The Alford Crew

December 25, 2008

~December 23~

Filed under: Devotional, Family, General, Prayer, Understanding — Kristina @ 8:31 pm

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A deep breath. A crackle of an ember sending an echo in my head triggering memories of years past. Years ago when family gathered in Virginia where one set of my Grandparents live. Almost every Christmas was blanketed with snowflakes and jack frost nipping on noses. Often enough snow lay on the ground for a quick sleigh ride! beautiful handmade ornaments along with a few store bought ornaments passed down from generation to generation floated on a hand cut cedar tree usually brought in by my Aunts and Uncles off the family land. My Momaw or Aunt GayNell would play the piano and we would sing hymns or carols, eat and open gifts! We had so much fun! As kids, my brother and I would marvel at the presents under the tree! We would be so giddy, i’m sure we were a bit annoying to folks as we waited until time to open everything! Little did we know our families really didn’t have much monetary gifts and treasures, but the fact we had one another was the thing i think that made it feel as though we had hundreds of presents to open every year. The jokes and laughs, as i mentioned already—the food, mostly the time together…

Was/is our family perfect?

…NO–there were several years we spent apart from family due to a feud that i can’t quite remember what it was over now, but i do know it probably had to do with someone being selfish and demanding and then things just not being handled correctly, ya know how most family feuds take place. Anyway, i choose to focus on the good yet learn from the not so good, therefore you are reading about the fond memories. Another awesome memory is the stories our family would tell that were also passed down. My dear Momaw in her later years would tell a story when we would go visit then whoever we ran into that day or even to some of us for a second time would share the same story over. I remember smiling and just allowing her to do it as it seemed to bring such a sparkle to her eyes…

One story in particular she enjoyed us reading at Christmas family gatherings was the “Christmas Story” at Christmas a true story in fact…i think it was her favorite to tell. She has been in Heaven two years now and the tradition continues if and when we can all get together at Christmas, someone reads from one of the Gospels such as Luke or from Matthew the account of Jesus’ obedience in coming to live here, being born of humble beginnings (i wonder if that was so we could all somehow relate a bit better)

So today’s challenge: Read out loud your favorite Christmas story!

If you don’t have much, hold on to those you do have, if you don;t have a “home away from home” such as a church family to participate in life with, search and find one! One you do have is God, ask Him to fill your life with peace and love that begins in Him and His son Jesus! This is the Alford Christmas prayer for you this year…we get it from Numbers in the Old Testament…(I like the Message version that Eugene Peterson shares:

24 God bless you and keep you,

25 God smile on you and gift you,

26 God look you full in the face
and make you prosper.

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December 20, 2008

~December 20~

Filed under: Devotional, Family, Prayer, Understanding — Kristina @ 8:11 pm

This is the house we reside at…small in standards of some folks yet ironically cozy, large enough and perfect for us four at the moment.

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Our home consists of the contents inside each person living in this house or wherever we may be at any given time—just as people who have given God their life and accepted Him with His love through Jesus are the Church…not the walls of a particular denomination or building.usatrobinettewed2008

dadncaydndrums

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brothers beibg silly

brothers being silly

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I guess this means that if there are a group of folks who are Christ followers (Christians) who meet at a house, a restaurant or happened to meet in a supermarket somewhere—they were/ are having…Church. They may not sing 3 hymns, sit down take up an offering (well that depends if you want to call the check out cashier an usher or not), listen to someone tell them how to live life, then sing another hymn/chorus or two, pray, shake hands, smile hop in the car and leave…however, they technically were/are a reflection of God

I can’t really imagine having to flee for safety as Joseph, Mary and Jesus did. What good news it must have been for them to be told it was safe back where they came from and they could go “home”.

The challenge today is to not only be thankful for your house, but to be thankful for home…home is wherever and whoever we are as a family. If you have a house/home, find a way to invite others to experience your home and not just your house-don’t have much of a home life full of all the fun and not so fun things of life? Have you talked to God about it? We have found talking to God and others to find out how through the years has been so helpful—start family events, traditions outings-invite others to journey with you…then enjoy!

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We are learning to celebrate our family more everyday and enjoy it without stress and undue pressure. I used to feel nervous, that maybe i wouldn’t “match up” to certain expectations of what family was supposed to look like and be. Learning how to celebrate God’s church-His people again, in all it’s shapes, colors, and sizes has been yet another learning experience for our family as well. The past 8 years or so have been an interesting part of my journey as a woman longing to be upright and faithful to God and others after either i failed them and or they failed me (certain it was a combo)…Ya know learning what church really is and is meant to be. Just as our home is a work/labor of love, so is being thankful and loving the church, realizing that God’s church is part of what makes our home the way our home is. The good and the not so good can be celebrated and used in God’s plan for eternity, we are loved and called to simply, love. When people walk into our house i pray they will feel and enjoy the love we share in our home.

I imagine Joseph was so glad to be “home” in Israel…Matthew 2:21 “He woke up, took the young child and his mother and came into the land of Israel.”

