Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The laundry is half done and between loads, I've been putting together a few of my favorite articles and posts lately. Here are the distracting, motivating, controversial, or just doggone pretties I've stumbled upon...

  • The tablecloth I wanted to make for Thanksgiving...if I made Thanksgiving dinner...and wasn't in Hawaii eating kabobs with my family this year. Anyways, maybe a Christmas version is soon to come around these parts...
  • Amy always has great articles in her sidebar, including this one about what to give a family with new babies, and what peculiar diet one nutrition professor adopted.
  • How to survive serving others...poignant for this mother and wife.
  • The soup we loved on Day #1, and the pasta that it became on Day #2. Try this!
  • I'm getting the Christmas make-it-and-wrap-it bug. That's a bit scary for Real Gil, and perhaps for you when you see the results and try to hide your dismay. But with a good tutorial, I figure I can't get it too wrong. Check out Cathe's free vintage alphabets - I'm pretty sure I have a few fresh, white tea towels that are begging for some iron-on monograms... And I loved this whimsical homemade wreath. Pretty sure my grandparents had one in their house when I was a little girl. It must be made. And sprayed with sticky artificial snow.
  • This article was not half as interesting to me as the comments below it...if you want a little "stirring" of thoughts, respectfully debated, this just might be up your alley.
  • I love how Thanksgiving can be strung into words like these. And I look forward to similar words of prayer lifting above the Christmas table.
  • Simply put, I'm a mother of a son. And I pray there's a blog post someday like this mother's.
  • Monotony or excitement, might we do it with hearts that seek One.
The laundry is nagging me - this formidable mound of practicality and style and deals. So, read if you like, while I fold.

Resting Here,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Official Guest Post

Sluggish, sleepy,

We're home from a great week with family - a family that doesn't need improving, but was improved by tropical beaches, salty sunshine, and Hawaiian cuisine (Have you tried Hawaiian mustard???!!!).

Daunting piles of laundry await so I'm thankful for my friend, Ben Linn, who has offered his wisdom, humor, and wit for the day. Thank you, Brother Ben, for sharing...


It's not easy being a dad. The crying of children drowns out the TV. Having to set a good example means no more soda with breakfast. And having to help them do things really has set back my ambitions to be a cage fighting champion (right after I finish this cake). But in all seriousness, I think the toughest thing about fathering (brought to you by Father Loving Our Pre-Schoolers – FLOPS) is the changing role of fathering these days.

I don't know if the Ward and June Cleaver model was ever based in reality, but it's clear that prior generations didn't expect a lot of hands-on child-rearing from dads. For that matter, most things related to domestic economy were once traditionally relegated to moms. In fact, as a not-too-old dad myself (33), I can see that my role is much different than my own father's. This is not to say that my dad was lazy or disinterested in home stuff, but my mom took it all on as a general rule. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, diapers, child transportation, etc. - these were all usually handled by Mom. Today, I find myself taking on a number of things with my kids that my dad typically did not do with us.

Don't let the rugged masculinity fool you, ladies. I do most of the laundry around the house. I get the kids ready and down for bed every night. I do the dishes. And if there are going to be homemade cookies in our house, they'll be my work instead of my wife's. And it's not for lack of doing the usual dad things either. I'll change the oil and fix the washing machine and barbecue sausage and hang blinds just as often. And of course, I must point out that my wife does quite a bit in her own right – grad school, helping in the kids' classes, and quite a bit of her own housework.

How did this come to be? How is it that my role as a husband and father is so different than what I saw growing up? I would like to share a radical concept... my wife and I talked about it and came up with a plan that worked for both of us. She didn't coerce or browbeat me; she just shared what she felt she needed in terms of my support, and I shared what I felt I could reasonably do. It was an exercise in compromise, and what we have works well for us.

As a sidenote, I can't say what any of my friends do around the house for their families. It's not something we can talk about. If we try to sound like we do too little, we'll be seen as a deadbeat. If we sound like we do too much, it's more like, “You'll make a nice wife someday.” Whatever the case, we husbands are called to love our wives as Christ loved the church – sacrificially and completely. If I can love my wife by hanging up some shirts, that's easy! And I know my Heavenly Father is pretty hands-on with me, so I think I should be as involved with my kids as I can be. And every family is different. So I encourage all the wives to communicate with their husbands and work out some good compromises around the house. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm out of the of the office this week. By "office" I mean the laundry room, the kitchen, and the mini-van. My partner in the office is also gone, Real Gil says his name tag. Funny thing though - we're out of the office, but some elements of the office have come with us.

