Category Archives: Christmas

Celebrate Good Times – COME ON! (Lessons from “Elf” ;) )

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One week.  GIRLS!!!!  One week til Christmas!  One week!  To quote Buddy the Elf, “SANTA – OMG – I KNOW HIM!!!!”

I’m super giggly about that because Elf is such a silly, silly movie!  The one liners, the Christmas kitsch, the feel good singing at the end.  Oh my goodness, it gets you in the mood, girls!  I love it!

But do you know what I love the best (besides smiling, of course… 😉 )?

Wendie as buddy the elf

I love how Buddy the Elf can celebrate just about anything.  From the world’s “best” cup of coffee, to ABC gum (Already Been Chewed …in case you didn’t already know that acronym…you’re welcome).  Buddy has the gift of worship.

As we wrap up our Come Closer series of studying 12 spiritual disciplines, I love that we are ending on WORSHIP!!!  Worship is like watching a football game and when your team scores a touchdown; your body cannot help but throw your arms in the air!  It’s spontaneous clapping at the end of a symphony performance.  It’s the tears of awe streaming down your face when you are welcoming a new baby (or even puppy, as the case may be…) into your world. (I’m such a sucker for the puppies – it isn’t even a joke.  I LOVE them!)

Big Boy Pic from Taylir

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA! Love my Fry Guy!

Worship is essentially our response –authentically and organically – to the goodness of God in the moment in which we experience it. How do we react at a gorgeous sunset?  The birth of a baby?  Even the surprise of answered prayer, the awareness of provision we hadn’t noticed before or expected.  It’s WORSHIP!!!

Worship 3

Worship is our soul acknowledging His presence. It’s us reacting to His action and influence around us.

Worship 1

And it’s often one of the hardest disciplines, too, because when your team is down and the game ends and you’re on the losing end, how can you seriously and honestly praise anyone?

I’ve been there, in my own way. If  you are there right now, email me. I’ll pray for you, with you, and into you. Stick with us into the new year, because I promise we will be talking about concrete ways to build God into what you are experiencing.

But today, I’m asking that we all just take a minute or two considering worship as a form of celebration.

worship 5

You guys know I love to put myself in Bible stories, especially ones where Jesus is the leading character. Which is pretty much every story  in the gospels, so yeah.  I have this tendency to play this  supporting, behind the scenes kind of  role in all my versions of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John right next to the main characters.

worship 6

But here’s pretty much one of my faves. It’s Jesus’s very first miracle. It’s the very first story about Jesus as, like, a big boy.  His ministry is just about to launch and somehow, someway, he and his mom and some other people have been invited to this wedding in the town of Cana.  And about half way through the party, they run out of wine.  OUT OF WINE.  AT A WEDDING.  WHAT?!  Poor planners or something.  But yet…

worship 7

But yet. In the midst of the party and the food and the celebration, Mary, our Mother Mary, this brave momma of the Son of God, goes over to Jesus (because, you know it’s a wedding and they’re not at the same table because it just isn’t the way it’s done…), and, in my version, she has  her hands on her hips and she has just a touch of an attitude, and she basically says, “Um. You need to do something about this.   I know you’re trying to humble and behind the scenes and stuff like that right now.  But these people are our friends, our people.  And they are out of wine.  AT A WEDDING. And that isn’t cool.  So.  Can you help us out?”

At first, like any young adult, he gives her an eye roll. Right? “Woman, what business is this of mine?”  (He actually says that. TO HIS MOMMA.  Look it up if you don’t believe me.) But then, like all mature-ish moms, she flippantly turns around, ups His eye roll, and confidently says to the servers, “Yeah.  He’s got this.  Do what he tells you to do and then fill ’em up.”

worship 4

I think they went home that night and had the giggles and stayed up high fiving and hugging. They knew some pretty intense and awful stuff was coming. But that night? I think they celebrated. His very first public miracle was for the FUN of it.  Celebration, girls.  It’s a big, darn big, deal.  And I LOVE it.  Like SUPER LOVE IT!!!!!!!

