The Christmas Story

 A cherished tradition in our family is to read the Christmas Story aloud from the biblical passages on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I pray that you will do this  today and reflect on the amazing, all inspiring gift of a Almighty God who sent his Son to die for you and me.


Luke 1:26-38

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Matthew 1:18-25
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
Luke 2:1-20
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Matthew 2:1-15
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas 2015 — Our Christmas Letter

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Merry Christmas from the Elliott Family! 2015 was a great year for us, full of busyness, adventures, work, and fun.

The beginning of the year and the end of winter were busy for me and the kids with Moms Inc play dates, outings, speakers and steering team meetings, volunteering at Building Blocks weekly and in the church nursery. It also saw the rest of 1st grade for Amber along with her 7th birthday and the end of Bob’s junior year of college. I also stayed busy all year long with my work from home jobs, which gave me my best and busiest year to date ever.

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Spring saw Amber finish up her 3rd year in ballet with a beautiful recital, plus lots of other fun with Easter and East Texas adventures including the Azalea Trail. It also held the first 5k I ever ran when I did the Color Run 5k with Bob and several of my friends, it was a blast! I also got to attend my first ever blogging conference when I went to SoFabU On The Road in Dallas. It was amazing finally getting to meet many of the people I’ve worked with daily for years in person, although it was super weird to be without the kids, even for one day and night!

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In the spring, I also received the best Mother’s Day and early 10-year anniversary present ever when all our little family got to take a surprise trip up to Wyoming to see my family. We had an amazing time going out to the Sand Dunes, getting to meet our new niece, and also getting to attend Breezy’s college graduation.

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Summer brought a wonderful stretch of relaxing schedules and enjoying each other. Bob worked full time at Ingersol-Rand with an Electrical Engineering Internship. The kids and I enjoyed life and both of them learned to swim over the summer thanks to spending hours nearly every day in the pool, it was a huge blessing throughout the intensely hot summer.

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The kids and I also got to make a second trip up to Wyoming to visit my family over the 4th of the July Independence day which included getting to attend Red Cliff Bible Camp Family Camp which was an amazing time.

The summer also held Tyler’s 5th Birthday, along with birthday’s for Bob and me as well, along with our 10th wedding anniversary. I turned the big 3-0 and was surprised to find that when I finally reached this “old” age I am perfectly happy to be here and can’t wait to see what the next 10 years of life and marriage will bring.

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Fall shifted us all into school mode in a major way with Bob starting his senior year, Amber starting 2nd grade (where school becomes ‘real school’) and Tyler starting PreK5. I cried the first day of school, but my two full days of no kids quickly disappear when one continues to be filled up with mentoring at Building Blocks and the other is dedicated to as much uninterrupted work as I can squeeze into those hours. I stay connect with Amber throughout the week by bring Tyler with me to do weekly lunches with her on Wednesday, and running with her for Fitness Friday each week. I love how involved her school encourages parents to be! DSC_0120

Fall also brought Soccer for both of the kids and the craziness that two practices and two games every week brings. Amber loved every minute of it once she was switched to the position of goalie and did an amazing job at that even though it made mommy scream and cringe all through the game. Tyler decided that he likes running around much more when he’s not told when and how to do it, so while we really enjoyed watching the chaos that Under 5 soccer is, it will be his first and last season.

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The holiday season has continued the amazing and craziness of life, and before we blink 2016 will be here. We’re so looking forward to it, as it will bring huge changes to our family after many years of patiently working and waiting when Bob graduates in spring 2016.

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We still have no idea where this time next year will  find us, but we are so excited to discover all of it along the way! I hope that you’ll keep up with us all year long on here, on my Facebook Fan Page, and through Instagram!

Edible DIY Christmas Craft — Santa’s Winter Village

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HoneyMaidHouse #CollectiveBias

Edible DIY Christmas Craft -- Santa's Winter Village

Happy Week of Christmas! How on earth did that happen? This month has whirled by for us in a fun and crazy blur and I can hardly believe that Christmas is practically here! Since we’ve been so busy I’m packing many of our yearly traditions into one fun, festive marathon this week.

