03.19.19 The Big Red Barn – Madisyn’s 10th and Kallie’s 18th birthdays!

Our oldest grandchild turns 18 today!  Happy 18th Birthday Kallie Barnes!
Can’t wait to see how this beautiful lady rocks this world as an adult!

We just discovered the coolest, most adorable, fun place in Ponchatoula where we attended Madisyn’s 10th birthday party.  The Big Red Barn Creative Art Center is a perfect place for many different activities, parties, art classes, paint and play, art camps and sewing classes.

As the owner says on her website,

“It’s not Big, it’s not Red and it’s not a Barn, but it is A LOT OF FUN.”

If you have children or grandchildren this is a place you must take them to.  I didn’t know it existed until we learned Madisyn’s 10th birthday party would be there. Now I’m wishing I was a 10 year old so I could go to all of the activities there.

The brilliant young lady behind the Big Red Barn is Melissa Durel-Porter: artist, teacher, dreamer, and dabbler.

Melissa (known as Ms. Missy) has 23 years in arts education for over 23 years. This experience includes dance, creative dramatics, visual art, and music appreciation.  As soon as I met her I liked her!

When you walk in the front door you are in her cheerful play room, filled with toys.  The playroom is used for class discussions, stories, rug/lesson time, and free play. These two pieces of art made up of various miscellaneous objects create a tree and a pink flamingo!

Through a pair of french doors is her art room where most of Madisyn’s birthday party took place.  The room is filled with light and color and is perfect for all sorts of creative art activities.

I am aware that I “may” look out of place with all those little girls but I can’t tell you how much I loved getting to paint with them.

The library/lounge was a comfortable place where the children played and adults rested while the girls painted.  The sewing room has several sewing machines, tons of fabric scraps and vintage sewing patterns and notions.

Another play room had doll houses, a tent play area and just about anything a child would want to play with.

This blog post could be (but isn’t) very very long since there is so much to share about the amazing spaces she’s created at The Big Red Barn.  Every square inch of all the walls are filled with creative art, art supplies, toys, etc.  I throughly enjoyed being there. There are so many activities taking place there that the list would be very long.

I’m going to stop here because her website and facebook space describe it all so much better than I could.

THE BIG RED BARN WEBSITE  http://bigredbarn4kids.com/index.html

THE BIG RED BARN FACEBOOK SPACE https://www.facebook.com/bigredbarn4kids/

Madisyn’s birthday party there was fabulous.  The party theme was Hawaiian luau and all things beachy so we started off by painting flip flops, sand and water on canvas with instruction from Ms. Missy.  I say “we” because yes Grannie Rosalyn and 12 little girls participated in the painting.  I loved it!  One thing I thought was cool was that there was no “example” to look at.  This was to let us be as creative as we wanted to instead of trying to copy the example.

Chip and Misty provided pizza, fruit/vegetables and desserts. The girls and us sang Happy Birthday to Madisyn.  This is such a great birthday party idea and every one of the girls loved it.  Here’s some of their flip flop creations!

Madisyn had a big smile on her face the whole time and was a beautiful Happy Birthday girl! Several of the girls went home with Madisyn for a sleep over. We weren’t there but from the looks of the pics it was a great night which included getting made up by Madisyn’s big sis Kallie!

If you like what you see here or on their website here’s The Big Red Barn’s contact info, 234 SE Railroad Ave, Ponchatoula, LA 70454,  985-373-0468.

After all this fun on Friday night we rested Saturday. I went with Chip’s family to Metairie on Sunday for the St. Patrick’s Day parade!  All about that in our next blog post!
Ya’ll have a blessed week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.24.19 Decorating the walls at Casa de Chauvin

Sometimes I really miss all the adventures we’ve had while living on the road in Dora, our motor home.

Since moving into our sticks and bricks home (that’s what motor home folks call their house), the walls are kinda empty except for televisions and a couple of pieces of decoration.

Roy recently came up with a great idea to decorate the walls.  We’re going to take some of our favorite photos from our travels and have them printed on canvas!  The five years on the road were filled with many adventures and we always want to remember them.