Worship 2

Girls. We gotta celebrate when the opportunities present themselves.  And here’s the even cooler thing:  He’s present in all of it if we just take the time to look for Him.  And THAT is what we’ve been discovering all semester.  All these disciplines lead to this:  our seeking and acknowledging of Him and His miracles – big and small  – in our lives.  We may not have always gotten them right or practiced them at all.  But you know what?  He saw us.  He sees us.  And He knows our heart.  He knows we love Him, that we’re seeking Him, and that we honestly just want to come closer.  And He’s celebrating with us today as we come closer to celebrating HIM at Christmas!

SO.  I’m CRAZY glad you joined us on this journey.  I am proud of you for reading and trying and questioning and trying again when things were new, uncomfortable, and even hard. And I cannot wait to tell you what’s coming in the New Year.  But that’s a post for January, sweet friends.  (Insert silly grin, giggles, hand clapping, and summersaults – because cartwheels are just too hard for this body…!)

In the meantime, here’s a little glimpse into where we are headed, which is even deeper into the disciplines we’ve been talking about this semester.  You aren’t going to want to miss this, girls.  It’s better than good…it’s GREAT!

She Persisted grace Logo Enlongated

I wish you and yours a very Merry and WONDERFUL Christmas and holiday break.  We’ll be back here the first week of January to let you know what we are up to in 2018. 😉

Thank you, as always, for your trust, prayers, support, and love.  I send all of that AND MORE back you way.

Peace, love, joy, and GRATITUDE!

Wendie

PS – Check out what I got from some gals for Christmas… aren’t they the most clever sisters ever?!

Typewriter from Camille and Amy

 

 

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The Legend of Uncle Harold (…what you REALLY need this Christmas)

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the legend of uncle harold

I was shopping for last minute Christmas gifts a number of years ago and I spied the most gorgeous brown scarf with green fringe and little flowers appliquéd on it in the shape of a peace sign.  And if you know me at all, you know I am in LOVE with the word “peace”…so I bought it for myself for Christmas.

Having said that, please know that I don’t NORMALLY buy myself Christmas gifts, but there were only two in the store and I didn’t want to go thru the rig-a-ma-roll of sending Tim in to get it for me and chancing that it would be gone.  Sooooo…I grabbed one off the display case and asked the woman who rang me up to box and wrap it for me.  She started to giggle and said, “I’ll put a card on the top that says, “From Uncle Harold”.

As she saw my questioning look, she smiled and proceeded to tell me the “Legend of Uncle Harold”!  For the first few years of this woman’s marriage, her husband would receive some really awesome Christmas gifts each year from his Uncle Harold.  Every year, on the last working day before Christmas, he would arrive home from a day at the office and say, “Good old Uncle Harold stopped by the office today and dropped off my presents!”  He would pop these gifts under the tree with a big smile on his face!

Mind you, Harold never brought her any gifts – just her husband.  That didn’t really seem too odd to her, however, since she had never met Uncle Harold before.  Regardless, each Christmas morning her husband would open the “Uncle Harold” gifts and marvel at how well the presents suited him and would say that no one knew him better!

Christmas ornament deal

After several years passed, this woman happened to mention the name “Uncle Harold” one year at a family Thanksgiving dinner.  It seemed everyone she asked about Uncle Harold denied any knowledge of such a relative.  Confused and perplexed, she asked her husband, “Why doesn’t anyone know your Uncle Harold?”

Sheepishly, he had to then admit, that as much as he loved his dear wife, she was not the best gift giver.  She’d give things like hankies or toothpicks.  Or maybe vacuum bags or a can opener. (Very practical, this woman!)

