Faith Based Non-profit, Social Services Martin County FL, Treasure Coast Non-Profit

25 Tips for Keeping Christ in Christmas

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Traditions that matter:

  • Participate in a daily Family Advent Devotional. Doing this one simple thing slowly unwraps Christmas one day at a time and gives you and your family the chance to reflect and prepare your heart for Christmas day.
  • Place your nativity front and center of your decorations. Doing this one simple thing is a bold reminder of the reason for the season.
  • Purchase a second nativity the kids can touch and play with. My boys were gifted the Little People Christmas Story Nativity with Lights and Sounds and they have been telling the story in their own way since before they could even talk. We usually place it under the Christmas tree so they can easily access it.
  • Introduce the nativity characters as the story unfolds. An example, you start the 3 Wise Men in another room and each day you or a child move them closer to the manger. Another idea is to wait to place the baby Jesus until Christmas morning.
  • Write and say, ‘Merry Christmas’ vs. ‘Merry X-mas’. Who is getting the ‘X’ when shorthand is used? Christ! Don’t short Jesus of his birthday!
  • Choose a Christmas card instead of a Holiday card. Find one that states the reason for the season. Better yet, choose one that honors Christ’s birth with scripture on it too. They are hard to find these days.
  • Deck the tree with Christian Christmas ornaments. There is nothing better than gazing at that grand fir. Everyone who comes over always stops to look because each one is unique and different in every home. Let the ornaments tell the story.
  • Play Christian Christmas music on the radio. Usually the local Christian radio station does a good job of blending the classics with the carols.
  • Visit your city’s nativity scene. Carol Christian Christmas music while there! Bring sheet music so others can join in. We experienced this first hand one year as someone else broke out in chorus and it was a magical, unforgettable moment for everyone there.
  • Attend and support local church Christmas musicals and plays. Not just your own church’s. Our church does a play. Another local church does Christmas bells and chorus. It’s wonderful to experience both!
  • Unwrap The Story of Christmas with a Christian children Advent calendar. Children love the reveal. It’s so fun!
  • Put Santa in his place. For some of you, he may not even have a place in your home. If you are not sure where to put him, figuratively speaking, the book God Gave Us Christmas does a fine job for you. So does this ornament of Santa Claus Praying Over Baby Jesus.
  • Consider the ‘3 Gift Rule’. Wild and crazy idea, right? Not really. If 3 gifts were sufficient for Jesus then they should be sufficient for our little ones. Consider the Wise Men who gave gold, Frankincense and myrrh.
    • ‘Gold’ present – something a child would want and treasure, like a toy.
    • ‘Frankincense’ present – a gift that will be used in worship or spiritual life, like a Bible or devotional.
    • ‘Myrhh’ present – something for the body, like clothes or shoes.
  • Let the children experience the actual gifts given to baby Jesus. Frankincense and Myrhh are both essential oils which contain many valuable healing and spiritual properties. Young Living essential oil has both of these available for purchase. I can’t wait to see my children experience the gifts – literally!
  • Volunteer your time. Jesus came to serve. Consider serving your time at a local food pantry of Christian mission to aid the poor and homeless.
  • Adopt a family. Experience the gift of giving! Learn how giving truly is more satisfying than receiving. Each year my husband and I adopt a family and provide a family meal and several requested gifts through Love, INC. a Christian organization. We also have the opportunity to deliver these gifts to them and pray with them. It is the highlight of my family’s Christmas experience. I would love for it to be yours too! Contact your local church for how you can help a family in need.
  • Forego the traditional gift-giving. Instead of purchasing a gift that will bring fleeting pleasure for the person who has so much already, consider donating a gift in their name/honor. My in-laws started this several years ago. They requested that whatever we were going to have spent on them that instead we donate money to a local, national or international Christian organization on their behalf as their ‘gift’. Such organizations are Habitat for Humanity and Heifer International. I’m welling as I write this because we have ‘gifted’ so many people in need since they started requesting us to do this. It was a selfless act on their part – love it!
  • Donate one of your gifts YOU received. So hard to do. Don’t just have your kids do it, YOU do it too! The poor and needy deserve new, nice things too. Not just our leftovers and has-been.
  • Read Scripture and pray BEFORE opening gifts. Let us not forget who the day is really for. Read the Christmas story from the books of Matthew or Luke in your Bible.
  • Make a cake for Jesus! Why not? It is His birthday after all. Let it really hit home and celebrate just like you would one of your family members birthdays.
  • Attend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day church service. Invite someone to join you and your family for Christmas dinner. The widow or widower, the single mom or dad, the foreigner from another country or the person who has no family nearby. I am blessed to have had a family that always did this and married into a family that also does this. Always a stranger around the table. Nothing like making new friends in the name of Jesus.
  • Host a neighborhood Christmas party! Be the light on a hill. Last year, we started a new tradition. We host an outdoor neighborhood Christmas party. I play a Christmas movie on the garage door and the kids sit on hay bales to watch. We have a bonfire where we carol and mingle. I bring in two propane heaters and two Canopies with Sidewalls to keep heat in. We serve popcorn, cookies and hot cocoa. It is a hoot and I cannot wait to do it again. I’ve got people already anticipating the event. And the grand finale is gathering everyone together around the fire as we sing “Silent Night” and send up a paper Sky Lantern. I print off copies of lyrics for each song sung. Jesus is honored and the muslims, hindis and non-believers in attendance are even warmed by the experience.
  • Have an Advent Wreath. Bring the church experience home. The two should offer the same experience of worship anyways, shouldn’t they? Great way to start that new year’s resolution if ‘leading your family spiritually’ happens to be on your resolution list.

