Tag Archives: Butter Babes

Surviving the Season of Christmas – Part 1 of 4, The Sure Cure for a Bah Humbug Attitude

Greetings, friends! The below post is a reprise well-worth repeating to inspire you with an idea for this Christmas season.

It’ll help you cope with our culture’s craziness. It’ll help you survive this season of Christmas!

I’m thrilled to report this very fun tradition lives on….

Check it out:

Just wondering, now that Thanksgiving’s past and that Christmas décor’s been up since Halloween (in some stores that is, surely not in this household!), if you have a KICK in your step while shopping, or if you are SLIP-SLIDIN’-AWAY, Scrooge-like?

Grunge Scrooge With a Small Gift

Don’t even talk to me if you’re done with your Christmas shopping.  And don’t even look this way if you’ve shopped and wrapped.

Christmas isn’t happenin’ today, the way Jesus intended it to.  For that, I’m certain.  Every single year I try to think of ways to “taper down” on the gift-giving, think of the less fortunate, donate to new charities/ministries, and yet I still wind up looking more like Santa’s helper/enabler than a child of God.  Big sigh.Santa's Elf on Sign EdgeThe commercialization of Christmas makes me say “Bah humbug”…and I’m determined to NOT let it get the best of me. Lord, please help us  focus on you.  Matthew 6:33 reminds us: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Praying Friends

So, now that the Christmas season’s officially “on”… no thanks to some poor souls opening up on Thanksgiving Day (really?), Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc., I’d like to give you one prescription sure to bring a smile to your face, and a cure for any “Bah Humbug” attitudes trying to surface.

I am beyond blessed to have a very fun cousin.  Her name is Bonnie, and we in the family call her “Martha”, as in Stewart.  She’s one of those creative types:  she can whip up the most gorgeous bow you’ve ever seen. Friends now recognize them sayin’, “Now THAT’S a “Bonnie Bow”!!!

Bonnie will also try any new recipe.  She’ll paint a room an entirely new color when the mood strikes.  Furthermore, she will absolutely, positively, do anything for anyone, at any time, just for starters.

A few years ago, Bonnie came up with this fabulous idea…  She invited a group of our friends, a/k/a “the Butter Babes” over for a gift wrapping party.  Soup simmerin’ on the stove, Christmas music in the air, pool table covered as our wrapping station, and we move in for the day.

bigstock-Red-Green-Gold-and-Silver-W-12760646

What’s great about this is she sets the date way ahead of time (novel idea!) so we know when our deadline is…as in if you want to wrap a pretty package, you’d better have done some shopping and have packages in tow!

The five of us man our stations and the wrapping begins.  (Did I mention her endless supply of reams of paper and enough ribbon to extend to the moon?)  Oh, but the conversation around the table is the best.  You’re wondering if there’s a message here! Or what’s so spiritual about a wrapping party?

Well, you’ve got to know these Butter Babes.  These are some serious Bible study students and teachers.  These are some very close friends and mentors. These are some serious prayer warriors. They share meaningful Scripture. They share prayer requests. They share answered prayers.  They have lived a lot of life.  We laugh.  We cry.

DSC_0020

One of my favorite verses depicting this friendship journey is found in Proverbs 27:17 which says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (NIV)  It’s a huge blessing simply doing life with the help of dear friends who teach you to ultimately lean on the Lord.

Nary a  “Bah Humbug” erupts from this bunch. Nope, the Butter Babes would flat have a meltdown if such a phrase surfaced.  (Oh, I could have fun with that last phrase…)

Proverbs 27:7b says, “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”  Refreshing it is to be surrounded by such sweet sisters.  No Scrooges allowed!

Let me show you one more favorite verse to go along with our prescription:  Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. “

The “sure cure” for a Bah Humbug attitude can be found straight out of the three above phrases I’ve italicized:

Spur one another on:  This means we cheer each other on toward the finish line…as in our Heavenly Home.

Not giving up meeting together:  Keep regular gathering times with your friends.  How many times have you heard “friends are cheaper than therapy”?  It’s always nice to have something to look forward to.

