New Year’s 2016

2015 went by faster than 2014 for us. How about you? We had some ups and downs. I flew to Hawaii in April for my cousin Mike’s memorial service. Then in May we went to Michigan for our nephew’s wedding. In June we traveled up to Washington D.C. for Mike’s amazing funeral service at Arlington. Then in October we traveled to Kentucky for Jim’s, my husband’s, 99 year old aunt’s funeral. With all of the traveling we were able to see a lot of family and friends.

None of us know what the New Year will bring for sure, but God has a plan for each of us. Jim had some renovation things he wants to do, as well as playing more golf this year. I will continue writing. My first book in “Bible Characters Through the Ages” should be out in January. This is the latest version of the cover, and I believe the final.The publisher has the first three stories in the series. I have already started on the next three. This is so much fun and exciting to write stories for God’s little ones, and I’m learning and growing in my faith as I write.

Here are some ideas to help you stay close as a family as we begin 2016.

I found a website Entertainment How Stuff Works that has a lot of fun ideas to do together as a family. So often our schedules take us in many different directions. Our oldest daughter, April, Has a large wipe board that has their schedule on it. Their outside activities are all listed. She also has days and evenings blocked for family time. This is an awesome way for everyone in the family to stay focused on what needs to be done as well as a set time to be a family.

Some of the fun ideas on the Entertainment How Stuff Works site are:

  1. Family Movies Night: have a theme and watch a few movies together.
  2. Game Night: There are many games that are fun for the whole family.
  3. Craft Night: Find something that will be fun and challenging for everyone.
  4. Dress Up Night: Have everyone get dressed up and go to a nice restaurant.
  5. Cooking Night: Have the kids pick a menu and then have them help to make it.

In each of these ideas share the decision making with each member of the family.

When you have the Dress Up Night, this is a good opportunity to teach the kids the proper dedicate for using the silverware and the order to use it. The art of social manners is slipping away. I see too many people when we are out that have atrocious table manners. Please help your kids to be very polite and have great table manners.

Give me some of your ideas for family fun.

May God Bless you in 2016.

Happy New Year!!!

Christmas 2015

HAPPY BIRHTDAY JESUS!!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

The Psalm for today is:
Psalm 45

The Old Testament lesson for today is:
Isaiah 59: 1-15a

The Epistle lesson for today is:
Galatians 3:23-4:7

The Gospel lesson for today is:
Matthew 1:18-25

Birth of Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

 

We made it to Christmas day. Now, take a deep breath, relax and just let the day happen.

After we open our presents, in our family, we all sing happy birthday to Jesus, and remind the kids that His birthday is the real reason that we have a Christmas celebration.

In our family, my Great Grandma Shaw, on my Mom’s side, started what ended up a tradition in 1926. She combined the traditions of Grandpa and Grandma Shaw’s family. On the Galpin side they had a pancake breakfast, and on the Shaw side they had a steak dinner. It ended up a steak and pancake breakfast for the entire family.

Enjoy your Christmas, and when you get a chance please share with us some of your traditions.

 

 

 

1 The New King James Version. (1982). (Mt 1:18–25). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Advent: Fourth Sunday in Advent

This is the fourth week of Advent. Hopefully by now things are beginning to settle down a bit for you. If not sit down, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and pray with me. “Dear Father, please hold me in your loving arms. Let me feel Your calmness, and love. Please help me to let go of the things that don’t need to be done. Remind me of the real reason we are celebrating Christmas, that all of the other stuff is just stuff. The important thing is to celebrate Jesus and the love of our family, and friends. Amen.”

 

Now sit there with your eyes stay closed for a few minutes and bask in His love.

The Psalm for today is:
Psalm 29

The Old Testament reading for today is:
Genesis 3:8-15

The Epistle for today is:
Revelations 12:1-10

The Gospel lesson for today is:
John 3:16-21

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

 

  • This is such an amazing gift for us. God’s love shows no bounds.
  • Talk with the children about God’s love.
  • Tell them to think about how they love you. Then say that God loves them even more.
  • Also that the love of God makes it possible for us to come to Him in heaven when we die and live in peace, harmony and healthy.

 

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

 

  • Help your children to know and feel His love by teaching them to pray, asking for help in making decisions. Such as what type of book to read; Is this book something God would approve of me reading?
  • Also teach them to pray; Dear God how can I help ___, she/he is sad because ___ happened.
  • If they are being bullied help them by praying with them saying: “Dear God, please give me strength to stand up for myself, and not let ___ hurt me or my feelings. Amen.”

 

I pray this is helpful for you and your family. How has this helped? How else can I help you?

