Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Jesus Christ the Lord is King" {Words by Pastor Flack, Music by Alan Gerling}

Jesus Christ the Lord is King
Pastor Bob Flack & Alan Gerling

We have come to worship One
Mary's baby, God the Son
Alien among His own
Heaven's King without a throne.

In our hands are gifts in kind
Treasures of strength, of heart and mind
Each surrendered joyfully
Love received, unhindered, free.

Race the news to every place
Call the nations to His grace
Worshipers once rebels sing,
'Jesus Christ the Lord is King!
Jesus Christ the Lord is King!'

God the Spirit giving sight
Opening eyes revealing Light
Leads from death our chosen hell
Freedom! Pardon! All is well.

God His Word cannot deny
We reject false Herod's lie
Temp'ral palaces will fail
Jesus, Sov'reign must prevail.

Race the news to every place
Call the nations to His grace
Worshipers once rebels sing,
'Jesus Christ the Lord is King!
Jesus Christ the Lord is King!'

King to every other king
Ruler, Lord of everything
Fill your fold, secure your prize
Jesus, Saviour, Shepherd wise.

Race the news to every place
Call the nations to His grace
Worshipers once rebels sing,
'Jesus Christ the Lord is King!
Jesus Christ the Lord is King!'

A Very Gerling Christmas!

Our Christmas on the Prairie 2010 attempt at sewing Isaac a blanket flopped, so I redeemed myself with the 
making of a new phone cover :)

On Christmas Eve Isaac helped Mommy cook all day, and played with his Nativity. The best part of all is that on Christmas Eve morning we received a package from Grandpa Gene & Grandma Rita: The Baby Jesus!!! We had left Him back in Iowa, but He arrived just in time to be placed in the stable with Mary and Joseph on Christmas Eve!!!

We realllllllly wanted to help mommy cook, so mommy let us try some dessert she was making. YUM!

I put Isaac's presents out after his nap, thinking he wouldn't even notice them. After his snack time I put him down and started cleaning his tray, then found the little culprit opening his gifts!!! We had to hide them in our room the rest of the night.

Our Christmas Eve dinner before church. Even Isaac got to eat off Mommy's China :)

Daddy's beautiful Christmas Eve service. Isaac and Mommy helped decorate the sanctuary with Mrs. Linda on Thursday morning. Isaac helped Daddy put candles in the candleabrashoweveritisspelled.

Christmas Morning!!!!! Grandma Sherry Skyped us to watch us open our gifts. 
Isaac wanted NOTHING to do with his gifts!...

...he wanted to play with his rhythm station instead.

Eventually we returned our interest to the presents...

...Yay!!! Puffs!!! He didn't put them down at all until he finally convinced Mommy to open them.

Look at that face!

Mommy's pretty table decoration. Since we didn't have snow, she created some!!

You can't see them here, but Christmas morning we woke up to about 4 dozen crows dancing on our roof and pecking at the windows. So annoying!!! It woke up Alan and I, but not Isaac-he slept till 9!

Then we dove into Mommy's fresh cinnamon rolls. 

MMMmmmmmmm!!! So Good!!!

Another highlight was reading the Christmas Story to Isaac before bed (and we skyped Grandma Sherry in too!), but the little guy was into all his toys, so Mommy didn't get a good picture. Another gift was listening to daddy's song on Christmas Eve that he and Pastor Flack wrote, but I'll put that in its own post ;)

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!!

The 2010 Gerling Christmas Letter

Considering that I tried my best to get all of our Christmas letters out a few weeks ago, but know that I either missed someone, didn't have the right address, or any address for that matter, 
I wanted to be sure that if you didn't receive one, that you can still read it here :)

Merry Christmas! I hope this Christmas season brings you
warmth and joy as we anticipate the celebration of the birth of Christ!

