Words Worth Remembering

I have hidden Your Word in my heart
that I might not sin against You.

Psalm 119:11

As Christians God’s Word is one of the most important tools we have. It is what we base our words, actions and hopefully our thoughts on. His Word provides wisdom, comfort, and direction. The Bible is a gift from God to help us know His desires for our lives and as a tool to share Him with others.

Photo12291343

Unfortunately we don’t always have a Bible with us and even when we do there isn’t always time to look up an appropriate verse for the situation. I have been challenged by how few verses I have hidden in my heart and one of my goals for the coming year is to put more there. My goal is to memorize a verse every week of 2013 and to understand the context of each verse and how it can apply to my life and the lives of others.

I’m inviting you to join me!

Photo12291336

Early each weekend I will post a verse to memorize along with some context and perhaps a few personal thoughts. I’d love it if each of you would add your thoughts and if you are familiar with the verse perhaps how the verse has helped you along life’s way.

The older I get the more difficult I find it to memorize things so if anyone has suggestions or methods as we go along please share those too.

I’m excited to think that at this time next year I will know over 50 new verses! I really hope you’ll join me!

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

Christmas Regrets

Another Christmas is over. It was such a wonderful day for me as family gathered and we shared some precious time over good food, gracious gifts and making great memories.

DSC04732

…but I have some regrets.

There were other special times throughout the Christmas season. I published my first book! I gave to charities and children. I created a gingerbread carnival and gingerbread houses for giants (giant gingerbread people that is…) I sewed and scrapbooked gifts for my family. I laughed with friends at Christmas parties and cried over memories of my dad as we celebrated our fifth Christmas without him.

me & dad

…still I have some regrets.

Christmas Eve was celebrated with both my mom and sister for the first time in several years, and we joined a very special uncle and cousins to welcome the Christ Child at my childhood church.

candlelight

…and yet I have regrets.

1. I regret that I didn’t start earlier. I don’t mean with the sewing and creating (although I was sewing pajamas until 10:30pm Christmas Eve) or with the parties and wrapping.

I regret that I didn’t start sooner with the giving.

Christmas is a time when we think about others who are in need and as a society we tend to give generously. But what about in February when we’re snuggled in our beds yet our streets are filled with those without a home trying to stay warm? Or in August when we’re trying the latest fried-food specialty at the State Fair but haven’t given a donation to the food pantry in months? Why don’t I give all year-long?

2. I regret that I don’t make more of an effort to spend time with my nephews and let them know how proud I am of the young men they are becoming.

And what about others in my life who are important to me?

Do they know how much I care? I used to write fun letters and send goofy greeting cards ‘just because’. When was the last time I wrote a note or did some random act of kindness for someone special to me?

3. I regret that I don’t savor time with my Savior the rest of the year as I do at Christmas. There’s something about the lights on the Christmas tree and the sense of wonder all around that makes me feel closer to the Lord and treasure His gift of Jesus more than the rest of the year.

I want to capture that feeling and experience it all through the year.

These regrets stir me to action. I’ve mentioned before that I am a planner. As I look towards my plans for the coming New Year I am going to ‘task’ myself with planning ways to eliminate these regrets for next year. I will share some of these plans with you over the next couple of weeks.

I pray that you had a wonderful Christmas filled with love and precious memories. What was your favorite part? Any regrets? Please share your thoughts with us here.

I am so thankful for a season that reminds us of the preciousness of our family and friends and the wonderful gift of Jesus. And I’m thankful for all of you stopping by.

blessings and peace to you…
Paula

The Hope of Christmas

There was only one thing I wanted for Christmas that year. Baby Alive. She was a doll that you could feed special “baby” food and she would drink from a bottle of water. Her mouth moved when you put the spoon or bottle up to it so that she was actually eating and drinking! Then of course, she wore diapers because what she took in also had to come out!

Every time a commercial would come on the television for Baby Alive I would tell my parents how much I wanted her. (I still remember the jingle they sang about her). I knew my parents didn’t have a lot of money and quite likely I wouldn’t see that special doll under the tree. But that didn’t stop me from hoping!  I loved that doll and hoped some day to making her mine.

We seem to use the word hope generously in our culture…almost flippantly it seems. “I hope it doesn’t rain.” or “I hope these pants still fit.” along with similar phrases often fill our conversations. While there’s nothing wrong with hoping for things here on earth it is important that we and those we impact have eternal hope. We hope in others to give us what we want for Christmas but humans cannot fill the void of a lonely or broken heart. Only God can fill that emptiness that each of us has.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.                                                                                                     Psalm 62:5-6

Christmas celebrations cannot be complete without remembering the eternal hope that comes because Jesus left His throne in the majesty of Heaven to be born as a helpless infant. He left his future in the hands of imperfect humans and yet He lived a perfect life then gave that life on the cross for our sins.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.                                                                                                  Ephesians 1: 18-19a

So many in this world are without the hope of Jesus. They see Christmas as only filled with shopping, lighted trees and gifts under the tree. Without the ‘right’ gift all hopes are dashed and the day is ruined.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25

I pray that this Christmas you truly know the hope of Jesus. The hope of eternal life. And the confidence that when we hope in Jesus we will never be disappointed.

Please share your hope with others this Christmas. Bless them with the eternal hope that can only be found in Jesus and His promise of Heaven.

blessings and peace to you!

