Saturday, December 27, 2014

Clearing Some Space This Christmas

December 21-27

Sun/Dec21~ 3 Gifts Lit

: Faces of children during Christmas program
: Celia all lit up with joy because all of her children came to church today for her birthday
:: Christmas lights on houses brightening a dark ride home from church

Mon/Dec22~ Gift with Rejoicing, Wonder, Praising

:: Rejoicing—News that out little friend Saul is home from the hospital
:: Wonder—Love offerings sent in from supporting churches for Christmas
:: Praising—Time together with John—just the two of us

Tues/Dec23~ 3 Gifts Starry

:: Jonathan singing a solo for the first time in Dad's church—Everyone was stunned by this shy boy’s beautiful voice.
:: Christmas cookie stars—Our church ladies and little girls baked and decorated over 200 Christmas cookies for the annual Christmas meals for two churches. Tonight after church during ‘snack time’, one man picked up a decorated cookie star that had a smiley face on it, and that put a smile on his face.
:: Eyes of children receiving gifts from our family

 Wed/Dec24~ 3 Gifts Humble

:: Quiet time with family with no place to go, no rushing through the day
:: Us, humbled by an extraordinary gift from former neighbors
:: Christmas decorations in the home kept simple this year

 Thurs/Dec25~ 3 Gifts Enjoying

:: New mug which husband and son carefully searched for all over town. My other favorite mug broke and the two of them shopped until they found a new perfect one. It’s just right.
:: Time with Dad who didn't feel well today
:: Watching Christmas movies with the family

 Fri/Dec26~ 3 Gifts in Christ

:: He came down to us to be in our every day life.
:: The love of God which is in Christ Jesus: Romans 8:39, “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
:: Becoming a new creature in Christ...all things become new: II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Sat/Dec27~ A Gift Found, Shared, Saved

:: Found - Photos of cousins  in Great Grandma's house in Holyoke, Massachusetts from when we were kids. I loved spending time with my cousins in that house. 
:: Shared - Family teamwork in taking care of my dad who has been really ill the last few days
:: Saved - Christmas cardinal spoon from my cousin Linda a few years ago. I love getting it out every Christmas with the decorations. 

December Joy Dare Link: 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Every Ordinary Moment

December 14-20

Sun/Dec14~ 3 Gifts Stamped :

:: God's Grace stamped in the Ridings' family history
:: Love for home church family I hugged this morning- forever and always stamped on my heart
:: My name stamped on my favorite Bible- gift from parents on my 21st birthday

Mon/Dec15~ Gift Gold, Scented, Bent Low:

:: Gold--Sunset spilling over mountains like liquid gold
:: Scented--Dinner at Chili's with my quiet steady husband
:: Bent Low--Dad's work worn body bent low in pain from traveling, yet still he has a good attitude. Glad I'm here to take care of him.

Tues/Dec16~ 3 Gifts Bethlehem-Unlikely

:: It was unlikely that something so life changing could happen in Bethlehem. Yet, it was prophesied and the promise of a Saviour was fulfilled. Mary believed the impossible in obedience to His will. God still blesses obedience and miracles still happen. As Christians, we can still believe in miracles that will change the world forever.
:: It was unlikely that there was support for the Jewish nation--A nation that at Christ's time, was under subjection to the Romans. Today, they rule themselves. So far we have been blessed as a nation because of our support of Israel. To have the same blessing as Israel, is a gift. Genesis 12:3,"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
:: It was unlikely that the Gentiles would ever be grafted into the 'olive branch' (Israel). Paul speaks of this in Romans 11 teaching that our holiness only comes from that Gift who was born in Bethlehem: Christ Himself. We receive the same blessing as Israel because of Christ; that is salvation.

Wed/Dec17~ 3 Gifts Frosted:

:: Frosted Christmas cookies made by our church ladies all ready for our annual Christmas meal this Saturday
:: Frost (fake though it is) on ceramic church given to us years ago by Mr. & Mrs. Trip, an elderly couple in our church when we lived in Oklahoma. It’s one of our favorite Christmas decorations.
:: Morning frost making everything glitter

Thurs/Dec18~ 3 Gifts Miraculous:

:: That the physical body has the ability to heal itself.
:: The spiritual/emotional body can suffer as well, and overcome
:: Christ—made flesh for me, for you

Fri/Dec19~ 3 Gifts Manger Small:

:: 1996—3lb 7oz  Jonathan born to us 61/2 weeks early. What a joy he was that day and continues to bring joy this very day
:: Box of old photos we went through recently documenting the gift of family
:: Box of homemade breads sent by one of my favorite cousins

Sat/Dec20~ 3 Gifts Angelic Song:

:: Son singing carols while doing chores
:: Children’s laughter at the church Christmas dinner
:: Two pastors, old in age, young at heart, enjoying sweet fellowship

December Joy Dare Link:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Comfort for the Wounds

December 7-13

Sun/Dec7~ 3 Gifts from our Saviour

:: Kindness and love toward man –Titus 3:4 ..”the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared”
:: Mercy that saved me—Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
:: Regeneration and Renewing –abundantly shed! Titus 3:6 –7 “Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

 Mon/Dec8~ A Gift Hung, Held, Heard

:: Handmade ornaments given by mom in years past hung on the Christmas tree
:: Homemade pizza held in my hands! Good stuff! 
:: Heard--'This pizza is amazing!' 

Tues/Dec9~ 3 Gifts Ugly-Beatiful

:: Ugly--Scratch marks on backdoor window from our sweet dog, Zap; Beautiful--She's looking for her boy to come say hi. 
:: Ugly-- Stretch marks on my stomach; Beautiful-- A reminder that I am blessed to be a mother. 
:: Ugly--Lopsided Christmas tree to be planted outside after Christmas; Beautiful-- Keeping Christmas humble 

Wed/Dec10~ 3 Gifts Unframed Art:

:: Juárez city lights at night from the top of the mountain
::The art of grace painted by the Master Artist
:: Moon peeking through front yard branches

Thurs/Dec11~ 3 Gifts Ice Cold

 :: Ice cold drinking water on a warm airplane flight
:: Ice cold cokes brought by my cousin and aunt who picked us up from the airport (along with a bad full of Krystal burgers!)
:: Ice cold nights- perfect sleeping weather after one very long day

Fri/Dec12~ 3 Gifts Berry Red

:: Red cherry on top of Chick- fil- A peppermint milk shake —milkshakes sucked down while touring my Aunt Madeline’s cute little town all decorated for Christmas
:: Red faces of nieces and nephew flushed from play (and they know how to play!)
::  Red ornaments gracing the Christmas tree

(My son Jonathan and my nieces and nephew)

Sat/Dec13~ 3 Gifts Striped

:: Striped lines on highways keeping traffic on their own sides of the road...mostly (The story behind that is we were on our way to a family reunion. My aunt was driving. In Atlanta traffic. I think my issues with other drivers are hereditary. She ‘talks’ to other drivers as well. My dad was praying in the backseat. Out loud.) 
:: Striped candy canes bringing smiles on children
:: White lights wrapped around pillars on front porches (looked liked stripes to me...very pretty)

December Joy Dare Link:

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Quieter You Are...

November 30-December 6

Sun/Nov30~ 3 Gifts Astonishing

:: True this, "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Ps. 30:5b
:: Since coming off a lot of sugar in my diet, UNsweet tea can taste so refreshing! 
:: Juárez, Mexico will never be nominated as the most beautiful city in the world, yet from the view of the mountains every which way you look, to the handiwork of her people, and to her colorful culture, beauty is there to be noticed. 

Mon/Dec1~3 Gifts White

:: Clouds like stretched cotton across the sky
:: Swirl of creamer in morning coffee
:: Candles burning softly on the dinner table 

Tues/Dec2~ 3 Gifts Bright

:: Bright eyed son always ready to 'connect' in the morning with hugs and conversation. ((The other morning, he woke up talking about a blast that happened in 1908 in Siberia...Alrighty, then))
:: Bright pink clouds at sunrise
:: Bright Christmas decorations in all the stores

View from our living room window this morning

Wed/Dec3~ 3 Gifts Shining

:: Christmas trees and tinsel displayed in windows
:: Christmas lights on houses and in yards
:: 9 year old Victoria's face excited about baking Christmas cookies on Saturday at church

Thurs/Dec4~ Gift Circling, Crowning, Crafted

:: Us, mom and son, circling around stores today looking at Christmas decorations
:: 'Tis the season for crowning Christ as King -- If only we would do this daily in our lives.
:: Handmade wreath crafted by Sunday School kids last year. I had forgotten about it until I opened the bin of Christmas decorations. 

Fri/Dec5~ 3 Gifts Silver

:: Silver teapot boiling water for my newly purchased herbal Brain Booster Tea (Amazing stuff here!) —I've given up coffee for a bit. I felt it was making me sluggish and I've been struggling with energy lately. Busy busy! This tea is glorious. I also ordered the Ginger Snap Tea.  Also, very tasty.
:: Silver hoop earrings worn today — gift from a friend
:: Christmas cards with silver bells and trees sent with best wishes for a Merry Christmas.

 Sat/Dec6~ 3 Gifts Sweet

:: Breakfast made by John —I've been exhausted and overwhelmed and he has stepped in more lately making breakfast..and cleaning up afterwards! Such a huge help.
:: Hair color appointment made at the encouragement of John
:: Christmas cookies made with ladies in our church in Mexico. We baked and decorated 18 dozen!! These will be for our annual Christmas meal coming up in  a few weeks.

December Joy Dare Printable: 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Highest Appreciation

November 23-29

Sun/Nov23~ 3 Gifts Only in Christ: 1) Peace with God--"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" Romans 5:1
2) Through Christ and His salvation are we a sweet savour unto God --"For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:" 
2 Corinthians 2:15
3) An ever present Mediator/Advocate between God and men-- "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" I Timothy 2:5

Mon/Nov24~ 3 Gifts Humble: 1) This: "I am sorry. Will you forgive me?" 2) The
selfless acts of kindness from others on my behalf 3) Humble carpenter born in a stable with nowhere to lay his head, yet God and King

Tues/Nov25~ 3 Gifts Ugly-Beautiful: 1) The Ugly: Brown, dry, backyard grass; The Beautiful?: We had grass this year! And it was lush and green. When we moved in 2 years ago, the yard was all rocks and sand. Our grass invited birds to come play and kept our dog, Zap, cool in the hot summer months. 2) The Ugly: Stains on indoor carpet; The Beautiful?: People I love live here, their feet carrying them from room to room (Carpet cleaner is my friend!) 3) The Ugly: The Trying of Faith --It's messy, filled with tears and frustrations; The Beautiful?: It 'worketh patience'. 

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." James 1: 2-6

Wed/Nov26~ 3 Gifts Preparing: 1) While we are to give thanks every day, today we are preparing our hearts for that extra special day when we set aside everything in honor of Giving Thanks. 2) Savory smells of beef stew and homemade bread preparing the family for a hearty dinner 3) Jonathan in the kitchen preparing homemade pumpkin pie-- His Great Grandfather Gilbreath was an amazing cook. His pies just flat out knocked your socks off. Jonathan loves to hear stories about him and hopes he can cook as well as the family legend.
His pie turned out GREAT!

Thurs/Nov27~ a Gift Handmade, Held, Happy: Handmade potholders used today given to me by my mother in law years ago. They are tattered and well used; they remind me of her every time I use them. Held-- Pretty drinking glasses used today with my beautiful China dishes. I don't bring them out often and it was a nice change. Happy--Deviled Eggs. Yes. Deviled eggs brings happiness to my guys. Every.single.time.

Fri/Nov28~ 3 Gifts in Community: 1) Community of Facebook --being able to keep in touch with family and 'long lost friends' is great. So many times, a prayer request goes out or great news is posted and it knits us together as do updated photos. We come together in times of sorrow and in times of joy. 2) Community of Church Family -- Our church family cares about each other. They actively seek ways to spend more time at church by making burritos for everyone or bringing donuts for after church. With the weather being cooler and it's time for hot chocolate and coffee, we stick around a bit longer with nowhere to go in a hurry. 3) Community of Neighbors --During our walk this evening, so many families were out together decorating for Christmas. Men on roofs carefully placing pretty lights, children and moms decorating a tree in the front yard..All working to make the neighborhood look festive for the holidays. It was fun to see what everyone was doing with their yards. I took a picture of Jonathan and Zap in front of a house just for fun.

Well, and here's another picture of my kid (sorry, young adult now) and his sweet pup

Sat/Nov29~ 3 Gifts Red: 1) Autumn dish towels John bought me years ago. They are my favorites and I use them all year 'round 2) Tattered red quilt keeping us warm at night 3) Red Yankee Candle burning -- purchased with Cracker Barrel gift certificate given by a sweet friend.

December Joy Dare Link:


Sunday, November 23, 2014

I Know That Was You, God

November 16-22

Sun/Nov16~ 3 Gifts/Thanks Hard: 1) Realizing I cannot be all and do everything for everyone. It's exhausting --the gift is that when I become aware of my need to rest, I have clarity of mind and can take a 'step back' and regain some sanity 2) Living in the desert --the gift is the wide open spaces, the purple shadows over mountains, bright blue skies, waves of a red, yellow, and orange sunsets, star studded nights 3) Winter/cold days (my least favorite season); A man in Dad's church recently gave a testimony that he was thankful for winter because it kills all the bugs and diseases that Juárez struggles with during the summer. I read that being cold could cause significant calorie burn (Yes!).
One more: causes me to be more thankful for those special warm days.
Mon/Nov17~ 3 Gifts of Laughter: 1) It's contagious 2) It relieves stressful moments and pressure from bottled-up emotions 3) It bonds people together -- There are some family jokes that we laugh just as hard and long as the first time...

Tues/Nov18~ A Gift Made, Shared, Passed On: Made Crafts made from Sunday School kids that I have no idea what do with, yet I keep them because these kids are so special to me. Shared — Whenever Dad gets a special love offering, he shares it with me. Passed OnMusical talent passed on to me and Jonathan down through the generations

 Wed/Nov19~ 3 Gifts Autumn: 1) Misty mornings 2) Mellow days
 3) Smells of apples and cinnamon

Thurs/Nov20~ 3 Gifts of Tradition: 1) Offers comfort--Jonathan and I love to drink hot chocolate and watch Christmas movies as soon as they start showing (even though I *refuse* to decorate until after Thanksgiving). We
look forward to this time of year. 2) Creates memories -- We light candles before dinner (around the house and on the table). Jonathan asks every night, 'Is it time to light the candles?'. He loves to light them and blow them out. The candles bring a sense of warmth and a cozy glow. 3) Contributes to the rhythm of life -- Bowed heads in thankful prayer before meals, nighttime Bible study between father and son, morning hugs and coffee before breakfast, and hugs again as the house settles for the night

Fri/Nov21~ 3 Gifts Family: 1) "Family" does not necessarily signify 'blood'. I grew up around my step-mother's family. We cousins swam together every summer. We spent Thanksgivings and Christmases together. We went sledding behind Grandma's house on the big hill in Chicopee and explored all over Great Grandmother's house in Holyoke. We cousins all received coins to go to Jimmy's store on the corner to pick out penny candies. They never made me feel any different than any of the other kids. Even though we are not blood related, we are family and I love them as such. 2) Gives a sense of identity/belonging-- All my life, I knew I was 'different'. I was somewhat like my dad, but there was another part of me 'missing' that I couldn't identify. When my grandmother died (my mother's mother), I met a great many family members I had never known. I cannot explain it, but in an instant, I felt...home. My heart felt a kindred spirit with cousins and other family and I recognized myself in them. Truly amazing. I still keep in contact with the cousins I had met that day and visit them as often as I can. 3) Family history provides strength and security-- Hearing stories of old passed down has an impact. I love to hear Dad's sisters tell of their childhood. Jonathan and I love to look through my mother's genealogy that my uncle had documented. We learn where we come from. We learn our life's blood..the good, the bad, and the ugly. Families are not perfect. There are things in the past that no one is proud of. There is brokenness on every side, yet God in His mercy has made something beautiful...out of all of us.

 Sat/Nov22~ A Gift Grateful: What comes to mind is a lady in our church in Mexico named Celia. She lives in a small home with 3 generations piled in there. She always has a smile on her face. She is an encourager and seems to have the gift of seeing the bright side of situations. She makes all of us laugh. I never hear her complain. She is the picture of gratefulness and I always look forward to seeing her during the week.

November Joy Dare Link: