What Christmas Traditions are your favorite? Have you ever wondered where on earth we get the traditions we use when we celebrate Christmas? You know, things like Christmas Cards. Advent, and Christmas trees just to name a few. Well, Ace takes us back in time to the times and places that these traditions became an indelible mark on our holiday celebrations. 26 chapters you will learn about the history and heart behind each of these traditions!. Ace definitely did a lot of in-depth research that left us with some very interesting facts. The chapters are short and could easily be read each night leading up to Christmas.
Some of the interesting facts learned in reading this book :
Many of our Christmas traditions were started or carried on through the Vikings. Especially since the Vikings had the reputation of being a brutal people group. But after the Vikings became Christians it became very important that they made remembrances of their faith.
Christmas Seals. They have been talked about and I never knew what they were-Stamp like stickers used on Christmas envelopes and I most certainly had no idea what they were used for. Well, they were used for raising money in helping people beat the disease Tuberculosis.
Boxing Day and Epiphany- As Americans we don’t usually celebrate these but it was fascinating to earn about these traditions and I must confess I have mentioned to my husband that celebrating and teaching on Epiphany would be neat for our family!
Well, I enjoyed this book immensely. Though I didn’t get it finished in my timeline I will say that it really doesn’t matter when you read this book. I do think it would be cool to read a chapter a night with our family in the days leading up to Christmas.
It’s so amazing just how much of our Christmas traditions are tied back to the Birth of Baby Jesus too. It’s a great teaching tool for kids, and it’s easy to understand. And it would also be very simple to turn into a teaching tool for even younger kids! ANYONE can enjoy this book. It is a delight to read for sure.
I also appreciated the few times throughout this book when the author admitted that he just didn’t have the answers to when exactly a tradition started. Sometimes details like a specific person, place or time are not available and I thought it was neat that he admitted to not knowing.
I honestly cannot wait till next Christmas season when we will delve into this book as a family!
I give this book 5 Christmas lights! Check out this book on Amazon.
And a super Big THANK YOU to BookLook Bloggers for giving me a free copy of this book to review! I always give my honest review and am expected to do so!
I have been re-reading some past blog posts, and do you know what I realized? I don’t blog very much about my husband!! That’s mostly because I respect his desire to not be put into the spotlight and it’s not that I am choosing to disrespect his wishes today BUT there are some days that you have to give credit where credit is due.
I was doing some prep work for a blog post for later today and I was overcome by the amazingness of my husband. The things not everyone gets to see . The things this man does and I get to support him in. The things I am sometimes guilty of taking for granted.
His Many Hats
He wears many hats and God has gifted him the ability to do them well. He and I have been married for almost 15 years. We have 4 kids ages 12,11,alomst 10, and 7. One has Autism and another has a learning disability known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder. This is a huge part of his life but the other huge part is his calling to be pastor. We have been at our current church for almost 9 years. I have watched him spend countless hours ministering to people in some very unconventional ways. He has the unique ability to meet people where they are, work side by side with them and create a relationship with them. My husband is so dedicated to his call that he is constantly seeking to grow in it, to learn and grow deeper his relationship with Christ. I have watched him pour countless hours into people, to shed tears on their behalf and still treat them with the love of Jesus when he is hurt by them. He is a real leader who can lead without an iron fist or micromanage the people he is leading. He also takes time to to fix broken things at church. He runs errands for church. he runs errands for home and as I looked at the calendar page for October I noticed there were things missing from his weekly activities
people in crisis
last minute meetings
Prep for sermons
prep for 2 Bible studies a week
And this doesn’t even begin to cover family things like convent care trips and the like.
He as a person
Though he will tell you otherwise he is intelligent and skilled in communicating the word of God. I have watched him painstakingly pour over God’s word sometimes changing his sermon multiple times to be sure to bring God’s truth, even if it stings deep within his own soul. and with that goes transparency of his heart sharing both from the pulpit and in private his struggles. He does not view himself as higher or better than another. He has strove to continue to grow in his education, that enables him to sharpen and fine tune his skills.