Original post from this fantastic blog (Click image to follow):

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Let Jesus be your reason everyday.  Thank you for supporting #ASafePlaceForGirls in Martin County, FL.

Merry Christmas from The Willow House.

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Faith Based Non-profit, Residential Home for Girls, Social Services Martin County FL, Specialized Therapeutic Residential Care, Treasure Coast Non-Profit

Willow NEWS!

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So many of you have blessed us with your interest in the mission of The Willow House.

The Willow House WELCOMES you!  Teen girls struggling isn’t new but our support in Hobe Sound is!

Did you know we have an upcoming race in Hobe Sound, October 10th 7a.m.?

Come… walk or run.  Oh, and ask a friend.

It’s good for you, good for Willow and for girls in our area that need someone to be there.

Not interested in your cardiovascular health – fine.  Donate $5 – $10 – $20 bucks here >Any amount will help.

If you know someone who owns a business & you think they would want to support us, mention us.  Or, if you own a business and want to support us, please reach out.

Lastly, if financially you cannot help, then please like us on Facebook and share us with your friends.

Support looks different to everyone and we welcome all of it…we welcome you.  You are the reason we are gaining momentum to provide a ‘Safe Place For Girls‘. You are helping to spread the word and for that we are ever so grateful!

501c3 Founded in Christ.

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Faith Based Non-profit, Residential Home for Girls, Social Services Martin County FL, Specialized Therapeutic Residential Care, Treasure Coast Non-Profit

The Visionary Behind The Willow House Vision

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Each of us possess unique gifts and talents as well as habits, hurts and hang-ups. Often our most profound lessons come from the hurts and hang-ups experienced along our life’s path. From these we choose. We choose to grow or we choose to be the victim. When hurts and hang-ups are a result of childhood circumstances outside the control of youth, the effects can be devastating.

Children that have been exposed to volatile home environments start life with a crumbling foundation. The fact of the matter is life is hard and just because a woman decides to bring a child into the world, doesn’t mean she is equipped to be a strong role model.  Some people do not possesses the tools necessary to raise a healthy child and far to many home environments are toxic, perhaps one the mother has no control over. Brokenness begets brokenness, it’s a cycle but it doesn’t have to be so. Victims can choose recovery!

Stories of redemption and healing are vast. The Willow House’s very own Board of Directors have story after story of how they themselves or someone close to them triumphed over adverse odds. From broken homes to broken parents to toxic choices, they all share one commonality: acceptance, redemption and healing. For them, it’s on going, growth always is a progression, a choice to always be learning, growing, and changing.

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The vision behind The Willow House was a personal one for the Executive Director, Nicole King. Nicole came from a supposedly well-adjusted home from the eyes of the world. Her father, a physician and her mother, at the time, a ‘stay-at-home’ mom. When Nicole was twelve, her world turned upside down. Her parents divorced and her life changed drastically. As Daddy’s little girl, Nicole felt as though her identity had been ripped from her in an instant. The remaining adolescent years were tumultuous and reckless. Nicole had identified ways to fill her ‘heart shaped box’ within her soul with drugs, sex and a co-dependency that knew no boundaries, at least until she found the Lord at the age of twenty-six.

Nicole was in her second year of Graduate School when God’s grip reached her and forever changed her heart. Accepting God’s unconditional love after years of longing for it from the broken relationship of her parents resulted in a transformation that can’t be fully explained in words. So her actions shall speak for her. God has filled her heart with a desire to establish The Willow House, A Safe Place for Girls.  Please help support THIS mission!

Nicole King comes to The Willow House with a Master’s in Family and Child Sciences from FL State University. She has been in the health and human services field for over 20 years. For the past 10 years she has been and currently is operating a local non-profit. 

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The Power of Discernment

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Discernment is rarely an innate gift.

We learn by and through experiences, mentors and a willingness to grow and change from ‘the old’.

Understanding how to grow away from dysfunction isn’t easy especially when the root is family based.

Discernment with relationships is a critical life skill all people need to learn and understand.

Jim Rohn gets it right with his quote, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

Be careful with the company you keep.  1 Corinthians 5:11 

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Broken Crayons Still Color

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The Willow House recognizes the amazing potential of at-risk girls. A broken crayon, not at its best potential, can still create unimaginable beauty. Please help us create a home where these girls will learn that even broken, they are vibrant, made with purpose and can still color the world a beautiful place.

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Faith Based Non-profit, Residential Home for Girls, Specialized Therapeutic Residential Care, Treasure Coast Non-Profit

Self Worth Matters

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Influences have shaped us all, good, bad, healthy or not.

The teen years are exceedingly hard even with healthy models in our life.

The Willow House wants to help young girls lacking healthy modeling understand they are gifted, unique and ENOUGH just the way they are!  Do you remember a time when you felt like you weren’t enough?  It’s a lonely place, an ugly place, a deceitful place that isn’t deserving!

Help us in our mission to show young girls ‘they are enough’!

[Click Image to watch video]

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