 

 

 

1 The New King James Version. (1982). (Jn 3:16–21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Advent: Third Sunday in Advent

It’s the third week of Advent already. How are things going at your home? Are you still frazzled, or have you tried to slow down and take things one at a time?

I’m not frazzled, but a little anxious. My husband has been renovating our guest bathroom. It’s going to be beautiful when it’s done. However, life keeps getting in the way of him working on it. His 99 year old aunt died, which meant a trip to Louisville, KY, to be with family and friends. It was wonderful to see so many of the family. Then he took  three days off to go with me to a conference and book signing event in Daytona. It was a fun time of teaching, sharing, and meeting some really great teachers.

Now he has a cold, poor guy. He’s still working on the bathroom, but at a slower pace. He’ll have the door up by the weekend and we will be able to use the toilet and sink. He just has to do the finish things to the walls then he can paint, and add the trim and accessories.

All of the decorations make our homes look pretty, but they really aren’t absolutely necessary to have Christmas. We can just put a few things out to make it festive in the room we are in most of the time. One of my favorite decorations is a figurine of Santa with his cap off bowing down to Jesus in the Manger. That says it all. That is the only thing we have to remember at Christmas, that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus.

If you haven’t baked all of the cookies you usually do, just pick one or two recipes to make. Most of us really don’t need to eat that many sweets anyway.

Depending on what time of day works best for you to have quiet time with God, find a place to be alone with Him. Take that time to praise Him for all that He has blessed you with. Then ask Him how you can best serve those around you. Then listen quietly for an answer, remember you may need to be still longer than you think. He may be waiting for you to really give Him your full attention. Taking this time with God will give you peace and a new focus for the days ahead.

The Psalm for today is:
Psalm 98

A Song of Praise to the Lord for His Salvation and Judgment
1 Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;

 

  • He has done many marvelous things!
  • Show your children things throughout the day that show the beauty and glory of God.
  • Teach them to say a prayer thanking God for all He has done for them.

 

His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
2 The Lord has made known His salvation;
His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

 

  • God teaches us that if we listen and follow His directions that we will see the peaceful lives we can live.
  • If you children are fighting, settle them down and pray with them. Ask God to help them to think about what their actions will do to the other person.
  • If Adam and Eve hadn’t disobeyed there never would be any struggle in our world. Talk with the kids about what it would be like if they never fought or hurt someone’s feelings.

 

4 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
5 Sing to the Lord with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
6 With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.
7 Let the sea roar, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell in it;
8 Let the rivers clap their hands;
Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord,
9 For He is coming to judge the earth.
With righteousness He shall judge the world,
And the peoples with equity.

 

  • Find a time to sing praises to God with your kids. Turn on a Christian radio station while you are driving and sing along.
  • Say prayers before meals and bedtime. Make sure they not only ask God to watch over everyone, but to thank Him for keeping them safe and healthy.
  • Teach them to pray asking God to guide them. Then tell the kids they have to listen for God to answer them. To listen for words of love and encouragement in their heart.

 

The Old Testament reading for today is:
Amos 9:11-15

The Epistle reading for today is:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 13-17

The Gospel reading for today is:
John 5:30-47

 

 

 

1 The Holy Bible: The Contemporary English Version. (1995). (Lk 1:57–68). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Advent: Second Sunday in Advent

As we go into the second week in Advent we continue to prepare our hearts and homes for the coming of the Christ Child. This is a very busy time of year. We are busy, cooking, cleaning, and baking those wonderful traditional foods that are a part of our families celebrations. However, we also need to “Remember The Reason For The Season.” We wouldn’t be going through all of this if we weren’t celebrating Christmas. There are a lot of people that just use Christmas as a time to gather with family and friends.

How about if this Advent and Christmas season we try to share our love and faith with those around us. Find ways to help someone in need. The obvious would be to give a bag of food and toiletries to someone that is homeless. Or to give toys to Toys for Tots, cook at a soup kitchen, teach a reading class in a homeless shelter.

There are also family and friends that could use some help. If someone is sick take a meal to them or drive them to the doctor. You can clean the house of a frazzled young mom, or take the kids so she can just rest.

If you know someone in the hospital, shut in, or in a nursing home, take them something to read, like Our Daily Bread, or a new Bible. Take time to visit with them, ask if there is something they would like you to pray about with them. Then hold their hand and pray together adding “Father, please give ___ comfort and peace,” and what you feel led to pray for.

Take time each day to talk with God and ask for His guidance for the day. It’s amazing when you really listen for His response, you really can hear that still small voice in your soul. He has graced me with His words many times. I pray that you will feel this as well.

