In comparison with 2011 this year has been so much more settled.
I felt my word for the year was contentment and I feel like to a great degree that is the word that settled over my heart and my home. I came to greater peace and satisfaction with the roles in my life – the mother I am and I am aiming to become, the craft-er and sew-er I am, the person I am in the body I occupy.
In my blog I managed 52 posts about Becoming the Mama I Want to Be,
52 Wardrobe Wednesday posts and
52 Make My Week posts.
All of which have been a great delight to do and none have felt like a chore.
I want to thank you for being on the journey with me this year and I hope you will continue to add your voice of encouragement and find this to be a place of joy and encouragement in 2013.
Tomorrow I’ll let you know my hopes and aspirations for the new year.
And he will be called Emmanuel – meaning God with us.
This Christmas this is the part of the story that captures my heart – God with Us.
Not God far away and watching us from a distance
Not God foreign unable to be comprehended
Not a frightening angry God
God with us
dwelling with us
this is the Jesus of Christmas
capable of loving me as I am
capable to change my story
able to redeem my mess
This year for the first time I feel really excited by Advent (rather than swamped by good intentions and no time to execute them!). I think the boys are at an age where they can fully participate with it and engage in the excitement as well understanding the deeper meaning of it all.
For the first time this year I have made an advent calendar for the boys and filled with an activity for every day of advent.
Some are Christmassy and some are just about being together as a family.
Here is our list. This one was mainly inspired by Treena-Marie and there are some other excellent lists I’ve seen around too.
1. Decorate the tree
2. Family Christmas celebration with some other families
3. Make Cards for the teachers
4. Sing carols together as a family (with the help of You Tube!) Changed to making woolly sheep from our advent swap parcel
5. Have a pancake breakfast
6. Make snowflakes to hang around the house
7. Have hot chocolates and read Christmas stories before bed
8. Go to the supermarket and each choose something for the Christmas food bank
9. Plant something together Make the gingerbread house we got given all the pieces for
10. Play board games together before bed
11. Make ‘Christmas Puddings’ (mallow puffs with white chocolate, jaffas and spearmint leaves)
12. Read Luke 1 – maybe act it out?
13. Make Reindeer noses for friends (these are the ones we did last year https://makeitgiveit.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/hello-friday/ )
14. Mum’s Shop the Christmas version (the boys come and shop for each other – this is what my mum’s shop thing is all about – http://createhopeinspire.blogspot.co.nz/2012/09/bmwb-36-mums-shop.html )
15. Family bike ride – flip a coin at each corner to see which way to turn
16. Make Christmas crackers together
17. Read Luke 2
18. Listen to Christmas music
19. Do some baking together to give way
20. Watch a Christmas movie together
21. Wrap up gifts with mum (stuff they bought at Mum’s shop)
22. Go to a friend’s house and sing them some carols (The Atlas will hate this one!!)
23. Make North Pole cupcakes these are ours from last year https://makeitgiveit.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/make-my-week-44-christmassy-edibles/
24. Go to the Christmas eve service
This week the boys and I spent Friday afternoon putting the tree up together. This is a reasonably (for my skills!) complex task and there were times I wanted to just shoo them away so I could do it quickly. But I stopped and intentionally reminded myself I want this to be special for all of us, we are in no hurry, this is supposed to be fun – it made all the difference.
Then while they were in bed I put up the Advent Calendars, got the nativity out, positioned the wise men (they are making their way to Bethlehem and the boys have to fund them every day), and put up the wreath. I also wrapped the Christmas Books we were giving them and made and wrapped a handmade ornament for them both (a yearly tradition).
So on Saturday (my birthday) we spent a beautiful morning as a family decorating our tree. I love the sense of decorating together. The anticipation of many shared family activities and the conversations that arise. We talked about the Christmas Tree and how it is ‘ever-green’ and how that reminds me that God’s love for all of us is also ever green – it never changes, it never runs out, it never dies.
I have so enjoyed doing this series. I know it has really grown me as a Mama.
This year I am making more of a conscious effort to have quality moments with my boys. B.M.W.B (becoming the mama I want to be) is my way of recording and hopefully inspiring other mama’s too.
Simple. Achievable. Intentional: becoming the mama I want to be.
also in keeping with the Christmas theme I’m linking in here
I think God has set up the world so that the ordinary and natural things around us teach us too.
This week I have been making gingerbread with my boys. This batch was about using the same cutter because we needed them to be the same.
And yet – same cutter, same mixture, same person…. each one slightly different and isn’t that how it should be?
I think it’s easy to look at ourselves (our cookie if you will) and see the imperfections – the slightly too large head, the cracks, the too prominent or too soft features, a bit broken off here, a leg that is a little longer than the other…. instead of celebrating this we imagine that every other cookie in the batch is somehow perfect, without defect, cooked through perfectly.
I actually think what we are invited to is an abundant and warm ‘embrace of our self‘. Recognising that the imperfections we see are part of what make us who we are. Sure, we walk with a limp, our bodies are too soft or too angular but we are in fact all of the same mixture.