Note out the window: dark and snowing.
Note: inside the window, one tired Mama (sans makeup) and two wild kids!

That's fine by me.

We played "napkin tic tac toe" and passed out in-flight lollipops.

There was lots more in that chunk of time, but seven long hours are now blurred in Hawaii's sunshine.

After cousins reunited,
they scoped out the hotel...

they dogpiled...

and tumbled...

Then, we stripped off winter clothes, slathered sunscreen, took tags off kid flip flops, and went exploring...

So, I'm off to chase kids, reapply sunscreen, and enjoy my family. I'll see you all next week, my friends. Praying your Thanksgiving is filled with good food, sweet company, and overflowing hearts.

Resting in Christ,

Friday, November 19, 2010

When WordGirl Haunts

There are times in life when I get long periods of silence, when God's Word pours over me in the early or the late hours of the day.

Then, there are the times in life where I grasp at minutes, or seconds, of treasured Word. It seems that God, always approachable and available, understands, and meets me right where I'm at.

This week has been one of the latter form. In a hurried scramble to flip my bookmark out of the way, I ran across these words.

"Oh Lord, my God, in You I put my trust." (Psalm 7:1)

So simple, so refining. Like a children's show theme song, these words resonated in my head for days. Only these were words I lingered over, sometimes with ease and sometimes with struggle.

When the letter arrived with insurance's refusal of our appeal, I shook my head, and remembered these words.

"Oh Lord, my God, in You I put my trust."

When the flat-screen TV was left on Pause for five hours and a slight picture of WordGirl embedded itself in the screen, I remembered these words.

"Oh Lord, my God, in You I put my trust."

When the ten-minute dentist appointment became an hour-and-a-half repair, I felt these words pour over me.

"Oh Lord, my God, in You I put my trust."

When Real Gil and I remembered that we disagree occasionally, and that we were never meant to fully satisfy one another's needs, I recalled these words.

"Oh Lord, my God, in You I put my trust."

When we caravanned to the auto mechanic for the third time this month, I loaded children and smiled knowingly at Real Gil.

"Oh Lord, my God, in You I put my trust."

When a little one seemed lost and I dashed around the house, only to find her sitting peacefully in my armoire...

"Oh Lord, my God, in You I put my trust."

When the sun rolled over His mountains with streaks of day in its wake, I whispered it out loud, even with little ones nearby.

"Oh Lord, my God, in You I put my trust."

I pray you see both the subtle and the dramatic evidences of His trustworthiness this weekend.

Resting in His Peace,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Have you heard that new Christmas song by Dave Barnes and Hillary Scott yet? Oh, wow. It's another reason to turn on the Christmas music in November, says I.

I promised myself that I wouldn't post anything about Christmas gifts or shopping until after Thanksgiving - disciplined, that's me. So, I will not mention any gift ideas yet. But I wanted to give you a very short list of our essential Christmas traditions. If you find that any of the ideas herein seem like good fits for your family, you might want a few weeks to throw stuff together.

Without further ado...

We read. And thanks to the advice of my dear friend, Miss Marla, we wrap all of our holiday books at Christmas, and cram them all into a big basket by the fireplace. Then, every night (if we're home), the kids get to pick one wrapped book and unwrap it. (I have a friend who then teaches gift-receiving etiquette right here - even teaching her kids to say "thank you" after they unwrap the book!) Then, we read the book. While I do not have twenty-five Christmas books, I do have some favorites. The longer, chapter books we "mark" discreetly and unwrap first. To fill up the other days of the month, I check out Christmas library books - about five at a time - and even wrap those. Here's our freshly wrapped pile of books for the season, ready to go thanks to Punkin's newly discovered gift-wrapping abilities.

Last year, our favorite Christmas book was Jotham's Journey. I have talked about it all year long, and now, we get to continue the story with the sequel. If you land a copy, don't forget to read the end-of-the-chapter summaries - for me, some of the best Christmas devotionals out there. Ask my kids how many times Mom choked up and stopped reading last year...it's a bit embarrassing. Other books we cherish include...
By Jay & Kathy Stockman (a fairly expensive, but treasured book)
Each page of this book has a door, with 25 total doors. Each door contains one element of the Christmas story. The illustrations and words are beautiful.
Just tonight, I caught my mom and Sugs snuggled up, peeking in all the doors of the book.

