What Do You Do to Get into the Christmas Spirit?

christmas-spirit
I love Christmas! I love the reason for the season, celebrating Jesus’ birth and all the excitement that goes along with it. I love the joy the season brings. There’s something special in the air! People are kinder, and it seems that Christmas somehow ushers in an expectation of hope — something new and wonderful for the year to come!

christmas-spiritI also love many of the fun things people do to get into the Christmas spirit, such as decorating Christmas trees, hanging bright colorful lights, baking special holiday treats, and playing those wonderful classic Christmas songs.

What will you do this year to get into the Christmas spirit?

The single most favorite thing I’ve done to get into the Christmas spirit happened a few years ago. It was so much fun, I don’t know why I haven’t done it again. Myself and a few of the ladies who serve in the children’s ministry with me at church decided to do a Christmas movie night. I hosted the event at my home. I can hear those of you who know me say in unison, “Naturally!” 🙂

The menu included popcorn, hot dogs, nachos, movie size candy, and sodas. Since it was a grownup gathering — and to make it festive, I served a sparkling champagne punch. Yum!

christmas-spirit The main event was our movie! We chose “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Although it’s been colorized, we watched it in black and white. I’ve seen this great classic several times, but it always delivers!

If anything can get you in the Christmas spirit, it’s watching this heart-warming story. I think I’ll watch it tonight. 🙂

Hey, drop me a line or two and tell me what you’re going to do to get into the Christmas spirit, or what you’ve already done. I look forward to hearing from you!

Have a merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Catherine

Changing Seasons – What Can They Tell Us About Life?

During my devotion this morning, I looked out of my bedroom window as I’ve done hundreds of times before, and observed something I’d never noticed before. I’ve lived in my home for more than twenty years, and about ten years ago we planted a Texas Ash tree in the middle of the backyard.

Seasons-changing

My Texas Ash Tree

It’s a fast growing tree which has grown to about 45 or 50 feet, or taller. During the Spring and Summer it produces an abundance of beautiful deep green leaves.

With it being Fall, and fast approaching Winter, most of the leaves have turned a golden-yellow. What I noticed today that I hadn’t noticed previously were the “falling” leaves.

I watched for fifteen or twenty minutes transfixed at how the leaves were dropping intermittently — as though timed. One. Two. Three at a time they dropped. It was as though each would say, “My turn!” then let go and sail to the ground like a skilled cliff diver.

Within the next two to three weeks, the tree will be dormant and the branches completely bare of leaves. But, like clockwork, when March rolls around buds will start to sprout and by Spring the tree will be full of lush green leaves once again!

As I continued to watch, it occurred to me that a few life lessons could be gleaned from observing the effects of changing seasons. Here are a few of my musings:

As with this great tree, we too experience seasons of life.

The seasons are different. Some are painful and difficult. Others are pleasurable and fun. Each is temporary, and if we recognize them as seasons, we can approach and deal with them more effectively.

There comes a time when we have to shed some things in our lives to allow a fresh start.

This shedding could take the form of a person(s), things we’ve accumulated, bad habits we engage in, or baggage we’ve been holding on to for far too long. The shedding could take the form of emotions, anger or bitterness. If we forgive, we can free ourselves from negative emotions weighing us down.

As the leaves are falling, it appears the tree is dying. But, in the Spring, it will become beautiful once more!

When our lives are falling apart, it seems we can’t make it. But we can. And when we come through the storm we are stronger and better because of it. But just like the tree has a source of life in which its roots are deeply embedded, we must have a source of life in which our faith is deeply embedded. What is your source?

Sometimes we must be transformed before we can experience our best selves, and receive God’s best blessings in our lives.

What life lessons can you extract from changing seasons? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by!

Catherine

Fierce Women Who Happen to be Authors – A Conversation with Deondriea Cantrice

I am so excited to introduce to you Deondriea Cantrice, one of the most dynamic women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Deondriea is a true success story! And I’m honored to include her in my Fierce Women series.

fierce-women

Statistics would have told you Deondriea would be a high school dropout living on welfare. That’s because Deondriea was a teen-mom. Despite having this life-changing event as a major obstacle to overcome, Deondriea persevered to become a celebrated author, motivational speaker, and youth coach.

Deondriea is also a marketing maven who has been able to not only build her brand, but she has been able to assist others in building a sustainable brand as well.

Deondriea was awarded the Distinction of Excellence Award by Stiletto Woman in Business Award (SWIBA) in 2014 and named a finalist for the SWIBA Author of the Year in 2014. She is intelligent, hardworking, and everything she does is done in excellence!

Please join me for an enthralling conversation with Deondriea!

Deondriea’s books can be found on Amazon.com:

Tip Toes, Steel Toes and Stilettos, Rhythm Can’t Keep Time, When Emotions Lie, After the Rain, Write and Grow Rich, You! Branding Yourself for Success!

The song featured in this post is called “Neo Soul Day” by Texas Radio Fish.

Pay Attention to the Burning Bush!

burning-bush
Is there a story inside of you that’s been screaming to come out? Or have you always had a desire to write but just weren’t sure writing was the right path for you? Well, take a moment and read this guest post from Christian author, speaker and educator, Jeaninne Stokes. You just might find God’s been trying to get your attention!

Suddenly, the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses as a blazing fire in a bush. When the Lord saw that He had caught Moses’ attention, God called to him from the bush. Exodus 3:1-4, NLT

Jeaninne-Stokes

Jeaninne Stokes

One day, while Moses was taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep in the land of Midian, he noticed a bush engulfed in flames that was not burning up. As he drew closer to the bush, God called to him from the bush and told him he would lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage.

As with Moses, God has a way of getting our attention when He wants us to answer the call to write for publication. What are some ways God can use to get our attention:

1. He uses our circumstances – Has an event recently happened in your life that may be a sign it’s time for you to write for publication? Is your passion for your current job or career lessening and your desire to write for publication increasing more and more? Have you recently retired from your job or been unexpectedly laid off, and now find yourself with a lot of time on your hand? Are doors closing regarding job opportunities in your existing career that once opened easily for you? Then pay attention to how God may be calling you to write for publication through your circumstances.

2. He uses people – What are others telling you about your writings? Are they saying it’s time for you to move from writing as a hobby to writing for publication? Do people enjoy reading what you’ve written and want to read more? Is your critique group giving you more positive feedback lately about your writings than negative? Are you meeting people through workshops and writing conferences who are willing to help you get published, if you’ll get over your fears and submit your work? Then pay attention to how God may be calling you to write for publication through people.

3. He uses divine intervention – In what ways has God spoken to you directly to let you know he is calling you to write for publication? Have you received a special note from someone about your writings, or has a special message scrolled across your laptop, phone or desktop that you knew was sent directly from God? Has God spoken directly to you through a sermon, a song, a Bible verse, or through prayer? Then pay attention to how God may be communicating his call to write for publication through divine intervention.

Like the great leader Moses, answering the call to write for publication will be the first step on your journey to the promised land God has for you. So be sure to pay attention to your burning bush!

Aspiring writer, in what way is God calling you to write for publication? Post your comments on my blog. I enjoy hearing from you

http://jstokeswritingministries.org/blog/

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Jeaninne Stokes writes to inspire, equip and instruct people as they seek to live a life of faith in every aspect of their lives. She is the author of Living by Faith: A collection of inspirational poetry and Lessons from the Wilderness: A devotional for aspiring writers beginning the journey to write for publication. She also writes a blog called Inspiration for the Aspiring writer, and she writes two email devotionals: Sharing the Word and Weekly Inspiration for Mothers.

She is the founder and CEO of JStokes Writing Ministries, which provides training, coaching and consulting services for aspiring writers wanting to write for publication from the Christian point of view. To learn more about her ministry, visit Jeaninne at: http://www.jstokeswritingministries.com/

PS – Leave a comment for me if you think you’ve been ignoring your burning bush. Thanks!

Catherine