32 Pairs of Socks

For Christmas my family tends to get practical things in their stockings as well as an orange and a candy or two.  Fairly predictable.  More often than not, this means that Christmas time is a time to restock on socks.  And, boy, did we need socks!  It seems that we are constantly rifling through the clean laundry looking for a pair of socks for the day.  How nice to feel like we are restocked and spoilt again in the New Year. 

But here is the catch, as I sat trying to catch up on the laundry this past week, reveling in how nice it is to be healthy again (after sharing all together in being dragged down by a horrible cold/flu virus all through the holidays), I realized that maybe I had erred in the sock purchases over the holidays.  You see, I sat for a quite moment – probably a good half hour – and sorted out half a dozen piles of “what belongs to who” and then proceeded to start the pairing…  I paired up Hubby’s socks and tucked them away, then I folded mine.  32 pairs of socks.  No, not his and mine.  I folded 32 pairs of my socks.  Really?  Do I really have 32 pairs of socks…. And that would also imply that it’s been a month since I last folded socks…  And that it will also likely be another month before I am sufficiently motivated to fold socks again.  Sigh!

How often is my life like this?  I invest time, or energy, space, or money in something that is meant to help or simplify life and yet makes no difference or a negative one.  I was thinking this when I considered other things in my little world too.  How often have we “needed” a new book or curriculum that only seemed to make us busier but not smarter?  How often have I stuck with an old activity while adding a new one on to our already busy schedule and hoped to be able to fit it all in? 

I know that New Years is a time for resolutions and reflections but I don’t tend to like to follow the crowd and don’t want to make these grand commitments to change just because everyone else is.  I do however want to continually be striving to be all that God created me – and my family – to be so New Years is as good a time as any to strengthen my resolve.      

So I am strengthening my resolve to strive for the purpose and simplicity that we set out for so long ago in our family life.  I want to constantly question why we do things and how we could do them better.  In our school this year, that has meant lightening some of our work load to be able to focus on other things.  Namely, we chose to take a break from reading and writing curriculums so that we could spend more time just reading and writing.  Sounds simple, I know, but it has been revolutionary.  The kids and I are so enjoying just reading a lot together.  It’s been fun to take the time to make cards, write letters, to teach them to blog and to write out their thoughts on the things that they are learning, to listen to a beautiful poem or Bible verse or saying and to set it aside for later to be copied and kept.

Now, as I try to jam my 32 pairs of socks into a too-small drawer, I am reflecting on other ways to keep it simple in areas that I tend to invite the complicated, ways to redeem wasted moments that could be used more wisely.  I think that one thing we will do is to read our Bible more, to simply enjoy it as literature with our other readings rather than parsing the meanings to death.  Teaching my children to view the world through a biblical lens can only be enhanced by reading the Bible more and discussing all of life in light of the living word of scripture.  It seems to me like a spectacular way to continue to “throw off everything that hinders” so that we can “run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us” knowing that to “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1,2) will only bring us closer to that ideal that we strive for.

Blessings, Friends, as you strive to be all that you were created to be in 2013!

Happy New Year,

Cori

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Christmas Blessings

Dear Friends,

I have finally dusted off my laptop to send you a few words of greeting over these beautiful holidays.  First I want to send my wishes that you have had a spectacular Christmas with friends and family and to wish your New Year will be filled with God’s richest blessings.

I have to admit that I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately.  We are finally starting to see the end of a horrible bout of cold and flu that has been with us for more than three weeks.  I have been stuck in the past wishing for a White Christmas and a repeat of the idyllic holidays of many years gone by but these days Christmas has been a visit to his mom’s and then my mom’s and then my dad’s and … well you get it.  This year, it’s been a few of us visiting with one pocket of loved ones or another hoping tentatively for peace and having to leave one or more sickies at home. 

This holiday has taken an extra striving to recall the point of it all.  It is so easy to lose the sound of the still small voice of the baby in the manger.  But we have found our Christmas in the moments.  Friends, I hope you have found your moments as well. 

