Monday, December 31, 2007


...the "Pop Princess". That's my husband's new nickname for me because he says I'm light and happy just like the feel good, cheesy pop music I adore.

I do hope that all of you find 2008 to be your best year yet...filled with joyful laughter, new friendships, strengthened relationships, and an amazing awareness of God's incredible love for you.

BTW, this song talks about the end of 1989. Where were you back then? I was living in Swaziland, Africa as a single, big-haired journeyman missionary with the Southern Baptists. My husband was a "mature" college student and a green beret.

Leave me a comment telling where the end of 1989 found you and I'll enter you in a drawing for a prize. Don't know what it is yet, but it'll be good! More details to follow when the kids aren't clamoring for New Year's Eve FUN! :D


Its New Year's Day...the kids have been well fed and are quietly either playing, watching BALTO, doing chores, or laying on the floor near the toilet because of stomach now I can post more details.

OHH-H-H-HHHH!!!!!!!!!!! MY BABY JUST GOT SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can't post more details now. Back later. UGH.....


Back again. Super Hubby and I just finished tag teaming it as we cleaned up the nasty results of the stomach bug and bathed the baby hobbit. Actually, we're leaving her in the tub for a good long while in case she gets sick again.

ANYWAY...enough nasty details. On to some fun contest details.

Leave a comment telling where you were and what you were doing the end of 1989. That will give you one entry into the drawing. THEN, if you post a link at your blog to this drawing, leave ANOTHER SEPARATE comment alerting me to that action and you'll get another entry. I'll need to limit the prize to folks living in the U.S. Sorry.

And the prize? One of the GRACE WORKS handcrafted bracelets that my friend Rhonda, my 2 oldest daughters, and I have been making to pay for our ministry trip to Swaziland. We've got several styles and colors so I'll let the winner pick the colors and design details. To see some of the ones we've made and sold in the past, you can follow this link:

The contest will end 1/7/08 and I'll draw for the winner the next day.

Thanks for entering and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!


Yep, fellow mom and home educator Tricia at LIFE ON THE HILLTOP is giving away two Susan May Warren books plus a $10 Amazon gift card this week. Just follow the link to read the rules and be entered for this great drawing! What a terrific way to start out a new BOOKS!!!!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


My sister-in-law, brother, and their kids. They've had sickness hitting them left and right over the last several weeks and its really gotten nasty this week. Nothing life threatening...just enough gross virus mess to mean they've had to stay in quarantine and away from the rest of the family during the Christmas gatherings. Please pray that they will ALL get well SOON! We want to enjoy the season with just won't be the same if we can't.


BTW, if you've never checked out my SIL Stephanie's blog, here's your chance. I didn't know she was such a good, insightful writer til she started blogging a few months ago. She's also great with digital graphics/designs and has done some fab things with her blog:

Monday, December 24, 2007


Baking is not my forte. Casseroles, pastas, soups, and stir fries? Yes! But not baking and not doing sweets. My salty tooth is a whole lot bigger than my sweet one plus, as a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-peasant-skirt kinda gal, I prefer recipes that give me some leeway and don't require a lot of exact measurements. But Christmas and having a family that expects, no DEMANDS, certain traditional foods, I just have to get out of my cooking comfort zone and pull out the sugar, marshmallows, and butter.

To keep things less stressful, I keep what we make narrowed down to just the things that we absolutely MUST have. And in our case this year, that means the MacLellan Family secret recipe fruitcake, orange balls, and chocolate bark candy. We'll be relying on Grandmommy to round out the other family culinary traditional offerings.

We did the orange balls a couple of weeks ago as we had to have them for seasonal parties. I let the older kids, especially the 2 oldest girls, basically do almost all the prep. Of course, that means that the first attempt meant we had orange ball SOUP but a trip to the store to buy more vanilla wafers solved that problem.

