Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Reflections

This year has been a quick one.  As I think back to posts I've written and how the year started, I can't believe twelve months have actually passed.

I started the year discussing Resolutions in general and how vague we make them so that we cannot actually be held accountable to accomplishing them.  So it was then I shared my focus for 2014 was going to be on One Word. My word was Grace, and I will be posting more on that specifically in the New Year as I share my One Word for 2015... but for now, I would like to share with you the top ten blog posts from this past year:

10- Daycare A Traumatic Event-Posted June 20... in which I share how traumatic the experience was for me to drop my son off at daycare for the first time, for him, not so much.

9-The Power of Words - Posted May 7... Oh how our words have the power to build up or to tear down! This one has great scripture references about our words and how we should use them as well.

8-Being Single Really Isn't Bad - Posted January 10... As someone who wasn't married until I was 30, I totally get the pressures the world, well meaning older folks and even your parents can put on you about marriage.  And though I love my husband and son and wouldn't trade them for the moon, being single really isn't that bad.

7-Don't Just Do To Do - Posted April 14... This one covers Serving.  We are called to serve in particular areas.  We need to serve in those areas and not overextend and we are to "Serve the Lord with gladness." Psalm 100:2a

6-Expectations Can Be Dangerous - Posted January 21... I had such grandiose ideas of what marriage would look like and the type of wife I would be, only to be disappointed when I didn't live up to this false expectation I had set.  And if we aren't careful those expectations can become idols that we focus on more than Christ.

5-How to Deal With Difficult People - Posted March 5... This is one I have to reread myself every so often, because the simple fact of the matter is that difficult people are everywhere.  And the Bible provides such great instructions on dealing with them and hopefully keeping yourself from becoming a difficult person yourself!

4-Birthday Party Pinterest Style - Posted April 29... This is pretty self explanatory, but I wanted to provide a post that may provide ideas for others who are planning birthday parties.  And this has obviously been one of my most pinned posts on Pinterest as well- mainly because of the amazing Birthday cake!

3-Uninhibited Worship - Posted February 7... This is one of my personal favorites and I believe a glimpse of what worship in heaven will look like- completely uninhibited! The Ugandan Thunder is an amazingly talented group of children from Africa who are amazing worship leaders- I highly recommend that you invite them to your church- you will not regret it!

2-Total Surrender-Part 3 - Posted February 28... This one is ongoing still.  I struggle with glutony and I consistently pretend that God doesn't care about what I eat but that is absolutely a lie.  I fear that I surrender this area of my life to God half-heartedly which means not really at all and I take it back upon myself to decide what is best for me.  Continued prayers for this area of my life would still be much appreciated.  And I suspect it is my second most popular post, because it is also a struggle of so many others. And as such I will continue to pray for those who read it and myself for complete and total surrender.

And the most popular post of 2014 is...

1- Jamberry -Posted September 3... This post is where I shared my designs for local sports teams.  It is also a very highly pinned post.  I toyed with the idea of taking it down many times, but if Jamberry brings someone to my site from Pinterest or Google, then perhaps they will click on another post and be exposed to the Gospel.

So there they are, my top ten posts.  At this time I want to say thank you to those of you who do faithfully read my ramblings.  Thank you to those of you who have told me you read them, or you love the blog, or any words of encouragement that you have spoken, even if it's to let me know that you were encouraged by something I wrote.  I try to stay true to what I feel is laid on my heart and believe me when I tell you some posts are chewed on for days before they ever get published.  And most probably all are the lessons I've learned from going through the exact thing I'm writing about.

Thank you for sharing the link, thank you for visiting, thank you for listening.

I hope 2014 was good to you.  And I wish each of you a very Merry New Year and a Happy 2015!

Love in Christ,

Alyson

Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

When sin entered the world, the direct relationship that man had enjoyed was ruined.  But God, being rich in mercy knew that he would one day send his son to fix that broken relationship.
When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit that God had forbid them to eat they sinned.  And the payment for that sin was death. No they didn't immediately die in the sense that we know death now, but the perfect life and communion with God was severed and they became dead in their sins.  But God, had a plan to bring his people to life again!  It is through Jesus that we are made alive! He came that we may have life.

