how to escape the busyness of Christmas

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Does anyone else feel like they are running the 500 yard dash to Christmas? 

From decorating the Christmas tree, addressing Christmas cards, buying and wrapping presents, making Christmas sweets, to attending festive Christmas parties, we jam in so much activity in such a short amount of time. We over eat, over extend, and over buy ourselves into a month-long race, only to end up at the finish line exhausted and wondering why we over-complicated a season that is meant to be rejoiced and savored.

Christmas doesn’t have to be a race.

To read more, head on over to The M.O.M. Initiative. 

More gifts from Hallmark for Christmas!

Who’s still got some Christmas shopping to do?

As I shared last month, Hallmark has some great gifts for the holidays this year. I’ve stocked up on gifts for family members and some secret Santa gifts. Check out this video to see some of my favorites:

 

Flickering Lantern Decoration

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I love how this festive lantern reminds us that Jesus is the light of this world. Perfect decoration to go on your mantle or bookshelf or to give as a gift to a family member.

Snowman Tea Towel and Spatula set

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This snowman is just too cute and is the perfect gift for the aunt, grandmother, or friend that loves to bake.

Plaid Wrapping Paper

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I’m also loving their plaid wrapping paper this year. It is double-sided and reminds me of an old-fashioned Christmas. As I mentioned in the video, I just cut up a strip of wrapping paper and taped it to this bag to look like a Christmas tree. It was super quick and a simple way to jazz up a plain brown bag.

Next time you are out shopping, take a peek inside Hallmark to pick up some gifts to go under your tree. You can also shop online if you don’t want to mess with the crowds. Either way, I hope you find something that you love. Happy shopping!

Celebrating you,

Christen

rejoice – practice hospitality

throwback thursday – thanksgiving – why god gave us family

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Happy Thanksgiving friends!

I just wanted to say how very thankful I am today for you. I can’t even describe how gratifying it feels to release something into this crazy-busy-stimulating world and to have it received with such encouragement and support. Thank you to everyone that has purchased and prayed for me and my family with the release of Practice Hospitality. Today, I’d like to share a Throwback Thursday post about Thanksgiving that shares the true meaning of hospitality. If you haven’t subscribed to our e-newsletter yet, go ahead and do that today because we’ve got some great deals coming your way over the weekend! 

This Thanksgiving, I was reminded why God gave us family.  Instead of living life in isolation, he surrounded us with people – with community.  Individuals are united in bonds of familia. God gave us family to share life together.

Sharing life doesn’t just happen on holidays.  Sharing life is living and breathing, knowing and loving each and every day; not just on the one day out of the year where thanks is a declaration.  Families are meant to practice thanksgiving every day to pay respect to our Father that created us in the beginning.

What if God had just left Adam alone? Do you think he would have lived harmoniously with his creator or also be tempted by the slimy snake?  I know Eve gets the blame for the Fall, but at least she had Adam to share the tumbling out of euphoria with.  Adam and Eve messed up – big time – but they didn’t have to suffer alone.  Because of their mess up, none of us have perfect families.  We fight, gossip, betray, and whine.  We kiss, hug, make-up, and forgive.  Families love.  Not because we want to, but because loving is part of our design.  Adam’s God loved him and Eve despite their big mistake.  That same God loves you and loves me.  So much that he gave his beloved Son to die on the cross for us.

Could you love that big?  Could you be like Abraham and sacrifice your son, Isaac, the one that God has promised to carry on your family lineage?  God wants our obedience, just like he wanted Abraham’s all those years ago.  Families are designed with an obedience factor -child obeys father and father obeys his father.  Loving big requires trust and obedience to our God.

With this obedience comes a great reward.  Did you know that Isaac means laughter?  Sarah laughed when she first was told she would bear a child in her old age and Isaac brought her much laughter from the day he was born until the day she passed.  Overflowing laughter is one of the many joys of living in community with family.  Full, robust laughter that shakes the walls and fills the souls.

