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Why can't all followers of Jesus just come together around scripture?

Why our family DE-emphasized Santa. Just one opinion.


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Why Our Family DE-emphasized Santa

From the earliest of age I have not been very impressed with Santa.  I remember laying awake terrified that a strange man would be lurking around in our living room, and worse, that my parents would let him.  Later, the idea of presents dried my tears when sitting on the mall Santa’s lap, but I still didn’t like it and I have pictures to prove it.

Why our family DE-emphasized Santa. Just one opinion.

When I had children of my own I decided that there would be no more white lies about Santa.  Here is my reasoning.  I spent a good deal of time training my kids to know the difference between real and make believe, especially from the Bible.  Let’s face it, there are plenty of crazy stories in the Bible that seem like fantasy.  When we opened the  Bible together, everything they heard…snakes talking, arks floating, men in fiery furnaces, Jonah being swallowed by a fish, God being born in a  manger…no matter how fantastic…all of it was TRUTH.  I was determined that my children would be able to trust me to tell them the truth, even about Christmas.  I would stop the innocent Santa lies of my mother, and my grandmother before her.  I would never tell them that there was another man who had the same omniscient qualities as God…someone who knew everything about them…when  they  sleep, and when they are awake. I just couldn’t do it.

Lest you think we were opposed to Santa altogether, let me be clear that Santa still came to our house.  We still had all the fun of Christmas morning that the rest of the world did.  The only difference was that the kids knew the real origin of all the gifts under the tree.    Our children enjoyed talking about Santa as if he were real, much like my granddaughter imagines she is having conversations with her stuffed animals.  We never had any problems with our children revealing this big secret to their classmates once they were school-aged.

I know this idea is not for everyone, but it worked for our family.  My daughter is now a mother and she and her husband are putting more emphasis on the birth of Jesus than I ever did.  If I could do it again, I would use this time of year for our family to grow spiritually together with an emphasis on giving.

Blessings for a wonderful Christmas, Alice

Why our family DE-emphasized Santa. Just one opinion.

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She told us of her poverty, and how she and her husband struggle to survive on their salaries. Unbelievably, She makes $30 a month as a Kindergarten teacher. How do you teach your children to be compassionate givers?


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You Might be Richer Than You Think

At church one Sunday here in Cambodia, a Christian Khmer woman encouraged us with how Matthew 6:25 has played out in her life, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear…” She told us of her poverty, and how she and her husband struggle to survive on their salaries. She makes $30 a month as a Kindergarten teacher…a month y’all, and he makes about the same as a Tuk Tuk driver.  It rains a lot here in Cambodia, but during a dry spell, all of the rain water in the cistern outside was gone.  She had no money to buy water for the family and she remembers standing over the cistern and praying for rain.

And it immediately started to rain.

As I sat there listening to her praise God for His unending love for her, I thought about how different her prayers are than mine…the prayer of the one who has instead of the one who has not. I already KNOW where my food, drink, and clothes are coming from.  I don’t beg God to send me the necessities of life because I have excess.

Instead of skimming over this beautiful verse in Matthew 6:25 because it doesn’t relate to my situation, maybe I should speak this verse as a prayer. To ask Father to lead me to the people who don’t have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear, and to help me be bold enough to be the answer to someone’s prayer.

She told us of her poverty, and how she and her husband struggle to survive on their salaries. Unbelievably, She makes $30 a month as a Kindergarten teacher. How do you teach your children to be compassionate givers?

Many times we compare ourselves to others who have more, instead of the other way around.  Even the working poor in America have it better than most who are suffering with poverty in other countries.  American homeless populations even have options like shelters and food banks, whereas the poor and displaced in some foreign countries have no options but starvation and death.  What do you do if you lost both hands in an electrical accident, your wife leaves you with the children, and you no longer have a way to make a living in a third world country?   This is a true example of a local beggar living here in our Cambodian city.

You can’t really say you are a friend of Jesus unless you are helping the poor.  Take for example the sheep and the goats, a story with a warning from Jesus.   (fact check: Matthew 25:31-48)  The goats didn’t seem to  “get” Jesus.  They missed the kindness characteristic of the Holy Spirit. (fact check: Galatians 5:22) Maybe they thought about helping, but never had any follow through. At any rate, Jesus says, “When you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.”

So how can you help your children develop a desire to give?  You must first develop that desire yourself, then go forth together.  Start by praying that God will consume you with a BIG  kind of love for others.  Have you read Love Does by Bob Goff yet?  Each chapter tells a story from Bob’s life, then ends with a spiritual application.  The beginning of each chapter starts with “I used to think…but now I know…”  Join me on the Sanctified Tourist’s Facebook page in January while I share quotes from this book to encourage and inspire you.

She told us of her poverty, and how she and her husband struggle to survive on their salaries. Unbelievably, She makes $30 a month as a Kindergarten teacher.   How do you teach your children to give to those in need.

Next, search the Internet for ideas on projects you can do with your children and grandchildren.  Here is an idea for a project from  Story of This Life.   Good literature can also help.   The King’s Christmas List  takes Matthew 25:31-48 and teaches children that every act of compassion is a gift for Jesus.  Maybe you could write your own family giving book using a photo book company.

