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Aust in FAITH & FAMILY Mariah Wilde






the Light of Hope


That Silly Flashlight

PRACTICAL PARENTING It's More Than Barking Orders

HEAD TO HEART Why God Loves Christmas

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Publisher H.O.T. Publishing, LLC 512.584.6888

Editor's Note Bless the Child

Editort Marcy Lytle

Christmas is upon us, whether we like it or not, whether we’re ready or not, and regardless of the fact that there’s never a chance of snow here on Christmas Day. I’ve been praying for snow on Christmas in Austin since I can remember, and I’m still waiting for that prayer to be answered! However, I’m very excited about our focus in this issue – children. And prayers offered up for children around the world are definitely prayers that God hears and answers.

Art Director Abby Pound Advertising Sales Lee Eddins | 512.689.2717 Contributing Writers Lee Eddins, Marcy Lytle, Susan Stern, Al Jones, Trent Peng, Kie Bowman, Debbie Stevens, Ginny Hurley, Mark Trice, Dave Ramsey, Richard Landry, Lauren Lacy, Joe Elliott, Patricia Jacobson, JoAnn Armstrong, Joshua Myers, Maria Arreola, Scottie Moore, John Pound, Jeanette Holahan, Courtney Woodall, Erin Osborn, Georgeanne Schuch, David & Lynn Cherry, Paula White, Vicki Lancaster, Don Spann, Amy Dillon, Anthony Southwood, Deborah Begley, and Barry Tripp Cover Photo Taylor Made Portrait Studio Contributing Photographers Taylor Made Portrait Studio Kamrin Marae Photography Tiffany Young Austin Faith and Family is committed to encouraging individuals in their daily lives by presenting the faith stories of others and providing information that will point every person, at every stage of life, to a deeper, authentic, personal and life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Views expressed in Austin Faith & Family do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by the Austin Faith & Family staff to ensure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information, nor the absences of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be, or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010 by H.O.T. Publishing, LLC.

How about offering more than a prayer this season? If you’ve ever considered adoption, or fostering a child, you’ll be inspired to revisit the idea after reading our cover story “Forever Family.” The plague of fatherless children in our society is a devastating one, and we can do something about it. “20 Words” addresses this issue, challenging each one of us to invest in the life of a child in our sphere of influence. We interviewed one local youth pastor who has a passion for the fatherless and has found a way to move outside the four church walls into the neighborhood, playing with children and loving on them – just imitating Christ. Read his article in our column “Out There,” where each month we feature a different church leader, who’s “taking it to the streets,” where the people live. One of my favorite articles this month is found in our Head to Heart column where we read the confessions of a “Christmas addict.” Dr. Jones ends his article with a quote from the beginning of the Christmas story, “For unto us a child is born…” It all began with a child, a big star, and gifts from the wise. And salvation came to the world. Why not continue that trek, following the light, walking in wisdom, and blessing the children?

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society.

Merry Christmas, Marcy Lytle Editor | Austin Faith & Family

Austin Faith & Family is published monthly and is available at high traffic locations throughout the metropolitan area. Copies are also available by subscription, $35 for one year. Single issues available for $3 an issue.

Volume 2, Issue 7


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December 2010


Share the Gospel with Christmas Cookies


Lysas'Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake



7 Body Life: Finding Our Way Home 8 Spiritual Coffee the Way: 9 Along Impacting the Next Generation 10 Church & Helping Hands Directory 11 Out There: Tyler Wolfe--Mixing It Up

Creative Christmas Gift Ideas



Original Christmas Cards by Kris-10's Creations

Dealing with the Holiday Blues





to Heart: 39 Head Confessions of a Christmas Addict 40 Health Matters: Holiday Blues & Nutrition: 41 Diet Nutritional Guidelines for Children

42 43 44

The Real Stuff: Fostered Ideas The Real Deal: Choices The Real Me: I Almost Missed It

19 Journey for Two: Christmas Travels 20 Practical Parenting: Born Leaders--NOT! Special This Month 12 Forever Family, Forever Home 21 Catching the Light: Mall Madness 14 My Quest to Be a Single Dad 22 Dear Dads: Don't Miss Out! 16 The Telephone Call Hints: 23 Helpful Christmas Cookies and the Gospel 18 The Family Dinner: An Everyday Reality 32 Kris-10's Creations Life 27 CityScene 28 Cooking: Make It Your Own & About: 29 Out Creating Christmas Memories


15 20 Words: A Generation Without Fathers 24 Austin Community Calendar 31 Ladies' Top 10: Gifts N' More 30 Travel: 10 Great Summer Family Vacation Ideas 34 Rave Reviews 46 The Back Pew Money & Wisdom: 35 Wealth Kids Say the Darndest Things

36 Dave Says 37 Moms' Tips & Tricks Life Well: Let the Stress Out of 38 Spend Your Financial Life

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Letters Susan, On behalf of The Care Communities' staff, thank you to those who were able to attend our Ribbon Cutting & Open House this morning. It was a success because of you! With your continued support we aim to triple the amount of Care Teams in Round Rock and Williamson County in 2011. Thank you again for your presence today. --Jessica H. Marcy, Just read the November issue....thought it was excellent. The whole publication is very professionally designed and displayed. Proud to be a part of the AFF family. Thanks for developing a Christian voice in Austin. Barry T. Hello, Marcy. Your recent interview article titled An Unlikely Neighbor was a pleasant surprise, reflecting true Christianity's willingness to engage unbelievers without instantly casting judgment, somewhat like Paul with the Athenians in Acts 17. I recently discovered your magazine and found it intriguing. Tim H.

Marcy, I just looked through your November issue of Austin Faith and Family. It’s the first I’ve seen. Nicely done. I’m thankful there is this kind of publication out there in our communities. Gary S. AFF, I enjoyed the reflections on being thankful. Too often we take those we love the most for granted assuming they know we are grateful, especially our God, so it is good to be reminded to share expressions of gratitude to all even those we meet casually - for some have entertained angels unaware. Irene M.

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Worth Noticing... Have you seen the billboards around Austin stating, “The most dangerous place for some children is in the womb?” Heroic Media spokeswoman Kimberly Speirs states that this campaign, originating with abortionists, asserts that according to 2010 Census and CDC data, an African-American baby is three times more likely to be aborted than a white one. Many other cities denied this campaign, but it is now being launched in Jacksonville, Houston, and here in the city of Austin. An accompanying commercial states that abortionists target African-Americans by placing more facilities in AfricanAmerican neighborhoods than anywhere else. Although Heroic Media was challenged on these claims, they cited their references for the information. Heroic Media is a faith-based nonprofit that helps women with unexpected pregnancy, through mass media messages that provide hopeful, positive alternatives by connecting these women to resources within their own communities. Since Heroic Media began campaigning in Austin, the abortion ratio has dropped 24 percent.


Body Life 7 Spiritual Coffee 8 Along the Way 9 Church Directory 10 Out There 11

Body Life:

Finding Our Way Home

God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious dwell in a parched land. Psalm 68:6 (NASB)


ur culture is an increasingly homeless culture. I’m not saying that we don’t have enough places to live, just very few homes. And the human heart craves a home. Home is the place of security, familiarity, and provision. Home is where we are loved by someone who knows us better than anyone else. And the miracle is they love us anyway! Home is where we feel like we have more than enough, even in lack. At least there is an abundance of love.

Most people don’t often experience those things in their houses or apartments; they really are “homeless” most of the time. Maybe you feel that way at times. What makes a good home? It’s really not the stuff, is it? A better question is “Who makes a good home?” Many of us had a mom that knew how. It seems they are often especially qualified for that. For some, it was the dad who had the ability. If you had both a mom and a dad who were dedicated to and able to provide a good home, you were doubly blessed. It is more of a rarity in our day. If you had neither, may God bless you. But know this: Everyone can have hope that they can find a good home.

The verse mentioned says that it is God who makes a home for the lonely. Think about that. God makes a home for the lonely. Could it be that God is the One who makes a home, a home? Traditionally, fathers provided the home. Could it be that our heavenly Father has that as one of His ambitions for us? Jesus told His disciples when He left them that He was going to prepare a home for them, saying, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places.” Yes, God is all about providing homes for His children. He does it through many of us. I believe a father can’t really be a good father unless he is taught how to do it by his heavenly Father. I’m talking about one who has integrity, is a good example, and has genuine love. The same can be said for moms. They need to know the love of Jesus before they can really love their children. And if you are a single parent, fulfilling both roles, I think you are amazing. I don’t know how you do it. I pray that God gives you plenty of help from His family in the process! If you’ll ask Him, I believe He will, because His ambition is to provide good homes. But further revelation shows us that HE is the home we are all seeking. Moses, who spoke to God face to face, said in Psalm 90, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place from generation to generation.” The ultimate reality is that He is home. And all that we are looking for in a home? It’s in Him. He is our security, our familiarity, and our provision. He is the one who knows us better than anyone else, and still loves us the most. And if we learn this secret, we can be at home wherever He is. We try to substitute so many other things – toys, gadgets, and pleasures – when He is the One we really need. And if we look to others to do what only He can do, we will eventually be disappointed. He is our dwelling place; He is home. John Pound Pastor, New Hope Community Church

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Need a morning boost? How about a drink from the Word that's full of powerful energy for your day? Take a daily sip with these short devotionals that you can read and swallow, as quick as you drink your morning coffee. - Matt 18:21-22 "...Lord, how often Be sure and take your vitamins...don't! - Isaiah 65:17 "For behold, I 1 Forgive 16 forget iron - Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpens 23 create new heavens and a new earth; and shall my brother sin against me, & I forgive him Jesus said to him...up to seventy times seven."


Live for Him - 2 Corinthians 5:15 "And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them.

your wrong 3 Admit "Whoever conceals

- Proverbs 28:13 his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses & forsakes them will obtain mercy."

is in control...cling to Him on good 4 God & bad days - Romans 8:28 "And we know

iron, so one man sharpens another."

Jesus loves you...we must love Him and

17 each other - John 15:12 "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."


Be Jesus' friend by honoring Him with your actions - John 15:14 "You are my friends if you do what I command." Love Jesus...He loves and cares about you

John 15:9 "As the Father has loved me, so 19 -have I loved you. Now remain in my love."

that all things work together for good to those who love God..."


have different gifts, according to the grace given us..."

29 to God - Romans 12:10 "Be devoted to Love & honor each other, it brings honor

one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." Always be kind -1 Thessalonians 5:15

30 "Make sure that nobody pays back wrong

for Christ...He died for us - Galatians 8 Live 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it

on God and He will hear...rely on Him 11 Call - Psalm 50:15 "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."

kind to anyone you can 26 Be Romans12:13 "Share with God's people

God has something for each of us to do...

Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."


the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years."

28 we must do our part - Romans 12:6 "We

is the best big brother - Matthew 7 Jesus 12:50 "For whoever does the will of my

Give it all to God...even the little things Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

God wins! - Revelation 20:2 "He laid hold

25 of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is

affliction, faithful in prayer."

before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

one another. Do not be proud...Do not be conceited."

in there...God is with you - Romans 27 Hang 12:12 "Be joyful in hope, patient in

yourself and take godly 6 Humble need to trip - Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goes

We are not alone - Joshua 1:9 "...Do not be 9 terrified; do not be discouraged, for the

We are all the same in God's eyes...equals

24 - Romans 12:16 "Live in harmony with

who are in need. Practice hospitality."

Store up good then release it like rain... make God smile - Matthew 12:35 "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him..."

is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..."

the former shall not be remembered or come to mind."

God deserves our best - 2 Corinthians

for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else."

"...if any man is in Christ, he is a new Care for all - Philippians 2:4-5 "...look not 20 5:17 creature; the old things passed 31 only to your own interests, but also to the things have come."

21 has ever seen God; but if we love one Love your neighbor -1 John 4:12 "No one


interests of others. Your attitude should be the same Jesus."

another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."

Notes: _____________________________

Never give up hope...have faith - Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."


__________________________________ __________________________________ __________________________________ ___________________________________

never leaves us...don't forget 12 God Matthew 14:30 "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, Lord, save me!"

good all day...share with everyone 13 Do Proverbs 3:27 "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act."

close to God and you will never be 14 Stay alone - James 4:8 "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

pays to seek makes us wiser 15 It- Proverbs 19:20 "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise."

10 8





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Along the Way


Impacting the Next Generation


n old expression says, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” While usually associated with the dignity of motherhood, the expression also applies to the importance of parenting in general. The parent who cares for children makes an impression beyond their own lifetime. No wonder Samuel Sava, an early childhood education advocate, recently said, “It’s not better teachers, texts, or curricula that our children need most; it’s better childhoods, and we will never see lasting school reform until we see parent reform.” Most parents want to do their best, but influencing children has never been easy because parenting has never been easy. The distractions of family life today have never been greater. For instance, the advent of the technology we love has in many ways made our lives better. Mothers in general, however, do not agree that those technological advantages always apply to children. In a survey among American mothers, when asked to identify the reasons why children seem to be “growing up too fast,” moms were amazingly monolithic in their viewpoints. Seventy-five percent said children are being allowed too often to view the internet without supervision. Fiftynine percent of American moms said giving children their own cell phones at an early age is inappropriate. Parents sense that the human touch cannot be replaced by laptops and cell phones. In raising our families, technology however, is not our only adversary. As difficult as it may be to accept, there is mounting evidence that we live in an anti-child culture, or at least we are trending in that direction. According to Pew Research Center, there has been a sharp decline in the number of adults who view having children as important for happy marriages. For instance, in 1990, sixty-five percent of Americans believed children were important for a happy marriage. By 2008, only forty-one percent of Americans felt the same way. By a margin of 3 to 1, American adults say the main purpose of marriage is the “mutual fulfillment” of adults. Previous generations, even as recently as twenty years ago, responded that “bearing and raising children” was the main purpose of marriage. What happened? What has changed? Barbara Dafore Whitehead, of Rutgers University’s National Marriage Project, gives a grim report on marriage and family in the 21st century. She writes, “The popular culture is increasingly oriented to fulfilling the X-rated fantasies and desires of adults. Child rearing

values – sacrifice, stability, dependability, maturity – seem stale and musty by comparison.” Is it really that bad? David Popenoe, CoDirector of the National Marriage Project, seems to go even further. He reports, “The institution of marriage is in serious trouble. Americans are less likely to marry than ever before, and those who marry seem to be less happy than in previous decades. And despite a modest decline in the divorce rate, nearly fifty percent of all marriages are projected to end in divorce or permanent separation.” Can anyone argue that when marriage fails, children are not also affected? When families split, what is the message to children? Are they expected to have a stronger sense of hope about their own future as marriage partners and parents? Apparently, not. Whitehead says, “Young people today want successful marriages, but they are increasingly anxious and pessimistic about their chances for achieving that goal.” Teens today, according to the Rutgers study, are also more accepting of alternatives to marriage such as unwed parenthood and living together without marriage. Apparently, teens learn their lessons about marriage from our experience. In the midst of all the bad news therefore, there seems to be a hidden positive lesson – our kids are following our examples (even if our examples are bad). The irony is, even parents who provide less than stable models are, nevertheless, the models their children emulate! In other words, our kids will follow our lead. Our challenge is to lead well. Some will argue that kids today don’t care about family life as they once did. From a surprising source, however, we recently found evidence to support the importance of family life for happy children. In 2007, a survey conducted by the Associated Press and MTV asked thirteen to twenty-four year olds what made them happiest. It’s simple – kids love their parents and are heavily influenced by them. Seventythree percent of young people told the AP and MTV “spending time with family” makes them the happiest, and nearly half listed a parent as “their hero.” Psychologist Dr. Bill Maier said, “What’s really surprising is that this poll flies in the face of some of the cultural values that MTV is pushing on kids. MTV would say that kids just want more pleasure and material goods, they’re not interested in marriage or commitment, and they reject their parents.” Parents, do not give up on family life! It is tough, but the next generation hangs in the balance. Adults need to find ways to strengthen their marriages, not just for the sake

of their own pleasure, but for the sake of the next generation. A wise pastor, the late Adrian Rogers once quipped regarding truth, “If it’s new it’s not true, and if it’s true, it’s not new.” Sometimes, old advice is still the best. Turning to an ancient source, the book of Proverbs reminds us, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Of course, there are no short cuts in influencing the next generation. It takes all we can give and it takes a lifetime. Even the Bible says, “…when he is old, he will not turn from it.” Children often turn from our influence while they are young, but we cling to the promise that eventually they will “get it” and every indication is that in fact, in most cases, they will. Last spring I hadn’t been awake for even two minutes one early, groggy Monday morning, when I got the call that my dad had suffered a major stroke. Within 24 hours, in spite of being on life support, my dad died. My family asked me to preach the funeral. My first words that day, when I stood before my grieving family and a host of friends were these: “My dad was the greatest man I ever knew.” Those words were true. He wasn’t the richest man or the most successful man or the most famous man I ever knew – but he was the greatest. He was my dad. Several years ago, on a dark Sunday night driving home from church, with just Dad and me in the car, I told him that he had been my role model all of my life. I told him that I rarely made a decision without wondering how he would respond to the same thing. I told him no one had ever influenced me more. His response was unexpected. He said he couldn’t believe it and that he had no idea I felt that way. Still today, I wonder how he didn’t know. His influence on me is undeniable. Everyone else in my family, including me, sees it, but somehow he missed it. Perhaps we never really know how much we influence our children, but in reality, whether we know or not, we do influence them greatly. In the end, by guiding our own children, we leave fingerprints on eternity. When we influence them, we unconsciously, but definitely, do our small part in influencing the next generation. Dr. Kie Bowman Pastor, Hyde Park Baptist Church

