Christmas Book Bundle Giveaway!!!

You know what I love?? Christmas.  And books.  and also, free things. Not always in that order, though.

I’ve been working today some more on my website for my upcoming ebook that releases after the holidays, and that got me thinking about books and the holidays.  I decided that as a celebration of the upcoming release date, and the fact that it is officially the Christmas season in just a couple days, I would give away Christmas book bundle here!

So, the rules are that you have to comment on this post on the blog and tell me what you love most about Christmas! Easy peasy. I won’t require you to do anything else, but in the spirit of Christmas, I encourage you to spread the love and share this post with others to give them a chance to win too. 🙂

The giveaway opens right now and will close this time next week, December 3rd at midnight!

Here’s the bundle:

christmas carol     This is my very favorite Christmas read. It’s short so I’m able to read this classic each year right after Thanksgiving to kick off my Christmas with the right focus.

cradle cross crown  The true Christmas message is so often lost in the busyness and profit-making venues during the holiday season. How does one wade through all of the worldly diversions and still find Christ? Drawing from a lifetime of writings and sermons, beloved preacher and author Billy Graham pierces through the meaningless activity we get caught up in by taking readers back to the time when heaven descended to earth—and the place where Christ was born. Included in this classic Christmas message are excerpts from This Christmas Night, Scriptural accounts of Christ’s birth, favorite carols, and beautiful poetry by Ruth Bell Graham. It’s perfect for keeping focused on what’s truly important during the bustle of the season

greatest giftThis is written as a devotional leading up until Christmas. She’s a wonderful writer, and I loved having this for myself last year as a morning devotional! “Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, The Greatest Gift retraces the epic pageantry of mankind, from Adam to the Messiah, with each day’s reading pointing to the coming promise of Christ.”

unwrapping  After the success of The Greatest Gift, Ann made a family celebration for the entire family.  I don’t own this one myself, but I have read so many great things about it that I will be getting it for my family to do together!  I’m not sure if it would cancel out the book, but if it does, you can always give the book as a gift 🙂

women of christmas  If you have never read any of Liz Curtis Higgs books, you will be so blessed to receive your first! This book follows Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna from the beginning of Jesus’ life.

Those are some awesome books!  They’ll be sure to get you into the spirit of Christmas fast and keep your heart centered on the true meaning for this great holiday! I have so many books about different topics that I can go to my shelves and pick one out, but I realized a couple of years ago that I had NONE that I could read specifically for the Christmas season.  If you’re the same and would like to add some Christmas books to your bookshelves, then enter to win!

***************************UPDATE************************

Thank you all for the awesome comments! I did a random number generator and the number 9 won!! the ninth comment was from Maryssa T and she said

“love spending time with my family on Christmas! That’s what I love most. I love the atmosphere and that it brings out the best parts of people. IT’S THE MOSTTTT WONDERFUL TIIIIME OF THE YEAR!”

Is that not adorable?

I emailed her this morning and got her info to box up those books and send them to her!

Thanks to everyone that entered!

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Transposing -Learning that what I hear through my ears doesn’t have to be what I hear in my heart

Transposing -Learning that what I hear through my ears doesn’t have to be what I hear in my heart

Normally, I make a very good attempt at holding on to each falling golden leaf when October and November come with all their glory. I treasure and slow down each sway of my porch swing beneath a maple tree and the vision of children running around through grass, more free than they’ll be for months. This year threw me a bit off my game.  Did you know that three children are A LOT more than two? I didn’t know that…until the third child began walking and talking and being human. I let it get busy and full. If you let your guard up for even just a second, you’ll look up and realize a whole month has up and passed you by. Sometimes, it’s even an entire year.

The beauty of homeschooling is that at least when they’re little, you can make your fall break as long as you want depending on their workload. So, November has been tamed a tiny bit.  The chaos of busy and noise of crazy that we’ve lived in for months has been paused this week to listen to the sounds of November.  I know you, November.  Your promise of holidays so close I can feel them leave us usually wishing you’ll speed up and bring us your end goodness. So, the beat goes on. The rhythm of our home bends and sways to the music of Tchaikovsky as two little ballerinas request Swan Lake, and this year a third ballerina has joined. This rhythm twirls and spins, and then settles down to a quiet of nap time and a slow swaying candle light. It sounds like a hundred questions of “what’s that?” or “why?” that makes me feel like I could lock myself in my bedroom if my door only had a lock, and then slips down slowly and sounds more like “I love you, let me help you, you’re my favorite sister.”

