Friday, December 21, 2012

Advent Cuties

I could post tonight about the sweet birthday party for a three year old we were graciously invited to today, or I could tell you about my obsessive house hunting, but instead here are a few of the crazy sweet things that my children have been overheard saying or doing this week...

Silas: singing "holy night, Ho-o-ly night, hooooooly night" while playing on his first act dulcimer would melt even jack frosts' heart. He also sings "ingle ells, ingle ells."

while looking at houses yesterday Silas led me into a master bathroom and said "look! mommy pee-pee"

A visual cutie memory, my sweet one has been learning to put his shoes and socks on. We need a little practice.
he cant count to two now, and points at letters and says random letter like sounds, but my favorite thing he counts are his lovies- which he calls uh-ohs. "two uh-ohs mama. go bye, TWO uh-ohs"

Balin: After rejecting a shortbread cookie (you know the fancy kind you buy at the dollar store) he says "I'm allergic to coconut. I went to the beach with my great great grandfather and we saw lots of coconuts and they made my stomach hurt. I'm allergic." he has no living great great grandparents.

During our advent reading a few nights ago "Jesus just makes sense." (can I get an Amen?!)

Although it is very hard to express over the Internet, Balins absolute joy every time he finds Ezrietta in a new spot is hilarious, and my favorite thing to wake up to every day. Yesterday he straight up squealed... "SHE BRUSHED HER TEEEEEEEEEETH!!!!"

Ayden: Ayden has suddenly become a pre-teen and is not fond of me sharing. So I'll show you instead. Ill have you know he VOLUNTEERED and auditioned to be a dance partner, and was paired with the girl he says is the "most seen"... I think thats 4th grade speak for popular. She is also very tall. I could not hold back the tears watching my first born babe sing in his first school choir performance. He loved it and did SUCH a great job. I am trying not to bombard him with my own choir stories and instead let this be his own.. but man... I would love for him to fall in love with choral music like I did.
Ayden is on the top Row third from the right and then danced in the very middle. He's the cutie with the 50's hair and letter jacket.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuning it off so I can see the light again

I am turning off Facebook for a while. I'm disgusted by the gun talk from all sides. I could care less If your faith is in a weapon in your purse or in the removal of all weapons. My faith is in the Prince of Peace and as we mourn as a country this week, and as I continue to find myself unable not to sob every time I pull up to the kids school, I want to focus instead this week on advent... I want to think on these beautiful children and the families that mourn them and Not our "right" to buy assault weapons and enough ammunition to take out an entire schools worth of babies. That discussion makes my stomach turn. So I'm turning off the tv and Facebook and spending this week preparing for advent. I'm finding the elf and tinsel and gingerbread surreal. But my children want to celebrate so I bake and glitter and shine and keep on telling them the promise. HE CAME. Our King came, and will come again. Christmas comes even if there are no packages bows or even 26 beautiful children. All over this world every single day children die from the effects of this sin filled world. From earthquakes, from infanticide, from abortion, from slavery, from starvation, from abandonment... And yet Christmas comes. And it is hard to celebrate. We mourn Jim every year. We remember that Christmas drive full of tears. We think of friends who have lost children, babies that will never see a lit up tree. This event has brought up painful memories for me of experiencing the after effects of a friends suicide my senior year of high school. I hate guns. I hate what they do. I hate that our culture has become entertained by violence and weapons. I am equally disturbed by the mile long lines to buy the latest war based desensitizing video game that trains our young men to kill without thought as I am by actual assault weapons themselves. We are not supposed to get political in mommy blog land but this is an extension of my home and guns are not welcome here. That is where i stand. But more than guns I hate the fall. I hate our collective sin. I hate that so many people have never heard the good news. Not the news Joel is teaching. Not that God wants you to be happy and have your best life ever but the real news. That WE are a broken and undeserving people with hearts of stone. The news that we are utterly depraved, but that Jesus has come and we are forgiven. That he reckoned our evil. That God sees every pain filled tear and promises the day will come when all tears will cease and guns will be gone and the lion will lay down with the lamb. No more children will die. No more. So I'm going to walk away from the discussion. The one where some seek a powerless solution and others defend a right that is only of this world. I can not help but think of when Jesus took his apostles out of the upper room to go pray enforce he started on the path to the cross. He knew his time was ending and that he would be taken into custody. He specifically told his followers to bring swords. In fact he told them to sell their cloaks and buy swords if they didn't have them and then when they say " we have two" he says "fine, that's enough.". Then the high priests goonies come to take him away and Jesus' men- they grab their swords and begin to defend their Christ. They defend the savior of the world by cutting off an ear with the sword HE said to bring and he suddenly turns and says " no more of this!" (Luke 22:55) and he heals the wounded man who would then lead our Jesus to the high priest who would hand him over to Pilate who would hand him over to the people who would hang him on a cross. "No more of this" he said and laid down his life. So I cling to that. Jesus is the only defense from the evil of this world that will ever bear any weight. And one day, every knee will bow. An finally there will be no more of this.

