Friday, December 21, 2012

From Lemons to Lemonade

 When life hands you lemons...squeeze and squeeze and squeeze until you get something more bearable from them...right?

Well first of all, as far as the girls and I go...we've kind of slacked off of school work since we are 4 days away from Christmas! They couldn't be more excited! Thanks to my husband's family they have been receiving Christmas packages one after the other all week long.

I had a "mommy snafu" moment that my 6 year old was more than happy to correct me on. So here goes: their room was/is a mess and I can't think of bringing new toys into a room that is so disorganized so in an attempt to persuade and motivate them to clean it before Christmas, I said to them "if you guys don't get your room clean, Christmas is not coming to our house!" Now there was a little bit of build up to this point, like telling them over and over to clean their room since Thanksgiving.

At any rate, Madison comes in  with a most concerned look on her face and says in such a sweet voice, "I thought Christmas was all about celebrating Jesus' birth?" Can you say..."snafu!" I saved face, I think, by saying (in the same tone, I might add) "that's right, we will celebrate Jesus' birth, but we will not open any presents until your room is clean!" How awful is this story?? LOL! This was about 7 days ago...the room is still messy with only 4 days to go. What do you think will happen??? Mommy the Teacher will soon be Mommy the Cleaning Helper in about 2 days!!

As for learning:

We did finish our Long House project. We covered it in brown paper bag and then sparsely added some pine straw for a wooden effect (it was easy and quick).

Chelsea was waiting for story time one night this week and decided to get up and pull a book off of her bookshelf and said that she would read it after I read my story...and she did! She read a book called "Todd's Day God's Way" I was so very proud of her. She's doing very well!

We had pajama day at co-op along with a Christmas breakfast while wrapping presents and making Christmas cards for orphaned children in downtown Atlanta.

We've been in a baking frenzy! We baked some special treats for some very special people! We've made short breads, oatmeal walnut cranberry cookies, ginger snaps and a very special one that I am not ready to unveil because of certain readers of my blog who we want to surprise. I will say, it is our very own recipe, one that we had to create to get the texture and taste that we were looking for and according to my husband, they are perfect! Yay!

The girls made a ginger bread house. I briefly entertained the thought of baking our own until I read a very funny article in Atlanta Parent Magazine. In light of this mom's experience with warped ginger bread walls, I opted for a pre-fab house! Hansel and Gretel could not wait to desecrate it of its goodies either, before the night was done, there was nothing left but the icing on the poor thing.

I took the girls Christmas shopping for each other, their cousins and a couple of friends. Thankfully they had money saved and could afford to get that many gifts. It was a good experience for them and I left with a headache but I will do it again and again, year after year!

We did our Christmas cards this week also. I wanted to show the girls doing what they love:

Lastly, this week also came with its trials of faith and perseverance, hence the title of the post and opening line. My husband has continually expressed his awe of my ability to keep things moving when he feels, I should probably be a little more expressive emotionally. I am not a robot, I do "feel" but I think that sometimes situations surpass my level of emotional expression and I just have to "keep it moving." You know? Some situations are so huge that mere tears do them no justice. Maybe it's called internalizing, I don't know.  But...

I buried a wonderful uncle this week. A man that added so much to my life during childhood. He was that uncle that whenever he was around, you just felt safe. He will definitely be missed but we must keep it moving.

Two or three days ago, my Daddy was diagnosed with colon cancer. Now I see where I get that strength that my husband stands in awe of. It's from my Father! This man is amazing. He's never been sick and did not flinch when the Doctor came in with this initial report. I love it! He's lying in the hospital bed but still refuses to be waited upon past a certain point. I understand that soooo much!

Some might say; well he should "deal" with what he's heard and come to terms with it. I'd ask "why?" My Daddy says you don't give in and you dont give up; and with good reason.

He had surgery last night and today the report is..."not cancerous!"

What a blessing! I'm sitting with him now in the hospital and even sleeping...he's that same silent fighter that I've always known him to be - this must be where I get it from.

When things happen in've gotta keep the right perspective. Lemons are definitely sour (no doubt about it) and hard to bear in and of themselves...but if you just keep looking at them, you'll find something very palatable to do with them. You may have to look hard, you may have to squeeze and squeeze and squeeze but I believe in nearly every situation there is good to be found or at the very least...created/made...out of something sour.

