Our Elf on the Shelf Alternative {Kindness Elves}

Our Elf on the Shelf Alternative {Kindness Elves}

So, first of all, this is NOT my original idea. Here's my inspiration I found on pinterest from The Imagination Tree {such a precious blog!} I was inspired by her thoughts and creativity! So I took it and ran with it and this is what we came up with.

I take no issue with EOTS except we're kind of creeped out by him. Here's why I dove head-first into an alternative to him:

We began our Christmas traditions before we had a relationship with Christ. Therefore, traditions were established without our having ever taken the time to evaluate them through the lens of our faith. Of course, hindsight is 20/20... but I wish I hadn't began the Santa thing. If I could go back, I'd go a different route.

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3 Reasons Why I Keep My Christmas Decor Super Simple

3 Reasons Why I Keep My Christmas Decor Super Simple

Three years ago, rather than do what I'd *always* done and pull out a multitude of shiny Rubbermaid bins filled to the brim with everything under the sun that was sparkly, colorful, and very "Santa"- I decided to simplify. I decided to march down into my backyard, chop down a pine sapling, throw one strand of oversized-bulb lights on it, and call it a day. I did this for three reasons I'd like to share now, hoping that any of you that may be feeling a heart-call to do things just a little differently this year, might be encouraged that you are not alone. 

1. It's cheaper. Now, one might argue that using an artificial tree that you simply store each year, along with all of your ornaments is just a one-time investment- not an annual expense. But, I'd challenge you that in the Pin-crazy age we live in, none of us just use the same old stuff from last year. 

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How to Give God's Grace to Yourself {and Everyone Else, Too}

How to Give God's Grace to Yourself {and Everyone Else, Too}

Most of us are pretty familiar with John 10:10.... it's at the top of this page if you aren't so much :) But we often quote the second part of the verse without thinking too much on the first. The full verse says: 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (other versions say "to the full"). 

A psalmist describes the enemy as a lion on the prowl. And that, my friends, he is. And I'm beginning to think that the mark of the beast is a hashtag on one hand and a pinterest logo on the other. 

If you struggle with perfectionism (like I always have) then Face-Pin-Twit can add an extra-heavy dose of "not good enough" into your heart. Who we are as a wife, mother, friend, lover, homemaker, homeschooler all come into question, and there's room for improvement everywhere we look. 

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30 Days of Thanks-{GIVING}

30 Days of Thanks-{GIVING}

November is traditionally the month that we give thanks... it's become quite the trend on Facebook to post one thing each day that you're thankful for all through November. I think this is a fun way to reflect on all of our blessings as we approach the holiday season. However, the Lord has recently placed something on my heart that I would like to begin as a tradition (and CHALLENGE!) for my family. It's a tradition/challenge that I'd like to share and would feel humbled and blessed if you would join us in it :-)

This year, rather than take 30 seconds and think of a thing I can SAY thanks for each day, I'd like to take time {real time} to reflect on a way to GIVE THANKS. The Lord GAVE His only begotten son so that we may have everlasting life... as we walk through November, we approach the month of His sacred giving.

I want to spend my November in anticipation of the anniversary of His gift to US, by GIVING all that I can, in Thanks.

Here's the plan...

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Perfect Peace- Who wants some of that?

Perfect Peace- Who wants some of that?

“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]. Trust [confidently] in the Lord forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner], For the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]." -Isaiah 26:3-4

Sometimes hard times happen. They come when we least expect it, under the fold of joyful times. Times when everything seems just perfect, the enemy jumps at the opportunity to steal and destroy (that's kind of his thing).

He takes joy in taking moments of joy and attempting to turn them to ruin. And so we struggle.

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3 Not-So-Secret Keys to a Joy-Filled Life

3 Not-So-Secret Keys to a Joy-Filled Life

I have finally realized that I cannot bark, punish, or fight my children into obedience... because fear-based obedience is temporary and empty. I've had an "awakening" that the only way into a trusting relationship in which they seek to be obedient to my will (and one day God's) is simply through LOVING them well.

But HOW? And what does that even look like? Aside from the obvious hugs, kisses, encouraging words, and late night chats (that we all do anyway). I mean, it sounds great on paper... but what do I DO when they argue, fight, talk back, or don't obey?

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Finding God's Presence in Living Given

Finding God's Presence in Living Given

IF we should give or HOW MUCH we should give or HOW OFTEN we should give isn't what God is echoing in my heart right now, but instead WHY we should give. And even moreso- WHAT should we give? 

What is revealed about God in this call on us to pass forward what's been given to us? Is there a hidden secret that: the giving away of much is where we find the proof that is grace is hidden in the not enough? That when we live our lives given, we find God's presence even thicker and more palpable? Is it that His grace is found in the minuscule pieces that are left when we've given it all away?

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