Families unite individuals.  Covenants are made and lives are woven together.  Being a family requires commitment, honesty, discipline, and sacrifice.  When family members break their covenants, evil so often replaces love.  Generations upon generations are left with broken hearts, fear, and sadness.  An action that forms into a horrible habit can dramatically altar the lives of family members.  Children suffer from mistakes made by relatives and grow up living behind a mask instead of admitting pain. These mask-bearers would rather not be united with their family.

Thank God that Jesus is the hope for all.

The blood of Jesus washes away sin and makes all things new.  Jesus is merciful.  Jesus loves the unlovable and heals the brokenhearted.  He is our co-heir and unites all of us as brothers and sisters in him.  Jesus provides a shelter to the orphans of our world and a home to the homeless.  Jesus loves exorbitantly.  He shares the Holy Spirit with all that love him back so we can all be united into family.  We – Christians – are a community of believers.  We laugh together.  We break bread together.  We fill our bellies with good things.  Jesus is our Thanksgiving.

Life-sharers have an open door policy just like the father who welcomed his lost son back  after all of his wrongdoings.  Embracing the family you were born into might be difficult but could this act of kindness heal and restore?  Might love really conquer all?

God gave us family to share life together.  Life-sharing, community-living, love-choosing: these are the reasons we gather and grow together.  Believe in these things.  Be thankful today that God loves you so much that He wanted to share life.

Celebrating you,

christen

practice hospitality fb cover available at christenprice

 

how to go from dreaming to doing

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On Sunday after church, we collect pecans and begin the process of sifting, sorting, and shelling. It’s our second year on our small homestead and we hope to have gleaned some wisdom from our attempt at picking pecans last fall. Our system now is to keep the grass cut, the leaves blown, and use not only the hand-roller to pick up the pecans but also our new handy dandy pecan picker-upper that we attach behind the four-wheeler. Once they are collected, along with the leaves and other debris, we sort them with our own make-shift colander, a square piece of chicken wire that sits on top of an open trash can. In the pecans go, out the leaves stay.  After that, the shelling begins. Some pecans slide easily out of their coat and are placed in the final bucket that we will take to the mill where the pecans will be cracked. Others are stubborn and my nails get dirt underneath them as I try to pry them open. It’s work on the farm but with the sun shining, the rocking chair rocking, and my husband and son sitting beside me, it doesn’t seem much like work at all.

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Picking pecans is simple work but it is a process. We don’t suddenly have pecan pie just because the pecans are falling from limb to ground. We have to go through the motions, put the time and energy and effort into the process of picking pecans. Many people would easily think that it is just easier to go buy an overpriced small package of pecans at the grocery store. Trust me, when we don’t have our pecans, this is what I do. But I’m learning that it’s not nearly as rewarding.

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Work done with our hands and our hearts is a process, just like picking pecans. I’ve been reminded of that truth recently with the release of Practice Hospitality and our shop’s new line of Christmas cards. These items did not just magically appear after I thought of them. No, it was a process that took weeks to complete. I cried and prayed all through the process. I wanted to quit, to just go out and buy it from someone else. But if I had done that I would have missed the reward.

If you feel God calling you to create or work or do something that is above what you think you can handle, I can guarantee you that your work will take time, dedication, and lots and lots of prayers and chocolate. You will feel exhausted but God will give you just enough energy for each day. You will be scared to release your work into the hands of others but if you sit scared you will never be able to receive God’s goodness and rejoice in the work he is doing in and through you. Take time to rest in his presence, dig deep into scripture to stand firm and press on toward the goal.

One of my favorite passages of scripture is Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Today, as you dream about all that you want to do, ask in prayer that your eyes may be fixed on Him. Let his truth, love, and power guide you to work with all your heart. Remember today that work is a process and can only be done one day at a time.

If you love pecans, you need to try our Fancy Salad recipe in Practice Hospitality. It’s simple yet delicious and perfect to serve for your next holiday party with friends. 

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Celebrating you,

Christen

it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas {Hallmark for the Holidays!}

Christmas is in 44 Days! The Countdown is ON!!!!!

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One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is all the parties. Oh, and the decorating. AND, the gifts. Christmas is one big celebration and the season truly is merry and bright.

