Thursday, November 28, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Happy Thanksgiving!

I started this 30 Days of Thanks in an effort to make Thanksgiving a season, rather than just one day of thanks.  Some days were more challenging than others.  I believe that when we practice thanksgiving on a daily basis, it helps us to look for the good things in every situation.  

I'm thankful for all of those who joined me---in whatever way you decided---by linking up, blogging about it or just by saying an extra prayer of thanksgiving. 

I'm thankful today that I get to be surrounded by the 4 people I love most in this world. 

I'm thankful that we have a peaceful home (most of the time, that is) that is filled with love and respect for each other. 

I'm thankful to my Maker who has given me too many blessings to count.  

I'm thankful that my husband is not a football fan.  

I'm thankful that today will be spent eating and being together!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving from Eclectic Momma!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 29

Thanksgiving is only a day away....
  • I give thanks for concerts and friends.
  • I give thanks for a dry shelter.
  • I'm thankful for safe travels in bad weather.
  • I'm thankful for the smile on my daughter's face of appreciation.
  • I give thanks that we can be together as a family.
  • I give thanks for God's Word that reveals His plan for our lives.
  • I'm thankful for getting a discount even though the sale was over.  (They accidentally left a sign up too long and honored the deal anyway!  I didn't even notice the dates.)
  • I'm thankful for the hope of snow and how excited my little one will be if it happens.
  • I give thanks just because.....

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 28

Today I give thanks:

  • for our intricately designed bodies that tell us when we are tired, hungry, cold and so many other things.  
  • that Michael did not have a meltdown yesterday during our marathon shopping trip.
  • for finding something we lost in a store.
  • for homemade macaroni and cheese.
  • for being able to chill out after a long day. 
  • for a cozy fire.
  • that we have the means to communicate with people that live hundreds of miles away.
  • for coupons and things on sale.
  • for safe travels on our stops shopping yesterday.
  • unexpected surprises in the mail.

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

1 Corinthians 15:57


Monday, November 25, 2013

7 Tips for a More Relaxing Holiday

The holiday season is upon us.  If you are anything like me, the lists are long and the days seem short.  It's not even Thanksgiving and I'm starting to panic and feel overwhelmed.  To survive and enjoy this season, I'm going to have to act quick, so I don't end up like Scrooge!

Here are a few tips to help us survive and have a (more) relaxed holiday:

1.  Learn to say "No!" before you snap

It's hard to say "no" to all the invitations, events and expectations, but remember we can't do it all.  To keep your sanity and to keep from pulling out your hair, you have to draw the line somewhere.  Yes, someone might be offended or question your choice or loyalty.  But, when you find yourself snapping at anyone who dares look in your direction, it's time to start saying, "No!"  

2.  From Scratch- Optional

I had all these plans for how I was going to make up my own Christmas Around the World unit that would incorporate Advent readings and unique crafts.    When I started looking online, I found there was already so much well-written material available. Here I was stressing to do something that's already been done.  It certainly doesn't invalidate the whole thing, just because I didn't do it all "from scratch." 

Food is the same way.  If you love to cook from scratch and it makes you happy---go for it!!!  If it only stresses you out, take a step back and re-evaluate.  Your kids won't care if you don't make everything from scratch.  Pick a few simple recipes to make or buy something already pre-made.  You might even get your kids to make a side dish each to add to the meal. 

3.  Early Deadlines

There is something about getting things done early that relaxes me around the holidays.  Procrastination only adds stress in my life.  I don't want to be shopping  on Christmas Eve when I can be enjoying spending that time with my family at home and away from the crowds.  

I give myself personal deadlines to finish holiday tasks.  For example, I try to have my cards and extended family gifts in the mail no later than the Monday after Thanksgiving.  You can give yourself deadlines to finish any holiday task with plenty of time to spare. 

4.  Pick and Choose

As a family, we have quite a few Advent traditions.  Too many maybe (if you could ever have such a thing).  This year, I've decided to simplify a bit.  I have felt overwhelmed this Fall season and I don't want to let that put a damper on my Advent.  I started by asking the kids what ONE Advent tradition they wouldn't want to skip this year.  We decided almost unanimously that Jesse Tree would be our main Advent activity.  We'll put aside our Advent box calendar and The Truth in the Tinsel activities. We'll downsize!

