Wednesday, December 8, 2021

WHEN CHRISTMAS IS HARD & THE 10TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS BLESSING GIVEAWAY

I have always loved Christmas! Everything about it is wonderful and glorious! I have so many precious memories of the holiday. Beautiful Christmas productions at church, Christmas Eve fun with my dad's family, Christmas morning with my parents and siblings, getting to eat cookies for breakfast, and Christmas dinner with my mom's family. Then when I married we added so many more precious memories with our own children. Watching my children light up when they open a gift, reading the Christmas story from the Bible, baking cookies together, so many wonderful moments tucked away in my heart.

Until December 25, 2019...


This was the worst Christmas ever. And to be transparent, I have struggled to even like the season ever since.

You see, just after midnight on Christmas morning, my grandfather left this world for his heavenly home. Life hasn't been the same since. I haven't been the same since. I know Christmas didn't take him. I know it was his time and God called him home. But mercy it still hurts. I feel like it left a stain on Christmas. Every decoration and tradition is a reminder of that grief stricken day. Christmas is hard.

My family has faced some struggles, some discord. My once inseparable family is now so far apart. I used to love and look forward to spending the day together, now I worry and can't help but wonder what will happen now. Christmas is hard.

One of my best friends lost her battle with cancer in October. She loved Christmas! Each year we would talk about Christmas, send each other pictures of our trees, and video each other on Christmas morning. I miss her. Christmas is hard.

My grandmother left this world for her heavenly home on October 31st. Just five weeks ago. It hurts so bad. This will be our first Christmas without her. An already difficult day, now even harder. I miss her sweet words, her hugs, her food, everything about her. Christmas is hard.

I know I am not alone. Many of you struggle with finding joy at Christmas for one reason or another. Many of you are facing the first Christmas since the loss of a loved one. Many of you feel alone. Many of you are hurting.

What can we do when Christmas is hard? When we want to unplug the lights because how dare they possibly twinkle with joy when we hurt so bad. When we want to scream at the top of our lungs because the Christmas carols won't stop and we don't want to hear it. When our heart is aching.

For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Christmas isn't about all the glitz and twinkle. Though it can be glorious (when we are in the mood for it), it takes our mind off what really matters and reminds us of the pain and loneliness.

When I focus on the holiday of Christmas, I see what I am missing out on; my grandparents gone, my dear friend gone, and my family torn apart. But when I focus on the meaning of Christmas, I see the blessing; because Jesus came, I know my grandparents and friend are in heaven right now and I will see them again one day. When I focus on the holiday of Christmas, I remember the shock and pain of my mom's voice through the phone at 1am saying, "It's Papa!" But when I focus on the meaning of Christmas, I see the memories and the love.

We must shift our focus to the true meaning of Christmas and to our Savior. When we do this, we are allowing Him to come down and bring comfort and peace like only He can. Through His comfort and peace, we can find pockets of joy in the season of Christmas.

If Christmas is hard for you, put Christ back at the very center of the season. Keep your eyes and heart fixed on Him.

*********


We want to help with the financial burden this year so we have partnered with some amazing bloggers to bring you the 10th Annual Christmas Blessing Giveaway!

One blessed person will win $480 in Paypal cash! That cash can be used to help buy Christmas gifts, buy groceries, pay a bill, or whatever you want to do with it.

To enter to win, just complete each task in the rafflecopter below. The winner will be chosen at random by rafflecopter.com on December 14th and emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to respond claiming their blessing.

Rules:
No purchase necessary. Must be 18 to enter. Void where prohibited by law. **Open to US/Canada residents only.** This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or associated by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. By entering this giveaway, you agree to release Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Woman to Woman Ministries, and all participating bloggers of all liability. Contest ends at 12:01am EST on December 14, 2020. Winning entry will be verified. Winner is randomly chosen by Rafflecopter and will be emailed.

Monday, December 6, 2021

WEEKLY BLESSINGS {12/6/21}

 


Continuing to count God's sweet blessings...

3085. Growing closer to my husband every day. I am thankful for this man I get to do life with.

3086. The way my husband prays for me.

3087. My new office. The perfect space to work.

3088. Baking cookies with my daughter.

3089. My husband's job.

It's your turn! Share something you are praising God for. I would love to rejoice with you.







Friday, December 3, 2021

SHE READS TRUTH BIBLE {GIVEAWAY}

If you were to find an original copy of Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights, you would likely hold it gently in your hands, running your fingers down the spine, breathing in the beauty of years gone by.

That is how I feel with God's Word. To know that He breathed the words on the pages with me in mind, it brings me to tears. I love reading the Bible. I love even just holding the Bible.


There are so many great Bibles and one of my favorite is the She Reads Truth Bible. This Bible has so many great features. My daughters love this Bible too!

She Reads Truth is an incredible online community that encourages when to get into the Word of God every day. They offer studies that you can get through their app, emails, or even with study books.


Here are some incredible features you should know about:
• gold foil printing on the poppy linen, gray linen, and hardback covers
• imprinting on the imitation navy and genuine leather covers
• Close to 200 devotionals
• 66 artist designed key verses to introduce each book
• 35 full color timelines
• 20 full color maps
• 11 full color charts
• reading plans for each book
• one year Bible reading plan
• detailed book intros
• key verse list
• wide margins for journaling and note taking
• color coded sub-divisions
• 2 ribbon markers, for OT and NT




The She Reads Truth Bible is such a great Bible that women of all ages, from all seasons of life, and from all walks of life can love. The are quite a few cover options that are sure to catch each woman's eye. And as she opens the pages, God's Words will catch her heart.


