Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Question #5

I have loved the past few weeks of questions and all your answers. Cannot even believe it's only four days until Christmas. I'm taking off the end of the year and through New Years and will be back on January 7th. Praying you all have a blessed Christmas filled with family, friends, love, and new wonderful memories.

My last Christmas question today I want to center on the real Reason for this season, because truly, with all the laughter and fun, cookies, sweets and gifts, the real center of the season is all about Jesus Christ. He's the reason we celebrate. The real best memory ever. The sweetest gift we'll ever receive.

So today I want to know, what is your favorite Christmas verse or part of the Christmas story? Is it a traditional one? Or a part of the story that we don't often think of? Is it a verse that points to His coming or one from the night of His birth?

Mine is the very traditional:

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas my friends. Be blessed with the gift of His presence in your life!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blessing Wednesday - The End

So this year my word was 'TIME' and as a part of that God challenged my to take the time to count my blessings--to praise Him through thanksgiving. Every Wednesday I've dedicated my blog to being thankful, and I've truly found there is always, always, always something to be thankful for...we just have to choose to see it.

Some weeks it was really hard, while other weeks it was super easy. No matter what though, it softened my heart to stop, look, and acknowledge the many ways God has blessed me--and just by doing so I was blessed even more.

Next week is Christmas, and I'll be taking a break after this Friday's post, which means this is my last Blessing Wednesday. I'll still have Wednesday posts next year, but they'll be something different. Oh, I'll still be counting blessings, just not as a regular post on here.

Which means, time to get counting for the last time!

This week I'm thankful for:

~My sister's ability to do make-up and hair and share it with me and my girls. We had our Christmas Tea last night and she made us all so beautiful!

~My hubby who made me a plate of treats, sat down by the Christmas tree and watched White Christmas with me this week. NOT his favorite movie, but he did it for me:)

~Coffee. (While I tried to not repeat any of my blessings this year, coffee did sneak in more than once!)

~This year of giving thanks. God's used it to change my outlook on so many things!

~The true Gift of Christmas - Jesus Christ.

One more blessing is having heard so many of yours when you shared. Thanks so much, and I can't wait to hear what you're thankful for this week!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Question #4

My shopping is pretty well done. This week will be all about baking. And eating what I baked. Yep, my Jillian Micheal's DVD is still playing strong.

What about you? Have you got all your gifts purchased? Wrapped under the tree? For those of you with kids, do they shake them or try to unwrap them?  I know someone who used to carefully slice open the tape, unwrap their gifts, and then re-wrap them! I'm not naming names, and no, it wasn't me--I snuck into my parents' room and checked it all out BEFORE they wrapped them:) (disclaimer here as my oldest sometimes reads my blogs--peeking TOTALLY ruined my Christmas that year...and beware, I set booby traps!)

So this week I'm wondering, what was your favorite gift ever?

Lovely couch, right? And I'm growing out my
Dorothy Hamill do here.
Mine was my Paddington Bear I got when I was four. Paddington hung out in my preschool class that year and one lucky person each week got their name drawn from a hat and got to bring him home for the weekend. On his weekend home with me I fell in love. I was heartbroken to give him back. And that year for Christmas I opened up a Paddington of my own--who, might I add, I still own.  He may not still have that hat, he's missing a few buttons from the coat and that tag is long gone, but he's tucked away safely at my house.

Anyone else out there still holding onto a gift they received years ago?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bookshelf Friday - To Write a Wrong by Robin Caroll

This was the first-ever book by Robin Caroll I've ever read. It will not be my last! In fact, this was number two in her Justice Seekers series, and I've already planned to grab the first one from the church library this Sunday.

Here's a short blurb, then we'll chat:)

In Angola State Penitentiary, a man is serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. Riley Baxter is an eager reporter desperate for a story to make a name for herself. When she stumbles upon the daughter of the incarcerated man, Riley sees a little too much of herself in the teen, and vows to help prove her father’s innocence.

At the same time, Hayden Simpson has his hands full with keeping his little sister in line, worrying about his job as Police Commissioner, and dealing with his past emotional baggage. The last thing he needs is someone blowing the lid off his emotional bucket. But when Riley Baxter storms into his life, struggling to understand why God would let bad things happen to good people, Hayden has no choice but to follow his heart.

Now, Riley and Hayden must work together to uncover the truth of the past . . . before someone shuts Riley up for good.

Okay. To Write a Wrong is a romantic suspense, so I had an inkling I'd like it--even though I can't say I'm in love with the cover and cover designs are huge in helping me select books. However, I try to stick with the old adage, "you can't judge a book by it's cover", and am incredibly glad I did.

Robin has an easy way with setting and moving her characters along. And I'm a sucker for good, easy-flowing dialogue, something Robin did very well. The only issue I can really take with this book was the very end. Riley made some decisions where I simply wanted to scream at her...she's a really quick, smart woman who up to that point didn't put herself into precarious situations. Her purposefully dismissing that little voice in her head didn't ring true for me. Still, Robin had me turning pages and staying up late to finish this book, and really, truly liking each of her characters and the well-written plot. As I mentioned, this is the second in the series but can easily be read alone as I did.  