I will leave you with this video that shows a little girl overcome with compassion for a homeless man outside the restaurant where she was eating, and then DOING something about it. click here  Father, lead me to the people who don’t have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear, and to help me be bold enough to be the answer to someone’s prayer. (Matthew 6:25)

She told us of her poverty, and how she and her husband struggle to survive on their salaries. Unbelievably, She makes $30 a month as a Kindergarten teacher. How do you teach your children to give to those in need.

Note:  all the scriptures I used today in my post were straight from Jesus)

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God's wonders are in the food we eat, the scenery we take pictures of, in an answered prayer, and in the togetherness of a family. This post is to share a few wonders I captured this summer during our month long road trip, along with Psalm 148.


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Will Wonders Never Cease? No, Never.

The literal answer to this age old expression is, “No, a thousand times NO!”  God’s wonders are in the food we eat, the scenery we take pictures of, an answered prayer, a second chance, and the togetherness of a family.  God’s wonders take us to new heights if the one in the middle of the wondrous decides to catch the kite string and soar into the spiritual.

God's wonders are in the food we eat, the scenery we take pictures of, in an answered prayer, and in the togetherness of a family.  This post is to share a few wonders I captured this summer during our month long road trip, along with Psalm 148.

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This summer, my husband and I saw many wondrous things in our month long road trip and I would love to share some of my best pictures with you.  Psalm 148 just seems to fit.

God's wonders are in the food we eat, the scenery we take pictures of, in an answered prayer, and in the togetherness of a family. This post is to share a few wonders I captured this summer during our month long road trip, along with Psalm 148.

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God's wonders are in the food we eat, the scenery we take pictures of, in an answered prayer, and in the togetherness of a family. This post is to share a few wonders I captured this summer during our month long road trip, along with Psalm 148.

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God's wonders are in the food we eat, the scenery we take pictures of, in an answered prayer, and in the togetherness of a family.  This post is to share a few wonders I captured this summer during our month long road trip, along with Psalm 148.

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God's wonders are in the food we eat, the scenery we take pictures of, in an answered prayer, and in the togetherness of a family.  This post is to share a few wonders I captured this summer during our month long road trip, along with Psalm 148.

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God's wonders are in the food we eat, the scenery we take pictures of, in an answered prayer, and in the togetherness of a family.  This post is to share a few wonders I captured this summer during our month long road trip, along with Psalm 148.

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God's wonders are in the food we eat, the scenery we take pictures of, in an answered prayer, and in the togetherness of a family. This post is to share a few wonders I captured this summer during our month long road trip, along with Psalm 148.

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God's wonders are in the food we eat, the scenery we take pictures of, in an answered prayer, and in the togetherness of a family. This post is to share a few wonders I captured this summer during our month long road trip, along with Psalm 148.

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God's wonders are in the food we eat, the scenery we take pictures of, in an answered prayer, and in the togetherness of a family.  This post is to share a few wonders I captured this summer during our month long road trip, along with Psalm 148.

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God's wonders are in the food we eat, the scenery we take pictures of, in an answered prayer, and in the togetherness of a family. This post is to share a few wonders I captured this summer during our month long road trip, along with Psalm 148.

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This excerpt from The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones  captures the childlike simplicity of creation and its response to wonder.

And when God saw them He  was like a new dad.  “You look just like me,” He said.  “You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made!”  God loved them with all of His heart.  And they were lovely because He loved them.  And Adam and Eve joined in the song of the stars and the streams and the wind in the trees, the wonderful song of love to the one who made them. 

This post is just a reminder to join the song.

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Pictures:  1)  glacial ice seen on our Alaskan cruise, 2)  hummingbird perched on a branch near her nest in my California son’s yard, 3)  California beach, 4) Oregon coastline,  5) View from a train in Skagway Alaska, 6) More Alaskan beauty, 7) It was a surprise to find Washington Lake Wanapun in the middle of such barren country, 8) My family’s Montana ranch, my favorite place, 9)  Ranch sunset on our last day.  The sky was especially beautiful.  10)  Ranch sunrise  on our last day.  The sky was especially beautiful.

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There is an aspect to gratitude that I have been contemplating and that is the remembering of the blessing to others.So using this train of thought, I set up a gratitude corner in my house. I cleared off the knickknacks from my corner cabinet, and replaced them with reminders of our family blessings. Find out how I set up my Gratitude corner.


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How I set up a Gratitude Corner

God has blessed me so abundantly, and I have always felt my meager thank yous were just not enough to offer Him, especially when after agonizing in prayer, He comes up with a surprise solution, one much better than I could have ever planned.  Or, when having waited a particularly looooooooong time for God to move, at just the right time He creates a beautiful response.  The Israelites would offer up a gratitude sacrifice to the Lord and then have a feast.  In some ways this really appeals to me, to be able to do something physical for God to show my thankfulness.