We'll still light our Advent candles every Sunday and countdown the 12 days to Christmas with our nativity.  Simple, yet meaningful reminders.  

Don't be afraid to pick and choose traditions, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed!
5.  Do What You "Love"

Don't let unnecessary obligations squeeze out the things you love.  This goes back to # 1!  If you try to do everything, you'll end up so tired you won't be able to enjoy the things you really love about the holiday season.  

6.  Leave Room for the Unexpected

In years past, we've had unexpected needs arise in our community around the holidays.   Because we try to leave holes in our schedule, we've been able to joyfully help in those situations without feeling stressed or without any time to help.

Make sure not to over-schedule during the holidays.  Leave room in the proverbial "inn" for Christ to visit in unexpected ways.

7.  Stop...Wait...Remember

Advent is a time of "waiting".  It marks the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  If our activity is so much that we forget what we are actually celebrating or we start to dread every time we look at the calendar... it's time to STOP!  It's time to wait!  It's time to remember!  To remember why we are celebrating in the first place.  

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 27

I am thankful for being able to assemble together with fellow believers to read the Word, fellowship over good food, pray, and share music.

I am thankful when things aren't as bad as they could have been. 

I am thankful for time shared with friends. 

I am thankful for cornbread dressing...a taste of home. 

I am thankful for a month of relaxed school. 

I am thankful for clear, starry nights and the thrill of an amateur astronomer finding Jupiter in the sky. 

I am thankful for my beautiful children. 

I am thankful for the look of pride I noticed on my husband's face while gazing at our children across the table. 

I am thankful my turkey is already cooked and ready for Thanksgiving Day. 

I am thankful that JP got the job of carving it and getting it ready for the freezer. 

I am thankful for a boy's winter coat we bought several years ago for $5 and it fits just right this year! 

I am thankful for a warm house on a cold night.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 26

 Give thanks!

I give thanks for optimistic children who make kites out of drinking straws, paper and string. Then, pull out other kites and try to fly them around our yard for over an hour.

I'm thankful for phone conversations with friends.

I give thanks for the ways that God reveals himself to people.

I'm thankful for how God knows the desires of our hearts and send reassurances to us that He is with us...taking care of things.

I give thanks for clean bathrooms. 

I'm thankful for a husband that notices when we haven't seen each other very much lately and appreciates the time we do have.

I give thanks for reminders that God is the one who is changing us to make us into who He wants us to be.

I'm thankful once again for God's beautiful nature--flowers, bears and butterflies.

 I give thanks for stuffed elephants on k'nex bicycles designed by Michael. 

Going Coastal

Review and Giveaway: The First Christmas Night


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned below for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

About this product:  

The First Christmas Night 
Written by: Keith Christopher 
Illustrated by: Christine Kornacki
Publisher: Ideals Books
Hardcover: 32 pages 

Author bio:
Keith Christopher is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and educator, and he has served as editor and producer for several major music publishers. In addition to writing and studio producing, Keith served on the faculty at the Blair School of Music of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his wife and two children.

Illustrator bio:
At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life. After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children's books began to take shape, including illustrating the best-selling The Sparkle Box for Ideal's Children's Books. Christine's recent work also includes illustrating the six-book series for the American Girl historical doll characters Marie-Grace and Cecile.  She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut. 

Our thoughts: 

This is a beautiful story book that retells the story of The First Christmas Night.  

It captures your attention right from the beginning: 

"'Twas the very first Christmas,
when all through the town..."

I love that this storybook is modeled after the very popular classic poem, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.   Since I love the classic poem, it was awesome to see how they could weave the Christmas story into that same poetic form. 

The illustrations are so realistic they almost look like a photograph.  Every page is like a portrait.  This would easily be a beautiful coffee table book that even adults would enjoy. 

Now, some people take issue with the blending of the two distinct parts of the Christmas story.  They point out that most likely the wise men were not there the "first" night with the shepherds.  Yeah...yeah...I understand that.  But for the celebration of Christmas, we can't just leave the wise men out every couple of years to prove the point.  We understand that the story is not necessarily linear, but we need to tell the entire story in a way that makes sense to even the youngest child.  

We really enjoyed this picture book and plan on reading it again and again this Christmas season. 

It's the most beautiful story ever told...the real reason we celebrate!

