Sunday, November 28, 2010

Homemade Christmas Advent

Last year, we began a new tradition in our home to try to keep the real meaning of Christmas the focus of the season. "Christmas isn't about gettin'", as Veggietales correctly points out. With the hustle and bustle and push to shop, shop, shop... Jesus' birth, and its significance, is often lost. We struggle with this as adults. Why wouldn't our children have an even more difficult time then? Without intentionality, Christmas' focus shifts to an attitude of "what am I going to get?" instead of "what am I thankful for". Being intentional for the sake of our children's hearts, and our own, provides a very satisfying Christmas season - and that satisfaction doesn't come from things.

To create your own Christmas Advent, you'll need a place for your daily activity slips. We found small, colorful envelopes at our dollar store. I put a decorative slip around them and numbered them - 1 through 25. I then hang the envelopes on a string in our downstairs hallway. Some families use a wooden advent tree but anything will do. Then, write an activity (be creative) for every day between December 1 and December 25. Make them specific and meaningful for your family. Some days, we do more than one.

This is what we'll be doing this season:

* Serve a meal at Union Gospel Mission

* Snuggle up and watch The Nativity Story!

* Go Christmas Caroling at the Convalescent Home with Cub Scouts

* Make snowflakes to hang around the house!

* Make a list of 10 things you are thankful for and hang it where you can see it daily

* Make Christmas cookies. Some to enjoy tonight and others to give to neighbors

* Stargaze tonight with the telescope and learn about the star that led the wise men to Jesus

* Family worship night tonight! Celebrate Jesus’ birthday by worshiping him! Have a cupcake for dessert too!

* Family game night tonight!

* Write a letter to one of your family members telling them how much you love and appreciate them. Tell them WHY you love them . Tell them what you like about them. Pray a prayer of thankfulness for that person.

* Write a ‘thankful’ letter to ANOTHER family member telling them how much you love and appreciate them. Tell them WHY you love them and what you like about them. Pray a prayer of thankfulness for that person, together.

* It's Christmas Day! Happy Birthday, Jesus! Remember, on this day we celebrate Jesus' birth! His coming to save us is the greatest gift of all!

* Go to Christmas Eve Service tonight!

* Tonight, we go to the old Crest theater to watch the old movie, “White Christmas”, with popcorn and a drink! Bundle up!

* Check out Christmas lights around town! Don't forget the snacks, Christmas music for the car ride and make sure to wear your jammies!

* Snuggle up and watch another Christmas movie together tonight!

* Play some games as a family tonight. Enjoy our time together!

* Read a Christmas story together with hot chocolate and a cookie!

* Go through our books and donate the books we no longer want to kids in need.

* Read the story of Jesus’ birth and discuss how important his birth is to us today. Why do we celebrate his birth? Watch Veggietale’s “The Toy That Saved Christmas”

* Make a paper chain and write on the back of the papers what you are thankful for!

* Write your last ‘thankful’ letter to the other family member. Tell them that you love them and WHY you love them. Tell them what it is you like about them. Pray a prayer of thankfulness for that person, together.

* Dance and sing to Christmas music!

* Bundle up and grab your beanies because we’re going on a flashlight walk! Notice the beauty of winter and God’s creation! See what makes winter different from other seasons! Come back to warm up with hot chocolate and the Veggie Tale movie, “It’s a Meaningful Life”!

* Make Christmas ornaments!

* Make Christmas popcorn balls!

* Bake with mom today!

* Make Uncle Paul’s famous truffles!

What will you do to make Christmas meaningful?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

full circle remembrance

Today is a big day in the life of Jake. This day stirs up memories of the first years of his life. Beautiful, sun-drenched days of downy blonde hair, cooing and formula burps. His entrance into this world was amazing and wonderful but not without hurdles. This child had to fight to keep his place in this world. His hands - his breath - his very soul clung to the warm place that he called home for 8 months. Without ever stepping out of my womb, this child already knew of adversaries, struggle and developing a will to survive.