Linking up at Collage Friday, WUH, and Homeschool Creations!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Life Skills

Last night before they got ready for bed, I told the girls to clean their bathroom. If only you knew how much toothpaste a 4 year old could use to paint a bathroom sink. I would take a picture of it for you but it could quite literally gross you out. It has my 6 year old.

One night she said "the bathroom is too messy for me to brush." She wasn't just trying to get out of it either. She seriously did not want to stand at that sink covered in Kids Crest! You may be thinking, "well you should keep your house clean." Are you thinking that? Trust me, my little Chelsea only needs 5 minutes to create a bathroom masterpiece.

Because of this, the rule is, Chelsea cleans the sink and counters and Madison cleans the mirror and the floor (pick up tissue and straighten the rugs).

Last night Chelsea did an exceptional job with the sink and counters. I mean they were sparkling. So afterwards, Madison goes in to do the floors as usual. I look up and she's headed back into the bathroom with the broom and dustpan. I've never asked her to sweep the floor. That's usually Daddy's job. LOL She did though. The bathroom was the cleanest it has ever been cleaned by actually looked like a job done by an adult. So we told Madison that she'd get money for doing such a great big girl job on the bathroom

Well, I think they are quick studies or something because tonight after dinner, Chelsea says, "Daddy, can I wash dishes?" LOL He says, "yes," so Mommy prepared the sinks and made dishwater. Madison, realizing what was going on, says to me, "Mom is there a chore that I can do?" I looked around and said, "sure you can put the rest of the laundry away." It dawns on me that she can rinse and stack the dishes as Chelsea washes so I set them both up.

Now, you might be saying. "awww." I almost did until I heard Madison saying to Chelsea, "We can keep doing more and more chores so we can get lots of money..." LOL To her credit though, the end of that statement was " we can buy our friends lots of Christmas presents!"

I'd say they are learning some pretty decent lessons. Responsibility and Charity. Not bad.

Then...nope, the story is not over yet, Madison comes into the living room where Dad and I are and says...

Her: "Are there any more dishes?" 
Me: "Here's a mug and saucer, throw the tea bags away. You guys are doing such a great job!"
Her: "We like being responsible!" {She did, she really said that}
Me: "Awe..."
Her: "We want to do all the things that you do for us"
Me: speechless and touched to the core and I say "I love you both sooooo much"

The finished dishes!
What a sweet thing for a Mother to hear. And her heart was so pure when she said it. Mothers may have the hardest job in the world but I believe that we are some of the most blessed individuals in the world. What those little souls give back to you when you least expect is worth the whole trip of motherhood. Am I right?

Wordless Wednesday

Linked up at Momma to 4 Blessings!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What do you do when...

Any moms out there ever been in a position with your back against the wall? What do you when you feel that pressure? When you feel like you've been guided along in a particular direction and maybe at first you didn't perceive the ultimate intent or the final outcome.

 Now I know none of us are psychics...well, maybe some of you are, I am not. However I do believe that as women we have a certain intuition. We know that to be true when it comes to becoming a Mom. How else do you explain being able to care for another individual from birth to adulthood? That is one amazing feat. Is it not?

I think that we are intuitive individuals by nature. I believe that God put that in us with purpose. I think that it helps to guide us and our families. Helps us to be able to help our husbands according to scripture. But every now and then, I look up only to find myself in a situation that I might have avoided altogether had my perception been a little more keen. What do you do in particular situation when something that you're asked to do goes against who you are? And not in the most overt of ways but in the subtle, this-wont-hurt-anyone-kind-of-way? Do you know what I mean?

Google Images
This particular thing you're asked to do doesn't even qualify as a sin. It's just a course of action that, at the end of the day, may be how this friend or that friend conduct themselves with total "peace" but for you, it's just a little bit different than that.

 I've found myself in this position twice within a month's time. Now the first time, caught between this proverbial rock and a hard place, I phoned a friend. LOL! Literally called a friend up and asked 'what would you do?' She fired back with some thought provoking questions which is what I think any level-headed person would do. She didn't lead me one way or the other. In this particular situation, I decided to do what was asked of me but under certain terms. Still though, ultimately, it was against who I consider myself to be at heart.

Tonight though, tonight, I just couldn't. This is a completely different situation with completely different people (people I love though). And things were done or said that I just couldn't allow myself to succumb to. Again, not sinful, just a matter of principle if you will.

I know these "crossroads" come up in all of our lives at one point or another. What do you do when it comes up in your life? Do you handle all situations the same? Do you take a case by case approach?