Talking to God:

God you rock! You are awesome! I love the way You love me! The way You look out for Your family…What an example given to us in the way You made a way for Joseph and his family to know what to do in what felt like uncertain times. Please continue to bring people who are hurting and in need to feel Your love and comfort to our home…at the same time please continue helping us build our home to provide that “safe place” to introduce people to you. Make it to where they see a positive difference in our family and friends that frequent here. We know we don’t have all answers, but we know You do. Thank you for loving us and accepting us how we are, for inviting us to Your house/home—into Your family! Thank you for the temporary home here, it is beautiful here, i do feel love here and it is all because of You…

Gratefully,

Kristina for the Alford Crew

~Happy Anniversary~

Filed under: Family, News, Prayer — Kristina @ 4:47 am

Just wanted to take a moment and wish one of the most wonderful couples i have ever know an awesome time in celebrating their anniversary! Love ya Dad and Mom Alford!

picturedadnmaalfordwedding“Father,

Thank You for Your gift of love, that You are love.  I am so grateful You provided a way for us to know You and know what love really is.  Thank you for giving us daily examples of this special love through people like Jerry and Barbara, my other Dad and Mom!  Most folks don’t appreciate or get along with their “in-laws” You have intertwined me with a wonderful family and i am blessed beyond measure-You knew we would mesh just fine.  My hope is that You would continue to reveal your character to this awesome couple and that You would continue to use them to build Your kingdom. I pray the love they exude will take away every excuse anyone they come in contact with would ever have  to not know You…Through them You gave me a husband out of my league.  Their passion/love for You and each other is evident and passed on to Chris in so many ways that i and our two sons benefit from…Please guard their hearts, place an encampment of angels around them and give them continued abundant life in You. I love it when You show off like this! With a grateful heart i ask for many more years for Jerry and Barbara to serve You together as one here on this earth according to Your plan.”

Eternally,

Kristina

December 18, 2008

~December 17~

Filed under: Devotional, Family, General, Prayer — Kristina @ 3:27 pm

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Give, Give, Give…

Sometimes i tire physically of giving , frankly sometimes i tire emotionally/spiritually from giving.

Take, Take, Take…

Take? I’m supposed to take? You are supposed to take?  YES…Amazing huh? Tiring is common for all humans, this is why it is supposed to be natural for us to go to sleep.  When the Creator designed everything, he actually even rested on the 7th day!  Somehow we are tricked into feeling guilty if we take a few moments for a break in normal everyday life-the go here, go there, go, go, go and do, do, do mentality. Have you ever struggled with taking a day off?  What about having “so much to do” that you become impatient and it all ends up needing to be accomplished in one day or you are a bear…well, it is definitely time for a break for you! Take time (for those who are workaholics) take five minutes a day for starters and sit somewhere quiet for starters-no music, no noise and just be quiet…breathe deep, think if you must, but just take a few moments if you have to be doing something while you sit-then make it a point or a task to “do” and be grateful-list things in your mind or even in a journal that you are thankful for. This habit will begin to cultivate proper giving and taking in your life.

I remember being so into “doing” that i became so exhausted and overwhelmed that even small tasks like making an egg became a hassle and too much! I would grouch and grump over the silliest of things-i don’t know how my husband and Connor at the time loved me like they did, but they did (for this i am so grateful) My appearance even began to be worn and stale looking, until one day after a combination of crazy events throwing off everything i had scheduled for that day made me stop and reflect on what was really important to me…Questions i had to face—-What was i doing just to be doing for pride sake, ya know what was i doing just to get praise for and what was i doing and being that i was actually meant and designed to be and do? After i remembered who i am, i had to ask God for strength (and do this daily now!) instead of attempting everything in my own strength.

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Todays Challenge or gift to you:

GIVE yourself a break as a Christmas gift to you this year…TAKE time that you deserve and need to function properly…remember, if you don’t care for you then how can you effectively be who you are? How can you give to others if you aren’t well in mind, body and spirit?

Matthew 2:14-15 (The Message)

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

March 6, 2008

Please pray for the McGowan Family

Filed under: General, Prayer — Kristina @ 11:03 pm

Hey everyone!

Chris and I met this couple a few months ago at mutual friend’s home in Columbia. Check out their blog and pray as the Holy Spirit leads you to. Their precious baby boy has just arrived after the family being told months ago he had Displaysia(sp?)–a fatal skeletal disease. Emily and Chris (the parents) were prepared to only be able to hold their sweet one around 15 minutes before he would pass…guess what…he is still with us! They still need prayers and you can check out the rest in better detail there, i feel the job of this post will bring awareness to others to pray. God is taking such great care of McGowans, of course, but it never hurts to know Christians everywhere are praying for one another. Baby Cohen McGowan was 5.67 lbs and was born March 5, 2008@ 9:23 pm! He has an awesome big brother Cort! Check out their blog, you will be eternally touched by this picture of God’s love and faithfulness.

http://www.cortmcgowan.blogspot.com

Welcome baby Cohen Mcgowan!

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