Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving to Christmas

I hope your Thanksgiving was a good one. One that included time of being truly thankful.
I am thankful hard times push me to my Savior.
I am thankful my children love and forgive me.
I am thankful God isn't finished with me yet.
I am thankful God's plans are good.
I am thankful it's the Christmas Season.

Soon I will put up my tree which draws me to sit quietly in it's light and meditate on the truth of my God. The wonder of the Creator sacrificing for the created. The season when my children will daily remind me to read our devotion and focus on Jesus.
How was your thanksgiving?
How are you preparing for Christmas?
How are you preparing for Jesus? 

Still need a copy of Christmas is About Jesus? I almost always ship the same day. 
Do you have your ornaments? Would you like coloring pagesOrder online today!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sure I'm Thankful

This is not the post I wanted to write. I would rather share get pictures and cute lists of things my children are thankful for. Instead I am being honest. Giving you a glimpse into my heart.

There are things I am not happy about, I wish were different, wish hadn’t happened.
I’m not complaining.
I’m thankful.
However I don’t know that anyone can tell I’m thankful because I’m not expressing gratitude.
Thankfulness has been hard this season. Don’t get me wrong. I know I am blessed beyond the majority of the population with the orphans, poverty and wars.
Getting this knowledge out of my lips or finger tips has not been happening.  Maybe this knowledge hasn’t really gotten to my heart.
I have not been giving my thanks, not praising, not expressing gratitude. 
I’ve meant to. 
I’ve tried to think of creative ways to record our thanks as a family as we have in the past. I guess I couldn’t force my kids to list things they were thankful for when I wasn’t doing it myself.
I have thought of things I’m thankful for. There are many. 
Over and over they are lost in my emotions instead of expressed or treasured.

So my challenge to you and to myself is to slow down and let the knowledge of God’s goodness penetrate my heart so deeply that it must flow out in endless praise.

Enjoy your family.

May you be blessed and be a blessing this Thanksgiving!

Do you ever struggle with being thankful?
How have you been thankful in spite of negative emotions? 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Interview on Christian Authors

Kelly Hagen, author of Jake and Jesus interviewed me on her blog: Christian Authors.
You can read my interview as well as scroll through her archives for other Christian authors of many different styles. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Why the Ornaments?

I shared last week how as a child I enjoyed opening a little door on the advent calendar every day as I waited for Christmas. I wanted my children to have that joy, but know I’m not always successful in following through with my ideas. I also wanted it to mean something more than counting down days until they got to open presents. 

Once I had the devotional written and illustrated (the illustrations in the published book were done by Jason Hutton with Tate Publishing) I got the idea to make an ornament for each day. I used my illustrations to do our ornaments. I used many of my original illustrations on the downloadable ornaments as well.

The ornaments have worked well for my family. The children are always excited to put up their ornament so they remind me to do the devotion; to keep me on task, no hanging the ornament until I’ve read. I have three children, which divides nicely into 24 so it’s easy to figure out whose turn it is. As we spend our days at home the ornaments hanging where we see them often helps to start more discussions about Jesus and what we have read. Some years they have been hung on a small tree. One year I hung a string of beads to hang the ornaments from. Another year we made a paper tree on the bulletin board and stuck the ornaments on there.

As you consider how to focus on Jesus this Christmas season I hope the ideas our family has used are helpful, and that you will share ideas that would be helpful to others.

The ornaments I created are available only on my webstore. They are $5, downloadable with printing instructions.

Still need a copy of Christmas is About Jesus? I almost always ship the same day. Would you like coloring pages?

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Do You Think?

As a child I enjoyed using Advent calendars where there was a door to open each day of December until finally it’s Christmas. As I considered beginning this tradition with my children I also began looking for something to connect this tradition with the real reason we were celebrating in the first place. After looking for resources and not seeing what I had in mind I got the idea for Christmas is About Jesus.

I knew I could not control what my children saw as we went about our lives, so I chose to influence what they would think about when they were out. Seeing all the decorations begin to appear in the stores could simply mean opening presents is getting closer. Instead ornaments remind us to show people Jesus. Christmas lights tell us Jesus is The Light. The cookies and fun food remind us Jesus is our very Bread of Life. Each day I chose from things commonly seen around Christmas. I used many of the names of Jesus in my devotions. As we get closer to Christmas you’ll see I also did people from the Christmas story. While they are not things, I think that we see them so often in decorations, nativities, and on Christmas cards they become like things instead of real people. People who loved and served God and we can learn from.

I realize that as long as we live in America I will not be able to completely de-commercialize the Christmas season for my family. We can choose what we focus on. We can choose to be thankful and generous. We can choose to love and serve God.

As part of my idea I created a matching ornament for each devotion. I’ll write more about that next week.

What do you do to focus on Jesus in a culture that is not?

Still need a copy of Christmas is About Jesus? I almost always ship the same day. Do you have your ornaments? Would you like coloring pages?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Local Stores

Contact Information & Links
Blogs: Kove's Blog
          Christmas is About Jesus
          Thoughts for Authors  
Facebook: Mukkove Johnson—Christian Author
Twitter: @MukkoveJohnson

Developing Thankfulness

Christmas is coming. This is a fun and exciting season. As much as I enjoy the Christmas music, decorations, fun and festivities; there is another holiday I want to talk about first. I don’t want to short change Thanksgiving in this season. It’s easy for Thanksgiving to be little more than a day to be with family or friends and eat too much. Thanksgiving not only as a holiday but as a lifestyle is far more important.

Our Thankful Tree
Our family started a tradition of recording things we are thankful for every day of November. To develop our habit of thankfulness everyone had to think of a new thing every day. Make it more of a challenge and have everyone think of something no one has said. Recording our thoughts has taken many different forms over the years. One year when the children were young I wrote their thoughts on a large piece of paper hung on the china cabinet. Other years they have drawn what they are thankful for. Some years we have added an element, like a leaf or corn cob, every day to build a collage of thankful thoughts. Whatever form it may take the idea is to develop the habit of being thankful, an “attitude of gratitude” if you will.

Our thankfulness leads us to gratitude. We can be thankful for something and keep it to ourselves. Gratitude is taking action to express our thankfulness. Listing things we appreciate is a good first step. What are other ways your family can move from thankfulness to gratitude this Thanksgiving? Send out “Thank you” cards. Do someone a kindness. Speak up when you have a nice thought or appreciate something. Praise the Lord, for real, out loud.

As you develop thankfulness and gratitude you are also preparing your heart for Christmas, to focus on Jesus and the Christmas season with thankfulness and a proper perspective.

How do you develop thankfulness in your family?