 I have found that since I've been married, I have become more of a 'grey areas' type person. Before marriage, I was as 'black and white' as they come, all or nothing, no grey!

 I don't find it so surprising that I handled both situations completely different because of my 'grey' approach to things now but I do find that at my core, I am still as principled in my beliefs as I was before marriage. However, I take a little time to think I guess...I don't know.

 What about you? What do you do when...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Quite a Good Week!

This week was pretty good. The girls worked pretty diligently in their subjects. We got a project done and a book report. Actually, for us, that's pretty awesome!

It's been a long time since we've done a project ourselves that wasn't related to co-op assignments. It was a simple project that I found on We made pulp paper. We first used tissue paper. With those, we made Christmas ornaments for the tree. These will probably only be used this year since tissue paper isn't the most durable of mediums to work with when making ornaments. Brainstorm: I will laminate them with laminating sheets and perhaps we can keep them for a few years!

Chelsea did a candy cane and Madison Christmas bells

Then we used some of our junk mail  to make more pulp paper, this time we made gift tags for Christmas gifts that the girls will give to their cousins. All in all it was fun. If you'll notice, Madison's shirt had to be changed mid-project because my dearest energetic Chelsea, after dropping in the food  coloring, started violently shaking her bottle and bits of pulverized tissue paper and green spurts of water flew everywhere! Yay projects!!! Now I remember why the salt dough map was our last project.

Chelsea is still working on her reading and doing quite well, when she "feels" like it. I definitely have to push her more than I did Madison but she's not too far behind where Madison was at 4. Still doing quite well. Look for my FREE ebook coming soon on little fun tips to use when teaching reading. I am so proud of her, she's been doing work out of the Abeka Letters and Sounds for 1st grade workbook. Boy do I love home schooling! The kids just get the opportunity to work at their own pace and the mom or dad gets to see exactly what their kid is capable of. There are only a few things in life that are much more gratifying than that for me.

She is also still learning to tell time, count by 5s, and work simple math problems.

Madison did a book report on Abraham Lincoln today. It's fitting since Daddy and I had a date night thanks to wonderful God Parents who called and offered to take them to see Christmas lights in the Square. We went to see Lincoln the movie and truly enjoyed it and plan to go see it again soon. I know that History is written and told in so many different ways but I do believe that President Lincoln was one stand-up guy. Not perfect, but a good man. I was shocked to realize that he was a Republican and the oposition from the Democrats over emancipation. They seem like two completely different parties today, almost a total opposite of what they each stood for back then. That was a brain-bender for both my husband and me. (That was a rabbit trail) Here's Madison report.

Yes we have some facts to clear up for her about Doctors back then but I was very proud of her writing. Her use of pro-nouns, facts and personal thoughts as a 1st grader were pleasing to Mommy. She also chose her own title. Nice job!

Silly pic of the week...

When I wasn't looking, they got t-shirts, cut out and taped oblong pieces of paper to the shirts, put the shirts over their heads with a sleeve hanging down the front of their faces and called themselves "elephants." You gotta love the mind of a creative child.

Yep, good week. Thanks for reading. Leave a comment (because I just looooove them) then take a hop over to the weekly wrap up and share what you guys did this week. Also linking up at Homeschool Creations!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Time4Learning Curriculum

I've been mulling over an online Math program for the girls to supplement our Abeka Math. Not because I am dissatisfied with Abeka, I happen to love it.  

Chelsea's strength seems to be in Math and Madison has grown to enjoy it. So I thought it might be a good option to have in order to switch up our day some. By adding online math games, I figure they will hopefully have fun while practicing important skills.

While searching, I happened upon Time4Learning. They offer much more than Math and...  

I've been invited to try them for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

 See you back soon!


Math Math Math

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Baby Steps to Becoming More Green

We were not really trying but my husband said to me the other day that we have become more "green." We do feel a sense responsibility for the planet. I have "further, more personal" thoughts about "saving the planet" but no one asked me and they are just that, "personal thoughts."

Here are some very simple baby steps that we have stumbled upon to becoming more "green."

Get with your garbage service and find out if they also have a recycling center (not every garbage service offers recycling and some even charge for it). If so, ask that they leave a recycling bin at your curb when they pick up your garbage next. Ask them to also leave a list of what they'd be surprised.