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-Adoption Services


Caring Family Network

877.719.3222 Connecting children, families & communities


Family Link Kids 512.947.7306


Get involved & make a difference

-Community Services Capital Area Food Bank of Texas Hunger is Unacceptable

A neighbor's independence depends on YOU! Round Rock................................................512.310.1060 Pflugerville.............................................512.538.1152 West Austin................................................512.472.6339 South Austin...............................................512.445.5552 NW/Cedar Park/Leander...................512.250.5021

Hope Street 512.236.1718

Transforming our city one life at a time...

Round Rock Area Serving Center 512.244.2431


-Counseling Head to Heart Restoration Ministry 512.236.1718


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Our Savior Lutheran 1513 E. Yager Lane, 78753 512.836.9600


King of Kings Lutheran 17000 Smyers Lane, 78681 512.255.0829

-Baptist Hyde Park Baptist Church 3901 Speedway, 78751 Solid Rock Baptist Church

D 608 Ralph Ablanedo Dr., 78748 512.410.7458

A Church for the Deaf and Hearing


New Hope Community Church 2330 Dry Creek Dr. Round Rock, TX 78681 512.255.0064

-Methodist C


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To have your church listed for as little as $12 a day, please call 512.584.6888

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Colin's Hope 512.524.6737

Grace Academy 512.864.9500

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Out There


Tyler Wolfe: Mixing It Up T

yler Wolfe is the Junior High Pastor at New Hope Community Church in Round Rock, Texas. He states that the youth group at his church has changed recently. Whereas most of the kids were from families within the church, now on Wednesday nights (which is when they meet), about two-thirds of the group are from families outside the church –“unchurched” kids.

tasks. Along with the money made, someone donated $10,000, and a van was purchased! That van is now driven every Wednesday night to pick up kids in the neighborhood who want to come to youth service.

The New Hope Youth Group goes out to where the kids live. A core group of student leaders shows up at a park nearby the church and just plays games with kids, inviting them to join in service that night. The youth Tyler states that a majority of the problems in the world exist because of group also hosted some fun tournaments, including Dodge Ball, where a lack of ‘Fathership,’ as he calls it – a lack of Christ-like leadership in the prizes were offered to the winners. During the service, the “churched” home. When Tyler meets these kids, observes their actions, mannerisms, mix with the “un-churched” in small groups where they share, get to and conversations, he sees past all of that to the hurt – the lack of love know each other, and pray “in a safe and trustworthy environment.” they need. He tries his best to affirm them, encourage them, mourn with them, rejoice with them, discipline them, and champion them. “Every One particular young man began coming to church right when the van ministry began. He couldn’t sit still through a lesson, or worship… child needs to know this love, the love of the Father,” states Tyler. and he defied authority. As constant love was shown each week, and “A few years ago The Lord gave me a vision of a van specifically for our scholarships were given for him to attend retreats, a change took place. church. A few weeks after He gave me this vision, the youth group In one service, the youth leaders began stating the truth about the supervisor, and now Senior Pastor, had the same vision and told me Father’s love, how He is perfect, how He will never leave us, and how He about it. The confirmation was awesome!” Tyler shared that the youth loves us more than we can imagine. Since receiving that truth, this young group then began praying for a van and started a project called OJ4J boy wants to come to class, wants to worship, and serves. “It is a great joy (Odd Jobs for Jesus), where youth were hired to accomplish requested to see the Lord bearing good fruit in these children’s lives,” states Tyler. Tyler states that if a church is not willing to look outside the walls, they have failed to see the purpose of Jesus. Ephesians 5:1 instructs us to be “imitators of Christ.” Christ did not wait for people to come to Him – he sought their needs and met them. Tyler leaves us with this closing statement: ”Impact the Fatherless to leave none Fatherless.” Marcy Lytle If you would like to submit the name of a leader in your church or ministry for their compassion and work that extends outside the four walls of the church, we’d like to hear from you! It can be a children’s ministry worker, a pastor, a worship leader, a member, etc. who has a heart that acts in love towards our community. Please submit their name, what it is you appreciate about them, and their contact info to We want to highlight those that are “out there” for Him.

Outside the Walls

One Love Ministries has been called out to go and reach the lost. We have been to Mason Manor, Rosewood Park, Fairway Village, Booker T. Washington Terrace. We take with us to deliver to the community free food, raffle prizes, children's ministry; but most importantly LOVE! It is literally church outside the four walls. We also have the Austin's finest Holy Hip-Hop featuring Holy Souljaz, as well as others, to minister on the MIC! We have atleast 15 different churches represented in this movement and God is absolutely without a doubt, taking us to higher levels. If you would like to become part of this movement you can reach me at: Jennifer Cortinas One Love Ministries jenniferlynncortinas@ 512-587-6557.

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Forever Family, Forever Home

“Mom, did you know there are children who don’t have homes?” This question came from the heart of a teenager who knew what the term “foster child” meant at an early age...


er parents tried to adopt a young girl when Mariah was five years old, and this birthed a desire in her that has grown and flourished into a ministry to the most “vulnerable children in our society.” Mariah Wilde, Executive Director/Founder of FamilyLink Foster Care and Adoption Agency, an organization that connects families with displaced children, states that when it comes to the question of helping children by loving them, fostering them, adopting them, or whatever – God says “Yes!” and “Now is the time.” Chris and Mariah said, “Yes!” and became foster and adoptive parents in their early 20’s to hurting children. Many years ago, Mariah read a book by Heidi Baker that states we can have lives that go from the “ordinary to the extraordinary” when answering God’s call to the “least of these.” She and her husband started FamilyLink, were licensed about five years ago, and have placed over 600 children in homes in that short amount of time. In June 2010 alone, they placed 48 children in homes. Sometimes FamilyLink receives calls for up to 25 children a day who have been left alone for days, starved or beaten, in need of safe haven with a loving family. Many people who consider adoption have misconceptions about the length of time to adopt, as well as the cost. Mariah says the licensing process only takes a few months (less than the nine months it


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takes to give birth) and adoption can be free! Private adoptions, where the birth parents choose adoption, do cost. However, most children that have been “rescued” or taken from homes because of neglect or other types of abuse are absolutely free, and they receive insurance, subsidy, and college tuition. FamilyLink finds foster and adoptive parents for babies, children and teens, licenses them, trains them, oversees them, and supports them throughout the child’s life. Free training classes are offered for those wishing to become foster and adoptive parents and volunteers.

Another misconception is that the children who need homes are often misbehaved and full of trouble, so would-be parents are fearful about taking this kind of child into their home. Mariah states that “all children are wonderful” and probably 6070% are just children in need of healing and love, which quickly becomes their lifeline.

Some children, of course, are more hurt and withdrawn, and exhibit behavior problems based on their past abuse, but Mariah comments, “We see miracles in every child,” because once a child knows they are in a “forever home” and “part of a family,” incredible healing begins to take place. FamilyLink also provides every resource available to help parents in the transition process of adding a new child to the home. There are many other ways to help children, besides adopting or fostering. Mariah states that mentoring is a great way to connect with and bless children. Mentors meet with a child, a couple of times a month, and offer extra support to a family who is fostering that child. This can be as simple as a day at the park or a trip to the zoo. Volunteering is another way to be involved in the lives of these children. “Church connectors” are needed, where an individual links their church with FamilyLink information about fostering/ adoption through packets of information, videos, etc. all being presented by Mariah herself! If a church wants her to come and share, she’s there! Also, once a month there are Retreat Days, where families all get together for a play day, support, and training. Volunteers are welcome to attend and love on the children. The next one is Familylink’s Christmas party coming up on December 11th.

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As our interview continued, there were several breaks for commercials. Our interview took place on the air, as Mariah has a radio show “Life Matters with Mariah” on KLGO, The Word, 99.3, and 98.5 Monday through Friday from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. (or online at I was thankful for the breaks, as I often had to wipe a tear from my own eye as I listened to Mariah’s heart for these children, and the great need for families in Texas.

Legacy Ranch, a multi-generational Camp and Community, is in the works for Mariah and her organization. Large sibling groups in need of a family are often separated and that causes so much heartbreak! This ranch will keep these children together, so that entire families don’t have to be pulled apart. It will also be a life supporting home to pregnant and parenting teens giving them a great family so they can learn to be great parents themselves. One unique aspect of this community is that it will also house the elderly, those who perhaps also don’t have families, but who still have so much to give. The older generation will connect with the younger generation by offering wisdom, gardening, or baking cookies together. It will also be a place for Texas foster families

and children for training and retreats! At this current time, fundraising is taking place for this dream to become a reality. Visit to donate. Legacy Ranch will be created by builders and contractors who believe in the vision and want to make a difference by donating their services, much like Extreme Home Makeover! Who do you know that would want to join the Legacy Ranch Building or Fundraising Team? I wanted to hear more from Mariah. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and it was obvious that her heart and soul were completely taken by children in need. She had stories to tell of children, now in homes, safe and secure. One such story was of the Clements family. A couple

Being home with a forever family is a dream kids hope for and wish for, more than any gift under a tree...

As our interview concluded, I asked Mariah how she keeps from getting discouraged because of the need being so great, and the families being so few. Her answer was this: “I stay solution focused – not problem focused. Anywhere I’m asked to go, I’ll go. We believe these kids are worth it. Everything we’ve got.” I also asked Mariah what she liked to do in her “spare” time if she ever gets any. Her answer was indicative of her whole life’s purpose. “I like to spend time with my kids having fun, at the lake or playing, including our Familylink kids.” This is the message Mariah and FamilyLink is sending to everyone who will hear, “Include a hurting child in your life.” Christmas is a milestone for many kids, waiting for the year when they are secure, in a home and “wanted.” Being home with a forever family is a dream kids hope for and wish for, more than any gift under a tree. Will you say, “Yes, come be a part of my family – take my name?” For more information on FamilyLink Kids, or for opportunities to volunteer, mentor, or give, visit www. Marcy Lytle

showed up wanting to adopt, when two little boys ages 4 and 5 became available. They had been displaced from the Katrina Hurricane catastrophe. Later, this same couple took in the older brother of the two young boys, and even later adopted four siblings waiting for a home! So now they are a family with seven children, a “forever family.” At a recent party, the Clements commented, “Tell people it’s not as hard as they think!” Mariah states that there are many more children like these who need a miracle rescue; a loving healing family who will “impart to them their incredible destiny.” On Mariah’s radio show, she hopes to “keep the fire going” for those families already connected with their new children, to “ignite the fire” for those considering fostering or adopting, and for those who have no idea about this wonderful opportunity, to show them “easy ways” to connect. The saddest thing is to turn children away, so her goal is to bring the Father’s heart into the ears of her listeners each night of the week.

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At age 21, Garry White woke up one morning and realized his goal in life was to save a life – not create one. Seven years later, he began his quest…


arry White has a Ph.D. in Computer Education, an M.A. in Psychology, and an M.S. in Applied Computer Science, and loves exploring wild caves, hiking across the Grand Canyon, and snow skiing…when he has the time. The Boys Scouts Program has also been a major part of his life, where he served as Assistant Scoutmaster at a youth correctional facility, and as District Training Chair. Garry states, “My belief in God’s plan and that a true, loving parent will never give up” kept him pursuing his life goal to save a life by becoming a single dad through adopting a child of his

own. As many agencies only worked with single women, and the fact that he was 28 when he started the process, Garry encountered many challenges over many years. Currently, he has an agency that is working with him and states, “Things appear to be moving well now.” Instead of responding to these obstacles with anger and frustration, Garry White decided to write a book about the struggles of his quest. His book My Quest to be a Single Dad tells the story of 30 years of Garry serving homeless young men who needed a good adult male role model, and instructs readers to learn about

the system of adoption, and how to engage in volunteering with CASA, with much more on encouraging those who are wishing to adopt to not give up. Garry shared his present situation, stating that just a few weeks ago, Child Protective Service had a game night at a children’s home, where families wishing to adopt ran game booths, and children available for adoption went to each booth to play. He states, “When a child hugs you and just stands there looking at you, well, it was a very emotional experience.” Garry turned in 11 names of boys that night who tugged at his heart; stating there were 130 kids overall and only 30 families present. “When I asked a 12-year old at this CPS event what his hobbies were, he ran to get his case worker to meet me. I will never forget the expression on his face when I asked him this question. Remember, he knew I was looking to adopt and he wanted a dad. The case worker saw firsthand how this 12-year old and I interacted. We clicked! The case worker talked to my case worker. My home study will be sent to this boy’s case worker.” After 30 years of trying, this is the closet Garry has come to becoming a true parent – a dad – and he’s VERY optimistic. Gary states, “I am single, not by a conscious decision, but by how life has turned out for me. As I have seen my friends with their kids, I have sensed a void in my life. I wanted to be a dad just like my dad was.” Garry White is one man who won’t give up on being a true parent to a kid who needs a home. Marcy Lytle


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20 Words:

A Generation Without Fathers A recent gathering of youth and college pastors in our city revealed some sobering realities. As these leaders wrestled with some of the areas that they felt were most threatening to the future of the church, one major wound kept throbbing through the discussion. Students today represent the most Fatherless generation in American history…and few of us seem to be doing anything significant about it.

