Names of Jesus Ornaments with Christmas Devotions

christmas-ornaments-watermarkedIn years past we’ve used a Jesse Tree and devotions during the Christmas season.  A few years ago I was pinning some of my favorite Christmas crafts I came across a picture of some beautifully crafted glass ornaments with the names of Jesus on them.  I repinned the post and read later (like most of us do when we are short on time).  I really liked this idea, because I ADORE anything that reminds me of all of the names of my precious Jesus.  I also liked the idea that each of my children could make their own set of ornaments to celebrate the advent season.  Not only could they use them to decorate their own trees in their rooms, but they could also keep them over the years and share them with their children.

I began researching and found an awesome Names of Jesus unit study here from the Easy Fun School website.  It teaches 24 names of Jesus, scripture, handwriting pages, word searches, and activities for each subject which are tied to the lesson.  The study actually includes a list of all of the names of Jesus so you can study even more. We did this study and made these ornaments years ago, but my children still use these today and they plan to use their ornaments in their own home some day.

To create our Names of Jesus ornaments and Bible study, I went to my craft closet and gathered all of my supply bins.  I purchased sets of fillable glass ornaments for each child (and one for myself).  I would get extra in case some break.  You can also purchase acrylic ornaments, but they are more costly.

You could utilize paint pens in black, gold and silver to write the names of Jesus and the scripture reference on the outside of the ornaments or you could purchase vinyl decals here.

There are lots of options for decorating the ornaments:

  1. You could pour a small amount of paint into the inside of the ornament, cover the whole and shake. You can also swirl a few colors into the ornaments to give them a marbelized effect. Then be sure to turn the ornament upside down and put it into a bathroom sized paper or plastic cup to drain for a day or two.
  2. I love the look of glittered ornaments, but glitter on the outside is extremely messy. Polycrylic is a clean and beautiful way to glitter ornaments. Simply pour a little polycrylic into the ornament and immediately turn the ornament upside down into a cup to drain out the excess. Then sprinkle a little of your favorite color glitter into the ornament and slowly turn the ornament around in your hands to coat the entire inside with glitter. Add more if needed. Then turn the ornament upside down into another cup to allow the excess glitter to sprinkle out. Then you can immediately put your top back into your ornament. You can pour your excess glitter and polycrylic from your cups back into their respective containers. e of the ornaments, squirt small amounts of paint inside and shake.  You can swirl more than one color inside as well.
  3. Fill ornaments with trinkets that pertain to the scripture reference. For example, for “Bright and Morning Star” we filled our ornament with star confetti. We didn’t completely fill our ornaments with trinkets as sometimes that makes the label on the outside difficult to read. You can also see the trinkets better as well.

You can easily fill ornaments with sweet trinkets. However, I found that it could be quite pricey to fill them completely so I only fill ours half way to be thrify. It also makes it easier to see the trinkets when there is still room inside the ornament. Be creative with your trinkets. If you need some inspiration, here are some ideas:

1. Alpha & Omega–fill with cutouts of the Alpha & Omega symbol.
2. Wonderful Counselor–fill with paint or glitter or beads or filler.
3. Mighty God–fill with cutouts of barbels or gold ball filler or beads.
4. Everlasting Father–fill with artificial pine needles or paint green for evergreens.
5. Prince of Peace–fill with dove confetti or cutouts of doves or crowns or artificial snow filler.
6. The Firstborn of Every Creature– Fill ornament with birthday candles or birthday confetti.
7. The Unspeakable Gift–we made cutouts of gifts using small construction paper or gift-shaped confetti or little bows.
8. Lamb of God–fill with cotton or fiberfill.
9. The Good Shepherd-fill with cutouts of shepherd staffs or mini candy canes.
10. Bright & Morning Star-fill with star-shaped sequins.
11. Messiah–glitter or paint.
12. Immanuel–another filled with paint, glitter, sequins, or beads.
13. Holy–glitter or paint.
14. Light of the World–mini light ornaments or mini light bulbs (just be sure they will fit in the hole of the ornament).

15. Dayspring–glitter or gold, pink, orange paint to represent the colors of a sunrise.
16. The Word–In small font, I printed John 1:1 on paper, cut out multiple, curl, and put inside ornament or Bible confetti.
17. Servant–I printed a small picture of Jesus washing the disciples feet and put inside ornament or paint/glitter.
18. King–Fill with gems or crowns.
19. Rose of Sharon–Fill with real or silk rose petals.
20. Lily of the Valley–Fill with silk lily petals, paint or glitter.
21. Friend–Fill with paint, glitter, sequins or beads.
22. Savior–Fill with cutout crosses or cross shaped beads
23. Shiloh–Fill with paint, glitter, sequins or beads.
24. Ancient of Days–Fill with paint, glitter, sequins or beads.

