With 2017 drawing to a close it is time to take a look back and reflect on all that has transpired over the course of the past year. I want to begin by letting you know how grateful I am to everyone who read Misty Phillip: By His Grace, this past year and especially to everyone who commented, shared, and followed By His Grace.
You are the reason that I continue to share my heart and my life online!
2017 was an exciting year on the By His Grace blog! Visitors this year came from all 50 states across the United States and from many places around the world to read the 62 published posts. Through my partnership with the Blog About Network, author friends, and book launch teams I was able to share and giveaway many great books. I enjoyed writing for and partnering with Philanthropy and had the incredible opportunity to share part of my testimony on the My Journey of Faith Podcast.
This year I shared many wonderful experiences with you like meeting Ann Voskamp, Rebekah Lyons and Christie Nockels at the Broken and Free Tour and Katy McCown, Shari Brandel and reconnecting with Lisa Allen at the She Laughs Conference. I introduced you to the ministries of the Refresh Gathering, the Revive Gathering, and Save The Storks. I attended a local writing conference, but one of the biggest highlights of the year was connecting with many fellow authors and online evangelists at the Declare Conference Declare Conference Recap
[ctt template=”2″ link=”p7E8e” via=”yes” ]In 2017 we experienced the best of times and the worst of times.[/ctt]
Many friends and neighbors were devasted by Hurricane Harvey but we learned many Lessons from Hurricane Harvey like in true Texas style everyone came out to support and love their neighbors and do what they could to help one another! We continue to be blessed by being a part of Champion Forest Baptist Church, and the Biblical-Literacy class where I enjoyed the privilege of writing the prayer points for our life group.
My first e-book was published through By His Grace and given away for free to blog subscribers, and I continued to write and edit my first Bible Study, and craft a book proposal all while homeschooling my boys, running a household, doing life and planning a wedding. My first born son moved out, graduated from college and got married.
At home, I planned several birthday parties and other large gatherings in our house, including opening our home on Thanksgiving to families affected by Hurricane Harvey and those who might otherwise be alone. I loved hosting my mastermind group and collaborating with other local authors and bloggers and seeing God move in our midst.
Other highlights of my year also included modeling for a fashion video with Fashion Meets Faith, traveling to San Jose, California with my husband for the Apple Conference, and a much-needed vacation with my boys to North Carolina, and Tennesse where we visited with dear friends. We also explored the Charlotte area including a visit to my cousin’s organic farm, Elevation worship, and the Billy Graham library. We absolutely loved visiting Asheville, NC, the Biltmore Mansion, touring Nashville and the smoky mountains.
Watching the Astros win the World Series was really fun and a great morale boost for Houston!
What an amazing year! I love watching the hand of God work in the life of my family and others this year. So without further ado, I give you the top ten blog posts from Misty Phillip – By His Grace.
10. Move Toward the Mess
In January I shared the book Move Toward the Mess: The Ultimate Fix for a Boring Christian Life and simultaneously God orchestrated a service day to a local soup kitchen in Downtown Houston called Loaves and Fishes. This was a life-changing experience for me. There are so many lost and hurting people in this world that need hope, and the good news of Jesus Christ, and if we are willing to leave our comfort zones God will take us on the ride of a lifetime!
9. Refresh Gathering
My longtime friend Debi Chapman hosted the first ever Refresh Gathering in Dallas, and it was a time of sweet ministry and a breath of fresh air for my soul! Tickets are still available for this years gathering February 10, 2018, at RefreshGathering.com
8. Wisdom for My Son as You Graduate
My eldest son graduated from college this year. As a parent, my greatest joy is to know that my boys are walking with the Lord, and everything else is just icing on the cake. In this post, I challenge my son to seek wisdom and to love the Lord God with all his heart and to love others. No matter where the road of life takes him, I wanted him to know that he is never alone that God Loves him and that He will never leave my son or forsake him.
7. Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me About Jesus
This post tells the amazing story of my friend who passionately loves Jesus and didn’t come to know him until adulthood. She wondered how she could have lived her whole life not knowing him, and why no one had ever shared the gospel message with her. What a beautiful reminder to us to share the good news with others.