According to, nearly 24 million kids in the US are living in a home without a father tonight. This group is five times more likely to live in poverty and two times more likely to drop out of school. But that’s not the worst part. Studies show fatherless teens from 1st to 12th grade are at much greater risk for crime, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, suicide, emotional health, and low academic achievements. While numbers don’t usually move us to action, they do get our attention.

Our city needs fathers who invest in the lives of their children. These are men who model what it really means to be a man by being the chief servant in and outside their home. They love their wives like Christ loves the Church and put the needs of others before their own. Cowardly men are afraid to connect emotionally with their children, refuse to learn from their mistakes, and are doomed to repeat the same failures their fathers had with them. Men of integrity, courage, and strength, however; will, like the Apostle Paul, become all things to all people so that by any means necessary their children will not just be ‘saved’ but go on to become great leaders.

Laying down your life for your neighbor was never meant to be a hobby, but rather a lifestyle.

The most heartbreaking part for me is that due to the lack of biblical parenting and discipleship we find in the home today, the other section of our young society who actually do have fathers in the home is, in reality, just as fatherless. It is very rare to find a Deuteronomy 6 father who is training his child up in the ways of the Lord. (And no, outsourcing your parenting to church is not being a father.) Having positional authority as a Dad is actually the lowest form of leadership. It’s the type of parenting that just says “Do what I say, not what I do” compared to the highest form of leadership which models “Trust what I say and follow what I do as I follow Christ.” That, my brothers, is the parental leadership we are called to.

What I find most exciting here is that before Christ returns, we will see a revival among fathers in our nation. I’ve got 20 bucks that says this verse is true: He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” – Malachi 4:6

God will do a miracle in the hearts of fathers, but like most miracles, He will do it through broken vessels like you and I who are willing to be agents of change. More specifically, I believe that 20-somethings are the key. They have suffered the effects of fatherlessness and are therefore the most qualified candidates to step in and rescue the next generation IF they are willing to sacrifice their time and energy to make it happen. Let’s think big picture for a moment. What exactly will it take to reverse the pattern of absentee parents in our city? Leadership. As Stephen Mueller, the director of Young Life in Austin, pointed out in a recent meeting - it will require the body of Christ to reproduce leaders who are owning the fatherlessness in our schools, churches, and communities. Our churches desperately need more youth leaders who are willing to live as missionaries within their areas of influence. Student leaders and Deuteronomy 6 parents can multiply their efforts by saying to others “Listen to the cry of the fatherless and follow me as I invest in the lives of these local children and teens.” Investing in the lives of others is costly. Discipleship is messy. Laying down your life for your neighbor was never meant to be a hobby, but rather a lifestyle. You must have true compassion, unselfishness, patience, and boldness to speak into the lives of others. We are harvesting a generation that does not know why they believe what they believe about Christianity, nor are they clear on what their identity in Christ is. This truth, combined with the lack of parenting we’ve been talking about, is severing the foundation of our churches and our nation. This moral plague - fatherlessness and poor discipleship - is aggressively spreading like cancer and must be reversed. Yet I wonder what anyone is willing to really do about it? What are you willing to do about it? This article (and entire magazine for that matter) is meant to be passed along to others as God speaks to you through it. Wrestle with the heaviness of it. Share your thoughts and feelings on this subject with a friend. Pray about your role in countering it. Most importantly, in celebration of Christ’s birthday this month, I challenge you to do something about it. Joe Elliott "20 Words" has a dual meaning: it speaks to the 20-something crowd and highlights 20 words that send a message.

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The Telephone Call 40 Years Later...

Courtney's Story At dinner with my family, I received a text message. Jane's Story

The first week of October 2009 had already been incredibly blessed. My husband and I had spent the week helping our daughter care for her two-yearold and newborn twins. It had been a wonderful blur of feedings, Dora videos, and Kodak moments. We were sorry to leave, but glad to get home. The phone was ringing as I entered our kitchen. I shouldn't have recognized the caller i.d. - Family Resource Services, Davenport IA - but I knew immediately what this was about. Still, I could not pick up the phone to answer this call, this call that I'd been waiting for, longing for - for forty years. So, I just stood and listened to the answering machine as a woman's voice asked if I had surrendered a child for adoption in 1968, and if so, was I "interested" in a reunion? She left her name and number. And then it was up to me. When I could speak, my reaction was just one word: "Finally." Catholic Charities had handled the adoption. Their files had been turned over to Family Resource Services where a letter I'd written in 1987 waited on God's timing to be opened. Of course, I called back. Of course, I began the most abundant flow of tears. I learned about my baby girl. Her name is Courtney. She is married to a doctor and they have six children!! She lives in Texas. So many surprises, but the most important thing I learned was not a surprise at all. When she was born, on April 29, 1968, I held her only once. While she was in my arms for just a few short minutes, I told her that I loved her and that I was giving her to a family who could give her everything I couldn't. Then I placed my daughter in God's own arms and prayed that He would make her life complete without me. Forty years later, it did not surprise me to learn that He had done just that. I trusted Him, and as always, my God proved trustworthy. Courtney grew up just where she was supposed to. She became the fine Christian woman of character God had always planned for her to be. Then, because I had given her over to Him, He brought her back to me. Isn't that just like our God?


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The message contained a social worker’s contact information and one other phrase - “Re: Jane.” I knew immediately that “Jane” was my birth mother, as listed on my adoption papers. I called the social worker (a.k.a. miracle worker) and discovered that Jane had married soon after my adoption and that I had three younger brothers, a younger sister, multiple nieces and nephews and a large, loving extended family! Through the social worker, Mama Jane and I began exchanging e-mails and getting to know one another. Excerpts from our first e-mails follow: Dear Courtney, For over 40 years, I've been waiting to hear from you and about you and now that I have, I don't know where to begin. I'm so grateful to God for giving you a good home with parents and a family who loved you. It's what I asked of Him when I surrendered you. I also asked Him to make your life complete without me, but my life has been missing you ever since.

Dear Jane, Through the years, I have felt the effects of your precious prayers. God's hand has definitely been upon me. He has guided, protected, and granted me unmerited favor throughout my life. He answered your prayer very well - which is why I didn't attempt to find you until after the passing of both of my parents and older brother.

I hope God has plans to bring us together in the near future, but I have learned to be patient. He knows best. Love, Jane

Jane, I am overwhelmed by how loved and special your words have made me feel. Thank You! You have opened a window to my soul that only you could, and have brought healing to my heart where I didn't even realize I needed it. Finally, thank you for choosing life for me so many years ago. I don't intend to waste a single minute of it. Love, Courtney By Thanksgiving, we gave permission to the social worker to let us e-mail directly. Then, we “friended” one another on Facebook, where we got the first glimpse at pictures of each other and our families. On Christmas evening, I surprised Mama Jane with a telephone call that lasted for four hours! We finally “met” in person at a ski resort in Washington State on Easter weekend, the perfect weekend for starting our new life together.

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-Courtney Woodall & Mama Jane

Moments of Obedience

Our First Choice


od sometimes puts things deep in the hearts of His people from a very young age - mine was the gift and privilege of adoption. My husband Jamon, on the other hand, needed some nudges. In 2007, he attended a Promise Keepers event in San Antonio where Pastor Wellington Boone spoke about the terrible impact abortion was having on the minority populations in America. The statement, “…and white families, you need to start raising children outside your race” pierced my husband’s heart. In that moment, my husband sensed that God was speaking directly to him and our family. After a few more gentle nudges, we began our pursuit to adopt our first child(ren).

In January of 2009, we began our training and licensing with Arrow Child and Family Ministries in Round Rock. It was a long drive for us, but well worth it for the education and support we received. In less than a year, we received the phone call that we were selected to be the parents of a 13 month old girl named Mary. We have no doubt that God purposed every event in our lives for the day we would welcome our precious daughter, Mary Grace, into our family. We consider ourselves the ones blessed to receive such special responsibility. We always receive funny looks when we explain that adoption was our first choice and not because of infertility, but we see it as such a clear depiction of God’s adoption of us as His children. -Paula White

Over the next year, we labored through the process to adopt a sibling group from Ethiopia. However, through a series of events, we felt God calling us to wait. After our pastor provided us with a brochure on adoption through the foster care system, we prayed to see if this was the path that God wanted us to pursue. It was a very different track than we originally envisioned and would be a step of faith.

• BuddyWalk • 2010 T

he Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT) just hosted their 11th annual Buddy Walk on October 24th at Reunion Ranch in Georgetown, TX. The Buddy Walk is not just a fundraiser for DSACT, but it is a celebration of the lives of people with Down syndrome and a chance to build awareness in our greater community. Families and friends create teams with clever names to celebrate their child with Down syndrome like “Sydney’s Saints,” “Wynter’s Waves,” “Patrick’s Pack,” and “Cameron’s Crew” to walk and raise money for the organization. This year DSACT’s Buddy Walk hosted over 2600 walkers across 70 teams and raised over $118,000. The Buddy Walk included wonderful entertainment including Hannah Montana and Elvis

impersonators, a petting zoo, children’s games, pony rides, and emergency vehicles for the kids to see up close. This year was especially meaningful, as the Buddy Walk was dedicated to the memory of Lori Barta who was the 2009 president of the organization, as well as this year’s education co-chair sitting on the Board of Directors. Lori passed away over the summer and DSACT felt a huge loss. She was inspired to advocacy when her middle daughter Hannah was born seven years ago with Down syndrome. She worked in parent, congregational, and medical outreach, but found her passion in educational inclusion. Encircled around the Buddy Walk special t-shirt design was her favorite saying “Leave the world a better place than you found it.” There was a balloon

release and a special thank-you award presented to her family who walked in her honor as the “Bananas for Hannah and Lori” team. DSACT uses these funds to provide programs for individuals with Down syndrome and their families in several areas including social groups, educational programs, recreational programs, emotional support groups, as well as outreach workshops and programs for the medical, educational and congregational communities. DSACT thanks the community for their support!

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Jeanette Holahan

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The Family Dinner An Everyday Reality


aura Bezden is a Texas gal, not afraid to take on anything. She lives an interesting life, rich with experience, spanning two continents. Plenty of hard-won knowhow has made her a successful business owner, a wife, and a mother of three boys. And, as a recent breast cancer survivor, her passion for helping busy families eat healthy food at home is stronger than ever. She grew up in Nacogdoches where her parents decided to supplement their teaching incomes by opening a restaurant. With her sister Juli, Laura helped mom and dad with things like the kitchen design. Given their teenage waitressing jobs, they had plenty of experience in the business! Her brother Wes helped to paint the furniture, as the whole family put the business together. The restaurant was named Rossini’s and became an overnight success with great Italian food and steaks, as well as operatic performances by wait staff who were students from Dr Jones’ studio at Stephen F. Austin University. Rossini’s was a very special place and was sold when her parents neared retirement.

She heard about the “Easy Meal Prep” concept and after doing a couple of pilots (the first customers being friends, family, and fellow parishioners from church), she was very encouraged by how well the concept was received. Daniel performed more marketing tests, dropping a few thousand flyers door to door, to see what response they would generate. Happy with the response rates, they decided to take the plunge and build their own commercial kitchen in Round Rock.

Laura and Daniel Bezden, owners of The Studio Kitchen in Round Rock, with their Five Day Meal Deal, delivery coolers, and gel packs.

Laura met her husband while he was on traveling on business to the United States. He asked her to get married just two days after they met! When Laura explained “Good food is what brings people back” is a concept they understand very well, that she thought they should get to know one another a little better, he never and after nearly seven years and almost 9,000 customers through their doors, the mentioned marriage again. That impressed her. Her previous suitors never stopped Bezdens are helping many happy families eat better and feel better every day. asking; so clearly this one was different. The couple had a long distance relationship for a year before Laura flew out to South Africa where she finally agreed to get Anthony Southwood married. For more about The Studio Kitchen visit Daniel was born and raised in South Africa where his parents were in the printing and publishing business. He had a passion for photography and flying. His pictures For more about the Bezden’s house in Cape Town, South Africa, visit were getting published professionally by age 13, and at age 17 he got his private pilot’s license. He earned a distinction in art during his final year in high school and then went on to get a Diploma in Hotel Management. After working in the hotel and restaurant industry for some years, his interest in art and photography inspired him to start a calendar publishing company. Shortly after Laura moved to South Africa, Nelson Mandela was released and the country really started to prosper as a true democracy. The newly married Bezdens were living through a wonderful part of South African history, all while managing their fast growing calendar business to become the market leader in a country about the size of Texas. And then they decided to have children… After four miscarriages (all in the first trimester) they were recommended to a state hospital’s infertility clinic. As it turned out, Professor Kruger, the man in charge, was a world leader in the field of infertility, and his clinic had a strong research purpose. After spending just a couple of hundred dollars in getting help with each pregnancy, Laura became the mother of three boys – now ages 10, 14 and 16. The Bezdens were truly blessed. Living in Cape Town, they had a wonderful domestic helper, named “Music.” She would do the house cleaning and ironing with the latest Bezden baby tied onto her back with a blanket – the way African mothers like to do. But it gets better! Daniel’s mother, Erina, was the “Betty Crocker” of South Africa. She published over 40 recipe books, so dinner was never a problem. Everything was pre-planned, premade, thawed, and cooked on a regular schedule. The family had a good supply of fresh vegetable medleys, similar to what they now sell at The Studio Kitchen. Life was good. The South African currency, the Rand, then started to devalue against the U.S. Dollar at an alarming rate. The Bezdens realized that if they ever hoped to return or retire to the U.S. they had to move soon. They sold their business and arrived in the United States, ready to start over. Things had changed during the 13 years Laura had been gone from the United States. Obesity was skyrocketing, restaurant portion sizes were enormous, and home cooking seemed like a lost art. Laura observed American women working at a maddening rate, only to arrive home where they faced more work. 18

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Journey for Two Practical Parenting Catching the Light Dear Dads Helpful Hints

19 20 21 22 23

Journey for Two:


Christmas Travels

ave you ever thought about Mary and Joseph as expectant newlyweds that very first Christmas and what a whirlwind they experienced? There were angelic beings, magical stars, and extravagant gifts from three wise men. There were also feelings of doubt, opposition, and fear. I can imagine the questions they might have asked themselves. What did I get myself into? Why is this so hard? What’s next? Welcome to married life!

stopped to help us. I knew that David had Take time to treasure the events on your journey heard from God about that silly flashlight, and as a couple. Ponder and wonder about them for I felt more secure in his care. It built trust in our a while. relationship.

Puzzle Practice

So now we were stuck in South Dakota, waiting for the repair shop to open. Luckily, as a Northern girl, I knew exactly what we needed to kill time during a brutal winter. I bought a puzzle. Not David’s idea of a great time, but he sat beside me and we set the entire thing – 500 tiny pieces. That felt like love to me! It was good practice for our life together. How many times in our nearly 20 years of marriage have we stared at the pieces of our lives and wondered how it was all going to come together. We’ve learned to tackle those things as a team. Two are better than one!

Then there was the treacherous journey for the census. We have summer babies, so I have never been “great with child” during the holiday season. I know that I certainly didn’t want to take any long trips when I was big and pregnant, and I have a comfortable air-conditioned minivan! It takes two to three hours to make the 100 mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem by car. Two thousand years ago, it would have been an eight to ten day trip. That’s grueling! Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 reads: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. A Flashlight Our first Christmas together involved a rather But pity the man who falls, and has no one to help treacherous journey as well. We were traveling him up!” from Tulsa, OK to my parent’s home in Bismarck, ND. We packed up my 1981 Toyota Celica and Treasures hit the road. We stopped in Iowa to fuel up David and I learned a lot on that trip. We grew and David insisted on buying a flashlight. I together. I bet the trip that Joseph and Mary couldn’t figure out why he was so adamant shared had the same result. Mary learned about it. Miles down the road, in the dark of that Joseph would do all he could to protect a South Dakota night - the alternator failed. It their young family. They learned to depend was well below zero and we were unprepared on each other and trust in God. Incredible to be stranded on a frigid highway. If it wasn’t things happened on that journey. I love Mary’s for that flashlight, I don’t know how we would response in Luke 2:19 “…Mary treasured up all have flagged down the Good Samaritan who these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Try this

• Remember an adventure or mis-adventure you shared. How did it bring you closer? • What stands out to you when you think about Joseph and Mary as a young couple? • What “flashlights” have you found? Share a moment when you knew your spouse heard from the Lord. • Look back over the year and celebrate a problem that you solved together. If you are traveling any distance for the holidays, you never know what surprises might be waiting for you out on the road. Be sure to pack a flashlight! Remember that setting a puzzle is a great way to spend a cold winter’s night and build your problem solving skills. It’s easy to get focused on the destination, but don’t forget to treasure the journey! David and Lynn Cherry Staff, Shoreline Church

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Practical Parenting


eaders are made, not born. Someone important said that, but I don't know who. I do know it's true. Sure, some people have a natural panache that makes others want to follow them. Others have to learn to be leaders, usually the hard way. I, myself, don't have the panache, but I have learned a few things about leadership from being a mom. The first requirement for being a leader is to have someone to lead. A small, but vital, detail. Having a child makes a parent a leader by default. If and how a parent leads is a choice. A good leader should expect and require obedience with a no-nonsense, but gentle, approach. If obeying is just part of the routine and not a throw down for only big issues, resistance is less likely to fully develop. I impress on my children the importance of working as a team. If we all work together, we have time to have fun. What does a leader do besides lead? Bark orders, of course. Okay, so I don't bark, but I do assign tasks. Why should I have all the fun? All of my children are assigned chores as soon as they are capable of understanding and completing basic instructions. The first chore is to throw away your own diaper. I wish I could say it hastens potty training, but that has not been my experience. It does teach basic obedience, though. From there, each child learns new assignments as she is able to complete them. I bought a little 99-cent feather duster and my twoyear-old's chore is to dust the baseboards. They don't always need

dusting, nor does she do the best job, but it's an assignment she can do while she learns how to dust without fear of breaking anything. One (of many) mistakes I made early on was to send one of my children to complete a task without teaching how to do it. Sure, it sounds simple enough to tell someone to pick up the wet towels off the bathroom floor. I wonder why this isn't as obvious to them as it is to me. But, I think a child hears Charlie Brown's teacher when I send them to do something without explicit instructions and at least one demonstration. So, I periodically have cleaning tutorials with each child. We go into a room and talk about what needs to be done. Trash goes in the trash can (it's hard to resist a “duh” here), clothes go in the laundry hamper, toys go in the toy box, books go on the bookshelf. One of my pet peeves is that only the mattress, sheets, pillows, and bedspread belong on the bed. They seem to think that anything that doesn't go on the floor must go on the bed. A good leader knows the limitations of the people he leads. Kids are kids. My children can do some chores exceptionally well, and I expect them to complete these chores to that level of excellence. Other chores are more of a challenge. For those assignments, I expect them to do their best, but do not require perfection while they are learning and honing their abilities. Expect great things, but don't require them. Even an imperfect leader, like me, can successfully raise reasonably wellbehaved, responsible children. When my first child was born, it was all kisses and giggles for a while. Then, it wasn't. As I recall, she threw plastic containers on the floor and refused to pick them up. This was a line in the sand. I could require her to obey now, when it wouldn't take a lot of effort or pain for either of us, or I could show her that following a leader wasn't important and set her up for a lifetime of frustration, not to mention the gazillion times I would have to pick up after her. Sounds overblown, but it's not. Habits and attitudes start young. After about fifteen minutes of wailing, she picked up the containers and turned back into my sweet angel again. Unfortunately, one battle did not win the war, but over the years the resistance has mellowed. I now have a preteen daughter who is an efficient helper and who realizes work has to be done, regardless of feelings. As a parent you are more than an ATM or a chauffeur. Don’t get lost in the busyness of life. You are the leader of your family. Teach and train them. Love them and expect great things. It's your God-given calling. Georgeanne Schuch

Susan Hart Bio The need to create has always been important to me, through oil painting, teaching esthetics, or implementing business strategies. Being an artist has given me a unique perspective on business in the beauty industry. I started my journey 25 years ago as a model, but quickly realized my true love for enhancing beauty as a make-up artist. I dropped my contract with Elite Modeling Agency to start a family, but maintained my passion for the beauty industry. While raising three children, I continued my education and obtained an Esthetician's license. I flew around the country to wherever the latest techniques and products were being developed, to expand my knowledge of the industry. One of the highlights of my career was working for a cosmetics company based out of Beverly Hills called Visage Beaute. I learned how to launch and manage a new company from the ground up. Shortly after, I designed and developed Medical Day Spas along the West Coast.


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I moved to Round Rock in 2005 and immediately fell in love with the historic downtown. Here I combined my passion and experience to create a business that combines the luxuries of Austin with the local charm of Round Rock. Available at all HEB, Randalls, & Central Market locations in the Greater Austin area

Catching the Light


Mall Madness

Families that pray together stay together, and grow together. Below is a small sample of the type of family devotions you will find in Catching Fireflies, written by Marcy Lytle. Take one evening, gather the family together, and catch the light from God's Word as you have fun doing it!

On sticky notes, write the following store names, and place around the house in different locations: Music Store, Cool Clothes, Video Games, Movie Time, Food Court, Walking Corridor, Fine Jewelry. Place one item at each “store,” such as a CD, a coat, a game, etc… and a rug in the walking corridor. Give three “actors” each a coin. Assign one person to read the lesson aloud.

three stores as listed below, and continue reading, as they act out their part. Music store – (Actor #1 picks up the CD and dances to a tune.) The ears enjoy music, but we must make sure we’re listening to lyrics that say good things. Put back the CD. You don’t really need it. Clothing store – We need clothes. (Actor #2 puts on the article of clothing.) However, sometimes we care more about our outside appearance rather than making sure the inside is beautiful. Leave your coin. Clothes cost money.

Walking corridor – Some people just like to walk around aimlessly (targeting nothing), which sometimes leads to boredom and mischief (The three start punching and teasing, and one trips and falls.)

Video arcade– Everyone loves a good game – but only if we win! Games cost money, and he shopping mall is a busy place at sometimes losing makes us angry! (Actor #3 Christmas. Families with teenagers, little throws down his coin and stomps off as if he lost a kids, and even grandparents are looking game, and then wanders on to the theater.) for that special gift to please that special someone. While they’re looking, these same Movie theater– (Have all three shoppers stop here folks are drawn towards their own particular together.) Movies are fun, relaxing, and can be interests. Where do YOU like to hang out at the thrilling – but we have to be careful what we mall? Life is like shopping at a mall, since there watch. What we see leaves a lasting impression. are many choices, lots of temptations, and it (All three leave and sigh, as the prices are too can be exhausting! Place the actors at the first high!)

Fine Jewelry– Wow! That shiny thing catches your eye and you’ve just got to have it – at all costs! (Actor #1 stops here and frowns because his coin is not enough.)


Food court– The smells are awesome, and you’re hungry from all that walking! (All three actors stop for a bite, leaving the final coin.) Filling up on junk food is fun once in a while, but not every day. Now that you’re full, you’ve made your purchases, and you’ve had you’re fun. What’s next? You’re all out of money, and the mall is closing. (Everyone sits down.) Answer these questions together, as a family. • • • • •

How can life be like a mall? (Choices to make; and some are costly.) How can we keep our eyes from desiring things we can’t afford? (Be content.) How can we keep out of mischief? (Find our purpose in life.) How can we keep from getting angry when we lose? (Give thanks.) How can we make ourselves beautiful inside, so that it shows on the outside? (Love Jesus, and love others.)

This Christmas, remember the mall offers lots of exciting places, things to buy, and places to see, but eventually the mall closes. Items are expensive, and in a few weeks, we’ll want all of that “stuff” again, only new and better. A relationship with Jesus is the only thing in life that satisfies, it’s free, and it’s everlasting. Read John 3:16 together as a family. Marcy Lytle Author, Catching Fireflies

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Dear Dads

Don't Miss Out!

Take the Lead


omans 8 tells us that we have received a spirit of adoption from God. It states that as Christians we are now children of God, fellow heirs with Christ. Probably the single greatest picture of this adoption in scripture is found in Ephesians 2. Paul explains that Christians were once dead in their trespasses; were children of wrath, and separated from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth. He goes on to explain, “But (Don’t miss this “but”; it is a gigantic “but”) now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Being far but being brought near speaks to the depths of this generous act. Adoption into God’s family is such an incredible gift. It’s a gift that is freely given to all who will freely give their lives to Jesus Christ. However, adoption does not just occur in the spiritual realm. It can and does occur within the confines of our finite world and is no less exceptional. This gift of adoption is always invaluably special to its recipient.

It is this gift that is not only the subject of this month’s Austin Family and Family but the subject of this article and has everything to do with dads. Adoption is a subject that should be on the mind of every Christian father. It is estimated that there are 143 million orphaned kids around the world.1 If you have not wrestled with the plight of these orphaned children in your heart and mind, you need to. Fathers, please do not turn a blind eye. It is a scriptural mandate to look after orphans (James 1: 27). Even if it is not God’s plan for you to adopt, you can foster. If you are not able to foster, then work to create awareness of this issue. At the very least— pray! It is not an option for you to read this article and do nothing. God pleads with us to join with him in this ministry. Don’t miss out! Let’s say that you’ve read through this month’s issue and really desire to take steps in this area, but you have no clue what to do next. First of all, pray. He wants you to join in this ministry to orphans. Pray through how he wants you to be a part. Second, be educated. Know how many

orphans are living not only around the world, but in your particular area. There are multitudes of ways you can help out— your willingness is the best thing you have to contribute. Lastly, look into actually fostering and/or adopting an orphan and weigh the cost. Everything from your finances to emotions and familial issues need to be in order as you consider adoption. Taking in a child with built-in baggage is one of the most difficult tasks asked of parents, but it is also one of the most rewarding. Funny enough, that scenario sounds familiar. I thank God that He was willing to take me in, luggage and all! If you find yourself either desiring to adopt, foster, or maybe even already have the adopted/fostered child in your home, here are a few things to keep in mind: As the man of the household, everyone is going to take your lead. You set the tone for the family. You create the loving atmosphere, you facilitate the acceptance, and you provide the first glimpse of hope that this child has possibly seen in years. Sounds like an impossible task and it is, without the help of your adoptive Father Jesus Christ. Seek his wisdom. You will also want to tell the adopted child the truth2 and celebrate the amazing gift of this child. He/she not only needs to know they were adopted, but they need to be very comfortable with it. Saving that type of conversation only causes confusion later on. Also, remember to be gracious in your parenting of an adoptive/ fostered child. They will have obvious questions and concerns that one conversation will not put to rest. The child might even act out due to these concerns, rather than work through them in a healthy way. That is normal, so hang in there. Be firm, having expectations and consequences, but know that they are dealing with realities that are extremely difficult for a young person to grasp. Give them this time and don’t be afraid of these conversations. Sometimes you won’t have the answers, but we serve a God that does. Adopting and/or fostering a child is a lot to take on. But just like Christ, bringing a child that was once far off, near, is incredibly rewarding. Not only for the receiver, but for the giver as well. Joshua Myers, M.A., LPC The Timothy Center [1] Tim Clinton and John Trent, Marriage and Family Counseling (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009), 22. [2] Ibid.


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Helpful Hints



everal years ago, my wife decided to reach out to the many children in our neighborhood with the gospel of Jesus by having a Christmas cookie decorating party. It was great fun and a great opportunity to share the good news that our Savior was born. We began by inviting all of the children from our street ranging from ages 5 to 10 to come to a Christmas Cookie Party to decorate cookies for their family. Each child was asked to bring a large cookie sheet with their name taped on the side. Prior to the party, we baked over two dozen sugar cookies per child so each one would have plenty to decorate for their family as well as eat during the party. Hot cocoa was prepared to go with the cookies. A separate pie plate was

used to hold each type of cookie decoration, sprinkles, colored sugar and icing; and the kitchen table assembly line was set. With Christmas carols playing on the stereo, each child arrived excited and ready to decorate special cookies to take to home. Brief instructions were given and the fun began! Another couple from the neighborhood came to help, giving us one adult for every two or three children. As each cookie masterpiece was completed, it was laid out on the cookie sheet to carry home. Once the cookies were decorated, the children gathered in the living room to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. This traditional holiday program combines many of the secular aspects of Christmas with a simple and clear

proclamation of the gospel of Jesus. Once the program was over, we talked about Christmas from a child’s perspective, wrapped up the cookie sheets and escorted the children home. This simple gift built lasting memories for us, as well as the neighborhood. This Christmas season, take time to reach out to others with Christmas Cookies and the Gospel. You will be blessed and Jesus will be glorified. Al H. Jones, Ph.D. Head to Heart Restoration Ministry


Elgin Christmas Tree Farm When you make the drive out to Elgin, you soon realize why Texans love Texas so much. Among all the beautiful landscape and that big Texas sky, you'll find nestled right off Highway 290 the Elgin Christmas Tree Farm. My first thought was that we'd drive out to a field and cut a tree down and strap it on the top of the mini van and be on our way. I soon learned that it just does not work that way; and for a city boy like me, I was in for an experience. The first thing we did was hop on a trailer pulled by a tractor, while we were sitting on bales of hay. We rode the tractor out past rows and rows of Christmas trees until we found the perfect spot to unload the kids in search of the perfect tree. One thing I did not anticipate

was how hard it was to find the perfect tree with a fiveyear-old, a three-year-old, and one-year-old. In fact, I am somewhat surprised we made it out of there with all three! The other thing I did not anticipate was how we would all find the prefect tree, and once we walked away from that perfect tree, we'd never be able to find it again. I felt like I should have left a breadcrumb trail like Hansel and Gretel that would have led us back to that perfect tree! After all was said and done, we did eventually find the one perfect tree of the many beautiful trees we had found.

experience of sitting on a hay bale, riding on a trailer being pulled by a tractor, and the kids getting to play in the Haze Maze and getting to see the live animals they have out there, sure beats buying a tree under one of those tents on the side of the road or in front of a grocery store any ole day! The prices at the Elgin Christmas Tree Farm for the trees are Now to cut it down! The very reasonable. And the memories? Well, Elgin Christmas Tree farm they're priceless. provided me with a new saw Lee Eddins that sliced right through the trunk like a knife through butter. Of course Asher and 512-281-5016 Izzy had to take their turns, but we made it through without incident, and now we have a really great experience to add to the memory bank and the photo Mon-Thur 10am-2pm album, thanks to the Elgin Fri & Sat 10-5:30 Sun 12-5:30pm Christmas Tree Farm. The fun

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Submit calendar entries to by the 15th of the preceding month. STM Christmas Bazaar – St. Thomas More Catholic Church – Parish Activity Center. There will be free admission, a silent auction, and quilt raffle. Come shop some of Austin’s finest vendors!


