Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Aftermath of Christmas

I love Christmas, it is one of my absolute favorite holidays!  Really I love all the Fall holidays, so I am a happy girl from October through the end of December.  And what's not to love? Quality family time and lots of good food. 
The thing with Christmas though, we plan and shop and wrap, waiting to see the sparkle of joy in our little ones eyes when they rush down the stairs and over to the gloriously decorated tree, and then in just about 30 seconds, its over.  All the gifts have been opened, all the carefully chosen gift wrap is shredded all over the floor, and if you are like me, you are exhausted because you stayed up until 1am or later to make the magic happen! 
Now I have been seeing around the world wide interwebs lately, we should make Christmas last all year.  Which if you take that literally, it is a terrifying notion.  My crazies would love it because, hey, who doesn't want to live a Christmas version of Groundhogs Day? I, however, and probably most moms out there, would want to bury myself in a spider free hole in the ground until I found a way to make it stop.  I think what that means, is to live in the spirit of Christmas, reveling in joy and peace and love.  Remembering every day that God sent his Son to Earth as a fragile baby to teach us those things.  We wait for that one day to marvel in wonder that the Creator of the Universe gave us the greatest gift of all.  When we should live every single day in awe of His grace and mercy to us.
 In Luke 2:19, "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." While Mary and Joseph's Christmas aftermath was a little different then ours, she gave birth to Jesus, and then much like us, hosted several visitors, received gifts, and probably had to clean up after everyone, yet she still managed to hold on to the spirit of the occasion.  Although it might have been slightly easier since the reason for the season was snuggled close to her heart.  Perhaps, if we snuggled a little closer to our Savior, the spirit of Christmas could live in us all year.

Monday, December 23, 2013


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus in you. 
What exactly does it mean to pray without ceasing? It's funny, I was talking to my crazies about this the other day.  I am always telling them to pray for stuff, from lost socks, to meets, to good weather.  And they have been wanting to pray more at bedtime instead of letting me rattle off our usual "Thank you for today, keep us safe and healthy" speech.  Every so often one of them will announce they want to pray for their new sister.  Which of course warms my heart and encourages me so much.  So then when bedtime prayer time rolls around and they ask me what to pray for and I suggest our impending adoption or for their new sister, I usually get "I already prayed that."
Thus begins the discussion on praying without ceasing.  Bookie can tell me what ceasing means, not surprising since he reads so much.  Which leads to Little Guy to declare he can't pray without ever stopping, that's impossible!
Praying is simply talking to God, we all know this, and hopefully we do this every day.  I try to, and some days I feel like I am just having a run on conversation with Him throughout the day.  But it is so easy to just get into a prayer rut I think. Thank you for today, keep us healthy, help me find my keys, phone, and make my 3 hours of sleep feel like 10....  We are instructed in the Bible to "ask, and it shall be given to you" So does that mean being specific? I think so!  And ceaselessly so! Pray until you get an answer, pray until mountains are moved, pray until your faith grows so enormously God's call resonates through your very soul, and you have no choice but to pray without ceasing!
I believe prayer should lift us up, regardless of what we are seeking Him for.  It should restore our soul.  It is an intimate and beautiful thing, and it is for every one, not just those who are "good" at it, but the rough, and abrasive, the frenzied mom who wants a little peace, and especially my crazies whose hearts are so big they can't imagine God not blessing them with another little sister. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blue Skies Ahead

It is 67 degrees outside, at 7pm, 3 days before Christmas.  Kind of feels wrong if you ask me!  As Bookie puts it, we are having a Blue Christmas because when you look up all you see is blue sky.  I guess they are too young to remember when we lived in Florida, it was disturbing to see lights on palm trees.  Flip flops and sundresses!  Illinois was wonderful, I loved seeing all the sparkly snow.  I still have hope since it does snow on very rare occasions here, but I doubt that in 3 days the temp is going to drop and we will be graced with a lovely white blanket. 
No real complaints here though!
December is starting to wind down and finally so are we.  Break officially started, the hubs and I managed to hit up all 3 of the kiddos parties at school.  Controlled chaos at best, but we all had fun.  And today? No plans whatsoever.  The house is clean, so we just lazed around.  Bookie spent the day with his new Kindle, and I let Little Guy and the Princess watch movies and play on the ipad. 
I spent the day researching, and working on looking into adoption agencies.  I know we are a couple months out of being paper ready, but I like to be prepared, and have as much information as possible.  I read up on countries within Africa, on laws, and costs, forms and applications.  It is all mind boggling to say the least.  And it is hard to know which agency to use, do we use one in the state we reside in? Or do we only have to worry about having the homestudy done here?  So if anyone wants to shed some light on this, feel free!  I will take any information you have to pass out.  Just wishing there was a website or a book that laid it all out nice and neat with everything I need in a very organized and plainly written timeline.  Maybe that is something I will take on when all of this is over.  Hopefully my mind won't be shot by this crazy adventure, and I will retain all this information so I can pass on and share what we learn with someone else looking to start this amazing journey.  The day we bring home our girl will be a wonderful day, the first time we can help someone else starting out will be a close second. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Its Time To Get Crazy

I am one of those people who has a really hard time remembering to do something extra.  Pretty much anything that is outside of my regular routine, I can't seem to establish any sort of habit to make it permanent.  Take vitamins?  Sure, for about a week or two, then I forget.  I can put them out on the counter, next to my cereal, doesn't matter.  Flossing? Drives my Hubs nuts, but I am the most random flosser.  And reading my Bible? That takes a TON of effort.  And I feel like it shouldn't.  I have been a Christian since I was 8, and have gone to church just as long.  Bible college? Yep, did that too.  Read my Bible every single day? Hasn't ever happened.  I read my Bible about as often as I floss....
Ok, maybe I read my Bible more often then that.  However, I know its not enough.
What has helped a little bit is the YouVersion app that is on my iphone.  Not only does it have the entire Bible on it, should I ever decide to go back to Genesis and read it from cover to cover, but it also has reading plans and devotionals that can be anything from 3 days to 31 days or longer.  So now I can pick a short devotional, and stay on top of it for 3-7 days!  It is the perfect amount for someone who can't seem to commit.
The one I just finished up was about Elisha and his ridiculous faith.  I know I mentioned it before, but it really spoke to me. Before I read this particular devotional,  I knew that Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah's anointment from God, and that he received it because of how pure his faith was.  That, however, was the extent of what I knew. Turns out, this man was seriously committed to following God's commands, no matter what the cost.  He burned his plows, butchered his oxen, and left behind his inheritance.  Elisha doesn't come off looking to bright to the average person.  He stepped out of his comfort zone and away from his security, into what God had planned for him! I'm pretty sure that when Elisha met Elijah, he had a dream of what he wanted to see happen.  How big was his vision? The size of his or our vision isn't intimidating to God! I love that!
Not only that, but Elisha humbled himself before God and submitted himself fully.  And sometimes that requires us to do something crazy or ridiculous, or even something life changing.  It might not make sense in the beginning, or even in the middle, it might stretch my faith and heart to a place I have never been, and there will definitely be a lot of unknowns.
Phillipians 4:19 says "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus".  
How can I walk in any amount of faith, if I don't trust in that verse? No matter what my vision, or need, big or small, I am going to commit myself, to get ridiculous in my faith, just like Elisha!  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Another week down

I hate when I sit down to write something, and nothing comes out.  I started to write 3 days ago, and couldn't get past the first sentence.  I try to be witty and concise all at the same time, and sometimes it's an epic fail! 
We managed to get through another busy weekend, it was Christmas parties galore!  Any excuse to dress up works for me.  Then today, we had originally planned to head out to Busch Gardens, it was sunny and not terribly cold.  However, even though we have season passes, we didn't want to drop $120 more on Christmas Town!  I find that kind of ridiculous! I am sure it is fun, and pretty to look at, but honestly I am not altogether sure what all that $120 goes for?  Are there special rides in Christmas Town?  And if my kiddos are that hard up to visit Santa, there are always malls to hit up for free!  Because, did I mention that it is an extra $15-$20 a person to go to Santa's Feast? 
And we are trying to stay on budget this pay period, and save money, since you know we need to have an exorbitant amount for our upcoming adoption.  Instead, we finally went to see Frozen.  Can I just say, we LOVED it!  A-Maz-ING! And the tears... Yes, I may have cried a little.  To see the 2 sisters drift apart, it broke my heart.  I won't give away any spoilers, but the music, and the storyline, so well done.  Kristen Bell played Anna, I had read when it first came out, how she has this amazing voice, and no one knew about it!  She really does have a gorgeous voice. Combine that with Idina Menzel in the role of Elsa, who I adore, it was a talent packed movie.  I highly recommend it, all of us, including our 2 boys, thoroughly enjoyed it. 
Now we are down to 5 days of school until Christmas Break, 4 days to Bookie's birthday, and 9 days until Christmas.  I am so thankful we have the Hubs for all of it this year!  And I am soon to be the mom to a 10 yr old.  Where did all the time go? Talk about tears!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Can I Slow Down Please?

