Tag Archives | christmas

it’s the most wonderful time of the year {besides Fall, of course}

Dear Christmas,

You are right around the corner. While we love you and are counting down the days until you arrive, we always seem to get caught up in the hustle & bustle. Sometimes we lose sight of your true meaning come December. Perhaps I can work hard to plan now so that our focus will be on the gift of baby Jesus and not on buying presents for our loved ones. Thank you for being the most wonderful time of the year. I want to savor every glittering light, special cookie, dazzling tree, choo-choo train, gift of service, lit candle and sacred Christmas carol this year.

All my love and devotion,

*laura*

Here is some content that I have posted before.  I hope it inspires you to get going on those gifts so that you can enjoy the holiday season as well.

Our goal (for Christmas & birthdays throughout the year) is to give gifts that express our love but also make less of an impact on landfills and clutter in our homes. This is not always possible and yes I know that some people find this impersonal but let’s be honest for a minute. How many gifts do we get every year that just fill up our home with more stuff? Not that stuff is bad (we Americans love stuff) but with the exception of a few things…here or there…I for one really do not need more of it!

So here we go with a few ideas:
*Consumable Gift Ideas*
*CERTIFICATE for TIME SPENT
*CERTIFICATE for A HOMEMADE MEAL
*CERTIFICATE for a SPECIAL TRIP
*HOMEMADE FOOD (such as jams, breads, nuts, cookies)
*CERTIFICATE for a SPECIAL CLASS (such as cooking, sewing, dance class or swim lessons)
*GIFT CARDS (for meals, clothing stores, grocery stores, movies, spa treatments, shows, events or even flowers)
*GOURMET GIFT BASKETS (chocolate treats for a chocoholic or for a friend with a special diet like celiac you could group together specialty gluten-free products)
*For KIDS: Bubbles, Chalk, Art Supplies, Stickers (one can rarely have enough of these things)
***
DSC_0654
*Giving Back Gift Ideas*
*Have you heard about Operation Christmas Child from Samaritans Purse? Click on the link to check it out and look-up how it works and where you can drop off your box this year! Hurry because the deadline to drop off your box is in a few weeks. Our MOPS group is doing it this year as a fun way to give back and get our kids involved.  Maybe even consider giving a box in place of a gift for a family you know and on Christmas present them with a description of why you have a box in their name and a picture of what you put in the box and where it went.
DSC_0667
***
*Do you know about LOVE146 yet? Their mission is to END CHILD SEX SLAVERY AND EXPLOITATION.  I learned about this organization at Blog Sugar and have not been able to get it off my mind. Items can be purchased in their store as gifts (most of the money goes back to their organization).  Check it out and be ready to grab a tissue for this one.
***
*And of course you can give to Compassion right now. Year Round: Compassion is an organization that allows you to sponsor children all over the world in order to help them with basic physical (and spiritual) needs. You pay a monthly fee and are able to write letters back and forth and give extra money for their birthday’s and Christmas if you can.  We have really enjoyed doing this and wanted to spread the word!  Check them out if you are considering a new way to give-back this year!  And one more thought…if you have a baby or small child and are not sure what to get them for Christmas (because after all they are a baby and have no idea what is going on) consider looking up a Compassion child to sponsor by the birthday and gender of your child.  We did this for both the kids for their “Baby’s 1st Christmas” gift and it has been fun watching other children grow up with their birthdays (even though they are not their age)! It’s a nice way to have something in common with these beautiful children all over the world. Just something to consider as you make your lists!
31 days (250)
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mylittleGREENheart {GIFT GIVING}

Consider buying your loved one’s gifts that are consumable or that give back to someone or something else!

This year (for Christmas & birthdays) we’re trying to give gifts that express our love but also make less of an impact on landfills and clutter in our homes. Yes I know that some people find this impersonal, and I get that, but let’s be honest for a minute. How many gifts do we get every year that just fill up our home with more stuff? Not that stuff is bad (we Americans love stuff) but with the exception of a few things…here or there…I for one really do not need more of it!
So here we go with a few ideas:
*Consumable Gift Ideas*
*CERTIFICATE for TIME SPENT
*CERTIFICATE for A HOMEMADE MEAL
*CERTIFICATE for a SPECIAL TRIP
*HOMEMADE FOOD (such as jams, breads, nuts, cookies)
*CERTIFICATE for a SPECIAL CLASS (such as cooking, sewing, dance class or swim lessons)
*GIFT CARDS (for meals, clothing stores, grocery stores, movies, spa treatments, shows, events or even flowers)
*GOURMET GIFT BASKETS (chocolate treats for a chocoholic or for a friend with a special diet like celiac you could group together specialty gluten-free products)
*For KIDS: Bubbles, Chalk, Art Supplies, Stickers (one can rarely have enough of these things)
*Giving Back Gift Ideas*
*Have you heard about Operation Christmas Child from Samaritans Purse? Click on the link to check it out and look-up how it works and where you can drop off your box this year! Hurry because the deadline to drop off your box is in a few weeks. Our MOPS group is doing it this year as a fun way to give back and get our kids involved.  Maybe even consider giving a box in place of a gift for a family you know and on Christmas present them with a description of why you have a box in their name and a picture of what you put in the box and where it went.
***
*Do you know about LOVE146 yet? Their mission is to END CHILD SEX SLAVERY AND EXPLOITATION.  I learned about this organization at Blog Sugar and have not been able to get it off my mind. I’m going to buy a few items in their store as gifts (most of the money goes back to their organization).  Check it out and be ready to grab a tissue or two or twenty for this one.
*And of course there are two ways to give to Compassion right now. Year Round: Compassion is an organization that allows you to sponsor children all over the world to help them with basic physical (and spiritual) needs. You pay a monthly fee and are able to write letters back and forth and give extra money for their birthday’s and Christmas if you can.  We have really enjoyed doing this and wanted to spread the word!  Check them out if you are considering a new way to give-back this year!  And one more thought…if you have a baby or small child and are not sure what to get them for Christmas (because after all they are a baby and have no idea what is going on) consider looking up a Compassion child to sponsor by the birthday and gender of your child.  We did this for both the kids for their “Baby’s 1st Christmas” gift and it has been fun watching other children grow up with their birthdays (even though they are not their age)! It’s a nice way to have something in common with these beautiful children all over the world. Just something to consider as you make your lists!
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christmas MEMORIES

