Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Troughs and Peaks

Dave and I teach the High School Sunday School class and right now we are reading "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis and doing a discussion on it.  If you aren't familiar with the book or the writer, C.S. Lewis is most famous for his series "The Lion The Witch and The Wordrobe" and this particular book we are studying is a series of ficticous letters written from a 'Master Demon' (Screwtape) to his protege and nephew (Wormwood) a 'demon in training' type of scenario.  Wormwood has been assigned a patient that is a new Christian/Believer so Screwtape is imparting his wisdom on tripping up followers of Christ.

I've been pretty impressed with how the students are responding to book.  We don't require that they read it, but most of them have anyway.  Every week we answer some questions on a couple of chapters.  So far we have discussed topics like time management, prayer life, and family issues- figuring out that pushing your family's 'buttons' is a way the enemy gets a hold in our life.

This week's topic dealt with the 'troughs and peaks' in our walk with Christ.  (Most people call them the valley/desert and mountaintop times)  We discussed how ALL followers have both experiences and that it's okay to be in a trough sometimes.  They concluded from their own lives that being in a trough sometimes brings the greatest strength in our relationship with Christ because you have to work harder at it.  One student gave the example that you don't get very strong lifting a 2lb weight, but if you trade that in for a 20lb weight your muscles will ache at first but grow quickly!  That is exactly what CAN happen in those trough moments if we allow them to happen.

Unfortunatley many of us enter a trough time in our life and think God has abandoned us.  We get the idea that just because we are having a bad day or because life isn't going well that God has left us to fend for ourself.  People begin going back to what they knew before they were introduced to Jesus- maybe not extreme cases like alcohol or drugs, but maybe selfishness or business?  I know in my trough moments I try to busy myself with projects and busywork so I don't have to think of how junky my life is right then.  My thoughts turn inward to how I can fix what's going on instead of looking to God for support and wisdom.

This week I challenged the class to think about the troughs and peaks they have experienced and to thank God that He has given them both experiences.  Then I asked them to pray and ask that during this Christmas and New Years season when so many around us are depressed or lonely or feeling a trough moment, that God would reveal to them a hurting person.  Maybe a family member, neighbor, friend, or even cashier at the store is going through a trough moment and God wants to use one of those students to get them through it.

Life can't be lived on the peaks- it's nice for a season and the snow is pretty, but life is lived in the troughs.  If we never delve into the trough, who will we ever reach?  Very few "unbelievers" are on the peaks, THEY LIVE IN THE TROUGH!!!  So I will challenge you and me to do the same thing I've challenged my students with.  Pray that God shows you someone in the trough this next week or two (or fifty two) and help them understand that it's okay to be there- God is NOT far away if you will just look for Him!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Packaging a GIFT CARD

Anyone else hate giving gift cards for the simple fact that the "gift-ee" doesn't get to actually OPEN anything.  Well a friend of mine called my Mom (who is also creative) and asked for some clever ways to give a gift card to her niece.  I may be biased but she came up with some REALLY great ideas!  Here you go:

Gift card ideas from Debby:
*Buy a package of gum you think they would like, put the gift card inside and then use hot glue to close the container back OR tape the gift card onto the back.  You could also tape the gift card to     a candy bar or move size box of candy
*Buy a cheap stuffed animal at the Dollar Tree and attach the gift card with a ribbon-you could use a hole punch to make a hole in the gift card envelope and then tie the ribbon to the stuffed animal.
*They have really cute plastic glasses for $1 at Wal-Mart.  Theyre clear plastic and have red and green polka dots on them-you could fill the glass with candy and stick the gift card in with the candy
*They have tons of cheap, cute little tins and boxes at the Dollar Tree that you could use
*You could buy an inexpensive ornament and attach the gift card to it with ribbon-write the name and the year on the ornament so they can keep it as a momento.  I do this with my kids and grandkids every year
*They have lip gloss for $1 at Wal-Mart-you could attach that to the gift card
*They have those $1 magic gloves just about everywhere-you could put the gift card inside one of the gloves
*Put the gift card in a plastic Ziploc bag-make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and put the giftcard inside.  Put the sandwich and a small bag of chips with a Little Debbie snack and a juice box (so it looks like a lunch).  This is my favorite idea but you would have to make the sandwich that day so it wouldnt mold or something gross but I think shed get a kick out of it!!!
OK-Im out of ideas-youre on your own. 

