Friday, December 27, 2013

Thinking Ahead to 2014...

I want to live more simply this year.  I want to buy less stuff.  It is soooo easy to get drawn into all of the internet deals, especially when my email inbox is inundated with sales and coupons.  I have been deleting them immediately and moving on.  Because we don't NEED anything!  We are so blessed, and God has blessed us with all of our needs as well as wants this year.  I'm striving to make use of all of the things we already have and make use of free resources, like the public library!  My goal is by next Christmas it won't be such a habit to want to buy everything that seems like a good deal.  I want to be "content in every circumstance." 

My word for this year is Contentment.  Not only do I want to be content with my material possessions, but I want to be content in my relationships.  I have so much to be thankful for, even in the "not so cheery" moments of life.  I read "One Thousand Gifts" this year by Ann Voskamp, with my Bible study group, and it was a game changer.  I am learning to give thanks no matter what, for that is when the miracle happens...

I don't want to make a whole list of New Year's resolutions this year.  I know I need to eat better and exercise more, who doesn't?  But I've been learning that working on the heart and trying to make it match up with the heart of Jesus is what leads to true health, and the rest can follow.

How about you, have any New Year's resolutions or words for the year that you want to share?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's Christmastime!!

This is such a fun time of year!  The kids are at just the right age to appreciate the little things I do to help make this holiday season a fun and meaningful one for them.
It was so fun decorating the house this year; since we moved in on December 23rd last year, we skipped the decorating.  We really have a house, OUR house, to decorate this year, and it feels really nice.  My favorite thing to do is still to sit in the living room with the Christmas tree lights on (all 1000 of them) and watch Christmas movies on TV or play on my phone or snuggle with the kiddos or just sit.
We have been going on walks after dinner around the block to see the Christmas kids say, "It's a Winter Wonderland out here!"  It's truly magical.  There is one house that has a Santa Claus in the upstairs window that sometimes is lit up, sometimes not, and our game is to see if it's lit and we can see Santa tonight.
Opening Christmas cards and seeing the friendly and missed faces of our friends and family from afar has been a highlight. 
Each morning we have been opening a drawer on our Advent tree, in which are two tiny presents and a word of encouragement and truth for the day, thanks to my mother in law.  It usually goes well, unless like today, the kids fight over whose turn it is to open the drawer and before I know it the entire contents of the tree are strewn on the floor.  Sigh.
Each night I let them unwrap a Christmas book, some new, some old, and we read it before bed.
I have been hiding "Keebler," the Elf on the Shelf, when I can remember, which is pretty fun.
And I have let them watch an "extra" show while I get dinner ready if I need a break, one of the Christmas shows that I used to watch when I was little.
This is also a time to really think about what things I want to teach them about Christmas.
I want them to know that it's JESUS that we celebrate, that He was the best gift of all, so we celebrate His birth by giving presents to one another. 
I want them to experience the MAGIC and WONDER of believing in Santa Claus, but I've been teaching them that it's not about being bad and good, because we are all sinners in need of Jesus, and we are all "bad" or "naughty" sometimes, but that getting presents isn't contingent on their "good" behavior no more than our salvation is contingent on our "good" deeds.  I think the message is getting through.
I'm looking for the PEACE of Christ this holiday season, and I'm finding that I'm yelling a lot less, smiling a lot more, and sharing knowing looks with my hubby as often as I can.
This year is so much fun, like every year, and I am so thankful for the time I get to spend with my little family, anticipating the coming of our saviour. 
As one of my favorite characters once said, "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."