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It’s my birthday and I want to give you a gift!

 

 

No need to wait til Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Small Business Saturday to get ahead on your Christmas shopping.

  • Get those teacher gifts taken care of now.
  • Keep a gift stash on hand for the last minute gifts you need.
  • Simplify your life by shopping online and avoiding the rush.
  • Save money.
  • Give gifts with meaning that will encourage and inspire the one who receives.
  • Give the Word of God, which will never return void.
  • Give gifts with messages of hope.
  • Give them gifts they are likely already using, but now with reminders of God’s love.
  • Witness with these gifts.
  • Shine a light when you give.

What customers are saying:

“I just received the first one I ordered. Better than I even imagined! Love it!!”

“Thank you for these beautiful pillow cases. What an incredible ministry for families.”

“I want to thank you for the beautiful pillowcase you made for my uncle. I am so sad to say he passed away last week. Your pillowcase and the fact that he was resting his head on it near the end of his life gives me hope he found Jesus before he passed.

I just wanted you to be encouraged that what you’re doing matters. Your ministry through creativity matters.
It blessed me and has given me great comfort during this time of incredible grief and sadness.

Thank you for all you do. Please don’t ever stop!”

 

Here’s a few ideas for you:

Mason Gift Jar

Add a flour sack tea towel or scripture pillowcase, thoughtful note, a tea bag, a gift card, and maybe a little sweet treat. Wrap with twine, and you are good to go.

  • teacher gift
  • thank you gift
  • welcome to the neighborhood
  • get well soon

Go bless your neighbors.

Wrap up a pound cake or loaf of bread with a flour sack tea towel and tie with twine. Remind them they are loved by God. We could all use a little more kindness and blessing spread around.

 

Take a meal

Take a meal and give a sweet reminder they keep. It’s small. It’s simple. It’ll mean the world.

You can shop right here!

And for the Etsy lover, did you know I’m there too? That is just a really neat community and marketplace!!

When you shop at my shop on either platform, you are directly supporting this ministry and my family. If you read my previous post, you saw a little glimpse into where our family is headed over the next 2 years. We have committed to giving in a way that is beyond our means because we are trusting in God to provide. We’ve asked God to use our family as a funnel of blessing. When you purchase through me, you are being used of God in bigger ways than you or we will ever know!!

Thank you for your love and support to my family. Thank you that you have journeyed with me all these years. I’m blessed by by you!

Fighting the Christmas Pressure to Impress

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There is something about a Christmas stocking I love. It’s this idea of giving in secret. A simple gift from the heart. One that doesn’t seek to sit on center stage, doesn’t demand attention, desires not to impress. One content to wait patiently and humbly in hiding for one reason and one reason only. To bless.

As I sit here looking at our stockings hung from the mantle, they all look the same on the outside. Christmas morning each stocking will be filled with items uniquely given for the one to receive. On the outside they will all look the same. But there is this little humble secret inside. These gifts given from the heart. Simply.

When a gift from the heart is wrapped in simplicity, room is made for splendor. No distractions compete for attention or overshadow the true gift.

Christmas simplicity makes room for the splendor of a King.

Luke 2:7 Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough-because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

Jesus, the ultimate gift ever given, was wrapped in simplicity. Magnificence cloaked in simplicity. The gift came humbly.

Jesus, Savior of the world. Prince of Peace. King of Kings. God became a baby. This gift sought not attention from the world or desired to impress the world. He sought only to give of Himself. He came quietly and humbly.

Simplicity makes way for the splendor of a King.

It’s not hard to drift into the American way of bigger is better, more is preferred. Christmas is a simple message. Christ was born to die for our sins so we could have eternal life through Him. He was born to die. A simple message that needs nothing added to it to make it better.

Many of us struggle to keep Christmas gifts simple. Our culture creates a pressure to add more. Outdo one another. Images shared at lightning speed fill social media that whisper to us, we should add more, we should do more, we aren’t enough, give more, do more, decorate more. Be creative, be unique, be different. Stand out.

We feel this unspoken pressure to consult Pinterest to create the most creative teacher or friend gifts ever given or to create memories for our children in the most unique of ways. Simplicity and humility flee.

This is why I love the stocking. It’s gifts given in humble simplicity, hidden, not shouting for attention. A gift in a stocking isn’t crying out, “Look at me. Did I win best gift award?” It’s not asking, “Do I earn your approval?” It seeks only to give and desires nothing in return. No favor.

When we fall to the pressure of our culture in our gift giving, it becomes about us.  The attention is taken from the gift recipient and placed back on us. We might earn favor or impress, but we lost our humility. Christmas is the greatest picture of humility the world has ever seen.

If we want to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, it starts with modeling humility.

Jesus knew He was the ultimate gift.  Heaven came to earth. What greater gift is there? Pinterest has got nothing on that.  He came to be the gift, and He wrapped Himself in cloths, lying in a manger, announced to simple shepherds, delivered by a simple, humble girl. All humbly simple.

When we simplify, we can magnify Christ.

In a share all, show all world, we feel the pressure to perform, which holds hands with the pressure to impress.

The spirit of christmas is humility. It’s seeking the lesser position. A gift given in humility is not a gift that seeks to impress. It’s a gift straight from the heart that has lowered itself.  It’s one that attempts to be the stocking gift, tucked away quietly waiting to bless privately.

The attention we receive from our gifts can change the intention of our hearts with time.

What if each gift we give this season seeks to be the stocking gift? The one wrapped in simplicity.

When we aren’t influenced by the idea that we will receive credit, we are able to focus on loving and blessing the receiver of the gift rather than seeking to impress the receiver.