I highly recommend this podcast from Matt Chandler. He handles this topic very well and with wisdom.  (just click on the sermon from December 16th, New Hearts New Lives)

I also recommend any of Ann Voskamps recent blog posts on suffering during the holidays.  Where was God when this happened? I love her take on it.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

To Elf or not to Elf

If you know me you know I have not, historically, been a fan of Elf on the Shelf. While we celebrate Christmas with Santa, We keep Advent, not Santa day. We celebrate the season of celebration that reminds us that Jesus came as an infant to enter into humanity as the ultimate act of grace. He left Heaven, and holiness, to wallow in our crappiness so that we might be saved. Oh Christmas. This beautiful season of celebration, and creativity. I hate the part of Santa that says he only brings gifts to the kids on the nice list. What about the kids on the naughty list? Are kids who get less gifts less nice? Is the kid who got the furby AND the WiiU somehow a better child because Santa brings them more? I refuse to tell my children that Santa comes to those who earned it. We give gifts to celebrate the amazing, unmatchable free gift we have in Jesus. Last year, and every year before I would have happily told you the Elf was NOT for us... but enter Balin... my hilarious and constantly surprising middle child. He shocks me every day with ability to manipulate language and create humor. He came home one day last week and started talking... and never stopped. He mentioned some other kids in his class, and with the biggest grin on his face he started BEGGING that he too would have an elf come live at his house and "throw wrapping paper all over the place," "eat ALL the candy canes" and "make big messes and flush the toilet." The first request I ignored. The second I could not help but giggle along with him. And start thinking.... what IF I could come up with a way to use the Elf to teach grace and not a police/ reward for good acts? What IF we redeemed the silly for the sacred? What if he could participate like his classmates, but still learn the essential truths I seek to teach him? Could it be possible? After approaching my husband with the idea, we remembered that we had a coin jar waiting to be turned in. Turns out we had 43$ worth of quarters and pennies and dimes and nickels collected from this years worth of pockets and car cup holders. Plenty to bring home an Elf. The boys chose a girl (more fun for me!) and Balin named her Ezrietta. He INSISTED. Would not budge. That IS her name. Or officially Ezrietta Isabella. Ayden contributed the middle name. We are late into the "Elf season" but the kickoff this morning was a hoot. She "made" donuts for us and herself and set the table. This is the note Ezrietta left my boys:
 {forgive the awful rhymes! I did this in one pass with a metallic sharpie... no rewrites ;-) )
Dear Children,
You have named me Ezrietta and you will be glad to know, that I love my new name- this my smile should show!
You may think that Santa has sent me to tell him as I  spy  the good and the bad things that you sweet ones try. But let me tell you a secret that not even parents know, Santa cares not for which list you should go. Really! His joy on this fun holiday is to bless as many children as he can on this coming Christmas day. But WHY? My young friends, this is where you come in. See~ I'm new and I don't understand why Santa would have free gifts to give on hand. Why is he so joyful? What is the big deal? Will you help me to learn the real meaning here? I'll ask you a each day a question or two~ will you answer my questions until they are through? Enjoy this sweet breakfast I have made for you, we will have so much fun while I am here, and that, sweet ones, is TRUE.
                                                                         ~Ezrietta the Elf

They boys were excited this morning, but so far I think the fun was fun and not the focus of our celebration. Later during advent Balin said "Jesus just makes sense."  yup buddy. He does. So here's to creativity... with a purpose...