WHITE CHRISTMAS

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Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.  – Psalm 51:7

I love Lucinda’s new poem about a white Christmas.  There’s a stanza that talks about showing love and compassion at this time of year – about helping someone pick up items they’ve dropped.  I had to laugh because that very thing recently happened to me.  I’m not sure why the good folks at Walmart think that fourteen gazillion items can be stuffed into one of their plastic bags – and they don’t have to double-bag it.  Sigh…

I was crossing the parking lot and it was so crowded – people everywhere and cars lined up waiting for me to get out of the way.  I had left the cart inside the store, thinking I could carry the bag to the car alright.  I thought wrong.  The bottom of the bag broke and stuff dropped out!  It was everywhere!  I was so rattled and embarrassed!

I scrambled to quickly pick things up, although some things had rolled away from me.  It’s amazing how kind and helpful the folks around me were!  There seemed to be folks coming from everywhere to help – and many were showing true empathy, explaining that at some time or the other, the same thing had happened to them.

The people in cars put them in park and got out to help me!  Nobody seemed angry or upset – but everyone was so very kind and helpful.  I was silently thanking God for that.  As we all know, sometimes people are less than kind and compassionate to another person’s plight.

I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I did.

a-christmas-of-whiteAnd I’m reminded too that my neighbor is everyone – not just the person who lives in my neighborhood.  Every time others are kind and compassionate with me, I become more kind and compassionate with others.  We teach others how to treat others by our own actions and reactions, you see?  It’s a choice we make and it’s a choice to ask God for help or not.  I don’t know about you, but I want to learn every lesson I can from God if it will mold me into the kind, compassionate, caring person I need to be.

May all your Christmases be WHITE.  🙂

 

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AUGUST 1-7 IS SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK

TL AUGUST 1-7 IS SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK

SIMPLIFY – To make simple or simpler: as a :  to reduce to basic essentials 

b :  to diminish in scope or complexity :  streamline <was urged to simplify management procedures>

c :  to make more intelligible :  clarify

A SIMPLE LIFE

It seems to me that it should be simple to simplify, ya know???  No matter how much effort we put into trying to simplify, it seems we work twice as hard to make it happen.  Now, does that make any sense to anyone?  No, I didn’t think so.  :-/
Well, here’s my take on simplicity.  I honestly believe that it begins within.  How high-maintenance are you, and what would you be willing to live without?  I’ve had many friends through the years and have traveled with a few.  I never let them know I was doing this, but I was secretly observing the luggage they carried.  You see, the things we travel with are the things we are not willing to part with.
The more stuff you are willing to live without, the more simple your life will be.  If you truly desire simplicity in your life, it’s necessary to let go of some non-essentials.  I know they seem like essentials right now, but stay with me.  This may make you re-think things.
For example, do you need a ton of makeup when you travel?  I’m not suggesting you go without makeup altogether (oh, heaven forbid) – but there are ways to travel with less.  I take one container of mineral make-up, a tube of mascara, a shadow, brow pencil and lip gloss.  Choose one color of lip gloss and plan your wardrobe around that theme color.  I usually choose red in the fall/winter months or dark pink in the spring/summer months.
I believe simplicity begins with the discarding of extras.  It’s about organization and pre-planning.  To make life easier, surround yourself with less.  It sounds like you would be denying yourself of things, but it is the most freeing experience to rid yourself of clutter and get organized.
Recently I went through my closet and took out pieces that I have not worn in the past year – for whatever reason.  If you have not worn a piece of clothing in the past year, you probably don’t need to keep it.
In the kitchen, organize with cook ahead cookbooks, or go online to find some great recipes.  Here are 20 of my favorites!  http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/quick-easy/make-ahead-meals-0
If you cook on the weekend and freeze each serving, that frees up the weeknight to relax and enjoy your family.  Simple.
Teach kids to pitch in and help with things like laundry.  Even boys will need to know how to do that at some point when they get older, so you’d may as well get them involved now.  They will feel like they are helping out and it will take some of the load off you…  get it – load – laundry?  Never mind.
 When you make a conscious decision to make do with less, that is when simplicity will become a reality.  When you organize things a bit and enlist help from the rest of the family, it will pay off in the long run.
Give it a try…  and bask in simplicity!  🙂

BUBBLE GUM DAY

TL 2-6 BUBBLE GUM DAY

 

2-6 STICKING LIKE BUBBLE GUM

2-6 IT'S BUBBLE GUM DAYToday is BUBBLE GUM DAY!!!  Every kid who donates 50 cents or more gets to chew gum in school.  The proceeds go to any charity the school chooses.  Kids have fun and raise money for a good cause.