I started going through all our travel photos to pick out some fo the ones we love the most from the first photos from 2012 up to the time we stopped traveling last year. What I’m finding, while going through all of these blog posts, is that they are bringing back so many special, heart happy memories. I noticed that our smiles in the photos are such genuinely happy smiles coming from the joy in our hearts seeing all of the amazing things our country has from coast to coast.  God gave us the gift of travel and adventure at a time He knew we most needed it.

I finished that process recently and have picked out 371 photos!  We’d have to add many rooms to our house to have enough walls to hang all those.  I can see this is going to be a huge endeavor to narrow it down to our 10 (at most) favorites.

We didn’t know how these canvas prints would come out.  We first had Easy Canvas Prints make a recent family photo into a canvas print for both of our son’s families for Christmas.  We loved how those came out and our son’s families loved them as well. Using a two for one discount they offered the price was very reasonable.

We looked at several different companies to price having a three part canvas print made from a photo I took while standing on the bridge across Niagara Falls that goes from America to Canada.  This is the original photo.Canvas Campus is who we ordered our three part photo of Niagara Falls wall art from. They offered a free 8″ x 8″ canvas print with any purchase of $99 or more.  Our order was exactly $99 so we sent them the photo below of Roy and I when we went to Colorado the first time and toured the Colorado Rockies stadium.  We got to sit in the dugout and another visitor took this photo where I’m calling down to the bull pen for a relief pitcher! The Niagara Falls split picture is made up of three 30″ high x 20″ wide canvases. It is now hung up on the wall over our sofa.

We love it there! We have such great memories of Niagara Falls and our time on the Maid of the Mist that this is perfect for our living room.  You can see the Maid of the Mist in the lower right hand corner of the photo. Here’s the Coors Field photo on canvas.

l am thankful that God allowed us to experience all of those memories and we are so happy to have been able to share a lot of them with you on Dora and the Explorers!

Next we’ll order three separate canvas prints of three different views of the Grand Canyon.  That will go in our bedroom over the bed.  I plan to have several canvases around the house that are not three part but we thought this was a good place to start so we could see if we like it, and we do!

If you are interested in having your photos put on canvas I’d recommend shopping around.  They all seem to have different specials at different times.  Some of the companies have way higher shipping prices than others.  We were pleased with the final work of both Easy Canvas Prints and Canvas Campus.  The Niagara Falls canvases came in laid out wrong the first time but the company came through sending us the correct prints the second time at no cost and in a very fast manner.

Ya’ll have a Blessed weekend!

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01.31.19 Sunshine, Food and Family

What a wonderful time we had this past sunshiny Sunday afternoon with our family.  A lot has been happening in our families life not leaving much time for to just sit a spell and visit.

We got to do that Sunday with our son Chip, his wife Misty, their niece Haylee, and Chip’s friend Trey who he calls his son, so I think that makes Trey our grandson!   We ate bowls of chili and got to visit.  Here’s Misty, Chip, Trey and Haylee.  All of these photos are clickable to enlarge.

We went down by our pond where we had a nice long visit while Haylee and Trey road around the pond in our paddle boat.

Haylee is pretty good at catching fish with her hand.  This pic shows her holding a piece of bread tempting the fish to jump up to get it!

I love it when Roy brings his new drone out and takes videos and photos.

This is the screen on his ipad he uses to show what the drone sees.  These are some photos Roy took with his drone Sunday afternoon.

In the photo below,our house is on the left.  I absolutely love seeing our area from so high up! 

Having Chip, Misty and those two young people around was fun.  The weather was beautiful and the fellowship was even better!

Ya’ll have a Blessed weekend!

 

01.16.19 Church is Hard, by Arianna Freelen

I sat in a meeting. The discussion was heated. The conversation heavy.

Hearts were burdened. Chests were puffed. Sorrow, pain, arrogance, curiosity, humility, fear, courage, and forgiveness sat together in a single room.

As I looked around the church, I just kept thinking—

Church is hard.

Church is hard for the person walking through the doors, afraid of judgement.

Church is hard for the pastor’s family, under the microscope of an entire body.

Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken and battered by the world.

Church is hard for the girl who looks like she has it all together, but doesn’t.

Church is hard for the couple who fought the entire ride to service.

