Birthday Bonanza

Today I’m working from a gingerbread house–or as my coworker, Jesse, calls it, the “gingercube.” My wonderful colleagues on the PR Team here at Tyndale House are always so creative with birthday decorations. My first birthday here, I was the “PR angel,” with clouds and wings in my cubicle. Last year I had a winter wonderland with lots of snowflakes and “snow” all over my desk (which is now still currently sitting under my desk a year later). Maybe I’ll take some better pictures of the gingercube later and post them up for you. I feel like keeping it up till Christmas as Christmas decor, but it says “Happy Birthday” on it.

So today I celebrate 26 years of life. You should also go wish my “twin,” Wenny, a happy birthday too. We were both born on the same day in the same year only 15 minutes apart (but at different hospitals).

As I get older, life seems to go by so much faster. It’s a strange phenomenon, but it’s a good reminder to cherish each day we’re given and to make the most of it. I look back on the past 10 years of my life, and a lot has changed so much within that decade. I know that in these next 10 years–or even the next 5 years or one year–a lot more can change in my life too. This is such a transitional period that never seems to slow down. So many new experiences and changes happen during the young adult stage of life, but I love it. I’m so blessed to have a wonderful family, pug, friends, church, and Savior.

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, one of my primary love languages is receiving gifts.Ā  Other friends have also told me this, so it’s not something I’m making up just to get gifts from people. It’s not just getting any kind of gift either. It’s about those gifts that have meaning. So whether it’s picking up a cup of coffee for me unexpectedly or finding a gift that shows you really know me and understand who I am, that’s one way I feel most loved. Since I feel loved by receiving gifts, I also love giving gifts to others. It brings me so much joy to see their reactions to special gifts I’ve picked out for them. So, I’m going to give some gifts to you today. šŸ™‚

I work at Tyndale, so obviously these gifts are going to be books (and a DVD). Here are a few products I’ve enjoyed and want to share with you:

The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo ~ Although I’ve never gone through the terror Becky experienced as a child, her story is powerful and the message of forgiveness is clear. I don’t know how I would’ve handled being in a similar situation of forgiving the man who terrorized your family for years, but I met Becky over the summer and she is a beautiful example of God’s grace. After all she went through, this woman has such a gentle spirit and a passion for the Lord and bringing people to know Him. You will be challenged to forgive those that are hardest to forgive by reading this memoir.

Asking for Trouble by Sandra Byrd ~ This is book #1 in the London Confidential series. I read this book when it came out back in April, but I finally got to read the last three books in the series in October (when the last two books released). Although they’re geared toward tween and teen girls, I really enjoyed them too! Savvy, the main character, is realistic and Sandra interweaves faith in nicely with the story. Plus the books take place in London and I love London!

Run to Overcome by Meb Keflezighi ~ I haven’t quite finished reading this book yet, but Meb has a fascinating story. It was so exciting to watch him start out in the New York City Marathon this November too to watch him try to defend his title as the 2009 NYC Marathon champion. Although he didn’t win, Meb is very humble and you can tell even in his interviews. The marathon’s a tough distance and I admire anyone who can run any race, let alone a marathon, in sub-6-minute miles! I have an extra signed copy of Run to Overcome to give away–a perfect gift for the runner in your family.

In the Beginning: What’s in the Bible? #1 by Phil Vischer ~ This is the first DVD in VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer’s new series, What’s in the Bible?. I love the concept of this series. It is meant to go through the entire Bible, showing kids (and adults) how all the parts of the Bible fit together into one great story about God’s redemption plan. That’s something I didn’t fully understand until last year, so it’s even better that kids start learning about this now. Even I learn new things about the Bible from these DVDs! Plus they’re entertaining and Phil Vischer gets the messages stuck in your head with his trademark catchy songs.

To win one of these four products, leave a comment telling me the best gift you have given or received and why. Tomorrow, I’ll choose the winners using Random.org. You can get extra entries by tweeting about this giveaway (just mention me–@christywong) or posting about it on Facebook and leaving me another comment linking to your tweet or status update. The Birthday Bonanza contest ends at 12:00 PM CT on Dec. 9! šŸ™‚

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  1. #1 by Kim Steele on December 8, 2010 - 12:34 pm

    The best guide I ever received was a carved nativity creche from my daughter for Christmas. Every year when I get it out and set it up near the Christmas tree, it reminds me of the real reason for this holiday season — the baby who was born in a manger and grew up to become my savior.

    • #2 by Christy on December 9, 2010 - 11:55 am

      That’s beautiful, Kim! Such a special gift.

  2. #3 by jdeddins on December 8, 2010 - 12:44 pm

    The best present I have received is my Kindle. I read too many books, so its nice to be able to have several with me in case one gets boring!

    • #4 by Christy on December 9, 2010 - 11:57 am

      That’s what makes the Kindle (or an e-reader) attractive to me. I can carry more books around at once!

