I have started reading the book that I mentioned earlier this month called Worldliness. So far, it is great, very straightforward and convicting, and also easy to read. I am looking forward to what the Lord might reveal to me as I study this book.
This time of year it is near impossible to not get sucked into a "worldly" or materialistic mindset. I admit that there were moments when I was shopping for gifts in which I started shopping for myself! I love buying & giving gifts for our family. We are very blessed in that we do not deal with any of the "expecting a nice gift" from our family members, and we only give gifts to our immediate family members. (Sometimes we will decide to play a white elephant game with my aunts, uncles and cousins, but that's only every few years.) Considering what I have heard some of my friends and acquaintances complaining about with being obligated to buy a gift for every single person down to Great-Aunt Carol's son from Minnesota whom you only see at Christmas, we, as a family, have it easy. I think that having less to buy makes it easier for us to keep focused on what the True Meaning of Christmas is. I realize that this sounds very cliche and "Sunday School-ish," but as we have whittled down our list of people-to-buy-for and what-to-buy over the years, I know that it is true. Maybe if I planned ahead better, I could buy for all of our cousins and their children and all of our aunts and uncles and still remember why Christmas even happens, but I am not so sure. Of course, this is only my personal experience. I am not at all suggesting that you do not acknowledge Christ's birthday if you buy gifts for every person that you come in contact with; this is just what has become necessary in my life in order to not slip into a worldly celebration of a Holy holiday.
We had a fun opportunity this year to read the daily Christmas (Advent) devotional called A Meaningful Christmas Devotional. Along with a short and simple daily reading, which we did at breakfast,there is a coordinating handmade ornament to help your child better understand the topic for the day. The ornaments were made by 24 different women (including myself), as each was assigned a specific day's topic and instructions to make 24 copies of the ornaments. The ornaments were shared at a meeting where we received the devotional book. It was a great experience for our family, and another way that we were able to keep Christ at the center of Christmas. Rush asked every morning, "Are we going to read the yellow book, Daddy?" If you think you might be interested in doing this devotional, you can go to the Facebook page for more info.
I completed my first half-marathon on December 9th! The Lord protected me during the race- no pain and no fatigue! I am currently training toward my second coming up on February 9.
Ben and I started reading another book together- Sheet Music. It's one that I have read before, but Ben has not. I will not go into any details, except to say, if you're not married, you shouldn't read it. (There are a couple of chapters that the author suggests for engaged couples close to the wedding date.) Anyway, it's about sexual intimacy within marriage, and how great a gift from God it is. I think that any married couple would benefit from reading it. But I must warn you: it will make you blush. ;)