Archives for December 2011

Must See

Posted by Jen
Amy and I are still taking time off from the blog until the New Year, but I wanted to share this with you all!
We often see this production with my in-laws and we are never disappointed.  It is done with excellence and it is a wonderful way to remember the amazing grace bestowed on us each Easter.  We will be there!  Hope you can go too!  It is worth your time and effort!
Ten days left to get your CS Thorn early-bird tickets!

We just wanted to remind you that there is only about a week left to take advantage of Early Bird pricing for 2012 Colorado Springs Thorn tickets. If you order before January 1st, you’ll save 20% off your order. This year, Thorn Productions is partnering with area churches to bring The Thorn to the World Arena for the first time ever. With new music and new scenes for 2012, you don’t want to miss it! To order your tickets now,CLICK HERE or stop by the World Arena box office to save even more. Early Bird tickets to the Denver Thorn at the Magness Arena will be on sale soon – check for updates. Have a wonderful Holiday with your family and hope to see you at The Thorn in 2012!

If you have any questions, please email us at

Christmas Eve: The Final Gift

Written By Amy

On this Eve of Christmas, I wanted to share a gift with you all.  It is the sweet gift of Jesus this Christmas, from a perspective that will touch your heart.  It is from Max Lucado’s UpWithWords daily devotional.  Here it is, enjoy!

Tiny Mouth, Tiny Feet

God. O infant-God. Heaven’s fairest child. Conceived by the union of divine grace with our disgrace. Sleep well.

Sleep well. Bask in the coolness of this night bright with diamonds. Sleep well, for the heat of anger simmers nearby. Enjoy the silence of the crib, for the noise of confusion rumbles in your future. Savor the sweet safety of my arms, for a day is soon coming when I cannot protect you.

Rest well, tiny hands. For though you belong to a king, you will touch no satin, own no gold. You will grasp no pen, guide no brush. No, your tiny hands are reserved for works more precious:
to touch a leper’s open wound,
to wipe a widow’s weary tear,
to claw the ground of Gethsemane.

Your hands, so tiny, so tender, so white—clutched tonight in an infant’s fist. They aren’t destined to hold a scepter nor wave from a palace balcony. They are reserved instead for a Roman spike that will staple them to a Roman cross.

Sleep deeply, tiny eyes. Sleep while you can. For soon the blurriness will clear and you will see the mess we have made of your world.

O eyes that will see hell’s darkest pit and witness her ugly prince … sleep, please sleep; sleep while you can.

Lay still, tiny mouth. Lay still mouth from which eternity will speak.

Tiny tongue that will soon summon the dead,
that will define grace,
that will silence our foolishness.

Rosebud lips—upon which ride a starborn kiss of forgiveness to those who believe you, and of death to those who deny you—lay still.

And tiny feet cupped in the palm of my hand, rest. For many difficult steps lie ahead for you.

Rest, tiny feet. Rest today so that tomorrow you might walk with power. Rest. For millions will follow in your steps.

And little heart … holy heart … pumping the blood of life through the universe: How many times will we break you?

You’ll be torn by the thorns of our accusations.
You’ll be ravaged by the cancer of our sin.
You’ll be crushed under the weight of your own sorrow.
And you’ll be pierced by the spear of our rejection.

Yet in that piercing, in that ultimate ripping of muscle and membrane, in that final rush of blood and water, you will find rest. Your hands will be freed, your eyes will see justice, your lips will smile, and your feet will carry you home.

And there you’ll rest again—this time in the embrace of your Father.


Our last gift to you will be this book, Christmas Stories, by Max Lucado.  If you are a subscriber by email, Google Friend Connect, or Facebook, you will have your name entered for a drawing of this book. 

Jen and I wish you the MERRIEST CHRISTMAS!  We are going to take this next week off from our blog (except to post the winners from this book and the Jillian Michael’s DVD) to spend time with our families and gather our thoughts for GraceFULLhome 2012!  God Bless You!

