You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2008.

“Be glad of life because it gives you a chance to love and to work and to play and to look at the stars.”

– Henry Van Dyke

(And I’d like to add…to worship God, the Creator.)

Happy new year!  May life be good for you in 09!

God bless you!   – Renee

My personal prayer request recently was that I’d be a better wife for my husband.  I’m not a bad wife, but I’m not as good as I could be and not as good as he deserves. 

The Bible is clear that I’m to honor my husband. That goes beyond just loving him.  My thoughts, words and actions need to honor him!  I honor him in my heart and thoughts (most of the time anyway!), but sometimes my words, tone, and attitudes speak otherwise.  I give the best of myself to those I meet or speak with in the course of the day, but my husband often just gets what left of me at the end of my day. 

In my heart and head it’s God first, husband second, children third, and then all else…, so why do I often put others before him and only give him what’s left? 

Someone shared recently that a Christian study they’d done on marriage said women want to be loved.  Men want to be respected. 

Hmm…So how can I honor him?  What can I do to show respect?  How do I make our marriage  better by making it more godly? 

Overall, we have a very good marriage!  Praise!  We’ve been married 17 years and I love him more now than ever.  That’s why I want to do something special for him for Christmas.  I’ve decided to give him a new wife for Christmas !  I’ll be taking the challenges of “The Love Dare” book!   This book came out in conjunction with the movie Fireproof, a Christian movie about marriage.  What I understand is that  The Love Dare is a book of daily devotions that gives daily dares (challenges) based on Biblical teaching for spouses to improve their marriages.  I have no idea what I’m getting myself into.  I was afraid that if I flipped through the pages and saw some of the dares, I might chicken out.  However, I did just read the first page and it says that this commitment is not to be taken lightly and that those who quit early will forfeit the greatest benefits.  That’s cool.  I’m good with that.  So, having no idea what will be asked of me or what personal challenges I’ll face…here I go!   

Dear Lord, Please bless my efforts to give this gift of love to my husband, devoting myself to 40 days of improving myself as his wife.  May the results not only be pleasing to him, but also to You.  Amen.

Is anyone else doing Love Dare?  If so, I’d love to hear from you!  You can respond to this site by clicking on the word ‘comment’ by the title of this post, or send me an email to   

Would you like to join me?  We”ll do this together!  I got my copy at LifeWay, our local Christian store. 

God bless you and your marriages, too!

This was just too sweet not to share. 

One of my friends brings her preschool-age daughter to our weekly prayer meetings.  Each week the little girl is as good as gold and  plays quietly while we talk about prayer concerns and then lift them to the Lord in prayer.  I often wonder what she’s taking in, how she sees things from her young perspective, and what influence these prayer times might have on her in the future.  She’s a shy little girl, so she doesn’t share much with us about what she’s thinking, but today she shared something that really touched my heart.

While others are praying, I quietly take notes of the praises and prayers expressed by writing them in my notebook.  Then when it’s my turn to pray I bow my head and close my eyes.  While I prayed this morning with my pen down and eyes closed, I could hear our little friend busily working with crayons and paper.  When we finished praying we got to see the beautiful masterpiece that she’d been working on.   It was a piece of paper with lots of letters written all over it in different crayon colors.  She was too shy to speak to us so she had her mother tell us that she’d been taking notes of the prayer requests, too!  I can’t tell you how precious that was! 

Blessed are the children, indeed, and blessed was my heart by this sweet, little child.

“Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught.”    – Colossians 2:7

While driving through the neighborhood on this chilly December morning, I saw a man with a landscaping company planting a new tree.  The scene didn’t seem to make sense.  One would think the best time to plant a tree is in the spring when it’s warm, plants are budding and sprouting, and spring showers water the earth.  However, for many trees, the best time for transplanting is at the end of fall/early winter.  You see, it’s during the winter season that roots become stronger and grow deeper into the soil.

