An Out of Stock Horse and Good Gifts

My daughters LOVE Christmas!  They start making lists in August and they look forward to the holidays with GREAT anticipation.




We don’t buy a lot of gifts.  We do birthday celebrations and big (to us) Christmas celebrations.  Other than a few small things sprinkled in here and there, this is the only times that we give gifts.  They do earn chore money so that they can buy themselves things that they see but it takes quite a while to earn enough for big things.   Other than that, we take a quick photo of the items that they see and wish for and tell them we will “put it on their list.”  I am so thankful that they are not spoiled or demanding.

So the holidays are very exciting for them!  They are also exciting for my husband and I because we love to give them gifts.

My ten year old started making her list (seriously) two weeks ago.  She’s been playing around with MS word so her list includes pictures and prices of her items this year!  Ha!  She wants to make sure that there is no mistaking what she wants.  Smart girl!

She fell in love with a Clydesdale horse from the Our Generation doll collection.  These horses can normally be found at Target for $45.  Except for this particular horse because he was part of last year’s holiday collection.  So…..now he can be found on Ebay for about $100.

Now this is my frugal minded child who decided that she wouldn’t ask for an American Girl because she could get an Our Generation for about 1/5 of the price.  But she searched and searched out this horse from every source possible.  She realized that he was very expensive and more than once I caught her at the computer with misty eyes while she processed that she might not be getting this one particular horse.

I told my husband and we did a little searching of our own and found him for $75 through a third party vendor with Walmart.  Ahhh….he arrived yesterday and I just can’t wait to see her open him on Christmas morning.

I started thinking about this gift…..this $75 piece of plastic that my daughter will delight over for such a brief time.  That’s not why I bought the horse.   We know that her desire to play with him will be short lived in the big picture. I bought him because I love the girl that desired the horse and I want to give her good gifts.

In a much greater way, this reminded me of God’s love.  The Bible tells us that he loves to give us good gifts.  It is hard for me to process that He loves us more than I love my children, yet I know it’s true.  Thank you, Lord, for delighting in us and giving us your good and perfect gifts!

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

 

 

 

Baggage that I Put Down

I usually work into most posts that I’m a work in progress but think I need to start this one in that way.




I don’t always do this perfectly but I have certainly come a long way!  The more I practice what I’m about to “preach,” the better I feel.

Let me say that I love the forties.  Not the 1940’s era.  The being in the 40’s age group.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are a few things that I would like from my 20’s.  I wish my middle section was toned and would like to tighten up that five baby stretched out skin on my tummy.  Who am I kidding?  I would like to buy the entire line of Rodan and Fields to take ten years off of my crows feet and jowls.  A few less varicose and spider veins on the calves would be nice.

Ahh….I digress.  I was about to tell you why I love being the age that I am.

Even with the marks and stretches and lines in the wrongs places, I love this season of life.  With it comes a freedom.

There are some bags that I carried for so long and I have learned/ am learning to put them down.  With each one, my load is lighter and I have been given so much freedom!  I want to shout it at the 20 somethings so that they don’t carry it around for 20 more years unnecessarily.

Here are a few of the things that I have taken out of my bag and I feel so much lighter for it:

