30 November 2009

Twelve Years Ago...

We welcomed our first son into our lives.  We had chosen his name when we were still engaged ~ a full decade and four daughters before that November night in 1997.  It was like finally meeting someone we had been waiting all those years to see.

He looks like his daddy ~ he always has ~ except his curls are blonde ~ for now ~ I always wanted a boy with blonde curls and big blue eyes.
He is almost as tall as me, and his feet are bigger than mine.
His voice is beginning to sound a little less like his sisters' and younger brother's.
He builds robots, and mows the lawn, and serves as an usher, and helps teach children's Bible class, and is the senior puppeteer on the team...
He is growing into a young man ~ right before my very eyes.
I couldn't be any more blessed...
or proud.

Happy Birthday, J~Man!

29 November 2009

Keeping Advent ~ Plans for week 1

Our Advent calendar this year is a small round papier mache' box I bought at stuff*mart for 67 cents and painted purple.  It will sit in the center of our Advent wreath for the next 26 days.  Each day during our morning time one of the children will open it to reveal that day's scripture passage and a special activity.

Here are this week's activities:

  • Sunday ~ Light the first Advent candle: HOPE

  • Monday ~ Celebrate J~Man's birthday

  • Tuesday ~ Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas oops! wrong Tuesday! & have a C.B. Thanksgiving feast (popcorn, toast, pretzels, and jelly beans)

  • Wednesday ~ Take a walk under the full moon & come home to hot chocolate

  • Thursday ~ still to be decided, probably a craft of some sort

  • Friday ~ Journey to Bethlehem (at a local church)

  • Saturday ~ Saint Nicholas Eve (I will post more later about this)

We will also be reading an Advent book which I found at Half Price Books last month:  Do You See What I See? A Devotional Seek-and-Find Book for Advent.

28 November 2009

Keeping Advent ~ What's Missing?

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas begins, right? 
Wait! What about Advent?  

What is Advent?

  •  from Latin Adventus which means "coming": a season of preparation and anticipation of Jesus' coming...to the manger at His nativity, in the clouds at His returning, and into our hearts at this time

Perhaps the most important thing for me (a baptist girl with liturgical longings) in trying to keep Advent is making a conscious effort to postpone Christmas.  I must admit that when I first began doing Advent it was more as a way to prolong Christmas.  This shift from "doing" to "keeping" and from "prolonging" to "postponing" has been slow but significant.  I started out adding things to our late November/December season: a St. Nicholas Day celebration, an Advent calendar, an Advent wreath, but over the past couple of years my focus has changed.  I have begun to remove things from this time of year.  What things?

  • Christmas decorations ~ we wait to trim the tree until the 23rd (our wedding anniversary) or Christmas Eve (I would actually like to do it Christmas morning, but that is too weird for the rest of my family)

  • Christmas music ~ I have loved discovering the difference between Advent and Christmas music

  • Christmas Activities ~ not all of them, of course, but I have become much more deliberate and selective with how we spend our time both outside and inside of home

  • Christmas Shopping ~ nothing like crowds and commercialism to steal my peace; I am not a Scrooge, but I do try to give small, handmade or thrifted, and thoughtful

So, what have we gained in our giving up?  Much as during a fast from food, I find that I am able to direct my time and my energy toward God, meditating on His word and His love.  This putting-off rather than dragging-out of Christmas means that we are less likely to become weary of it all and thereby lose the meaning in the mania.

There is much more I would like to say, and I hope to do several additional Advent posts.  This is probably my favourite time of year!
  I will end with a new-to-me-this-year link: Rediscovering Advent.

Of Course, don't miss the rest of the Carnival!

Thank you, Kerry!

Thankful Saturday

"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name."

~1 Chronicles 29:11-13~

27 November 2009

Thankful Friday ~ little(ish) things

I am thankful for:

  • my kitchen table

  • my dishwasher

  • Longhorn victories

  • children who will talk to me

  • children's friends who like to hang out at my house

  • a couch for a friend to sleep on

  • the blogworld

  • pumpkin pie

  • apple pie

  • pillows

  • stretching

26 November 2009

Thankful Thursday ~ Happy Thanksgiving!

  Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us,
and not we ourselves;
we are his people,
and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him,
and bless his name.
For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.

~Psalm 100~

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Enjoy your feast and your family!

25 November 2009

Thankful Wednesday ~

This isn't the post that I thought I would be writing.  Something traumatic happened tonight that truly has me thanking God with almost every breath.  One of my daughters was attacked.  She is okay, but it could have been so much worse.

Thank you, God, for being with my children and watching over them and protecting them all of the time.  I know that you created them and that you love them even more than I do.  I am so grateful that you spared ____ tonight from any further harm.  Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!

