Posted in My Faith, Uncategorized

Christmas Traditions during COVID-19 Pandemic

This year, the holidays look much different than they ever have. Not many are traveling to see loved ones. As a result, families are forced to reevaluate their Christmas traditions, or have to scale them back.

As for my family, I have four little ones to account for. I can’t skip celebrating Christmas just because I can’t see my extended family. My kids are counting on me, to have a nice Christmas.

How Our Traditions Changed

Throughout the month of December, we have accomplished many common Christmas traditions. These are not all of our traditions, but by far my favorite ones. Despite COVID-19, we have made the best of this wonderful time of the year.

Christmas Baking

As a family, we’ve made and decorated sugar cookies and attempted to make gingerbread houses. Instead of gingerbread, we used graham crackers, but had no milk cartons to support our structures. The kids loved to eat them, anyway.

As a small group of women, we had a cookie bake. It was fun to see what other kinds of cookies other families make at Christmas. We made enough cookies for the elderly and shut-ins of our church. I loved including my daughters in the project, taking the chance to teach them giving and generosity.

Buying and Wrapping Gifts

Since my family and I were in quarantine late October, early November, I got this done fast! Thanks to Amazon and online shopping, I was done with my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving!

christmas gift boxes under fir tree
Photo by Oleg Zaicev on Pexels.com

For those of you who know how much I procrastinate, this is a Christmas miracle!

As a result, I still felt a sort of guilt inside.

When shopping for household things or groceries, I would find something that could have been a perfect gift for a loved one, but I’d for sure overspent my budget. In hind sight, I should have made one for Christmas gifts.

Despite my previous notions, I didn’t feel done or a sense of relief to be done shopping.

No idea why I still feel this way, but it has been a good lesson in self-restraint.

It isn’t responsible for me to empty our bank account just to attempt people-pleasing success. Can you relate?

Wrapping Gifts

Don’t get me started on wrapping! Imagine an entire table full of gifts, halfway to the ceiling – and I wrapped them all! Well, most of them. Now that I think about it, I have run out of at least five rolls of wrapping paper, and used probably ten overall.

In my defense, some of them were used last year, and most were the character-printed, skimpy kind of wrapping paper rolls. I love wrapping gifts, but for the first time in my life, I actually got sick of wrapping. I still have to wrap two late coming gifts, and I just don’t want to. Pathetic, I know.

Christmas Caroling

Last but not least, is my favorite tradition. Whether it is at church, with friends, or with my family, I love singing Christmas carols.

black father playing piano with little daughter
Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

Yesterday, after church, a small group of us went caroling at the local nursing homes.

As a group, we went window to window, singing of our glorious Savior, Jesus, and the celebration of Him.

This by far, was the most impactful.

The joyous faces of those trapped in their room, waving and so excited to see other people, singing to them. I can’t tell you how good it felt to see my kids understand the reason we sang to them, and to feel compassion and cheer towards them. That is priceless!

Reflection

adult birthday birthday gift box
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

In hindsight, I think this is God’s way of teaching me a lesson.

Teaching me to be content with keeping things simple, not overdoing it, and not worrying about the impression I make.

Instead, focus on teaching my kids giving, generosity and putting others first, etc.

Most of all, teaching them Christmas isn’t about gifts or decorations or cookies.

people standing inside church
Photo by Blue Ox Studio on Pexels.com

Christmas is just that, celebrating Christ.

His miraculous birth and coming to us as a humble baby, so someday pay for the sins of the world, for all time!

Now, He worth celebrating!

Posted in My Faith, Uncategorized

Grief During the Holidays

Today, as I casually scrolled Facebook, I came across a post from a college friend of mine. Back in the day, he was on my brother floor in college, and married my college roommate, Jill.

In Memory of Jill

A year ago today, he became a widow. Jill lost her battle with cancer, and joined her Savior for eternity.

While I reflect today, about her life, and her impact on others, I am blessed to have known her – even for a short time.

Precious Memories

Remembering our talks in our dorm room. Her dumping as much white powder on the floor, to keep the bed bugs out of our room, it looked like a gingerbread house! Although, it worked!

The time she found a large black and yellow spider in her bed. As she had the top bunk, she jumped down so fast and screamed so loud, I couldn’t help but laugh so hard!

