Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 18

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide.If you have been following this series, scroll down past the picture for today’s tip! Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 18-

You are not a vending machine.

“This is what I want,” my son said as he flashed an expensive item before me. I saw the price first and the present second. Almost half my Christmas budget.

This is not my first Christmas with children or my  first Christmas with adopted children. I have learned the hard way that children from hard places sometimes want proof that someone loves them. Material proof. If you love me then you will buy me this pricey present,they challenge.

It was daughter, Audrey who reminded me of the important truth- I am not a vending machine (and neither are you). Christmas presents do show others that we love them, but they are not based on coins spend or love doled out in material measure. Each gift should fit the recipient and the budget of the giver. We Moms can easily throw our whole year’s budget when we feel compelled to love a child with the vending machine mentality.

The sad truth is no matter what we buy a child, it will never fill the need for love. Material things are not eternal soul-fillers. The child may be happy for a moment, a week or a month, but eventually that vending machine need grows into greed. And greed is never satisfied. Greed never loves. Greed doesn’t affirm. Greed doesn’t hug or play board games or read books. It just cries for more.

So, this Christmas don’t fall into the vending machine trap. Fall into the loving, time-giving, affirming habit. Christmas gifts are not the purpose, they are the icing on the cake of Him who gave the perfect present-Himself.

Biblical Application:

Wait and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing].(A)

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy].- Isaiah 55: 1,2

It’s easy to get excited about the material gifts this season. I know I do and at my age, I get to pick them out (with help from elves). It is so much fun thinking about the recipient opening the gift and imagining the look on their face. I get caught up in it as much as the next mama, but I must remember for myself and my children, the only one who will satisfy. We spend money this Christmas season for things that will not satisfy long term. Remember to let your soul delight in the fatness of spiritual joy. That is a wonderful gift to give your children. Choose joy!

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 13

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide. Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 13-

Make your family’s personality shine.

There are so many opportunities to do something during the Christmas season. Just be careful the things that you do fit your family’s personality. My family looks forward to going to the movies with aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, etc. We always have a puzzle out. We pull out the board games, speed scrabble, boggle. We love word games. We love puzzles. My sister-in-law Kris and I grab our books (or kindles) in the morning before everyone wakes for breakfast. These are our family times. We make them a priority. Dessert at my sister’s. Coffee at Barnes and Noble. What fits your family’s personality?

Biblical application:

During the Christmas season we can grow weary in well doing and just downright exhausted. When we do, our family personality can turn sour during fun activities. A simple conversation about flying reindeer can turn into an argument. Cookie baking day can quickly fall into a disaster day. How do we avoid these sour attitudes?  Well, remember to take a rest day, don’t pile too much on your plate and most of all, remember our fight is not against flesh and blood, there is a war going on above your head in the heavenlies. Satan likes to steal, kill and destroy. He loves to destroy the atmosphere of family time.

Pray this section of scripture for your family, inserting each family members names. The Word is a powerful tool! Try it!

Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your (insert names)mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you (insert names)were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).

31 Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you (insert names), with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).

32 And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.- Ephesians 4: 29-32

*(insert names) added by me.

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 12

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide. Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 12-

Make sure you are present.

We moms want our kids to have the best Christmas ever. We do everything we can to make it possible. Sometimes we get caught up in the doing. Wrapping presents behind closed doors. Baking. Shopping. Planning. It is good work. Kids sometimes don’t get it though. They cannot wait for the day. They need us Moms now. In the present, not the future. They are in the here and now. Not the future.

Biblical Application:

 In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.

He was present originally with God.

 And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth. -John 1, 2, 14

Jesus was Christmas present. He was present originally with God (John 1:2) The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Let us not be only words.  Let us be present in word and deed. I know, it’s tough. I have “just a minuted’ my kids just as much as the next gal. I have put doing above being. I have put white lights on my tree when my kids begged for colored. I spoken words and not followed through. Let’s make it a point, together, not to do that. Let us be present this season for our children when regression strikes, when triggers come out of the woodwork, when they ask us to keep our promise and play a game or have a tea party with plastic food.

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 11

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide. Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 11-

Plan a rest day.

