Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Beginnings

Don't you just love the new year?  It feels like a fresh start and who doesn't love those?
I don't want to make resolutions per se, but just think more before I do things (or don't do things.)  I said that in 2012 I wanted to be more deliberate, and I am going to stick with renewing my commitment to that in 2013. 
One of the things that's becoming increasingly important to me as my children grow is teaching them about God.  Especially with the older boys being 9 and almost 8, I know I am facing my last window of opportunity to really impress on them the need for faith in their lives. 
Several months ago, I got the idea to make these off Pinterest:


Prayer Pail with printable prayers

I love these things!  They are the centerpiece of our kitchen table and every night when we have dinner I ask the kids to draw a prayer stick if they want to.  William is always the first to do so and it's really improved his reading skills.  The 7 year old neighbor girl, who is often here for dinner, also loves these.  She started out barely able to read them, but she's gotten a lot better and is a more confident reader now.  By having this in the middle of the table, we have a visual reminder to stop and give thanks to God for all that we have.

Since my husband works afternoons and I'm primarily in charge of bedtime, I've started spending 1/2 hour or so reading from a childrens Bible.  We got one from our church library a few weeks ago and have gotten through most of it.  In the new year, we are going to start devotions.  I've ordered these two books from Amazon and am excited to get them!

I've never consistently done devotions in my own life, so this will be new for all of us.  I love that time spent with the boys because I get to learn right along with them.

What about you?  Anything new you're doing in 2013?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Unanswered Prayers

Five years ago today, I was crying.  I cried for all the things I knew I would never have in my life:  frilly dresses and hair bows, dollhouses, first pedicures, secrets about cute boys in school, lunches at Olive Garden, helping someone pick out a dress for prom.  I'm embarrassed now to say that I was crying five years ago on December 14th because for all the things I didn't have, here's what I did have:
He was beautiful and perfect and I wasn't as grateful as I should have been for him because I had been wanting something else so very badly.  What I got wasn't expected, but it didn't take me long to fall in love with this little blue-eyed boy.

 Although I had a hard time adjusting to the idea of another boy at first, his brothers were instantly thrilled.  Sammy wasn't yet three but LOVED babies and was so happy to have one in the house. 
 They say little boys love their mamas, but I've never known love like he has for me. He ADORES me and the feeling is mutual.  Who wouldn't love this face?

Another reason I'm so grateful I had a boy on December 14, 2007 is because if I'd had a girl, I would have been done.  So without William, there would be no Luke.  And, oh, how the world would be less beautiful without that little sweetheart! 
Although I still get wistful thinking about all the things I'll miss not having a daughter, I am blessed so much more than I could have ever imagined being.  They are my whole world.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bringing Home the Tree 2012

We try to wait for it to snow, but for the second year in a row it looks like we might have a green Christmas....or at least won't get snow until just a couple days before.  So we went to cut the tree down today at our favorite tree farm near our house.  The sledding hill used to be our boys' favorite part, but for now they have to settle for Sydney, the friendly old dog that hangs out and greets people.
They told me they had been hard hit by the drought this summer and had lost between 6,000 and
8,000 trees.  The trees we chose from were from their second planting of the year but I couldn't really tell.  They all looked pretty good to me, but ultimately we chose this one:

 We looked around for a while, but when I saw this one I was inexplicably drawn to it.  I couldn't say why, but I immediately knew it was the tree for us and refused to look at any others.  Chris started to cut it down when we realized it had been inhabited.
I heard somewhere that finding a bird's nest is good luck.  I definitely took this one as a good omen for the upcoming year.  I am going to put it back in our tree once it's all decorated.  Maybe I'll even find a little bird for it.
Tomorrow will be a busy day celebrating this little guy's 5th birthday...

Happy (almost) birthday to my sweet William!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Christmas Reminder

Our pastor read this poem at church today and I thought it was a great reminder to make sure we focus on the true meaning of Christmas, which is "love."  I have a million things to do, but the most important thing I can do for my kids is slow down and be present with them every day.  As Sharon says in the poem, toys come and go, but it's the time spent with my kids that will remain in their memories forever.  Lasting traditions are born from time spent together.
1 Corinthians 13 Christmas Style
©By Sharon Jaynes
If I decorate my house perfectly with lovely plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls, but do not show love to my family – I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family – I’m just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family – it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of your way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love never fails. Video games will break; pearl necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.