Friday, December 17, 2010

Congratulations Dave!

Today he took his last exam and now he is DONE with school!
Thats right...I`m married to a journeyman. Of course it`s not official or anything yet, but it`s still just as true.
He did in 2 years what most do in 4, and though at times it was a struggle (financially, mentally,etc.) I couldn`t be more proud of him today!

Thanks for staying focused.
Thanks for being studious.
Thanks for making us a priority amongst all the studying and projects.
Thanks for providing a better income for us and better job opportunities for you.
Thanks for still bringing me flowers when money was tight.
Thanks for the times when you came home early.
Thanks for being the love of my life and my best friend.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Church contentment...

In the small town where we live there are 9 churches. NINE. So naturally there is some subtle/sometimes not so subtle competition between them. When my husband and I decided to find a church we took our time and toured almost all the churches in the area. They all had good points, but we never felt at home until we went to Mt. Olive. Now we have friends at many other churches in town, and that (to some) would have been a good reason to go somewhere else, but we "fit" this church the best. The worship style, the preaching and the multitude of young families convinced us even further.
Of course like ANY church, there are pros and cons, church politics, and cliques of people that have been attending there forever...but we saw past that and chose to make it "our church".
Recently there has been conversations that have been rather derogatory towards my church and I hate that. Perhaps it comes from a background of being a pastors daughter that I feel this need to defend my church and pastor, but why is it that in a group of believers, we choose to "nit-pick" over place of worship, instead of just rejoice that friends are being fed by the Word??
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but please don't speak badly to me about the place where I go and meet with Jesus twice or three times a week! How mean spirited to assume that because things are done differently, they are done wrong or without spiritual merit. To conclude that this church is "not serious about Jesus" enough for you, perhaps just means you are looking more at the congregation lifestyle, than that of the message being given. Are we not all sinners making mistakes? Isn't church about being able to accept people as they are and show them how to walk with God?
When did it become about the type of music, or Mom's group or small groups or version of the Bible used? Why do we miss the fact that Jesus can work through any circumstance, building or denomination? He can speak to those who would LOVE to attend church, but have none - and yet we, with our abundance of places to worship, want to make it about us and our opinions.
Something has happened. Living in a primarily "Christian" community perhaps has made us unforgiving and narrow minded.
Our church is not perfect...nothing is, but for us, it is home.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have you ever seen your kids through someone else's eyes?

I don't mean when you're at the store and the kids are crying and you can feel the cold, judgmental stares of elderly citizens and other moms wondering why you can't keep your children under control. Haven't we all been there? Well I don't know, maybe you haven't experienced that, but let me tell you - it's no picnic!

No. I'm talking about when someone sees your kids as "kids" and simply appreciates them for that.

We went to the pool today. My kids were good- not great- but ok. They were just excited to be out of the house and doing something. Connor is really quite good in the water now. All he needs is water wings and he's good to go. So at some point we were in the "hob tub" (as he calls it) and he was throwing a ball, then swimming to get it. Once it landed near an older woman and she grabbed it and started teasing him. He swam over to her and they looked as if they were having a little conversation. He came back over to us, ball in hand and I just assumed things had gone ok.

Later on in the changeroom, this lady came up to me and was just so full of compliments about Connor.

"He's just so friendly and polite. What a great home he must have!".

At that moment it didn't matter to me that he sometimes throws things and maybe can't speak as articulately as other boys his age. I didn't even feel the need to tell the lady that he knows his shapes, colors and he can count to 16. That he memorizes songs and can tell us how to get home from wherever we are in town.

I just smiled and said "thank you" and realized that today, I will just appreciate him, for him.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

5 am and can't go back to sleep. I hate that. Thoughts, worries, stresses and concerns start to play with my mind and before I know it, I'm WIDE awake...longing for heavy eyes and soft pillows.
But, might as well take advantage of this opportunity to write.
Except that there isn't much to say.
My kids are doing well. So far avoiding sickness and seem to be fairly happy most days. Connor is completely potty trained at home, and starting Sunday, we will see how he does in the car, church, shopping etc. It's awesome! Funny though how the sound of the toilet flushing makes it seem like another adult is in the house. :) Sophie is walking everywhere and trying to talk so much more than C did at this age. I love having a boy and girl. They love each other so much and it just makes my heart do flip flops. Of course there is fighting, hitting, screaming, and so on, but in those moments they don't think I see, it's priceless.
My husband is finishing up his last year at school and it can't come soon enough. (for him and I). It's a bit more intense this year and I just want it to be over for him. It certainly makes for interesting choices in Christmas giving when your income is cut down to half, but I'm sure that we will make it work. If we have to "do" Christmas in January, it really doesn't matter to me. My kids are not old enough to care, and personally, it's all about the food with me. :)
There have been so many conversations lately about how to make holidays centered around God and the real story behind the merriment. I think doing what you feel matters within your own family is important. I think having a healthy balance between fun and serious is equally important. I think allowing our children to think of Santa as a "fun, Christmas figure" is ok! It's part of the magic of Christmas. My kids will always know and understand that the reason we celebrate is firstmost Jesus. I have many things that I'm excited to do in years to come to open their eyes to the true reason for the..."season" (couldn't resist) ; but I hope I'm able to do that AS WELL as giving them fun, and putting out cookies for Santa and watching Frosty and Rudolph. I want them to experience the fun of giving gifts and watching reactions. Quality time spent with family and silly traditions. Of course at the heart, will always be Jesus. I say "always" because why is it that at holidays we suddenly panic and need these ordinary days to MEAN more to our kids? Jesus should be there everyday...whenever they have a question, or struggle or victory - there is Jesus!
Some of my friends are doing Christmas differently this year. I love it! Make it your own...tradition is great because it's so personal. No one can say what is right or wrong, it's what works for your family. I look forward to hearing how their days go and if what they decided will carry on in years to come.
For us, Christmas holds a few new things this year. The exchange of pajamas on Christmas Eve after our church service. The reading of the Christmas story - first from a book on the kids level, then from the Bible. (I want to do different versions every year). Just the 4 of us Christmas morning opening gifts, playing with toys and sharing in laughter and delight. Then off to spend time with loved ones and friends and amazing holiday feasting. But in those days of yuletide and good cheer, amidst the wrapping and boxes and ribbons, hovering above the candles, twinkly lights and garlands - may there always be Jesus!

I wish you all a Happy Christmas - whatever that looks like to you - this year.