Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Be Still My Heart

I was given money for my little preschool friends at church with a catch! It has to be spent before the end of the year. Yeah, right before Christmas I was blessed. I was ALSO blessed with my parents visiting that week and NO desire to shop when the rest of the world had the same idea! I did know, however, that I had all the help I needed in making good choices-experts you might say!

I took those precious experts with me to 2 Wal-Marts, Good-Will, and to help them go to one more store, McDonald's. It was a long day of following directions but the sword fight with the toilet bowl brushes in the container aisle helped to pull them through. Miss Blake, got into the action as well with a musical presentation on the lids of "fancy" garbage cans.

The last stop was our local Wal-Mart. The kids unloaded and Lydia went out the opposite door. She did not walk around the van with Clay. I spotted her through the van window attempting to retrieve a cart. I went to her and explained she needed to be with us for safety reasons. She was concerned the cart would roll into the water filled ditch below. I pulled the cart up the hill and gave it to her to "drive." I then took Miss Blake from her patiently waiting brother. Clay then decided to retrieve a cart as well. So our train of 3 carts made its way into our little Wal-Mart. A employee just happened to be taking carts in and yelled to thank us but the kids could not hear him for all the noise 3 shopping carts made. We congested the entrance with our carts and confused drivers. The employee again thanked them while pulling his carts in. He then returned to slip 50 cents to each of the kids and thanked them again, telling them to buy themselves a "pop." I had just talked with Clay about the importance of saving his money and told him if he could save a certain amount, I would give him 2 more dollars so his head was calculating!

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the red kettle that a week earlier those frozen children stood by and rang bells. I pointed it out to Lydia and mentioned that she could put her money in there. Without hesitation and armed with her big, beautiful smile, she moved the apron covering the slot for the coins and deposited her recently earned coins. I invited Clay to do the same, but knowing our conversation of saving was still in his little head, he was hesitant. I told him it was his decision but he needed to consider how he earned it and what was his motivation for bringing in the cart. He thought for awhile while I went through the process to make a return. As we went to walk away, our private little guy, made his way to deposit his coins as well. I whispered to him how proud I was of the decision he made. It so blessed me as God continues to teach me. You see, even as I type I am reminded of a conversation I had with Jesus this week about finances (and He took care of that concern too) but now reminds me of this:

As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." Luke 21:1-4

Oh, that I could have the heart of a child.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Packing Away Christmas


Here are a couple of ideas that I have read about and wanted to share with you before packing Christmas decorations away.

1. Read about this in Family Fun magazine and Dollar General had Christmas journals for $1, the kids got them for Christmas and they will write something about themselves from this past year. We will store it with the decorations and surprise ourselves when reading it next Dec. It will also be a good record of their progress in handwriting and writing in itself. Not to mention , those journals will warm their mama's heart. We will trace Blake's hand and record each of their favorite gifts for that year.

2. We are going to wrap our Christmas books in gift wrap and store them away! Then when December comes, we will pull them out and read one a day until Christmas. It was suggested on FlyLady.com that you rewrap your favorites to create 24 books. I am pretty sure we are at least 1/2 way there and my girlfriend, who had no idea I wanted to do this, blessed us with about 5 new Christmas books! You could add Christmas CDs and DVDs to this as well.
I am also considering doing a 1/2 Christmas in June. We can bake goodies to share with others (not so busy and our friends are not over ran by these goodies), watch Charlie Brown's Christmas, and listen to Christmas music. There should be plenty of Christmas books at the library as well and make crafts to share. Post any suggestions you may have as well!

A Quiet Place

I received this poem on a poster for my 18th birthday from my life long friend. I have it by my desk. With the excitment and the aftermath of the holiday, I find myself going over it's words. Just wanted to share it with you.