One thing that the kids have always loved doing is making a holiday village that’s edible. This time of year is jam-packed with so many treats, however, that added one more extra load of sugar just never feels like a good idea, and we often ended up throwing most of it away. I didn’t want to spoil the fun, but I knew that there had to be a better option that giving them one that was loaded down with sugar.

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Family Movie Night & Minions Lemon Cut-Out Cookies Recipe

This shop for the new Minions movie for our Family Movie Night  and the adorable  Minions Lemon Cut-Out Cookies Recipe has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MinionsAtTarget #CollectiveBias

Minions Lemon Cut-Out Cookies Recipe

Ever since he saw the first “Spicable Meep” as he called it back then, Tyler has been a huge fan of all things involving minions. We have toys, hats, shirts, jammies–you name it he probably owns it with those cute little yellow guys on it! Don’t believe me? Check out this Instagram Pic from just a few weeks ago. So when we heard that the Minions movie was coming out this summer right around his birthday we made sure to take him and Amber to the theater to see it. They both loved it, of course, and it was a great time. It was especially fun since a few days later we threw his birthday party which was Minions themed per his special request!

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A Gift To Say I Love You For Her

This shop for a gorgeous Anne Klein Box Set to tell a very special lady in my life that I love her has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StyleMyHoliday #CollectiveBias

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Most years pass by with a nice, even mix of highs and lows. Then there are some very few, but very precious, years that are absolutely wonderful and when you look back you see only blessing and joy. Then there are other years that are just absolutely, completely difficult and filled with challenges and trials, one right after another. As I’ve shared before 2011 was one of those really difficult years for me, and unfortunately 2015 has been one of those years for my parents.

The story of why this year has been so hard for them could last for pages. However, for the sake of time, and wanting to focus on the positives rather than the bad, I will boil this terrible year down immensely by saying that they’ve faced everything from a multitude of difficult surgeries for themselves and my Grandma, to the decision to have to place my Grandma in a nursing home, to my dad being fired because of slander after working at the same company for over 30 years.

Yes, 2015 has been a very, very rotten year for my poor parents.

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Christmas jumpers that I wish I could have this Christmas

The classic Christmas jumper is considered to be a slightly unfortunate piece thanks to its various depictions in films like Bridget Jones Diary and Harry Potter. They can be cheesy, ill-fitting, full of humour and good sentiments, but not exactly something you’d want to be seen wearing outside of the house. With the right knit, however, the Christmas jumper could just become the most covetable piece of festive wear in your wardrobe, which you could wear for get-togethers and meals out. For us fashion-conscious Christmas lovers, there are many different seasonal options that will have your feeling merry and bright, but without the cheesy snow men and the blindingly bright colour palates. Here are some of the best festive knits to get you in the mood for Christmas with their gorgeous embellishments and designs.

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The Perfect Gift For the Photography Lover In Your Life

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If you’ve been around as a reader for awhile, you know that Brittany of Coast 2 Coast Crafts is totally awesome! Today she’s letting me check out another of her amazing items and give one away to you as well. How cool is that?

Just to jog your memory or for those of you who are new around here, I first introduced Brittany in her guest post on How To Make a Fabric Wreath, which is still one of my top posts through search and on Pinterest! Since then we’ve partnered together to do a few reviews and giveaways, and most recently I shared How To Be The Best Tooth Fairy Ever which included getting her beyond adorable Tooth Pillows for those lost teeth!

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12 Days of Romance Challenge–Give The Gift Your Hubby *Really* Wants This Year!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KYTrySomethingNew #CollectiveBias

12 Days of Romance Challenge -- Give The Gift Your Hubby *Really* Wants This Year!

Ready or not we’re into that wonderful, stressful, crazy, fun time of year again! Last year I shared ideas on How To Keep Your Marriage Happy & Hot During the Most Draining Time of The Year so this year I wanted to follow that up but take a slightly different twist!

I don’t know about you, but my hubby is by far the hardest person to buy for on my list every year! It’s always a challenge since he never has a list of things he wants that I can get for him. Usually this means that I resort to going shopping with him and letting him pick out a fancy new electronic toy. I tell him “Merry Christmas” while we purchase it and we call it good for the year.

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