Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Young mom's Christmas party

This past Wednesday, we had the Young Mom's Christmas party.
Sarah and I gave each girl a candle and journal.

You can see labels on the backs if you look close.  We put Christmas related words on their backs and they had to guess what the word was by just asking "yes" and "no" questions.  Words like "caroling", "wisemen", "great with child".

There was a guessing game to figure out how many chocolates were in the jar.  Can you guess?  Answer at end of this post.*

 We had lots of yummy food!

We played a Christmas Mad Lib.  You take a song, in this case "Let it Snow".  No one knows that, but you ask for parts of speech, like "noun", "verb", etc.  They give you those to fill in the blank to make a totally new song.  You can find Mad Libs on-line to come up with stories.  Children really enjoy this!

I elected Allison, a former music teacher, to sing this new version.

 Of course, any good Christmas party needs a gift exchange!
We set it at $5 limit. Amazing what one can do with only $5!

Then the girls surprised Sarah and I with these GINORMOUS gifts!

 These are Allison's creations!  She has a shop on Etsy!

Thank you so much Allison, Amanda, Andrea, Becca, Beth, Heidi, Jill, Julie, Kari, Kendall, Kelli, Laura, Rachel, Sarah F., Sarah Ha., and Sarah He.!!!!

***** * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There is a hymn called "Take Time to Be Holy".  We have been reading in Galatians that we truly can only be "perfect" in Christ alone, but here are some words from Chuck Swindoll that are good to think on:

It takes time to cultivate a walk with the Lord that begins to flow naturally because the enemy is so much more assertive and powerful than we....and so creative, so full of new ideas on how to derail us and demoralize us.

We need to lock onto the power that comes from God's presence and invite Him to cleanse our thoughts, to correct our foul speech, to forgive us completely, and make us holy vessels, who, like the winged seraphim, spend our days bringing glory to His holy name.

1.      Take time to be holy, 
 speak oft with thy Lord; 
 abide in Him always, 
 and feed on His word. 
 Make friends of God's children, 
 help those who are weak, 
 forgetting in nothing 
 His blessing to seek. 

2. Take time to be holy, 
 the world rushes on; 
 spend much time in secret 
 with Jesus alone. 
 By looking to Jesus, 
 like Him thou shalt be; 
 thy friends in thy conduct 
 His likeness shall see. 

3. Take time to be holy, 
 let Him be thy guide, 
 and run not before Him, 
 whatever betide. 
 In joy or in sorrow, 
 still follow the Lord, 
 and, looking to Jesus, 
 still trust in His word. 

4. Take time to be holy, 
 be calm in thy soul, 
 each thought and each motive 
 beneath His control. 
 Thus led by His spirit 
 to fountains of love, 
 thou soon shalt be fitted 
 for service above. 


We are so glad these young mothers are desiring to take the time each day in the Word, in God's presence. It isn't easy with chasing after little munchkins.  And of course, He is with them all day long, always to help them through each day.  The best thing a child can have is a mother who loves the Lord and prays for her family.

Answer to how many chocolates in the jar:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas house tour

The house is all decorated.  I was a little slow getting it accomplished this year.  The first full week of December had already passed before it was started!  My home is filled with things from people I love.  I love those things and keep them year after year.

As you come to the front porch, you will see a reindeer.  Our friend, Jerry G., who was a missionary in Ethiopia, made it for me.

Welcome to our home

 Made by our friend, Arnie.  Emmanuel - Christ has come!

In our front entrance way, we have a "genkan".  That is a Japanese word for "entrance".   You have to take a step up into the living room.

I have an umbrella stand with umbrellas in the genkan. Thanks to my friend Carolyn, who has one just like it and told me where to get it!  I think of her whenever I grab an umbrella from it.  This is Kansas and we have both rain and snow in the winter, in fact, in the next 10 day forecast even.  Kansas is like that.  We can have 60's, even 70's in the winter.  And then the next day it can drop to the single digits.  So the umbrellas stay out, even in winter.

Candles from a sale at Kerry's Barn .  She has a blog called "I Married a Milkman".

 One thing I was excited about when we moved was being able to hang our stockings on the mantle, but there are just too many.  Plus the chocolate Santas that I put in them each year end up melting when we light the fireplace.  So on the stairway they go!

My friend Tami has stockings with the family members' names on them.  It looked more uniform and really nice!  I may have to do that.  The children tend to "outgrow" what they like.  Hannah likes dogs this year but was into horses last year.  Since I just "upgraded" her from princesses to a horse, I didn't want to get another stocking this year.  Having a name on a stocking would make it the same each year, wouldn't it.
If you look closely, you will see the stockings are pinned shut with safety pins.  No peeking!!

I put 2 stockings by the fire just for pretty sake.

When Claire was here this past week, she pointed to them and said "Mommy!  Daddies!"  (the word "daddy" is always in the plural.  Not sure why, except maybe we do read a book to her called "Daddies".)

I love the flickering orange lights on the kitchen cupboards. From Linda, my sister-in-law.

a cute whimsical bird from my friend, Debbie

I think I finally finished my Christmas letter writing.  I have a long list of people!  I keep all the letters we get in a sleigh "basket".  After Christmas is done, I take one card a day and pray for that family.

Here is the Christmas yule log that my Dad made for me.  We had one when I was growing up in Japan and Dad also made one for our daughter, Jill, as she wanted to keep up the tradition too.

A sweet angel from my Aunt Millie

Here is the creche I grew up with.  You can see broken ears on the animals. And there are some sheep in there from  my bedroom that one of the children must have slipped in.

We three kings - it may have been more.  We really don't know.

 Love this old German Bible, printed in 1883, opened up to the page of the story of the wisemen.  This is from my mother, who knows I love old things.

 Arnie made these trees too.

These sweet children and the angels are from Miyazaki, Japan.  We got them when I was a little girl.

My Christmas goose from my son.

A new decoration this year, is this wreath.  Our young mom's Bible study gave both me and my friend, Sarah, one as a thanks for leading them.  I will post about our party later.  Isn't this beautiful???  Check out my friend Allison's Facebook page, Front Door Flattery!

Look how you can see the sparkles from the Christmas tree lights on the window!

 We don't have a real tree.   It is a fake one which is necessary due to some family members with allergies.  It takes over an hour to put it up, branch by branch.

We do not have a designer tree.  No theme tree.  I like those...but really, it is more like a memory tree.  I'm just sentimental that way!  Each year we pick one ornament to represent that year.  This year we purchased our ornament when we were in Bethlehem.  It is made from olive wood.
 This one is from the year we went to Martha's Vineyard to visit our son who was at music school there.

We have a snowman for each person in the family.
 My brother made this Jesus in a manger many years ago.
 These 2 guys are Arkansas and Wisconsin snowmen, where our kids' spouses are from.
 And a bird from Ethiopia where we have 2 friends.
In the background you can see a Starbucks cup because we LOVE Starbucks!

 I love to watch birds so we have lots of birds, or bird related things, like birdbaths, houses,etc.
Do you see the Russian ornaments in the background?  When our pastors and a friend of ours went to Russia, they brought those back to everyone who helped send them.

Now, to go to the basement....

 On the middle landing is this snowman.  
It is from my girlfriend, Sheryl, who collects snowmen.
And it has a bird on its shoulders.
Because I like birds!

The last 2 stockings are for my parents.  Those of you who know our son-in-law, who is from Wisconsin.  Do you see his stocking?  Packers, of course!

The framed picture from my daughter-in-law's parents.

These are itty bitty stockings, just for fun. 
 And a little Charlie Brown type tree.

That concludes my home tour this holiday!

The whole house, decorated for a very special Birthday!