Now that our tradition has matured, I spend the year looking for new and used Christmas books to add to our collection. Some are different renditions of the account of Christ’s birth. Some are secular stories and Christmas classics. Last year I got some great deals on Christmas books afterChristmas, and tucked them away for….now! So this year, a good half of our Christmas book pile are “new to us” and never before seen by Small Son and Tiny Daughter.
What reaping of the seeds of kindness is seen as the young braves argue about who gets to open the book peacefully take turns with the pleasure of opening a book! And oh, how their eyes sparkle each night as they see the cover!
There is a special twist to our fun tradition…..
On Christmas Day, we will open the Bible and read our Saviour’s story.
This Book is definitely a special climax to 25 days of Christmas blessings!
Guess what? You still have time to wrap up your Christmas books and start a new Christmas activity in your family. It’s ok if you don’t have 25 books…just wrap up what you have. That’s how we started, and I love watching our collection grow.
Does your family count down to Christmas in a special way? How did your tradition get started? Share in the comments and link to your blog if you like!
Last Monday evening found our family scurrying around getting ready for one of our annual traditions: family photos.
This year we decided to go with a local photographer instead of the popular department store (sorry, Wally World!)
Like an obsessive a normal mother, I wanted everyone to look perfect.
Brown and turquoise- this year’s colour- check.
Second outfit for kids- check.
Tiny Daughter, wear your brown shoes instead of those hot pink crocs. Thank you. And please don’t have a conniption on me while I do your hair. Yes, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to send searing pain into your head, but it’s worth it to look beautiful! I promise the agony will be over in minutes. (Then before bed we’ll take it all out and you’ll cry again, but we’ll cross that bridge…later.) We’ll cross this one…now!
Small Son, practice your normal smile. No, not goofy! Just a normal smile. Less teeth….better. Yes, like that!
Handsome Husband, yes, you need to wear a tie. Sure, next year we can just go casual. Remind me.
An hour and a half and a photo session later, we headed home.
Find us sitting at the intersection one block from our house, right in front of our church.
We got a green arrow to turn left. We did so.
But we weren’t the only ones who moved. Somehow, a car across the intersection thought that red means go.
They proceeded straight toward us, not showing any signs of realizing their error.
Brakes slammed. I braced for impact. It was going to be me. Life flashes.
A split second later, I braced for Small Son. It was going to be him. His life flashes.
Then we realized we needed to accelerate, not brake.
“Go! Go! Go!” I said, like it was all one word.
We shot forward, ever so thankful that no one was turning right on red (that would have been an accident for sure).
My heart pounded and my whole body was shaking from the shock. It’s the second time in my life that a vehicle was seemingly inches from my door, their hood staring at my window. It’s the second time in my life that I have braced my body, waiting for the impact…that never came.
It was so close that even the kids recognized what had happened.
Small Son’s comments? “Well, Mommy and I are ready for Heaven, but Charity’s not.” And, “If Mommy went to Heaven, Daddy could marry someone else.” All true, Small Son, but you are a young brave and there is much that you do not understand.
What if those were our last family photos?
How sweet if that was the last thing we did together.
I almost lost my son.
This night could have changed our lives forever.
I was impatient with my family before we left….oh, the regrets I could have now. Do have now.
How many special moments with my children did I lose while I made everything perfect?
It was a reality check for me.
When we strive for perfection we ultimately get frustration.
A goal of perfection drives us to focus more on things than on people.
Things often don’t cooperate, leaving us frustrated.
Frustration dampens special times with family.
Now is always the time to cherish moments with those we love.
Moments don’t have to be perfect to be memorable…or beautiful.
Oh, how quickly things can change!
I’m reliving the experience as I type. My heart is crying again. It’s good for me.
I choose to cherish the Treasures in my life.
And I choose gratitude for my Father’s careful gracing and guarding of His Treasures that He’s letting me love for awhile.
“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little while, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14
Today I’m joining the Christmas giveaway fun! I came across a neat little book that blends peppermint happiness with cooking love…and I’m giving one away to one of my readers!
This little book is 5 inches by 5 inches, and is packed full of recipes that use candy canes. If you’re a candy cane/peppermint lover like me, then your mouth is already watering. What could be better than 157 pages of candy cane recipes?! If you’re not a fan, how about giving it as a gift to someone who is?
Friday afternoon found me wandering around our local hardware store…looking for pipe insulation. (Is there such a thing?)
No, I’m not a plumber, nor do I have such aspirations. I’ve been preparing for a fun craft night with my Stay & Play moms group at our church. (Yes, I’ll be posting a tutorial of the craft next week, given that it is successfully created, lol!)
After looking (in vain) for pool noodles at various other stores in our town, I had given up hope that noodles could be found at this time of the year.
Which brings me back to the hardware store. My only other option was pipe insulation. I’d never seen it- I just knew it existed and that it might solve my predicament. And so into the store I marched and proceeded to skim the aisles.
Head held high, I browsed right alongside career plumbers and construction workers…and maybe one or two other ladies who also didn’t have a clue what they were looking at knew exactly what they were looking for.
Disappointed but still whispering prayers, I turned to leave. Couldn’t find what I needed.
“What should I do?” I asked my Grace-Giver.
I made it almost to the door when Employee walked up to me, “Is there anything I can help you find?”
I said randomly, “You know that stuff that pool noodles are made of?”
“You mean pipe insulation?” she asked. (Yes, there IS such a thing!)
She led me to some boxes of pipe insulation. They weren’t at all what I had in mind. They were too narrow, and a little short, but I thought I could make them work. I was ready to buy the number of lengths I needed when Employee said it:
“Do you want me to check the basement and see if we have any pool noodles left?”
Of course I do!!
“How many do you need?” asked Employee.
Without thinking, I blurted, “Ten.”
She was gone. I fingered pipe insulation and prayed.
Almost instantly, she was back with a bundle of pool noodles taped together.
“I have eleven” she announced with a smile.
Perfect, I thought, “Ten for the ladies, and one for my demo.”
Now I needed a dowel rod cut into little 2 inch lengths. Could someone possibly cut the rod for me?
“No, probably not. You don’t have a saw?” asked Employee.
No, I don’t. (Do I look like a girl who owns a saw?!)
Some employees in that department eyed us skeptically as we tried to fit different sizes of dowel rods into the openings of pool noodles. I was compelled to explain my plan for said pool noodles.
They were impressed. So impressed that they said Fellow Out Back would surely cut the rod for me…if he was still there.
Employee took the rod to Fellow Out Back and soon returned with a brown paper package of little dowel rod lengths.
With a happy sigh I walked through the store to the cash, carrying my bundle of pool noodles and dodging inquiring looks.
“I’m not going swimming,” I jokingly told the cashier, “I’m making a craft. Well, several crafts!”
And then she said it,
“I can’t believe you got these! We never have them in the store this time of year.”
Smiles. God had them in the basement just for me, for this day.
They are sitting in my living room as I type- a spongy pile of green, yellow, orange, pink, and tied up with tape that brings soul delight to me every time I see them.
Silly? Maybe. But these things remind me that I have a very personal God- One Who delights in pleasing me.
These are tokens of everyday grace– evidence of the blessings of God-dependence, even for the little things.