Straight from the Heart

This past Sunday we were having a tiny family get-together to make Christmas cookies. Very low-key. But Saturday morning, we had a church commitment and overslept.

Hurrying, I forgot what matters most.

“I hate running late!” I said. “Now we’ll be behind all weekend long. I have so much to do.”

“Nah,” Rick said. “We’re fine.”

By the time we got back home, I felt like I was chasing myself around trying to catch up.

Get a Christmas tree.

Bring decorations upstairs from the basement.


Go to the grocery store.

Finish addressing Christmas cards.

NOW. Hurry!

And I’m married to a man who can’t be pushed. Or rushed. The harder I tried to get things done, the slower he moved.

Sunday afternoon right before the party, he finally brought the tree inside, and I started making cookies.

Which should’ve been done hours earlier.

Scanning the box for directions, I discovered something odd–

A paragraph explaining why “Mr. Sunface Bebo” founded Immaculate Baking Company.

This sentence seemed about ten feet tall. 

“His vision is to inspire people to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”


A baking company has a vision to inspire people to love one another? 

And it’s right here on the box.

Straight from the founder’s heart.

Something inside me shifted.

In all my hurrying, I’d lost my vision for why I was having a cookie party.

Because I love my family. 

Before long, I saw–really SAW–our son Thomas and his girlfriend Brittany decorating the tree.

Our daughter Katie was frosting cookies.

We missed you, Jamie. 🙁

I sat beside Rick. “Sorry, I pushed so hard.”

He made his my wife scares me face. Which is part of why I love him. His sense of humor.

Later, alone in the kitchen, I turned out the big tree lights.

And studied our nativity.

Because of God’s great love for us,

We can love one another,

Straight from the heart. 

Do you decorate Christmas cookies?

Have you been hurrying too and missing the good stuff?

(The glutenfree cookies were amazing! I have Celiac.)

“…love one another…” John 13:34







  1. such a HUGE reminder during the Christmas season…thanks Jewels xo

  2. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Love the shadow box w/ornaments in the one picture! Beautiful and creative! I also understand celiac; my daughter’s best friend has dealt with that for almost 30 years, back before gluten-free was a thing. I remember reading labels when she’d be staying over and being surprised at how many things had it!

    Guess I should respond to your post, huh? 🙂 I usually rush, culprit of my “love” to procrastinate. (If you can’t beat it, join it, right?) However, I’m trying to learn to spend my first moments before any activity in quiet with my Jesus, just a few seconds to seek His presence. No, I haven’t accomplished it…yet. And He loves me anyway!

    Blessings, my friend…or may I say, “soul-sister”?

    • Our son’s girlfriend made the shadow box. Isn’t it just gorgeous!

      Wow–and GF choices have come so far in the last 7 years since I was diagnosed. I can’t EVEN imagine 30 years ago.

      And you know what, Cathy? Since we overslept, we missed our Porch Party. So we didn’t read our Jesus CAlling. Which is probably what kicked the weekend off wrong. I’d forgotten!!!!!

      Thank you for the reminder, Soul Sister. And I see our other Sister is right below with her comment!

  3. Anna Haney says:

    Sometimes you and I are so much alike, it kind of scares me. All week I have been panicked that I wasn’t getting stuff done fast enough, Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I was sick all through Thanksgiving and I am behind. Saturday we shopped. I had the cards already done. Still no tree. My spouse is not in a hurry to do it. But last night I plugged up the little fiber optic one that is usually in the office. It was quiet and I watched it twinkle. Even though another holiday special was on, I heard Linus Van Pelt reading the second chapter of Luke to me. All that tree needed was a little love. That’s what we all need at Christmas. Great post

    • Beautiful, Anna. I could even feel your peace through this comment. I LOVE this idea and how you handled … waiting….on….your…husband. 🙂

      Hope you’re feeling better, my friend.

  4. Great word. One of those “Be still ” moments. Must be important, huh? Who knew? (By the way, I’ve put Rick on My Heroes List. lol)

    • Hahahahah, Chuck. Notice, I couldn’t make him hurry. And note the phony “my wife scares me” face he’s making. I’m sure you can see straight through all of that.

      But seriously, thank you, Chuck.

