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Women Living Well Blog: Putting God Back In The Holidays and A Giveaway

Women Living Well Blog

Friday, November 12, 2010

Putting God Back In The Holidays and A Giveaway

Last week I began a fabulous book titled "Putting God Back In The Holidays" by Bill and Penny Thrasher (Bill is a Professor at my Alma mater - Moody Bible Institute). This book has rattled me a bit because it challenges me to rest in the midst of the busyness that comes with holidays.


This book covers all the holidays, from New Years to Easter to Mother's Day and Labor Day, and it is filled with practical and spiritual ideas to make each holiday special. But when I received the book, I flipped straight to Christmas because Christmas is coming and I want a handle on it!


Thrasher says this is how we will know if we had a "successful" Christmas : "If you have a better relationship with the Lord at the end of the holiday celebrations, you have had a very successful holiday."


When my to-do list multiplies ten-fold for the holidays, I find it extremely difficult to have quiet time with the Lord. How can my relationship with God be better at the end of the holidays? To be honest, much of what goes into making the holidays special is up to the women - from cooking, to decorating, shopping to baking, writing out Christmas cards and opening our homes - we are pressed to our max financially and with our time.

Feeling closer to God at the end of the holidays is a challenge for us. And so, a December Challenge has been born via this book and will be coming soon to Women Living Well. They will be very simple and they will focus on you and your relationship with God in the midst of the holidays. I will be quoting some more of Thrasher's thoughts and giving you some practical ways to rest in the midst of your to-do list.

On page 138, Thrasher reminds us to be on guard against vanity during the holidays. He says "God knows the emptiness and pressure of living independently of Himself. If we take life into our own hands for the holidays, it is up to us to carry our burdens on our own shoulders and to figure out what is best apart from the wisdom of God. Christ came to deliver us out of this vain way of life and to bring us into a relationship with God."


Isn't it true that often we take on too much for the holidays. We take on things that God is not asking us to take on. They can leave us feeling empty because we have taken on burdens God never meant for us to take on.


I will write more in the following weeks on this topic, but until then let me share with you one of the practical ideas Thrasher offers in his book for reaching out in your neighborhood.


"One year, this family set up a prayer mailbox on their covered porch. They sent a note to their neighbors expressing their love and care for them. In it, they told them about the prayer mailbox. If someone was hurting or needed prayer, they could put their request in the box - anonymously if they wished - and the family would be sure to pray for them."


This book is packed with ways to honor God during the holidays and practical tips to live it out. I highly recommend it!
Moody Publishers has generously given me two extra copies of this book to giveaway to two of my readers!!! Hooray! All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment below before Thursday, November 18th at 9pm! I read all of my comments - so if you'd like to add any thoughts or struggles you have regarding Christmas stress in your comment - I will try to address a few of the common concerns in this upcoming series of posts.

Walk with the King!

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242 Comments:

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Blogger ~Lindsey said...

What a wonderful idea. We all are too busy it seems during the holidays. My calendar is already full enough and I need to start saying no and enjoying more quiet times with my Husband and children. Looking forward to this challenge and would love a copy of this book.

November 12, 2010 at 7:59 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

oh I would LOVE a copy of this book! I was just searching online to find a book along these lines. I was going to order, Noel Piper's - Treasuring God in Our Traditions, but this seems perfect as well!

November 12, 2010 at 8:00 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

That's such a good idea with the prayer mailbox. It's espcially helps those who for whatever reason don't want to enter a church, know that Christians care for them and are praying aout their needs.
Thank you for the idea!
Liz
www.trulygoodwoman.blogspot.com

November 12, 2010 at 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Gretchen said...

Oh THANK YOU!! I try every year to keep my relationship during the holidays w/ the Lord but as you posted my to-do lists most of the time get in the way. I look forward to this challenge & I'm definitely on board!! Would really like a copy of that book :-) God Bless, Gretchen

November 12, 2010 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger Mary Joy said...

That sounds like an excellent book Courtney. We are working on keeping Jesus as the focus of Christmas this year in our house too. We are going to do a Jesse tree family devotion that will include the children coloring one ornament for each day of the devotion. Instead of decorating the tree for Christmas over Thanksgiving weekend like I usually do, we will put up the tree and the bead garland on it (it has white lights) and then we we will not add ANYTHING else to it. Each day between the Sunday after Thanksgiving and Christmas we will have a family devotion and add an ornament with a symbol of the Scripture for that day. It will take us from Genesis through the birth of Christ. We will decorate the house a little bit each week as we get closer to Christmas. Just thought I would share an idea we are using to keep us focused on the Lord. ITs so easy to get wrapped up in everything else...I know...been there done that. Letting go of perfectionism and others expectations helps a lot too. :D

Blessings on you and your family! I am looking forward to your challenge!

Mary Joy

November 12, 2010 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

That book sounds great! I know I hear of a lot of ways to put Christ back into Christmas, but I have a hard time implementing them. I am looking forward to your blogs on this topic.

November 12, 2010 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Joy said...

Hi Courtney! I love the new challenge idea! I have a two year old this Christmas, so it is more important to me than ever to make sure that we keep Christ in Christmas. I'm looking forward to reading your different ideas and challenges in this area. I'd love to be entered for the book drawing as well!

November 12, 2010 at 8:05 AM  
Anonymous Tina said...

That sounds great!! I always promisse myself at the beginning of the year that this year "I'll make o point of not stressing out during the Holidays and making Christ the center of it" , but there's always that last minute gift I have to buy, or function at church to help with , or cooking, get togethers, etc... I DO want to focus on CHRIST more and more! Thanks for sharing!!

November 12, 2010 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

This sounds like an excellent book, we have been struggling with this as well, especially since all my children are younger (3 children under 3) and trying to keep things at their level. We are baptist, but our church celebrates the Christian Calendar, so we do , do advent with them on the Sundays after Thanksgiving, but once again its still difficult to keep things at their level.

November 12, 2010 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Tara - I have Noel's book and it is good - but I must admit I like this one better...just sayin...they are both good :-)! They are just different :-)

Mary Joy - I LOVE what you are doing with your family!

Much Love,
Courtney

November 12, 2010 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

I have been thinking and praying about keeping Christ in Christmas, and how to teach that to our children. We seem to always get caught up in more more more, and I don't want that to be the legacy I leave. Drawing closer to God during those stressful times would be a great way to live by example for my children. Thanks for an opportunity to win this book, it is certainly going on my must read list!!

November 12, 2010 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger american girl primitives said...

Great post Courtney, sounds like that book is something I could use right about now. I'm determined to have a christ centered Christmas this year.

November 12, 2010 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger melissa said...

This year, my challenge is giving Christmas gift ideas to my family, knowing that they will generously give; but also realizing that we are not able to give generously this year. I am looking at creative gift ideas on a small budget; but also with a focus on CHRISTmas and not just the stuff.

I'm also finding it a challenge to WANT to put up our Christmas tree this year. I have a 2.5 year old, who I think will do fine with it. But I also have a 1 year old...and I hate the thought of having to always say "no" when he wants to be near the tree. My mom suggested a tabletop tree, but I don't think my husband will go for it!!!

