Merry {not crazy, busy and stressed} Christmas!

Every year about this time, it happens to me. I get completely overwhelmed. Shopping, wrapping, Christmas parties, teacher gifts, Christmas cards, decorating, baking … the list goes on. Ugh, I want to lock myself in the closet!

Then, the guilt sets in. When did I become so materialistic? Why do I allow myself to get caught up in all the craziness? I have to reorganize my thoughts and remember the importance of the birth, the precious baby who changed the world forever. The peace, love, joy and hope that only He brings. I have to stop and be still.

I have a tradition to help me focus on this truth. (I need a visual reminder so I won’t get sucked back in to the busyness.) I print the following words and post them on my fridge. I’ve been doing this for several years now. The author, Sharon Jaynes, was gracious enough to give me permission to share the following excerpt from her book, Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas.

I hope and pray it blesses you as much as it does me.

Author: Sharon Jaynes
Taken from the book, Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas

“If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals
and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime,
but do not show love to my family,
I’m just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen,
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity,
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir’s cantata,
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love does not envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return; but rejoices in giving to those who cannot.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things, and
endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust;
but giving the gift of love will endure.”

Thank you, Sharon Jaynes, for those amazing words!

With that, I’m taking a break from my blog to enjoy this season and love my sweet family. I’ll be back to blogging next year. Hope you and yours have a Merry CHRISTmas!!

Cool Quotes from VBS

We just finished our third day of Vacation Bible School. This is my first year volunteering, and originally, I thought it would a good way to spend time with my daughter. I didn’t really anticipate how much fun, exciting and adventurous it would be!

Every morning feels like a rock concert. High energy, enthusiasm, singing, dancing, ears-ringing, I feel like a kid again. It is awesome. I expected to teach the kids, but God has changed me.

Sometimes I get so caught up in being scheduled and organized, I actually forget to have fun. This week at VBS, though, has really taught me the importance of spending fun, silly time with my kids. They love it, and I do too 🙂

Here are some of the coolest things I’ve heard this week:

5.  “I have a sister and a brother. My sister is human, my brother is a dog.”

4.  A girl said, “Heaven is awesome because you wear cool clothes and you get to eat candy all day long without getting a tummy ache.” A little boy replied, “I want to go there.”

3.  I asked, “What is your favorite thing about VBS?”  A young girl answered, “Worship.”

2.  “No one else can bring my praise but me.” {Lyrics to a song we sang today} I love this and have never really thought about it this way. My praise is unique and special to God, only I can give Him my praise.

1.  “I accepted Jesus today.” {When I told his mom, her eyes lit up with excitement and she gave him a big kiss … very sweet moment.}

You can get more info about our church at

How would I treat Casey Anthony if she sat next to me in church?

I hesitate to write this for two different reasons:

1) You may be over it. You’re sick of the coverage and anything else that goes along with Casey Anthony; and/or

2) This is a controversial topic and I hate confrontation. I don’t like ruffling anyone’s feathers 🙂

Regardless of my hesitation, though, here I am … writing on this subject. And, in less than 48 hours, Casey Anthony will be a free woman.

I followed this case from the beginning. Originally, it peaked my curiosity because of my background (I majored in criminal justice and interned for a criminal defense attorney in college). Then, as months went by and thousands were searching, my heart just ached for this little girl. I prayed for her safe return. I was invested.

Then, I saw the horrible images of her mom partying. Disgust. I couldn’t even imagine a mother behaving like that when her child was missing.

So, I was drawn in and followed the case. I couldn’t watch the trial, but would get the daily recap on the news each night, after putting the kids to bed.

I was disappointed in the verdict, even angry. I told myself … don’t worry, she will face God one day and stand in judgment. I know this is harsh, but I have to admit — I even told myself she would burn in hell for killing that sweet girl.

Then, I heard a reporter say, “It will be interesting to see how the faith world will treat Casey Anthony.”

The question became personal to me, How would I treat Casey Anthony if she sat next to me in church?

I felt convicted. My anger and judgment for her didn’t reconcile with my Christian beliefs. God reminded me of the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11. To summarize, Jesus was teaching and the “religious” leaders brought in a woman caught in the act of adultery.

{Can you imagine the humiliation? Caught in the act of adultery, then brought before righteous, “holier than thou” leaders & Jesus.}

Under the law, she was to be stoned. The religious leaders asked Jesus, “Now what do you say?” They were trying to back him in a corner because if he didn’t endorse the stoning, he was breaking the law.

Jesus had an amazing response, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

One by one, the religious leaders left and no one condemned her.

Jesus then told the woman, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”

This is one of the many reasons I love and follow Jesus. He’s not about the “religious” law, but about forgiveness and restoration. As my pastor says, “He’s a God of second chances.” I’m so thankful for all of my second chances.

So, I’m working on my bitter feelings toward Casey Anthony. Even though she may not deserve it, I pray for her safety.

I don’t deserve anything I have, yet God always gives me a second chance.

So, now it’s your turn. What are your thoughts on this case? If you are a Christian, how would you react if Casey Anthony tried to turn her life around at your church? If you are not a Christian, how do you feel about this subject?