A friend of mine recently posted the following on his Facebook page:
It is official that Christ is now #3 behind Santa (#2) and Elf on the Shelf (#1) as the reason for the season. To counter this "trending" effect, please post a picture of something in your house that symbolizes the real reason for the season and see if we can reverse this trend.
I then stopped and asked myself if what I am doing in my own home to make sure that Christ IS #1 during this time of year is actually enough. I know that daily my kids come downstairs and look for Eggbert (our Elf) to see where he is hanging out next and that we've talked about Santa and our visit with him.
And yes, we DO talk about Christ and the meaning of this very holy and joyous season. The following is a peek at the daily reminders in our home.
This is a nativity scene I gifted to the kids a few years ago but when doing my holiday decorating this year I decided to put it in a place where they could see it more often each day instead of having them keep it in their room. This sweet scene is what you'll see front and center as you enter into our home. I love it!
This is one of my favorite projects brought home by the Kindergarteners at my kids' school. I still have my oldest's from just two short years ago and now my middle son has his sitting in our front room next to the Christmas tree. Each day he comes down to move the star closer and closer to the nativity scene and on Christmas day the star will appear just above the manger! It is hands-down one of my favorite holiday decorations that the kids bring home.
And of course, our Advent Jesse Tree. This has been an annual tradition for too many years for me to remember! It is something my kids look forward to every night before bedtime. New this season, my oldest is actually doing the readings from the book that accompanies this tradition and I get to sit and reflect on his reading. It is truly magical!
This sweet little homemade nativity scene is something my son came home with from preschool last year. I love its simplicity and the warmth it brings displayed in our family room. It's a sweet reminder of what the season truly is about.
I am loving all of the traditions that I've continued on with my kids whether it's the Elf or Santa or something more, but it's clear in our home the meaning of what we're really celebrating.
Do you have ways of celebrating the true meaning of the season in your home? I'd love for you to link up your post below about how you're keeping Christ #1 at Christmastime!
I love that my son goes to a school where he sees little reminders written here
in his classroom everyday.
I visited his classroom last week (on Friday) to deliver treats in celebration of his birthday. After chatting with his teacher for about five minutes, she left the room to go get the class from Art. I took it upon myself to look around and loved what I saw. His teacher had just explained to me why she has that message written throughout the classroom. I got teary-eyed and my heart warmed all at the same time.
I realize and respect that private school is not for everyone. But for me and my family, it just feels right. I hope each of you feel the same about whatever learning institution you've chosen for your kids. Sending mine to theirs each day is so easy because I love where they are and what that place stands for.
And then of course, there were the funny things that caught my attention in the class. Like the kids' self-portraits hanging from the ceilings. Here's my Nathan's:
This morning shortly after sitting down for breakfast, D went to feed our Betta fish, Fishy Red, only to find that the fish was gone. Apparently he had leaped out of the bowl (again) and was lying seemingly lifeless on the back door kitchen rug. Immediately D scooped him up with a napkin so the kids wouldn't have to see a dead fish lying there but as he went to pick up Fishy Red, it suddenly became apparent that he was still alive! D then tossed him back into the water and Fishy Red began swimming around as if nothing at all had happened.
Unfortunately, that didn't last. After D's mom came to pick up the kids for vacation bible school this afternoon, I started to notice that Fishy Red was in the bowl hanging vertically with his lips right up on the top of the water, as if he was struggling for oxygen. He was like that for a good hour or two before he moved toward the bottom of the bowl and had his head semi-buried in the gravel and rocks at the bottom. D and I began discussing that we didn't think he was going to make it and how we'd have to run out and get another fish before the kids came home so they wouldn't think anything had happened to their Fishy Red. About another hour passed by and I noticed that he'd stopped breathing. His little gills were no longer pulsating and he lay there at the bottom of the bowl, lifeless. I was heartbroken.
I immediately told D we needed to go to the pet store to get another fish and a more appropriate tank before the kids came home and noticed. D flushed Fishy Red down the toilet and we headed out for Petsmart. It was then that we realized that we'd most certainly have to tell the kids what happened to their fish because there wasn't a single fish in the store that even remotely looked like Fishy Red. After looking at all the different Bettas, I finally settled on one and D picked out a cool tank that goes great with the kitchen counter we keep the fish on and we headed home.
The kids came home at about 9:30 tonight and we told them about what had happened. N took it quite well, but was mostly just interested in why fish don't live forever. Both he and W were fascinated by the new counter top tank, complete with cover (no more leaping fish!) and a cool light switch that can be toggled off and on. We told N he could decide on a name for the new fish and he thought about it for a while before exclaiming, "how about Clementine?" It was perfect. W's reaction to the new fish was "fishy....kyoot!"
I talked at length with N about how even though we'll never be able to replace Fishy Red, we will love and care for this new fish, Clementine, and will always remember Fishy Red and the special fish he was to our family. The kids, especially N, had just gotten to a point where they'd come down almost everyday and check on Fishy Red and say hi to him, so I especially want them to embrace this new fish and bond with her too. When N asked me why we couldn't simply buy another fish that looked exactly like Fishy Red, I used that as an opportunity to point out that it was impossible to do since God makes each and every creature unique and special. N said he was sad that his fish had to die and it broke my heart to hear him say that because I know death is such hard concept for a kid that age to wrap their brain around.
