Merry Christmas from our home to yours. May your day tomorrow be filled with joy- may you know the abundant blessings that we have in Christ Jesus. His birth ushered in hope for us- there is now a way for sinners to be with our God and it is through this Savior. He brought JOY to this WORLD.
Contrary to everything around me December 21, 2011
I am going to celebrate the birth of my Savior…. It has been one of those days. The children are in the house for the first day out of school. I had awesome plans to cook with them, deliver presents to the Rescue Mission with them, encourage them to play and enjoy their day off.
Last night, however, while our youth group was caroling, the bus broke down at the assisted living where they were singing. We shuttled the youth group back to our house, improvised a plan to carol in our neighborhood, and had a great time singing and wishing our neighbors Merry Christmas. But today, it left a little bit of a problem to deal with- a broken down bus, older people in our church who were not visited because we couldn’t make it there, and a husband who had a lot on his plate all of a sudden.
We took the kids to see one of the older ladies that we missed seeing last night. I was playing the new CD I got from the Christmas concert we went to Monday night. I am dying for us all to be singing this gorgeous music and celebrate our Savior, but the car ride was filled with children who would not stop arguing and tattling- and included me giving lots of talks about where we were going and the importance of loving others and how if we can’t even do that with one another, how are we going to be able to love our friend we were going to see.
All the while I am wanting them to be quiet so I can just listen to my dang Christmas music….
We do visit her and it was good. We head home and the problems continue- selfish attitudes, ugly hearts, tattling,etc. I go through it all again and they say they are sorry- they won’t do it again- they love us- all sweet things, but no sooner do we get home and I start making lunch, they start demanding, interrupting,” I want noodles, I want mac-n-cheese- I want pizza- I want those chips we just bought- I want Sprite-I want my sippy cup.” All at the same time. I had had it! Words may be nice to hear, but our actions reflect what we truly believe. Their actions were saying they were most important, they were expecting service and expecting whatever they wanted right now!
After a major talking to, they sit down quietly to eat while I finish up their drinks. Emma asks if anyone wants to pray. Cord starts, Lucy goes next. By the time Olivia goes, there are many tears of regret. Emma finishes with much sadness. All 4 are crying now (although I really think the top 2 are doing it because of true repentance and the other two think we are all crying for some reason and they need to join in!) I move around the table hugging each one and thanking them for their softer hearts, yet still wanting them to know that repentance means not just being sad and sorry. It means CHANGING the behavior. It means turning from the sin and turning toward the right thing.
When everyone settles a little, I tell them I feel like I have been in The Sound of Music. There is a scene where Maria is having her first dinner with the children and the Captain in the nice dining room and the children have placed a pine cone in her chair. She is startled but decides to handle their misbehavior by “complimenting” them about how nice they have been to her since she arrived, knowing that she is new and would want them to be kind. In their regret and embarrassment, the little one begins to weep, then another and another, until all of them are wailing because of how unkind they have been. The Captain asks her what is wrong with all of them and she says,”O they’re alright. They’re just happy.” And then their is massive wailing…
That was our dinner table today. And I am still frustrated that I am having to deal with messy little hearts, instead of having a memory filled happy day. I want a clean Christmas, a pleasant Christmas, an easy Christmas. And then I remember a stable and an inn that was too full, a manger and a smelly barn, a pregnant woman having to give birth far away and in great discomfort, a baby boy who would ultimately have to leave so he wouldn’t be murdered and who would later willingly die for our sins and I KNOW that there are no easy Christmases, no pleasant Norman Rockwell moments, no robot-like children who will be programmed to be sweet and generous and kind. It will always be messy this side of heaven. It will always be more complicated than I thought. But it will always point me to my Savior. It will always point me to my real home. It will always keep me longing for heaven and for the curse to be broken and all things restored.
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.
Visitor week at dance December 16, 2011
All three girls had a chance to show us what they have been working on this semester at dance. That means Eric, the smallest two and I sat through six one hour classes over the past few weeks 🙂 I love these days! It is so good to see how their classes are organized, the improvements that they have made over the years, the emphasis and the style of the teachers that they have. As always, I was impressed and thankful for our studio.
I wish we had a room in our house where the girls could dance all day and Cord could have a padded area to wrestle 🙂
Lucy’s life goals December 14, 2011
Almost every day, Lucy says,” When I grow up, I am going to be a cheerleader, a mom who bakes, Aubie and a Princess.” I can’t imagine doing all these things at the same time!
Wreaths December 10, 2011
Our local library had a great craft opportunity on Thursday night. I signed up to learn how to do a wreath out of book pages. They provided all of the resources. We began by selecting a book that would be the back of the wreath, then we selected a book that we liked the pages to be the wreath. We pulled apart the book for the pages and rolled the pages into cones. We glued them in rows around the wreath. To finish, we selected a center for it. I added a ribbon when I got home. I need to finish it off a little more, but was so glad to learn how to make these.
The lead lady was doing one with an old hymnal. It was turning out beautifully when I had to leave. Maybe that will be the craft that we do when school is out for the holidays.
Santa wants to see my boots… December 9, 2011
Santa came to Lucy and Cord’s school so that the children could get their pictures made with him. Lucy doesn’t go to school on Wednesdays; she has dance that day. But we thought that we would run up there and see if we could hop in line and see him before she went to dance class. It was pouring down rain and very cold that day. Lucy wore her pink polka dot rain boots and dance leotard to see him. Thankfully we got there just as the babies were leaving and another class had not arrived yet. A few babies were crying and it was a perfect time to encourage her that she was a big girl and would be able to show the babies how to visit Santa.
She was a little nervous at first. She is always willing to talk to him, but never has been willing to sit with him. Just as I was going to call it a day, he noticed her rain boots and asked her if she would show them to him.
Once he paid attention to her boots, she was all smiles and deemed him a good guy 🙂
Note to the boys…maybe the way to a girl’s heart is to notice how lovely she looks that day 🙂
Night at home December 3, 2011
Tonight was a great night to be at home. We ate pizza, started our Christmas countdown calendar, and snuggled up on the couch (all 6 of us) and watched Charlie Brown’s Christmas special. There were lots of questions from the little ones- “Why doesn’t that boy want to take a bath? (pigpen).” “Why are those girls so mean to Charlie Brown?” “You can’t use the word “stupid” mom!” Who knew Charlie Brown would cause such concern in them! We still have lots to do to finish decorating for Christmas and shopping for presents. Tonight was like a little standstill in time- forgetting all that we have left to do and savoring the warm house on a cold night.
When I first got out of college and was living with my best friends in an apartment. we purchased a live tree and put it in our den. Over the month of December it dried out and lost TONS of needles. We had hardwood floors and you could hear the needles falling off and hitting the floor. By the end of the season, the tree looked exactly like the Charlie Brown Tree above. My dad ended up helping me get it out of the apartment and it truly had no needles on it by then. I have some great pictures of that tree somewhere! Probably should have watered it a little more 🙂