Early Morning Pondering 

It is day 5 of our Christmas break with 8 kids. 8 yup. We have 5 foster loves right now. 1,2 and 3 year old along with twin 10 year olds. The day has barely just begun. And I’m awake. More from a stuffy nose. And my brain losing the argument about needing to use the bathroom. Now I’m pondering this early morning. Cause I can’t sleep. Christmas is just in a few days. I’m pondering how we will effectively reach each child with the Christmas story. With the love that God sent down. What activities, stories and actions show Christ’s love to children who may not all know. 

I’m pondering all the things I have to do to make Christmas morning magical. I have 4 9/10 year olds who still believe in Santa. Chances are this is the last year. 

I’m pondering that this is the first year with so many foster kids. Which means there will be Mommas waking up Christmas morning without their babies to open gifts. That is sad to me. I wish I could hug them and tell them not to stop working toward getting their babies back. 

I’m pondering that we still have cookies to decorate and hair cuts to get and kids still need to shop and wrap gifts.  But I know it’s ok if they don’t happen. 

I’m pondering how much I still have to wrap even though some elves have helped me a lot! 

I’m pondering that there is no late Christmas Eve service. Even though we could drive 30 minutes to one. Our kids do best in familiar grounds. But it is something I grew up with and my kids loved. To be in the sacuary so early Christmas morning. It is one of the few days I love letting my kids stay up late for. 

I’m pondering I’ve got Christmas dinner to make! And excited that Jeremy and crew is coming. Everyone is. We don’t see him enough. 

I’m pondering Mary. And what she was thinking riding on a donkey pregnant. Her preparations where very different than mine. She had one baby to worry about. And was she worried? What did she bring? They were on a journey. A journey that we all take every year. A journey to that place where Christ becomes flesh. 

This early morning pondering lead me to get up and enjoy the stillness of morning with a cup of coffee. Soon feet and chatter will fill the house. And we will spend our day singing Christmas songs, decorating cookies, sending kiddos on visits with their families and cleaning for Christmas. 

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any pictures here. Enjoy! 


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Getting Ready for Advent: Truth in the Tinsel

With everything that has gone on-I am ready for Christmas this year.  More so Advent.  Now that I have three little ones (two 7 year olds and an 8 year old) plus a 13 year old, I knew I wanted something special and meaningful.  I had looked at the Truth in the Tinsel a year ago or so. After thinking about writing something myself, I was brought back to Truth in the Tinsel!  This year I just purchased it and I am excited!  I love the little clues for morning time- that way my kids can think about it all day long!  And I am thinking about putting a special tree up in the Sun room for these ornaments!  (4×25 will be a lot!!)  So it will perfect!  I also bought the printable ornaments to have for on the go.    Click here to visit ohAmanda.com to see all about the Truth in the Tinsel Advent Devotional!

What are you doing for Advent this year?  If you need more ideas goto my Pinterest page for lots of great ideas!

 


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Have You Been Nice for Christmas?

Nice

With all the threats of Elf on the self watching and you better be cleaning your room or else you will not be getting any toys for Christmas.  Or stop fighting with your brother and sister.  Don’t throw that book across the room or else there will be nothing good for Christmas.

We parents focus so much on kids being good for Christmas.  If you are not good you get nothing.

I really think is a horrible message the more I think about it.  I mean in June I don’t threaten them with no gift if they don’t clean up.  In January all that is forgot because we parents are so tired we just want to crash.

But it is we parents I want to talk about.

Have you been nice for Christmas this year?  I believe I have to answer no.  I found the the more I was trying to get my kids to be “nice” the meaner I was getting.  And I didn’t realized it.   I was yelling more.  Frustrated more. I needed perfect children!!!!!   I mean I don’t want Santa to forget my children.

 

HELLO!!??

 

Yes I had the wake call.  I was the one not being nice.  I was the one on my naughty list.  If I was another parent looking in at my behavior I would have been horrified.  Oh and speaking of Santa-ummm who am I woking for?  Geesh.

Less than two weeks till Christmas.

Under our tree lies the focus of our Christmas.  A simple manger scene.  Yes my children fought over it as they set up.   And yes I yelled at them for fighting over it while setting it up.  But then it hit me like a brick again (cause I know this).  This is why Jesus came into our world.  He came into our yelling, fighting, trying to be perfect world to say be still.

I am here.

I know you are not nice.  Sin is not nice.  It is ugly and gross.  It oozes with deceit and stench.  This is why I had to come.

