While simplifying your holiday season, take time for relationships to thrive, not just survive the holidays.  Keep those relationships balanced with your holiday planning. People ARE more important than things at this time of year.  Here are some relationship principles using one of the familiar words of the holiday as an easy to apply acrostic:

 

  1. C enter your heart on the true, deeper meaning of the holiday season (Thanksgiving through New Year’s.) This will help everyone become easier to get along with because the heart of the holiday will remain intact.
  2. H ear what your friends and family are voicing as their stress, and listen carefully to them—a gift that will lower their stress.
  3. R each out as a family to help others in order to keep the proper perspective on what is really important in life.
  4. I nvest in memories, not material goods. Make time for family baking, tree decorating, or board games.
  5. S peak your love in words. The best gift you can give is for a person to hear their value and worth from your lips.
  6. T ake time for romance. The greatest gift you can give your spouse, children, and friends is a happy home.
  7. M ake time to reach out to extended family. Visit or call grandparents, aunts, and uncles. If possible, use modern technology like a Webcam to connect.
  8. A ssume nothing; ask those who are celebrating with you what their expectations are, and communicate the plan clearly so people feel informed.
  9. S tay flexible. Don’t be a Christmas Scrooge, ordering family around. Instead slow the pace, gather consensus, and give options so that you create an environment of connecting and sharing.
  10. ! Exclaim your joy with music, memories and by making the most of all your relationships!

 

Pam and Bill Farrel are relationship specialists, international speakers, and authors of more than forty-five books, including best-selling  Men Are like Waffles, Women Are like Spaghetti.

Visit www.Love-wise.com

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Speaker, Pam Farrel, author of 45 books

I often give Christmas messages for women’s ministries, and one is entitled “Christmas Joy”. Joy is the beautiful result of Christ coming at Christmas.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. (Luke 2:10)

In my book, LOL with God,  (co-authored Dawn Wilson) we chronicle just a few of the over 350 verses that speak to joy:

  • 1 Chronicles 16:27“Strength and joy [are] in his dwelling place.” (Dwell with God and find joy!)
  • Job 33:26“He prays to God and finds favor with him, he sees God’s face and shouts for joy.” (Pray, and joy will be reignited.)
  • Psalm 5:11“Let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.” (Hide your heart in God, and joy will erupt in song.)
  • Psalm 35:27“May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, ‘The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.’” (Rejoice in God’s righteousness, and justice and joy will return.)
  • Psalm 71:23“My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I, whom you have redeemed.” (Worship God for his redeem­ing love, and joy will naturally evolve.)
  • Psalm 92:4“You make me glad by your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.” (Review the goodness of God, and joy will fill your mind and roll off your lips.)
  • Psalm 118:15—“Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: ‘The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!’” (Review God’s victories, and joy will accompany the rerun of love.)
  • Psalm 145:7“They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.” (Throw a party to celebrate God’s provision, and joy will be the centerpiece of your life.)
  • Proverbs 21:15“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righ­teous.” (Do the right thing, and joy will stick.)
  • Jeremiah 15:16“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.” (Get into God’s Word—joy is there!)

Which one of these pathways to joy can you take this holiday to hold on to joy?

Discovering Joy In Philippians

(Coming in May: Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Devotional Experience – by Pam Farrel, Jean E Jones, Karla Dornacher from Harvest House Publishers )

Pam Farrel, international speaker, author of 45+ books, Co- Director of Love-Wise. Join the #LivingLoveWise community

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CHRISTMAS!  The word evokes many feelings, depending on our experiences. For some, Christmas is a happy time, filled with beautiful memories and joyful expectations. For others, Christmas is a depressing time, a season one wants “to get over with” as quickly as possible because of bad memories associated with this time of year.

Having ministered to people for many years, I have come to the conclusion that depressing memories at Christmas time are most often related to problems of unforgiveness. Hurts from the past become more pronounced during the Christmas season, but the reason those hurts still affect us is that we have not let go of the bitterness associated with them. In short, we have not forgiven the people who have hurt us.

Why do most people have such a difficult time forgiving? I believe the main reason is that they do not understand what forgiveness really means. If you are one of those people, what follows may help you:

LET’S LOOK AT WHAT FORGIVENESS IS NOT:

  • Forgiveness is NOT letting someone off the hook.
  • Forgiveness is NOT condoning evil.
  • Forgiven is NOT being a doormat.
  • Forgiveness is NOT having to trust again the person who hurt you.
  • Forgiveness is NOT a feeling.
  • Forgiveness is NOT an option.

