Tuesday, December 11, 2012

These Are the Special Times!

Sitting in the living room tonight listening to the joyful sounds coming from all over the house.  Jon is laughing at something on TV,  Carrie is in her room singing and piddling while she plays.  Jay is on his way home, and chili is heating in the kitchen.  Not sure how I've found a place to land all by myself, but I'm going to enjoy the next few minutes before the daddy comes home and the kiddos greet him.  Christmas music playing,  "These Are the Special Times" by Christina Aguilera.  Not sure I've ever heard this, but truly feel these joyful sounds throughout my home are some of those "special times" she is singing about.

Several weeks ago I began planning some fun things to do with the hubs and children over Advent.  I am such a "do-er".  I love to plan and give....time, things, energy,love....  As I began to talk to each of them about things we could do for others, I realized my kiddos were not in the giving mood.  As I began to evaluate the seriousness of this problem I realized that we were not at "Scrooge" level yet, but the oldest got really put out with my suggestions (mainly because the giving was not directed at him).  I so DON'T understand this irrational thinking.  Does "giving" skip a generation or are we doing a poor job of teaching them? 

I decided not to give up on them, but look for ways to remedy the problem. So began my search for some creative ways to share the joys of Christmas with my two blessed children. I was determined it was not to late to change this attitude!  As I began the search,  I found many wonderful tools to use with your family during Advent/holidays.  I checked out several blogs I follow and linked up with those who have done their homework on this very issue.  Here are my TOP TWO favorites: 

"Truth in the Tinsel" by ohAmanda.  This great little resource is a download to help "little ones" experience the true meaning of Christmas.  Each day has a "clue" that kids are listening for as you read part of the Christmas story. After hearing the story, there are fun ornaments and additional activities to help the story come to life.  My "little ones" are 7 and 11, and they are enjoying the crafty time this book has to offer.  I have found ways to increase the discussion starters and  make this relevant to their age.  It is an amazing tool parents can use, and soooo easy to do.  Check out the link above to download your copy today.

The 2nd resource I LOVE is Lil Light O'Mine's Random Acts of Christmas kindness.  I love to do things for others, and dream of their reactions to the act.  At the age of 15 I purchased a book chocked full of Acts of Kindness suggestions.  It brought such great memories of my young quests as I combed through Courtney's blog.  Lil Light O'Mine has some wonderful suggestions for children of all ages. 

If your family doesn't have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads after reading through the opportunities, don't get discouraged.  We are all human, and our nature is to be self centered.  When I first mentioned the idea of Acts of kindness to my bunch,  here is the feedback I got:
  •  "Do I have to spend my money?"  (in their best "valley girl" voice/attitude")
  • "Nobody would do that for me!  Why should I do it for someone else?" (because I am soooo deprived of everything) 
  • "I could never be so lucky to find 'free money'."  (from the mouth of a child who has more cash in his wallet than I do) 
  • "I think when we put it out I'm gonna sneak it back without you knowing. ha ha!

I assured my kiddos the fun in doing some of theses things would be worth anything it might cost us to do it.  Unconvinced, we printed the list and made our plan of attack.  It was so interesting to see what the kids chose first or saved for last.  So far we have done three things we want to add to the list to do again: 
  • Leave change taped to the coke machine 
  • A few dollars in the pages of some of our favorite books at the local book store 
  • A neighbor gift given in secret 
Check out Lil Light O'Mine and OhAmanda and make your own list today.  It's never to late to do something kind for another person or seek God for answers.  An act of kindness or a look into God's word is like medicine for our soul.  Maybe you are thinking  "how do I make time when I have none to give?"  I know a woman's work is never done, but there is a quote that has always stuck with me when I found myself wrapped up in the details of life,  "In order to sustain your doing, you must sustain your being."  I have no idea where I heard this, but it made sense the moment I let it soak in.  So, sustain your being today by soaking in the joys around you, letting God speak to your hear, and then give back to others around you!


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