Talk about a busy weekend!  I am not a huge fan of going 90 mph.  And don't ask me to explain why I do the things I do, I have no clue!  Jam packed weekends are so much fun...  Ok, not really.  This weekend consisted of Friday: Volunteering in the morning, and then set up for my boys school's Santa Breakfast, then I hosted a cookie exchange!  Now originally, the cookie exchange was going to be Sunday evening, but due to Little Guys meet being scheduled for Sunday, we had to move the date.  Thankfully, set up went well, due to some very helpful volunteers, I love when people come through and honor their commitments!  And the cookie exchange was a lot of fun!  Of course now I have a house full of cookies that I am trying to not eat.  Saturday was the Annual Santa Breakfast.  I was asked to Head it up last year, which was crazy then, and crazy now.  Last year, the Hubs was deployed when I took it on.  And I swore at the end I would never, and I mean NEVER do it again.  Fast forward to this past Summer, my phone rings, I stupidly answered it and re-commited.  A few glitches, as is expected at an event that hosts 247 people over a 2 hour period, and it went surprisingly well!  I even heard from a few of the volunteers that people were commenting on how smoothly it went.  That is only because they didn't see the frantic scurrying going on behind the scenes! 
After the breakfast, and the Hubs was of course on duty, so we went it alone again, we came home and I went and laid on my bed for several hours.  The Princess and I even managed a nap.  I let the boys play video games, they definitely earned it.  And then I did an impromptu cut.  Our neighbors down the street have a little girl who is 10, and is good friends with our kiddos.  I got a text message earlier from her mom saying she had cut her hair!  Well her mom thought she had only cut her bangs, and BOY did she cut them.  But as I got her set up to section and pull her hair back so I could work on her bangs (or fringe as I have been trained to call them, but you say fringe and people assume you are talking about either an AWESOME tv show, or swingy little bits of fabric),  I discovered she had also cut the back up.  I ended up cutting about 5 inches off so it was all even.  I think it turned out pretty cute!  And Sunday, well that was exciting and boring all at the same time.  If you have never been to a gymnastics meet, go as a spectator, not as a parent.  It is nerve wracking and fun to watch all the very talented kids out there flip, and spin and pull off feats of strength that I cannot even hope to ever be able to do.  Which is all great and good until your child's team is finished, and then you go and sit. And wait.  And wait. Then they start the calling of who got medals for what.  Level by level, and age group by age group for each level.  Yay. 
Now it's Monday, and things have finally slowed down.  I still have a big errand to run, and a house to pick up, but tomorrow, well, tomorrow is MY day! I plan on getting the kids on their buses, and then doing nothing! Absolutely nothing, maybe I will take a nap, mostly I am going to lay around and watch mindless shows in peace and quiet. Without anything hanging over my head.  Sounds pretty good to me. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pressing On

Little Guys first meet is coming up this weekend, and honestly I think I am more nervous then he is.  He has only been on team since June, and in gymnastics for a little over a year now, and while I think he is good (Mom bias here!) I am sure he could do better!  He goes to practice twice a week for 3 hours at a time, and they work on their 6 different routines.  I ask him how was practice, and his standard answer is good.  Every time.  I am glad he has confidence though.  

He used to tell us he only ever needed to practice at gymnastics.  That not a one of his team mates ever worked out at home.  Didn't lift weights, or run, or do anything.  Yeah, right! It took a while, but we finally convinced him, that while there was a few things he can't do at home, like rings, or the high bar, and no we were not installing either of these items in our house some where, that he could work on his floor routine, and we bought a pullup bar so he could, well, pullup.  

After a while, he developed more of a passion for it I think.  It became more than just a really long expensive play
I wish I had his strength though, Little Guy is 8 yrs old and is proud to sport defined biceps, a very defined back, and a 6 pack.  I suppose if I jumped around, did flips, handstands and pullups for 6 hours a week, I would look like that too.  But that my friends, takes a perseverance that I as a ....  certain aged woman... doesn't have.  At least for gymnastics.  What I am working on these days is my perseverance as a Christian, wife, and mom.  

Hebrews 12:1 says "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  Sometimes that seems nearly impossible.  First, do we always know what we are running towards even? And if we do know, are we running towards Gods goal for us? I think it can be easy as Christians sometimes to think any good idea we have is from Him. I don't always think that is the case.  Although I think when we make mistakes, and choose a path that wasn't in His plan, God can always use it for good.  I am trying to get better about being in the word, and spending more time in prayer.  And not just Oh God, please make my kids stop arguing with me!