My body was not a welcoming place for either of my boys. My body tried so hard to reject new life forming. This new life was a threat - something that must be destroyed. Jake's struggle began almost as soon as he was conceived. High risk. Warnings of loss. Warnings of deformities all came back from the experts. Tests. More tests. Nothing could be definitive until he was born. Yet, we knew, no matter the outcome, God had created this child and He was in control. Not the doctors. Not the tests. Not my body.

As Jake grew, so did my body's attempt to attack him and rid itself of him. 5 months early, my body was done with him. More tests. Twice a week, Chris and I drove to the hospital to see if our precious son was still alive in my body. With lots of prayer and bed rest, we made it to 3 weeks before the due date. My body was weakening him and his heart was stopping, the doctors induced. Initially, he struggled to release himself from the attacks. He wrestled with the disease that I wrestle with. He fought to ensure he had a place in this world and by the end, a wonderful, easy, amazing delivery came. All seemed well. The warnings that had come, quickly disappeared upon looking at our new bundle of joy. No deformities. No loss. No more struggle.

Happy. Growing, yet unable to use his muscles. Growing, yet unable to support himself. No lifting of the head. No sitting up on his own. No crawling. No walking. No milestones to mark. Lots more prayer and doctor visits.

2 years of physical therapy and our youngest could walk. Hallejuah! Another year and a half of leg braces to help support this newfound, yet delayed skill. He had a smile on throughout it all. Still, concerns of a deeper, more lingering problem held on. Whispers from the physical therapist. Whispers from the neurologist. All wondering what had caused the hypotonia (no muscle tone). Awkward mentions of cerebral palsy floated across lips and I struggled to see that when we had a happy, healthy WALKING toddler in front of us. More warnings to watch for signs around the age of 5. Will he become clumsy? Will the muscle tone he'd worked so hard for go away? So, we watched and waited, praying the whole time that God's will would be fulfilled, whatever that looked like.

5, 6, 7 years old. No signs of faltering muscles or regression and we are thankful. Yet, other signs appear. Little concerns here and there. New concerns. 8 years old and it is time to draw back the curtain to see if anything is going on inside that maybe we can't see on the outside. We arrive to today. MRI. EEG. A new neurologist wanting to pick up where the other doctors left off. And we are thankful. Perhaps it is nothing. Perhaps all is still well - on the inside as it seems on the outside. We are prayerful that all is well. We are prayerful that His will still remains our focus. No matter the outcome. No matter what. We are humbled each and every time we face health issues (and it seems like that's a lot!) because we are reminded that we are not in control. We are very much out of control. So, we must rely on the One who is.

4 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

We named our son Jacob because we wanted our son to be bold and have the tenacity to wrestle with God when he has doubts, fears or to stick it out to receive a blessing. As we look over his past 8 years, I'm struck at how fitting his name is.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I borrowed a wonderful idea...

One of my favorite blogs is Impress Your Kids! I highly recommend this blog for oh-so-worthy-of-our-time activities to do with our kids to instill bible verses in their hearts!

So, a few weeks back, while perusing this blog, I saw an adorable idea that I knew I wanted to copy!

In the boys' old rooms, in our old house, I stenciled a Bible verse on each of their walls. In Sharpie.

I'll wait while you catch your breath.

After about, oh, 7-8 coats of paint, one could barely make out the sleepy-time blessing! Lesson learned, folks! No sharpie on the walls for us anymore. Particularly rental home walls! Eh-hem!

When we bought our house 2 years ago, I was determined to create a vinyl version of the verses they would like on their walls. Easier on the walls and budget, you know!

So, when I saw Amanda's idea for a canvas art project with their favorite saying from the "Jesus Storybook Bible", I knew this would be the perfect way to accomplish what we wanted!

I started with my oldest's favorite verse because he has loved this verse for a long time and instantly jumped on this idea!

