Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My first GUEST...Welcome...Meet Ashley from The Happily Ever Afters of the Lancaster's!

I am very happily married to my wonderful husband Kurt, and I am now the extremely proud mommy to our baby girl, Evy! She is the most incredible thing that's ever happened in our lives. Some main interests of mine are Disney, Christmas, and celebrating home and family, and my blog covers all of those topics and more. I love my husband, my baby girl, my home, and most of all the Lord!
See why I loved her...she mentioned Christmas and Disney in the same sentence.

Where do I begin in expressing my love for Christmas? Everything about it makes the season my favorite time of year. The sights, smells, and sounds---all of these wonderful elements of the holiday season should point us to one thing: The Savior!
Sights: "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!" John 1:29
To "behold" means to "see or observe (a thing or person, esp. a remarkable or impressive one)." What beautiful things we see around Christmastime! Houses beautifully decorated, wrapped in warmth and joy. Strangers greeting each other with kindness. Exchanging the perfect gifts. Christmas lights adorning homes and trees. Candlelight. Snow. A nativity scene. A charming wreath. A table set perfectly for a holiday party.
The most important thing we can behold in our lives is the Person of Jesus Christ. In John 1:29, John the Baptist prepares the way for the Messiah by exclaiming that He is the Lamb of God. But John doesn't stop there: He is the One who takes away the sins of the world! Have you beheld Him? Make time---during Christmas and every day of the year--to behold the one who has washed away YOUR sin.
Smells: "For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." 2 Corinthians 2:15
I always know when I smell Christmas for the first time each year. Usually it's in the fall, when fireplaces or leaves are burning. Can you relate? What is your definitive "Christmas smell?" Pine cones, cinnamon, pumpkin pie, peppermint. The perfect Christmas candle. Your family's delicious traditional holiday meal. Hot chocolate, and scrumptious apple cider!
Smells linger with you, don't they? They can transport you to a certain time, place, or in this case, season. A lot of times, we associate something with a smell, just like I do with the smell of burning leaves. In the verse above, it's clear that if we are Christians, we are the aroma or fragrance to fellow Christians AND those who don't know Him! That's so important to recognize--our ministry is not only with one group of people or the other. We are to be relevant to both. In our efforts to decorate our homes, make the perfect meal, or host the perfect gathering for the holidays, we must remember that our whole purpose is to be the fragrance of Christ to those we come in contact with. I'm going to try something this season: every time I light a yummy candle or bake cookies, I'm going to pray for those I need to be ministering to!
Sounds: "Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!" Psalm 150:3-4
There's a reason I listen to Christmas music all year--it just makes me happy and calms me! I love the sound of a full orchestra playing a Christmas medley, or a simple guitar playing "We Three Kings." I so enjoy a flute playing "What Child is This?" or the brass section playing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." It's all perfect to me!
The underlying theme of our holiday season (and our LIVES), should be praise. I am constantly having to work on this, because it's hard to praise Him when things aren't easy! Stress levels can get high, things don't go the way we want them to, the Christmas card picture just doesn't look get the idea! There will always be something to distract us from praise. The enemy desires nothing more than to take away our praise and our joy in the Lord. Even when stress levels run high during the holidays, maintain your praise! The whole season is dedicated to praising God for what He has given us in His Son---Salvation! The out-of-tune adorable singing of caroling children = praise! The ringing sound of someone yelling "Merry Christmas!" across the street = praise! The clinking of your change in the Salvation Army bucket = praise! Listen for it this season.
I'm praying that you BEHOLD Him more vividly, exude the FRAGRANCE of Him more strongly, and PRAISE Him more constantly this Christmas season and all year!

Merry Christmas!

What a great post to start your holiday preparations.  Thanks Ashley!...Now go  visit her blog and leave her a comment at
The Happily Ever Afters of the Lancasters!
Let me know you did and you will get 2 extra chances at this NEXT GIVEAWAY....Sorry for the same picture...could not find any clip art that was as pretty as my ornaments..


Grandma Cyndi said...

Loved Ashley's post and I did comment on her blog. Thanks for a great first guest post. My first trigger that Christmas is near is the setting up of the advent calendar my Mom made when my two children were small. It is a large felt Christmas tree with pockets along the bottom. Unwrapping the ornaments to be hung each day and tucking the nativity ornament into the pocket of the 24th. They are grown and gone now, but I still unpack it every year after Thanksgiving, it sets the tone.

mdavis said...

Great guest post. Ditto on the love of Christmas.I left a comment on the guest post also.

Terra said...

Ashley wrote a lovely post, and yes, she did mention Disney and Christmas in the same sentence, so we know she is your kind of gal :)

Tanya said...

Hi Teresa,
Went over to visit Ashley!! What a great post! And really enjoyed her blog...will have to go back and visit her again definitely!
Thanks for sharing her with us!
Thanks for hosting the Giveaway!

fahnmamma said...

Hi, I too enjoyed your first guest post. And I visited her, left a message, then read more of her posts. What a delightful young lady. She writes very clearly and from her heart. I love that. I will certainly visit her again!

I will start decorating for fall this week-end. I love the earthy colors of fall!

Ashley said...