One of the greatest things about this man that I count as a blessing from God is his desire to do whatever it is he has set his hand to, and to do it well. Many people don’t get a chance to see this, but I count it a privilege to get a front row seat. To the countless hours counseling in person at our table, on the phone and via text message (yes that really can happen). I get to watch him wear himself thin as he goes from one meeting to the next, ones where he spends hours, days and weeks praying for and pouring over. I count it a privilege to Get to be the one who shares in his greatest joys and his deepest sorrows. I have watched him help others try to pick up shattered pieces of great disappointments.
People are important to Him
He makes time for everyone though that is rarely seen . It is done in secret to protect those who are hurting. He holds so much between him and God even I do not know all that he has been told. He drops his plans, and desires to run to the aid of another. He changes his work schedule to meet others needs and has done so, most jobs would have fired him. And this is why some days our grass is not mowed or the garbage has not been taken to the transfer station. He views our cars and home as not our own but those things belong to God, things to be used for His service. They are just on loan to us to be used for God’s work.
Care for our family
Most people don’t realize that he is the sole driver of our family. Something he committed to nearly 16 years ago when he asked me to marry him. He knew it was highly unlikely that I would never be able to see well enough to drive. So sermons are prepared as I take care of kids appointments, emails are sent and visits are made in-between all the craziness. He is an amazing multi-taskr. he uses every spare moment he can.
A week ago I posted this picture of something that is rare.
We had already
y picked up kids at 11:45
took headache medicine to the other child at school
gone to two parent teacher conferences
The poor guy had a migraine. And had about a half an hour before we had to eat dinner and leave for Awana. When I posted the picture to social media it was about the cat. She doesn’t snuggle with just anyone. She likes him a lotAnd there were very supportive comments on social media. BUT comments came outside of social media that were not so kind. And that is sad. For a man who rarely if ever takes time for himself, who pours so much of himself into others. Who seeks to build community and build others up. Who gives everything he has and then some. Who bends over backwards for anyone who asks his help.
I am truly sorry I posted it….for the flack he has taken.
So for all of this I want to take the time to thank God for all that he does both the seen and the unseen. The 80+ hours per week for church the 10-20 hours a week for his other job and the countless hours for our family. His ministry is so far deeper than most can imagine, even within the community.
I am grateful that he loves us and takes care of us. Enough to step up and provide in different ways. that he makes sure we always have working vehicles. that he makes sure that we are cared for.
I am thankful that I get to watch. I get a front row seat to his ministry, our ministry together.This also means that sometimes the seats up close see the messy things too. Those moments when people are so wrapped up in themselves to see what is really going on. Im so grateful he includes me. so many pastors and wives live two separate lives. I saw it while we were in seminary. Couples who did their own things, separately. When I am leading Bible study, he is watching the ladies kids. He helps with the RGT conference. He has mentored young men alongside me at the Pregnancy center, reaching deep into the messiness of our community.
I am so grateful to get to watch him grow into the man God always knew he would be. It’s huge blessing to see him step out and try new things to gain boldness.
To watch him give his whole life to Jesus in service. That he holds nothing back. To sacrifice.
To My Pastor
In Short during this month dedicated to showing appreciation to our pastors. I want to say a great BIG thank you.
Thank you for being a selfless example of what a godly man should be, not only for our own children but to the kids who know and love you!
Thank you for reaching me every Sunday , and every other day what the Bible teaches. I love sitting under your teaching and I learn so much.
Thank you for teaching me how to show love and grace through the good, the bad and the ugly.
AND THANK YOU for asking me to be apart of this journey with you 15 years ago. Thank you for seeing me as God does, as a women with potential NOT just as I am a broken imperfect person.
I will gladly serve with you another 15 years and until God sees fit to call us Home!
First things first, ARE YOU A FRONT YARD PERSON? That is the question you will need to answer as you read Kristin Schell’s book The Turquoise Table. In the Turquoise Table Kristin takes us on her journey to build community in her Texas town. She chronicles he ups and downs of being front yard people as they began doing every day tasks at the turquoise table. She gives practical advice on how to stock a simple basket to grab and go as you go to sit at the turquoise table , like crayons, coloring books, a can of mixed nuts, plastic cups and a water pitcher. BUT Kristin ALSO includes family tested recipes at the end of each chapter !! The chapters are short and sweet. They get right to the point and there are many testimonials of others as they have embarked on their turquoise table journeys. It was an easy and encouraging read that really makes the reader feel as though you can accomplish what is a seemingly scary risk, but with ease Kirstin melts away fears and doubts!
