Sunday, November 27, 2011

The 1st Week of Advent

We have entered the 1st week of advent. Until a few years ago, the only thing I knew about advent was that as children, we always had advent calenders, with a door for each day, which hid a yummy chocolate!

As I sought and prayed over, ways to bring the focus to Christ more, in our family, during the Christmas season, I was introduced to Advent, as since our Decembers have been enriched, as our hearts and minds dwell on our Emmanuel, Christ among us.

Advent means 'coming', and in this season we prepare for the coming of our King. Jesus.

How sweet is the time spent together, with Daddy reading scripture, children listening in wonder, and then, lighting a candle. THIS is what I desire my children to remember, with presents, christmas trees and parties fading into the background,... and Christ, beautiful Lord, coming a new into our lives, more vivid and real, with each new advent!

If you like to begin recognizing advent in your home, here is a good resource for protestants!

I have not read the whole website, just this page, so I can't vouch for everything else on the website :-)

30 Days of Thanks - Epic Blog Fail!

Well. I made it 15 days of blogging. Thankfully, my heart didn't stop giving thanks just because I didn't blog! So, I will close this chapter, now we have entered the season of Advent, and leave you with a few thanks that stand out!

I am thankful for....

Friends that pray for me and my family,
Sweet girls who are loving, affectionate and compassionate,
A wonderful husband desires to love me as Christ loves His bride - the Church,
A delightful little boy, who reminds me, as I look at him, of how amazing it is that Christ became flesh, a little baby boy, so small and vulnerable.

We had a lovely thanksgiving week. We spent our time reading Thanksgiving books, especially 'A Cranberry Thanksgiving'. We made Cranberry bread together, learned a new hymn together, learned about New England, Cranberrys are much more!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Days 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15!

11 - Today we had a wonderful time with friends at Joel's 1st Birthday party, I teared up, because I am so blessed to have such beautiful, marvelous friends!

12 - I am thankful for family that love and adore my children, and invest time in them. It's easy to forget, that is this is often not the case in many homes.

13 - I am thankful musical theater and the talented people who participate! We had a wonderful time the night before watching Daron and the cast as The Plaza Theater in Cleburne preform ' Crazy for You'

14. I am thankful for people like Geoff and Renee at The Barry farm, who work hard to farm, as farming should be done and their commitment in making others aware of, and think about, what they are putting into their bodies and how they are interacting with God's creation.

15. Today, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to home school. I love that life, the world and our home is our class room, that dinner can be a lesson and I am the one that get's to experience my children exploring new things, concepts and cultures.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Days 7, 8, 9 and 10

It appears, that I am quite ridiculously behind! So here are some authentic things I have been thankful for these days of absence:

Day 7 - Open fields in which small children can run and explore jubilantly.

Day 8 - Warm blankets to snuggle under with soft, sleepy children on a cold November morning.

Day 9 - Facebook, on which I can daily feel closer to the family, friends, places and foods that I so deeply miss, in England.

Day 10 - The wonder of children at the marvelous discoveries we take for granted.

Life is beautiful. Oh Lord, my God, yes, it is!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 6

I am so utterly, amazingly, besotted with all my children and I am so overwhelmingly thankful to God for them. Today, I take a break from my 'unconventional thanks' to tell you how thankful I am for my little boy.

I focus on my little boy today, because he will be 1 on Friday. 11-11-11. I was browsing some photo's of his first days home and comparing them with recent photos. My heart if bursting with love and affection.

I was amazed at how he has changed. His eyes were so dark and so was his hair, yet now he is the fairest, blondest of my three little ones. He is a sweet little chatter box. He has discovered 'no' this week and is overusing it, it's pretty adorable the way he is experimenting with it. He also has entered the pointing and saying 'whatsdat?' stage which is wonderful!

He is the sweetest, gentlest soul with eyes that light up with the beauty of his lovely soul. His sister adore him and lavish affection on him. Two mini mummys!

Today, I am thankful, that God blessed me with this sweet, gorgeous little chappy who melts my heart every hour of the day. He has brought so much joy to me this year. Who can lack joy, with a scrumptious baby cooing and cuddling you?

30 Days of Thanks - Day 5

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful! If you've no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Well. Maybe it's not snowing, but we are pretty consistently hanging out below 75 and have even made it down to the 40's. It's SWEATER weather people! The triple digit weather days are long gone for a few short months!

