Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fun Family Festivities for Christmas: Entertainment

Fun Family Party Entertainment
Fun Family Festivities for Christmas:Entertainment

Preparations are completed and the guests have arrived! What can we do for fun that will entertain kids and adults alike?

Games: Ask our family what they love best about our parties and they will tell you it’s the games. Purchased games, i.e. Bunco or Pokeno, can accommodate even large families. Inexpensive prizes, including nostalgic candies or travel-sized toiletries, concealed in inexpensive gift bags, lend an air of excitement to winning. However, our guests also enjoy simple games like the Stocking Guess1, a Christmas scavenger hunt, and others that can be found on Christmas game sites2 on the Internet.

Activities: Our family looks forward to activities such as an Edible Gift Exchange3 or an old-fashioned taffy pull4. Caroling, a visit to a local church live nativity, or a group walk or drive through the neighborhoods to view the Christmas displays entertains party-goers of all ages. Circle back to the house for a welcome cup of hot chocolate and a fistful of homemade cookies and everyone ends the evening with a smile.

Movies: Classic movies like “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” or “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” are a great way to occupy the kids and give adults a little talk time. Providing a big batch of popcorn to eat or to string with cranberries adds to the merriment.

Far from boring, irresistible Christmas parties are events that family members will fondly remember and eagerly anticipate year after year. And all it takes is a little creativity mixed with an extra dollop of hospitality. Try it!

1 The Stocking Guess: Fill a Christmas stocking with small items such as various sized coins, a pen, a button, yarn, ribbon, an ornament hanger, a craft wiggle eye, a bead, a piece of material, a nail, a screw, a nut, a toothpick, a twist tie, a match, a pebble, a seed, etc. Close the top and pass the stocking around. After each person has had 10 seconds to feel the stocking, have them write down what they think is inside. For younger kids print a handout with clipart of many items (including ones NOT in the stocking) and have them circle what they think they have felt in it. The winner who guesses the most gets a prize.

3Edible Gift Exchange: Each guest brings a wrapped, edible gift. Write each person’s name on three slips of paper and place in a stocking. Randomly re-distribute the gifts. When a person’s name is drawn from the stocking, they can either open the package they are holding or exchange their gift with someone else. The game continues until all names are drawn. Everyone will end up with a gift.

4 Old Fashioned Taffy Pull: Try this yummy recipe from Diane Laney Fitzpatrick on

Blessings of the season today and always!

.©2011 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'll Fly Away: A Tribute to Uncle Butch

I once heard my Uncle Butch (Jay L. Warnick) say his favorite song was “I’ll Fly Away”. Last weekend he suffered a massive stroke while hunting. All week long the refrain to “I’ll Fly Away” kept running through my mind as I thought about him and the faithful witness he was for Jesus.

As a writer I felt a special bond with Uncle Butch, who was also a writer. I wonder what he would write now? Perhaps . . .

O Lord, my soul soars on the updrafts of Your mercy,
My spirit glides on the wings of Your love.
My body does not contain me.
It is but a shell.

Flying away on the outstretched arms of the dawn.,
Morning’s light brings me Home to You.
To simply BE, in Your presence, Lord, fulfills my longing.
Nothing else can satisfy.

Until that glad morning when we meet again, I'll pass along some smiles for you, Uncle Butch, and share the love of Jesus with those God brings my way . . .

©2011 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Soul Workout

"Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come."
1 Timothy 4:8

It’s 5:30 AM. I am awake, so why not get up? Rats! It’s raining already. Guess I won’t be walking this morning. Oh well, I can dance in the basement to my WOF tunes or make up a low impact aerobic routine that won’t wake the rest of the household. I pull on my socks and sneakers and attach my pedometer to the waistband of my sweatpants. My day has begun.

I am pretty faithful to my 30 minutes of exercise a day. My mom has experienced some heart problems over the years so my hope is that exercising will stave off any potential tendencies toward heart disease that I may have inherited. Call me OCD, but I always feel a bit discombobulated if my exercise routine is disturbed or if stuff comes up and I am forced to miss a day or two in a row.

Paul would probably say I do a good job of staying physically fit for this life. But what would he think of my spiritual fitness routine? Am I as dedicated to my devotional workout—to praying, to quietly listening, to reading, meditating on, and studying God’s Word, to fellowshipping with my Christian family? Though ashamed to admit it, I am not as disciplined spiritually. And yet, Paul says that spiritual exercise is much better than physical exercise, because it yields benefits both for today and for eternity.