Even her suddenly streaking into her last floor meeting, as she was a senior that year, and the look on my female R.A.’s face was priceless!

I’m engaged!

In the words of Jill, “my roommate is freakin engaged! …alright ladies…this will be my 3rd roommate to get married, who wants to be next?!!! šŸ˜ƒ congrats Adrianne Meier!” I’m so glad she got her chance to be married to such a wonderful man.

One of my favorite memories, is being in gospel choir with her. She sang the solo in “Revelation Song” and I will never forget the power and authenticity in her voice.

Gospel Choir 2011-2012

Secondly, was her love for dance parties and late nights investing in the girls on our floor. Jill was a true friend and leader.

Finally, the time I delivered flowers to her, from her future husband, and the chance to see first hand how she felt about him. To watch their relationship grow was truly remarkable.

As a result, I realized why I feel so melancholy during the holidays. It is because I’ve lost so many people in my short life.

Those I’ve Lost

Following, is a list of the people I’ve lost in my lifetime:

  1. My paternal grandfather – I was two weeks old.
  2. My paternal grandmother – at the age of 6
  3. My uncle – cancer, died two days before Christmas
  4. My former pastor – home church
  5. My future father-in-law – cancer
  6. My maternal grandmother – right before I conceived my first child
  7. My cousin – died suddenly
  8. Two MS classmates in the same summer – one to cancer, one a blood clot
  9. Third HS classmate – ATV accident, Jr. Year
  10. Fourth HS classmate – missing and unknown cause of death
  11. Fifth HS classmate – suicide
  12. College roommate, Jill – cancer
  13. Miscarried our third child
  14. My husband’s paternal grandfather – one month after our 2nd child’s birth
  15. My husband’s paternal grandmother – in the same month her husband did, a few years later
  16. Husband’s uncle – cancer, during COVID
  17. Husband’s paternal grandmother’s sister-in-law (his great aunt) – during COVID
  18. Countless church members, from past and present churches

Sadly, I’m not even sure this is the complete list, but these were the pinnacle deaths I can remember.

Life Reflection

Ultimately, life is too short. Don’t waste your opportunities to love on someone, family or not. You have no idea how short their time here on Earth truly is.

Thankful for Jill

In San Diego

Back to my college roommate, I had no idea her life would end so soon. I’m thankful we’d visited her and her husband when we had traveled nearby.

I do regret not spending more time with her in the moment at college, but am so thankful God provided the opportunity to see her one last time.

Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving is approaching, I’m reminded to be thankful. Thankful for each and every one of those people I’ve lost. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to know them and be a small part of their lives.

However, I’m most thankful God has provided a way for us to see them again. How different my grief would be if not for Heaven and for eternity with God. I cling to that hope and have faith in what I can’t yet see.

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

“90 Days with the God Who Speaks” by B&H Publishing Group

Content

90 Days with the God Who Speaks, by B&H Publishing Group, is a 90 day devotional for men and women of all ages.

This particular devotional focuses on Christ throughout the Bible, through the storyline of Scripture and essential biblical doctrine.

Interestingly, this devotional’s content is based on “The Gospel Project” curriculum. This is a widely known biblical curriculum.

As well as great foundational content, this book includes biblical narrative, personal application, personal reflection questions, and prayer prompts.

Each day is only 2-3 small pages long, easy to fit into anyone’s busy schedule.

Review

For myself, I liked that this devotional’s content is biblically focuses, doctrinally accurate, personally applicable, and teachers the reader doctrine and biblical truth.

I also thought it was clever for the publisher to use the wi-fi symbol to draw the audience in. The book itself is small, yet durable – great for on the go devotionals in the coffee shop. I highly recommend this devotional.

About the Author

B&H Publishing Group, an imprint of LifeWay Christian Resources, is a team that believes Every Word MattersĀ®. We seek to provide intentional, biblical content that positively impacts the hearts and minds of people, cultivating lifelong relationships with Jesus Christ.

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

“Eat, Sleep, Save the World: Words of Encouragement for the Special Needs Parent” by Jamie Sumner

Content

Eat, Sleep, Save the World: Words of Encouragement for the Special Needs Parent, by Jamie Sumner, is a noble book.

This book is meant for special needs parents, and to help them work through their day-to-day struggles.

