On the 1st Day Of Christmas…..Giveaway w/ Zoe Elmore

Welcome to day one of the 12 Days of CHRISTmas giveaway!!! There will be holiday ideas, easy recipes and both practical and pampering prizes to win. Best of all, each day you will meet one of my fellow “sistas” from the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaking team. Get to know them and their wonderful resources including books and teaching cd’s. Why, you might even just discover the speaker you have been looking for to appear at your next event.

So get in the holiday spirit. Tune in each day. Hop on and leave a comment. The more you leave, the better your chances of winning. The winners will be announced on the 13th day of December so comment every day if you can! (Now, don’t neglect the family or the let the house go, just do what I do and lose a little sleep in order to carve out some time to sip something hot and connect with your cyber sisters!!!) Enjoy!!!

Now, let me tell you, I had a hard time deciding which of my Proverbs 31 sisters to feature first. Then I remembered that little verse in the Bible about the last being first and the first being last, so I thought I’d start with my sister with the first name that begins with the last letter of the alphabet…..ladies……meet Zoe Elmore!!! 

Zoe’s Bio:

Happily married to Tom Elmore, Zoe is the mother of two sons Joshua and Joseph and her future daughter-in-law Kelsey. She makes her home in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has six years of training with Bible Study Fellowship International where she served as a small group leader and assistant teaching leader for three years.

Zoe has a passion to encourage women and through her gifts of encouragement, compassion and humor, Zoe challenges women to experience the Lord’s peace and provision as she pours His life into theirs. Through inspiring stories and unforgettable word pictures, she will encourage you to experience God’s presence in a new and fresh way.

Ever the princess of our speaker team, Zoe enjoys time with her family and anything that sparkles.

             Zoe’s precious family. 

 

  • Zoe, how will you and your family celebrate this Christmas season?

This will be our first Christmas without my dad and Tom’s mom as they went to dance with Jesus earlier this year, so we are changing our usual traditions. We will spend Christmas in our home for the very first time and my mom will be joining us for the holiday before she travels to Texas to be with my sister and her family.

We’re really excited that our future daughter-in-law Kelsey will be joining us for part of the holiday.

  • What is your most and least loved aspect of this often-hectic time of year?

Most Loved: Time with family and friends. I especially love Christmas morning in our jammies as we open gifts and enjoy breakfast casserole and monkey bread.

Least loved: Not enough hours in the day to get it all done. Oh yeah, and taking down all of the decorations!

  • What is your most treasured memory of Christmas as a young bride?

Our first Christmas tree was only 3 feet tall so we placed it on an end table in front of the large window in our apartment. From the street our tiny tree appeared to be full-grown.  I hand made all the ornaments for our first tree and we continue to use those every year as we decorate our tree.

  • Any holiday foods or decorating ideas you want to share with us today?

I always place a nativity scene in the branches of our Christmas tree to remind us that Jesus was born to die on a tree for our salvation.

I make Baklava and Kourambiethes (Greek pastries). I’ve added hand-made chocolate covered cherries to my repertoire thanks to Proverbs 31 speaker Marybeth Whalen and her mom.

Thanks for visiting with us today, Zoe and Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Okay ladies, Zoe mentioned not enough hours in the day to “get it all done”. Don’t we women, especially moms, feel the pressure to “do it all” every single year. You know, that tug you feel to bake decorated sugar cookies from scratch, construct a magazine-like gingerbread house, make fresh cedar garland for your mantle and hand write a personal note inside all of the 82 Christmas cards you feel compelled to mail out each year. ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!

In my workshop The Holidays: A Time to Bless, Not Stress, I encourage moms to take a deep breath, muster up their courage and hold a family holiday re-evaluation meeting. I did this with my hubby and kiddos about five years ago and we did it again this year on Thanksgiving Day. The goal is to discover exactly what YOUR family holidays should look like and to rid your schedule of the activities and even foods that really aren’t special to your clan.

You see, sometimes we are busting our tails to try to make the perfect holiday, complete with lots of hustle and bustle and homemade fruitcake. What we don’t realize is that our family would be just as happy with less hustle, no bustle and they don’t even care for that fruitcake!!!! 

Enlist the help of your hubby, if you have one. Encourage your family members to be ruthlessly honest. Don’t be offended by their answers. After all, you want to scrape some things off of your holiday plate and free up some time to just be together!!! So, gather that darling clan and ask them the following questions:

  • What holiday foods do you most love and look forward to eating each year?
  • What holiday foods really aren’t your favorites and you could just as soon live without?
  • What traditions are the most meaningful to you that we do or have done?
  • What traditions do we usually do at the holidays that really aren’t important to you?
  • If you could pick only three holiday activities to do as a family (drive and look at lights, Christmas caroling, attending concerts, making cookies, etc…) which ones would you choose?
  • And last, but most important, how can we divide up the holiday duties (decorating, addressing cards, baking, etc…) so that all of the responsibilities don’t fall on mom?
Trust me ladies, you will be surprised at the answers. The first time I did this, I was shocked to find out that my kids didn’t really need to make roll out sugar cookies from scratch each year. (A time-consuming and messy activity!) I thought it was a must. After all I grew up doing it. What they told me, when I asked them to be honest, was that the only part thye really liked was frosting the cookies and placing the sprinkles and silver “bb’s” on top. (Okay, my boys call them bb’s. They are actually called dragees, I think!) So we changed our tradition. Now we purchase pre-baked, frozen sugar cookies at Sam’s Club that are made in the shapes of trees, stars, bells and snowmen. We still have fun decorating them and giving them away, however, now with no roll-out and baking mess!!! It is a win-win situation!!!
Well, I hope this little family exercise will get you on your way to a holiday season that blesses, not stresses!!! Now, for the question and the giveaway. Zoe will be giving one of you fellow memory-making gals a Starbucks card along with a copy of His Princess by Sheri Rose Shepard. 
This beautiful four-color book opens the eyes of women to see themselves the way God sees them. Many don’t even know that they are daughters of the King – chosen to be His Princess. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, they trade in their fairy-tale dreams of being cherished for a tarnished identity fashioned by their own insecurities and the mixed-up messages of the media. Now, these tenderly adoring letters written from God’s perspective demonstrate that every woman is beautiful just the way she is. Walking in confidence toward her God-given purpose, every woman can bless others – even future generations.
So now, how to enter: Leave a comment letting the rest of your cyber sisters know one of two things:
What holiday tradition or food you just couldn’t live without or….
What holiday activity or food you would happily dump right now!!!
If your comment is chosen, you can sip something hot and creamy while growing in your relationship with our wonderful God, compliments of Zoe Elmore!
Happy first day of Christmas everyone. Comment away…..
Scaled-back Holiday Blessings,
Karen

 

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  • There are a few holiday traditions that I really enjoy with my family. My parents have always bought us new pajama’s for Christmas Eve and a new ornament to put on the tree that night. We would always drive around together and look at Christmas lights. And my favorite part was baking cookies with my mom. I’m continuing that with some friends from church and already have 2 ‘cookie parties’ – one tomorrow! My parents live in PA and we live in GA and won’t be able to get together this year. =(

  • Even as an adult with kids of my own, I love to go to my mother’s house Christmas morning. She cooks this huge spread. But there is just something about Christmas morning in the house you grew up in! I enjoy making Christmas cookies with my daughters. I don’t bake much so they think its a big treat!

  • I have just started my own tree in our bedroom with just picture frames of my favorite memory of our child for the year. It has been fun looking at it.

    It’s a good life!
    Terri E.