Family · Perspective

“What I Know” Wednesday

After an incredibly apathetic Tuesday (seriously, ask me what I accomplished at work), I started Wednesday with a vigor for life and the lofty goal of knocking out a goliath sized list.

The day is half over. I’ve been up for 11 hours and have about six more to go. Here’s what I know so far:

  • We, my family, made it thru the entire school morning prep process with no raised voices or tears today. Can I get a Hallelujah?! The tears lately… my goodness, the tears…
  • I pretended not to notice the multiple loads of unfolded laundry this morning at 5:15am and stepped right over them for my “mama quiet and devotional” time. ***My husband graciously told me that he could wear clothes out of the basket, unfolded just as well as he could out of his dresser or hung up. Points for him!***
  • I’m feeling the Christmas spirit. Cue the Christmas tree earrings and quite possibly my reindeer sweatshirt. (actually I think I purged the reindeer sweatshirt in my summer sort)
    Christmas Tree Earrings
  • I got away from the office for a quick vegan lunch shake at 3:30pm. I’m not really vegan, but my protein shakes have to be. Dairy hates me. #juiceplus
  • My kids just got off the school bus at the office. Took off coats, shoes, and socks. Grabbed a pack of crackers. Five minutes later… and now they are cold and there are cracker crumbs everywhere. *sigh* #lovemylittles
  • Caroling starts in an hour. Put on your musical pants people, we are going to sing some Christmas carols to you and your neighbors!!! #smalltownlife
  • Boom. Checked off eight of the nine tasks for my work to-do’s! And I’m out!
    giphy

    May your Wednesday night be merry and bright! — Jen

Faith · Family · Love · Perspective

merry MeRrY MERRY Christmas!

I don’t think we hear it enough. Sure, I heard a few Christmas songs on the radio this morning, but are we really hearing it? The love, joy and goodwill that Christmas is really all about?

Are we just seeing the consumerism side? The “is your tree HGTV or Better Homes and Garden” quality? Do you need a “Star Shower” to project Christmas onto your home? The “is my display up to the par of my neighborhood” moment.

Are we taking the focus off of the Divine and directing it to the Dollar Store (or Macy’s or Kohls…) accompanied by a sense of obligation and dread?????

Or are you FEELING and EXPERIENCING Christmas in your home?

I believe that a few thousand years ago, God became Man briefly. He took on our own skin, but not because we deserved it. Goodness no! Read the Old Testament and parallel it to modern man today. We couldn’t be farther from deserving then or now.

God gave us His son humbly as a gift. Humankind, of course, destroyed the gift. We really do excel at ruining good things. God knew we would ruin it and thru the Easter miracle graced us with forgiveness and love if we will just humbly admit we need it. We need Him.

That is where we base Christmas in our home. Is it because my parents told me to do it this way? No. It’s because I experience my Creator’s corrections and blessings on a daily basis.

Do we do stockings and gifts? Yes. Do we have a (mostly) glowing Christmas tree? Yes. Do I have a hugging Santa and Mrs. Claus on my counter next to a reindeer? Yes.

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We celebrate in our home and out in our community because we received a gift that we didn’t deserve. We happily give out of love because God gave us the gift of Love.

Give to your family or friend. Give to the local Angel tree (kids in need). Give to CarePortal (supporting families- things like beds, carseats, sheets, clothes). Serve at the food bank. Serve at your church. Serve at the local school.

If you aren’t physically able or are financially strapped, be kind. It doesn’t cost a thing to say thank you or to hold a door. Smile.

Whatever you do, please serve, provide for, or treat others with a happy heart. We don’t have to agree on faith matters and theology to be kind to one another. If your heart is hurting, I hope you encounter kindness and compassion today. I’ve been there too.

And if I pass you on the street, Have a Merry Christmas!

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Family · Parenting

Balloons

balloon

 

Ah the joy of the Christmas vacation from school…

I’d like to freak out on  thank the amazing and unassuming sales lady who offered my children these free balloons on a solid 18″ plastic stick in the mall on Monday.