When your ornaments are all dry you can store them in their box or put them in a bowl, etc.  You can begin utilizing them in whatever fashion works for your family.  We started on December 1st and will follow the study daily for 24 days as a family during our night time devotions, but this is a unit study so you could actually use it during your homeschool day.  During our devotions, we study the name and verse.  We have chosen activities from each day to do together as a family.  Then we close in prayer and each of us puts our ornament of the day on the tree.  Sometimes we put them on the tree. Other years we put them in a crystal bowl or wooden box on our table so we can reflect on the names each time we pass through or sit down to eat in the heart of our home.

If you need simplicity this Christmas season, you can purchase a set of 12 Names of Jesus ornaments here. They come with printed scripture reference and prayer focus. I pray your family is able to utilize this and other ways to enjoy celebrating Jesus throughout the Christmas season.

The Heart of the Matter – Ready, Set, Go!

Ready, Set, Go #encouragement #America #politics #biblicalworldview #heart #election2016Our country doesn’t need Hillary Clinton. Our country doesn’t need Donald Trump. Our country doesn’t need Barack Obama, or any other candidate. Our country doesn’t need revenge or justice in the world’s eyes. Hope and justice don’t lie with them or any ideology from any political party.

It’s just like we studied in church Sunday–we can change circumstances all day long, but it won’t help matters. You can throw money at hundreds of causes, but if the hearts of the recipients aren’t right then they will blow the money and the cause is lost.

We have to change the HEARTS of people. Our hope is in THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. Until people get that through their thick skulls, things are not going to change. In fact, they will only going to get worse. I know we are supposed to pray Jesus tarries so many more can be saved, but I think we are all growing weary and are ready for His return. Please be sure you are ready!

John 3:16-“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” REMEMBER, belief = action. It is not just an intellectual knowledge of Jesus for even satan believes Jesus is the Son of God. It is surrendering of your life to His Lordship every single day and having a personal relationship with Him.

Matthew 7:21-23-“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Acts 4:12-“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Titus 2:11-“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”

And be sure you are doing your part to get others ready for Jesus. This is not a suggestion, or an invitation, this is a COMMANDMENT!

Matthew 28:19-20-“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Let’s plant some seeds so The Lord Jesus can change some hearts! READY, SET, GO!

There Are No Words…

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When you have a blog post to write, it’s not good to be at a loss for words. That is how I feel this week. It’s not a case of writer’s block. It’s not a lack of events of life from which to draw–as a wife and mommy, my life is busy and full. As a Christian, there should always be something God is teaching me that I could share with others. But, I am still struggling with the words today… To understand why I’m struggling, click  here to read the rest of my post at Raising Homemakers.

Overwhelmed by Homeschooling?

Overwhelmed by Homeschooling? Tips and advice for overwhelming the enemy instead of yourself. www.ruckusandrubies.com #homeschooling #faith

I wish I could say that after you homeschool for a while, you no longer feel overwhelmed. Many aspects of the journey do get easier, better, less stressful, but there are always going to be aspects of homeschooling that overwhelm us.

Whether it is Algebra, the science experiment gone awry, meltdowns over writing assignments, the phone ringing off the hook, non-supportive family members and friends, broken appliances, there will always be something that tries to ruin your homeschool journey.

We must remember: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12.

The enemy, satan, wants to steal, kill, and destroy our homeschools. He wants us to throw in the towel. Knowing this gives me a whole new perspective on my struggles. It makes me angry, but most of all motivated. It makes me want to “man up”, stop whining, and fight for my children and our homeschool.

When you feel overwhelmed, use these tips as ammunition against the enemy:

  1. Get into your prayer closet. Encourage your children to pray with you. I know it is an interruption to your homeschool schedule, but math problems can wait. Protecting your home from the enemy cannot!
  2. Reach out to your prayer warriors. Nothing bothers satan more than to hear the prayers of many saints fighting against him.
  3. Seek advice from your homeschool support group, accountability association, or fellow homeschoolers.
  4. Take a break from the overwhelming tasks, pray over them, and do something fun instead. You could take a field trip, go to the library, have a game day, volunteer, perform random acts of kindness in the community, or just take the day off and spend it cuddling and basking in His light.
  5. Speak to the enemy. Bind him in the name of Jesus. Grab your Bible and study scripture. Claim it against the enemy just as Jesus did. Include your children in this maneuver, because they need to know how to recognize who they are battling and how to defeat him.
  • And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. Genesis 33:5
  • And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Hebrews 2:13
  • Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
  • Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
  • Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

The truth is that whether or not you homeschool, there are times of trial for everyone in this life. Hang in there! Remember God’s faithfulness. Seek Him first, and He has promised He will take care of the rest. God never breaks His promises!

