December 23, 2010

{the best gift}

{Cozy Christmas}

Each year, I find myself getting excited and anticipating Christmas at least 6 weeks before it actually arrives. Neal and I celebrate Dutch Christmas (known as Sinterklaas) on Dec 5th and have a tradition of opening stockings and indulging in special chocolate and almond-flavored treats! This year I am happy to have a home to decorate and the tree was up well in advance of Sinterklaas... I find it helps to stretch the holidays!
It has really been a beautiful season so far, for so many reasons. Thanks to an Anne Voskamp advent devotional, I'm motivated to read daily (...or at least try to) and really reflect on Jesus. Thanks to a fabric flower tutorial, some select gifts are looking a little crafty-er than usual. And thanks to some old passed-down recipes, my kitchen is filled with 6 doz odd cookies! Perhaps my New Year's resolution will be similar to Cadi's...
thanks to  all the holiday goodness... hee hee... 
on second thought... I think I'll keep a few 'healthy' pounds.

Lots of family time is planned and I'm looking forward to soaking up every minute. This holiday holds - Church service Christmas Eve, games and yummy snacks (.... again with the food!), driving around to look at lights,  and quiet times reading some old favorite books. Right now I'm giggling my way through Beatrix Potter - haven't read it since I was little and is it ever cute and funny to read her stories as an adult! I've also been reflecting on this passage of scripture, it fills my heart with awe and thankfulness;

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 
Who, being in very nature God,
   did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing

   by taking the very nature of a servant,
   being made in human likeness. 
And being found in appearance as a man,
   he humbled himself
   by becoming obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!
 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
   and gave him the name that is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
   in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father.
Phillippians 2:5-11

Emmanuel, God with us.
Have a blessed Christmas and may He fill your heart with peace, joy and love.

December 4, 2010

{a soft heart}

My students have been whiny lately. You know the kind, the tone and frequency which has the ability to instantly zap all patience and render you frazzled, over situations or events that have no significance to an adult. I hit my knees Thursday morning, praying for a great ocean of patience and grace to be poured into my being so I can make it to Christmas break! Although I am *usually* able to keep it together on the outside, inside is a swirling mass of chaos and frustration! So when this little conversation came my way Friday morining, it touched me on a deeper level.

I was leading my class down the halls to their daily morning bathroom break. We walk like little ducks, one row of boys on one side and one row of girls on the other, with me leading the parade at the front. Sometimes my 'line-leaders' like to hold my hand while we walk, at other times they exercise their independence. On this particular Friday morning my hands were clasped by both boy and girl leaders. The little boy looked up at me and said, "I like holding your hand in the hallways. Do you know why I like holding your hand in the hallways? Because it's always warm and soft."

Bless his little heart.

What a reminder to me, that in my dealings with these little hearts I *so* need not only warm and soft hands, but a warm and soft heart.

Lord, keep my heart warm and soft.