Church is hard for the single mom, surrounded by couples holding hands, and seemingly perfect families.

Church is hard for the widow and widower with no invitation to lunch after service.

Church is hard for the deacon with an estranged child.

Church is hard for the person singing worship songs, overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics.

Church is hard for the man insecure in his role as a leader.

Church is hard for the wife who longs to be led by a righteous man.

Church is hard for the nursery volunteer who desperately longs for a baby to love.

Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate.

Church is hard for the teenage girl, wearing a scarlet letter, ashamed of her mistakes.

Church is hard for the sinners.

Church is hard for me.

It’s hard because on the outside it all looks shiny and perfect. Sunday best in behavior and dress.

However, underneath those layers, you find a body of imperfect people, carnal souls, selfish motives.

But, here is the beauty of church—

Church isn’t a building, mentality, or expectation.

Church is a body.

Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints.

Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love.

Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of Grace.

Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors.

Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation. Where sin is confronted and hearts are invited to seek restoration.

Church is a lesson in faith and trust.

Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope.

Church is a family. A family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, rejoicing in the smallest of victories.

Church, the body, and the circle of sinners-turned-saints, is where He resides, and if we ask, He is faithful to come.

So even on the hard days at church—

The days when I am at odds with a friend, When I’ve fought with my husband because we’re late once again. When I’ve walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle, yet masking the pain with a smile on my face. When I’ve worn a scarlet letter, under the microscope. When I’ve longed for a baby to hold, or fought tears as the lyrics were sung. When I’ve walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away.

I’ll remember, He has never failed to meet me there.

Church is a body, a family, a place to love God and love others through our struggles!

I love MY church!!

 

12.31.18 Reflections on God’s Blessings 2018

Monday, December 31,2018 – This year’s Reflections on God’s Blessings is a bit different. We did not travel any in 2018 so there is nothing to share in that aspect of our lives. My brain no longer has the ability to do all the things I use to in creating this post. Regardless of that I hope to cover all I can since we’ve had some fun, interesting and a couple of life changing events in 2018.  This year this summary is mostly just a way to help me remember the past year but you are welcome to check it out!.

In January of 2018 we had six inches of snow at our home in Amite, Louisiana.

In February 2018 we discovered that the plumbing pipe from the house to the septic tank was not the quality we asked for when the house was being built.  That has caused problems for our renters in the past so Roy dug up all of the old not good quality pipe and put down some high quality pipe. This photo shows both pipes.

We planted several vegetable plants along the fence line. Pretty much none of them did anything.  We learned a lot of lessons and decided to plant a real garden later in the year  

We went to Hammond’s Mardi Gras parade.  It was beautiful and lots of fun!

Chip and I chaperoned Madisyn’s school field trip to Liuzza Farm and enjoyed picking strawberries.

In March 2018 Madisyn had her 9th birthday party and Kallie had her 17th birthday party!

Chip’s family attended the Metairie Saint Patrick’s Day parade with us. Madisyn was loaded down with all the loot she caught!

This is all the food we caught! Yes you catch food in our St. Patrick’s day parade. Carrots, cabbage, lemons, potatoes, bananas, onions and garlic!

I made homemade Easter candies for our grandchildren. I didn’t make the Peeps but everything else I made!

In April 2018 I found a new style of rock painting and really love doing these!

Roy’s cataract surgery done last year did not turn out right and his vision is worse.  We got second opinions from two different doctors to determine what is wrong,  It was determined that Roy needs to get a good pair of glasses to see if that will correct what is off.  The original doctor gave us the additional money we paid to have a multi focal lens put in.  Roy would not go get glasses but after the first of the year I think he just might!!

Roy, Madisyn, Misty and myself went to see Kaylon Willoughby in Ponchatoula High School’s production of Steel Magnolias.

We went to our youngest grandchild’s house for her birthday and loved playing with the little ones.

Madisyn and her best bud Olivia came to visit for a couple of days.

The beginnings of my rock village.  Lots more were added to it after this!

In May 2018 we enjoyed going to our church’s Family Day picnic!

Roy and I worked many days and weeks putting together this Dora Instruction Manual to help our renters when they are on the road. 

We went to our oldest son’s two oldest daughters dance recital.