My very favorite part of the rhythm is the constant up and down sounds and sights  that reminds me all the more that I can’t predict it. I don’t know. I can not tell you when the highs and lows will come, I only know they will. The calm lows refresh my spirit and energize me like nothing else can. But before I can focus too much on that and begin feeling like I know things, someone screams about a toy and a chaotic high will humble me with the knowledge that I don’t know how long those green grapes have been under my couch cushions.

There is a lot of joy to be found in accepting that you don’t know everything. Even more to be found in accepting that you pretty much don’t know anything. Learning to roll with it and turn loose of control causes the stress and responsibility of it all to slip off your shoulders. The rhythm of my home is one that He has purposely composed. My own composition sounds more like a mess and raised voices, tension and bad attitudes. I know, because I take over too often. It doesn’t mean that my home always looks calm, or that my dishes are not currently filling my sink. It means that in the midst of dirty dishes, chaos, and childish temper tantrums (some from my children, the rest from me), what I hear in my heart doesn’t have to be hear through my ears. I’m so thankful to God for so many things this November, but today, I’m mostly thankful for the Holy Spirit and His ability to transpose the noise that comes into our head into music before it hits our heart when we allow it. What’s your rhythm sound like? Who is the composer? You are a masterpiece, you know. A great poem created to show His great Glory. Let him transpose that chaos that you see as mess into evidence of life lived, and rumble of never ending noise as a symphony of memories being made.

Thanksgiving- Remembering the good but also the hard

With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving, he shall present his offering with cakes of leavened bread.

Leviticus 7:13

A few years ago, I happened to be reading through Leviticus  with a reading plan around Thanksgiving.  I had already recently read through Exodus and so, the symbolism of leavened bread representing impurity and evil was fresh on my mind.  I was reading through all the red tape of the laws without a lot of thought, honestly, until I go to the part of the thank (or peace) offering.  “present his offering with cakes of leavened bread”

I was so surprised to see God not only allowing leaven in His offerings, but requiring it. It was the first time I had seen this at all.  The more I thought about it, the more sense it made, but the harder it was to swallow.  In offering up a symbol of thankfulness and continuing the relationship of peace between the person and God, you had to remember not just the good but the bad too.  And ya know, that can just be hard to do. Sometimes, we like to think of Thanksgiving and think of all the good parts of our past year, but God shows us in this how much we could also reap from remembering the hard parts too.  Trials produce perseverance, which in turn builds character, and character forms hope, and hope never fails. Because that hope is from Him. (Rom 5:3-5)

So this year, as the big day of turkey and family creeps closer and you find yourself reflecting on your gratefulness, don’t forget to include those moments that you weren’t sure you’d make it through and the person you are now because of the hope of God and those hard times that began it all.

Who doesn’t love getting mail? #fmfpartysnailmail

So, I’m pretty excited about this. I LOVE receiving mail, real mail, not spam or credit card offers (though I appreciate their faith in me), and mail with the purpose of encouragement? What could be better?  I’m joining in a 5 week round of Five Minute Friday snail mail, Christmas edition.  Send one card, each friday, to one of the ladies in your assigned group. Receive a card each Friday from each of the other ladies. What could be more simple, or more uplifting in the midst of such a busy season?? What’s better, it’s a simple five minutes or less spent on a card…not one that has to have a perfect family picture on the front that you spent a ridiculous amount of time perfecting online.  Just a card. Just to say hello, praying for you, or hope your day is great.  Join me? The sign up is over here and ends November 23!

