All is not calm, all is not bright

why he came

The week of Christmas is anything but calm for most of us. As I was trying to wrap the remaining gifts, I continued breaking up fights from children who are too sugared up from one.more.christmas party, too much electronic time and missing our usual routine – chaotic as it may be, just being out of it causes stress to some personalities.

I kind of laughed as I thought about the phrase from the Christmas carol, “all is calm, all is bright.” And I immediately thought NOTHING IN MY HOUSE IS CALM OR BRIGHT.

But, isn’t that why He came?
Emmanuel: God with us.
He brought HOPE to the hopeless.
He brought PEACE to the chaotic, broken hearts.
He turns our MESS into a MESSAGE to proclaim for His glory.
He truly is the GOOD NEWS the world seeks.

So, as I go about the rest of my CRAZY…I will remember that THIS is WHY He came. This mess, this chaos, these fights, the grumbling, the tears, the heartache, the guilt, the feeling that we will never get it right…and we won’t. HE WILL. And He already has.

And THAT is GOOD NEWS.

Sweet friends, no matter where you are today, Jesus is near. JESUS is the good news our hearts desperately need!! Cling to Him! 

I wasn’t planning to post again before Christmas, but as I was in the midst of frustration and chaos, the Lord gently nudged me to remind me that in this mess?? THIS MESS is exactly why He came!! I thought one of you might need that reminder and encouragement too. Much love, friends! Merry Christmas! 

Merry Christmas! {And a blog break}

 

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I wish you and your families a blessed and JOYOUS Christmas Day!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, friends!

I just wanted to post a little quick “hello” to all my awesome readers!! I also wanted to let you know that I’m taking just a little break through the rest of the holiday season! My kids have the next few weeks off of school and I’m going to focus on family time and some much needed REST from this crazy semester!

I hope YOU are finding time for rest this holiday season as well! I have a few things scheduled for the week after Christmas. I’m sharing about reading the Bible in a year (tomorrow’s post) and also some SIMPLE steps I am taking to feel better physically, spiritually and mentally…so stay tuned for that post coming right after Christmas. After that, I will be back after a few weeks!

Praying the Scriptures in the New Year

If you’re looking for Scriptures to read, write and pray in the New Year, I encourage you to look at these FREE printable calendars of verses!

Ephesians in 27 days

31 Days of Battling Fear with the Power of God’s Word

Praying the Scriptures in the NEW YEAR — 31 Verses that remind us that God is always doing something NEW!

Christmas Home Tour 2015

Christmas Home Tour 2015

Welcome to my little home on the web! I’m so glad you stopped by! If you’re new around here, I talk a lot about praying God’s Word and I have a lot of free resources for you here! I hope you’re encouraged in your faith by what you find here!

For the past few years I have participated in these online Christmas Home Tours! I love seeing all the pictures of lovely homes – big or small, Christmas trees, getting decor ideas and more! It’s not about the size of the home or the magnitude of the Christmas decor. Home sweet home is where our families find rest and solace from the world and I enjoy making mine cozy and beautiful. Find 31 Prayers for Your Home here!

Christmas Home Tours From Years Past

This is our first Christmas in our new home! You can see the rest of our home tour when we moved in over the summer.

Yes, I have the white couches from Ikea. Yes, I love them. Yes, I have 3 kids. LOL!! I hope to write a full post on these one day, but if you’re curious about them, search pinterest for “white ikea couch” and you will see lots of moms with kids love them! I’ve washed all the covers once and they looked brand new when I put them back on!

Christmas Home Tour LR

 

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This front porch is SO simple but I love it so much. I have always wanted a covered porch to sit in my rocking chair on and watch the rain. I love this big simple wreath.

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This is the first year we did Lego Advent calendars. I have looked at them in the past but this year I wondered if it might be the last year all 3 of mine would enjoy them. My kids all still LOVE legos, even the girls. We have really enjoyed these advent calendars and opening a piece each night when we read our advent devotions.

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As a piano teacher, my favorite thing about lessons in December is all the CHRISTMAS MUSIC!! Actually we started our Christmas music back at the end of October. 🙂 We want to make sure we have LOTS of Christmas music learned by December to play and enjoy for our families!

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I have always wanted a mantle to decorate!! We painted this brick wall around the fireplace white over the summer and I LOVE how it turned out! I created this simple burlap garland Christmas photo card display and LOVE how it turned out! So easy, too! You can read more about this Burlap Garland here!

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Thanks so much for stopping by! Come back again soon! 

Pray the Scriptures in December

Join me in praying 1 verse each day to help us find our JOY in Jesus!! Each month I have a FREE calendar of verses to PRAY. You can join me on Instagram with the hashtag #PrayingTheScriptures and find each month’s free printable here!