  3. #5 by Shirley Rempel on December 8, 2010 - 4:03 pm

    The best gift I have been given is my girls! I have a four and two year old, after 4.5 years of infertility struggles, being told I could not have children (next to impossible) and a cancer diagnosis and successful treatment. My oldest was a preemie too, born at 29 weeks 6 days. I could be be given any more precious gift then these two miracles!

    • #6 by Christy on December 9, 2010 - 11:57 am

      Praise God for your daughters! That’s truly a wonderful gift.

  4. #7 by Debra on December 8, 2010 - 4:04 pm

    My parents built me a dollhouse when I was about 7. Used carpet scraps and wallpaper scraps from our house to decorate. The thing was immense and totally fun. I’ve certainly received more expensive gifts since then, and even gifts that took more time to make… but that one was just special.

  5. #8 by Isabelle Lussier on December 8, 2010 - 4:08 pm

    The best gifts I have received are my kids. God gave them to me. It is even more special because we had been told that our chances to conceive naturally were very small. All four of them were conceived naturally.

  6. #9 by Helen Williams on December 8, 2010 - 4:11 pm

    Truly – the greatest gift I’ve ever received is God’s love. When I discovered His unconditional love it rocked my world! Me? He loves ME? That little nugget was worth a LOT of tears! No matter what – He loves ME!
    In an earthly sense – the greatest gift I’ve received is my husband’s love, forgiveness and support – in spite of my being a less than perfect wife. He’s God’s second best gift to me.
    Material things, I think my laptop is one of my best gifts, given to be by that previously mentioned incredible husband of 33 years and counting. On this lap top I share. Whether I’m writing and posting a blog – or giving out encouraging words on Facebook or attempting to write my book(s). I love writing – and writing with a pen is getting too hard on my hands – so this gift is a wonderful treasure!
    Thanks! Helen Williams!

  7. #10 by Athena on December 8, 2010 - 4:14 pm

    Tough question! I think I will have to get all sappy and say my children.
    Happy Birthday!

  8. #11 by marina on December 8, 2010 - 4:15 pm

    Happy birthday Christy. One of the best gifts I have been given are my 6 month old and 4 year old. God has fulfilled a promise he gave us 6 years ago, through their births,,,,,the best!!!

  9. #12 by Athena on December 8, 2010 - 4:18 pm

    Tweeted! Twitter name mama2six

  10. #13 by Glenda on December 8, 2010 - 4:19 pm

    Happy birthday! I love visualizing the Gingercube — please DO post a photo. (Makes me a little wistful about no longer having office mates…but then, I don’t have a commute either!) The best gift (or at least one of my favorites) is a little wooden cross made by my then grade school-aged children. My son carved it and my daughter painted it with every bright color she could get her hands on. It still sits on my windowsill above the kitchen sink….sort of a reminder of God’s faithfulness in loving them even more than I do.

  11. #14 by Theresa Haskins on December 8, 2010 - 4:19 pm

    Lets see, best Christmas gift…..I would have to say the birth of Christ! I am getting to the point in life (I’m pretty old) and realize nothing else matters anyway (except loving and helping others).

    I hope you have a very Happy Birthday Christy! I wish you MANY, MANY more!

  12. #15 by Athena on December 8, 2010 - 4:20 pm

    Shared on facebook!
    facebook.com/mama2six

  13. #16 by Psm on December 8, 2010 - 4:24 pm

    My daughter was born January 1st many years ago. She suffered brain damage during surgery to repair a congenital heart defect. WE were told by doctor’s that the damage was so severe that she’d never smile or respond & would be permanently like an infant. Our first Christmas as we neared her 1st birthday was very sad. She had no responses other than crying. I began to pray daily for her to smile and be happy. When Christmas rolled around the next year, we received the greatest gift….a radiant smile….a smile that she became known for. That’s my greatest gift aside of course from His Extravagant, Eternal love. Thanks, Pam Whitley

  14. #17 by Barbara Robinson on December 8, 2010 - 4:26 pm

    The best gift I ever received was salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ, and I thank God for loving me so much He gave his only son so I could have eternal life. The best gift I ever gave was God’s Word, the Bible and spreading the good news with others.

  15. #18 by Everest Liu on December 8, 2010 - 4:47 pm

    Hey Christy,

    one of the best gifts i’ve received is the hebrew and greek bible (for OT and NT respectively), amazing for my seminary studies šŸ˜€

  16. #19 by Anthony Trendl on December 8, 2010 - 4:48 pm

    My book load is full, but happy birthday anyway!

    If sub-6 minute miles impress you — look again. Meb ran sub-5s! Either way, loaded with wow.

  17. #20 by Anthony Trendl on December 8, 2010 - 4:52 pm

    My best gift? My wife gave me a big Weber grill. Threw a party, and everyone pitched in.

  18. #21 by Loni on December 8, 2010 - 4:53 pm

    Of course, the gift of eternal life – that continual hope we have that no one can steal from us, is the greatest gift of all. After that comes the gift of my husband and 12 blessings of children – two that see Jesus face to face and ten still living at home. I am a blessed mom!

