Friday, November 21, 2008

A Christmas of Presence...

This is really really long. Some of you have asked me to elaborate on what I meant by doing Christmas differently. Well here you go. So come back and read it in shifts. My counter will go up and I will feel like I have lots of friends. If you haven't watched the video that I posted a couple of weeks ago, this will probably make no sense at all to you. So do that before you proceed further.

Okay, I admit the title of this post is cheesy but I just couldn't resist.  So here's the deal with Christmas... When we were making our move to wonderful South Carolina, I was overwhelmed by our collection of stuff.. I've never been much of a shopper and when I do buy something, I'm thrifty. It thrills some people to spend money. Well, let's just say that it thrills me to pinch a penny until it screams. It's something my mom instilled in me. I thought she was packing picnics and taking us to the park because she was better than all the other moms. Turns out, she was more broke than all the other moms. Regardless, she taught me a lot about being resourceful and somehow managed to make it seem fun to me. So, I was amazed at how much stuff we had accumulated. Around the time of our move, I read a book called, "Serve God Save the Planet" by Dr. J. Matthew Sleeth. This book was written by a a a very educated medical doctor, and though I didn't quite go to the lengths he went to, this book, along with our abundance of stuff made me very aware of how wasteful Americans have become and how my family had contributed to that problem. I haven't gotten to the point where I'm willing to give up my clothes dryer, dish washer, or stop cutting my grass (or letting Adam cut it that is) as Dr. Sleeth has but I did start to make a more cautious look at our decisions and how they effect our economy and our environment. Since that point about six months ago things have evolved in our economy and I've become even more convinced that the fear I was experiencing about our actions was a reality.

There are so many events that have led us to the decision that we have made about Christmas this year and I don't think that I can accurately convey them to you without boring you to death. But, Adam and I have always been torn about the Santa Claus thing. We weren't sure if entertaining this make believe would be seen as lying to our kids and we were a little concerned that they might later confuse this relationship with their relationship with God. IE: There's this guy, he knows if you've been bad or good. He can see you but you can't see him... You get the point. But on the other hand, we didn't want our kids to "those kids" that ruin it for everyone else.. And, we have fond memories our our experiences with Saint Nick. Our faith made the transition so could it be that we can instill a faith strong enough in our kids? Anyway, our decision on that pretty much came to us just sort of downplaying the Santa Claus thing and trying to make sure that Christmas didn't revolve around it. We had already had a discussion with Emma and told her that we were only going to ask Santa for one gift so that he could buy gifts for children who's parents couldn't afford gifts. We were pleasantly surprised at how agreeable she was to the idea. And were pretty comfortable with that plan.

Until... Adam convicted me of a few things in a few of his recent sermons, one ending in referenced video.. Stinking preachers.. Seriously, he has podcasts on his blog and you really should listen to them. I often question whether God made me to be a preacher's wife but I never question God's leading in Adam's life.. He's doing what he was born to do. Don't worry, you don't have to leave me a comment telling me that God made me Adam's wife and if God made him a preacher then he must have made me to be a preacher's wife. I know that... I just sometimes wonder if this world is ready for that mold to be broken because man am I breaking it.. (sorry tangent) So anyway, Adam preached some convicting lessons of things I've been trying to tell him for years of course :). And then one of our elders challenged the church to raise $8000 to send to a community that doesn't have clean water. With $8000 they can supply a community with clean water... FOREVER.

Before I sound more noble than I am, let me say that about three months ago, I booked us a trip to Disney World for New Years. I had originally thought that this would be the main thrust of our Christmas anyway. Since I'm pulling in a little bit of money through babysitting and all of our off time when we lived in WV was spent visiting family, I decided we needed a vacation. Btw, it's a surprise for our kids so if you talk to them please don't tell them. Emma is going to be so excited. However, since I've never been, I'm not sure she's going to be more excited than I. So, once again, we sat Emma down and showed her a video about what we wanted to do. We told her that we were going to do one really great family present but we didn't want to do any other presents so we could send some money to this country that didn't have clean water to drink.. I told her that instead we were going to make a plan where we would do lots of family things together, like baking cookies and making ornaments for our tree and playing games and that sort of thing.. One of my proudest parenting moments was when she responded with, "I think a family present sounds really good. I've got plenty of toys".