November 12, 2010 at 8:15 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

This sounds like a great resource, thanks for the giveaway. I am doing a series on my blog soon too on holiday readiness and part of it is to solicit folks "holiday memory". If any of your readers here are interested in submitting or you Courtney I would be delighted;-)

http://blueberrycottage.blogspot.com/2010/11/would-you-share-your-fondest-christmas.html

November 12, 2010 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Melissa Sutton said...

My husband and I were discussing this very thing as I sat writing out my list of people to buy for. One thing that we have done in the past and are considering again is to donate bibles or money to a charity like the children's home or womens center. After all when we look at our homes we already have so many things do we really need more? They won't go with us when we die but the gift of Gods word will keep on giving. I would love to receive this book so that I can gather other ideas for keeping Christ the center of this Chiristmas season.

November 12, 2010 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Thank you for sharing about this book! It seems like an excellent resource year round. Keeping the Christ as the center of our home has always been important to me, even more so now that we have a daughter. Thank you!

November 12, 2010 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

What a wonderful book. I'm definitely going to need a copy!!

November 12, 2010 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I am so excited about this book and want to make sure I read it!

This year our added stress is going to be staying on a much tighter budget while we continue our commitment to paying off debt. I would love to do more with my kids to focus on growing closer to God during this time!

November 12, 2010 at 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Courtney! I would love to have the book as well. Shelly <><

November 12, 2010 at 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Monica said...

I am a new follower to this blog! It is beautiful by the wayr! I would love to have this book. I am constantly "trying" to slow down our holiday and to "decommercialize" it. Any ideas that I can get from this book would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the post and have a wonderful day!

November 12, 2010 at 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Rachel Priest said...

I love the mailbox Idea. I think I will do that this year.

November 12, 2010 at 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Darla W. said...

What a wonderful idea! My husband has been called a "scrooge" before because of his not wanting to help with any Christmas decorating or shopping. He says it's too focused on earthly goods rather than the true meaning. I do agree we should focus more on Jesus during this time and need some guidance in doing so.

November 12, 2010 at 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Cynthia said...

Let us all remember to keep Christ in our Christmas!

Cynthia

November 12, 2010 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Lisa in Texas = ) said...

I would LOVE a copy of this book. I need all the help I can get. I work at a small bakery that my Mother in law owns and it is just her and I that do the baking. Around the holidays - especially Thanksgiving and Christmas we get so swamped and that is not including anything I might want to do for my own family. So anyway you can just imagine why when I read this post I knew this would be a very helpful book for me. Thanks so much for sharing some inspiring thoughts on the book - they were helpful,
Lisa :o)

November 12, 2010 at 8:23 AM  
Anonymous tinamarie:) said...

what a great idea!...I think my biggest struggle is trying to get it together and forgetting the true meaning.

November 12, 2010 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger Holly Vaughan said...

We just got married just under a month ago so in addition to the stress of trying to figure out schedules and marriage and everything the holidays are coming up quickly. I will be honest I'm worried about staying sane between not having much money for gifts, decorations, or entertaining. I would love a copy of this book, to make sure our first Christmas as a family will strengthen our marriage in relation to God and each other, not stress it.

November 12, 2010 at 8:26 AM  
OpenID jema27 said...

What a fabulous idea! I would love a copy of this book as already my schedule is overflowing and I am struggling to find time to fit everything in. I know I need to set aside time to be with God and I am truly looking forward to a December challenge.

November 12, 2010 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Familie Marx said...

I do think this is a fabulous idea. The first quote really got me to think.

November 12, 2010 at 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I NEED this book as do a lot of woman I know.The last two years I have to say the best part of the holiday season for me was when it was over and the weight had lifted off of me.I know I am not speaking for myself alone but it is sad and wrong that I felt that way and I am trying hard to figur out how not to feel that way this year.LucyT

November 12, 2010 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Courtney said...

What a great concept. I have a 9 month old and want to make sure that she grows up knowing that christmas isn't just about presents but about our Saviors birth!

November 12, 2010 at 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Courtney, I found your website awhile back and it has been such a blessing. I have told several friends about it! I would love to read this book! It is a topic I think much about during each holiday. I have some family who become "depressed" around this time. I try to show them in a loving way it is because they are focusing on the wrong things during the holidays. It is so hard to know the right thing to say. Thank you so much for all you do!

November 12, 2010 at 8:31 AM  
Anonymous Apryl Y said...

Sounds Like a GREAT Book I have read Noel's book and I would love to read this on to see why you like thid one better! :)Have a great day!

November 12, 2010 at 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Courtney, I love reading your challenges...I am delighted that you are challenging us to make God the center of our holidays. This year is going to be different for me as I have moved far away from my family. I don't know what we are going to be doing for Thanksgiving and it has me a little rattled! It will be the first time I haven't been with my extended family for Thanksgiving. I look forward to what your blog has in store. Tammy

November 12, 2010 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger TessaShelby said...

Okay this book sounds awesome!! I do not have a lot of extra stress on the holidays because my family has always been pretty laid back about holidays seeing it as family time together to relax. But I have now been married almost five years and though my sweet husband is a sweet godly man he is a grinch when it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas (he will admit this to anyone). I think he feels that no matter what we do all holidays will be filled with stress. So when I get excited about the family time to come and the wonderful memories we will create he gets in the grinch mood and that turns my smile into a tear. So I pray year after year to find a new thing to try for our little family of three to make the holiday more exciting and scrub some of the grinch off my husband so that my sweet man can come out and enjoy the season. So I guess each year my biggest stress is, will he look beyond the grinch so we can all have a good time? Or will he be in the grinch mood and rub it off on everyone around?

November 12, 2010 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

Hi, Man this book sounds's great! Our agreement is we spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws and Christmas at home. I'm glad, as my in-laws aren't believers and don't have anything to do with Christ at Christmas. Still, I'm never excited to take my small children to Louisiana to experience their stressed out, yelling, dirty version of the holiday. I'd love ideas to incorporate God more during the visit... at least with my husband and kids. Maybe some examples could rub off on the in-laws. We sure have been praying for that. Thanks!

November 12, 2010 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I would love to read this book. It always seems that Christmas turns into a huge fight (between my family and in-laws) over who we are spending more time with, etc. I would love to have a peaceful Christmas this year and come out closer to Jesus.

November 12, 2010 at 8:45 AM  
OpenID living-the-balanced-life said...

"Isn't it true that often we take on too much for the holidays. We take on things that God is not asking us to take on. They can leave us feeling empty because we have taken on burdens God never meant for us to take on."
While this is true at Christmas, the words are applicable for our life year-round. it is when we take on "our" agenda instead of His that we get overwhelmed.
I look forward to hearing more this month!
Bernice
http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2010/quest-for-a-balanced-life/

November 12, 2010 at 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Jenae said...

This sounds like just the book I need in preparation for Christmas! I always desire to bring God into every holiday but sometimes struggle to know how to make it real for my kids, i.e. with activities and things. This would be such a helpful book!

November 12, 2010 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger LaToya said...

This is a great idea. Since becoming a single mom with virtually no help from their father I often find myself worried that I won't be able to give my kids a Christmas. I'm in school fulltime and not able to work, I get child support but it's never the right amount. This year I decided to really focus on the "point" of Christmas which is to celebrate the day that Jesus was born!

November 12, 2010 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

I loved the two excerpts from the book ~ sounds really like a great book. I was thinking I'm going to Lifeway tonight, I'll look for this. But, I believe I'll wait and just see if my name gets drawn. :))) As I get older, pushing half-century :(, the lightbulb is coming on for me - it is all about being together - a little gift that has meaning and making some lasting traditions. (Sounds like good blogging material). I pray your weekend is restful and spent with family & HIM! I enjoy reading your thoughts.

November 12, 2010 at 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Betsy G. said...

This sounds like a great book. I would love to read it - and use it for some discussions at my MOPS group!

November 12, 2010 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Sounds like just the book I need. With the kids getting older, I am always looking for ways to show them the true meaning of Christmas.

November 12, 2010 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger Jana said...

This book sounds like a great read. I've been looking for something like this. Holidays with a purpose. Thank you for sharing the recommendation!

November 12, 2010 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

I would love a copy of this book! It sounds great! My husband and I are always trying to think of ways to focus on the true meaning of each holiday and this sounds like just the book for that!

November 12, 2010 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger jenniferO said...

Love this!!! I love the holidays and love being busy! Although, time management does seem to be a problem for me! Thanks for the awesome idea and opportunity!

November 12, 2010 at 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Karen P. said...

Great idea to have a December Challenge. Thank you for being such an encouragement. God Bless you and your family.

November 12, 2010 at 9:12 AM  
Anonymous shawna said...

I would LOVE to get this book in my hands. I need to get right with God, and NOT get into the commericalism of Christmas. I need to teach my boys too. How do I get them to stop saying, " I want that" after every toy commercial? Is it time to shut the T.V. off. Thanks for the chance to win. Thanks for blessing your readers with your Godly wisdom!

November 12, 2010 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

Last year for Christmas I did this awesome thing that I'm going to do this year also.

I put up our Advent calendar and instead of filling it up with candy or small toys, I put note cards in it. Every day my children opened it up and in it was written something that we would do that day as a family.

Most of the ideas were small and inexpensive (have hot chocolate by the fire, make Jesus a birthday card, dance to Christmas music, go see the lighting of the Christmas tree, go to a Nativity walk, drive around and see Christmas lights, etc)

It was GREAT to do something with my family everyday instead of getting caught up in the holiday business of shopping and such. I have such good memories of last year and I cannot WAIT to do them again this year!!

November 12, 2010 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger tamlovesran said...

I would love to have a copy of this book. Since my husband and I both became Christians as adults, I struggle with how to make our Christmas season more about Christ and less about the traditions that we grew up with and loved.

November 12, 2010 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Madonna (Lil' Ms.P) said...

This book sounds awesome. I know I often put God on hold as I'm rushing and planning for the holidays. I know I could benefit from it. Thanks for the opportunity.

November 12, 2010 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Taffy said...

I would love to win a copy of this book! Thanks for the opportunity! My husband has NO good memories from his childhood and Christmas time, or any holiday really. Each year we struggle with what to do and how to do it. I have great memories of a happy Christmases, even though I had a single mom! Of course those happy memories all revolved around santa. :) Now, with our own children our focus is Jesus!

Blessings!

www.mylifeonataffypull.blogspot.com

November 12, 2010 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

Thank you for the chance to win this wonderful book. My biggest struggle during the Christmas season is the dreaded visit to see the in-laws. They live far away which means we have to fly and every year I resent the extreme amount of $ we have to spend for the 4 of us to fly, not to mention that I hate flying. To make a long story short, they are less than hospitable when we stay with them and I just hate going there. My husband and I fight tremendously leading up to and during the visit. I know I should have a better attitude, but it just bothers me so much. I also don't know how to handle with grace the attitude of my husband, who is very defensive about his family and their actions. Ugh. I'm just so happy when the holiday season is over and I hate feeling that way. Wondering if this is addressed in the book?

November 12, 2010 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger My Heart Song said...

Would love to win. Thanks!

One thing I do each Christmas season is re-read a book called IN SEARCH OF THE REAL THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS by Dan Schaeffer. Only 15 chapters, an easy read. But helps me to re-focus on Christ during the busyness of the Christmas season. I think the point is to just be intentional... if you're not, the holidays will come and go and you'll be burned, stressed and depressed at the end of it all... instead of encouraged, closer to the Lord and closer to others.

Much love from another MBI alum,
Shannon in Indiana <><

November 12, 2010 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger mamama said...

Thank you for this post and book! I am always trying to find ways to make our holidays more meaningful.

November 12, 2010 at 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Tina said...

I would love to have a copy of this book! We just welcomed our 3rd child, a boy, to our family on Oct 26th. Having a newborn during the holidays is a blessing and can be so stressful too! I really struggle with making Christmas special and memorable for my children without over emphasizing gifts. Especially when it comes to extended family...I mean I don't want to deny the grandparents the fun of giving gifts to our children, but sometimes I just want to scream "STOP!!" I think they could go the entire Christmas season without one mention of Jesus:( So when my two oldest girls are home I really feel extra convicted to turn them towards Christ, since they tend not to see a lot of him while celebrating with others.

November 12, 2010 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Sounds like a great book packed with great idea. Even if I don't win, it is a great gift idea for my friends/family. Thanks!!

November 12, 2010 at 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy said...

This sounds like an amazing book. I'm looking forward to the December challenge!

November 12, 2010 at 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to read that book! Hubby and I were just talking about meaningful traditions to start with our kids. This book sounds like it would be full of them!!

FoxFire

November 12, 2010 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Marcy said...

Great post! I really look forward to your challenge for December. One thing we are doing this year with our children is to send money to a couple needy families/senior citizens in our area and not including our names, just a nice verse or some scripture in the card. We want to really teach our children to always think of others around the holidays & all year through!

God Bless you! Your posts are an inspiration to me!

November 12, 2010 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger welcome to our wonderland said...

this book sounds awesome I'd love to be able to win a copy.

we have a new way of not stressing as much around christmas since we adopted the new gift idea:

something you want (santa's gift)
something you need
something you wear
something you read

I saw it somewhere on the net I'm sure and thought it was a great way not to go overboard at christmas.

we also have a birthday party for Jesus.

November 12, 2010 at 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Courtney, this book sounds so amazing. I am already sensing the "stress" rising in me as I see the holidays approach. I so want it to be a time of spiritual growth and blessing rather than a stress. Thanks. My email is orosco99@juno.com Jenny C.

November 12, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger TN Quiltbug said...

Thank you for sharing ideas you are learning. Would love to be entered to win a copy of this book--can use all the ideas I can get!

November 12, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I would love to win this book! Thanks for the opportunity. I love your blog, it is always such an encouragement

November 12, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Sounds like a great book. My daughters are so excited for the upcoming holiday season. I'm trying my best to remind them of the importance/real meaning of each holiday. This books sounds like a great resource.

November 12, 2010 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Lora @ my blessed life said...

This sounds like a wonderful book! I am constantly trying to simplify our holidays and keep them Christ-centered. Great resources are very welcome!

November 12, 2010 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Honeycutt Family said...

Sounds like an amazing book! Thanks for sharing!

November 12, 2010 at 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Dianna said...

What a great idea for a book. The bigges thing that I am struggling with this year is presents. I am so tired of the huge quantity of presents not only in our little family but from our immediate family. We have both Christians and non-Christians and would love to figure out some way that everyone can still enjoy the gift giving but not be focused on that. I am very convicted about this this year and know it's going to be a struggle.
Thanks for the opportunity to have such a great resource on hand with this book.

