Wednesday, December 30, 2009

FOUR!

It is hard to believe!


This little one became this not so little one...


Who has always loved to smile and laugh...


And has always played hard...


is now FOUR!



Happy Birthday, my dear one. You are a joy, a challenge and you never cease to amaze me!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Lies-Part Two

So do you buy it yet? Have we put a box around Christmas and said "This is it! This is the time of the year for goodness, love, peace, joy and giving to those in need!"?

Have you taken the step to radically adjust the way you live so that the love you show at Christmas is no different than the love you show in March?

I am working on it. It is hard. It is hard to love others and to be uncomfortable and to give up my time and my stuff. And just when I started to think I had a little legway on it, I came to realize I had fallen for a second Christmas lie.

Lie Two: Christmas is a season.

This lie is strongly tied to lie number one, but is still distinct in itself. Lie one says that Christmas is special and thus we should love more, give more, rejoice more. Lie two says that this love, giving and joy should be limited to a time period between the end of November and the beginning of January.

The tree is gone. The ornaments are packed. The New Year is here and it is time to move on!

Have you noticed what goes on sale around the New Year? Fitness and diet items. The New Year is the time to focus on yourself, shed those extra holiday pounds, and make some resolutions to better yourself. Did you catch it? Did you notice that as the calendar flipped from December to January, we no longer are focused on others, but on ourselves?

We have allowed ourselves to buy into a lie that the love and joy and kindness of Christmas is to be limited to the Christmas "season." But we all know that families still go hungry, children don't get birthday gifts and so many are incredibly lonely far after the last Christmas carol is sung.

Can you imagine if the love, joy, and giving of Christmas did not end when we turned the calendar in January?

What if soup kitchens had to turn volunteers away in August?

What if families who were struggling to eat got help in May?

What if parents who could not buy their child a birthday gift received toys in October?

What if we lived life as if there was no such thing as the Christmas "season"?

Christmas Lies-Part One

I heard a story this week of some people who wanted to celebrate Christmas by giving to others and went to serve at a soup kitchen. They were turned away by three different soup kitchens because the number of volunteers exceeded the need. That is amazing to me, but why do we only hear stories like that around Christmas?

Lie One: Christmas is special.

We have come to believe and expect that as soon as Thanksgiving is over (or Halloween for some of the earlier celebrators), life is different. People are often more cheerful and are willing to give more of themselves or their possessions to those in need during the Christmas season. Words like joy, love, peace, and giving become a regular part of conversation and seem to be a regular part of life for a brief moment.

It as if the clocks strikes midnight on the day after Thanksgiving and the whole world enters into a special Christmas twilight zone. Regardless of our motivation, we have allowed a box to be put around Christmas that says this is the time of the year to be good and the time of the year to love others and the time of the year to celebrate what Jesus has done for each of us.

You see, even Christians have fallen into this trap that Christmas is special. How many times did you read, hear, say "Jesus is the reason for the season" this Christmas season? Come June or July, how often do you read, hear, say, "Jesus is the reason for my very living and being?"

In contrast, what if we lived life as if Christmas was not special? Notice that I am not saying let's live every day as if it were Christmas- I don't think that is the solution at all, because you see every day is not Christmas, but every day is a day to be kind and loving and joyful and peaceful and every day is a day to celebrate the gracious gift God has given us in His son.

What if we loved God and others so much throughout the year that you could not tell any difference in our lives come Christmas? There might be some extra greenery in the house, different music on the radio and more cookies in the kitchen, but our love of God and our love of others would not change any, because we were already loving with every iota of our being.

What if we gave to others, not because it was Christmas, but because we have been given much and just want to share with them?

What if we loved others, not because it was Christmas, but because they were made in the image of the God who loves us so deeply?

What if we lived with a deep seeded joy, not because it was Christmas, but because we have been given one more moment to breath, to hear our kids laugh and to relish in the extravagant grace of a loving Savior?

What if we lived life as if Christmas is not special?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas in Review

There was a certain calm before the storm.

Then the kids woke up!

Caleb got a shotgun- which he has proudly announced to everyone who has come within five feet of him since then. Can I tell you we have gotten quite a few funny looks about this? Our fifth graders thought we were C.R.A.Z.Y. for buying him a shotgun, until we clarified that it was a nerf shotgun.

Nathan got a vacuum which he has drug around all over the place since then. I would love to be able to claim the status of top-gift giver in this little guy's life, but alas, this great gift came from our sweet neighbors.


Kind of funny, but to be expected, that Nathan seemed to enjoy playing with the newspaper he absconded from the recycling bin as much as any of the toys.


Overall, I can say I have truly enjoyed and been blessed by Christmas this year! Hope the same can be said for you and your family!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Snowflakes on noses and sledding on hills

Lunch at Chick Fil A and buying books at Goodwill.

Having all of my Christmas shopping done.

This is has been my day of fun.

When the crowds grow,

when the traffic is slow,

when I am feeling mad,

I just think of why we have this special day

And I don't feel so bad!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Much Fun

We have had a blast in the snow this weekend!

Caleb really enjoyed sledding on the same wooden sled his daddy used when he was a little boy.






Nathan's response to his first experience with snow was typical Nathan.

He took it in stride, seriously contemplating "What is this cold, white stuff and why did mommy dress me like a fluffy marshmallow?"


"Not to mention, why am I wearing this funny looking hat?"


Nathan seemed to enjoy the sledding though.




And Daddy got his workout in for the day.

Even Sky got in on the fun.