We'll probably have to do the fruitcake on Christmas Day or even a day or two afterwards as I've still wrapped all the gifts and this fruitcake recipe is a time intensive one.

Our third Christmas sweet, chocolate bark candy, was done on Saturday. 6 year old LG was my main kitchen assistant though B, D, and P all joined in on the fun. And fun it was! Even for me!!! This is one Christmas goodie that I actually really don't mind at all as its just a stir it up sort of thing and I don't have to do any precise measurements. Must be one of the many reasons I love my engineer hubby so much...the whole "opposites attract" thing really applies in our case.

ANYWAY....I've done various things with chocolate bark in the past such as blueberries or rocky road....but this year's was a peppermint-marshmallow creation. So easy! Just melt the bark and stir in marshmallows and crushed up peppermints. This was the part my kids found so fun. They love the recipes that call or banging on stuff with my wooden mallet. After it was all poured out in a pan, we sprinkled it with more crushed peppermints and voila! Yummy, easy Christmasy chocolate.

I'd offer you some to sample, but between my family and the crowd at yesterday's church lunch, its absolutely all gone.

Must go and get all Christmasied up for my friend Rhonda's Christmas Eve Open House. Hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas Eve filled with many sweet moments.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


This song is dedicated to certain people who live under my roof but will remain unnamed at this point. Whoever who'd have thunk that the card game spoons could be such an emotional experience?! W.O.W.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


I know that some of y'all are feeling pretty tired about now. Here's hoping that you can either grab that well deserved nap or at least have a good night's sleep filled with nuttin' but sweet seasonal dreams!
Love y'all!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007


I wanted to share with you one of our favorite Christmas books, MORTIMER IN THE MANGER, which is written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman. Its a fun read with great, colorful illustrations and a wonderful message about what this one little mouse learns about the true meaning of Christmas.

My son Patch likes that the little mouse gets to live in a house made of candy. Sounds like my son's dream come true!

So what are YOUR favorite Christmas books?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Here's the Christmas letter that I FINALLY wrote and sent out today:
Merry Christmas!
2007 has been an amazing year for our family. What started out as a fairly normal year, well, normal for us, quickly became something new & exciting by the time the summer months rolled around.
On Elysa’s 41st birthday, the older ones in our family went to see the movie, AMAZING GRACE which is about William Wilberforce & his fight to end slavery. This was the start of a shake up. God showed us that we had been in a time of rest and healing..a very comfortable place. It was time for us to wake up and get back in the fight.
As William Wilberforce & his fellow abolitionists fought to end slavery in the 1700's & into the 1800's, God started speaking to us that He wanted us involved in helping to set the captives free. He wanted us active in helping break the chains that hold so many in bondage today...poverty, addiction, disease, abuse, exploitation, & spiritual darkness.
But what would that look like for us?
During the spring & early summer two books played a crucial role in steps our family would take on this journey. Lisa Samson’s QUAKER SUMMER & Shane Claiborne’s IRRESISTIBLE REVOLUTION. We realized that not only had we been in a safe place of healing & rest, but we had also become lazy & self-centered. We had shut ourselves off from the very ones Jesus had told us to love.
We are still praying to know what God’s will for the future of our family is going to look like, but we do know one area that He has for us to walk into now.
In January, Elysa along with daughters A & B, will be going to Swaziland, Southern Africa for 10 days to minister to orphans & widows thru Children’s HopeChest. Elysa served in S’land 2 years as a missionary in her single days. Over the summer, thru her new relationship with author Lisa Samson & being introduced to the ministry of Children's HopeChest, she became aware of the horrific conditions going on in her beloved African country. Over 1/3 of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS & over 1/10 of the population is comprised of orphans. Disease combined with years of drought have wreaked havoc on the nation. Elysa’s heart has been breaking over the situation in Swaziland so she & the girls are very excited about the opportunity that God has given them to go over there & love on those precious ones. We also know it will be a life changing experience, especially for A & B.
In other news, J still works as the dam safety engineer for the state & is a regional representative on a national board for dam safety officials. Elysa leads a local homeschool group & they both teach children’s church as well as lead a church cell group. 14 year old A & 12 year old B are active in the church youth group, are assistant children's church teachers, & are members of the homeschool group’s teen book club. Both girls are bloggers along with their mom, B clog dances with a local group, & A is learning to skateboard. 10 year old D & 9 year old P are both cubscouts and love Lego’s & video games. 6 year old LG is still a little princess & loves art. 4 year old son T & 2 year old daughter M enjoy playing with the farm cats, giving lots of cuddles, & making the family laugh.
On a sad note, we had two close family members pass on this year. Elysa's mom's husband Roy and J's mom's husband Vers both died in August. That was a tough month for us. If you think about it, please pray for all of us as we face our first Christmas season without them.
We’re sorry this is so late in arriving this holiday season. Life is always a bit crazy around here, but getting things done for the African trip has meant an extra bit of craziness added to the mix.
Those of you who we’ve heard from, thanks so much! I'm sorry I've not sent out any cards. I'm still hoping to before its too very late. To those we’ve not heard from in a while, we’d love to hear news from your neck of the woods. We have learned over & over again that truly our friends & family are some of the very best blessings we have in life & we value those relationships highly. We don't want to lose touch with y'all despite how terribly busy things can get.
Love and peace this Christmas season and may 2008 be your best year ever.


