A Christmas Lesson Meant For My Children Was Actually For Me

This was a smaller Christmas for my family.  It has been a hard 6 months financially since Todd lost his job.  I wanted my children to really understand how blessed they were this season and I created opportunities for them to see that.  Well I tried to at least.

First our family helped serve meals at an inner city church.  We all loved this.  It was so much fun and my kids enjoyed interacting with other people.  I will say though that my children didn’t see this as any different than when we eat dinner at our church on Wednesday nights.  They just didn’t realize the difference. 

The second opportunity was to deliver presents and food to one of our churches adopted angel tree families.  We have done this in the past and enjoy delivering the giant boxes that are always well received.  This one really didn’t work out the way that I intended.

To understand why, you must first understand where my head was at.  I was really struggling this holiday season with guilt.  I LOVE giving big Christmases.  This is probably from growing up truly poor (single mom with 5 kids.)   We didn’t have a lot of stuff, but my mom always gave it her all at Christmas time.  I have always done the same with my kids.  Of course my children have never went without and have more stuff than all the children in my old neighborhood combined. 

Still I knew this Christmas we just couldn’t get them all the things on their wish lists.  I also knew that my brothers and sisters were getting them less too.  So I have been prepping them for it since October.  Looking back, maybe I was prepping myself for it. 

Todd worked at a book fair this year so we got lots of free books.  I bought the boys  inexpensive things like art supplies and cheap games.  They had quite a few presents under our tree.  I still was feeling sad and worried about them being disappointed though.  I knew this Christmas didn’t look like our others and it certainly felt different.

Last Monday we finally were able to connect with the single mom in our angle tree family.   This mom worked every evening at the mall in one of those ear piercing kiosks.  It ended up that the boys weren’t able to help deliver as they had school.  I thought, “Great!  Another holiday plan that backfired!”

We went and delivered.  This family had very little furniture.  They had just moved.  They had a tree with no ornaments and no presents.  The kids were clean, but wearing tattered clothing.  In the living room the mom had put the kids school work all over the walls.  Through our conversation I could tell how much this mom loved her children and was willing to go the extra mile for them.

Walking into my house and seeing the presents under our tree, I realized that this lesson wasn’t mine to teach my children.  Rather I felt that the Lord was teaching and reminding me.  I am VERY blessed.  My children are not going without.  They may not have gotten everything on their wish list, but they were so happy with what they got.  We have a home.  I have a good job.  I have my husband and my children. 

Thank you Lord for the blessings you have served me so abundantly, and for reminding me of them.

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Bake, Wrap, Make, Wrap More, Open, Rip, and It’s Over

with a lot of coughing in between it all.

Whew!  I’m exhausted.  It has been a crazy couple of weeks.  We have had snowstorm after snowstorm which didn’t help.  I can’t believe how fast it went.  It’s hard to remember to be in the moment and enjoy it.  I meant to blog about my favorite Christmas ornaments, our traditions, and my favorite recipes for the holidays.  It just didn’t happen.  Between trying to get things done and being ill, I was lucky that I was ready at all.  Too be honest I was still making presents Christmas morning.  🙂

Today I sit.  I breathe and relax.  I love Christmas.  I love the excitement and the joy.  We had a lot of that.  We had something else though this year.  Honesty.

My children still believe in Santa.  Well at least they did.  I figured that by 12 they would have figured it out.  They hadn’t.  Apparently last week my mom decided it was time to tell N (he was arguing with someone about it.)  She didn’t want to tell me and she swore him to secrecy.  They both told me.  No one in my family can keep a secret.  They shouldn’t even try.

So he asked me if she was telling the truth.  He needed to hear it from my lips.  I said yes, but I would deny it if he ever asked again.  I also said that those that don’t believe (or pretend  to believe- won’t receive. )  He laughed.  He also said he would tell his brother when his brother turns 12. 

All day he kept making references like he was part of some big conspiracy.   I guess he was.  He loved being in the know. 

I’m finding it interesting how things are changing as my children grow.  At Christmas though we should all remember to enjoy it like children. 

Merry Christmas (a day or so late!)

All the Stuff You Didn’t Really Care If You Knew or Not

Welcome to the new 2008 edition of getting to know your family and friends. Here is what you are supposed to do. Change all the answers so they apply to you. Then send this to everyone on your email list. INCLUDING THE PERSON WHO SENT IT TO YOU. The easiest way to do it is to hit “forward” so you can change the answers. Have fun and be truthful!

1. What is your occupation right now?? Teaching 2nd grade

2. What color are your socks right now? black

 3. What are you listening to right now?? the sound of the furnace, my fingers tapping on the keyboard, and some court TV show upstairs

4. What was the last thing that you ate? 7 layer salad and tortilla chips (with a hint of jalapeno

5. Can you drive a stick shift??? Yes, but it has been quite a few years.  I loved my 1977 Toyota Corolla (it was gold)

 6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My husband

 7. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Nope. I LOVE her. =)

8. How old are you today? 41–man I’m getting old

9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?I like the Superbowl, but that is for commercials

10. What is your favorite drink? Peach Propel or coffee with hazelnut creamer and mocha splenda

11. Have you ever dyed your hair? yes. but not for the last few years

12. Favorite food? My mom’s fried chicken

13. What is the last movie you watched? In the theatre, then it would be The City of Ember. 

14. Favorite day of the year? Christmas!!!

15. How do you vent anger? I yell.  It gets ugly.

16. What was your favorite toy as a child? pink hippopotamus (Suzanne’s answer, but mine too!) mine was (and IS) named Peggy.

