o come let us adore himimage via The Small Seed

We had a busy Thanksgiving weekend, seeing lots and lots of family on both sides and introducing Foster to many who hadn’t met him before. Of course it was exhausting, doing anything with two boys takes a little more planning and effort, but it was so worth it! Saturday we drove 400 miles and were in 3 different states. It was a long day, and we didn’t know how the boys would do in the car for so long, but they were troopers! It helped that it was a beautiful day. We divided the trip into 3 parts, so we all got breaks, and the best part was that the boys were asleep when we got home, so we just transported them in their jammies to bed and called it a night.

family photosEven though it would have been easier to stay home, or limit the people we saw, it was so good for my heart to share our boys with those who love and pray for them. What parent doesn’t love to hear others ooo and ahhh over how sweet and darling and wonderful their children are? Even when they didn’t take a nap the day before and were up before 6, ready to play, play, play, you love them. But sometimes we need to hear that other people love them too to remind us how special they really are.

I am doing the She Reads Truth advent study O Come, Let Us Adore Him. Who else is reading it? Isn’t it amazing? Seriously, I love all their studies, but this one is especially good. I even forked over the money for the printed journal this time and love having the space for reflection.

As I have been reading all the prophesy leading up to Christ’s birth, I can’t help but think about how the shepherd’s and the wise men came to see Jesus and adore him. I’m sure Mary and Joseph’s hearts swelled with pride in much the same way Adam’s and mine do when we share our baby with others. Here was their precious baby, their first born son, so tiny and sweet and innocent. And this little baby was also the Savior of the world! Even if their hearts couldn’t comprehend the gravity of it all, they couldn’t help but share their joy with others.

My goal is to focus on the joy and wonder of Christ’s birth this year and simply adore the season. I’m trying really hard to limit the busyness that comes with this time of year. I’m not going to every cookie exchange and I’m not sending out Christmas cards to a huge list of people. I hate saying no to things, but I know my limits and this year more than any other year, I know I can’t do it all. We have a tree but didn’t put out all the decorations. I even skipped the nativity scene! (It’s just easier that way since Emerson would want to play with all the pieces).

Even though I’m itching to make a new wreath (did you see all the amazing ones over at The Nesting Place?), instead I’m sitting in the living room with the tree lights on and enjoying a cup of decaf while the boys nap. I might get pictures taken to post later, or you may have to imagine what it looks like.

I hope you all give yourself permission to slow down this year and enjoy the season! Especially you mama’s with little ones and pregnant ladies! I loved Lisa Jo-Baker’s post giving mom’s permission to “let it go”.

 

Happiness is…

by Andrea Cooley

HappinessWhat makes you happy? It may seem like an arbitrary question, and the answer might change from day to day. As I thought about the things that make me happy, I realized that most of them are little. I don’t need to spend a lot of money or do something extraordinary to be happy. I also realized happiness and thankfulness go hand in hand.

A friend of mine was feeling bogged down by all the negativity that we see in the news and on social media. She challenged friends to focus on all the blessings, or happy things in their lives, and make a list of them. She created the 100 Happy Things project to catalog them. She posted my list last week, but I also wanted to it here.

I love reading what makes other people happy! It makes me want to start another list, because there are so many things I didn’t include on this one like Iowa, coupons, coloring, and the perfect ballpoint pen.

I worked on this for a couple weeks during the boys’ naps. It was such a great way to unwind and remember all the little (and big) things God has blessed me with. Moments I want to remember, especially on the hard days. Times when I can’t help but smile, just thinking about them.

So here’s my list. It’s seasonal and reflective of the season I’m in (notice all the baby-related things!). This is an exercise I hope to repeat at least once a year. I’m sure some things will always make the list (ahem, coffee!) but I’m sure others will fade into the background.

1. Pumpkin-spice donuts 2. crunching in leaves 3. baby noises 4. the miracle of birth 5. peppermint mocha creamer 6. snail mail 7. phone dates with long-distance friends 8. blowing bubbles 9. flip flop weather 10. new fall TV 11. game nights 12. crockpot dinners 13. leftovers 14. a stack of library books 15. stovetop popcorn 16. worship in a barn 17. facetime with family 18. backyard zinnias 19. Jack Johnson 20. homegrown tomatoes and BLTs

21. date nights 22. guacamole 23. sweet smelling candles 24. sleeping babies 25. stroller walks 26. sleeping with the windows open 27. star gazing 28. parades 29. Bible studies with friends 30. girl time 31. garage sales 32. birthday cake 33. reading books with my boys 34. rainbows 35. thunderstorms 36. dark chocolate 37. family naps 38. driving with the windows rolled down 39. country music 40. clean sheets

41. babysitters 42. online shopping 43. family videos 44. heated seats 45. slippers 46. pajama pants 47. my Kindle Paperwhite 48. slobbery toddler kisses 49. Christmas music 50. fireflies 51. sunsets 52. beach vacation 53. candle light 54. lattes 55. crispy bacon 56. the golden hour 57. holding friend’s babies 58. succulents 59. playing in the garden 60. holding hands with my hubby

61. decorating 62. trips to target 63. pretty fabric 64. cupcakes 65. sipping coffee from a pretty mug 66. new magazines 67. play dates 68. getting a massage 69. red wine 70. pigtails 71. family hugs 72. bike rides 73. the feeling after a good run 74. TiVo 75. grilled cheese and tomato soup 76. laughing with my sister 77. painting my fingernails 78. fireworks 79. floating in the ocean 80. story time at the library

81. losing track of time while reading a good book 82. cozy slippers 83. sleeping under a heavy down comforter 84. neighbors 85. going out for breakfast 86. little free libraries 87. spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen 88. being crafty 89. painting 90. tulips 91. tropical sno cones 92. getting my hair cut 93. kids’ birthdays 94. stationary stores 95. Starbucks 96. playing piano 97. the stillness of falling snow 98. writing 99. listening to NPR 100. SheReadsTruth

What’s on your list? I’d love to know!

You can send your list to Becky at 100happythingsproject@gmail.com, if you want to be part of the happiness project.

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