I'm giving it 4.5 out of 5 stars and heading to the library to take out more of Robin's books.

If you'd like to see a break-down of what my stars equal, check out my page My Ratings System to the right there. And a big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free ecopy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blessing Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everybody! Hope your week is going well...Christmas shopping in full swing, parties with family and friends, lotsa treats to eat, maybe even some snow in places. Oh so many blessings, so let's count them!

This week I am thankful for:

~Warm, cozy meals that I can place on my table. It's really getting cold around here, and I'm blessed to have a stove and the food to cook in it so I can place a warm meal on our table.

~Funny Christmas movies to watch with the family. I love this tradition!

~Laughter with friends

~Hands that work...I type. A lot. I am blessed to have fully functioning, pain-free hands and wrists.

~Working taste buds. Sounds silly. I know. But think about what it would be like - especially this time of year - if you couldn't enjoy all the wonderful sweets and treats. My father-in-law is struggling through chemo right now and it's temporarily taken away his ability to taste, so I am giving thanks for this blessing today!

What about you? Big or small, start counting your blessings and share a few here!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Question #3

So I've got to know, what's been your favorite Christmas memory? If you're like me, you've probably got a lot of them, and I'm hoping you'll share one. A favorite of mine occurred when I was a young teen. I am the youngest in my family and I love tradition. I remember when my older siblings were starting to move out and how strange that was. I also remember several green Christmas around that time--we live in Michigan, I'm used to very WHITE Christmases. And I LOVE them. Give me tons of snow for the two weeks surrounding Christmas and then it can all go away, but please, oh please, let my Christmas be white :)

Anyway, I was talking and talking and talking about wanting a white Christmas that year, and Christmas Eve it was still green. I was, to say the least, slightly disappointed. Christmas morning we woke up early as usual and got ready, waiting on our family friends to join us--a couple who had made it their tradition to spend Christmas with us. They arrived and I peeked outside and stood speechless! It was like someone had placed us inside a snow globe! We all went out to help them unpack their car and the snow kept coming down. I remember passing my dad who was carrying gifts and as the snow swirled around us he said "so, Susie, this the white Christmas you were asking for?"

I swear he had been praying right along with me, and it was what he'd asked for Christmas that year too--a white Christmas just for me. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but I felt that way, and that moment was forever etched in my mind.

What's one of your favorite Christmas memories?

Friday, December 7, 2012

DVD Shelf Friday

Okay, so we love Tim Hawkins over here, and I just discovered this song from his new Push Pull Point Pow DVD. I don't know if I've ever shared here or not, but those that live by me know I LOVE my yoga pants:) Drives Hubby crazy, but he loves me anyway. I'd wear them 24/7 if I could...

So as a tribute to my Yoga pants...

Have a great weekend everyone!
(Any other yoga pant lovers out there?)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Blessing Wednesday

Hey all! It's Wednesday, time to do some counting...

Today I am so thankful for:

~Other writers. There's just something to be said about the freedom to talk about your make-believe world as if it's the world you live in and having someone jump into that world right along with you.

~My family and friends who don't look at me strange when I call them with questions to create my make-believe world but rather dig in and help me. Chicago living, perfume, antiques, personal trainers, guns...:) And those who encourage me along the way.

~Christmas lights and the people who take the time to put them up. Honestly, I am blessed by all those homes I get to look at in the evenings.

~Texting. Yeah. I said it. Never thought I would, but it really is a great invention. (When used for good.)

~People who can wrap. As in presents. Not the singing--though I can do neither. Thank you Melissa Tagg for bringing this to mind this week. The wrapping, not rapping that is:)

So all, what are you thankful for this week? Share!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Question #2

It's officially December. How's the shopping coming? Wrapped any presents yet? I've got a few under the tree, but I'm pretty sure the kids know what they are...well, they know the ideas, but not what the items look like. See, every Christmas my kids get new Christmas pj's. They get to open them on Christmas Eve and then we tuck them into bed--all in the same room. This cracks me up because I had to share a room as a kid, but mine love to forgo their own rooms and sleep together. I LOVE it. It's my favorite current Christmas tradition.

When I was little it was the Christmas music boxes Santa left for us every Christmas morning. This started because when I was around six or so I was quite convinced Santa wasn't real and that I was also smart enough to "prove it". So I told my parents I was going to ask Santa to leave a picture of himself leaving our gifts. I figured he had to own a Polaroid, right?  Instead, Santa left this music box...and our family received one every year after that Christmas. When I got married, Santa even found me at my new house and left me one on Christmas Eve. Periodically, a music box still arrives come Christmas morning.

So what's your favorite Christmas tradition--past or current?

**I'll be back to my regular Monday devotions come January. For December I thought it would be fun to see how you all spend the Holidays!**