Chores- the new carrots?

As a mother in this new generation of political correctness and building children's self-esteem, I feel that we have lost an important component of motherhood perfected by our mothers' generation-guilt. Remember the days when our moms used guilt to get us to do anything-"Eat your carrots or you'll go blind!", "Stand up straight or you'll get a hump!", etc.

Well, mothers, take note of this new scientific research that is not only good news for women everywhere, but may also help you get that teenage girl to pitch in and help around the house! I can hear it now-"You better pick up that dust cloth right now young lady, or you might regret it later!!"

(P.S.-When I heard this news report on TV, the female newscaster closed out the segment by saying, "Well, I guess I might need to start doing some dusting!" START?!?)

Where Have All The Christmas Movies Gone?

There was a time when Christmas week was one long Christmas movie marathon! You couldn't turn a channel without finding holiday cheer and a plot line that involved that one special present you can't live without. Chris and I really get in the mood for a great Christmas movie when it gets close to Christmas eve. All of the shopping and wrapping is done, the menu for Christmas dinner is prepared and the groceries are bought and you have time to sit around and recuperate from the craziness of the previous weeks.

We looked at the TV guide last night only to find that there are no Christmas movies coming on this year! "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story" were the only ones we could find. What ever happened to "White Christmas" or "Miracle on 34th St."? Why can't anyone show "The Bishop's Wife" or it's great remake, "The Preacher's Wife" (which has some of the greatest Christmas music of all time on the soundtrack!!) Even the perennial "Home Alone" is nowhere to be found! (And as much as I love "The Sound Of Music", I have news for the TV programmers-it ain't a Christmas movie!)

Now I know all about the efforts of secular society to remove Christmas from our culture. But doesn't anyone realize that the majority of Americans still celebrate Christmas, even if it is not in a religious context? And I'm talking a LARGE MAJORITY! I understand that there are other religions out there to whom Christmas is offensive, but do I have to stop celebrating it completely in order to make them happy? This country was founded on the premise of religious freedom. I should have the right to celebrate my religious holiday along with others' religious observances!

TV programmers, take note- (because I know you are all waiting with bated breath for each of my blog entries!) WE STILL WANT TO SEE CHRISTMAS MOVIES!! Bring on "Scrooged" and "Jingle All The Way". I could use a break with a great movie about now!

All Halls Are Decked!

Well, as usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short! Boomama has once again put together one of her fabulous Tours of Homes for Christmas, and I just found out about it last night around midnight-too late to participate. But I thought it would be great to share my holiday decorations, especially since none of our family ever gets to see our home decorated for Christmas! While on the tour (which I recommend you not start unless you have about two days to sit at your computer, because each home is more beautiful than the last!) I found these slide shows, so I put one together to share with everyone! Welcome to my Christmas home!

Just a few notes on the pictures:
  • The 'baby food jar' tree and the Santa were made by my two fabulously talented aunts. (Maybe I do have a crafting gene somewhere in there!) My aunt Debbie made the tree by gluing empty baby food jars together on their sides in the shape of a tree. She drilled a hole in each lid and put a string of Christmas tree lights inside (one light in each hole in each lid), and filled each jar with tinsel. A ribbon gets glued around the outside of the whole thing and a star goes on top! Genius! My aunt Donna made the Santa from half of a bleach bottle, and if you want to know how I'll have to have her give you a call! I treasure these handmade decorations from my loved ones!
  • The two middle stockings are the kids'; they were handmade by my great-aunt Mozelle. (Okay, so I come from a long line of crafters-I just need to get with the program, I guess, and embrace the craftiness!) She made a stocking for Nathan after he was born, and when she sent it to us she sent an extra "in case we ever needed another one." Every year that stocking would mock me when I took our three out, knowing that we would likely never have another child. But God answered the longing of our hearts and gave us Carissa, and now we, indeed, have need of that other stocking! Aunt Mo died before Carissa was ever born to us, but I believe that somehow she sees those matching stockings hanging side by side on my mantle and praises God along with me!
  • A co-worker gave me the wooden reindeer family. If you look really closely, the one that looks like it's about the size of an adolescent seems to have a smirk on it's face! Trez' Realistic! I smile every year when I put these out.
  • Our front door has been 'scraped and taped' in preparation for painting, so that's why each pane has a blue border-no holiday effect intended!
  • The star ornament has a picture of Nathan with reindeer antlers from kindergarten in it and the wreath of handprints is my FAVORITE-he was in preschool when he made it! I am looking forward to adding ornaments that Carissa makes to our collection in the future.
  • Our Advent wreath is on my cake pedestal, so that when Nathan can't come to it, it can go to him!
Our decorations are simple and full of memories, but full of love as well. I hope these pictures share our joy with you this Christmas season!

It's beginning to look alot like...

Sorry for the lapse in posting...the holiday season is here and as a mom and a pastor's wife it truly seems that the to-do list is never-ending! But I am really excited about Christmas this year! I've had our tree up for about a week now, which is the earliest I've ever put it up. The halls are finally decked and I have been in the Christmas-crafty mood for the last week too! Now, I must say that I am not a crafty person. I am the girl who wanders around in Michael's saying, "What do they use this stuff for, anyway?!" But so far I made a new wreath for the back door, cinnamon-applesauce ornaments with Nathan and a ton of bows for the church and our house. Could I possibly have picked up some kind of crafting virus last time I went in Michael's?

I think one reason I am so full of the Christmas spirit this year is that I have little two-year-old eyes to see the holiday anew with. Having my daughter around is definitely making this Christmas more fun than any other I've had so far! I stayed up until 1 a.m. decorating the tree, just so I could see her face when she came down the stairs in the morning and saw it for the first time. And I must add, it was so totally worth it!!

Also, this is the second year that we have celebrated Advent as a family. Growing up in a Pentecostal background, I had never heard of the Advent season until a couple of years ago. Chris and I felt that celebrating the anticipation of the coming Christ child, which is the focus of Advent, would be a great balance to the secular anticipation that has swallowed the holiday season. So we have an Advent wreath and candles, and each night we light the candles and have a small devotion, sing a Christmas carol, and pray together as a family. It has birthed in me a new, giddy awareness of my soul's longing for Christ and a childlike anticipation of the joy in realizing that He has come for us all! As I decorate the tree or tie bows, I feel as if my soul is singing out John's words with renewed wonder, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

You see, it is so easy to celebrate and worship the miracle of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross or His triumphant resurrection, but if we are to understand the fullness of those miracles we must also fully realize the miracle of His birth. All the world was looking for a warrior to come to the rescue of the Jews, and eventually us all! But eternal, omnipotent God himself stepped through the portal of unending time and space and squeezed into the tiny, squirming form of a baby boy. He gave up his limitless authority over all of the heavens and the earth to take on helpless flesh in order to become salvation to us all. The knowledge of it transfixes me, as it must have those cold, lonely shepherds two thousand years ago, when the hosts of heaven appeared singing "Glory to God in the highest!"

So I hang lights and bake cookies and twist bows, all the while humming beautiful songs of a baby in a stable while joy steals over my very existence! Merry Christmas!

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