Well, here I am writing the Gerling Christmas Letter Vol. 3. I began this Christmas letter writing as a simple challenge to attempt to do what my grandmother always did this time of year which was send out a letter to family and friends updating them on the past year. I thought it would be a one year attempt, and yet here I am writing the 3rd edition. I’ve realized that my simple challenge has become a joy to do each year, and I
secretly look forward to writing it, printing it, running out of ink, running to the store for more ink mid-project, licking every envelope because I’ve forgotten to buy the ‘peel and seal’ kind, and sending Alan out for yet another roll of stamps because I simply hate math and never seem to know just how many stamps come in a book, thus I am always left needing more.

Another secret joy of the Christmas season for me is putting up the Christmas tree early, stringing white lights everywhere, baking sugar cookies with Alan and curling up on a cold winter’s night to watch White Christmas and Polar Express. My Christmas letters usually reflect this, with opening lines like, “I sit here quietly watching the snowflakes gentle fall toward earth while sipping my hot mocha and reflecting on this Christmas season...,” but this year is different: I am a mom. To a one-year-old! The extent of my Christmas decorations at the moment consist of snowflake window clings for Isaac and his Little People Nativity
playset, which at the moment is missing the Baby Jesus whom we lost somewhere back in Iowa at
Thanksgiving, {Christmas without Jesus...hmm...I sense a devotional in there somewhere}, and the only chance at life that this letter has is that Isaac’s nap lasts long enough for me to write it!

But if you asked me, I don’t mind that I’ve missed out or am behind on some of my usually Christmas
traditions because we are blessed to have that little guy in our lives, and are soaking up every minute of him. I can hardly believe he is one already, and am so thankful for the joy he has brought to us when he joined us last year. Though he is not walking just yet, he is very close, and we believe it will happen by Christmas! With that said, we’re a bit nervous about putting up a Christmas tree for fear that little hands might try to pull themselves up on it, and thus end up with a tree upon them!

Each Christmas seasons causes me to reflect on things and people I hold most dear, but it also reminds me of the things I am most thankful for, and among the ways we have been blessed this year would be Alan’s
position at Grace {we truly love serving there!}, the Lord’s provision for a fall filled with photosessions for me {I’ve had the joy of photographing some truly amazing families this year!}, the many new friendships we have made this year, and the realization that we are not, nor ever will be, perfect parents, but by the grace of God we will hopefully continue to figure out this parenthood stuff.

My tree may not yet be up, the advent candle not yet on the table and the cookies not yet decorated, but I
am still filled with the warmth this season brings, the joy of celebrating Christ’s birth, the memories of
Christmases past,  and the love of family and friends both near and far.  I pray your hearts may be filled
with the same wawrmth, and that your Christmas be merry and bright.

With love,
The Gerlings

Labor of Love

A friend posted this on facebook, and I truly loved the lyrics. I realize it's the day after Christmas, but I still had to post this...

Labor of Love
by Andrew Peterson

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph at her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Christmas Gift

Today I had the chance to get out of the house and do a little pre-Christmas grocery shopping and get a few gifts for Isaac. First of all, this wouldn't have been nearly as possible without the generous gift that we found in our box at church today, so whoever you are, we greatly and dearly thank you for your kindness to us. 

I actually liked being in the hustle and bustle of the crowds today, but I think it's only because, being a stay-at-home mommy and wife, I've barely been out of the house this week, and this was my first official Christmas season shopping, adventure? date, so I was not overwhelmed with all the people and chaos. 

True to any Christmas scenario, the sound system at HyVee blasted the sounds of the season as shoppers fought for the $1.89/lb hamburger that was being stocked on the shelf {...and I was one of them!!}. But it was somewhat charming, the old-school feeling of shopping so near to the Christmas deadline.  And I think I discovered the best store ever today: The Dollar Tree, where EVERYTHING is $1. Why have I not discovered this yet?!? Originally we weren't going to do a stocking gift for me because my gift this year from Alan is getting the piano tuned {himself! He bought a little kit earlier this season and has been working off and on on it!! I'm so excited to not have to sit through piano lessons of an untuned kind!!!}, but when I saw the kitchen section of The Dollar Tree, I decided to gift myself a stocking which will include a mini cutting board (always wanted that!), and new pot holder, my first ever pie server, new set of spatulas {so that my broken one doesn't keep breaking off in the cookie dough}, and a new whisk all for the low and beautiful price of $5. I warned Alan so that when he sees me opening it on Christmas morning {yes, I'm going to wait and actually put it in my stocking}, that he can take full credit for it :).

