Archives for December 2013

Another Handmade Christmas

Things around here have been busy, fun, and full of good family time. LOTS of board games have been played, and we have three very happy girls. We once again gave and received many handmade gifts, so I thought I would share some of them.

handmade kids swords

These simple wooden swords that my husband made are perfect for our 4 year old nephew.

chalkboard

I made this chalkboard from an old mirror frame that I picked up from a yard sale.

crocheted mouse

This adorable crocheted mouse was a hit with our 2 year old niece.

superhero capes

Two of our nephews now live dual lives as superheros.

finger puppets

Karis loves her new felt handmade finger puppets.

crocheted beard and crown

Another nephew is now a king when his crocheted crown and beard are being donned.

I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

More than Presents Under the Tree

gifts under the tree

Three years ago in December, I wrote a blog entitled Avoiding the Plague of Materialism. You can read it here. This year as it gets closer to Christmas I am still aware of many of the same things, and am trying to pass on to my children the importance and blessing of giving to others, instead of focusing on all that they are going to receive. We really don’t want our children to see the celebration of the birth of Jesus as little more than presents under the tree. It is SO much more than this, but the commercialization of Christmas makes it tricky for this I want attitude to stay away from our homes doesn’t it? It means that we have to be so intentional as we live out our lives as Christ followers.

This year we have had the opportunity to purchase gifts for children overseas and for children in our community, and because of this we are thankful that we have been able to show our kids ways in which we can look to meet the needs of others, instead of focusing on ourselves and our wants. As they grow older, we will continue to watch for age appropriate ways to serve as a family that will broaden the awareness that our girls have of the needs around them – not only physical needs, but also spiritual needs.

My hope is that this year as our girls open up their simple gifts which we thoughtfully picked out for them, that they will be thankful. That each year as they mature, that they will grow in awareness and understanding of the responsibility as one of the wealthiest nations in the world, to care for our neighbours in the third world. That they will be aware of how many opportunities they are given in this country, and that they will not take their life for granted. That they will have an eternal perspective on life as they live out Christ’s command to care for the orphans and the widows.

May we teach our children with wisdom and joy this Christmas season.

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

 

Relief and Celebration!

Four years ago when we took our (then) 2 1/2 year old year old daughter in for her first eye exam, we were shocked to find out that she had a genetic problem with one of her eyes called refractive amblyopia. We were totally unaware that she was only able to see out of one of her eyes, her other so weak that her brain had stopped reading from it.  I blogged about some of the challenges that were involved with this diagnosis here. For the past four years, she has had to wear a patch daily for 2 hours while playing handheld video games (as long as possible during this time each day) to force the weak eye to focus and get stronger. This was a huge challenge for us since Sophia didn’t like video games… When Sophia was 2 and 3, we could put her patch on when we were around other people and she was unaware of their glances that hung on, and their inquiring questions of what had happened. In the past years however, the biggest challenge that we faced as we patched daily was her increasing awareness of the curious people around us. Her tiredness of the constant questioning, and the regular answer “I have a weak eye”, and the knowledge that she was visibly different. She didn’t appreciate my encouragement on one occasion to make light of the questions and answer with an “arrr” like a pirate would… I thought it would be funny! She began to wear a hat with a wide brim when we were in public because our schedule didn’t allow her patching to be done at home that day.

Despite our challenges we patched faithfully, and when I did have an odd day where I forgot I would feel the guilt. I would find myself imagining that at her next frequent check up we would not see positive results. We did continue to see positive results, however. Faster improvement at the beginning, slower as the eye got stronger. I was beginning to think that this was a burden that we would be carrying for a very long time. To my relief, we were surprised with the overwhelmingly good news at our last check up that Sophia’s weak eye has improved so much that we no longer have to patch!!! When our eye doctor said this to us so matter of factly, I could hardly believe it, and asked him to clarify. He confirmed this good news and congratulated us. I got tears in my eyes as I looked over at my beaming daughter who finally realized that her hard work had paid off and come to an end, and as I felt the weight of a motherly burden released. Many days as I tried to put the patch on my daughter she would resist and I would gently encourage her (and some days not so gently) that if she was diligent now, her hard work would pay off and that one day she would no longer have to patch. FOUR YEARS LATER, this came true. I hope and pray that Sophia has learned from this that hard work can take a long time to pay off. That many times we have to just be faithful, even when we do not know what the result will be, or what the future will hold for us. Isn’t this how it is as we follow the Lord as well? Sometimes what God asks us to do doesn’t make any sense to us – we don’t understand how good can come of it, or what the result will be. Follow me, He says. Trust me, He says. Surrender your will to Me, He says.