We also went to our only grandson’s baseball game and end of season event.

A big life changing decision was made in May 2018. The last year of travel was 2017.  It got very difficult for me to make the plans of what to see and where to stay. I had several meltdowns because of that and around April and May we decided we weren’t going to travel any longer.  We also decided we wanted to move into the house we were renting.

The Fleur de Lis in our floor inside the front door.

All the furniture in our motor home is built in so we basically had no furniture and very little else to move into the house when we moved out of the motor home. Chip and Misty let us use some of their used furniture until we could slowly purchase new and used furniture, etc. throughout the year.

 

In June 2018 I started painting a medium size rock for each of our renters to help them remember their adventure with Dora.  They all loved them!

I love spreading God’s word and His love through my painted rocks.  I’ve started taking medium sized ones and writing a scripture on them and hiding them!

Roy and I became Louisiana citizens again and got our Louisiana Drivers License here.  Dora and Boots also became Louisiana residents and got new Louisiana license plates. We were able to register to vote in Louisiana while we were here! South Dakota was good to us but Louisiana is home!

Our church had it’s first Senior Adults luncheon which we attended.  It was wonderful and there was a lot of us!We learned that many people rent out their RVs.  We had never heard of that. After moving everything out of Dora we outfitted her with lots of goodies to make it easier for those who we hoped might rent her!

Our first rental booking happened almost immediately.  Unfortunately it resulted in Dora being involved in an accident. What a great way to start out  This is part of the big scratch that went down the passenger side, along with the awning being torn off.

From June to December 2018 we had a total of 10 rentals from the longest of 16 days to the shortest of 3 days.  A few LSU and racing tailgating rentals. One rental went all the way up the east coast to Maine and back to Louisiana by way of Texas.  Another went to the northwest and back.  A few to the central part of our beautiful country.

Dora made four trips to Dixie RV between rentals to have the accident damage repaired.

During that same time period we made our first attempt in years at growing a garden. Roy dug all of the grass up where the garden would go in the back yard and where we would transplant our 8 blueberry bushes to next to the house.  He replanted the grass in an area that didn’t have much grass.  This along was a huge project.

I started all of the vegetables from seed a couple of weeks before the garden was ready.  The only vegetable bought as a plant was our Big Boy tomatoes.

Roy then created the frame for my vegetable garden. We added mulch, fertilizer and moss and tilled all that into the soil. We grew radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, okra, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and brussell sprouts,

We had freezing weather early in the year so a lot of the garden’s crops were picked early.  Good thing because the cucumbers, tomatoes and okra were pitiful looking after the freeze.The photo below was the cucumber vines a week before the freeze.

This is the cucumber vine after the freeze.

The vegetables we picked early included a lot of cucumbers which I pickled.  Yes I pickled something! They are really tasty!

In July of 2018  The work to repair Dora’s damage to the exterior wall  from the first rental’s accident was completed!I had partial knee replacement surgery done by Dr. Peter Blessey.  The surgery went great and the recovery was smooth.

In August 2018 the specific drone that Roy wanted to buy, DJI Mavic Pro 2, finally was available to purchase.  Roy ordered his right away and here it is below.    

Zelda, the drone flying in the sky.

Roy can take photos and videos from Zelda and he watches what she sees when she travels from this iPad

We planted two grape vines that crawled up and over this lattice arbor.  Didn’t make grapes this year but we’re hopeful for next year!

One of our favorite things to do since we moved into the house was watching the hummingbirds play while we drank our morning coffee on the front porch.

In September of 2018 both our son’s families took me out for my birthday.  We ate at our always favorite La Caretta with our oldest son’s family. With Chip’s family we ate at a new restaurant in Amite, Boot Hill. Both meals were amazing!

We were invited to Madisyn’s new school’s family dance.

In October 2018 we attended the Hammond Northshore Regional Airshow

The ladies at our church, plus my daughter in law Misty, got together to paint crosses and angels on canvas.  Lots of fun!

In November 2018 my son Chip bought me 63 pounds of river rocks for painting.  I got to pick out all of the rocks myself.

We had Thanksgiving with our sons and their family at our house. So much to be thankful for this year!