Student of the Month

Hannah Thomas attends Grace Academy where she is a senior this year! One thing she likes about her school is that she learns how to discern truth from error, and she also loves being surrounded by a “community of friends who brighten each day.” On weekends, Hannah enjoys baking, attending her sister’s soccer games, and jogging with her Jack Russell Terrier. She babysits for school families, and at her church she volunteers in the nursery and attends weekly bible studies. Her hero is C.S. Lewis, whom she calls “a literary giant.” “I cannot help being swept away into his stories,” comments Hannah. She is currently involved in an internship program with Classical Academic Press, where a Classical Latin internet game is being designed. Hannah feels that along with her great academic training she has also been encouraged in her faith. She states the association between her faith and her school is “reciprocal,” in that she has “soaked up Christian doctrine,” and knows this has equipped her to bless others as she graduates soon. And what does her future hold after high school? Hanna hopes to have the opportunity to travel and she also wants to land a job that allows her to be creative. However, she is convinced that God will guide her in the path he has designed for her. Marcy Lytle

Friday, December 3 Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Frank Erwin Center starting at 8pm Christmas Open House at LifeWay Christian Store – 7am11pm - enjoy wassail, coffee, cookies, carolers, kid's crafts, drawings and prizes given away all day...also plenty of coupons too!

Saturday, December 4 FREE Flu Vaccination Clinic – Seton Medical Center Williamson 730am – 12:00pm. Vaccinations will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. No vaccinations will be given to children under the age of 13 or persons with allergies to eggs, a temperature of over 100 degrees, or pregnant women. H20 (Healing Haiti Outreach) – Calvary Austin - starting at 5:30pm. C.L.I.C. is putting on an awesome night of worship with Phil Wickham, Rachel Jackson Band and Luke Huch. We are doing this to raise money to help rebuild Haiti. Master Singers, Inc. Christmas Concert – Salado United Methodist Church starting at 2pm. The Master Singers perform for the benefit of the Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity. Come experience the sounds of Christmas!

The Nutcracker – The Long Center at various times. Austin’s holiday tradition returns as Texas’ longest running production of The Nutcracker takes the stage for its 48th year. Christmas Open House at LifeWay Christian Store – 7am11pm - enjoy wassail, coffee, cookies, carolers, kid's crafts, drawings and prizes given away all day...also plenty of coupons too!


Presents with a purpose at Shoreline Church Dec. 4, 10am-5pm & Dec. 5, 1pm-5pm

Come shop at a wide variety of vendors! A portion of the proceeds will benefit Caleb House orphanages in Haiti, Botswana, and the Philippines.

Sunday, December 5 STM Christmas Bazaar – St. Thomas More Catholic Church – Parish Activity Center. There will be free admission, a silent auction, and quilt raffle. Come shop some of Austin’s finest vendors! The Nutcracker – The Long Center at various times. Austin’s holiday tradition returns as Texas’ longest running production of The Nutcracker takes the stage for its 48th year. Presents with a Purpose – Shoreline Church – 1pm-5pm – Come shop at a wide variety of vendors! A portion of the proceeds will benefit Caleb House orphanages in Haiti, Botswana, and the Philippines.

Thursday, December 9 Grace Academy Open House – Grace Academy starting at 9:45am. A classical, Christian school, Grace Academy is committed to educating the children of believers who desire a challenging academic environment that inculcates a biblical worldview through our Christ- centered curriculum. Open House will include presentations, student recitations, a chance to observe in classrooms, and time for questions. Individual appointments are also available if the 9th is not convenient for you.

Friday, December 10 Living Nativity – Park Hills Baptist Church at various times. An outdoor presentation of the Christmas story put on by the members of Park Hills Baptist Church with plenty of live animals (including camels), and hot cocoa for visitors. The Nutcracker – The Long Center at various times. Austin’s holiday tradition returns as Texas’ longest running production of The Nutcracker takes the stage for its 48th year.

The Promise Delivered – First Baptist Church Georgetown at various times. Many prophecies foretold the Messiah’s birth. Even as God was fulfilling His promise, so many failed to see the special gift that this new life really was. Come see how a baby truly changes everything.

Saturday, December 11 Christmas In the Country – Crowe’s Nest Farm starting at 4pm. Crowe’s Nest Farm will host a special evening filled with the sights, smells, and sounds of Christmas. Come see holiday lights including a lighted Faeriewood Trail; a living Nativity compete with some of the 250 animals that call Crowes Nest Farm home; Santa and Mrs. Claus, and lots of holiday food and crafts to enjoy or give as a holiday gifts. Foster Children Christmas Retreat – Hill Country Bible Church starting at 11am. FamilyLink is a Christian non-profit foster care and adoption agency, and we will be hosting our largest Foster Children Christmas Retreat ever this year! We have almost 200 foster children currently placed with our families and we will need several volunteers. Living Nativity – Park Hills Baptist Church at various times. An outdoor presentation of the Christmas story put on by the members of Park Hills Baptist Church with plenty of live animals (including camels), and hot cocoa for visitors. Night in Bethlehem – Plum Creek starting at 6pm. Imagine traveling back in time to a little town called Bethlehem. Imagine stepping into a story that changed the face of the world. A virgin has conceived; wise men are traveling from a great distance; shepherds are witnesses to hosts of angels; and in a manger, a child is born…Do more than hear the story, be part of the story. Project Overflow 5K – Old Settler’s Park starting at 8am. The class of 2011 and 2012 Girls from First United Methodist Church of Pflugerville have a huge goal – to buy a water well for a village in Africa, which will cost about $4000! We will be hosting a 5K walk/run on Saturday, December 11th to help meet our goal. Please join us at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock for a fun 5K for a good cause. The Nutcracker – The Long Center at various times. Austin’s holiday tradition returns as Texas’ longest running production of The Nutcracker takes the stage for its 48th year. The Promise Delivered – First Baptist Church Georgetown at various times. Many prophecies foretold the Messiah’s birth. Even as God was fulfilling His promise, so many failed to see the special gift that this new life really was. Come see how a baby truly changes everything Yo Gabba, Gabba! Live! – There’s a Party in My City! Tour – Cedar Park Center starting at 2pm.

Sunday, December 12 Living Nativity – Park Hills Baptist Church at various times. An outdoor presentation of the Christmas story put on by the members of Park Hills Baptist Church with plenty of live animals (including camels), and hot cocoa for visitors. Night in Bethlehem – Plum Creek starting at 6pm. Imagine traveling back in time to a little town called Bethlehem. Imagine stepping into a story that changed the face of the world. A virgin has conceived; wise men are traveling from a great distance; shepherds are witnesses to hosts of angels; and in a manger, a child is born…Do more than hear the story, be part of the story.

Support our ministry!

Amanda Eddins 24

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In June of 2009, Amanda founded Austin Faith & Family magazine, seeking to bring to Austin a faith-based publication that would be a resource for the church, the family, and Austin's faith-based community. As a wife and mother of four children under the age of six, Amanda values family time, in addition to her ministry through this magazine. To advertise with Austin Faith & Family, call 512-584-6888. Available at all HEB, Randalls, & Central Market locations in the Greater Austin area

December Service of Remembrance and Hope – The Lakeway Church starting at 2pm. The Lakeway Church would like to invite you and your family to a service of Remembrance and Hope Sunday afternoon. The Christmas season can be a difficult time for those who have lost someone they love. Join us for this opportunity of fellowship, encouragement, remembrance and healing. The Nutcracker – The Long Center at various times. Austin’s holiday tradition returns as Texas’ longest running production of The Nutcracker takes the stage for its 48th year. Toy Evangelism – 7:00pm - Victory Austin Church – hosted by Christian Compassion Center, Austin Pregnancy Resource Center, and Victory Austin Church – outreach for families through giving.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times. The Nutcracker – The Long Center at various times. Austin’s holiday tradition returns at Texas’ longest running production of The Nutcracker takes the stage for its 48th year.

Monday, December 20 Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times.

Tuesday, December 21

Friday, December 17 Bethlehem Nights – Fellowship Baptist Church Liberty Hill starting at 7pm. Come join us as we travel back in time to Bethlehem as it was the night Christ was born. Experience the thrill of the shepherds, the bustle of the city and the awe of baby Jesus. This is an outside event, so dress warmly. Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times. Fill your heart with Christmas as the world-famous Radio City Rockettes bring their eye-high kicks and a cast and crew of over 100 to Austin in the breathtaking Radio City Christmas Spectacular! Parents enjoy the flawless precision of the Rockettes in numbers such as the legendary Parade of Wooden Soldiers. Children thrill as Santa takes them on a magical ride to his workshop at the North Pole, where playful rag dolls come to life! And everyone marvels at the stunning reenactment of the very first Christmas in the “Living Nativity.” Both brilliantly grand and genuinely moving, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular creates family memories that last a lifetime! The Nutcracker – The Long Center at various times. Austin’s holiday tradition returns at Texas’ longest running production of The Nutcracker takes the stage for its 48th year.

Saturday, December 18 Bethlehem Nights – Fellowship Baptist Church Liberty Hill starting at 7pm. Come join us as we travel back in time to Bethlehem as it was the night Christ was born. Experience the thrill of the shepherds, the bustle of the city and the awe of baby Jesus. This is an outside event, so dress warmly. Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times. The Nutcracker – The Long Center at various times. Austin’s holiday tradition returns at Texas’ longest running production of The Nutcracker takes the stage for its 48th year.

Sunday, December 19 Bethlehem Nights – Fellowship Baptist Church Liberty Hill starting at 7pm. Come join us as we travel back in time to Bethlehem as it was the night Christ was born. Experience the thrill of the shepherds, the bustle of the city and the awe of baby Jesus. This is an outside event, so dress warmly.


Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times. The Nutcracker – The Long Center at various times. Austin’s holiday tradition returns as Texas’ longest running production of The Nutcracker takes the stage for its 48th year.

Wednesday, December 22 Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times. The Nutcracker – The Long Center at various times. Austin’s holiday tradition returns at Texas’ longest running production of The Nutcracker takes the stage for its 48th year. Follow us into the dream world of Clara, as she visits a magical land of dancing snowflakes, a Sugar Plum fairy and a celebration that takes her around the world in a single night.

Thursday, December 23

Saturday, December 25 Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times.

Sunday, December 26 Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times.

Monday, December 27 Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times.

Tuesday, December 28 Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times.

Wednesday, December 29 Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times.

Thursday, December 30 Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times.

Friday, December 31 Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times. The Nutcracker – The Long Center at various times. Austin’s holiday tradition returns at Texas’ longest running production of The Nutcracker takes the stage for its 48th year.

Friday, December 24 Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Bass Concert Hall at various times. Fill your heart with Christmas as the world-famous Radio City Rockettes bring their eye-high kicks and a cast and crew of over 100 to Austin in the breathtaking Radio City Christmas Spectacular!

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Life Care Communities opens new location in downtown Round Rock to serve Williamson County

Executive Director Carol Johnson cuts the ribbon

Care Communities staff - Top Row: Carol Johnson, Sebastian Bentkowski, Vincent Malouf, Bottom row: Roger Temme, Jessica Hager, Melissa Demand, Courtney Sienkiel, Christina Camacho

City Scene Cooking Out & About Travel

27 28 29 30

Booking signing at LifeWay on Nov. 12 with Vannetta Chapman, author of A Simple Amish Christmas

Alliance for Women In Media Honors AFF's Susan Stern

Round Rock Christian Academy Veterans' Day Ceremony Bob Cole and Susan Stern

AAWM Past Presidents, 1980-2010

Dorothy Bender, Lori Barton, Susan Stern

On Nov. 12th, AFF's own Susan Stern was recognized by the Alliance for Women in Media for her service as president of the local chapter from 2006-07. To mark the 30th anniversary of the Austin chapter, the nonprofit professional organization brought past presidents and Trailblazer Award winners as well as current members of the local media together for a reunion celebration at the Stephen F. Austin hotel. The event was emceed by KVET-FM's Bob Cole, a long-time supporter and friend of the organization. The mission of the Alliance for Women in Media is to advance the impact of women in the media and allied fields by educating, advocating and acting as a resource to its members, the industry, and the public.

The Whosoevers in Austin Round Rock Christian Academy honored veterans and active duty personnel and their families at a Veterans Day Ceremony on November 11 in the Central Baptist Church Worship Center. The event was packed with meaningful tributes, speeches, choral renditions, and a video presentation. Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw welcomed those in attendance and read a proclamation from Governor Rick Perry. Congressman John Carter and the Honorable Rick Green of Wall Builders were the two featured guest speakers who spoke on the sacrifices made for our freedom. Pastor Mark Westerfield challenged those in attendance to recognize that while God does indeed bless America, it is important that we bless God in all that we do. The congregation sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and “America the Beautiful” to close the program.

The Whosoevers were here earlier this year on the UT Campus and thanks in part to Promiseland Church here in Austin, they were able to come back. They held their event at Promiseland Church and as usual, The Whosoevers shared the message of John 3:16 to anyone who would listen. Many gave their lives to Christ that night and Promiseland even busted out the baptismal waters to those who wanted to go ahead and celebrate with the Believers Baptism. We praise the Lord for Promiseland Church, who continues to celebrate the many ways in which God has provided us to reach the lost through diverse methods...Promiseland definitely thinks outside the pew.

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Erin's Cooking

Make It Your Own


all me crazy but I look forward to the seasonal change from fall to the holidays, marked by the holiday-flavored coffee creamers at the store and at Starbucks. My top choice? Pumpkin spice! Maybe it has something to do with my pumpkin orange hair! I enjoy a slice of pumpkin loaf pound cake at Starbucks throughout the year but there’s something special about getting that first pumpkin spice Frappuccino at Starbucks - because in central Texas it is still warm enough to enjoy the cold beverages when they break open the seasonal stock in October - and that makes me want to go Christmas shopping. Nowadays my spiced cup o’ Joe accompanies me in my morning devotional time. I call that reaping the benefits of self-discipline; trading sleep for a pumpkin spice latte. How many readers know it’s hard to wake yourself up even earlier in the morning for some “Come to Jesus” time? Let me encourage you, it gets easier…eventually. I have had to re-train myself in the art of devotional time with the Lord since becoming a part of Celebration School of Ministry at Celebration Church in Georgetown, TX. I have been an intern since September 13th when I was presented with the opportunity. Per the housing requirements of the internship, I live with four other female interns. Two of my roommates come from a Hispanic background and know how to put some good food on the table. One thing I’ve observed from their cooking methods is that it’s all so basic. No mess, no stress! I come from a short-lived culinary background where most everything can become so complex if you let it. My recipe for Ramen Noodle Stir-fry is simply a method and can be interpreted in many creative ways. Mix it up and make it your own!

Lysas' Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake 1 ¾ Cups of All Purpose Flour 1 ½ Teaspoons Pumpkin Spice 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder ¾ Teaspoon Salt 1 Stick Butter (room temperature) 1 ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar 3 Eggs 1 ¼ Cups Pumpkin Puree (canned) 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract 1/3 Cup Milk 1 Cup Chocolate Chips Ganache Frosting: 2/3 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream 2 Tablespoons Butter 2 Cups Chocolate Chips Directions:

Ramen Noodle Stir-fry Serves: 1-2

4-8 oz. sherry ginger marinated, thin cut chicken thighs (use your favorite marinated protein; Lawry's brand Teriyaki marinade is DELICIOUS!) 1 pkg. prepared Ramen Noodles (whatever flavor goes best with your choice of marinade) 1 c. steamed or blanched mixed veggies/ peppers 1 Tbsp. oil Directions: In a skillet, preferably cast iron, heat oil and sauté marinated meat. After meat is fully cooked, remove meat from skillet & set aside. Remove Ramen Noodles from broth, put into skillet and sauté 2-3 minutes. Mix noodles with steamed/ blanched veggies and plate with meat.