A Quiet Place
I daily seek a quiet place
that's far from trouble and strife
Where I can piece together all
the puzzles of my life.
It's there, away from TV and books
and far from the telephone,
that I can fellowship with God;
just He and I alone.
And there God pours His balm of love
into the life I live,
And there I find a peace and joy
that only He can give.
I will not fear the circumstances
I face from day to day,
for daily, in my quiet place,
I'm learning how to pray.
Glenda Fulton Davis

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Home for Christmas


We all want the Norman Rockwell view of Christmas morning! After we moved further from our families, we learned to enjoy our little family at home on Christmas. This year will be different! My "frozen" parents are in from FL to the coldest temperatures of the season! Family celebrations are being juggled to fit every one's schedule. For us, that means, we will not be home for Christmas.

I have wondered what God would lay on my heart to share with the kids to make Christmas thrilling this year. But you see this year, we will be the weary travelers who will search for a room in the inn. I can honestly say I am looking forward to this! Our kids will wear their snazzy new PJs and wake up in a hotel to stockings that they have no idea will be waiting for them there. We will pray with thanksgiving for the blessings of family and for a warm room. We will tuck ourselves away for a few moments from the family and festivities to rest, love one another, and worship the newborn Savior. Then we will hit the road for our Christmas tour lasting from Wednesday and ending at our home for our Christmas on Sunday. For you see, Christmas is not a one day celebration that has to be the most perfect day of year-especially with 5 imperfect people- but a 365 day celebration that occurs in our hearts. Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blessing

http://plaindealer-sun.com/main.asp?SectionID=41&SubSectionID=119&ArticleID=7396

Could not help but share this article with you. I am so proud of this mom and so thankful that God has put her in my path. This family is such a blessing to me. They are so deserving of this gift as they are a blessing to so many!

Happy Birthday Jesus!


For our son's first Christmas, my life long friend made him a cake plate that reads," Happy Birthday Jesus!" Each year we bake cupcakes or a cake with candles and whatever decorations the kids come up with to celebrate Jesus's birthday!


One year, while the kids were all preschoolers, we invited little friends over. They baked, decorated, and delivered cupcakes to our neighbors (which were so heavily decorated they were probably not suitable for consumption.) The kids ran through the neighborhood so proud and told our neighbors, "Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shepherds Point of View


Here is another option to allow your children the THRILL OF CHRIST in Christmas!

Last year, after opening presents, we read the Christmas story in Luke 2. We listened how the shepherds were told about Jesus birth and went to find Him. Here is what to do:
Place angels in different rooms of your home like a scavenger hunt. I referred to the children as Shepherd Lydia (age 3) and Shepherd Clay (age 6) and we went on the hunt for Baby Jesus. The angels should be visible from one room to the other so they can spot them. Ours were more like a straight path with angels along the way to reinforce them. The end of the hunt lead us to our unfinished basement-damp and cold, probably like a stable. There, hanging from the ceiling, would be the final angel and under it was the Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Behind the figures, we chose to cover and reveal an additional gift for each of the children.
Give it a try and add your own touches! Have fun as you teach the true meaning of Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lydia's view of Christmas


Our 4 year old, Lydia found an unused container, which is amazing in itself! She went to work and this is what she laid under the Christmas tree. I think this little one just started a tradition for this family.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him.

We enjoy going to large nativities and if there is a live one, I suggest going! Took the kids to this one and watched their reactions (with my camera that is.) How precious that our little man, took his glove off to touch the newborn King. Come let us adore Him!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Greatest Gift

Our children love presents! I am not even sure if it is getting new things or the thrill of opening them! When Lydia was a baby and only Clay opened gifts, we set up the nativity not including Baby Jesus. After we finished opening all of our gifts on Christmas, there was one box left. It was the prettiest wrapping of all the gifts. It was addressed to all of us by name. We asked Clay if he wanted to open it. When he opened the package he found the baby for the nativity and a note. It simply said, "I am the greatest gift the world has ever known." And continued, I love you with each of our names listed and signed Jesus. Clay then was able to place the baby in the manger as we thanked God for the very special gift He gave us.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another look at Christmas


In Mexico, it is tradition for children to march through the town carrying the figures of Mary and Joseph. They knock on doors and ask if anyone has rooms for the figures. They, of course do not. We did this with our children as well.