Paula

Cherish This Christmas Giveaway WINNER!!

CONGRATULATIONS to Gabby Paniagua chosen as the winner in my Cherish This Christmas Giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered and those who have purchased copies of my book. If you didn’t win and want to purchase a copy they are still available:

You can purchase the book here at Amazon, the Kindle
edition here
, or at my CreateSpace store.

I look forward to celebrating a new year with all of you soon and to what God has in store for each of our lives!!

blessings and peace…
Paula

 

My Christmas List

Christmas is only two weeks away!

Can you believe it? 

Are your days filled with hustling and bustling, decorating and shopping?

Have you made your list and checked it twice? (Or if you’re like me you have a few lists going!)

I’ve been thinking about a very special list.

The things on this list can’t be bought at a store. They can’t even be made on my sewing machine or baked in my kitchen.

Maybe they’re just a dream. 

But maybe we can work together to make some of them come true… 

At least in our little corner of the world.

Christmas List

What’s on your Christmas list this year? 

I’d love to know what’s in your heart.

blessings and peace to you this Christmas season!

Paula

Waiting With Anticipation Or Dread?

So much of Christmas revolves around waiting. Some people wait all year for the Christmas season to arrive, many decorating long before Thanksgiving has even come. We wait in lines at the stores to buy the ‘perfect’ gift, and many families wait for loved ones to come home for the holidays.

When I was a little girl we lived on a dairy farm, and not only did my sister and I have to wait for Christmas morning to come, but we also had to wait for Dad to come in from feeding the cows and his other farm chores before we could go downstairs to see what treasures awaited us.

Scan0090

We aren’t given many details about the time between the angel’s announcements and Jesus’ birth but we know there was waiting involved. I believe we can surmise a few things such as the formal marriage of Mary and Joseph. They probably began to settle their new home together and prepare for this special child to be born.

They undoubtedly spent time dreaming of their future, wondering what it would be like to be earthly parents of the Son of God. Many of us dream of the coming Christmas morning and the joy and laughter it will bring.

But there are also many who look toward the future and see only hopelessness. Some have lost loved ones and face emptiness in their Christmas preparations. Many have been out of work for months and wonder how they are going to feed their family, let alone buying gifts or a tree to put them under. Sometimes waiting for Christmas is filled with sadness or dread.

As we wait for Christmas this year let’s do so with open eyes and an open heart.

If you are facing loss or hardship I hope you’ll open your heart to Jesus, the One who came that first Christmas to take our pain and loneliness away.  He will meet your needs and provide comfort when you come close to Him. Also look around you for someone who is missing something that you can provide. It doesn’t have to cost you anything but maybe a smile, or a helping hand. You won’t be sorry you did.

Whether you are anticipating Christmas or dreading the coming weeks, focusing on looking up to Jesus, then around at others who are hurting will likely change all of our perspective.

blessings and peace to you as you wait…

Paula

This is an excerpt of my book “Cherish This Christmas”

You can purchase the book here at Amazon, the Kindle
edition here
, or at my CreateSpace store.

To jubilate the release of my debut book, I’m celebrating and inviting you to join along!

Christmas Expectations

What is your favorite part of the Christmas season? Is it the rush of adrenaline associated with finding just the right gift for the special people in your life? Do you look forward to the lights and decorations that will sparkle in your home and neighborhood? Perhaps it’s the planning and preparing of special holiday meals and treats. Regardless of what we enjoy best, Christmastime is upon us, with not only the excitement, but the expectations of the season.

Speaking of expectations, how are yours this year? Do you expect the garland to glitter perfectly and all the bulbs to be lit when you untangle your lights? Are you anticipating the perfect gift for each person on your list to be found in the first store you enter? How ‘bout those treats? Do visions of sugarplums and beautifully frosted cookies dance in your head? We all have expectations, and each year some are more easily realized than others.

bri's gift

For generations the people of God had waited expectantly. The wait was very long and when Jesus, the Messiah came it was most unexpected. The people’s expectations were of a King coming down from Heaven in majesty and might, dressed in royal robes, perhaps accompanied by a Heavenly army. Jesus came so humbly that many did not recognize him. Only a few were watching, waiting and open to the message of His birth. Many missed out on the joy of getting to know Him because they didn’t take time to learn who He really was.

What about us? In all of our expectations for Christmas, do we miss the One whose birth we mark this time of year? Will Jesus be restricted to Christmas carols, pageants and Sunday morning sermons? Will we get so wrapped up in the gifts and the hype demanding our attention that we forget the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a feed trough?

Christmas is a time of anticipation. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with gifts and glitter, lights and cookies. But I invite you to join me in another sense of expectation this Christmas season. As we anticipate the wonder of Christmas let’s take time each day to reflect and remember the One born to be the Prince of Peace and to forgive the sins of the world. May we not miss out on the joy of Jesus because we don’t take the time to learn who He really is and why He came. Let’s add to this year’s expectations the anticipation of growing closer to our Savior and getting to know Him better.

blessings and Christmas peace!

Paula

This is an excerpt of my book “Cherish This Christmas”

You can purchase the book here at Amazon, the Kindle
edition here
, or at my CreateSpace store.

To jubilate the release of my debut book, I’m celebrating and inviting you to join along!