All I Want for Christmas…A Christmas Wishlist

All I Want for Christmas…A Christmas Wishlist

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

Christmas and Thanksgiving mark the beginning of a holiday season supposedly centered on selflessness, contentment, and service.

However, this season often does not “feel” particularly happy or religious. In fact, with Black Friday hordes, Christmas to do lists, and advertisements of perfectly primped and styled families, it all feels very pressured, backwards, and stressful. I know that’s not how I want to feel. Nor is it how I want to act. So this year, as I look forward to holidays, I am making my own wishlist with a personal agenda.

What do I want for Christmas?

Time over Gifts

When I look back over the years, I don’t think, “Wow! What a great Christmas–that was when my grandma got me these shoes that were the very latest fad!” I think back on times when my family spent time with me. Basketball games played with cousins, hymns sung as we all crowded into the living room, sharing and passing and laughing at an overcrowded table.

These are those precious moments, those things that you store up in your heart.

It is a blessing to receive and to give gifts. But one gift doesn’t cost anything and means so much–the gift of your time. This year, I want to give that gift to my family.

Less Activity

Sometimes we get the idea that just because an activity is a “good” activity, we should do it. Well, I am only one person. And I’m pregnant and a mom and a wife…the list goes on. I can only do so much. Doing fewer things and doing them well not only helps me to be less hectic (my family will thank me later for not being so snippy and grumpy!). It also helps me to actually be present and enjoy the activities we choose to do. Less truly is more: more patience, more attention, more grace.


The Strength of Will to Focus on the Godly

There are many wonderful things about Christmas. For instance, there is no other time in the year when even the lost and the worldly are thinking about Jesus! What a great opportunity, not just to share goodwill and gifts, but to share the best gift ever given: the story of the Christ, His cross, and the salvation it brought.

Yet somehow, it is easy to “fudge” our focus. To be distracted by the hubbub, the travel, the rush of the holiday season.

It’s easy to say to myself that I’m still doing good things. That what I am doing still “counts.” Dashing around to six different stores to buy presents, filling gift sacks and stuffing fruit baskets for the elderly, signing and addressing envelopes to loved ones and friends–they can all be good things.

But they may not be the necessary things. In the craziness that is our lives, I think it is especially important that we be a Mary and not a Martha. We need to realize that the “better part” is to pause and take our gaze upward: to sit and listen at the feet of Jesus. It may mean saying “no” to some things or  losing sleep some mornings. It may mean giving up on having the “perfect” house or the “perfect” schedule. But, as we gaze upwards at the cross, at the face of our Father, we will find not only peace for our hearts but wisdom for our actions.


And we will find that everything is better after looking at Him.



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Communion, Children, and Concentration

Communion, Children, and Concentration

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

Generally, when one has a kid, there is an understanding that worship will be different. You may not be able to listen to the sermon as well (at all?). You may miss some of the songs (discipline issues? Poopsplosion?). You may only get to hear the first half (or third?) of a prayer.

But, following the wise advice of an older mom, I have found that one area has improved for me. I have been better able to focus during communion.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I have stood and bounced, rocked, nursed, cuddled, and cajoled a fussy baby. We have our days. We have our weeks sometimes. Sickness, stubbornness, and silliness can all be a challenge on occasion.

But stay with me.

Communion might even get better after you have kids. Here is what my friend shared with me.

You might think of the Lord’s Supper as another high pressure point–after all, it should be at least somewhat quiet, just like in the sermon, which of course means that your kid is much more likely to cry, talk, giggle, etc. Toss goldfish, puzzles, and books in their direction until they find something to occupy them, right?

Maybe not.

What my friend did was something a little different. And of course, not every Sunday worked out like this. But the ones that did were amazing.

First, she would hold her two little girls in her lap. In an intimate whisper, she would tell them the best story ever told. She would tell them of Jesus. Of his life, of his great love, of his sacrifice, of his undeserved pain, and of the wonder of his resurrection. She would tell of the Last Supper. Of what the bread and grape juice symbolized.

And she told them how very special this was–and that some day, they too would participate in these special moments focused on the Savior. They too would get to take part in Communion. That they too would be a part of the greatest, blood-bought family there is: the church.

And in telling them that precious story, she herself absolutely focused on the most important subject there ever could be: Christ and his sacrifice. She was focused, not just in bringing herself closer to Christ but teaching her children to do so as well.

Today, her kids are grown. These beautiful, Christ-like women each have talents they use for God. And now, they each participate in the best supper there is–the Lord’s Supper. They give me hope and renewed energy. Their very lives and examples encourage me to keep on doing this tough but rewarding job of motherhood.


