Christmas Gifts for Children… Precedence, Disappointment, and Gratefulness

I heard some mothers talking the other day about how their children were disappointed when they didn’t receive a lot of gifts for Christmas.  It saddened me.  I have a word that has guided my gift giving with my children.

Precedence…. What does that word mean to you?

I looked it up on http://www.dictionary.com/. As I was looking for definitions, most were related to law precedents. That tells me it’s a pretty strong word. I am most interested in the first definition that the American Heritage Dictionary presented:

“An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances. “
This is the definition that has been a guiding thought for me. In the past, my family has been much more affluent than we are currently. Nevertheless, I have always thought about the precedents that I am setting with my children when we give gifts for celebrate special days and holidays. For instance, even when we could afford it, and wanted to give my children their first bicycles, I would not buy such a gift for Christmas or a birthday. We don’t give many big gifts; we never have.

During the year, I look for gifts that I think they will enjoy. I put them away in a box until their birthdays, Christmas, or an I Love You day. Because I don’t give big gifts, they don’t expect them. Because I don’t give them often, they are thrilled when they receive one.

Does this mean my children are disappointed with their Christmas gifts?  On the contrary, they are happy with what they receive.  Thrilled in fact.

When we don’t set a high precedence of expectation, our children are free to be grateful for the gifts they do receive.  They can truly enjoy their gifts without thought of cost or quantity.

I love my children.  I am not required to give them gifts.  I want to give them gifts.  They know that.  They are thankful and enjoy the gifts because they know I am giving them out of love.

Just something to think about…
Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage
Laura
Keeping it simple for our Savior

Living Life Together

Living life together… I think that’s what Jesus had in mind for us.  That’s the way the church lived in the book of Acts.  That’s the way God made us.  We long for friendship, fellowship, close family ties. 

It’s Thanksgiving and Thanks Living month. Who can you reach out to?  Who can you invite for a cup of tea or coffee?  Who can you invite over for a visit after school so the kids can play while you visit?   Thanksgiving plans made yet?  Is there an extra seat at your table or on your sofa, or even on the floor that you could share?  Kids really don’t mind sitting on the floor, you know.  They would no doubt gladly give up their seats at the table. 

Just something to think about…

Living Life Together

Laura

I Am in Awe.

I’m in Awe! I am in awe of a Love that would choose to suffer so much for another. I am in awe of a Love that would not answer back to lies and false accusations. I am in awe of a Love that is so strong, it would not cry out for mercy when brutally struck and beaten over and over. I am in awe of a Love that would be silent when He could have stopped the torture at any moment. I am in awe of a Love that would love and ask God’s forgiveness for His torturers, mockers, persecutors, and executioners because “they know not what they do.” I am in awe because He is awesome. I am in awe because Jesus is God’s Son and He is Love. I thank You God. I thank You Jesus. There is no way to express the gratitude I feel because I am in awe that You did this for me and for every person who will accept Your death and resurrection as payment for their sins. I believe! Thank You for doing this so that we might have eternal life. Amen

Just Something to Think About….

Frightened of God

I went to a little after school Bible club when I was in first grade and in the beginning of second grade. Believe it or not, it was held in the school. I remember watching the flannel graph board as the teacher told the stories of Jesus. I never doubted that Jesus was a real person or that God was real. So, when the teacher taught us the Bible verse, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life,” I believed her (John 3:16). In fact, that was the only verse that I remembered through the years. I loved my little classes and was sorry that I couldn’t continue them when I moved to Kansas during second grade.

After I moved to Kansas, there was an occasional Vacation Bible School; but, for the most part, not a whole lot of training. My mom did teach me to say the child’s prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. God bless Mommy. God bless Daddy. God bless John. God bless Grandma and Grandpa….” You get the idea. Let me tell you; I wasn’t too keen on the “if I should die before I wake” part! It kept me just a little afraid of God.