I started with a blank canvas (obviously)...

Then, I whipped out my handy-dandy Cricut Expression and went to work cutting letters out on clear contact paper.

Once the letters were cut out and placed on the canvas, J. went to town painting with the colors he had chosen at the craft store!

Now for the fun part! Once dry, you get to pull off each letter! Kind of fun and therapeutic (don't judge me).

And the finished result? Unique, personalized wall decor that speaks to my son's heart because it is his favorite verse! It is there to remind him, in good times and bad, not to be fearful and to rely on God to get him through!

Thanks, Amanda at for this awesome idea!! I'll post when my other son does his canvas project! Of course, that is once he decides on a Bible verse!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Goodbye, 35...

So, today marks the first day of being 26.. ah hem, I mean 36. I closed the chapter on my 35th year of life and begin with eager anticipation of what my 36th year might hold!

With the closure of my 35th year, my 35 book challenge to myself ended as well. 35 books in a year, from Aug. 8, 2010 to Aug. 8, 2011. This may not be a big deal for some as they may read this many, or more, books in any given year but for me, over the last few years, I was lucky to finish 2-3 books. This made me sad. I have always enjoyed reading. Heck, my degree is in English with an emphasis in literature. I enjoy a good story, folks. However, with kids, and kids' activities and home responsibilities, volunteer responsibilities and, well, life... I found less and less time to read the books that I had been wanting to read. I had collected more books on my shelves than I had read. For shame.

Thus, my challenge last year. I am proud to say that while I did not meet the 35 book goal, I did make the 29th book goal. I was 6 short of the goal. This goal, while not completely met, has challenged me to continue on. To read as many, or more in the upcoming year. The books I read over this last year have been informative, challenging, thought-provoking and, at times, life changing. Who wouldn't want to add some more of that to their lives?!

With that, I reveal my reading wish list for the upcoming year. Perhaps you'll be encouraged to read along with me!


* Rebecca
* The Good Earth
* This Book Will Save Your Life
* Pillars of the Earth (didn't get to this last year)
* The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
* Johnny Tremain
* Mysterious Benedict Society

* What He Must Be... if He Wants to Marry my Daughter (reading to gain insight for my boys)
* Parenting the Way God Parents
* Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right
* Strong Willed Child
* Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends
* Faith Training
* The Mission of Motherhood
* Say Goodbye to Whining
* Life Skills for Kids: Equipping Your Kids For the Real World

Family books
* The Well-Versed Family
* Amazing Adventures, Creative Connections, Daring Deeds
* The Case for Family Worship
* Five Signs of a Loving Family
* Heaven at Home: Establishing and Enjoying a Peaceful Home

* The Inflammation Syndrome
* Stop Inflammation Now
* Healthy Heart Miracle
* The Metabolic Plan
* Don't Eat This Book

** Actual books read may change on a whim from this scheduled list due to mood, interest, personal application, etc. ;)

Sheri's Daybook

Outside my window...
the birds are chirping and we're watching our dog race back and forth through the yard

I'm thinking:
I need to get more lesson plans done today

I'm reading:

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
(and starting my new year of reading challenge). I LOVED this book when I read it in middle school/early high school!

I'm listening to:

the boys giggling over breakfast. I'm not sure what's so funny about breakfast but they are having a great time giggling!

I'm thankful for:

Chris. He is an amazing husband and friend! I'm so glad I get to do life with him!

I'm cooking:

Quite possibly Baked Potatoes or Chicken and potatoes... whatever I do it has to involve potatoes because I bought the BIG bags at Costco and need to use them!

From the school room

the faint pleas of organization are calling my name!

I'm creatiing:

a master plan for our school year right now

I'm hoping:

to try a modified version of the workbox system in our school this year. We don't have the space for the traditional system, so I'm creating my own. We'll see how it goes!

I'm going:
NOWHERE today! I've got to get some more plans in place! Tonight, we're going to Union Gospel Mission with the youth group!