But, it’s so easy to get lost in all the craziness of this most wonderful  busy time of the year. You begin to dread another Christmas party, get stressed when your house does NOT resemble Pinterest and go on a mad Christmas dash faster than Santa and his reindeers to finish up your shopping just days before Christmas Eve (and then you stay up until midnight to get all these presents wrapped and under the tree…am I right?!).

I don’t believe this is the way we are supposed to feel. Christmas has gotten so hyped up and we’ve lost our focus on why we celebrate in the first place. Christmas is a time to reflect and rejoice, not a time to be exhausted. 

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To help you (and me!) have a very merry Christmas, Hallmark has some great Christmas items for celebrating.

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In just one stop, you can pick up items for your home, Christmas parties, and gifts that need to be wrapped. Take a look at a few of my favorite things in this quick video:

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The “Cheer” Christmas pillow is staying at my house this year! I’ve been searching for some affordable yet cute pillows to spruce up my home and this pillow was less than $15. I love the varsity feel to it and it just makes me happy.

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The snowman candy cane dish is so cute and it’s already packaged for your Dirty Santa gift!  This would be so fun to put in your kitchen with some peppermints and I think it is a great dish for a family with young kids.

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When it comes to wrapping gifts, I like to have a mix of bags and boxes. I love the rustic feel of Hallmark’s Christmas Tree tissue paper. It goes perfect with a simple brown bag (and these cute Christmas tags that can be found in our Etsy shop!) as a gift-on-the-go.

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Or, you can wrap with this traditional Christmas plaid wrapping paper. It’s even double-sided so you can have coordinating Christmas gifts. So fun! This wrapping paper is half the size of regular wrapping paper so I’d recommend using it on smaller gifts.

Today, to kick off the Christmas season (and to help you not stress about your holiday parties) I’m giving away this snowman candy dish!

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Here’s how to enter:
  • Click on this link to check out Hallmark’s store online. They really have so many cute things!
  • Visit our Etsy shop and favorite one of our Christmas items. Our Christmas gift tags are super fun and perfect for gift personalization.
  • Just leave a comment and share what your favorite items are to let me know you’ve visited these two sites. I’ll draw the winner from the comments section.

That’s it! You can enter more than once and I’ll announce the winner next Thursday, November 19th. 

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Get ready for some Christmas cheer! Be sure to check out our new line of Christmas cards and shop at Hallmark for the holidays!

Celebrating you,

Christen

What’s a sponsored post exactly? I get to partner with great brands and share their products with you. I do receive compensation for clicks but there is no cost to you! So, please feel free to click, share, and get some new ideas. Thanks y’all!

5 ways to spend quality time with your kids

“Mommy, when are we going to have Adi-Mommy day?” 

My oldest twin, Adeline, had been asking for a special day with me for months now. It’s a tradition we started when our twins were three – my husband would take one twin for one-on-one time and I’d take the other. These special days help us spend quality time with our girls and also allows them the chance to have our undivided attention; something that is rare in a house with three littles, two full-time jobs, and busy evenings filled with extracurricular activities.

Even though I was about to release my first devotional and was still weak from being sick just a few days before, I told my five year old we could have Adi-Mommy day after church last Sunday. That morning, she picked out a special dress and had me put her hair in a bun with a ribbon (like Anna’s hair for Coronation Day in Frozen, just in case you were wondering) and was so excited she could hardly wait for church to be over. Her sister felt the same way.

As I buckled her up in the car, I had a few ideas of what we could do for the day. I was thinking Mexican food, then shopping, and finally a mani-pedi. But, this was Adeline’s day so when she said she wanted ice cream for lunch, I obliged. Funny thing was that when we pulled up to the ice cream shop, her sister had asked for the same thing! We sat at separate tables but my husband and I shared a wink, knowing that this was one of the crazy things twins just naturally do. As different as they can be, they still think so much alike.

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After ice cream, my husband took her sister to a jump house and Adeline declared that it was time to get our nails done. We both got pedicures and she also had polish (with sparkles) on her fingers. While soaking our feet, she shared with me the little things that make her who she is and asked me questions about who I was. Once we were done, we headed to Target to buy her a special toy and some new shoes. She even “let” me do some grocery shopping while she was there and didn’t complain once. Target runs are usually filled with lots of compromising and negotiating and popcorn flying everywhere between all three kids but this time it was actually fun! When we were done, she didn’t want to leave and neither did I. So, we cranked up the car, listened to Katy Perry’s Roar for the tenth time that day and drove around before heading home. It truly was a special day and we came home with our quality time love tanks filled to the brim. 

