Top 10 posts of 2012

It is the last day of 2012, if you can believe it! Thank you so much for your support of My Everyday God this year.

These were the most read posts on this site the last 12 months (there are several written in previous years that continue to be favorites). Flashback with me, and enjoy these stories again.

Brush pile

Brush pile

10: Pulling Weeds
Written in summer of 2011, our brush pile burning continues to draw readers. I’m sure it’s because of the immense amount of lighter fluid it took to burn it all!

I like to affectionately call the landscaping near our front porch “the flower pit”.

At any given point since we’ve moved here, you never quite can tell what exists in the flower pit. Thick with leaves, weeds and flowers in there somewhere, I knew I had to do something when the overgrown rose bush started to take over the porch. I didn’t want anyone to get caught in the thorns en route to the front door, so action became necessary. Read more

Fireworks

Fireworks

9: Firework Moments
This post is from last summer watching a fireworks show. It’s those small moments, watching the sky light up through the reflection of your child’s eyes, that stay with you.

At our first fireworks event as a family, I enjoyed the show on the ground even more than the dazzling light display in the sky. Read more

Exhausted after a trying morning

Exhausted after a trying morning

8: Tantrum
My sweet little girl often has more passion than she knows how to handle…in other words she can be a real handful sometimes. 🙂 Of course, so can I!

Lauren and I were looking forward to story time today at the library. Not only was it Leap Day, but the library was celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss. We walked in hand-in-hand with friends, and were greeted by Thing One and Thing Two.

What I wasn’t expecting is that less than 15 minutes later, I would be hauling out a screaming and kicking two-year-old. Read more

Dr. Jackson

Dr. Jackson

7: Doctor
When we were playing doctor, Jackson listened to my heart and “heard” something special.

After a doctor’s visit yesterday, Jackson was full of ideas and decided he wanted to become a doctor. Since I was the only other person in the house at the time who would sit still and play along, I became his patient. He looked in my ears, and at my throat. I even got a shot! Finally, he got out his stethoscope and “listened” to my heart. Read more

U stands for Unleavened

U stands for Unleavened

6: The Letter “U”
This is my most treasured moment from 2012, and will likely be one of the most wonderful days of my life: the day that my son invited Jesus to come into his heart.

Yesterday’s alphabet activity took an unexpected turn.

Our letter of the day was “U”. We got out our crayons and stickers to decorate our pages, and I began to tell the story of the night before Jesus was crucified. “U” stands for Unleavened, with a focus on the unleavened bread served at the Passover dinner. Read more

Family rules

Family rules

5: Family Rules
Jackson helped me create a set of Family Rules this year.

Our family devotion time yesterday morning was about following rules and why obeying God matters. As we finished praying, I decided to ask Jackson for help in creating “Family Rules” that we would post in a prominent place in our home to remind us of how we are to act and love each other as a family. Read more

All the Christmas decorations are packed away.

All the Christmas decorations are packed away.

4: The real work begins
This post relayed my after-Christmas letdown last January after taking down all the decorations. Getting back to “real life” can be a downer after the wonder of the holidays.

The house seems empty.

All the Christmas decorations are packed in boxes. The colored lights are shut off. The beautiful Christmas tree is stuffed carefully away. The stockings no longer hang on the wall.

And my heart feels shuttered with the rest of the holiday cheer. Read more

Lauren and Jackson sit under the paper tree.

Lauren and Jackson sit under the paper tree.

3: Christmas Countdown Day 19 & 20: Tiiimberrrrrr
I laugh and shake my head every time I read this post. We will be taking down our makeshift tree today. Though Matt thinks I’m crazy, I’m saving it for next year, too!

Did you hear that?

Listen closely…

…tiiimmmbeerrrrrrrrrr!

It’s the sound of our Christmas Countdown plans crashing to the ground, along with our Christmas tree. Read more

Jackson and his new zoo map!

Jackson and his new zoo map!

2: Jackson’s Zoo
This story is from summer of 2011 after a trip to the zoo.

Ever since we visited the Potter Park Zoo in Springfield, Mo., earlier this summer, Jackson has poured over the zoo map he picked up there. The edges and folds have worn as he has explored it, played with it and shared it with many other people, describing our adventures there. He has spent many more hours playing with the zoo map than we did at the zoo. Read more

And, drum roll please…

1: Silent Night?
This post was written two years ago, and I’m amazed it still resonates with readers.

Last week, I took Jackson to see Matt sing in our city’s Art Chorale Christmas concert. Boy, was he excited, and everyone sitting around us knew when Jackson’s daddy was singing, as he had several solos that evening. About half way through the concert, the entire audience was led in singing Christmas carols together. We all stood to begin singing “Silent Night,” and as I looked around the audience and listened to the voices ringing around me, my heart grew heavy. So many sang this carol without expression, without joy, without hope. This song is so familiar, even those who know its true meaning (including me) often sing it by rote rather than with adoration for Christ. Read more

If you are still in the reading mood, here are a few more of my favorite posts from 2012:

  • Patch Job – My first patch job on Jackson’s jeans was an utter failure.
  • At the Cross – We celebrated Passion Week with special daily family activities. This day was my favorite.
  • Diapers don’t belong in the wash – it’s true…
  • Pool proclamations – Jackson may not want to swim underwater, but he knows his God can walk ON water.
  • Right start – This particular morning, a reboot was in order.
  • Love notes – When I pack Jackson’s lunch, I usually include a special note.
  • Why not me? – Could it be my potty-training frustrations with Lauren mirror God’s frustrations with me?
  • Underestimated – This is my most read Scripture Crumb, and it is one I need to often be reminded of.
  • 30 minutes – One of my biggest undertakings this year was to work my way up to running 30 minutes straight. This post chronicles the journey.
  • Plenty of Baby Jesus’s to go around – My kids (and I) learned there is enough of Jesus for us all.

Christmas is simple: Jesus came.

"You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, laying in a manger."

“You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, laying in a manger.”

It’s easy to feel lost at Christmas.

There are so many factors competing for our attention. December can become so overwhelming when our plates are heaped with lights, trees, stockings, school concerts, figuring out what gifts to buy, dreaming about gifts we might get, Santa Claus, Christmas cookies, family get-togethers, office parties, reindeer, caroling, Christmas movie classics, painful reminders of those we love who are no longer here. It can sometimes be too much, and we feel buried by all the expectations and miss the joy.

I wonder if in some small way that’s how Mary may have felt.

Everything changed when God chose her for this incredibly special assignment. She was pregnant. She had to explain to her fiance, and her mom and dad, that she was having a baby and it wasn’t Joseph’s. She had to endure all the stares and whispers. Many who were supposed to be her friends probably turned their back on her. Life got very complicated.

It was probably a relief when Joseph told her they needed to leave town to be registered in Bethlehem. But, the complications kept rolling. A cross-country journey on foot, or bumping along on the back of a donkey, at nine-months pregnant was painful and exhausting. Reaching their destination to find no rooms available was incredibly frustrating. Of course it was then that she began to have contractions and go into labor. They were finally directed to a stable, a dirty, smelly place, when the baby came. Her mom wasn’t there to help her and tell her to push. The only one to deliver the child was a man she had never known intimately.

With one last push, He was here. Jesus was born.

All of the complications of Mary’s life faded as she looked through her tears into the face of her son, the Savior of the world.

Christmas is simple. Jesus came.

Jesus didn’t just come to Earth on Christmas, He came for you. He came knowing where His life would lead. He knew the cross was ahead. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus came here for us to know Him personally.

Push through the complications this Christmas, and see the Savior.

Christmas is simple.

Jesus came for you.

Merry Christmas!