For the Love of the Church

churchRecently, a friend of mine commented on the faithfulness of my oldest daughter. She is a full time college student studying youth ministry, works part time, and volunteers in the nursery, choir, children’s church, and youth departments of our church. This sweet friend wanted to encourage my daughter and let her know how much she appreciated the fact that she is at church every time the doors are open. If anyone has an excuse not to be there, it would be young people with busy schedules like my daughter.

My children want to be at church every opportunity they can get. They can’t stand missing church for illness or having church canceled for weather or holidays. I have to admit there are times when I am just too tired and too overwhelmed. I don’t want to go anywhere. I’d rather just crawl under the covers and hide. I say I’ll just worship, read my Bible, and pray at home, but I don’t. By skipping out on the message God has for me in His house, I’m telling God that what I want is more important. I don’t have time to accept his invitation.

In reality, I’m only kidding myself to believe staying home will do me any good. It is these times when I really need worship in His house the most. I should strive to be more like children who have a consuming fire and hunger for God.

I am so thankful The Lord has changed the course of the history of my family. My children are much closer to Him than I was as a child. My parents weren’t Christians and didn’t talk to me about God. My grandmother didn’t get saved until my early teens. God’s influence on my grandmother began a chain of events that changed eternity for generations. Thanks to The Lord, my grandmother was saved. I saw her faith and what God was doing for her. Through that wonderful influence, I got saved and so did my sweet husband.

Unfortunately, this change wasn’t immediate. I remember walking down a path contrary to God and His Word as a teenager and young adult many times. I had justifications, reasons, and excuses for all of my failures.  I don’t think I took much responsibility for my choices back then.

Even as new parents, we allowed the world to press us into its mold. We let the pressures of being working parents prohibit us from being faithfully committed to church attendance and service. We still had time for work, children, shopping, running a household, friends, family, sports, television, but we didn’t have time for God.

All of those other things seemed to take precedence over church. I’m not sure why. I guess because we were slaves to the world’s way of thinking. We thought we had to skip church to be able to take care of everything else we had to do.  We were overwhelmed physically and financially. It didn’t take long for The Lord to get ahold of our hearts. He reminded us that if we sought Him first and His righteousness, that He would take care of the rest.

He began giving us a hunger for the things of God. So we began stepping out in faith. We started tithing regularly.  He provided more financially for us than we ever had by holding back our tithe.

We began attending church every time the doors were open. The days still consisted of 24 hours, but amazingly we had more time to do the things we needed to do. It was difficult because we had to alter the routine of our children. They were used to eating, playing, sleeping on a schedule, but on church days and nights those schedules were interrupted. We were worried about our children being irritable and unruly because they were grumpy, hungry, and out of sorts, but those fears never really came true.

The Lord took care of everything just like He promised He would. God has blessed us even more along the way by taking a stand against anything taking precedence over worship: Jobs, sports, recitals, etc. We have said no to all of them and our children are blessed, well-rounded, and close to The Lord.

Even when we go camping and there isn’t a church around for miles, we simply have devotions and church as a family. I know the world is getting further and further away from corporate worship. It breaks my heart. I know it breaks The Lord’s.

There are Christians all over the world who want to worship, but they can’t. Sacrificing their very lives, they worship in secret. We take that honor and privilege for granted. We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing the world to press us into its mold.  We let any and every circumstance interfere with our worship. When you get down to it, we are just making selfish excuses.

We need to be in His house. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:25: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” God loves the church. We should love all of the things of God, because they are one. I’ve heard this analogy given many times. You can’t get married, occasionally go home to your spouse, and then expect your spouse to believe and know that you love them. It’s the same for God and His church. How can we say we love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength if we give Him lip service?

Worship is the very reason we exist, and we think nothing of pushing it aside. Nothing is more important! The Word says we will worship every second in Heaven for all eternity.  If we don’t have the time or the hunger for worshipping The Lord now on earth, how do you think we’ll feel in Heaven (if our choices don’t keep us from getting there)?