The She Reads Truth Bible will make a great Christmas gift for any woman on your list. And with New Year's right around the corner, a time when we all set new goals, what better way to start your year off right, in God's Word. Whether a gift for a loved one or a treat to yourself, the She Reads Truth Bible is a great option.

Here are links to the different covers:
Poppy Linen
Poppy
Gray Linen
Gray
Navy Imitation Leather
Rose Gold Imitation Leather
Champagne Imitation Leather

Brown Genuine Leather 


To enter to win a She Reads Truth Bible in the brown genuine leather cover, complete each task in the rafflecopter below.


Thursday, December 2, 2021

DIVINE DISRUPTION

Life was cruising along. There were some bumps and hills every now and again, that is to be expected of course. We were never promised an easy life. But nothing knocked us off course. Until, well, until it did knock me off course.

The last three years have brought multiple losses; my mother-in-law, my grandfather, one of my very best friends, my grandmother, and others. Losses that shook me to my core. The last few years also have taken my once inseparable family and tore us apart. Life today sure doesn't look like what I experienced or imagined just a few short years ago.

Losing loved ones is never, ever an easy thing. Yes, we are grateful they are no longer in pain. Yes, we are so happy they are with Jesus. But we are left with an gaping hole. Memories that sometimes bring a smile and yet other times bring us to our knees. Hoping and praying they knew how much we loved them.

A family that once loved being together and always had each other's backs -and fronts, and sides- now with a wedge the size of an ocean in the middle. Blaming others and never thinking that everyone was actually wrong. Not wanting to put the past in the past and move forward in love. Not caring at all to fix it.


The last few years have hit me hard. Disrupted everything I knew and loved about life. Brought me to a place I never imagined I would be.

Throughout all the pain, all the loss, all the anger, all the bitterness, all the sadness, and all the tears, I have learned so much about who God is and who I am in Him. I have learned that through everything that comes my way, I can still trust in an Almighty God who is right by my side every step of the way.

In their new book Divine Disruption, Tony Evans -with his four children, Chrystal Evans Hurst, Priscilla Shirer, Anthony Evans, and Jonathan Evans- shares, "Sometimes God allows discomfort and distress because He wants us to move in close to Him." In the past few years of loss and struggle, I have moved in so much closer to God, and to my husband.


Tony and his children openly share of the losses and battles their family faced over such a short time. They teach us how to hold onto our faith through all the heart breaks that come. Chrystal says, "If you get rid of God, you still have your problems." So much truth. The problems will be there, so why not find a way to God and live the problems through a faith rooted in Him!

In Divine Disruption, you’ll walk away with insights on:
Why bad things happen despite a good and powerful God
Persevering in difficult times and experiencing God’s peace
What causes distress in your life—and how to move past it
How to keep your faith from being damaged during tough times 

Divine Disruption is a powerful book from the Evans family. The book is written in a style where you feel like you are literally sitting at the kitchen table with them just chatting. You'll cry. You'll turn your head heavenward and say, "Oh dear Jesus please help." You'll feel God near. And most important, you'll learn how to find faith even throughout life disruptions.

To order a copy of Divine Disruption, click the banner below. To enter to win a copy, complete each task in the rafflecopter below.







3 Tips For Saving Baby Photos So They're Kept Forever

Contributed post

 


Credit (CC0 License)


Whenever you visit your parents, you sometimes go through all the different boxes full of printed-out photos. If your parents were organized, you may have some albums to go through as well. It’s crazy to look at these photos and think about how many memories were lost, simply because there wasn’t enough technology back then. You couldn’t afford to take loads of photos all the time, and you also couldn’t print them all out. Funnily enough, you’d actually have no idea what the images looked like until they arrived printed out, so certain memories may have been ruined by a blurry photo. 


These days, we’re so lucky to have smartphones with excellent cameras, allowing us to point and shoot whenever we want. We can take so many amazing photos of our children and families, preserving memories forever. Of course, as the years go by, you’ll likely upgrade and change your phones. So, how do you ensure that all those lovely baby photos don’t get lost? Here are three tips to help you save your baby photos forever:


Move them to another device

A good idea is to take your photos from a phone and put them on another device. With some Android phones, you can save them to an SD card and transfer them just like that. If you have an iPhone, things are slightly harder. For one, the most recent iPhones save photos in the heic format, instead of the common jpg one. So, you may have to download an app to convert heic to jpg before moving the photos to your computer, ensuring they can be opened and viewed. Now, even if you get a new phone, you have folders of photos saved to a hard drive. 


Save them to the cloud

Another idea is to save your photos to the cloud. With some phones, you can actually go to the settings and change it so all your photos instantly get uploaded to the cloud when they’re taken. This means they’re stored online, and you can view the photos whenever you want from any device. If you don’t have the option to do this automatically, you can always use a cloud storage provider and select the photos to manually upload. 


Post them to social media

Lastly, posting baby photos and key memories to your social media is another way of saving them. You can make a private account if you want, with only friends and family allowed to follow it. Posting the photos here will mean they remain exactly where they are, forever. The only way they’ll be deleted or lost is if you forget your account password or username!



It’s a very good idea to use all three of these tips together, for added protection. Keeping your baby photos on a hard drive is good, but what if the drive breaks or gets stolen? Likewise, keeping them in the cloud prevents them from being stolen, but what if your cloud storage is hacked and they get deleted? The same can be said for your social media as well. Having all three options covers your bases and helps you keep baby photos safe forever and ever.