Hello, blog-readin' family. How is your Christmas holiday shaping up?
I had a rough Monday to start, but I cried out to God and He helped me. You know, He always does when I cry out to Him. Go figure ... being GOD and all. ;-) I encourage you to cry out to Him, too, if you're going through a rough time or just having a rough day!
It's Christmastime, and that means so many different things to people. It may notbe the most wonderful time of the year--for some, anyway, maybe you. I don't know. It might be a happy time, or a sad time, a rejoicing and party time, or a grieving and overwhelmed time. What kind of a time is it for you? COMMENT BELOW and let me know what your Christmastime has been like so far this year.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." -Psalm 34:18
We need to give ourselves grace, whatever is happening, because it definitely is a busy time. We tend to have so many expectations that we place on ourselves. Sometimes others do, too, but often we do it to ourselves. And, isn't it way too easy to look at everyone around us and think they're doing way better than we are?
It's tough to give yourSELF grace sometimes, even at Christmas. In your lifetime have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you just couldn’t do it all? Has your schedule ever been filled to the brim so much so that there was absolutely no margin in your life? Have you given and given and given to others only to find yourself burnt out, bitter, frustrated and scrambling to find your health again?
Today’s over-committed lifestyle and work until you drop way of life is causing disease epidemics!
Even if health if poor or money is tight you can still have a VERY meaningful Christmas.
I wrote this holiday tale before the Christmas of 1994 in Lincoln, Nebraska as a Christmas present for dear friends' kids Sarah, James, Jonathan and their friends, Claire and Max. That next Christmas my father illustrated it for me as a gift as I visited my parents in LeMars, Iowa.
Who knows if they remember it as they were pretty young. But I kept it and many years later that same collection of images was saved from the Nashville flood while found floating in a plastic folder in our living room in 2010.
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
My father is an amazing artist so I kinda had to beg him to share his early work. It is certainly not perfect and water damage is still evident in a few pictures (you can spot a few places below) but it was decided that they be kept in the story because ...
GOD MAKES BEAUTY OUT OF BROKEN THINGS.
And He does. YOU know He does.
"For a child is born to us, A son is given to us; And the government Is upon His shoulder; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of PEACE."
After you get a chance to read this story, you will also know exactly what I mean when I say this: I wish you a very, very ... smelly Christmas! *wink*
"What an incredible story to teach the love for one another at an important time of the year! I love how Anne-Geri' weaves an inspirational tale for readers and incorporates the birth of Christ. This would make an ideal gift for a family to share."
"We have been learning verses from the Sermon on the Mount…and so, yesterday, we read the verses about 'consider the lilies…' Then, I told them, we were going to gather in a circle, I had a special treat. I only had four children present, out of 6, which was a little disappointing … but the reaction from those four was so special.
One little boy absolutely cannot sit still but was still REALLY listening.
Another 'perfect little student,' the only little girl in the class, was completely enthralled.
A little boy who kind of 'goes his own way' at times really got into the story, and even pointed out he recognized the verses we had read earlier!
Now the fourth little boy, who has the tenderest heart, I was afraid might burst into tears.
They all listened intently, and could answer all the questions at the end of the book. In fact, the first little boy who appeared to think it was going to be long had obviously completely absorbed the message!
Read, enjoy, and consider a timeless story with your family this Christmas about how finding a particularly memorable scent during the holiday actually brought hope to a very special family.
Did I mention that it's only 5 bucks? ;-)
Several additional images were drawn by our son Avary three months after he and his brother, Bradon were adopted as Fanns in 2016. There is a musical theatre version for churches too. You may reach someone at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions.