Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Preparation

Well, the kids and I have been continuing our morning devotions, but I have been so busy of late that I haven't had the chance to type them up as posts.  We haven't even been to the Y in the last couple of weeks, because we've had so much to do that I worry about not having that extra two hours every morning to stay on top of things.  I'm hoping after next week (my brother and sister-in-law are coming for an early Christmas), we will be able to get back into the swing of things.

Because of the values we want to teach our children about Christmas and gifts, we decided to put some guidelines on the adult gift-giving as well.  We always put a limit out there (some are better at following it than others.  Just sayin'.), but this year we also added a "creativity" caveat.  Now, some of us will be better at following that than others, too.  Some of us are having a lot of fun with that, too.

Yesterday, the kids and I went to Michael's to search for Thanksgiving crafts.  (Wait til you see what we came out with.)  And of course, in traditional Michael's style, the first aisle (the main aisle, the aisle you have to walk down to get to all other aisles) was fully stocked with a variety of Christmas crafts.  So, after retrieving the supplies for our Thanksgiving crafts, we returned to the main aisle and each of the kids hunted down a project they could make for the members of their extended family (4 calling grandparents, 3 French uncles, and an aunt in a pear tree.  Or, maybe not.).  Anyway, they had a blast; they've never picked out individual gifts to give people before (last year, Christmas was a little...  weird.  And stressed.  Very stressed.)  I'm hoping they will learn something about giving this year, rather than focusing on "what I'm getting."  

In other holiday preparation, I have to say that while I was feeling guilty about being glad that my mother basically ordered me not to make a single thing for Thanksgiving dinner, I am completely over that now.  She assured me that she wants to make it all, and I assured her that I am more than happy to not have to worry about it this year.  Also, I bought a box's worth of assorted wines as my offering to the festivities, so that certainly didn't hurt in helping to assuage my guilt.  

Ryan will not be with us this year for Thanksgiving; we get him every other year, and this is not our year.  In the past, when he has been with us, he has spent time at my mom's house during the day or two before the big day, helping to prepare the big feast.  Last year, he spent two nights, making his brother very jealous.  Well, this year is Hunter's turn.  Tomorrow, he gets to go to Grandma's house and spend the night, helping her with all the cooking and baking.  He's very excited.  I'm rather excited myself.  I wonder if I can find anyone to take the other little monster.

Just kidding.  Sort of.

Actually, she and her daddy are going to spend some much-needed time together while I camp out at the bookstore and catch up on the writing that I've gotten sorely behind on this week.

Well, I guess that's all there is to share on the holiday prep stuff, at least for now.  There actually is a lot more that I really really want to share, but can't, since it would spoil the fun for a few of you.  You know who - oh, wait, no you don't know who you are.  Buahuahahahahahahaha.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Little Visits - Following the Leader

Yesterday was a bit of a... chaotic day.  Hunter and I started NaNoWriMo, which was exciting enough in itself.  Then we also took my car into Best Buy to get the MP3 jack put in (which took an hour and a half), and ran to Walmart for a few necessities to get us by until our next big monthly trip.  By the time we got home, it was dinner time; and then I had the first hour I had had to myself all day, so I took advantage of it and got some scrapping done :).  On top of all that, one of Randy's employees passed away yesterday morning, and my entire day was spent in prayer.  All of that to say, I didn't get here to talk about our devotions from the morning :).

The devotional story was about kids playing follow the leader, who went through some places that made it difficult for the children to follow at times.  Then we talked about how it's our responsibility to follow God where He leads us, even when it is difficult to follow.  It was so relevant and really spoke to me.  It also got me thinking about this past year and all the places God led us that really were difficult to follow Him through.  

For those of you who didn't read my adoption blog last year, the path with the kids started off rocky, with a fight from their great grandparents almost right out of the gates.  When the workers prepared to move the kids into our house for post-adoption foster care, a distant relative, who had professed to have no interest in adopting the children in the past, interjected themselves into the picture.  To avoid long drawn-out court proceedings trying to fight it, the DA opted to pursue that family, and we were told over the phone that we had "lost" the kids.  After two days of crying, wrestling, and bringing ourselves back to the realization that God was in control, we received another phone call telling us that the family, when told they would be pursued as an adoptive family, had backed out.  We took another two days to pray for God's will, and knew without a doubt where He was leading.

The next seven months were punctuated with court hearing after court hearing as the great grandparents continued to fight. 

Then there was a time almost exactly a year ago, when we felt so discouraged by the way things were going in court with the kids' situation.  We left one court hearing where things went in the complete opposite direction of what everyone - even the lawyers - was expecting, and we seriously considered calling our case worker and telling her we were done.  But after praying about it and realizing all that God had already brought us through, we knew He was still leading us forward.  We wouldn't be the ones to walk away; we would wait for God to shut the door.

Obviously, God knew where we would eventually end up, if we only followed Him.  We adopted our children in February of this year, and not a day goes by that I don't thank God for giving us the faith and strength to follow Him over the difficult paths.

Today's (yesterday's) verse: Ephesians 5:1 "Be followers of God, as His dear children."