November 12, 2010 at 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Erin said...

I would love to read this book and get more ideas - love the mailbox idea!
Erin
EJLong@gmail.com

November 12, 2010 at 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Danette Brophy said...

This sounds like a truly wonderful gift, please include me in the drawing!

November 12, 2010 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger a said...

This book sounds wonderful. I did not grow up in a Christian home as a child, so now as a beleiver I find it difficult to find the balance between the to-do list of Christmas and keeping Chist at the center of everything.
Thanks Courtney!

November 12, 2010 at 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book, Courtney! Thanks for making this opportunity available to us!

SaraA

November 12, 2010 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger rachel.muchmore said...

This book sounds wonderful! I've been doing "30 Days of Thanksgiving" on my blog for the month of November, each day sharing something I'm thankful for and a related Bible verse. It is helping me stay focused on what matters. My family is in a situation right now where we don't have the option to do a lot of the "traditional" things, and staying focused on Christ and the real purpose of the holidays is helping me remain joyful, regardless of the circumstance. I love the prayer mailbox idea, I think that's something our family could do. :)

November 12, 2010 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger FunMom said...

Sounds like a great book!! Lisa Whelchel has a good one too called, "The ADVENTure of Christmas." It's packed with fun ideas and tips to get back to the true meaning of this special day. Thanks for the post, Courtney!

November 12, 2010 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This sounds like a great book! I would love a copy! I also really like the prayer mailbox idea. What an awesome way to engage neighbors and help them feel loved.

November 12, 2010 at 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

I've been sharing on my blog all the ways in which I am preparing to have a more peaceful Christmas this year. Last year was terrible because we almost lost my mom and we had a new baby and new house! It was insane and sooo very stressful. I am making a true effort this year to keep Christ at the center and be 100% prepared by Dec 1st. So far so good!

Thanks for the giveaway!

November 12, 2010 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I would love to read this! Thanks so much for the giveaway! I love it that it shares specific ways to honor God throughout the season!

November 12, 2010 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Staci said...

Thanks for the post Courtney! I recently became a stay at home mom a little over a month ago and am excited to have time this year to talk about the Christmas story and actual CHRISTmas things with our 2 year old son!

November 12, 2010 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger The Mommy said...

I love the mailbox prayer idea. I hope to implement that! Would love a copy!

November 12, 2010 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Country Girl said...

It sounds wonderful!
Looking forward to your next challenge!
Thank you. :)

November 12, 2010 at 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Brittany Reichmuth said...

What a great idea! Thanks for offering these books! My husband and I just bought our first house...we feel a bit weird mingling...without shutting them off to Jesus!, but that idea about the prayer box is a great way to meet them and let them know that God wants a personal relationship with them! Thanks! I'd love to read the rest of the holiday ideas!

November 12, 2010 at 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Clair Fabrizio said...

This books sounds like the awesome reminder that we all need during this busy time. Thanksgiving and the Christmas season always feel so special because of the focus on the presence of God. We are thankful for you, Courtney, and the gift for words that He has given you. We sure do appreciate the time you take out of the day to write and share the Good News!!

Do you have any suggestions for how to include people who may not have a close family to eat with on these holidays?

Love,
Clair

November 12, 2010 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Some lady from Pittsburgh said...

This is right up my alley! A few years ago, in an effort to re-center our winter holidays in a healthy way, we went to a "handmade gifts only" policy in our house. Even for our own kids. It's fun and challenging and wonderful!

November 12, 2010 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger The Waites Family said...

Courtney, I appreciate how you challenge us in the most practical of ways to be better women of God. Thank you for this challenge. I can't wait to hear more from you regarding this.

November 12, 2010 at 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Melissa R said...

Thank you for this opportunity and I am looking forward to the upcoming challenge. I truly enjoyed the last challenge and saw a positive difference in my family. This book sounds wonderful, as our two oldest children (5 & 4 years old) are beginning to really understand God's role in our family. Thank you for all you do to encourage our families & don't worry about responding - I know you care. :)

November 12, 2010 at 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Charlene said...

That sounds like a wonderful book!I can already feel the pressure of the upcoming events. I have felt like the last few years I have missed the mark... There were several good ideas posted in your comments that I think I will try to incorporate this season! Thanks so much!

November 12, 2010 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

This book sounds like one I want to add to our family library:) The last several Holiday seasons have definitely been different in our house: 2007 husband going through chemo for double lymphoma, 2008-2009 we are unemployed...Needless to say our holiday celebrations were simplified but oh, so blessed as a family. We are still unemployed, but our family has truly focused on The Lord and what is important. Our seven children, along with extended family, has seen God's provision for our family and stand amazed with us at his miraculous blessings. I pray our family continues our current focus to honor and glorify The Lord in all the days to come, GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME.
Courtney, thank you for a wonderful blog and ministry...it is a wonderful blessing:)

November 12, 2010 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Sounds like a great book. Please pray for someone very special to me who is dealing with some very heavy issues. Please pray also that I draw closer to God who will comfort me during this hard time.

November 12, 2010 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger cooperkelly4 said...

It would be great to be able to read this book. Thanks so much for sharing. We celebrate Jesus's birthday but this would be a nice encouragement to slow down. =0)

November 12, 2010 at 10:55 AM  
OpenID sidsmom2mickey said...

Morning Courtney, and ladies!

I usually don't dread Christmas, but this year is a bit different.

In March, we lost our 5 month old son. So this holiday season will be difficult, small and simple. I'm not sure what to expect, but I know that God will get me through it, as He has the last 8 months or so.

I have been recently reaching out to a few families who have lost their children young as well. Together we will get through the season.

Thank you,
Peggy

November 12, 2010 at 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this sounds fabulous! we moved into an 1800's home that my husband's ancestors built in 1858. it has been in the family ever since. heritage is important to him. the house had been vanant for 8 yrs prior to our move in. i would love to read this to help me get back to the focus of Christmas. you see, we have spent $80,000 on just basics, no cosmetics and can do no more. it's not a 'home' to me. it's not really me at all. i just knew it was important to my husband. since moving here, my 18 yr old has been sexually assaulted, my 6 yr old was molested and my husband and kids were hit by a drunk driver. (they are all fine now) and my husband had to take a $20,000 paycut to keep his job. this has all been within the last year of our stay here....Needless to say 'warm' is not how i feel about this home. i need to be happy where God has placed me and forgive. i need to focus this season on Jesus. not my situation. i just found your website and it has meant more to me than you can ever imagine. i'm misty just typing this. i lost my job in the midst of all of this and have decided to be where i am needed. home. thank you for allowing God to use you in such a powerful way to help me through this and to feel like 'this is where i am supposed to be.' God's richest blessings on you and this ministry. Kendra

November 12, 2010 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger Lyssette said...

Courtney my friend sent me your link last month and I have been reading your blog and keeping up with you through facebook and I have to say thank you for giving us this challenge and I have taught our children that the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of our Lord and Savior and every year on Christmas Day my husband reads the Christmas story first thing and we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus (the day before we bake a b-day cake) and our gift to Jesus is serving someone so the children and my husband and I during the month of Dec. need to start thinking about our gift to Jesus. So thank you for this challenge and would love a copy of this book! Love the idea about having a prayer box in the front of our home so we know what we can pray for our neighbors this new year coming. Also every year our children and I make a Christmas mix and put them in little baggies and we knock on our neighbors doors and say Merry Christmas and give them their treat also this year I am going to add a gospel track with it. Thank you Courtney for sharing your blessings with us all!
Lyssette :-)

November 12, 2010 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Aubrey Agnor said...

