What God Wants For Christmas

I’ve scratched the last gift off my list. I’ve tried to get what everyone wants. {Except my youngest asked for makeup and my oldest a laptop. And someone mentioned a puppy. I laughed hysterically.}

The gifts are waiting under the tree. The expectation is palpable.

But there’s One on my list that I haven’t shopped for.

Because He doesn’t want the hottest Christmas gift from the mall.

He won’t be disappointed if it’s not perfectly wrapped.

He isn’t wanting me to spend a dime on Him.

Because what God really wants doesn’t include pressure or tradition. It doesn’t involve spending more than I have or perfection or guilt. It isn’t about pleasing the hard-to-please or the letdown that sometimes comes when the wrappings outweigh the gifting.

He wants something so profound and simple, I long to give it to Him.

Close your eyes, step in front and look into this:

He wants what’s in this mirror for Christmas:

You.

The hope and peace we seek is found in the simplicity of giving ourselves to Him. I challenge you to find a place during the hectic and busy days ahead to do just that: offer yourself to Christ on His birthday.

It’s what God really wants for Christmas. 

Merry Christmas from our house to yours.

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This year our family did the 7 day devotional for children What God Wants for Christmas by Family Life. I highly recommend it.

On Losing Control

I shut down my computer, but I couldn’t turn off the chaos.

So many things out of my control in my heart and on the other side of the globe.

I’m a Type A fixer of things. I scratch it out on my to do list and I attack, I problem-solve.

I grabbed the vacuum and violently battled the dirt while I started barking orders at my family. How did this house get so dirty? Who made this mess? On and on…

My best friend stopped me, rubbed my shoulders and bravely stood against my torrent of commands: “Can I make an observation?” he asked quietly. I stilled. “When things are out of your control over there,” he said pointing to my computer, to Africa, “You try and control things here. Let it go, Kristen. Give this to God.”

He read me like a book. Every word true.

I don’t know why God asked me to help start a maternity home in Kenya, something so big, so out of my control.

But that’s probably exactly why He asked.

He knew I couldn’t fix broken people. He knew I couldn’t restore hope. He knew I would desperately need to seek Him.

God knew I would need to lose control.

We are in a good place: Girls are slowly healing. Staff developing. A house full of precious babies. Plans for more pregnant girls in the Spring. Big plans for 2012. Dozens of volunteers and interviewing interns stateside.

But it’s not easy, this giving birth. I never set out to be the founder of a non-profit, filling my days with tasks I don’t know how to do.  I’m just a mom.

A writer telling the story of my life…

But God is teaching me that I never had control in the first place. He is showing me what trust looks like. He is expecting faith.

He’s is showing me that when I feel like I’m losing control, I’m actually winning.

P.S. Our girls and staff in Africa want to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

This House Still Believes

Jesus is the gift.

We believe it and work hard to not let the childhood fantasy of Santa overshadow Jesus on His birthday. I’m talking about how it changed for our family a few years ago over at (in)courage. I’d love to share it with you…

WFMW: The Perfect Neighbor Gift

These quick, easy and delicious Rolo Pretzel Turtle Cookies are the perfect last minute gift.

Three ingredients: pretzels, Rolos, pecan halves:

We made over 100 of these in less than a half an hour for five amazing neighbors…

1. preheat oven to 250 degrees and unwrap the Rolos (you can only eat one)

2. spread out the pretzels on a cookie sheet and add one Rolo to each pretzel:

3. bake at 250 just until chocolate gets soft (less than 5 minutes) and press pecan half into melted Rolo. Let cool.

4. share on a fun plate (these awesome silver trays are only $3.74!):

5. to give away!

These are seriously good.

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* Jesus Is The Gift – Metal Tray

Family Art: Create a Snowflake Star

Our family loves art and I’m so excited to start a new series that brings families together to create meaningful moments and beautiful art.

And our first project is easy and requires only paper and scissors, and tape (or glue)!

This giant snowflake star  is quick and so much easier than it looks.

Step 1: Cut six pieces of paper (we used a lightweight card stock) into 21 x21 cm squares.

Step 2: Fold over each square into a triangle and cut 3 lines with your scissors, each about 1. 5 cm wide (1/2 inch), paralllel to the short side of the triangle. The cuts should not meet at the end; there is about a 1/2 inch wide strip going down from the point of the triangle to the long side. (first picture)

Step 3: Open the square and bend the cut-out strips over and tape or glue the tips together. Alternate bending them over to both sides. (Still not sure? Here are some more detailed pictures).

Step 4: Once you have the 6 pieces of your star, place them in a line and tape or staple together.

Step 5: Punch a hole and hang to enjoy:

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