Our beautiful recycling bin

Actually we've noticed that every week when my husband takes the garbage out, our recyclables are more in number than our actual trash. That's pretty cool. We are like 3 bags of recycling to 1 bag of trash.

Something else that we started doing is making sure we turn off all of the lights in the rooms that we were not occupying. Growing up our parents made sure we did this. Now I am reminding my children to turn off the bathroom light when they come out. They are getting it, slowly but surely. This conserves energy and your budget over time.

Unplug phone charges and laptops when there is no phone or laptop on the other end of the adapter. Again saving energy and possible reducing unseen radio wave activity throughout the atmosphere in your home.

This post began to seem like a bad idea because we only have 3 steps to share. So I looked at my husband and said, "what else are we doing to be more green?" He basically said the same things that I just typed in the post. Then I said, "maybe I shouldn't do this, I mean we only have 3 steps to share." And he said, "well, you said baby steps, how many steps does a baby take before he falls?" I thought that was hilarious and we both laughed...hard.

Of course there are a host of other things that you can do. Reuse reusable items around your house, use green cleaners (this is good for the planet and your kids), limit toilet flushes or invest in a low flow toilet and other energy saving appliances, i.e. washers and dryers, compost (I've gotta ask my father-in-law how that's going), plant a tree in your yard (we plan to do this one day), carpool or invest in a hybrid or electrical vehicle (pretty pricey for most folks but the return on invest!?).

We teach our kids and are training them in simple steps of recycling also. They even ask us now if certain things that they are about to throw away are recyclable before they throw them in the trash (sometimes). Pretty cool.

So, there you have it.

Thank you for reading and PLEASE share your thoughts and ways you've become greener in your home and family.


Monday, December 3, 2012

How I Lost 25lbs!

*Disclosure: this post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

I almost feel bad about writing this post because it seems every other site on the web (especially around this time of year) is about how to lose weight.

I don't feel bad when I realize how my weight loss journey began. It began by me reading and listening to as much information as I could on how to lose the weight. As frustrating as it can be sometimes to read and listen to all of the different testimonies and steps and new fangled ways to lose weight, it can be a very important step if you are just starting out on your journey for the first time. It helps you in two ways. First, you get to hear more than one option on how it's done and secondly, I believe that it feeds your heart. I believe that everytime you read or hear someone's story it feeds your faith and gives you the faith and strength that you need to believe in yourself to take the first step down your road to healthier weight.

So when I think of it that way, I don't mind being one more voice in the wind to encourage at least one person to get to where they want to be.

Now on to my story:

After hearing and reading and thinking, I found my path and here it is...

In my 20s and before I had kids I didn't have to think about what I was putting into my body although I now believe that we should always be mindful of that at every age. Even though I didn't have to think about it, I remained active. Mostly because I'd been in the military and was used to running and moderate weight training so I continued that and it worked easily and perfectly. I'm sure most women can relate to that pre-kid, high metabolism phase of life.

After my first child I lost 40 of the 50lbs that I'd gained by doing nothing and the 10 lbs that I kept still landed me in a healthy weight range for my height, which is 5' 7.5". After my second child, not one pound budged ultimately and I found myself faced with having to lose weight for the first time. I tried running again and I loved it. I could run 5k distance with ease but would only drop 7-8 lbs. I hadn't changed my eating enough to drop any more than that.

I also ordered a famously marketed dvd off t.v. I built my stamina and strength but only lost 7-8lbs. I then got serious and attempted the eating plan that came with the dvd. That lasted as long as it possibly could before I was bored with it and wanted more. For 3 years I tried several different recipes for success.

In the meantime, I kept reading, listening and desiring to lose the weight. One of the books that helped me a LOT was this book by Bob Greene:


Then one morning after eating 3 peices of pizza the night before and getting on the scale and seeing 181 lbs. I got up and walked around my nieghborhood for 30 solid minutes. It totaled 6 laps around. I did it everyday for a week and added more fiber to my diet. I didn't change anything else about my eating just yet. I felt great! I got on the scale at the end of that week and saw that I'd lost 2 lbs. That excited me to no end.

I added more laps and kept eating more fiber and dropping 2-3 pounds per week. It literally felt like magic everytime I stepped on the scale and saw weight loss week after week. After a month, I decided to change my eating a little more. I started to control the portions of my favorite meals. I didn't stop eating those things. I didn't make a special dinner for me and a "regular" dinner for my family. Instead of a whole manwich sandwich, I'd eat half (with cheese) and double up on my broccoli. I was satisfied both in quantity and with flavor so I didn't have that feeling of deprivation and starvation.