Each one of us lovingly crafted and pleasing to the Creator’s eye who hasn’t decided to have a world of uniformed, sameness – a Creator who revels in the differentness of the same.
Same ingredients – dust and spirit
As the boys’ new favourite t-shirts say, “Same, Same…but Different”
I was driving from one side of Christchurch to another the other day and I was diverted several times.
Christchurch is awash with roadworks, pot-holes, detours, new roads under construction….it’s relentless. At one point I was driving along unfamiliar roads and being diverted and I had one of those moments where I thought about how like life this can be.
I head off feeling sure of my direction, confident in my ability and along the way I hit pot-holes and suddenly I am driving very slowly, with great caution, quite uncertain of the direction I am being headed in.
At this point I have a choice – feel panicked and try to get back to where I think I should be heading or to trust that these diversions are taking me a safe way, the right way, that the diversions and signs are there for my protection and not to trick me or throw me off course
I can patiently negotiate these new paths taking time to think and be while the pace is slower or I can curse that I will be late, that I am diverted again, I can start to worry about having to do a right turn across a busy road because of this new route I have to take.
Maybe my life would be more fulfilling and I would learn more if I would take these diversions, detours, and road blocks as a gentle reminder to take time along the journey. Perhaps diversions are in fact an invitation into wildly trusting that Someone else knows better than me. An opportunity to understand that full speed ahead and trusting my own instincts might not actually get me anywhere good fast.
Do you resist diversions and 30km signs in your life or do you trust and relax? Do you submit or do you resist?
As this week draws to a close I want to focus on richness. All around us and in our own lives we often experience the speed in which our circumstances can change – health taken for granted suddenly threatened, stable circumstances instantly changed, good news, bad news, hopes and horrors.
So just for today I want to breathe in the riches I have today – the man I love at my side happy to see me at the end of every day, the healthy, happy loving sons I have been given to parent, the warmth of the fire, the happy news of babies born, a house full of the sound of laughter and dishes on the bench and mess in most rooms. Things I have today that I hope to have all the days of my life. These things do not come with promises to last forever but should I ever lose them I never want to regret having forgotten to be grateful for them every day.
Sometimes when I stop and think about the riches of my life right down to a sneaky bag of lollies in the pantry I am overwhelmed by the wonder of what I have. Sometimes overwhelmed to the point of tears that I could receive such goodness. A wonder I get to appreciate every day. Wonder undeserved – these things come about not from my good deeds or hard work – these are the abundance of circumstances that have been gifted to me.
I am rich every day, today I am stopping and thanking God and letting those blessings rest in my heart.
There is a Psalm that is very precious to me – I think of it as ‘my’ Psalm and as a special one for The Atlas and I. In it is says
The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me, surely I have a delightful inheritance.
What blessings are resting in your heart today?
These words come from a gorgeous little booklet called ‘What I Think and Read About Worry’, by Corrie Ten Boom a woman who hid Jews during the war and spent time in a concentration camp. The latter part of her life was all about healing and reconciliation between victims and perpetrators of the war.
Worry is about carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days in one. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. There is just one day in the calendar of action, that is today. Planning should include a wide swing of days. But action belongs to one day only – today. We get tensed up about the future….it uses up energy you need for today’s business of living.
May you find the strength and grace you need today to let go of the worries that belong to the future.
However you spend today may you know the great hope and freedom that comes from the LOVE that triumphs over death.
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Happy Easter dear ones
Today is important for me.
Today I reminded that I am worth a King’s ransom – the life of his son in exchange for all my baggage and all that holds me back.
And I am reminded that this sacrifice wasn’t just for ‘good’ people, for a specific people group, for a set time in history – it was once and for all.
and it finished anything I thought I could earn or do
I didn’t and don’t deserve the sacrifice of Good Friday but I am so grateful to accept it.
xx Happy, Happy day to you on this very special Friday xx
I love by stopping to be grateful each week I am challenged to notice good things each week.
This week I am loving bloggers – last week I had the joy of an evening with Meghan. We took in Te Papa’s wedding dress collection and she took me out for Gelato to Kaffe Eis. Mmmmm. Meeting bloggers and making new friends has been one of the unexpected awesome side-effects of blogging.
As well as thinking Meghan is delightful company I have also made her Massuman curry and her Green Curry this week. Both recipes are on her blog. The Atlas is grateful for her input too! 🙂
I’m also loving the vege co-op at school. Each week I pay $10 and for this I get a bag of veges and one of fruit. This week we got – nashis, plums, pears, bananas, mandarins, ginger, cucumber, aubergine, broccoli, brussels sprouts and a capsicum. Definitely good value for money and worth owning Digby Law’s vegetable cookbook!
I also had a wee chuckle this week when I biked past 3 men with a spirit level on a road when they had been doing some work. Bless them I’d be surprised if any road in Christchurch would be level nowadays…..
I’m also adoring this gorgeous list written by Flip – it’s the fruit of the Spirit. I’m thinking about how to record this is some form to make it more permanent.