I also pray that my already empathetic daughter will continue to be sensitive to those around her that are visibly different in some way. That she won’t be scarred by the attention that her patching brought, but that she will remember what it felt like, and remember to treat others the way she wanted to be treated – like a kid who just wanted to have some fun and be noticed for her great qualities, not the huge patch covering her eye. While she was never bullied, I hope that she will stand up for those kids who are. I hope that she will be a defender of the weak, and a friend to those in need as she follows the Lord even when she doesn’t understand.

I am so relieved to be released of this task. Released of  what I only realized was a huge burden to me once it was gone. I cried tears of joy as we walked out of the doctor’s office that day. I picked up my daughter and swung her around whooping in delight as we both laughed in relief and celebration for the wonderful news.

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5

3 Simple Steps to a Good Day

Sometimes mornings are terrible. Like the day when you forgot to set your alarm and you woke up late, or the day where you were so tired that you turned your alarm off in your sleep. On these days you wake up and the pace is frantic and can sometimes set the tone for the day. Most of the time, the morning goes pretty much the same (whatever same means with children…). You get up at the same time, go through the same routine, and start your day. I have discovered three things that help my entire day to go better when I do them, and I will share those with you.

#1 Make the bed

When I take the two minutes it takes to straighten the covers and make the bed, it’s a good way to start the day. Have you ever noticed that if the bed is made, the bedroom looks clean, and if the bed is unmade the room looks messy and chaotic? What a simple way to tidy up the room and bring some order into the bedroom. I love coming up to bed at night to a tidy bedroom; that bit of order and calm helps me to unwind at the end of the day. And come on, who likes having their covers all messed up before the night has even begun? What’s interesting about the simple act of making the bed in the morning is that this is an action that effects the very ending to the day.

make the bed

#2 Have a cup of tea

Something as small as having a cup of tea makes my morning more productive by slowing me down (this could be coffee for you). It means that I’ll sit down to drink my tea, and this helps me to think about my tasks for the day and to prioritize. if I skip my cup of tea, sometimes I go through nearly an entire morning without sitting at all. A cup of tea is also comforting and it makes me feel good because I’m doing something good for my body (I choose herbal tea which nourishes my body).

#3 Pray

Prayer in the morning starts my day off right. If I forget to acknowledge my Creator and to submit myself to Him for the day, my day starts off on the wrong foot. Sometimes I pray before I get out of bed, sometimes I pray in the shower, sometimes I pray while I’m sipping my tea, and sometimes I get down on my knees and pray. However it is done, it is intentional, and it makes a huge difference. When I acknowledge that it is not by my strength that I’m able to do anything on this day, but only by His, I am taking a huge weight off of my shoulders. I am relying on the Lord’s strength and not mine. Not only does it lighten my load, but it orients my heart toward the things of the Lord. I begin to think differently. I begin to listen for the Lord’s nudging and prompting throughout the day, as I choose to follow Him.

Sometimes it is the simplest things that make the most profound difference in our lives. These three things are so easy to do, yet can change the course of a day. I challenge you to try them! If I do these things does that mean that I will have an easy day full of lovely things? Absolutely not. But they do point my day in a positive direction, in which I am making intentional choices and submitting my day to the Lord.

Do you have a simple thing that you do to start your day off on the right foot? I would love to hear about it!

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5