I had heard about the turquoise table movement through blogging friends over the last few years but I had not been to Kristin’s Blog or read anything official concerning the concept. And even though I had never read anything by her I had decided that my carpenter hubby was going to make some picnic tables for our outdoor space, I new one of them would bee painted TURQUOISE!!!!
When I saw I had the option to review Kristin’s Book I knew I just had to and it did NOT disappoint. I couldn’t stop reading!!! Each chapter addressed different ares the Turquoise table touched in her life…even the table wearing out…WHILE SHE SAT ON IT!!! Did I mention she was on camera as it happened? SOOOO FUNNY! The turquoise table has changed her, her family, her community, TEXAS and many around the world…no I am NOT kidding!!! Being a front yard person may not be my personality type, BUT Im certainly going to give it a whirl!!!
This is definitely 5 star rating plus some!
Thanks BookLook Bloogers for giving me a free copy of this book to review and not expecting anything in return!
Unexpected things happen ALL the time…Have you every heard the expression
“When it rains it pours”
Well, yesterday it was a monsoon. I laugh now as I look back at the unexpected happenings.
So yesterday started out in its normal crazy fashion…Up at 5:30 (First day back after Spring Break I might add) Yeah that was easy!! Ha!! Lunches made kids fed, three of them on the bus at 6:25. Whew!
Finished up my study Questions from “You Are Loved No Matter What” by Holley Gerth (THAT BOOK IS AAZING)
Bus alarm goes off a second time ..Fourth child out at the bus for a 7 50 pick up.
Normal household chores
Then I did something that is completely normal and it led to something SOOOOO completely Unexpected. I went out to the garage to get chicken to thaw for dinner….the unexpected was that the upright freezer door wasn’t shut all the way….UH OH! yep, so the rest of the normal plans out the window and I collected all the thawed gross things from the freezer that now resembled that of the abominable snowman fro Monsters Inc….WELCOME TO THE HIMALAYAS was all that ran through my mind! well after my hands we frozen and completely sticky…my sweatshirt and my pants doused int the conglomeration of mystery liquids……I had all the Ick taken care of….found chicken in another freezer and thawed that, put it in the crockpot and what’s that? the alarm for group #1 of our kiddos returning from school with #2 returning soon after group #1. Did I mention I was having Bible study with a teen from our youth group around the same time? Hubby was picking her up.
Hubby and I had realized that the freezer had been ajar since we left to visit family on Thursday YAY! Hubby also informed that while he was on a run to deliver a tractor (normal) His glasses broke and feel apart while he was driving (UNEXPECTED and dangerous) he made it taped them together BUT now had t run to the eye place we get our glasses prescriptions filled. At that point he offered to take the kids with him and to pick up groceries (Normal and AMZING) But half way through his trip the fan in our van wouldn’t shut off…even when the van was shut off and key removed (UNEXPECTED but isn’t can trouble almost always) I finished my bible study, her dad picked her up, I finished dinner and I sat down on the couch.
Everyone cam rushing in and quite frankly if you have read Hope for the Weary Mom or seen Mom’s Night Out you will get what I am about to say.
I had a moment…..And my kids ate dinner in silence…and I felt horrible (after all hubby’s sermon was coursing through my brain….Saying” you blew it”!!
Hubby left for a meeting, saying that if it ended before a certain time he was going to run to the store to get the part for the car. Ok off he went I gave the 45 minute warning till bed….
Child #3 asks “mom can I get my shower?” (NORMAL)
” Yep you can”
10 minutes later….As he stands at the top of the stairs , “Mommy why do you have your razor in the shower?” Ummm because it’s my shower and it’s hanging up above your reach!
Umm no it’s not and I think Im bleeding everywhere . (SO UNEXPECTED that it took a few seconds to register, but I snapped into nurse mommy mod) e. let’s add to this that this is the child with Autism AND he is JUST out of the shower.