Sift Flour, Pumpkin Spice, Baking Soda & Baking Powder in medium sized bowl. Set aside. In large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar & eggs one at a time. Beat until smooth. Beat in pumpkin puree & vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternating with the milk. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes in a Bundt pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil & lightly floured. To make Ganache Frosting, heat butter & whipping cream in a saucepan until almost boiling. Pour over chocolate chips in a separate mixing bowl. Let sit a few minutes to allow chocolate chips to melt. Whisk until smooth & glossy. Pour over cake while warm.

Challenge of the month: Find three recipes where you can substitute the spice mix for Tony’s Original Creole Seasoning. Works every time! Erin Osborn


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Creating Christmas Memories We may not have snow at Christmas, but there are many ways to celebrate Christ’s birth and the joy of Christmas in and around Austin! Some are strictly remembering the story of Jesus’ birth and some remind us of God’s love for mankind through the gift of His son, Jesus. Still others are more subtle and simply express joy and giving. All of these expressions of love and giving allow believers the opportunity share the hope of the Gospel with people we meet every day! Let’s encourage each other to spread God’s love for all people, choosing to love each person He puts in our path regardless of our differences. For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16. I pray you all have a wonderful Christmas season, filled with Christ’s love and compassion for all people, extending His love to all, in order to make His name great! Vicki Lancaster


Just a Goo

Main Street Bethlehem

My favorite way to begin the Christmas season was officially launched last year when my family ventured to Burnet, Texas on a crisp December afternoon to see Mainstreet Bethlehem. This event is a gift of love to central Texas from First Baptist Church of Burnet. What a wonderful way for adults and children to remember what Christmas is all about and to learn what the first Christmas must have been like for Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and the citizens of Bethlehem! Truly it is a walk back in time, strolling about Bethlehem during the time Jesus was born. Actors (members of the church) are everywhere, authentically dressed, and involved in many activities that must have been going on that first Christmas. You can smell and taste delicious fresh baked Bethlehem bread (yummy!), witness a jail with prisoners, and view livery stables, livestock, community dances, adobe structures, water wells, a synagogue, camp fires, and much more! We were even startled by shepherds proclaiming what they had seen in the heavens! The wait is long, so go as early as possible and bring some games, toys (if you have children) and snacks along with you. It is truly worth the wait.

Exotic Resort Zoo

I think this year we might start the day early in the morning and stop at The Exotic Resort Zoo in Johnson City and make a whole day of adventure! I have never been there before, but reports from friends and information on the internet give it five stars! The zoo opens at 9:00 am each day. Visitors are escorted on an open door train to see various exotic animals up close, including zebras, kangaroos, and more. From Austin to Johnson City, and on to Burnet and back, is a big circle! On the way home at night, be sure to see the lights in Marble Falls, they are beautiful!

Capital Area Food Bank The Capitol Area Food Bank of Texas is always in need of volunteers this time of year and year-round as well! They do a wonderful job of helping families and individuals in true need. They have a great website that is easy to maneuver and sign up to help as an individual or family. There are several locations and food banks that could use your help. Log on at and check out this opportunity. Of course, this is just one of many agencies that always need help this time of year! Our children learn and remember more when our words and teachings are backed up by hands-on experiences.

Out and About

All in the Mall...

Completely FREE and loads of fun are events at local malls such as The Domain on the north side and Southpark Meadows on the south. Southpark Meadows has a wonderful laser light show on weekend evenings during December, with music and moving characters on stage, as well as some live music shows. The State Capitol also has a beautiful tree and choirs that sing.

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10 Great Summer Family Vacation Ideas


ummer Vacation? But, it’s only December. The old adage, “The early bird gets the worm” holds true when scheduling a summer vacation. Best pricing, best space availability, and best flight times are available now. In waiting, you jeopardize any of those factors not being the best. To help you get in summer vacation planning mode and be the hero to your family, here are just a very few ideas based on popularity:

varied accommodation options. Dolphins, the largest waterpark in the Caribbean, organized kids’ activities, and family bonding abound.

1. Beaches Resort, Turks and Caicos: a resort designed with kids in mind is what many consider the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, a 45,000 sq. ft. waterpark offering a zero entry kiddie pool to surfing simulator, Sesame Street for the tots, hangout area for teens, and 12 mile beach for all to enjoy.

5. Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica: From standard rooms to 7-bedroom villas, choices of meal plans, and lush tropical surroundings -- this makes for a great family fit.

2. Mexico: bargain hunters will find the BEST service and BEST values anywhere in one of the all-inclusive resorts. All-Inclusive means you pay 100% upfront so you know what you are spending for your overall vacation and don’t have to shell out cash at every turn. 3. Atlantis Resort, The Bahamas: consider this Schlitterbahn x 10 with a wide range of


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4. U.S.A.: No Passport/No Problem. Just a few options are: Walt Disneyworld, Universal Studios, or other amusement parks. Alaska, National Parks, Historical Adventures, mountains, oceans, lakes, and other endless possibilities.

6. Cruise Vacation: A cruise works for toddlers to senior citizens, and everyone in between. Whether in the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, or nearly anywhere else you can imagine, some R&R at sea and adventure at ports makes a nice mix. 7. Europe: Ideas are: river cruise down the Rhine, Danube, or another; sail the Mediterranean to hit Greek Islands or Holy Land; or just immerse yourself in one country of your choice.

8. Club Med Resorts: with over 40 years of experience, Club Med has kids programs where kids refuse to leave at the end of a stay. Florida, Dominican Republic, and Mexico offer locations for these all-inclusive unique resorts. 9. Hawaii: Select one island, or hop around between a few and explore with a car, while staying at a hotel or condo. A great islandhopping option is to sail the islands so you only unpack once. 10. Caribbean: Aruba, USVI, St. Lucia, Dominican Republic, Bermuda and on and on and on. Each island has beauty and special treasures to explore and enjoy. Kid friendly accommodations. When is the perfect time to plan a summer vacation? Right after you finish reading this article! 3D Cruise and Travel would love to help plan the perfect fit for you. Google is great, but we care about your experience. Debby Stevens 3D Cruise and Travel

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Ladies TOP 10:


Can’t think of a gift for anyone this year? Don’t have much money or time to spend looking for a gift?

Sometimes gift-giving can be stressful, especially if we’re trying to find the “perfect” gift that no one else has ever given… I’m not sure that’s a real expectation, but below are some ideas for gift-giving that just maybe you haven’t thought of before.

1. Your Favorite Things

For instance, one year I bought the ladies my favorite kitchen gadget, and put a recipe with it (i.e. an avocado slicer with a great guacamole recipe). The guys got my favorite CD. It was easy, quick, and relatively inexpensive. I figured if it was my favorite, maybe they would enjoy it as well!

2. An All-Scent Christmas

But instead of candles…how about soaps! My favorite website for homemade, natural, greatsmelling soaps is http://www.sunfortunesoap. com/index.html. For $20 you can get a family gift of three soaps of your choice, a washcloth, and a soap deck, all in a cute bowl!

4. Fair Trade

Have you visited Ten Thousand Villages downtown on Congress Avenue? Or visit their website at http://www. index.php and read their story. The gift items are unique, from all over the world and something for everyone.

3. Drinks & More

Stop by your local World Market and get a couple of Italian sodas, along with a Club Soda, insert them in the carrier they have for these bottles, and you’ve got a hostess gift, or a welcome gift for anyone! These sodas come in all sorts of interesting flavors, and when mixed with 2/3 Italian and 1/3 Club, you’ve got a hit!

5. For the Wall

The Austin Events Calendar is something I got last year and it’s a gift I use monthly! Check it out at and purchase one for your relatives who live here. They’ll never be bored again, as there are events listed for every weekend of the year.

6 .Practicality

Brown wrapping paper, packaging tape, black marker, and address labels – those items you never seem to have when you need them. Why not give them as a gift? Each time they’re used, your friend will be sure to think of you with a big “thank-you” because she doesn’t have to run to the store to get these things for the mail.

7 .Complete & Tasty

A friend of mine recently gave me a quick bread mix (Butter Pecan) from William Sonoma, inside a loaf pan, with spatula on top. Any complete food item, with serving dish included, is sure to please. These quick bread mixes are delicious, and you just might be offered a tasty sample of something cooking if you visit this store during the holidays!

9. A Night In

Why not gather up 10 or so takeout menus from your favorite to-go restaurants, or delivery food places, and slip them inside plastic sleeves in a folder, and give to the busy family/couple/person on your list? Decorate the front of the folder, and the gift will be personal and useful!

10. Austin Faith & Family

How about a magazine subscription to Austin Faith & Family? For just $35 a year, you or someone you love can receive it, read it, be blessed, and inspired!

8. Fast Food Gift Cards

Who wouldn’t like these? They’re about the easiest, quickest, gift to purchase, and they fit in an envelope. The men in our family ask for these every year, and they keep them in the car for lunch-ina-jiffy. Most of the certificates come in increments of $5, so you can spend a little…or a lot.

While you’re shopping online, or in the stores, enjoy the process. Pray for those you’re blessing, for God’s favor and love to fill their home this holiday season. Marcy Lytle Available at all HEB, Randalls, & Central Market locations in the Greater Austin area

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Kris 10's K

ristin Cowden is first a mom, and then an awesome business entrepreneur. But how does she do it all, and balance her growing business with the daily demands and joys of being a mom? With three children and a husband of 10 years, Kristin manages to do more than just “stay afloat.” She stays inspired and creative, and has found an outlet to bless others with the gift she’s been given. Kristin is the artist and writer of greeting cards. Kris-10’s Creations is a Christian stationery business with what Kristin describes as “whimsical, bright designs seasoned with God’s Word.” She began with five greeting cards selling to 10 local stores in Dallas, where she lived before moving to Austin. She states, “My passion and love is God’s word, so I love that each product prayerfully radiates the love of Christ.” On the back of every card is Ephesians 3:17-19 which reads: "...And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge: that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God..." Kristin hopes and prays that every person who receives one of her creations will truly know the love of the Father through the cards. Currently, the office for Kris-10’s Creations is in the “backhouse” of Kristin’s home. She reflects, “It has been a wonderful blessing to raise all of my babies at home and have the blessing of creating for Kris-10’s Creations.” When the babies were small, Kristin put them down for naps and turned on a monitor, and painted. At first, she created, talked to customers, packaged and shipped orders, and took care of the bookkeeping and accounting involved in

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the business, all on her own. Over time, she has hired help to run the affairs of the business, so she can focus primarily on creating. “I quickly saw that when each of us was able to use our gifts according to how God made us, not only did the business grow but we were doing what God made us to do.” As the artist, Kristin says she loves to find the perfect verse to accompany the sentiment of the card. She loves “all things beautiful, patterns and colors,” and is often inspired to create new collections. Sometimes she thinks of an occasion for a card and creates one to say exactly what needs to be said.

So how did Kristin come up with this idea of creating cards and making it into a home business? She has a degree in Dietetics and Nutrition, after all! However, while in college she purchased Crayola watercolors and paper, and painted a card for a friend. Her desire was to create something bright, cheerful, and whimsical, and include a scripture for encouragement and blessing. Not really seeing anything in the market like that, she created her own. Also, her hopes of getting into graduate school were not realized; and her disappointment turned into opportunity when friends said to her, “Kristin, you need to start a greeting card company!”

Kristin replied, “There is no way I could EVER do that. I never liked my business classes, and there is NO WAY!” In spite of her doubts, God sent family and friends to encourage Kristin to step out in faith. She remembers her dad’s words, “Kristin, I believe in you. Take the summer, research and see what you can come up with. I’ll help you with your first print run, and let’s see what happens from here.” In 1995, she went to press with her first run – her first leap – of faith! Of course, there have been obstacles. She tells people all the time, “I am convinced this business is more for the refining of my faith than it is for anything!” Over and over again, Kristin states the Lord has provided above and beyond her expectations, with employees, creativity, finances, and oh yes – balancing family and children. She is clear that God made her to be a wife

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and mother “way more than” a businesswoman and artist. When she hired their first employee, she knew of no way to afford it. “But I knew this is what he was calling me to do,” remembers Kristin. Literally, the business grew overnight and it was just enough to pay their new hire. As Kristin’s family has grown, her commitment to the business has decreased. She currently paints three mornings a week while her youngest is in preschool, and she has amazing people who work for her, running the business side and the front lines, and dealing with customers. One employee recently commented, “Kristin, I just love my job!” Kristin states they are all working together to use their gifts for a common purpose and goal. Kris-10 Creations can be found in over 500 stores now, nationwide. They also have online retailers who sell their cards. In Austin, they can be found at Party Cat, Tarrytown Pharmacy, Personally Yours, 3 Threads, Breed & Co, Northwest Hills Pharmacy, Paper Place, Flying Threads, Posh Posh Designs, Silvery Paper, St David’s Episcopal Bookshop, and St. John Neumann Gift Shop. Visit Kristin’s website at Kristin’s best advice is “Be confident in what God is calling you to do.” She adds that humbly seeking wisdom and advice from “experts;” listening for, and hungering for, constructive criticism; being willing to change directions and to be pliable; and entrusting yourself to the Lord, are all things that make for success. And one more thing – Hold it all very loosely. One recent customer wrote and said, “The cards are a gift themselves…and then when my friend adds her own personal note, I truly am blessed as recipient.” When the gift you’re given becomes a gift to someone else, and that someone feels blessed, how much more satisfaction can you get out of life? And when realizing your “high calling” of being a mom supersedes your ambitions to succeed, it seems the windows of heaven open and your eyes behold His glory – and beautiful creations appear. Marcy Lytle

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Money & the Prosperous Soul by Stephen De Silva

If you are looking for a special gift for Christmas, Stephen De Silva’s new book, Money and the Prosperous Soul, would be a great idea. After the holidays, many of us begin the New Year with fresh vision and hope, knowing that in Christ all things are possible. With III John 1:2 being the opening verse, “That in all respects you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers,” Stephen De Silva defines God’s promise for all believers. Not only does the book give hope for our own high expectations, but it actually takes us even beyond our imagination. The spiritual insight in this book challenges our beliefs about money and gives the wisdom of heaven to live powerfully and prosperously. Stephen’s writing is remarkably profound, yet practical. As a CPA, pastor, teacher, and business owner, this author shares personal experience through the eyes of the Kingdom. Poverty spirit, mammon, purpose, integrity, and intimacy are some of the issues he addresses with new insight. With fresh understanding of the lives of Joseph and Solomon, he reveals the profound wisdom of the ages. Unlike most books on money, this book challenges the reader to divine purpose and expectation. For an encouraging and enjoyable journey, pick up a copy today. Stephen De Silva is currently Chief Financial Officer of Bethel Church in Redding, California. Ginny Hurley

A Simple Amish Christmas by Vannetta Chapman

Most of us express a desire to simplify our lives. That must be one of the reasons why the Amish hold such an attraction for us. A new author has written a fresh story of the Amish culture and draws a beautiful picture of how faith and family can emerge stronger and more loving in this rapidly changing world. Annie Weaver is a young girl who is not satisfied with only an eighth grade education. Not in a spirit of rebellion, but in an earnest desire to learn, Annie leaves her family and moves in with her “English” aunt. Years later she is called back home, as her family needs her and her education. How will she fit in, now that she has been on the outside of this simple culture? Vannetta Chapman lives near Austin in a small community that reflects some of the simple life that she deftly portrays in her story. Expect more great books from this Texas author next year. Deborah Begley LifeWay Christian Store


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Wealth & Wisdom Dave Says Moms' Tips & Tricks Spend Life Well

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Wealth & Wisdom:

Kids Say the Darndest Things


any of us may remember Art Linkletter’s TV show, House Party, which ran from 1952 to 1970. At the end of each show he would interview several children and their answers were often unpredictable and hilarious. Since this issue of Austin Faith and Family is focusing on children, I want to share with you a couple of Mr. Linkletter’s dialogues with kids I got off UTube, before we get to our financial topic. Hopefully it will put a smile on your face, and help you to listen better to your own children. Interview 1 (A.L. to 6 yr. old boy): “What do you want to be when you grow up?” (Child): “A bus driver or a pilot.” (A.L.): “Suppose you were a pilot and suddenly all four engines quit working. What would you say?” (Child): (long pause) “Our Father, which art in Heaven……..” Interview 2 (A.L. to 5 yr. old boy): “Who’s the boss in your family, your mother or your father?” (Child): (silence, then) “Both of them.” (A.L.): “Hey, you’re a real diplomat, aren’t you?” (Child): “No Sir, I’m a Catholic Baptist.” The Heart of a Child, and a Lesson for Us All On my nephew’s third birthday, someone sent him a $1.00 bill. It was the first real money he had ever received. He was so excited he carried it with him everywhere. One day his father took him shopping and he found a toy he wanted, but it cost $3.00. With a little persuasion from his father, it was decided the boy would save up his money and come back and buy the toy later. Meanwhile, everywhere he went he had his dollar in his hand or pocket. On one particular Sunday as the family was driving home from church, the boy’s parents noticed he didn’t have his $1.00 bill with him, so they asked, “What happened?” He shared that in Sunday School that morning, a lady told them about children in some parts of the world that had nothing to eat and no place to sleep. “She said how just $1.00 could feed someone for a day, so I gave her my $1.00,” he said. Needless to say, his parents were so touched,

they went out and bought him that toy immediately. When his grandma heard the story, she sent him $3.00 - and so did I. It was a life lesson from Malachi 3:10 for us all. Mid-Term Elections & Stocks You may have heard that stocks tend to rally in fall and winter. That has often been the case. In fact, the S&P 500 and the Dow have gained repeatedly after the elections occurring in the third year of a first-term presidency. These elections seem to elate Wall Street. While past performance is no indication of future success, consider this: Wall Street has witnessed rallies after every mid-term election since 1942.1 The LeuthoidGroup, a Minneapolis-based investment research firm, has determined that the S&P 500 has gained an average of 18.3% in the 200 days following such elections. Widening the window of time, Goldman Sachs finds that the S&P has averaged an 18.1% advance during the 12 months following each of the 15 mid-term elections since 1950. (The gain averages 11.0% when control of Congress changes hands.)1,2 Consider another intriguing statistic regarding mid-term election years: in the five instances since 1942 when an incumbent first-term president was a Democrat, the S&P has gained an average of 21.3% for the year.3 The Dow may get a tailwind from the “third year effect.” Since 1945, the third year of a presidential election cycle has tended to be very positive for the Dow. As MarketWatch Columnist Mark Hulbert noted recently, the DJIA has averaged +24.7% in such 12 month periods (usually measured in fiscal years, i.e., 4Q-1Q-2Q-3Q) since the end of World-War II. In fact, The Dow’s average returns in other fiscal years of a presidential term have been puny in comparison: +4.0% in year one, +1.9% in year two and +3.3% in year four.4

Will 2010 follow the historical pattern? Excellent question. After all, no one is clairvoyant. This year, stocks have not followed the longstanding trends. Stocks typically do badly in September, yet September 2010 actually turned the market around. When it comes to November and December, let’s hope history repeats. Barry A. Tripp Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. (512) 258-1860 Investment Advisor Representative with securities and investment advisory services offered through Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC and a Registered Investment Advisor.

Citations: 1 – {10/12/10} 2 – {10/05/10} 3 – Then_Gain_For_Stocks {09/27/10} 4 – {10/04/10} 5 – 482714106168.html {09/25/19}

Last month, Standard and Poor’s Chief Investment Strategist Sam Stovall told the Wall Street Journal that the DJIA has risen an average of 17.1% in calendar years following mid-term elections since 1945, with less than 10% of these years seeing selloffs.5

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Dave Says

need the money for at least another five years. Dear Dave, I’m a pastor, and I’d like to know your opinion on Should we move it to something else? John opting out of Social Security. Art Dear John, It’s normal to be a little bit scared when the Dear Art, Under the law, pastors are allowed to be markets are as crazy as they’ve been lately. “conscientious objectors” where their pastoral The fact that the news media has been going income is concerned, and opt out of our bananas with all this doesn’t help matters, country’s Social Security program. So, yes, you either. can decide to opt out. Now, the big question is Here’s the deal. Ninety-seven percent of the whether or not I think you should do that. five-year periods in the stock market’s history If I were a pastor, I could easily look at the horrible have made money. So far, 100 percent of the 15mathematics involved in Social Security—what year periods have made money. That’s a pretty an absolute rip-off and terrible program it is— solid history. You’ve got time for the markets to and decide as a Christian that sending money recover. to those clowns in Washington, D.C. is a terrible use of God’s money. To use the Christian term, Chances are, you won’t be using this money for I would view it as bad stewardship. I could another 10 years or so. Even if you retire early, conscientiously object on a spiritual basis in a you’ll probably just pull an income off of it instead of cashing it all out and hiding it in your heartbeat! basement, right? Now, once you’ve done this, you need to understand that you’re giving up three things Think about this, too. Since 1978, the market Social Security tries to accomplish. You’re giving has dipped 10 percent or more about a dozen up a Social Security check when you retire. It’s times. It has recovered within two years 90 not much, it’s enough to eat dog food on, but percent of the time. If you got out now, John, it’s a check. So, you have to make sure you fund you’d be leaving at exactly the wrong time! —Dave your own retirement. Second, you need to get long-term disability insurance. Social Security would provide a little something had you been paying in, but if you haven’t, it’s all up to you. You don’t get money from the government for long-term disability if you opt out. And the third thing you need is life insurance. Social Security would pay your family a little bit if you died, but only if you’d been paying into the program. If you opt out and don’t have life insurance in place, that means the money is gone when you’re gone.

money situation and things just don’t add up. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea if mom did a lot of the talking. Let her tell the kids that you’ve both decided it’s time to make the money behave, and this will mean some lifestyle changes. Listen to reasonable input from them, and let them know their thoughts and feelings matter. But they also need to understand things are going to be different, and this part needs to come from mom. Otherwise, they’re likely to see you as the wicked stepdad! — Dave

Dear Dave, I just married a wonderful lady with two children. We’ve talked over our financial situation, and we’re determined to get out of debt within two years. This will mean some big changes in our teenager’s lifestyles. How can we break this to them gently? Dan

Dear Dan, Having your wife – who is also their mother – But guess what? You should be doing these on board with the plan makes a big difference. three things whether you opt out or not. It’s I think all of you need to sit down and have a frank but loving discussion about the changes called wise financial planning! —Dave that are going to come with this marriage for everyone. The kids have to adjust to a stepdad being on the scene, just like you have to adjust to a marriage situation where teenagers are Dear Dave, My wife and I are both 58, and she has $250,000 part of the package. in a 401(k) that has lost 20 percent in the last couple of months. This represents the vast Let them know you don’t want to be the bad guy, majority of our savings. We probably won’t but that you and mom have been looking at the 36

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Moms' Tips & Tricks


Tips & Tricks in Rhyme

Eating Out, or Takeout –

We are a busy family, with something going on almost every night of the week, so recently I stopped in at a newly opened Papa Murphy’s pizza. The pizzas are made with fresh ingredients that you choose. It only takes 10-15 minutes in the oven, before being ready to eat! You can add your own ingredients to a simple cheese pizza, too.

Eating In, Under $10

For a delicious chicken entrée that everyone will love, you’ll need 4 chicken breasts, one stick of melted butter, a sleeve of Ritz crackers, and Kraft parmesan cheese. Put the sleeve of Ritz crackers and one cup of the parmesan cheese in a large Ziploc bag. Crush the crackers until most of the larger bits are gone. Add a bit of parsley to this mixture just for a little color. Spray a 9x13 glass pan with cooking spray. Dip the chicken in the melted butter, then in the crumb mixture; repeat. Place chicken in the pan and pour any leftover butter and crumb mixture into the pan, around the sides and between the chicken. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees 30-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Weekend Fun

If you haven’t been to see the 37th Street area to see the holiday decorations, this is a must! Each year, the entire street decorates for the holidays and lights up the night. Some homes are decorated by theme, such as “recycling”, where they use everyday throw-away items and creatively re-use for decorating. Some are very traditional, while others are very “Austin eclectic.” Plan to park a couple of blocks away and walk it – it’s worth it!

On the Run

Recently, a friend of mine got married. On her wedding day, I threw a whole bunch of items in a box that might come in handy while helping her and her attendants spend the day getting ready at the church. The one item that we simply could not have done without was safety pins! We had several instances that day in which the safety pin came to the rescue.

At the Store

Check out The Container Store for stocking stuffers – different and cool! They have a staple-free stapler that has been a hit for those with a home office, a mini first aid kit, and a mini sewing kit that fits in your purse! Shop at the store, or online at www.

This month, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, let’s remember that there are many people who are going through a difficult season in their lives. Please consider blessing an organization with your time, a child with a gift, the sick or elderly with a visit, and most importantly, prayers for those in special need.

...and Even More!

Patricia Jacobson & Marcy Lytle

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Money Spend Life Well Let the Stress Out of Your Financial Life D o n ' t ta k e a f i n a n c i a l h o l i d ay


hanksgiving is over. Black Friday is past. The Christmas holidays are here and along with them comes….holiday stress. Does the mere mention of it make your muscles tighten? Do you promise yourself every year that you will not “let” yourself stress? Will you do things differently and plan ahead so you will enjoy the holidays this time? Oh, we all have good intentions – to avoid the chaos of a busy holiday schedule with family gatherings, parties, shopping, school programs, and more. Yet we often find that chaos is not easily controlled. And while most of us know we should be planning our financial needs ahead of time, somehow we seem to fall short of these expectations as we strive to make everyone else “happy.” I will admit - it’s really hard to find that balance. Where many of us find a large part of our enjoyment sapped revolves around money, of course. There always seems to be something we “need” to be happy: new Christmas décor, the “perfect” gift for someone we love, or even the feeling we are obligated to spend money on one thing after another to truly experience the season. We can learn something from the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:12 “I know what it

is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”…and he was in prison at the time! Let me assure you the answer is not, ”charge it” and pay for it later. I challenge you to try something different this year. Step outside the normal holiday routine and start some new traditions. Here are a few ideas that could have a positive impact on your family’s finances. Pick one or two and see if they make a difference. The goal is to take small, yet transforming, steps that end with the result of less financial stress and more focus on what is truly important...the blessings we already have. •

Focus on those in greater need. Decide on one charity or individual/family that you (or your family) are going to help this holiday season. This can be through your time, money, or simply getting to know them. Consider giving gifts to those truly in need instead of buying for your own family. Focusing on others can have a huge impact on them and greatly benefit you as well. Oftentimes, it is when we step

away from our own stressors and help others that we gain perspective and feel renewed strength. Get the kids involved too. This will have a big positive impact on them. •

Get an early start on spring cleaning. Clutter can be stressful…so walk through your house and try to pick up 10 items that can be given away or trashed. You may even want to consider hosting a “Gift Swap.” It’s similar to giving a white elephant gift in that you don’t buy something new; yet in this case, it would not be a gag or goofy gift, but rather something you like, just don’t use or need anymore. Household décor (candles, hurricane lamps, serving trays, throw pillows, etc.) can then be gifted amongst family or friends instead of spending money to buy new things. If you are donating these items to charity, don’t forget to get a receipt for your taxes.

Raise some quick cash. If you haven’t saved throughout the year to prepare for the Christmas gift-giving season, you may want to try implementing some quick saving strategies to build up a small stash (and then only spend that amount). How about a garage sale, or take items to a resale or consignment shop (clothes, furniture, toys, gadgets), or avoid eating out for a month? Christmas happens at the same time every year so we can’t say that it sneaks up on us. Commit to your family that you will set aside a small amount of money every month in preparation for next year’s Holidays. It is a really neat stress-free-feeling not to have any bills for Christmas arrive in January.

Ecclesiastes 8:15 says, “So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.” God clearly wants our days to include enjoyment and what better time than the holiday season, celebrating the birth of His Son. Yet, think about the true impact of the things you spend money on. Will one carefully thought out, or even handmade gift, carry more meaning than spending a lot of money on “things” (that most people really don’t need)? I pray that your Christmas is a blessed and stress free holiday. Best wishes for you and your family during the New Year. Mark Trice Financial Advisor 38

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Head to Heart Health Matters Diet & Nutrition The Real Stuff The Real Deal The Real Me

39 40 41 42 43 44

Head to Heart:

Confessions of a Christmas Addict A

few years ago I heard a “Christmas” sermon on the pitfalls of Christmas. The message • covered many things that can trip people up, during the Christmas season. The Christmas season can be a time where people experience depression, loss, and loneliness in the midst of the hectic pace of the holidays, overeating, and credit card mania. Christians can get caught up in the negative aspects as well, and some take on the religious tone that we as a society have “lost the true meaning of Christmas” in the midst of our commercial materialism. I have a difficult time understanding and relating to the problems people have with the Christmas season, for I must confess, “I am • a Christmas addict.” I love everything about Christmas: the sacred, the secular, and even all of the commercialism. I also believe that God loves Christmas, even the secular commercial parts. Why does God love Christmas? •

The gospel is proclaimed throughout the earth in song. Believers and non-believers alike are inundated with the music of Christmas. Everywhere people go; shopping, work, on the car radio, and on the television, Christmas carols proclaim that God has sent his Son into the world to bring salvation. People cannot help but get caught up in the music. If the enemy of our soul was the Chief Musician, he must hate the music of Christmas - for people everywhere are singing and proclaiming that Christ has come. People who would never attend church are hearing the gospel proclaimed through song! Many needs of the widows, orphans, and • the poor are met during the Christmas season. It is a common fact that during the holidays, people give to meet the needs of others. The law of the harvest of sowing and reaping is a promise from God. He takes delight in the generosity of others, whether they are part of the Body of Christ or not. He loves it when people give to meet needs, and he pours out his blessings. Without the Christmas season, many worthwhile charities and food pantries would not be able to meet the needs of others throughout the year.

Believers and non-believers connect with others and build relationship. Many Christmas parties are centered on alcohol; but in this case, I am referring to ways in which relationships are built, maintained, and at times restored. Cards are sent that connect people together who may not communicate but once a year. Parties are held where people take time out of their busy schedules to connect with one another and express their love and appreciation. The gospel is centered on relationships. God loves connection. The Christmas season provides a reason for people to spend time together, and often the gospel is proclaimed. A pastor friend preached a sermon every October on why everyone should host a neighborhood Christmas party. It allows neighbors to get together for fun and the building of relationship. At every party, before the evening is over the host can take the opportunity to talk about why we celebrate Christmas. The gospel is proclaimed. One year my wife baked what seemed like a million cookies. We invited all of the kids in the neighborhood (only one attends church) to our house to decorate cookies to take home to their families. We shared hot chocolate and the Charlie Brown Christmas movie with the kids. We also had an opportunity to talk about Jesus, his birth, life, and salvation. To help with the gathering, we invited an unmarried couple from the neighborhood to “help” us out. They too had an opportunity to hear the gospel.

Nostalgic made-for-television movies, with simple solutions to life’s problems, abound throughout the season. So what’s wrong with heartwarming Christmas movies? Christmas movies have a central theme - love one another. Every movie tells basically the same story - someone is in trouble, and someone comes along to love them out of their pit. God calls us to do the same thing. Yes, the movies usually have a secular bent including Santa, and angles that do not resemble the truth of scripture, but the message is the same. Love one another.

All of these thoughts are reflections of why I believe that God loves Christmas and is able to work through the secularism of our culture during the season. So why not take a few minutes to look beyond the pitfalls of Christmas and sing a carol or two, drop a few dollars in the Salvation Army red kettle, invite a nonbeliever to a Christmas party, send cards and letters to people you’ve not talked to in years, buy a few unnecessary gifts, curl up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate, and watch It’s a Wonderful Life with your family and celebrate Jesus. The gospel of the Prince of Peace will go forth and God’s kingdom will come to earth. Look around. You are probably seeing it already! For unto us a child is born, Al H. Jones, Ph.D. Head to Heart Restoration Ministry

Christmas is a season of giving. In our society, material gifts are one of the most common ways in which we tell others that we care about them. Yes, people can and do get caught up in the debt trap. The crowds, traffic, and lines at the shopping centers and malls for the Christmas addict is part of the joy of the season. If you take a moment to observe others while in line or hunting for a parking space, you will notice that most people are friendly and courteous, more so than at other times of the year. Could it be the joy of giving?

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Health Matters

Holiday Blues F

Here are some tips for you or loved ones who struggle this time of year:

· Set realistic goals and be realistic about what you can and cannot do · Don’t commit to anything until you look at your calendar to be sure that invitation date does not conflict with another important event · Learn to say no. It’s perfectly okay if you cannot attend every party you are invited to. Many times the idea of all of the social events to attend can be extremely overwhelming · Make a list and prioritize the important activities. This can help make holiday tasks more manageable

Stress and Tension


For most, December is one of the busiest months of the year. Here are some ways to avoid stress and tension:

This time of year can be really sad because of loneliness, the loss of a loved one, or a conflict with a family member, friend or loved one. Here are some ways to help with the sadness that may come:

or most people the holiday season is a fun time of year with parties, celebrations, time with family and friends, and social gatherings. But for many people, it is a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, and anxiety. These feelings also differ from person to person. If you don’t get the holiday blues, chances are you know someone who does.

· Use a day planner, your cell phone, or even a wall calendar to keep track of all the events and important dates


Live "in the moment" and enjoy the present

· Try not to compare this holiday with “the good old days” from the past · Be careful to limit your consumption of alcohol which can increase your feelings of depression · Surround yourself with positive, caring, and upbeat people · If you feel lonely, try volunteering and helping out others · Reach out to a long lost friend or relative and spread some holiday cheer · Get out of the house and out in the sun, even if the temperature is cold. The darkness of the house and lack of sunlight on your body can trigger depression

Family Gatherings For some, family time is great, but for others it can be extremely difficult. Here are some ways to cope with family challenges: · Look ahead to your family gathering with a positive attitude · Try seeing your family members as they are now, instead of letting the roles they once played color your whole view of them · Bring a new game or activity that you think will be fun and not cause conflict · Remember the reason you are together, to celebrate the season, and to spend quality time together

Exercise Exercise should be a part of our everyday lives. Be sure when the business of the holidays comes that your exercise routine does not diminish. Exercise produces chemicals that make you feel better, relieves stress that we all go through, and helps burn all of those extra calories we end up eating anyway. So be sure exercise remains a top priority every day, especially during the busy month of December. So, with a little bit of preparation you can make this a wonderful holiday season. Happy Holidays! Lauren Lacy Fitness Coordinator CHASCO Family YMCA


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Diet & Nutrition

Nutritional Guidelines


for Children


urrently, one in four children is overweight. Obesity is the leading cause of heart disease and diabetes, primary causes of death in modern society. It is a scary thought, but children today might have a shorter life span than our generation. It is preventable though, if we start implementing good nutritional habits today: Home cooking: We can all agree that the fast food industry and foods presented at the school cafeteria aren’t contributing to the health of our children. However, the best way to protect our children right now is to start making meals at home, and have them bring lunch to school. Education: Parents have to first study what foods are beneficial and nutritious, so they can relay the knowledge to their kids: · Dark colored vegetables should be on the plate every day, since the color (green, yellow, red, purple) indicates they are packed with bioflavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that protect the body from common colds and cell-damaging substances called free radicals. · Fruits should be eaten in moderation: even with the fiber and vitamins in fruits, they are still packed with sugar. Berries are in general better than banana or apples because they do not raise the blood sugar as fast. · You should always consume twice the amount of vegetables versus fruits. · Fats are good and necessary for children, provided the good kinds are picked. Do not be fooled by fried foods that claim to be “trans-fat free.” Frying in general destroys the oil, making it rancid and raises triglycerides and LDL. In general, fried foods should be avoided or minimized. · Refined foods are refined for convenience and profits, because they take away vital nutrients from the food so they do not go rancid, resulting in longer shelf life. These are foods that do not nourish you, and can cause nutritional deficiencies. over time. · Finally, excess sugar or starch intake can cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar, which can cause brain fogs or overactive behavior. Also, excessive sugar/starch intake cannot be used up and goes right into storage in fat cells, and is the direct cause of obesity. Minimize sugar intake by making your own version of sweets, i.e. using natural sweeteners like Stevia that do not raise blood sugar, or making soda with part sparkling water and part 100% fruit juice.

it will benefit them more if they eat more frequently with smaller meals. Nutritional Supplements: Despite your best efforts, children can still eat badly outside your supervision, or create nutritional imbalances because they are picky eaters. Other than implementing good eating habits, nutritional supplements are necessary to supply the missing nutrients. A broad-spectrum, preferably whole-food based, supplement contains a little bit of every nutrient and should be able to “cover the bases.” Another important vitamin is fish oil, which contains Omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial fats necessary for brain, nerves, eyes, and hormone development. Cod liver oil also supplies vitamin D, an important ingredient for bone development. Calcium is the most important ingredient for bone growth. Vitamin B complex serves as an essential enzyme in the metabolic processing of sugar. Excessive sugar intake, which is common in children and adolescents, can cause Vitamin B depletion in the body, making Vitamin B supplementation almost a necessity.

I suggest starting your own research with The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood by Dr. Sears, as it contains many practical tips and principles on how to feed your child. Remember, children are not responsible in picking the right food; parents are. If you want a brighter future for your children, take care of their health today. Dr. Trent Peng Doctor of Chiropractic and Applied Clinical Nutritionist

Grazing: Many parents like to provide three large meals per day to their children. Children have small stomachs, about the size of a fist. Therefore,

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The Real Stuff

for Women

Fostered Ideas


et's focus on the word "foster." But not in the way you might imagine. As an adjective, foster is defined as providing or receiving nurture or parental care though not related by blood or legal ties. But foster can also be defined as to promote the growth or development of. As defined, we can foster ideas. Within this definition lie several unique points I want to make about fostering. As the year comes to a close, I am now acutely aware of the ideas and desires I fostered a bit too long. Ideas I kept nurturing in my head but pushing to the back burner. How about you? Are some of those 2010 resolutions still being fostered in the recesses of your mind? Let me encourage you as I encourage myself!

Let’s take a quick look at foster parents. There is one main difference in their ownership of the word “foster” from our ownership of the word. They have done something about it! They took the step. Whether out of passion, obedience to God, or other convictions, foster parents “decided” to make into a reality that fostered idea of serving. For many, I am sure there was fear of the unknown and anxiety about expectations. But they did it anyway. What happens next for many foster parents is this: A true passion is birthed and they foster many more children than they ever anticipated. You see, passion is what happens while you are walking! The process these foster parents have gone through is no different than the one we must go through to make that fostered idea of ours become a reality! Here is how we do it.

find) then all other decisions in life are based upon these discovered values. Ensure that you are clear on your values. About decisions, Harvey Mackay had this to say, "People become successful the minute they decide to." So make a decision! Once you make a decision then resolutely proclaim your decision to those exclusive few who are committed to the success of your journey. You must profess the decision to advance your fostered idea into reality. Next, take that initial step in fear and anxiety about the unknown, but step on out with courage anyway, in obedience to what you know God has asked you to do. Mark Twain said, “Most of the things I am afraid of never happen to me.” I have also found this statement to be true. Let fear be an indicator that it is time to push through and get to the other side! Finally, as we move into a new year, let us ensure that those fostered ideas are God-ordained and not man-ordained. The world has an interesting way of making us believe we must, should, and need to, accomplish or put into action certain things. As you examine this concept of fostered ideas, indecision, and action; confirm first that your next move is from God. Many times ideas that lead us to our destiny are stifled by ideas imposed upon our minds by man. Remember, as you are walking out your Godordained ideas, a passion is birthed for the thing you made a reality. Need passion? Start walking. I feel certain as we move towards 2011, utilizing these steps and concepts, we will all more closely resemble those passionate, forever life-changing, foster parents!

First, make a decision. Indecision is the enemy of your soul and will keep you in chaos. Roy Disney said, “It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” As a Christian Life Coach, a powerful exercise I walk my clients through is the Values Clarification Exercise. Once they discover their values (and many times they are surprised at what they

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The Real Deal


Choices H

ow many of us men have stopped long enough to really think about choices? How many fathers have stopped and really spent time thinking about the lessons we quietly are teaching our children about choices? Our kids watch every little thing we do. Our choices dictate and determine who we are in life, what we do, when we do it, and how. Stop and think a minute. The choices are mainly our own throughout our life. As a child, many of our choices were made for us by our parents or someone caring for us. Then we were told what to wear, what to eat and how, when to go

CHOICES AFFECT OUR LIVES to bed, and to stop picking on your sister (who was the angel of all times) when you were the Having now served some ten years in the Kairos Prison Ministry, one big but simple lesson has one starting all the trouble. been learned. Choices are the only reason men We men start really early wanting to make all our are in prison. We go through life building up own choices to express our independence from and accumulating choices and learning from our parents. We want to choose who we hang the choices we make. How we treated life and out with, what we wear, and if we are going to made choices absolutely will carry over and behave one way at home and another way at have a huge effect on us throughout life. school. We watch what other people are doing, and we learn by watching; and without thinking Can we change? Are we stuck with the early much at all about it, we use those observations choices we made in life? How have the cumulated choices you have made in your life as the basis for making our own choices. affected you? I work up close and personal with maybe 50 to 60 men in prison for life - for murder. After getting to know one man over time, we were discussing the issue of choices, and he still was the macho man thumping his chest and saying, “Ain’t no-body gonna tell me what to do. I am my own man,” and so on. The golden opportunity was right there in front of me. I then asked him, “Who was it that told you that you had to go ahead and shoot that man who ran the convenience store you went in to rob?” He repeated the part about being his own boss. I asked, “Then you are telling me that no one held a gun to your head and ordered you to shoot the man?” He said, “That’s right.” I asked another question, “Am I understanding you right that there was nobody there MAKING you pull that trigger—and that you alone made that decision to hurt the man?” I went on to say, “Is it fair to say then that only you made that choice to do away with that man?” He replied with a simple, “Yes.” My last response to him was, “Then I rest my case on what choices are all about!” He looked at me with a strange look that came into his eyes .The look that overcame his face was that of a drained countenance. For the first time, this man knew he had no one else to blame for what he had done to another human on this earth. For the first time, he knew he was where he was because of the choices only he had made. EVENT + REACTION = WHAT YOU GET. More on that next month. Don Spann

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The Real Stuff For Students

I Almost Missed It


wo weekends ago, I disappeared. I disappeared away from all the stress and problems that this life sometimes brings. I disappeared from my parents, friends, and work. It was just two days, but it seemed like a lifetime. The days went by slow, and peaceful, kind of how I wish it was in real life. I experienced something new. Something wonderful, that re-lit the fire inside me that had been out for quite a while.

Let me start at the beginning of how I disappeared from this world. My mom’s church was having a retreat for women. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t even think twice before I told her, “No way.” She told me I was going. I told her no. She told me I was going. I insisted in telling her that she could not make me. I am over-age and I don’t live with my parents anymore, so I thought there was no way they could force me to go. Was I wrong! Word of advice for young adults who think they don’t have to obey their parents anymore: No matter how hold you get, parents have wisdom to offer and we can choose to listen. There is this verse in the bible that says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3 NIV) This is the first commandment with a promise, so it is very important!

Those two days were awesome. I got to spend quality time with four of my sisters who went with me, as well. I made stronger connections with people that I knew of, but had never really made the time to get to know. I listened to the pastor talk about stuff I used to know, but had forgotten over the process of getting older and having independence. We were in a beautiful place with a lot of trees and a lake. I was filled with awe at how good God is. How beautiful He creates everything. I spent two days away from every negative feeling, every worry, everything that makes life go fast and taken for granted. I guess I could say I got a little tiny glimpse of how heaven is going to be. So, if you were to ask me if I would choose to go again, I would answer, “Definitely!” I wouldn’t be so stubborn though, and I would accept the invitation the first time it was made. Another piece of advice to my peers who have never gone to a retreat because of one thing or another: GO! You won’t regret it. When someone invites you to one, don’t be so stubborn like I was, because you might just miss out on something wonderful. Maria Arreola

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go, it was more that my mom was making me go, which made me more stubborn in not going. I thought to myself, “I am old enough to make my own decisions; she can’t keep on telling me what to do.” I was determined to stay… until I found myself on the van that was taking us far into the wilderness. That is when I disappeared.

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back pew QUOTES:

“There's more, much more, to Christmas Than candlelight and cheer; It's the spirit of sweet friendship That brightens all year. It's thoughtfulness and kindness, It's hope reborn again, For peace, for understanding, And for goodwill to men!” Anonymous “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” Calvin Coolidge "Let us keep Christmas beautiful Without a thought of greed, That it might live forevermore To fill our every need, That it shall not be just a day, But last a lifetime through, The miracle of Christmastime That brings God close to you” Ann Schultz


Conceived Hope Represents Incomparable Sacrificed Treasure ‘Tis the season…to think back to where it all started. Clear the clutter of commercialization. Hold off the haze and the hype. Reflect in awe of this most beautiful beginning. Without Christ, there is no CHRISTmas. Without this treasured sacrifice there would be no hope for this world. Visualize in your spiritual creativity the surreal sanctuary to which Jesus was born. There is nothing more beautiful or more complete than God’s divine order of life’s circumstances. -Scottie Moore . Matthew 1:16 …Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. John 11:27 “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.”


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Austin Faith & Family- December 2010