Hopefully tomorrow will bring new smiles though, as they see Clementine swimming about in her new surroundings. Jeez, this parenting gig is truly tough!
Not that there's anything wrong with the teacher type. I am just not it. And, I am reminded of it all this week since I volunteered to help out with our church's Vacation Bible School program. What I signed up for (I thought) was Bible Theatre, which was explained to me at the time as simply playing a part of a movie each day for the kids that came in. So, I of course thought to myself, even I can do that! Well, I recently found out that THIS year there's a little more to it. In addition to playing part of the DVD, I essentially have to teach and run each class that comes in for at least 20 minutes! There's a set activity and a script that I have to even read from. All of the kids are preschool age and I know many of them since I am friends with their moms. It has been rather cute to hear the things that come out of their mouths and to see them wide-eyed as we do our daily activity. But, between you and me, I can't wait for this week to end. I am totally burned out on the measly 80 minutes of "teaching" I do per day. My hat's off to those of you teachers who actually do the grind daily. I could never do it. So here's to living out the rest of the VBS week.
I'll be a non-blogger for about the next 72 hours as I am doing a lovely stint at church for some amazing women. Be nice, everyone.
So David and I finally got around to watching An Inconvenient Truth the other day and I must tell you I don't think I am the same person I was before we put that show on. Or, at least my thinking isn't the same.
There's a bit of paradox for me when it comes to voting for politicians that are for the environment versus those who are pro-life. Now, I am first and foremost pro-life. That's just me. But after watching this movie the other night I got to thinking about the whole pro-life issue and how preserving our environment for our grandkids and generations to come is actually pro-life itself too.
The other night at bible study I had a little debate, if you will, with someone whom I consider to be a good friend of mine. Somehow our group got on the issue of George W. Bush and the whole pro-life movement. When I voiced that I did NOT vote for that knucklehead Bush (and I think I may have been the only one in that room full of Catholic women - YIKES! - who didn't), it suddenly fell silent and I got into a small debate with someone about the whole issue.
I couldn't in good conscience vote for a person (I won't call him a man so as not to insult any real men who read this) that I knew was so selfish and self-serving and who was, frankly in my opinion, only trying to use the White House to further his own personal agenda. He's so cocky and arrogant and he actually thinks he's deeply connected to the Hispanic community but he's probably one of those who eats black beans with his Tex-Mex. Plus, he's just a bumbling idiot who makes Texans look bad. It had nothing to do with the abortion issue. Period.
I just don't comprehend in my mind how someone who's pro-life can also be for capital punishment and for sending men and women into a war just to benefit his own pocketbook. How is that preserving and valuing human life? And what about those innocent children in the countries we invade? How is that not different from abortion? They can't very well speak on their own behalf to try and survive in this war so how is that different from a fetus who can't defend its life?
Okay, so back to the movie. I don't want to be a person who votes strictly with certain party lines. That's not me. I am not an all or nothin' kinda girl. I do however want to vote to put people in office who want to make a difference in this society. And, after seeing that movie I have come to the conclusion that voting for candidates who have made awareness of global warming and the environment one of their top priorities IS ultimately a pro-life vote. After all, it won't even be an issue of whether or not abortion is legal in this if we have no world to live in as a civilization. The big question is how can you be pro-life and NOT be concerned about global warming?
A friend of mine that evening of the bible study debate mentioned to me that whenever she's in question she always votes with the church's teaching. Well, I think that preserving this great beautiful, life-giving Earth is most definitely respecting God's creation and is a vote that should be viewed as with church's teaching. How can it not be?
In an ideal world, a candidate that encompasses a pro-life viewpoint as well as environmental awareness would surface in the upcoming presidential election. I'm not sure that's going to happen. But, I'll have my eyes peeled to really scrutinize the beliefs and attitudes of the person who's going to get my vote.
Here's a Happy Birthday shout-out to my dear friend, Erin. You're officially 29 forever now! To say that I'm blessed to have you as my friend is an understatement. You've been such a great friend and person that I can confide in and your friendship means a great deal to me. You inspire me in so many ways and I think the world of you! I look forward to the many more years we have together as friends and to seeing all FOUR of our boys grow up together. I pray that this year is a great one for you.
Thanks to my gal pal (and fellow Catholic sista') Shannon for sending this link after we talked about it at dinner last night! Nate and I thoroughly enjoyed it...you will too!
I absolutely love my bible study group. They totally rock. Tonight it was my turn to host and i had a great time with the girls as usual! why is it that i am always in a better mood and so refreshed after a bible study night? Everyone makes me feel so normal.... our conversations remind me that we're all struggling for the very same things....to be better mothers, wives, Christians, and to make great use of our time here on this earth.
I seriously don't know what i'd do without these ladies! Next Monday can't get here soon enough.