I’m finding freedom this Christmas in choosing to simplify my gifts.

When I let go of the pressure to receive praise or earn recognition, it’s amazing how my heart changes. When I take the focus off of myself and what I receive back from the gifts I give, suddenly my heart is turned to the ones I want to bless. And I can love them in the most simple of ways.

I’m not weighed down by putting together friend or teacher gifts that will receive praise. Instead I’m free to humbly express my heart towards the one to receive the gift. It stops being about me, and the blessing has room to bless.

If you feel weighed down by the pressure to impress, choose to follow the example of Christ. Give a gift packaged in humility that seeks only to bless and desires nothing in return. No favor. No attention.

Be the stocking gift that tucks away quietly awaiting its moment of private blessing.

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10 Ways To Teach Your Kids To Give More And Want Less At Christmas

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We would love for our kids to think less of themselves and more of others during the Christmas season (and all year long, really). Our job is to guide and model to them how this is possible. Culture is going to hailstorm them with messages of “It’s all about you.” Commercialism will create the monster named “I Want This” inside our children. Retailers will tantalize us with their displays and beckon our children to not just want but to desperately need what they are selling.

As parents we wonder how we can possibly fight against the way of culture. How do we create children who understand the meaning of Christmas and have hearts that desire to give more and receive less? It seems an overwhelming task.

When faced with what seems impossible, I like to look at the small piece of possible.

What can I do that sends the opposite message to my children than the message retailers are sending? Here’s a few ideas you might find helpful in growing kids who have hearts of giving in a season that tells them to get, get, and get some more.

  1. Don’t ask them to create a Christmas wish list – Don’t get mad at me. But your kids will give you enough hints that you can write down a few ideas without them spending hours creating a list of everything they could ever possibly want. This also keeps their expectations lower. When my kids have created lists, then don’t receive what is on their list, I’ve seen the disappointed looks. On the other hand, if they only drop hints, they don’t fully expect to get those items. It’s a bit of psychology I suppose. If we want our kids to think less of themselves and more of others, then we can make one simple change at Christmas by not asking them to think of what they want.
  2. Throw away the catalogues – One of my children loves to look at toy catalogues. He finds items he never knew existed then suddenly can’t live without them. I try to save him the anxiety and throw the catalogues out before they ever make it inside. If we don’t know it exists, we don’t want something we don’t need.
  3. Christmas Blessing List – Create a list that you post in a visible spot where members of the family keep a list of all the ways they have seen the gifts of Christmas. We define gifts of Christmas as the gifts of hope, love, peace, and joy. Where did we give one of these gifts, where did we see one of these gifts, or where did we receive one of these gifts. It’s a daily hunt for the blessings of Christmas. Training our kids to see beyond themselves and look for blessings. You could even make this a fun game that when the family reaches 100, you go out for ice cream. A little incentive for the littles (or bigs) to give a blessing more often than normal.
  4. Limit visits to stores – Does this sound impossible? It’s really not if we are a little creative with our shopping. I have begun to do most of my shopping online. When I need to visit a store, I try to arrange to go when my husband can be home with the kids, when they are in school, or swap babysitting with a friend. I realized when we hosted 2 orphans over the last couple of years how trips to stores seem to increase a child’s desire for more stuff. This should be common sense, but I didn’t realize it until I saw how these children would begin so content and the more stores we visited, the more stuff they began to ask for. They suddenly weren’t satisfied with what they had.
  5. Pick family missions or service projects – Our family prepares a meal to provide to a hospice patient on Christmas Day. We double the portion we are planning to prepare, package it up, and deliver on Christmas. It’s easy on Christmas Day to become absorbed in the gifts and festivities and lose sight of the ones suffering and grieving. Christmas isn’t joyous for everyone, but each of us can be a vehicle of sprinkling even the tiniest drops of joy into someone’s life. I’ll be posting ideas of family service projects in the coming weeks.
  6. Purchase gifts for others with their own money – If your child has their own money tucked away, it’s a good idea to have them use some of it to purchase a few small items for those they love. The Dollar Store is a great place they can get very small items inexpensively.
  7. Keep them busy serving – The more our kids serve, the less they think of themselves. The more I serve, the less focused I am on myself. Simple acts of kindness through the season will help loosen the hold of greed.
  8. Create family traditions – Traditions are what kids remember more than the gifts. It can be the simplest of moments, but the more time families spend creating memories and traditions, the less focus is given to the gifts. Kids will look forward to the events rather than the material gifts. The value of time and experience will grow larger in their hearts than gifts. Family traditions can be very small, and cost nothing or very little, but kids excitedly anticipate them each year.
  9. Set budgets and limits on gifts and communicate these to your children – I’m always surprised at the expectations of my children when compared to my own. I often forget that they create expectations based on fewer years than I have and often will place my own expectations on them. When I have communicated what our kids can expect at Christmas, they have never complained. If anything it has allowed them to let go of obsessing about what they will and won’t get. If they are told they will receive 5 gifts, they don’t expect more than that. If they are told they will receive one toy, a few clothing items, and a surprise item, they are more than ok with this. Sometimes when we are trying to decrease the size of Christmas, it is easier than we realize. We just have to communicate it to the kids.
  10. Gratitude Journal – A thankful heart produces contentment while leaving less room for discontentment, which is the root of many “wants”. The more we focus on what we have to be thankful for, the less we focus on what we don’t have. It’s a change in how we view life. We spotlight the thanks and the desires become dimmer.

Share your ideas with us. How does your family balance the commercialism of Christmas and cultivate hearts not consumed with material gifts?

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