17. What is your favorite season? fall

18. Cherries or Blueberries? hmmm. They’re both OK, but I’ll take RASPBERRIES. I guess I eat more blueberries.   I don’t care much for cherries.

19. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back? Post a comment, so I know that you visited

20. Who is the most likely to respond? I don’t know as I’m not sending it to anyone.

21. Who is least likely to respond?  I don’t know as I’m not sending it to anyone.

22. Living arrangements? I live with my husband, two boys, a crazy dog, and a mean cat.

 23. When was the last time you cried? A week ago Sunday when Mike performed the amazing monologue at church

24. What is on the floor of your closet? Everything, shoes, Christmas presents, a purse or two, and that is just my side.  Todd’s side is scarier.

25. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to? Well, I’m not sending it, but Suzanne will probably be the reader I’ve known the longest (unless my cousins or Mom reads it).

26. What did you do last night? Went to bed at 8:15 after a great band concert that my boys both performed in.  E plays the sax and N plays the tuba.

27. What are you most afraid of? people I love dying

28. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburger? Spicy with pepperjack cheese, and heck through on some jalapenos too!

29. Favorite dog breed? not the English Cocker Spaniel that I currently have, but my parents used to raise greyhounds and they were wonderful dogs

30. Favorite day of the week? Saturday!

 31. How many states have you lived in? three

32. Diamonds or pearls?? diamonds

 33. What is your favorite flower? daisies!!!  They are so happy.

BRRR!!! Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Yesterday it was 58 degrees, but right now it is 0 degrees with a wind chill of -23.  That is just crazy!!!  My students are bummed, because that means indoor recess again.  Although I am not a fan of Iowa winters, I do like the variety of seasons that we have.  Our weather is everchanging and certainly brings it’s joys along with it’s challenges.

Christmas Madness

Why do I do this to myself???

I am beginning to freak out.  I have not been home for an evening since, well I honestly can’t remember.  My tree is up, but has no ornaments.  My house is a pit.  I haven’t had time to make the presents that need made, nor wrap the ones that I have bought. 

We have done some very fun things, but I’m beginning to lose my mind.  Between the many parties, church services, meetings, theatre classes or performances, and kid commitments, I hardly have time to take a breath. 

This week we had a family Christmas party, praise team practice, church, served dinner at another church, vocabulary class, word study class, allergy shots, physical therapy, Christmas caroling with theatre kids, Boy Scouts,  a production meeting for Mulan Jr., an advertising committee meeting, birthday party for E’s friend,  Winnie-the-Pooh waitress, work Christmas party, and I babysat overnight for my darling baby nephew.  Are you tired?  I sure am.

Tomorrow we have to be at both church services to sing, and the boys are supposed to spend the day with their Sunday school class (making/eating lunch, crafts, and then caroling at a nursing home.)  We can’t.  I have to seriously put my foot down and just say no.  The rest of our week is as crazy as last week.  We need a day off (OK, at least an afternoon).  I don’t think I can physically or mentally do it.  Thank God that we get out for Christmas break on Friday.

Sunday’s Message

When God is in charge awesome things can happen. 

I am on the worship design team at our church.  I am part of a team that helps come up with ideas to go along with our pastor’s message.  I found a script for a drama that I wasn’t sure would go over in our church.  I wasn’t sure if it was too heavy a message.  It was pretty blatant. 

I had one person that kept coming to my mind when I read this.  I wasn’t sure he would want to do it.  When I asked him, he didn’t.  He read it.  He prayed about it.  I prayed about it.  He had never done anything like this.  It was way out of his box.  He finally said yes.

This last Sunday he performed the drama.  It was jaw-dropping powerful.  I had tears in my eyes.  It was God’s work.  People are still reacting to the message.  I overheard people tonight talking about it.

You can read it here.  Jesus was born for me…and for you…and you…and you!

Awww! Christmas is the time to hang out with friends.

This weekend  was one of those  that you feel like the energizer bunny.  We had to work at the opening of Winnie-the-Pooh Saturday morning.   It went off without a hitch.  I’m still in awe of the costumes and well Tigger is just too cute. 

After that we went straight to our friends Judy and Jim’s Christmas party.  The only problem was…well we were a day early.  Imagine Jim’s surprise when he opens the door and their we stand.  Judy wasn’t even home.  He’s a good sport though and Judy showed up a bit later.  We ended up having a delightful afternoon.  N had a great time making paper airplanes and trying to fly them from their upstairs into the downstairs fireplace.   Jim was encouraging him and truly I could have seen him up there joining N.  They are amazing people.  (Well they didn’t kick us out.  🙂 )

Now Saturday isn’t done yet.  I went back to the theatre for Teen Improv night.  I have to say, I really love those nights.  The kids are so excited.  Joe (the teacher) is so excited.  It’s infectious.

Sunday didn’t slow down.  We had an amazing church service that had a drama that was very inspiring, but I will blog about it tomorrow. 

After church we went to my family Christmas.  I love going to my Uncle Sam and Aunt Bobbi’s.  All my cousins are there.  We eat. My Aunt Bobbi makes wonderful food!  She made this cream puff cake that was beyond delicious.

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We sing.  This is always really interesting.  My brother sings very trained almost opera style.  I sing pop.  My Uncle sings very classic church.  Then there is my sister that just wants every song to go faster.  It is almost comical.

We catch up on a year’s worth of news.  I give my cousin grief about finding out his wife is pregnant from someone at the theatre!  You get the picture. 

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My sister, brother, and Todd eating.  We do a lot of that.

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My cousin and her sweet new baby.

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My mama and I just sitting and hanging out in the kitchen.

It was a good weekend.