Hope your Christmas was magical and that you are enjoying the New Year!  Here are a few highlights from the Panfilio family!
Christmas Morning!
Lets just call it the CRAZY coupe when this wild man is in it. He literally sat in this thing for hours on Christmas day. He especially loved this spot where he could sit, watch the TV and see Izzy (also known as “Ee-Ee”). Love this guy!
Here she is waving her bell and singing for her preschool Christmas program.
You gotta love seeing 3-year-old kids perform on stage! She was so cute and sang out very loud for most of the song!
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what makes you come alive?

To make New Years Resolutions or to Not make New Years Resolutions!?!
That is the question!

The holiday season always tends to be a reflective time for me. I cannot help but think about the past year and dream, plan and wonder about the year to come.  I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions because they just seem like a chore.  How often do people really carry out these goals and how guilty do they feel when all enthusiasm is lost by January 3rd!?!  However, I am a very goal oriented person. I tend to feel more balanced in life when I have a sense of purpose and a few goals in mind. But what are my goals and what is my purpose?

Right now, I would say that my purpose is to serve God, love my husband and take care of my kids…and to be kind & loving to people around me.  But I have to be honest for a minute here.  While it is not all bad and I love being home with my kids, life as a stay at home mom (even with its rewards) can be tough. It is physically and emotionally taxing and unceasingly monotonous. For a person who loves change and spontaneity it is rough at times. I do not thrive on routine…I dread it! Also, I have a few health problems that tend to make life with two young kids difficult at best (but that is a whole different story for another day).  I am often plagued by self-doubt and fears about how to raise our kids & how to love my husband well.  Despite my husband’s wonderful and regular appreciation I often question if I am ever going to get it all right.  When I get stuck in all this stuff I worry about how to set my goals and make time for my dreams. It can all just seem so overwhelming and messy.  And then…every so often…I am once again struck by one of my favorite quotes:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs;
ask yourself what makes you come alive.
And then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman
Isn’t that the truth? Really…Isn’t that a great quote? So what makes me come alive?  Being creative, being with people, having fun, learning about God, singing, traveling, being in nature, drinking coffee, reading a good book occasionally and even cooking from time to time (the cooking one is always a blessing and a curse because you have to clean up and I HATE doing dishes…HATE….but where was I?)  Oh Yeah…so when I do the things I love, I usually feel “filled up” and the fun & joyful side of me comes out.  I am realizing that I need to regularly find the time to focus on doing things that make me feel “alive” – so that I don’t feel so bogged down in my day-to-day tasks. And not just for me…but hopefully I can help others around me feel more alive in turn!
I have seen this reality take shape in the past year and a half  as I set out to lose the dreaded “baby weight” of two kids. Through the help of Weight Watchers not only did I lose the weight I intended to lose…but I also have kept it off for the past several months now! It has felt so great to stick with something difficult and see it through and maintain it! There were times I wanted to give up but with my goals in mind I just had to keep going. I will talk more about my weight loss journey some other time but my point is that it helps to remember how great it feels to accomplish goals in life.
Along those lines I am learning that what I am doing as a wife and mommy has dignity and purpose if I am doing it for the right reasons! I am learning to set goals and do the things that make me come alive with the unconditional love of Jesus to help gently remind me of His purposes for me. He gives me new strength every day (and every moment) and honestly I would be lost without Him. I would be lost. So His love and His strength keep me strong…keep me grounded…give me purpose! God’s word tells us that He does have great plans for our lives:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you…to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

So now the question is… “What makes you come alive?” and will you consider writing your goals and hopes for your future rather than trying to live up to last years resolutions!?!

God has great plans for you… and hopes for you!

Maybe this year I can give up the guilt, be free and ask myself what makes me come alive…I hope you will too!

Happy New Year!

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winterFUN & blogLOVE

Have you discovered The Pioneer Woman yet?
Have you heard about The Farm Chicks yet?
My sister and I love blogs and she’s the one who turned me on to the Pioneer Woman!  She is always making her delicious recipes and all I can say is yummy, yummy! So check them out & I hope you enjoy them as much as Fifi and I do! As a short departure from all the Christmas cheer I had to post some pictures from the last few days. These kids of ours are just too darn cute and we just love our silly little man and sweet little girl (truth be told, this is really for the grandparents)! Enjoy!

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