Including sections of determination, hope, resilience, patience, laughter and thankfulness, the author asks the reader to reflect on Scripture and their life.

Review

As a whole, the book is real, but encouraging.

As a parent and an author, I was encouraged by Sumner’s mission – to encourage special needs parents.

I highly recommend the book for those who it would apply and mean the most.

About the Author

Jamie SumnerĀ has written for theĀ New York TimesĀ and theĀ Washington PostĀ among many other publications.

She is the author of the nonfiction book on motherhood,Ā Unbound,Ā and the middle-grade novel,Ā Roll with It.

She is also mom to a son with cerebral palsy and she writes and speaks about disability in literature. She loves stories that celebrate the grit and beauty in all kids.

She and her family live in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit her at http://www.jamie-sumner.com.

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

“A Mother’s Love: Celebrating Every Kind of Mom” Devotional

Content

A Mother’s Love: Celebrating Every Kind of Mom, by Anna Rendell and the (in)courage community, is a great devotional for moms.

It is conveniently broken up into sections for each stage of motherhood, using both personal and biblical examples of motherhood.

This devotional even includes blank reflection sections, Bible verses and beautiful illustrations throughout. All of these features add so much to the devotional’s messages each day.

Review

As I read it for myself, I felt peaceful, encouraged, loved, and full of hope. I highly recommend this book to mothers of all kinds, in whatever stage they find themselves. Truly a work of art!

About the Author

(in)courage

from the (in)courage community
  • At (in)courage you are welcome to a place of faith, connection, and friendship, where you will always find yourself among friends.
  • Founded in 2009 by DaySpring, the Christian products subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc., the vision for (in)courage was to create a new home for the hearts of women, where women take turns pulling up a chair to share their stories of what Jesus looks like in their everyday, gloriously ordinary, and often messy lives.
  • Since then, (in)courage has grown into a vibrant community that reaches thousands of women every day, welcoming them just the way they are, offering a space to breathe, loving support, and resources for meaningful connection.
Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

“The Great Farmapalooza” by Jill Roman Lord

Content

The Great Farmapalooza by Jill Roman Lord, is a fun children’s board book.

This book’s message is farm animals praising God and teaching animal noises you find on a farm. The story begins at sunrise, until sunset – which was clever for the author to incorporate.

Several times in the book, the animals praise and thank God, giving Him credit for the animals and plants He’s made. The Great Farmapalooza teaches God’s perfect and unconditional love, His goodness, good creation, provision, and thankfulness.

In addition, the book describes the actions of the animals, the noises they make, and their roles on the farm.

This book has flaps to open, revealing additional animals sounds. It has smooth, durable, and easy to turn pages. The publisher even incorporated shiny sparkles in the cover, further appealing to children.

Review

My kids love this book! The illustrations and flaps keep their attention. The book is big enough so they can see well, but not too heavy for toddlers to hold.

For myself, I admire the organized plot and creativity put into this book. I truly value books that give glory to God, in a fun, understandable way.

I would highly recommend this book for any family, with young children.

Video Trailer

Book Video Trailer

About the Author

B&H Kids Editorial Staff

  • Every little word matters

B&H Kids creates Bible-centered, engaging content for kids. From board books to Bibles, our resources are designed to help kids develop a lifelong relationship with Jesus and to empower parents to guide their childā€™s spiritual growth.

Posted in My Faith, Uncategorized

Motherhood – “I need a vacation!”

A shout out to all you mamas (and dads) out there. Our job as parents is incredibly hard!

Today was a Nightmare!

Today, for example, my kids would not stop nagging, whining, and screaming over EVERY LITTLE THING! My brain literally feels like it is frying as the days goes on.

close up composition conceptual creativity
Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

As a mom, staying at home, an author working from home, in ministry with my husband – my jobs are never done.

I want to crawl into the fetal position and never get out of bed, when I think of all the things I should be doing, have gotten done, or will have to do.

I NEED A BREAK!!!!

As my mom always says, “Stop the world, I want to get off!” Yes, that about sums up how I feel this very moment.

“Mom’s Night Out”

From Youtube.com

Now, I’m picturing the movie, “Mom’s Night Out,” when the chaos of four different moms’ lives implodes all at once.

“I love my kids, I love my husband, I love my minivan – my mini van rocks! Then why do I feel this way (so unhappy)?”

Again, I love my family, I love my jobs, but some days are just too much.

Encouragement

sunset beach people sunrise
Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

All I wanted to say was I hear you, I’m with you, and we can survive this season of our lives.

Let’s encourage one another in our victories and check in on one another regularly.

crop person touch palms with newborn baby on gray backdrop
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Above all, seek God’s peace and wisdom for ourselves and our parenting in the Holy Bible.

If you don’t know where to start, Proverbs or Psalms are good ones to try.

Be blessed, get rest, and give your children over to God. Only He can change their hearts.

Posted in My Books, My Faith, Uncategorized

The Saddest Month of the Year – October

First of all, I don’t hate October, what it represents just hurts my heart. My dad has an October birthday, so I have to enjoy it a little bit, lol.

Halloween

At the end of this month is Halloween, the holiday when evil, Satan, and godlessness is celebrated. As a Christian, I cannot support this holiday.

I do not understand the world’s fascination with death and destruction. Why do we celebrate it on Halloween, but then suffer the rest of the year, when someone dies? So much irony here.

Now that we have children in school, it is much harder to navigate how much to allow them to participate. For now, we’ve decided costumes and candy are okay, but are very clear in our explanation of the purpose and evil this holiday represents.

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness

For the entire month, primarily October 15th, is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month.

For those of you who’ve experience this loss, I host a private support group on Facebook. I share my own story and struggles, prayers for recent losses, and share other organizations resources for you to view. Please let me know if you would like to be a part of this group.

Sharing My Heart

Even though I partly promote this month for my book, The Miscarriage Project: Testimonials of Parents Who Found Hope in God, miscarriage is very close to my heart.

Can be purchased at thehavenblogger.com bookstore, or westbowpress.com or Amazon. ONLY 50% OFF and signed copies on thehavenblogger.com.

On May 9th, 2016, my life was forever changed. It was the first time I even felt God had abandoned me for real and not answered my prayers. Not true, but that’s how I felt at the time.

My Heart Now

Now that I’m expecting for the sixth time, has not changed the fear, anxiety and worry for this baby’s life. Once you’ve miscarried or lost an infant, that naive attitude of everything will work out and be alright, dies too.

Please pray that myself, and all those parents out there suffering, would find peace, comfort, love, healing, and encouragement this month.

Though this month weighs heavy on me, for two reasons, let’s not waste the time we have. Reach out to those who are hurting, in any capacity, and show Christ’s love to them. Be there, because no one else might.

Prayers & Blessings,

Adrianne Babbitt

Bold & Beautiful Inspirations Co.

Posted in My Books, My Faith, Uncategorized

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness

As the author of The Miscarriage Project, I’ve been thinking long and hard about October. October, for those of you who aren’t aware, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and October 15th is the remembrance day as well.

Even though it’s been almost four and a half years since my miscarriage, dwelling on the loss of a child still stings in my soul.

A Unique Kind of Grief

Losing a child is a unique kind of grief. Especially when you never got to meet that child. All of the what-if’s and shoulda, coulda, woulda’s of their life break over you like tidal waves.

A couple of friends of mine recently lost a baby. I can’t tell you how much hurt for them. Even though I’ve been through it, there is still part of me that doesn’t know what to say or do.

To be honest, I have been venturing back into our story, to dig up those raw, deeply hidden feelings. Following the miscarriage was a dark time for me, and I’ve been reminding myself where my friends are at, to help them find healing too. To process this unimaginable pain.

You’re Not Alone!

For those of you who are hurting, I am praying for you. You are not alone, and God isn’t punishing you. God did not create death. Instead, He is taking care of your baby until you meet again in Heaven. That may not always be comforting, but it might later on.

For those of you who know someone hurting, pray for them. Check on them, but also give them space. ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ and hugs worked great for me. Just being there and listening is enough.

My Story – The Miscarriage Project

If you are interested in learning more about my story, and those of nine others sharing their grief/loss journeys, I encourage you to check out my book, The Miscarriage Project: Testimonials of Parents who found hope in God.

If you order from this website, I’m running a 50% off promotion on the book right now. Also, if you order from my site, you receive a signed copy of the book shipped right to you.

In honor of our babies, and Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, I wanted every couple who desires a book to have one.

Prayers and blessings to you all!