Another favorite...
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

This year, we are also going to try doing a Jesse Tree. I plan to either make or purchase the Jesse Tree Ornaments (I like these and these)
and we'll be reading Geraldine McCaughrean's The Jesse Tree.For younger children, these are two of my absolute favorites -
Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell and Jason Cockcroft,

and Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Jane Chapman and Karma Wilson.

We give. I'll share some of my favorites next week. The kids love to get in on the action and they make lots of homemade gifts, mostly all found at Family Fun.

We play. One of the best things I did was order a toy nativity set. The children always forget about it until Christmastime and then, they spend many hours playing with a "new" toy. After moving into a neighborhood with spectacular Christmas lights, we added a "Pajama Patrol" to our holiday traditions. The kids put jammies on, I grab cookies, and we go watch the Christmas light show in our neighborhood. I love what this mother did to make the Christmas light observing more fun for her kids. Our little town has a Christmas tree lighting nighttime parade which we always bundle up for as well.

We sing! Oh yes, we do. It's not good singing, but it's usually loud and fun. There's nothing better than trying to keep a straight face while a three-year old belts out "Glo-ooo-ooooo-ria!" This year, my favorite music includes my cherished Pottery Barn 3-disc Vintage Christmas Collection (a gift from Stephanie, have I thanked you enough for this!?!), anything by Dave Barnes or Audrey Assad, and my old, wrinkled sheet music Christmas carols. (Below is Audrey Assad live if you want to hear her sing my favorite Christmas song.)

We visit. Pretty much anyone who will come over, or anyone who will have us and our germs. On Christmas Eve's Eve, we pack up the entire family and spend the next two nights at the grandparents' houses, one night at each set. It's fun to wake up in the morning with family and already have the presents, food, and other general details in place. Another favorite way to visit and give at the same time has been to throw a little kid's birthday party for Jesus, complete with birthday hats and cake. The children of our friends are all invited and parents are sent on a date night, their gift from us.

We laugh, mostly at ourselves. You'll see why when we post our Christmas family photo.

And my all-time favorite Christmas tradition. I purchased a small box with a lid. Every year, I plant it up on a high shelf and walk by it, wondering what I will write this year... After all of the Christmas hubbub has calmed, I take a small chunk of time and write down the memories from the year's holiday - favorite memories, who was present, who was missing, milestones from the year, what we are looking forward to in the next year... These have been so fun to read over the years! Also in the box, we include letters to Santa or tickets to Christmas events we attended. I just reread these the other day and smiled as I read my cursive: "Big question: where will we be living in 2007?" and "In 2008, I'm dreaming of a full night of sleep!"

There are a few things that we do not do during the Christmas season. We do our best not to stress. That means that for the most part, I do not Christmas shop. I try to have the majority of the presents purchased before December 1st. I know that's crazy, but it has really freed me up to enjoy the season. Also, we do not maintain a rigorous school schedule, mostly because we do a lot of reading in the evenings so we don't do as much "official" schoolwork. One last thing: because we have so much family in town, we find that our little ones are quickly overwhelmed by all the noise and presents, and much more prone to all-out, freak-out tantrums. So, we distinguish our own little family Christmas from the extended family Christmas celebrations. Usually, we just find a day when Real Gil is not working and we plan that as our Christmas. We start the day with doughnuts in Mom and Dad's bed (our usual birthday tradition, for Jesus this time). Then, we exchange gift and spend the rest of the day together. That night, we usually go out for dinner as a family, and end the night by trying to be as sneaky as we can about leaving our once-a-year Christmas "bonus" tip for the waiter or waitress.

What Christmas traditions, books, or gift ideas do you treasure? Which Christmas traditions have you not participated in, and feel good about doing so? What advice do you have for mothers at Christmastime?

Resting in the Christ,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The No-Title Post

What started out as a living-room nest last night....

... soon evolved into something much more entertaining.

Combine a pile of pillows with well-constructed furniture and too much sugar before bedtime and this is what you get:
Goofy faces. And goofy faces while jumping into pillows...

Then, it was time for a little kung fu fighting.

There. Done.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Packing this, and that

Nine months ago, Real Gil gifted our family with the anticipation of beach and sunshine and family reunion. Suddenly, here the family vacation is about to actually take place!

I haven't started packing yet. Or even started the packing list.