But I still say that there's no earthly gift that can give happiness, joy or excitement this side of Heaven at Christmas more than the gift of Jesus. 

Tonight I was reading the blog of some missionaries from our old church back in Iowa that are now serving in Papua New Guinea and have been there since  around 2006. They have gone through training with New Tribes Mission and have been living with the Akolet Tribe, learning their culture and language for the past four years, and now are preparing to start doing Bible Teaching in the Akolet language for the first time IN HISTORY. The Bible has never before been translated into this language, and soon it will be taught to these people. 

{Julie and one of the women of the tribe reading the first Akolet literacy primer}

{Adam & Julie Martin (right side) and their co-workers Ryan & Nicki Coleman and their children}

I've been praying for them since they left in 2006, and have recently been keeping up with them on their blog, and have chills tonight with excitement for what is to come. Their teachings will begin on Jaunary 4th, 2011, and it is their prayer that the Akolet people would come hear them teach, that God would continue to help them with translations, and that the Gospel would be heard and the Truth clearly presented. 

I do not have enough room here to explain the ways God is working in them, so I would encourage you to go check out their blog at and read the latest 3 posts which explain how this translation as been coming together and the excitement that goes with preparing to share it with the people of the bush (as they call home).

I think this is an amazing belated Christmas gift-that the Martins, along with their team, will soon be presenting the Gospel in the Akolet language to the Akolet people. Christ was born over 2,000 years ago, yet He is still alive and the Good News is still being spread! This year, when we sing Go Tell it on the Mountain, I'll be thinking of the Martins sharing the great news of the Gospel in the bush of Papua New Guinea. 

**If you feel led, please either re-post this to your blog or leave a link to their website so that others can be praying for the Martin's and the people of the Akolet tribe. 

"Look at the nations and watch-and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." Habakkuk 1:5

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

God Working

I've been struggling a lot lately with joy and contentment, in church especially, but in all areas of my life-with finances, with time, with schedules, etc. I've also been struggling with it in terms of relationships, in which to invest more time in, in evaluating where I'm at in friendships and what my heart's motive is in them, and I'm realizing that I am extremely (almost to an unhealthy extent) inward motivated to just the comfortable realtionships I have with others and not driven to meet new people or engage with new people because it makes me uncomfortable.

I met with an amazing young woman this morning who shared her testimony with me, and the ins and outs of what it's been like to find God, lose Him (or so she thought), seek Him, and find Him again, and harder than ever this time. It was amazing to hear the path He led her on to really thirst and truly find Him. It was encouraging to say the least. 

I was and am excited to hear how she has now begun helping other young women her age-she makes it a point to invest in them and to listen to these women and encourage them. She's also made it a point to get involved in her church and in future church plants, and emphasized what it's like to break out of the four walls of her church and submerse herself in community and in others beyond just sitting in front of a pulpit. 

This has been a theme laying gently on my heart lately: breaking out of the walls of church and getting the Gospel out into the community. I was shocked today to hear of how many athiests this young woman has talked to, and their saddened about their view on Christians in general. But even more, I was saddened that all of my {free?} time has been spent surrounded with friendships within the church and none outside of church. I have a few friendships still with ladies from Curves and such, but overall, my friendships and relationships are all with people from the church, and I know that I am not making an effort to love on these people. 

I feel like lately God has been laying it on my heart to break beyond (not out of, but beyond) these relationships and seek to serve Him in the community. I feel like He's challenging me to get out of my comfort zone and away from comfortable relationships to the more uncomfortable. This comes back again to the quote my friend recently said about how she, "...wants to be the woman that befriends a girl who is pregnant out of wed-lock and give her hope...wants to be the girl that's there for the other girls who is caught up in drugs and befriend her..." 