Things are hectic during the Christmas season. Christmas parties. Extra church services. Concerts. Plays. Cookie days. Everyone gets cranky and tired. It is inevitable. You are in control of the schedule, so make sure you plan a rest day now and then. It is worth it. Sit around. Watch Christmas movies. Stay in your pjs. Shop online instead of bundling up and going out. Make hot chocolate and roast marshmallows on the fire. Remember the season isn’t made better by running around and seeing who can do the most, be the most or go to the most church events.  The season is made better by resting in the one who made all things. The Word who was present at the beginning took on the guise of sinful flesh. He knew what it was to feel tired, to feel cold, to be pressed upon by the demands of life. Jesus slipped away from the crowd to refresh Himself. He rested. While we anticipate His birthday, it okay to pull away from the demands of life, refresh and rest.

Biblical Application:

When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them.- Luke 4:42

It was time for Jesus to move on and preach in another town. He spend some time contemplating and praying about his next move before he told the crowds who followed him, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God in other cites”. We parents much take the time for seclusion when and where we can get it, a few moments in the morning, hiding in the bathroom, just to contemplate, sort things out. How can we be the best ambassadors for Christ today? Staying at home and chilling? Giving our bodies some much needed down time? Don’t let others persuade you to do something that you KNOW is not best for you and your family whether it is a ‘good’ thing or not! Just as Jesus did, tell them you have another purpose today.

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 10

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide. Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 10-

Carry your child’s burden only as much as you can bear.

Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it].-Galatians 6:2

During this giving time of year, we parents tend to bear the burdens of others who are struggling and expect our own children to tow the line. A child may not understand that a friend is ill and you want to take her dinner instead of play Candy Land. Be patient. While you bear other’s burdens, bear your child’s. Explain. If your child has a meltdown because you are going to the adult Christmas party, bear those troublesome moral faults. Don’t reward them. Just carry them. Relieve them of the responsibility of acting like an adult, Don’t say, “You should understand.” Say instead, “I know you are sad. It is okay to be sad.”

Biblical Application:

“For every person will have to bear (be equal to understanding and calmly receive) his own [little] load [of oppressive faults].- Galatians 6:5

Children don’t learn to bear their own little load with us pointing out that they have one.  I am guilty of pointing fingers and shining the spot light on other’s faults. When I do that I am cheating myself and the child. Do give consequences for inappropriate behavior. Do not list faults.

“You never get your shoes on in time. We need to head out the door to Christmas caroling.

“You should know…”

“It’s your fault….”

Children learn from observing everything parents say and do. If they see us being patient, they will eventually be patient. If they see us stepping in and helping when “it’s not my job” applies, they will too. Not only that, but they will take responsibility for their little faults.

We always want our children to be on their best behavior during the Christmas events. Sometimes it is just too much for them. Let us be ready to bear some of it for them.

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 9

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide. Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 9- Try to stick to a schedule as much as possible.

I’m sitting in my office, drinking a cup of coffee and finishing off a brownie. The oven is heating taquitos. Our schedule has been off lately and I think I have turned into the kid. Dessert first along with a constant supply of coffee. Hmmm. Can you imagine how the children feel when schedules change and their bodies are in sugar shock? Makes it hard to function. My youngest just read an email from his creative writing teacher reminding him that he has an assignment to turn in this week. He missed the class last week for good reason- family in town for the Scrooge production. This week we need to get back on track, school and other wise before the next wave of Christmas celebration.

I know, it is difficult. This month we end up eating many sweets, staying out late, and running, running, running. Stick to a few schedule rules so things don’t fall apart. Bedtime routines. Advent readings ( I am behind on those). Dinner at the table as often as possible. Any regular routine that you can keep, do it. This adds security. This adds boundaries so things don’t  get out of control and kids don’t feel out of control.

 

Biblical Application:

” In those days it occurred that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole [a]Roman empire should be registered.

This was the first enrollment, and it was made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

And all the people were going to be registered, each to his own city or town.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,

To be enrolled with Mary, his espoused ([b]married) wife, who was about to become a mother.(A)

And while they were there, the time came for her delivery,”- Luke 2:1-8

We think our holidays are chaotic, can you imagine being in your last trimester and traveling by donkey a grueling ninety miles to Bethlehem because of a government mandated census?  South along the flat lands of the Jordan River, then west over the hills surrounding Jerusalem, and on into Bethlehem. No new Ikea crib with fresh bedding. No baby shower with fun games and gifts. Talk about having your world thrown out of whack.