Carving out special one-on-one days with our kids is not only fun but it is necessary. Just like dates are necessary between a husband and wife, quality time with our kids are just as important. Because these special days are rare, we can really pour extra effort and attention into our kids and in return, they are rewarded for their good behavior. Even if you are a stay-at-home mom who spends all day with her kids, it is still a good idea to get out of the house and do something special.

Here are five tips that I have for spending quality time with your kids:

To read more, head on over to The M.O.M. Initiative today!

let’s practice hospitality {new devotional releasing today!}

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Hospitality is love.

Romans 12:9-13 says that for us to practice hospitality our love for one another must be sincere. Be devoted to one another and serve the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. This is love in action.

Being a hostess is such a joy but I’ll be the first to admit that entertaining is not always easy. I don’t always show love to others, especially when party guests are about to arrive to an outdoor dinner party and it begins to rain. I’m not always the best at welcoming people into my unfinished home and sometimes I find myself lonely and wonder if my cravings for community will ever be satisfied. But, instead of living in the fear of hospitality, I’m prompted to open my door and welcome people in.

And you know what? God blesses me every. single. time.

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Life shared together is the essence of hospitality. I believe in the heart of hospitality so much that I’ve created a ten day devotional to help you entertain as a hostess but also to welcome our Heavenly Host into your daily struggles of pursuing love.

practice hospitality fb cover available at christenprice

Inside this devotional you will find ten days of stories, scripture readings, and questions to help you dig deeper into the art of welcoming.

I’ve also provided some of my favorite recipes for entertaining like Acre’s Sweet Potato Bread Pudding, Fancy Salad, and Wolfgang Puck’s Homemade Pizza Dough. These recipes are perfect for the upcoming season of entertaining and your guests will be begging for more!

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Hospitality isn’t something to be afraid of. No, it’s an invitation that we can share with others and one that we can accept as believers of faith. Hospitality is more than a pretty table setting and cute invitations (but let’s be honest, who doesn’t love party decorations?!). Hospitality is a gift and in ten days you will be encouraged to release your fears, receive others, and rejoice in all that God is doing in your life.

To order your copy of Practice Hospitality, follow this link. The first fifty people to purchase the devotional will also receive a podcast of my talk about living invitationally that I shared at Covenant East.

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This devotional makes a great Christmas gift and can be purchased in bundles (discounts for the more you purchase!) which are great for small groups or Christmas gifts.

{bundle of five} | {bundle of ten} | {bundle of twenty}

Practice Hospitality has been a labor of love and obedience. I’m happy and scared to be releasing it today but I’m reminded that this is the way I often feel before any big event in life. If you’ve been a reader here for a while, you know that I’ve been on a journey to publication and this is one step of faith that I’m taking. I pray that you support me on this new adventure and I hope that this devotional is pleasing to your soul. Thank you for joining me in this space and for cheering me on as I try new things! Your encouragement makes these wobbly legs stand firm in faith.

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May we practice hospitality as we open our hearts, minds, and doors to others this holiday season.

Celebrating You,

Christen

Share this devotional on social media with the hashtag #cppracticehospitality or tag @chris10price.
Thanks for sharing the love!

 

how to get over the fear of miscarriage {national pregnancy & infant loss day}

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There are two rose bushes that bloom every Mother’s Day in my parent’s front yard.  These aren’t just any ordinary rose bushes, these buds bloom for my older and younger sisters, two girls that went to Heaven before they could ever be held in my mother’s arms. We don’t have any pictures of them, just two simple tombstones that mark their brief time in my mother’s womb. I’ve always wondered how life would have been different if they were alive and I know my parents have grieved their loss over the years. Losing a child (or more) to miscarriage isn’t something that can be easily forgotten. No, it stays with you forever and as my mom says, you learn that life is truly a gift. 

When we found out that I was pregnant with twins, my mom asked my doctor if miscarriages were hereditary. He told her that just because a mother miscarries that does not mean that her daughter has a higher chance. This news was such a relief to my mother and I but then the twins were born three months premature and we didn’t know if they would live. On the day I left the hospital for the first time without my children, I sensed that this must have been somewhat how my mother had felt all those years ago. Guilt, shame, pain. Yet, unlike my mother’s situation; I had hope that maybe just maybe our girls would be able to leave the hospital and come home with us. I begged God with tears streaming down my face to allow our girls to live…and he did. 

But, I know that it doesn’t always turn out that way.

Last Tuesday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I had a few friends on Facebook make their miscarriages public for the first time. Their stories of loss and redemption brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t help but think of other friends that I’ve know that have lost their babies through miscarriage – Stephanie, Abbey, Rachel – and take a moment to thank God for the gift that is growing inside of me right now.

A few people have asked me in private if I was scared to become pregnant again after almost losing the twins. 
My answer without hesitation: yes.

Last December, when we were seriously considering to start trying for another baby, I confessed my deepest, darkest fear to my husband.  It was this: what if I’m the reason this happened to our babies? I don’t want to put another child through such pain and struggle again.

The shame surfaced so fast that it couldn’t be contained.

I still blamed myself for what had happened to the twins…even after my Montgomery OBGYN, NICU friends, and current OB told me differently. This shame of potentially miscarrying our child or causing premature birth was holding me back from the thought of conception.

Shame was a roadblock that only God could redirect with his love, comfort, and hope.

What I’ve realized since December is that I can’t let shame be the direction of my future. Instead, I have to have hope for the future and believe that God has plans for me, my baby, and my family. I hope every day that I will get to hold Ridley in my arms and that he will be born in March, on his due date. But, if I don’t? The loss will sit heavy on my soul and I will mourn for this child. My heart will be broken and I know that only God’s love can heal my pain.

Potentially having a miscarriage or infant loss can cause women to lose hope in ever receiving a child in her arms.
What I want to say to anyone struggling with this is please don’t let the fear outweigh the hope.

You and I have no idea what will happen to our children during pregnancy and child birth. We can’t plan on things going a certain way. But, we can take preventive action, make responsible choices, and most importantly pray. Our children are God’s to begin with and we have to trust that he has a plan for them; whether here with us or in heaven with him.

I know this message might be hard to swallow coming from a girl that has not experienced miscarriage herself. I get that. But, please know that this girl hurts in a way that she doesn’t fully understand whenever she hears of a pregnancy or infant loss. Also know that this girl is struggling with her own fears and is choosing to rest in hope instead.

Love to all you truth-seekers out there that feel the same way.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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Welcome Covenant East Friends!

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Welcome Covenant East friends!

I enjoyed so much getting to share with you today about living a life of invitation. Remember the importance of releasing, receiving, and rejoicing so we can better experience the fullness of hospitality.

Since many of you might be new, I’d like to be your hostess and show you around this little corner of the Internet. I hope you feel welcome here!

Weekly, I blog about faith and family. Here are some of my favorite posts from the past:

Our NICU Testimony

What’s the Next Best Thing for Your Life?

21 Day Prayer Challenge: Day 1

Meet Ridley

You and Me, We are One in the Same

If you’d like to keep in touch, please subscribe to our newsletter (it’s the box on the right side of the page). Our newsletter friends are the first to know of upcoming events, new releases, and get an extra dose of encouragement. We’d love for you to join us!

In addition to blogging, I have a print shop where we sell adorable invitations for birthday parties, Christmas cards, and so much more. Coming soon is our very first devotional, Practice Hospitality, that goes deeper into the subject of invitational living. I’ll be sharing the release date on the blog soon so stay tuned!

When I’m not writing on the blog, you can find me hanging out on Facebook at The Uncontainable Truth and on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Periscope @chris10price.

I love to take pretty pictures and write words to inspire you in your faith. I believe that God’s word is a light for our path and it can brighten, reveal, and make clear whatever hardship we are enduring. Thank you again for stopping by and I hope you come again soon!

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen