Imperfect People

Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

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Favorites & Reflections on 2011

A whole year has passed and what do I have to show for it?  Have I learned anything?  What were the best parts?

Thanks to Simple mom and Sorta crunchy for a little inspiration. I sat on our back porch enjoying our fabulous spring like southern December to reflect on the past year.

A phrase or statement that describes 2011 for me is:

Developing an attitude of gratefulness.  Learning to love what I have instead of wanting more.  Viewing my “problems” through a different lens and realizing how much I am blessed.

What I learned:

The biggest thing I learned in 2011 is:
God is 100% all the time in control (not me).  He knows what is best for my life even when I disagree.

What is a new found passion?
De-cluttering!  Stuff is just stuff.  I would much rather have room to play!

I am most inspired by?
Bryan (the hubs)  I have never met anyone more self-motivated, always growing. always wanting to be better and always kind.

Something I am proud of?
My baby brother graduating college, and Hannah learning to write her name.

Something new I tried this year?
I am getting pretty creative and experimental in the kitchen.  I have made my own yogurt, canned salsa, jelly etc., and grew my own sprouts.

Mistakes I would rather not repeat:
Locking my keys in my car (more than once), trying to catch the kitchen on fire by making popcorn the good ole fashion way, and getting the stomach bug (arguably un-preventable but still no fun).

Favorites

Best books I read this year:
Radical, and Simplicity parenting

My current favorite song:
Father of love

Favorite internet time waster:
Pintrest

Favorite movie:
Annie.  Yes fromt the 80’s.  Hannah and I are watching it and I am remincing my childhood.  LOVE IT!

Blog related:
Most inspiring testimony shared here in 2011:
Kisses from Katie

My favorite post:
No judgment

Readers favorite post:
I’m an imperfect Christian

Favorite pics this year:

Family picture in Kansas City this fall

Girls on the swingset laughing hysterically. Ava is wearing a bathing suit over her clothes too. Nice touch.

My granddad, mom, me, and the girls. 4 generations all together at my cousins wedding.

What were your 2011 highlights?

Starting over

I have finally and sort-of successfully converted this blog to a word press!

Why?

-Because it is 100 million times easier to edit, much more friendly to the search engines, and it is self hosted!

But..

It was a pain and a lot was lost.

Soooo…

Over the next two weeks I will be re-posing several of the top posts.  Hopefully this will be a fun reminder of the “good stuff” for some and a highlight reel for others.

Comments were lost so dropping a line would make me your very best-est friend!  

P.S.  a BIG thank you to bluehost for going above and beyond to help me with the change!  And Tent Blogger for suggesting them!

Acting out the Christmas Story

This year we started a new tradition.  Acting out the Christmas story! 

I am no supermom, the thought of crafts and elaborate plans intimidate me.  But I wanted our kids to better understand WHY we celebrate Christmas.  The books are great but most kids learn by doing.  Instead of overcomplicating things, I tried my hand at a simple play. 

  

I am guest posting today at Stringer Mama. Head on over to read the rest! 

 

 

The real St. Nicholas (Santa is not Satan)

Today’s post is a re-post from a very popular Santa is not Satan post from last year.  I hope you enjoy!

If Christmas is the day we celebrate Christ’s birth then where did “Santa” come from?  Are Christians to ban Santa trinkets, sweaters and wrapping paper to show our loyalty?  I think a little education is helpful on why or how the whole Santa thing came about. 

Who is St. Nicholas?

His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering.

He did many kind and generous deeds in secret, expecting nothing in return.  He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).

And that (in a nutshell)  is how we have the legend of Santa Claus.  I don’t know about you but that Santa doesn’t sound like such a bad guy.   He has certainly become over materialized but isn’t everything in our culture? 

St. Nicholas would have NEVER wanted the legend of him to be greater than the Jesus he served. 

That is where our job as parents is to teach our children about Christmas, the importance of Jesus’ birthday, and about the real “Santa Claus.”  The only list he was making and checking twice was those whom he could serve.   In fact how amazing would it be if everyone knew who the REAL St. Nicholas was and how he was such a model of Christ. 

Personally, we tell our kids about the real Santa.  We say people dress up like him today because the amazing person that was St. Nicholas.  Sure Santa is fun but we don’t pretend that he is coming through the chimney.

At the end of the day “Santa” is not Satan.  Getting caught up in banning Santa clothing, wrapping paper and decor is just plain silly in my humble opinion.  The real Santa can teach us a lot about our Lord through the servant life he lived.

Let’s show the world what Christians are FOR instead of what we are against. 

