Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Even Santa Needs a Savior...

Those are the words I remember each time I see this picture. It's from a card that I received over 20 years ago.

 I have no idea who gave it to me or who wrote it as there is no reference, but I have saved it all this time because it spoke to my heart in such a powerful way. I clearly remember the words "Even Santa Needs A Savior." Although they are not written on the card itself... maybe they were spoken to me by whoever gave it to me. I don't remember.

But one thing I do know... it will always remind me to teach my children the real meaning of Christmas.

I'll never know how Santa became the center of Christmas. Probably by the world's need for a Savior, but it's refusal to receive the One that's been given. How else could you explain it?

Oh, yes. I could say that the devil has used Santa to be a distraction from Jesus. And that would be true. But... we can't be distracted if we aren't willing.

I have been right there with everyone else... waiting in long lines, spending money I don't have on things we don't need. I'm no different. 

I've made it all about getting the best gift. The right gift. It's been about the decorations. And it's been about the entertaining.

Now, if I want to make myself sound a little better... I can say that it's all about family time and giving. Putting others first. And that wouldn't be a lie. It happens. More often now that I'm older. Or should I say... 'grown up'.

When I was younger I would strive to be more selfless. And I was to a point. But when the last two shopping days before Christmas get here... forget it. The all demanding 'to-do' list is now at 'priority' status. 

Last minute gifts to wrap (even though it will all be un-done in a matter of hours), last minute plans for dinner, and a whole lot of feeling like I forgot something. BUT... at least I helped someone else. Right?

All the giving, loving, and putting others first is great. It's not a bad thing. But if you're only doing it at Christmas... you're missing the point. God doesn't want us to obey Him for a season. He wants our obedience all year long. Or are you even doing it for Him?

I hope that we love because He loved us...and He commands us to love one another. Not for some self-serving satisfaction.

I can be as selfless as ever at Christmas. I can give until I have nothing left to give. And people would say that's the spirit of Christmas.

But it's not the MEANING of Christmas.

Jesus Christ was born... to die. To be the Savior of the World! There would be no holiday without Jesus. HE is the reason we celebrate. Santa may be fun. But he can't save anyone. Christmas belongs to Jesus. It's the day we celebrate His birth. The birth of our Savior.

Please don't think I'm bashing Santa. I just want to keep our perspective of who the holiday is really for and not elevate Santa to a position that belongs only to Jesus.

One final note from the inside of the card...

"God wants you to have a life worth living, not just at the holidays and so-called "good times." The life He gives has a peace that passes all understanding. Jesus says, "In the world you will have tribulation [trouble], but in Me you have peace."

"Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. This Christmas do as the Wise Men did, seek Him! And then you can join the rest of the family of God in "looking for the Blessed Hope and the appearing of our Great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." The real reason for the season!"

John 16:33, John 14:27, Titus 2:13

Merry Christmas!
...and God bless!

Mary Ann :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Social Network Christmas

I thought this was a powerful video and wanted to share it with you. I guess this is what it might look like if Mary and Joseph had Facebook...

Hope you enjoyed it!

Thanks for visiting and God bless!
Mary Ann :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Delicious Cran-apple Pie

Cranberries and apples... what could make a better pie? This is by far my favorite. And while it makes a great summer treat, it also goes well with my Christmas menu. It just seems like a holiday dessert to me... hot from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top... amazing. I hope you enjoy it!

Delicious Cran-apple Pie

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons apple cider or water
1 (15-oz.) package Pillsbury All Ready Pie Crusts (or homemade)
5 cups (4 large) sliced peeled apples
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon milk
2 teaspoons sugar

In a small saucepan, combine cranberries, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and apple cider. Bring to full boil over medium heat, stirring frequently; boil gently 5 minutes. Cool 15 to 20 minutes.

Prepare pie crust according to package directions for two-crust pie using 9-inch pie pan.

Heat oven to 425 F. In large bowl, combine apples, 2/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch; toss to coat apples. Stir in cooled cranberry mixture; toss lightly. Spoon into pie crust-lined pan. Top with second crust; seal and flute edges. Cut slits in top crust; brush with milk and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar.

Bake at 425 F. for 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown and apples are tender. Cover edge of pie crust with strips of foil after 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. 8 servings.

*This recipe is from and old cookbook that I've had for years...
"Pillsbury Harvest Time Baking & Cooking", Classic Cookbooks #129, November 1991.

Mary Ann :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

An Important Message... Feeling Suicidal?

I know this is a serious message and some of you would like it to be a little more lighthearted... but this is a very important and very REAL problem around the holidays.

No one should ever feel as if they are completely alone OR that there is no other option but to end their life. If this is you.... please continue reading.

There IS hope. People DO care. And you did NOT find this page by chance. You are here for a reason...

Please read the message below from Here you will find encouragement and help in the right direction. Take a look around their website. It was made for you!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

O Christmas Tree!

Setting up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving has been a long time tradition in our family. Some may say it's too early... but I say that Christmas is a season... and Thanksgiving helps to bring it in. I mean, what more can we be thankful for? We've be given a Savior! 

This is our tree from last year. I would post a picture from this year... but it will look pretty much the same. That's what makes it special. 

Our tree has ornaments from 20 years ago and even older than that. I have every ornament that my children have made me over the years, and my oldest is 25. Beginning in Kindergarten, each of my kids would bring home a special ornament they made in school.

The angel above was made by my oldest son "Little Boy" when he was in the first grade. He will be 25 next week... and his angel is still on our tree. It has had to be repaired a couple of times. But it's hanging in there.

The little gingerbread man was made by my second oldest son... we'll call him "Kid". (He got that name because my youngest son could never pronounce his name. After many attempts... he began calling him "Kid"... and that is what he called him for many months.) He made this ornament in elementary school. He is now 23 and his ornament is still on the tree every year.

Not sure about Rudolf the Red-Nosed 'Milk Bone'... but he's been around for years. My kids can always remind me when I forget who made one of the ornaments.

This one is special because my Grandmother made it. She actually made 3 for me and they have been on the tree every year since. I didn't know her for very long and my kids were too young to know her... but her memory lives on each year on our tree.

When my oldest daughter "Little Lady" was in Kindergarten, there was a Carl's Jr. right down the street from us. The kids and I would walk over for lunch. It was a fun treat for us. Back then they had pretty cool toys in the kids' meal boxes. This ornament is one of them. We also have a Carl's Jr. reindeer star ornament as well.

This is one of our newest additions to our tree. I want to always remember the true meaning of Christmas. The gift of Jesus. It reminds me of a picture I once saw that said... "Even Santa needs a Savior".

These and more are the ornaments that adorn our tree. They are many. Just as we are. They have seen many years and show signs of wear... just as we do. Our tree tells the story of our family. Our history...

Handmade ornaments from my mother and my grandmother... special ornaments from my husband's mother...the first ornaments that my husband, children, and I picked out together the first year we were married... the first ornaments (at least the ones that survived) that I bought when I first set out on my own... and all the special ornaments that each of my children have made over the years hang there... and will as long as they last. To me... they are priceless.

I actually started to take photos of each ornament just in case one of them didn't make it to the next year. That way... we will always have the memories.

Yes, I could go out and buy new things and they would be beautiful. But they don't have a story to tell. They don't have the history that these do. It took us many years to get our tree to tell our own story... and I plan to keep adding to it. As long as the Lord allows.
Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :) 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Mail For Heroes

Have you started addressing those Christmas cards yet? Wait right there...
I have someone to add to your list!

Here's your chance to share a little Christmas Cheer with our Heroes who are serving our country. Many of them can't be home to celebrate with their families. Wouldn't it be wonderful to let them know that we support them and are thinking about them during this Christmas Season by sending them a Christmas card?

The Red Cross has a great program called "Holiday Mail For Heroes" that allows us to do just that. Follow the links on the top or at the bottom of this post and it will take you directly to their site. There you will find all the information you need to make a difference. And believe me... it is the little things that make a difference.

And while you're there, please read the guidelines carefully. They give the address to send the cards to, as well as information on how to address your card(s), what to include, what not to include, and whatever else you may need to know.

Have the little ones help! My kids love doing things like this and it teaches them early on that we should always think of others. It only takes a few minutes of your time... but the feeling that someone cares could last a lifetime. Won't you please send that gift to a soldier?

Oh... did I mention that your cards need to be postmarked by December 10th? We better get started!  :)

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Life with Lord Byron by Peggy Nelson

If you're a fan of golf... or not, I think you will enjoy this wonderful story of Byron Nelson. "Life with Lord Byron" is written by his second wife, Peggy Nelson.

Peggy shares so much about the person that Byron Nelson was, it makes you feel as if you know him as well. From their first meeting to their wedding, from life on the ranch to traveling on golf tours, Peggy gives us a glimpse of this sports hero at his best. And it is not dissappointing.

Byron Nelson was not just an amazing golf pro. He was a great friend. A loving husband. Many who knew him share their stories of how he touched their lives. And the stories, which are many, are all consistent. They show a man who had great talent, yet remained humble. A man who was a well known celebrity yet lived his life like an ordinary Joe. Kind, caring, compassionate, giving... and he loved people.

I loved this book. Everything about it. The way Peggy told it made me feel like I was a part of the story. And like I wanted to be in the story. I love this great man of golf. He was a caring and gentle soul. True. Authentic. He not only shared his faith but he lived it. He didn't have to stand on a pulpit and preach... his life spoke volumes to those he came to know and love. He is someone I would have loved to meet.

Thanks, Peggy, for sharing your wonderful story with us! It really was a Cinderella Story. :)

*I received this book from Kathy Carlton Willis Communications in exchange for my honest review. You can check out their website at

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann  :)


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