Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Morning

I set out this Thanksgiving break with a different goal than usual.  Because Thanksgiving is a bit later this year and we will only have three weeks of school between this break and Christmas break instead of four,  I decided I wanted to take down my beloved autumn decorations, do some cleaning and major catching up on laundry, and get my Christmas decorating done before Thanksgiving Day.  I don't think we've ever decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but I must say I am so thankful we did it.

Because this Thanksgiving morning is so calm.  The house is (mostly) clean and sparkling, with lights aglow and wassail on the stove and quiet music playing.

We had a beautiful cold front come through and woke up to sunshine and brisk temperatures.  It won't be long before we gather around the table for a bountiful feast for lunch.  The day will be slow paced and spent with family.   This weekend will involve more time with family and friends and some Christmas celebrations.  Right now I am in my chair enjoying the music and twinkling lights and scent of oranges and cloves wafting in from the kitchen.  At 25 weeks pregnant, I am thankful to put my feet up for a few minutes and enjoy the simplicity of the moment, reflect and give thanks on day I love and look forward to each year, and rejoice in the beauty of a season that celebrates the birth of Savior who changed my life.

These lyrics just flooded my home and heart a few moments ago...

Christ is the Lord! Oh, praise His name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim!

What a thought for this gorgeous Thanksgiving morning.

Christ is the Lord! 

Today and every day we give Him honor, praise, and thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving Morning!  Wishing you a blessed and beautiful day!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thankfulness Breakfast

Every family has traditions that are special to them.  Special breakfasts have become important traditions in our family.  I think it is refreshing to share breakfast with someone...maybe because it isn't typically the meal that we share.  There is something unique about beginning the day together, especially at home with a beautifully set table and celebration.  It starts the day off in a wonderful way! 

The past several years I have prepared a Thankfulness Breakfast for our family during the month of November.  It is a time for food and togetherness, and also to intentionally give thanks for how God has blessed us.  

The Saturday before last we began the day with our Thankfulness Breakfast and it was a sweet time together.  We laughed and ate and lingered around the table.  We gave thanks.  God was honored.  A memory was made.

This year, Madi helped me the night before with some of the decorations.  She colored and decorated "Thanks" cards with each person in mind, thoughtfully adding colors and details that would be special to each person.  She also helped me make little foam turkeys to set at each place.  It is neat to involve her in these preparations!  Children feel important when they can contribute and help!

On the menu was Sparkling Grape Juice, Orange Juice, Pumpkin Bread, S'mores Pancakes, Rotel Grits, Blueberry Peach Crisp, and Sausage Squares.

I set out a Thankfulness Tree with tag ornaments I made a couple years ago.

As I placed these tags on the tree, I couldn't help but give thanks for what the Lord has done in our lives.  He is so faithful and generous!

"Together is my favorite place to be."

When I plan special breakfasts I try to set the table the night before, after the kids go to bed.  It is always a treat for me to see the excitement and joy in my children's eyes when they see it for the first time in the morning!

I am so grateful for my parents.  God uses them on a daily basis to bless and enrich our lives.  They help us so much, and add to the family fun!

After we ate, I had everyone write down specific things they are thankful for on little strips of paper.  Then Madi and Trev took turns reading them outloud.  This time was filled with laughter and smiles and also pure tenderness.  God, I pray you will give our children thankful hearts.  Help us to live out gratitude.

I am grateful for this sweet time of thanksgiving we had as a family.  Intentional thanks is vitally important.  We so easily forget.  Remind us, God.  And thank You for all Your gifts!  May we gratefully acknowledge them each day!

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100:4-5

Thursday, November 7, 2013

So This Happened Today...

I was standing outside the classroom door, waiting for my reading class to come in.

A fourth grade student walks by on the way to her reading class and we have this brief, but meaningful conversation.

Student:  What did you do to your hair?

Me: Um, I don't know, something different I guess?

Student: Oh....well, it looked pretty yesterday!  

Yesterday.  As in not today.

If I had any question at all about how my hair looked, I realized it was pretty much answered right then and there at 8:02 am.

Also pretty sure that early morning text requesting me to sub didn't leave me quite enough time to beautify.

So, yeah!

How was your hair today?!  Or yesterday, if that helps?!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Harvest Happenings And Proverbs 27-30

Well, October flew out as quickly as it flew in.  We spent the last week enjoying Trunk or Treat fun, harvest style activities and spirit week at school, and celebrating Trevor's birthday.  It was a whirlwind of festivities!  These are busy years, but we are making so many wonderful family memories!

God gives us some of the most stunning sunsets in the autumn and winter months!

I bought the board game Battleship for Trevor for his birthday - it has been a huge hit!!

I am now 22 weeks pregnant and cannot believe how fast this pregnancy is flying by. We found out we are having a baby GIRL and let me tell you, she is very strong and active!  She is constantly kicking and elbowing me, and flipping around inside of me. Life is just amazing!  I spend a lot of time in prayer for this little girl.  We love her already.

I finished my Proverbs study, and it was such a great journey!  We have also been studying Proverbs in our SS class at church, and it has made for some great discussions.  I just love how practical Proverbs is for daily living!  It addresses finances, friendships, marriage, character, godly living ~ there is a little of everything and I can only imagine how much wisdom we could gain from reading it over and over again throughout our lifetimes.

Here are a few highlights from chapters is always so hard to choose.

Proverbs 27:1 "Don't brag about tomorrow, since you don't know what the day will bring."

*We are not guaranteed tomorrow, which should influence us in so many ways.  We never know what a day could hold.  I want to live each day for Jesus and trusting in Jesus.

Proverbs 27:4 "Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous."

*Wow, have I witnessed the destructive force of jealousy in recent years.  It's easy to give into the temptation to be jealous but it is not worth the misery, destruction, and broken relationships it causes.  No wonder God cautions us against it so often.

Proverbs 27:9 "The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense." 

*A true friend will try to point you to God and the ways of God.  Godly counsel from a friend is truly sweet.

Proverbs 27:15 "A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day."

*Yeah.  So this verse actually made the message at church on Sunday morning.  None of us want to be as annoying as a constant drip!  Something to think about!

Proverbs 28:2 "Where there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.  But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability."

*I'll be honest, this verse concerns me with many of our current leaders and the moral state of our country.  We really need to be in prayer for our leaders that they would seek God and His wisdom.  Our morality as a nation matters.

Proverbs 28:6 "Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and rich."

*Choose integrity over money every time.

Proverbs 28:14 "Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble."

*We should take sin very seriously.  Avoiding sin and doing things God's way makes life so much better!  Choosing sin and doing things our way can complicate our lives with many unnecessary problems.

Proverbs 28:22 "Greedy people try to get rich quick but don't realize they're heading for poverty."

*Over and over I have seen people fall into "get rich quick" schemes.  God's Word warns us to tread may not be what it seems.

Proverbs 29:5 "To flatter friends is to lay a trap for their feet."

*It is all too easy to flatter.  It can seem so much easier to tell a friend what they want to hear rather than the truth from God's perspective.  But when we do that, we set a trap for them.  There may be times a friend gets angry when you don't flatter or validate, but we should always choose truth in love over empty flattery that could send them down a wrong path.

Proverbs 29:17 "Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad."

*I've said before that intentional, consistent, loving discipline can be exhausting and a huge challenge...but everything I read about discipline in God's Word reminds me that it is so worth it in the long run!!  It is for the benefit of everyone in the family!

Proverbs 30:5 "Every word of God proves true.  He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection."

*God's Word is truth!!  Trust Him, obey Him, let Him be your shield!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

And Just Like That, You Are Seven

Well, I did it.

I blinked.

They said not to.  But I did and sure enough, just like that, you are seven.

You were my autumn baby, born on a cold October morning in Maryland where the leaves outside our hospital window were brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red. You were so sweet, handsome and boyish even as a newborn. You changed my life. You have been such a joy!

You are changing before my eyes ~ your once squishy face thinning out, your legs getting longer and knees knobbier.  But you are still so sweet, so handsome, such a boy.

We have enjoyed celebrating you this week!  Even as I sit and type this there are orange and blue streamers hung around the house, leftover birthday cake sits in the kitchen, and you are on the floor admiring new presents and toys.

And as I look at you, my brand new seven year old, I just wanted to tell you a few things.

First is that I love you.  I love you so much more than is possible to put into words. I love you so much it hurts at times.  You are a part of me.  You are one of God's absolute greatest gifts to me. You are His, and sometimes I stand in awe that He is willing to share you with me.  I love you for who you are, I love who you are becoming, and I love being your mom. Even on hard days and when I don't do a good job, there is no greater gift or privilege than being your mom.  I want you to know that.

Second is that I like you.  I like how you are an amazing reader and devour biographies and chapter books.  I like your joyful sense of humor and adorable way of putting things.  I like your infectious laugh and hilarious dance moves and endless curiosity.  I like that you are respectful and kind to others. I like that you can build complicated Legos all by yourself and that you memorize your Bible verse for Sunday School every week and that you want to spell all the words correctly on your schoolwork even though you don't have to.  You are a great kid.

Third is that I know you.  I know how faithfully you pray for the people you know are sick or hurting.  I know your deep compassion for others.  I know how you are part entertainer, part shy guy.  I know how you run into my arms when you see me at school.  I know that you sometimes kiss me on my nose and that you love anything chocolate and that you fall asleep to music and sometimes need one more hug or kiss before drifting off to sleep.  I know you get excited about the little things and absolutely love holidays ~ those are things we share.

Fourth is that I pray for you.  Every day.  All throughout the day.  For your safety and protection.  For your health.  That you will make good choices.  That you will be respectful.  For your spiritual growth.  That you will love Jesus with all your heart and serve Him all the days of your life.  That you will grow to be a mighty man of God. That God will provide you with a virtuous woman for a wife one day.  That God will give me wisdom as I mother you.  I have prayed for you since the moment I knew about you, and will always, always pray for you.  

Last is that I am here for you.  Always.  We are in this thing together.  We have both made mistakes, and will both make more mistakes.  But we are learning together.  And we are held by the Creator of the universe.  He holds us, Trevor!  And I believe He will hold our family together as we daily surrender our lives to Him.  I believe His Word, I trust in His promises.  That makes me excited for what is to come, for what He is going to do in your life!  His hand is on you, that much I know.  And I can't wait to see what He does in and through you.  

Happy 7th Birthday, Trev!  You are such a little light.  I thank God every day for you.