This book sounds great! I'm a newlywed and I'm already feeling the pressure of the holidays to decorate and bake and home-make in the right way. I would love to read this and be encouraged by the way the Lord wants us to celebrate the holidays! I'm looking forward to your future posts!

November 12, 2010 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Nichole said...

I would love a chance to read this book. The holidays can be stressful, but more enjoyable if anything. :)

November 12, 2010 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger ♥Lucky Lees to Be ♥ said...

What a great book title! I'm excited to see more about this book! The prayer mailbox is a wonderful idea! Christmas is a crazy time for me as well, but I'm hoping this year, especially after seeing this post, I take some time for myself to become closer to God!

November 12, 2010 at 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Stef said...

Ooo, I would LOVE this book!

For Christmas my husband and I like to give gifts that give twice. We've gotten basketballs for children in Africa and then got one for our son and explained how we gave others kids some to, in his name! (through World Vision)

November 12, 2010 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Nichole Barton said...

I would love to have this book and am really looking forward to the Dec. challenge. Sometimes its hard to not focus on all the things that need to be done.

November 12, 2010 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Julie Jabbers said...

What a fantastic gift someone is going to receive and I hope its me!

email is juliehjabbers@gmail.com
I just closed my blog today after being public all year, I'm going to continue to follow my favorites, but I'm taking a break from actually posting. I love your blog!

November 12, 2010 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

I would love a copy... added it to my wish list too...

I want to learn how to keep God in holidays (growing up in an atheist country I never saw any christian traditions so now it's difficult building my own family - sometimes I am simply at a loss). Little tips and ideas would help so much

November 12, 2010 at 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This subject has been on my heart these past few weeks as we head into a very busy season. I am going to be making a conscious effort to slow down and spend more time with my family. More often then not, when Christmas is over, we've taken down the tree and realized we never even had a spare evening to just sit down in quiet and relax. That's not a memory I want for my children. I would love to win a copy of this book!
Rebecca in Canada :)

November 12, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Wow. God bless you for reading every comment. I just recently found your blog and want to thank you for allowing God to work through you to encourage other women. I know it's probably not easy to put yourself out there and be scrutinized. My husband has had a great week because he's been coming home to a cheerful productive wife, not an exhausted mother of his child :)
This book looks great. This is our first holiday season as parents and we want to establish traditions that are rooted in Christ. Do you have any thoughts on celebrating with extended family who are semi-believers? I don't want the focus to be on gifts as it usually is. Last year we opted out, but I don't think it did much good, just made things a little awkward.

November 12, 2010 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

This idea would not be something I'd likely attempt. I love the *idea* of a prayer mailbox. I don't like the feeling of discomfort that would come with actually implementing it. I'm not opposed to getting out of my comfort zone in obedience to God's leading (and I do pray about it and work to do that as I feel lead.) But reaching out to strangers in this particular way would just not be something I'd desire to do. Sigh, I wish I were wired to enthusiastically embrace such an idea.

That said, there are always alternative ways to reach out. For example, I scrapbook and make cards too. I could mail cards to our neighbors and let them know that "we're taking this holiday time to let you know that your home and your family are being prayed for during the holidays." Something like that.

I hope this doesn't read as a criticism of a great idea, because it's not.
Looking forward to your December challenges, Courtney.
Blessings,
Toni

November 12, 2010 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Just Jenny said...

what a wonderful giveaway! I would love to win! My son is so hungry for God right now and I have no idea how to connect the worldly views/expectations with God. Can't wait for the challenge too! I need more inspiration ♥

November 12, 2010 at 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Tammy L Ash said...

Thank you, I would love a copy f this.

November 12, 2010 at 12:54 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

Courtney,

I am really excited you are doing another challenge around the topic of holidays.

I have been SO burdened lately with wanting this time to be really meaningful for me and my family. It sounds cliche, but in all the busyness the true 'reason for the season' can get lost.
I am willing to make big changes around here to make sure that doesn't happen.

Here is part of my own personal struggle: My kids know we are celebrating Christ's birth at Christmas, but honestly, I know what they are most excited about it getting stuff. We try to limit what they get, but I think we also need to approach it from a different angle. I'm interested in bringing way more focus to the giving than the receiving this year. But I want the giving to be fun and I don't want my kids to resent mama and daddy for taking any fun out of Christmas. I'm all for the fun, but the focus needs to shift.
So I'm thinking on this and appreciate any practical ideas you or the book has for this.


I have to say, I really love the prayer mailbox idea. We don't know our neighbors very well (people here are not very generally neighborly), but maybe if I can reach out slowly to them, then I could employ the mailbox idea down the road a bit. Hmmm.

Thank you so much for focusing on this topic!!!!!

Blessings,
Kara

November 12, 2010 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Corey said...

My biggest struggle in the holidays is making God the true FOCUS, not just the reason we do all these other things that don't really involve Him. This book sounds great!

November 12, 2010 at 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

That book is EXACTLY what I've been looking for, though I haven't been thinking about what to do for Christmas yet - I've been on a hunt for ideas to promote thankfulness and gratitude within our family this month. This book looks like a must-read!

November 12, 2010 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Jaclyn said...

Looking forward to December's Challenge! Thanks for "stirring up" your readers "to love and good deeds."

November 12, 2010 at 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful book! I really appreciate your blog, especially the videos you do. Thanks for taking the time to encourage others!

November 12, 2010 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

It is so true that in the midst of a holiday celebrating Christ's birth, we sometimes become less close to Christ through the business of the season. I would love to read this book!

November 12, 2010 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Lindsey said...

I would love to win a copy of this book! I have prayed about being very intentional about the holidays for myself and my little ones but could always use a little help :) I read Noel Piper's book and thought it was wonderful and I'm curious why you like this one better. Thanks!

November 12, 2010 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger The Nunnallys said...

Oh my goodness I have been looking at several books about holiday traditions and God. This one sounds like exactly what I am looking for.The prayer box idea already has me thinking of other ways to reach out. With a 3 year old son I really want him to learn young that holidays should be for focusing on God. Also can't wait for the new challenge coming up!!

November 12, 2010 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger CaJuan and Marcy said...

So looking forward to Christmas and celebrating the birth of my Savior!

November 12, 2010 at 2:23 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

This sounds like a terrific book. Thanks for the chance to win it!

November 12, 2010 at 2:43 PM  
Blogger Emily Fiore said...

Sounds like a great book, it could be very helpful. Thanks!

November 12, 2010 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

This sounds like a much needed book these days! It would be VERY helpful in our house. I am looking forward to your new series:)

November 12, 2010 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I always struggle with my high expectations during the holidays and get down because I can't reach them. I need to read this book!

November 12, 2010 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Renee said...

Sounds like such a great book! I've really been thinking about what traditions our little family should start, and i'm sure this book has some great ones that will remind our children, continually, of why we celebrate each holiday... because of the love and grace that God has extended to us!
Thanks for your post Courtney... it's always a blessing to hear what's on your heart!

November 12, 2010 at 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Susan said...

Hey Courtney,
New to your blog by way of here and there. Another great book is 'Redeeming the Season' by Kim Wier and Pam McCune. A book about reclaiming the spiritual significance of Christmas

November 12, 2010 at 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Heather L. said...

That book looks great! I'm trying to make my holidays purposeful, before they pass me by.

November 12, 2010 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Scott & Kathy said...

When my girls were little, we always made a birthday cake for baby Jesus. As they grew, this tradition slowly faded away. We now open our home on Christmas Eve to others in our church that don't have local family - they are ours and we are theirs - and the house is Gods. The book sounds wonderful and we'd love to get a copy.

November 12, 2010 at 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Frances said...

This year I am all about enjoying the holidays more simply and not spending to the hilt on my children. I want it to mean more than just presents and give me, give me to my children. Don't get me wrong--they know why we celebrate Christmas, but they--and the adults--can get too wrapped up in unwrapping presents. I want to do things as a family to give back this year--give to someone else from the overabundance with which we have been blessed!

November 12, 2010 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

This book sounds amazing! I'm looking forward to reading the December challenge you are putting together! Thank you!

www.heavenlymommy.com

November 12, 2010 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger janenes said...

I have grown so much on my journey this past year--and celebrating the meaning of Christmas is what I want to focus on. I'm glad there will be a challenge to look forward to--the book seems like it might really help to simplify and find meaningful ways to celebrate Jesus' birthday!! I would love a copy of this book!!!

November 12, 2010 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger Everyday Sacred said...

Sounds like a great book!

Loved the prayer box idea. We live in the country so that might be hard to do.

What you said at the end of your post about not taking on things that God has not asked us to do and then having to carry the burden of that really struck home with me. Often there is a mad rush durring the holidays to make everyone "happy" and we seem to think that "money" spent on "stuff" is what does this. I often feel like I am buying people off.

This year I want the Holy Spirit involved in every part of my holidays. I want his wisdom and I want to know the freedom that comes from doing only what I have peace and direction to do, to please my Savior and not my mother, or aunt or someone else.

Blessings,
Theresa

November 12, 2010 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger Amie said...

Very much looking forward to the challenge and would love a copy of the book. I may have to look into it if I don't win. Thanks so much for your support of all of us!

November 12, 2010 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger Jhona O. said...

This looks like a marvelous book! This will be our first Christmas alone as a family since we were stationed in Germany. I am really, really looking forward to centering our holiday around Christ. As it should be! Thank you for this opportunity. I love the prayer mailbox idea!

November 12, 2010 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger Ashlee @ The Vintage Housewife said...

Everyone is too busy during the Holiday season. From Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years we've all got too many plans. I know I would adore owning a copy of this book. What a wonderful idea!

Courtney, I just want you to know how much you inspire me! You truly do, and I am so thankful for having found your amazing blog. You are such a wonderful woman. You have inspired me to start my own blog about my Family, my Faith and my life as a SAHM and full time wife! You are such a beautiful person, inside as well as out!

November 12, 2010 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I would love to be entered for the giveaway, thanks.

November 12, 2010 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

I would love a copy of this book. I've just emailed the ladies of my church with the idea you discussed to hopefully start some dialogue. I greatly desire ideas on how to effectively engage my neighbors and esp my children as we work to keep our hearts and minds stayed on Christ during the holidays. Thanks for your example!

November 12, 2010 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Ooh I love the sounds of this book! Even if I don't win it, I think I may buy myself a copy!

November 12, 2010 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger tlhp259 said...

Thanks for this great post! I especially appreciate Allison's comment about the advent "activity" calendar. I just told my husband about it and he loved the idea too! We are definately going to use that idea somehow this year.
One thing our family does to keep the focus off "what we want" is adopting a family who is in need. We keep track of what we spend on our family and make sure we give at least that much to the "adopted" family. Also my wants become a lot less when I realize that the needy family is asking for winter coats, shoes and underware (things I take for granted because I consider them a need NOT a want). I have been amazed at how much my four year old has understood over the years about giving to those in need. Thank you again to all the ladies who shared what their family does at Christmas - I enjoyed reading them

November 12, 2010 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Sounds like a great book! I look forward to reading some of the upcoming challenges!

November 12, 2010 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

I must admit that part of me dreads the holiday season. I hate to even say that but it's true. My parents divorced when I was young so I've always split Christmas among them and as I got older, it was up to me to get my brothers and myself from place to place. Now that I have my own family, I hate the constant rushing from place to place. My husband and I limit it as much as we can but it's hard. There are so many expectations and I almost always just end up frustrated. I would LOVE to read this book and gain some insight how to put the MERRY back into our Christmas season! :)

November 12, 2010 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger Saved by Grace said...

Wow...this is soo amazing!! I was just praying Lord how could Christmas be better than last year. Well, actually my heart how could I not lose focus on you during the busyness of the Holiday, how can I not get caught up in it all. I really am wanting to focus more on Him this year than I did last year. I love the idea with the prayer mailbox and can not wait to put one up. Last year I had a book called AtoZ Chritmas Blessings or something like that. But before I could read a friend of mine saw it and loved it and I gave it to her. So anyway, Praying I can win this one. It would be so awesome for such a time is this.

November 12, 2010 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger Shara said...

I am always looking for a way to make holidays special...especially Christmas. It is hard to find the balance between enjoying giving gifts to our children and feeding an unhealthy materialistic attitude.

November 12, 2010 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

That sounds like an awesome book! I would love to read it. Can't wait for December's challenge!

November 12, 2010 at 10:52 PM  
Anonymous stacy said...

This sounds like a wonderful book! Can't wait for the challenge too!

November 12, 2010 at 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Catherine said...

I've read two other Thrasher books and love them! Glad to know there is a new one! Gift-giving is hardest for me during the holidays. Gift giving is my love language. I REALLY like to give thoughtful gifts, so I stress over each gift for each person! We're also on a very tight budget, so I want every penny to count! This makes it hard, but also means that I have the opportunity to cry out to God for creativity. Looking forward to this series.

November 12, 2010 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger OUR WILD ZOO! said...

I would LOVE to have this book! Thanks Courtney, love your blog ;-)

November 13, 2010 at 12:52 AM  
Blogger Darlene Schacht said...

Last year I heard of a family blessing a less fortunate family with "12 Days of Christmas" each day they did one thing to bless the family and remained anonymous the entire time. The little boy kept coming to school with a new letter for their family showing what their newest blessing was. Things like, "Don't cook tonight, dinner will arrive at your house at 5:00" That kind of thing. It was amazing to see the joy that the kids had.

November 13, 2010 at 1:20 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

For years Christmas has been more about what I was able to give to people, you know how much money I spent on them. I love getting together with family too. Last year my hubby and I were having financial difficulties and so money was very tight. I was able to use swag bucks for some gifts but decided to make the rest - this after we pared down the gift list and decided not to get anything for each other. I made gifts but the best part was thinking about the person and then finding the gift to make just for them. The cost was minimal but we were still able to give. The very best part of the holiday is that it felt more like Christmas than any in the past several years. It was wonderful because I felt the true meaning of Christmas! I hope this year to have the same effect.

This book sounds wonderful!

November 13, 2010 at 1:32 AM  
Anonymous Sherry Lauser said...

Oh Good!! I am really looking forward to another one of your challenges! There is a lot out there on the internet about being organized for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Having something that will help us to focus more on God is soooo needed.

Ultimately it is our responsibility to change our focus. Which can be hard with all the expectations of friends and family and the media (including the internet).

Thank you Courtney,

God Bless,
Sherry

November 13, 2010 at 4:06 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

What a wonderful definition of a successful holiday. I am trying to be more intentional in our holidays...and in my own "handling" of the stresses that come from myself during holiday times. Would love a copy of the book!

November 13, 2010 at 4:25 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

"We take on things that God is not asking us to take on. They can leave us feeling empty because we have taken on burdens God never meant for us to take on." Right on!

November 13, 2010 at 6:33 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I, too, would love a copy of this book. My husband has been deployed for over a year and will be coming home shortly. I am struggling with the holidays this year because we are going to spend the majority of the time on the road traveling and visiting families who are 17 hours away. I'm having a hard time thinking about having to share him and not having some time to ourselves to reconnect after his long absence. It is something that I'm praying about and the book would be a blessing to me. I'm asking God to allow me to have a right attitude this Christmas season.

November 13, 2010 at 6:43 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

What a great book! I would LOVE to win a copy. Thanks for the opportunity and the great post Courtney.

November 13, 2010 at 6:55 AM  
Blogger Patsy said...

I do a weekly sheet for the children at our church and give them a missions opportunity each week. I loved the prayer box idea! That is awesome!

November 13, 2010 at 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Christmas is the most stressful holiday. You have pointed out some valid points of the authors. I am challenged to start now to make our Christmas time a holy event.
Ruth rkreilmann@bellsouth.net

November 13, 2010 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Tanya said...

I am excited about this challenge. Christmas gets to be way too stressful! I would like to better teach my children to enjoy the real meaning of Christmas and this book would be a great start!

November 13, 2010 at 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please enter me for the giveaway. I especially like the idea with the "prayerbox". Have a blessed Advent time, Nicole.

November 13, 2010 at 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Mel said...

I am a couple weeks new to your blog and I cannot tell you how much you have helped me so far!! I felt at the end of my rope before GOd brought me upon your blog. I just want to say Thank you! You have been blessed with a very special gift! During the the Christmas holiday's..well really beginning in November it feels like there is soo much going on all the time..but I remember that we were granted time on this earth..that we should not stress and enjoy every moment we are given! Have a wonderful and inspiring day!!

November 13, 2010 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger monicaandrew said...

Thank you for this opportunity. What woman would not NEED this book? I have recently realized that I have issues and one of those is feeling that I have to fill every waking minute with some type of actiivity. At times, I am so busy with LIFE that the end of the day comes and I did not once check in the Lord! I am so sad about that and realize that I need to have a balance..have no idea where to get started to achieve that balance. Anyway, I am rambling now! :-) Thanks, again!!

November 13, 2010 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Thanks for the giveaway - sounds like a great book. My struggles with perfectionism have given us some crazy holidays. It wasn't until I learned to let go of what I thought I had to do and rely fully on God, that I was able to enjoy. Thanks for your encouraging blog!

November 13, 2010 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Family Cakes said...

Wow - what we all need during the busy season!!

November 13, 2010 at 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds like such a great book. I've always wondered how to bring God into some holidays. Wow incredible. I never knew there was such a book. Thank U for sharing this. :~D

November 13, 2010 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger ribbons75 said...

Just what has been on my mind lately. So much - Christmas "Hooplah". It is my responsibility as a mother to teach my children the real meaning of Christmas. How can I do that when I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway!

November 13, 2010 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I would love to have a copy of this book! I am trying to teach my kids the true meaning of the holidays.

amanda.corley@ymail.com

November 13, 2010 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I would love to read this book. I think my kids have a good handle on 'Jesus is the reason' for Christmas and Easter, but birthdays seem to be 'it's ALL about ME'. I would love to read ideas on how to make God their focus on 'MY day'. lol

November 13, 2010 at 9:21 AM  
Anonymous Linda Tate said...

Hi Courtney!
What an inspirational post. We are planning a prayer mailbox as a family now after Thanksgiving. We will be writing a note to our neighbors and explaining our struggles to keep the Lord inside our hearts and minds during Christmas. It helps in our area (Mississippi) to be a little self revealing so people won't be as guarded. I will be encouraging anonymous notes to get more people involved. As a family, we already do a prayer chain (little slips of green and red construction paper with names on them and stapled into a linked chain) and advent candles every sunday (25 candles we keep on the dining room table, turn off all the lights of the house, read the christmas story, listen to silent night or another christmas worship song, snip a slip of paper from the prayer chain to pray over someone, blow out candles and sit as a family in complete darkness except for our gas log fire). Adding a prayer box will allow us to start praying for our neighbors as we drive through the neighborhood and maybe even leaving little gifts that my 1 year old and 3 year old can participate in. I think I will leave a note for our mailman to see if he needs prayer too.

My husband who is a pastor plans to include this idea in his sermon series this Christmas.

Love your ministry!! We have 90 women participating in GMG now!! All from your inspiration in Christ. Thank you!

November 13, 2010 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I'd love to have a copy of this book. With so much materialism in this world, I would love to get more ideas of how God can be made the center of our holidays. After all, He should be the center of everything anyway!

November 13, 2010 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger hosborne said...

As a mom of 3 I usually try and think of ways to put Christ in the center of many holidays but I have to admit some holidays are much easier than others.Also since my son goes to public school I try to do things at school that would make other children see the love that Christ has for them too. I would love a copy of this book because it would give me some fresh ideas.

November 13, 2010 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

I would love to have a copy of this book! With my husband unemployed this year, I am really striving to help my kids focus on the true meaning of the season, rather than on what they'll be getting under the Christmas tree.

November 13, 2010 at 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Heather Johnson - AZ said...

I love love love Christmas. Developing traditions that lead my children to Christ is my greatest delight and I think this book sounds amazing!!!

November 13, 2010 at 10:13 AM  
OpenID organizedmama said...

I would love to read this book. We all need more of God in everything.

November 13, 2010 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

This book looks great - thanks!

November 13, 2010 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Jackie Koll said...

I established a Holiday Contorl Journal this summer and am really enjoying the pre-planning that I did. My home is getting decorated, budgets are being followed and I'm actually going to remember to make those special treats this year! This book looks fantastic!

November 13, 2010 at 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Sheila said...

I would love to read this book! It is my mission to keep Christ in Christmas this holiday seaso

November 13, 2010 at 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

I have to agree with Monica...what woman wouldn't love this book?! Why do we make it so hard?? I would love a copy of the book but more importantly I want my marriage and family to shine God's glory. I know that He will accomplish this in whatever way He desires and if it would be through this book I would LOVE that!

November 13, 2010 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Jamie @ Sweet Bits said...

I think one of my biggest concerns around Christmas time, especially now that I have two little girls to nurture and lead is knowing where to draw the line between the fictitious Characters we've invented and perpetuated and really instilling in them the TRUE history of Christmas.

November 13, 2010 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger blessed_theresa said...

What an awesome idea! I think the hardest part of the holidays is helping the children focus on God and not the presents! Maybe I should admit that I have to focus on God as well. Thanks for the reminder. I am looking forward to your challenge!

November 13, 2010 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Dress Up & Dinosaurs said...