What a fun way to spend the weekend before Christmas!




Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How Strange...

How strange...

To ride in a car in complete silence...without answering questions such as "What is a sleigh?" or "How does a septic pump truck work?"

To be able to go into Walmart, get everything on my list and get out in less then thirty minutes...usually this takes at least an hour.

To eat lunch peacefully...without jumping up three or four times, picking up spilled food or wiping grimy hands.

To have a complete conversation with my fabulous husband over said lunch...without interruptions explaining space shuttles, sledgehammers or any numerous other topics of interest.

Life felt very strange (and quiet) this morning as I was able to leave the boys at our church's Parents' Day Out. I cannot express how thankful I am for this opportunity. It is strange, but I really think that time away from my kids makes me a better mother. It was a much needed chance to regroup and be refreshed.

My time away was just strange enough that I was grateful to ride home chatting with Caleb about the hibernation habits of bears, skunks, beavers, cows and Santa.

Strange, huh?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Das Not Funny Friday Mama, Did You Know?



It is Friday again! It has been too long since I had anything to add to the Das Not Funny Friday shenanigans. Make sure you click on the picture above to get some more good laughs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Caleb: Mama, did you know Christmas is Jesus' birthday?
Me: Yup buddy, that is right.
Caleb: And we will sing him Happy Birthday and everything?
Me: Sure we will.
Caleb: I will be four on my birthday. How old will Jesus be?
Me: Uhhh...really, really old.
Caleb: Older than four?
Me: Just a little bit older than four.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Caleb: Mama, do you know what comes after Monday?
Me:Tuesday.
Caleb: After Tuesday?
Me: Wednesday.
We repeat through the week a couple of times.
Caleb: Mama! NO! You are just saying the same thing over and over.
Me: Caleb, that is how it works. God made seven days and they just keep repeating.
Caleb: Well, I don't like that. I am going to pray to God to change His mind and for Him to make some more days.
Me: You do that, but how will we know when it is the certain day to go somewhere?
Caleb: I will pray to God and He will let me know.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Caleb: Mama, did you know there are countries where people can't go to church?
Me: Yes, there are.
Caleb: They go to jail for going to church.
Me: Yes, that is true. It is sad isn't it?
Caleb: Hmm. Don't worry! I have it under control. I will just go to these countries and shoot the mean people with my spitball gun. That will fix things.

If it were only that easy....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That's All Folks! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sick Fun

On Sunday, David stayed home with Caleb, who was not feeling well, (He is doing much better now, thanks for asking.) while I went to church with Nathan (who is now sick with croup).

Deciding not to waste the morning, David and Caleb had Sunday School at home.

They sang songs...Jingle bells, jingle bells...

King Caleb took a census of all his animals.... 1 Gerby, 1 Lamby, 1 Baby Salem Bear, 1 Hee Haw, 2 Ducks, 1 Pog Pog the Dog Dog, 1 Pad Pad the Bear Bear... (to name just a few)

They read the Christmas story from the Bible and had a craft...

Meet Moo-ary, Moo-seph and Baby Gerbus.

Now was that a fun sick day or what?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Of Two Types

Two very different nativity sets grace the shelf that sits across from my front door- one of wood, roughly carved and one of delicate crystal, radiantly reflecting the lights of the nearby Christmas tree.

The more I think on it, the more these sets represent to me the fullness of Christmas itself.

Jesus, the Word, the Light of the World, Prince of Heaven, Holy, Perfect, Radiant.


Jesus, with us, becoming flesh, a carpenter, who knew hunger, thirst, and pain.


Jesus, inexplicably of two types, but yet the one and only one for which our hearts yearn, the one and only one who will transform our lives, the one and only.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Countdown

I truly love this time of year. I love the smells, the sights, and the joy that comes with expecting Christmas through the eyes of a three year old and a one year old.

Our tree is now up and decorated (at least the top half). We only had one casualty in the Christmas decoration department as we put it up. I thought the ball was plastic, but when it hit the ground, it shattered like glass. We double checked and everything else is fairly unbreakable. While at first Nathan seemed to be interested in the tree, bringing me ornaments he collected off of it, now he just seems to regard it as a part of the house.

Caleb is daily asking me how long till Christmas (and his birthday since they are so close together.) We made an advent chain to help us count down the days. Each ring has a verse on it that we will read in the evenings to remind us the true reason we celebrate Christmas. (I am not that creative and got the idea and verses from here if you want to use it too.)

I hope you are having as much fun as we are preparing for this special time of year!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

That Kind of Day

Thank you for the encouragement after I had one of those days yesterday! Today has been that kind of day and has been much better...

That kind of day when...
No one from the Biggest Loser shows up in my dreams.

That kind of day when...
Caleb and Nathan have been a true joy to be around...even though the whining/incessant chatter/head bonking continues to occur.

That kind of day when...
The sun is shining, God's creation is singing His glory and there is just enough of a chill in the air to remind you that Christmas is near.

That kind of day when...
I get to meet with and study God's word with a great group of women. And we had brunch! YUMMY!

That kind of day when...
My mom's headache is somewhat better. Though she is still quite tired and I have a feeling this is going to be a long road to get her headaches under wraps again.

That kind of day when...
I get to fix a good meal for my man, who was kind and gracious last night in taking us out to eat since I had such a hard day.

That kind of day when...
I get to read great blogs reminding me that the worst days will never outweigh the best days, that God loves us, Oh how He loves us, and that His grace is truly amazing.

Thank you friends for helping me have that kind of day!
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