When the shepherds heard that the Savior had been born, they immediately went to see him!(Luke 2:8-15) The shepherds realized that the long awaited messiah had come! The promised one, the one who would save them had finally come!  When they had seen Jesus they immediately began to tell others all that God had done and they glorified and praised God!

Let us be like the shepherds this Christmas.
1- Let us hear, receive and act on the word of God this season as the shepherds did when they heard the word of God from the angels. They heard, believed and were moved to action.
2-Let us spend time in the presence of Christ. It was so important for the shepherds to see the Savior that they immediately went to Bethlehem to see him. It was worth the effort it took for them to travel and see this baby, because they knew the true importance of him.  Is he worth your effort to go to church, spend time in prayer, and reading his word so we can know even more about him? Is he that important to you?
3-Let us tell of the wondrous things God has done in our lives.  When was the last time you just told someone about all of the moments you had experienced God.  The truths He revealed through your quiet time. Or the way He provided just what you needed, just when you needed it. Or the peace he brings even though you may be feeling a bit blue, missing a loved one who isn't here this time of year.  Or just telling people about how He saved you? Whatever it is, God deserves our praise and our glory.  For all that He does in our lives we should never cease to worship him because our heart should never stop overflowing with praise to him!




Love in Christ, 

Alyson

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Don't Let Busyness Steal Your Joy

The holiday season can be an overwhelming time of year.  Starting in October we are inundated with candy and pumpkins from every direction.  Then there is Thanksgiving, though it has almost entirely been taken over by Christmas decorations and all things green and red.  But traditionally during Thanksgiving, we have family gatherings and wonderful home-cooked meals with desserts made of all things pumpkin.  And the day after (or night of) Thanksgiving then gives way to full on Christmas time.  We begin to hear the songs on the radio, see the specials on TV, decorate our homes, churches and offices with garlands and trees.  And then we start planning parties and family gatherings and throw shopping in the mix and baking treats and no wonder we are exhausted until the New Year!

I'm not saying that any of these things are bad. But when you focus solely on the "things" of the holidays you truly miss out on the joy.  Even "trying" to focus on the meaning of the season, leaves people overwhelmed with activities and church outings. (And before you get up in arms about that statement, keep reading, I explain).  Instead of trying so hard to fit everything in this year, maybe we should just let some things go. 


Instead of making sure the house is perfectly decorated with every bell, ornament, wreath and tree maybe we can use that time to spend with family letting them help. They may not decorate the way you would like, but spending time with them making memories is much more important than the ornaments being exactly spaced around the tree.

Instead of focusing so hard on making sure everyone is saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays that you jump down their throats for it, just agree and share why Christmas truly is the happiest of holidays because of the perfect gift that was given to the world that night.

Instead of stressing out about cleaning your house and planning the perfect parties and gatherings, just be present.  Laugh with your friends and family, make memories that last.  Because an un-perfectly clean house is not a memory that sticks like the ones shared around the table with those you love. 

Instead of spending hours upon hours baking by yourself, teach your kids, or invite some of the kids/teens from church or your neighborhood who may not get the opportunity to bake with parents.  Sure you have to take time to explain, but you are creating a precious memory for that other person that is worth more than a perfect batch of cookies- and they are learning a life skill!

Instead of complaining about all the "Angel Trees" and bell ringers and charities this year, why not cut your family's gift budget to each other and bless some folks in need.  Not only will your family not miss the "things" they didn't get, but they will receive a bigger blessing in learning how to serve others.

Instead of trying so hard to keep Christ in Christmas, just keep Christ where he should already be- and that's the center of your life.  If Christ is your focus for the rest of the year, that shouldn't change during one month.  If we have quiet times, and family devotions, go to church, give, worship, and truly live for Jesus all the time, as we are called to as Christians, then there won't be a struggle to "fit" Christ into our Christmas, he'll already be there.

Are there other things you can think about letting go of this month so that you don't lose your joy?
Please share them in the comments, I'd love to hear them!



Love in Christ, 


Alyson