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GOODchristmas Day 9

Today is JC’s speach day. I thought I’d be productive and get an earn or two done while he was in therapy.

Bad idea!

Trying to do anything that requires driving during lunch rush, standing in line and have multiple stops during the holiday season – all in one hour – What was I thinking! On top of it all I left my bank card at home and had to stop of at the bank. All after waiting in all the lines at Joann’s, just to find out I had nothing to buy the stuff with.

Started to let the stress get to me as I was heading to pick up the boys -LATE. I was stopped at a light and about to turn onto the freeway when I saw this car trying to merge as all the cars quickly closed up any openings. My first thought was, “I’m in a hurry; no time to wait,” but I knew I needed to do something to change my stressed level and self-focused thinking, so I let the guy merge in front of me.

WOW! It really did help deescalate my stress and anxiety levels. I felt more at peace and not so focused on the fact that I was getting to the boys late, but rather accepting and at peace that I would get there.

Day 9 – Kindness Rather Than Stress

GOODchristmas Day 7

A day of NOTHING!

We stayed in bed with the boys late this morning. We watched more movies then we normally allow. Scott started a fire for the first time this season!!! It was beautiful and no one got hurt (always nice when there’s a fire and 2 boys under the age of 3 in the same space!). We played Christmas music and watched the rain fall out the our sliding glass door. JC tried hot coco for the 2nd time today – he’s a fan no doubt!

Today was so RELAXING! Which is sadly not the norm of this season, but what a blessing when it does finally come around. Truly, I could feel my spirit at PEACE.

Hope you can find PEACE of spirit this Christmas season too!

GOODchristmas Day 6

So sad I missed out on posting yesterday. I was thinking all day about what to write about; it was AWESOME day! I thought: should I write about the INSPIRING JR. HIGHER that is giving up his Christmas gifts this year to raise money for kids in Malawi OR the powerful stories of lives being changed everyday by people just saying YES to loving and serving someone different then themselves. How about the fun of meeting up with new friends, Chad and Sarah Markley and their girls in the middle of Old Town Orange, surrounded by other families and the joyful holiday spirit!

So many things to love about yesterday!

On our way home from our fun filled day I decided to stop and pick up a nice hot cup-o-joe.

Oh peppermint mocha how you speak to my soul.

Needless to say, it was a long line. After I finished ordering, and the barista was giving me back my change I put it ALL in the tip jar (bills included!). For me personally this is a challenge – I don’t normally tip nor do I tip well when I do – I know I’m HORRIBLE! (Luckily, being married to my husband has helped me to grow in this area and be a more generous giver in this way.)

Anyways, I’m  sure things had been crazy all day for those barista’s, especially with a HUGH annual city event going on and a college in finals mode down the street. In crazy times like these, we all deserve a little encouragement, a feel-good tip if you will, just for making through the day!

Day 6: “Thank-you-for-making-it-through-your-crazy-day” TIP

GOODchristmas Day 5

This morning I found myself paralyzed by the heavy weight of life. At the time I was holding Micah fast asleep in my arms, J.C. was at the table eating his yogurt so perfectly and overall it’s a time in our family that we feel so completely BLESSED. It hasn’t been easy, or without it sacrifices, but blessed never the less.

The feeling was different then a feeling of being overwhelmed. It was more like this feeling of MOURNING. Strange, but HEAVY. Like i said – overall life is blessed , but we have some difficult “life” stuff that we’re going through and having to deal with.

I kept thinking, I have so much to be thankful for, why I am feeling this way? And then I thought, what’s so wrong with mourning? Mourning can be this beautiful and freeing thing. The verse “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” came to my mind.

Today, I’m going to keep with this spirit of mourning – not in this down cast, negative self-defeating type of way. But in a way that gives a voice to the pains of others. Humbly acknowledging my losses. Being raw, authentic and vulnerable about my pains and allowing myself to grieve, but then redirecting my focus on mourning with and for others.

When I first started writing this post I was planning on focused prayer for the millions of people in Africa mourning because of the devastating losses they’ve experienced from AIDS. But then I remembered my friend saying that she has been in tears almost every night thinking about her new friend, Brizzy, that’s going to be sleeping on the streets of Santa Ana in the rain – she’s homeless.

Now Brizzy is an amazing woman. She is an older lady, so she is the perfect “candidate” the winter shelters, but “her boys” are not. Brizzy has “adopted” boys, around 10, on the street to look after and to love, after everyone else has deserted. Brizzy loves her boys too much to leave them alone – they are her family and she won’t leave family behind. So she sacrifices her needs to make sure her boys are taken care – what mom wouldn’t?

Today I will being praying for Brizzy and her boys – sharing in a spirit of mourning – for their losses, for their pains, and for the injustices in their lives. I pray – “Blessed are those who mourning, for they will be comforted.”

FYI

Organizations that are helping people like Brizzy:

Just One: Laundry Love Project – Charles Lee and Greg Russinger

Laundry Love Santa Ana – Scott Overpeck

Invisible People – Mark Horvath

The Burrito Project – Ted Tanouye

Mercy House

The Dream Center

Just to name a few.