It was exactly this time last year that I learned about this very thing.  We were discarding a used washer and dryer set and wanted to give it away to someone who really needed it.  God led our paths to cross with a wonderful single mom who was getting ready to move into her first home.  She’d spent all of her youth and and young adult years living at home to care for her ailing parents.  Now it was time to venture out on her own with her children and finances were a concern.  Having a free washer and dryer would be a huge help for her!  She came with her brother in a U-Haul truck.  They didn’t plan to stay, but the truck broke down at the foot of our driveway.  The young man did everything he could to get the truck started, but to no avail.  It was cold and they had a baby with them, so we retreated inside to get warm and call for mechanical assistance. 

It was Christmas time so I took them through the decorated rooms of the house.  The baby was fascinated by all the Christmas lights and shiny decorations.  It was nice having guests to entertain at Christmas, especially on such a cold day.  While waiting for assistance to arrive, we talked and got acquainted. They were church-going folks and strong in faith.   They started telling me about the sermon they’d heard the past Sunday.  It was about how the winter seems cold and bleak, even depressing to some, but it’s actually a time for growth and renewal.  A time for roots to strenghthen and grow deeper.  So when we approach the ‘winter times’ in our lives, we need to make the most of them and be encouraged knowing that God  will use that time to strengthen our roots and make us better able to make the most of the springtime ahead.  When they finished sharing the sermon with me, they apologized for having gone on about it.  No apologies were needed!  It was just what I needed to hear!

Our church was going through a very rough time.  My heart was breaking because of all the troubles and turmoil unfolding within our congregation.  The message they shared was God speaking through them to encourage me about the seemingly desparate time our church was having.  My heart was lifted and I felt a renewed sense of hope.

That God of ours.  Isn’t He just something else?  Here I’d been giving thanks that we could bless someone in need and, not just anyone, but someone He’d led to us, but it ended up that they were a blessing to me!  Thank You, Lord!

How perfect it was to be reminded of them this morning when I saw that man planting a tree.  A year later our church is restored.  The winter time the church endured did, indeed, strengthen its roots and help them grow deeper.  Those entrenched roots allowed the church to weather that storm.  Tho’ we swayed and bent, we did not break!  Now the winter is past (metaphorically speaking).  Sunny days and fair winds prevail.  Praise the Lord!

Oh, and about that truck that wouldn’t start…Assistance never arrived.  As soon as we’d had the time God wanted us to have together sharing in faith, the young man went back to the truck and – you guessed it – it started!  I’m hearing the words from a popular praise song, “God is in control…”  Praise be to our God! 

“And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him.  May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is.”     – Ephesians 3:17-18

Tis the season to be jolly and spread the joy of Christmas! 

Jesus is the reason for the season, of course, and I think He’s the basis for what many think of as the magic of Christmas and the spirit of Santa.  You see, Santa embodies what Jesus taught – thinking of others, being more concerned with giving than getting, and showing love to everyone around the world.  I saw a picture recently of Santa kneeling before Baby Jesus’ manger with his head bowed.  That says it all for me.  Santa knows Jesus comes first, and even Santa bows down to Him. 

With that said, how about ideas for sharing the Christmas Spirit?  I’d love to hear what you and your family do to celebrate Christmas and keep Christ in the heart of the holiday.

We begin by doing a lot of decorating.  My husband covers the house with lights and the grounds with various decorations.  This year he added chunky light-up candy canes that line both sides of the driveway.  It will serve as a great landing strip for Santa’s sleigh!  On the front door we hang a cross-shaped wreath.  It’s about 3 feet long, greenery wrapped around a metal cross frame with a red bow in the center.  After the outside decorations are done, I put candy canes in our newspaper box that have the poem of the Candy Cane legend attached for passersby to take.  All who walk by or drive by are welcome to take candy canes!  I also keep candy canes in a basket at our front door for all guests who come to our door. 

Giving candy canes this way led me to become a Candy Cane Crusader.  I keep mini candy canes in a baggie in my purse to give out to folks I meet as I go through my day – the people at the registers when I shop, those in offices who help me, kids I catch being good, kids who are being more fussy than friendly, and anyone else who seems to need a candy cane…even grumpy grown-ups smile when given candy canes!  I pray over the candy canes before putting them in my purse, asking for God’s blessings upon those who will receive them.  Sometimes I pray later, too, for those I think about.  I hope you’ll be a Candy Cane Crusader, too!   For more about this go to and go to the archives for Dec 07.  You can find more of what I wrote about this.   And give this a try!  It’s fun! 

