We’ve loved sharing in this online space together and are grateful to you, our readers and friends.
This chapter of blogging together is coming to a close and we’d like to wish you a fond farewell!
If you’d like to follow along with Dianna on her continued journey with the Bible Quilt, then please pop over to her new website, Bible Quilt Journal.com to see the new online space for this community.
Ordinary Threads, LLC will continue to be the business entity underlying the new website, but this blog site will gradually be phased out.
Blessings to you, friends!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
How’s your holiday wind-up going? OR, are you more of a holiday wind-down person?
Some days it feels as if we’re productive little elves tackling our lists and everything is falling into place.
Other days we’re sluggish and want to binge-watch all the familiar holiday shows with predictable endings.
It’s dizzying to be cast us into these extremes, yet it’s probably familiar territory to most of us.
Yesterday as I was shifting from a morning full of appointments to an afternoon at home facing a lengthy to-do list, I caught myself pausing to browse our family album of Christmas photo cards.
I smiled as I remembered the angst of assembling outfits for professional photos at my son’s preschool. I reflected on the fun trips that wedged their way into the Christmas card highlight for the many years we didn’t do portraits.
Snapshots in time…18 years of family life flipped through in a few quick minutes.
None of our own Christmas cards have been addressed yet this year, but we’re enjoying the trickle of cards arriving from family and friends. As we read each one, we hole-punch it and add it to our Holiday Blessing Ring.
Several years ago I stumbled upon a trick to manage the influx of holiday cards, and it’s become a tradition of sorts. We keep a small collection of cards from previous years in a cheery red box. As the current year’s batch of cards goes in, a previous year goes out. (I think we’re saying farewell to our 2011 bunch this year.) It’s an intentional way to honor the sentiment yet manage the clutter.
Simple activities strung together year after year build some family cohesiveness during the busy season.
Our advent countdown certainly has varied throughout the years as the boys have gotten older. We keep using the same scraps of folded paper that we did a decade ago, notes scrawled quickly then yet holding treasured memories now.
The unique clanky notes of a musical snow globe call us together…another “tradition” that just sort of happened, but has become a sweet way to remember the grandmother who gave it to us years ago.This year another grandma is living with us and is part of our cobbled-together advent time.
When we engage in silly games we played with the boys when they were little, we’re drawn closer to one another through those collective memories etched into our hearts.
The other night’s advent box prompt was “find Christmas bingo and play it.” We joked about the age of the macaroni we continue to use as bingo markers, a throwback to elementary art projects.
Some evenings we double up for previous nights we’ve missed. We share memories of past Christmas shenanigans: the Christmas Eve when our oven shorted out and shot sparks across the kitchen, torching our special dinner inside as it went out in a blaze of glory ...last year’s Christmas tree falling over and crushing ornaments in its wake …the year 9 out of 10 family members got the stomach flu. Each memory is strengthened as it’s shared again with a slightly enhanced perspective.
Simply reading a childhood Christmas book together slows us down and lures us into family snuggle time.
Some of the books are traditional, a couple are written by childhood friends, and others reflect the quirky sense of humor of our extended family.
Occasionally we’ll find a sweet surprise tucked into one of the books.
Recently we discovered our son’s 2007 letter to Santa. This simple wide-lined page of his careful 1st-grade handwriting sparked a host of memories and launched a discussion about other wish-filled magical letters.
As Decembers pile up on one another, we’re often left with a beautifully compressed memory of home and family. When the hustle feels like it’s too much, I turn to these small reminders of treasured ordinary moments that are Simple and Sweet.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” James 1:17
To that gentle, weary woman I stood behind in the grocery line this morning:
I saw you. I heard you in your “resolved calm” as your 3 babies in the cart made their presence known. I watched one make faces with me while you unloaded your cart to the conveyor belt, (I made faces back). I watched you gently put the second one’s leg back into the cart from the side as he tried to attempt a bailout. I listened to the cries of the one in the baby carrier; screaming for release. I observed your presence of peace.
“How PEACE in the midst of such a crazy season???” (I remember that season so clearly; not always peaceful.))
I watched the looks of irritation, and I heard the huffs of disapproval from some…I could sense the judgments that you were surrounded by. And yet, you were CALM. Your demeanor was Peace and Calm; that is a beautiful reflection of Christ. That is what I saw. Some may have thought you and your cartload a nuisance, but I saw an example of LOVE. Thank you for sharing that treasure.
The 5 Love Languages for Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell is a well-known book that I have loved from the first reading of it. I read through and could identify various people with this or that attribute. I found the main Love Language in myself, my husband, Mom, Dad, etc…
My heart was really stirred to pick the book up a monthbefore school began and read it again; this time with 4 different colored pens for each of my 4 sons.
The knowledge of the Language types intertwined with the heart-connect for loved ones is a phenomenal thing to unfold! I just can’t recommend it enough!!
Understanding that all 5 types of Love are important to all of us is one thing…but then matching someones personality and character to 1 or 2 Languages…and then seeking out what that looks like in tangible Love for them is exciting!!!
I have 2 sons that relate the most to Physical Touch. Through the book, I learned that they really love gifts like cozy pjs or soft blankets; a flannel shirt is epic to them.
Another son gravitates toward Gifts. I never truly understood this language; since we all love getting gifts… but now I see that the package, presentation, etc. of the “gift” is treasured and noticed more by this personality type. Something that is made special or personalized; a favorite meal…all go a loooong ways for this one.
And so, after reading The 5 Love Languages for Children again, I made a little list that has become my go-to sheet when trying to relate to one of my children the best way I can. I highly recommend doing this for your family! I wrote down each child’s name, and then put their main Love Languages beside them, while writing out ideas to do with or for each son. I refer to it a lot; especially on hectic days when my brain needs a little reminder and I’m grasping for Peace. I found myself reflecting, praying and loving each child much more intentionally since this book. Go get a copy, read it, ask the Lord to show you your loved ones through His eyes, and be blessed while blessing them.
Incorporate variety in a few simple ways to create an overall page effect.
Pray.Father God, thank you for being PRESENT for each of us…all mankind. You are greater than all of our collective mess. Help us be still in Your sweet presence so that we may calmly move forward into our day with kindness toward others.
If you do your devotional in the early morning like I do, you might still be sleepy and make spelling mistakes or smudge your handwriting. That’s ok. Tear off a strip of washi tape to cover up the mistake…or trace over the letters to make it bolder.
Pray.Lord, thank you for designing the unique path for each of us; guide our steps each day. We trust in you to reveal the good way for our families in each decision we make.