living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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A Season of Giving

The holidays are upon us!

I’m sure that you have already been looking around, wondering what to purchase this year.  It is not even Thanksgiving yet and the stores are bursting with Christmas.  My Facebook feed is filled with pictures of friends who have already decorated their homes and with stories of kids telling their mamas what they want for Christmas.  I totally get it.  I LOVE me some Christmas, but I also have to pace myself.

You see, if we zoom past Thanksgiving we miss important lessons on gratefulness….and this seems to be what our commercial “friends” down at the mall want us to think:  “Focus on what you WANT, not on what you HAVE!”  (Let alone being grateful for those things.)

Now before you start to think I’m “The Grinch”, let me tell you that I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas.

I love the true meaning of the season.

I love the decorations.

I love the songs.

I love the smells.

I love the adorable Christmas plays.

I love almost everything about Christmas.

BUT, I don’t love the “GIMME” side of Christmas.

The Bible says  “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35


….and so what I have tried to do in our home and hope to convey to our kids is that Christmas is a season of giving. I often bring up the fact that God gave us the best Present, Jesus,  and this is the basis for our giving.

Some of the ways we “do” Christmas:

  1.   Feeding the hungry
    1. My son figured out that the Salvation Army bell ringers collect money to feed other little boys and girls. We can not go in OR out of the stores without giving them money.
    2. We have also invited friends over that do not have a place to go during the holidays. We try to be ONE BIG family to them.
  2.   Gifting
    1. Neighbors: Every year we make or buy a gift for all of our neighbors. This is just our way of sharing God’s love with them.  Avs loves to go and help me deliver them. This is a highlight of our Christmas
    2. Teachers and Friends:  We also make little gifts and presents for our kids’ teachers as well as close friends.  We LOVE to gift.
    3. Extended Family:  This year “A” and “T” took their own money from their piggy banks and went to the dollar store and bought each of their cousins a gift.  We gave them a few tips, but mostly the gifts were their own ideas.  This was a sacrifice on their part but they LOVED it. Then when we got home, they helped me wrap those gifts.  “A” wrote the names and “T” put a bow on each package.
    4. Close Family:  We take the kids out and let them buy a nicer gift for each other as well as their parents.  We help them with the selections and use some of our money so they can do this. They love being a part of the gifting process.
  3.   Christmas Day
    1. On Christmas Day, we begin the day by reading the Christmas story. Then we let the kids GIVE their gifts.  We make a big deal out of this and they get a lot of enjoyment from it.  Presents are opened up one person at a time.  This helps us all to fully enjoy the gift-giving process and is much more meaningful.  This is all our kids have known and they love it.

My children know the story of baby Jesus and they are starting to realize what a sacrifice He made.  We are trying to teach them that it’s not about being good and getting BUT about sacrifice, gratitude and giving.

It is sooooo much fun to give!!!!   Let’s pass this on to our children.

How much fun would it be this Christmas if your child’s BIGGEST smile came from giving someone else a present RATHER than getting a toy that he will only use for a short time! – Rejoicing in the Present

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Delighted Mother ~ Delighted Child

Mom picture by JP mjcThough my face resembles a pumpkin (Hey, it is fall!), and my ankles are much bigger in real life, this drawing encourages my heart. My seven year old son drew a picture of me and a picture of himself as a gift to me. I did not ask him to draw this for me, but he labored on it and placed it on my nightstand where I would find it. This is so precious to me. He was so delighted to present his gift to me – his labor of love, and I was delighted to receive it.

Maybe, we could picture ourselves as the child and God as our Heavenly Father. When we give our individual gifts to HIM out of a heart of love for Him, what delight we experience! How delighted God must be when we serve Him just because we love Him!

If I had told my young son to draw me a nice picture of me and him, it would have been a good drawing and a job completed. I would have been satisfied with his obedience to my request. When he did it on his own, just because he loves me and he knows I love him, it was delightful!

Looking at this picture, I notice all the details. God knows all the details of our labors – even when they seem to be unnoticed or unappreciated. How awesome to have a God Who knows the strength needed to carry out our jobs some days, and Who has an ample supply of grace measured out for us!

I am delighted to be my son’s mother, and he is delighted to be my son. I want to consistently be delighted to serve my wonderful Father, and I am humbled that God delights in me, His child.