Thanks Mom!!!  Isn't she great?!?!?!  Hope you can use one of these- Happy Gifting!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Nativity

Dave and I had a fun weekend.  Since he is still working 3rd shift I had Saturday morning and afternoon to myself.  I spent the day making biscotti, homemade caramels, and a few Christmas gifts!  Since both our birthdays are in December, that night Dave and I went to one of our favorite restaurants 9th Street Grill.  It's like having gourmet food in the middle of hickville!  (We like it because it reminds us of the food we used to eat when we lived near Chicago.)

We headed home, jumped into our jammies, pulled out the hideaway from the couch, and had a movie night.  It's so fun cause I feel almost like a little kid when we do that and we love it.  Our neighbors lent us "The Nativity Story" and we were so impressed.  When the movie first came out a few years ago we didn't think much of it cause we thought it would be kind cheezy since unfortunately most Christian movies are.

Photo courtesy of Yahoo Movies

This movie was great.  Dave and I really liked the way they portrayed the story.  It gives SO much more light to the idea of what Mary and Joseph went through when they found out they were to be the 'parents' of the Messiah.  Since the story is quite vague in the Scripture, not EVERYTHING in the movie is completely Biblical but it's definitley not straying from the probability of the situtation.

If you are looking for a GREAT Christmas movie to get you into the Spirit of Christmas or if you need a reminder of the sacrifice involved in Christ's life- even BEFORE he was born rent The Nativity Story or just buy it because you'll love it.  Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Percolating Projects

Ever wonder what it would be like if you moved to a new home and met a neighbor that happened to become one of your best friends? 

Well you would basically live at each other's house, watch each other's dogs while they are out of town, babysit on a moment's notice, come up with a routine of TV to watch together, have meals almost once a week at each other's houses, and have pancakes or waffles together AT LEAST one Saturday a month.  Then on top of all that you would find in each other the creative drive you have been searching for!  You would encourage her desire to cook and she would encourage your desire to craft which leads you to clean out your garage and turn it into a work area for crafts (including a table saw, circular saw, TONS of sandpaper, PLENTY of Mod Podge, a Cricut, and a sewing machine.)

That's never happended to you????  What?!?!?!  Wow- guess I'm pretty blessed then cause this is what has happened to me over the last 10 months.  Moving into our 1st home was a little scary cause it means I'm really growing up.  On our street we already had some great friends from church that we knew so we were excited for the move.  Then once we met our next door neighbors The Heralds we were even more excited!  Two great sets of friends on the SAME STREET AS US!!!!

Tanya and I have now started our own cooperative blog "Percolating Projects" where we will be posting tutorials on recipes, crafts, and whatever we brew up in our little heads!  Come on over and see what today's flavor is!

I'm not just a winner in my Mommy's eyes...

SO I won a giveaway a LOOOOOOOOONG time ago and I'm just now getting around to posting about it, because I was too busy USING my new gift! :)

Alisa over at The Sweet Life gave away one of her beautiful aprons and I was ecstatic to be the reciever of the following eye candy!

Isn't it beautiful?!?!?!?!  She had several really cute options to choose from but I chose this one because it's my favorite color combo.  Seriously these were my wedding colors AND my whole house is done in green and brown- even my kitchen cabinets!!!

Anyway, the apron is REALLY well made and I love it so very much that while I was baking cookies and stuff for Thanksgiving I was so afraid to get anything on my beautiful apron.  Then the 'duh' button inside my head went off and I remembed the PURPOSE of the apron!  Head over to her blog and look around at what she has to offer because she is FANTASTICLY talented.  She even has a few aprons in her Etsy Shop!