I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving. We celebrated with lots of friends and family and it truly was an occasion to be of thankfull for the people that the Lord has blessed us with.
We are doing well with our gatitude journal. We are in the 200's and it amazes me some of the things that the kids come up with to be thankful for. They have put a lot of thought into it and I am proud of them. Well, almost all of them. One of the kids has not added much with substance so we are working on that.
The journal has really helped me keep a clear focus on the season. I don't feel the pressure of the holiday season that I usually feel to buy or to preform to a perfect ideal. Ahh....freedom.
A couple nights ago I was painting a couple chairs and listening to one of my favorite Christmas albums, Ray Boltz, Bethlehem Star. The song 'A Perfect Tree' got me thinking. It talks of picking out and decorating trees with all the wonderful decorations. These words got me thinking: The perfect tree grew very long ago And it was not decked in silver or ornaments of gold. Hanging on it's branches was a gift for you and me. Jesus laid his life down on the perfect tree. So I proposed for my family that this year we not put ornaments on the tree. Just as a symbol to remind us about what Christmas is about. Hopefully each time we look at the bare tree we will think about the true meaning of Christmas. Since it is a pre-lit tree, we are using the lights...just a little sparkle. I hope the kids will be able to talk to their friends that come over and ask why our tree doesn't have any ornaments on it.
This weeks meal plan is fairly easy. Really just a couple big meals.
Monday: Spaghetti Tuesday: Church wide Thanksgiving meal and Tree of blessing Wednesday: Snacks THANKSGIVING: Traditional meal Friday: Leftovers
Each year our church does a traditional Thanksgiving meal. After the meal we all meet in the sanctuary and participate in the 'Tree of Blessing'. Each family, person, or group of friends comes up and has an ornament the symbolizes some blessing that they have received in the past year. Some of the blessings are lighthearted and fun and others are quite serious. It is such a great tradition for our family to listen to all the things that God has done not only for our family but for our church family too.
This year our blessing that we will share is our daughter Ella. That is a common blessing when families add a member. I hope we will be able to articulate the blessing though, because it is not just Ella. Of course we have been so blessed this year by Ella. More than we ever could have imagined. She is a wonderful joy and addition to our family but it is more than that. Through our adoption process God has given us such a clear understanding of what He did for us by adopting us into His family. I don't know that I could have fully understood it without the adoption process. Truly excepting one into your family, making them yours. Your complete responsibility. Pursuing them before they even realized their need. The sacrifice financially, emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Giving so much of oneself for someone that has done nothing to deserve the adoption any more than any other orphan. The symbolism is amazing. When I look at our daughter she truly is one of us. A part of our family just as much as any of our other children. I never would have thought I would love her so much or so completely. God is so good! And we are so blessed! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Emma created another new look for my blog. This one is closer to my personality. i love the tin stars at the top! We will keep tweaking this one and see what we can come up with. Thanks Emma! I know you put a lot of time into this one. I really appriciate you!
Last night my man was so good to me. He ran me a hot bubble bath and rubbed my feet. While I was enjoying this pampering it caused me to think about Jesus and the foot washing, since my man was being such a humble servant to me.
I was wondering what would be the modern equivalent to a foot washing today since we don't do that unless we are getting a pedi and we pay for it? What jobs to we look at as lowly...we are too good for...they are saved for the lesser of society. I am wondering, is mothering one of those jobs? Just the other night someone asked me why I didn't go to the annual Ladies Retreat that our church does. The person went on to comment that they thought I would jump at the chance to 'get away from all those kids.'
I love my kids and enjoy them very much. We are seeing the fruit of our parenting labors more and more often. When they are little your really work the soil of their hearts with much prayer and hope. My thought is this: even in the christian community we value parenting, nurturing, training little. Although it would never be verbalized we say it with comments like the one above. Or how about 'I'd rather shave my eyebrows off than to be with my kids all day', 'Your pregnant again? Don't you know what causes that?' Our society says it is not valuable in how we pay our teachers so little, we want degrees for our girls so they can supports themselves 'just in case'. We complain at the cost of daycare, preschool/private school or lessons. All this to say our children are not worth our money, or at least not much of it.
My husband just finished a huge event at work. There were lots of extra hours logged in and so I was at home a lot with the kids to my self. I pondered my value. Is I am doing enough? It doesn't feel like it. Why is raising my kids not enough? Why do I long to do big things for God when what He has called me to do for now is right at home? Because I don't get dressed in heals to go to work everyday? Is it because there is little recognition? I don't know. Probably some combination of all that. I found myself envious of the woman that was working with my husband on this big event. She did something big with huge results for God. And here I was at home, doing laundry, fixing meals, cleaning faces and bottoms. All in my jeans and t-shirt. God is speaking to me on this. He seems to work in themes in my life and this one has come up several time over the past week or so. I am reading Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. I am just getting started so I will let you know how it is. I also found this last night on youtube. So pause the music on the sidebar and enjoy. PS I love SCC!
Thank you to Ann @ Holy Experience! Since reading her post I have decided that this is just what I need for this holiday season to keep my eyes on the Lord. The Author and Giver of all things good. I am going to keep a 'Gratitude Journal' and try to reach 1000 things that I am grateful for by the end of the year. I am inviting my family to join me and write in the journal too. Hopefully this will be a wonderful time for us to really think about how awesome God has been to us. Hopefully this will help us not be self-centered during this holiday...His holiday...season.
I have already set some other things in place to try to keep our eyes on Jesus. I hope that Ann's post will inspire you too!
EDIT:Last week we had Artichoke Chicken, a reciepe I found from new blogger Tricia. The family really enjoyed it!
Monday: Chicken Chili...didn't get to this last week Tusday:Herbed Crock-Pot Chicken Wednesday: Dinner at church (Ham and scalloped potatos) Thursday: Shepherd's Pie Friday: Chicken, veggies and rice Saturday: Taco Soup Sunday: Gone all day casserole (From Taste of Home Crock Pot edition)
I thought I would give you something to smile about. My husband is a youth pastor and one of his students dressed up like him for Halloween. I am not sure if that is a commliment or not. You decide.
For the few readers that may not ususally go over to see Praise and Coffee I wanted to point you over that way. Sue always has something thought provoking to say.
This is a great post. I have been feeling this in my heart of a long time. Thanks Sue for posting such a great article and pointing us to the original source. Check out the comments at Praise and Coffee. One gal said 'we don't need more bible studies, we need to study our bibles'. AMEN to that! The conversation is great with both the pros and cons of a mega church. To give you a taste of what it is about Willow Creek and some of the other mega churches have come to the conclusion after study that programs and activities do no make disciples. Read the article...it is fantastic.