living on pb & j

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


2 Comments

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

Advertisements

I’d like to share this story and  video of my little ones with the hope that it will help many of you with your holiday travels.  If your children are anything like mine, they love to ask questions similar to these:  “Mom, when are we going to be there?”  “Mom, are we there yet?”  “Mom, how much longer until we get there?”

While these questions are innocent enough, they can get a little tiring on a 20-minute ride to the grocery store.  And they get downright exhausting when you’re going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house!

One day, while my six-year-old daughter and I were driving to a destination about five minutes away, I was feeling a little annoyed after the fourth time she asked me, “Mom, when are we going to be there?”  In desperation, I began singing the little song you will hear on the video.

When I finished, she said, “Did you write that song?”

“Yes, I did,” I replied.

“I hate it!” she said.  “It’s VERY annoying.”

“I know,” I said with a smile.  “So is that question.  From now on, when you ask me that question, I’m going to sing you that song.”

It has become quite the family joke.  It has also drastically cut down on the number of times I hear that question in the car!

From a songwriter’s point of view, I freely admit that this is without a doubt the worst song I have ever written.  But from a mom’s point of view, it is music to my ears, and hopefully, it will be to yours too!  Feel free to use it to help your own children curb their questions, but be warned, it won’t get you any rave reviews.

Happy traveling!

~Niki


Leave a comment

9 Ideas for Adding a Little “Magic” to Christmas!

Christmas is coming!! I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but I really like to plan ahead. Since the Christmas season begins as soon as the Thanksgiving meal ends, it’s time to plan ahead!

If you’re like me, you make lots of plans to make this an extra special day, then before you know it, it’s here! You haven’t had time to prepare everything. Supplies should have been bought last week! But you’re too busy to go to the store today! You should’ve started the “12 Days” 3 days ago! You know how it goes… church dinners, family get-togethers, school activities, parades, shopping, cooking! Where do you begin? Where does it all end? You’re so tired you can hardly enjoy the season!

But…

I’ve been looking on pinterest for some great (and fairly simple) ideas to start some new traditions for our family. I wanted to find some things that were fun and “magical” but also, things that would point our children to the Savior, and the true reason we celebrate this season! So, I want to share a few of those ideas with you!

1. Clear all unnecessary items from your calendar! Easier said than done, right? But seriously, I teach piano, but I have already wrapped it up for the year. Those few extra weeks off won’t hurt my students, and it frees up two afternoons EVERY week {plus all that cleaning – the lessons are in my living room}! Say “no” to things that are unimportant. Can that dinner with friends wait until after Christmas? Do you have to paint the bathroom right now? You can volunteer at the library in January. If it can wait, then let it wait. That way, you will have all the extra time you want to make Christmas special!

calendar

2. Have a Christmas Family Brunch. This one is simple, and we’ve already been doing it for a few years. We have the Boyer Christmas Brunch after we open our gifts. We live away from our families and are often on the road for Christmas Day. But on the day we have our “Christmas’ we do this. I have a pretty extensive menu (although it sure doesn’t look like it in the picture!), but I want to keep it pretty much the same every year. We have a hashbrown casserole. (This is the basic recipe except I use cream of chicken instead of cream of mushroom – also you can put it together the day before and just throw it in the oven that morning.) And the other “must-have” is Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Muffins. These are SO yum, and take a little bit of time to make, and that makes it more special! I shared the recipe here. (They’re still good if made the day before.) Besides that, we usually have some ham, biscuits, and sometimes a marshmallow-type salad like this, and always Sparkling Juice. A few rare treats really make this time memorable!

DSCN4206

3. Make a Christmas Adventure Box. This one looks great, and I’m so excited to do it! It starts December 1st, and goes through Christmas. Each night, the children open the special “box”, in which you have already placed a wrapped object. This object is then used to tell a part of the Christmas story. Other topics are covered too, such as prayer, thankfulness, the legend of the Candy Cane, and others. I love the spiritual focus, wrapped in complete simplicity. And you could always go through the list (like I’m going to do)and use just 10 or 12 ideas instead of 25 days!

gift

4. Go to a Christmas parade. I have already looked up the ones in our area so we don’t miss them! So check our your local paper or google it, like I did.

5. Make a pocket calendar. I’m going to do it this year. There are so many cute ones on the market, but I’m cheap! So, I’m going to take a beautiful Christmasy ribbon and add 25 marked clothes pins to it. Then I’ll grab a cute little felt bag (or a gift bag) to move across the ribbon and add little treats for my kids each morning. Here are some more ideas for diy pocket calendars.

calendar2

6. The Christmas Book Basket. You may have seen this idea going around facebook and pinterest the last few months like I did. I bit, and couldn’t resist the simplicity and the cuteness. Read a Christmas book to your children each night! You can get a basket to sit by your tree or couch. Wrap 24 books and place inside the basket. Let your children take turns choosing one. Then grab some hot chocolate, a cozy blanket and read that book. This website has a lot of Christmas books that are tried and true. They are a mix of secular and spiritual. I ordered several from the library already, because remember, I’m cheap!

books

7. The Elf on the Shelf “idea.” You’ve seen it everywhere! It’s so cute, that little elf! But the story is that he is Santa’s helper, and he reports to Santa every night. So each morning, you will find him in a different spot. It’s so cute! But at the same time, my husband and I just aren’t comfortable doing it. So, here are a few variations. Hide a cute little Christmas-type figurine somewhere in your house each night after the kids are in bed (like a snowman). Then when the children find him in the morning, he can have a special treat for them. Or variation #2 that I like – have a nativity scene in your home, but have it empty. Let Mary and Joseph travel around your house until they arrive at the stable on Christmas Eve. Then in the morning, you can read the Christmas story to them and add baby Jesus, and the shepherds, wise men and animals. So sweet! And it’s just as fun!

4007981

8. Buy a new Christmas ornament for each member of your family. We have done this every year for our children, and for ourselves. Each year, we try to think of one of the major events or highlights of that year. For instance, we bought an ornament of the Alamo the year my husband and I took a trip to San Antonio for our anniversary! This year we are going to try to find a church, since my husband became a pastor this year. We also try to choose ones for our children that shows what they’re “into” that year.

truck

9. Special Bible reading. I also found this awesome idea! But I have so many other ideas, I’m not sure if we will have time to do it. But, this is the link for a special Bible reading chart that takes you through the prophecy of the coming Messiah, all the way to His birth, and also passages on how Christ is supreme and deserves our worship and praise. There are also many other options out there for Family Christmas Bibles, and booklets. This is a great idea! You could also combine it with #3!

So, there they are! Share your favorite Christmas traditions (only if they’re simple, please!) in the comments below.

❤ Joy