Just remember, it’s all about our attitudes, not the circumstance. We can maintain an inner order despite the outer circumstances and our children will feel it. They will feel more secure when we act as if we are.

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 8

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide. Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

Tip 8-

Do something for someone else and have the kids participate.

You know the old saying “it is easier to do something yourself than to ask for help”? Throw it out the window. Let’s replace that with something more meaningful and eternal, “it takes time to train others and be patient when they don’t know what to do, but the time is an investment, not a waste.” Time is a precious and irreplaceable resource, but people are more precious. Some of our children have gifts that we are not even aware of. And isn’t this the season of giving gifts. Let’s let our children give their gifts to the Christ child and watch them grow!

This season, two of my children and I have been involved in a major production of Scrooge, A Christmas Carol.  

This season let us use our resource of time and ourselves and pour it like a precious drink offering into the kingdom!  And let me tell you, the kingdom is fun, it is not dry or boring. It is exciting and energizing to work side by side with brothers and sisters!

The most important harvest of this season is new names written in the Lambs Book of Life. The Lord used the vehicle of Scrooge to do just that. Thank you Jesus for new siblings in the kingdom!

Biblical Application:

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol (the place of the dead), where you are going.”-Ecclesiastes 9:10

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,: Colossians 3:23

We can quickly and inadvertently give our children the idea that Christmas is all about them and gifts. The act of Jesus coming to earth as a infant, leaving His throne in heaven and sacrifice Himself for us is the ultimate gift. We honor Him when we sacrifice for Him, the very gifts and talents He has given us, when we give our hands for His service, whether it is passing out food at a food pantry, ringing a bell at the mall, taking gift baskets to shut-ins or waiting on our own flesh and blood with a patient attitude in our own home. Do whatever your hand finds to do with all your might today!

Scrooge 2014

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 7

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide. Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 7-

Have a cookie day!

Instructions: make loads of sugar cookie dough ahead of time (or buy some)

Make lots of icing and have food coloring handy.

Have an array of sprinkles on hand.

Dig out grandma’s old cookie cutters.

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Get out the rolling pin and the cookie press.

Invite some friends over.

Turn on the Christmas tunes and slip on your apron.

The point of this day is to make cookies and eat lots of them. Don’t over stress. Don’t try to make your home perfect for guests. Get ready to make a mess!

Note: When my girls got older, their cookie making got more serious and lots of other things appeared on the table-elaborate cookie trees made out of stars, different recipes, different shapes. As for the males? No, just give them a pile of cookies with lots of icing.

Biblical Application:

Christmas is a time for rebuilding the walls around your family and creating some new memories for you and your child.

Then [Ezra] told them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.- Nehemiah 8:10

This is Nehemiah style wall building/family stuff. They read the Word. The people wept. Then [Ezra] told them, “go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet drink and send portions to for whom nothing is prepared”. This day, each day is holy to our Lord. Celebrate today as such.

 

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 6

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide. Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 6-

Draw names.

It is so tempting to buy for everyone. My kids used to ask me for ‘dollars’ so they could buy a present for everyone in the family. With a large family, that is a lot of pressure for a little one. To eliminate some stress, draw names. This gives the child the opportunity to focus on one person. Through focusing on one person, the child is able to study and think about someone other than themselves. The gift doesn’t have to be store-bought. One year my daughter and her younger brothers made theme jars, a mason jar with small themed presents.

Biblical Application:

Wise Men Gifts

And going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His Mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented Him with gifts-gold, frankincense and myrrh.”- Matthew 2:11

“St. Matthew recorded that the Magi brought three gifts, each also having a prophetic meaning: gold, the gift for a king; frankincense, the gift for a priest; and myrrh — a burial ointment, a gift for one who would die. St. Irenaeus (d. 202) in his Adversus haereses offered the following interpretation for the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh respectively: King, God and Suffering Redeemer as well as virtue, prayer and suffering.” –www.catholiceducation.org

Three gifts.

  1. A gift for the personality of the receiver, i.e. gold for a King, hunting boots for the hunter, a crown for a princess
  2. Something useful for the current occupation, frankincense for the King, a book for a student, crayons for the child artist
  3. Something for the future, myrrh for the Suffering Redeemer, a gift that points to the future, music for the future musician, medical supplies for a future paramedic, journals for the future author