Yippee! Today we have TWO giveaways. My gift for Lysa TerKeurst’s Cool Christmas Give Away and our regularly scheduled 7th day of Christmas Give Away with one of my fellow Proverbs 31 speakers! So, if you are new to this site, hop on today (and get caught up on the other days) There is still lots of time to win one of the 12 awesome prizes. And, if you are one of my regular bloggy friends, head over to my friend (and our president at P31) Lysa’s site. She is offering a cool give away linking contest this weekend.
Now for my prize for Lysa’a giveaway: since there is a lot of entertaining and company that accompanies the holidays, I will give away a signed copy of my book A Life that Says Welcome; Simple Way to Open Your Heart and Home to Others along with a box of Decaf Green Christmas Tea–Candy Cane Lane–mint flavored! Mmmmmm. You can sip something hot while you curl up with the book and a cozy blanket in front of a fire. (Cozy blanket and fire not included) I will simply pick a another winner from all of the comments left this weekend. That prize will be announced Monday.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog give away………..
On this day, I’d like you to meet my friend, fellow speaker and soon-to-be published author, Micca Campbell.
Micca (pronounced Micah) is a true southern gal. In fact, when appearing with her at various conferences across the Midwest–my neck of the woods–I often tease that she needs to bring an interpreter so we can understand all of the wonderful teaching coming out in that cute southern drawl! She makes her home in Tennessee with her husband and three children and is a dynamic communicator who loves to teach from the Bible. Her first book, due out early next year is entitled An Untroubled Heart: Finding a Faith That is Stronger Than All My Fears.
In it she recounts her story of being widowed at the young age of 21 with an infant son and she gives credit to the incredible God that saw her through many times of fear and testing. Her giveaway today has to do with this topic. But before we get to that (and to today’s question) let’s meet my friend Micca….
· Micca, what is happening at the Campbell home this Christmas season?
We are really excited about Christmas this year. My brother and his wife Melody, along with their two children, are coming home for Christmas! This is exciting because my brother spent 20 years of his life chemically addicted. His misfortune has been our family’s misfortune. We’ve spent many Christmas’ minus my brother. However, we serve a God who changes misfortunes and restores the years the Locus have eaten. My brother is now a faithful, passionate child of God. His life is the essence of what Christmas is all about—our need for a Savior. Having him home for Christmas will make it extra joyful this year!
· You were widowed at a young age and left to raise a baby alone. How did you survive that first holiday season without your husband?
It was tough. I remember sitting in church on Christmas Eve and feeling God’s presence all around me. I couldn’t help but cry. While His love was evident, I somehow felt slighted by it. I didn’t understand why He allowed my husband to die, but I was determined to trust Him anyway. I did so by focusing my attention NOT on my circumstances but on my son, family and friends. Participating in the celebration seemed to bring me unexpected joy. Over the years I’ve learned that Mary, the mother of Jesus didn’t understand her situation either, but she trusted God’s plan. In the end, joy was hers.
· For those facing the holidays alone this isn’t always “the most wonderful time of the year”. What can we do as a family to reach out to those in that painful situation?
Invite them over to share in your festivities. Don’t be afraid to mention the name of their dear departed. The last thing they want is for their loved one to be forgotten. Allow them to talk about their Christmas memories when their loved one was still alive.
· On a lighter note, what holiday food does your family most look forward to enjoying at Christmas?
My sweet potatoes! I have the best sweet potato recipe you’ve ever tasted. I got it from my old high school boyfriends’ grandmother. It tastes more like a desert than a veggie. I’m going to post the ingredients on my blog. Feel free to stop by and check it out. I promise. You’ll never make them with marshmallows again!
Thanks for dropping by today, Micca!
It was my pleasure!
Okay gals…reading Micca’s interview drives home the point that even though the holidays are supposed to be a magical, wonder-filled time, for many hurting people, they just plain stink!!! So let’s put our heads together and come up with some ways to reach out to others during this month. I’ll get us started and then you leave a comment with either something you have done in the past to cheer someone else, an idea you’d like to try this year. Or maybe you can tell of a way someone reached out to you at the holidays to offer encouragement. Or, if you can’t think of any of those categories, name a group of people that we could try to cheer this year.
The winner will receive a 3 cd set of Micca’s inspiring and practical teaching on facing our fears. These talks are what birthed her new book. You can enter to win it for yourself or maybe you’d like to get it for a friend who could use some support in this area. Fear is an issue that MANY women struggle with and Micca’s powerful messages make a real difference in the lives of those who hear them.
Micca’s new book, due out next year.
Now for the ideas! Here are some ways our family has tried to reach out to others who may be hurting or lonely at the holidays. I’m sure you can think of many more.
- Build snowmen outside the windows of a nursing home, complete with carrot noses and top hats purchased from the second hand store. The elderly residents delight in watching children play in the snow and have the smiling snowmen to look at as a happy reminder.
- Offer to help a shut-in address her Christmas cards, wrap gifts or put up her decorations.
- Take a widow, who is facing her first Christmas alone, with you to your church’s Christmas program or pageant. Then take her back to your place for desert and hot cider or cocoa.
- Kidnap the children of a single parent and take them out to lunch and then shopping for Christmas gifts for their mom or dad.
- Adopt a needy family from your local social services office. Pick one whose children are similar in age to your kids. Shop for gifts and food for them. Wrap the gifts and deliver them as a family.
- And our favorite took place last year. A dear friend’s spouse filed for divorce which left him a suddenly single dad with custody of five school-aged children. Knowing the holidays woud be painful for them, we prayed to God for some way we could brighten their month. God answered with the most far out and fun idea!!! We organized a 12 Days of Christmas surprise by enlisting the help of 11 other families. Each day, on the last 12 days leading up to Christmas, a different family showed up at their doorstep with a holiday surprise. Once it was some Christmas lights and decorations to build new memories around. Another day it was gift certificates for pizza and a movie rental along with a six pack of their favorite root beer. One family brought an array of Christmas cookies, cheeses and crackers and flavored hot cocoas. Another made a quiche for Christmas morning and gave a wrapped gift to each child. They received many gift cards for their holiday shopping needs. One family even brought an entire turkey dinner ready to freeze and then warm up for Christmas day!!! It made what would have been an awful and sad time a 12 day period of excitement and mystery!!! (Hey…and if you want to hijack this idea, there is still time. We began on the 13th of December and ended Christmas Eve.) Seriously gals, we LOVE doing things like this and this idea was absolutely, hands-down the most fun!!!!