It's been quite a summer. Droughts, wild fire, plagues of mosquitoes, unrelenting heat.

I used to enjoyably mock Texan's whom piled on layers of fleece, wool and thermal the moment it dropped below 80 degrees. On a day in which Blackpool beach would be swarming with eager, pasty skinned Brits, the Texan's are raiding the closets for last Christmas's sweater and stalking the Target aisles for boots and winter hats.

I do however, sincerely and truly repent of this harsh judgement. For now, I am one of these sweater wearing people.

How eagerly I wake up in the morning, knowing that even though I might be a tad toasty, that I can actually wear a really cute scarf and sweater, put on some cute barely worn socks that have been worn maybe 4 times in as many years, and look forward to pumpkin pie and hot chocolate.

I have all these really cute sweaters and long sleeved tops that are dying to be worn. I refuse to miss my moment of opportunity.

It's because it's so hot ALL the time, that the moment we get a glimpse, of cool weather, we all suddenly go ' It's FALL! It's WINTER! It's time for CHRISTMAS'.

If you are British and reading this, please know that we have had 90 degree Christmas days here. Do you know how un-Christmassy that feels? You have a house full of snowmen and fake snow on the window, and it's hot enough to have a BBQ outside.

Indeed, I am even guilty of wearing sweaters when it is in the triple digits, because when you go into a store, they have the AC blasting so cold, that you'll catch your death of cold if you go in wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

Ok, ok.... so what I am thankful for?

I am thankful for cold days in Texas. I am thankful that we've already had days in the 50's and that I have a small window of time, to feel, British again, and feel justified in making hotpot or oatmeal to warm up.

When you are in England, you dream of stepping outside and feeling warmth, not having to wear a coat. When you are in Texas, you dream of cozy cold days.

You know what else I am thankful for about this colder weather? Is that it has turned my thoughts, prayers and activities more towards Christmas preparation earlier than ever before.

I don't mean Christmas shopping, but preparing for advent. Planning times of family worship, gathering materials for our Jesse tree, reserving books at the library about St Nicholas and the Nativity.

I am preparing a Christmas curriculum, planning crafts, preparing activities to show Christ's love in our community.

I am thankful for cold weather, for turning my heart move towards Christ.

Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 4

There is nothing like holding a pile of deliciously intriguing books in your arms with the anticipation of taking them home to devour with a warm drink, in a cozy chair by lamp light.

There is something akin to the delight of waking up on their birthday, for a child to gather books like flowers and tote them home to be explored on mommy's lap.

I love book stores, so much, that Josh and I often take book store dates! We will go get a coffee at the Starbucks in Barnes and Noble and roam the aisles oohing and aahing, talking about our discoveries and browsing sat cross legs among the towers.

Today, I am thankful for libraries.

Oh wonderful libraries, it almost seems as though your knowledge expanded purely at being in the presence of such tremendous works of literature and volumes of non-fiction wisdom.

Our library actually lets you take home up to 50 books. We all become children in a candy store in which you can fill your bag with whatever catches your fancy for no additional cost.

I so much enjoy my child sitting surrounded by books, asking ' mommy! can we take this one home???' and then excitedly begging ' can we read our books now?' the moment we shed our coats and shoes.

Yes. I am thankful for public libraries and how they enrich our lives, and for the moments that come about after a visit... a journey of joy, daring, delight and adventure snuggled on the sofa, children wiggling and piled up and we turn page, after page, after page, and then, take those precious books back, to then, borrow more.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 3

It may be November 3rd, but if you were out last night, near my car, you may have thought it was still Halloween if you happened to have pulled up next to me next to a stoplight!

What does this have to do with being thankful you may be asking yourself, quite understandably I might add.

Well, today I am thankful for 'driving alone at night'.

Yes, perhaps this is the most unconventional of unconventional 'thanks' thus far.

Why, you might be thinking, are you thankful for driving alone at night?

Ever since I was little I have loved being in the car when it's dark, it's relaxing and exhilarating all at once. Especially as an adult.

The past month, every car ride is accompanied by a perpetual performance of Veggietales stories. The same three. 'Lyle the Friendly Viking' 'Larry Boy and the Fib from outer space' and 'King George and the Rubber Ducky'.