I gotta keep this snappy as we're having bad thunderstorms come thru. The tv station never called back for whatever reason. Who knows why. I know we had a breaking local news story that was taking up a lot of media energy so that might have been it. Thanks anyway to all of you who prayed and sent sweet emails or left comments.

I won't be much online today due to the weather but hope y'all have a wonderful Thursday and truly enjoy your last few days of the Christmas season.

Before I get offline, let me leave you a nugget of grace:

"How are we to think of the incarnation? The New Testament does not encourage us to puzzle our heads over the physical and psychological problems that it raises, but to worship God for the love that was shown in it. For it was a great act of condescension and self humbling. 'He, Who had always been God by nature' writes Paul, 'did not cling to His prerogatives as God's equal, but stripped Himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave to nature and being born as mortal man. And having become man, He humbled Himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death He died was the death of a common criminal. And all this was for our salvation."

J I Packer, Knowing God

I need to keep that in mind right now. THAT is something worth celebrating.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

YiKeS or WOW!?! PLEASE PRAY!!!!!!

I might be interviewed this afternoon by a local TV show about, of all subjects, sex ed! When the news gal called to ask me if I would, I just had to laugh! ME!!!! The mom of SEVEN children and old fashioned prude being interviewed about SEX ED and how we are teaching our children about this subject and dealing with the over sexed culture we live in. part of me is scared I'll sound like an idiot (plus, I HATE my voice when I hear it on videos or tapes) or look like a DORK...but the other part of me thinks its really fun and funny and yes, exciting. Its not everyday this down home country gal has a tv crew show up on her doorstep.

But I do want to present a positive message...the message that God's way works. Its not just about abstaining so bad things don't happen, its about abstaining so that beautiful things can happen more easily in life. Its that when we follow God's plan life is sure easier and makes a wonderful, forever marriage so much easier to have one day.

Please pray for me, okay? The kids are pretty excited but we're pretty sure we're going to make them do the interview OUTSIDE!



(Who needs to go and roll her hair!!!!!)

P.S. Oldest dd says I need to tell them that one way I'm teaching them about abstinence is by taking her and 2nd dd to Swaziland where they have the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world. I guess if that doesn't give clear evidence for the importance of abstinence outside of marriage, nothing does!

P.S.P.S. They wanted to interview me in our living room but when I balked at that they said we could do the yard. Sigh...I hate feeling so insecure about my house, my looks, etc. I'm usually a pretty confident person but this kind of thing really brings out all my petty insecurities. We're still cleaning the living room as best as we can just in case, but I'm thinking the yard is a much better option.


