this is guest post two of three from my dear friend, nancy duggin.  (read post one of three HERE.) she has such a heart for parents, children, and families as a whole to experience the reality of Jesus in every day life.  i look forward to how she will challenge us all as we prepare to celebrate Christmas 2013. 


The mental image we have of God and of Christmas has everything to do with how we celebrate.  For those who know and love Him, it’s the time to focus on Jesus’ birthday with a heart-felt desire to celebrate Christmas in a way that honors The Messiah—our Messiah.

Throughout history, God has used ordinary, unqualified people through whom He accomplished extreme feats. So I know He can use us, if we are willing.

As we consider experiencing an extreme Christmas filled with more blessings than we could ever imagine, I suggest we begin by decorating our hearts before we decorate our homes and by spreading the fragrance of Christ before any other fragrances. This would be extreme in the eyes of the world and, sadly, in the lives of many Christ followers because a Christ-honoring Christmas may have never been a priority in years past.

How do we decorate our hearts before our homes? I Peter 3:15 tells us “but in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks us to account for the hope that is in us but do it courteously and respectfully. (Amplified Bible) The entire world would experience an extreme Christmas, if believers were truly purposeful in and lived out the hope within them. How would that kind of ‘habit of heart’ change our attitudes about shopping, how we spend our time, and how we guard and measure every word that comes from our mouths this season—No more wishing the season were over, or complaining about gifts to be given, or how crowded the stores are and how expensive everything is.

An extreme Christmas would involve a total refocus for most of us—one that would center on celebrating the birth of the Messiah by giving to and serving others in His name. We need a reality check and a heart check!

After decorating our hearts, let’s ask God to fill us with the desire to spread His wonderful fragrance. “But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere. For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which exhales] unto God, [discernible alike] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. I Corinthians 2:14-15 (Amplified Bible) Does your heart cry out for Him to spread His fragrance in you, and then into the world through your actions and deeds?

Our extreme Christmas will come from our desire to seek and know God’s heart, from our thirst for Him and our desperation for Him. Consider the verses below. Do they give you insight concerning what He might desire us to give as gifts, to His Son, this season?

Proverbs 11:30 The seeds of a good deeds become a tree of life.

Colossians 2:7 Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.

Titus 2:7 Be an example . . . by doing good works of every kind.

I Timothy 6:18 Be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.

Our extreme Christmas will NOT come from listening to the world’s messages and hype concerning ‘black Friday’ and the need to have all the latest gadgets and fashions. What image will our children have of us? Images based on Titus 2:7 and I Timothy 6:18? or images of us sitting around with the latest technology in our hands, with little attention being given to those whom we say we love, much less serving others in need of the love of Jesus, a love that should come naturally from the overflow of thanksgiving, for all He has done for us.

Only through the power of the Holy Spirit will we experience an extreme Christmas. Being a Christ follower should be the most exciting and extreme lifestyle any of us could ever imagine! Take a moment to praise Him for who He is and thank Him for His steadfast love and His goodness toward you and your family.

Stay tuned for some examples of extreme Christmases of others in past years.


Nancy Youree Duggin taught public school for 24 years and served on a city school board for four years.  She also is a mother to two and grandmother to three with one on the way. This October she will celebrate 40 years of marriage.  Even with her plate full with family and training teachers, she spends countless hours encouraging and mentoring young moms.  

 this is guest post one of three from my dear friend, nancy duggin.  she has such a heart for parents, children, and families as a whole to experience the reality of Jesus in every day life.  i look forward to how she will challenge us all as we prepare to celebrate Christmas 2013.


Our society, it seems, is all about extremesextreme makeovers, extreme sports, extreme weight loss, etc. Would you desire to experience an extreme Christmas in your heart, mind, and soul? a Christmas with surprises at every turn? surprises in the form of miracles from Jesus Himself?

Extreme would certainly describe the events leading up to the first Christmas: the “be it unto me” confession of a pregnant virgin, the Infinite pressed into the finite, Joseph not divorcing Mary quietly as tempted, the birth of a king (the King) in a dark, cold, and, most likely, dirty stable.

How might Jesus desire to come into you and bless you this holiday season as He did Mary, and in turn use you to be a blessing to countless others? Pray individually and as a family, for God to reveal to you what gift you can give His Son this Christmas, one even as extreme as Mary’s gift of herself (see Lk 1:38). Ask God to show you how to live and give like Jesus. Pray audacious prayers (like Lk 1:46-55). Ask God to be the difference in you that makes a difference in the life of others—for all eternity—with NO thought of anything in return. God doesn’t need our works, but there are countless individuals all around us who do, works that are the overflow of the love we have for the Christ of Christmas.

In the Old Testament we read about God asking Moses if there was “a limit to His power”. How would you answer that question? Since there is NO limit to His power, how might our Omnipotent God desire for you to see and to be an extreme Christmas.

Stay tuned. (Read post two of three HERE.)