One of my favorite things is...

spending time with my boys. I love them so much!

A few plans for the rest of the week:

planning for school when it starts next week, planning for SEEDS and organizing the school room!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

2010-2011 Homeschool Curriculum

There's nothing like making something 'official' than by putting it in writing (and post it for 2 people to read - lol!) :)

Curriculum/School Plan for 2010-2011

Foreign Language: Spanish (both boys, through co-op)

Math: Teaching Textbooks Josh - 5/6th; Jake - 3rd

History: World - Mystery of History (review and finish the remaining parts of book)

U.S. - Story of US, supplemented with History Pockets, biographies, U.S. States study and Presidents study

Fort Ross study - co-op class in preparation for field trip

Science: Apologia Science - Zoology - Swimming Creatures of the fifth day

Music: Piano lessons - 1x/week (plus practice)

Art: Art History, Art projects through Science and History

Spelling: Spelling Power

Writing: Institute for Excellence in Writing DVDs

Grammar: Shurley English
English from the Roots Up, vol. 1 (Latin and Greek roots to be added to spelling lists)

Reading: various age-appropriate classics for grade level with study guides

Logic: Fallacy Detective (Josh)
Safari Logic, Book 1 (Jake)

Weekly activities:
Cub/Boy Scouts
SEEDS Bible nights
Family nights
Swim team (in Spring; winter session - possibly)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Breathing new life into our Family Nights...

With the very packed schedule that we, willingly, took on in the Spring, our family nights have been non-existent, sadly. Our boys beg for our family nights when we get off schedule which is heart-warming because it means they are meeting a need within them of building family unity and community. Yet, there are seasons in the year that our schedule shifts and family nights become a lower priority. I wish it weren't true but that is our reality. I would like to change this, though, and make it a consistent priority in our lives. After all, we've only got the boys for a little bit longer before they branch out into the world and start their own families.

As I work on a new program for our church, that emphasizes family nights, I'm revamping our family nights that will be starting in August. I'm pretty excited about the possibilities and the organizational ideas I am getting just by lurking around the internet!

I'll post some pictures and my plan once I've pulled it all together!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

"Here we are now, enterain us"...

I've been thinking alot about the state of the American church recently. Actually, for more than a year. I am troubled by what I see in the actions that churches take to be "relevant". What does that word even mean nowadays, anyway?? Does replicating a concert like worship atmosphere make worship "relevant"? Does flashing images, strobing lights and a full band constitute relevancy? I think the church, as a whole is suffering from an identity crisis and isn't even aware of it.

Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines the word relevant as "a : having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand b : affording evidence tending to prove or disprove the matter at issue or under discussion c : having social relevance".

I'm guessing that churches are trying to hit the 3rd definition but are missing the mark entirely. While trying to be socially relevant, churches are creating a co-dependency on being entertained while at church. Concert equivalancies, strobing lights; feel-good sermons; feel good lyrics; fun children's activities; fun classes.

Many leadership teams are quick to scold their congregation to "not come expecting to be entertained", yet, unintentionally or not, train the people to expect just that. If you analytically look at a typical modern church service what it produces is entertainment. Their actions speak louder than their words.

The church is teaching the congregation how to judge our experience on any given Sunday based on entertainment values. Did the music "move" *me*? Did the promo video make *me* feel good or proud or happy (or plug in an emotion)? Did the church provide fun to my children while I was in worship? Did I see *my* friends there? Did I get compliments on *my* contribution to the service?

I will often hear that the worship service (more specifically the music) was "great" but what does that mean? Based on what criteria? How well people performed? How well one praised God? If the latter is true, should we really be patting ourselves on the back for how well we gave back to God?