UPDATE: Its now about an hour and a half after the tv station initially phoned. They were supposed to call back and verify things but I've not heard back so far. Might end up being much ado about nothing. Que sera...just don't know if I'm relieved or disappointed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


As I was looking for the Wiggle's Christmas video, my darling 4 year old T came in and asked me to let him watch "Forever and Ever" or also known around here as the "squirrel" video. As I was setting it up, he said "prepare to laugh. The squirrel wobot is the funniest part". Gotta love that little guy.

We thought y'all's kids (and hubbies, too) would like to have some nutty fun with the David Crowder Band.


If you liked that video but even if you didn't and wonder WHY IN THE WORLD did they do a SqUiRrEl's your answer via another video:

David Crowder is such a NUT! Pun intended. That's probably one of the reasons I like him so much. ;)


My daughter has a HUGE scab on her knee thanks to some innocent rough housing perpetrated at youth group. Today she told me---

"Its turning green. I don't like green skin. I don't look good in green."

Don't worry, I'm not posting pic!

My little ones love The Wiggles...and the older ones deny it, but this morning some of them have really been having fun dancing to tunes from YULE BE WIGGLING. They will of course tell you that they are strictly doing it to entertain the little ones, but this mama knows the truth. ;)

This video is one of the Wiggles' slower Christmas tunes but I hope it brings some good cheer your way today as you struggle NOT to get stressed out over the fact that Christmas Day is in one week! I know I had to make myself stop and go dance and laugh for a while with my children. After all, one of the reasons He came was so that we could laugh and love...He came to give us abundant life!

Monday, December 17, 2007


I'm seriously praising God here that the calendar I TRIED to do TWICE last night is done and will soon be shipped...and this time it worked fine and dandy. Since I had LOTS of practice doing it last night, I had the entire thing created and ordered in about half an hour. But believe me, the entire time I was as nervous as a cat at a coon hunt. I just kept waiting for it to freeze up or not upload or my precious toddler hobbit to press some crucially WRONG key but it all went smoothly. And its a good thing...I don't think my fragile psyche could have handled another mess up tonight. I'm plum wore out!

I've spent the majority of the day packing up packages to mail, running errands, and fixing my special Christmas snack mix. Its a variation of the traditional Chex mix. I usually make a regular one for those little'ns in my families with less than adventurous palates. And I do a spicy, Cajun mix for those of us who want our taste buds to stand up and do some zydeco dancing! Today I threw in some cute little bunny shaped crackers and renamed it Br'er Rabbit Snack Mix. I ate a HUGE mugful for lunch and I'm still full from that yum-o crunch lunch.

As said earlier, I'm pretty spent. I walked in at around 6:00 from my trip into town and changed straight into my pj's. I fixed a simple supper of potato soup and oldest daughter A fixed Jif cornbread muffins. Then it was on to the computer to create the now infamous calendar.

And now here I am....using up my last few specks of energy before Super Hubby herds me off to blissful rest in my monkey jungle beach bed.

Hope all of y'all have nights filled with good sleep and visions of chocolates dance through your heads.


P.S. I just have to add a new bit to this comedy of errors. When I hit the button to view my blog and new post I realized it had accidently gotten posted on my DAUGHTER'S blog! YIKES! Needless to say, she would NOT be happy if my happy homemaker post got left on her edgy, rocker girl blog so I got to spend even MORE of my last few remaining specks of energy fixing things. I'm tired. I'm going to bed! I don't even NEED Super Hubby to make me get up and go now. YAA-A-A-AAAWN........