We just went to get a package of socks for my husband with a gift certificate and a few last minute late Christmas gifts. We were day-after-Christmas sale virgins. What in the what?! Who knew it was like the running of the bulls?

The mall was packed. I was frazzled by the time we reached the checkout line of our first of four stores. The same woman almost ran me over with her stroller three times. It was like stroller road rage. We get to the checkout and this sweet 20 year old asks my children “Do you want a balloon?”

Exuberant yes from Thing 1 and Thing 2! I think “how nice of them to give away balloons!”

From store one to store two I am playing tetherball trying to keep my loving littles from pelting other determined shoppers speed walking thru the holiday hustle. By the checkout at store #2, I am ready to confiscate the metal detector and dollhouse that were so excitedly received on Christmas due to the behavior of the balloon holders.

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It’s like dodgeball to get from the second store to the car without pummeling someone with the beloved balloons.

Frazzled mom and dad put the offending purple and orange balloons in the backseat….  where my kids find them again this morning to go to town.

What the flip?! Was it seriously not cold enough the last few nights to deflate those suckers? By mile four of our morning car ride, they are beating each other balloon-style, my four year old is howling, and my six year old is overreacting defensively to everything his sister is howling about.

But we do love balloons. Looking back, I should have held my hand up nicely as a non-verbal stop sign when the nice young sales clerk offered the balloons.

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Family · Perspective

The Christmas Letter – Pt 1

The Christmas Letter. Do you write one? As a 30-something, I remember the excitement of getting the letters in the mail. They came from cousins, aunts and uncles, and family friends. Handwritten of course – it was the 80’s and 90’s. They told of family vacations, births, deaths, graduations, and the highlights of the year. They were part of the Christmas tradition.

I do still write the traditional letter. Some friends have shifted to just a card, some go email, and others stick an update on facebook. I’m NEVER the first to get the letter out and occasionally don’t get it mailed until the end of the month. I get giddy when I open Christmas cards and display them happily on my desk for a full month. They start at the beginning of December and usually end mid-January. The number varies by year.

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Fast forward to 2010. That was the year we had our first child. Suddenly, I had something to write about. Before that, all my friends and I were doing the same things. We were almost all married, but none of us had kids. We enjoyed tailgating together and college football and basketball games. We traveled on spontaneous vacations that had no set stopping points and flitted from one place to another. There was no point in writing about any of this because we actually rendezvoused more than once or twice a year.

2010: after a very long (ok so almost all pregnancies are the same length…) and fun filled (lots and lots of all day vomiting – no “oh you’re pregnant!” glow for me) pregnancy, our first child was born. The months FLEW by and suddenly it’s Christmas letter time! Do I smash it full of pictures of our little guy? Of course I do. They don’t want to read about me vomiting or how I’m now an expert on baby poop colors. The masses just want to see pictures of this kid! So I obliged with pictures and short captions.

2011: more pictures and a few cute stories.

2012: Baby #2! If it’s possible to believe, there was more vomiting with the second child, but I left that out. I was the most pregnant lady at the pool on 4th of July. It was so hot and I was just a few days shy of 40 weeks. Some friends and I took our crew to the DQ for ice cream before the pool. I couldn’t fit in the booth. Yikes. That actually did make the Christmas letter… I also smushed a TON of pictures of my two littles into the Christmas letter that year.

2013: More kid pictures. More cute stories. She’s walking. He’s building things and jumping off of couches. Tra la la la la!

2014… 2015… You get the picture. And here we are 2016. What do I write? Do I go timeline? Do I go humorous? Do we focus on the kids and gloss over my husband and I? Do I go with the traditional Christmas pictures or mix it up with refrigerator magnet pictures without a Christmas message? So many options!!!

I guess I’ll just have to see where my mood leads me. That’s part of the joy of being on the receiving end of one of our letters. You get whatever I write and mail accompanied by a few toothy grins in nice clothes.