A friend shared yesterday that she continues the tradition in her family of having a birthday cake for Jesus. 

Another friend shared that they got their own advent candles and light one each Sunday to teach and remind their family about the meanings of Advent. 

What about you and your family?  It would be great to hear from all of you and share ideas!

In case you live near us, our lights aren’t finished yet, but when they are, you’ll have to come by and be sure to help yourselves to candy canes!   Merry CHRISTmas!

Did you have a happy Thanksgiving?  We sure did.  It was just the four of us, here at home.  Thanksgiving Day was perfect.  It was a beautiful fall day here.  We ate a delicious Thanksgiving dinner at the clubhouse, then I also fixed a turkey breast in the crock pot with a few easy sides so we had ‘leftovers’ to munch on throughout the weekend.  A neighbor surprised us by bringing 3 pies over, so we had plenty of desserts! 

We spent the day relaxing and taking it easy.  They guys watched lots of football.  We enjoyed the ‘leftovers’ for supper, and later went to bed, resting up for…

The day after Thanksgiving when our Christmas decorating began!  What a busy day it was at our house.  My husband and sons got AAAAAALLLLLLLLL the decorations down from the attic.  We have A LOT so it ‘s a big job!  While they carried boxes down, I went around removing all the fall decorations and clearing tables and shelves to make room for the Christmas decorations.  This requires quite a bit of cleaning, too!  The guys spent the day outside getting the grounds all decorated with lighted candy canes, decorative big bulbs outlining part of the yard, festive light-up Christmans figures, and a few inflatable decos, too.  It probabaly sounds like too much, but honestly it’s all tastefully done and is so much fun. 

I spent the day inside putting up two trees, putting miscellaneous decorations around.  Of course, we ate well throughout this day, too!  Because it’s always so warm here in Charlotte when we decorate, we’ve given up the tradition of having hot chocolate, fudge, cookies, etc. and now go out for smoothies, instead.  So we did that about 3:00, then they boys came in and helped me decorate the main Christmas tree.  Then they went to work setting up their collections.  My older son collects nutcrackers and my younger son collects Santas.  Rex completed all the ‘ground’ lights outside.  That was enough to call it a day!

Day 2:  Rex got a break from finishing the outdoor lights because it was a rainy day.  He likes to outline the house with lights – roof lines and all!   It wasn’t raining inside, though, so I continued with my work.  By the end of the day almost all of the inside decorations were done, including my snow ‘buddies’ collection (snowmen) that I put in the kitchen.  That’s where the second big Christmas tree is…between kitchen and family room.  It’s a 6′ white tree that I dress up like a snowman!  He’s always so cute! 

Day 3:  Thank goodness for the rest of the Sabbath Day!  I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was too overdone to go to church (back problems and sinus/allergy).  I stayed home and prayed and read the Psalms for my Bible study while my husband and sons went to church.  <<< God bless them!  It was another cold rainy day, so we stayed in and took it easy.  The guys watched more football and later the boys and I played games. 

It’s been a great break.  We stayed home as a family, didn’t have other kids over, didn’t go places, and just enjoyed being home together.  It must have been a good break for the boys, too, because they got to spend lots of time in pj’s and comfy clothes, had plenty of good stuff to eat and snack on, and never once did anyone say they were bored.  🙂

Now it’s December 1st, the house is all decorated (well, almost) and we’re ready to start celebrating Christmas! 

Dear God, Thank You for such a wonderful holiday time with my family.  We’ve been so busy lately with sports schedules and so much going here-and-there.  It was really nice staying home, just the four of us, to enjoy being with each other and thinking about the many things for which we are thankful.  It’s great to start the season of Christmas with a season of Thanksgiving.  I’m most thankful for You, my family, loved ones and friends.  And thank You for the many blessings You’ve bestowed upon us.  Now, as we proceed into Christmas, we give special thanks for the birth of Your son, Jesus Christ, sent to this world to be a light of salvation to all, and in Whom forgiveness is given for all our sins.  Thank You for a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may Christmas be a time for thanks AND giving in ways that bless and bring joy to You.  In Jesus precious name I pray.  Amen.

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