Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Confessions

Today I'm stealing an idea from Stephany since her post was so much fun to read! You should read her confessions first, then check my Christmas confessions below.


  1. I truly enjoy giving Christmas gifts ten times more than receiving them. It's fulfilling to me to be able to make someone smile with a thoughtful gift that I know (or hope) they will love.
  2. Sometimes my love for gift-giving gets me in trouble in the financial realm. If I've already bought one person a certain number of gifts (or reached a certain budget), but I see something that is just SO perfect for him or her, I have a really hard time not buying it!
  3. My immediate family decided to draw names for gift-giving this year rather than everyone getting everyone gifts, and I had to fight a LOT of urges to buy gifts for the people whose names I didn't draw.
  4. I volunteered to help stuff the stockings for my family this year so I could kinda "cheat" on the whole name-drawing thing and still give a few small gifts to each person. (Are you sensing the seriousness behind #1 and #2 here?)
  1. I haven't had a real tree for Christmas since I was a kid, because my dad gets really sneezy from the pine needles. I don't miss it at all! And if I ever want to smell pine trees, I'll just buy a candle from Bath & Body Works. :-P
  2. Joe and I don't really do much in the way of decorations for Christmas since we spend the holidays out of town and our place is already pretty crowded without adding a tree and tinsel and such. I'm okay with it for now, but once we get a bigger house -- even if we still spend Christmas elsewhere -- I am going ALL OUT with the decorations.
  3. My little brother had a collection of reindeer toys/stuffed animals that started with one from my grandmother, and I was always a little bit jealous of him for it. I think I may end up giving my future house a LOT of reindeer-themed decor.
  1. I would listen to Christmas music all year if it didn't drive the people around me crazy.
  2. Someday I really want to sing O Holy Night at a Christmas service or event.
  3. Joe absolutely abhors Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time" and Elton John's "Step Into Christmas"...and while they're not my favorites either, I still can't help dancing a little and singing along to them when they come on the radio.
  4. In my college women's choir, we performed Vivaldi's Gloria -- the full choral version. Which meant some of us had to sing BASS. Granted, we kicked it up a few steps, but it was still extremely challenging and awkward. Still, that's one of my favorite memories from college.  
  1. Growing up, my dad always read the Christmas story in Luke, and it remains one of my fondest childhood memories.
  2. One of my favorite traditions with Joe's family is driving around their neighborhood to see the wonderful lights...but I kinda wish we could stop and walk around to see some of them more closely (and for some great family photo ops!).  
  3. This year I'm trying out a new tradition with my family which I'm really hoping will be a success. I can't wait to share it with them! And, if it's a keeper, I may try it out on Joe's family, too.
I could come up with another hundred confessions, but here's my last one:  

I still haven't finished writing our Christmas poem! Better get on that.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Handmade Christmas Gifts: Peppermint Sugar Body Scrub!

This year I decided to do a handmade gift for my 12 fellow admins at work, rather than my usual random assortment of mini lotions/body washes from Bath and Body Works. It's less expensive and way more thoughtful and fun! It also took me a million times longer than I expected it to, but that's okay.

Here is the finished product (inspired by this pin):

I didn't take any pictures of the process because, like I said, it was already proving to be a pretty loooong project, and trying to remember to take photos at each step stresses me out.

But anyway. I got the idea/recipe here, and I followed it pretty precisely. I may have used more grapeseed oil. I didn't really measure stuff; I just dumped a ton of raw sugar in a gigantic bowl, poured a whole mess of oil in and mixed it up, adding more oil until it looked like a good consistency. Then I splashed a whole bunch of peppermint oil in there, because I REALLY like peppermint and I didn't want it to be subtle.

After I packed the jars with the scrub, I poured the rest of my bottle of grapeseed oil over each open jar to use it all up and give the scrubs a little extra oily goodness.

Then I started on the really fun, but really tedious part: decorating the jars! I had red construction paper and managed to find a wine glass with an opening that was just the right size for the top of the lids, so I traced 12 circles, messily cut them out and used double-sided tape (I know, I'm so fancy) to stick them on before screwing on the cap to cover the imperfectly-cut circles.

I found some really cute washi tape at Michaels, which I stuck around the outer edges of the lids. I'm wondering in retrospect if I should've used a little mod podge or glue to help them stick, since they started to peel off a little this morning. Oh well.

Then I wrote out some simple directions, listed the ingredients and a "use by" date -- since apparently these scrubs last about two weeks before they "go bad"...whatever that means -- on little gift tags I found at Pier 1. I wrote in my prettiest cursive (which is not actually very pretty), "Merry Christmas! <3 Tabitha" -- only I drew an actual heart, not a less-than-three. And then I tied the cards and attached them to these cute little cocktail spoons I found at Cost Plus! Finally, I taped the spoons to the sides of the jars, since I couldn't figure out a good way to tie them on without a) using a LOT of ribbon, which I only had a little of, and b) the spoons inevitably sliding down off the jars when I picked them up.

So, there you have it! A fun, somewhat tedious, but heartfelt handmade gift for my co-workers. And of course I made a little extra for myself, because my heels are in desperate need of some exfoliation, my friends.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Faith and Healing

These things were swirling through our minds as we drove down there.  Was the rejection of my liver just a forerunner into what will soon transpire?  Anyone who has gone through questions like these will know that they are natural; there is no lack of faith to experience these emotions.  Too many lies say otherwise around the churches in America these days.  Our healing is not contingent on our faith.  Break that chain.  Break it now.  Our healing is contingent on the person and work of Jesus Christ, and in that regard, we all who have confessed His name as Lord have been healed.
(emphasis added)

The above is an excerpt from the latest blog post by my college pastor, Dan Parkins. The entire post is worth reading (heck, his entire blog is worth reading), but I wanted to share this section because it really speaks to me. And I think it is something that a lot of believers need to realize or be reminded of -- that our level of faith in God's ability to heal someone does not determine whether or not they will be healed.

Dan has been through a LOT in his life. I mean, a seriously insane amount of Really Scary Stuff. He's had multiple liver transplants and has been on his "death bed" several times, doctors telling him he probably had hours to live. Two years ago, his wife gave birth to their third child, Samuel, who was born with serious medical issues, and at 19 days old, Samuel passed away.

I remember being at home with my parents (because it was the week of Christmas) and sitting in the dining room with my mom on a conference call with my aunt Terri and several other people who wanted to pray for Samuel (even though many of them had never met Dan's family). My aunt was crying out to God for Samuel's life, and she said something like, "Why won't you heal him, Lord? I believe You can and do heal people, so why can't You just reach down and make his little body whole?"

When Samuel passed away, I really struggled with that question: WHY? My aunt had such bold faith that God could heal Samuel, and what a testimony that would have been! But even in Samuel's death, there have been amazing things done for God's kingdom. Here is an excerpt from one of Dan's updates after Samuel's death (on a now-protected blog that I can't link to; I just have the quote from my old blog):

[K]now this: God did an amazing work through that little giant.  He served in this life a mighty three weeks for the glory of God and serve well he did.  Countless stories surged over the internet of lives changed, humbled, and addressed to the King of kings.  Through God working in his life, I have heard of marriages getting strengthened, lives being reconciled, others coming to know Christ for the first time, suicidal thoughts changed to praises of adoration, and many other areas of healing.

It's always difficult (for me, anyway) to reconcile God's goodness with some of the terrible things that go on in the world, but when your focus is on that future hope of everlasting life with Jesus, then death in the world is not the end. I will probably struggle with these thoughts and questions for a long time, but I am so thankful for people like Dan (and pastor Britt) who understand God so much more deeply than I do, and who preach the truth and live out their faith in even the most painful of circumstances.

Anyway, just wanted to share some of Dan's encouraging words with you today, and also ask you to pray for him. If you click the link above to his latest post, you'll see he is waiting for results on a liver biopsy. I'm praying for everything to come back normal and strong, and for continued health and energy for Dan so that he can keep preaching with all his might!


Monday, December 3, 2012


Well, I failed NaBloPoMo royally, didn't I? It's not that I forgot to post; I was just kinda over it and decided to let that be okay. So, let's move on, shall we?

It's December, people. I just. I don't even understand.

I'm working (ever so slowly) on our Christmas letter, and if you would like to receive one and haven't in past years (or you've moved since last Christmas), please fill out the form below! Your information is only visible to me, and I promise not to abuse it or stalk you. Boxes with an asterisk (*) are required; everything else is optional!

Stay tuned for a post with more substance...eventually.