I walked down the hallway with the children while Clay (5) carried Joseph and Lydia (2) carried Mary. They knocked on each door in the hallway. Their quick daddy jumped behind each door to answer their knocks. He changed his approach and character with each knock. They asked if there was room for them to stay the night and each time, Mark shared that no there was not. When they got close to the last door, Mark said he did not have room but suggested they use the broom/linen closet. We made room for the figures in the closet and talked about how it was not as nice as the bedrooms but it would have to do, just like the stable so many years ago. As we were about to set the figures on the floor, Clay reached up and pulled a blanket down then sat the figures on it and Lydia stopped us and asked us to leave the light on. Their hearts were captured!

Christmas morning they ran up the hall not to race to the tree but to the broom closet where they found that Mary and Joseph now were joined by Baby Jesus. They called out, "They had their baby! Baby Jesus!" The real thrill of Christmas!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


It is a tradition of mine to capture our babies' first response to the nativity at Christmas time. It is important to us, that the joy in Christmas and in life is found in the birth of our Savior and the forgiveness that only He can give.
Our 14 month old daughter Blake, takes her first steps to the manger.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Advent

As a little girl, our church participated in lighting the advent wreath and I loved it! I wanted my children to experience it as well. We have been lighting the candles on our wreath for the past couple of years but I did not fully know the meanings. I had been searching online but never really found what I was looking for. Then, while reading a blog I follow, she had my answer posted! If you have Advent questions check out markdroberts.com

If you don't have a fancy wreath stick 5 candle holders out there and grab some candles at Dollar Tree-2 for a $1-3 purple, 1 pink, and 1 white. We light our candles on Sunday afternoons before eating lunch. We use our Christmas dishes and use the wreath as a centerpiece discussing their meaning as we light them. Our kids like to pick which candle they get to blow out when we are finished with our meal. You, like us, will be behind. For next year, I will make a note to store the wreath where we can get to it in November when Advent starts-now I will just have to remember where I put the note. Happy Advent!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Preparing for Baby Jesus

Growing up, our neighbors set up their nativity but did not include Baby Jesus until Christmas morning. Here is an idea to go along with this (with more to come.) I read of a family who wanted to prepare the perfect bed for the baby Jesus to be laid in on Christmas morning. Each time one of their children "were caught" doing something kind for someone else, they were given a piece of straw. They then laid their straw in the nativity to pad the bed for the expectant Baby Jesus. What a perfect gift for a child to give to Jesus, loving others as He commanded us to do and something so visual a preschooler could understand it. Let's prepare our hearts as we celebrate the birth of Christ and await the return of our Savior.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CHRISTmas

I want to give my children the thrill of Christ at Christmas-is there a thrill any bigger? I am going to post several ideas. But would love to share memories from the past before we heard the pitter-patter of little feet in our home.

The Christmas we were engaged to be married, my precious husband-to-be and I, stole some time for my family's activities to savor the season. We headed to the yard with the Word and a flashlight and read about the love between a man and a woman. The love that keeps a man to care for a woman who was not carrying his child, claimed to be a virgin (how believable would that have been?) and was shunned by all. A man that heard the word of the Lord and although scared and confused cared for this woman. A woman, but still a child, who felt alone and scared but with faith to say, "be it unto me." All she had was this man, who she needed to believe her. All he had was this woman who needed him and their God who found them favorable. What a lesson for a couple about to be married, 1 man + 1 women + 1 Lord = a unity.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


What she really needs...

I am blessed with 3 sweet children! That is my bias opinion-obviously. But I have been told numerous times how sweet our daughter is. People are naturally drawn to her. She is a very sweet kid! It is as if she has "FREE HUGS" written on her forehead. I have to admit that her needs are so different from our little "man cub" that at times, I just do not get her and we both end up frustrated. How could someone so precious and loving throw her mama into a tail spin? So what is my problem?

I recently read the following quote which has shed light on what this precious child really needs from me. I look forward to lovin' on her as she needs to be loved on!

"A child needs sympathy hardly less than he needs love;yet ten children are loved by their parents where one child has his parents' sympathy...[It] is unquestionably true that in no way can any parent gain such power over his child from the shaping of the child's character and habits of life as by having and showing sympathy with that child."

