holiday photo 2During the next several weeks, we will be enjoying a beautiful series of very special holiday posts! Some of them are from familiar writers, and some are guest posts…All are from remarkable women whose words will be sure to give a breath of fresh air to your spirit during this holiday season! Keep reading for inspiration, encouragement, and of course, yummy recipes!

I love the holiday season. There’s just something about how fall ushers in cooler weather, the cotton strippers and combines start to pull out of the barns— signaling the beginning of harvest—and of course, pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING! There’s just so much to love about this time of year! I get so excited about reaching towards the back of my Scentsy drawer and pulling out my fall and Christmas scents. And I am sure my husband just loves having to drag our Christmas décor out of the basement earlier and earlier each year…because seriously, one month is just not enough time to enjoy a beautifully decorated Christmas tree! Can I get an Amen??

And the food, oh the food! Hot chocolate with marshmallows, chai tea lattes, soups in the crock pot and warm pumpkin cookies…why does it all taste so much better this time of year? Oh well, I will start my diet next year.

This will be my twin boys’ first holiday season, and I am so excited about sharing it with them. I can’t wait for Bryan and I to create new traditions with them, and I am especially excited about seeing their faces light up when they see our Christmas tree for the first time. But most of all, I am looking forward to watching them experience their first holiday season with our incredible family. Out of everything I love about this time of year, I look forward to spending time with our family the most.

I recently heard something that resonated with my heart. It was a call, an urging to embrace the following:

Love God. Love people. Live simple.

These three statements showed up in my life just in time for what usually turns into a crazy season for me. As much as I adore this time of year, by the middle of December I am so ready for Christmas to be over and the New Year to begin. Can anyone relate? I get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that I completely miss out on the beauty this season has to offer.

Love God. Love people. Live simple. This is now my to-do list every day, and let me just say how freeing it is. If I have done just one of these three things in a day, I’ve done enough. When did these things become not enough? I’m not sure, but I am so ready for that to change in my life. I want Thanksgiving and Christmas to simply be a time to be grateful because of what we’ve been given, and a time to give out of the overwhelming gratefulness we have for the One who gave everything for us. It is so easy for us to miss the opportunity this season offers us.

If we allow Him, I believe God is extending an invitation to us all to embrace a new perspective this year. Instead of spending money we don’t have on gifts that have no meaning, what if we gave our time and energy to those we love? Isn’t that all we really want from those we love? What if instead of dreading the time spent with extended family, we chose to love them the way God does? What if we chose to expect the best instead of the worst when it came to relating to that difficult family member? What if we practiced these simple truths this holiday season? Love God. Love people. Live simple.

I am compelled by this scripture we’ve been studying at church the past couple of weeks.

1 Timothy 6:18-19 “18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

“…the life that is truly life.” Friends, let’s choose to do something different this holiday season. Let’s choose to embrace a simpler, more fulfilling way of life. Aren’t you curious about the kind of life this scripture is offering to us? I know I am.

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I want to leave you with my most favorite holiday recipe given to me by a very dear friend. I look forward to making it every year and I KNOW you will love it too.

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Cream together the following until smooth:
½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar

Add to butter mixture and mix until smooth.
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Sift the following together:
2 ½ cups flour (I use King Arthur…the BEST!)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg

Add to butter mixture and stir until smooth…will be sticky.

Drop in heaping tablespoons onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. (Mine are cooked perfectly at 12 min)

Icing: 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. melted butter, 1tsp. vanilla and milk to consistency. Drizzle over baked cookies.

Eat. Enjoy. 🙂

(I usually double this recipe and use a whole can of pumpkin)

This post was written by Amber Curry. To read more about her, click here.