After talking with my accountability group about prayer requests a couple of weeks ago, and asking them to pray for ways that I can see God working in this-meaning I only know He's laying it on my heart to get out into the community or serve somehow outside my tight little comfort zone-I can already begin to say that I think He's leading me to possibly engage in discipling or somehow work with young woman. I don't know if that means be a youth group leader again, if that means start a weekly something-or-other with Grace Baptist college girls, if that means volunteer at the Life Choice Ministry Pregnancy and Testing center or to open my home once a month to college girls...but what I am noticing is that I have a heart for young woman in high school and college, and have realized this is not the first time that I've felt this tug at my heart to work with them in some capacity. 

What I do know is that I was blessed to get to share a morning with an amazing woman who has really let the Lord do a good work in her, and has greatly encouraged me today, and helped me to understand a bit more of where God might be leading me in serving either outside my comfort zone at church, or serving outside the walls of my church and into the community. 

Lord, I don't know where You're leading me, but I will follow. I don't know what You're working, but I'm feeling You guiding me. I don't know how You'll use me, but am excited for the journey of serving You. And in that I find joy. Please continue to guide my heart toward Yours. Amen.

A Lesson in Mommyhood: Christmas Doesn't Have To Be Perfect

I've put a lot of pressure on myself lately. I told myself that because we'd be home by ourselves this Christmas that I'd soak it up and do things I {thought} I love to do, like sew while watching The Sound of Music. We're tight on money for gifts this year, so I thought I'd be productive and penny-pinch and make Isaac a fun little alphabet blanket with my {new-ish} sewing machine {that I got last year for Christmas from my mom and haven't had time to touch!} with the fabric I got last summer that I {gasp!} haven't had time to do anything with.

I set out at 9pm on Monday night to sew this lovely whimsical turquoise blue and brown alphabet blanket. I was excited, envisioning me sitting with him in the future and practicing our A-B-C's together. Lovely mommy images came to mind of a cuddly and cozy preschooler memorizing his letters...

And then about half way through cutting out each "whimsical" letter free-hand and cursing in my mind at how long it was taking, I kept repeating to myself "almost done, almost done, almost done," and was thrilled when that darn Z was finally cut out. The next step was to sew the letters "whimsically" onto the first piece of fabric for the one side. Ha. Good luck! I kept messing up the stitching {this of course was after all that time Alan spent setting up and bobbing the bobbin (is that the right lingo??) for nearly 40min. I finally decided forget the A-B-C theme and just make the blanket already-plain and simple.

You'd think that's where it gets easy, but unfortunately, I, in my creative 12:00am mood, decided to add the quilted diagonal stitches to liven up my boring blanket. Let's just say that at midnight, lines aren't exactly straight no matter how much you try! They didn't look too bad, but upon close inspection, one would think this was a Jr. High Home-Ec project. At 2:30am I gave up and went to bed for the night after my bobbin got jammed.

{TANGENT: I didn't know there was an eclipse last night!!! Or that going to bed so late, I could have actually witnessed it!!!}

Low and behold, I had enough gumption tonight at 11pm to continue on my crazy task at hand: the blanket. I picked up where I left off last night, fixed the bobbin and finished the diagonal stitching. Then for the edging...well, it's got edges, but...I wouldn't say they are what most blankets look like. I wanted to put satin ribbon on the edges like the popular taggies. And it worked! Until I realized {now at 1am} that I was out of ribbon and can't afford to go buy more for one edge of this darn "quilt".

As I sat there, surrounded by thread, scissors, scraps of fabric, wanting to cry, and hoping that the pins I lost off the table don't get found by the kid later, and I realized that I had put this pressure on myself to make this awesome home-made gift in time for Christmas, and for that reason rushed it, and thus ended up with a somewhat-usable blanket with one edge left to be finished.

So why did I push myself these last couple of nights till 2am? I guess as Isaac's first real Christmas {let's face it, this one he'll have more fun with than last year when he was 2 weeks old} and I want to make it special. His cake flopped for his birthday, and we're without family for Christmas, so as a Mommy, I want to make it special and I thought something home-made would be special for him.

The blanket {might} get finished {someday}, but for the time being, it'll wait till either another Christmas or another kid. I don't have the time, money, or patience to finish it in time for Christmas this year. It was a good effort, and my heart was in it, but it just didn't come together like I liked. But at least now that I've come to admit that it won't be a gift this year, I can spend the next couple of days till Christmas not worried about getting it done and just enjoy the last bits of this, my favorite season.

