Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
~Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fair Trade Christmas Tree

A few weeks ago in this WILW post, I put a photo of my little fair trade Christmas tree.  So many of you emailed me asking about it that I thought it deserve a little more attention.

Ten Thousand Villages is probably my most favorite store ever.  There is very little this store doesn't carry, and it's all fair trade.  The only thing they could possibly add is clothing, but now that I know Ann Taylor Loft is ethically traded (read about it on their website), I feel better about clothes shopping.  It's pretty much the only place I do my clothes shopping because of that.  I need to research a few more stores over break.  Anyway, over Thanksgiving, I was shopping for presents at TTV and noticed these huge straw trees with tons of ornaments hanging on them.  I asked how much the trees were, but they weren't for sale!  I was crushed.  Later in the day, I found a little straw tree that's prelit from Kirklands (TOTALLY not fair trade, I know, but I didn't know where else to look), and I bought it.  Then I went back to TTV and bought 10 ornaments and a strand of garland. 

I love the way my tree turned out.  I have hand made ornaments from Colombia, Kenya, West Bank (Israel), Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bangladesh.  I love the way different cultures see Christmas differently.  I don't know if my Kenyan angel or my baobab tree with the zebras running around it is my favorite.  I can't decide.  The dove from West Bank is pretty special too.  Oh, and the star on top was carved and painted in India.  Just beautiful.  I think in all I spent about $100 on this little tree, but, along with my nativity I bought in Zambia, it is my prized Christmas possession. 

I can't always travel everywhere in the world I want to go (yeah, that'd be EVERYWHERE), but I can try hard to make sure my purchases help people instead of hurt them. Slavery is still so real in our world!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm absolutely crazy about Celtic Thunder.  Thank you Netflix for the introduction.  Here's a current favorite from their Christmas concert:

I love that I had five days all to myself.  I was beyond productive-my freezer is full, presents are wrapped, Christmas parties were enjoyed for hours on end, and many impromptu dance parties were had.  What a treat!  Thanks, Jacob!

I'm purposely keeping this week's short.  My best love at the moment has been free time after each class period's exam.  My kiddos and I have laughed and talked and colored and sang Christmas songs and talked about all their plans for the next two weeks.  Each of those moments with my 153 doll babies has been precious. 

I love my Jesus!  Folks, that tomb is empty!  He's here, and He's now. 

Linking up with Jamie.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Eggs and Bacon

Monday: Christmas Party

Tuesday: Tortilla Soup

Wednesday: Christmas Party

Thursday: Chicken Marsala and Salad

Friday: Frito Pie and Salad

Saturday: Poppyseed Chicken Casserole and Green Beans

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Good Tidings of Great Joy

Two thousand years ago, angels appeared to a group of rag-tag, smelly shepherds late at night to proclaim the best news yet to be brought to Earth.  For something along the lines of four thousands years, the angels watched from above as humanity pillared and plumaged the Earth and each other.  They stood by waiting, anticipating, wondering when God would fulfill His promises to redeem His people from the sin that entered humanity with the mistake of Adam and Eve.  They saw every murder, every robbery, every slave taken captive, every death from accidents, disease, and old age, every act of rage-all of it. They grieved.  And they waited.  The angels knew God's plan for Earth-an eternal Eden where innocence prevailed and communion with God was first nature.  They saw that fall apart when Adam and Eve ate the apple from the tree of good and evil.  They listened to God promise Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel that He would provide redemption from the destruction that lone act created.

On that dark night two thousand years ago, the waiting was over!  Redemption was born!  Those angels didn't just appear to the shepherds and tell them to go see a baby.  They sang!  They leaped!  They shouted and yelped with glee!  They wooped and hollered and swirled through the night, letting those shepherds know that God's Kingdom had come and was now theirs!  It wasn't a distant promise any longer.  It was here!  Now!  Eternal.  Can you see that scene?!  They declared peace to all the Earth, saying that God's Son had come to bring peace!  Jesus had come to bring joy!  He came to bring hope!