He, on the other hand, was an extravagant gift giver!  He had the knack of being able to find the perfect thing for each person on his list.  And, he also could find the perfect thing for himself (then again, can’t we all…!).  So, in order to make Christmas “merry” for himself too, he decided that he would become his own “Uncle” so he could be assured of getting what he wanted under the tree!  Luckily, his wife had a good sense of humor and thought this was a clever and silly deception.  And they keep up this “tradition” even today – 20 some years later…

I think back on this story every year around this time.  On the surface, it’s funny!  It’s cute!  It’s even sort of endearing!  And walking the dogs one morning, it hit me:  YES!  I want us all to have an Uncle Harold Christmas;  I want us to have the best gifts that we have ever received under the tree this year.

Alright.  I was wrong.  I realized about a minute later that I don’t honestly want that.  True – if we could buy and wrap our own presents and pop them under our trees, we’d have one fine Christmas morning, indeed.   But you know what would be missing?

  • Memory making (years from now, looking back at those handmade crafts that we don’t have a clue what to do with – or even what they ARE!);
  • private giggles with our spouses over the coupon books our children make;
  • tears of joy at the look of pride and excitement on the faces of the ones giving us the gifts;
  • even BIGGER tears as we see the joy that the gifts WE gave have created; and,
  • quiet moments of reflection and gratitude for the thoughts put into the giving after the gifts are open.

And that’s when it finally settled in, and I mean INUncle Harold has nothing lasting to offer.  Uncle Harold gifts won’t sustain us in hard times or grant us peace in the storms we all will have to endure.  Uncle Harold can’t even enjoy the element of joyful surprise or the gauche of cheeky silliness.

Let me ask you something.  How would you feel if you spent infinite time, care, and love wrapping something incredibly special for someone you loved and when Christmas morning came, that person passed over your simply wrapped present for those that looked a bit brighter, maybe a little flashier?  Would it grieve your heart to think what you created for that someone would change his/her life for the forever better but they chose not to open it and accept it? I wonder if that’s what God feels like when we choose to fill our lives with things that have no lasting impact – things Uncle Harold can deliver, but don’t make any difference to our lives in the long run.

christmas candles

So I no longer wish you an Uncle Harold Christmas, my sisters!  Instead, I wish you an Authentic Christmas, stuffed full of surprises (like the birth of a baby who became the Savior of the world), loaded with spontaneity (like finding a place where that baby would lay His holy head); and unexpected, simple gifts (like shepherds giving the only thing they could – keeping watch).  And that, my sweet sister friends, is an authentic Christmas.  Jesus.  The gift of Jesus is a game changer – a LIFE changer, sisters.  He is the energizer bunny of gifts – the gift that keeps on eternally giving  (no batteries required)!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, my friends, filled with love, laughter, peace, and Jesus.

God bless you.

(Hope you enjoyed this fun, Christmas story, posted in its original form on 12/23/13!)

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

The Best, BRIGHTEST Christmas Gift Idea for 2015!

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Looking for something fabulous to give yourself for Christmas this year, sister friends?! Don’t know what to put on your list for someone looking to give you something special?

How about a short, but sweet, girl’s weekend?!

FINAL Shine Logo Full Color on White Full Text

We are gearing up for what is going to be one BRIGHT, SHINING BLAST of a retreat!  If you are in our area, you won’t want to miss Shine – Let it Glow, Girl!

Postcard Backside

We’ll be exploring your worth and God-assigned purpose for this life!  AND, you’ll be showered with amazing gifts, great food, and so much sister friend LOVE!!!!

Sounds good, right?!  We thought so!  Click here to register online TODAY space is limited and registration ends on January 8th!  OR, click here to print a paper form that you can mail in!  Can’t wait to see YOU there!

And speaking of AWESOME Christmas gifts…

Friday

Lookie what I got as an early Christmas present this year?!  May I introduce to you Our Boy, FRIDAY CONNORS!  Isn’t he honestly just THE cutest?!

I’m looking forward to getting back into the blogging and Bible study swing of things with you soon!  We’ll be diving into Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life in 2016.  In the meantime, I wish you all the best of everything this holy and blessed holiday season. Thank you for letting me be a little part of your week, celebrating God together.

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

Up Next Week:  Our annual “Uncle Harold’s Christmas Story”!!!