Sunday, December 16, 2007

....against the computer desk. For about 4 hours this evening I've been working on a calendar online for a Christmas gift. The first attempt had me nearly completed when the website froze up and I had to start all over again. Now its nearly midnight andMonday I've finished it but when I clicked on one of the buttons to finalize the thing, it started "loading" and its been loading for about 20 minutes now.
I can't scream if I lose it again...I'd wake Jim. I can't bang my head...I'd get a ginormous headache and probably break the keyboard or monitor or something. So I sit and wait and pray and hope, hope, HOPE that I end this lengthy endeavor with one completed calendar. Is that too much to ask?
W-A-A-A-AAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! The calendar never would finish "loading". I left it going and got in bed freezing with a good book just hoping and praying that it would do its thing. Every now and again I'd pop out of the semi-warm bed to check on it and it was always the same..."please wait while loading". I finally fell asleep at some point and then Jim woke up about 1:30 and said that if it hadn't loaded by then it wasn't going to load and I'd just have to start all over! UGH!!!! Like a busy mom of 7 kids wants to do that?!? Of course he's right and I will have to just start all over but it doesn't mean I like it one single iota.
And today its GOT to be done. A great special is being run PLUS Christmas will be here soon so I've got to get it FINISHED! But it ain't happening this a.m.
I must get Christmas packages mailed to our loved ones out west or they're going to think I've gone Grinch on them this year.
I love Christmas...I love the packages and the presents and the cards and the parties and all those wonderful things. I just hate that I'm such a procrastinator and so disorganized that I let things that would normally bring me joy instead bring me angst.
This just AIN'T what Jesus birth was supposed to be about. I need His peace and I need it bad!
So today I will strive to be a better steward of my time. Not spend too much of that limited resource online (except to do the calendar....AGAIN!). Really focus on loving my kids and speaking sweetly and praising God for all I've got. And just keep getting those thoughts centered back on WHY I'm doing these things...and why the effort is so worth it.
And I think turning on some Christmas carols just might help....Accuradio, here I come!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


A couple of weeks ago, my pal Lisa Samson ( blogged about a great online "radio station", ACCURADIO. I love Christmas and one of my favorite things about this glorious season is the music. ACCURADIO is not only free (gotta love FREE!) but it has a wide selection of varieties to choose from...old fashioned, Celtic, rock, jazz, Broadway, classical, R&B, country, and inspirational are just a few of the choices.

I'm presently listening to Bing Crosby croon DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR on the OLD FASHIONED station. Love, love, LOVE Bing at Christmas.

OH!!!! And I just remembered that for every new listener, ACCURADIO is donating $1 to charities such as AMERICA'S SECOND HARVEST, GRANT A WISH, and HEIFER INTERNATIONAL. So not only will the seasonal songs make you feel good...knowing that you're contributing to a worthy cause just sweetens the experience.

Happy listening!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Back in the dark ages of the 1980's, missionaries had to actually write letters and postcards to keep in touch with people back home. There weren't blogs or emails, and phone calls were a fortune...about a buck a minute! As a single missionary, I spent large amounts of time writing to friends and family back home and also sending out a newsletter on a regular basis. The first Christmas I was there, I sent out a newsletter with the above illustration. This is what I said:

I'm afraid that's pretty hard to read so I'll try to transcribe it later. But what struck me is that nearly 20 years ago I was missing the folks back home...and this Christmas, I'm with the folks "back home", but I'm missing Swaziland. I'm afraid I'll always feel like I'm torn between the two.


Many delicious eats were brought to our homeschool group Christmas party last week. One in particular, was a real hit and definitely a recipe that was asked for by the other moms. My friend Drewe Llyn (wearing the pink shirt) was the maker of these scrumptious treats and graciously said I could share the recipe here. If you fix 'em, hope they bring as many satisfied smiles as they did for our group! ;)
Here's the recipe:
1 pound sausage browned
1 cup Bisquick (or Bisquick-like mix)
1 can cheddar cheese soup

Mix all together and bake @ 350 degrees in miniature muffin pans.

