Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas cards

Just a note to say, we aren't doing our Christmas cards this, just not enough time with everything else going on. But we love all of you and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Blessings and Sacrifice

Don't get me wrong. I love the Christmas season, the twinkling lights and decorations, seeing my kids' excitement, visiting with family and friends. But I don't love illness. And unfortunately those things usually coincide. Currently, Micah is the only one who seems to be in tip-top shape at our house. Although I just learned that the flu has hit our town and strep throat is going around Micah's school. I'm just praying he can stay healthy and the rest of us can recover before we fly to Wisconsin. There are many things I love to share with our family, but disease is not one of them. Last night as I was rocking Jacob back to sleep after a stuffy nose woke him up, I had a flash of insight. It's still ironic to me that in my most brain-addled, middle-of-the-night state the best things come to me. As usual, I was going back and forth between isn't-he precious thoughts and I'm-exhausted-and-wish-I- could-go-back-to-sleep thoughts. I started thinking about how much parents sacrifice for their children. The things Dan and I do for Micah and Jacob, the things our parents have done and still do for us. Sometimes, we don't even think of those things as sacrifices, it's such a blessing to be able to give them. The fact is that gifts, blessings and sacrifice are tied together. It's a blessing to be holding this sweet baby, to be able to comfort him the way a mommy can. It's a sacrifice, albeit on a small scale, to get up multiple times in the night and do it, forgoing my own much-needed rest. I started thinking about Christmas, this season of giving. We think of Jesus as God's gift to humanity, an outstretched hand that says, "I love you, I will make a way for you." That is the bright, joyful message of Christ and Christmas. But the other part is all bleak-midwinter. It's that moment when Jesus came from heaven to earth and gave up his throne to become one of us. God gave up his son. Sacrifice. I can't speak for God, but sometimes I wonder if he wasn't doing kind of the same thing I was last night, in that moment, on a greater scale. Joy that he could make a way for us, his loved creation, to get to know him; grief because he knew what it cost. It makes my sacrifice look small. The holidays can be a dark time for many. We make happy memories but we grieve over the ones gone by, the people we can't celebrate with anymore the circumstances that have changed, the disappointments. But there are blessings both small and large too, the fact that we're still here, our loved ones and the ones that love us, the little corners in which we find contentment. I'm so glad I have a God who understands that life isn't black and white it's a beautiful blend. Just a week ago, our town experienced terrible tragedy when several people were murdered. In a town this small, where everyone is related, this is a huge blow, not just to the family but to everyone. I pray that even these people would be able to find those small traces of light in all of this darkness. Merry Christmas and Blessed Advent to all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmastime is Here

 Our "Charlie Brown" tree

 "The Wheels on the Bus..."

"Chocolate Cheerios? Mmmm!"

'Tis the season for late nights, too many sweets and getting the kids to be good by telling them Santa's checking his list! We've been going to our share of get-togethers over the past week and we still have  a few more to go. This weekend we will be visiting Santa at a special breakfast at Micah's school. This is the first year that Micah has specifically requested to visit with Santa so we are trying to make that happen. We will be celebrating our Christmas at home this weekend since we will be in Wisconsin for the actual day and it's easier to do things that way than bring our gifts for each other up there an back. Micah's been asking me if Santa is "true," his way of asking if he's real. So far, I've been a little evasive. We don't push the Santa thing, but we have no problems with Santa at our house either. He's part of the Christmas magic. I usually just say something like, "Isn't it exciting to think about Santa?" And so far he's accepting that. At the downtown Christmas parade last week, Santa threw a whole handful of candy just at Micah! That's one of the perks of having a daddy who knows Santa personally (Santa is a full-white-bearded theatre professor from Henderson and one of Dan's colleagues in the area). We were talking about gifts and giving and getting them at Christmas. I started to explain the concept of spiritual gifts, like how God gives people abilities or things they are especially good at so that we can share those things with each other. I told him it was like a treasure inside of our hearts that we had to discover and that sometimes it took awhile for people to figure out what theirs is. We also talked about how sharing ourselves is a gift all by itself. Micah really wants to know what his gift is now. But after giving him some examples of the kinds of gifts people have, he decided that he'd like to have a beautiful singing voice, if he got to pick. I don't know if that wish will come true, but I do know that he does wonderful renditions of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and  "Jesus Loves Me" that bring tears to my eyes. I'm pretty sure God thinks its pretty sweet too. Jacob's favorite song is "Wheels on the Bus." We found a video of some kids singing and doing the motions to this and he loves it, asking to watch is over and over..."Bus?" "Bus!" You can see him clapping after the performance in the photo above. So far we have managed to keep him from ingesting too many artificial pine needles and ornament glitter, but he does like to pull items off the tree. Good thing we tethered that baby to the wall!