Moments of Defining & Refining

christmas-crossI’ve started decorating the house for Christmas and
I have to confess;

I’m having a blast!

Honestly, I haven’t done a ton of major decorating I mean,  you have to understand–we don’t live a very “upscale” and entertaining lifestyle. Even when I thought that should be my goal in life, I could never quite pull off that Martha Stewart thing!

No, we’ve always lived rather “low to the ground” and as such, I’ve tried to do things reasonably while at the same time, as tastefully as possible. In fact, I was  probably “shabby chic” before it was in vogue!

(Ok…maybe I was just the fool who put the “shabby” that dangerously close to chic, but certainly I ought to get an “A” for effort!)

But hey, this year– I’ve decked some halls y’all!

I even made ivy ivy-wreathwreaths for the dining room windows and they are rather smashing if I don’t say so myself!

(Please kindly ignore the cheap, dingy Wal-mart mini blinds, thankyouverymuch.)

Of course, I’ve been thinking about why this Christmas  seems so different from the last few years and what makes true, heartfelt celebration feel so much more attainable.  There’s no doubt in my mind, part of it has been largely due to our intentional angle of approach.

Somehow, and only by the grace of God, this year we’ve been able to softly glide into this season with intentionality, letting Him direct our steps. I’ve been grateful for the intentionality of starting off slowly with only the gentlest whispers of Christmas calling to us through the advent wreath and manger display for this first week of December. It’s really helped to hone my heart and sharpen my focus towards Christ.

Also,  several of the events we typically have scheduled with our family business have happened a bit earlier this year,  leaving a little more white space in my life which (gasp!) I’m not being so quick to fill. In fact, I’m graciously declining to participate in a few events which my former “people pleasing” persona would have felt obligated to attend.

Somehow the Holiday chaos & cosmos continues to whirl and spin without me…imagine that!  As a result I have been able to rest into more of the moments God has opened before me.

And, to be honest, our family is also in a different season of life. Our children are older and though not yet fully independent, they have lives and plans of their own and often do not require a micro-managing momma any longer.

I’m choosing to recognize this as a good thing.

Yes, there are several noticeable differences and while I can point to these things as contributing factors, I’m recognizing that the real differences lay within me.

The truth is, what’s changed most is my attitude, my focus and my heart.

God is changing me and it’s showing up in the way I see and do everything and I’m noticing it more this year…now at Christmastime. I have rediscovered joy and am experiencing appreciation for the simplest and the smallest things …that honestly have always been here….

I have regretfully just been too self-absorbed by people pleasing to see and appreciate them until now.

But I see and appreciate them now. It’s because I’m newly, finally, totally in love with Jesus Christ and through this love I’m rediscovering how

               (click to tweet this picture!)

It’s sincere living in and through every moment no matter what’s taking place around us because it can’t shake what’s taken place in us.

Some of the changes came to light as a result of a book and study written by Paul David Tripp entitled, “What Did You Expect?”  In this study he says something so profoundly true that it’s burrowed it’s way deep into my soul and has begun to shape the way I think about everything.

Basically Tripp says:

a life and marriage; any relationship is not shaped by the 4 or 5 “major” moments or decisions a person may make in their lifetime but instead, we are shaped by choices made in the myriad of little moments taking place every day.

It’s through these moments, Tripp explains, that our character is shaped and revealed.  This is where and how we are really defined and in turn, it’s how we define everything else around us.

So it makes sense that the little shavings and shapings of my character in this past year have helped to redefine the way I see what’s taking place around me.

It’s changed the way I’m relating to others; how I minister, how I write, how I live and what I choose to do ….or not to do.

It’s changed the way I’m approaching Christmas as well as I realize that it’s the details…the little things that matter most. In fact, God has shown us the truth in this through the myriad details found in the larger story of Christmas.

It’s the fine-tuning of many prophesies fulfilled anchoring Christmas so firmly into all of history and
where we can find our anchoring place in the Savior born to us in the city of David.

So, I’m having a blast decorating this year–putting shiny things on or in place of all the “regular” things around my deeply “normal” home!

I’m looking forward to having my daughter home from college and to making a big mess in the kitchen or in the craft corner.

I’m excited about taking crazy pictures and making crazy memories and sharing some of our personal family traditions that maybe mean something only to us and possibly starting some new ones.

Because I know that He came and I know Christmas lives in me.


Jesus came for a reason
and it wasn’t just for a season

…it was ultimately to purchase for us life. To show and give us meaningful life to be lived before others abundantly, joyfully one defining moment at a time.


Linking up here and there witha few of my favorite folks!




0 thoughts on “Moments of Defining & Refining

  1. Sister, your year and my year have been on a parallel course though the miles are many between us. Our Abba Father is awesome!
    And by the way, I’ve always loved your God-given knack for taking the simplest things and turning them into beautiful, down-to-earth (yet heavenly) decorations. I love you!

    1. Thank you so much! Ha…as a matter of fact, you’ve been the recipient of a few of my not so “heavenly” creations! Simple is best, I’ve learned and I am hoping, by the grace of God that the miles between us will be drastically shortened someday soon! Love you!

  2. This people-pleasing person struggles with letting Christmas come more gently. Someone might not get their favorite treat, and, of course, that would be terrible, wouldn’t it? It seems silly when write it down because nobody “needs” more calories, etc. I think it’s probably more self-imposed than it is other-imposed, if I’m honest. Thanks for this post. I’ll endeavor to live it – not just read it.

    1. Oh I do know what you mean Kim….so far nobody else is complaining that I haven’t “delivered” the goods! Which could be disappointing when you think about it….and also rather freeing. I choose to feel free and I pray that you will feel it too. Blessings!

  3. Oh, Merry Christmas! A baby joined our family on November 2nd, so I, too, am letting go of much of the busy-ness that generally swallows me up over the holidays and, instead, enjoying the peace that a new baby brings. It’s nice to have an excuse to “lay low.” 🙂 I think it’s worthwhile to ask what Jesus really wants from us, for His birthday.

  4. oh friend i love how you’re resting this holiday season and letting the world spin on… you are learning the true miracle of it all. because you’re daring to be still, and listen. bless you.

    1. Thankyou Dear Emily. I have treasured up the words of your blog over these last months and the good Lord has helped me to treasure up the other valuable things He’s brought to me as well so that this time of the year is fairly much the crowning moment of all the moments he’s been showing me. Thanks so much for stopping by. Blessings to you and Merry Christmas!

  5. I loved your tweet about Jesus coming for a reason, not a season. I wish I could get into the decorating spirit, but it’s just not here this year. You have a nice blog. 🙂

    1. Hello Happy Girl! I know what you mean about the “spirit” and how difficult it is to get into it all. This is why I’ve struggled to do it differently this year and the Lord has allowed it. I will say a prayer for your weary heart tonight. Blessings!

  6. This was wonderful, and I felt like a mirror was being held up and I was seeing myself here as well. I think we must have a great deal in common – I too have Walmart mini blinds! Yes, it’s true…and I am in a similar season of life as well, whether by choice or not, the kids are getting older and I’m experiencing too many health problems to run at full speed, and I’m noticing more of “life” in the small, everyday areas of my day. I just don’t understand this imaginary “tick tock” of the clock at this time of year…. I need a good answer to the question “Are you ready for Christmas?”
    Thanks for your post, truly loved it! Have to look up that book by Paul David Tripp ; )

  7. “the myriad of little moments taking place everyday”- I loved this. Not the storms, but the constant lapping of the waves on the shore, Constant, steady. Everyday filled with grace. I loved this post, Loretta. It’s all a matter of the heart, isn’t it?

  8. Oh you make me smile. Such a beautiful girl you are! I love His light shining in you. Love the wreath. Is the thing on the door your creation, too? I love that, too!

    1. And you make me smile too! Yes, I made the frame and ribbon accent for my door cross last year when I decided I didn’t want to replace the cross with a wreath. I’d seen something similar somewhere and then made this one myself. Blessings!

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