I know the whole audio script perhaps. I do by no means begrudge it, I adore, most sincerely listening to my girls sing along to the songs and play out the parts of Junior asparagus or the giant fib. It's a true delight.

When I am alone, driving at night, I get to choose what music I play and I get to have it as loud as I want.

SO as you sat at a red light last night, feeling bass vibrating your poor car and ears, throw out your stereotype of the teenage boy in dad's car and instead picture this:

' A little mom of three in her empty mini van, playing air guitar and drums to the new Switchfoot album and having a blast'

Oh yes. It was fantastic my friends.

And today, I enjoyed a glorious morning driving around Fort Worth listening to veggietales with my darlings, and enjoying it just as much too.

PS. Here is a little sample so you can have a mini experience!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 2

Today I am thankful for tea. Yes, you read right. Simple, unassuming, quite scrumptious hot, black, tea with milk. No sugar, thank you!

There is nothing that says ' I love you' in the morning like a perfectly brewed cup of tea brought spontaneously to you in bed.

Living in Texas, I ashamedly confess that in some area's of life and culture I have succumbed to the pressure of my peers. Can y'all say 'I need a refill of iced mango tea please?'

Yet, despite the chips and queso, cowboy boots, y'alls, fixin's and pick up trucks, I cannot escape the impact a cup of PG tips has on my soul as a result of entrenched cultural programing.

I find coffee a little overwhelming in the morning. Coffee is like the kid that runs into your bedroom at 5 in the morning, jumping and bouncing 'WAKE UP MOMMY NOW!!'. Tea, however, has the effect of gently arousing one from a cumbersome drowsiness with subtlety and perfect manners.

When I pull out the coffee in the morning, before the tea, it means I am seriously sleep deprived and you might as well insert an IV of caffeine.

Ok, ok... Let's be honest though, it would only be right to be thankful also, for my husband and his ability to make the perfect cuppa that suits my picky British palette!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 1

As we enter into November and the season of Thanksgiving, I have decided to journal my thanks for each day of this month. I pray that it shall be a journey that will lead me to deeper knowledge and understanding of God's grace and thus, may my life be filled with deeper love for Christ.

I shall begin, with perhaps, will be a daily giving of thanks - For my God, my husband, my children, my friends and my family!

This morning, I was texting with my friend Jessica, she asked me how I was doing. I replied " I am tired, but the good tired, I am loving being busy'.

Today, I am thankful for being busy. Let me explain.

This last year, I have been home a lot. I have had very busy weekends, but my weeks had been somewhat long and lonely. Our schedule, combined with one car and the nature of my husbands place of work, meant that we and the kids getting out anywhere was very challenging. Even going to the grocery store was a challenge.

Seeing friends, going to play dates, the park or another event was a once every 1-2 week thing.

This week and last, we have been back in Fort Worth. I am thankful that I am busy.

That I can wake up and say ' We are going to do school, then go to the park, then we are meeting this friend and then we have to the store and go home, make dinner and go to bed!"

I am thankful that I can decide I want to visit someone and I can call them and just go! Or I can run out of milk, and just be able to drive to the store. I am thankful that I can read 'Fort Worth Child' and look at the free events going on and, just go!

We went to Fort Worth Nature Center last week where the children met with an owl and a snake close up and personal, as well as a Fall Festival at Gateway with friends, and then we went to The Kimbell Museum, and took a tour of the exhibit of baroque paintings.

I am so excited about the dynamic that having a car and being able to be out and about is bringing to our homeschooling routine, it's just so enriching and the children are loving the increased activity, interaction and intellectual stimulation. We just have so much to talk about and they are even more thirsty to learn than ever.

I love being busy, going places and being around people. I did not know this about myself before this year. I thrive on being busy, I am more productive, happier and have more energy!

Perhaps this is the strangest 'thanks' you have read today, and expect more bizarre thanks, because, I am just being honest. Before writing, I thought ' Wouldn't it be better to writing something all appropriate and mushy, about being thankful for my children etc, which I am, of course, but before even decided to do 30 days of thanks, I said to God, 'Thank you Lord, for allowing me to be busy!' So it just seemed the most authentic and honest thing to write about.

Thank you God for the seasons of change you bring to our lives, seasons of quiet and seasons of busyness. Thank you that in both you teach us, humble us and sanctify us!