Saturday, January 7, 2012

One Thousand Gifts - A Beginning

It is never too late to start being thankful. As I reviewed some of my favorite blogs tonight, I saw a few tools to help me be more thankful. Ann Voscamp, as usual, is amazing. I added her app to my phone tonight.

I often think of the words she said in her book. Being thankful at all times. It is so difficult when your child is angry. So difficult when I am sad. So difficult when things do not go the way I want. But even in those moments, I reach out to God and ask for help. Help to be thankful, right here, right now.

And so my list begins.
1. My wonderful Lord who sustains me at all times through all things.
2. My beautiful sweet girls.
3. My wonderful husband, who worked to help me become a stay at home mom and still insists that I do not need to work.
4. My gift of quilting.
5. My good health.
6. My siblings.
7. My dad and stepmom, Sue.
8. The moon coming up over the pool in the backyard.
9. Toenails painted red.
10. $42/yard fabric on sale for $4/yard.
11. Tango meowing at me when I ask her, "Where is your toy?"
12. Just Dance on the XBox.
13. Teenagers at my house - eating, sleeping, talking, swimming, playing video games, being.

To be continued...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Less or More

A thought struck me this morning.

I recently heard an acquaintance talking about their Christmas break. She and her husband had decided to do a scaled down version of Christmas this year. They would buy each child a large gift valued at about $200 dollars. They would not provide other gifts at Christmas. In the spring, they would take a trip together as part of their Christmas gift.

Christmas night, the husband put the children to bed. When he came back into the living room. He told the wife that the children were mad at her. She could not believe it and blew up at him. "Those kids are so selfish!" she said. I was shocked. Who is the selfish one in this picture?

Then I heard of another similar incident. A young boy had his birthday. For his birthday, he got an $8 toy and a pair of $20 shorts. He was still out on Christmas break and spent the entire day of his birthday in the car with his dad running errands. He did get to eat out that evening and got a birthday cake, but it made me wonder, is that the best his parents can do?

Flash back to our Christmas. We spent way too much on gifts. This year, since we have teenage girls it was harder to find things they really wanted. Some clothes, some boots and shoes, some Apple accessories, a movie, $200 gift cards. We know it is over the top, but this is our last year with both of the girls living at home. Our oldest will move to college in August.

It made wonder, which is the best way to approach it? Is the "less is more" approach really better? Or does it instill the thought in the child's head that they really do not matter? Do the children wonder why the parents can afford lots of new things for themselves, but they only got one or two gifts?

Does "more, more, more" really send a better message? Does this make the children spoiled? Does this make them expect too much, and then when they don't get it, they are really disappointed?

I think both things are true. The "less" approach can weigh on the kid's mind and maybe even their heart. But I think the "more" approach can set the stage for future disappointments. Now knowing this, why do we still choose the "more" approach? I want my kids to know they are loved. I want my kids to know they are worth the effort. I want my kids to understand that giving to others is more important than giving to themselves.

I personally don't believe more is better. In this instance, I have to make an exception though. More is better when demonstrating to my kids that they are important, loved, and worth the extra effort.   

Monday, January 2, 2012


Well, we have come to the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012.

On Christmas Eve, we went to the Candlelight Service and then spent the evening with our good friends at their traditional get together. The kids are all older now, so the excitement level at opening presents is less. The thankfulness for the gifts is a little more though! Two of the kids are out of college, one is in college, two will graduate from high school this year and the other three still have several years to go. We are older now. Wiser? I hope so, but I am not sure.

It is bittersweet. The kids laugh. We all do. But in the back of my mind I wonder how long will our little get togethers on Christmas Eve really last? College, marriage, grandkids. Change will inevitably come. I am not ready for it yet. However, I know that God will help me when the time comes.

It is not that I do not want them to grow up, I do. I want them to have great careers, great marriages, strong Christian lives. But the moments of all of us sleeping under the same roof will end and that makes me a little sad.

My goal this year is to enjoy EVERY moment. Avery will graduate and move off to college. Ashlyn will become a senior in high school. Life is moving on. I am so thankful for the years we have had and the things we have shared. As things change, I ask God to help me adjust, help me embrace this with all that I am. Help me to see the positive and dwell in the possibilities of the future.

Happy New Year. Blessing to you and yours.