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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I will be out of town the next few days without my computer so I just wanted to tell you I am praying you and your family have a Very Merry Christmas.

I will be back December 26th! Hope to see ya then!

Happy Holidays from the Johns Family!

God Bless You and Yours, Tina

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Moon Rocks

As I mentioned yesterday, I want to give you a recipe for some really great candy that is soooo easy. It has a very unusual name but taste great!

Moon Rocks

2 lbs White Almond Bark (found at Walmart in baking section)

2 cups unsalted peanuts

1 ½ cups chunky peanut butter

1 lg bag of miniature marsh mellows

Melt white chocolate, add peanuts and peanut butter and mix well. Next add marsh mellows and spoon out onto waxed paper.

These are always a great hit.

Today is the last Saturday before Christmas. The house is decorated, presents under the tree. No stress here except due to the weather our flights might get cancelled tomorrow. So what are we doing? My hubby and I are both on our lap tops, watching the weather channel and making phone calls.

So, if I do not make it to my destination on time, I too may be making more Moon Rocks.
If we do make it on time, then I may do the Moon Walk. (Just kidding, this girl can't dance.)

Happing cooking!

Friday, December 19, 2008

What to Give

Last night we had our annual Johns Family Christmas.

The Johns family consists of Mom & Dad, three sons, three of the most wonderful daughter-in-laws (lol), eight grandkids (two of whom are married) and four great grandkids.

Four of the grandkids are the same ages so we always bring a gift for Tre’ and Shaina who are the ages of my kids Tyler and Chrissy. I am thankful that they more than cousins, they are really good friends.

But all week my son has stressed about the gift we got Tre’. Tyler was worried Tre’ would give him a really good present and the one we got him would not be equally matched in the “greatness department”.

See, my idea of a nice gift cost around $15. A good gift is $20 and a great gift is $25. Call me cheap but I got over having to purchase the “perfect” gift or an expensive gift a long time ago. It takes too much time, stress and anxiety and I found I am not a very nice person when I am stressed and anxious.

With all that said, I do have someone I want to give the best to… but there is no way to equally match back to God the gift He gave to me.

Although there is one thing I can do and you can do; God gave all He had to us, therefore our gift back to Him should be the giving all of ourselves; all our our hearts, minds, soul and strength.

God gave us the most extravagant gift heaven had to offer. He gave it lovingly and selflessly. No Christmas gift will ever top it.

So my prayer is not that I would stress out over matching God’s gift, but that I would just open my heart as Mary did, trust God as Mary did and simply say, “I am the Lord’s servant…” as Mary did.

So… what did Tre’ give Tyler? Would you believe the same thing Tyler gave Tre'! So when you see two teenagers walking around with the same UF hat on, it's probably them.

If you are still looking for a great and easy recipe for candy this season, tune in tomorrow.

Hope you are having a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Things First

As I stated in yesterday’s post, I want to share with you a truth today we all can easily forget this time of the year.

There is a popular saying every Holiday Season found across billboards, church signage and Christmas cards. I even ended my blog The Perfect Gift with the reminder of this truth… “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”

And there is no truer statement but as I listened to a Christmas CD yesterday, I was reminded of another truth… We are the reason Jesus came in the first place.

He did not come because there was nothing better to do or because He was bored. He came because… “God so loved the world.”


Do you know how many people there are in the world?

It’s really easy to feel a little insignificant when lumped in with a few billion people.

But I wonder how insignificant Jesus feels this time of the year when our attention is focused on, and consumed with, presents, cooking, parties, cleaning, decorating and traveling?

Wow, on the first Christmas we were His priority…but this Christmas, is He ours?

Oh, I pray so.

Every year I make a list. And yes, I check it twice. It’s not a list of things I want but of things I plan to purchase and accomplish. It is my guide to keep me on track and it allows me to see what I have taken care of and what’s left to do with the most important things on the top of my list.

Another statement we quote a lot is… “First things first.”

What does that mean? It means the most important things should always remain at the top of our list. It is the thing that should get the most of our attention and focus first.

So I want us to ask ourselves, who or what is really first on our list? And if Jesus were to write His own list, where do you think we would be?

That question was answered over 2000 years ago on the first Christmas morning.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
1 John 4:9-10

So, yes, Jesus is the reason for the season... but we were His reason FIRST.

Still working my list,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Holidaze

Do you feel like you are drowning in wrapping paper, eggnog, Christmas musicals and cookie dough? It is easy to feel like it’s a "Merry Christmess" instead of “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

Here’s a little poem I read this week that I wanted to share with you.

1 Corinthians 13- Christmas Style
By Sharon Jaynes

If I decorate my house perfectly with lovely plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls, but do not show love to my family - I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family - I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family - It profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break; pearl necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

I pray that you will allow these truths to remind you of what's most important as we go through this last week up to Christmas.

Stay tuned, tomorrow I will post another truth I was reminded of today as I listened to one of my favorite Holiday CD's.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Peace came to Earth

The knock came surprisingly on the door one day. Before the middle-aged woman, stood a young pregnant teenager.

As Mary entered Elizabeth’s home I am sure she wondered how Elizabeth would respond to the news of her immaculate conception.

You see, Mary lived in a time where women could be put to death if found to be with child out of wedlock. The stress and feelings of fear for her safety and the safety of her unborn child had to overwhelm her.

But that is not the picture of Mary we see. As a matter of fact when you read Luke 1, Mary breaks forth in a song of praise moments after entering Elizabeth’s home; a beautiful heartfelt song. Let’s take a second to read and imagine Mary in this very moment.

Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.” Luke 1:46-55 (NLT)

How could she have such peace in the midst of the most troubling time of her life?

Mary had such peace because she was carrying the Prince of Peace!

In 5th grade I auditioned for our school chorus… and made it. What’s crazy about that is I can’t sing, AT ALL. Looking back I wonder, “Mom, did you bribe Mrs. Miller?” You don’t have to answer. My point is this, we always ended every performance with the same song and the very last line of it says, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

Oh, the real Peace on earth did begin with Mary. But thank goodness it did not end with her.

The Prince of Peace is in me today 2000 years later, and in you.

Wow, that means no matter the situations we may find ourselves in, like Mary we too can break forth in a song of praise to God because He truly is "Our God and Our Savior!”

Making a Joyful "Noise",

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Perfect Gift

It has finally arrived… the time of the year every small boy and girl waits so patiently for… the Holiday Season!

The rush is on. As of today there are only 22 more shopping days left till Christmas. Wow… am I so not ready. Well, I did buy one small gift for the Rents yesterday. But thoughts are filling my head, as I am sure they are filling yours, of cookies to bake, parties to host, menus to decide and yes, the perfect gifts to buy. HO! HO! HO!

The whole world knows Christmas is here. But does the whole world know Christ?

It is hard to imagine but there was a time where there was no hope… a time with no celebration… a time when there was no Jesus.

Think of how your life would be without Christ, without His Word, without His blood that covers our sin and shame, without His power and authority.

Life would be much different. Christ is our example, so without Him could we fully love, because Christ is Love? Could we freely give, because Christ gave all? Could we firmly stand in trying times, because Christ is our solid foundation?

I do not want to imagine my life without Christ. But for some (make that most) people that is their reality.

So let’s purpose this year to share Christ to everyone. After all, someone shared Him with you.


Think for a moment about the greatest gift you received when you were a child. Do you remember how excited you were? How you could not wait to get back to school and tell all your friends about your awesome gift? I want to challenge you this season to share the Greatest Gift ever given to man.

Remember, Jesus really is the reason for the season.

What more perfect gift could you give!

Have a great Wednesday!