We have 3 children 5, 3 and 18months and I've been looking ahead to Christmas and trying to come up with some traditions to start especially with the older girls -- so this book would be great fit! Thank you so much for your blog, I really enjoy it.

November 13, 2010 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger Nicole @Team Pipkin said...

What an awesome book! I would love to win it:)

November 13, 2010 at 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

OOOh me me me!!! :-)

We plan to take the kids "birthday shopping for Jesus". We will use the verse Matthew 25:40 "Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'" (The Message) They will pick out toys to buy and we will donate them.

November 13, 2010 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Bev said...

Love this idea! It's a struggle every year, isn't it, and it's not how much there is to do, but rather where our focus tends to go so easily. Sounds great.

November 13, 2010 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Sounds like a great book Courtney! Looking forward to your December challenge!

November 13, 2010 at 4:23 PM  
Anonymous amy said...

Enjoying the current challenge. Have my candle lit and watching football with my man. Would love to have this book so I might continue to learn how to show my toddler Christs' love in all areas including the holidays. Seems from all the comments, many are desperate to bring God into their homes.

November 13, 2010 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Ann Marie said...

I would love to win a copy of this book as I too struggle to remember all of the TRUE reasons for celebrating Christmas. Thanks for all you do,Courtney!

November 13, 2010 at 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love a copy of this book! I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about creating Christmas memories and establishing family traditions. I really want my kids to grow up with a focus on the real "reason for the season". Thanks for the opportunity!

Shanna H.

November 13, 2010 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Rebekah said...

I've been seriously annoyed with all the focus on stuff that I see constantly around me. THis book seems to be right up my alley as far as turning my focus back on the eternal.

November 13, 2010 at 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
Thanks for this post. I look forward to hear more in the next challenge.
Blessings,
Tanja

November 13, 2010 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger Coffee and a Mop said...

I would love to read that book. I struggle with this very much. Santa and the Easter bunny are really big in my family.

November 13, 2010 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Please enter me in the giveaway. Last year we started scaling back at Christmas (decorations, obligations, and presents). We will be doing the same this year. Thanks for hosting the giveaway, looks like a great book.
Blessings
Diane

November 13, 2010 at 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds like an awesome book. I often struggle with busyness myself knowing it doesn't make God happy, but continue to do it. This book may make me break my terrible habit. Love your site! ptackett at hotmail.com

November 13, 2010 at 7:26 PM  
Blogger Iva said...

My sister was just mentioning to me the stress the holidays put on especially the women...funny you would echo that! I love Christmas and put a priority on making it a happy, un-stressed time for my children. So far, so good I think! They love Christmas time too, and not just for the stuff.

November 13, 2010 at 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Suit said...

Courtney I would absolutely love a copy of this book, it sounds like just exactly what I need! I love your blog so much, I know that coming across it was straight from God, you so often talk about something that is just what I need to hear! My biggest struggle this Christmas season is remembering what Christmas is truly about and focusing on Jesus, and not on materialism. My husband and I have a 5 year old, 3 year old, and nine month old and not much money, and it has been very hard hearing about my friends buying their children so many presents when we can't afford them. Every time we start to get down about it though we do our best to just immediately turn our focus onto Jesus and His amazing gift of life! God bless you and your family this Christmas season and beyond!
lisa.suit@yahoo.com

November 13, 2010 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger Keeper of the Home... said...

Courtney,

Great post! I really love the idea of the prayer envelope for the neighbors. The Lord has really been changing my heart and this fits right into what he is teaching me...I think I will adopt this neat idea....and please enter me into the drawing...thank you for your generous heart and having a giveaway...hugs to you!

November 13, 2010 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger The Fabulous Flints said...

Thank you as always Courtney for sharing of your heart and being so willing to generously give away books and other items to encourage your sisters in Christ.

I enjoy reading your blog. It is a real source of inspiration.

I am praying for a peaceful, stree free Christmas. Last year I was in the process of moving and my water broke with our 4th and 5th children at 32 weeks. I was on bedrest in the hospital for 1 week before I went into labor. I had them (James and Jonathan) on December 20th. WOW! What a busy time. I was discharged from the hospital on the evening of the 23rd. We didn't even have a tree. I am praying that this year will be DIFFERENT.

God bless you and thanks again.

November 13, 2010 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger The Political Mama said...

I would love love love a copy of this book! With a new little one this year, I think it's even that much MORE important to get a grasp on how to keep God in all of the holidays! Looking forward to learning to instill these values in him too!!!

November 13, 2010 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

This book sounds great! Thanks for sharing and I would love to win a copy!

November 13, 2010 at 11:25 PM  
Blogger Marilyn said...

I would love to read this book as well...this year my family is finishing up the ornaments to our own Jesse Tree which we will use to celebrate advent. As for slowing down, we've learned to say no to so many things. It has made for a healthier marriage and stronger family!

mlhwhite@gmail.com

November 13, 2010 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger lodyp said...

I would love this book! And even if I don't win it, I will purchase it from Amazon. Bless you, sweet girl, for sharing with all of us.

Melody, with triplets, in Knoxville

November 13, 2010 at 11:57 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

Sounds like an AWESOME book!!! I've got it bookmarked, in case I don't win a copy from you :-D


I look forward to the new challenge!!

November 14, 2010 at 12:53 AM  
Anonymous Giselle said...

Thank you so much for your generosity! I am always looking for tools to use in practicing the presence of God in me and my family's life.

November 14, 2010 at 1:16 AM  
Blogger Jan said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds like exactly what I need to be reminded of this time of year!

November 14, 2010 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger The Samples Sampler said...

I just led a class/discussion on keeping Christmas simple at my church. One theme that came up again and again is that people remember moments more than they remember gifts. It was a nice reminder that the holidays are about being with family, serving others and worshiping God and Christ. Thank you for you blog. I love reading your posts. BTW, I tired the chicken and dumplings recipe last night for dinner and it was a big hit. And that is saying a lot because my husband is a very, very picky eater!

November 14, 2010 at 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Denise said...

Just what is needed as the holiday season approaches-looking forward to the December challenge. The book sounds grounded in what these special upcoming days are really about...Thank you for the reminder.

November 14, 2010 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger kat said...

i try not to overwhelm myself during the holidays. I have 4 children 11,5,4,2 and want to enjoy the time with them. I feel the holidays are about celebrating Jesus' birth and that is what we do. I would love to read this book.

November 14, 2010 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Mandy said...

I love the holidays. I wasn't raised in a Christian home and now have 3 sons of my own. My desire is that I can create rich traditions with them that bring glory to the King!

November 14, 2010 at 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Mindy LeBlanc said...

I am going to be sure to get this book even if I don't win it. I have not even been looking forward to Christmas b/c with two small children and all other mom obligations it just sounded like more work. I def. am more interested in strengthening my relationship with God than all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Thanks!

November 14, 2010 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Josh, Jess and Jorja Behe said...

Sounds like a great book. Thanks for all of your tips and encouragement on your blog, Courtney. One of my mine struggles for the holiday seasons is looking forward to them and having a good attitude. When my parents split up over 15 years ago, holidays became very hard, especially because they are so family focused. Now, even after being married for 5 years and now having a daughter of my own, I still struggle with depression during those times. It's getting easier, and God is always faithful. But it can still be tough.

November 14, 2010 at 2:47 PM  
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