  1. The ability to let other people’s opinion drive me.  WOW!  That’s a big one to unpack.  My phases went like this:  I spent a lot of time worrying about what other people thought of me, came to the realization that people don’t even think about me as much as I thought they did, and then decided not to care.  If I start to feel that burden hopping back into my bag, I remind myself of who I am in Christ.   A little side note is that I have a handful of great friends who I trust to give honest, Christlike feedback and I listen closely to their counsel.
  2. The need for perfection.  This has permeated most areas of my life ( work in progress.)  I haven’t and won’t be a perfect friend, parent, spouse, daughter, aunt. teacher, housekeeper, decorator.  Any of it.  I can’t even say that I’ve done my best for all of my life.  But I do try to improve daily.  A few years ago I began saying it would be “just right.”  One of my friends had burned something that she was cooking and I said “Oh it will be just right.”  From then on, that became our phrase for it’ll be ok if it’s not perfect.  It has been used over and over and over.  Guess what?  It’s always worked out ok.  Because that small stuff really isn’t worth sweating over after all.   The next time you are stressing because it’s not working out just perfectly, try telling yourself it’s “just right.”
  3. The guilt of my past.  Man, that’s a big one.  I shoula’, coulda’, woulda’ but I did or didn’t.   This freedom has come from Christ and Christ alone.  I can look back at regrets from thirty years ago or even yesterday.  If I’m living intentionally (and I hope I am) then I am going to have to trust that God will work all things out for my good.  Satan is a deceiver and a liar.  When he brings up sins and failures that I’ve been forgiven for, I’m sending him right back where he came from.  I’m taking hold of those thoughts and living in the freedom that I now have.
  4. Fear and worry.  I’ve come so far. I come from a long line of worriers and that is a hard, hard cycle to break.  But I’m finally making progress.  Worrying about the present, the future (and #3 the past) takes SO much energy away from just living today.  Very little of what I could worry about could/can be changed.  So I pray.  I believe that God is for me.  I move on.

I’m sure my bag is lighter because of a million other things that I put out of my life.  Sometimes I have to put them out daily.  Sometimes it’s hourly.

However, I am so thankful that God has helped to settle my mind and allow me to unpack some things that have weighed me down.

Sometimes the struggle isn’t putting them down.  It’s leaving them there.

As always, I’m a work in progress.

 

Gaga Ball and Jesus- What’s the Connection?

The pledge of allegiance to the flag




The pledge to the Bible

A song from the hymnal – probably Stand up, Stand up for Jesus or Standing on the Promises.

Rotations through crafts which probably included some type of string art or finger-painting.

The preacher preached from the Bible

Prayer dismissed you and you took the 10 things you’d created with you and looked forward to coming back the next night.

 

I’m reminiscing about Vacation Bible School, now shortened to VBS.  Those good days in the summer when you went to church at strange times and all the little old ladies made as much kool-aid and as many cupcakes as you could possibly consume.

 

I dropped my children off tonight at our church’s version of VBS.  We have amazing leaders and volunteers who work very hard to make this happen.  There are HUNDREDS of kids who are coming to the church for this event.  The amount of work that is put into it is not to be taken lightly.  It’s a heroic effort.

However, I left sad.  I also left with a headache.  During the five minutes that it took for me to drop my kids into their respective color and number groups, the noise level was mind boggling. There were no less than fifty kids screaming just to be screaming.  There was NOTHING peaceful in this place at the moment.

Two and a half hours later, I picked them up.  One of my daughters has a bit of trouble processing things when she is overstimulated.  She was literally staring ahead and didn’t even seem to notice me when I went to her group.  I jokingly said “Hey…do you recognize me?” She teared up to cry.  She was obviously overwhelmed.

One of the three could tell me that there was  a short story given about Jacob.  No details, but Jacob was the subject.

The other two were sad that they had forgotten their crazy socks and wanted me to turn on the interior lights of the van so that they could read the flyer to see what was coming after crazy hair night.

Now, I know I’m not young.  But I am struggling just a little bit.

I feel like I might be promoting the idea that we might need to be loud, chaotic, wild and crazy to learn about Jesus.  I’m not saying there is anything “wrong” with that.  I’m just struggling a bit with it.

Be still.

Be still and know that I am God.

I think that the mission is to get children to enjoy coming to church so that they might want to return to hear about Jesus.  That’s a noble mission.

What about the children who are already coming?

I know that it is not the sole responsibility of the church to teach my children about God. I am thankful that I have that privilege.  However, I desire to have the support in a corporate setting.

Maybe that is my take away.  Maybe the church is there to initiate the conversation and then the work is mine.

Either way…..there’s a lot of Gagaball being played in the southern states this summer.

I’m going to trust that Jesus is in there too!