Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Perfect Military Spouse Care Package

Last spring I attended a retreat sponsored by the Army Wife Network. Though I am an Air Force wife, the ladies at Ft. Sill welcomed me with open arms. One intriguing session covered creative care packages for our deployed service members. I considered the options: fiesta in a box complete with mini pinata, chocolate overload, or a birthday party including balloons.

My husband doesn't revel in celebration themes even when he is home. I could imagine his shock if I mailed him a complete Valentine's Day party - for one. But what I noticed was the ladies' excitement at the clever ideas. Women love decorating and color coordinating party favors. So what about care packages for military spouses? These women spare no expense and thought for their husbands yet neglect their own need for relaxation and pampering.

My answer is the Queen of the Homefront Care Package containing all the items a queen needs to revel in her role.

1. Wardrobe: Every Queen needs a sparkling tiara to serve as a reminder of who is in charge while daddy's away.
2. Tea Time: Beautiful tea cup and saucer, tea bags, shortbread cookies or scones add the perfect touch to a moment alone in the kitchen.
3. Royal Correspondence: Ornate stationary for those moments when email just won't do. (Especially when the royal subjects monopolize the computer.)
4. Quiet Moments alone: After an exhausting day meeting the needs of the royal subjects, the queen needs to get away. Lavender aromatherapy and a good Christian fiction novel help her to escape the stresses of managing the realm.

My husband believes that wives carry the more difficult burden in military life. See what other women are saying about Military Spouse Care Packages at Wives of Faith. You might be inspired to bless a military spouse this holiday season.

Blessings to you!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas: A Story of Sovereignty

Civilians see military life as a structured existence. Military wives in the midst of PCS or deployment will testify to the unpredictable, exhausting, randomness of it all. (Can I get a witness?)

In the past two months our family has encountered a happy homecoming from deployment, multiple delays in PCS orders, an emergency surgery, a minor traffic accident (does a bumper tap at 5 mph count?), a DITY move, and five children who think New Mexico is a barren land like Moses travelled during the Exodus. Each glitch forced us to revise our plans and eventually abandon plans altogether. Our new agenda was to begin tasks while on the alert for detours.

When I look at the Christmas story in light of the entire Word of God, so much seems random, yet the God of the universe had a plan. I delight in knowing that each step along the way, God was leading His people to a Bethlehem stable.

God revealed His sovereignty through the fulfillment of hundreds of Old Testament prophecies and foreshadowing of His Son. A garden. An Ark. Tablets of stone. A march across the desert. A big fish. A vision in a fiery furnace. A great wall. What once appeared random is now knitted together in a beautiful story of our redemption from Christ's birth to his death and resurrection.

Just before our PCS, someone asked me how I could be so calm with all of the chaotic circumstances in my life. My answer was simple. I know that God is sovereign. He takes the small pieces of my life and weaves them into the story of His love.

Take a step back this season and thank God for the random life of a military wife. You will see His sovereign hand guiding you.

Other ladies are sharing their thoughts about Christmas on the Wives of Faith Christmas Carnival. Check it out!

Blessings to you!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mom's Christmas List

Thanks to Wives of Faith I have a perfect reason to post my Christmas list online!

1. Legos: My husband says the kids have too many already, but I am certain that we could build something amazing if we just had a few thousand more.

2. Books: I'm currently hooked on Jenny B. Jones (NOT Junie B Jones books for kids) but I'd take any Christian fiction titles.

3. Hills Brothers Double Mocha Cappuccino mix. They don't carry it in Clovis. I might die.

4. Pillowcases: I know this is a strange request. My friend Rachel Eggum Cinader takes pillowcase dresses to various missions around the world. Click here to Dress a Girl Around the World.

Thanks in advance, Santa!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Foods

Every December we make Candy Cane cookies. When my children were younger, they knew the season was in full swing when we spent the day making our own candy cane edibles.

We divide a regular sugar cookie recipe into two bowls and add red food coloring and peppermint extract to one bowl. Each child makes 6 inch ropes of dough. Then a red and white rope are twisted together to form a candy cane shape. Crushed candy cane pieces may be sprinkled over the surface before baking.

Looking for other great holiday recipes? My friends from Wives of Faith are sharing their favorite recipes today. Check out the Twelve Days of Christmas Carnival!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Little Town of Bethlehem

The world had been awaiting the arrival of the Messiah for decades. They speculated how He would reveal Himself. The day would bring celebration with a grand entrance of the Savior of God's people. Parades. A week of parties. Decorations. Can you see it?

Instead, hope came in a simple town much like the one you may live in today. It was a typical evening where families gathered, animals were fed, children sent to bed. (I wonder how many times they asked for drinks after being put to bed?)

The scene depicted in the Christmas carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, speaks volumes to my heart each holiday season. Over and over, the writer, Philips Brooks, describes the scene: "The town is dark and quiet... Mortal man sleeps... No ear hears His coming."

Then "silently the wondrous gift is given." Though a star and multitude of angels announced His arrival to the shepherds, many spent a normal evening at home unaware that the King of Kings was making His spectacular debut.

The ways of God amaze me. In the mundane tasks of my life, Jesus continues to give hope and love and joy. I pray that each day of this season, God reveals His hope to you and your family.

Want to read more inspiring stories for this Christmas season?
Wives of Faith is hosting the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Carnival.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Read It ~ Share It: The Noticer

Perspective allows us to step back and see the bigger picture.

To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect from Andy Andrews book, The Noticer. What could a stranger notice that would be so life changing?

The man called Jones weaves in and out of the lives of normal people beginning with Andy. To the couple whose marriage is strained to the breaking point, Jones offers insight into how they give nad receive love. The sage offers advice to a businessman who fails to see his employees as real people with real needs. To a woman in utter despair, Jones shows how every life has purpose.

Eech of us has an opportunity to be a "noticer" in the lives of those we love. We plant seeds of encouragement in others. We see their purpose and success through the eyes of Christ instead of by lists of failings.

Andrews challenges readers with thought provoking questions as a followup to the story. How can we see others through God's eyes?

I especially enjoyed the chapter aimed at teens. The dialogue between Jones and the teenagers reveals the need for parents and wise mentors to speak up and encourage teens to make healthy decisions.

Don't read this book unless you are prepared to impact those around you with encouragement and perspective. Be a noticer!

Read It ~ Share It: The Noticer by Andy Andrews

provided to the Blogger Book Reviewers by Thomas Nelson Publishers

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christianizing My Yoga

When I mention to people that I attend yoga, they wonder if I’m dabbling in some mystical religion. Since my yoga instructor uses yoga poses minus the theology, I’ve used this exercise to increase my faith and scripture memory. Here are a few examples:

Focused Breathing: Breathing centers my thoughts on Jesus. I set aside the stress and busyness of life and prepare for prayer.

The “Son” Salutation: This opening stretch is my opportunity to testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. (1John 4:9) I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)

The Warrior poses: Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. (Eph 6:11) For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. (2Cor 10:3)

The downward dog posed a challenge in my first few sessions. The few verses about canines in scripture are hardly edifying. (2 Sam 9:8; Judges 7:5) Instead I began to focus on the body being shaped like a mountain. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. (Psalm 36:6) Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. (Luke 3:5)

Try your own scripture and prayer when you exercise. It even works with WiiFit!

My yoga instructor closes her session with the standard greeting, Namaste, which literally means “I bow reverently to you.” I used to shy away from this foreign idea until I realized that it was the perfect closing to my time with my Lord.
Namaste, Jesus Christ, my Savior. I bow to You, and You alone.