To learn more or buy:
Ideals Facebook 

Buy @ Ideals Website

Would you like a chance to win your own copy of The First Christmas Night?  Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 23, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 25

 Today I'm thankful:

  • for modern medicine
  • for choices
  • that we have the ability to change our schedule to fit our needs
  • for being on the same "page" with my husband
  • for good books and rainy days
  • for Christmas carols on the piano, flute and radio
  • for Tera's focaccia

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

 1 Chronicles 16:34

  Going Coastal

Friday, November 22, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 24

Some days are harder than others to be thankful. After waking up at 3:30 AM and not going back to sleep, crankiness runs deep. 

So, I give thanks for friends who listen to my crankiness and do not judge me for it. 

I give thanks for the grace of God! 

I'm thankful for safe travels today. 

I'm thankful Michael played by himself for a long period of time at art lessons today.  In that time I was able to write several pages of notes for an article.

I give thanks for a daughter that always helps out in all sorts of ways from babysitting to sweeping up a mess, just so I don't have to.  

I'm thankful for two little boys that keep me on my toes and laughing at their antics.  

I give thanks for easy dinners.  

I'm thankful for a good night's sleep!  

Rejoice always,  pray continually,   
give thanks in all circumstances; 
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Going Coastal

Thursday, November 21, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 23

 I give thanks:

  • for beautiful school pictures (Yes, we have an awesome home school group with a yearbook among other things.)
  • for our home school support groups and all it's opportunities.
  • for little boys who seem to pick up on things by osmosis like algebra.
  • for dirty socks in K'nex buckets.
  • for roast chicken and vegetables and how good my house smells while it's cooking.
  • for things crossed off on a long to-do list.
  • that my kids help around the house with chores and cooking (even if it's just muffins for breakfast).  
  • for fun and goofy times playing games with these two.
  • that Michael loves building things--I love to see what things that boy can come up with.  Most recently it was a DVD player out of K'nex and he used a viewfinder disc for his DVD.  

May I never forget the Giver of all good gifts!

  Going Coastal

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 22

Things I give thanks for:

  • good dental care
  • hearing my kids practice for the 3rd Annual Vilaire Family Spectacular (a play that Tera writes for a private showing on Christmas Eve).
  • my husband taking over a situation that has been frustrating me.
  • $0.69 a lb. turkeys
  • green vegetables and lots of them
  • my new Advent wreath that I put together...I love it! (Everyone else does, too!)

  • the promise of hope, peace, love and joy!
  • this thought I read in my devotions this morning:  "You already know the ultimate destination of your journey; your entrance into heaven.  So keep your focus on the path just before you, leaving outcomes up to Me." - Jesus Calling

  Going Coastal

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Advent Wreath

This year I decided we needed a new advent wreath---something with mason jars, non-traditional and with natural elements.  So, I started searching on pinterest, found some ideas and made them my own.  I love how it turned out!!!

I took 4 jelly mason jars and glued purple/pink ribbon just under the rims.  Tied one strand of hemp cord around the rim to attach the wooden tags I found at Hobby Lobby.  Each mason jar is filled less than halfway with sand.  A candle to light each week for Advent sits on top of the sand. 

The Christ candle sits in the middle on a stack of wooden pieces.  I want to add a wooden or carved cross to the hemp strand before the first Sunday of Advent. (I'm sure on Christmas morning I'll move the candle to a less messy place.)

I used my grandmother's platter and arranged the jars in a circle around the Christ candle.  Then, filled in the space with pretty shells.

All ready for December 1st! 

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 21

Today I give thanks for:

  • spending time with Tera and Daniel decorating the town Christmas tree
  • being able to mark some things off my weekly to-do list
  • Michael's continued recovery (Even though he still has the bump on his head, he seems his normal self)
  • these young adults teaching my kids to swim 

  • relationships with all kinds of different people God has placed in our path
  • serious, yet encouraging talks on long car trips
  • God's grace in raising our children
  • two cars
  • clean drinking water and flush toilets

Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes--these are not for you.
 Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

Ephesians 5:4

  Going Coastal

Monday, November 18, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 20

I have one huge thanks today! When we got back from our trip, Michael fell off the back porch steps. Tera and Daniel were screaming, we were at the car getting out luggage. We dropped our stuff and ran to the house. My mother's heart was beating so hard. Michael was laying on the ground and I expected to see blood everywhere. He was crying and JP took over, because I kinda panic, usually. 