Don't get me wrong... I'm not a killjoy. I enjoy fun and highly encourage it! I enjoy being enterained but I don't think the church should be the venue. The church is so quick to flash lights, provide a 40,000 egg hunt at Easter, and create a concert feeling that they've lost their true purpose in the process. Is church about making me feel good each Sunday? Is that it's social relevancy nowadays? I ask because that is what churches are emphasizing, whether they mean to or not. I don't think church should be about *me* or you or anyone else. It's about coming to a place to give our worship to God. It is also about being taught what the Bible says.

The church has confused "social relevancy" with entertainment, blurring the line and confusing the two. Social relevancy is... being applicable, effective, needed in our society today. Yet, more and more are turning away from the church and, often, God than ever before. Clearly, our entertaining is not working, yet we're too stubborn (dare I say, prideful) to recognize that.

Shouldn't the church be known more for it's helpfulness to those in need on a consistent, reliable basis than for what it produces on a Sunday morning (or pick another day of the week)? Shouldn't the church spend more time in the neighborhood it serves each week than on what it produces? Shouldn't the church be encouraging to "go out" instead of "come in"?

I pray that we, as the Christian church, would examine our activities and the motives and purposes behind each one. I pray for true simplicity to be embraced by the church. I pray the teaching of God's word become a primary focus in each congregation. I pray, especially, for leadership to reclaim the church's identity in a community that is hurting and struggling. I pray that I nor anyone else seeking to praise God on Sunday would come with a "entertain me" expectation.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sanity in a school planner? I can only hope...

This is the glorious planner that will help keep my sanity for next year. At least, I hope.

This is the Teacher's schedule page where I can keep track of the master school schedule as I plan out my days.

This page is to record the first semester's goals that I want to accomplish with the boys. There is another page to record the second semester's goals also.

There is a section for recording field trips and monthly expenses for each month as well as books you'd like each child to be reading.

This is the student planning page which allows you to record which curriculum you will be using for each child you have. It even allows for space to record books and other items needed to be purchased throughout the year and record when you need to go grab it!

Each month begins with a full month at a glance calendar and then has weekly pages to allow more detailed planning.

There is a page to record weekly grades for each child.

There are even these encouraging articles at the beginning of each month.

This planner includes four cute, card stock quality report cards to make your child's schooling "official", should one desire.

Overall, this planner has got me very excited! Not so much about planning because I LOVE planning! I'm a planner, what can I say?? :) This planner is exciting because of its organization. It allows for space to include all of the most pertinent information in one place. There are even places to record chores for each child, your weekly and monthly cleaning routine, family budget, etc. Despite my fatigue from this year setting in, I'm very excited as I look forward to the next school year! Check it out at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Food Revolution...revolting against the wrong side?

If you've been following Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, as I have, I'm sure you've seen the atrocities that they call food being served in school ca. It's disgusting! I was appalled at what USDA forces school districts to purchase and serve to our children.

What is more appalling, for me, is the backlash that has occurred against Jamie Oliver. He is bringing awareness and education to a better way of eating and he's condemned for it! Wouldn't the criticism be better aimed at USDA for forcing school districts to 1) purchase food that is unhealthy and over-processed and 2) providing so much red tape that a school who wants to change their food to fresh food that schools give up in defeat rather than fight on through the bureaucracy?

This is America! Our children shouldn't be fed the worst of the worst kind of food simply because an entire case of processed chicken nuggets costs them $3! America's health is spiraling out of control and we are teaching our children poor eating habits. I admire Oliver's persistence in changing how America eats and I hope more people listen to his advice.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Leading a life of simplicity

I don't believe there are words to describe the emotions I am feeling with my home, my organization,my schedule, my life. To put it mildy, I'm frustrated. Stressed even. I feel like my life, things and schedule is in control of me instead of the other way around. I long for the early days of my marriage when simplicity reigned. We may have been poor but our life was so less complicated. With that simplified life, we ate out less which made us healthier; we spent less, which made our home less cluttered and gave us more time because we weren't picking up, cleaning and maintaining things. We had most evenings and weekends free to spend time as a family or have friends over for dinner. More meals were made from scratch which meant we had a ton of opportunities to learn about good foods and how to cook with them. Life was just... well, less, full. And you know what they say, "Less is More".