Henry Clay Trumbull
Hints On Child Training

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Slow Fade

When Mark and I were dating, I decided to no longer watch any rated R movies. THEN a movie came out that we both wanted to see, A Time to Kill. From the title, you can tell the rating. The first scene of the movie was a crime against a child. Note, I had not seen any violence in a movie (and had no time for TV) for quite some time. When the scene flashed across the screen, I went into somewhat of a panic attack. I had my head buried in my knees while Mark held me continually saying, "let's go, we can leave, let's go!" I was too paralyzed to move. The movie was still louder than my crying. Why am I telling you about this embarrassing situation?

The movie situation is evidence of a Slow Fade that the band Casting Crowns sings about. Crime and violence had become part of my entertainment when there are people everyday that are harmed- they are someone's son, daughter, mom, grandparent, brother, neice....they are loved by someone and I am being "entertained" by their harsh reality. That stuff REALLY happens! It is not hard to see this type of "entertainment" on our local televisions stations--think about it! (Need help- CSI, Criminal Minds....)

It is not just violence either. Someone gave me Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook to read. Yes, it is a great story BUT when I got to the part of adultry and wanted it to happen-I knew that the Slow Fade has happened again!

We rarely have the television on in our home when the children are awake for this very reason. They do get to watch Saturday morning programs and PBS has some kids programs in the after school hours. It is totally worth guarding them but I have got to guard me as well. In our world, we even have to be careful about the bumper stickers we read!

A friend of mine tells this analogy. You can put a frog in a pan of boiling water and he will jump out. But if you put the frog in the pan and slowing heat the water, he will stay and die. It is a slow fade.

Proverbs 4:23 reminds us "Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quarter Moon

Last week, the big kids wanted to go to Mark's volleyball game. I attempting to clean up the kitchen after dinner. Mark said he would take them with him and I could come pick them up when I was finished so to get them to bed. Driving home after picking them up, Clay and Lydia discussed the moon. They were debating on if it was a quarter moon or a half moon. I too wondered. It was a little more than a quarter but less than a half. I shared that I did not know if there was a name for that. Lydia spoke up saying, "Let's just call it a penny moon!" So there is Lydia's 1 cent worth of insight!

Little Lady

Tonight, I picked up Miss Blake at the nursery. She was walking around without shoes. I asked about her shoes wondering if they were a problem. I was told, Papaw Butch (as the church calls him) had asked her, "Blake, where are your shoes?" She walked away and returned carrying her shoes. She had taken them off and then when asked about them, she delivered! So all of those conversations we pretend to have with her are not in vain.

Clay and Lydia have another little game they like to play with her. They will ask her silly questions and she will shake her head no. For example, "Blake, did you eat your fork?" "Is Clay silly?" "Is Lydia stinky?" We have only played this game at the dinner table. The big kids laughter fuels the game for our tiny comedian. She loves Clay and Lydia, as it should be.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lydia's prayer

Saturday we met Aunt Kim, Alex, and Ryleigh to eat and shop. We went to Toys R Us. After our exciting day, Lydia fell asleep on the way home. I knew I would have trouble with her at bed time and sure enough, she struggled to go to sleep. She made several trips out of her room and would come and sit like we were going to chat. One time she entered to tell me she had been praying. She told God she wanted a Baby Alive and a swimming doll. (My opinion of these dolls is a whole 'nother blog!) After she shared her prayer with me, I was able to remind her that God knows best and she agreed with a confident nod. Miss Lydia is growing not only as a little girl but as a lady of faith. I see in her the Lydia of Acts-I bet that Lydia kept her mom on her toes and her daddy wrapped around her finger too! A friend commented that Lydia is so sweet, you can almost see the sugar sitting on her.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Blessings

Ways I am blessed:
3 healthy children
a sweet, handsome,energetic.... husband
Clay and Blake's beautiful red hair
Lydia's curls
our precious families who love, support, and encourage us
a Lord, who knows my heart and still loves me.