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Today is our dear Priscilla's birthday and it would only be fitting to embarras her a little bit and tell her how crazy we are about her and how grateful we are to know her.
I know there's some of you out there who would like the opportunity to share a little something with her and today would be a great time to do it! Let's give our friend a shoutout today and wish her a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
We love you P!!!!
Linnae and Annetta
Happy Holidays! Have yours been as fattening as mine? I'm pretty sure I saw my thighs grow a couple inches while I was sitting at my mother's dining room table on Christmas day.
Sadly. . . .I'm not joking.
By the time I pushed back from my bountiful plate filled (uh-hm. . .twice) with all the goodies my mom had made for us, my yoga pants were a bit tighter. Good thing I had on a long flowy sweater to disguise a few things.
So, I relaxed, and let it all hang out. That's what you do when you're with family - just relax and let it all hang out.
Beyond the food, the highlights of holidays are these little rascals:
Yup.. . there are twelve little munchkins in that photo and they were ALL at my parents house for Christmas day. For the record, my parents' house is not particularly big and spacious but it's ours so we can't imagine anything different. It's the same house that my siblings and I grew up in so the sweetness of nostalgia outweighs the fact that we have to pile on top of each other to fit our families inside together.
It's loud and chaotic and exhausting. . . and perfect.
Our holiday adventures don't end on Christmas day. The twelve kids and all of their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. . and even a great-grandmother gather numerous times, over numerous meals and even numerous overnight sleepovers. There's not one single solitary dull moment.. . or unused molecule of space. . . or oxygen.
So... I know that we've already wished you Happy Holidays from Going Beyond Ministries but I wanted to do it again. . .at least one more time before the New Year rolls in.
Thought this might be a good way to do it. Here's Dr. Tony Evans - Dad, Grandfather. . and pastor - at his finest! Enoy!
You are loved!
For us in the States, the Christmas season is the start of chilly weather. I LOVE it. The cold fronts seem to usher in a sort of ethereal feeling...combine that with a steady chain of Nat King Cole (I agree with Linnae's list of favs!) crooning Christmas favs and I am ho-ho-hoing with Christmas spirit. The start of the season always begins with the whole family watching "White Christmas" the day after Thanksgiving. Usually the girls have been out shopping and the boys have been watching football...but then we all pull on pj's, grab some treats and nestle in for what I feel like is the start of the holiday season.
Now, when I lived in Australia, on the other side of the hemisphere, the Christmas season was smack-dab in the middle of a heat wave....Christmas equaled summer. It was quite common to see pictures of Santa in bermuda shorts with a surf board in hand. Talk about the twilight zone! So, to get in the Christmas spirit, I did what I did since I was a kid: pulled on the sweats, popped the popcorn and flipped on "White Christmas"...add in turning the a/c on high and..."Voila!" I was in the Christmas spirit!
Over the course of the season, there are a few flicks I try to watch at home: Elf, The Holiday, The Grinch...and I admit, we occasionally delve into Mom's Netflix account and launch a cheesy flick...
Now in my older years, the day after Christmas is movie day for me and the fam....and this year? I am crazy to see "Les Miserables." Have you seen the trailer? It's is such a poignantly stunning picture of redemption! I. Can't. Wait.
Ok. SO. What are YOUR favorite holiday flicks? Are you a cheesy Hallmark movie girl? Do you catch all the classics?
Also, as I'm with the neice and nephews over the season. We have our evenings of fort-building and hot cocoa drinking planned...are there any movies I need to watch with them?
Can't WAIT to get comfy and watch with y'all...let me in on your favs!
To our SO very loved blog friends all around the world, today we wish you a
So thankful that we have a LIVING Christ to celebrate! Today, we need only to rejoice that a Savior came and is coming back for us again! This is our true destiny.
The GB Team
Tomorrow is the big day! I'm stoked. It's finally Christmas...and I'm ready to soak up every moment of it's 24 hours!
I had a conversation with a friend this past week, on how she was making Christmas more about Jesus with her kids. She mentioned that she had thought of forgoing presents for the kids that year to teach them it was Jesus' birthday. But then after further thought she had thought: "NO WAY! Then they'll blame Jesus for being the only kids in school without any presents! Plus, I think Jesus would have been the kind of guy to pass out presents to everyone else for his birthday." I agreed with her. Jesus IS the kind of guy to give presents...after all, He gave the biggest present upon His death.
So in thinking how I can love Jesus' well this Christmas, I thought, "I need to love people well...and celebrate Him in the process!" SO here are a few thoughts from my meditations on how to love people and Jesus well in the holidays!
1. For God so loved the world: Do something for someone else today. Like, someone who can't do something nice for you. If you're in line at Starbucks, give the cashier 10$ extra and tell her it's to pay for the drink of the person behind you in line. Or if you're getting gass, go over to a car who has just pulled up and buy them their tank of gas. If you don't have spare cash, go next door and meet your neighbor...wish them a merry Christmas and invite them to go with you to the candlelight or Christmas Eve service at your church. If they don't already go to church, chances are they'd love to attend a Christmas Eve service but don't want to go alone!
Call it a pay-it-forward thing or whatever you want, but God gave us all the biggest gift, twould be nice to pass a little of His love around!
2. Love your enemies: Call up that friend or relative who is hard to love and just have a chat! Even if they gripe the whole time, ask The Lord to give you a love for them. Put a rose on the doorstop of the co-worker who drives you nuts! Or make a batch of cookies and invite them over to watch "It's a Wonderful Life." Changes are you'll both be changed in the process!