Over the course of time, I was walking 24 laps around my neighborhood (which is 6 miles) 5 days per week. I would also go to a beautiful park about 5 miles from my house and walk there on Saturdays for 7.5 miles. The weight continued to come off. I had one plateau that lasted 2 weeks. It was discouraging but I kept going blindly hoping that it was temporary...and it was.

The end result was 25 lbs. in 4 months!

I still walk to this day because every time I stop, I gain 5 or six pounds back after about 8 weeks. LOL! It's funny to write about but not funny to go through.

I'm thankful though that I've learned what works for my body and lifestyle. With the kids and being a one car family; going to the gym at my husband's job (for free) was just not an option anymore. Not to mention that I am not drawn to strenuous exercise as much as I was in my 20s.

I am such an advocate of walking. Once the weight started to come off faithfully, I said to myself and others, that I'd never run again because I didn't have to to lose weight. Truth be told though, I still do sometimes run. Sometimes when I'm walking my legs just want to go faster, my muscles want to dig in deeper, my heart longs to beat harder and so I do. It's not often that I do, but I do it from time to time. Sometimes, I start my walk with a one lap jog to get my heart rate up quickly. And honestly speaking, there's nothing wrong with a deep grind every now and then. At any rate, I enjoy walking so much that I also have ordered a few walking dvds in order to stay home with the kids but still get my walk in. I didn't know such a thing existed until a very close friend of mine mentioned them to me. I have never seen them marketed on t.v. before but once I ordered my first one, I've been hooked. My favorite is this one:


I have two more but this one is by far my favorite.

In this post, I hope you hear that:

  • There is not one set way to lose weight.
  • You have to do what works for your body and lifestyle.
  • You do have to change your eating habits but not drastically and you can make bigger changes overtime.
  •  You will have to go into maintenance mode once you've reached your goal.
Well, thanks for reading. Hope it was helpful.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Baby's First Haircut

This week was EVENTFUL.

As for learning, Chelsea is learning to tell time to the hour by analog time. She is also learning to read the digital clock and how to count by 5s.

Madison 's just finishing up her Abeka math, Learning parts of speech with Rod and Staff second grade English (which I love). In science, she is learning about how sound travels through vibrations. We had a spelling test this week and also learned how to use tally marks to count.

We have started building a long house for History. I know, you may think I mean log house but actually a long house can be made from logs and most often was. But a long house is just what it says it is; a long log cabin that Native American and the first Settlers built for them and their families to live in (not together). Usually up to 25 people would live in these houses. This project is due on December 10th and we are trying to settle on what material we will use in order to have the "log" effect. We are thinking popsicle sticks and painting them brown. My only reservation is, that's what we did for the shoebox ship with the exception of the brown paint.

The big event of the week was Madison getting her first haircut. I am not exaggerating when I say this felt like a dagger to my heart. First of all, her hair has been growing since birth, never been cut. Secondly, she has natural spiral curls and third, her hair was about 24 inches long if not more.

Here's proof!

Over the holidays, I was so busy baking and decorating and cooking. Two days before Thanksgiving, I was baking and they were out back making mudpies. They came into the house muddy from their elbows down to their fingers and their boots covered in mud. I sent them straight to the tub for a bath!

Normally I would condition and comb through her hair immediately to keep the curls from turning on each other. Well last week I just didn't have the time or the energy due to holiday preparations to care for her hair (it takes quite a long time b/c of the length) . As expected, her lovely curls did turn on each other with vengeance I might add. It tangled up in a manner that we have never experienced before. After a couple of days of avoiding it (I will NEVER do that again) and 3 days of trying to detangle it and using every conditioner and product that was suggested to me (I will never do that again), I waved my white flag and took her to her first salon visit. It was not a good one as she had to get about 20 inches of hair cut off after the lovely stylist spent about 4 hours trying to comb through it. She literally treated Madison as if she was her own child. Her heart was truly into it and that was priceless to me.

How Did it All Go?

Madison cried, I was stressed but in the end we were happy to admit that it was a very cute hairstyle. 

Our Lesson?