 

The Legend of Uncle Harold (…what you REALLY need this Christmas)

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the legend of uncle harold

I was shopping for last minute Christmas gifts a number of years ago and I spied the most gorgeous brown scarf with green fringe and little flowers appliquéd on it in the shape of a peace sign.  And if you know me at all, you know I am in LOVE with the word “peace”…so I bought it for myself for Christmas.

Having said that, please know that I don’t NORMALLY buy myself Christmas gifts, but there were only two in the store and I didn’t want to go thru the rig-a-ma-roll of sending Tim in to get it for me and chancing that it would be gone.  Sooooo…I grabbed one off the display case and asked the woman who rang me up to box and wrap it for me.  She started to giggle and said, “I’ll put a card on the top that says, “From Uncle Harold”.

As she saw my questioning look, she smiled and proceeded to tell me the “Legend of Uncle Harold”!  For the first few years of this woman’s marriage, her husband would receive some really awesome Christmas gifts each year from his Uncle Harold.  Every year, on the last working day before Christmas, he would arrive home from a day at the office and say, “Good old Uncle Harold stopped by the office today and dropped off my presents!”  He would pop these gifts under the tree with a big smile on his face!

Mind you, Harold never brought her any gifts – just her husband.  That didn’t really seem too odd to her, however, since she had never met Uncle Harold before.  Regardless, each Christmas morning her husband would open the “Uncle Harold” gifts and marvel at how well the presents suited him and would say that no one knew him better!

Christmas ornament deal

After several years passed, this woman happened to mention the name “Uncle Harold” one year at a family Thanksgiving dinner.  It seemed everyone she asked about Uncle Harold denied any knowledge of such a relative.  Confused and perplexed, she asked her husband, “Why doesn’t anyone know your Uncle Harold?”

Sheepishly, he had to then admit, that as much as he loved his dear wife, she was not the best gift giver.  She’d give things like hankies or toothpicks.  Or maybe vacuum bags or a can opener. (Very practical, this woman!)

He, on the other hand, was an extravagant gift giver!  He had the knack of being able to find the perfect thing for each person on his list.  And, he also could find the perfect thing for himself (then again, can’t we all…!).  So, in order to make Christmas “merry” for himself too, he decided that he would become his own “Uncle” so he could be assured of getting what he wanted under the tree!  Luckily, his wife had a good sense of humor and thought this was a clever and silly deception.  And they keep up this “tradition” even today – 20 some years later…

I think back on this story every year around this time.  On the surface, it’s funny!  It’s cute!  It’s even sort of endearing!  And walking the dogs one morning, it hit me:  YES!  I want us all to have an Uncle Harold Christmas;  I want us to have the best gifts that we have ever received under the tree this year.

Alright.  I was wrong.  I realized about a minute later that I don’t honestly want that.  True – if we could buy and wrap our own presents and pop them under our trees, we’d have one fine Christmas morning, indeed.   But you know what would be missing?

  • Memory making (years from now, looking back at those handmade crafts that we don’t have a clue what to do with – or even what they ARE!);
  • private giggles with our spouses over the coupon books our children make;
  • tears of joy at the look of pride and excitement on the faces of the ones giving us the gifts;
  • even BIGGER tears as we see the joy that the gifts WE gave have created; and,
  • quiet moments of reflection and gratitude for the thoughts put into the giving after the gifts are open.

And that’s when it finally settled in, and I mean INUncle Harold has nothing lasting to offer.  Uncle Harold gifts won’t sustain us in hard times or grant us peace in the storms we all will have to endure.  Uncle Harold can’t even enjoy the element of joyful surprise or the gauche of cheeky silliness.