3. From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks: Talk about Him. Don't be shy! Tell the story of Jesus...contemplate what it would have been like for Mary...think about being a 15 year old, with a pure record, that was now tainted...and now she's travelling with this man who is now her husband, pregnant with no hotel reservations. ROUGH.
4. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies: Read the Christmas story in Luke! Spend time reading it with your family...if you have young kids, one fun way to make it interactive is to act it out! We write all the characters names on small slips of paper (Joseph, Mary, Donkey, Baby Jesus, Angel, etc). Then we pass them out for people to pick outta the hat. We have a narrarator who reads the story. When the part of your character is read, you "act" it out...one year my Grandmother was Baby Jesus and my baby sister was the donkey. It was PRICELESS.
5. As Sweet as Honey: Make a "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake...complete with candles! Blow them out as a family and say a "grateful wish prayer" for His birth, life and death...
I'm thinking about you all today. Thinking about what you will be doing on Christmas day, who you will be with, what city you will be in, and what your day is going to look like. Some of you will be with your family and super excited about it, some of you will be doing something non-traditional like taking a vacation to a place you've never visited, some of you might be skiing in Colorado, and some of you unfortunately may be in a place you'd actually rather not be.
Wherever you will be and whatever you will be doing, I so wish that we could all go into the Holidays with a little vision and expectancy for the people we be with. The traditions are so fun, relaxing is a must, the abundance of food is delicious and oh so great . . . but I wish for us all to expect a little more for this year's Christmas. I wish for us to go a little deeper, have a little more meaningful conversations and love our friends a family a little better than we did last year.
I'm really speaking mostly to myself. It's so easy for me to get through time with my family and afterwards think... "Did I fully engage like I could have? Serve my mom like she deserves?" .. The list goes on. Especially since we have a bunch of kiddos running around, it's a lot easier to just make it through the day without any major catastrophies =)
I read a blog from my pastor a few days ago, and he had some really great insight on a few things we could do, at least try to do, as we enter into the Holidays:
1. Pray : just ask God some things that He might want to do during your time together, or even ask Him for things you'd love to see happen!
2. Initiate: engage in conversations. Ask questions. Be bold.
4. Be expectant! You never know what God may want to do, and it certainly helps to think ahead about some of these things.
I'm praying for a really sweet time for us this Christmas. Let's be intentional and expectant this year, yes?
You are loved,
I LOVE MY NEICE and NEPHEWS! They are the most fun little human beings on the planet! I'm sure you might try to argue with me, but *throat clears* I have the floor :) In order to maintain "favorite aunt status" in the Box household, I'm going to have to kick up my game a bit this year. So....for Christmas gifts, I've decided to get ultra-ninja-cool creative: they are getting Magic Fort Box's.
"What is a magic fort box?", you ask?
"Ahhhh....you are gonna' LOVE it!" Have you seen the movie The Holiday? It's not a "must-see" but there is a fun little scene in there where Jude Law's kids show off their homemade, magical fort to Cameron Diaz. They all lay under the fun-colored, paper-star-hanging roof and just breathe in the magic. SO, in honor of the amazingness that I find that in that beautiful moment, I'm making my magic fort box.
String (for hanging stars!)
A string of white Christmas lights
A white sheet
Colored markers to color the white sheet
Packages of hot cocoa
A few fun blankets
A new bedtime story book
I think we are going to have a BLAST! Don't you agree? What creative things have you given the little ones in your life? Any ideas for other moms on a budget, or just trying to get their kids out from beneath a television?
I can't WAIT for the sticky, hot-cocoa kisses and warm little bodies snug up against me as we tell bedtime stories in the "magic fort"!
It's been so fun to see all of you joining us on the blog for the give-a-ways. We so wish that we could make all of you winners, but unfortunately we had to randomly chose just one of you. After scrambling up all of the names and picking one out of a basket, we'd like to give a big congrats to . . .
Congratulations to you, friend! Send us your address to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can get this in the mail to you.
We hope that you will continue to join us for our Christmas series and beyond here on the blog. You'll be hearing from Priscilla soon and we have some great last minute Christmas ideas in the days to come.
Every year my Mom hosts an open house for family, friends and clients (she's a rockin' financial planner). I usually spend time helping her plan and setup...this year, I found a few fun, easy recipes that add color and holiday cheer to ANY table spread. And a few of them are even HEALTHY!
Easily made from a ready-made, store-bought meat & cheese tray at your local Sam's or Costco...
Who doesn't love crescent rolls and cream cheese? And with all the chocolate and cakes abounding, the veggies are more than welcome on my app tray!
I LOVE fruit! Add a little fruit dip, green and red and *Voila!*: Festive Fruit Canapes!
You HAVE to have a veggie plate...soooo...spend a few seconds making it look like you didn't just buy the plastic bags from the grocer's!
Strawberries and Chocolate Santa hats? Done. In.
5. http://media-cache-ec2.pinterest.com/upload/9851692904531543_Cn7dU6rA.jpg OR http://pinterest.com/pin/113997434287479580/
What are your best ideas for easy Christmas appetizers? Anything easy and fun you can share with us? It's CHRISTMAS Y'ALL!
Christmas is in t minus 8 days and we thought, what a better way to start the countdown than to give you a $30 gift card to Amazon! Because, really, what CAN'T you buy on Amazon???
So, leave a comment below telling us your favorite gift this year under $30. Annetta doesn't want me to tell you this, but she still has shopping left to do and needs some ideas =)
We can't wait to bless someone with a little gift card! So tell all your friends (don't be stingy) to join us and leave a comment below. You have until Tuesday, December 18 at 11:00pm CT to enter. Winner will be announce Wednesday, December 19.