24 November 2009

Thankful Tuesday ~ 10 years with Lulapalooza

LORD, thank you for this wonderful boy you blessed me with 10 years ago!  I Thank you for his easy-going personality and his Snoopy-like laugh.  I thank you for his desire to play games with me or cuddle with me on the couch.  I thank You for his quiet, calm, contemplative side as well as his exuberant, jumping-up-and-down, living-every-moment-to-its-fullest side. 

I pray that he will grow in wisdom and stature and in favour with You and with men.  I pray that he will hunger and thirst for righteousness, and that he will be a man after Your own heart.  Bless him and keep him and cause Your face to shine upon him and be gracious unto him, O LORD.

And please help me to be the mama that he needs each and every day and never to forget what a blessing he is.


23 November 2009

Thankful Monday ~ Counting My Blessings

I thought that counting my blessings would be a most appropriate way to start this Thanksgiving week.

I truly am blessed with a wonderful husband and seven beautiful children.

And I have so very much
in my life to be grateful for; we are all healthy; my husband has a job, and we have a comfortable home and enough food to eat.

Most importantly, I have a God who forgives all my iniquities...redeems my life from destruction and crowns me with lovingkindness and mercies...{Psalm 103}

21 November 2009

Project Christmas ~ final week before Advent

I got the candles for our Advent wreath ~ and at 50% off!

Plans for the upcoming week:

  • Sunday: The Operation Christmas Child boxes are filled and will be collected at church.
  • Monday: grocery shopping & clean, clean, clean
  • Tuesday: Lulapalooza's 10th Birthday!
  • Wednesday: birthday party with his friends
  • Thursday: Thanksgiving Day: cook, watch the parade, eat, watch the Longhorns beat the Aggies
  • Friday & Saturday: final Advent preparations

20 November 2009

This Week in the Olive Grove

Well, our formal academic studies are over for the year.

  • We finished reading aloud The Struggle for Sea Power, Dr. Dolittle, and Just So Stories.

  • The boys finished their assigned silent readings for literature, history, science, and nature.

  • We got our last spelling words for the year into our notebooks.

After I finished reading the last history chapter I asked each of the younger three to share some things that they remembered learning this year.  I gave them each three spelling words bee-style, and three mental math problems.  Then I said, "Congratulations, you have just been promoted!"  This was followed by many high-fives until I made them stop, because they were hurting my hand!

J~Man has his first LEGO-Robotics competition tomorrow.

Now it is on to the boys' birthdays, Thanksgiving, Advent, our wedding anniversary, and Christmas.

Of course, the learning doesn't stop: there will be plenty of reading ~ aloud and silent, poetry, music, art and handicrafts that go with the season.

Keeping Advent

Advent begins on 29 November this year.  That is in only nine days. 
Here are a few links to help prepare for this season of preparation:

at O Night Divine

at A Ten O'Clock Scholar

and check this out...

at Advent Conspiracy

15 November 2009

For the Beauty of the Earth

I absolutely love this poem/hymn!

I love the traditional tune by Conrad Cocher;

but John Rutter's choral composition is wonderful as well.

We will be learning this this week.

13 November 2009

Project Christmas: Week 10

Wow, only two weeks before Advent begins and 40 days until Christmas Eve!

Here is what yet needs to be done:
fill Operation Christmas Child boxes
turn in CBD order
make Advent calendar

buy Advent candles (yes, I forgot! again)
get rosemary tree
sign, address, and mail cards
buy stockings
(we get new felt ones every year and decorate them for St. Nicholas Day)
get supplies for ornaments
make a decision about a tree
plan for family picture
continue decluttering and organizing in preparation for decorating

This Week in the Olive Grove

This Week:

  • We finished memorizing our verses from Psalm 139.

  • We finished reading Now We Are Six.

  • Lulapalooza finished his Bible Reader.

  • Toodles finished her Bible Reader and Flower Fairies of the Autumn.

  Next Week:

  • We have 2 stories left in Just So Stories.

  • We have 1 chapter to go in The Story of Dr. Dolittle.

  • We have 8 more readings in The Struggle for Sea Power.

  • J~Man has one more chapter to read in Men of Science; Men of God

  • Lulapalooza will finish reading A Picnic on the Island for literature and Snakes and Stars for nature.

  • They will each have one more spelling list.

Then we are finished with formal academics for the year.

The Extras:

  • J~Man and his partner completed their robot for the upcoming LEGO-Robotics competition.

  • Sgt. Elf bought a bunny.

  • Toodles helped me prepare 20 boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

  • Lulapalooza finalized plans for his birthday next week.