“Dear Father, my jobs as mother are not always delightful. Sometimes, they are mere duty. Help me see the job you blessed me with – being mom – as a meaningful opportunity to labor in love for You. When I get my eyes on the nitty gritty, mundane, overwhelming tasks that seem to never end, I easily lose my gratitude for the wonderful God You are to me. I desire to delight in the gifts You have graciously given me, and I desire to be a delight to You, my Father.”

Psalm 18:19 “He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”


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Christmas Gift Ideas ~ From the Heart

Christmas Gift Ideas - LPBJIt’s Christmas time – time for lights, music, gifts, nativity sets, trees, traditions, carols, food, parties, reunions, programs, and more. We know the true “reason for the season” is celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ: our Saviour come to earth. We know Jesus IS the perfect Gift. We know all the planning, fellowshipping, and gift giving is a perfect time to make memories.  With endless ideas available at our fingertips, Christmas celebrations can range from extravagant to simple.  Many of us continue to learn and plan to make the holidays special for family and others.

Maybe, your Christmas celebrations have retained a semblance of tradition through the years. I would venture to say that most people experience at least one Christmas season that is far from the desired or expected,  due to imminent changes that occur in life. As I was thinking about some ladies I know who will meet Christmas this year in change, I thought to put myself in their shoes.  What gifts can a mother give who…

  • Has no decorations or has no home in which to put them?
  • Is in an unsettled situation?
  • Has no husband to care for her?
  • Has declining health?
  • Has no money for special recipes or even for staples?
  • Has lost a loved one?
  • Has a wayward loved one?
  • Is struggling to face life every day?
  • Is characterized by brokenness ?
  • Feels trapped by multiple stress factors?
  • Has no friends or family close by?
  • Knows she cannot give her child a tangible gift?
  • ____________________________ (Fill in the blank.)?

We who know the Lord Jesus Christ can always give gifts to our children no matter how life changes. Here is a simple acrostic of a few of the many gifts we can give that are not wrapped in beautiful paper, but in our hearts.

C – Courage

  • A waiting heart. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” –Psalm 27:14
  •  An unfearful heart. “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” –Deuteronomy 31:6
  • A loved heart. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 8:37-39

H—Hope

  • An expectant heart. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” –Psalm 62:5
  • A believing heart. “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” –Psalm 27:13
  •  A seeking heart. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” –Hebrews 11:6

R—Remembrance

  • A praising heart. “We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:” –Psalm 78:4-5
  • A speaking heart. “And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you? Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:” –Deuteronomy 6:20-21
  • A humbled heart. “Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.” –Lamentations 3:19-21

I—Integrity

  • An upright heart. “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee. “ –Psalm 25:21
  • A God-fearing heart. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” –Job 2:3
  • An innocent heart. “Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.” –Genesis 20:5

S—Strength

  • A secure heart. “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” –Proverbs 31:25
  • A sound heart. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” –II Timothy 1:7
  • A stable heart. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…” –Psalm 46:1-2

T—Truth

  • A God-pleasing heart. “But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” –I Thessalonians 2:2-4
  •  A sanctifying heart. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” –I Peter 3:15  “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” — John 17:17
  • A worshipping heart. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” –John 4:24

M—Mercy

  • A benevolent heart.  “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. “ –Matthew 25:40
  • A good heart. “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” –Luke 6:35-36
  • A compassionate heart. “And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. “ –Luke 10:37

A—Affection

  • A kind heart. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” –Romans 12:10
  • A comforting heart. “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. “ –Isaiah 66:13
  • A loving heart. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love oneanother. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” –John 13:34-35

S—Steadfastness

  • A fixed heart.  My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” –Psalm 57:7
  • A purposed heart. “But Daniel purposed in his heart…” –Daniel 1:8
  • A laboring heart. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” –I Corinthians 15:58

Mary, the mother of Jesus must have possessed these gifts in her heart throughout the whole pregnancy and delivery of Baby Jesus. Think about the gifts she was able to give to her Son – Jesus – BECAUSE He was her Gift.

While we desire and attempt to give good gifts to our children, let’s remember  to give these unwrapped gifts of the heart, only possible through the power of the Gospel.

Be sure to nurture these gifts in your own heart – gifts that cannot be taken away from you.

Merry Christmas!  –Jeri Lynn