Partly because I've been preoccupied with other packing.

The kind that warms me through and through.

And brings me to my knees for faceless, nameless fellow siblings (though they have never been faceless nor nameless to the One who ordains life and rain and shoebox deliveries, to name a few).

We are praying for His heart as we shop, wrap, and pray...

Might our gifts be perfectly matched to our recipients...

May the gifts speak - no, shout! - His love...

Might we ourselves be willing to move and to change through simple gift-giving...

And prayer - that our hearts would bring more than a spiritual grocery list, a dynamic two-way conversation with a Father who listens, hears, and delights in our voices (both audible and silent).

Before the stress of airports, suitcases, and toddlers threatens to strangle our joy, we are taking the next few days to focus on one of our favorite family traditions of the year. Whereas usually they receive my exasperated "What can I do for suffering, for the poor?" at least one child today will be packed a New Balance shoebox with love hopefully oozing from its cardboard corners!

If you would like to join us, easy step-by-step instructions are found here. The nearest drop-off location can be found by typing in your zip code here. If you "register" your box here, you can track it to its final destination. And our favorite activity for the resident preschoolers was this coloring page/letter to the recipients of our boxes. What could be more fun for kids than giving before receiving in December?

Resting in Christ Who Has Given All,

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thankful for Root Canals

I've had a love-hate relationship with the dentist.

Rarely do I have pain.

And yet, every time I visit him, there seems to be up-and-coming pain that must be taken care of.

I'm so thankful that he catches stuff that my floss and toothbrush do not. But dang! This week took me from crown to root canal. But I left today after saying words I never thought I would say: "Thank you for a perfect root canal."


Next time, I might just give him my credit card on the way in, while they strap that beautiful blue bib on me.

Although this might appear as a dentist-bashing blog post, tis not. As much as this family likes to black out teeth for Christmas pictures, I like my real teeth enough to appreciate my dentist. (Very subtle shout-out to Dr. Drange - many thanks!)

This post is about the real torture at the dentist's office. It has nothing to do with drills or novacaine or really cold water sprays. It's quite simple. The worst torture at the dentist's office is the torture of not being able to speak while those around you can. For an extrovert like myself, it's horrific to have the perfect quip, the word they can't think of, the name of that movie...and not be able to say it.

But something new happened today.

The dear folks who were performing root canal surgery on me were discussing the nonsense of early Christmas decorating.

What kind of fools decorate their houses for Christmas this early?!!

Hmmm, said their attentive but mute patient.

I'm sorry, were you all talking to me? Because my mouth is full of gauze, novacaine, and some poky thing that keeps me from responding.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Sidewalk Salutes

It was on one of those early-morning commutes that Gil first spotted him - the older man standing in the cold.

It was hard not to notice him. While other bundled folks might have been out walking their daily route, scraping ice off windshields, or hurriedly nabbing newspapers in slippers, he stood very still on the sidewalk. With rigid posture that bespoke of attention and pride, he took a long moment to stare up, not in a hurry to walk a pet or return indoors to drink hot coffee.

Then, with a sure swiftness that bespoke years of practice and belied his otherwise aging body, he raised his right hand and saluted the American flag proudly displayed on his flagpole.

After Gil mentioned the man, we all started to watch for him, to watch for his flag. In true disciplined fashion, he has not disappointed. My children have observed him saluting the flag sometime after sunrise, and they have observed him slowly lowering it at sunset. Other than the days of violent storms, he has yet to miss a day. When the body of a local marine was escorted back to our hometown, his American flag flew at half-mast. And on the days following the Fort Hood shooting tragedy.

We knew there was a history behind this daily routine. He had to be a veteran, we all mused. One day, while he was retrieving his mail at the mail stop near our home, our theory was confirmed by the bumper sticker on his truck.

And so, the idea started to take shape in my mind. A potted plant one year, a plate of cookies the next, homemade cards from toddlers... It would have probably been easier to just deposit the little gifts on the doorstep and push the stroller back to the safe confines of my own home. But my kids would never let me get away with that. What child can walk up to a porch and not push that illuminated, rectangular doorbell button?

"What do we say to him?" Punkin whispered. Always planning ahead, she was the one child who understood a bit of my nervousness. I had thought the same question. Would he be uncomfortable with our boldness? Would he be worried about little-kid germs? Would he even understand our gesture?

But then, I remembered the salute. If ever a person could understand our simple, symbolic gesture, it would be this stranger.