Hi there! I found you on Welcome Wednesday's blog hop! Great blog and can't wait to read more! Great guest post!


Amanda Taylor said...

Enjoyed the guest post hopped on over to Ashley's blog and left a comment and am now following her blog. Her blog is super cute!

Yay for extra chances to win ornaments I like that :)

Kat said...

Ashley did a great job on her guest post! I just paid her a visit and commented on your Couch to 5K post. My daughter is doing it too and has inspired me to try. I've downloaded the app to my iPhone but haven't started yet. But I will.


Beverlydru said...

Thank you so much for stopping by to say "hi". I met you when my 1st grandbaby was on the way and I didn't yet understand/know/revel in the miracle of being a grandparent. oh my!
Love the story behind "A Baby Changes Everything." You are a treasure.

Kim - A Creative Spirit said...

Thanks for stopping by A Creative Spirit and your comments. I love your blog too as Christmas is my FAVE time of year... and the fact that you decorate peoples homes for Christmas is a DREAM job... Hope you become a follower as I plan to follow you....

Oh and I checked out Ashley's blog. Love her guest post.

Kaypt said...

I enjoyed Ashley's article. I commented on it over there also. She's a fantastic young lady.

Kelly @ Blessed Mommy, Blessed Wife said...

What an awesome post! I'm headed over to check her out but you can leave me out of the ornament giveaway since I was already SO lucky! I'm still so excited days later :)

Ahhh, Disney and Christmas - does it get any better? My hubby and I were married at Disney and the only thing that would have made it more magical would have been if it were Christmas instead of fall...I just couldn't wait another month, ha!

I'm still so excited that I came across your blog - it makes me smile every time I visit! Oh, and that Carrie Underwood video that you posted on FB where she was singing "How Great Thou Art" was amazing! We had JUST sung that in church last Sunday and she is one of my favorites. I couldn't comment because my iTouch was acting up but I just wanted you to know it blessed me!

Mamma Girl said...

I loved reading Asheley's post! I left a comment on her blog!

Trish said...

Great guest post Ashley and now I am off to hum & sing Christmas songs ALL day long...(I shall blame you for that!)


Hope you both have a blessed day!

Morgan said...

I love this! I follow Ashley's blog anyway, so I know how much she really does love Christmas! I'm in the same boat. Actually I was just listening to Christmas music yesterday! :) Love your blog.

Gram said...

Just went to visit Ashley. Loved her post!

Cheryl Barker said...

I love how you love to give ornaments away! :) By the way, I went over to Ashley's blog and left a comment there, too.

Blessings to you!

TheSuburbanMom said...

I left a comment on her room makeover, what a great surprise for her sister!

I LOVE Christmas and I am already starting to prepare too, finger crossed to win a new ornament

Edwina at The Picket Fence said...

Enjoyed Ashley's blog. I totally agree with her the fragrance of Christ is the best and makes Christmas so special for all of us. I left her a comment at her site. I love your blog site (both of them) and look forward to visiting often and to maybe being a winner of one of those beautiful ornaments. Edwina

Sandy S. said...

I popped over and visited Ashley and left a comment on her post. I'm already getting into the Christmas spirit myself...hubby has made me promise to put up Halloween/Fall decor until Halloween is over though. Bummer!

April said...

Following you from Friday Blog Hops!! Loving your blog already :)


Rachelle said...

That is a beautiful guest post.

I love your blog! I so wish I could do Christmas for a living. I think you're so lucky to have a job like that!

ethelmaepotter! said...

Christmas and Disney - I'm with y'all!

Rebecca said...

My birthday is on Christmas - This year it will be my 62nd! Don't you think that should count for SOMETHING in this giveaway????

Thanks for the chance. Your generosity is inspiring--not to mention your talent!

Just Married with Coupons said...

Hi there! Guess what? We tagged you! Come play with us, see this post for the details:

Tina Peterson said...

Hi I visited her post and left a message. Evy is sure a little cutie! I'm looking forward to the next poster.

Tina "The Book Lady"

twinkle said...

I loved this guest post and just visited her site to let her know I loved her thoughts!
You mentioned ideas for a white Christmas tree and THAT is what I want to do this year! Bring on the ideas! Mine will have some new Hallmark ornaments and snowflakes and icy things to hang off the branches. Hope I win something from your giveaway...

Holly said...

I NEVER tire of the blingy bright holiday pics!! Thanks for sharing.....

Jackie said...

Hey Grammy Girlfriend! I visited, left a comment and joined Ashley's it!!


SusanD said...

Is it too late to get in on this giveaway? Love your guest post from Ashley. I went to her site too. Awesome. Thanks so much for sharing. Blessings, SusanD

aguhmom said...

friend -
*your skin IS lovely
*your makeup PERFECT
*your outfit ALWAYS outstanding

your friendship is one of the
main ornaments on my friendship

"His eye is on the sparrrooowww-
and I know HE watches me"

hugs & love, patti

Gigi said...

How fun!! What a great guest post...I visited Ashley's blog (left a comment too) - what a precious little one she has!

This will be my third Christmas without my Sweet Hubby...I have not decorated for Christmas (any holiday, really) since the Lord called him home. I just don't seem to have the spirit anymore...Teresa - I need you to make a housecall!