The ones Drewe Llyn brought were some from a 5x batch she had made the day before. She used 5 lbs Great Value Pork Sausage, 5 cups store brand biscuit mix, 3 cans nacho cheese soup, and 2 cans cheddar cheese soup. The 5x batch made approximately 168 muffins! Drewe Llyn says, "Don't try baking them in regular size muffin tins; they'll be raw in the middle". Definitely don't want that! YUM-O would instead be NAST-O!

A couple of years ago I came across an incredibly delish recipe for meatballs but it was time intensive because of making the meatballs from scratch. I loved the flavor but as a mom of 7 kids who doesn't organize her time very well, I needed something easier. Drawing on my "creative cooking" skills inherited from my Grandma Harvey, I came up with my own version. These are really YUM-O in my ever humble opinion. These maybe just a wee bit less delicioso than the completely "from scratch" version, but the ease and quickness of it more than makes up for any discrepancies in taste.


2 bags of frozen meatballs (original flavor...not "Italian")
1 can of crushed pineapple
1 can of "jellied" cranberry sauce

Cook the meatballs in a skillet over medium with just a bit of oil and occasionally turning them til they are browned. While they are cooking, mix together the pineapple (undrained) and cranberry sauce. Put half of it in the bottom of a crock pot. Put the meatballs in the crock pot. Pour the rest of the pineapple/salsa mixture over the meatballs and stir GENTLY til all the balls have some sauce on them. Cook the meatballs on low or high heat til the sauce is hot and bubbly then turn to warm until ready to serve.

Eat them by themselves or they can be served over rice or pasta. If going the rice/pasta route, double the "sauce" so that you'll have plenty of it to flavor the rice/pasta.


Monday, December 10, 2007

"The Gospel teaches that Christ was born for our benefit and that everything he did and suffered was for us. As the angel says, 'I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David's city'. With these words, you can cleary see that he was born for all of us. He doesn't say a savior was born, but rather, 'your Savior, Christ the Lord was born'. In the same way he says, 'I have good news for you'. This joy is for everyone who has this kind of faith."
Martin Luther, Faith Alone.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I love Christmas and even though I'm WAY behind on my shopping, card writing, and goody making---all of which we enjoy---we've still been having fun with other seasonal activities.

Monday night, the moms from our homeschool group had our annual Christmas party. It was good to just kick back, catch up on life, and laugh a whole bunch!

Friday at lunch, the homeschool group had its annual party for the kids (and parents, too). We ate lots of delish food and the 60 of us stuffed 76 stockings for the Salvation Army.

Yesterday, hubby and I took the kids to a local Christmas tree farm. This place is so fun for the kids...not only do they get to pick out their own tree and ride in a "sleigh" behind a tractor, but there's also a petting zoo. That was the first stop and the kids (big and little) got a real kick out the the pigs, goats, and sheep. And I was able to remind the younger ones about how sheep give us wool for clothes to wear just like we read about in our Five in a Row Christmas book, A NEW COAT FOR ANNA.

After getting the tree, we popped home to unload the tree and eat a quick lunch before heading out to go shopping. We needed to buy some Christmas goody fixings plus buy gifts and food for P's bday which is today. After getting thru Wal-Mart and Kroger as quickly as possible, we dropped B off for a clogging performance at a retirement home and the rest of us headed home for naps and to start getting ready for tree decorating.

Once B was home, we ate a yummy supper of chicken spaghetti (inspired by family friend's Chris Blackburn's family recipe) then it was time to light up the tree and get on with the decorating...dressing up that big ole green tree with ornaments almost all tied to memories and getting out our 2 nativity sets (a traditional one and a nonbreakable Playmobile one). I love hearing the kids tell about the stories related to special ornaments and the first time we turn on the Christmas tree lights with the room lights off is always wondrous...though Baby M didn't think so. For some reason the tree all lit up scared her just a bit. Who can fathom the mind of a toddler. Oh! And 4 year old T had the honor of helping put the star on top this year.

I'll post some more corresponding photos later. For now I best be getting as hubby just got home from taking the two "oldies" up to church and we need to take a walk.