In December 2018

Christmas dinner with our sons and their family was at Chip and Misty’s home. What a blessing it is to be able to be with all of our immediate family at Christmas time!

Madisyn came home with us and spent a couple of days.  We made homemade apple pie and something new called Christmas crack!

These were some of my Christmas rocks with Santa on the front and on the back a message about Jesus Christ.

The accident on the first rental followed by many mechanical problems everything seemed to snowball.  Because of that, the stress of negotiating, explaining and general communicating with potential renters (at least 50 potential renters) before, during and after the rental, the huge amounts of money we had to put out to fix things while the renters were on the road, all the deep cleaning of Dora after every rental, Roy constantly fixing things on Dora, washing sheets, towels became too much.  We made the decision to stop renting before we got more in debt fixing things.  Our last rental was in mid December to a great group from state of Washington who flew here to travel along the coast.

 

We are spending New Years Eve at home snuggled up watching a movie.  Can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year.  We’ll be asleep before midnight and will sleep as late as we want on the first day of the new year.  We can do that as retired old folks and we love it!!

Links to our Reflections on God’s Blessings for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 are below.

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

Happy New Year everyone from Roy and Rosalyn Chauvin!
We are looking forward to all that God has in store for us in 2018!

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12.29.18 Renting Out Dora – Part Nine

Saturday, December 29, 2018 – Dora’s second to last renters were a pastor and his family (wife, two daughters and one son in law.)  They took Dora into the Smoky Mountains for a week and enjoyed their time with her.  The brand new left front jack is not going down all the way on auto level.  Before they left Roy showed them how to make it go down manually. Roy checked it thoroughly when they returned.  They really enjoyed their time away with Dora and their family.

The last rental was two couples who flew in from the northern part of the United States.  We agreed to bring Dora to them at an RV Resort in New Orleans East.  Here’s Dora and Boots all hooked up at home ready to deliver Dora to the renters.

While this doesn’t have anything to do with their rental, we were shocked to see the condition that New Orleans east is still in. I’ve heard from the news since 2005 when Katrina hit that the eastern portion of New Orleans had not come back to what it was before.  I believe they said that it took 3 years for the first grocery store to open in that area.  It looked horrible while we were driving through it to the resort. This was a building we saw when we got off the interstate.  Pretty sure it use to be a hotel.  Now, who knows! I think it’s just abandoned like so much else we saw.

We met the two couples at the RV Resort and did their training in the rain.  Not good conditions but that’s what it was.  They had some previous RVing experience and didn’t totally listen to everything Roy taught them.  That resulted in calls after they took possession of Dora about things they were trained in.  They made up for that in their niceness!  All four of them brought their golf clubs which was a first for us.  They were able to store them all in the storage compartments in what we call Dora’s basement.  They got in a lot of golfing on this trip and got to see and eat a lot of Louisiana cuisine.  Winter on the gulf coast is way better than in the north!

They had a couple of minor little problems with Dora but nothing that put a damper on their trip. At the end of their rental we met them at a Walmart in Kenner where they took an Uber to the airport to return home.  They left us eggs, milk, chocolate ice cream bars and other goodies!  Can’t take that stuff on the airplane so we got it!!  Ya’ll know how I feel about free food!  They told us they loved Dora and enjoyed everything they did and saw while in the south!

We did have one more rental booked after those two but we had to cancel.  They were going to Colorado.  It’s a long trip (2500 miles round trip) but Roy felt Dora would be okay.  Then he saw the weather forecast there in that part of Colorado. During the days it was going to be in the teens and over night in the single digits and some negative temperatures and there was going to be snow! Dora has no snow chains nor are her tires snow worthy.  None of the water lines, water filter, ice maker lines are capable of withstanding those temperatures.  The renter had never driven a motor home before but he was sure they would be okay. Their destination was in a valley and they felt certain they could make it there on the interstate just fine.  There are many more issues related to that kind of weather.  None of which are good ones. We canvased some folks on RV Owner FB groups we are members of and almost unanimously we were told to not allow this rental. A couple of owners lived right by where our renters were going to stay and said even though they were going to stay in a valley, getting from the interstate to the valley took them through a long difficult area over and around mountain. The renters safety and Dora’s safety were in jeopardy so we had to cancel.