Simplicity, though, doesn't occur with wishing. It doesn't occur naturally. It requires a proactive guarding of the calendar, bank account, and precious family time. We've had a whirlwind past two years with LOTS of changes. With those changes, we seemed to have lost our grasp on the simple life.

How do we gain it back? I supppose the process is a little different for each family but for us, it is going to start with 1) a strict budget and 2) a more predictable schedule and 3) guarding our calendar better. Adding the word "No" to our vocabulary could be our 4th step in this plan. But I think that is another blog!

So, Project Simplify begins ASAP! I am laying the plans for the changes that are acomin'~

Step 1: Simplify by getting rid of the excess. Read: Garage sales.

Step 2: Set up a budget that reflects our goals as a family and cuts out excess spending.

Step 3: Examine what we participate in and get rid of the excess.

Step 4: Create a predicatable routine and family schedule.

Step 5: Protect our calendar so that family time doesn't get bumped off.

Project Simplify begins today!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Why I Homeschool...

I wasn't always a proponent of homeschooling. I am now ashamed to admit that I once bought in to the commonly held beliefs (albeit misguided beliefs) that homeschooled children 1) have the social skills of a doorknob and 2) teaching is best left to the "professionals". I felt it was sad that homeschooled children were denied the experience that public school offers, after all, my experience wasn't bad. At least, not all of it. I figured homeschooling moms were overprotective, religiously fanatic control freaks that just couldn't handle the variation and "culture" that can be found in public school. I mean, the bullying, snarky comments, choice swear words and the like build character in our kids to some degree, right?!

Luckily, I have seen the error of my ways and my (eh-hem) rather strong opinions on homeschooling have changed. Significantly. Dramatically. Irreversibly. Ok, you get the idea.

What started off as a solution to a problem has become a lifestyle shift for us. In a good way. The problem was the warp speed in which the public school system is desintegrating before our eyes. At least here in California. I mean, a school without a library?! That's like chocolate without peanut butter. Journey without Steve Perry. T.V. without Tivo. It's not natural. It's just not right, people!

Seriously, though, we can't expect our children to take education seriously and make it a priority if the government isn't. That's a lot to ask for grade school kids and apparently, it's a lot to ask of grown adults making decisions for an entire state. Sorry, I digress.

Our journey into homeschooling began 1 1/2 years ago as an exploration into alternative options to public school but has now become our life. I have never been the mom who waited for Monday mornings so I could send my kids back to school and have "me" time from 9-3(although, it is nice every once in awhile). I've never been the mom who panicked when the kids had an extended break from school. I have always enjoyed the company of my children and truly missed them during their school day.

Now, I have the supreme pleasure and honor of spending my days with my children - teaching them, laughing with them, molding their characters and manners and having a positive influence on them.
What I have discovered over this past year and a half is that...
* My children receive far more one-on-one attention with their school work than they ever did in school

*They have far more hands-on learning opportunities and field trips than the State of California's education budget allows. We have several field trips each month as opposed to the one or two a year.

* They are not being taught contradicting values, manners, behaviors, and beliefs of our family

*We are SOOO busy with social activities that we have to really guard our calendar

* The boys are much happier, less stressed and are having their own unique learning style (not the "one type fits all" cookie cutter mold)addressed so that learning becomes interesting

* We've discovered how much they flourish in subjects that are quickly getting the axe in public schools, such as music and art.

* We get to explore topics not offered in grade school (foreign languages; in-depth astronomy,etc.)

* Topics the boys are interested in are incorporated into our day and explored

* Ageism doesn't reign in the heart and mind of my eldest any more (this came from the segregation of ages in school). Gone are the days when little brother is "too young" to play with or it's "uncool" to be seen hanging out with his younger brother. My boys are now good friends and play well together. Most days anyway.

