Thursday, December 29, 2011

merry moments...

despite the fact that we had an injury early on - our christmas was so very merry!  lucy's nose had an unfortunate run-in with a very solid stocking holder that tumbled off the mantle and onto her sweet little face.  a bloody nose was not exactly on her wishlist this year but she took it like a champ..after a couple of minutes of standard drama queen reaction, she was digging right into her loot.

we had prepared all month long with an advent countdown, 
picking out the cheapest perfect tree, 
decorating it, 
and decking our halls...

so when the day finally arrived we were stoked {to say the least} are a few of our christmas day highlights...

starting the day off right ~ cake and ice cream for breakfast!  
this is the first thing we do on christmas morning to set the tone for celebration!  
{we figure jesus deserves the best birthday party we can throw!}
my mom whipped up this DE-WICIOUS {as oliver would say} peppermint layered cheesecake from southern living...

trying out all our new rides...
{oliver taking his diego roadster for a spin}
{lucy posing on her big girl dora bike}
{mama even got some new wheels of her own thanks to my awesome husband}
{the best part - i can take the kids along for the ride!}

seeing everybody's reactions to their gifts...
{lucy never disappoints!}
{love that this is gentle oliver's first response to a toy that is meant to be tackled and punched} favorite reaction {and moment} of the whole day was when i saw those rare tears from my sweet husband when he opened this gift from the kids {shhh...don't tell him i shared that}
never would have guessed that this would be the highlight of the day...
but i guess that's christmas magic at it's best.

from our goofy, imperfect, totally blessed family to yours...
merry christmas and happy new year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

christmas love

so here it is the week before christmas and i am the picture of peace.  amazing.
yes - as you have read in my previous posts...i've been putting forth extra effort this year to keep my heart in the right posture as we wait for jesus.  as we anticipate and celebrate (without all of the usual madness).  i think this has definitely changed the way my family is experiencing the christmas season this year...but...i have also been given an early gift...
my peaceful state is most certainly due in part to the fact that i am currently relaxing at the beach for a few days while my kids are off sowing their wild oats with their grandparents.

no, really, i'm serious.

do you think i'm a terrible mother?  abandoning my children the week of christmas to take an impromptu trip with my husband down to sea island where he is recruiting at a golf tournament.

don't give me the guilt trip...i already took it.  it lasted about ten minutes.  this is the thought that ended it...
loving my children well starts with loving my husband well

does anyone else ever feel like their hearts are knitted to the hearts of their children?  when they are away from me there is a stretching that happens so that their connection to me remains and i feel the tension of a connection without the ability to actually touch see mother them.  i know that the needle threads in and out of our hearts countless times a day as i feed them, dress them, listen to them, teach them, love them in a million different ways...  with each deed the gentle threading of our hearts is strengthened.  it is with a joyful spirit of duty that this knitting happens over and over - day in and day out...

and meanwhile...unintentional neglect tends to creep in between my heart and the heart of my first love.  
it's a truth that all mothers must face...
the daily loving of our children can sometimes begin to sever the strands that once tied our hearts to the hearts of our husbands.

so for these few days my daily loving is completely focused on the man to whom i said 'i do' to...because when i said 'i do' what i meant was 'i will'...forever...
forever is a long time and you don't get there by ignoring the relationship that was the first chapter in the story of your family.

and in between all the precious moments that joey and i have together this week i am also finding time for my ultimate love.  in his heart i find that never-ending skein of yarn that must be woven into all the knitting that is done in my own heart and between the hearts of my's stronger and softer and more vibrant in color than anything i could ever create on my own.  so...if loving my children well starts with loving my husband well - 
loving my husband well starts with loving my God well

so let me excuse myself as i scamper off to the beach to breath in the creation that was made for me by a God who loves me in abundance so that i have enough love for all the knitting that needs to be done...

and, by the way...this may seem like a random christmas week post, but it has everything to do with christmas...

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.   
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.      
1 John 4:7-11


Friday, December 9, 2011

gifts of hope

do you ever feel like christmas has become a little too much 'get' and not enough 'give'?  

problem solved!
come out to our gifts of hope shopping event tomorrow and i promise you will be drenched in the giving spirit of this season!  

20 unique vendors.
1 worthy cause.

imagine guilt-free shopping for everyone on your shopping list...  {and who doesn't want to avoid the mall madness this time of year?!}  not only will you be giving one-of-a-kind gifts to your friends and family but you'll also be giving to the physical, educational, and spiritual needs of the children of haiti.  proceeds from all sales at this event with go directly to mission of hope haiti.  an amazing, life-giving organization i had the privilege of visiting last year...

check out all the details on the event website.
saturday ~ december 10
2pm - 5pm
new charlotte church
11011 monroe road
matthews, nc

i will have a warm cup of cider waiting on you there!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

putting santa in his place

do you ever find something that other people do incredibly bothersome and then cringe when you consider that you once did the exact same thing yourself?  the whole santa thing leaves me feeling this way.  let me explain...
i've worked with kids for...well...forever.  from babysitting in high school to volunteering at church to working summer camps to my jobs in school psychology and children's ministry...i've spent time with a lot of kids.  until a few years ago i spent every december with a goofy-faced grin asking kids questions like - are you ready for santa to come?  what are you asking santa for this year?  what did santa bring you?  {cringe cringe}

here's how this yearly routine changed - i had children of my own.

suddenly i started looking a little more closely at holidays and celebrations and what they were teaching my children.  it's amazing to me how instinctively i did not want to talk to my own two children about santa.  it was like overnight my view of santa changed from a jolly good guy to the joker who was stealing all of jesus' thunder.  i don't know why it had never bothered me before.

i'm going to push 'pause' on what could turn into a very passionate dissertation on why i'm choosing to intentionally avoid santa talk in exchange for Jesus talk during christmas.  the truth is - i've consulted a lot of different people about this and i still don't have the perfect plan for celebrating christmas as a christian in the middle of a santa-loving american culture.  for the time being our family has agreed to the following:
(1) not making a big deal about santa - but also not avoiding him like the plague
(2) referring to the true story of saint nicholas when questions do arise about the man in the red suit
(3) making a BIG deal about Jesus and the true story of christmas...allowing the real magic of christmas to speak for itself
(4) asking our kids what they want to give to others at christmas instead of what they want to get {i know, i know...this is much easier during the preschool years than it will be in the teenage years...but - hey - a girl can dream}
(5) limiting the gifts we give to our children to only three {symbolizing the three gifts brought to Jesus by the wise men...again - anything we can do to shift the focus}

last week i posted on our church blog and mentioned some resources for advent celebration.  in my own home, we have been using a lot of the ideas from one of those resources. – truth in the tinsel.  here’s what i have found -
if we talk about jesus and our anticipation of his ‘birthday’ every day with our children…
 {our daily christmas countdown activities}

if we provide ways for them to create reminders of the true meaning of christmas (i.e. ornaments)…
{a couple of our homemade ornaments representing parts of the christmas story}
if we sing songs and light candles and tell stories about this GREATEST of stories…
{our advent candles}

they     get     it
even at 2 and 3 years old my children can tell you with big grins on their faces that christmas is all about jesus.  and they are giddy with excitement over our daily preparations…what more could i ask for?
so, for now, here's what i'm focusing on this advent…
#1 – be intentional, but...
#2 – keep it simple
and most of all…
#3 – have fun {after all…this is all about a celebration!}

would love to hear your ideas about keeping the true meaning of christmas at the heart of your families...