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GOODchristmas Day 4

Friday tends to be fairly busy for our family. I have a Mom’s group that I attend in the morning and we have a couples small group in the evening. Today I had an extra meeting after my mom’s group that kept me there until 1pm, then rushed home on the 55  parking lot with  the cutes boys in this world having a crying matched in the back seat (They won!).

When we got home there was lunch to be made and eaten, naps to be taken (that never happened by the way), dinner to be made for small group as well as having to read the chapter in the book we are studying (that we had the past 2 weeks to read and procrastinated until now) and be ready to lead the discussion.

I was talking to my husband about what we should do for group tonight and I remembered what one of my friends from small group said to me: “We should talk about how our holiday was.”  My husband loved the idea. And at that moment my friends words inspired our ACTION of the day.

Day 4 is about giving to COMMUNITY. It would have been so easy to stay on course for tonight and discuss chapter 8. And what’s wrong with that? Learning how to be better parents is a good thing (that’s what our book is on). But just doing it because it’s what’s next or it’s what “needs” to be done, does not make it the BEST thing.  Today we are practicing giving up something good for something that is better. Today we will work on not letting the business of life and the “urgent” needs of now, rob us of experiencing the joy of friendships and community.

How have you let the buisness of  the season – of life – keep you from your COMMUNITY?

Sad =( no picture today. It was just too difficult to drive the car and take a pic of the boys crying over each other.

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GOODchristmas Day 3

‘Tis the season! Everyone has shopping on the brain, right?! And the pressures on to find the PREFECT gift. At least that’s how it feels to me at times.

This years craziness, like for many others, has caused my husband and I to think more carefully about the way we spend our money. In some ways, we wish we could buy all these cool new things for the people we love and care about, because we want to show them what a blessing they have been in our lives. But lately we’ve been challenged about what these “gifts” really mean. The meaning behind the things that we buy has become very important to us. We want what we spend our money on to mean something and maybe, just maybe do some good for someone else in the process.

So today, Day 3, we kept with the spirit of gift giving a purchased these AMAZING wallets from this organization called Plywood People. Blue Recycled WalletThe wallets are made with reclaimed & recycled billboard materials by Guatemalan urban artists. A percentage of profits go to building homes for Mayan widows. Each wallet is unique – one of a kind.

How cool for the person receiving the gift, one GREAT wallet and the knowledge that they helped put a roof over somebody’s head. They are now apart of something BIGGER then themselves; We are apart of something bigger then ourselves. And someone else’s life is dramatically changed for the better. Three for 3 on day 3.

And inside the wallet we put a fun gift card to a place the person enjoys.

This holiday season we’ve been looking for more opportunities to bless the people we love as well as make a difference in someone else’s life at the same time. And there are so many other organizations out there like Plywood People. Groups like TOMS shoes, Krochet Kids, Acholi BeadsCharity Water, and Loveless Apparel – just to mention a few. Some of these groups even have gifts for young kids (which I especially like!!!)

Happy Shopping! Hope you enjoy fussing gifting and cause as much as we have!

GOODchristmas Day 2

Today’s “Count Down” was inspirited by two things – A friend,  Sarah Markley’s blog post and the book The Kingdom Experiment.

Sarah’s post was on giving 2nd chances.  I loved how she said it – “Grace changes people: hardened ears, solidified hearts and broken people are softened by the grace that you and I can give.”

This next part is going to be a hard and a little controversial. I’m going through this book called The Kingdom Experiment, it’s a study/action/experience of the beatitudes (Matthew 5). On the section on mercy, one of the “experiments” states – “Many communities have a Web site where you can locate sex offenders who live in the area. Find out where an offender lives near you and anonymously send that person a gift certificate to a local restaurant. Include an encouraging letter.”

A 2nd chance on the 2nd of December

We all desire a 2nd chance, because we’ve all been given a 2nd chance (at the very least). Today my husband and I will chose someone we know to extend grace and give a 2nd chance too, as well as send a note of encouragement and gift card to a local sex offender.

Here’s a copy of our letter.
Day 2

GOODchristmas Count Down

Growing up, one of my favorite traditions was the advent calendar. I love the anticipation each day of something special. Some of the calendars had chocolate treats, others little gifts, and others it was just the pushing the bead over to the other side until the star landed on the top of the tree. But no matter how simple the prizes would be, both of my sisters and I were gitty with excitement when it was our day for the advent calendar.

This year I wanted to to start an advent calendar with my boys. The only question was what kind. And then it hit me (nothing really fell and hit me, though that would have been a funny story – just this idea popped into my head), I wanted an advent calendar that help us remember to be thinking and giving to others… uh, with a chocolate candy attached of course.

So, this year we will intentional do something for someone each day.

Day 1

December 1st – Today we sent a special birthday card and gift to our world vision sponsored little girl. Her name is Rakheda and she is 11 years old and her Birthday is in January (just like my boys’). We wrote her a note on her card and I made the bag, J.C. colored her a picture of one of his favorite things – “car car” (in the words of J.C.), and than made and ornament with her picture on it that we can hang on the tree, then put on the refrigerator after Christmas to help us think about her, her family and village, and pray for them more regularly.  Here’s a picture:

Day 01

This post is late, but I will share our Day 2 later today.

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