Thanks so much for looking. Be sure to leave a comment, if you think it would encourage my heart.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Counting Down the Days

We are enjoying counting down the days until Christmas Day. It means that after our morning services, Lord willing, we will be traveling to Lubbock and really excited about seeing family. Bob & Emma have been a big help in keeping our minds (especially the momma's) and days occupied. They have found plenty of mischief to keep themselves busy, that is for sure. They have even left a surprise or two for the youngest homestead occupants. 

We found them in the shower smelling lovely. They left us some gum on that day.

One day we found them reading all the Christmas books. They left us some money to be a blessing (in Jesus' name) to someone in our church family. We were. We were thankful for the opportunity.

One day, Bob & Emma made some Elf donuts and brought us some Human donuts that were delish!

And, we found them under the tree with ornaments for the Baby Girl and the Bub.
Both were quite fitting for the recipient.

We have been reading about Jesus each night, in an effort to get to know Him better. Did you know that Jesus:
1. was compassionate, Luke 8:41-56
2. was forgiving, Luke 7:36-50
3. had power to heal, John 4:46-53
4. was opposed to evil, John 2:13-17
5. had power over the elements, Mark 4:34-41
6. loved children, Mark 10:13-16

It has been great to discuss these things as a family and then journal about our day and our reading.
I "stumbled" across something this week that I can't help but share. I think I will not be the same. You may already know much about it. But God waited to show it to me until now. Just when I was ready. Just when I needed it. Ann Voskamp has a wonderful testimony and a wonderful dare. I took the dare. I have begun to log my one thousand gifts. It is wonderful. It is challenging. If you have ever wondered, "If the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see.
To see through to God.
That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open place to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.
Maybe so.
But how? How do we choose to allow the holes to become seeing-through-to-God places? To more-God places?
How do I give up resentment for gratitude? Gnawing anger for spilling joy? Self-focus for God communion? To fully live—to live full of grace and joy and all that is beauty eternal?"

If you dare, take the dare with me. It'll be worth it.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Daily in December

I just LOVE this time of year. There is just something about December that makes me giggle with delight and be excited about every, single day. I love the lights. I love the sounds. I love the smells. I love the smiles. I love the snow (even if we RARELY see any around here before February). I love the music. I love the decorations. I love the fun. I love the parties. I love the excitement in the eyes of kids. I love the movies. I love it all. I am glad it is here. 

We are counting the days. I love this advent/countdown Santa calendar that I bought sixteen years ago. I am so glad I did.

We decided to minimize the decorations this year, and I have to say that I am very pleased with the results. It was easy to do, but more than that, I think it is going to help us keep our focus on Christ. 

Even our Christmas tree is minimal. It is small, but we all love it. It bears only lights, a few berries, and fewer pine cones. Kylee wanted to put all the ornaments on it, but she is warming up to it without them. She does have a tree in her room that holds all of her ornaments and colored lights. Mike chose not to put up his tree this year. His ornaments and tree are packed away in a tote in the attic. Too much work for very little return, in his mind. Enough about trees. 

Bob and Emma arrived yesterday. They are the elves that report to Santa about what is happening in the Harper Home. They help us remember to treat others the way we want to be treated. They also get into mischief each night. They are silly, little elves. Yesterday they left some candy and a note that instructed, "By the end of the day, Give all of your candy away." Mike and Kylee did it without crying. Much. It was a blessing to see them give to others what they wanted to keep for themselves. It was a blessing to see the recipients of the candy light up too. Kylee even stepped outside of her comfort zone and gave to the librarians at our public library.

We are making journals this month. I can hardly wait to share them with you this month. I don't know if my family is as thrilled as I am, but I look forward to adding to it each day. You'll never guess where I got the idea.

We are also getting to know Jesus a little better this month. If Christmas is Jesus, we should know more about Him. Wanna join us?

Yesterday we read Luke 8: 41-56 and talked about the compassion that Jesus had while here on earth. So thankful that He did (and still does). It is so humbling when you begin to realize just how much you need compassion every day. It is definitely something that I need to practice giving. Kylee had compassion yesterday with a friend. It was a blessing to my heart. Mike had compassion last night when he cooked a pot of soup for the family. Big Mike had compassion last night when he made a run for drinks and a snack because the soup wasn't the best. (Not the cooks fault, at all.) I am thankful for each example. What about you? Had an opportunity to show compassion lately? Teach me. Inspire me.