It may sound silly or cliche'. But I had to realize that my daughter is not her hair! She is beautiful with or without it. She is special because God saw fit for her to be born and given to me and I love her because of the spirit and heart within her. She's smart, kind and compassionate (like her father), she loves hard (like her mother) and she has a lot to offer this world. A pure work of God's art!

Pics from the week...

The End.
Sharing at the Weekly Wrap Up on WUH

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Few Ideas You Can Share with Your Kids about Christmas

My husband and I have close friends who have completely turned their back on the way that we celebrate Christmas in America. I have no problem with that; besides...we are in America!!! You get to change your mind and speak your peace. That is part of what has made this a great country to live in.

When I think about how we celebrate such a fun Holiday, I do feel that it is overly commercial and that it goes by way too fast. I remember last year, the day after Christmas, a very popular clothing store with purposefully kitschy commercials started advertising Christmas is over so come get these deals or something. I just felt like, "Slow down!!! My kids are still opening presents already!" They weren't, but come on! Really? The very next day you start promoting your Spring collection or whatever it was. O.k. rant over.

I get why people feel that they don't want to put up a tree, don't want to tell their kids about Santa, don't want to buy presents. I get it. But when I think about my childhood Christmases, which included all of the pomp and circumstance with maybe a little less commercialism but not very much, I can't imagine taking those things away from my kids.

So, I have put together a few thoughts on ways to explain some of the things that we do at Christmas time to our kids so that we don't feel like we are lying to them about the true meaning of Christmas and simultaneously not stripping it down to just sitting around the table staring at each other on December 25th. Just goes...bear with me please.

Is Santa real?
A friend told me that once your kid is old enough to ask this question, they are old enough to know the truth. Problem with us is, our kid has been asking since she was 4 because a close friend of ours told her kids (who are close friends with our kids) that Santa was not real. Of course she told my kid (with fervor, i might add) and so there we were, faced with ending a harmless holiday tradition or figuring out a way to maintain the excitement of going to bed in anticipation of what might happen during the night while they are asleep.

Well, that didn't happen. What we ended up telling them is that Santa is not real but that we celebrate Christmas with the idea of a Santa because it is fun, and to help us remember the importance of giving to others. So, in our house, we still talk about Santa coming and what will Santa bring, but they are quick to remind me that Santa is just an "idea". LOL!

Why do we give presents?
We've never been asked this because our kids could care less as to "why" they get gifts, just so long as they get them. However, in an attempt to keep our holiday traditions Christ-centered, I told them that on the night that Jesus was born, wise men brought him three precious gifts, so we give gifts to each other to honor that act of love and appreciation that the wise men showed to our Saviour on the night of His birth.

When I told them what the gifts were, they said "myrrh?" "What's myrrh?" And they laughed way too much at how silly they thought the word sounded. SMH

Christmas tree
This is a biggie for some of our friends; they read some information on pagan rituals and decided that they couldn't stand to see a Christmas tree in their house ever again. Totally fine. I admire people who are able to change long term habits. I think it is extremely admirable. It's difficult for me to decide to cancel cable and begin to use a streaming service like ROKU because I'm so used to the background noise of the t.v.

With this one, I told our kids that we bring in a tree and put a star at the top because of the bright star that was in the sky on the night of Jesus' birth to guide the wise men to the manger where Jesus was. I told them that it is to remind us of His birth.

The same explanation would work if you place an angel on your tree as it was an angel who announced Jesus' birth.

I believe that it does not matter how you celebrate Christmas, with or without these things. It only matters that in our hearts and actions, we remember why this holiday is on the calendar at all. Had Jesus not been born, we wouldn't even have a Christmas holiday. That along makes it all about Him in my mind.

My husband's grandmother, who is in her late 80's, still to this day gathers her whole family around on Christmas Eve to tell everyone why we celebrate Christmas. I understand that she's been doing this for over 40 years now, and thankfully so, she has passed down her heritage of faith for generations, even to my little girls.

In short, with or without all of the trimmings...Jesus is alive and that's plenty reason to celebrate!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Isn't That What it's All About???