We brought him inside and he had a goose egg on the back of his head. We put ice on it and called the doctor. We had just gotten home from a 6 hour trip and it was past the kids' bedtimes. Children's Hospital called us back and the nurse talked JP through the things for us to look for with directions to wake him up in two hours.

We woke him up some time before midnight.  I spent those two hours oscillating between worrying, praying, thinking of what could have been, and thanking God it wasn't as bad as it "could have been".  

He woke up and knew his name right off.  Then, I asked him questions until I was fully satisfied he wasn't disoriented.  We gave him some tylenol and put him back to bed.  He slept the whole night with no crying or complaining.  I set my alarm clock for 3:30 AM and went in to check on him again.  He stirred at just me patting his back. 

The next morning, he woke up at a normal time and wanted breakfast right away.  Michael was talking, singing and telling jokes.  Basically, his normal self. 

I give thanks for God's protection over my little boy and I'm so glad he is okay.  He has been our miracle baby from the beginning.  I just hope he doesn't have to remind me so vividly in the future. 

  Going Coastal

Sunday, November 17, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 19

I'm thankful for a lot of things today.  We made an overnight trip home to see family this weekend.  It was a blessing to see everyone if only for a short amount of time.

I give thanks for...

brotherly love

rainbows after the storms...

crazy and sweet cousins....

wide open spaces...

cooking lessons with Granny....

for these two kind, sweet souls...

children so tired they can't help but fall asleep in the car...

and for no car trouble and safe travels.

  Going Coastal

Saturday, November 16, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 18

I give thanks:

  • for the stars in the sky
  • that I have three precious children
  • for my electric blanket
  • for songs 

  • for being able to share on this blog the things that mean something to me in hopes of helping other people and staying connected.
  • for springtime after long winters
  • God's mercy and grace that never gives me what I deserve
  • for my eyesight
  • for God's Spirit in my life leading and guiding me!

"Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love 
and His wonderful deeds for men, 
for He satisfies the thirsty 
and fills the hungry with good things."  
Psalm 107:8-9

  Going Coastal

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 17

 Today I give thanks:

  • for a husband that knows me better than anyone else
  • for medicine for when we're sick
  • for health insurance so our kids can go to the doctor and dentist
  • that I can stay home with my children
  • for Facebook so I can keep up with friends and family that do not live close by anymore
  • happiness
  • for my husband's sense of humor...sometimes.  
  • sunshine streaming through the window on a cold day
  • that even though life seldom goes as we's still a good life and one that I'm happy to live.
  • music that makes me smile

  Going Coastal

Thursday, November 14, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 16

I'm overwhelmed at times at the vastness of God's creation, His unique handiwork is beyond awesome!

 the flowers...

beautiful sunrises...

magnificent sunsets...




 I'm thankful for this beautiful world that we live in!

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge. 
 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them. 
 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

Psalm 19:1-4

  Going Coastal

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

30 Days of Thanks 2013: Day 15

"Give thanks with a grateful heart, 
Give thanks to the Holy One,
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son!"

I give thanks for the music that fills our home and lives.  Any given day, there are sounds of piano, flute, guitar and voices drifting through various corners of our home.  It is good to give thanks in song!

There is a bitter cold in the air today.  One that just leaves the bones feeling frigid.  I'm so thankful that we have shelter and warmth.  

I'm thankful that I'm able to teach and encourage my children in their Christian faith.  Earlier this week, we were talking about justification.  About how when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, He justifies us.  It's "just-as-if" I never sinned.  My children actually cheered out loud about that.  It is something  we all should cheer about.  Isn't that just awesome?

I'm amazed at the creativity that God has given my children.  Michael runs around with a 3 foot K'nex rocket strapped to his back that the kids helped him make.  I think how wonderful our imaginations work and I'm thankful God gave us this wonderful gift.

I'm thankful that I have all my mental faculties.  

I'm thankful that after being diagnosed 2 years ago with IC (interstitial cystitis) that I'm still managing it through diet and lifestyle changes.  I'm feeling pretty good these days. God is good to me!

" And now let the weak say, "I am strong."
Let the poor say, "I am rich, because of
what the Lord has done for us!"
Give thanks!"

Going Coastal


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...