So here's the nitty gritty of it all. Since opening presents is such a fun part of Christmas morning, and well, A Christmas tree just looks sad without them, I don't want to leave that part out. So, my plan is to make them each packages that have things in them to do each event.. For example: We're going to make family tie dyed Christmas pajamas. Oh come on, you know your dying to have retro pajamas that match your whole family.. I handed over cool for a minivan a couple of years ago. Do you think I care if I'm a dork? So in those boxes, I'll put each persons pajamas and some dye. We'll open those gifts and do those activities. The next box will have something like cookie cutters to make cookies. Etc, Etc..

And then, I've picked up various disney character items at the dollar tree and Christmas morning we will have a scavenger hunt where each disney item will lead them to the next item until we end with the last items which will be these amazing plush Mickey and Minnies that I found looking brand new with the tags still on them at a yard sale for just 25 Cents a piece! And along with there Plush Disney Characters that their cheap yardsaling momma picked up will be there DISNEY WORLD TICKETS. I've dreamed it all up in my head like most little girls do their weddings. (I dreamed of using the money that I would spend on a wedding on an investment. The wedding was for Adam.) Doesn't it make getting no presents for Christmas sound like the coolest idea ever? Well we will see. One day, they will either think I'm awesome like I do my mom or they'll get a good laugh when they think of that year mom went crazy. Either way, I'll never be far from their thoughts :).

So there it is.. Be thinking of any ideas that you might have for our Christmas family times together. I know that there is a lot of creativity among you mommy bloggers and I'd be honored if you shared. And I ask for your prayers for our sweet little church. It's full of people with struggles of there own that are so full of love that they put those struggles aside to help those that are struggling more. What a beautiful place to be.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Have You Fallen Off The Face of the Earth?

That's the question I've started getting. The answer... something like that.. at least it feels that way. Chloe has had a two month long ear infection. She has had three different antibiotics and a shot. We went to see an ENT the other day. The infection is gone but the fluid remains. Which apparently makes her very susceptible to another infection. The ENT wants to do tubes. Since that was the first ear infection that she had ever gotten and it co insides with when she started drinking cow's milk, the dr. thinks she may have a milk allergy. So, we're taking her off dairy. He also said that if we have any hope at all of clearing the fluid up without tubes, then I need to keep her away from all other small children for several weeks. So, I'm sleep deprived and I can't think straight and I have cabin fever ... Oh and did I mention that somewhere in the middle of this, Emma was throwing up for two days? So anyway, until I can get a little sleep, I'm afraid that all I have is one very long run on sentence and a plee for prayers.... I NEED THEM!

Oh, and a fun website for baby/toddlers. Fisher Price ABCs It goes through the ABCs and then sings the song at the end. Simple but effective. I found this when Emma was a baby. We did it all the time and she could identify all of her letters by the time she was two. Now, when Chloe sees me at the computer, she reaches her arms out for me and says, "AAAA" with the most delectable southern draw.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Christmas will be different this year...

The following subject has weighed heavy on my heart for quite a while. We're doing Christmas different this year. I have a plan that I hope I can unpack on this blog. My prayer is that this will be the Christmas that my girls look back on as there best Christmas ever even though we gave hardly any material gifts at all. Please join me in prayer that as parents, we all will teach our children the true joy of Christmas this year. Please watch the following clip and I'll be back soon with more details on the exciting adventure we'll take this year.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Best Holiday of the Year!

No, not Halloween, not even Christmas... I'm referring to the extra hour of sleep we get tomorrow! Don't forget to set your clocks back!