Monday, December 20, 2010

Wycliffe Contest!

I wanted to fill you in on an exciting contest that is currently being run and sponsored by the New Living Translation.  We’re highlighting three ministries, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Oasis International, and The Dream Center, (click on the link to learn more details about these ministries) and by voting for one of these ministries you’ll be entered to win one of many prizes.
To enter, visit the NLT Facebook page by clicking here.
There are several levels of prizes you can win, here are the details:
With the Give the Word Bible Contest and Giveaway:
    • Ministries win: Each time the NLT Facebook Page reaches a fan count milestone, votes will be tallied and the three ministries will receive cash donations from the New Living Translation and Tyndale House Publishers.
    • Everyone wins: Everyone who enters on the Bible Contest website wins a free download of Matthew West reading the Christmas story.
    • Daily NLT Study Bible winners: Vote on the NLT Facebook page and you will be entered to win two NLT Study Bibles—one to keep and one to give away. A new winner will be chosen every day.
    • Weekly Give the Word Locally winners: Tell us about a deserving local ministry on the NLT Bible Contest website and they could win five NLT Study Bibles and $250 worth of NLT products.
    • One Grand Prize winner will enjoy a unique trip customized just for them and their family (or three guests of their choice), to Wycliffe Bible Translators world headquarters and the WordSpring Discovery Center where they will experience firsthand the exciting world of Bible translation. The Grand Prize winner could also choose to donate the value of the trip--$2000--to Wycliffe instead.

(quoted from e-mail sent to me by Tyndale)

This is a fantastic opportunity to support these amazing ministries.  I love the Matthew West download that everyone wins!  I'm going to have my kids listen to it later on today.  :-)


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Santa-To be or not to be?

When I was a little girl, my favorite part of Christmas was shopping for my family.  Each of us kids were given $5-10 (not a lot!) to shop for each other and Mom and Dad.  Invariably, Tim would get a puzzle.  For Laura, I would pick something girlie--Barbie clothes, perhaps.  Then, we would all scrape together what was left to fill Mom and Dad's stockings.  We would carefully choose our gifts--a pack of gum, a Whitman's sampler or a box of chocolate covered cherries, a pen and a pencil.  We giggled as we rolled those pens up in paper, picturing Dad unrolling and unrolling and unrolling--because of course he could never guess what was in that package!  ;-)

To this day, it's the stockings that are the most fun for me.  I love picking up the little things for the kids and for Ryan--little treats that will make them smile.  And shopping for the kids is always fun, picturing their laughter and excitement as they open their gifts.

This year, Megan is questioning Santa, mostly due to a friend next door who keeps telling her Santa isn't real.  "You would never lie to me, right, Mommy?"  Wow!  How to answer that question! Even though I knew the truth about Santa at her age, I hate to end that childhood wonder--a wonder that I still have at Christmas time.  Wouldn't it be cool if there really WAS a Santa!?  lol 

I laid the foundation this year by telling her about the real St. Nicholas--a man who loved Christ deeply and gave out of his wealth to the poor to honor Him.  In Megan's mind, it's perfectly possible that God made this man immortal and allows him to deliver gifts to all the children--or that his descendants continue his work.  So the question is, are we really just pretending, or are we really lying?  And for what?  Is the fun of the tree and Santa worth the cost?  Is it just a harmless, fun tradition?  I can't imagine NOT doing Christmas, and since the early church didn't celebrate Christ's birth anyway, I don't think it does any harm.  BUT I still wonder...What do you think?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

If you want me to...

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Ten years ago today, Ryan's little brother died, leaving a void in our hearts and lives--here on earth, but not forever thanks to the great love of our Father.  Keep your heart and your eyes open for "those in any trouble." The trials in life may seem overwhelming, but there is always hope...sometimes we just need someone to remind us that our trials are just momentary and that joy is just around the next bend. In remembrance of Matt, I want to ask you to be that someone--you never know when you will be the voice of hope to someone in desperate need.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Baking!

Not nearly as fancy as the ones we made as kids, but still taste yummy!
 I love baking for Christmas!  Baking with my kids brings back memories of when I was a kid helping my mom bake goodies for gifts and the family celebrations.  I remember taking hours to make elaborate sugar cookie creations, competing with Tim and Laura (my little brother & sister) to see who could make the coolest cookies, pressing the Hershey's kisses into the peanut butter cookies (and sneaking some!), and, of course, the fun of finding yummy cookies in my lunch box every day at school!

My shortcut--make 1-1-1 cookies--these are ready in less than 10 minutes!
So, as an adult, I have loved recreating those Christmas memories in my own little family--baking sugar cookies and peanut butter kiss cookies every year, as well as adding some old family recipes into the mix--lepkuchen cookies and peanut brittle from my family and snickerdoodles and cream puffs from Ryan's.

My own addition--peppermint bark, which I think I have perfected this year, thanks to a great idea from Pampered Chef!

Peppermint bark--semi-sweet chocolate swirled with white chocolate, with crushed candy canes on top.  YUM!

If only I had the Hallmark channel!  This is the one time of year that I don't mind the tv!  ;-) 

Ryan's special creation--like the goatee?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Amish Christmas

An Amish Christmas is a sweet collection of Amish romance stories set at Christmas time.  The four interconnected stories are written by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Barbara Cameron, and Kelly Long, in typical Amish-story fashion, complete with Amish words and brief discussions of Amish tradition.  All four stories are well-written, though somewhat predictable, giving readers insight into matters of the heart--particularly love and salvation.  This is a great way to relax by the fire during the Christmas season, and the collection would make a great gift!

***Disclaimer...I was given a free copy of this book by Thomas Nelson/Booksneeze in return for my honest review.  ***

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