St. Nicholas was an amazing example of what we are FOR…Christ’s love.

I just ran across this blog that has a very clever family tradition of playing “St. Nick” and anonymously giving gifts around their town.  I love it! 

Join the conversation.  What are your thoughts on Santa? 

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Frugal Christmas, Homemade gifts and wrapping!

I thought it would be fun to do a little homework on some fun homemade Christmas gifts!   My search lead me to plenty of suggestions.  I weeded out all of the horribly tacky, non-useful, and way too difficult projects.  Leaving you with all the good stuff :) 

Without further adieu, Plug in your glue gun, open the kitchen cabinets, and let’s go homemade this Christmas! 

First up, the wrapping:

 Let’s think “outside the box”

  • Reusable shopping totes cost just as much as a gift bag yet they are reusable!  Tie a bow to the top and there ya go!
  • Baskets also make a great reusable gift presentation.

Inside the box

  • When wrapping a box, instead of wrapping the box and lid as one unit, wrap each separately. When you use the wrapped box, secure it closed with ribbon or another tie, not tape or glue. Also, tie on the gift card and trimming. Reuse the box without re-wrapping it until it looks shabby.
  • Newspaper, butcher paper, and paper bags (laid flat and cut) are all great wrapping paper alternatives. 


Now the gifts!

  • Conversation starters booklets.  A cute book of lots of fun random questions like:

What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep?
What did you do for your 13th birthday?

  Perfect for car rides or date night and a great gift for a couple.

Homeade gifts

complete instructions here

  • Herbal infused Olive oil  Got a Rosemary plant?  Got olive oil?  Why not make a super easy rosemary infused olive oil.

homeade gift
source
Warm olive oil in a sauce pan.  Pour  into the bottle with a few freshly harvested clean rosemary sprigs.  Put the bottle (perfect opportunity to re-purpose an old bottle) aside to cool. Seal with a lid or a cork. Set the bottle in a dry, cool place with no direct sunlight for at least one week. And there you have a fabulous gift for the chef in your family.  More details here.

  • Homemade candies, chocolates, cookies and cakes are always a hit.  Try this recipe for homemade truffles!
  • Give the gift of your time or skill.  Whether you are Mr. Fix it, a hairstylist, or you can babysit.  Offering your service is a great gift! 
  • Themed baskets/or buckets are always fun.  Fill a popcorn bucket with packages of microwave popcorn and movie tickets for a date night basket! Other ideas are:  Spaghetti night  baskets with sauce, noodles, garlic bulbs all in a colander. Or (my personal favorite) a watering can filled with gardening gloves, seed packets and a trowel.  
  • The gift of family history.  This is one of my favorite ides.  Each year choose a topic to write about your family’s history.  Every member contributes their own unique story to the theme.  Example themes are: how you met your spouse, the first home you lived in, a funny story about when you were a kid.  What a treasure these stories would be from our 80 year plus grandparents! 
  • Reasons why I love you.  Just take an empty jar,  then type out all the reasons you love that person.  Print then cut into strips and place in jar.  Recipient can pull one out a day to be reminded of your love.

memory jar, homeade gift
source

  • A memory jar.  Similarly  to the reasons why I love you this gift is a GREAT idea for a grandparent or other older relative:  Contact friends and family members and ask them to send memories and old pictures.  Memories can be placed on folded card stock placed in a large jar or may be better in a homemade booklet.   They will LOVE it! 
  • Family Recipe Books collecting all your families favorite recipes (if they are not a secret) and compiling them in a book to share with everyone is certain to be a crowd pleaser. 

If homemade is not your thing, please check out my gifts with meaning post.  Whether your gift is homemade or fair trade what a wonderful difference you are making! 

Join the conversation.  What is one of your favorite homemade gifts you have given or received?   

Part of the Green Resource at Sorta Crunchy, the Greenbacks girl, Life renewed, and a Delightful home

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Gifts with meaning

The average US family spends about $800 per year on Christmas yet most of us don’t even remember what we got last year.  Much of it is exchanged, collecting dust, or forgotten in our mass of STUFF. 

Instead of a gift that will be forgotten…Why not give a gift that MEANS something? 

There are several amazing organizations that allow you to purchase beautiful handmade items and your dollars directly support freeing slaves, or ending poverty! 

Some of my favorite are:

Trade as One

Trade as one fair trade gift

 

Amazima Ministries

 

One of my friends bought the necklace from Amazima ministries and let me tell you it is even cuter in person! 

 

And World Vision.

 

The gift of changing lives, hope to the poor, and freedom for the oppressed is much more exciting than fruit cake don’t you think? 

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