So renting Dora out is over. 😰 😕 😀 🙄

I have a lot of different feelings about Dora being on the market to sell but hopefully we’ll get some nibbles soon.

12.28.18 When God Created Woman

When God created woman he was working late on the 6th day…….
An angel came by and asked. “Why spend so much time on her?”
The lord answered. “Have you seen all the specifications I have to meet to shape her?
She must function in all kinds of situations,
She must be able to embrace several kids at the same time,
Have a hug that can heal anything from a bruised knee to a broken heart,
She must do all this with only two hands,
She cures herself when sick and can work 18 hours a day.”
THE ANGEL was impressed “Just two hands…..impossible! And this is the standard model?”
The Angel came closer and touched the woman
“But you have made her so soft, Lord.”
“She is soft,” said the Lord,
“But I have made her strong. You can’t imagine what she can endure and overcome.”
“Can she think?” The Angel asked…
The Lord answered. “Not only can she think, she can reason and negotiate.”
The Angel touched her cheeks….
“Lord, it seems this creation is leaking! You have put too many burdens on her.”
“She is not leaking…it is a tear” The Lord corrected the Angel…
“What’s it for?” asked the Angel.
The Lord said, “Tears are her way of expressing her grief, her doubts, her love, her loneliness, her suffering and her pride.”
This made a big impression on the Angel,
“Lord, you are a genius. You thought of everything.
A woman is indeed marvelous.”
The Lord said, “Indeed she is.
She has strength that amazes a man.
She can handle trouble and carry heavy burdens.
She holds happiness, love and opinions.
She smiles when she feels like screaming.
She sings when she feels like crying, cries when happy and laughs when afraid.
She fights for what she believes in.
Her love is unconditional.
Her heart is broken when a next-of-kin or a friend dies but she finds strength to get on with life.”
The Angel asked: “So she is a perfect being?”
The Lord replied: “No. She has just one drawback
She often forgets what she is worth.”

To all the beautiful women I’ve known in my life!  May God Bless You All!

12.24.18 Cajun Night Before Christmas, by Trosclair

CAJUN NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
by Trosclair, illustrated by James Rice and narrated by Tommy Joe Breaux

Click the picture below to hear this most wonderful Cajun Night Before Christmas!

Artist James Rice spent much of 1973 trying to find someone to publish his children’s illustrations. In that year, the Bergeron Plymouth company of New Orleans released an original Christmas advertisement: a Cajun take on Clement Moore’s popular Christmas poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” but what was special about this was it’s South Louisiana dialect.

Pelican Publishing’s Milburn Calhoun heard the re-interpretation — penned by J.B. Kling Jr., writing as “Trosclair,” a Cajun spokesman for Bergeron Plymouth in its radio ads — and decided to get it published. He enlisted Rice to provide the colorful illustrations, including the sight of St. Nick on a skiff drawn by eight magic alligators, and “Cajun Night Before Christmas” was born.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE CAJUN CHAUVIN FAMILY!

12.25.18 Wacky Wonderful Christmas – Happy Birthday Jesus

FROM THE CHAUVIN FAMILY TO YOUR FAMILY, A MOST MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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THE GREATEST MAN IN HISTORY IS JESUS.

He had no servants, yet they called him Master.

He had no degree, yet they called him Teacher.

He had no medicines, yet they called him Healer.

He had no army, yet they feared Him.

He won no military battles, yet he conquered the World.

He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.

He was buried in a tomb, yet He Lives Today!

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BORN UNTO US! by Eberhard Arnold

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11) .

There is no event in the history of salvation that so expressly calls forth joy as does the experience of Christmas. Into the world of fear and worry, right into the midst of all our troubles, comes the proclamation of great joy, “Today a Savior has been born to you!

The coming of the deliverer among people who groan under their need in loneliness and death must truly be a source of abundant joy. One is born who brings us the greatest thing of all: fellowship with the living God! Here is One who through his life and death brings God to all those who are willing to accept him.