Bye for now!

Friday, December 07, 2007


I've already told y'all about Saint's Coffee and how wonderful it is...not only tastes great but the profits from every pound will feed an orphan for a whole month! This season they have two great new tastes that would make wonderful gifts for the java drinkers in your life. St. Nicholas blend and Cinnamon Sticky Bun are both delicious ways to say MERRY CHRISTMAS this year.

Go to to order some today!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I was trying to think about what to blog about today, and I thought a Christmas meme might be fun. I didn't know of one that was exactly like I wanted...the only one I'd seen asked about Christmas memories and would require a lot of thinking and I decided to come up with on of my own. I'll go ahead and tag a few people to hopefully get the ball rolling, but even if I don't tag you specifically, feel free to use it anyway. Also, feel free to delete or add any questions. This is all about being in the merry Christmas mode...NOT about stressing out!

So here goes:

  1. Favorite traditional Christmas song: Carol of the Bells
  2. Favorite contemporary or modern Christmas song: Tennessee Christmas by Amy Grant
  3. Christmas song that makes you cry: All I Really Want by Steven Curtis Chapman
  4. Real or artificial tree: REAL!
  5. Favorite Christmas edible treat: Chex Mix and sausage-cheese balls (though Drewe Llyn's sausage-cheese mini-muffins were just as YUM-O!)
  6. White lights or multi-colored: BOTH!
  7. How many Christmas parties will you go to this year? 3.5
  8. Favorite act of kindness to perform during this season? Packing shoeboxes for Samaritan's Purse and their Operation Christmas Child
  9. Favorite sounds of Christmas: Christmas music, children's excited voices, Salvation Army bells ringing
  10. Favorite things to wear: Lots of red and black plus my silver snowflake and angel bracelet and earring set I bought a few years back at Target.
  12. Eggnog or hot chocolate: Hot Chocolate!!! Oh yeah! Marshmallows OR whipped cream! YUM-O!
  14. Christmas books on my "to read" list: @ HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, THE GIFT by Richard Paul Evans, THE CHRISTMS BLESSING (sequel to THE CHRISTMAS SHOES)
  15. Peppermint or cinnamon: Peppermint
  16. What's on the top of your tree? Has been many different things over the years...handmade wire star, yellow posterboard star...who knows this year.
  17. Traditional Christmas meal growing up: Fried quail, cornbread, butter beans, rice and gravy all cooked by my Grandma McElhaney
  18. Online shopping or traditional "go to the store" shopping: Definitely will do both!
  19. Something you rec'd as a Christmas gift as a child that you still have: Baby Tender Love doll
  20. How many Christmas cards you have mailed so far: NONE :(
  21. Favorite source for Christmas ideas: Five in a Row holiday board
  22. Coordinated/themed or hodge-podge tree decorations: DEFINITELY hodge-podge
  23. What's on the top of YOUR Christmas wishlist: Steven Curtis Chapman's new cd and a cute apron
  24. Roles you've played in Christmas plays/programs: Narrator in kindegarten and Mary in college church musical

Now I'm tagging:

Kelly Legg

Rhonda Roberts


My 12 year old daughter:



Drewe Llyn


OH! And if you play along, don't forget to let the folks you tag know they are now "it"! :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


"(Consider) Mary's response to the angel. The angel has come to Mary and says: Mary, you are going to give birth to the long-promised Messiah. This was a unique promise, and unrepeatable. There is something totally unique here: the birth of the eternal second Person of the Trinity into this world. What was her response.She could have rejected the idea and said, 'I do not want it: I want to withdraw; I want to run'.she could have said, 'I now have the promises, so I will exert my force, my character, and my energy, to bring forth the promised thing'. But (what she did say) is beautiful, it is wonderful. She says: 'Behold, the bondmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy Word.' There is an active passivity here. She took her own body, by choice, and put it into the hands of God to do the thing that he said he would do and Jesus was born. She gave herself to God.This is a beautiful, exciting, personal expression of a relationship between a finite person and the God she loves."

Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


In relation to the previous blog on CHILDREN's HOPECHEST and their 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, Tom Davis blogged this related story:

"This October, a container of 243,000 meals arrived in Swaziland received by our staff. They loaded up the truck with boxes of fortified rice and soy protein and headed out to the carepoints.

The photos here are just a small taste of the huge impact that 5 for 50 is having. Every time we secure food for a child, we reduce the risk that they will sell their bodies and trade sex for food. Thank you. Also, 5 for 50 is funding 12 Christmas projects for orphans in 12 different countries. The first country we're helping is Ethiopia.

We've already received $12,000 toward this project through 5 for 50--that's $1,000 for each project. I want to at least double this amount and increase the impact of blessing orphans this Christmas.
Here are some ways you can help:

GIVE: Click here to give toward the 12 days of Christmas project: .Your gifts will be combined and shared with orphan ministry around the world.

GET: Pass this on to your friends and networks. Post it on your blog. Get five people to give. Be an advocate for orphans.

I want to see 1,000 people give a gift of $12 toward this only takes a minute to pass it on. Check back here to see this project photos and reports live. You'll be able to see the impact of your money immediately by just checking in here when we post an update.
Thanks for being the change... "

Tom Davis and the folks at Children's HopeChest, are on a mission this Christmas season. They are intent on making sure some very precious "least of these" are not forgotten and are given what they need to not only survive, but live a life that is filled to overflowing with the knowledge that God loves them and has a purpose and plan for their lives. Children's HopeChest is striving to meet their spiritual and emotional needs as well as their physical needs. The result is, THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS done in Children's HopeChest fashion. Here's what Tom has to say about this incredile endeavor:

"This Christmas, 5 for 50 is going around the world, giving away $1,000 a day to 12 different orphan care outreaches around the globe. We’re doing this because 5 for 50 has been an enormous success. Our first shipment of food has already arrived in Swaziland, another is on the way. We’re ready to roll out a global Christmas party for orphans through 5 for 50 and we want you to come along.

Here’s a look at where we’re going this Christmas…

1) Russia
2) Swaziland
3) South Africa
4) Romania
5) Uganda
6) Ethiopia
7) Peru
8) Mozambique
9) India
10) Kenya
11) Namibia
12) Cambodia

Through our network of orphan care partners, we’re helping support special Christmas outreaches to orphans around the globe. We hope to reach over 1,000 orphans with the true message of God’s love during Christmas.

Some of what we’ll do includes:

*Supporting Christian concerts and outreaches
*Providing special meals and celebrations
*Honoring a child with a Christmas gift
*Providing orphans with the blessing of family

I’ll be posting stories from each country as well as reports and pictures when they come in. Along the way, I’ll provide you and your family with special ways to pray for orphans and incorporate them into your holiday celebrations.

If you want to support the twelve days of Christmas, make a $12 gift today (please put “12 days of Christmas” in your note) at . We already have $12,000 for this project, anything that you add will make an even greater impact in the life of an orphan."

Related links:

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas Love, 1 Corinthians 13 Style

My Five-in-a-Row pal, Candace, posted this timely reminder at and I just had to share it with y'all. Now if I can manage to remember these things!

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass 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 the 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 husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, 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.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Camy Tang, fun and up and coming fiction author, is blessing the blog world with a literary Christmas gift this year, THE 12 AUTHORS OF CHRISTMAS. She'll be doing special interviews of writers along with giving away lots of books...which is pretty normal for this generous gal. PLUS, she's teaming up with two other authors, Rachel Hauck and Tricia Goyer, who will be doing the same type of literary line-up at their blogs.

Check it out and be prepared to discover a whole slew of new books just waiting to be read!

Camy's Loft: The 12 Authors of Christmas