NOW LET’S LOOK AT WHAT FORGIVENESS IS:

  • Forgiveness IS taking the person who hurt you off of your hook and placing him on God’s hook, then praying that God will have mercy on him.
  • Forgiveness IS acknowledging that evil was done but choosing to bear the consequences of that evil without retaliation.
  • Forgiveness IS taking charge of your emotions.
  • Forgiveness IS setting boundaries with the person who hurt you, even refusing temporary or permanent interaction with that person, if necessary. An example would be a wife who is being beaten by her husband.
  • Forgiveness IS a decision.
  • Forgiveness IS obedience to God’s commandment to forgive.

No matter how badly you have been hurt, choose to forgive. It’s the best thing you can do for your own well-being. Unforgiveness chains you emotionally to the person who hurt you. Forgiveness breaks that chain and sets you free.

What better time is there than the Christmas season to forgive those who have hurt us? The very essence of Christmas is the truth that God forgave humanity through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Who are we not to forgive when God has forgiven us?

So this Christmas, forgive! But don’t just forgive. Ask to be forgiven. As the Word of God tells us, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). All of us need not only to forgive but also to be forgiven.  And as long as we are on this earth, it is never too late to forgive or to be forgiven.

For a heartwarming, compelling story on the power of forgiveness, you may wish to read my new novella entitled A Christmas Homecoming.  It is available in electronic format for your Kindle, Nook, or iPad.  To view the beautiful book trailer of A Christmas Homecoming, click hereLast, but not least, may you forge happy memories this Christmas season as the power of forgiveness sets you free!

Reprinted by permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio.

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

The Italian Chronicles cover

The Italian Chronicles

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is a widely published, award-winning author of compelling fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. Her latest work of fiction is a trilogy set in 19th-century Sicily and titled The Italian Chronicles. MaryAnn and her husband Dom reside in New Jersey. They are the blessed parents of two adult daughters and the grandparents of six rambunctious grandchildren. In her spare time, MaryAnn loves to paint in acrylics and oils.

 

 

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It’s a busy season full of wonder, miracles, and–let’s be honest–at least a little stress! Gift cards are an easy option when we’ve run out of ideas or energy, but how about the gift of literature? After all, a book is like a present that you get to open again and again, right?

Here are two new titles that have recently released from our CAN authors! 

Care to put a little mystery and suspense in your holiday shopping? Try Pendant, a new

Pendant

release from M L Hamilton.

A field trip gone awry. A student gone missing.

Haunted by her student’s disappearance for more than a decade, Elaine finally stumbles

onto a vital clue–and discovers someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden. When her life is threatened, she allows the one person she trusts to whisk her away to safety in Texas. But assuming a false identity and hiding among the quirky residents of a retirement home is not what she had in mind. Now, Elaine must solve the mystery from afar, as soon as she figures out if her friends is keeping her from danger…or keeping her from the truth.

amzn.com/B076JSK3H9

**********

The newest book release of Kathy Collard Miller is Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. Her goal is to inspire Christian women to seek God’s glory with purified motives. Included are biblical principles, inspiring stories, and discussion questions.

http://amzn.to/2jzYdWi

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I love after-Christmas sales! Wrapping paper, ornaments, and Christmas cards are available at greatly-reduced prices.

One year while buying groceries in a super-store, I steered my cart to the Christmas aisle—just out of curiosity. And there it was—a beautiful, hand-painted ceramic nativity set on display at seventy-five percent off!

Several boxed sets were on a shelf, so I took one and placed it on the bottom rack of my cart. When I got home, I left the box intact and slid it in my Christmas closet.

The winter months came and went, as did spring, summer, and fall. Soon it was December and I began unpacking my Christmas closet to decorate our home. That’s when I found it again—the box with the nativity set I had forgotten.

I opened the box and gently lifted each piece. I arranged the scene on the marble-top sideboard in the foyer, so it would be the first Christmas item people would see as they walked in the door.

Forgetting about the nativity set in my closet reminded me how easy it is to forget the real meaning of Christmas. Decorating, shopping, entertaining, and baking cookies jump to the forefront as Jesus remains in the background.

This Christmas I want to keep Jesus front and center. I want people to see Jesus in me when they enter my home.

I know this phrase has become cliché, but I still love to hear it.

Jesus is the reason for the season.

Crystal Bowman is a best-selling and award-winning author of over 100 books for children. She also writes lyrics for children’s piano music and stories for Clubhouse Jr. magazine. She is co-author of Our Daily Bread for Kids, M is for Manger, and Does God Take Naps?

 

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