Christ’s birth was a prelude to his death. The lowliness of his birth, the immediate persecution by Herod, and the terrible massacre at Bethlehem – these are the signs over the manger signifying the life that awaited him; they are the sign of the cross. But they are also the sign that the broken bond between us and God will be restored.

The angel does not merely say that Christ is born; he says, “for you,” for you he is born. He does not say, “I bring news of great joy”; he says, “to you, I bring news of great joy.”

This brings us great joy! Here is someone who will sacrifice everything in order to free us and redeem us. This little child is our Savior because he is born to redeem us from our sins. His life and death, the action of his spirit, proves that he is the Son of the living God. This is the gospel: what was promised through the prophets is the Son who in the flesh is born of the seed of David and whose power is proven as Son in the Spirit.

This living, risen Son can only be known by faith. “The real, blessed faith that God’s word and work demands,” Martin Luther says, “is the firm faith that Christ is born for you and that his birth is yours, that it took place for your sake; for the gospel teaches that Christ was born for our sake and that he died and suffered all things for our sake. The angel does not merely say that Christ is born; he says, ‘for you,’ for you he is born. He does not say, ‘I bring news of great joy’; he says, ‘to you, I bring news of great joy.’”

The birth of Jesus took place under the sign of light. If we want to become united with the One who was born, we will give ourselves wholly to him – with all our sins! For, as Luther reminds us in the old words of the mystic Angelus Silesius, “Were Christ born a thousand times in Bethlehem and not in you, you would still be eternally lost.”

For Luther the Redeemer is identified with the sinner. “See, Christ takes our birth from us to himself and immerses it in his birth and gives us his, so that in it we might become pure and new, as if it were our own. Thus every Christian may rejoice and glory in this birth, as if he, like Christ, were born of Mary.” Therefore, Christ must become ours and we his. To us a child is born, to us a son is given. Born to us, to us, to us!

 

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HONORING OUR CAJUN LOUISIANA CHRISTMAS!  NOTMC_25105-1

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Whether or not the following inspirational short Christmas story is true, it’s a wonderfully inspiring story for people of any faith. In this season of love, may we all remember the beautiful love of a small child. Have a meaningful and love-filled Christmas season and New Year ahead. May your days be filled with love, joy, growth, and inspiration.

The Gold Wrapping Paper – An Inspirational Short Christmas Story
Written by Fred Burks

Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family’s only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper.

As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.

Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, “This is for you, Daddy!”

As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.

But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. “Don’t you know, young lady,” he said harshly, “when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside the package!”

The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: “Daddy, it’s not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full.”

The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us has been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.

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WALNUTS AND POPCORN: PRIORITIES DURING THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON,
Written by

Walnuts and Popcorn: Priorities During This Christmas Season

While I was growing up, every Christmas Eve, my parents would bring out the walnuts and popcorn jar. At that time, I didn’t quite understand the meaning behind this activity, but now I completely get it. I appreciate my parents for showing us the true meaning of this time of year, but I think it can be for the entire year.

You see, it was a simple glass jar full of popcorn and walnuts. They would bring out the jar and a big bowl. My dad would empty the jar into the bowl and start talking to us about Christmas. He started to talk about all of the things that we do at Christmas time. We would talk about things like buying gifts, going caroling, eating candy canes, and seeing Christmas lights. He would fill up the jar with the popcorn. Then he would lead our conversation to the more important things about Christmas: Jesus coming to earth, being with family, and reading the Bible story about Christmas. He would put in a walnut for each important thing about Christmas. To our surprise, they wouldn’t fit in the jar. Impossible! We just saw them all in the jar just a minute ago!

He would then go about telling us that when we fill up our time with the unimportant things first, we don’t have time for the most important things. Then he would empty the jar again. He would then start filling the jar with the walnuts first…the important things…then he would pour the popcorn over it and it all fit! When we remember and do what is important first, then there will still be time for the other things. Not that the unimportant things are bad, they aren’t! They just have their place and we need to remember that.

Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Keep Christ first and all else will follow.

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THIS WEEK’S FIVE FAVORITE PHOTOS

fav 1Let's not forget our feathered friends. Wonderful idea for an edible bird house

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Reach out to someone in need this week!

Let others see Jesus in you this week!

Be His light in the darkness this week!

Have a Blessed Week!

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