A medley of carols for your enjoyment

I was up with the sun today, which is much more impressive if you forget that it's winter in Minnesota. I hustled over to my parent's house to let the dog out, and helped myself to a Tassimo Chai tea (thank you, my sister, for the lesson). Giddyup, giddyup, giddyup let's go... Then I buzzed back home to get Ella out the door for preschool. Natalie and I did our 30 minutes (probably 20 without the commercials) of Shimmy ("good job, mommy! you're doing it!"). Let's look at the snow... I got my shower complete with Waffle Cone Philosophy body wash. Set the dryer to wrinkle release the laundry from a couple days ago, and put it away finally. We're riding in a wonderland of snow... Read the Christmas story on biblegateway.com to get a little more in the season. Giddyup, giddyup, giddyup it's grand.... For my Friend's friends: everything is aglow with the light of a million fairies.

It is now 10:45. I need to get a little more work done before the week's out. But I'll just take a peek at weather.com for the weekend. Winter storm advisory. Up to or exceeding 6 inches of snow. Sleet. Blowing snow.

Here is what I want: (from White Christmas) Snow...snow...snow...snow...it won't be long before we'll all be there with snow...I want to wash my face, my hands my hair with snow... But here's what I'm getting (hopefully because my sister got it in my head): In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,

Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow.

And now I guess I'll get back to work before braving the frozen tundra to get Ella from school.


Grace in the little places

Not only was Thanksgiving wonderful, but I had Reunion weekend. Saturday I got to meet my friend April for dinner, and Sunday I got to meet up with Mike & Monica and their kids for a little bit. It's always so fun to get a chance to see good friends and catch up.

Mike & Monica were stopping through town on their way home, so I went over to Perkins for a little bit while they grabbed lunch. Our Perkins is often disappointing. Not enough wait staff. Kind of a pokey kitchen. It was that way again. But here's the conversation that I loved: Mike & Monica debating whether to leave a small tip for the poor service, or a good tip to make her day. They decided that they could guarantee this woman was not having a good day. She had too many tables to wait on. Undoubtedly it would be a small tip day. She had been friendly enough when she managed to make it over. A bigger tip was going to be more noticed, and a better way to be Jesus to her that day, so that's what they did.

I thought of it when I was doing the group gift shopping for the quadruple baby shower last night, and had a cartfull of 3 separate purchases. Some kid was about to go on break when the photo girl called him over to help me check out. "But I'm s'posed to go on break." Cody didn't want to help me and my complicated cartfull. But I felt for the kid. He's coming off of Black Friday. He's probably been working like crazy. Customers aren't nice around this time of year. Holiday cheer is reserved for your friends, not the cashier. And poor Cody, the second he starts to help me the manager comes over "Cody, you need to take your half." So she leaves and I say, "Cody, you can't win." And he says, "I really can't!" He asks me if I want to open a Target account to save 10%. I say no thanks. He says he didn't think so, but he has to ask. So he rings up my second order, and I say, "And I'll still pass on the Target account, but thank you." He laughs enough to forget my change and he has to open the drawer again. Three large purchases later, I say, "Thank you, Cody, for a job well done. Enjoy your break." He says thanks, and he will. Honestly, my first instinct was to be rude to him. How dare he be so obvious about not wanting to ring me up, when this is his job. But I don't know what he's been through today. And being rude was only going to make me feel cranky, and not improve his day at all. I'm not saying I changed the kid's life, but I felt better.

I remember Christmas as a quiet, peaceful but exciting time of year. It is now holiday madness as I write party after party & dance shows and doctor's appointments on the calendar. If I can make a conscious effort to show people some grace in the little places, it will certainly make me feel better. Hopefully them too. And I'm guessing Jesus (reason for season) is okay with it as well, and I pray He helps me to remember it.


A History Lesson

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Abraham Lincoln


Parenting attempts

There are things I thought I would never do if I ever had kids. Those things that I couldn't even comprehend BK (before kids). And somehow, those things change AK.

For example, I never could get why people couldn't get their kids to be quiet in a store. In my mind, you just told them to be quiet, and if you were a good parent, the kids were quiet. Then I had children. It's not that easy. I once stood in line in my least favorite, WalMart, for 10 minutes with Natalie screaming so loud I couldn't hear the people's kind comments around me. By the end, I could hardly hear anything. Bribing with M&M's? I like to think of it as encouragement.

I never understood all the sticker charts & reward systems. Can't you just explain to your children what is expected of them? Ha! Ella pottytrained in about a day. "Ella, if you want to go to preschool, you'll need to go potty on the potty." "Ok." Done. Natalie knows what she's supposed to do. She will occasionally do it. But her stubbornness prevents her from making the complete switch. "Natalie, do you need to sit on the potty?" "NO!!" "Natalie, if you need to poop, go on the potty." "NO! I want the changing table." So today I made a sticker chart for the potty. We'll see what happens.

We have also not been having very good listening lately. I will make a request of them like, it's time for lunch, come to the table. "But first I have to finish this book." Or "I not hungry, I want to play." Or today it was, "It's time to put your socks and shoes on," to which Natalie replied, "No. I being cute." So I'll be darned if I didn't make little listening jars today. We're going to have listening tokens. Given for listening the first time I ask them to do something. Redeemable for treats/prizes. I can't believe it. Again, we'll see what happens.

One thing I have learned for certain, I cannot hold to much of anything I thought BK, because in life AK, all bets are off.


It's a ricey little game...

Got this site from another blog I read. It's a vocabulary game, and for every word you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice through the United Nations. It turns into a really addicting game, and it keeps track of your vocabulary score up to 50. The donations come from the advertisers on the bottom of the screen. Give it a try.


Giving Thanks

I love Thanksgiving, but I sort of feel bad for it. It's totally overshadowed by Christmas, and it's become all about the food and football (which is not to say I don't enjoy the food). So in anticipation of Thanksgiving, I'm starting the journal that a friend of mine gave me called "A Journal of Gratitude." It's just a list of all the things, great & small I'm thankful for. Then when the gloom of winter has fully kicked in, I can look back through it and focus on those things. Perhaps cozied under a blanket, with a hot cup of tea, and a miraculously quiet house. Hopefully my attitude will become less whiney (brr, it's so cold, MN stinks), and more grateful (gee, I'm so glad I'm not preparing my sod house for the long & harsh winter now that I'm done doing the harvest by hand, having stopped only long enough to birth my 8th baby).

Psalm 100
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.


Chicken Little

Disclaimer: I am aware that I live in Minnesota. I am also aware that it is November, and these things may happen.

I saw white stuff coming from the sky today. I am more inclined to believe the sky is falling than to accept it for what it is. I'm just not ready yet.

On a side note, today Natalie was reading a Winnie the Pooh book when she yelled, "Mom!! Look!! It's Christmasfor Robin!" I had to stop what I was doing and go give her a little hug. That made my day.