Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Today was just one of those days where I was so thankful for my home. Everything about it...the smells, the food, the rooms, the family that fills it. Sometimes all the things we worry about and strive for cause us to forget that wonderful place called HOME. It can be a little heaven on earth, although most certainly not every home is. It's the place where you can be yourself and do the things you love without worrying about what anyone outside your door may think. Laura Ingalls Wilder describes home like no one else..."Home is the nicest word there is." So sweet and simple...but oh so true. For me home is like a warm sweater or a cozy pair of socks. It makes me feel warm inside and just the thought of being there is one of the best thoughts there is. I love my home!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
So this year like every other year I pulled out the Christmas Lights and low and behold they were all arranged neatly and I was able to quickly get them up... and then I woke up from this wonderful dream and found myself holding a jumbled up mess that resembled something close to an explosion at a Christmas light factory. So this year like every other year I sat down to work on getting them in order only to find that they didn't work. I really love when that happens...makes me want to sing the Hallelujah Chorus! So leave it to my wonderful hubby to come up with an analogy about how Christians resemble Christmas lights. We ended up talking on the subject at length and I thought I would blog about it. So here I am and here you are reading what I decided to write...got that...OK then...lets move on.
So here are some facts about Christmas lights:
1)They tend to always find themselves in a jumbled up mess.
2)They are much prettier when they are lit. You have to admit that lights really don't look that great when they are off during the day, but when you light those babies up they take on a whole new appearance.
3)One broken light affects all the rest. I had this happen to me two separate times this year. I put the lights on the tree, everything was looking good and then one day I noticed a whole section of my tree was not lit. Of course it was in the middle of the tree so my tree technically got trimmed three times this year if you count all the lights I had to fix and all the decorations I had to remove and replace to do it. Try it sometime...it's a lot of fun. Let's move on shall we.
4)One single light is okay, but hundreds, thousands, millions...even better.
So now that we've established these simple facts...keep reading.
Christians like lights often times find themselves in a jumbled mess. Technically speaking...we all are a jumbled mess, but for the Grace of God and salvation in Christ. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that are a direct result of choices we have made. Other times we may be going through trials and it is no fault of our own, just God's greater purpose. Point is...you can't do anything with tangled up lights and as Christians we need to do our best to be "untangled" from the world. God can't use someone who is entangled with this life and the world's system and ways. Somewhere along the way you have to make the choice to keep yourself "untangled" from the world. I could give you a ton of quotes here, but what better quote than a verse. "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a solider," II Timothy 2:4. Just about says it all don't you think.
Just like Christmas lights are much prettier when lit, Christians are much more attractive when they are "shining" with good works. Jesus was the Light of the World. He shined through the darkness and brought salvation to man. The sky turned black when he took man's sin upon him, but now heaven shines with his presence. He shined through the darkness in our hearts and gave us the light of the Gospel. You see...lights are always better when lit. How about me? How about you? Is our light shining for Christ or is it hiding behind a bushel? Christmas like no other time reminds us that time goes fast and life is a vapor...it's here...then gone. Let's redeem the time and shine for Christ. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven," Matthew 5:16.
When one Christmas light isn't working it affects the rest, likewise when one Christian isn't "working" right it affects the rest. I really believe some people who call themselves Christians have just sort of "checked out." They have either lost all interest in the things of God or they are acting like broken lights. When people fall away or are involved in blatant sin, it is going to affect somebody. It always does. No man is an island unto himself. If you think for one minute that your choices in life don't affect anyone but you, you are sadly mistaken. On that note if we see a brother or sister in need or having a hard time let's help them. Let's admonish, encourage and pray for them to get back where they need to be. We all have been there at some time and somewhere there was someone praying for us or giving us words of wisdom and strength. Let's do the same. There is no competition...it's not about who's "light" is more effective or shines before the most people. Just shine! Lights are meant to shine.
Consider this...what if all the people who call themselves "born-again" Christians really let their light shine? This world would certainly be a lot different. What if all of us overflowed with good works? What if we all gave out the Gospel? What if we all helped to hold each other up? What if we all actually were different (not odd)than the world? What if we all really lived the things we speak about? What if when people talked to us they really didn't see us at all...what if they only saw Christ? What if we all really lived like the Light of the World is living in our hearts. What if??? What if??? What if???
Saturday, December 4, 2010
I know that a lot of people this time of year are hosting or attending cookie swaps. I have been part of several and have learned a few tips along the way. Whenever I start thinking about what kind of cookie I want to make I always am drawn to the ones that look fancy or have fancy ingredients...how about you? I know we all have plans to WOW everyone with our fancy cookie baking skills but then reality hits...I have to bake how many dozen? Pecans cost how much? Yes...I've been there done that. I write down all my ingredients go to the store to stock up only to realize that I could easily sink $30 or more dollars into making cookies. I don't know about all of you, but around this time of year...every little bit counts. So back to the drawing board where we finally settle on a more practical cookie that doesn't break the bank. So in line with that thought...here are a few more thoughts about choosing the perfect cookie for that cookie exchange.
1)When choosing a cookie look at how much the recipe yields...I always aim for 5 or more dozen per recipe. This not only saves time, but money as well.
2)Look at ingredients. Keep in mind that items like butter, nuts (especially pecans and hazelnuts) are expensive...especially this year. Even eggs are expensive this year. This may not be a problem if your only making a small amount, but once you start baking several dozen...it adds up.
3)Consider baking time. I always aim for a cookie with a bake time around 10 minutes. This may not seems like a big deal but when baking large amounts it really adds up to lots of TIME, which I know we are all pressed for this time of year.
4)Determine the difficulty...Now I know that fancy cookies all dolled up look great, but I guarantee you that around 50-60 cookies your going to be wishing you had chosen a cookie that didn't have to be mixed, refrigerated, rolled, filled and sprinkled. Think simple...with great flavor.
5)Last but not least...pick a cookie that can be easily packed and transported. Keep in mind that frosting is going to be messy and very crispy, thin cookies are going to break very easily. Cookies that can be stacked and moved around without being ruined are a good choice.
So these are some things I learned along the way and I hope they can be a real help to you. Merry Christmas and happy baking.