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?
One of my favorite things is learning what my friends enjoy….what books they read, what resources they use to grow in their relationship with the Lord, what activities they have found that can keep my preschooler entertained for the longest amount of time possible, what tips they have for removing black tar from my son’s bottom after an unfortunate incident in the garage this weekend….praise the Lord for friends (and Google).
I want Glowing Local to be a place where you can find new and fun businesses run by Christian women. A place to find resources that (practically) shove you towards the Lord. A place to point out the good things going around online right now.
So, to kick off, if you were my best friend, and we were sharing a cup of tea on my dog-hair covered couch, I would want you to know:
Advent. Defined as the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. The time for us, as Christians, to wait expectant for the arrival of the MOST notable person, thing, and event. But, also a time of the year demanding the most of my time, my emotions, and myself.
The Advent season always comes as a challenge to me, kicking off the busiest month of the year by instead choosing to slow down and see the gift before me. To focus on the magnificent story woven throughout Scripture, and seeing the promises fulfilled through Christ’s birth.
This season offers a multitude of great resources to point us to Christ…great books and devotionals, cool calendars, great online communities. But, I love what Erin of Home with Boys said on Twitter yesterday:
Just a friendly reminder with so many great #Advent resources being released right now: You don't have to do them all. Simple is better.— Erin M. (@homewiththeboys) November 12, 2014
So, yes, these resources below are wonderful. But, simple is better. The best thing we can do with the Advent season approaching is to just read the Bible, as we wait with expectation for the arrival of the MOST notable person, the fulfillment of our hopes, and the event proclaimed from the beginning of Scripture.
With reading scripture, if you are also looking for some great Advent resources, it is time to snag them before the season begins. Here are some I have used and recommend:
If you’re looking for some great holiday calendars or decorations that really point towards the meaning of Christmas, I love these ideas:
As the Advent season approaches, may it turn your heart to the Lord, as you wait expectant for the MOST notable event of the season.
What Advent resources do you use to focus on Christ during Christmas? Any suggestions?
In the spirit of giving thanks this season, my husband and I have been trying to be more positive when explaining what happened during our day. We tried to go one night without saying anything negative about the circumstances of our day. Our conversation went something like this:
“I am thankful for the opportunity to consider switching to a local bank because the man at our bank was so utterly frustrating today."
“I am thankful for the that horribly weird and bald kid Caillou, for if I did not have 29 minutes of him today, I might have knocked our son’s head clean across the floor."
And so on...
This expression of thankfulness is apparently not making a big change in our attitudes. It’s just making us more creative in the ways we voice our negatives.
I recently finished reading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (talk about a keep-you-up-at-night-till-you-finish type of book). The main character Alice hits her head in gym class, waking up believing that it is 10 years earlier. She believes that she and her husband are newly weds (not 10 years married with three kids). She believes they are blissfully in love (not separated and very mean to each other). Alice can’t understand her life - am I really this mean to people all the time? Do my children really perceive me as angry and constantly frustrated?
The book has me thinking quite a bit about who I want to be 10 years from now.
Lisa TerKeurst in her recent book The Best Yes says that “our decisions aren’t isolated choices. Our decisions point our lives in the directions we’re about to head. Show me a decision and I’ll show you a direction."
In 10 years, I want my child to remember me as a mom who didn’t just point out the negative all the time. I want to be a friend who doesn’t just complain about the situations in my life. I want to be a wife that can think of something positive to say at the table each night, instead of just pointing out the “list of woes” from the day.
I want to be a person that glows with the light of God’s love in my everyday life.
What decisions am I making today that are pointing my life in that direction? What am I doing today to feed a heart that glows God’s love to everyone I encounter? What habits or attitudes am I cultivating today that will make me the person I want to be in 10 years? Am I able to look past my circumstances and see how God does abundantly more than I could think or imagine (Eph. 3:20, John 10:10)?
What decisions are you making today that will point you towards the person you want to be?
Glowing Local has been a dream of mine for many years. I have worked on it…a little here, a little there…for quite a while, and despite my feelings that this was what I was supposed to do, I always stopped short – scared of actually doing it, scared of actually putting myself out there, scared of what this would mean for our family and my life. But, as often happens, the Lord continued to put it on my heart, giving me the assurance that sometimes stepping out on faith, and trusting despite what I know ahead of time, is a good thing.
I have a three-year old son, and he just loves books (much like his momma). We read, and read, and read throughout the day. But, it always feels like we read the same books over and over for a period of time…and sometimes that gets old. I get tired of reading about the bears needing their safety gear to go skateboarding, or about semi trucks being articulated trucks with two parts. So, I sometimes skip parts…and to be honest, I think I am good at it. I can see a page, pick out the main idea, and kind of ad-lib, to make it through a little faster.
But, my son catches me more often than not…so maybe I am not as good as I think. He always says, “Mom, read the story, the whole story.” Busted by a three-year-old. Again.
But sometimes, I think stepping out into something new is like that too – it is easier to skip over things or just try to ad-lib your life so to get through things a little faster. But I think the Lord calls us to something more – to read the whole story, and not miss out on the abundance that is possible…if only we would stop trying to make the story work according to our own timetable.
So, this is the start of a better story…one I feel compelled to write in full, not skipping over the good parts. I am hoping this story tells of God, and offers advice on glowing some love in your local story too. I know the Lord works in ways I cannot even imagine, and I look forward to seeing that in Glowing Local.