I have another group of friends which includes a retired school teacher.  (Several actually, but one in particular is the glue that holds us together.)  Periodically, Jayne will shoot us an email with the tagline being:  “Random Dinner”.  She randomly picks a night and we show up to catch up.  Try it.  You’ll like it.

Encouraging  one another This goes hand in hand with spurring one another on. All three of these are great fuels for fanning the flame of friendship.

Kelly Minters Nehemiah

Kelly Minter’s  Bible study on Nehemiah—A Heart That Can Break offers a PERFECT DEPICTION of what I’m attempting to recommend to you regarding friendship.  She opines*, “The world doesn’t need more wealth, strength, power, or skill as much as it desperately needs trustworthy people.  My heart is never more at rest, my soul never more at peace than when I am in the presence of a person of integrity.

I find relational serenity in never having to second-guess what the person really meant, not having to dodge gossip or duck drama.  When I have the assurance that a person’s word is true, motives pure, and intents just, I have found a rare treasure indeed.”

Look again at those two above paragraphs.  Did you see that cool phrase, “relational serenity”?  What a sanctuary! What a safe haven!!!

Whether it’s a wrapping party, or a lunch out somewhere, or a Starbucks rendez-vous, I pray you’ll set a date with some of your friends and sail cheerfully thru’ this Christmas season, in relational serenity, sans any “Bah Humbugs”.

Purposefully celebrate Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (KJV) Remember Christ’s Birthday.

Savor God’s gift.  As Liz Curtis Higgs said, “Let’s be forever grateful for the One whose birth changed everything.”  (Click here to see an interview with her…)

??????????????

‘Til next time!

(This December post is happily dedicated to my long-time friend, cousin-by-marriage-who’s-more-like-a-sister, partner-in-crime in shopping, encourager extraordinaire, Bonnie Johnson. May blessings be abundant to you and your sweet family this Christmas season!!!)

*Lest you think I toss out unique words frequently, this one, “opine,” was a new one to me. Can’t believe I haven’t discovered this word ’til now.  I’m practically a professional at offering my opinion!  May we all opine with tact.

I ran across it twice in two days in two different books!  Both worth recommending:  one by Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage:  Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God and the other by Robert J. Morgan called Angels—True Stories—What Angels Do For Us.

Tim KellerRobert J Morgan

 

 

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under Family, Friends, Holidays

That’s a WRAP! One Thing Worthy of Adding to Your Calendar

Only seven errands to accomplish today…Sigh…

Some of these errands are probably necessary, while others, well, not so much. Someone once coined this scrambling as  “calendar constipation”.  Now there’s a visual….

bigstock-Calendar-987269

Guessing the same person who came up with that also came up with the Dwarf in the Drawer to oppose the precious Elf on the Shelf!!!  Who thinks of these things???

My dear friend and mentor, Nancy Tinnell, who faithfully ministers at Middletown United Methodist Church, recently wrote the below poem.  I just had to share it with you!  Between Nancy’s poem and a prior post following this poem on a unique Gift Wrapping Party, I pray your attitude becomes filled with glee and the kick in your step is higher than ever:

The planning, the shopping, the wrapping, the gifting

The eggs, the butter, the flour for sifting…

The holly, the ivy, the tree must look right!

‘Oh, honey, you promised you’d put up the lights?’

I bought it at Target, now it’s cheaper at Sears,

The tree-topper star is missing this year!

If I stay up ‘til midnight, the cookies can bake

While I finish wrapping for Abby and Jake.

If I keep wrapping for Susan and Lee

I can get it all done, if I stay up ‘til three!

The choir will stay late tomorrow night

The cantata is rough and it needs to be right!

I know I need work on my duet with Bill

When I hit my high note it’s always so shrill!

Can I get all this done in the time remaining?

All  the cooking, the serving, the hosting, the cleaning?

By the time Christmas gets here, I’ll have it all done.

I will be like the woman in Proverbs 31!

Will my children rise up and call me blessed?

Or will they just rise up and say, ‘Mom, where’s breakfast?’”

Love that, Nancy!!!  Thank you!

Pictured from left to right is Nancy Tinnell, Jane Chilton and yours truly.