 First of all we had an absolutely LOVELY Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday. Everyone that we invited came with the exception of one neighbor's wife which meant that we had exactly enough place settings for every adult that joined us. I was very sorry that she was ill, but very thankful that there wasn't a lone adult sitting on the living room couch eating their dinner while everyone else sat a the tables. :) In reality though, that lone adult would have been my husband or me. And actually as I picture the day in my mind there was still one seat left for her. One of our guests fed her 2 yr old son at the table in our neighbor's wife's would-be seat, so there actually were enough places set. O.k. this post has started out in a ramble. Oops!
kid's table

Let's talk about that title for a moment...Isn't That What it's All About. I chose this title for this post because this year at my 4th Thanksgiving dinner, there was no family in sight. Everyone one that came was a close friend of ours or family members of close friends. We had a great time as I was not about to let the absence of family deter me from creating a special place for others to gather and give thanks or deter me from making memories to pass down to my girls.

Neighbor taking ALOT of cake home
So in my planning of this year's dinner, I ran across what my husband called "apathy" about this most wonderful of holidays. I was texting with a friend who asked about how my plans for dinner were progressing and she mentioned during the conversation  that "Thanksgiving is not that big a deal anymore because of family members who've passed or moved away." In talking to my mom I heard some of the same attitude. It was more like, "don't cook this or that, that's too much to do, or you're really into this this year." Comments that implied to me, that Thanksgiving is "not that big a deal anymore."
Some visitors

When I was growing up, it was a big deal. All of my aunts and my mom in the kitchen, arguing about whose dressing or mac and cheese was the best (my mom's was and still is the best). All of the family gathered at my grandmother's house, Christmas decorations already going up and the best food I'd ever tasted covering every surface from the kitchen to the dining room! That was Thanksgiving.

kid's table and a couple more guests
I get that family members have grown up and moved away, started families of their own or the simple fact that today's families are much smaller than the families that we or our parents' generation grew up in. But is that a reason to throw away the traditions that brought our families together? I'm pretty much appalled at how many people don't celebrate Christmas with the idea of Santa or a Christmas tree. The same things that they loved as a child, they have somehow become convinced that these things are no longer good enough or sensible enough. Some feel that these types of ideas take away from the true meaning of these holidays. I'd love to bring to their attention that those holiday celebrations did nothing to derail them from their life's accomplishments or from becoming a Christian. I personally feel that these ideas and gatherings made childhood remarkably memorable.

Hence, my title. Isn't the trouble of cooking a big dinner, decorating your home with browns and oranges and golds or stockings over the fireplace , wreaths on the door, holly, Christmas trees, garland, mistletoe and the like what it is all about? Isn't it about creating environments, atmospheres and smells that will take up residence in our children's hearts and souls as they did ours? Isn't it so that these memories and events would be so etched within them that when they become adults they'd too, use these very same ideas, thoughts and gatherings to keep my and your children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren together? Isn't it about passing down traditions that do no harm at all but only good for the family as a whole? Isn't it about teaching our girls how to prepare a traditional dinner, our boys about how the first turkeys were hunted and killed for food, or girls and boys about planting, growing and harvesting? Isn't it about taking them to the grocery stores to see the busy-ness of the checkout lines, moms and dads hunting up and down the grocery store aisle with a shopping list in hand making sure nothing is forgotten? Isn't it for preserving the good, forgetting our differences and our disagreements and coming together to take a minute or a day to say "thank-you" to God and each other? Isn't it so that Great Grandma can know who her newest great grand is? Isn't it to be able to sit around and your children hear the same stories that you heard told around your Thanksgiving table as a child? Isn't it about the build up of anticipation and maybe even some stress to get everything out of the oven on time and the sigh of relief when it's all over? Isn't it so that the older generation can now sit back and relax while the younger moms prepare the food and the tables? Isn't it really simply all about love and family and time? The love for our neighbors and friends and the time that we've been granted to be with our family? Isn't it about bringing a little bit of yesterday into today?

I don't know...I plan to cook a great big Thanksgiving dinner every year that I am granted by God to do so. I will stand in my kitchen with hurt feet for several days to make sure that everything comes out of the oven on time. I plan to put my Christmas tree up every year, the very next day after Thanksgiving. I plan to continue to teach my girls why we do this or that. That we give gifts on Christmas because wise men brought gifts to Jesus on the night of His birth. They will know that giving gifts is for us to enjoy a special holiday and not to diminish what our Saviour's birth did for mankind. They will know that we bring in a tree and top it with a star because the star of Bethlehem was the guiding light that let the wisemen know a King had been born.

Yep, we will continue to love and cherish good God-given family time during the most special time of year. And hopefully my girls will grow up to do the same. At the very least though, they will have wonderful memories built up in their hearts and souls, and for me, mommytheteacher...that will be just plenty.

Thanks for reading...

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