Christmas Traditions

HOGAN Merry Christmas!

I can’t believe another year has passed. We have our home all decorated, we have our Christmas tree up, have the gingerbread cookies made. We even got a chance to build a snowman in our front yard!

As the years pass, I grow more and more thankful for family traditions, especially holiday ones. When I was a child, one of my favorite traditions in our home was when my mom would get one of ball of yarn for her weaving and cut a piece of it off for all of us kids to play something called “Navajo string games”. She showed us how to make a cup with a saucer, diamonds, drums, coyotes-running-away-from-each-other, Navajo rugs, and many other things – just with string!

That’s what’s so wonderful about keeping and starting family traditions. It may have been dark and cold outside the hogan, but inside it was warm, cozy and safe. And that’s a tradition I want to pass on to my kids, that feeling of being safe and loved in our home.

So I praise God for this season, for traditions, for Jesus becoming one of us, for the blessings of love, provision and family. And I praise God for you! Have an amazing, blessed, beautiful Christmas.

Peace IS possible!

STRESSEDMy 1 year-old is crying…my older kids need help with schoolwork…need to make dinner…laundry is calling…dishes are dirty… husband sick in bed, need to pick up his medication…HELP!

I’m trying to remember a time when my life WASN’T crazy!  In the midst of all that needs my attention, one of my “stay sane” verses has always been 2 Thessalonians 3:16. It says:Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.”

All the stuff around me can be so “noisy” but I really do find peace from Jesus when I intentionally take some moments to “cast my stress” on Him!

Here are a few ways I cope with stress in my life:

 –      Taking quiet time. Even if it means waking up earlier, not watching a favorite TV show, or letting the dishes wait – committing to time where it can be just Jesus and me.

–       Prayer. Not just “Lord, help me have a good day”, but specific prayer requests with specific concerns. It honors Him when we have that kind of faith!

–       Going for walks. It’s amazing how much these clear my head.

–       Getting rid of clutter around the house. Something about having a clean house makes me feel so much more relaxed.

–       Listening and singing along with praise music. Amazing tension relief!

–       Talking with friends. It’s so soothing knowing others going through the same thing!

What are some ways YOU find peace? Let me know in the comments and I’ll respond!

Finding the Sheep Before the Storm


SHEEPOne of the things I loved about growing up on the Navajo reservation was the smell in the air right after it rained. It sounds crazy but sometimes it smelled so good I thought I wanted to eat it!

Once I had to help my grandma find a lost sheep right before a rainstorm. I remember walking up the mountain, climbing jagged rocks, looking just beyond them at a very angry looking sky! We searched and searched until finally we found the sheep right before the storm hit.

In Luke chapter 15, Jesus says “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? I tell you that in the same way there [is] more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents.”

I want to be like my Great Shepherd Jesus! Do you? If so we’ve got to purposefully SEEK out the people around us that need Him! Invite them over for coffee, send them encouraging notes, BUILD relationships so we can share the most important relationship they will ever have!

So many around us are in terrible “life storms”…and are headed for a terrible eternity without God! What are some ways YOU are “searching for lost sheep”, or some ways you want to!  Share in the comments below so we can encourage each other!

Testing What is Good!

Our youngest son Sam turned one recently, and I just love to watch him explore. It’s fun to see him find something that peaks his interest. He’ll hold and stare at the object for a while. He’ll turn it, examine it, turn it again, examine it some more and finally…checks if it’s edible!

Sam’s experiments remind me of the Bible verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 which says, “examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” I’m reminded to examine every part of my life, from top to bottom and all the way around, using Scripture alone as my guide. I try to look at each thought, each affection, in light of God’s perfect truth.

What does His Word say I should “hold fast to” in regards to being a Navajo woman? A wife? A mother? A friend? Are there actions or motivations in those relationships that are displeasing to God that I need to get rid of? Are there things in my life I need to focus on more or focus on less?

Why go to these lengths? Very simply: so I may bring God glory as I “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12)

What are areas of your life that God has been teaching you to examine?  Let me know in the comments and I’ll respond!

A Very “Jesus” New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope you guys had a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Our family decided to “ring” in the New Years by…getting sick. We are finally on the road to getting better, but wow does that flu bug like us!

Looking back on 2012, I have so much to be thankful for! Here are several highlights:

– We were blessed with our 3rd child. Sam is his name – but we call him “Sammo Blammo” a lot because he likes to try and destroy things in the house.

–  Our family had no serious health issues. Especially thankful for this as our 7-year-old son has had 4 open-heart surgeries during his short life thus far.

–  We got to visit my family in Arizona and I got to eat yummy mutton!

It’s amazing how different the holiday season was for me before Jesus!  I felt I had nothing to celebrate and no hope for the future. I am so thankful I never have to face life without Him again!

So how about YOU? Let me know in the comments what you’re looking forward to this year!

Now THAT’S a Thanksgiving feast!

I grew up in a mega-family.  It’d be fair to say we were a large group.