A word to the women during the holiday season

A word to the women during the holiday season

I don’t know if it’s because the start of the holiday season has arrived, or if it’s just a coincidence, but I’m seeing some serious spiritual warfare this month on the hearts of women. Probably everyone, but women are who I talk to. Over and over again, I’m seeing and hearing so many comments from women who are being beaten over the head by a long list of lies they have started to believe. Honestly, I’m also seeing a lot of those women beat themselves over the heads.

So, if you’re currently reading this, my first request is that you stop for one second, close your eyes, and breathe. seriously. I’ll wait. okay. Was it a deep breath? if not, do it again.

okay. Now that you have more air in your lungs than you probably have in the last week, listen closely. You, sweet lady, are enough. Not because you, in your strength and ability are enough, but because within you is hidden the greatest power ever created. You have started to believe the lies that something more than what you have is needed. Something in your life isn’t enough, whether you think you need more money, more time, more something. Or maybe you think something more in YOU is needed. More energy, more patience, more time spent on something or someone. Moms, I’m definitely talking to you too.

“The calling of motherhood is not to be a supermom; the calling is to be a woman of God to your children.” -Angela Thomas

Often, we do need more. But the trouble comes in our perspectives.  When I want God to be the path to my need, I fail.  “God, please help me to get _______ or be ___________.”  When I flip that so that the thing is the path to God, I have a much higher success rate at keeping that needed oxygen in my lungs moving.  “God, please help me to get ________ or be __________ so I can serve You more or look more like You.”  He’s the destination, not the taxi driver, but I often get those things confused.

Rest assured that if you are desperately praying unselfishly for something in your life, and you do not have it yet, it is because God has something better planned. However, so often, we think the good that he has planned means “good.” What we would call good. Like, raspberry chocolate truffle in a waffle cone. ya know? But his definition of good is a bit different. Best would almost be better. He has something BEST for you and your’s. He’s got this.

What I don’t want is to raise up children that panic when everything isn’t what they would call perfect. I want children that grow up to say, “I really worked hard for that. I wanted it so bad. I prayed for it. I didn’t get it. It’s not going to happen. Let it go. Look forward, b/c something really great will happen here…” I want that for myself, also.  I want a habit of looking up in hopeful, expectation, and not looking down in discouragement. You, too?

You, dear one, are stressing out about school, work, your house, your family, or whatever, but he will fill you each day with what is needed for that day if you but ask! If we can just keep Him as our goal and nothing in the way of that. You may ask for energy to clean your house, but what he may hand you instead is tolerance and self-control. To understand “there’s an art to leaving some things undone so that more important things can be done” (Jill Briscoe).

He may also zap you with supernatural energy to clean your house like a 9 month pregnant nesting woman. (If so, come to my house next, pretty please? cuz we’re learning that self-control and tolerance thing here…sigh)

He isn’t looking at you with a critical spirit, so please please, don’t look at yourself with one. If you’re feeling guilty about not doing something, check that at the door. Conviction is way different than guilt. The first is motivating and inspiring in a way that energizes to do something different. Guilt is paralyzing, disabling, crippling. Nothing about that last one sounds like God to me. Right?

My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Psalm 25:15


Do not, for a second, dear one, think that a snare means some dreadful trap with giant metal teeth. It means anything that catches your foot and does not release you. It holds on to your mobility and your ability to move forward in life spiritually, and keeps you there. It digs deep into your soul and the more you struggle against it trying to break free, the deeper it goes until you’re lying on the ground refusing to even fight any longer. Just like that, you give up and call yourself a failure…a bad mother…a terrible employee, housekeeper, wife, whatever.

He can open it up.

It’s possible that when he opens that giant trap, that it will hurt…anytime a giant pressure is released, it hurts worse at first than it did when it was on, because life rushes back fast. Life is always fast like that.  But that doesn’t mean it’s better to snap it closed again and deal with the dull pain. Get rid of it. Kick that snare to the curb, whether it’s your PTA guilt, or your “should I do this or that?” guilt, or whatever. Get a fresh word from him! Stay close to him when you move on! He won’t let you get close to those snares, but even if you do step off, he can always open them back up…and the faster you let him, the less pain and trouble you’ll have.

Breathe.

Let go of whatever you’re carrying. It’s too heavy for you.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30