Friday, December 16, 2011

Sweet, lovely days before Christmas

I can be moody, I confess, feeling desperate and lonely one day and fully content the next. This can be very confusing for my husband, I am sure. But I am learning to recognize it and not give in to my emotions all the time. I am learning to realize that my heavenly Father never changes or shifts, and through the power of His Spirit I can be consistently joyful, despite how I feel. I think this ability boils down to maturity, and apparently I lack it. BUT, God is working within me!

With this in mind, my next words may need to be taken with a grain of salt...Today feels perfect.

The kids are excelling at school. Working very hard and the seeing the pay-offs. My house is full of laughter and music. The lights on the tree are illuminating a dark house from gray skies outside. On breaks, the kids are playing in the rain and finding creative ways to enjoy themselves. The smell of oranges and cloves and cinnamon make me feel alive. And we are learning so much together!

Some lessons are hard, but I am pressing against discouragement to see them through. (Like a math test with 20 long division problems! And a kindergartner that never can seem to remember her poetry memorization. And a little sweetheart who is struggling with comparing himself to others.) I feel so certain that God is going to bless their efforts as they dig in and believe God is at work. It's a beautiful thing! Thank you Lord that when we seek you, we find you, and sometimes that is demonstrated through these types of successes! What an encouragement! William and Nancie Carmichael's book Lord Bless My Child says, "This is how we develop fortitude, persistence, and the strength of heart that enables us to meet adversity, pain, and persecution...There is no greater challenge, no higher calling, than to persist in the things of God." (And sometimes the things of God for an 11 year old is simply to do 20 long division problems without complaining or arguing- for the glory of God! I think it boils down to trust! And we are experiencing a lot of lessons in it! It's a good thing!
And we are enjoying a lot of fun Christmas studies. We have been studying Christmas traditions around the world. We went to Turkey in the study of St. Nicholas

Then north to Germany and learned of the St. Martin parade with lanterns and music

Then across the ocean to Mexico and the tradition of Las Pasados

and today we are back home remembering American traditions from the 1800s as we read My Prairie Christmas and made pomanders.

We have easy, sweet days at home like this. But we are very busy away from home, too. We saw the Willy Wonka musical this week. Jackson's two best friends were there and we sat with them.

And Lydie's ballet class performed a Christmas dance for us. The little girls choreographed it themselves. It was DARLING and involved princesses and fairies, of course!

Life is completely full, but mostly balanced. And I am loving it. And today is a PERFECT day! Thank you, God, that you have slowly and most assuredly been healing the brokenness and grief I felt when we left Atlanta. Although I still have days that are hard, you are establishing us here in this place. And I know "the, boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance." (Psalm 16:6). These words of yours comfort me as much now as when you lead me to them in 2008 when I agreed to move to rural Alabama. Thank you!

Resources for our Christmas Around the World studies so far:

St. Nicholas: Santa Who? (Gail Gibbons)

St. Martin's parade: article from

Las Posadas in Mexico: The Night of Las Posadas (Tomie DePaola)

Pioneer Christmas: My Prairie Christmas (Brett Harvey)

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