Now, I’m not talking 10 family members large. I’m talking more like 60 family members large. That big family is a part of some of my most wonderful memories, especially when we’d get together at Thanksgiving. My parent’s house would be so full, some family members had to go outside to eat!

We’d all come home for the full-on Thanksgiving dinner and we had a wonderful time together. We’d polish off about 3 or 4 turkeys! In the earlier years my parents baked the turkeys in an underground oven that my father dug the day before.  Those birds were delicious!

As wonderful as those memories are, I am so thankful that they can never compare to the celebratory feast I will have one day with all my brothers and sisters in Christ one day!

Jesus said in Matthew 8:11 “Many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” Now THAT meal will be a great memory maker!

So…what are some of YOUR favorite holiday memories?  

My Cozy Bed

Yes, I’m a responsible human being, but this morning I just couldn’t help it…I stayed in bed way longer than I should have.

Lots of responsibilities, kids and chores wait for me on the other side of my blankets, but today was one of those mornings I wanted to stay in my warm and cozy bed. Just tug those body-warmed blankets up over my shoulders and snuggle in. Eyes roll back into my head then…AAAAAHHH.

My mind drifted back to the cold mornings on the Navajo Reservation when my dad would get up early to start the fire in our wood-burning stove. That stove was the only source of heat for our large family. He’d wake up, light that fire, then scurry back under the covers ‘til it warmed up. As soon as it did, I’d soon smell the coffee being brewed on the stove. I’m so thankful for those memories!

Today, one of the things I’m grateful for is when our home gets cold I simply turn on the heater!  I think having to build fires for so long makes me never take our heater for granted.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 in the Bible says “be thankful in all circumstances.”  I think that however thankful we are in our spirits towards God, no matter WHAT is going on, says a ton about our trust and love of Him. Sure, there are “big” things I see that I’m thankful for, like our home and our family. But sometimes I experience something like turning on the heat that makes me say “Thank you Father!” What are some “small” things YOU’RE thankful for?

Autumn Joy!

Autumn is my favorite time of the year! Here’s why:

– Crisp, cool air

– Beautiful colors

– The “shadier” sun

– The scent of roasting pinon nuts

– Taking that first bite of a piece of kneel-down bread (A Navajo fave!)

– Hoodies

– The sound of the crackling campfire

– S’mores

– Pumpkin spice coffee (hmm, I’m noticing a strong food theme here!)

Seasons remind me that our God is a God that can CHANGE things! A God Who can change US! My heart changed from a long season of doubt and despair to an eternal, unchanging season of joy one summer night in high school. I still remember that feeling when I realized I was loved so much by God that He would die for me so I could live forever with Him!

Such a feeling of weightlessness, overflowing joy, unconditional love and just wanting to shout it from the mountaintop! All the things I’d done that had hurt God were lifted from me once and for all! The “old” me was gone and so “new” me was here for good. Thank you Jesus!

Tell me in the comments what YOU love about autumn…and about the God Who can change us!

That Kindergarten Feeling

Do you remember your first day of school? Even though it was (ahem) a few years ago, I vividly remember mine.

It was a warm Monday Arizona morning as my dad and I left the house to walk the worn and rocky road down to the school. It was a looong 2 ½ miles from our home to the school. Didn’t see any rattlesnakes so that was a bonus! When we got close to the classrooms, I started hearing the buzz from students and teachers, and I got very nervous. My parents didn’t tell me much about what to expect at school. The closer we got to the Kindergarten class, the more frightened and lost I felt. I was in some seriously uncharted territory!

It feels like the whole world these days is too! Economies failing, governments being overthrown, violence everywhere. Scary stuff! Even my life sometimes feels like uncharted territory, especially when I don’t stay “grounded” in Jesus. You know those times, where your life gets so busy that you forget to spend time with God in His Word and prayer. You neglect spending time with other Jesus followers. When I make this mistake I almost immediately start to feel lost.

Colossians 2:6-7 says… So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. This verse spurs me on to not forsake my time with God, His Word, His people, no matter what…so I’ll never have to feel that “Kindergarten feeling” again!


One of my favorite games to play in grade school was kickball. I think I liked it because it was like baseball, except kicking a big red ball was easier than hitting a small white one!  But first we had to pick teams. Then, of course, the dreaded wait to see if I’d been picked. Usually even if I didn’t get picked first, though, I didn’t get picked last either.  Good enough for me! I was just glad I’d been chosen at all.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Colossians 3:12. It says, “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” I am chosen! And dearly loved! God chose me and loves me for no other reason than I am His child through Jesus. As blessed I feel to be chosen by God to be a Navajo Native American, the greatest blessing of my life is being chosen to be in God’s eternal family!

He chose me, so I choose compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience so others see Him in me and choose Him too!  Out of all the mission’s strategies over the years to share Jesus with my people, perhaps none are more powerful than this!

Whatever you’re facing today – a wandering child, an alcoholic family member, pressure from the people you love to turn your back on Jesus – choose responding with these Christ-like qualities and watch how the Holy Spirit will powerfully work through you!