Fast forward two thousand years to December 14, 2012.  America was shaken by the deplorable yet again.  Twenty seven innocent people lost their lives in an elementary school-a place that's supposed to be a safe haven for the children that enter it's doors.  As a teacher, I'm stunned and churning and grieving loss of innocence.  It makes me wonder if that's how God felt watching Adam and Eve.  But this isn't about me.  This is about peace in a sinful world.  Steve reminded us today that until Jesus returns (and He will, oh how most certainly He will!!!), the children of God will always have conflict with the children of Adam and Eve.  He's right.  There won't be peace in action, but in spirit alone.  One of my favorite carols, 'I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day', says it beautifully, " And in despair I bowed my head; "There is no peace on earth," I said; "For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, good-will to men!"  This seems to be the attitude of the media and Facebook the past few days, and it breaks my heart all over again.

This attitude of despair makes me want to shout, "LISTEN! God is waiting for you!  His arms are open to you! Yes, YOU! He gives peace.  He grants joy in the midst of crisis.  He redeems.  Oh, sweet, blessed redemption!  It is yours-just accept it!"

That carol doesn't end in a morose state.  The last verse says, "Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the Right prevail, with peace on earth, good-will to men."

AMEN!  Hear Him, world!  Satan DOES NOT WIN (John 10:10 and oh so many others)! God loves you.  He made you.  He offers redemption from the evil of sin through the birth of Jesus and the empty tomb.  That means HOPE!  Hope only comes through Christ (Titus 3:7).  That's it.  There are no other options (John 14:6).  World, wake up!  Listen!  Do you hear your Savior calling you by name?  He is.  RUN to Him.  Struggles between good and evil are going to continue until Jesus returns to Earth and redeems it as His own, but He leaves peace in the midst of the turmoil (John 14:27).

Grieve, precious world.  We must.  But don't lose hope.  Cling to the joy of the manger and the peace of that empty tomb.  A day is coming when all of those who know Jesus will be redeemed (Revelation 4). 

We sang "Redeemer of Israel" to close today's Christmas worship.  I was humbled to proclaim these words out loud today.  Read these words and cherish them.

Redeemer of Israel,
Our only delight,
On whom for a blessing we call,
Our shadow by day
And our pillar by night,
Our King, our Deliv'rer, our all!

We know he is coming
To gather his sheep
And lead them to Zion in love,
For why in the valley
Of death should they weep
Or in the lone wilderness rove?

How long we have wandered
As strangers in sin
And cried in the desert for thee!
Our foes have rejoiced
When our sorrows they've seen,
But Israel will shortly be free.

As children of Zion,
Good tidings for us.
The tokens already appear.
Fear not, and be just,
For the kingdom is ours.
The hour of redemption is near.

Remember those angels.  They really had good tidings of great joy!  Alleluia!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving that it's the middle of concert season for me!  Two weekends of concerts down, two more to go.  December 2nd was our Christmas Bellapalooza. 

I love that our first super cold front finally came!  It hit freezing yesterday morning in our area.  This meant I could actually wear a sweater Monday and Tuesday.  It's going to warm back up as the week continues, but at least we had a taste of Christmas weather!

I'm hosting a baby shower for a dear friend in a few weeks, and I'm loving these different invitations from Shutterfly.  Now, which one to choose?!

I love the Advent devotional from Buckner.  It's a treasure each year.
I love all the Christmas lights and Christmas cards!!  Keep those cards a coming!

I've been wanting a new pair of boots for a while.  If anyone wants to put these Luccheses under the tree for me, be my guest.  Size 7.5

 I've also had my eye on this necklace (with the heart over Zambia of course).  This website is so cool.  I wouldn't mind one bit if this shows up in my mailbox, teacher box at work, or under the tree.

And of course, I'm loving my Jesus!

What are you loving this week?

Linking up with Jamie.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Handbell Concert

On December 2, we had out annual Christmas Bellapalooza.  At times, there are four bell choirs, ages 11 through adult, playing all at once.  I won't bore you sweet readers with all of the songs that were played, but this is my favorite.  The high schoolers joined the two adult choirs for Gloria Hodie.  If you're wondering, I'm on the top left of the back row.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Church

Monday: Leftover Rigatoni

Tuesday: Italian Beef

Wednesday: Clam Chowder

Thursday: Quesadillas

Friday: Christmas Party

Saturday: Out

Sunday, December 9, 2012

That's My King

About 9 years ago, Gregg Matte shared this video with about 4,000 of us at Breakaway Bible Study in Aggieland.  S.M. Lockridge gave this little mini-sermon a long time ago, but with technology, it has spun into a visual that is incredibly powerful in describing names and characteristics of Jesus.  I don't think Gregg realized how much it would impact all of us, because a couple of weeks later, they couldn't sell dvds of it fast enough.  Yeah, 9 years ago was pre-Youtube days. 

