Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Night Lights

Charlotte apparently is her mother's girl...She has slept horribly for what feels like forever...but on her daddy's suggestion and her grandmama's encouragement (weeks ago) I finally got her a night light last night.

She slept all night. I didn't have to get her up to feed her between 1 am and 6:30ish. For her, this is shocking. Really. She doesn't go for longer than 2 hours between snacks. I am hoping that this was not a one night wonder.

I was addicted to my night light. I have only recently parted company with some version, my bulbs are burned out. We have had little plug-in ones "to light the way to the bathroom"...since we got married. We had a while with a fica tree with white Christmas lights...it was beautiful til one night Ethan lept from the bed and wrestled it to the floor because "it broke into our house". Now, we've had incidents that SHOULD have woken him up, but no dice... I will say the fica never looked quite the same.

I have an Active Imagination. (Code=random things scare me and these things are worse than they need to be) When I was little I would stare into the dark and imagine that all the spots floating in the dark were really the molecules of our world...and I could just see better than anyone else...come to find out, I couldn't see anything better than anyone and I was just blind as a bat. But I couldn't go the bathroom by myself at night for years because I could see panthers slinking up the hallway at me. Or snakes. Or wolverines. Or whatever Marty Stafford did Wild America on that week.

I got a night light when I was tiny that was a little praying girl, it is still in my old room at my parents house. I remember HOURS laying there looking at her. Usually comforted. Sometimes I laid there imagining that she was changing facial expressions and moving...sometimes I was convinced she had a mustache or was whispering to me...but fascinated by shadows and how everything looked different in the dark.

One of my favorite books was Bedtime for Frances and really identified with her fears in the dark...still do on a certain level.

I wish sometimes that we could see why God does things. Sometimes, I am SO thankful that we don't know why, because we wouldn't willing go along with his plan...to walk willingly, blindfolded is sometimes the best I can do. "Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path"(Ps 119:105), not blinding daylight, a night light. We see enough in our life, before and in front, to know God loves us and will be with us. Not enough to know what God is about to ask of us...and frankly, that's a good thing. Sometimes the shadows are scarier, sometimes the things throwing those shadows are. But it is always better to be looking at the Night Light. Always.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Dreaded Christmas Letter

I actually am sending the Christmas letter...and thought after all my whining, I would post it. I still hate that it doesn't begin to do justice to our family's year...but next year, I am taking a family picture during the summer and doing a photocard!!! I mean it this time!!!!
Merry Christmas
2009

Dear Friends and Family-

Really, if your life has been like ours, it is almost a shock that it is Christmas again! This year has FLOWN!

We’ve had a lot of changes this year...not the least of which is that we added a 3rd girl to our family. Charlotte Abigail joined us this last March. She is a very busy 9 month old, cruising around the furniture, and wanting to walk something awful! She is one of those babies that wants to be big, yesterday. She has lots to do to keep up with her big brother and sisters!

Amelia is a very talkative 3 year old. She is a little old lady in princess skirts. She wants to clean and take care of everyone. She dresses up to go to the grocery and takes her job as a sister very seriously. She is definitely our girl, as she has a complex explanation for any question you may ask.

Elise is taking over the world at school. She is 7 and in first grade. She is thriving and doing great! She is in typical kindergarten reading class and centers. As expected, she is loving reading and doing very well! She got to try out soccer this year, thanks to Top Soccer…and we’ve decided to stay with Miracle League Baseball, apparently her fearlessness does not extend to other soccer players running at her to take her ball!

Gabriel is loving his first year in middle school and is enjoying band! He started out with trumpet and proved his work ethic and got to move to percussion!!! He is loving it! He is wrestling again this year and enjoyed his summer on swim team. Gabriel got his first jobs this summer; he took care of several of the neighbors’ dogs and thoroughly enjoyed his first paychecks! He is growing like a weed, and we worry that we won’t be taller than him much longer!

Ethan was elected chairman of the Forsyth GOP two days after Charlotte’s birth and he is working hard to make a difference in our local politics. You can’t complain if you aren’t doing something!!!

Tiffany is still wrangling kids and loving it! She is looking into teleporting to shorten the wait time in car-lines…We wish…but she does like spending time with the kids…a continuing benefit of her job as a stay-at-home mom. She started a blog: http://www.tiffanyselephants.blogspot.com/ to chronicle the entertaining stories that are our life!

Merry Christmas! May all the blessings and miracles of the season be yours! Luke 2:20
“The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.”