For a little while after my mom and dad divorced, we went to church with one of my mom’s friends. I went to the 6th grade Sunday School class. I remember feeling like I was so hopelessly behind that I’d never learn this Bible stuff. I also remember feeling like the preacher was looking right at me when he gave the sermon. I tried to slouch down and disappear behind the grown ups around me.


As I grew older, I grew in sin and in stature and became a teenager. I had more to be ashamed of than just the confession I’d made in that class that I hit my brother. The teacher had asked me to confess my sin when I asked Jesus into my little heart. Now, I’d said hateful words, seen things on tv and movies that were bad, had bad thoughts, hit my brother more. You get the idea. Every once in awhile, I’d go over to a friend’s house and her religious mother would have Billy Graham or someone else on t.v. talking about God. I remember feeling intensely ashamed and frightened of God. I knew that I was dirty with sin. I knew He could see what I’d done and knew what I thought. I didn’t run to Him, though. I ran away.

God didn’t give up. I’d find tracts with the way to salvation lying around in public places. I had to read them. I had to find a way to get rid of this guilt that was building up. Even so, I just didn’t quite believe it would work. I just knew I was going to go to hell. I was still frightened.


Finally, on New Year’s Day, 1980, I was watching the PTL Club show. Jim Bakker was interviewing a lady who had been a drug addict. She had turned to Jesus, had been saved, and had been delivered from her drug addiction. A lightbulb went on in my head and my heart. This woman had done stuff that was way worse than what I’d done. Isn’t it like us to compare even our sins to others’ to try to make ourselves feel better? Anyway, I finally had this revelation:

If God had forgiven this woman, surely He could forgive me, too.

So, when Jim Bakker lead the sinners’ prayer, I asked Jesus to forgive me and asked Him into my heart. I became a Christian that day January 1, 1980. I asked my mom if we could go to church. I knew Christians were supposed to go to church. She wasn’t interested at that time. So, I had to think of something else. I kept watching PTL on the little t.v. in my bedroom that Grandma Mamie and Grandpa Frank had given me. It was a great way to start the day.


Soon it was time to go back to school. I saw a girl on the bus, named Kim, who had always been nice to me, even when others were mean. I went up to her and asked her to take me to church with her. After she picked herself up off the floor of the bus (just kidding), she agreed to take me to her church. I got permission from my mom and went to Rolling Hills Christian Church with her. It didn’t occur to me that there might be more than one kind of church. God just took care of me. The next Sunday, Pat, the lady who lived on the property behind our 3 acres, showed up at our door to take me to church. And the next Sunday and the next Sunday and the next Sunday! She came with bulldog tenacity! Good thing, too. I didn’t have a chance to get away from God this time. ~smile~


A few weeks later, I went forward at concert with my friend Kim and Pat’s daughter. I actually thought they wanted me to go up because they were afraid to go up themselves. Surprise surprise! A couple of weeks later I went forward at church to confess Jesus, be baptised, and join the church. That little country church family became my family. They were there for me during some really hard things. Ah, but that’s another story for another day.


Friend, are you frightened of God? Do you think you’re too bad? Too sinful? Too dirty? I did, too. We are all bad, sinful, and dirty. BUT GOD made a way for us to come to Him and become good, righteous, and clean. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He said Himself that He is the Way the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Him.


Jesus paid the price for our sins by taking our punishment on the cross at Calvary. “If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

We must run to God. We must confess. We must ask forgiveness. We must ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. God is willing and able to forgive our sins. He wants us.

Are you willing?


Laura


Something to Think About for Those Who Homestead or Want that Simple Back to Basics Lifestyle

I have read a blog off and on for quite awhile now that I really enjoy. It is called Maple Grove Farm. The descriptions of farm life and a self sustaining homesteading typle lifestyle are intriguing. In three and a half years, April and her family have made quite a home for themselves.

Now, I don’t see myself doing all the things she’s written about; but, she does get me thinking about things that I can do right here in my small town big yard home. She just gives me something to think about.

We all need something to think about, don’t we?

Laura