Thursday, December 24, 2009

Here we are, Christmas Eve. There is so much build up to the big day, it's almost sad to see it come. My nine year old even said, "Christmas is coming too fast!". From a nine year old! We've had our decorations up for a month and a half now, and I am nowhere near sick of them - yet. For some reason, the day after Christmas, I am ready for them to come down - now! It's like grieving...often one wants to hurry up and put the past behind them when grieving, it's the same with Christmas. When it's gone, it's gone! I'm sad to see it end and hate that it's gone, so I hurry and get rid of all remembrances of it.

This year...this year though, it's going to be different. Don't worry, you won't come to house and see my lights or Clemo the penguin still on the front porch. The wreath will be gone, I assure you. But I refuse to "mourn" Christmas. I plan to have a new outlook, a new attitude. First of all, look out 2o10, here I come. I am looking forward to all 2010 has to offer. It could have something to do with my new best friend in life and her family...I plan to live it up with them this year, let the planning begin! You know how it is when you find just the right person and both of your families just "click", well this is it for us. My family is another reason I look forward to 2010. I have such a great brother and sister-in-law...and they make such cute babies for me to play with, what's not to love? I also have been literally working my tail off since September (taking a little hiatus from November til now :) doing metabolix and zumba and I love my results...I start back in January and cannot begin to tell you how much I look forward to that. I've fought my body my whole life, not anymore. I am going to transform it. I turn 32 in March. I told someone once, my twenties were hard. Not bad or horrible, but hard. I got married, went to nursing school, bought a house, moved, got a "real" job, had a baby, stayed poor but happy as a stay at home mom. That was my twenties. My thirties..well, I'm happy in the skin I'm in. I'm happy as a mom, working part time, with a fantastic husband that is secure and supports his family with pride. So look out birthday number 32, I'm coming.

All of that being said...the part I look forward to the most is this. My relationship with Christ. He and I, well, we've been in a lull lately. But He's lit a fire under me again, and I'm ready to be all He wants me to be. I was called to women's ministry years ago and fought it every step of the way - no more. I fought it so long, I don't even know if He intends to use me any longer for it. But I know this, as long as I'm willing, He'll use me. I long for a revival in this nation. Ihave an ache in my heart for the lost to be found. I want to be a part of bringing others not just to know Christ and find a relationship with Him, but to help them realize all He offers and how they can live their lives souled out as well.

My prayer this Christmas is this...let me not "grieve" the end of Christmas. Let the love and passion of my Heavenly Father permeate my heart this Christmas and every day until next Christmas. Let me PLEASE keep the fire in my heart to see souls come to know Him and to help them find out that being a Christian doesn't have to be a struggle, but an honor, a privilege and a joy.

Merry Christmas, hugs and love to you all!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wake Up! It's Christmas!

Wake up! It's Christmas! Time for cooking, hustle, bustle, run, run, run some more, sit in Santa's lap, make up the wish list, shop til you drop, listen to Christmas music so you can gain some Christmas spirit, hopefully by osmosis, and the list goes on, and on, and on. So many people say, I wish we could just sit still and enjoy the true meaning of the season. You know the corny old saying "Jesus is the Reason for the Season"...people love to quote it over and over and over ad nauseum. I wonder how many truly understand what the means...a friend posted it on her facebook page today...a friend that I know understands it. But I wonder how many folks really think about what it means. Most feel like it's such a happy time. It's time of year we celebrate the birth of the Christ child that was sent to rescue us...that was sent to save us from our earned eternal destiny of Hell. What rejoicing we do over the birth of Jesus! We celebrate it with Happy Birthday Jesus songs and parties...we celebrate by giving each other gifts to commemorate the ultimate gift of Salvation that our loving Father provided for us...we celebrate by spending time with loved ones...and so on, and so on. But there are times, when I read the story in Luke 2...when I meditate on the true gravity of what God did on that cold winter night (did you know Israel, specifically Jerusalem and it's surrounding areas are on the same longitude as North Carolina?? It is! They have very similar weather to ours...). He sent a precious baby into this world...ultimately to die. That was the very reason that sweet, innocent, sinless babe was brought into this die. For me. For you. For us all. I think about Mary...what love she must have had for this baby...and I am thankful God's plan wasn't revealed to her. What pain she would have gone through those years He walked this earth, knowing He was destined to die such a horrid, painful, excruciating death. I think about my daily walk. The ways I fail, I try to dwell on my shortcomings, I just try to do better. But when I think of the ways I've failed Him, I think of the cross...and I think of His birth...