    And, I think you should keep your gingerbread house up – it is JESUS’ birthday – just add His name underneath! šŸ™‚

    Loni
    http://writingcanvas.wordpress.com

  19. #22 by Tammy Griffin on December 8, 2010 - 6:03 pm

    I’d like to read Asking for Trouble by Sandra Byrd. The best gift I ever received was my son. We thought we couldn’t have a child and now we have a healthy 10 year old! God is so good!

    • #23 by Tammy Griffin on December 8, 2010 - 6:04 pm

      Also, have a wonderful birthday!

    • #24 by Christy on December 9, 2010 - 11:58 am

      Thanks, Tammy! Your story resonates with so many others who commented on here. Praise God.

  20. #25 by Linda on December 8, 2010 - 6:04 pm

    Happy Birthday to and your sister–so young! Enjoy.
    Most special gift–a 40th wedding anniversary gift from my hubby!

  21. #26 by Glenda Alexander Chilton on December 8, 2010 - 6:20 pm

    The best gift ever was Christmas tree ornaments from my two children when they were very young, the oldest has passed away and the youngest is now 38. But the hand made ornaments they gave me when they were young are the greatest gifts and treasures I have ever received and owned.

  22. #27 by Glenda Alexander Chilton on December 8, 2010 - 6:22 pm

    Hope you have a wonderful birthday! May you receive many many birthday blessings!

    • #28 by Christy on December 9, 2010 - 11:58 am

      Thank you, Glenda! It was wonderful.

  23. #29 by Glenda Alexander Chilton on December 8, 2010 - 6:27 pm

    Happy birthday Wenny! I hope you have many many birthday blessings!

    different hospitals………..where can I read about this
    that is a story I would love to hear!

  24. #30 by Nikole Hahn on December 8, 2010 - 6:51 pm

    It was the worst Christmas of my life. My family walked out of my life. My husband and I were relieved and sad, too, because the toxic relationships were no longer influencing us. However, it was still my family. I was going through a depression. Christmas was very thin. We agreed we couldn’t afford to get gifts for each other.

    On Christmas morning, all of his family came to his mom’s house. I enjoyed the lightness and blessedness of it all. There were many great presents. After all the presents were unwrapped, my mother and father in law moved to a stack of packages next to the television. I thought it was one box per family.

    It turned out that my husband had sent money down to his parents to pick up a set of dishes from Cabellas that I had my eye on for almost a year. He bought two sets of them for me. It was the best Christmas ever. He wanted to get me something to show me how much he loved me without expecting a gift in return. He knew this would be a tough Christmas for me. That was the best gift ever.

  25. #31 by Rachel @RachelSteffen on December 8, 2010 - 10:26 pm

    I think the best gift I have given… is our first son (born 12/21/05) to my husband – to our family. šŸ™‚ ā¤

  26. #32 by Rachel @RachelSteffen on December 8, 2010 - 10:28 pm

  27. #33 by Hilda K on December 8, 2010 - 11:38 pm

    Happy birthday to you and Weeny…
    The best gift i ever got was a small leather bound bible that my mum got me when i was 16. It is smal enuf to fit anywea bt she gave to me when my life was abt to crumble and thats what makes it special.
    Please do post pics of the ginger bread hse. Id love to read the Sandra Byrd book.

  28. #34 by Roxy on December 8, 2010 - 11:47 pm

    I think the best Christmas gift I ever received was when my mom came home for Christmas. When we lived back in Korea, she was put in a mental institution because of her bipolar manic episodes. They beat her and drugged her, so when she came home, she was pretty bruised and frail. Back then, everything was unstable and the only thing I wanted was for my mother to come back home. I remember my dad coming into my room and crying because all our money was spent paying back the debts my mother racked up between her gambling, compulsive spending and hospital bills. I told him I didn’t care about the stuff. I wanted my mother back and I wanted her to be stable. The stability portion didn’t come until ten years later, but my wish was partially granted. šŸ™‚ It was a special year and I will never forget it.

  29. #35 by Christine Toy on December 9, 2010 - 6:22 am

    Hope you had a wonderful birthday celebration! Sarah’s really sad she couldn’t join you guys last night.

    I love giving gifts and shop year round to find just the right thing for each person!! But the best gifts I received were the family trips my parents took us on each year. They weren’t well to do but managed to scrimp and save so we could take a long vacation each year – Disneyworld, drive cross country, etc. We travelled very frugally but we kids never knew that b/c it was always so much fun. It’s those trips that bring back the most vivid memories of my childhood and the ones we all talk about when we get together.

    Christy, you’re really a blessing to our family and we all just wanted to wish you a very Happy Birthday!

    • #36 by Christy on December 9, 2010 - 11:59 am

      Thanks, Christine! I hope Sarah’s feeling better today. We missed her last night too. And thank you for the Under Armour gift card! I’ll put it to good use. šŸ™‚

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