Friday, December 23, 2016

For the wages of sin is death, 
but the gift of God 
is eternal life 
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

We rejoice in the hope that we have in this season and always. 
It is not a hope that we deserve or have earned.
We have hope because Christ came to earth to die for us and bring us into fellowship with Him!  

Joy to the World!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Outtakes

We've had our share of infamous Christmas memories.

Like the year Gavin was a toddler and sneaked downstairs before anyone else was awake and ate all the individual chocolates out of the advent calendar.

Or the next year when Maddie climbed onto the dining room table and ate the gingerbread house.

We've had kids open presents that were not intended for them and kids open presents early that were intended for them.  Then there was the child who got up in the middle of the night to re-wrap the presents he opened, in an effort to make right his wrong. 

One year we had hundreds of praying mantises hatch from our Christmas tree and cover the wall by the tree and the presents under it.  

I've even had to perform the Heimlich maneuver on one of my children on Christmas Eve, and the child was so disturbed by the incident that it ruined his entire Christmas!

This year has been mild in comparison, but we have had a few Christmas outtakes.

Try as I might, we could not avoid sickness this season.  Alaine and Maddie both caught a fever virus right after Thanksgiving, but it was mild and passed within 48 hours. 

Just this week, Macie caught a different fever virus.  She had a mild cold before she got a sudden high fever on Saturday.  She still ate well and actually slept better, both for naps and at night.  I thought  it might be roseola.  Her symptoms were textbook, and sure enough, she broke out with a light, lacy rash on Tuesday, confirming my suspicions.

Our medical concerns didn't end there.  Earlier this month, we were in the urgent care center when Macie scratched her eye (a corneal abrasion).

We were given antibiotic drops and a pain reliever and by the next morning, you almost couldn't tell it had happened!

We got several strange photos of Alaine in December.  Both of her top teeth were loose and instead of pulling them out, she played with them and let them dangle until they literally fell out.  We called her Nanny McPhee.

While my girls have had a wild month, my boys have stayed healthy and whole.

Gavin celebrated his 14th birthday a week ago.  He wanted no fanfare but had a blast when we spontaneously got a pizza to eat in the car while we were running errands.  Then he had a friend over to eat dinner, play chess, and watch crazy YouTube videos.  Maybe we would have had some funny outtake photos, except I forgot to take any photos at all.

We're moving into the last weekend before Christmas and we pray it stays free of sickness or injury.

The only downside is the fact that we've had four, yes four, separate invitations for Saturday evening and we can only accept one!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas (or Winter) Mini-Unit

{This post contains a few Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a few pennies from your purchase.}  

We are counting down the days until our Christmas break and we are in the single digits.  Three more days to go. 👍 Because of Brian's line of work, we begin our school year in August and work hard through the fall so that we can take off at Christmas and continue our break through the end of January.  It has been an intense few weeks as the kids prepared for their Christmas choir recital and then as we worked toward a stopping point in our school books. Gavin, especially, put in a concentrated effort to accumulate hours toward his art history credit.

Now.  Now, we are beginning to breathe a little easier as the end is in sight.  We took some time this week to do a fun, book-based Christmas activity.  This would be appropriate to do as a winter activity in January as well.  

First, we sat by the Christmas tree and read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.  This book is short and simple, appropriate for anyone from toddler on up.  Macie, who turns 1 next month, enjoyed turning the pages after we finished reading.

Then we read A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney.  I was fascinated by this a picture book biography of the life of Ezra Jack Keats (actually Jacob Ezra Katz) who was born into a Polish-Jewish immigrant family in the early 1900s.  Why did I always assume Keats, himself, African American?  Probably because he includes people of many nationalities and colors in his children's books.  This biography addresses why he felt so strongly about writing books for all children. This is a new book, published in November of this year, and while it is marketed to children, the comprehension level would begin at mid-elementary age.  The story will speak to those far beyond!

To cap it off, we watched The Snowy Day, a 45-minute movie, new on Amazon video this year. It expands the story of the book and is available free with Amazon Prime (not an affiliate link).

Do you enjoy Christmas reading with your children? If you 'like' my Facebook page, you will notice I've been linking to a slew of my old blog posts, recommending Christmas books.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Unconventional Hospitality

In my most recent post about hospitality, I promised I had one more thing to say:

If hospitality is about fostering relationships, don't be afraid to accept other opportunities for community.

I guess that is a topic all to itself and not really hospitality at all, but it is important.  It doesn't have to be in my home with my food on my timetable to be meaningful.

Accept an invitation to another person's home.   Go to the park with another family for conversation and play.  Accept an invitation to meet up at a restaurant.   Go out with friends after church.

Immerse yourself in other people and their lives.

As we sink deep into this holiday season, remember to invest in more than gifts and decorations. Invest in people, too. 

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