Family Christmas

A wise pastor's wife once told me that when it comes to raising kids in the ministry, Santa doesn't have to come on the 25th and the Easter bunny doesn't have to come on Saturday night. 

So, we decided to celebrate Christmas as a family last night before the whirlwind of services begin.  We kept it simple.  One present from mommy and daddy, one present from their brother.

We ate pancakes, opened presents, and finally found out what God wants for Christmas.  It was a great night.  The bike and scooter was a hit.

There's lots more celebrating to do.  I am praying for all the people whose live will be changed forever this Christmas season.

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Holiday meal planning

Crunch time is here.  Today I am ordering groceries (see this archived post if you don't know what I'm talking about), wrapping presents and gearing up for our Christmas services to begin tomorrow night.

As I was planning our Christmas lunch, I felt a little ham/turkey-ed out.  So here's what I came up with…

Meatloaf (my personal favorite)
Crock Pot Mac and Cheese (my brother-in-law's favorite)
Mashed potatoes
Green Beans recipe below

We'll also have boiled peanuts, sandwiches and other goodies in between.

Yum.  Haven't decided on dessert yet, maybe these?

Anyway, this is my green beans recipe.  Its one I learned by watching my mom.  No real measurements, just approximations and two key ingredients, wine and garlic.  Here you go…

Deb's Green Beans
3-5 cans of green beans
undrained.  I prefer Allens (the flat beans)
Handful of chopped
bacon (I use the real bacon bits for salads)
3-4 large garlic
cloves, pressed
¼- ½ c white
Finely chopped onion or a few shakes of onion
½ tsp
½ tsp

1-2 tbsp olive oil 

Bring to a boil and
simmer low-med for about 30 min.

What are you cooking this week?

Monday Morning Commentary

I’m pretty busy his Monday before Christmas so you’ll have to excuse typos as I blog from my phone…

This weekend I got to stand on the stage with my husband and present checks totalling over $250k to our community outreach partners and some local churches. Now that’s a great way to start off. I love my church!!

Then my husband preached a yet again inspiring message on generosity. I almost wanted to give more money! I want to see God’s but in my life and be God’s but in someone else’s. Yep you read that right! But you’ll have to go to and listen to the message (part 5 Kingdom Come).

Check back tomorrow for some holiday meal planning and recipes!

My little pirate

I am working on my yearly picture calendar.  My PC is about to get smashed with a sledgehammer.  Either that or is about to hear a word from me.  Maybe both.  But a light point in a dark situation is this series of photos I came across from this summer…

August 274 August 280 August 256  August 306

Christmas Traditions

Christmas 069This is our family tree.  The tree that hosts all of the special ornaments.  We don't have many Christmas traditions yet.  Its hard to figure out just the right ones for our family.

One thing that we do is buy each child an ornament each year.  I try to get one that represents something significant in their life from that year.  When they get married, they will each get to take their own box of ornaments.  I have heard of several people whose parents did this and their first Christmas married, most of their ornaments came from their special box.

Hers's a few close ups from our tree…

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I love my decorative tree downstairs, but there is something really special about our family tree.  Traditions are important, memories are such special treasures.

Growing up my mom always fixed a non-traditional Christmas meal and we almost always went to the movies.  My parents also made a point to open up their home to people who could not go home for Christmas.  And my dad made a point to guess his present every single year.

In my husband's family, Santa always came through with the ultimate present and their memories are magical.  Then, my husband's Papa always came on Christmas day arms loaded with dime store presents.  Oh, and the year would not be complete without family pictures in front of the tree.  Not that I was there, but these are the stories I hear.  Great memories.

What traditions do you do now, or do you remember?

What God Wants for Christmas

51ZC2SWD3AL._SS500_ A special friend of mine gave a really neat present for Christmas.  This.  Its a family activity called What God Wants For Christmas.  Its a small nativity scene with a book and seven presents.  Each night we read a story and open one gift.  Every story is about a character in the Christmas story and each gift is a figurine of that character for the nativity .

We don't do ours 7 consecutive nights because Christmas time is pretty crazy for us.  It works nice on the nights we are home to sit down and have a Christmas activity that is age appropriate for our kids. They have really enjoyed it.  I highly reccomend this for families with small children.

Here's a few pictures I took the other night…

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Monday Morning (or Afternoon) Commentary


Its been quite a weekend!  We started off on Friday evening with a leadership commitment event.  400 of the leaders from our church gathered to give and pledge to our Kingdom Come campaign.  They really came through and lead the way in pledges and gifts that blew my mind!  Just the leaders pledged $1.5 million towards our first fruits offering this coming weekend.  Wow!

Then Saturday/Sunday we continued in our series with a practical and inspirational message by my husband.  I actually joined him on stage for a few minutes as he shared practically how to hear from God when trying to determine how and what to give.

I think many people think God will just magically give them a number out of the sky.  Practically, that's just not how it usually happens.  Each time my husband and I prepare a gift beyond our regular tithes and offerings, we sit down and look at our entire financial picture.

You can't make a pledge if you don't know how much is coming in and how much is going out.  If you desire to be generous, you must track every dollar that is spent.  You can make a pledge, but if you don't know practically if you have the money, all the good intentions in the world will not produce a gift.

After looking at our entire financial picture, my husband and I usually take our number, and increase it just a bit so that we give God room to provide in a special way and therefore increase our faith.

Each time it is equally difficult.  I shared yesterday that I often think about what I could buy if we weren't giving that check to the church.  The fact of the matter is, none of it is mine to begin with.  God has truly blessed me and my family and I have never given a penny that I wish I could have back.

I want to encourage each of you, whether you attend Elevation or not, to take an action step in saying no to the god of greed in your life.  Give, watch God increase you faith and multiply your gift to reach and help people who are far from Him.

You can listen to the message (Part 4 Kingdom Come) here later today.

Would you rather Christmas edition…

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I love artificial Christmas trees.  There's something really soothing for me about the perfection of an artificial tree.  They are balanced.  Not too fat, not to skinny at the bottom.  No gaping holes with bare branches.  Their lights are perfectly spaced spaced out.  All of this comes together to make a tree that is very pleasing to my eye.  They also don't shed and you don't have to water them, bonus.

I know there are many of you out there that think it is an insult to Christmas to put up an artificial tree.  A downright crime.  Can it be Christmas without a real tree?  

Pictured left is my tree this year.  9 feet of black, red and silver perfection.  Most ornaments bought at (90% off but that's a totally different post).

Its your turn, I want to hear it… are you an artificial tree family or a real tree family?

The Joys of Boys

Its no secret that I am not a morning person.  Having babies really throws choice out the door so for the past 4 years, I have had to become slightly more of morning person by sheer force. 

However lately I have been getting spoiled as my babies are turning into boys.  The morning goes something like this… 6:45ish Elijah wakes up, gets in our bed and watches cartoons.  7:30ish, Graham starts calling so I send Elijah to get him.  They both join us in bed for cartoons/sleep.  Usually I drag myself out of bed and get the day started around 7:45-8.

Well today I had a rude awakening.  Literally.  I was quietly enjoying the bed all to myself (PF in ATL last night).  Our normal routine began around 6:45.  About an hour later, I awoke to Graham lunging towards me, trying to get away from  his brother.  He had a plastic dinosaur in his hand which made direct contact with my jaw. 

Good morning Mom.  Time to wake up.  Let me punch you in the jaw with a toy using all 30 lbs of my body weight.

Good morning children.  Time to get out of Mommy's bed.  The joys of boys.