Pictured from left to right is Nancy Tinnell, Jane Chilton and yours truly.

Please allow me to recap a stellar activity.  One of which is way worthy of your calendar.  (If it’s too late for you this year, well, there’s always next year.)

Last Monday, some friends of mine, known as the Butter Babes (another story for another day) met for their Annual Wrapping Party.  I’ll describe it in detail in a minute.  New for this year, at my pleading, we added a stop prior to arriving at my cousin’s.

butter babes

We went to the home of one of our dear friends, Aletia Thompson.  She decorates for Jesus at Christmas time.  Each room points to Jesus’  life, death, resurrection and  our ultimate Eternal Home.  Her home is the most beautifully, breathtakingly decorated home I’ve seen.

Aletia puts it beautifully:  “The true gift of Christmas is eternal life.  God gave His only Son that we might have that gift.  Christmas should be the biggest and the best birthday celebration in history because it’s for Our Savior.”

I forewarned the Babes and said, “Now don’t even attempt to compare your own décor, or you may become depressed.  Simply savor each room, each detail, and soak in our Savior.  You will see Him everywhere.”

Worship the King

We were all teary-eyed and speechless.  Judy was so moved, she immediately called our buddy over at The Southeast Outlook newspaper, Ruth Schenk, who fast-as-lightning set up an appointment to go interview Aletia, take pictures, etc.  Her article is in this week’s issue.  (Go to:  www.southeastoutlook.org beginning December 19th, . It’s found on pages 20-24.)

I’m off now to tackle my list. No worries, still smiling, no stress.

I pray you and your families have a most Blessed, Happy, Healthy and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  We have many fun celebrations coming up, so John and  I’ll be spending as much time as possible with our ever expanding family!  Come January, I’ll be sharing information on some favorite books read this year, among other trinkets.

Our gift for 2013 and 2014 is that John and I, within eleven months,  Lord willing, will be gaining three precious, beautiful-on-the-inside-as-well-as-the-outside daughters-in-love!  Wedding Central!  We will also be celebrating our 30th Wedding Anniversary in 2014!

Please read the below post to enlighten you on my cousin Bonnie’s wrapping party.  It’s worthy of repetition, and as I said earlier, way worthy of your calendar.

God’s Grace, Glory and Blessings!!!

SURE CURE FOR A BAH HUMBUG ATTITUDE…

Hello Friends!  Just wondering, now that Thanksgiving’s past and that Christmas décor’s been up since Halloween (in some stores that is, surely not in this household!), if you have a KICK in your step while shopping, or if you are SLIP-SLIDIN’-AWAY, Scrooge-like?

Grunge Scrooge With a Small Gift

Don’t even talk to me if you’re done with your Christmas shopping.  And don’t even look this way if you’ve shopped and wrapped.

Christmas isn’t happenin’ today, the way Jesus intended it to.  For that, I’m certain.  Every single year I try to think of ways to “taper down” on the gift-giving, think of the less fortunate, donate to new charities/ministries, and yet I still wind up looking more like Santa’s helper/enabler than a child of God.  Big sigh.

Santa's Elf on Sign Edge

The commercialization of Christmas makes me say “Bah humbug”…and I’m determined to NOT let it get the best of me. Lord, please help us to focus on you.  Matthew 6:33 reminds us:But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Praying Friends

So, now that the Christmas season’s officially “on”… I’d like to give you one prescription sure to bring a smile to your face, and a sure cure for any “Bah Humbug” attitudes trying to surface.

I am beyond blessed to have a very fun cousin.  Her name is Bonnie, but we in the family call her “Martha”, as in Stewart.  She’s one of those creative types:  she can whip up the most gorgeous bow you’ve ever seen. Friends now recognize them sayin’, “Now THAT’S a “Bonnie Bow”!!!

Bonnie will also try any new recipe.  She’ll paint a room an entirely new color when the mood strikes.  Furthermore, she will absolutely, positively, do anything for anyone, at any time, just for starters.

A few years ago, Bonnie came up with this fabulous idea…  She invited a group of our friends, a/k/a “the Butter Babes” over for a gift wrapping party.  Soup simmerin’ on the stove, Christmas music in the air, pool table covered as our wrapping station, and we move in for the day.

bigstock-Red-Green-Gold-and-Silver-W-12760646

What’s great about this is she sets the date way ahead of time (novel idea!) so we know when our deadline is…as in if you want to wrap a pretty package, you’d better have done some shopping and have packages in tow!

The five of us man our stations and the wrapping begins.  (Did I mention her endless supply of reams of paper and enough ribbon to extend to the moon?)  Oh, but the conversation around the table is the best.  You’re wondering if there’s a message here! Or what’s so spiritual about a wrapping party?

Well, you’ve got to know these Butter Babes.  These are some serious Bible study students and teachers.  These are some very close friends and mentors. These are some serious prayer warriors. They share meaningful Scripture. They share prayer requests. They share answered prayers.  They have lived a lot of life.  We laugh.  We cry.

DSC_0020

One of my favorite verses depicting this friendship journey is found in Proverbs 27:17 which says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (NIV)  It’s a huge blessing simply doing life with the help of dear friends who teach you to ultimately lean on the Lord.

Nary a  “Bah Humbug” erupts from this bunch. Nope, the Butter Babes would flat have a meltdown if such a phrase surfaced.  (Oh, I could have fun with that last phrase…)

Proverbs 27:7b says, “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”  Refreshing it is to be surrounded by such sweet sisters.  No Scrooges allowed!

Let me show you one more favorite verse to go along with our prescription:  Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. “

The “sure cure” for a Bah Humbug attitude can be found straight out of the three above phrases I’ve italicized:

Spur one another on:  This means we cheer each other on toward the finish line…as in our Heavenly Home.

Not giving up meeting together:  Keep regular gathering times with your friends.  How many times have you heard “friends are cheaper than therapy”?  It’s always nice to have something to look forward to.

I have another group of friends which includes a retired school teacher.  (Several actually, but one in particular is the glue that holds us together.)  Periodically, Jayne will shoot us an email with the tagline being:  “Random Dinner”.  She randomly picks a night and we show up to catch up.  Try it.  You’ll like it.

Encouraging  one another:  This goes hand in hand with spurring one another on. All three of these are great fuels for fanning the flame of friendship.

Kelly Minters Nehemiah

Kelly Minter’s Bible study on Nehemiah—A Heart That Can Break offers a PERFECT DEPICTION of what I’m attempting to recommend to you regarding friendship.  She opines*, “The world doesn’t need more wealth, strength, power, or skill as much as it desperately needs trustworthy peopleMy heart is never more at rest, my soul never more at peace than when I am in the presence of a person of integrity.

I find relational serenity in never having to second-guess what the person really meant, not having to dodge gossip or duck drama.  When I have the assurance that a person’s word is true, motives pure, and intents just, I have found a rare treasure indeed.”

Look again at those two above paragraphs.  Did you see that cool phrase, “relational serenity”?  What a sanctuary! What a safe haven!!!

Whether it’s a wrapping party, or a lunch out somewhere, or a Starbucks rendez-vous, I pray you’ll set a date with some of your friends and sail cheerfully thru’ this Christmas season, in relational serenity, sans any “Bah Humbugs”.

Purposefully celebrate Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (KJV) Remember Christ’s Birthday.

Savor God’s gift.  As Liz Curtis Higgs said, “Let’s be forever grateful for the One whose birth changed everything.”  (Click here to see an interview with her…)

??????????????

‘Til next time!

(This December post is happily dedicated to my long-time friend, cousin-by-marriage-who’s-more-like-a-sister, partner-in-crime in shopping, encourager extraordinaire, Bonnie Johnson. May blessings be abundant to you and your sweet family this Christmas season!!!)

*Lest you think I toss out unique words frequently, this one, “opine,” was a new one to me. Can’t believe I haven’t discovered this word ’til now.  I’m practically a professional at offering my opinion!  May we all opine with tact.

I ran across it twice in two days in two different books!  Both worth recommending:  one by Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage:  Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God and the other by Robert J. Morgan called Angels—True Stories—What Angels Do For Us.

Tim KellerRobert J Morgan

4 Comments

Filed under Family, Friends, Holidays, Life Lessons, Margin

Throwing a Surprise Party is No Piece of Cake…

Ahhh, the web of lies we weave… If you’ve ever thrown a surprise party for that special someone, you know you begin with just one teensy-weensy white lie, which leads to another, and another, quickly mushrooming-n-multiplying until you have no idea WHO you told what.

My friend Michelle and I miraculously pulled off a colossal surprise party for our husbands, Mark and John.  At the time, lo these many years ago, they were turning the big 4-0.

bigstock-Birthday-Party-Invitation--Y-2898852

We were blessed with generous friends who offered their company’s facility for the venue.  We created “mock” invitations which invited ourselves to a black tie pre-Derby party.  We feigned excitement over dressing up for the party while our husbands groaned over donning tuxes.

The “real” invitations asked our friends to come to a surprise party for Mark and John and the dress code was casual.  The guys fell for it, hook-line-and-sinker.  Thus the birthday boys stood out just a tad in their tuxedos! The surprise party was a success and as they say, “a good time was had by all”…

John Tux

Everybody loves a good party.  We all know someone, who even in regular settings, is the “life of the party”.  Just off the top of my head I can name three of my friends who I seek out on a regular basis simply to soak in their life-of-the-party-positive-attitudes.

For the past several weeks, we’ve learned about all kinds of “chicks” from Holly Wagner and her fun book, God Chicks—Living Life as a 21st Century Woman. (If you’ve missed the earlier ones, you can click on these to learn more:  Just-B-U, Princess, Warrior, Champion, and Friend) Holly’s encouraging style shows us God created us to be ALL of these kinds of chicks.

God Chicks

 

This week we’ll learn three tips on how to be a Party Chick.   Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.”  Holly encourages us in this chapter to love life.  She reminds us, “Jesus told His followers that He came to bring life…not death or destruction…but life.

The word Jesus used for ‘life’ is the Greek word zoe.  This word implies more than the breathe-in, breathe-out kind of life…meaning abundant, overflowing, rich, and plentiful life!”

 Tip #1:  Party Chicks live life with passion“We should be celebrating the life we have been given…not just trudging thru’ the days…”  Sigh.  I know this.  But, some days I just don’t feel like it. You?

I don’t want to walk the dog. I don’t want to iron. (Oh, we may just spend some time on that “hot” subject down the road….) I don’t want to straighten my desk.  (Do NOT ask my husband about “our” desk!) And I really, really, REALLY don’t want to cook!

Kitchen sign

Holly doesn’t let up on us, she digs deeper…. “We are given the moment called now. And this moment will not come againWe are to live each moment.  Time then becomes our responsibility.  We are given now only once.”

 “What are you doing with your now moment?”  Truthfully, I wanted to leave that little question out, but…  we’re in this together!   Let’s pray that the Lord will open our eyes to live in the now moment, as in right now.

Tip #2 – Party Chicks are joyful.  They choose “happy” in the midst of their circumstances.  I know, this is tough too.  Believe it or not, an overwhelming amount of research has proven that if you’ll just count your blessings, listing a few each day, your attitude, your health, and your relationships will all improve.

Best resource to turn your attitude right side up:  Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts –A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.  I double-dog-dare you to try it!  Don’t forget she’s coming to Louisville for the North American Christian Convention and will be speaking at the Ladies’ Luncheon, and teaching a workshop on blogging Thursday, July 11th!  (www.gotonacc.org )  You do NOT want to miss the chance to hear her! (For a taste of her Gospel-laced wisdom, click on Magnificent Manifesto in Minneapolis… and visit her website:  www.aholyexperience.com )

One Thousand Gifts

Philippians 4:8-9 is an excellent challenge for all of us from the apostle Paul:  “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received, or learned from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.” (NIV)

John and I were blessed a few years ago to hear Zig Ziglar speak about the above Scripture.  He used it to warn us about the “G-I-G-O” method.  He said, “If you put garbage into your mind, garbage will come out of your mouth or worse, into your lifestyle…Garbage in, garbage out…”

But… if you make a concerted effort to filter what goes into your mind, thinking on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy, THEN look at the promise in that Scripture, “the God of peace WILL be with you.”

Tip #3:  A Party Chick’s words bring life.  Proverbs 18:21a says, “The tongue has the power of life and death…”(NIV)

Holly makes an eye-opening point:  “See the good…Be the encourager…Do NOT be the girl who is a master at life-liposuction…sucking ALL the life out of someone.”  (Think blood-sucking leech!  This goes right back to last week’s post about Healthy or Unhealthy Friendships…)

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Polar opposite from those lovely leeches, let’s camp on encouragement.  It has such a ripple effect.  Holly reminds us, “There is power in encouragement.  It is a gift that can change lives.”

Florence Littauer wrote a beautiful book called, Silver Boxes—The Gift of Encouragement.  It is all about the words we speak and their influence on others.  It is based on Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

 Silver Boxes

Holly teaches, “The word encourage means ‘to put courage in’, and courage means ‘facing danger in spite of fear.’ As we encourage people, we are saying, ‘Keep going! You can do it!’”

To add icing to our party cake, on top of encouraging others, let’s throw in a little laughter.  Proverbs 15:13 in the NCV says, “A happy heart is like good medicine.”  (We talked about the benefits of laughter in the post Get Over the Guilt –Grab a Nap…from Feb. 13..)

Butter Babes laughing

My three friends I mentioned earlier, who are life-of-the-party-positive-attitude girls, ALL love to laugh.  They make laughter seem effortless.  Their outlook on life is contagiously optimistic.

Nicholas De Chamfort said, “The most wasted of all days is that during which one has not laughed.”  Let’s all go out and find something or someone who’s funny and be the best Party Chick God has called us to be!  May God be glorified.

‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to my three Party Chick friends, whom you’ve heard me talk about before, and will again soon:  Nancy Aguiar, Jane Chilton and Gwen Paten. They lift my spirit every single time I’m around them and THAT, my friends, is worth a million bucks.)

6 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Conferences, Family, Friends, Life Lessons

Sure Cure for a Bah Humbug Attitude…

Hello Friends!  Just wondering, now that Thanksgiving’s past and that Christmas décor’s been up since Halloween (in some stores that is, surely not in this household!), if you have a KICK in your step while shopping, or if you are SLIP-SLIDIN’-AWAY, Scrooge-like?

Grunge Scrooge With a Small Gift

Don’t even talk to me if you’re done with your Christmas shopping.  And don’t even look this way if you’ve shopped and wrapped.

Christmas isn’t happenin’ today, the way Jesus intended it to.  For that, I’m certain.  Every single year I try to think of ways to “taper down” on the gift-giving, think of the less fortunate, donate to new charities/ministries, and yet I still wind up looking more like Santa’s helper/enabler than a child of God.  Big sigh.Santa's Elf on Sign EdgeThe commercialization of Christmas makes me say “Bah humbug”…and I’m determined to NOT let it get the best of me. Lord, please help us to focus on you.  Matthew 6:33 reminds us: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Praying Friends

So, now that the Christmas season’s officially “on”… no thanks to some poor souls opening up on Thanksgiving Day (really?), Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc., I’d like to give you one prescription sure to bring a smile to your face, and a cure for any “Bah Humbug” attitudes trying to surface.

I am beyond blessed to have a very fun cousin.  Her name is Bonnie, but we in the family call her “Martha”, as in Stewart.  She’s one of those creative types:  she can whip up the most gorgeous bow you’ve ever seen. Friends now recognize them sayin’, “Now THAT’S a “Bonnie Bow”!!!

Bonnie will also try any new recipe.  She’ll paint a room an entirely new color when the mood strikes.  Furthermore, she will absolutely, positively, do anything for anyone, at any time, just for starters.

A few years ago, Bonnie came up with this fabulous idea…  She invited a group of our friends, a/k/a “the Butter Babes” over for a gift wrapping party.  Soup simmerin’ on the stove, Christmas music in the air, pool table covered as our wrapping station, and we move in for the day.

bigstock-Red-Green-Gold-and-Silver-W-12760646

What’s great about this is she sets the date way ahead of time (novel idea!) so we know when our deadline is…as in if you want to wrap a pretty package, you’d better have done some shopping and have packages in tow!

The five of us man our stations and the wrapping begins.  (Did I mention her endless supply of reams of paper and enough ribbon to extend to the moon?)  Oh, but the conversation around the table is the best.  You’re wondering if there’s a message here! Or what’s so spiritual about a wrapping party?

Well, you’ve got to know these Butter Babes.  These are some serious Bible study students and teachers.  These are some very close friends and mentors. These are some serious prayer warriors. They share meaningful Scripture. They share prayer requests. They share answered prayers.  They have lived a lot of life.  We laugh.  We cry.

DSC_0020

One of my favorite verses depicting this friendship journey is found in Proverbs 27:17 which says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (NIV)  It’s a huge blessing simply doing life with the help of dear friends who teach you to ultimately lean on the Lord.

Nary a  “Bah Humbug” erupts from this bunch. Nope, the Butter Babes would flat have a meltdown if such a phrase surfaced.  (Oh, I could have fun with that last phrase…)

Proverbs 27:7b says, “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”  Refreshing it is to be surrounded by such sweet sisters.  No Scrooges allowed!

Let me show you one more favorite verse to go along with our prescription:  Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. “

The “sure cure” for a Bah Humbug attitude can be found straight out of the three above phrases I’ve italicized:

Spur one another on:  This means we cheer each other on toward the finish line…as in our Heavenly Home.

Not giving up meeting together:  Keep regular gathering times with your friends.  How many times have you heard “friends are cheaper than therapy”?  It’s always nice to have something to look forward to.

I have another group of friends which includes a retired school teacher.  (Several actually, but one in particular is the glue that holds us together.)  Periodically, Jayne will shoot us an email with the tagline being:  “Random Dinner”.  She randomly picks a night and we show up to catch up.  Try it.  You’ll like it.

Encouraging  one another:  This goes hand in hand with spurring one another on. All three of these are great fuels for fanning the flame of friendship.

Kelly Minters Nehemiah

Kelly Minter’s most recent Bible study on Nehemiah—A Heart That Can Break offers a PERFECT DEPICTION of what I’m attempting to recommend to you regarding friendship.  She opines*, “The world doesn’t need more wealth, strength, power, or skill as much as it desperately needs trustworthy people.  My heart is never more at rest, my soul never more at peace than when I am in the presence of a person of integrity.

I find relational serenity in never having to second-guess what the person really meant, not having to dodge gossip or duck drama.  When I have the assurance that a person’s word is true, motives pure, and intents just, I have found a rare treasure indeed.”

Look again at those two above paragraphs.  Did you see that cool phrase, “relational serenity”?  What a sanctuary! What a safe haven!!!

Whether it’s a wrapping party, or a lunch out somewhere, or a Starbucks rendez-vous, I pray you’ll set a date with some of your friends and sail cheerfully thru’ this Christmas season, in relational serenity, sans any “Bah Humbugs”.

Purposefully celebrate Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (KJV) Remember Christ’s Birthday.

Savor God’s gift.  As Liz Curtis Higgs said, “Let’s be forever grateful for the One whose birth changed everything.”  (Click here to see an interview with her…)

??????????????

‘Til next time!

(This December post is happily dedicated to my long-time friend, cousin-by-marriage-who’s-more-like-a-sister, partner-in-crime in shopping, encourager extraordinaire, Bonnie Johnson. May blessings be abundant to you and your sweet family this Christmas season!!!)

*Lest you think I toss out unique words frequently, this one, “opine,” was a new one to me. Can’t believe I haven’t discovered this word ’til now.  I’m practically a professional at offering my opinion!  May we all opine with tact.

I ran across it twice in two days in two different books!  Both worth recommending:  one by Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage:  Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God and the other by Robert J. Morgan called Angels—True Stories—What Angels Do For Us.

Tim KellerRobert J Morgan

12 Comments

Filed under Friends, Holidays, Scripture