It's such a simple plan, the plan of salvation. Many and most of my friends and family know God as a personal Savior. I can't speak to their daily walk or their current relationship with Him, that's between them and God. But what about you. Do you know Him? Does your family know Him? Do your colleagues know Him? Do you have an urgency for their soul? Do you have an urgency for your own soul? Why are we not telling people about Jesus...His birth...and His necessary death? It's so simple...

A lot of people think sitting in a pew or growing up in a church and being a good person are enough. Until you have a true, honest relationship with God, that's all pointless. Why don't we tell people this??

Christmas is so many things to's's's running until my shoes fall's joyous, it's beautiful, it's a happy's also a time for me to reflect, to reflect on why it was all done and why it was necessary...and it helps remind me to do my best and love Him the way He wants me to...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Using All The Freshest Ingredients...

I finally got my act together and decided to do some Christmas goodie know, the sugar cookies, pecan dreams, chocolate chip cookies, pound cakes...I'm even trying some wild and crazy new recipes I found using Chex...I'm a rebel. Of course, one can never forget the candy cane sugar cookies that Gracie and I make every mom and I used to make them too...they are cute, yummy and have crushed peppermints on top...what could be better? The only thing I think I'm missing are crack crackers...but I digress. Tonight I made chocolate chip cookies. You know, I think I spent upwards of fifty bucks on baking supplies yesterday. Butter, flour, sugar, blah, blah, blah. But when I made my cookies tonight, they were rather flat and boring. No "poof" to them. No jazz. No umph. I'm thinking it may be related to the baking soda I used...expiration of June 2006. I didn't think the stuff went bad, but I've been wrong a time or two. The cookies don't taste bad...not really. They are just ugly, flat and are missing that poofy chewy texture. I'm sad. My whole life, after being centered on Christ, has basically been centered on cooking and eating fabulous food. Following in the culinary shadow of a southern fried cooking great (my mama), it's disheartening when I experience a kitchen failure. I dwell on it. I think over what I should have, could have done differently...and I worry about what others will think of how it looks, tastes, etc.

You know, my relationship with God is somewhat the same way. In my daily quiet time (when I really take the time to do it...sometimes I admit, it's like cooking supper...sometimes I just can't seem to make time to do it, so I get take out - like reading Our Daily Bread or something instead of digging into His Word) I often give God my stalest ingredients. Maybe it's just a few minutes here or there...maybe it's not even taking the time to really sit and be quiet and experience Him...and you know what? That's when I turn out the flattest. It's when I have my most disorganized, falling apart a casserole that won't stay together, or a cake that falls. It's my failures in the kitchen. I tend to dwell on it, think of what I should have done differently to make it more meaningful...but honestly? I tend to dwell more on my food failures than my God failures. Sad huh? I know I fail Him every day. I don't worry about how it looks to Him or anyone else...and I should. Most of all, I should focus not just on how I've failed Him, He doesn't want me to dwell on it, I need to also focus on how to make it not fail Him again.

So my cookies will be fine I suppose. My Christmas goodies will not fall flat...they'll be yummy. And I pledge my heart to God that I may not fall flat for Him...that I will be as pleasing to Him, even more my Christmas goodies are to my palate :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Please Tell Me If My Breath Stinks...

Why don't people mention the "elephant" in the room? Is it propriety? Is it out of fear of hurting someone's feelings? Is it not to look or sound stupid? My breath stinks...why won't anyone tell me? It stunk really bad tonight...really bad. I ate the onion onion dip at the Tastefully Simple party I went to tonight. I could have easily curled my own hair with my breath. There was a haze in the room..some say it was from candles burning, I say it was my breath following the onion onion dip. So did I buy some? Of course I did. Nine dollars worth. It's not just any dip that can cause small continents to rip apart...or your insides for that matter. Of course, all of that being said, I knew my breath stunk. Heck, I could smell it myself, that's impressive. But everyone was too nice to tell me. I bet they talked about it when I left though...

But I digress. I really wanted to blog about the social aspect of a hug. I have to say, I wouldn't blame anyone for not hugging me tonight, after all, green vapors were oozing from my mouth. But what are the social rules to hugging? Is it a long time friendship? Is it the approachable or non approachable huggableness (I swear that is really a word...I think) of the person? Every time a friend or acquaintance of mine makes a move to hug me, it's like they take a second thought to it and back up, or look the other way. I promise, I do not eat onion onion dip all the time! I don't think I have an approachable huggableness...that makes me slightly sad. At the same time, I have to recall the first time I met my husband's aunt, we'll call her Agnes. She took one look at me and kissed me on the lips. Yep, right smack dap in the middle of my mouth. Come to find out, all of his Mom's family follows this oddly uncomfortable practice. It's like a rite of passage with the Byrums...really, it is. So I've come to the conclusion that either I am kissable and not huggable, or some of my family is just very friendly and outgoing, while some of my family and friends are a little more reserved. I'll opt for that, since I don't like to think I'm not huggable...I mean, really, I'm a pleasantly plump, heck, a chubby chick with lots to love...very squeezable I think!

All this being said...I wonder why some people have no problem telling others that they are going to hell...while others treat it like the "elephant" in the room. Ignorance can be plead for part of it. I mean, really, not everyone realizes there really is a Hell or if they do, they don't realize people actually go to it...not people they know anyway. It's like Paul's family that don't hesitate to kiss one another square on the smacker...some people will tell you straight up, Hell is real and if you don't have the relationship with Jesus that you need, you're going. Of course, I suppose some folks wouldn't take too kindly to one might need to approach it a little more gracefully...more like a peck on the cheek...but then there's some that approach it like Ellen Griswold does when Cousin Eddie tries to kiss her...she avoids it all together. I guess there needs to be a happy medium, but avoiding it altogether is a big no no. One day, we will stand before God and He will point out every opportunity we had to lead someone to Christ or to witness for Him...and then He'll examine how we handled it. Did we hit the subject head on? Did we dance around it? Did we avoid it altogether ... ignore it like the elephant in the room? Obviously every situation can't be handled the same...but to completely ignore another person's eternity...that's one we as Christ followers will answer for one day.

I know I've missed opportunities...I regret that. I pray that the next opportunity I get, I'll know it, I'll sense it through the Holy Spirit and I'll have the confidence in Him to jump in and tell them they have onion onion breath, kiss em smack on the mouth, tell them about Christ's love and sacrifice for them. I'll pray the same for you :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...Is that true? Do you really think? It seems like this time of year everyone is soooo busy. I wake up every morning seemingly more tired than when I went to bed! Making sure everyone is fed, bathed and in generally good health...not to mention cleaning the house, shopping, wrapping presents, cooking, baking, blah, blah, blah...but I love it nonetheless. One of my favorite things to do is roll out of bed in the mornings, start my coffee, and turn the Christmas trees on. The soft light that illuminates the dark living room just before daybreak has a wonderfully peaceful, calming effect on me just before I begin my hectic, tornadic day. Ever since I was a little girl, Christmas traditions have been like a limb on my body...just there. Ingrained in me. If it wasn't there, I'd miss it terribly. I love passing some of those traditions on to my sweet Gracie. I love starting our own new traditions as well. One of our favorites is to read Luke 2 on Christmas morning, once the chaos and craziness have settled. We remind ourselves of the ultimate gift God gave us. I think, knowing the peace and happiness and overwhelming sense of love that we feel on that day is what drives me through this crazy season. It's what urges me to stop each day and enjoy these fleeting days and weeks prior to the big birthday celebration of Jesus (oh and the arrival of the big guy in the red suit). Knowing that when all is said and done, we will grasp ahold of the opportunity and worship and praise the One who gave us a Savior in a most unassuming way. Taking a moment or many moments each day to savor the season and all that comes with it (even the chaos!) is what reminds me of the hope and promises we have in our Redeemer. This season, the beauty, the chaos, the commercialism (I'm a sucker for some cute M&M and candle and coffee commercials!!) is truly my favorite time of year. With the way our culture is today...if it wasn't for the commercialism of Christmas, with all it's flaws, there would be little to no attention drawn to the birth of our Savior. Don't get me wrong...the commercialism gets old and tiresome quickly to me too...but it has it's positives too (after all, don't you just LOVE the Coke bottles shaped like Christmas ornaments??) reminding us that material things are not all there is too Christmas...It's truly the most wonderful time of year (I say that until I get to summer, when we get to hit the beach!)...