Tuesday, December 30, 2008

See What I'm Saying - Christmas '08 Edition



It's that time again! It's time for you to see what I'm singing...er, I mean, saying! Last time I kicked it off with Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. What excitement comes today? Watch the video to find out!

video


To see the "sister video" to this, visit my sister at Monkeys are Funny. But leave a comment first! Puh-lease!

Chatty Kelly

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Christmas Hangover

I don't know about you, but I have a hangover. No, I haven't been drinking. In addition to the disagreeable physical effects from drinking too much, a hangover can also mean something remaining behind from a former period...i.e. Christmas, or any aftermath or lingering effect.

After nearly 2 months of shopping, wrapping, decorating, and baking...all low key and all my choice...it's over! Done! The toys have been opened, removed from the packaging (which is no small feat), and "some assembly required" has been performed. Many toys have found their way to the playroom.

After much fun on Christmas eve and Christmas Day, I discovered that while I was enjoying the holiday, my family woke up on Christmas eve and put PJs in the hamper, then wore clothes which hit the hamper that night, then more PJs for the hamper, and then more clothes on Christmas morning (not to mention new clothes, which I always run through a wash cycle before wearing.) WHERE DID ALL THIS LAUNDRY COME FROM? I took 2 days off, and bam! Craziness.

And the Christmas tree, so regal and bright before, now seems to mock me..."You know you have to undecorate me, don't you? You realize I have to be carried up to the attic? Got a plan for that? You know your husband is still recovering from his arm surgery?" *Sigh*

It's enough to cause a big, bad hangover all right. Then I realize, I'm overwhelmed and exhausted by things that are not important. Why is my focus on these chores? Where is my joy in the Lord? I was so focused on not turning into Martha before the holidays, than I let my guard down afterwards! And Jesus' voice again says, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed."

May you & I focus on the One who is the one thing needed now in the week after Christmas, and as we enter 2009. Only one thing is needed. I think I can handle that. How about you?

Romans 13:11 -- But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can't afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about! (The Message)

Chatty Kelly

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Unwrapped

Merry Christmas from Chatty Kelly! Here are some pictures.

(I know I said I wouldn't post today...but this isn't a devotion...just pictures!)


This is my dogs' version of bunk beds. They always lay like this! Notice the little one under the pillow. He loves to be covered up.







Our Tree:



This is me (sans make up...shield your eyes!) with my puppy, Buddy. I love that dog!



The entry hall...



Close up of the porcelain church on the entry buffet:



Close up of porcelain nativity:



My favorite wreath hanging in the entry hall:



It's theme is "isn't he the carpenter?" Notice the tools (marked by the small white boxes). A saw and a lathe....



A level, a Carpenters "L", and a hammer handle....





Lots of presents too. More pictures of the kids with their gifts posted on the Kids Say blog!


Chatty Kelly

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas to my blog friends.
Here is one of my favorite Christmas songs. It is not "popular" but it reminds me of the faithfulness of Mary, and what she went through. I love it. I hope you will too.
Merry Christmas!

Chatty Kelly

(There will be no post on Friday, Dec. 26).

Psalm 146:10 - The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Gift or the Giver

My daughters attend the same school. Last week when picking up my four yr old ("Cici") from preschool, we decided to stop by and say "hi" to her older sister "Gigi", who was at lunch. Gigi didn't want her apple, so she asked if she could give it to sister. I agreed, and CiCi and I said our goodbyes to Gigi and headed out to the car.

In the parking lot, Cici was running around with a friend when she accidentally dropped her apple. Well, you would have thought the apple was golden. She burst out crying and I could not console her. The other mom looked surprised and said "That must have been a really good apple." I couldn't figure out why Cici was so upset.

After we got home, I offered her another apple. She didn't want the apple. Her sister had given her the first apple and it was special to her, she explained.

Later in the week, I picked up Cici again. This time she had a sucker from her teacher. As she frolicked with her friend, again the treat was dropped. She looked a little forlorn, but she didn't cry...over candy!?! But it wasn't special to her.

The value, you see, wasn't in the apple, but in the fact that it was from her sister.

This Christmas, I pray that you and I can be like my 4 yr old; and realize the value doesn't come from the gift, but the giver.

Proverbs 18:16 -- A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great.

2 Corinthians 9:7 -- Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.


James 1:17 -- Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.


Chatty Kelly

To see Gigi & Cici preparing for Christmas, visit my other blog at here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good...

That Santa Claus; I don't know about him. You see, he is just like me. He takes note of whether you are bad or good (according to what scale?). If you are bad, you get coal and ashes and soot. If you are good, you get wonderful gifts under your tree.

I, too, judge people on my scale whether they are bad or good. My scale doesn't include soot or gifts, but the good people earn favor and the bad, well, I just don't want to be around them. Even if they're just having a bad day.

But my Savior, Jesus, I love him so much. See, he really does see me when I'm sleeping, and know when I'm awake. He knows if I've been bad or good (and friends, we've all been bad according to his scale - his own perfect life). But he doesn't give me coal.

No, Jesus offers me the gift of eternal life. I don't have to be "good" to earn my gift. The fact is, I could never be good enough to earn it. But Jesus loves me anyway. He has this wonderful gift for me, and all I have to do is believe. I have faith that he is who he says he is (God's Son) and that he died to pay the price for my sins.

I love Jesus so much, that I do try to be good. But like my 4 year old, all the trying in the world still amounts to some bad behavior sometimes. I'm so thankful that my God isn't like Santa Claus. His gift comes even when I'm bad, as long as I believe.

Romans 5:8 -- But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Psalm 33:13-15 -- From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.

Mark 10:18 -- {Jesus said} "No one is good—except God alone."

Chatty Kelly

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday - 12/18

Five things I am thankful for this week:

1. I'm done Christmas shopping! Hooray!

2. Bloggy friend - Greg sent me the cutest Christmas stuff. Really made my day. (and the girls love 'em too!) Thanks Greg!

3. Encouragement in my writing journey. I signed a contract to write 7 devotions for pay this week. God keeps telling me to keep writing. I really think I've found my gift, and I am so thankful.

4. My Christmas cards finally went out! At long last! That always feels like a huge undertaking. But I got them out. If you don't get one from me, I'm sure it just got lost in the mail. *grin*

5. Jesus' Birthday is in 7 days! I'm so thankful that Jesus was born, so that he could know every thing I experience on this earth, and understand my feelings. He died for me (and you!), so that we can be with him eternally. I'm just so so thankful for that.

So that's my five things this week. How about you? Join Truth 4 the Journey's Thankful Thursday by clicking the Thankful Thursday button, or you can just leave me a comment.
I'm always THANKFUL for comments!!

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Chatty Kelly

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's the Most Overwhelming Time of the Year

Christmas can be a time of frantic frenzy for many. We dash around to find the perfect gifts, perfect wrapping paper, perfect outfit, perfect decor, perfect perfectness. When our house doesn't look like the magazine, or our cookies burn, or our wrapping looks like the kids wrapped it, we become depressed.

This comes back to a heart issue. Are you trying to impress or refresh those who come to your home during the holidays? Because I know my kids don't care if the the tree looks like Martha Stewart's or Charlie Brown's. They don't care if I have beautiful perfect cookies, or slice and bake, as long as they get to add the sprinkles. They don't care if the wrapping is perfect, they just want to open the gift.

I can honestly say I have been set free of worldly expectations for Christmas. I set my expectations of what makes Christmas wonderful for me and my family. I don't put candles in my windows. Even though it's a Virginia tradition, it isn't important to me. I do bake lots of cookies, because I love baking, and my kids love it. But they don't have to be fancy, as a matter of fact, we prefer it if they're not. We're just going to eat them anyway!

All of the commercial trappings of Christmas set a worldly view of things. This Christmas I invite you to let it go. I'm sure Mary would have liked for Jesus to have been born in a nice home with her family and friends there to celebrate. Instead she got a stable with stinky shepherds there.

Jesus called for those who are weary to follow him, his load was light. If your load is too heavy at Christmas, perhaps you are carrying the wrong load? Let go of worldly expectations today, and instead do what will make Christmas enjoyable for you & your family. Even if that doesn't go as planned, remember Mary. Even in a stable, even without her family but with the lowly shepherds, she treasured these things.

May you treasure your Christmas this year, regardless of whether is it House Beautiful or Stable Simple.

Luke 2:16 - 19 -- So they {the shepherds} hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Colossians 3:2 -- Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Matthew 11:28-30 -- {Jesus said} "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Chatty Kelly

Monday, December 15, 2008

Advent - Waiting

"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return…. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Luke 12:35-36a, 40

Waiting…what does that word mean to you? Sometimes it can be nerve-wracking, like waiting in line in the grocery store when you're in a hurry, or waiting for that phone call with the test results. Sometimes it can be exciting like waiting for your vacation or birthday. The bible says we should be ready, waiting for Jesus to come again. What exactly does that mean - - waiting?

Dictionary.com offers several different definitions to the word wait. Which definition expresses how you are WAITING for Jesus to return? The first definition is “to remain inactive until something expected happens.” Like waiting for a bus. So are you inactive, just living your life the way you want, until Jesus comes?

Another definition is “to remain neglected for a time,” like a matter that can wait. Are you neglecting Jesus, not giving a thought to him or his second coming?

The third definition is “to look forward to eagerly.” That is a great definition of the attitude we should have as we wait for Christ.

But, if you dig deeper, you’ll find some archaic or ancient definitions of the word wait. One is “to be in readiness for”…we are to be ready for the return of Christ. Do you think you’re ready? If you knew Jesus was returning tomorrow, what would you do today? Why aren’t you doing it?

Finally comes the definition “attend upon, as a sign of respect.” We should be attentive to Jesus. How? By reading his word (the Bible), praying, and following his will as a sign of our respect. That is the real meaning of waiting for Jesus to come again. So which definition of wait will you use?

And how will it define you?

Dear Lord, most of us don’t like to wait. But how often do we even give a thought to the fact that we are supposed to be waiting for your return to earth? Help change our focus, so that we can be ready and waiting when you return. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Originally published NHPC Advent Devotional - 1997, Kelly Combs, aka Chatty Kelly

Chatty Kelly

Check out my other blog at Chatty Kelly's Kids Say. It publishes every Monday.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Seven Christmas Memories

Hi - This is a meme going on over at Greg's General Store, and I thought it would be fun to play along and share seven Christmas memories.

1. Every year at Christmas we would all line up in birth order from youngest (that put me 2nd) to run down the stairs and open our presents. My dad always went down first to "make sure Santa came." He would then yell up "Okay he came, you can come down now." I never realized until after I was an adult, he was turning the Christmas tree on so that when we came down it would be sparkling.

2. Every year my dad would take us kids (4 of us) in the car to see the Christmas lights. He loved it! But now that we kids are all grown, my dad still takes each of us, with our own kids, to go look at all the Christmas lights with him. He still loves it.

3. One year I asked for a Barbie Styling Head for Christmas. On Christmas morning my younger sister opened...you guessed it...a Barbie Styling Head. My parents love to tell the story of the look on my face. I still had one wrapped in my stack, I just didn't know they'd gotten her one too.

4. One Christmas I was sure the fellow I was dating was going to give me a ring. We'd been together a long while. After opening all my gifts, I did a good job of hiding my disappointment. No ring. Then he said "I do have one more gift. It's out in the car; I didn't have a chance to wrap it." "That's okay!" I responded (Why wrap a velvet box, right?) I don't remember what the last gift was...maybe a pair of gloves or a scarf or something. But I vividly remember the disappointment. Within the next few months I realized he wasn't serious about the relationship, so I told him I was going to start dating other people and he said that was fine. I started dating another fellow who was really quite wonderful. Within in a couple months, the first boyfriend asked me to marry him. I said no (too little, too late). I now happen to be married to the other fellow, 12 years and counting. Merry Christmas to me!

5. Every year for Christmas my kids get to open 1 gift on Christmas eve. It always just happens to be new PJs. They look so cute in the pictures on Christmas morning in their new PJs.

6. My dad always makes the holiday dinners, including candied yams. One year at Thanksgiving I made a new recipe, Sweet Potato Casserole. Everyone loved it and asked me to bring it for Christmas. I think my dad was miffed that everyone liked the casserole more than his yams. So he always asks me "Are you going to bring that marshmallow thing again this year?" The funny thing is my Casserole doesn't have marshmallows on it and never has. Last year, I put one miniature marshmallow in the middle of it as a joke, since he always says I am bringing that casserole with the marshmallows.

7. My favorite Christmas memory. My husband and I wanted to have children right away in our marriage, but it didn't happen right away. After 2 years, I was very disappointed. The week between Christmas '98 and New Years I found out I was expecting our oldest daughter. That was the best Christmas present I've ever gotten.

**

I have to say it was SO HARD thinking up 7 memories! So you can share you favorite memory in the comments, or join the meme, or just have yourself a merry little Christmas!

Chatty Kelly

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday - 12/11

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Today is my husband's birthday! Happy Birthday John! So for today's version of Thankful Thursday, I am going to list 5 things for which I am thankful about my husband.

1. He esteems me. We were at a party recently and the couples were playing a strange game where you say who you would "be with" if you could be with anyone (celebrity). All the guys were listing different women and when they asked my husband, he said I'm the only person he wants to be with. He was "boo'ed" by the other guys, but I am so thankful for a husband who esteems me.

2. He supports my writing. When I mentioned attending "She Speaks" he gave a huge YES and supported me 100%. He knows this is something important to me.

3. He is generous. My husband is never stingy. While we have had times of want and times of plenty in our marriage, his desire is to give me everything I need, and many things I want. I am truly blessed this way.

4. He attends church with me and shares my beliefs. I am so thankful to have a supportive husband in this most important area of my life.

5. His love language is acts of service. While this is not my love language, I am thankful that I have learned to recognize it is how he shows love. So when he fills my car with gas every week for me, or takes our daughter to school (or picks her up) so I don't have to, I know he is showing love. Do you know your husband's love language? (You can take the quiz to determine yours, or have your husband take it to determine his).

So I am thankful today for my husband, on his birthday!

Chatty Kelly

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Don't Get It

Have you ever received a gift and thought "Why would they buy me this?" Maybe you just don't get it.

I remember one year my sister, My ADHD Me, gave me a fridge magnet with the recipe for Pina Coladas on it. I remember thinking "huh?" I'm not much of a drinker, and I never mix drinks. After my less than enthusiastic thank you, she asked "Don't you get it?" Obviously I didn't. It was a joke. A few weeks prior my other sister, ET, had emailed us with Thanksgiving dinner at her house, asking "What do you like to drink?" Some how her wording made a song come into my head, (imagine that). I had responded in jest "I like pina coladas...and getting caught in the rain." Obviously now the magnet made perfect sense to me!

The ancient Jews were told that a King was coming. They were anxiously waiting for this "king of the Jews" to rule. They had great plans and dreams of what his rule would bring. So when Jesus came and didn't want war, but peace, they didn't understand how he was going to "save" them. They wanted to be saved from Roman rule. They didn't understand he was coming to save them from themselves, their sin.

Even John the Baptist, the baby who had lept for joy in his mother's womb when Mary entered the room with Jesus in her womb; John, the man who baptized Jesus and saw the sky open and hear the voice of God acknowledge his son; John sent his disciples to ask "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" (Matt 11:3)

John didn't get it. He was in prison. Where was the new king? John was sent to prophesy about Jesus coming, to prepare the way, and yet he was still confused enough to ask "Are you the one?"

Even as believers it's hard to understand God, especially during tough times. Just like my sister had to explain the magnet to me, the truth is explained to us in the Bible. If you want to understand suffering, read Job. If you want to be able to praise God in good times and bad, read Psalms. If you want to learn more about applying your faith in your life, read James. Just read something.

If you're not spending time in the Word daily, I encourage you to do so while you can. Otherwise, you just might not get it.

Luke 8:10 -- He said, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom—you know how it works. There are others who need stories. But even with stories some of them aren't going to get it: Their eyes are open but don't see a thing, Their ears are open but don't hear a thing." (The Message)

John 12:36 -- Jesus said all this, and then went into hiding. All these God-signs he had given them and they still didn't get it, still wouldn't trust him. This proved that the prophet Isaiah was right: God, who believed what we preached? Who recognized God's arm, outstretched and ready to act? First they wouldn't believe, then they couldn't—again, just as Isaiah said: Their eyes are blinded, their hearts are hardened, So that they wouldn't see with their eyes and perceive with their hearts, And turn to me, God, so I could heal them. (The Message)

Chatty Kelly

Monday, December 8, 2008

Take a Hike!

"Take a Hike!" "You're going Down!" "Don't choke on it." I love this commercial starring Payton Manning.




After each insult, he responds as if it were meant kindly. The Bible says "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1) These are words I have trouble implementing in my life.

The verse says turns away wrath. The wrath was already there, and you are to give a gentle answer back. I can speak gently...until I get the harsh word. Then I respond harshly, even if the word wasn't directed at me.

Before my husband and I were married, we attended pre-marital classes with the Pastor. One of the "issues" I had was that I felt my husband blew things out of proportion. If we missed an exit while driving on the interstate, he blew up. Then I would blow up at him for acting so dramatically over something so stupid. But the Pastor said, "Maybe it's not stupid to him." He encouraged me to respond gently.

My husband had his secretary make the travel arrangements on our honeymoon (isn't that romantic?). When we arrived to our destination airport, he discovered she booked the rental car off property. That meant we'd have to take a cab or bus to the rental place. My husband was very annoyed, to say the least. I felt like screaming "Who cares?! We just got married, we're together, we have all week, let's just be happy." But instead, I validated him. I said "I can see why you're upset." Remarkable, that was the end of it.

Years have past and I have become woefully inadequate at responding gently. And when I do remember, it doesn't always work as well as it did on our honeymoon. But that doesn't mean I should quit trying.

Because I don't want to be like Payton Manning. I want to be like Jesus.

Proverbs 21:9 -- Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Ephesians 5:33 -- However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.


Proverbs 31:10 -- A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

Chatty Kelly

Saturday, December 6, 2008

*Winner*

The random winner of the one year subscription to Today's Christian Woman is:

Here are your random numbers:
23
Timestamp: 2008-12-06 12:42:40 UTC

By my count, that makes the winner: Laura Ingalls Gunn

CONGRATULATIONS!


Chatty Kelly

Friday, December 5, 2008

Give Away...Give Away


Thanks for coming over from Lysa's blog for the give-away. If you are a regular of mine who came here without stopping by Lysa's, be sure to head to her blog for chances to win more stuff!

My Give-Away:

1 year subscription to Today's Christian Woman magazine.

Winner must provide U.S. mailing address in order to receive subscription. Everyone who enters today (Friday, Dec 5) by leaving a comment will be entered and I will post the winner tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon. If you want to comment, but don't want to win (WHY?!?!) just say "don't enter me" in your comment.

*****
Anything YOU'd like to give away? Maybe an old bridesmaid gown??

I've met a new bloggy friend named Vashti. Vashti is a missionary in South Africa. She is married and has two adorable little boys. She works with the orphans in South Africa who are orphans because of the AIDS/HIV epidemic there. I don't know how we found each other on the internet, you know how that goes, but we've become blog buddies.

Anyway, in South Africa in order to get married, the groom has to pay a dowry for his bride, then they have the many expenses of the wedding. Vashti came up with the idea to donate wedding dresses (or bride's maid) to them. You can read her blog where she came up with the idea here. If you have an old dress to donate, contact Vashti. Before you get too excited however, be sure and check into the shipping costs.

In any event, stop by Vashti's and tell her hello. She is originally from the UK, but spent some time in the US, and even helped out during 9/11 in New York. Even if you can't support her efforts, I know she'd love some emotional support in the form of encouragement.

James 1:27 -- Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Chatty Kelly

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thankful Thursday 12/4

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Sharing in Thankful Thursday with Truth 4 the Journey (click the button above to visit her blog). I am listing 5 things, big or small, I am thankful for this week.

1. Thanksgiving went wonderfully at my house, I am so thankful that the food was great, the clean up easy, the kids all played well together. Really a nice day.

2. For the "men folk" who brought all our Christmas stuff down from the attic on Thanksgiving day, since my husband is still recovering from arm surgery and cannot lift boxes.

3. That I've been asked to write a 4 part series for an ezine, and I turned in "Part 1" on Monday. It will run Jan - Apr and I'll link to it in each month. Meeting deadlines is awesome!

4. I am truly thankful for how blessed I am with "things" in my life. Not that we're rich, but I am sponsoring a few people this holiday and when you see the needs that are out there, you cannot help but feel so blessed for simple things like home, family, food.

5. I am thankful that I'm finished Christmas shopping for my kids! But they're easy. I haven't bought a thing for my husband, and have no ideas either. But I'm thankful I've done a lot of shopping, and have little left to do.

That's it, 5 easy things to be thankful for this week. How about you?

Chatty Kelly

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Look

Chances are, if you are like me, you have mastered "the look." No, I'm not talking fashion here. I mean "the look" you give your kids as a warning.

Before my kids do something they aren't supposed to do, they glance over at me, to see if I'm watching. Then I flash them "the look." For me, the look is eyebrows up, mouth straight and tight, eyes bulge slightly. The look says "I see you, don't do it!" They quickly return to doing good and don't get into trouble.

I wonder if God has "the look." How many times before I get into trouble, does God flash me the look saying, "I see you, don't do it." Before I say something about someone I shouldn't...the look. Before I fly off the handle yelling at my kids for some minor offense...the look. Before I tell my husband what he did wrong in my oh, so superior tone of voice...the look.

How come the look works on my kids, but not on me? One key reason. Before my kids do wrong, they look to me. If, before I was about to mess up, I would simply look to my Father, to God, then I might see the look. I might hear the warning. I might not mess up. The answer is clear. I need to change my focus, and keep my eyes on God.

Psalm 25:15 -- My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Psalm 119:18 -- Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

Hebrews 12:2 -- Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Chatty Kelly

Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent - Come Lord Jesus

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.” (Matt 25:31.)

Yesterday was the first day of Advent. The word Advent literally means "coming" or "arrival.” The Advent season is the time where we are waiting for the coming of Christ. We do this historically, remembering His first coming as a child in Bethlehem. But we ought to also be thinking about His second coming as well, when He “comes in His glory.” And what a glorious time it will be when Christ comes again. “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” (Revelation 21:4) If we only focus on the fact that Jesus came, we might miss the fact that He is coming again.

As Christmas draws near I often hear people say “I’m not ready for Christmas!” meaning they aren’t done shopping, wrapping, cooking or decorating. Being ready for Christmas isn’t what “Christmas” is about at all. The question isn’t are you ready for Christmas, but are you ready for Christ? And if you aren’t, what are you waiting for?

Lord, as we prepare each thing this holiday season; gifts, décor and meals; help us to also remember that we need to prepare the way for the Lord, just as He has prepared a place for us in your, His Father’s, house. In Jesus name, Amen.

Originally published NHPC Advent Devotional - 1996, Kelly Combs, aka Chatty Kelly


Chatty Kelly

After commenting here, don't forget to check out my weekly Monday post at my Kids Say blog.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday



As a Christian, sometimes people hold me up to "lofty" goals. I'm not calling anyone out on it (My ADHD Me and Greg) but a couple even indicated surprise that I was reading Lynn Spears book, because I was a Christian (not realizing it was by a Christian publishing house).

Maybe sometimes I watch the wrong shows, maybe sometimes I slip up and act like a BIG JERK (surprising, I know, yet true). What if someone who sees me as a "Super Christian" with a big red cape then sees me royally screw up. "Hypocrite!" they may think. What if someone falls away from the chance of Christ, because they see me and think "if that's what it's about, I'm out."

So today, the song I'm thinking about is "What if I Stumble" by DJ Talk. Because I stumble all the time. Sometimes I even fall. I am a sinner saved by grace. I'm thankful I have Jesus to hold my hand when I stumble. And I do stumble.



Job 4:4 -- Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees.

Psalm 37:23-25 -- If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

James 2:10 -- For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.


Chatty Kelly

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgving Meme

Taking a "vacation day" today to prepare for Thanksgiving. So just for fun, here is my Thanksgiving meme. Play along if you want, or post in the comments, or just read and then get back to your own cooking! HAPPY THANKSGIVING BLOG FRIENDS!!!

1. Which do you like better: cooking at your house, or going elsewhere? I prefer going elsewhere. But it's my turn!

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen bird? Frozen.

3. What kind of stuffing? My dad makes the BEST dressing (not stuffing).

4. Sweet potato or pumpkin pie? Chocolate! (LOL!)

5. Do you believe that turkey leftovers are a curse, or the point of the whole thing? The point! Yummy.

6. Which side dish would provoke a riot if you left it off the menu? Probably my sweet potato casserole. It depends on who you ask....

7. Do you save the carcass to make soup or stock? My sister, ET always takes dibs on the carcass. (yuck)!

8. What do you wish you had that would make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier? A double oven!

9. Do you get up at the crack of dawn to have dinner ready in the early afternoon, or do you eat at your normal dinner hour? We eat lunch. I cook some things the day before, and we also do "potluck" style, so everyone is bringing something. Then it's not too much work on anyone.

10. If you go to somebody else's house, what's your favorite dish to bring? Sweet potato casserole

11. Is your cranberry sauce fresh or canned? My mom used to make a cranberry jello salad. This year my brother is making cranberry bars. No cranberry sauce.

12. What's your absolute favorite thing on the menu? Dessert! But usually I have to wait a while before I can eat it. With Cool Whip!

My Thanksgiving Wish for You:
May your stuffing be tasty. May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious, And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner Stay off of your thighs!


Colossians 3:15 -- Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

1 Chronicles 29:13 -- Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

Psalm 106:1 -- Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.


Chatty Kelly

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm not Martha, I'm Martha.

I'm no Martha Stewart. I am domestically challenged. As mentioned in my "15 Things" on Saturday, I don't enjoy entertaining either. I turn in to Martha...what was her last name? You know, Mary and Lazarus' sister. She was busy in the kitchen and fired up that her sister, Mary, wasn't helping and told Jesus just that. He chastised her that Mary was focused on the right thing.

Entertaining focuses on impressing. (Think Martha Stewart). Hospitality focuses on refreshing, making those who visit your home (regardless of how messy it may be) feel important to you, heard, and refreshed.

My friend Mrs P over at Patterson 5 shared with me a sweet story. She was busy rushing around cleaning house for some guest she was having, and her husband Mr P said "You should be more like Kelly; she doesn't care how messy her house is." Okay, I'm exaggerating a little. He said it way more nice, but when Mrs P told me all I heard was how messy Mr P thinks my house is. LOL! The truth is, he was commenting on my attentiveness to them. I do love having them over. So why do I get all freaky about the house?!? Because of my need to IMPRESS, as well as REFRESH my guests. And that is my heart issue, which I need to change.

I'm not a good house keeper. My cooking is average. I'm not good at all the little details that make things nice. Come Thursday morning, I may be "worried and upset about many things." May I remember that only one thing is needed...and I already have Him. May I also remember, that my family and friends are coming to share Thanksgiving with me, not with Martha.

Luke 10:38-43 -- As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."


Chatty Kelly

**Check Out My New Blog "Chatty Kelly's Kids Say" at http://kellykidsay.blogspot.com/ **

Saturday, November 22, 2008

TAG! I'm It!

I've been tagged so many times, I think I'm an endangered species! LOL! I crack myself up. Okay, Edie, MyADHDMe, Greg and Heather to name a few have done the 15 things I'm not ashamed to admit. So here are mine....

1. I am a sinner saved by grace. But unfortunately I'm not too keen on admitting what my sins are. That is between me & God.

2. If your blog post is one long post with no paragraphs - I'm not reading it! It looks too long, so I hit the next blog.

3. I can't stand music on 95% of blogs. I do love Sharon's because the song always compliments her post and I think that is so cool! And if the song is quiet and slow I like it, but I don't want to get blasted out of my chair by contemporary music while blogging. And it's hard to read with music jangling in my head.

4. I am cynical and don't believe most things I read. ("Send this email to everyone you know.") That is why it is so amazing to me that I am a Christian, because I am a cynic! I check everything on http://www.snopes.com/ and most of it is false. But I do believe the bible 110%.

5. Only up to #5?!?!?! Hmmmm. Sometimes I don't like getting tagged, because it breaks the flow of my blog, but if I don't get tagged I feel rejected like "why didn't they tag me?" Goofy I know, but it's me.

6. I can be impatient. I have love, peace, joy, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and sometimes even gentleness and self-control. But not much patience. I am working on it - and am much better than I used to be!

7. My mom is an alcoholic! I used to be ashamed to admit this, but I'm not anymore, because IT IS NOT ABOUT ME! I didn't cause it, I can't fix it. Amen!

8. I hate entertaining. I get all worked up, nervous, type A, crazy. I'd much rather come to YOUR house.

9. Gracious, this is boring to even me? Do you really want to hear 6 more things? Umm, I am addicted to coffee - ALL coffee.

10. Okay, I watch American Idol. I pretend I don't and feel very superior to those who do and admit it, but I am a closet watcher. Okay! Deal with it. I even voted. (Oh, the humiliation).

11. I am obsessive with tooth hygiene. I floss twice a day or more. One of my Top 10 fears in having food stuck in my teeth in public.

12. I was an extra in a movie with Charlie Sheen and Linda Hamilton...but they re-shot the scene I was in, so I wasn't in the movie...and it went straight to DVD anyway.

13. I am not superstitious AT ALL. (Notice this is number 13!)

14. I have no desire to home school. I'm glad my kids go to school, because frankly I need the break. I'm a better mom because they go to school. (See #6 above).

15. I hope to write a devotional book that will be published one day. I don't want to admit it because if I fail... Well, there it is - I admitted it.

So 15 things about me. BORING!


Chatty Kelly

Friday, November 21, 2008

Calvinism

I love Calvin. He is an amazing person and has great thoughts on religion. And Hobbes. Oh wait, you didn't think I meant the religious guy Calvin did you? The Presbyterian guy? No, I'm talking about the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.

One of my favorite comics (below) is the one where the bully (Moe) says "Get of the swing Twinky" and Calvin says "Forget it Moe. Wait your turn." PUNCH. After getting punched, Calvin says "It's hard to be religious when certain people never get incinerated by bolts of lightening."

Isn't that the truth? As a Christian some of my hardest moments come when "other people" (you know the ones,) seemingly have no troubles. But I feel like Calvin, having been "beaten up" by life.

Unfortunately, I can sometimes see myself in Calvin. My all time favorite is autobiographical and reads like this: Calvin in the first frame is shouting, “I’m in a very crabby mood, so everybody just leave me alone! I hate everybody.” In the next two frames Calvin stomps off, then he stops and looks around. Finally in a small voice he says, “Nobody recognizes my hints to smother me with affection.” Like Calvin, sometimes I need to improve my communication skills. I'm thankful to have a God who can read my heart, even with my mouth is shouting something all together different.

Hobbes has learned the great biblical truth to be content in all circumstances. He could teach us a thing or two, in this age where we all WANT WANT WANT.

Calvin: "If you could have anything in the world right now, what would it be?"
Hobbes: "Hmmm..."
Calvin: "Anything at all! Whatever you want!"
Hobbes: "A sandwich.
"Calvin: "A SANDWICH?!? What kind of stupid wish is THAT?! Talk about a failure of imagination! I'd ask for a trillion billion dollars, my own space shuttle, and a private continent!"

In the next panel, Hobbes is standing in front of the kitchen counter, munching on a sandwich.
Hobbes: "I got my wish."



May we "wish" and pray responsibly so that we too may get what we ask for...and remain content even if we don't.

Philippians 4:11 -- I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

2 Corinthians 12:8,9 -- Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Chatty Kelly

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankful Thursday 11/20


I am joining the Thankful Thursday meme from Truth4theJourney. I am supposed to list 5 things I am thankful for today, remembering even the smallest things.


1. My Cooking Co-op. Today is my day to cook, so I sometimes don't feel very thankful on Thursday as I make dinner for 20 people (4 families). But when my delicious meals are delivered to me every Monday, Tuesday and Friday, I am very thankful.


2. Coffee. Never has such a small thing brought such great joy to a person. Just mentioning it makes me smile. It's not the coffee, it the essence...a hot cup of coffee with a good friend and great conversation. Coffee Anyone?


3. Blog Friends. I have met so many wonderful, encouraging people on the blog! People who don't hesitate to pray for me and bless my soul. I would have never believed it.


4. My Chiropractor. Crunch, crunch. No more back pain or head aches. What is there not to be thankful about there?


5. Maid Service. Okay, it's true, every other Thursday I have cleaning people. I am SO thankful for that. It started when I had a high pressure, long houred job over 10 years ago...but I never cancelled them once I started being a stay at home mom. So I admit it, I'm spoiled. And since it's Thursday, I better go pick up the clutter so they can clean! (Yes, you really do have to clean up before the maid comes.)


So quick as that, five small things I'm thankful for today. If you want to play along, you can list them in the comments section, or do your own post and just let me know...and be sure and stop by the host Truth4theJourney and let her know too!

Chatty Kelly

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Be Ready for the Frost

Awhile back I posted a series called "Grow Where You Are Planted." I know you wouldn't want to go back here to read the post I'm referring to, so here is the Reader's Digest version.


I had some pink impatiens growing along my walk...but in the middle of the pink ones was one clump of white ones. It reminded me that God calls me to be different from the world. As a Christian I should be clothes in white and stand apart from the rest. People should be able to see something different in me. I need to be mindful not to fall in with "the crowd," but stand for Christ.

Well, we've had a little end times here on Chatty Kelly's walk way. The frost caused the plants to die. But look, while the pink flowers are gone, the white ones remained.

At the end times, God will have each of us stand in accountability of what we've believed and what we've done. At the Revelation the dead will be judged. The book of life will be opened and "The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.... If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Revelations 20:13, 15)

Spring and summer last for awhile, but the day of frost will come. Are you ready?

Matthew 24:42-44 -- Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

Chatty Kelly

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday and The Three Legged Race

Saturday was my first non-home church speaking engagement. (Not gig, right Edie?). I was covered in prayer by my friends and bloggy friends alike. I was so peaceful! I still had the nervous edge that makes one achieve, but while I kept waiting for that nervous sick feeling I usually get, I never got it! I expected it but I was filled with peace.

The group was small, about 15 ladies. My talk was well received and the pastor's wife said after the lunch that she talked to many of the ladies and they were touched in different ways by different parts of my talk. I too was blessed, as I felt this time of preparation I had taken each step with God. I felt in communion with him during my preparation and talk.

Saturday night I attended my Christian Writers group annual dinner. I had a chance to share briefly about my publishing journey to the group of probably 40 or so folks and had everyone laughing with my false expectations of what the publishing world held. (Hint: They don't respond the next day to your emails.) It was fun. I had also entered the devotion writing contest. We had been told to send them to the co-director of the group, and I had assumed she'd be judging them. The prize was $20.

I won the contest! However, it was judged by the Editor of the Spirit Led Writer, and in addition to the $20, my devotion will also appear in the magazine. Another published piece! I was thrilled, needless to say. It was a great day. I'm so happy to share it with you all. And now today's devotional thoughts....

I've been thinking a lot about my relationship with the Lord lately. I've decided I want to be in a three-legged race with God. Really. Think about a three legged race.
I do not want to be able to take a step without God stepping with me. I want to stay arm and arm with him in each step I take. And if I stumble, I want God beside me holding me up. I want to run every step with God.

With God at my side, it isn't about whether I win or lose. It's how I play the game...of life. As I cross the "finish line" with God by my side, no matter what "place" I come, I'll still be a winner.
2 Timothy 4:7 -- I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Jeremiah 13:11 -- For as a belt is bound around a man's waist, so I bound the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to me,' declares the LORD, 'to be my people for my renown and praise and honor.
2 Chronicles 15:10 -- Then they bound themselves in a covenant to seek God, the God of their fathers, wholeheartedly, holding nothing back. (The Message)

Chatty Kelly

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Through The Storm - Book Winner

The winner is (**Drum Roll please**) Melanie of BellaMella. Congrats!

I wish I could send everyone the book, but alas the drawing was random.

Melanie - I'll be mailing the book out one day next week. I hope you enjoy it.
Everyone go visit Melanie and tell her congrats and welcome her to our blog community. She is a newer blogger, but becoming a fast friend, and a wonderful encourager (not to mention a sister coffee-addict. Yup - she fits right in here!)

Chatty Kelly

Friday, November 14, 2008

Through the Storm - Book Review & Give Away

Through the Storm is a book by Lynne Spears with Lorilee Cracker. I was intrigued to read the book because it was published through a Christian publishing house (Thomas Nelson) and co-written by a Christian author I've read before (Lorilee Cracker.)

The back cover of the book seems to lead the reader to believe it's about Lynne's daughter, Britney Spears. It says "We all want our children to succeed. What happens when they do? Britney wanted to sing every since she was a little girl." The subtitle even says "A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World." If you're looking for a book about Britney this isn't it.

It is truly a book about Lynne Spears and her walk through life. Unfortunately it tries to take on too much of her life, jumping here and there in a haphazard fashion which I found to be somewhat confusing.

The sad thing is, this could have been two good books. One book could have been about her meeting & marrying Jamie Spears, raising their children and all the ins and outs of their life. That would have been an interesting book. The other book could have been about her love for his sister, Sandra, and Sandra's death at the age of 59.

By combining both topics into one book it seemed to try and squeeze to much in there. And the chapter called "Friendships," while a nice tribute to her friends would have been better served in the acknowledgements section than in the actual book.

Lynne does sum up her faith in the chapter "A Mother's Heart." The best part of the book says "I wish I would have gone deeper with my children in terms of building up their faith We always went to church and vacation bible school...but I see now that they could have benefited greatly by drawing closer to God through daily Bible reading and devotional reading. They said their prayers every night, but in retrospect, I should have helped them understand the power of prayer for every situation life throws at us."

Those sentences are something every Christian should read and learn from. We don't want to make those same mistakes in raising our own children, but want them to have a living vibrant faith, not just a tradition with no depth. If even one person reads those words, and changes their direction with their kids, than I say the book was worth being written.

Overall, I'd give the book 5 out of 10 stars. It wasn't horrible, but it was simply average.

***Because I received this book for free for the purposes of reviewing it, I'd love to give it away. If you'd like to win the book, leave me a comment saying so, and I'll randomly draw a winner and mail you the book free of cost. (Winner must provide their mailing address). Comments received through noon Saturday will be eligible. I'll draw and announce Sunday).

If you don't want to win the book, you can still leave me a comment, just say "but I don't want to win the book."

Chatty Kelly

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Feet


I love this picture. My four year old was playing with my camera and inadvertently snapped this photo of her precious little toes. I could kiss her sweet feet all day. They are tiny, cute, fat and flat, simply precious. I also love baby feet. There is something about those tiny little feet that pull my heart strings.

I do not like adult feet. Quite the opposite. Imagine feet in Jesus' day. With dirt roads, and just sandals, they had to be dirty, dusty, calloused and stinky. Ewww. All travel was by foot, so it was considered proper etiquette and hospitality to offer water to guests to wash their feet. If one was wealthy they'd even have their servants wash the guests' feet.

When Jesus visited a Pharisees home, a "sinful woman" visited him there. She wept, washing his feet with her tears, perfume, and wiping them with her hair. Jesus said "this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet." She knew Jesus represented salvation from her sins. Jesus confirmed this when he said "Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace." (Luke 7)

It is easy to think of falling at the feet of a Savior in heaven in white robes; clean, holy and righteous. However, this woman had the faith to fall at the feet of her Savior in his human form. In Todd Agnew's Song "My Jesus" that I blogged about here, he sings about the modern day church: "Jesus would never be accepted in my church, the blood and dirt on his feet might stain the carpet."

May we all have the faith of the "sinful woman," not to proud to kiss the feet of her Savior, regardless of the circumstance.

John 13:1 -- [ Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet ] It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

James 4:10 -- Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

1 Peter 5:6 -- Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.


Chatty Kelly