  5. Sweet, Julie. My brother has Celiac, too. He’s always looking for new cake mixes, etc.

    You won’t believe what this post reminded me of … the post about your mother … about her not enjoying the busyness of the season. And it reminds me of me, too. 🙂 We expect so much of ourselves and often don’t realize the delays may very well be life saving. We think we overslept … God delayed us to miss that traffic accident, etc.

    My energy level has been so low all year … since my appendectomy … seems like I have to push myself to do the dishes, etc. So, I’ve really been enjoying watching Hallmark movies most nights with the family … I can lie down and relax … and try not to fall asleep! 🙂 I just have to make sure regardless of my activity, that my attitude is … good … and loving. Why is it so hard sometimes? 🙂


    • Shelli, did I know about your brother???? I don’t think so. Wow. So you do understand. And sugar cookies when you have Celiac can be difficult. Be sure to tell him about this Immaculate Baking Company. I’m totally impressed with them.

      Oh. Wow. What you just said…. Pleeeeeeeeease, I can’t be turning into my mother!!!

      But I’m afraid I am.


      You’re exactly right. Delays might be life saving….And we NEVER oversleep. I mean never ever.

      Hmmm. So much to think about, Shelli. Thank you.

      I love that you’re keeping your attitude good and loving even after surgery. Such beautiful words, and what a neat way to train our thoughts. Even while you’re “having” to rest, you’re being grateful.


  6. Patti Wiersma says:

    Thank you for reminding me to slow down & cherish the real meaning of “Christ”mas. I waste more time worrying about all I have to do, than actually doing anything. God bless you and your beautiful family.

    • Thank you, Patti. It always means so much to see comments on my posts. Every single time I write, I wonder if anyone will understand.

      Or that my words will touch hearts–which is always my prayer.


  7. I returned yesterday from the most amazing, non-rushed weekend with family in Wisconsin. We had the best time just chillin’, watching movies, talking, laughing, rooting on the Green Bay Packers during the game, eating indoor tailgate food, and sleeping late. The best part of all was walking in G-Granddaughter Aubree’s room the first morning, seeing her standing in her crib, smiling really big, and reaching her arms out to hug me. Rushing? No such thing. We sat on the sofa, just me and my 1-year-old G-Grand Baby and had quiet time. Love one another? You bet. Nothing in the whole wide world like loving family.

    • Tearing up, B.J.

      Yes! Yes! Yes! this is in-the-moment kind of living.

      We gotta catch up soon. Can’t wait to hear!

  8. marci says:

    Oh what a perfect post for this time. I had to smile at “Feeling like you were chasing yourself trying to catch up.”.. How I can relate to that! I am trying to be more of a Mary and less of a Martha, but it is a work in progress. Holidays, for me seems to bring with it an inward clock..and it is ticking. “There are 3 weeks left,.. There is now 2 wks left.. then one,,, ” I so related to your mom’s feelings about the holidays when she was so busy with everything. I have discovered that sometimes doing less, makes for more happiness. And expect less of ourselves. Your word, “Enough” has been a great help for me with that. The question, and being honest with myself– what is enough? It may seem frustrating at times, but having husbands different from us, I think is what gives us the balance we need.. And I do agree with Shelli, sometimes God slows us down- for His reasons. My husband’s family had their big get together last week-end, and our church had their big Holiday Dinner also last week-end, so it made for a busy week-end. Both were joys, but I admit I am glad they are done, and things don’t seem as pushed at the moment, even though we still do not have a tree put up, or many decorations yet. I am sending off the last of the Christmas cards today (I think). Packages mailed, gifts gotten and just need to be wrapped, which I have started on. I am also learning the benefit of doing ‘One bite at a time”,, and then going on to the next thing. Making room for Jesus first in the day and through the day always helps keep me grounded too.
    Thank you for your always timely posts and always making us think!

    • Marci, there’s so much depth to your thoughts.

      Even today, I counted on my fingers–days ’til Christmas.

      I think it’s a wonderful idea to have family/church get-togethers ahead of Christmas–spread out the Joy. I wish our family would take up that idea.

      Another good tip. “One bite at a time.” I love that. Reminds me of One day at a time.

      You’re so wise! Thanks for letting me know you’re reading–and thinking. Love your thoughts!

  9. So much of what you write I can completely relate to! Goodness, how do we balance “enjoying” these moments when we feel the challenge of doing so many activities in a short amount of time? I sure think it was a “God” wink, that those words, on that box, spoke to you so clearly. And now through you, we can all remember to slow and find the beauty of those moments rather than trying to merely rush through them to get to the end.

    Love to you sweet friend!

    • Vicky, I’m telling you, when I saw those words on that box————–


      So much love to you, my friend.

      I always want to sit down and fix a cup of coffee when I read your blog posts. They just slow me down and then fill me up.

  10. You knew just what I needed to hear today. Sometimes I get so caught up in the doing of life, that I forget the being of it. Thank you, Julie!

    • You’re so welcome, Vonda. I have this feeling we’re a lot alike. 🙂 And I sure do wish we could have a porch party one day!

  11. Oh Julie, you seem to speak my heart. I feel like that so often. Do this. And that. With a dozen more things beating on my chest. I love how you found peace in an unlikely place. God is so, so good! (Your fam is beautiful)

    • Shawnelle, I love how you said it–with a dozen more things beating on my chest. That’s exactly what it feels like.

      I couldn’t believe a cookie box would remind me!!!!!! I believe that means surely God is in everything. Always. All around us. In us.

      Love you.

  12. Patricia Martin says:

    Julie, I can’t believe it! My mom discovered this exact immaculate mix months ago and we used it for Thanksgiving.(; I also thought it was meaningful what the founder said about loving one another. ((; My mom is a person who is always on time and my dad reacts the same way Rick does to being on time as he feels that people have all the time in the world (I tend to agree with him). (): I love your Christmas tree and its great that you have two trees to enjoy; I have a nativity that looks just like yours. How is Gene doing? What are your family plans for the holidays? Please keep me in your prays as I am getting used to GF living and next week is Finals in communication and economics…ugh . ): thanks for your blog as it makes my week special!!
    love, Patricia

    • Patricia, I just love your outlook. 🙂 🙂 You’re so wise, and unhurried.

      Gene is doing really well. He’s still very cautious when he walks and wants to use his cane. And Mother keeps telling him he doesn’t need it. That’s so kind of you to ask.

      Can’t believe we have the same nativities!

      I’ll be praying for you and the GF thing. And for finals. Our older daughter just finished her finals. (She has a degree in Criminal Justice and is going back to school to become a para-legal). What are you majoring in?

      Tell your mom I said hi. 🙂 And if you have any GF questions, feel free to email me, or friend me on FB. I don’t think we’re FB friends, are we?

      xo P.S. The Immaculate Baking Company retweeted my tweet on Twitter with the blog link. 🙂

  13. ernie says:

    Julie, thanks for telling me about your blog. I look forward to reading it each week. That is funny that you say your husband slows you down. I thought in most homes it is the wife who is the one that runs late. Does not really matter though, does it? You are so blessed to have each other.
    I am so anxious to see your new devotions in the 2015 Daily Guideposts. Thanks for your wonderful Christian witness

    • You’re so welcome, Ernie.

      Yep. I’m always the early, ahead of schedule, nerd. Everywhere I go.

      My devotionals next year for Daily Guideposts are written as a Surrender Series–all about my word “Surrender” for 2012.

      Thanks for letting me know you’re reading.

  14. K. Richardson says:

    Hi Julie, I too have been guilty of rushing around and getting all panicky about getting everything done so by the time Christmas Eve comes I’m worn out and ready to sleep through it all. Those days are over thankfully. I just sent cards out today, and, I have not put up any decorations yet. I’m just doing one day at a time. I much prefer Christmas music and the birth of Jesus celebration. I think people start too early with decorating and shopping. Just small special Christmas gifts. I enjoy our Candlelight service on Christmas Eve at my church. That’s the real meaning of Christmas. You have a lovely family, and, I so enjoy hearing and seeing about them. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    • Thank you so much, K. I sensed a strong peace in your comment just now–a slow moving type of worship. I’m praying this Christmas will bring so much Joy this year.

      Thanks for letting me know you’re reading–and that this post makes sense. 🙂

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