Day 12 : The Gift of Simplicity

Written By Jen

Tonight snuggle up by candle light sitting by the fire and read the story of Jesus birth.  Merry Christmas!  For unto us a child was born.

Click here to print The Story of the Birth of Jesus from the Message.

Day 11: The Gift of Printables and Creative Food for Kids

 Written By Amy

As these last days wind down to Christmas, I wanted to share a few activities to keep your kids busy before the big day.   My rule of thumb is they have to be easy, especially this time of year when everything is so busy!   The first two ideas are printables that hopefully have a little more of the true Christ-mas spirit than you might find out there.    I made them in hopes that they would be fun, yet educational as well.    They are geared for 1st grade and up (but can be done with an adult or with an older sibling for younger children).

                                             A True Christmas Word Search

                                         The Shepherds and the Angels Fill In The Blank

The next two are very simple yet creative food items for your kids to make.  The first is an appetizer that a child would be proud to bring to Grandma’s or serve to company.  It is for a little older children.  The second is a yummy treat that younger children can do with very little help.  Both of these ideas came from Family Fun online.

                 Christmas Package Cream Cheese and Herb Spread


  • 8 ounces of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Scallion
  • Red bell pepper
  1. Mix the dried dill, garlic powder, and salt into the softened cream
  2. Pack the mixture into a rectangular container lined with plastic wrap (you
    can reuse the cream cheese box).
  3. Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours. Before serving time, set the unwrapped
    block of cheese on a platter and decorate it with a scallion bow and red pepper
    polka dots and gift tag.

                                                   Holiday Pretzel Treats

Salty pretzels combine with sweet chocolate for these fun treats that make a yummy gift few can resist. (In fact, you may want to make some extras for yourself!)

  • Bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels
  • Hershey’s Kiss or Hershey’s Hug
  • M&M’s candy
  1. Heat the oven to 170F. Set a number of bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels (one for each treat) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper,then top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss or Hershey’s Hug.
  2. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes (the white chocolate will melt more quickly), until the chocolates feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and quickly press an M&M’s candy into the center of each Kiss.
  3. Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes, then place them in the refrigerator to set, about 10 minutes. Place handfuls of the candies in clear
    plastic bags and tie on colorful ribbons.


Only one gift to go before we celebrate the greatest gift of all time, the birth of Jesus!



Day 10 :: The Gift of Memories

Written By Jen

Hey ya all!  Just a few tips for getting great pictures this Christmas.

1. Open all your blinds!  Natural light in pictures is key!

2. Sit close to the window with the light coming over your shoulders.  Then the people you are photographing will have that nice sunlight on their faces.  It is harder to get a good shot shooting into the light.

3. Capture emotion, it’s more interesting than posed pictures.  Those are the pictures we are drawn to and the ones that move us.  They trigger memories and capture personalities.  When you look at a picture with emotion you almost feel like you are there.  They are the BEST pictures.

4. Clear out the trash.  Things like cups and plates of food clutter up a picture.  Just slide that stuff off to the side before you shoot.

5.  Look at what is behind your subject.  Simple is better.  Sometimes you can move your self around and it changes what is behind your subject.  I think it is better for you to move than to ask your subject to move.  You want your subject to be as natural as possible, so if you are asking them to move around for the picture you are losing the moment.

6. Set the camera down and be present.  Get a few good shots to remember the day and then LIVE IT.  Enjoy the day the Lord has made!

This is at night with a flash.  Lighting is not great but great expressions!  Hmm I wonder what is happening here….

This is a sweet picture, see the natural nice natural light coming in to the shot?  Love it.

There are some hard shadows on this picture and natural light.  That is okay.  Shadows are interesting.  They make men look masculine.  For women a soft light is better.  I love that sweet face.  That is an i love you mommy smile!

Check out the light here outside.  Outside pictures are awesome.  Look for cloud cover or shade for better pictures.

Hey Merry Christmas Everyone!  I hope to see some of your great pictures!!!  I am a lover of pictures!  They tell our stories!  Would love to see yours!

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