Happy start to the Christmas season! Receive 20% off our Individual Praying for your Husband journals from today until December 4. Use code CYBERCHRISTMAS this week to receive your 20% discount. Want to more intentionally pray for your husband this coming year? January 1st is a great time to start, so grab your prayer journal today!
These journals make a great gift for a friend who is newly engaged or married, a friend who is really looking for a refreshing and intentional start in then new year, or a friend who is trying to make Scripture more of a priority in her life!
To find out more about how to use your Praying for your Husband journal, check out this post which gives you all of the details.
It has been a while since I have done much on Glowing Local, as we have been taking some time off to welcome our new baby boy to our family. Another red head and such a great little baby…we are all thrilled to add him to our pack.
The past two months have been a much needed break for me. I had great intentions of getting some good blogs written, planning quite a few things for a holiday Christmas launch, working on some new journals; but, none of that happened…and it is great. Our family, my body, my soul…it all just needed a good rest and break from it all.
It has been nice to not feel the pressure to “do more” this holiday season, like trying to sell products or get our family overbooked in December. It’s been nice to take a big break from social media, having deleted the apps from my phone for a good chunk of time. It was especially nice to delete my work e-mail off my phone, making sure that I didn’t feel the pressure to “do something” all the time. Overall, it was just what I needed as we readjusted to our new normal routine around here.
I have been praying over Glowing Local quite a bit lately…after the summer, I was having funny feelings about doing the whole Christian business thing - whether I was being authentic, whether this is the direction I still wanted to go, whether I was allowing comparison affect me more than I realized. The past two months have been good to just step back and reset…I am still not quite sure what is next, but I know it has been good for my soul!
As the year winds down, I am thankful for so many blessings, especially our family, my work, our friends, and this great community who have supported Glowing Local over the past year - THANK YOU! To show my appreciation, I want to offer 15% off individual Praying for your Husband journals from now until December 18. Use Code GLChristmas15 to get your discount. As the New Year rolls in, what a wonderful time to commit to praying intentionally for your husband (or future husband!)
Merry Christmas, and check back soon for more updates and end-of-year book posts!
We are two days away from the “big day” and there is quite a bit of anticipation in our house. We leave tonight to head towards my in-laws for the holidays, and they do Christmas big. For one three-year old little boy in our house, it will be truly magical.
With the anticipation of the next few days, it is easy for me to feel like so much is coming. Christmas is coming...but just not today. It is coming once I pack our bags, clean our house, cook these food dishes, send these last cards, wrap these final gifts, travel these final hundred miles, and more. I am waiting for my to-do list to get done so that Christmas will finally be here.
But really, Advent and Jesus and Christmas and celebration - it is here. Now.
The story of the coming Jesus has been told for so many years through so many unlikely situations and people: God searching for Adam and Eve after the fall, God's overwhelming grief over the state of the world with Noah, the blessing and covenant with Abraham, the promise of God to not leave Jacob, the good that God worked through Joseph’s plight, the use of a prostitute Rahab in the lineage of Jesus, the faithfulness of Ruth, the anointing of the smallest brother David, the fulfilled prophesies of Isaiah and Micah, the redemption of Jonah, the stand of Esther…all point to Jesus.
God wove his story for many years, through many unlikely people, in many unlikely situations. Advent has come. Jesus has come. The celebration is now.
What does this mean for me, two days from Christmas, with travel to do, presents to wrap, people to call, a house to clean, a dog to drop off, a work project to wrap up…a long list of must-dos? How can I see the story, the promise, the Advent already-come when I just.have.so.much.to.do?
Advent has come and the promise is here, despite the things I have decided must come first. Before I finish my to-do list. Before I get us all packed. Before I clean up the 3000 Lego pieces that are spilled on my living room floor.
Today, Advent is here. I have hope. I can rest assured that Jesus did come, and continues to come after me, just like he did throughout the stories of the Old Testament, leading to his birth.
I can let it go. I can rest assured.
I can see the blessing in the packing, as it means I have people to pack for. I can speak thanks over the Lego pieces strewn on the floor, as it means I have an inquisitive child who loves to build. I can see God in the dirty house, as it means we have lived (really) well here.
I can speak thanksgiving in these two days of crazy leading to Christmas, as Jesus has come. Advent is here. I don’t have to wait two more days to get there. I am not waiting for something better. Today is the better. Today is the blessing. Today is the day Jesus came for me, that Advent really comes alive.
How do you see Advent in the day to day, in the mundane and crazy and overwhelming that occur in the next 2 days?
Holiday season is such a great time to really glow some love into the lives of people you might see often, but don’t necessarily interact with on a regular basis. It’s an awesome opportunity to connect with your mailman, the housekeeping staff at your church or school, the garbage drivers, your favorite grocery bagger, your school’s security guards, your favorite coffee shop barista, and more.
