Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Reason We Give

It has most definitely been a long and tiring, but fun-filled couple of weeks!  We celebrated a wonderful Christmas with my in-laws on Christmas Eve!  The kids opened more packages than they could imagine, and found some super fun toys!  Flower was excited to find more accessories for her American Girl Doll!  She received the full Chanuka set (She has Rebecca Rubin).  It was a great way for me to teach her about Chanuka, and Yahweh's provision in our lives.  We ended the night with a Candle Light Service at our church.  It was very special to have Barb Wire Man's parents there with us for that, as we worshiped, and thanked God for the wonderful gift of His son!

We awoke Christmas morning to find the ground covered with snow, and snow continuing to fall!!  The week before Christmas, the weather men had predicted a whopper of a blizzard, but we ended up with barely a dusting of snow.  They predicted only a dusting for Christmas day, but I told Barb Wire Man, "I betcha it snows like crazy!"  Boy was I right.

Santa brought my kids exactly what they had asked for!  Flower found a nice automatic .22 rifle behind the Christmas tree (but, Santa brought no bullets.  He was afraid she would find it while Mama and Daddy were in bed!).  Little Man found a Thomas the Tank Engine set and a Leap From Explorer.  (No one has heard much out of him since!)

We loaded up, and drove an hour to my parents house, but were a little concerned about the snow that was continuing to fall.  

My Aunt and Uncle were also at my parent's though my sister and her boyfriend were not able to be there, as they were visiting his family.  Flower received a brand spankin' new big girl guitar from Papa!  I have never seen her cry over a gift, but it was all she could do to hold back tears.  She was so incredibly happy.  My favorite gift was the tea maker and two bags of Teavana Tea from my mom!  We enjoyed smoked ribs, brisket, potato salad, baked beans, and rolls (Welcome to Christmas in Texas!)  Although we had planned to play games all night long, we had to leave early.  It snowed the entire day, and the roads were beginning to get a little on the nasty side.  All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas. 

But, I was reminded of a very important lesson.  Flower has been a little, well, naughty lately.  I'm talking, I'm about ready to pull my hair out due to her lack of respect for me as her mother.  We had told her the same lines parents have used forever - "Santa knows if you've been good or bad, and if you don't straighten up, you will get a lump of coal" and, "If you don't behave, I'm taking every one of those gifts back to the store."  

Then I remembered what Christmas is about.  Its about God giving us the gift of His son, Jesus.  We give other's presents as a representation of that amazing gift.  Had God used the same logic I was using with Flower, we never would have been given Jesus.  We most certainly did nothing to deserve Him.  Our behavior as humans did not warrant such an amazing gift.  No, we were given Jesus simply because God loves us.  He wants us to accept Him into our lives, so that we can be reconciled to Him again.  As a parent, I am supposed to reflect God's love to my children.  Do they deserve all the gifts I give them?  Nope.  Do I give them because I love my children?  Yes.  

I explained this to Flower.  I told her that was the reason she was getting presents was not because of good behavior.  It was because I love her, regardless of her behavior, just like God loves us even though we don't always obey Him.  And would you believe, she has been behaving much, much better?

Thank you, God, for sending your son to us who do not deserve Him.

Be blessed today!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Christmas Story

Growing up in a Christian family, I've heard the Christmas story a few hundred times in my 29 years on this earth.  Something about having children completely changed that story for me.  

I was 8 and a half months pregnant with Little Man around Christmas.  As I was driving to work, the DJ on my favorite radio station was reading the Christmas story, and I literally had to pull over because I was sobbing.  I started to think about my soon to be born son.

Would he look like his Daddy?
Would he be as good a man as his Daddy?
Will I be able to teach him how to treat a lady?
Will he learn how to be rough and tough when he needs to be, but gentle and loving at the same time?
Will he grow to love the Lord?
How will I react the first time he jumps out of a tree and breaks his arm?  
How will I react when I discover a bug collection in his bedroom?
How will I react when he brings home a girl?

Can you just imagine Mary, probably only 13 years old, not yet married, and carrying the Son of the Holy Spirit?  She must have certainly thought those same things, but on an even greater scale.  This wasn't just any little boy.  That God trusts any of us flawed humans with a child is beyond me.  I know I make mistakes right and left (and thankfully, my children still love me!)  

I'm almost at a lost for words as to how I feel when I hear the Christmas story, now.  Its so much more emotional.  I look at my kids, and wonder how Mary felt.  She had all those same concerns, but she was entrusted with Jesus.  


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Checking In!

Yay!  I have time to write this morning, because I've been up since about 4:45.  I've come to the conclusion that, if my bed wasn't so warm, and Barb Wire Man wasn't a giant teddy bear, I could get out of bed much easier each morning.   Flower was up much of the night with a tummy ache, so that didn't make for a restful night, either.  

I've been quite busy lately, which is a great thing for me.  I despise not being busy.  I've made 12 sets of wristwarmers, a baby blanket, 6 neck cowls, and many other smaller things, like IPod holders in the last month, and I am still not completely finished knitting for others!  That's a good problem to have, for sure.

I almost succeeded in my goal of a completely handmade Christmas for my family.  I can't wait to post pictures of all the neat things I found on Facebook and Etsy!  Santa, however, was unable to find handmade items for Flower and Little Man's requests.  Awesome as that Santa is, knitting a functioning .22 is just impossible.  

I have found time to read a book.  Granted, sometimes I have to pretend to go to the bathroom just for a few minutes of alone time in order to read said book.  I've been reading "Created to be His Help Meet", by Debi Pearl.  Warning: if you are a strong feminist, this book will probably anger you.  If you think being a submissive wife is outdated, this book will probably annoy you.  Lucky for me, I am neither of those.  I read about the book from another of my favorite bloggers, Lori, at Always Learning.  (Her blog is always uplifting, and is a great resource for woman who want to truly be a Godly woman, wife and mother.)  I've been trying the things I learned in that book, and honestly, it didn't take much time before I started seeing changes around our home!  Now, in no way did Barb Wire Man and I need help with our marriage.  In fact, we have an amazing marriage.  This book has helped change me, and the way I look at things.  

Christmas break from school starts Friday!  That means a two week vacation for me!  I always enjoy spending that time alone with my babies, but I do miss my daycare kids, too!  So far, I have no plans other than to soak up every second I have loving on my kids, and that is just how I like it.  

It is already time to wake Flower up for school...time flies when I am busy!  Before I forget, though, here is a quick and shameless plug.  Through Christmas, everything at 13 Plum Knitting is 25% off right now, when you use the coupon code "25OFF" at check out!  You can pair that with "FREE11" to get free shipping!  Won't you check it out!?  You can also follow me on Facebook, and on Twitter!  I pray you all have a blessed day!  


Saturday, December 10, 2011

On My Mind

You don't have to read very far back in my archives to see immediately that I am a Christian.  I'm very staunch in my beliefs.  I think that regardless of what you believe, you should be firm in that, otherwise you are just wishy-washy, and somewhat gullible.  (The saying "Don't be so opened minded that your brains fall out" comes to mind!)

I believe in the Bible.  I believe it very clearly lays out for us all the way we are to live our lives.  I believe that ultimately, whether a person believes that or not, God will hold them to His standards.  As Christians, we cannot use the Bible to prove a point to those who do not believe it.  It would be like trying to use the Koran to convince a Christian he is wrong!  Instead, we are to lead by example; to let our light shine to those around us. 

Not that it wasn't already quite obvious, but people who believe the same was as I do are increasingly becoming the minority.  Even other Christians have watered down their faith in an attempt to become more politically correct, or to keep from offending others.  What breaks my heart is when families can even become separated due to different beliefs.  

I've seen some things recently posted by people whom I love; family members whom I truly love.  Those writings have clearly grouped anyone who disagrees with homosexuality into the same type of hate groups as the Klu Klux Klan, and even Nazism.  They have called for a boycott and complete separation from anyone who disagrees with them.  I want to make clear, here and now, that although I have my beliefs, I am not bigoted or hateful to anyone.  Personally, I do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle.  I'm not going to list all the verses in the Bible that lead me to believe that way.  Those of you who agree with me know what they are; those who disagree with me likely do not care. isn't for me to lead another person's life.  Just because I disagree with it, doesn't mean I don't like you.  It doesn't mean I want to hurt you, or stand in your way.

I know there are some extremists who do some really horrible things.  It happens on both sides, unfortunately.  

That isn't me.  It isn't anyone I know, either.  But, I am not going to change my views.  I'd like to think that those who posted those things know me well enough to know that those things are true.

But what I will say, is how very hurt I am by those postings.  I am hurt that by agreeing with the things they posted, they have grouped me, my husband, and my children into a group as horrible as the KKK.  They've made it clear they want nothing to do with that type of person.  They know my feelings, and know I would never hurt them, yet I am grouped there by virtue of my beliefs.  Unfortunately, now that I know they want nothing to do with people who believe as I do, I am not sure I will ever feel comfortable around them again.  I'll be wondering the whole time if secretly they are thinking and saying things about my beliefs.  In fact, I'm not even certain they want me around them anymore, seeing as how they want nothing to do with people like that.  I still love them dearly.  I always will, regardless!  But, in order to respect their feelings about people like me, I'm just going to hang back for awhile.

I thought they wanted equality for all?  I thought they wanted all to be treated equally, regardless of beliefs or lifestyle?  I was wrong.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree...

I typically have my Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving.  Shoot, I'd put it up right after Halloween if Barb Wire Man would let me!  But this year, we were out of town the day after Thanksgiving, so that didn't happen.  Then someone "forgot" to get the Christmas tree out of storage before he left for work for 3 days!  So last night, Flower and I moved box after box until we finally got to the tree box.  Which was at the very bottom of the pile.  I finally had it completely put up and all the branches pulled out this morning.  It still isn't decorated, but I have to brave this 40 MPH wind and freezing temps to get the lights out.  I promised Flower I would have it ready to decorate by tonight, though, so I must. 

Although, it seems one of my daycare kids had a much better idea for decorating my tree:

In case you can't tell, that is one of her shoes and both of her socks!  I guess she just got tired of looking at a plain ol' tree with no decorations!  She was quite proud of herself!

I heard a news broadcaster once tell people they needed to not shop online, at places like Etsy, because the purchases don't help support local economy...even if they are actually located locally.  His argument was that no city or county taxes were paid by the business.  That really isn't the case, though. The fact is, anyone who makes and sells a good is supposed to pay taxes.  We are supposed to register through the comptroller's office, and pay quarterly taxes, just like any other business.  Each quarter, whether I sell $1.00 or $100.00, I have to report my earnings.  The tax I pay is separated into state, local, and county it does help locally.  Of course, there are those who don't report their earnings, or pay taxes.  I do.  Personally, I'd rather pay a little here and there when I have a sale, than to get caught not paying when I need to.  Anyhow, all that to tell you about a few more shops!  Most of these are located locally, here in Texas!

I really love jewelry.  I don't wear it often, simply because I stay at home all day with 4 two year olds!  But I think this necklace is beautiful!  Shade of Style is actually located about an hour from me, but only about 20 minutes from where I was born!

Rolling Plains Photography is located a couple hours from me.  I've been thinking about getting family pictures done for Christmas this year (but maybe you all remember my story about Barb Wire Man flipping the bird in every picture he takes?).  Its a great idea to capture your kids, and send those to grandparents!

Made by Mego has some of the neatest ideas.  Seriously...I really dig that picture!  Its so creative!  She also has some gorgeous wreaths available!

Stop by and check out what these ladies have to offer!  And be blessed today!