Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. . ..

Hello Christmas, where did you come from? Weren't the kids and I just in the pool??
But, yet here you are with your cousin Thanksgiving coming over next week, you aren't far behind are you?

Yes, that time of year is coming quickly upon us!
We LOVE Christmas at our house! Lots of music, parties, trees, cookies and the like.
I will confess right up front that we are a Santa house (please don't judge!) and although my oldest knows who fills his stocking and brings the 'good gifts' my two littles are full fledged believers in the chunky guy in the big red suit. Last year my then 5 year old asked if Santa was really, really real. My response, "There was a real man named St. Nicholas who did some really neat things for some special boys and girls." I'll let you know if it comes up again.

But, I'm not writing this little diddy to debate the shoulds or should nots of Santa.

I am wondering, Internet friends what you do to keep Christ as the front and center of your holiday celebrations. With three kiddos its always fun to look for new ways of reminding them why the whole world is celebrating (even if the whole world can't remember why!).

Here are some things we currently do:
Fill shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Helps them focus on others instead of the gimmes.
Our advent calender is a nativity scene instead of a countdown to presents.
Each child has a nativity scene in their room.
We bake a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas day.
Christmas Eve service at church, followed by reading Luke 2 before bedtime on Christmas Eve.
LOTS of age appropriate books that tell the true Christmas story.

But, I know there is more we could be doing. What does your family do?
Feel free to share one or more ideas with me, I'd LOVE to hear what your family does to keep Christ front and center of your celebrations!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Welcome to My Kingdom

That's what she said. (There's a little Office humor for you)

But really, that is what my little girl said a couple of nights ago as she placed a crown she'd made at church upon her head.

"Welcome to my kingdom"
We were on our way to the grocery store and it's a miracle I didn't crash the car from laughing so hard! She said it with such sincerity too.
"Welcome to MY kingdom"
She's a delight that little person (as are the big and medium ones) and typically not the type of girl you'd say ruled the kingdom.
Oh, don't act like you don't know who I'm talking about. You know the little girl who has to have everything and everyone just so, or she can't function. She grows up to become that woman who still thinks all must bow down in her kingdom.

I think, I was a little bit that girl, and I know I was allot that woman.

Thankfully, parenthood has changed most of that, but there are defiantly occasions when I like to pick my crown back up and demand things my way.

The other major thing that has changed that attitude, is remembering who created the kingdom and my place in it.
God, creator of the universe has allowed the wretched likes of my me to be a servant in His grand and glorious kingdom! (Can I get an Amen!)
What a blissful and glorious thought!

But, there are days when I act like I've forgotten that and try, once again to pick that crown up and put it back on.
And, I must be taught once again who is really in charge. Sometimes those lessons are easy, sometimes difficult--but always full of grace!

So, I will happily take my place in the kingdom, serving the One who created me and everything in it. . .
And, put this silly homemade crown down and someday see it replaced with one I can't even imagine!
Friday, November 13, 2009

A little perspective please

I live in a very affluent part of the country.
Although poverty can be found all around me, I don't have to work to hard to avoid it and the effects of it.

And while things may be hard here at home and we think times are tough, the poorest of the poor can't really compare with those in other countries.
Sometimes, I think we really just have no idea at all.
We try to teach our children to give their time and resources to others who have so much less.
One way we do that is, we partner with Compassion International.
Here's a recent blog by one of the members on their trip to El Salvador.

If nothing else, it will give you a little perspective on your day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Parenting FAIL and Grace

This weekend we had some friends over for a big Bonfire at Mimi and Poppies.
Always lots of fun and my kiddos look forward to it every year. How many nights do you get permission to stay out late and run around in the dark??

Well, we had great time, except for what will now and forever more be known as 'the incident'.
I won't got into details, but involved the brothers, rocks and hot chocolate.
It wasn't pretty. It was loud, mean (on both ends) and painful, for one more than the other.

I was embarrassed and mad. Never a heart warming, godly picture of parenthood.

So, once you figure out everyone is fine and no physical damage has been done, next come the lecture to end all lectures. And some major punishment is doled out.

But, as I had time to calm down and reflect (why oh WHY must I do these things after the fact??) I am so thankful that the Lord has so much more patience for me! I can't tell you how many times I've embarrassed the Lord and He remains ever the calm and loving parent.

Things at home are back to normal. I've apologized for the way I reacted, the boys have made amends.
But a lesson to me; that I've got so far to go, and that I am so thankful that he Lord doesn't parent me the way I deserve. Not that he doesn't discipline me and that I haven't had my share of 'time outs' and some spankings.
But, never out of anger never out of embarrassment, just love for my well being.

Hope that doesn't freak anybody out. Just me being honest. Sometimes this life journey isn't pretty but Praise His name-always full of Grace!
Monday, November 9, 2009

What and Why

I was recently asked what Lessons from Aisle 12 is.

So, I thought I'd post the first thing I'd ever written with this title.
Basically, it's about my journey as a woman, wife, mom and how God shows himself to me in what appears to be the ordinary moments of my life.
(Please, don't be mistaken, God has shown Himself in BIG and MIGHTY ways in my life too! But, not everyday is a crisis or a mountain top. Sometimes, you've got to go the store, do the laundry and clean the bathroom!)

Without further words :) The very first Lessons from Aisle 12-almost 1 year ago (and WOW doesn't that seem to have flown by?!?!)

Today, after picking up Jude from preschool, we headed over to Aldi. For those of you who've never experienced the joy of the Aldi shopping adventure. . .well, it's hard to explain.
As our groceries were being rung up, Jude headed over to the counter where you bag your groceries, with his lunchable(ok let's call it his bribery--I'm so NOT above a little bribery). He was waiting for us very nicely and quietly, 'reading' the back of his box. Now for the fun part of Aldi, sacking up your groceries. . it's a nice little work out. Anyway, I digress. . .shocking I know!
A family of five children was heading our way as I was finishing up. They ranged from 8 to baby in a carrier. Three boys and two girls (one of the girls was the baby).
Two of the boys and the oldest girl sat down near Jude and they all struck up a conversation.
Talking about Star Wars, Christmas, the snow. It was really quite cute to listen to them chatting.
And it struck me as I watched them, when do we change? When do we go from just accepting how someone is and chat like we know each other. Because, going through my mind as I first saw them was
WOW five kids, she's so skinny and ones a baby! WOW five kids, I'll bet she home schools them, because how else are the oldest ones here. She must be a better mom/wife/woman fill in the blank than me, because she: has more kids, is thinner, home schools and is buying more fresh produce. (You know it didn't have to be those things that just what is was today).
So, when in our lives do we get so beat up by the world/Satan, we can't just enjoy talking with someone?
No comparing, no labeling,no judging (them or ourselves).
When do we stop seeing ourselves as the treasure God made us? His creation, created for His Glory!
The sweet acceptance of my five year old as he talked and laughed with these children. Never thinking for a moment what would someone else think about that, or maybe they wouldn't like him.
What a gift I was given today! A beautiful reminder to love and accept others and myself just the way Jesus does.
Wonder what I'll learn at Wal Mart tomorrow?
Friday, November 6, 2009

Disturb Us

Read this poem recently and it spoke to me, thought you might enjoy it also.

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
[Sir Francis Drake]
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dora, Dora the --Theologian???

With a three year old little girl in the house, you can imagine we watch quite a bit of Dora.

(If you just unwilling started humming the theme song in your head, I am so sorry!)

Little Dora is always off on one adventure or another, keeping the preschool set entertained along the way. Today she was helping some people get away from a mean, greedy king.

At this point we might be wondering if I've completely lost my mind and why in the world I am explaining Dora the Explorer. Don't worry, I often have been accused of that very thing!

The past few days ( ok well it comes in waves or seasons of my life, but recently it's just been the past few days) I have been wondering if perhaps God didn't overlook a couple of things.
Like didn't he mean to make me blonder? Thinner? Smarter? and Independently Wealthy ? He certainly meant for my children little people Dr. Dobson would write books about and use them as examples of the PERFECT child? and for them never to struggle with school, friends or health! He really meant to do those things. . . .
After all, wouldn't my life be so much easier if He would grant me all those wishes, like a genie in a bottle? And, if He did all those things, of course-I mean OF COURSE I would give Him the praise and devote my life to paying it forward. Right? Please, be honest and tell me you've thought at least one of those things before!?!

So back to Dora. . . being the heroine that she is, was of course, saving everyone from the mean King who only wanted MORE MORE MORE, which of course lead him to being mean and cranky and sneaky. And while, my little girl was waiting with baited breath to see what would happen next, I was just struck with the thought-I am SO THAT GUY (yes I know it's a cartoon) this week!

Why must I insist life to be easy for my happiness? Haven't I learned by now, that I am never more on my knees and in a closer walk with Him when I am dependent on Him for everything? How many times must I be taught the same lessons over and over??

Then I get an email from Compassion International or get a letter from the little girl we sponsor and I am struck in the face with how wealthy I am, how no matter how sick my kids get I can be at several hospitals within moments and can receive quality care for them. I have a mind that can learn, a body that can exercise and hair that can be colored ;) And children who are loved by a heavenly father so deeply I can see His fingerprints on every part of each of their lives.

So, thank you Dora and your annoying theme song for the being the catalyst to bring be back to the reality of being loved and cared for by the King of Kings.
And Satan no swiping, Satan swiping, SATAN NO SWIPING- you cannot take my joy!