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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Help! I Need Your Advice

I'm tempted to get a fake Christmas tree.
It would be so much easier to set up and tear down.
Not to mention that the pine needles don't need to be vacuumed.
Oh, but I'd miss the real-ness of the Christmas tree that we usually pick up from the Boy Scouts' lot.
I think it's the scent.
There's nothing like it to tie one to the Christmases of the past.
Every year Bruce and I finally get that fresh tree to stand up straight.
Then we add the lights. I decorate.
When it's complete, we step back and exclaim, "it's the most beautiful tree we've ever had."
But...I don't know. Is it worth all the trouble?
What do you think?

Then there's the age-old question (at least in my family): what am I gonna serve for Christmas  dinner?
I'm sick of Turkey; we just had that for Thanksgiving.
My grandmother used to make a Roast Beef. We kids, fresh from an annual reading of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,  called her big hunk of meat, "the roast beast."
My mother used to make a ham loaf. Hated it when I was a kid, but it's sort of grown on me.
If you have a menu suggestion, I'd really appreciate it.

Shall we take the long drive down to our church for Christmas Eve service?
Or shall we hunker down with a nice fire, comfy Christmas music, family, and food?
Should we let the grandkids open a couple of their gifts before Christmas?

Some of my friends are trying to organize a giant caroling party. We'll probably sing Christmas Carols around one of the neighborhoods in Longmont.
Most of the people in the neighborhood really appreciate it when we come through.
A couple of the neighbors turn off their lights when we meander by their houses, singing. But that's okay. Free country, right?

Free country.
I still have the freedom to buy a Christmas tree.
I have the money to choose which menu I'll serve on Christmas.
I still have the freedom to attend my church and worship Christ.
No one drags me off to prison if I proclaim Christ in song.

Thank You, Lord, for the blessings of freedom and choices.
That I can still tell my grandchildren about Jesus and what Christmas is really about.
That I even have the freedom to write about Christmas and Jesus, and no one has attempted to shut down my blog.
What blessings.

What joy!

"Joy to the world, the Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room,
and heaven and nature sing!" (Joy to the World, Issac Watts/G.F. Handel)

By the way, I really am serious about the menu suggestions. If you have a great meal suggestion, please send it my way.Thanks.


  1. Dena, for years we had soup on Christmas Eve before church, opened gifts and had snacks after church. Christmas day was ham, cheesy potatoes, etc. or I'd do a smoked turkey with jalapeno cornbread dressing for Christmas. Like you, too close to Thanksgiving to have regular turkey again!

    A few years ago, we changed things. I'm our worship leader so I had to be at church early on Christmas Eve so the soup thing was rushed. Kary's dad had passed away so we no longer had his presence at our table and it seemed okay to change things from the tradition that Kary and I both brought into our marriage. We gave up the pre church soup and decided to fondue on Christmas eve. Now it is our favorite part of Christmas as a family! I marinate chicken and steak, make dipping sauces (a killer peanut sauce, sour cream horseradish, teriyaki sauce, etc.) chop all the veggies, toast sourdough bread, fix bowls of fruit and marshmallows and when we come home, the broth or oil goes on for the meat fondue, the cheese fondue is ready to be warmed, and the chocolate fondue goes in the pot. We sit around and cook and eat and laugh until we finally remember we were going to open presents! We also started a tradition about the same time of an after Christmas shopping trip to catch the sales--the shirt my son wanted is 49.99 on Dec. 24 and 19.99 on Dec. 26. We live 3 hours from Denver so Christmas night we drive to Denver and check into a hotel to be ready to shop till we drop the next day.

    So....on Christmas Day, we eat a lazy breakfast, the boys go to their Mom's for dinner and I make.....stir fry from the left overs from the fondue! lol I hated to let them spoil while we were gone so that has become our Christmas dinner and everybody loves it! It is our non-traditional tradition!

    Would love to share any recipes you want. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Wonderful post, Dena! Merry Christmas!

  2. Kim, what a fun tradition. And to drive all the way to Denver on! I'd love the peanut sauce. I love it at restaurants but have never made it myself. Thanks. Merry Christmas to you, too.

  3. Hi Dena,

    We always had an artificial tree because real ones would give my mother an asthma attack.

    Thanksgiving and Christmas are spent with dear friends. Turkey is reserved for the former. On Christmas, we usually have an Italian dish or occasionally filet mignon or some other fancy cut of beef.

    Susan :)