There is an aspect to gratitude that I have been contemplating and that is the remembering of the blessing to others.So using this train of thought, I set up a gratitude corner in my house. I cleared off the knickknacks from my corner cabinet, and replaced them with reminders of our family blessings. Find out how I set up my Gratitude corner.

There is another aspect to gratitude that I have been contemplating and that is the remembering of the blessing to others.  After the Israelites were witnesses to many wonders and miracles, their children promptly forgot to talk about it when they were at home and when they were on the road, when they were going to bed and when they were getting up.     By the third generation, the children’s children were lost and worshiping idols.   I take these facts very seriously.  I genuinely  love my descendants, even though they have not been born yet.  I think about them all the time. After the crossing of the Jordan River into the promised land, Joshua had the people set up  memorial stones specifically to remind the generations to come about how God had been with them.

So using this train of thought, I set up a gratitude corner in my home.  I cleared off the knickknacks from my corner cabinet, and replaced them with reminders of our family blessings.  There are many ways to represent our blessings, and I might decide to create something different later, but for now, I have decided to focus on different fonts of the alphabet, each letter representing the beginning word of something meaningful to our family.

There is an aspect to gratitude that I have been contemplating and that is the remembering of the blessing to others.So using this train of thought, I set up a gratitude corner in my house. I cleared off the knickknacks from my corner cabinet, and replaced them with reminders of our family blessings. Find out how I set up my Gratitude corner.

I mounted each letter on a 8×10 canvas found in packs of four at Hobby Lobby using a glue stick.  These turned out really big, so I will use the smaller sizes for additional letters. On the back of each letter will be a detailed description of the way God moved.  I am still working on this part of my project.

There is an aspect to gratitude that I have been contemplating and that is the remembering of the blessing to others.So using this train of thought, I set up a gratitude corner in my house. I cleared off the knickknacks from my corner cabinet, and replaced them with reminders of our family blessings. Find out how I set up my Gratitude corner.

There is an aspect to gratitude that I have been contemplating and that is the remembering of the blessing to others.So using this train of thought, I set up a gratitude corner in my house. I cleared off the knickknacks from my corner cabinet, and replaced them with reminders of our family blessings. Find out how I set up my Gratitude corner.

There is an aspect to gratitude that I have been contemplating and that is the remembering of the blessing to others.So using this train of thought, I set up a gratitude corner in my house. I cleared off the knickknacks from my corner cabinet, and replaced them with reminders of our family blessings. Find out how I set up my Gratitude corner.

The scripture canvas on top of my gratitude corner was first created on the free photo editor, PicMonkey using a black 8×10 design.  I added our family name into the scripture to make it more personal.  The white fonts I used were Black Jack and De Walpergen Pica.  Next I saved my JPG design on my computer.  I made sure there was plenty of margin all the way around for when the canvas was wrapped.  I ordered the 11×14 canvas from Walgreens and picked it up the same day at my local store.  With a coupon code it was around $20.

There is an aspect to gratitude that I have been contemplating and that is the remembering of the blessing to others.So using this train of thought, I set up a gratitude corner in my house. I cleared off the knickknacks from my corner cabinet, and replaced them with reminders of our family blessings. Find out how I set up my Gratitude corner.

I hope I have given you inspiration to make your own gratitude corner.  Be creative and make it reflect your family.

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Don't discount modern day parables. Jesus used lost sheep and coins to relate to His time in history, who says He can't update His repertoire using your life?


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The Parable of the Lost Passports

If you don’t travel outside of the country then you cannot possibly know just how disconcerting misplacing a passport is, especially if you already have bought the plane tickets.  I was reading through my 2015 journal and was reminded that about a year ago I lost our passports.  So what does one do when in a situation like this?

Don't discount modern day parables.   Jesus used lost sheep and coins to relate to His time in history,  who says He can't update His repertoire using your life?

Spend five hours tearing the house apart from top to bottom.

FIVE hours.

And they were there all along.  I had even unknowingly held them in my hand.   It was as if God had blinded me so I could gain insights from this struggle.  A personal parable.  A spiritual lesson.  Here is what I learned:

  1.  My husband was not the same man I married.  In our early years my husband tended to see the glass as half empty.  This same man partnered with me in the passport search and did not complain once.  And when the allusive passports were found, he laughed with me.  A spiritual  change in a husband is cause for celebration.
  2. If you pray for something, God might take you on a five hour “journey” to find it.  Yes, I found the passport, but I also found my prayer list that had been missing for a while too.  I always felt like I was forgetting to pray for certain people and would repeatedly ask God to help me find it.  Was this passport trek an answer to my prayer about the list?  I’ll bet God was laughing along with us that day.
  3. Figuratively, I learned that seeking a lost soul is hard work.  And maybe the lost are right there under your nose…right where you least expect them to be.
  4. By all means the most profound lesson I learned was that God is the one who brings the lost, not me.  I just have to be actively searching, so that when a soul’s heart is opened by Jesus, I am there to speak life to them.  see Acts 16:1

Don't discount modern day parables. Jesus used lost sheep and coins to relate to His time in history, who says He can't update His repertoire using your life?

 

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