Christmas

Christmas plans & cooking

 We are coming to the close of the  Christmas  season & it seems to me that we all do Christmas in our own unique ways – which is cause to celebrate!  Thankfully, I changed a few of my normal habits so that this year has less stress than preceding years (normally, I procrastinate package wrapping because this is the one task I totally HATE, for various reasons).  Anyways, this year we had a wrapping party, so that atrocity has been overcome ,)

I’m now putting my brain into the cooking mode, since today & tomorrow will be filled w food prep.  Here are some things that we’ll be cooking (my daughter is helping me):

  • breakfast:  2 savory bread puddings (spinach / artichoke and ham, cheese & sun dried tomatoes) – I think these hold great promise ,)
  • meats:  turkey & ham
  • veggies:  sweet potato casserole ala’ Isabell & green beans
  • salads:  green salad & my mom’s infamous black cherry jello
  • chorizo stuffing (my husband’s favorite)
  • desserts:  pecan pie & peach cobbler

So what do you cook & how do you celebrate Christmas???

We are having lots of people over, but the whole point of all of this cooking, preparation, celebration, et. al, is 100% due to Jesus’ birth – indeed, the most noble of all events to celebrate.  Merry Christmas!!

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Posted by sarahbowling in Christmas, cooking, family, Holy Spirit, living, spiritual, 1 comment

’tis the season to be busy

 My husband & I were discussing our family’s schedule for the next 2 weeks & simply put, its a BUSY season.  When I looked up the word busy in the thesaurus, here are some of the words that I found & they seem fairly accurate:  occupied, active, engaged, unavailable, full.  My challenge is that when I get “busy”, I tend to become less present in my relationships & it seems like I can be very fragmented – little pieces of me spread everywhere.

But here’s my thinking about this season & a possible solution to the frenzy potential:  If I can make myself “present” to God (offer myself to Him as a gift / sacrifice), then I trust that He will structure my time, the things I need to get done & the energy to do His work.  It has been my experience that when I remain present with God throughout the various activities & demands in my life, I have more peace, I’m more productive & my relationships are less shakey.  I like the practice of integrating God throughout each day, activity, conversation & chore – seems like I’m less “busy” when I do this 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in Christmas, enemies to intimacy, family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, 0 comments

anticipation :)

Looking forward to something is lots of fun!  I like to look forward to lots of things:  picking up my kids from school, having a family meal together, snowboarding, a good cup of coffee, deep conversations, hanging out with friends, getting to express Jesus’ extravagant & opulent love, dreaming about Jesus, making a pecan pie, reading a good book, . . . .   We all have things that we look forward to – maybe your list is similar to my list 🙂

Here’s something I think that God looks forward to:  I think He waits with huge & eager anticipation for when we discover Jesus.  The reason I think this is because of the whole shepherd experience in announcing Jesus’ birth.  If you read through this in Luke 2:8-17, you can see some pretty cool things.  First of all, the shepherds were hanging w their sheep in the field at night, generally a dark & quiet time, when they could have all been sleeping.  Then there are a couple of “suddenly”s – an angel appearing to the shepherds with glory all around the angel & then heavenly hosts breaking out in praise.  These activities certainly interrupted the normal night “quiet & still” – no silent night with these angels!  They stirred up the shepherds so much that we read that the shepherds hurried to find out what the angels were all wound up about – why they had busted into their normal routine to make such a grandiose & noisy announcement. 

I think God was TOTALLY pumped to interrupt the shepherd’s routine, based on the way the angels were behaving!!  Furthermore because God’s character is consistent every day, I think God gets UBER EXCITED to introduce us to Jesus – maybe not even just for the first time.  In this season, I’d encourage you to get some still & quiet to give God the opportunity to break into your life – to get you stirred up about Jesus being part of your life & not just a religious introduction or a traditional song about one of holiday’s of the year.  Anticipation:  God looks forward to getting to be with you 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in Christmas, living, spiritual, 0 comments

a gift you can give that doesn’t cost money

Christmas can sometimes be an expensive holiday, depending on how you celebrate it.  Given the economy this year, along with the employment situation for many of my friends, I thought I’d suggest a gift that doesn’t require money but is thoroughly invaluable to not only the receiver but also to you the person giving the gift.  Interested to know what you can give that’s expensive but doesn’t cost money? 

Forgiveness

See, here’s the deal:  we all have people in our lives that need our forgiveness.  Whether its the jerk that cut you off when you’re driving or the very hurtful remark someone said to you at work.  Or maybe you’ve been hurt by something your mate said to or about you without thinking of the sting it has left in you.  Maybe someone did something to you in your childhood that still affects you to this day.  The truth is, no one has to look hard for opportunities to forgive – our life is full of such opportunitites every day. 

So this Christmas, let’s give others the gift of forgiveness – to let go. 