Trim Healthy Mama Review

 

 

 

 

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I began my Trim Healthy Mama journey in October of 2013.  I purchased this life-changing book at that time not realizing the difference it was going to make in my life:

If you are curious and interested in taking a look inside, you can view excerpts by clicking on the picture above or by clicking here: Trim Healthy Mama. It includes the faith-based plan, tips, helps, sample menus, and over half of the book consists of delicious recipes.

Here are some of my blog posts and recipes regarding Trim Healthy Mama:  Trim Healthy Mama posts. Check these out when you have a moment. You’ll find my weight loss journey, tips, advice, and recipes.

The authors of Trim Healthy Mama, Pearl and Serene, have recently published an updated version of their book. The old plan works fine, but they have improved the plan as well as added more recipes.  They also divided the information into two books, a plan book and a cookbook. If you’d like to view excerpts from these, you can click on the pictures below or click here:Trim Healthy Mama Plan: The Easy-Does-It Approach to Vibrant Health and a Slim Waistline and Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook: Eat Up and Slim Down with More Than 350 Healthy Recipes.

           

Since I already had the first book, I simply purchased the cookbook.  I’ve read and heard some interesting things about the new plan book, so I wish I’d purchased it as well. I probably will do that at some point.

Today I’m going to give you a little review of the new cookbook and also of the basic planned outlined in both the old book and the new plan book.

Trim Healthy Mama is NOT a fad diet. It is a plan for changing your life, and since life is a journey, so is the THM plan.  I am a purist and became one long before THM entered my life. In other words, I have been eating whole foods for a long time. Years ago, The Lord showed me what “fake foods” do to your body. Through my health and food allergies of my children, I cut out processed foods, chemicals. I am still on my journey of transitioning into all organic foods and away from GMO’s as well, but like I said it’s a journey.

The THM plan isn’t just for purists. I’ve seen many reviews from purists complaining about the fact that there are suggested foods that aren’t pure, whole foods.  That’s because Pearl and Serene know life is a journey. They know that not everyone is going to be able to make every change necessary to lose weight and eat healthier all at one time. Some people won’t be interested in whole foods at all. Some people may need convenience foods to suit their lifestyle (the authors call them “drive-thru Sue”). So they have written a plan that appeals to many different types of people with different lifestyles and situations.  That being said, there are plenty of recipes using whole foods and many times they offer alternatives for a purist or a drive-thru Sue. That is one of the very reasons I love the book. They have done their very best to show how this plan can work for a multitude of people.

The plan helps you remove sugar and chemicals from your diet. It helps you balance your intake of fuels. What do I mean by fuels? Well, your body only needs two types of fuel: carbs or fat. If you eat them both at the same time, then your body burns one of them, but holds onto the other which prohibits weight loss or even causes weight gain. THM teaches you not to tandem both fuels, but to base your meals on one or the other in a way that doesn’t make you feel deprived.

I cannot begin to count how many THM’ers I know of who have been able to stop their prescription medications because of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, etc. THM is a plan of low carbs, healthy fats, and superfoods that improve your health and well-being.

Trim Healthy Mama also helps you learn to like new foods you never thought you’d eat before, but you must have an OPEN MIND. I’m a Southern Belle, so grits were my hot cereal of choice my entire life. I detested oatmeal. THM taught me why oatmeal is so important, and how to prepare it in such a way that makes it easily digested and more palatable for me. Now I like oatmeal. I also never really liked cauliflower or okra. I still don’t eat okra cooked in it’s regular form, but I’m working on it. THM has enabled me to eat okra as a secret ingredient in several recipes in the new cookbook so that I am able to consume this superfood without having a suffer through it.

Speaking of ingredients, THM has recipes that include special ingredients like stevia (all natural sweetener), almond flour, coconut flour, glucommanan, collagen, and many more. Some of these ingredients are at your regular grocery story, but some are only sold online. You can check these products out by clicking on these links: at my Amazon Store or Trim Healthy Mama store or on the pictures for my stores in my sidebar of this blog on the right side.

You DON’T have to use special ingredients to be successful on the program. There are tons of recipes that do not include special ingredients and many of them have alternative ingredients you can use. The special ingredients last a long time so you do get your money’s worth out of them. They are used to help you make some of your old favorite recipes into THM recipes without the chemicals, high carbs, refined flours, etc.

