Remembering Christ This Christmas By Lighting ‘Em Up!

Tuesday our church’s women’s group had a Christmas party.  One of the women {who comes from a talented family of poets} read aloud a beautiful, heartfelt poem she wrote.  We were all extremely touched by this poem.  I received permission from her to share this with you.

A Birthday Wish

It’s my birthday party
Another year has passed.
The celebration grows each year
Yet I’m thought of less and less.

Just like you, I look forward
In an eager way,
To many birthday greetings
On my special day.

I do not ask for much
Wrapping paper, there’s no need.
All I want for my birthday, is
Please remember me.

I don’t need a cake
With adornments on a table,
Acceptance is what’s wanted
From the babe born in a stable.

No special song required
For me to have a smile.
Just acknowledge my existence
And talk with me awhile.

The decorations are breath taking
The lights, the star, the tree.
While merry you are making…
Please remember me.

I love the beauty of the carols
Of this special season
But “Silent Night” is my favorite.
Do you know the reason?

It’s not the shopping and the spending
It’s the kindness and charity,
That should be taught within your home
And to your family.

Gaye Willard {click on photo to go to artist’s site}

The white beard, the red coat,
Around the world in a blink.
MY beard is white, MY robe is red,
Perhaps there is a link?

Yes…St. Nick is my servant
A faithful one, is he
Symbolizing all that’s good
But please remember me.

It may be my birthday
But I gave the gift to you,
Eternal life through my sacrifice
When your earthly life is through.

Yes, it is my birthday
And I hope your gift will be
The only birthday wish I make:
Please remember me.

Written by Dana L. Dugan
Dec. 8, 2011

Isn’t this poem phenomenal?

I highlighted a stanza because I’ve been working on this in our family.  Have you heard of Booing?  Booing is a sweet service activity we have done as a family in October for Halloween {you can see what we did by clicking here.}  We put together little baskets of goodies and secretly left them on doorsteps of friends.

One Mom has taken this Booing idea to the month of December for Christmas and calls it Light ‘Em Up!  Families Light Up The Community With Kindness.  Courtney from Lil Light O’ Mine started this last year with her family and shared it on her blog.  Fortunately, many others, like me, were blown away with the idea of teaching our kids kindness and charity in a fun way during the Christmas season.  Courtney is very organized and has 100 ideas on what families can do, check lists and labels {all FREE} to help your family Light ‘Em Up!

Monday night we read over the ideas and did our first Light ‘Em Up.  It was simple…Christmas container with Christmas shaped sugar cookies we made.  I printed out the very cute labels and we were ready to share some Christmas JOY with someone.  My goal is for our family to do this at least once a week, but I plan on putting the big candy canes with the labels wrapped around them in my purse.  This way the kids can hand them out to whomever they feel inclined to surprise wherever we are.

I hope by doing these random acts of kindness our kids will catch the vision of service.  It really is the best gift we can give our Savior besides remembering Him.  We are His hands.

The Christ{mas} spirit is contagious,

Free Halloween Printables & Half Off Christmas Cards

Source: papercoterie.com via Shan@ on Pinterest

 

Here I am sharing Halloween printables because I just ordered some Christmas Cards.

This will be a little weird talking about Halloween & Christmas in the same post, but hey “anything could happen.”  Right?  {Sorry, I had to add the Ellie Goulding song reference}

Paper Coterie is having a SALE on their Holiday Cards.  Just add coupon code HOLIDAYCARDS2012 between now and November 4th to receive 50% OFF!

It pays to plan ahead, huh?

Back to our fast approaching holiday Halloween.  I noticed Paper Coterie was offering these super cute FREE treat bag and bingo printables.  I had to share it with my fabulous readers.

What will your children be dressing up as this Halloween?

Unique Gift Wrapping Tips & Ideas

1. Christmas Themed Word Search Wrapping Paper: Polish The Stars  Just print & wrap.  I used my chalk pencils to highlight the words.  The twine adds a magical touch…one of my first times to use it since I purchased it!

2. Wire Garland: Found this cute cotton ball looking wire garland hanging with my ribbon that I had never used.  I decided to wrap it around the gift and loved the texture it gave to the gift.

3. Ribbon: I used scalloped ribbon to pretty up this gift.  Ribbon is always brings lovely results.

4. Tulle: I love wrapping gifts with tulle.  It dresses up a gift very quickly and always looks spectacular.  Plus, it’s very inexpensive.  I usually buy mine in the wedding section at the dollar store.

5. Printable Tags: I found these adorable, simple tags by Little Paper Dog.  They were completely free!  Download, print & cut… easy peasy!

6.  Bow: Oh Amanda taught me a new way to make a bow using your wrapping paper.  It’s genius and very simple to make.  She has a wonderful tutorial on her site.

7. Stamps & Such: On these gifts I decided to stamp the recipients name.  It was simple using my scrapbook stamps and added a little glam.  I also used a chipboard letter on this first letter of Mark’s name.  I layered it with burlap, added some paint and tied on some ribbon.  I took some other wrapping paper & turned it over using the wrong side.  It looks like brown butcher paper.  I only used a portion of it to add a little depth.  On John’s gift I decided to use my circle punch to give the edge a fancy border.  Just punch half the circle to make this look.  I decided they were pretty enough without a bow so they don’t have one.  Crafting & scrapbook supplies come in handy for all sorts of projects.  Try to think outside the box.

Just in case you are still needing some wrapping inspiration…

Wrapped with love,

To Do List

  1. Finish my Christmas cards (way behind this year)
  2. Finish my Christmas decorating (it’s not turning out as good as I would have hoped)
  3. BE POSITIVE! 🙂 (sheesh!)
  4. Finish my Christmas shopping
  5. BE POSITIVE!!
  6. Continue doing all the other stuff I normally do: change sheets, do laundry, grocery shop, de-clutter, clean kitchen, help with homework, taxi children, referee children, sort, organize, pay bills, etc….
  7. BE POSITIVE!!!
  8. Figure out a new exercise plan that I don’t HATE (& doesn’t cause me pain…in other words causing me to visit the doctor too many times)
  9. Enjoy the journey!

Honestly, I hate lists,
Shan

Christmas Eve Photos with Snow!


See more photos by clicking here.

"Hero at the Grocery Store"

I read this story for the first time last Christmas and remembered how much it touched me.

“Christmas stories happen in the most everyday places. I was part of one not long ago at the grocery store. I hope I never forget it, though the memory is bittersweet.
I had been shopping for almost an hour by the time I got to the checkout lines. My two youngest sons were with me, the four-year-old refusing to hold onto the cart, the two-year-old trying to climb out of the basket and jump down to play with his brother. Both got progressively whinier and louder as I tried to keep them under control, so I was looking for the fastest lane possible. I had two choices. In the first line were three customers, and they all had just a few purchases. In the second line was only one man, a harried young father with his own crying baby, but his cart was overflowing with groceries.
I quickly looked over the three-person line again. The woman in the front was very elderly, white haired and rail thin, and her hands were shaking as she tried unsuccessfully to unlatch her big purse. In the other line, the young father was throwing his food onto the conveyor belt with superhuman speed. I got in line behind him.
It was the right choice. I was able to start unloading my groceries before the elderly woman was even finished paying. My four-year-old was pulling candy from the shelf, and my little one was trying to help by lobbing cans of soup at me. I felt I couldn’t get out of the store fast enough.
And then, over the sound of the store’s cheery holiday music, I heard the checker in the other line talking loudly, too loudly. I glanced over as my hands kept working.
“No, I’m sorry,” the checker was almost shouting at the old woman, who didn’t seem to understand. “That card won’t work. You are past your limit. Do you have another way to pay?” The tiny old woman blinked at the checker with a confused expression. Not only were her hands shaking now, but her shoulders too. The teenage bagger rolled her eyes and sighed.
As I caught a soup can just before it hit my face, I thought to myself: “Boy, did I choose the right line! Those three are going to be there forever.” My mood was positively smug as my checker began scanning my food.
But the smiling woman directly in line behind the elderly lady had a different reaction. Quietly, with no fanfare, she moved to the older woman’s side and ran her own credit card through the reader.
“Merry Christmas,” she said softly, still smiling.
And then everyone was quiet. Even my rowdy children paused, feeling the change in the atmosphere.
It took a minute for the older woman to understand what had happened. The checker, her face thoughtful, hesitated with the receipt in her hand, not sure whom to give it to. The smiling woman took it and tucked it into the elderly woman’s bag.
“I can’t accept …” the older woman began to protest, with tears forming in her eyes.
The smiling woman interrupted her. “I can afford to do it. What I can’t afford is not to do it.”
“Let me help you out,” the suddenly respectful bagger insisted, taking the basket and also taking the old woman’s arm, the way she might have helped her own grandmother.
I watched the checker in my line pause before she pressed the total key to dab at the corner of her eyes with a tissue.
Paying for my groceries and gathering my children, I made it out of the store before the smiling woman. I had made the right choice of lanes, it seemed.
But as I walked out into the bright December sunshine, I was not thinking about my luck but about what I could not afford.
I could not afford my current, self-absorbed frame of mind.
I could not afford to have my children learn lessons of compassion only from strangers.
I could not afford to be so distant from the spirit of Christ at any time of the year—especially during this great season of giving.
I could not afford to let another stranger, another brother or sister, cross my path in need of help without doing something about it.
And that is why I hope never to forget the Christmas hero in the grocery store. The next time I have a chance to be that kind of a hero, I can’t afford to miss it.” Stephenie Meyer, “Hero at the Grocery Store,” Ensign, Dec 2006, 20–21

Let’s Help Someone Today,
Shan