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Advent Lessons I Learned and How I Can Apply Them to My Ordinary Life

Advent Lessons I Learned and How I Can Apply Them to My Ordinary Life

Two and a half weeks ago, my family and I gathered around our Christmas tree. Excitement and joy mingled with the festive scents of hot coffee, cinnamon rolls, and pine needles. The kids piled their gifts next to them and eagerly wondered what was inside each wrapped box. As I sipped my coffee and breathed in Christmas goodness, I felt grateful. For the first time in forever, I felt like Christmas had arrived and I had arrived with it. I…

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Advent Book Giveaway Prepares Families for Christmas

Advent Book Giveaway Prepares Families for Christmas

It’s Black Friday. I am sitting at my computer perusing all of the sales and deals that have appeared in my inbox. I am not one to venture out on this busy day, but I am getting excited to begin the season of Advent and prepare for Christmas. Advent doesn’t begin for over a week, though. Normally, this is the weekend I unpack our Advent wreath, take out our Jesse Tree ornaments, and decorate the house with a few hints…

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Advent Traditions My Family Loves

Advent Traditions My Family Loves

With Thanksgiving just two days away, there is a lot to do. My plans include cooking, baking, and cleaning. I have always liked the Thanksgiving holiday. To be with family and friends, to pause in gratitude for God’s abundant blessings. It’s a good day. Often, the Advent season begins the Sunday right after Thanksgiving. We have just a couple of days to transition from pumpkins and fall hues to our Advent wreath of purple and pink. This year, however, Advent…

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Finding Joy in the Season of Lent

Finding Joy in the Season of Lent

This was originally posted during Holy Week 2011. I thought it might be helpful to repost it earlier in the Lenten season in case we are already waiting for Lent to be over. Perhaps we are even tempted to give up. The Lord is inviting us into the desert to be with Him, to remain close to Him, and to one day share in His glory for all eternity. We can do this! We can do this with joy! +++ This is…

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How I Lent: Giving Up the Swirl and Shoulds

How I Lent: Giving Up the Swirl and Shoulds

The swirl of thoughts left me weary. What should my focus be? What should my days look like? What is my purpose? The lack of answers, or my fear of failure, left me paralyzed. My present brokenness was all I seemed to know, and despite the pain, it was surprisingly comfortable. And yet, the small flicker of hope deep within my heart convinced me there is a better way. “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall…

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Embracing the Ordinary

Embracing the Ordinary

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. —Ecclesiastes 3:1 The Christmas decorations are finally put away, and I admit, my house looks a little bare, a little ordinary. In the cloudy darkness of January, I definitely miss the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree and garlands. I have never truly welcomed the season of Ordinary Time, the way I welcome Advent, Christmas, and Easter. Even Lent has this very clear purpose of repentance necessary…

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