-mail from a friend who is leading me and a few girlfriends in Bible Study. She was reminding us to not get lost in the stressfulness of the holidays. I replied with some thoughts that had been stirring in my heart all week. I had them scribbled down on the back of an envelope by my night stand with an orange felt pen (Writer friends, you understand, right?)

I love to gift wrap. In my opinion the way a gift is wrapped and how it is given is just as important as what is inside. So, I take my time wrapping and love cloth and hand tied bows instead of the adhesive...what a display of beauty, time, and concentration!

But don't let that EVER stop ya from sharing a gift with me (HA HA) because, in the hussell and bussell of Christmas, it never fails that I end up grabbing a couple of the plastic adhesive bows and slapping them on a gifts. Never fails. You know the feeling...not really what I wanted to do, but I didn't WISELY plan or prepare for what my heart really wanted to do.

Now, think of the WISE men.

As they really gave their gifts to the KING, not just to Mary and Joseph, how did they do it? Bow, is my answer. Not just any person was born, Jesus Christ was named King of Kings and Lord of Lords. They had made such plans and preparations following the star, traveled so long and come so far to find HIM, my heart (and the Word) tells me they didn't stand at the door and offer the gift to the parents.

The WISE men HAD TO enter the place, come close to Jesus, take time after preparations and planning, and bow, as they presented their gifts.

Now, I am not going to get all tied up about the timing of when they got to Jesus, was it right away or 2 years later. Should they really go with the nativity set or not.... The story of their gift giving to Jesus is in the Word and I just want to learn from their humble hearts, sacrificial time, concentrated effort, and gift giving. Even Herod told them to go and "seek diligently" (Matt. 2:8), but we all know his heart! But the whole reason the wise followed the light, came to Jesus, gathered in His Name was "we have come to worship Him" (Matthew 2:2). I will admit, I don't really think of "worship" when we are under the tree? So, when they did arrive there on that day, to celebrate the birth of the King, look at what it says "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" (Matthew 2:11).

We always pray before opening gifts, trying to keep Christ in Christmas, but this year, before the first bow is
given, I think I will invite my family to pray and share "a bow" with me to give Christ our worship as a gift this year, the first gift....a real bow, not just our heads in prayer, but our whole beings (on bended knee) in worship before God to truly thank Him for the gift of His Son.

Then, maybe after all the adhesive bows are gone, that one bow will stick in our hearts!

As Friday came to an end, I thought, "I will, I will" when another girlfriend replied to me saying, "you must blog this BIG time!" So just imagine my surprise (and conviction) when the VERY NEXT day came along and Saturday brought this gift of pose-able action figures for our son, Jeremiah, from his Great Aunt Gerry.

Yep, I fell down in the floor and admired each of the 12 pieces. I bended their knees...even the camels and took this picture for you! Thanks Aunt was not only a gift to Jeremiah this year, but an encouragement to me! And to my girlfriends who encourage me to write and post on the blog...that is a gift I am thankful for, too. Merry Christmas, I am so glad that we share our gifts and present them to Christ first, then others.

Have a Worship-Filled Christmas,