580675_3362700941153_1823353765_nNancy Youree Duggin taught public school for 24 years and served on a city school board for four years.  She also is a mother to two and grandmother to three with one on the way. This October she will celebrate 40 years of marriage.  Even with her plate full with family and training teachers, she spends countless hours encouraging and mentoring young moms.  

i couldn’t be more excited that the first person to guest blog on dWELL is my dear friend stephanie.  what God has been doing in her life and the lives of all the men (little and big) in her family for the past couple of years has inspired, convicted, and challenged me.  we go all the way back to high school and even though i am a year older, i want to be more like stephanie when i grow up.
enjoy part one, and don’t forget to come back for part two.

I am a mother of three young boys (ages 3, 6, 7). Needless to say my house is loud and chaotic and full of sound effects and many unsettling noises. I never quite know whether they are sounds of play, of mischief or sounds of disaster. I love being a mom, here is no doubt, on any day, that I am so thankful for my boys whom I prayed for and longed for years and years. God blessed us with three wonderful and precious boys through the beautiful yet challenging calling of fostering & adoption. I say that to let you know that I do not wish away one minute of these years. But if you know me, you know I am a quiet person (although some of my close friends would beg to differ). I like quiet places and I like order and peace and predictability. When life becomes too busy and chaotic and distracted and noisy, I become thin and frazzled and shallow and impatient. And life happens, laundry, dishes, bills, dinner, dishes again, shuttling kids from here to there (and back again), my job, character building and correcting with my kids, keeping up with my bible study. Oh and I do have a husband to take care of, and I can’t leave out all the times i HAVE to check facebook, my email, or have watch that favorite show of mine, or two. It seems, if I’m not intentional, my default is that I get up in the morning and I set my head to the ground and go, go, go till my head hits the pillow again. Then repeat.

Business. Noise. Aimlessness = me tired, uninspired, lethargic and shutting down – barely hanging on, living a half-life, knowing deep down that there must be more than this. I don’t have time to stop, to deal with personal stuff, to take care of myself, to make a meal for myself, it’s not about me anyways, right? I’ve got others to take care of first.

I wanted to share what God has been teaching me over the past few years. I am not a disciplined person by nature. I tend to be lazy & distracted with my mind and I can talk myself into and out of just about anything if given enough time to think it through. I admit this gets me into trouble more times than not.  Several years ago now, I have slowly developed the discipline of running. I like how running makes me feel and how it makes me feel physically AFTER I run – it’s a sense of well-being and personal accomplishment and I can eat more!  But I realize that I run because I have concluded it is what is best for my health and quality of life (a greater goal), so I do it. After all how much is it worth to be able to play soccer in the back yard with my kids (without becoming winded & tired) or go to a play area with blowups and race your kid through the obstacle course or run with them down the street talking about our days together – this is quality of life to me (worth the hard work – worth fighting for).

I run every day. Let me share with you why on earth I do this and how this all started. A few years ago, both my husband and I had started running a few times a week to attempt to be more healthy & fight off the aging process & slowing metabolism. Inspired by a friend who ran 2 miles every day for a year, Wayne, my husband, decided 2011 would be his year. He ran and ran and ran every day all year until December came around and he developed a shoulder injury that required surgery. We had to get the procedure done by the end of the year. That means he could not finish his year of running.

I felt sad for him that he had worked all year on this goal and was unable to reach it (he got to 358 of 365). I remember sitting in church on Sunday the week of his surgery (scheduled for Christmas eve) and I felt this impression as I sat there that God had suggested to my heart that since we are married and my husband and I are ONE,  that I should finish his year for him as a gift. I felt the suggestion was a strong one and it felt heavy on my heart for a day or two but I did not mention it to wayne and here is why… FEAR of failure… it would have required me to run every day for a week and I thought that sounded impossible. What if i didn’t feel like running every day, Christmas was coming up, we were going out of town – after all I had never done this before how did I know I could or would do it. I have also had a pile of unfulfilled goals, made with great intentions, mounted up in my past and felt pretty inept to do such a thing. I did not want to let him down.

So, I eventually gathered up courage to announce to him I felt I should do this FOR him, in his place. And while he was down from surgery, I ran the remaining days of the year for him. I did it one day at a time for a week – this was a HUGE victory for me to be able to follow through. I ran that week, 2 miles every day, and then something curious happened, I kept running and running and did not stop running and ran the entire year of 2012 – every day, at least 2 miles a day (typically 20 minutes of my day 24 hour day) for 366 days. How did i do it? I still ask myself that. Looking back I am amazed it even happened. Something unexpected happened that year, this daily discipline became a daily battle of my will (my commitment) verse my feelings coming head to head. I just made a choice EACH day to do it even though I hardly EVER felt like doing it, even though some days I was so busy or sick or tired or fill in the blank with an excuse. But I did it because I knew it was what was best for me (to be healthy, to fight for a quality of life), I had a greater goal, a greater commitment in mind. I learned one day at a time what it meant to be disciplined, to follow through – something with which I have always struggled. I also learned that I don’t have to have that conversation with myself about why I can’t do it, it just did it. This commitment of the will shut down that self-defeating self talk. This discipline of learning, by God’s guidance and strength, to control my mind and body is changing my life.  Because it was not about the running, God had a greater goal in mind that even that…

be sure to check back in a couple of days for part two!

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