Much Love,
Ethan, Tiffany, Gabriel, Elise, Amelia, and Charlotte

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Santa Thoughts

Santa died this weekend.

Well, He didn't, but one of the coolest examples of Santa did.

Santa went to our church. His secret name was T Blue Sanderson. He was Santa. He looked like Santa, the full Santa beard and hair, all year long...he had the Santa laugh....but more importantly, he had the Santa heart and corresponding smile. I am not going to say that I knew him personally, but I have had the pleasure of seeing him interact with many kids at our church over the last 6 years...

Now, I have heard all the arguments of why you, as a parent, should not DO Santa...that it is all a lie, and that we will devastate our kids and scar them, when they Learn the Truth....I don't know that I agree...We have chosen to do Santa. I feel that it is an easy segway into why Christmas has become what it has...it ties the presents and some of the holiday traditions to The Real Christmas. We have taken the tack, that Santa is what he was originally, a man that is celebrating Jesus' birth. That he is so overwhelmed of the Gift of Christ from God, that he gives gifts to children so they can understand the gift of Christ. That he is celebrating Jesus' birthday by giving out gifts to kids since he couldn't give to Jesus. I don't use the Big Bad Santa watching you and only giving presents if you behave...I only use Santa wanting to give to be like God...we all should, after all!

T Blue loved the kids. He never lied to the kids...he only ever committed to "seeing what he could do" if they asked for something...he told the Christmas story at Church, he sang in the choir every Sunday, he was a loving adult that was at church every Sunday.

Gabriel got into a fight "for" Santa in 3rd grade because "He IS real. I KNOW because he goes to OUR CHURCH!" Gabriel chose to believe for longer because we didn't trap him in the magical north pole nonsense...Elise showed me one of her first "memories" thanks to T Blue/Santa. She saw him coming out of the choir practice room during the summer at VBS, and she starts and said, "Christmas! HoHoHo! Tree!!!" I had no idea that she remembered Christmas, and that she had those memories and was so excited to see Santa in the summer was a very precious discovery for me.

Amelia got to see Santa at church. I am regretful that Charlotte will not get to see Santa being a committed Christian man. That was after all the greatest gift that T Blue gave to the kids at church! That is what I always hoped my kids would see Santa as...overwhelmed by God's Gift!

Christmas Letters

I am writing my Christmas letter this morning. I have never written a Christmas letter, well, I've never finished or sent it out... I have sent out Christmas cards. I have sent out Christmas pictures. I have sent out Christmas carols. I usually get half-way through a Christmas letter and realize that I cannot possibly cram my life into one page. I then take it apart and add and take away information and don't like it. In a fit of Christmas spirit, I usually send a Christmas carol.

I would send a carol and the Christmas Story every year. I feel that as a church and a country that we try to "update" the Christmas story to the detriment of that Christmas story. I think that we are losing the simplicity of the gift of Christ. I am sad that my kids don't know the Christmas carols! I am listening the 24/7 Christmas music on our local Christian radio station, in an effort to teach my kids the songs that I love so much!

I challenge you to listen to the Christmas carols...hear the Christmas Story with your "kid ears"...let your mind be blown by the size of God's gift to YOU! Listen to God's Christmas letter, He sends it out every year...and every year, it's the best one I receive! :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Teas and Traditions

I went to a Christmas Tea last night that had no tea. Well, sort of, they had sweet iced tea with the meal. I went for fun with friends and came back touched by God. Isn't that cool when that happens? Sometimes it is exhausting, but it is always a blessing.

Kerri Pomarolli (http://kerripom.com/) was apparently sent to talk just to me. She said so many hysterically funny things, that I found funnier than most of those around me. She also said some profound things that you don't hear at church, but you should. One statement that was particularly profound was "Jesus died to save you from you." He did didn't he? As in a quote my momma is fond of, "We don't sin because it is our sinful nature. We sin because we like it." Gets you to thinking doesn't it?

I love tea. I love the myriad options, blacks, greens, herbals...it just about makes your head spin just thinking of all the options! I like it cold, but I adore it hot. I like the flavor. I like the scent. I love the time honored rituals. I love the history, the story of it, the idea that thousands of women have made it in exactly the same way and found peace it it. I like that you can't drink it fast. No matter what you have to do, no matter what the rest of your life looks like, no matter what is happening, you can't drink it fast. You have to let it steep. You have to sip. You have to breathe. And that allows you to think. And listen to what God is whispering to you. Try it, even if you have to do it over iced tea.