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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2 Comments

Given to Hospitality

I’ve been a little out of the loop lately.  😦  Our family is on deputation currently, and while it is SUCH a blessing to experience this incredible phase of ministry, it is often chaotic, to say the least!  I’m able to catch my breath a bit from all the traveling and share a little of what has been on my heart and mind as we’ve been on the road.

When our family lived in North Carolina, I had a good friend.  She and I got together a few times a week and let our kids play and just hung out together.  She was a SAHM mom, like me at the time, but she had more experience since she was on baby #2 and I was a complete newbie.

My friend’s husband had a good job, but like every young family that sacrifices for the mom to stay home, she worked hard to make their budget happen.  She cooked nearly every meal their family ate…and she was GOOD at it!  They had a small home that she took pride in managing and cleaning.  She cared for her husband and two young children. She was a busy lady!

But I can’t remember how many times I saw her demonstrating Romans 12:13 by “distributing to the necessity of the saints” and being “given to hospitality.”

Even though my friend’s home was small and her budget was tight, she was a picture of hospitality.  She used her special talent and cooked and personally delivered meals to so many families in times of need.  She was constantly thinking of someone who was recovering from surgery, dealing with the passing of a loved one, moving to a new home, or having a baby.  The church never organized this ministry; she claimed it for her own.

lady-in-apron

I think of my friend often, even though we live far away now, and I’ll always remember her creative, sacrificial hospitality.  No, it wasn’t “traditional” inside of her home-type hospitality.  But it was the real thing nonetheless.

I want to be sensitive to those around me.  I don’t want to use my small budget, busy schedule, or small home as an excuse to not be a blessing!  I want to be given to hospitality, just like my friend.

With love,

Heather