"You can shake his hand," I suggested. Punkin's eyes widened in panic. "Or you can just say 'thank you.'" That suited her much better.

Sugs had no such inhibitions, her face buried behind the small potted plant that first year. When he opened the door, she did not hesitate, shoving the gift into the one hand that did not hold the swinging door.

"Shanks," she said with a smile. "For hanging that flag with the stars."

A little dog yapped happily at his feet as the man's face crinkled into a handsome, wrinkled smile. A woman - similarly marked with laugh lines - joined him at the door, shushing the dog and peeking over his shoulder at their unexpected visitors.

That gave Punkin and I more courage. She smiled shyly and added, "Thank you for fighting in wars."

I gushed nervously, saying more words than needed to be said. Thanks...our freedom...your sacrifice...the flag... I shook his hand, his weathered, bone-crushing paw firmly grabbing my mother-practical always-busy hand.

"You're welcome." He grinned widely, and I had the distinct impression he had used those dimples more than once over the years. "And thanks for this," he added, holding up the flimsy little plant.

Then, we entered that awkward stage where you either start the small talk or close the door. I spared him the dilemma and moved off of the porch, herding my children along with me. Their little dog barked playfully, even after they yelled "Good bye!" and closed the door.

We went home deeply satisfied. Perhaps, for the first time ever, I celebrated Veteran's Day by thanking a veteran personally.

With the special day approaching this Thursday, the children are already talking about what they are going to do or say to our hero down the street. I've got flour and sugar on our grocery list for tomorrow, and a cookie recipe set out on the counter. Earlier today, Punkin wondered out loud if "that old soldier" would like chocolate chip cookies, then answered her own question. "As long as we don't forget to thank him, that's all that matters, right Mom?"

Thank you. The simplest but most genuine word to utter on Thursday. Surely we will not do it perfectly or without mishap - like the year our Little Man marched through their planter and tripped over a green frog statue right as they were answering the door. But by some mysterious working, saying thank you makes us exponentially more thankful! So, we will march down the street, this ragamuffin bunch with purpose and saran-wrapped paper plates.

Resting in the Thankfulness that He Gives and the Opportunity to Express It,

Friday, November 5, 2010

I hope your weekend is one of simple pleasures, sweet conversations, and beloveds.

Here are a few links that I have enjoyed this week:
  • Katie always brings me to my knees in prayer. Will you join me in praying for her changing family?
  • We are big fans of audio books, especially free ones like all of these!
  • Memorizing God's love-Word is always challenging, and rewarding. Thanks, Ann, for this thought-provoking and inspiring post, motivating me back to that first love.
  • God bids me forward in this world, and culture, but others have found a more suitable fit among the Amish. An interesting article, one that will never be written of me, but interesting nonetheless!
  • Anyone who starts making Christmas ornaments in the first week of November has to be linked here. Cathe awes me with her homemade beauties. Check out her stamped ornaments.
  • Can you believe what this girl does - with an old onesie and a sweatshirt?!!
  • The evolution of a farmhouse - beautiful and inspiring.
  • Praying for Sudan as the election momentum escalates.
  • Family, ahhh, sweet family. I love how this one lives it out each Sunday.
  • Giving is always better than receiving! It seems this couple agrees.
Resting in His Secure Solace,

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When Justice Satisfies and Grace Does Not

Time for another confession.

A few of you have wondered where I have been the last few days.

I'll admit, last week was a rough one, but this week, my excuse is not so good.

It was a guilty pleasure.

Usually late at night, when I would normally have been writing, I was distracted.

With a man.

Not THE man, but a man.

Called Mitch Rapp.

He's not real.

He's fictional. And he is one bad dude. I'm pretty sure the stories weaved by Vince Flynn** are biographical novels based on true events surrounding my Special Forces/Reconnaissance brother-in-law. Or maybe they're just fiction.

Any which way you look at it, whether the stories are true or not, Mitch Rapp is one formidable character -a brave, tactless, snide, strong, uncouth protagonist with a perfect shot, never-ending energy, and an ongoing list of enemies. He hates bureaucracies and injustice. By the end of one of his novels, you are just waiting for the evil, wicked enemy to finally meet the swift, just hand of Mitch Rapp.

All the cards fall into perfect place and justice triumphs. The reader - at least this one - closes the book with a satisfied 'thunk.' All is right with the world, good versus evil and the good wins out. No gray areas, just black and white and a matter-of-fact Mitch Rapp on his flight home.