31 Verses for FindingJoy in Jesus

 

Burlap Garland Christmas Photo Card Display

Burlap Garland Christmas Photo Card Display I love burlap and I adore Christmas cards! So, this is just a match made in heaven! This garland was super easy to make and I absolutely love how it turned out!

Do you have a favorite way to display the Christmas cards you receive from family and friends? I have done it different ways in years past, but this may be my new favorite way to display all the lovely cards we receive! I love incorporating all of the beautiful faces of family and friends into my Christmas decor.

This will be our first Christmas in our new home, and as you remember, we painted our brick fireplace wall over the summer and one thing I’ve always wanted was a mantle and fireplace to decorate for Christmas!! Yay!
This year is starting to look for our annual Christmas photo card, I learned something new about the Walmart Photo department! They truly have as many BEAUTIFUL cards to choose from as anywhere else online! There are over 500 designs to choose from in store, with over 1900 options online! Take a look at all these gorgeous options! I also noticed that their prices are roughly HALF of what I’ve paid in the past for our Christmas cards!

 

Walmart Christmas Photo 1

 

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I picked some of my favorite designs from the Walmart Photo department to share with you! I absolutely LOVE how they turned out! I must say, I have ordered from other online photo places in the past, and these cards turned out just as beautifully as those I’ve gotten elsewhere! I chose one card that had the card stock option (the navy card above), the card stock is thick and textured. It is just perfect!  

Burlap Garland Christmas Photo Display

Burlap Garland Christmas Photo Card Display

I have displayed cards in many different ways over the years. Take a scroll through Pinterest and you will see so many great ideas! But combining BURLAP and EASE of the project, this one turned out to be a perfect fit! This craft project was so simple that you really don’t need many instructions, either!

 

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Items Needed:

  • Burlap (I used the long rolls of burlap that is on a roll like ribbon) – do NOT use wired ribbon burlap! The wiring makes this project impossible! Don’t ask how I know this. 🙂
  • Fabric – whatever colors of fabric you would like to go with! I chose a deep red and dark green for mine. You could even use non-Christmas-y colors if you’d like to leave a garland up year round!
  • Natural Jute – this is what all the ribbon and burlap is tied to
  • Scissors
  • Clothes pins
  • Mop — HA! Burlap is MESSY, I had little burlap hairs everywhere at the end of this! Do the project outside if you’ve still got nice weather

Instructions:

1. Cut the burlap and fabric into long narrow pieces, my pieces were approximately 6 inches long each. This project is pretty forgiving, I didn’t even cut very straight but you don’t notice by looking at the garland!

2. Cut your jute as long as your mantle or doorway where you will be hanging your Christmas Photo Card display.

3. Begin taking all the long pieces of fabric and burlap and tying them onto the jute! This is the most tedious part of the project, and like I mentioned above, there will be little burlap hairs all over the floor. I did not tie mine into a pattern, I kind of liked it to be random.

4. You can tie the pieces as close together or far apart as you would like. If you want it to be more full, tie more pieces on.

5. Hang your garland to your mantle with nails or other hangers.

6. Now, the fun part! Attach each of your Christmas cards to the garland with a clothes pin! I like the small ones, I just think they are cute, but you could use any size!

What is your favorite way to display Christmas cards?

{Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Walmart. The Walmart Photo Department sent me the Christmas cards with my family pictures on them, but the garland and craft instructions are all my ideas!} Be sure to visit Walmart Photo’s brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts.   

31 Verses for Finding Joy in Jesus

31 Verses for FindingJoy in Jesus

Is Jesus truly our joy?

Are we looking in all the wrong places to find joy?

Have we learned that true contentment, peace and joy come from nowhere other than Jesus, yet we keep slipping back into old patterns and worldly thoughts and seeking joy in THINGS?

This month, let’s pray these 31 verses to remind our hearts and our minds that Jesus is our only TRUE JOY.

Praying the Scriptures through Advent

If you would like to have a devotional and journaling pages to go through December, I hope you will take a look at this resource I created just for you! You can purchase and then print it immediately and start this on December 1st. If you would like a print copy, head over to Amazon.

Jesus, Light of the World: Praying the Scriptures through Advent

Each day we will read 1 verse that discusses JESUS as LIGHT and how He combats the darkness in our lives. I also have some resources included if you wish to have your children join in!

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31 Verses for Finding Joy in Jesus

December Verses to Find Jesus as Joy PDF

December Verses to Find Jesus as Joy

Find every month of Scripture prayers here! 

More Christmas Encouragement

Jesus Light of the World Leaderboard