6. This Is Us-When Life Gives You Lemons
This show wrecks me everytime I watch it! I was hooked from the very first episode. In this post, I share one of the most painful moments in my life and relate it to the show This is Us. Life is uncertain, but your life is what you make of it. So if life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
5. 10 Ways to Reach Millennials
I love that this post made it into the top ten! I didn’t write this post, it was a guest post from my younger sister in Christ Shelby, that she wrote for my blog after a conversation we had about reaching millennials with the gospel.
4. Fear of the Lord
The Fear of the Lord is a post that I wrote for the Philanthropy Fashion Blog. Based on the scripture in Proverbs 31.
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised.” -Proverbs 31:30
I immediately fell in love with the store in Market Square in the Woodlands called Philanthropy and couldn’t wait to tell all of my friends about it! The local owners Jackie and Christine Battle love the Lord and use their store to share the love of Christ with others. If you missed this post be sure to check it out and see why I love it so much!
2. A Wife’s Secret to Happiness- #Wifestylin
In this post, I share some personal struggles from the early years of my marriage and share Jen Weaver fantastic book on biblical marriage. This is the post that I wrote for Jen Weaver’s writing contest.
1. 3 Things to do when we are deeply wounded by others
This was the # 1 post on By His Grace this year by a landslide! I think it resonates with people because we have all been hurt by others. This was written after a time of deep hurt and betrayal in my life, but after much prayer, this is how God showed me to bring resolution to my situation.
Well thats a wrap for 2017. Blessings to you as you plan, pray and prepare for 2018. May we all seek to love the Lord and others more, and grow in grace in the New Year!
Many Blessings & Much Love, Misty
Making memories with family and sharing traditions is one of my favorite parts of the holidays! There are some traditions we celebrate that have been passed down through the years, and other traditions that we have added to our family over the years. Some traditions have been modified or stopped altogether as our boys have grown, but there are many special times that we look forward to each year.
For example, when the boys were little we used always get a fresh cut real tree, and hunting for just the right tree was part of the fun and a family tradition we looked forward to every year. One year we added an artificial tree, and the rest was history. We found that we could put up an artificial tree or trees, I think we are up to 9 or 10 now, much earlier and enjoy them longer without the hassle of having to water them, continually sweep up pine needles and battle allergy flare-ups.
Christmas Eve has always been an important day for our family! When I was a girl growing up I have fond memories of going to Christmas Eve service and the anticipation of Christmas morning. When Peter and I married, Peter’s mom began the tradition of celebrating with them by sharing special snacks, frozen drinks, games and lively conversations on Christmas Eve and we celebrated this tradition for many years.
As our circumstances changed Christmas Eve changed to fit the needs of our family. One year when Peter’s dad was really sick and in the hospital, we ate hamburgers at the restaurant of the hotel that was attached to the hospital. That was a very different Christmas Eve, yet we were all together. Another year my mom was hospitalized and on life support. Christmas Eve changed again that year too and has never quite been the same since Peter’s mom passed away a couple of weeks before Christmas another year. Since then we have started new Christmas Eve traditions with our boys that we look forward to every year.
Here are some of the holiday time traditions that we have enjoyed over the years.
- Attending Candlelight Service
- Celebrating Advent
- Baking Cookies
- Making Gingerbread Houses
- Retelling the Christmas Story by making parts of the nativity out of playdough
- Visiting Christmas Tree farms and cutting down our own trees
- Shopping for Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving night
- Table time telling stories with the family
- Reading aloud the story of the birth of Jesus
- Reading aloud the Christmas Carol or other beloved stories
- Watching Family Favorite Christmas Movies
- Christmas Musicals
- Christmas Parties
- Driving around looking at Christmas Lights
Celebrating family traditions helps bind the family ties together. Christmas traditions may adapt and change over time from year to year based on your family circumstances and that is okay. They should be a source of enjoyment and something you look forward to, not drudgery. So if something doesn’t work for your family drop or change it.
If watching movies is a holiday favorite for you to then I have a special treat for you! I recently learned about Pure Flix and some great things they have going on for free in hopes of helping families start new traditions. Pure Flix has free holiday movies the whole family can enjoy this season! They have made it super easy to watch them too! No need to enter your credit card information, all you need is your name and email. As a bonus, they also offer educational movie options for kids during their Christmas vacation, Pure Flix also has homeschool resources available.
Whatever you do this Christmas Season, my prayer is that you enjoy making your own special family traditions and that the gift of Jesus Christ who came to save the world rules in your heart and minds.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16-17 ESV
I would love to hear from you about the traditions you and your family enjoy! Leave a comment sharing your favorite family traditions or new ones you would like to start this year. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New year too!
Merry Christmas Friends!
We are one week away from Christmas. I can’t believe how quickly time goes! I hope you are all prepared for the upcoming festivities. This week I am planning to finish up a few last minutes preparations before our family gathers in our home to celebrate and I am looking forward to slowing down a bit and spending some quality time with my boys.
Where Can We Find Peace This Christmas?
I love the Christmas season it is the most wonderful time of the year! From the first moment, temperatures turn cool and I get to pull out all of my favorite sweaters and boots. I start longing for the Christmas days ahead. There is an excitement in the air, an expectation, and a longing in my heart.
However, for many people, Christmas can be one of the most challenging times of the year. Especially, for those going through a prolonged difficult season or are grieving the loss of a loved one.
Where will peace be found for the hurting this Christmas? Can we find it in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas rush? Is it something we can buy in a store and wrap up in a bow and put under our tree? Will I find it in my home? Will you find it in yours? Or if I turn on the news and hear of threats of Nuclear war from South Korea will I lose it?
To find out where Peace can be found this Christmas, read more at my friend Mitzi Neeley’s blog Peacefully Imperfect….
Mitzi asked me to share some thoughts on peace with her readers. While you are at Peacefully Imperfect be sure to check other posts in Mitzi’s special series on Peace and see what else Mitzi is up to on her blog.
Have a wonderful Christmas week and rest well in the love of Christ this week!
Hey Friends, I hope you are embracing and enjoying the Advent and Christmas season this year as much as I am. I am so thankful that I got my home decorating done early this year. I have to let you in on a little secret. I began November with great expectations of all that I wanted to accomplish by the end of the year, and I was able to achieve many things on my to-do list, but many other things I had to let go.
The first of November I started making plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and began preparing my home for the upcoming season. Then out of the blue, I ended up with an upper respiratory infection that knocked me off of my feet. I kept thinking that I would get better, but days turned into weeks, and weeks have turned into over a month and a half.
Being sick has caused me to let go of many things that I wanted to accomplish and has required me to spend more time resting than usual. I apologize in advance because one of the things I wanted to do was share more with you here on the blog after I wrote my holiday e-book. For anyone who knows me well knows that having to rest could have been quite frustrating to me. Instead, I have chosen to focus on being filled with JOY this holiday season. I have let go of my expectations and let go of the things that I can not control. This has allowed the peace of Christ to rule in my heart.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15
As I have taken time to rest, I have pondered a couple of things I want to talk to you about today, and those are SEASONS and GIFTINGS.
I want to be brutally honest with you here today. I have friends who have commented about my Christmas Home decorations and most of the comments have been very kind and encouraging, but for a few people, I am afraid it has caused them to fall into the comparison trap. Comparing what they are able to do in their home to what I have done in my home and this has prompted me to share a few thoughts with you that you might find helpful as you progress through the remainder of this year.
The goal of my holiday home is to create a warm hospitable home for family, friends, and guests and to inspire you to do the same as you invite others into your home this season. This will look different for you then it does for me and that is okay. God has given me a passion to decorate my home for Christmas, and the time, talent and resources to do it in a way that fits my personal style. It is my creative outlet and it is part of my gifting. My home looks nothing like it did a mere 5, 10 or 20 years ago.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”9fk8n” via=”yes” ]God has given each of us gifts, talents, resources, and time.[/ctt]
I have friends who sing and are a part of a fantastic Christmas program at church we have every year as an outreach to our community, and that is their thing. My thing is to fancy up my home and invite others in to experience the love of Christ through my gift of hospitality. I have another friend who bakes amazing cakes and blesses others with her baking. She hasn’t always made these incredible creations, but this is something she has picked up since she is an empty nester. My point here is that we have all gifts from the Lord. He has blessed each of us with special giftings, and it is up to us to cultivate those gifts.
Which dovetails perfectly with my next point which is seasons. We all experience many seasons throughout our life. What is important to us in our twenties, probably looks, different in our thirties, forties, fifties and so on. The same goes for our resources and time. Some years we have more free time available to us then we do other years.
We do things very differently now that my boys are all older, then we did when they were younger. When the boys were little, we would wait until the coldest night in December, fill our cups with hot cocoa and head out the door to find the perfect real tree and that was the only tree we would put up in our home. Until one year when I bought a small artificial tree for the boys to have upstairs that we could put up much earlier and they could decorate themselves.
We loved the fact that we could put the tree up in November and leave it all throughout the New Year without having to clean up pine needles, remember to water it or be concerned about it being a fire hazard. Which began the transition from real trees to artificial ones. A transition from one season to the next.
I have a friend who is an empty nester but has also been caring for an elderly parent who just went home to be with the Lord. This friend normally decorates her home beautifully in the Christmas season but has chosen to only put out a nativity scene.
Which really isn’t that what the Christmas Season is really about anyway?
The nativity, the birth of Jesus Christ. The Great I am who humbled himself by coming to earth and taking on human form to live to die that we may be saved.
For the remainder of this year, I plan to throw out all of my preconceived ideas and expectations of the season out the window and rest in the precious gift we have been given through Jesus Christ. My hope is that you will show yourself some much-needed grace and do the same.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”b7hxr” via=”yes” ]We are all in different stages and seasons in life, and we each have unique gifts.[/ctt]
How will you choose to use your gifts, resources and time in this season of life? How will you choose to live for the remainder of this year? Begin pondering what you can do for the kingdom of God in this season of your life with the gifts that you have been given for 2018, but linger in the present of the here and now.
Choose to be present in these last few days and moments of 2017. Cherish the love of our Savior Jesus Christ. Be present, be intentional and love those around you well.
I love the Christmas Season! It is the most wonderful time of the year! Twinkly lights, the warm glow of candles, fireside chats, lingering long with family and friends over a cup of something lovely all add to the coziness of my home during the Holidays.
I am so thankful that I got my house decorated early for the holidays because I have been battling an upper respiratory infection and have been ill for several weeks. I had hoped to get these pictures out to you all sooner. Instead, I am grateful that I have been able to rest, recover and enjoy the fruits of my labor. Without further ado…
I would like to invite you to my Christmas home tour 2017!
Great Room – We will start the tour in my great room. This year I decided to add touches of dark red back into my main tree in the great room with cream, and mixed metals. I love the way it turned out!
Pictured above is our tree and mantel in the Great Room.
Coffee table vignette – love the deer and the red berries nestled in the green!
Another view of our main tree in the Great Room.
This is the view from our entryway into the great room.
I took this picture from the stairs so you could see another view of the room, and the decorated garlands that hang on the railing above the great room.
Close up of the angel and cross that governor my entry table.
The bar in the great room was a perfect spot for my sleigh.
Music Room – Now onto the music room. I moved my forest of trees that I had last year into the sunroom room into my bay window alcove of my music room. One of my favorite things to do every year is to dig out all of my Christmas decor and figure out how I can incorporate it in new and exciting ways throughout my home.
The main tree in our music room!
View looking into the music room from my entryway. This year I incorporated the green and pumpkin colors from the painting above the sofa into the trees coupled with mixed metals and mercury glass.
This forest grouping of 5 trees illuminates the front windows of our home.
Dining Room – Sits adjacent to our music room. Our nativity scene takes center stage in the room because Jesus is the reason we celebrate this season.
In order to make this appear a little larger, I put a stack of books under the nativity scene and draped this fabric across to cover the books. Notice the word JOY on my candle holders. You will find this word throughout my home this Christmas season.
Garland and a few ornaments nestled into the chandelier add a little touch of Christmas!
The slim tree that I used in the music room last year works perfectly nestled in the corner of the dining room. Decorated with ribbon and poinsettias to carry the touch of red through the house.
Sunroom- This is room our family lives in and I wanted it to have a festive yet more casual feeling. So I went with a relaxed Woodland theme.
Our Woodland tree in the sunroom. Don’t you just love the little fox?
I love the new addition of this bell above my kitchen sink that opens to the sunroom.
This little nook was a perfect place for the Santas.
This concludes my Christmas Home Tour 2017. I hope you are inspired to make your home a lovely place to gather friends and family this holiday season. My prayer for you is that in the midst of a what can be a very hectic season, that the love of Christ will fall afresh upon you and that you will rest in His love.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6 ESV
Make sure you sign up to receive my free Holiday e-book to help you have the Holiday of your dreams!