May you be encouraged to do likewise.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.


Hebrews 12:1-2


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Meeting Uncertainty with Fiery Eyes

Meeting Uncertainty with Fiery Eyes

“I’ve got a fire in my eyes.”  “Feeling solid…got my feet on the ground.”  “I’m awake…alive.”  “You ignite the Fire.” (Listen here: Fire in My Eyes by Fireflight)

Remember the phrase, spoken as a warning or accusation, often accompanied by narrowed eyes and pointing finger, “You’re playing with fire!” and “Don’t play with fire!”

I say, it depends on the fire.

There were definitely times in my past when I needed to heed that warning. The times right before I made poor decisions.  Dating the wrong kind of guy.  Flirting with rebellion. Saying something I shouldn’t.

What if we changed our thinking?  From a negatively infused fire, to the positively infused Fire.

With some of us, there’s nothing anyone can say–once our mind is made up, we are going to do what we are going to do!  But what if the influences we surrounded ourselves with gave us a different kind of spurring on.  Instead of “Stop playing with fire,” what if people said, “Get the Fire in your eyes!”

Matthew 6:22 (NIV) says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.

I Samuel 16:7 (ESV) says, “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

Too often, we focus on the outward appearance of a situation.  We don’t look or speak into the heart of a person often enough.

Psalm 101 really kicks me in the butt–that guy has some serious fire.  The Psalmist talks about the things that are opposite of integrity – and how he will ‘stand against’, ‘destroy’ not let them ‘cling’ to him.  Despite his shortcomings, he made a decision to not set his sights on anything that is worthless (verse 3).STORIES (3)

If we used Psalm 101 as a guide for our hearts, maybe it would change how we encourage people.  To ignite them towards finding the one and only thing that can spark enough passion in their spirit to keep them focused on the things of real importance.  Eternal things.  A heart that’s in the right place with God leads to wise actions.

Whether in a situation of uncertainty or acting out of plain defiance, the circumstance does not dictate the action.  The heart, the spirit does.  When our heart is consumed by our holy Father’s all-consuming fire, our behaviors and actions reflect it.  We think with an eternal perspective.  We step out of our selfish, tainted perceptions and process circumstances with a conviction that is more than just our own.

We have a undistinguishable Fire in our eyes.

What does that mean?  What can having the Fire in our eyes do?

  • It gives us courage.
  • It gives us passion.
  • It gives us fuel.
  • It gives us strength.
  • It gives us wisdom.
  • It gives us direction.
  • It gives us purpose.

It seeks to shine the light on truth.  It seeks to extinguish lies, selfish ambition, and twisted misconceptions–all the things put in play by Satan, the Devourer.

With the fire of Christ fueling our soul and spirit and lighting up our eyes, there’s no stopping us!  Enemies of Heaven, beware!  “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29).  Where there is light, darkness cannot hide (1 John 1: 5-10, John 1:5, 8:12, 12:46, Jeremiah 23:24, Matthew 10:26, Mark 4:22).

How to get the Fire:

1. The first action is to believe.

Believe the words of the Bible, accept Christ as Savior, give Him authority over you, and invite the Holy Spirit into your life. (If this is where you are, any of the gals from this blog are standing by to help you through this exciting transition! Contact us!)

2. Ask God for some Fire!

O Lord my God; light up my eyes.” (Psalm 13:3)  “Keep on asking, and you will receive.” (Luke 11:9)

3. Read about the Fire.  Listen to encouraging words that spark its flames.

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:1-3)

What to do with the Fire:

1. Watch and see what God will do.

“Wait on the Lord…” (Psalm 27:14)  “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD.” (Micah 7:7)

2. Be Obedient (Acts 5:29, 1 Peter 1:14).

When you sense a nudge (and it lines up with the words of the Bible), act on it.  “For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” (Matthew 10:20).  “You know him [the Holy Spirit] because He abides with you, and will be in you.” (John 14:17)  So “speak the truth in love,” (Ephesians 4:15), and be full of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

3. Find your own bible scriptures.

Search the Scriptures for those that ignite that deep, fiery passion inside you, so that come what may, you are equipped to meet any uncertainty.

The verses that put the Fire in my eyes:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:18)

 “Whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12)

and He will send the fire of the Holy Spirit
(John 14:26, Acts 1:1-5, Acts 2:2-4).

I can do anything the Lord gives me strength to do!
(Philippians 4:13)

I pray this over you:

“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:15-23)

Do you want to re-stoke the ‘Fire in our eyes’ together?


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