So after some minor freaking out (on his part) my little army of three non injured kids snapped into a well oiled machine f helpfulness. And I could not with all the pressure I could get the bleeding to stop. I had to call hubby.
Hubby came home….Off to urgent care….To sit and sit and sit some more . Usually our urgent care is very quick….Not last night. They finally got him in at 10-ish. due to how his foot was cut they had to create an imitation scab. When they left, the battery in the car was dead from the constantly running fan (Unexpected, kind of) they came home at 12:30 am. (UNEXPECTED)
Now this morning had a few unexpected things like oversleeping and leaving child #4’s math homework on the table, but compared to yesterday it was a breeze!
Thankfully in all of the UNEXPECTED events of yesterday, it could have led to major strife and minus the MOMENT I had unrelated t all the rest going on, it’s those moments that show our true colors. Does our responses point to a Savior who is in control of every detail, or do we get bent out shape and let everyone know it , that it didn’t go according to our plan. I know it wasn’t in my plan to smell like a garbage can. Do we moan and groan about how awful these circumstances or do we whisper a prayer and say ok LORD it’s not about me. There has been a lot in my life that has been UNEXPECTED, soon good, some not so good and some just horrible things. Thankfully God doesn’t expect us to be perfect through it all, he wants us to rely on Him, for everything!
Actually its been a super crazy week since I last wrote a Random Ramblings….. Crazy Crazy CRAZY!!!!
Let’s Start with last week.
J was home from school on Monday because he had a fever the night before..and the school holds to a 24 hour policy without meds. T, K, and S went to school, but we were all very aware about the storm heading our way. Hubby had a meeting Monday night. Snow showed up Early Tuesday morning and we quickly realized that things had changed over night…our original 12 inches was upgraded and by Tuesday evening we had 29 inches of snow. did I mention the kids had a snow day Tuesday )YAY)…..and then Tuesday afternoon a travel ban was put into place…… so Wednesday no school….Thursday rolled around and the roads were much better excluding the drift spots, but no AWANA that night. J’s respite care worker came Thursday and Friday instead of Tuesday and Wednesday…. Hmmm I wonder why. Hubby was at church from 10-4-430 and then we had some errands to run and dinner out together (Are you getting tired yet, cuz I am just writing it. THEN Friday Happened….Initially all the kids had off school for Friday but since they exceeded their 5 allotted snow days T, K, and S all had school on Friday so it was just J home. Hubby and J went to church to finish up the previous days project. When they came home J’s service coordinator came for a brief meeting and his respite care worker came…we ate a quick lunch and were off to visit a church person who also had her gall bladder out last week (That is 3 of us from our church in about 3 months), then we had to pick up the kids from school (OOPS almost forgot that detail…thanks J for reminding us at lunch) had to o pick up K’s friend, whose parents are our church’s youth leaders, from her grandparents house so she could come spend the weekend with K while her parents, I and two teenagers went to a youth rally….. BREATHE!!! We drove home that night, stopped at Walmart and came home….. slept….. then left AGAIN the next morning to head back. We were there till 5ish and then headed home again… IN MORE SNOW. I didn’t get to go right home though I had a meeting at church that took a while because it involved some artistic work… and you know artists, we are our own worst critics! Yep OCD was strong!! I came home to my children (T & K) preparing dinner for us! What a blessing those two are! And that leads us to Sunday with all the normal Sunday stuff for a pastor’s family.
This life is crazy and we all go through crazy times but in the end we have choices. As the speaker at the youth rally I attended this weekend shared as he spoke through 1 Corinthians 13, we all have a choice in being loving we can be kind or we can be rude….. So in these times of Crazy it’s very easy to become self absorbed and rude, I mean ungrateful… and much more or we can CHOOSE to look beyond our crazy, our horrible, our circumstances and be who God has called us to be…… LOVING! It’s not easy and it takes a ton of practice. I know I’m not there yet. I’m not perfect and I most certainly DON’T have this all figured out. So start small. That’s what I am doing. I’m picking one thing….. and I’m choosing to pay attention to others rather than my crazy! How about you? What keeps you from being loving when THAT is what God calls us to do?