Let me ask you something.  How would you feel if you spent infinite time, care, and love wrapping something incredibly special for someone you loved and when Christmas morning came, that person passed over your simply wrapped present for those that looked a bit brighter, maybe a little flashier?  Would it grieve your heart to think what you created for that someone would change his/her life for the forever better but they chose not to open it and accept it? I wonder if that’s what God feels like when we choose to fill our lives with things that have no lasting impact – things Uncle Harold can deliver, but don’t make any difference to our lives in the long run.

christmas candles

So I no longer wish you an Uncle Harold Christmas, my sisters!  Instead, I wish you an Authentic Christmas, stuffed full of surprises (like the birth of a baby who became the Savior of the world), loaded with spontaneity (like finding a place where that baby would lay His holy head); and unexpected, simple gifts (like shepherds giving the only thing they could – keeping watch).  And that, my sweet sister friends, is an authentic Christmas.  Jesus.  The gift of Jesus is a game changer – a LIFE changer, sisters.  He is the energizer bunny of gifts – the gift that keeps on eternally giving  (no batteries required)!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, my friends, filled with love, laughter, peace, and Jesus.

God bless you.

(Hope you enjoyed this fun, Christmas story, posted in its original form on 12/23/13!)

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

Up Next Week:  What 2015 Is Looking Like For Me…!!!!

The Legend of Uncle Harold (and what I REALLY wish for you this Christmas!)

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I know that a 1,000 word blog post two days before Christmas may not get a lot of attention!  I know you have a lot left to do.  I pray for peace in these next few days and joy in the chaos.  And if you get a few quiet moments to settle down for 5 minutes or so and read this with a cup or tea (or glorious glass of wine!), I hope it blesses your spirit!  Merry Christmas!

the legend of uncle harold

I was shopping for last minute Christmas gifts a few years ago and I spied the most gorgeous brown scarf with green fringe and little flowers appliquéd on it in the shape of a peace sign.  Oh sisters, if you know me at all, you know I am in LOVE with the word peace…so I bought it for myself for Christmas.

Having said that, please know that I don’t NORMALLY buy myself Christmas gifts, but there were only two in the store and I didn’t want to go thru the rig-a-ma-roll of sending Tim in to get it for me and chancing that it would be gone.  Sooooo…I grabbed one off the display case and asked the woman who rang me up to box and wrap it for me.  She started to giggle and said, “I’ll put a card on the top that says, “From Uncle Harold”.

As she saw my questioning look, she smiled and proceeded to tell me the “Legend of Uncle Harold”!  For the first few years of this woman’s marriage, her husband would receive some really awesome Christmas gifts each year from his Uncle Harold.  Every year, on the last working day before Christmas, he would arrive home from a day at the office and say, “Good old Uncle Harold stopped by the office today and dropped off my presents!”  He would pop these gifts under the tree with a big smile on his face!

Mind you, Harold never brought anyone gifts – just for her husband.  That didn’t really seem too odd to her, however, since she had never met Uncle Harold before.  Regardless, each Christmas morning her husband would open the “Uncle Harold” gifts and marvel at how well the presents suited him and would say that no one knew him better!

Christmas ornament deal

After several years passed, this woman happened to mention the name “Uncle Harold” one year at a family Thanksgiving dinner.  It seemed everyone she asked about Uncle Harold denied any knowledge of such a relative.  Confused and perplexed, she asked her husband, “Why doesn’t anyone know your Uncle Harold?”

Sheepishly, he had to then admit, that as much as he loved his dear wife, she was not the best gift giver.  She’d give things like hankies or toothpicks.  Or maybe vacuum bags or a can opener. (Very practical, this woman!)

He, on the other hand, was an extravagant gift giver!  He had the knack of being able to find the perfect thing for each person on his list.  And, he also could find the perfect thing for himself (then again, can’t we all…!).  So, in order to make Christmas “merry” for himself too, he decided that he would become his own “Uncle” so he could be assured of getting what he wanted under the tree!  Luckily, his wife had a good sense of humor and thought this was a clever and silly deception.  Apparently, they keep up this “tradition” even today – 20 some years later…

I think back on this story every year around this time.  On the surface, it’s funny!  It’s cute!  It’s even sort of endearing!  And walking the dogs one morning, it hit me.  YES!  I want us all to have an Uncle Harold Christmas;  I want us to have the best gifts that we have ever received under the tree this year.

