Monthly Archives: November 2012

‘Joy to the world’…but my home is in chaos!

“Listen up! We’re going to decorate the Christmas tree as a family tonight whether you like it or not.  So change your attitude or I’m gonna wipe that grimacing frown off your face with this beautiful sheet of Angel Hair!”

Admit it, these words (or very similar) have flown our of your mouth from the deep innards of your holiday soul before.  It happens to the best of us.  Somehow, forced holiday cheer (which is a pretty weird oxymoron) has become the December-norm in America.

It’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in these moments of tradition.  Come to think of it…haven’t we all made this aggression and chaos part of our tradition?  Like it or not, we have come to fully expect arguing about whose turn it is to place the angel on the tree, what Christmas movie favorite the family will watch, or who draws whose name to buy Christmas gifts this year.

The fact is….Holiday time is stressful.  We’re preparing to host or visit family (some we may not care to see), budget for purchasing gifts, planning a time to shop for a gift they won’t return, etc.  All the while, conducting our daily life routine has to continue.  It’s no wonder that on January 1st many of us resolve to enjoy a better, happier coming year.

Yet…..there is hope!

Let me offer 3 holiday tips.  They won’t necessarily lead you to wearing smaller clothes in January, but they just might help you survive (and even have Joy) this December.  Here you go!

Lower your standards – That’s right!  Chances are, people around you are not expecting the same level of excellence out of you that you are of yourself.  Implement a more care-free approach to all your shopping, cleaning, cooking, and planning…and that long lost smile might fall back into place.

Take hold of your relationships – If you are like most typical Americans, you most likely have at least one person in your family (usually more than one) you dread to see at family get-togethers.  This doesn’t mean that either of you are horrible people to be around.  Because of our differences, some people are easier to do life with than others.  For this tip, read Boundaries.  Next, apply it.  Period!

Expect the worst to happen – Look, simply come to the realization that tree ornaments are going to get broken, Aunt Betsy is going to publicly critique your cooking, the dog will pass gas under the diner table (during Grace), and your work is going to go unappreciated.  Expect all of this to happen.  Then, when some of it doesn’t….you will smile!  Life will be good once again.

Questions…comments…or simply want to share your tradition of stressful holiday bliss?  Please comment below.

But seriously….have a Merry Christmas.  “Christ is born!”

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Be thankful for life’s crap!

photo by: notesfromthecove.com

Seriously, when was the last dart in the back or broken down car that you actually said, “Wow, I’m so glad I had that experience?”  You’ve heard it said that one man’s trash is another’s treasure.  Its true!  Its all in our perspective.  As I was catching up on some blog reading of my own, one of my friend’s blogs really inspired me to do some reflecting of my own.  So here’s my very authentic list of thankful points for the year.  Can you relate to any of these?

I’m thankful…

…for spiritually dry periods of my life because they cause me to crave after Jesus more aggressively.

…when finances are sometimes a little tight.  These times teach me better stewardship of my blessings.

…that there are times when work gets heavy and I feel like I’m drowning.  Sometimes this is what it takes to force me to take a better look at how I’m budgeting my time and planning my week.

…for all the incredibly unhealthy churches I’ve served in with my wife over the past 20+ years.  Until recently, I have not been able to see that everything wasn’t terrible, and that our current church is truly one of a kind…and to continually thank God for this gift!

…that despite all the crap my four kids have endured as PKs (referring to previous point), none of them are hooked on drugs, pregnant, partying on the weekends, or doing time in jail.  Not because of stellar parenting, but an abundance of God’s grace and a loving and praying church family.

…for a merciful, loving, and gifted wife who was handed to me from Heaven!  In spite of my multitude of shortcomings and failures as the spiritual head of our home, she has always stood by me and encouraged the best in me.  She really is my best friend and life partner.

Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks.  For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.  1 Timothy 4:4-5 (NLT)

How about your list?  Are there things you would mention today that you might not have before?

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Daddy…how should I vote?

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The other day, I was walking through the parking lot at the grocery store as I heard these exact words from behind me.

“Daddy…am I being good?”

I don’t know about you, but most of the time that’s not what is observed at the store between kids and their parents. Usually the scene is a screaming child hanging from a parent’s arm. But as I turned around I noticed what must have been a 4 or 5 year old little girl, gazing into her Daddy’s eyes, asking her question in a very cute and heart-felt manor.

After my heart was warmed by this incredibly sweet moment, a simple but profound thought came over me. Regarding her actions, this well-meaning child looked to her father for approval. She was not looking at other kids in the store to see how they were acting. She was also not concerned about doing her own thing or what she wanted. She was obviously wanting to please her father.

Christians all across America will get to cast their vote for the next President of the USA this week. If we are obedient and wanting to stay true to our faith, we will prayerfully consider God’s agenda and character when voting. As Christian believers, we absolutely cannot base the direction of our vote on what general society says is good and right. We also cannot allow our personal feelings, desires, and wishes to influence our vote…especially when those influences are clearly contrary to the Bible.

Let me recap.

Christians should vote from a solid Biblical worldview. Period!

More important, however, is what happens after the election. Believers all across our country really do need to check their character (public & private) despite who wins this presidential race. Romney or Obama…we must commit to pray for our president and support him as much as possible. Its a huge matter of character. Are we portraying God’s character in our society, or are we acting selfishly while hiding behind the title of ‘Christian?’

At the end of the day, all of us should be looking to our Heavenly Father for approval of our voting intentions and attitude. And just like that little girl, we will find ourselves asking, “Daddy…am I being good?”

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