* I get to keep my kids closer for just a little bit longer before they are grown

These are just a few of many "perks" of homeschooling that we've discovered over the past year and a half.

The funny thing is it took me taking a leap of faith to homeschool to realize that I am an expert on my children. I may not have all the answers but I know their idiosyncracies, their temperament, how they grasp information, how they learn best. I am the professional of teaching my own children. I taught them before they ever darkened the doorway of a school. I am capable of continuing this.

The joys of homeschooling have far outweighed the paradyme shift in our life. I get to spend my days with my children. I don't consider it a burden or feel overwhelmed by the fact that I have no where to send them. I do not begrudge the time I get to have them around. I have always wanted to be a mother and when I was told I couldn't have children, I was stunned to think my dream, my goal would never happen. Yet, I've been blessed. Both with two miracle children that, according to the medical community, should not be and with the opportunity to homeschool. Yes, OPPORTUNITY. I am excited to say I am blessed with and on this journey of homeschooling. It's a wonderful thing and I honestly wouldn't want it any other way now.

Monday, March 29, 2010


We have arrived to the glorious moment in homeschool where we put aside our books, our pencils, our schedule (somewhat) and enjoy a much needed break.

Our life seems to be gaining speed and a full schedule. At times it makes me secretly hyper-ventilate because it feels like I'm drowning in an never-ending to-do list. Other times, it feels as though I can't keep up. There aren't enough hours in my day or week to do all that I need or want to do. It is times like these, when my schedule has gotten the best of me, that I grow concerned. Concerned that I haven't spent enough time with my family; concerned that I haven't spent enough time with my husband; concerned that I am let our homelife slip; concerned that I don't have enough energy to go around for all; concerned that I'm giving up the little time that I have to take care of myself.

Yet, as real as those concerns are, I must remember that there is One that knows my plans for my future and knows the number of my days. There is One that doesn't give me more than I can handle and asks me not to worry for He will take care of my needs and the desires of my heart. If only I will rest in Him and give all my cares to Him.
Not a bad trade off, huh?!? Now, if I can just pry my grubby, white-knuckled hands off of my cares and let them go! That is the key - not wanting to grab and take hold of them again. Not letting my hands close up and grasp to my concerns and *my* plans but lay them down at His feet and walk away.

Here's to keeping my hands open and resisting the urge to grasp and take back today!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New year, new beginnings...

I want to say we survived the Christmas season, as I do most years, but honestly, this year was different. We slowed down. We created nightly family time and turned our focus on the real meaning of the season by choosing intentional activities that would foster both. The DIY family advent calendar was awesome and a definite keeper for our Christmas' to come! Without buying more, baking more, hustling more, we created a very fulfilling Christmas. By buying less, baking less, and hustling less, we left room for family and to reconnect with what Christmas is really about - Christ's birth.

With a week of the new year already under my belt, I've turned my attention to my health. I want this year to be different. I want to be in control of my health not it being in control of me. I want to live without the pain and constant reminder that my body is deteriorating at a faster rate than it should. I want change.

So, now is the time for new beginnings. It's not enough just to talk about change; to long for difference. I have rediscovered this lesson over 2009. I got tired of hearing myself repeatedly say that "I've got to..." or "I wish..." or "I want...". That got me nowhere. So, in the last half of 2009, I stopped talking about what changes I wanted to happen and started making them happen. If I wanted to slow down, then I said "no" to more activities. If I wanted to have more time with my family, then I cut back on my existing commitments and protected family time. If I wanted a more meaningful, peaceful Christmas, then we created that by protecting our time and being intentional about our activities.

What does 2010 hold for me? I don't know. I hope a stronger, healthier body. I hope a less hurried lifestyle. I hope more meaningful moments with my sons and my husband. However, my hopes will only get me so far and the lesson I learned in 2009 must be carried over into 2010. It's not enough for me to hope change will occur. I must be intentional. So, here's to 2010 and all the opportunities for change that it holds!