I have to say that I am very proud of my family. My two oldest girls saw how much better I was feeling, and read about the health benefits of going sugar free. So they began the THM journey as well. They’ve never been overweight so they didn’t do it for weight loss and are more or less on the maintenance plan. They have seen improvement in their health and energy. My oldest is a very picky eater and even she loves almost everything I’ve made from both THM cookbooks. My sweet husband and twins also love the recipes as well.

I cannot say enough about Trim Healthy Mama. It has changed my life. Not only have I lost weight, but I have been able to go off of medication as well. I have more energy than I had as a teenager. That’s probably because I may have been thinner as  a teen, but I wasn’t nourishing my body with healthy foods. I am the healthiest I’ve ever been.

Beware of negative reviews. Some people are not reviewing objectively and are not seeing the big picture: a plan that works for many types of people with different lifestyles and circumstances. They are only reviewing from their own choices and circumstances.

The main thing I like about THM is the prioritization. It prioritizes faith first, then shows you how to bring your eating habits in line with the way God created our bodies. It’s like owning a car. You wouldn’t put diesel or any other substance in a car requiring gasoline. Just as the manufacturer created your car to use gasoline for fuel, God created your body to require certain foods. Why do we fill them with things God did not create for our bodies?

If you have any questions or need advice on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, please feel free to comment below or contact me via the contact tab at the top of my blog.

 

Encouragement for Your Monday

His mercies are new every morning!

Well, folks, it’s a Monday. I don’t know about you, but I usually wake up on Monday morning feeling like I need another weekend. It was a busy one. I had a Saturday full of meetings, chores, and shopping. Yesterday I spent the afternoon helping my oldest daughter move back into her dorm after Christmas break. That time was sandwiched between two wonderful worship services.

I woke up feeling tired and wanted to crawl back under the covers. The Lord reminded me that today is another day just like all of the others. It’s an opportunity to serve Him and my family, and to be a blessing to others. He sent me a sweet Facebook message from a dear cousin, and then He sent me His Word to share with you, encouragement for your Monday:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his mercies never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”  The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.”  Lamentations 3: 22-25

I’m praying you seize every God-given opportunity today through His strength and power! Happy Monday!

Consuming Fire – Thoughtful Thursday

Bible Verse Jeremiah 23:29 consuming fire encouragement, spiritual growth

There are times when trials get us down.  We get discouraged and feel as if we are being buried under an avalanche of the problems of this world.  I always find comfort and sanctuary in God’s Word.  It’s truth lights up the darkness.  It warms us from the inside out, melting away the cold.  It bursts through the obstacles the enemy tries to put in our path.

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Our God is a consuming fire.  His power can combust sin.  He consumes the enemy.  If He is for us, who can be against us?  Let us worship and serve the Lord in awe and reverence of His mighty power.  Let us live lives of gratitude for His protection from the enemy.  Let us be warmed and encouraged by His glorious consuming light!

Fishers of Men – Motivational Monday

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Recently we stayed at a cabin on the lake with some dear friends.  It brought back some sweet memories of when my granddaddy used to take me fishing.  Fishing was just one of those things I only did with my granddaddy to spend time with him.  It wasn’t something I enjoyed, but it was something he liked to do.  He was sweet enough to let me tag along. He even put up with me getting grossed out by baiting the hook; I detested it!  In fact, he would just do it for me.

It’s been a long time since I went fishing.  Every time we go camping, my precious husband and my little man go fishing.  My lovely girls and I usually hang around the camp site for some worm-free girl time.

I was thinking the other day about the fact that I’m a lot tougher than I used to be.  I think now I could probably handle baiting a hook.  Growing up, being a wife and mother, it toughens you up a bit.  In fact, life is always about learning and growing, leaving our comfort zone.  God uses the life lessons and skills of motherhood to prepare you for something more–something bigger than yourself and your little corner of the world.

It reminds me of the story in Matthew 4, where Jesus uses the life lessons and skills of Simon and Andrew, two simple fishermen, for something bigger than they could have ever dreamed.

Matthew 4:18-20:  “Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.  And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

Sometimes Jesus calls us to leave our comfort zones in our little corners of the world.  He calls us to follow Him, to serve Him, to serve others, to help others find God, to be fishers of men.  We need to take these life lessons and use them the way God intended–for His glory.  The disciples did not hesitate.  The Bible says “at once” they left their nets and followed Him.

Everyday we encounter strangers, loved ones, acquaintances, neighbors, and friends, who are floundering around without God.  Let’s get out there, get our hands dirty, bait those hooks, and be productive for His Kingdom.  The time is now–it’s time to be fishers of men!