It’s Christmas time, yall! We love a good gift guide here on The Pineapple Porch so we plan to bring you a few great ones this year! But to kick off gifting season, and in honor of small business Saturday tomorrow, we want to highlight some Jesus-loving ladies who own small businesses! So, let’s hop into our Shop Small Business Christmas Gift Guide!
Also, don’t forget to check out our previous years’ Christmas gift guide posts here:
Small Business Christmas Gift Guide 2016
Presents with a Purpose 2015
The Pineapple Porch’s Favorite Christmas Advent Studies 2017
Happy almost Christmas season, yall! One of my favorite things about God and His Word is that it can be studied for an entire lifetime and there will still be more to learn. There’s no end to the wisdom, encouragement, and direction we can constantly get from studying it. We’ll never be able to truly get to the bottom of the magnitude of what Jesus did for us. This, in turn, makes studying Scripture an exciting adventure. There’s always something new to learn and something deeper to dive into. I’ve learned this to be true especially around the Christmas season, studying the birth of Christ.
One of the main things that helps me focus in on Christ during the busy Christmas season is reading a book or doing a study for Advent. It helps me see Christmas and the birth of Christ in a refreshing, new way. Because of that, I highly recommend trying out an Advent study if you never have. And if you’re like me and look forward to new Advent studies each year, I hope you will find some good new ones on the list below. Either way, my prayer is that we all slow down a little more and bow a little lower to worship and celebrate the promised Messiah.
So, without further ado, here’s our Christmas 2017 Advent Studies list!
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:8-17
Anything to Keep Us Apart: Keeping Unity Despite the Schemes of the Enemy
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints” Colossians 1:3-4 (NLT)
I’ve noticed a pattern in my life and the lives of others: friends come and go. Now, please restrain yourself from flipping backward in your chair from the sheer profoundness (totally a word) of that statement. My mentor taught me this wise concept: friends are like flowers, some are perennial and others annuals. Perennial friends, like the flowers, bloom each season and are around for many, many years. Other friends are like annual flowers, they are only there for a season, and do not stay throughout the years.
There are many reasons why some friends stay in our lives and others leave. Marriage, relocation, job transfers, and busy schedules can cause some friendships to be short-lived, but may it never be said of us that we have lost friends because of a bitter root that was never addressed.
Podcasting is on the rise, yall! I read a recent article that said podcasting is gaining in popularity because people are wanting to take a break from their screens and I can totally attest to that. From the moment my alarm on my cell phone goes off, until the end of the day when I check Instagram for the last time, my eyes are constantly on a screen…can you relate? (I mean, after all, your eyes are on a screen right this very second!)
Podcasts truly are a great way to give your eyes a bit of a break. My favorite way to listen to a podcast is to get outside, stick my headphones in and walk or jog for the duration of the podcast. I also love listening in the car or when I am doing laundry or cleaning house.
Are you interested in listening to some new podcasts? You’re in the right place if so! I’ll list my favorites below and then, below that, I will have an explanation as to why I love them! Let’s jump in!
The Pineapple Porch – Delicious Fall Vegetable Soup Recipe
A few years ago a friend of mine invited me over for lunch with some of her friends who were visiting from out of town. At the time we lived on an island in the Caribbean and, although it was fall, it was still about 1,000 degrees past “hot”. Nevertheless, we were determined to experience Fall somehow so we sat down under a whirling ceiling fan on her screened-in porch to the prettiest orange soup with homemade bread. I think we all had, at least, 3 bowls of soup that day, and after I returned home that afternoon I already wanted more so I emailed her for the recipe. I made the soup many times when we lived in the Cayman Islands and it quickly became a household favorite for us.
The original recipe called for fresh vegetables exclusive to our island in the Caribbean, including the Caymanian version of a pumpkin (different from an American pumpkin) and a starchy vegetable called breadfruit. When I moved to Tennessee I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to recreate the soup but I wanted to give it a shot. I substituted the Caymanian pumpkin for regular American canned pumpkin and added in butternut squash instead of breadfruit. It worked like a dream! Also, I have learned the key to this soup is the ginger and black pepper, it really elevates the flavors and gives it a unique autumn-esque feel that makes you crave it as soon as you feel the earliest hint of cooler weather.
“For when we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
Have you ever been afraid to let God down? Sometimes I lay awake at night recounting the ways I failed Him throughout the day. As I struggle to wrap my mind around God’s constant faithfulness, I wonder if He gets fed up with me and my continual defeat over something He has walked me through a thousand times. Although God has found me faithless more than I would like to admit, He has always maintained his end of the deal. Each time I come to Him with repentance, He meets me with mercy and teaches me.
If there was someone who had intense faith, it was good ol’ Father Abraham. Just ask the author of Hebrews 11:8 who wrote, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Not only do we admire Abraham for his blind faith as he traveled, but also in his willingness to sacrifice His promised son, Isaac. Abraham had experienced the faithfulness of God’s promise, and he knew, “God would provide,” (Gen. 22:8a, ESV).
It’s fall, yall! The weather is beautiful, the scenery is gorgeous and there are so many things to do. With my schedule busy and my favorite season in full force, I love to put together a seasonal bucket list. Not only does a fall bucket list help me compile what I want to be intentional about this season, but it also helps me decide how to rest, how to spend time with loved ones, how to make the most of this God-given season, and how to personally reach out to others who may need some encouragement. So, I’ve got some free (or cheap) ideas and ways to make the most of the season, spend time having fun with family, or loving on others around us!
Enjoy Your Season: Why We Shouldn’t Wish Away where We are Right Now
I hate being cold, so it’s pretty understandable that my least favorite season is winter. I am a summertime girl to the core. Give me water and sun and I am forever a happy camper… or so I thought.
It was in the middle of the winter when my husband and I committed to move to a tropical island in the middle of the Caribbean. I looked forward to endless summer, a constant tan, and a never-ending supply of fresh ocean water if I got too hot. I was pumped. Once September rolled around in the islands though, the never-satisfied human that I am, missed fall. I craved the crisp air, a cozy rainy day, and crunchy leaves under my favorite boots. I couldn’t believe it but I actually missed the seasons. I wanted the cold.
Please take a moment to read Acts 12:1-19.
“But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.” Acts 12:5
Rhoda rose to answer the knock on the outside gate of the house. She had been in a prayer meeting along with her master and many others. With the news that their leader, Peter, had been thrown into jail, they knew his death was imminent. Rhoda asked who was at the door, and was astonished to hear Peter’s voice! Herod’s track record of persecuting Christians was what seemed to be an inescapable reality. There was no way she heard Peter’s voice, he was most likely dead, but she knew that voice…it was Peter. Rhoda rushed back into the house to inform the others, leaving Peter standing outside. As she explained who had arrived, no one believed her and came to the conclusion that it must be his angel. Peter kept knocking at the door, and finally, they opened the door and saw for themselves. It truly was Peter! An angel of the Lord had led him out of jail, and Peter was alive and free!