Friday, November 27, 2009

yes, Natalie, there was a Santa Claus

Once upon a time, in about the third century, in the city of Myra (modern day Turkey), there was a man by the name of Nicholas. As a boy, Nicholas loved God. As a teenager he was often called the "Boy Bishop" and was greatly loved by everyone in the community.
His family was very wealthy, and from the moment he recieved his inheritence, Nicholas began to give it away to the poor and needy. He especially loved to give the gifts to children, though he always did it in secret. The best-known tale of his generosity involves three young sisters who were too poor to pay for their wedding dowries. Nicholas wanted to help, but he didn't want to receive any credit for he act of charity.
Legend has it that Nicholas climbed onto the roof of their house and threw a gold coin down the chimney. The coin landed in the oldest girl's stocking as ut was hanging beside the fireplace to dry. The second daughter's dowry was provided in the same way. So when the time came for the youngest girl to be married, her father hid himself on the roof and waited. Nicholas's secret was revealed, and he was loved more than ever before.
Hundreds of years later, this good bishop was declared Saint Nicholas. Today he is known far and wide as Santa Claus.
His name Kris Kringle comes from the Dutch word Christkindl, meaning "Christ child." It was originally created as an attempt to refocus people's attention on Jesus as the real gift-giver.
The truth is that St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, and Kris Kringle all reveal the giving heart of God, who is the original Father Christmas.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

my little Indian

I was really trying to get a pic of these three smiling, but I'm glad I didn't b/c this pic is so them- so four year olds. Benjamin painted a fire and a snake on his outfit so he is Fire Snake. His friend Dylan is Thunder Bear, and Olivia (who I think Benjamin secretly likes but keeps running from) is Rainbow Heart. It's priceless. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I have so very much to be thankful for including this little Indian!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesdays unwrapped

I didn't know it when I posted last Tuesday but I had a surprise waiting for me that afternoon. Natalie learned to ride her two wheel bike! This may not seem too exciting, but for us it is HUGE! We got her that bike for Christmas last year since her My Little Pony bike was way too small (as in she looked like one of those clowns at the circus riding tiny bikes). She was more frustrated with our gift than happy, so I've been feeling sort of bad for the past oh ten months that her main Christmas gift has been a source of such discontent for her. We did try to help her learn, but she would get frustrated with trying and go back to the little pony bike. Learning to ride her bike has been the subject of stories she wrote for school, journaling, and her prayers. Like walking and learning to swim I think it's something that you work at and then one day it all just comes together. So now you can maybe see why we were so excited when, after practicing with Michael's mom all afternoon, she finally got the feel for a two-wheeler. Really, I almost cried. So now she can't wait to come home from school and jump on that bike. She rides all around the yard, in the empty cul-de-sac next to us, and yesterday she rode all the way to the park. Hurray!
I also had a really great date night with M last Tuesday night, and that is a huge gift (esp. here where babysitters are scarce)! We had a dinner at B. Christopher and went to see Couples Retreat, and the whole time we marveled that we were really alone.
Yep, that was a good day and there have been lots of smaller gifts to unwrap in the days since. In this house taking off the sheets is the cue for jumping on the bed for some reason. So yesterday Benjamin, of course, hopped on the bed before I even got the sheets to the washer, but this time instead of asking him to get off the bed after his little jumping session I decided to jump in with him. I highly suggest it! There was also one more HUGE gift this week. For those of you who know the story about my sister's wedding band, it was found this week (one year and three months after the wedding) in the laundry room of their apt.!! That is such a God thing to me, and something I will be praising Him for forever!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Natalie's not so American girl trunk

Natalie was looking at the trunks for the American girl dolls in the latest catalog last week and saying how it would be nice to have one to keep the doll clothes in. Since there is no way I'm paying the price they want for a trunk I got the idea to make my own to give her for Christmas. I asked Nat what she would want on it and her only request was polka dots. I found the unpainted trunk at Michael's art store for $50 but of course had a 40% off coupon. I wanted it to look a little vintage but still modern- you know shabby chic-ish. I think she will love it, but shh don't tell until Christmas!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesdays unwrapped

This morning I got an e-mail from my MOPS leader with this challenge: Each Tuesday, a small community of women write a post on their blogs to celebrate the beauty of life in the midst of the chaos. The girl in the e-mail posted a picture of a big pile of pink laundry thanking God that this laundry mean two healthy girls live in her house. I don't usually subscribe to things that put pressure on me to do things on a certain day like this, but I like the idea. I've noticed when I give thanks any worries or complaints I have for the day seem smaller and sometimes disappear completely. Sooo I'm going to give it a go.
This morning I woke up to a clear, beautiful November day. There is a small pile of dishes in the kitchen meaning, of course, that we have plenty of food. My favorite Spin class is this morning, so right now I can't get past my excitement of that but I'm looking forward to finding more things to give thanks for as the day goes on.
Give yourself permission to take the time to unwrap the small, secret gifts of the everyday; to see the moments that may have otherwise disappeared under the pile of daily tasks. What is real and true this day? Discover and receive it with thanks.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm tired

I feel a little silly saying I'm tired since the past two weeks have mainly been spent at home doing not too much. Maybe I should say I'm tired of sameness or kids or something, but the whole thing has made just...really tired. Benjamin got sick first. It started with a middle of the night cuddle that turned into a mild panic when I realized he felt like an oven. It wasn't the much dreaded flu, but still no trips out of the house for us. Then Natalie got the same thing the next week, so I finally got out of the house last Thurs. for a really good workout. But then no school Friday, and M left midday with Benjamin for Knoxville. So Natalie and I thought it would be fun to have her friend spend the night. Bad decision. I woke up at 6 am and found all the lights on in the house and TVs on. They woke up at 4 a.m. (4 a.m.!!!!). Real fun since we had to spend the whole day on the farm with the girl scouts. The farm actually was really fun- hayrides, hay maze, pumpkin picking right off the vine, soybean picking to feed to goats, pumpkin painting, corn jumping (I don't have the energy to explain), and even cotton picking. Of course by the end of the day N was quite tired and near tears. I was near tears by the end of the 45 min. drive home, with 5 screaming girl scouts in the back. We were home by 4, then bath, dinner, and she fell asleep around 5:30. I tried to wake her up to trick or treat, but it was a no go. Well, lesson learned. Sunday brought me teaching N's Sunday school class, a trip to the store, and then a little time to spare before M and B came home with M's parents. Thankfully, God knows I need a rest, and M's mom is here to help me out this week. AND M and I get to go on a date night or two this week! I have a feeling I'll be me again very soon (yay)!