Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!

Praying that God blesses you and yours in 2008!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Our Family Advent Celebration

The word advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” It is a time of contemplation and worship as we look for the coming of our Savior. The season of Advent is celebrated for the four Sundays before Christmas.

We love to celebrate the Advent of our Savior during this season. Our family chose colors and meanings for each candle of the Advent Wreath. We aslo chose to add a fifth candle that we light on Christmas morning. We remember Jesus using the following symbols:

White candle—Jesus, Our Peace
Purple candle—Jesus, Our King
Blue candle—Jesus, Our God
Red candle—Jesus, Our Sacrifice
Yellow candle—Jesus, Our Hope

We developed a "script" of sorts with related Scriptures and Christmas Carols to use during our worship. Last week we decided to make our Advent Celebration part of breakfast. Since then our children have been asking to hold hands and sing together at each meal. It has been a special time of family bonding and teaching.

On Christmas morning we read Isaiah 25 and reflect upon the Babe the manger Who brings us the sure hope of salvation through His sacrifice.

Isaiah 25 (New International Version)
Praise to the LORD

1 O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.
6 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7 On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove the disgrace of his people
from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.
9 In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."

New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Monday, December 17, 2007

Oh My Word!!!

Don't my girls look angelic? Well, tonight they outdid themselves when it comes to mischievous experiments. I was in the kitchen making dinner when they approached me. Gracie started off with, "Sorry, Mom. I got salt and pepper on the red chair in the living room." Abby piped up, "Sorry, Mom. I did it." I took a deep breath, composed myself, and summoned up the best Dr. Sears' wisdom I could. I went into the living room thinking that it would be bad, but I could handle it. What I saw was the worst, most unspeakable thing I've encounterd since The Great Poopy Wall incident of 2004. The red chair was sopping (and I mean sopping!) wet with olive oil and sprinkled liberally with toasted garlic. I was so angry that I had to send the girls to the other room while I pulled myself together.

Sam came in, looked at the chair and said, "Oh, no!" That was all that could be said. He offered to pay for a new chair with his trash job money. We figured out that it would take him 4 years to afford to replace the chair. He'd be ten--that's double digits. No, that wouldn't work. We prayed together that God would give me wisdom about what to do. Then I thanked Him that my girls came to me and took responsibility for what they had done--even though I might be upset. That is, after all, what Richard and I want them to do. Well, there was nothing to do but teach the girls how to clean it up. We cleaned up the garlic and researched what to do about olive oil on fabric.

Dr. Sears was right, I did feel better about myself as a parent by handling the situation proactively rather than sapping my strength with ranting and raving. I offered my girls a moment of grace, and isn't that what God does for us when we come to Him and admit we've screwed up again? I also taught my son that God will help us control our anger and figure out how to handle difficult situations.

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard of Aaron. Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, for there the LORD commanded the blessing--life forevermore." Psalm 133

Thank You for the oil, Lord.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Live With Joy and Abandon

Avoid collagen Bloom late Celebrate Dance at weddings Eat more chocolate Fall in love again Go grey Hold hands Inspire Jettison grudges Kiss like you mean it Laugh Mend fences Nurture friendships Open doors Perspire with aplomb Quit whining Rekindle romance Spoil babies Teach someone to read Upset convention Volunteer Wear red eXpect joy Yield gracefully Zing

God has blessed us so much, shouldn't the way we approach life show our gratitude?

We're Not Buying Anything Made in China

We're not buying anything made in China. Not because of lead toxicity. (Though, this would be a good enough reason. And can I just say that I am astounded that we're usually the only parents reading packaging for those often tiny "Made in" words!)

We don't buy from China because of human rights violations
like these and these and practices like these.

When shopping with Sam we look over packaging together. He asked once why we don't buy things made in China. I told him it was because they use slave labor. He had recently been introduced to slavery in a biography about Mark Twain and had already decided that slavery was wrong. He suggested we just tell people about China using slaves. In his mind it's obvious that no one would buy stuff made by slaves because it's a wrong thing to do.

The other day Sam lost a small toy that was very special to him. He wanted to return to the place he lost it, but we were in a serious time crunch. I suggested we look for a replacement while at the grocery store. After going through a wall o'toys we still had not found anything made anywhere other than China. Then Sam said seriously, "That's okay, Mom, I don't need anything." He didn't mope or pout. He was just quietly resigned to doing the right thing.

Shopping with little children in tow can be daunting. It is sometimes easier to grab and go rather than pour over packaging. I'm ashamed of the number of times I'm lured into what's easy at the moment. I came away from that experience with Sam having a renewed commitment to reading all those small print labels even if it is inconvenient. Why? It's the right thing to do. If a 5-year-old can see beyond want he wants now, I can too.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I Have Music!

Thanks to my brilliant and ever-so-helpful husband (who also happens to be pretty dang cute!).

Wow! Lookie There...

"I have no special talent. I am only
passionately curious."
--Albert Einstein