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Showing posts from December, 2015

Advent 2015

I have consciously made an effort to slow down this holiday season, savor the moments, and not get caught up in the holiday hoopla.  I did not want this one to pass by in the blink of an eye.
As far as schoolwork goes, Grace chose an easier chapter on ecology for science and our primary focus was on math.  She is on target to begin Geometry in January!  Lilah worked along in her math program and tied up some loose ends in her science.  

We incorporated a great deal of Advent and Bible studies into our December days. We watched Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas and Kevin Sorbo’s God’s Not Dead. We listened to The Gospel of Matthew on my Bible app, YouVersion. We visited the Knights of Columbus Museum. We watched sermons from Black Rock Church online. We discovered a praise channel on XM that we love. Lilah narrated the closing of our annual Christmas Pageant at church and Grace provided all the music for the performance.We began a 12 part Catholic study on Mary through the online service …

Raising Great Kids

I was selected to be part of the launch team for Kristen Welch’s new book: Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World.  The conversations taking place on Facebook between launch team members point to the obvious, that holidays have been consumerized and we live in a selfish culture.  However, I don’t feel that entitlement equals spoiled.  Entitlement means expectations without gratitude.  One way I have tried to show my children gratitude is to help them understand that they are not the focus of everything, despite what their adolescent nature tells them.  

Christmas is about gifts and giving.  It is about decorating and preparing and expecting and hoping and waiting.  It is about family and friends and church and tradition.  It is all this and more.  If we lose sight of the simple fact that CHRISTmas is not about us, it is about Jesus Christ, and if we choose to celebrate ourselves over HIM, then the meaning of the day is lost, and entitlement creeps in.

Like the Wise Men who came bear…

New York at Christmastime

This was one of those moments that for a split second you wished you said no.  Weeks ago, before the trip to Alabama and Tennessee, before Greg’s two business trips and before the fatigue of travel and sleep deprivation set in it seemed like a great idea.  My niece’s college in upstate New York had a bus trip to Manhattan and she and her boyfriend along with her sister and mother took advantage of the cheap tickets.  

It was hard waking up and getting out but once we were on the train headed south, we were glad we said yes.  Recently it hit me that Grace is fifteen.  Fifteen.  I am so lucky that she loves family, loves being with family, loves the holidays and wants to be home.  Even if she does not go away to college, things will change around here in the next few years as the girls mature and this year it hit me to hold on hard to  tradition and to make the most of all holiday opportunities.

What we did not expect were the crowds, crowds like I have never seen in New York.  Throngs of…

Thanksgiving in Tennessee

This was our first Thanksgiving away from home.  Usually we spend it at my sisters, with the two of us cooking and drinking wine and forgetting one vegetable or another but this year we when I planned our trip to Alabama, it included a trip to Tennessee for the holiday.The girls and I left almost a week before Greg, driving to Alabama for the Civil Rights Tour then driving to Tennessee the day before Thanksgiving.Greg flew down Tuesday night after work so he was able to enjoy an extra day with his family.
Thanksgiving was the first day in a week that we were not on the road in the car traveling to one place or another.  It felt great to lounge in sweats most of the day, dressing for dinner that evening.  The kids baked and cooked and decorated and helped make Thanksgiving come alive. 
Lilah made the jello mold.

They all made gluten free peanut butter balls, which were later dipped in melted chocolate.

There was the corn pudding.

There was Christmas Tree decorating and light stringing.

We cl…

The Cabin, Wilsonville, Alabama

When we travel we have to bring many things with us, like our pillows, food that meets our gluten free diet, our supplements, our cameras, and this time we even brought our coffee maker.  Often you can rent a home for less money than a hotel.  This was the case in Alabama.   I rented us a 100 year old cabin a half hour outside Birmingham.  The cabin was owned and operated by an equestrian center and came complete with free range goats and female longhorn cows, a few chickens and several horses.  

We did not ride here, as an introductory lesson was expensive, and our time was limited.  This was our home base, a place to sleep, eat, relax and enjoy nature.  At times we enjoyed a bit too much nature, like when Grace and I went to bring the garbage down to the barn and were met by the free ranging longhorns.  I was assured that they were female, but after seeing one scratch its horn against tree bark, that bit of information did nothing to  ease my fears.  

Grace wanted to explore and photo…