Sometimes, justice just begs to win.

It's why I love the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. His bully brothers have it coming and after years of abuse, he finally sticks them with it. Well, kinda. I know he's kind and forgiving, but their guilt seems so satisfying, so necessary to me.

Or the story of David and Goliath. There is, of course, grace for David, but big meanie Goliath gets exactly what he deserves.

In my own life, grace is always welcomed. But when it comes to observing it in others, there are times when I would rather watch deserved justice unfold rather than undeserved mercy. If I am being perfectly honest, sometimes justice seems to be a much better fit than grace. When children are hurt, when innocent lives are ruined, it is hard to watch grace and forgiveness take place in the perpetrator's life. Wouldn't it be helpful if God sent a few more dependable and thorough Mitch Rapps on patrol, scooping out justice where I deem it needed?

Just the other day, I listened to a family speak in carefully chosen words about generations unreconciled - a mother dying of cancer and a son who has years and years of wounds from her... As much as I would like to see grace in the hands of this son who could choose to care for an undeserving mother, I am sure the temptation of justice entices him - to let her die alone with regrets and perhaps just a sliver of the pain he has felt over the years.

The only way I make sense of it all is to remember two things: who God is and what He has done in my own life. As Philip Yancey so aptly says it, "grace teaches us that God loves because of who God is, not because of who we are." (What's So Amazing About Grace, page 254). If He finds grace a better fit for someone, than it must be the perfect fit.

When I am seeing life through eyes that are His, I see that grace is most satisfying of all, that rights and what's fair and what should be fall away in the light of who He is. As I watch my own life enveloped in "grace upon grace" (John 1:16) - never dependent on what I do or don't do, how can I not want it for others? Anyways, "by denying forgiveness to others, we are in effect determining them unworthy of God's forgiveness, and thus so are we." (Yancey)

The audacity of God's grace is that it is offered to the victim and the bully - after all, haven't most of us been in both categories? Grace is lavished on any who will take the free gift, any who admit they need it - the abandoned children and their drug-seeking mother, the parents who adopt and the parents who give up their child. Not just the person who is in a Psalms-like storm can receive His grace; the person who is in the midst of a storm of their own choosing is also offered grace, much to the shock (and maybe dismay!) of God-followers who observe. Can anyone move beyond God's grace? Only by their own choosing, not by His denial of them.

I'm resting tonight in this unfathomable gift of grace. Its bounds are far beyond my imagination, and the Giver is perfect in His presentation of the gift.

Resting Here,

**Vince Flynn weaves a great story, but it is not for the faint of heart. For that reason, I have great hesitations in recommending any of his books here. If you were looking for a book rating, I would rate many of them R. But Mitch Rapp is tough. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When It's Too Early

Tonight, over slices of sugar-free pumkin pie (not good), I talked with my mom (very good). With the children "dance-skating" in their feet-pajamas nearby, we did our best to converse over their squeals and dance moves.

"So, it's November," Mom said to me.

"Yup," I answered, struggling to swallow all that artificial sweetener.

"When should I come over?" she offered with a twinkle in her eye.

"Uh. Oh," I said, shaking my head and clearing my throat. "I have Bible study at our house, Mom. They'll all know."

She shrugged. "Wanna do my house first?"

"Yes!" I pounced on the opportunity. "What day?"

"Friday? Thursday?" She offered.

"Whichever," I answered. "As long as we do your house first. Then, if anyone teases me, I can say you started it."

In an act of motherly sacrifice, she nods her agreement. "Definitely."

"But we'll still be thankful," I resolve.

And I am.

I'm thankful for November. Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims. Our God. Our families. Our country. Our home. Our health...And for hundreds of other things I could list. But if I was writing a truly honest list of thankfulness, somewhere on that list, scribbled under running water and before fall colors, I would have to admit that I'm thankful for the chance to pull down dusty boxes with my mother, and welcome in the Savior's birth season.

Don't go getting all judgmental on me, y'all.

I'm thankful, very thankful. I'm just a planner...with a super busy end-of-the-month schedule...and a mother that started playing Christmas music in August.

Resting in the Anticipation of Tomorrows Amidst the Joys of Today,

P.S. More on my Christmas preparations to come. Send me your hate mail. I promise to read every last biting word. After I get the nativity scene set up on the mantle.