Our family is on a strict Christmas budget, but I still want to thank these people (and in turn connect with these people) in unexpected ways.
An easy way is a food or drink related treat, packaged in a clear or paper bag. Use the free gift tag printables below to attach to your bag, writing in a short note from your family.
Here are some easy treat ideas that look promising:
Our family's favorite peanut butter cup cookies
These are speaking my peppermint chocolate love language
Good looking homemade hot chocolate mix
This year, the pressure of making something is already sending me over the edge, so I’ll probably be using prepackaged cookie dough or hot chocolate.
No matter what you do, reach out to someone this holiday season who you might see often but have not taken the chance to really get to know. What a great way to glow some love into your local community this holiday!
How do you plan to glow some love in unexpected ways this holiday season?
Buying books for people is really difficult for me, but also something I love to do. Because I read so many books each year, I often get asked for recommendations. This year, if you’re looking for a great read for some of your Christian friends and family (or those asking some good questions), I’d recommend the following reads, some of the best Christian books I read in 2014:
For a to-be college grad or someone considering a big change in their life:
Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs
For someone wanting to learn how to better read and apply her bible:
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
For an inspirational read on how to make a difference in your regular ‘ole suburban life:
Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch
For someone stressed out, needing to slow down:
Abundant Simplicity by Jan Johnson
For someone needing hope, and to know God is good to them specifically:
Ever Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty
For someone longing to have their life mean something:
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
For someone struggling with people-pleasing:
Love Idol by Jennifer Dukes Lee
For a teen girl (or in my case…a slightly older girl) who is looking for worth:
Graceful by Emily P. Freeman
For a very funny, laugh-out-loud read on marriage:
Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle
For a weary mom of little ones who needs a big gulp of the Gospel:
Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full by Gloria Furman
For a surprisingly funny and easy read with a great story-line:
Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me by Ian Morgan Cron
For someone dealing with a big idol in their life, especially if that idol is food/weight related:
Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst
I love the Advent season at church, as we sing many beloved Christmas hymns throughout the service. This past Sunday, we sang a collective favorite among our church family - O Come Let Us Adore Him. People sang with such gusto, myself included, and it felt so real, so hopeful.
But, really, I’ve got to stop singing that hymn.
Really, we probably all should. We sing it with enthusiasm, but so many of us are doing the opposite of what we’re singing.
We’re belting out a desire, through the lyrics, to come joyful and with a hope to behold Him. A hope to see glory in the highest ready to greet Jesus this morning.
For me, so much of what I am declaring in that hymn is just not how I live my life. I’m singing something that isn’t playing out on a daily level. I fail to Come and Adore him with so many things...
Do I come to Jesus with my schedule? What about my hopes in the new year? Do I come to Him before calling my friends for advice, before gossiping to my friends about a funny misunderstanding with a mutual acquaintance? Before posting something on Instagram?
Do I adore Jesus with my money? With my plans? What about with my to-do list? Do I adore Him with the way I interact with people I don’t like very much? What about in the way I recount the tedious mundane details of raising a toddler to my friends? In my free time - what do I do when I have 15 minutes of free time? Do I adore Jesus in any of it?
Am I ready to “greet" Jesus today? What about when we find out a friend’s surgery doesn’t go as planned? When a loved one has lost hope? Do I plan to greet Jesus today when dreams I have been praying over just aren’t being answered? Do I come joyful when life isn’t going the way I planned?
These are all things I can attest to in the past month - things I have done or feelings I have had. I go around this season singing a hymn with angst, as really no truth of the lyrics can be seen in so many details of my day-to-day life.
This season, I don’t want to just sing these lyrics flippantly, and then move on with my daily tasks. God is calling me today to Come. Adore. Greet Jesus. Come Joyful. Behold Him. Today, I have grace to try again. Grace to start fresh this season. Grace to start over.
Am I willing, today, to Come and Adore?
Is this the year when what we are singing is really going to play out in our lives? Is this the year that we will Come to Jesus with our schedules, to-do lists, conversations, use of social media, future, hopes (even the unfulfilled ones)? Is this the year we will Adore Him, even when things are spiraling out of control these last few days until Christmas?
Are you willing to Come and Adore Him this season? To Come and Adore Him today?
Then, just maybe, we can sing O Come Let Us Adore Him with true hearts, beholding Him and greeting Him joyfully each day.
What can you do to Come and Adore Him today? In what do you need Grace to start fresh again?
The holidays are upon us, and nothing brings me to prayer like extended time with family, holiday traffic, and my child being out of school. As you prepare for the holiday season, use this free printable as a way to prepare your heart with prayer, focusing on Jesus during busy weeks ahead. (Click on image below to print PDF file).
What will you do to stay focused on what is really important during the holiday weeks ahead?