This is my King.  And each description of Him is true.  Do you know Him?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Celebration 2012

I blog about this experience every year (2009, 2010, 2011) and every year, Celebration just gets better and better.  This year included some high flying acrobats and wall dancers.  Now, before you turn into a pessimist like some I know, hear me out.  FBC has one purpose in Celebration: to pull in people to hear the Hope of Christ.  The entire cast has one united heart in this, and I have no doubt that they use their talents for the glory of God and not themselves.  Was the night of Jesus' birth this elaborate?  No.  But was there the same energy, anticipation, and joy in the air?  I guarantee it.  So, if the members of FBC want to use their acrobatic talents and sweet Paige, my elephant friend, to share my Lord with our city, then go for it. 



Royal entourage arriving


Kings from afar.

He lives.

Gregg Matte.  I'm grateful for this man's dedication to live boldly for Christ.  He's influenced me much in 9 1/2 years.

Each year, I tend to giggle with glee and smile more and more throughout the show.  I bought us tickets on the front row so Paige and the donkey would be so close I could touch them if I chose too.  Um, six inches from an elephant?!  YES, PLEASE!  I am so glad this has become an annual Pearce Family Advent tradition.  October 19th is on my 2013 calendar to go buy tickets for next year.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rhythm of Love

I don't always hear songs when they first come out if they aren't on KSBJ or one of the country stations.  That said, I'm a bit behind on this one, but I like it!  I need to look more into Plain White T's.  So out of touch sometimes...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday: Christmas Decor Edition

I love Christmas decorations. They just explode joyfulness.  I only have one new decoration this year, but everything felt new being in a new house.  It's been fun.  Here are a few of my favorites this year:
 My dad's mom made this for me as a baby.  Grandmama died when I was 5, so I don't have a lot of memories of her.  However, I do still have my little tree, so up it goes each year.

Let's be honest.  I am not the most creative person on the planet. This is why I'm not on Pinterest because I'm disgusted by my lack of ability to copy anything I see.  Boo. However, I thought of this idea all by myself one sleepless night, and I think it turned out pretty cute.  The old owners of our house left their pot and pan rack, and I've never used it until now.  I thought 100 plastic ornaments, a length of garland, and a battery pack of LED lights would make it quite festive.  It's fun how the lights glow on the ceiling too!

Zambia and hope.  It doesn't get any better.

 I love this little tree.  I found it at Kirklands, and it lights up.  Everything on it is from Ten Thousand Villages, so it's my little fair trade, global Christmas tree.  This makes me SOOOO happy!

 I have a front yard full of awesome lights, but I still don't have a photo of it all that really looks good.  I'll keep working on it. 

On a non-Christmas related note, I'm loving that Cory and Topanga will be back on TV with the Boy Meets World spin-off about their daughter.  David and I grew up on the ABC TGIF shows, and this was certainly one of our staples.  Such a 90s kid! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Go see this movie.  Don't let this movie be the one you say you're going to see but then don't.  Hire a sitter and just go.  You won't regret it.  Yes, I was paid to go see it last week (thank you, TAHG!), but that has nothing to do with my opinion of the movie.  I'll be honest.  I went into the theater as a skeptic, afraid this movie would focus more on battles and gore than a man I've learned to truly admire thanks to my grant travels.  Oh, how greatly was this one of those times of preconceived notions being so terribly wrong.  Lincoln the movie focuses on a man who loved his nation and wanted to save her from herself.  Daniel Day-Lewis was phenomenal.  Sally Field was an excellent Mary.  James Spader tries valiantly to steal the show as W.N. Bilbo, Lincoln's political operative who tries to convince various congressmen to vote for the passage of the 13th amendment.  The crowning jewel to me though was Tommy Lee Jones.  He portrayed abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens with passionate decorum that is unmatched by the rest of the cast.  I know I especially have a habit of romanticizing history because it moves me so much, and maybe Spielberg is as guilty as I am, but this story is worth it.  Thank you Abe for your insight and devotion to America.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: BBQ

Monday: Chicken and Broccoli Cobbler

Tuesday: Quick Skillet Rigatoni

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: French Dip Sandwiches

Friday: FBC's Celebration

Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner

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