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



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


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.