What are the benefits of training for godliness?
  • We are better prepared to meet whatever the day brings.
  • We develop greater sensitivity to God’s Spirit within us.
  • We experience peace in the midst of turmoil.
  • We gain consistency in our Christian walk.
  • We build integrity.
  • We become more adept at applying God’s Word.
  • We get to know God better.
  • We enjoy God’s friendship more.
  • Our love for others increases.

The list goes on and on. What benefits of training for godliness have you experienced? I would love it if you shared them in the comments section.

Many blessings as you build up your spiritual muscles!

 ©2011 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Friendship Evangelism—Witnessing According to Paul

Learn < Live < Lead

Witnessing and evangelism are two words that can strike terror in the hearts of new believers. My own fear stemmed from a misconception I had about evangelism.

I remember I once crossed the street to avoid walking by a fellow who stood on the corner waving his big leather Bible and shouting to passersby, “Are you saved?” When I became a Christian I thought, “Please, Lord, don’t ask me to witness. I don’t want to accost people like the guy I saw with the floppy Bible.”

I didn’t really understand evangelism. Paul, on the other hand, did. After his conversion, Paul learned all he could about living for Jesus and following in His footsteps. Jesus often shared His message by visiting in people’s home, eating and talking with them, and developing a friendship. Paul emulated Jesus’ example, recognizing the importance of establishing a rapport with people.

  • Jailed unjustly, Paul didn’t rant and rave and gripe and complain. Instead he took the opportunity to share the gospel with his fellow inmates. 
  • When in Athens, Paul noted the Athenians’ dedication to religion. He then used that as common ground for sharing the gospel.
  • With Priscilla and Aquilla, Paul used a skill the three shared—tent making—to establish a relationship with them; he then shared the gospel.

VoilĂ ! Friendship evangelism according to Paul! Perhaps we would find witnessing easier if we followed his example.

  • Draw closer to Jesus, allowing Him to permeate every nook and cranny. Mentioning Him in casual conversation and referring to God's gift of salvation will then flow from us without force or pretense.
  • Determine what common ground we share with the person we want to witness to. Use that commonality as a segue to the gospel.
  • Develop a friendship. Establishing relationship builds trust and lends credibility--vital attributes when we are telling someone of Jesus' love and sacrifice for us.
May God add his Spirit to all that you do to bring others into His kingdom.

©2011 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dispelling the Darkness

“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Do you have a favorite time of day to walk? Mine is early morning. For the past few weeks I have been walking in darkness, with sunrise holding off till almost 7:30. As I walk, I appreciate the little solar lights people place along their sidewalks help me avoid walking off the edge or stumbling over cracks in the concrete.

Occasionally, everyone walks through “dark” periods in our lives—times of uncertainty, anger, hurt, and loss. We need someone to shed light on our problems and dispel our fears, someone to help us sort things out and indicate the best way to turn. Groping around in these dark times can be frightening and even dangerous.

In John 8:12 Jesus refers to himself as the light of the world. He promises to illuminate our path and show us the way. No matter how dark things may seem, he can bring light to every situation. But there is a condition that accompanies his promise. Did you catch it? In order for Jesus to shine his light on our lives we must be following him. Following…

As a camp counselor, I often walked the grounds with another counselor to check on things before turning in for the night. If the other counselor carried the flashlight and I veered away from them or tried to hurry ahead, I found myself in total darkness. But as long as I stayed close and followed them, their flashlight illuminated the path for both of us.

Spiritually, we can experience the same effect. Are we following Jesus? Or are we trying to run ahead of him, seeking our own path and insisting on our own way? Are we staying beside him, letting his light guide us or are we holding back and finding ourselves in the darkness again?

Have you ever tried to take the knot out of a necklace when someone stood in your light, producing shadows that made it impossible to continue? In the same way, spiritual obstacles—mixed up priorities, questionable influences, or sheer busyness—can interfere with our relationship with Jesus. As a result, we find ourselves groping our way through life without the benefit of Jesus’ light shining in our lives.

In Matthew 28:20, Jesus promises that he will always be with us. No matter what difficulties we may have to go through, no matter what challenges we may have to face, we are not alone. Simply by following Jesus, we can have the comfort and guidance of his light.

Blessings as you follow Him!

©2011 Pamela D. Williams