Being a mom is about making and learning from mistakes, that I've learned already this year, but I thought majority of them would have been with parenting than with sewing and cake decorating ;)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"A Social Network Christmas" {aka What if Facebook was around 2,000 years ago?}

A friend posted this on her blog and I found it...well...poignant, funny and interesting. Made me think of how our culture today would embrace the Lord working His ways in our world when Heaven met earth that night.

Convicted: Santa

I hate moments like this. Moments when I'm being humbled or realized that I may have been wrong. You have to admit, we all have these moments, and mine, right now, is with Santa.

I was sitting here, in the five minutes of awkward silence listening to see if Isaac really went down for his nap or if he's still playing in there, and was adding other blogs to my blog roll, which I stopped to read one of the recent posts on a funny blog called "Stuff Christians Like" {} titled The Santa Problem.

Now then, before I go on, you really, really have to go read his post first to understand where I'm coming from and where he's coming from. ...No really, go on, go read it first...

Ok, so I know that you're saying, "But I only have 5 minutes of peace and I'm going to trust that you'll just fill me in." And you're right.

I can't say it better than him, so I'm going to paste a bit of his blog here:

...The first is that in no other aspect of imagination do we put the same constraint [he's talking about Santa and Christmas]. For instance, for a solid year, I’m pretty sure my kids thought the Wiggles and the Doodlebops were real. They watched their shows, they sang their songs, they loved those brightly colored/oddly terrifying characters. And not once did my wife and I say, “When they find out Captain FeatherSword isn’t real, they probably won’t believe in an all powerful God later on in life.” Sure, the Wiggles are different than Santa and we imbue a lot of “belief” language around him, but we only talk about him for six weeks a year. We wiggled for a solid year and discussed the Wiggles far more than we do Santa in an average Christmas season...
...Kids are imaginative, that’s what they do. If I play along with their American Girl Dolls or take my oldest daughter to a Narnia film and she really believes it, I’m not afraid that I’ve effectively prevented her from believing in God. We’d never say, “I’m not taking my son to see Lord of the Rings, because if he ever finds out Gandalf is not real, he won’t believe in God.” We might rail against Harry Potter, but even that is not because we’re afraid if they find out Harry Potter is not real our kids won’t believe in God...
...No one says that. And we’re also not seeing the damage of a generation who grew up believing Santa was real only to learn he’s not. By that I mean there aren’t any books for adults designed to help you get over your Santa problems. Zondervan hasn’t published “Get the man in red out of your head.” Thomas Nelson has not published “Empty stocking, full heart.” Lifeway is not doing a ladies conference called “Deeper Still Than Santa.” There’s not an industry to support the thousands and thousands of 30 year olds struggling with Santa Claus, because there are not thousands and thousands out there who do.
Now clearly this will be the moment I hear from the 17 people on the planet who have in fact confessed to a Christian counselor that Santa Claus shotblocked God for them, but I still think we’ve blown the problem with Santa out of proportion. I think most folks will say that the Santa vs. God thing isn’t an issue, but instead that they don’t want to “lie” to their kids. I understand that point and know that some kids have said “you lied to me mom and dad,” but we also have to be careful that we don’t miss out on the word “pretend.” I’d never say to my kids, “I don’t want to create a house of lies. I need to be honest with you and confess that My Little Pony is simply a lump of hard plastic not a real pony, when I did that magic trick and took your nose, I really didn’t take it, and I always know the end of your knock knock jokes but have been living a lie by acting like I didn’t all these years. To be perfectly honest with you, ‘Knock, knock, who’s there, a tornado of spanking’ is not that funny. I fake laughed. I hate to say that, but I refuse to lie to you kids.”
I think every parent needs to be deliberate and smart about how they handle Santa and Christmas in general, but lets not throw him under the God bus. Don’t talk about him for a million other reasons, but I’m not sure the God reason is the best one.

I have to admit that I was one of the people who was saying, "Why would we teach our kids to believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny who aren't real, then turn around and expect them to believe in God, who is real?" Yep, that was me up until about ten minutes ago. But this guy had a really, really good point: Kids have imaginations and playing pretend is important to their creativity and development, and this is just another form of that. We don't expect our children to believe in their My Little Pony doll, and yet we let them play pretend with that, right? 

I still say that Santa is too hyped up this time of year and overshadows the true meaning, which is the birth of Jesus Christ. And for that reason, we will still be raising our children to know and celebrate that fact more than Santa {notice I did not say instead of Santa}. But I have lessened my views on the Santa thing I think. Please don't get me wrong, I was never a "run and tell everyone that Santa doesn't exist!" kind of person, but rather just wasn't going to focus so much on the chubby red dude. We will still choose to do Three Wisemen Gifts on Christmas morning (a gift for body, one for mind, and one for spirit that are a surprise on Christmas morning, much like the surprise of Santa gifts), but only because we want the emphasis on that day to be on our Lord. If Isaac ever wants to sit on Santa's lap and have his picture taken, then that's fine with me. If he asks who Santa is someday, then we'll explain who Saint Nicholas was, and how through the years Santa came to be. We won't run and tell your kids Santa doesn't exist, talk Santa down, or belittle anyone who does do Santa each year. It's your personal choice and one to be respected, and we know that it is a magical time of year with excitement and imagination for little ones...and old ones alike :). We're just choosing to keep the focus of our Christmas season on the dude who bled red for us instead of the dude who wears red on Christmas Eve.  But who knows, perhaps some year our little guy will wake us up and tell us he just heard reindeer on the rooftops! And if he does, we'll soak in the enjoyment of seeing our little guy's imagination grow bright before us :).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Kansas Christmas

This year Christmas will be bittersweet as it is the first Christmas that we will not have family in or near on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. While part of me is very sad because Christmas Eve with my family is my favorite tradition of all, and I will miss it greatly, I am also excited to start new Christmas traditions with our little family of 3.

With that in mind, I'm curious-what are some of your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions/activities? I'd love to hear them and possibly steal them for our family!

Constantly Challenged on this Topic


To book, or not to book: that is my question.

Today I read the status update of Audrey Assad (I'm a fan of hers on facebook-she's the one that wrote "Winter Snow" that I love so much), and her status read, "Goodbye Facebook...till Christmas at least. Ready to spend the last week of Advent in quiet...and waiting."

I loved the thought she had to really spend time meditating this week on Advent. I've been so rushed and busy with piano lessons and photography, doctor appointments and holiday events that I feel like these last three weeks have literally been a blur, and this is my favorite season! I have barely had a chance to just

But at what cost? Why am I even on Facebook? I've been in a pro-con list mood lately, which is actually a bad habit because I then rely on my outcome list instead of on prayer with Him on the subject of whatever I'm torn on, but in this case I was curious:

Pros for Facebook:
*I can connect with family and friends back home.
*I can keep up-to-date on what's going on with family and friends, like knowing who finished finals up, who stayed up too late, and who is regretting purchasing a printer for lack of being able to print envelopes.
*I can see posts from other moms and know that I am not alone in my pile of laundry, my dirty dishes, and my fussy child.
*I can encourage others with positive status updates, post links to online sermons, music, or blog posts.
*I can share links to my favorite Christmas songs :)
*'m sure I'll think of another one!

Cons for Facebook:
*Time away from God.
*Time away from Bible.
*Time away from Alan.
*Time away from Isaac.
*Time away from studying photography in my {spare} time.
*Time away from reading a good book.
*Time away from enjoying the Christmas season.
*Time away from finishing my bible study.
*Time away from playing piano late at night after Isaac's asleep, and now that Alan has tuned {well, most} of it.
*Time away from really connecting with friends {as in one-on-one in person}
*Mindless time away from important things, like sleep!

Hmm. Doesn't take long to look at that list and see which is more important. So then why do I still do Facebook? If I diligently made an attempt to not use Facebook this week, I might miss out on:
~Seeing how others are spending their Christmas
~Reading status updates of what gifts everyone got {and then feeling depressed 'cause, well, let's face it: we can't afford gifts like most people get}
~Missing family and friends back home even more
~Miss the gossip of what's a happenin' 'round Manhappinen {Manhattan, to those didn't catch that ;)}

But what could it provide?
~A chance to spend some serious and much needed quality time with my Lord.
~A chance to meditate on Advent.
~A chance to sing through and read through Christmas songs, hymns and lyrics.
~A chance to soak up Isaac during this special season.
~A chance to write in my journal and blog.
~A chance to finish listening to the online Ruth series that I started 5 months ago.
~A chance to reflect and learn from Pastor Flack's Advent in the Old Testament series by listening to them online throughout my day.
~A chance to pray.
~A chance to be...

Silent. Still. Quiet. Peaceful? Perhaps, if the kid cuts his teeth anytime soon ;).

So really it's about giving up a flesh desire and a want in order to grow and reflect and not be so rushed. To overcome something earthly {facebook, gossip, attention, etc.}.

So this should be an obvious answer, right?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gift Giveaway on a Friend's Site!

Hey fellow followers (the whole 3 of ya), remember my post the other day about a friend who is living Christ's LOVE in action by teaming with other ladies and selling handmade scarves, purses and jewelry then giving the proceeds back to the women of Swaziland who make them? Well she's featuring a purse on her blog that YOU could win!

Here's a link to her blog:

Simple go to her site and read through how to enter. Good Luck!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Feeling Inspired...and Selfish

So as I was working a bit more on my blog here tonight, I was adding blogs that I follow to my list, and when I added, I took a minute to read her latest post. This is a group of women from my old church back home in Iowa who are putting LOVE into ACTION. Read her latest blog to find out how they are doing it.

They've definitely inspired me, and I think I might be contacting her in the near future to find out how I can get involved. In the meantime, I'm trying to brainstorm some other ways that my family, and perhaps yours, can help impact the world this Christmas, and not just by filling our own stockings.

1. Sponsor a child.

2. Give a Goat...or heifer...or a chick...or a llama... In many countries, a family's animal is their main means of money, so by giving them an animal, you are actually giving them much, much more.

     *I just bought Alan's Christmas gift: Chicks! For $20 I was able to purchase a flock of chicks that will help provide eggs for a family, as well as future income.

3. Angel Tree This is a ministry set up to help provide Christmas gifts to children who have a parent in prison.

4. Help serve at a local soup kitchen.

5. Sign up to ring the bell for the Salvation Army

6. Ask your local church of a family in need, then put together a stocking or gift set with the items and give it to them anonymously.

7. Visit a nursing home.

What are some suggestions or things that your family does to spread the Good News of Christmas?

Winter Nights

I've done it since I was little, and I'm doing it still.

There's nothing more peaceful to me than bundling up nice and warm and sitting outside on a cold winter's night. I love looking up at the sky, with the orange lights in a misty looking sky and seeing the silouette of branches from bare trees standing still in the brisk night air.

There is one thing I love especially, and that's watching the snow fall while sitting out on the swing on nights like these. But alas, no snow tonight. Perhaps tomorrow? Oh how I am craving a white Christmas!

One tip: Jack Frost really does exist and he will nip off your nose! So bundle up warm and toasty 'cause it's a cold one tonight!

Tis the Season

Tis the season for a new blog :). Unfortunately, my old blog page is up for renewal, but we're trying to decide what exactly we want to go with for it as the old blog did not allow for me to easily upload images and make other simple edits, so in the meantime, I'll be using this as my blog.

I apologize for not blogging for..well nearly a month now! I'm so sorry! But then again, I'm not sorry. You see, life happened. And it is good! We traveled home to Iowa for Thanksgiving, participated in Bethlehem Revisited as walking singers again, sans the kid, and celebrated Isaac's first birthday!!!! While we'll be celebrating a half birthday back home in Iowa this summer with him so that our family can participate, we had a small/intimate gathering of some close friends to watch him eat his cake. I hope to blog about the experience later, but as for now, my son is waking from his name and is ready to eat, so I will go rescue him and leave you with these pictures from his party :).