Since it began in 2006, the celebration has spread from schools to libraries, businesses and community centers.  It’s a fun way to raise money for your favorite cause.

http://www.bubblegumday.com/Bubble_Gum_Day/Story_of_Bubble_Gum_Day.html

Obviously things have changed since I was in school.  In music class, if we were caught with gum in our mouths – we were set in the corner with the wad of gum on the end of our noses!

At my house, if I chomped on gum my mom would say, “You sound just like an old cow chewing its cud!”  Bubble gum wasn’t exactly encouraged at my house.

What are kids doing today???  They are offering to share their bubble gum with the folks at Wal-Mart, of course!

The bubble gum I remember best is DOUBLE BUBBLE.  My second favorite was BAZOOKA because there were comic strips wrapped up around the gum.  To be honest, unless you count EXTRA sugar-free bubble gum, I’ve not chewed it for years.  It was okay to sound like a cow chewing cud when I was twelve, but now…  um – not so much!

 Chew on this fact: nine out of ten people step on bubblegum left by either me or my associates. The tenth person couldn’t step on it because he’s handicapped. But he most assuredly rolled over it in his wheelchair.
– Jarod Kintz, Whenever You’re Gone, I’m Here For You    

I think it sounds like fun to buy the right to chew bubble gum!  Leave it to a children’s book author to come up with such a cute and fun idea!  This video is from a couple of years ago but it’s so cute!

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Wanna read a story about gum???  This is cute – check it out!  http://robertmunsch.com/poem-story/gum

I love kid’s stories – and what better subject today than bubble gum???  Wink!  😉

BOXING DAY

TL 12-26 BOXING DAY

12-26 BOXING DAY EVERY DAYBoxing Day last year:

Today in England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other former British commonwealth countries, they are celebrating a legal holiday known as BOXING DAY!  It’s also known as St. Stephan’s Day because churches opened their collection boxes to the poor.   The holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.

 During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. “Absolutely,” the professor said. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.   – JoAnn C. Jones, Guideposts, January 1996

In the Middle Ages, members of the merchant class would take boxes and fill them with food and fruits to give to servants, tradespeople and the less fortunate.  Servants worked on Christmas Day, so the day after Christmas they would be given a day off to celebrate.

 Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.  – Seneca

Today Boxing Day is celebrated by filling boxes with food and clothing for the needy and doing volunteer work.  Monetary donations to various organized charities are also common.

If Christmas falls on a Friday or Saturday, Boxing Day is celebrated the next Monday.

We are told in the Bible that the poor will always be with us.

  For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.  – Mark 14:7

Sometimes people use this verse as an excuse to withhold charitable contributions because they argue that it will do no good – the poor will be with us always.  I think the actual point Christ was making was that He would not always be amongst man on earth in human form.  Yes, the poor will be here, just as the rich people will be here.  Whether we are rich or poor, we have choices to make.  We as individuals will be held accountable for the choices we make.  It all comes down to what we believe is the right thing to do and what we are taught is the right thing to do.

God smiles on His children who share.

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.  –  2 Corinthians 9:7

We give in secret.  Give quietly and shhh…  don’t tell.

 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.  –  Matthew 6:4

THE FAMILY ACROSS THE WAY

While I believe alms refers to the tithes  and offerings given to the church, the same application should be made to charitable giving.  Here in the U.S.A. we don’t celebrate Boxing Day, but we still need to keep in mind that not every family had a Merry Christmas!  We (and I’m pointing to myself too) need to try to find those who are struggling and help them if we possibly can.  Wouldn’t it be a great idea to make Boxing Day a day of giving to those less fortunate?

I give because it’s the only concrete way I have of saying that I’m glad to be alive and that I can earn my daily bread doing what I love.  Giving… puts our focus back where it belongs – on the lives we lead, the families we raise, the communities which nurture us.  – Stephen King

People have all sorts of motives for giving (tax breaks, bragging rights, getting on someone’s good side), but remember God knows the heart and the motive.  I have a personal belief that once you are praised by people or receive any payment or compensation, you lose your reward from God.  Humility has to be a key element of real giving – be humble and quiet.  God knows and His reward is sufficient for your life and His blessings will sustain you.  He gives the best rewards, doesn’t He?  To my friends celebrating Boxing Day – have a wonderful day!  🙂

 

I like the idea that God has a box packed with everything I will ever need – don’t you?

It’s not too late to order your copy of Lucinda Berry Hill’s new devotional book!  Everybody needs a new devotional book to begin this new year, right?

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Click on the link below to get your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx