Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Birthday Blues…Just Being Real

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(Pic: Me on my 4th birthday I believe)

Another Christmas has come and gone, which includes as always the passing of my birthday. That’s right, I was born on December 23rd, a mere two days before Christmas. While there are always many jokes and fun remarks about being a Christmas baby and no one remembering my birthday in the midst of Christmas celebrations, I’ve never really minded much being born around the most popular holiday. After all, this is the time of year that we Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Why would I mind sharing birthday honors with my Jesus? 🙂

So without any emotional issues about being born at Christmastime, I will admit that this year was a bit difficult for me. You see, I turned 34 this year. It’s not exactly a milestone birthday for most people. When I turned 30, I confess to being in tears half the day. The few years between then and now haven’t affected me much, but 34 has been a hard one. It has been hard because it has caused me to reflect on my life and where I am today. With New Year’s right around the corner, many people will share these moments of reflection and self-confrontation about areas in which we feel we have met our own goals and where we have missed the mark. My birthday has added intensity and a sense of urgency to the mix.

Why 34? What’s the significance of this seemingly innocent and random number? Well, it’s one year shy of 35. I can sense the puzzled look on your face as you read this and think, “so what?” It may sound silly, but I had it in my mind from the time I was young that I would have four or five children by the time I was 35. I don’t know if it was the hype I’d heard about 35 being the turning point when a woman is considered on the older side of child-bearing age or what, but that number stuck in my mind. I wanted to have my children by 35. As I sit here, listening to my precious girl playing in her room alone, I can’t help but feel the loss and defeat that infertility brings afresh. I’m so grateful and so blessed for the gift from God that my daughter is, but I still long for more children, and this birthday has been a stinging reminder that this is a door that has been closed for me.

Now I know that many women have children well into their late 30’s and early 40’s, so don’t be offended or feel the need to encourage me in this way. I understand that there is still technically “time” for children, and that the Lord may still bless us with adopted children. It’s just that I can’t help but be disappointed with those things that I have not accomplished in my 34 years. I’m not disappointed with what God has done, but only unhappy with some of the circumstances I find myself in because of my own bad choices and inadequacies.

As I read scripture I find encouragements. As I remind myself of God’s love for me, I find comfort in His affections and His grace. As I place my hope in Him, I’m able to face my struggles head on and to admit that I’m not perfect and I’m not always happy. I have joy because of the Lord, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with sadness, disappointment and pain at times.

So tonight I admit that my birthday and the upcoming New Year reminds me that I’m no where near where I want to be. I admit that I have failed myself in many ways and that I do experience pain in the inability to have children. I confess that I do struggle with jealousy as I watch dear friends have one baby after another, though I greatly rejoice with them at the same time. I’m okay admitting these things because I’ve no desire to be fake or to paint a false picture of myself. Life is not all Sunday morning smiles. I’m okay with being real with you and I’m okay with you being real with me. I think that’s how we pray for each other and minister to one another.

Looking forward to 2015, I have so many things I want to change and do differently. I have so many dreams and goals I’d love accomplish. Still, I trust in the Lord that His ways are perfect, and I rest in His grace when I am weak and fail. I appreciate your prayers, dear saints, and I pray for you too, that the Lord will give you clarity, direction, wisdom and courage as you also look to the New Year that’ll be here soon. God bless!

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Tips on Having a Christ-Filled Christmas

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We love celebrating Christmas in our home. It’s quite literally my favorite time of the year…nevermind that my birthday is on December 23rd. I decorate the house. We have a special tradition of going to a lovely place in the hills to get a tree. We give and receive presents. We love it and we enjoy watching our daughter love it all too. Still, as much as we love Christmas, the desire of our hearts is to keep our eyes and hearts on Jesus. This is what I want my daughter to observe and learn; a Christ-filled Christmas being our number one focus.

So from my family to yours, here are a few tips for creating a Christ-filled Christmas for your family:

  1. An Advent Activity. Advent activities can be lots of fun for the kids, educational and spiritually-enriching. What we did this year was decorate advent envelopes, one for each day of December leading up to Christmas, and I filled the envelopes with three items: a scripture that had something to do with the birth of Jesus, a picture to illustrate the scripture (my daughter is 5 years old), and some sort of a treat/activity. Each day my daughter opens the envelope for that day, we read the scripture and talk about what it means. Super fun!
  2. Caroling. We love to go caroling, and I am the director of a Christian homeschool choir so every year we go caroling in our town. We sing songs that are glorifying to God and draw the attention to our Savior.
  3. Decorating. I love Christmas decorations. I have them everywhere. I have a lot of variety in my decorating, but we do love to have decorations that remind us of our Jesus. We have nativities. Our Christmas tree is filled with ornaments that tell the story of His birth. We have a sign with light up letters outside with the word “Hope”. We want to share the hope and love of Jesus with our neighborhood. Not all of our decorations relate to Jesus, but He is the overwhelming theme in our home for sure.
  4. Blessing Others. A great way to share the love of Jesus at Christmas is to minister to others, and there are many ways to do that. Serving at a soup kitchen or bringing food to struggling families is one way. We did a box for Operation Christmas Child, so we filled a box with gifts for a little boy that will be delivered to him. We also like to make cookies, wrap them up and take them to our neighbors with Christmas cards that talk about Jesus. Our neighborhood is a bit scary at times, but we know God has put us here for a reason and we are not going to pass up the opportunity to share the gospel when we can.
  5. Christmas cards. Sending out Christmas cards with a gospel message is great because people will read them. Even just a few words of hope can make a difference.
  6. Saint Nicholas. We love Santa Claus! No, he’s not a pagan. While we focus our eyes on Jesus at Christmas, we have no problem with the legend of St. Nicholas. He was a very cool man and one that loved the Lord. He was generous and selfless. We love to talk about St. Nicholas, learn the history and play Santa Claus.
  7. Birthday cake for Jesus. Tabitha and I started the tradition last year of making a birthday cake for Jesus. We usually do it Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning we literally sing happy birthday to Jesus. Now, before you get all scholarly on me please know that we are fully aware that December 25th is not likely the real birthday of Jesus Christ. However, we choose to celebrate it that day, so instead of ripping right into the presents, we fix our eyes firmly on Jesus and thank Him for being born, dying and rising again for us.
  8. Gifts from Jesus. While we love to talk about St. Nic, we encourage our daughter to understand that every gift we have is from Jesus. Everything we have comes from God and nothing is really ours. So, while we may joke about Santa bringing presents, she can tell you that every gift is from Jesus and we thank Jesus for all He has blessed us with

These are just a few ways we keep Christ the center of our attention during the holiday season. If you have any other tips you’d like to share, please do so below. I pray that your Christmas is Christ-filled and joyous! It’s all about Him!

These are just a few ways we keep Christ the center of our attention during the holiday season. If you have any other tips you’d like to share, please do so below. I pray that your Christmas is Christ-filled and joyous! It’s all about Him!

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Thanking You Readers with a Giveaway – Want a Brand New Rice Cooker?

500 Facebook Like Celebration Giveaway!!!

We did it! We reached over 500 Facebook Likes and now it’s time to have some fun and giveaway some great prizes. This is the perfect time, just as the holiday season starts to roll in. Below you will see the list of prizes being donated by some wonderful people who own Etsy shops. Please visit their shops and look around. Let them know what you like and that we sent you over. This giveaway will have a Grand Winner and 2 Additional Winners. Follow all the instructions to get as many entry points as possible! The giveaway is live now and will run until November 11th.

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GRAND PRIZE WILL RECEIVE…

 thBlack and Decker Rice Cooker!!!!

Yes! This rice cooker will make preparing rice so easy and care-free. It has received excellent reviews and is very easy to use. The Grand Prize winner will be delivered the rice cooker directly from the store.

Winner #2 Will Receive….

Signed Copy of “Keeper of His Home” by Chelsea McCafferty

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And….

Rustic John 3:16 Nails Ornament by MegandMosClubhouse

I absolutely love this ornament. It is rustic and charming, and it is a great way to keep Christ’s sacrifice at the forefront of our holiday celebrations. Check out their other lovely products HERE.

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Winner #3 Will Receive….

Proverbs 31 Fearless Ladies T-Shirt by Set Free Apparel

We are so inspired by the Proverbs 31 woman and this shirt is a great way to own who we are in Jesus Christ. A fearless, Proverbs 31 woman who is proud to follow the Lord! I love all of the t-shirts at this shop. There are shirts for men and women with great messages. Check out the shop HERE.

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And…

Elegant Nativity Scene Ornament by Jims Wood Studio

This ornament, as well as the many other wonderful products at this shop, adds warmth, elegance and a Jesus-centered theme to your Christmas tree. Love the artistry. Visit the shop HERE to see more beautiful ornaments.

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Winner #4 Will Receive…

Cinnamon Sticks Candle by Still Water Candles

I LOVE CANDLES! Janelle from Still Water Candles has some really beautiful candles and scents available at her shop. I just fell in love with the cinnamon sticks candle below. It is warm, very Christmassy and would look great as a part of a centerpiece. Check out her store HERE.

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And…

“Messiah” Heart Ornament by Petticoat Junkin

I fell in love with all of the products at Petticoat Junkin. I especially love these heart ornaments with such beautiful and inspirational words. “Messiah” has come! Therefore let’s make sure our Christmas tree this year boasts of His birth. Visit the shop HERE to see more.

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ENTER GIVEAWAY Click:

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