We loved the moments of our advent readings even if, yes, we didn’t finish them all.  I was touched by my husband’s reflections and patience when I was too stressed with lists and cards and bills to see through to the Jesus who had made it all so special.

I enjoyed discussions with my daughters about the gifts that they had for Jesus.  So neat to walk my seven year old through why Jesus didn’t take the beautiful card that she made for Him and set under the tree.  “Where does Jesus live daughter?”  “In heaven.”  “Where else?”  “With us, here in our house, in my heart.”  “So, he kept his precious gift here where he lives.  No?”  We discussed how he says that when we do for others we are doing for Him.  We discussed the gifts that we gave especially to Him when we gave to others.

Another special moment with Jesus was in a new tradition that we started last year: a cake, candles, and “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.  My oldest daughter loves to bake and makes wonderful cakes.  This year she really wanted Jesus to have a cookie monster birthday cake.  We put six candles in and after singing to Him we each blew out a candle and gave him a birthday gift of words, “Thank you Jesus for giving me my family!”  “Thank you Jesus for taking care of us.”  “I am so glad, Jesus, that you are so much smarter than I am.”  Last year we chose out gifts for Jesus on Christmas day from the Samaritan’s Purse catalogue, each giving of their own money.  This year, we pooled our resources and were able to give to Jesus in another fun and creative way.  What a treat!

Still wrapped in the busyness even last night (since you can’t finish Christmas cards when everyone is sick for three weeks in December and we are finally starting to catch up on some of those visits that we cancelled) I received another sweet gift from my Saviour: a note from a friend.  It is such a blessing to have friends who are there at just the right moments.  So neat to see that Jesus is there to bless me in so many ways: through little thoughtful notes, and through the huge sacrificial gift of coming as a vulnerable boy to be my Saviour from all that I deserve.  It’s so hard to comprehend.  Perhaps that is why I can only handle it in small moments.

Friends, I hope that you have had that idyllic time of Christmas wonder and enjoyed this amazing time of reverence for our Jesus but if you have been, like me, seeking at least the little moments, may this magical time between Christmas and New Years be a time of you to rest in Him and to know His peace in a new way.

Happy New Year, Friends!

Cori

Celebrating

Dear Friends,

I trust that the holidays were kind to you.  For us, it was, as usual, a busy time of hustle and bustle.  We enjoyed sharing gifts with our kids, and blessing the rest of our family too.  At first, I struggled this year with even wanting to give gifts to everyone and with scrimping to spend money that was tight.  As we contemplated it, we wanted to give to Jesus on his birthday but did that mean buying lots for everyone but him? 
But then, I realized that He said, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)  So we were pleased to be able to make efforts for his birthday and others did the same for us.  Some wonderful “Santa Claus” left gifts for our family at our home just before Christmas.  What a touching treat!  That experience helped me to realize that we wanted to make sure that our family, our kids know that they are our first priority in sharing the love of God. 
So in addition to our traditional stockings and gifts and turkey comas with several different family groups, we enjoyed a couple of neat activities that were new:
We enjoyed a wonderful gathering of friends in which we got to sing some old fashioned Christmas carols to get us “in the mood” to celebrate the coming of the Saviour.  That was so refreshing.  Thank you, Friends!
As well, our oldest daughter made a birthday cake for Jesus and we all sang Happy Birthday to Him.  Then each of us gave a gift of praise to Jesus and blew out one candle.  Afterwards, we each chose a gift from the Samaritan’s Purse catalogue for him.  An excellent birthday party on Christmas day!

What old and new traditions highlighted your holidays, friends?

And what are you looking forward to you for the New Year?
Soon I will post some of the exciting things that I am looking forward to for 2012…  I will resume the Mother Culture posts and am getting into the readings for the next Charlotte Mason meeting…  Then, ever so quickly, homeschool conference season will be upon us and I will look forward to seeing many of you in person at one or another….
Until then…  wishing you all a (belated) Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
Blessings,
Cori