As you put up your Christmas decorations, play Christmas hymns, and tell the children the real meaning of Christmas. Share with them how you learned about this holiday from family and friends at your church. Share the fun memories of making special ornaments or cookies. If you’re like me a lot of the family is now gone. To keep them alive in our hearts I tell stories of things I did as a child with my family, also the teachings I learned at my church home.

 

 

The lessons for the second week of Advent are:
The Psalm for the day is:
Psalm 148-150

The Old Testament reading is:
Amos 6:1-14

The Epistle reading is:
2 Thessalonians 1:5-12
Luke 1:57-68

The Gospel reading is:
The Birth of John the Baptist

57 When Elizabeth’s son was born, 58 her neighbors and relatives heard how kind the Lord had been to her, and they too were glad.
59 Eight days later they did for the child what the Law of Moses commands. They were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John.”
61 The people argued, “No one in your family has ever been named John.” 62 So they motioned to Zechariah to find out what he wanted to name his son.
63 Zechariah asked for a writing tablet. Then he wrote, “His name is John.” Everyone was amazed. 64 Right away, Zechariah started speaking and praising God.
65 All the neighbors were frightened because of what had happened, and everywhere in the hill country people kept talking about these things. 66 Everyone who heard about this wondered what this child would grow up to be. They knew that the Lord was with him.
67 The Holy Spirit came upon Zechariah, and he began to speak:
68 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel! He has come to save his people.

 

  • Do you have any friends that had children later in life?
  • How did they react?
  • We had a friend that had a baby when her youngest was in high school.
  • The daughter that was born was a joy to all of us
  • Talk with your children about how special every baby is, no matter how old the parents are.
  • Ask them how they feel being an older brother or sister.
  • If they are the first, ask them about other babies of your family or friends. Ask them about their feelings about that baby.

 

Please share with me your Advent and Christmas Traditions. What is your favorite tradition of Christmas?

 

 

1 The Holy Bible: The Contemporary English Version. (1995). (Lk 1:57–68). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Advent History First Sunday in Advent

Advent is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. It is a time we prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus. The different denominations have different traditions. In Western Christianity we use the color purple or blue for the different hangings around the church and the vestments or stoles that the clergy wear. The Lutherans chose purple, while the Methodists chose blue.

The different churches also choose different music that is played or sung. Handel’s Messiah, the Magnificat, and O Come, O Come, Emmanuel are just three of the familiar songs that are sung during this period. We all have our favorites depending on what we grew up with. Traditionally these are not Christmas carols, but songs telling of the coming of Jesus.

There are also traditions the churches follow. In England there used to be a tradition where dolls represented Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. If you gave a halfpenny coin to the person taking the dolls by your home you were to have good luck. If you did not give a halfpenny the household would have bad luck.

In Normandy, the farmers had the children run through the fields to set fire to the bundles of straw, thus driving out the evil that could damage their crops.

In Rome, there would be bagpipe players that would play as they come to the manger at Bethlehem. This was to recognize the pipes that the shepherds would have played.

Now our churches use and advent calendar or candles. The calendars usually have a little door to open. There can be a Bible verse and possibly a small gift or piece of chocolate.

The Advent wreath is usually lit at worship with the Bible reading for that day being read first. In 2015 the four Advent Sundays are November 29, December 6, December 13, and December 20.You can read part or all of the lessons with your children. I have the Psalm reading printed here for you this week.

The readings for the “First Sunday in Advent November 29, 2015”

The Psalm for the day is:
Psalm 146

The Happiness of Those Whose Help is the Lord
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2 While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

 

  • Teach your children to thank God for everything
  • Sing songs of praise with your local Christian radio station
  • Say prayers with them of thanks when you see a rainbow or the beauty in nature

 

3 Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.

 

  • Teach the children to trust the guidance of God
  • Tell them to pray then to quietly listen for an answer
  • The answer comes in a still small voice you hear in your heart

 

5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6 Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
7 Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
10 The Lord shall reign forever—
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!

 

  • Teach the children that God is with everyone, no matter what their situation in life
  • Pray with them for the homeless on the streets
  • Pray with them for the prisoners, strangers, and those who have lost loved ones.

 

The other readings you can read as a family for this first week in Advent are:
The Old Testament reading for the day is:
Amos 1:1-5,13-2:8

The Epistle reading for the day is:
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

The Gospel reading for the day is:
Luke 21:5-19

 

May God bless you as you prepare your heart for the Coming of the Christ Child. What is your family tradition for this first week of Advent?

 

 

1 The New King James Version. (1982). (Ps 146). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.