Alright.  I was wrong.  I realized about a minute later that I don’t really want that.  True – if we could buy and wrap our own presents and pop them under our trees, we’d have one fine Christmas morning, indeed.   But you know what would be missing?

  • Memory making (years from now, looking back at those handmade crafts that we don’t have a clue what to do with – or even what they ARE!);
  • private giggles with our spouses over the coupon books our children make;
  • tears of joy at the look of pride and excitement on the faces of the ones giving us the gifts;
  • even BIGGER tears as we see the joy that the gifts WE gave have created; and,
  • quiet moments of reflection and gratitude for the thoughts put into the giving after the gifts are open.

And that’s when it finally settled in, and I mean INUncle Harold has nothing lasting to offer.  Uncle Harold gifts won’t sustain us in hard times or grant us peace in the storms we all will have to endure.  Uncle Harold can’t even enjoy the element of joyful surprise or the gauche of cheeky silliness.

Let me ask you something.  How would you feel if you spent infinite time, care, and love wrapping something incredibly special for someone you loved and when Christmas morning came, that person passed over your simply wrapped present for those that looked a bit brighter, maybe a little flashier?  Would it grieve your heart to think what you created for that someone would change his/her life for the forever better but they chose not to open it and accept it? I wonder if that’s what God feels like when we choose to fill our lives with things that have no lasting impact – things Uncle Harold can deliver, but don’t make any difference to our lives in the long run.

christmas candles

So I no longer wish you an Uncle Harold Christmas, my sisters!  Instead, I wish you an Authentic Christmas, stuffed full of surprises (like the birth of a baby who became the Savior of the world), loaded with spontaneity (like finding a place where that baby would lay His holy head); and unexpected, simple gifts (like shepherds giving the only thing they could – keeping watch).  And that, my sweet sister friends, is an authentic Christmas.  Jesus.  The gift of Jesus is a game changer – a LIFE changer, sisters.  He is the energizer bunny of gifts – the gift that keeps on eternally giving  (no batteries required)!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, my friends, filled with love, laughter, peace, and Jesus.  God bless you.

Love,

Wendie

Drink Me. And Drink UP! Let’s Start Advent Right!

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“She found a little bottle…and tied round the neck of the bottle was a paper label with the words ‘DRINK ME’ beautifully printed on it in large letters.  It was all very well to say ‘Drink me,’ but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. ‘No, I’ll look first,’ she said, ‘and see whether it’s marked ‘poison’ or not…”  Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.

drink me

Ever take a swig of out of a bottle when you are super thirsty but you suddenly get the taste of something entirely different than what you expected?  You know: you are expecting a diet coke, but instead get unsweetened iced tea?  Pretty unnerving, isn’t it (not to mention icky).  Makes you a little wary about just picking any old bottle to chug, doesn’t it?!

“But Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.’” John 4:13-14, NLT

God designed us to spiritually thirst for Him the way our bodies physically thirst for water.  In this scripture, Jesus is saying “Drink Me”; drink from the well that never goes dry, always tastes sweet, and helps us to move the knowledge of Him from our heads to the wellspring of our hearts!

Reading scripture and storing it up in our hearts is the best way to weather those times between the rainy reasons of blessings in our lives, when everything seems dry.  Jesus tells us that HIS water builds within us and will carry us through to eternal life!  Storing up on this “living water” in our souls is the sustenance we need to carry us through those times. It strengthens our faith, reminds us of His goodness, and gives us HOPE that the seasons WILL change!

“We all need direction.  We all need to see those directions and we all need to hear them.  AND we need to know that no matter where we are or how lost we get, there is always a way out!”  Wendie Connors, The KISS, page 28.

I pray this reprint of an excerpt from my book, Daily Smooches, was of comfort to you today at the start of the Advent season!

Daily Smooches cover

Up Thursday:  a radical (re)look at the Sabbath…!!!

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie