Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas 2015

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, 
everyone was resting, even that old trusty mouse!  
It's been quite a year with adventures and firsts, some were quite grand and others the worst!  
Georgia was first up on water skies, where she laughed and she smiled and enjoyed the lake breeze!  She's quick on the soccer field and always has fun, 
she ran for Student Council Treasurer and guess what?  She won!  
Mack can't get enough of any sport with a ball, from baseball to soccer, the boy plays it all! 
 He's had many firsts with school and water skies; 
while he slept his first tooth came out with great ease!  
Emma had a first that wasn't so fun, a trip to the ER with pneumonia in the midst of the summer sun.  She continues to dance and can't stop spinning, she leaps and she jumps and never stops singing!  
All of the children are now back in school, it's a first for this mom and it's really quite cool!  
Daddy’s knee was reconstructed which wasn't his first!  
But he had his first appendectomy and that was the worst!  
A year filled with firsts, some rough and some better, 
we've made it through stronger and so happy together.  
With God our great guide, forgiver and mender, He sent His son Jesus as a baby so tender.  
He's always been working since time first began, to love us and draw us right into His hand.  
His hand that can take all of our broken pieces, and make something new, His work never ceases.  First joys and first pain, He is always there; He loves you and knows you, each detail His care.  
So make this a Christmas with Jesus the center, 
He's the giver of firsts and His second chances are even better!
Now I'll be the first to end this note right, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Love the Newquist Family

Monday, December 21, 2015

The True Meaning of Christmas - a guest post

As I cleaned up our play room to prepare it into a guest room for the holidays, I came across a small manuscript.  With hand drawn pictures and cursive writing to make a Moma proud, I sat down and read the 5 pages.  As tears filled my eyes, I went to the children and asked, "who wrote this?"
My sweet Georgia claimed the authorship.
"I want to have it published Mommy," she said.
Not having the first clue how to make that happen, I realized that I can be her publisher and let her publish her story on my blog!
So, it's my pleasure to welcome Georgia Mae to "Not My Own" today!

It's that time of year again..... Christmas!
Everyone is rushing around to buy presents or get their tree. 
But that's not the reason for Christmas.
It all started with a girl name Mary.

Mary lived in a town in Galilee called Nazareth.  One day an angel named Gabriel appeared to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you.  Do not be afraid Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus."

Mary and Joseph went to a town called Bethlehem.  There they looked for a place to stay but there was no room, so they stayed in a barn.  Mary had her baby, wrapped him in cloth and laid him in the manger.  Then she did what the Lord told her, she named him Jesus.

Jesus came down to earth to save us from our sins.  
He was born and grew up and died on the cross for us.  
Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birth.  Jesus is our Christmas gift, he is our gift of love.

Merry Christmas
Georgia Newquist

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room with Banana Bread

Last week I invited a group of women into my home for a 3 week study of Advent, the coming of Christ.  We all know it's easy to get overwhelmed, over-run and over committed this time of year!  So I wanted to intentionally carve out 2 hours each week until Christmas to just be still, and focus on Jesus.  Having women join me helps hold me accountable to doing this!
I dropped the children off at school and raced home to do the dishes in the sink, so it would be tidy when my guests arrived.  As I drove home the little fairy chime on my phone kept dinging, "I'm excited to see you this morning," one text read.  And then another, and then another.  I thought only one friend was going to be able to make it this first week, but the fairy chimes were telling me otherwise.  I started to panic.
"I don't have fresh flowers."
"I didn't make any food."
"The elves left powdered doughnuts for the kids this morning, I think there is some left over.  I also made cookies last night and I think there are some left over."
"I wish I would have made banana bread."

And the failing thoughts kept coming.

As I pulled into the garage, the clock was ticking and I ran into the house and started frantically throwing the kid's mess into closets.  I threw the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and arranged a plate of left over treats on a plate.
"I need to sit down and just pray over the morning," I kept thinking, but the swirling mess around me and lack of preparation took over.

My blessing and my curse is that I often have a clear vision of what an experience is to look like in order to achieve the maximum results!
I know that walking into a home with a fire burning, candles, clean sink and de-cluttered counters as well as the smell of warm banana bread coming out of the oven will make women smile, exhale and feel at home.  I swear the Holy Spirit will move if there is banana bread in the house!
The pit in my stomach was growing,
"Why didn't I make banana bread?"

The nag to just pray over the time before everyone arrived kept pressing into my gut, 
almost making me sick.  
"I just need to prepare the room, then I'll pray."
Then it hit me, the old Christmas carol, "Joy to the World," which sings:
"Let every heart prepare Him room."
Yes Lord!  That's what I'm doing, I'm preparing you room!  I know you'll show up if the mood is right, the house is clean and there are treats on the table.

I cannot prepare Him room,
He must prepare ME, so there is room!
I cannot create a perfect environment to usher in the Holy Spirit, it's ridiculous!
And I can't really prepare my heart so there is room for Him, because the very things that clutter my heart and mind are the very things that Jesus came to get rid of because I couldn't do it on my own!
I cannot prepare my heart, but instead, I must be still so that HE can prepare my heart by de-cluttering, cleaning, forgiving, lighting His light within me and allowing a lovely aroma surround me.

The irony of the morning!
I invite women over so that we can be still together and focus on Jesus, all the while, I'm focusing on preparing the room, missing the fact that only Jesus can prepare our hearts to receive Him.
Joy to the World!


We met again this week and you can bet your buns that I had fresh banana bread!
Just as a delicious reminder that it isn't the banana bread and preparations that will make room for Jesus this season, it's being still and allowing Him to prepare us!
Merry Merry


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