Monday, November 29, 2010

Almost Ready for Christmas

This year, I am more inspired to decorate than past years. I feel like I want it to look cheery in our home- everywhere!

 Since the downturn in the economy, it hasn't been the most chipper time of year for me.

With holidays come expenses; our son's birthday (23rd), Christmas gifts to buy, extra food to take to parties, extra gas to drive to those places...etc. And then there are other birthdays or just never seems to end. Just a couple of years ago, all we afford for our kids were Dollar Store things. It made me cry just to wrap them and then watch. They didn't care- they had gifts in their hands! But I cared. I knew that it was a rough time and we didn't have much. I could hardly wait till the holiday passed because I felt so depressed. I barely put out any decorations because it didn't seem like there was much happiness in this part of the holiday.

I know very well that the real reason we celebrate this day is to remember our Lord and Savior, who was born to save us. I am so thankful for His life and death- taking my punishment for sin and for being willing to lay down His life for me! I understand this holiday is much more about that than it is about gifts and money. But, we want to give good gifts to our children and family's as well, right?

This year, it's been a little different in the practical way of speaking. My husband is working more steadily, we're more responsible with our money and I'm better prepared for the "rough days". We choose not to go into debt over gifts and because
we live simply, I buy mostly practical things, along with some fun stuff, of course.

So, my attitude is a bit better this year also. I want to be cheery! I want to celebrate! Not because we have super-fantastic gifts to give/get but because I have so much to be thankful for. I want our home to feel joyful! I want to smell cedar and fir and see twinkling lights and kids' happy and surprised faces! I want to give, even if it's small, because I really want to, not because I feel obligated or some other silly reason.

This is my encouragement to you:  consider this holiday for it's real meaning; love. Consider giving to someone who is hard to give to. Consider giving to someone who cannot give back to you; repay you. Do not take for granted this special time of year when family and friends are nearby. 

 Have fun decorating your home!  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Sweet, Sweet Night

It's nearing that storybook time of the year.....

That time when the streets are lit up in the darkness, busy shoppers are buying their loved ones precious, thoughtful gifts and there's talk of snow. This might possibly be the most exciting time of the year. It's also that time when the wood stove is going, all cozy and warm and scents of pumpkin, spices and apple desserts can be smelled and tasted in abundance.

This is that time, our most favorite of days.

With thoughtfulness toward my husband, the children and I scurried around the yard, picking up fallen fir branches and cleaning up from the recent wind storms in order to surprise him- Father- as the children call him. We picked yellow squash hiding out from the early frosts in the garden. And we simply enjoyed a wisp of a sunny day during our rainy fall.

Soon it would be night and the fire would need stoked up good, keeping our bones warm and making our house quite homey. The shed where our wood is stored was looking quite bleak- empty- to be exact. The kids and I, together, gathered up enough wood from the barn to fill our shed. Father would be so pleased. When he arrived from work we could show all of the hard work we had done and we hoped he would be so proud.

After all of our work was done for the day, the children and I strung tiny white lights around our front porch. Doing this would provide light for our wood shed during the nighttime and it all of a sudden seemed to transform our plain porch into a magical place.

Soon, the children were bustling about, gathering every candle that they could find in our home. They set some upon their small child's table that sat on the porch, and some other candles lined up proudly along the edges of the floor. The glowing lights were so festive against the night sky.

Next, there were old time songs being played about our dear Savior's birth. Just the perfect touch for such a sweet night.

At once, I was told by these small children of mine to put on my best dress, for we were going to have a special dance. I opted for my best , sleek, black satin dress, amazed that it could possibly be zipped! In order to dress my best, I chose a pair of black dress shoes, decorated with tiny, glittering gemstones. I thought they would be a perfect addition to the twinkling lights on the porch.

As I tiptoed out onto the dance floor, my oldest son, sporting his too-small, black satin vest, came beside me and we started to dance. It was a happy song, one which we could dance quickly to. This was a lovely time, just my children and I. The two younger children had their turns and we laughed and felt the warmth of love between us, even though it was becoming a chilly night.

Thoughts of my wifely responsibilities came to mind, and I remembered that I needed to prepare our evening meal. Father would be home soon and it would need to be ready. So, I gently laid the dress on our bed and changed into clothes fit for cooking.

As Father came home, not too much later, he was met with a cheerful, giddy wife who bid him to come and change into his best clothing. There was something special being prepared for us outside, he was told. As he curiously wondered what his darling wife and children were up to, he reluctantly found his best black dress shirt and freshly washed jeans. He didn't know what was waiting and I would bet, he could not have guessed what he would see next, let alone have the privelage of sharing.

Father and I went out to the porch as our children held open the door, greeting us like King and Queen. The lights were all lit and the floor was ready for our special dance. The music had been forgotten so I gently whispered to the children to not forget!
What a sight we must have been, dancing away to Christmas songs in the night. But what a memory for our children to have- and 'King & Queen' alike, to share such a sweet, sweet night. This is that time of year.

...And they all lived happily ever after.