Christmas Games

We are always on the look out for a good game for Christmas parties. Here is one I created and we plan to try this year! Of course, you can always put the slips of paper in a hat and draw them, but this way may *sweeten* the deal for the reluctant Scrooge of the bunch!

I’ll post a Chinese Fortune Cookie recipe soon! Watch for it!





Grace.Over the last few days, I have been mulling over Grace.

So many things swirl in my mind – song lyrics… Scriptures… a prayer over a meal… a definition memorized in my theology class for college…

A quick word search of the Bible showed “grace” 159 times. (Thankful for Biblegateway!) Browsing through the results, many Old Testament references pertained to the grace of another person. “If I have found grace in your eyes…”

Moving into the New Testament, I began to see the thread of God’s Grace.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

The Oxford Dictionary defines it this way:

What is grace?As Christians, we often think of Grace as that second definition – “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.” And it is! That alone should compel us to live lives of gratitude and celebration! But there’s more!

When you read over the definition, the first one seems more natural or earthly, yet I believe it contains another treasured blessing from the Lord. Without minimizing the overwhelming beauty of God’s Grace for salvation, tonight I’d like to focus on His Grace for today, to have “simple elegance and refinement of movement.”

Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

When you read the words “simple elegance” or “refinement of movement,” what comes to mind? A ballerina perhaps? A skilled artist? They embody grace, as we usually think of it.

As I think of Grace from the Lord for daily living, I think of the dark days. I think of seasons of doubt, depression or sorrow, where I desperately need God’s help for survival, with no thought for “simple elegance” or “refinement of movement!”

Yet, when we look to Christ to sustain and strengthen us, an amazing thing happens. There is a change, or “refinement,” of natural movement. We begin to think differently, respond differently, speak differently in our challenging situations. It is only through the Grace of God this is possible.

The Lord has made His Grace available to us for countless reasons, every day, including  –

  • Grace to choose to live rightly (James 4:6);
  • Grace in our words, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6);
  • Grace to become who we are instead of who we were (1 Corinthians 15:10);
  • Grace to walk in the gifts He has given (Ephesians 4:7);
  • Grace to excel in every good work (2 Corithians 9:8); and
  • Grace to strengthen us (2 Timothy 2:1).

In the same way that a skilled dancer or artist grabs your attention, God’s Grace in the life of a believer captures the notice of those around them. Not to say it’s easy, but God’s Grace sustains us, and spills over into our relationships, in creative and unexpected ways.

Best of all, this Grace is sufficient. It’s enough; it’s adequate. You’re not, but He, in you, is. Regardless of what you’re facing, regardless of where you’ve been and with whom, His grace is sufficient for you. Today. Tomorrow. The day after that and the day after that. And even when you are at your weakest, that is when His strength is made perfect.

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Dirty dishes.

I have a love-hate relationship with dirty dishes.

We had a dishwasher most of my growing up years, but that didn’t inspire my siblings and me to cheerfully load and empty it! When my dad insisted we needed to scrape AND rinse the plates before putting them in, we rolled our eyes and thought he was cra-zy.

Once married, our first apartment had lovely burnt orange shag carpet and 1970 something wall paper. The neighbors were too loud and the building smelled weird, but at least we had a dishwasher! Twelve months of blissful dishwashering! And it turned out Dad was right. For the first time, I was  loading AND unloading, and when you do that enough times, you figure out what works and doesn’t work. Since I could no longer blame someone else for a plate decked with crunchy nastiness, I started scraping AND rinsing those plates. (Most of the time!)

Fast-forward twenty years, and I’m a mother of teenagers. Without a dishwasher. If you’ve looked through this blog much, you may guess that we make most of meals ourselves, from scratch. Every day, I either spend with wet hands or with Mt. Dishmore rising from my sink. Ephraim is happy to wash when he’s got a day off, but there are plenty to go around! (Seems my family wants to eat EVERY day?)

Many a night, I stand at the sink, house quiet, washing things up. It’s not difficult. Sure, my back may ache, my hands may chap, but it’s not hard work!

Washing dishes takes time. I feel like I don’t have much time. I hate that I have to spend that time just doing the same thing over and over.

Washing dishes is often tedious. Boring. Monotonous. At this point in my life, I welcome a little bit of that! I can use that time to think through things. Plan. Dare I say it? Even zone!

Women are multi-taskers by design. I have done many productive things while washing dishes:

  • worked on Scripture memorization;
  • taught my children God’s Word;
  • listened to a sermon or Scripture;
  • had conversations in person or via phone;
  • given spelling tests;
  • prayed;
  • worshiped;
  • read a book;
  • watched the happenings in our backyard;
  • told my children stories;
  • and countless others!

I have also done less productive things while washing dishes. Sadly, some were shameful –

  • resented having to wash the dishes;
  • listened and half-watched tv or a movie;
  • scolded my family for not scraping and rinsing (eh-hem);
  • argued with my husband;
  • fumed about inter-personal conflict;
  • gossiped with someone in the room or on the phone;
  • yelled at my precious children;
  • worried;
  • spread negativity;
  • and countess other unfruitful things.

I have a blogging friend who always ends her posts with, Make Your Life Matter No Matter What.*

Yes. That.

I want my life to matter. No matter what! That includes the parts of my life I spend – sharing Christ, reading my Bible, laughing with my girls, talking with my husband, doing laundry, facebooking, cooking, taking photos, going for walks, visiting with a friend, working, and yes, even washing dishes.

I can choose to do something productive while I’m doing something tedious. But even if I don’t have the mental resources to do anything but zone, I can zone with a thankful heart!

This poem hung in our kitchen when I was growing up. I find myself reciting it now and then, for my own benefit, as well as our girls’.


Dirty Dishes

This week, most of us will enjoy a grand feast, celebrating God’s faithfulness to us. When every one is “fed, fat and happy,” we’ll groan at the pile of dishes that need tending. Maybe many hands will work together and it will go quickly. Maybe you will be left washing them all. By hand.

Either way, use your time. Make it count. Catch up with a loved one. Thank the Lord for His goodness to you. Reflect on Scripture. Zone with a thankful heart. Be intentional!

While others may go hungry . . .

Every 3 seconds, someone dies from hunger or lack of safe drinking water. As you wash your dishes in clean, safe drinking water, pray for those who have no such option to offer their children. We have no room to grumble about washing dishes. Not this week, nor any other.

By our stack of evidence, God’s been good to us.

In everything [even washing dishes!] give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB


For information on feeding the hungry in the name of Christ, please go to . When you sponsor a child or missionary through Gospel for Asia, 100% of what you give goes directly to the field. None of that is used for administrative purposes!




* You can read more about how to “Make your life matter, no matter what” –

Every day.

prepare for difficult season

It can be a challenge. When things are going fine, it’s easy to cruise along, thinking you’ve got it covered. You don’t. At some point, you will have a dry season. A season of discouragement. A season of great need. A crisis that takes all you have and leaves you in desperate need.

Prepare for that time. Read His Word now. Today. And again tomorrow. Make an appointment. And keep it. You won’t regret it.