This truly is THE BEST THING WE HAVE EVER DONE AS PARENTS. I just wish we had done it sooner. Join us?Read More
Today, my longtime friend, Kristie Christie (yes, you read her married name right) is sharing a beautiful message here at Mother Of Knights. Kristie and I have known each other for more than a decade-long before either of us was married. We have been bridesmaids together, laughed our heads off over anything and everything, and we share a mutual passion for Jesus Christ. Will you give her a warm welcome--I love what she has to share about a Merry Family Christmas!
When I was a little girl I used to lay on my belly looking at the cover of the Amy Grant Tennessee Christmas album. I liked my family, but printed on this album cover was a large happy family in holiday sweaters posed in a house in the snow. It looked like heaven—or at least like a Hallmark movie—I wished they would adopt us into their wintery family. I lived in Burbank—-a bit of a departure from Franklin, Tennessee. As hard as I prayed for a white Christmas, we didn’t get one. Not even once.
The good news is that you don’t have to have snow or perfection in order to have great holiday memories—-just creativity and the commitment to slow down and to savor the moments you’re living. I don’t know why it is, then, that I always think it’s going to take maximum effort to make Christmas really super special. God just wants me—-present-to-my-life—-“me.”
I’m so good at filling up Pinterest boards. I love collecting ideas and dreaming of the moments I could create if I would execute these whimsical ideas. You too? Christmas approaches each year and I dream, “this year…I’m gonna…” and just as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers are finished it feels like it’s New Years again and think, “Oh next year, I suppose…maybe next year.”
The funny thing is that my favorite memories of Christmas were simple, they were cozy and I look back on childhood with wide-eyed wonder because something special seems to happen at Christmastime. I remember cutting down a Christmas tree with our friends from church and loading it on top of their station wagon. I loved putting out the nativity each year and planning where I thought each person should stand. Christmas memories are made by quality, not quantity. Rather than squeezing it all in—-I want to notice our life and savor it by the Christmas tree with the ones I love.
I have created Sunday School curriculum for the last 10 years—-creative, multi-sensory, and meaningful—-but fun. It’s been my greatest joy because I wanted to help kids know what Jesus meant when he said he had come to bring us “Life to the Full” (John 10:10) and that God isn’t boring like Sunday School had a reputation for being. Because of this, I received a few emails in recent years requesting I create a Christmas devotional for the family at home. I thought this was such a great idea—-but of course, this ended up on the list of “things I meant to do…but didn’t get to.”
This year, I’m making this dream happen and I’m gathering a group of loving, fun parents who want to do more than put an elf on a shelf—-and want to have some fun, meaningful moments that center around what the heart of Christmas. I have nothing against the elf on the shelf or Santa—-all so much fun—-I just want to make sure that we are having conversations that can help us pause together. I want to make sure that we’re not too busy to slow down to think about what this all means—- that God came to earth to love us.
I hope you’ll consider joining us for Merry Family Christmas. Here’s how it will work: each day you’ll receive an email with a daily devotion (story, good questions, scripture verse to read). You can do this around your table, before homework, before bed or in the car before you rush off to school. Next, you’ll receive a well laid out colorful guide to a weekly Family Night. This one will be a little more involved—-but not overwhelming. During the week you can gather a few items and be ready to spend time together in your living room—-making some memories and reflecting on the week together.
Join families across the country and some around the world who are already committed to have a Merry Family Christmas—-a time of intentional, focused time with people you love the most: your family
YOUR TURN! What are some other ways that you focus on Jesus during the holidays? I'd love to hear about some of your favorite traditions!
Ever feel like you were created for MORE in your life?
Is there a personal area of your life that you feel is stagnant and that you are not living up to your God-given potential?
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to take your family on a missions trip together-building houses for the poor in Mexico or digging jiggers out of the feet of Ugandan children?
What would be your dream vacation or your ideal staycation?
Are there some God-sized dreams you have always imagined for your life that you think may remain dreams instead of reality? I sure did.
As a planner, I tend to put many of my ideas and thoughts into action, but they sometimes lack purpose and drive. My boys are growing up quickly and I am beginning to realize that if we want to live the full life that God has given us and live up to our potential, then we need to be intentional about it. I don't want to ignore the Holy Spirit's leading in my life either and I wonder how many times I have missed out on blessings because I simply didn't act on those promptings.
My husband and I recently began compiling a personal and family life goal list after reading Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker.
I love lists in general. I even had custom stickers with lists and little check mark boxes made to fit into my daily planner! But still, I wanted to be more in tune with the desires that God has put on our hearts and writing them down has become both a vibrant prayer request list and a way for us to move towards achieving some of our God-given desires and goals.
The categories are broad, ranging from “fun” activities to ministry goals. Like Batterson says in his book, we prioritize them according to our means and through God’s leading, so giving a car to someone in need may very well trump a trip to Atlantis!
I want to share just some of the items on our list to inspire you. As Guy and I wrote these out, we prayed over them and continue to do so as we add more or make adjustments but we can already see the impact that compiling a family life goal list is having on our spiritual lives. And some of the items are stretching us in BIG ways, so we have to be prepared to step out of our comfort zones!
Two days after I wrote down my goal of speaking at an entertainment industry event on a guest panel, I was invited to do just that. Sure enough, that event happened this week, and I believe that God was honored by what I had to share with the audience. Even though it challenged me and was a little scary, I felt the confidence to say “yes” because I knew that God has placed the desire on my heart and then opened the door for me to walk through.
One of Guy’s personal goals was to compete in some form of a race or mud run twice a year. When we came across a discount on a local mud run last month, we signed him up and cheered him on as he completed his first grueling race! In this situation too, there was good reason to back out. The day of the event fell on the same day as a fun activity I planned to attend with some girlfriends-a rarity for me. Even though Guy encouraged me to go, I knew that this life goal was more important. It was an easy decision for me to pass on my activity so I could support my husband’s goals.
Although we just started compiling this list this year, we already have plans in place and are working towards many of these goals so that they can become reality. We feel strongly that God places desires on our hearts and though we are always willing to yield and adjust our thinking to the Lord’s plans, we are dreaming big because we have faith that God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond all we could ask or imagine!
“and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Epehsians 3:19-21)
There is something about thinking through, praying through, and then following through that makes all the difference!
I hope you will consider compiling your own life goal list and pray over what God might have in store for your life and for your family. Here are a handful of the life goals that Guy and I have compiled. Some of them have already been achieved or are ongoing on a yearly basis:
Take each child on a mission’s trip.
Build a beach cottage.
Take each of the boys on a 12-year-old covenant trip. (G)
Foster a sport or instrument for each boy.
Live for a year abroad in Europe with our kids. Twice.
Give each child a pet when they enter first grade.
Bring our kids on set for every project we produce.
Use our home as the hub for building friendships and showing hospitality to school and church families at least once a month.
Create new family traditions for the holidays.
Let missionaries use our home.
Make Feature Films consistently.
Make TV shows that break season records.
Abolish foster care-through a local TV show nationwide.
Host a massive banquet with all the bells and whistles for the homeless.
Give away a car to a young person in need.
Speak on anger at workshops.(A)
Be nominated for an Emmy.
Be nominated for an Academy Award.
Dedicate 1-2 bedrooms in our custom built home for a person/family in need.
Publish multiple books. (A)
Take orphans to the beach.
Participate in an industry Q&A together. (G&A)- DONE
Host and plan a retreat by the beach for women. (A)
Speak to a group of single women/girls about marriage. (G&A)
Teach a class at The Master’s College. (A)
Start an internship for college grads going into faith entertainment.
Reach 1 million followers on social media. (A)
Be a filmmaker/TV producer consistently for the rest of my life. (G)
Host a summer camp for inner city kids.
Create a recreation center for homeless kids with an emphasis on the arts. (G)
Foster/Adopt children-possibly classmates of our kids who will need a home.
Take our grandchildren to Disneyland.
Have high tea in London with 3 or 4 of my best girlfriends. (A)
Go horseback riding as a family.
Take a catamaran/sailing trip with the boys.
Go snowboarding as a family.
Take my future DIL’s on a trip to Kleinfeld’s in NY to buy their wedding veils/shoes etc and use it as a time to tie heart strings. (A)
Attend a Broadway play as a family.
Go on Dancing With The Stars. (A)
Take an epic family portrait.
Host a Lia family reunion on a cruise.
Be room mom for one year for each boy.(A)
Send Amber on a week-long spa trip. (G)
Ride the train to Santa Barbara and go to the zoo as a family.
Bike across Iowa farmland. (G)
Lose 40 lbs by age 41. (A) UPDATE: I have a year and 6 months to do this but as of 7/31/15, I'm down 12lbs! Yay!
Participate in 2 adventure races per year. (G) UPDATE: Guy has completed 1 of 2 as of 7/15!
Learn jazz drums. (G)
Go ice climbing. (G)
Run/Walk/Hike 3-5 times a week with our dog, Rosey. (A) UPDATE: Reality? 5-7 days a week!
Pay for the boys’ honeymoons.
Tithe more than 10% every month of our lives.
Donate 10,000 plus to Children’s Hospital L.A.
Leave an inheritance for our kids.
Provide down payments for each of the boys’ homes.
Be debt free by age 60.
Give away a majority of our income to the poor.
Visit ancestors/heritage in Sweden.
Visit ancestors/heritage in Italy.
Visit ancestors/heritage in Ireland.
Take the family on a 3 day white water rafting/camping trip.
Take family to Atlantis Resort.
Take a family Disney cruise.
Spend a family Thanksgiving at the bottom of The Grand Canyon.
Stay at Ahwanee Hotel in Yosemite with family.
Take a family vacation on a dude ranch.
Sierra hike with the boys.
Take boys on a tour of the South.
Take boys to Iguazu Falls, Argentina where we got engaged.
Take a family sailing trip to the BVI’s.
Take an anniversary barge trip through France. (G&A)
Take our kids on safari.
Visit Prince Edward Island.
YOUR TURN! What are some of your life goals? What goals have you already achieved?
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