  • Forgiveness is given when we don’t remind the person of their shortcoming. 
  • Forgiveness is given when we speak kind words without sarcasm (or do our best to be pleasant)
  • Forgiveness is given when we want what is in the offenders best interest (and not the getting even approach)
  • Forgiveness is given when we don’t have to always make the offender know that we’re forgiving them

I think that many of us don’t do the forgiveness because it takes alot of work & its much less work to not forgive, especially at the beginning of an offense.  But i’ve found that the longer i hold onto an offense, the harder it is to let it go & the more drained i become from maintaining the offense. 

So be generous this season without spending alot of money 🙂

Give the gift of forgiveness & go into the new year with greater freedom and liteness of being 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in living, spiritual, 2 comments

holy cow!

Its been way too long since my last blog!  Recently, we were in the mountains w the fam doing some skiing & the place where we were staying didn’t have internet access – no it wasn’t a log cabin w no running water.  Its good to be back!!  We’ve spent the last 2 weeks w lots of fam activities:

  • took the kids skiing a few times – they can now all handle easy blue runs & here are their skiing profiles (reflects their personalities):  Isabell – Reece says she cruises along;  David – stays close to me & trying his skis out on jumps (I lead because its easier to go fast when you snowboard);  Benji – just fast & more fast.
  • cooking Christmas turkey – it was ok
  • having my friend Laura & her fam stay w us & doing some skiing together
  • I read “Into Thin Air” – true story about the very deadly 1996 Mt Everest expedition w various teams

Of course I’ve been thinking about some things w God & while I don’t have answers to many questions, I have a sense of His presence w me.  So, I hope your holiday season has left you well basted & ready to move into 2009.  May this year be filled w God’s presence in your life more than 2008, in whatever way He choses & may we rest at peace in His choices for us.

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Posted by sarahbowling in living, 2 comments

Christmas & worship

mangerJust my opinion here, but I don’t think you can separate genuine Christmas from worship – they’re more than mutually compatible.  I think they’re interdependant.   If you give it much thought, it seems pretty impossible to separate the two when you consider that God took on human flesh, humbled Himself to be born into a dark & sinful world, spending His 1st night in a feeding trough for an animal, to an unwed mother.  Add to the mix that some wisemen who studied the stars & who were considered to be the philosophers of their day show up with some really nice gifts & fall on their knees to worship this baby, along w some smelly shepherds who had an angelic enounter & were EXTREMELY excited. 

Here are some reasons to worship: 

  • God came to earth to live in human skin
  •  an angelic announcement got the shepherds all stirred up!
  • God warned Joseph about Herod trying to kill baby boys & Joseph protected Jesus by moving to Egypt
  • Jesus didn’t “lay low” during His human experience – He was completely & thoroughly engaged w humanity
  • Jesus loves us as much today as He did the day He died on the cross

What are some other reasons that cause you to worship Jesus?

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Posted by sarahbowling in Christmas, 0 comments

Christmas series – gifts

Gifts are a really big deal at Christmas – especially for people who feel love by receiving gifts (you can actually feel MORE love by giving than receiving, but that’s a different blog).  Anyways, here’s an interesting thought – what are the various “gifts” people gave to Jesus?  Here’s an example:  Simon gave Jesus a gift of service by carrying His cross to Golgotha for Jesus.  What are some other gifts people gave / brought to Jesus?

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Posted by sarahbowling in Christmas, 2 comments

Christmas has a lot of different facets

I’m thinking of doing a blog series leading up to Christmas thinking & conversing about its different facets (worship, giving, preparation, new life, . . . . . ).  What do you think?  I like the idea, but would be even more interested to do it, if you would consider adding to the dialogue over the next week or so. 

My plan is to blog pretty much each weekday & we could converse about a facet for a few days or so.  Let’s do it, ok?  ;0

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jgswWMlUN8]

compliments of denverintranslation

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Posted by sarahbowling in living, 5 comments

Christmas w kids

Its really good to experience Christmas w kids & I’m discovering this moreso w each year.  I love their questions:

  • why do people celebrate Christmas if they don’t believe in Jesus? – David
  • who has the last birthday of the year in our family? Answer by Isabell:  Jesus
  • are we having birthday cake for Jesus’ birthday?  – Benji
  • what made the men from the East who came to give Jesus presents, “wisemen”? – David
  • what were the shepherds doing in the field at night when the angels came to visit?  Were they staying up late when this happened? – David
  • what are we doing for families that don’t have enough money for Christmas? – Isabell

They’ve asked me LOTS more, but these are just a few off the top of my head.  Kids can really distill things to the most important points – cutting through the fluff.  I love it! 

bellie_kid_ethiopiaIsabell is really excited because she’s in our church’s kid’s Christmas program this weekend as an actor, singer, dancer & cheerleader.  She’s SO EXCITED!!!!!  Benji has his Jr Kindergarten program on Wed – he’s Gabriel.  I think he makes a very fitting Gabriel – announcing w great joy, enthusiasm & volume the birth of Jesus.  I think David kind of prefers the cerebral approach to the season.  Whatever the case, they’re all fabulously unique & I am more than in awe of them & their observations.

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, 1 comment