Because of sin.  Because we are not nice.  He came as a baby with a mission.A mission from a promise.  A promise that God would separate people from their sin.  To show them Grace and Mercy.  At the cost of His Son.

On my mantle this year holds my christmas decoration.  The stockings are hung and there is the manger scene.  But this year I put up a little frame with a verse in it.  It was not a Christmas decoration.  But it was the verse that spoke to me this year of what Christmas was about.

“For God so Loved the World He sent His one and only Son….” John 3:16.

That was a very nice parent.

 

 

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Three Gifts for Christmas

Robby’s first Christmas I went a little overboard with gifts. I mean he was only 7 weeks olds so he needed a lot right!!

Oh how we learned. I knew we wanted to do Santa. There is magic with his story but I didn’t want Santa to be the main focus of Christmas as Jesus was.

So Santa brings three gifts. To represent the three gifts the wise men brought to baby Jesus.

Our Christmas mornings are small but meaningful and the kids have a blast!

Plus it controls there want list and there are certain things (over a price limit) Santa will not bring in this house.

How many gifts does Santa bring Christmas morning in your house?


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Good Food We Ate This Season!

Alright some have asked, where did you get the recipe?  So here are some of the yummy dishes or drinks we have and where I found the recipes!

Christmas Punch….This one I make up on my own.  To be honest I eye it on Sherbet (although I don’t always use it) Pineapple juice,  cranberry juice, and ginger ale.

Stuff French Toast….a few years ago we were watching a  Food Channel show with Paula Dean and Robert Irvine was on and made this.  We thought it looked yummy and so we made it.  The recipe can be found here.  This year I made the cream cheese mixture the night before and added some strawberries too.  I used dried cranberries, first soaked them in some boiling water.  Made morning much easier.

 I also made a cheese cake-at the last minute Christmas Eve for Christmas Day.  Not pretty when it came out, but it was good!  Not a traditional New York Cheese Cake, creamery and a prefect ending to a great day!  It was from Tyler Florence –The Ultimate Cheesecake

Cheese Cake


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A Few Moments of Christmas Memories from Us

Ok Christmas is always focused around the birth of our Savior, but we do Santa and all the fun traditions of Christmas.  Playing with my iMovie of the iPad, I put together this little movie of some of our memories from the last few weeks.  Well all my favorite, I love our Christmas morning!  The waiting, we talking about waiting a lot!   Enjoy!


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The First Day of Christmas my True Love Gave to Me

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When Christmas Joy is Shattered by a Pop

The new of todays shooting seems all to familiar.  It doesn’t seem that too long ago we were hearing reports of a shooting of a young man at Discovery Middle School, Madison AL not too far from here- a young boy, whom my son had gone to school with earlier.  And shootings at the University of Alabama Huntsville .  These are places I drive by every day.  These are events you never think will happen but they do.

The other day 800 students did not goto school at our local high school in fear of a fight or something worse.  While we are still not sure what the threat was or if there was one it has many concerned-enough that just under 800 student stayed home in fear.

The news of todays event has shattered every moms heart.  It has made mom’s questions whether our schools safe enough for our kids?  I have heard more today about homeschooling being the safest route for our kids to keep them safe.  I had many parents inquire about homeschooling today.

I don’t know why this young boy went into the room and did what he did.  It saddens my heart that this happened.  The terror that took place in that room is something that one only imagines to be in a movie.  But the event will be added to the list of horrible things that have happened in our country.  And the town of Newtown will never be the same. All those children in the school will remember those pop’s sounded like.

Are our schools safe?  Is keeping your kids home the only way to keep them safe?  Is homeschooling the only option?  Those  are questions you and your family need to answer.  I was thinking about this earlier, we don’t know when bad stuff is going to happen?  We don’t know when young children are going to get sick and die.  Or when there are car accidents and teens die?  We try our hardest to keep our kids safe.

For many families this Christmas their joy will be focused on funerals and grieving.  Trying to figure out how one person could take their Christmas joy and shatter it with pops.   How one person could take our Christmas joy and shattered our security of feeling our kids are safe in school.  How can one person effect so many people in such a short time.

Christmas is about one person-a baby.  It is about one baby that came into this world because it was already shattered and broken.  Christmas is about one little baby who came down to this world to bring love and hope and peace.  He came down to bring grace and forgiveness.  He came down to forgive sins.

  • Prayers go out to those families whose child died today.  I have a 5 and 6-year-old.   Heartbreaking
  • Prayers go out to the families had a love one die.
  • Prayers go out to the shooter’s family.  I don’t understand the connection to the teacher (his mom?) But their family must be confused and heartbroken.
  • Prayers for healing for all those injured.
  • Prayers for all the children who go to school there.
  • Prayers for the teachers, and other leaders and volunteers in the schools.
  • Prayers for the community leaders-
  • Prayers for the medical community
  • Prayers for the community.

 

Prayer of my Pastor Bernie on Facebook today

What a terrible tragedy is unfolding on Newtown. Pray for children and parents, pray for teachers and all officials, pray for Pastor Greg Wismar, a longtime Lutheran pastor in Newtown, and for all who stand by from near and far, that God will comfort and heal all of us. It’s Advent when we are reading the biblical message that God has come both as a refining fire AND as a Savior. His name is Immanuel = God is with us.

Dear God, You are the Creator and Giver of Life. We, whom You have created, are all guilty of this: we love death more than life. How so? We are all absorbed with and fixated on ourselves. We are hypocrites who say we love You, when it is obvious that we do not love our neighbors as ourselves. Maybe we will never fire a weapon and take someone else’s life, but we are all complicit, inasmuch as we turn away in indifference from so many. Teach us to love each other. Fill us with your Spirit. Forgive us our sin. Help us cherish everyone’s life and bless us all with safety on our journey to Life Eternal. In the name of Jesus Christ, Immanuel. Amen!

 

 


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The Ultimate Guide of the History of Christmas

As I type this our tree is up, the lights are hanging outside, the train is circling our little village. The kids have have their list to Santa, cards are being addressed, the Sunday school Christmas program is almost here. Advent calendars are being slowly being added to every day, devotions are read and songs are sung! Why is it that we do all this?
I asked the other day on Facebook for one word that describe Christmas. The words I got where…
Love -Jesus- Emmanuel- Misunderstood -Magic- Misrepresented
Why is there Christmas? Where did it come from? Is it misunderstood or misrepresented? Or is it about love and Jesus? As a Christian I have one view of Christmas and the history maybe different of a non-Christian. I believe the first Christmas hymn was when the angel sang to the Shepherds. Has Christmas gotten out of control? Yea sure because we are sinners. But if you look at the history of Christmas, Christmas has always gotten a little bit out of control. Jesus was born into a world out of control.

    • Free downloaded able ebook from Bible History Daily on the History of the First Christmas
    • History of Christmas for Kids
    • Did you know at one point Christmas was banned in the early American? Check out the History Channel video.
    • Continue watching watching all the videos for some great videos on the history of Christmas.

    • History of Christmas Tree’s from History Channel
    • Have you ever wondered about picking your own Christmas tree? This site helps you find a Christmas tree farm close to you.
    • Who invented electric Christmas lights? Click here to find out.

      • If you need a Santa suit this is the place, but they have a nice little summary of Santa.
      • Elf Academy– great activities for kids here
      • Eclectic Homeschool Online has a nice list of resources for the history of Christmas

From Pagan’s wild parties to Puritans outlawing the celebration of Christmas, from Santa to Christmas trees, to candle light service Christmas focuses around the birth of our Savior. What we do with that day is up to each of us. Christmas is more that a day, a moment, a present. It is about celebrating, sharing, honoring, being with family, sound of children, cooking together, worshiping, singing, reading, dancing, baking, decorating, hoping, growing, showing, peace on earth, it is about Jesus. For our family, we focus on so much for Christmas, all the fun, but it all focuses back to Jesus. I joined 24 other ladies in 25 days of Christmas this year-make sure you check out their other awesome list.
I leave you with these two finally thoughts:


 

 

 


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Pocket Advent Devotions: Day 11 Prophet

 

Day 11 Prophet

Isaiah 9:6 A child will be born for us.A son will be given to us.The government will rest on his shoulders.He will be named:Wonderful Counselor,Mighty God,Everlasting Father,Prince of Peace.

More Reading: Isaiah 9:2-7

A Little Extra Thought:  A prophet did not mince words.  He said it the way it had to be heard.  Yet I find it interesting, that Isaiah uses a lot of law/gospel in his writing.  While he lays it out the way it needs to be heard, he wraps it up with God’s grace and promise.  A prophet’s job was to get the attention of the people.  How would you get the attention of the people around you?

Activity: Challenge your self and the kids to memorize this scripture verse today.

Day 1 Angels

Day 2 Waiting

Day 3 Favored

Day 4 Pregnant

Day 5 Kick

Day 6 Praise

Day 7 Name

Day 8 Joseph

Day 9 Census

Day 10 Virgin


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