Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

This morning, in the middle of opening gifts, the Uber-princess spontaneously broke out in song. We joined her in singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. That was one of the best gifts of the morning. A sweet card that described what she likes about each member of our family ("Smart is the word for my big sister. She knows cursive."), given to all of us by Timid Daughter ranks right up there too. And our girls' reaction when we asked them if it was a good Christmas, before letting them open up an uncharacteristically big family gift warmed my heart too - they were perfectly happy with the handful of smaller gifts they'd been given. It made me confident that giving them a big gift was a good decision - it wouldn't define Christmas for them, it would just enhance it.

I worry about those things - what the holiday will mean to our girls. I want the gifts to be an expression and illustration of the great gift we've already received in Jesus being born as God in the flesh. It honestly makes the enjoyment of all the material things that much sweeter. Christmas in our home is not made or broken by what is received - those things are the icing on the cake.

Knowing that they "got it" was freeing because I also delight to see my children enjoy receiving gifts. I want them to feel loved, and sometimes a gift is a good way to express that (for some, it is the best way to express that - see the Five Love Languages to learn more). This year I truly revelled in lavishing a big gift on them. I loved to see them shrieking and jumping in excitement over such an unexpected gift. There is Christmas in that - the showing of deep love through an extravagant gift, a costly gift. People quote John 3:16 so often that we get numbed to this. Today I felt it anew, the abundant love expressed at Christmas: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son..."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Now That's A New One

I had the chance to sit in on the preschool lesson in church this past Sunday. My little group of two-year-olds and I marched in and found ourselves a spot on the squishy mats in back and settled in to watch the big kids. Much as the two's are sweet and adorable (some of the time), often their older preschool counterparts can be even more of a hoot and both the two-year-olds and I relish taking in their antics. This week was no exception.

As is to be expected in December, the teacher had prepared a fun lesson about the angel's announcement to Mary and to Joseph. So to get the kids in the spirit of things she opened with this question:

"What do we celebrate at Christmas?"

A boy of about four or five years immediately shot his hand in the air.

"I know! I know!" he said.

The teacher pointed to him and asked for his response.

He said, "We celebrate when Santa died."

Ummm... Yeah. Well, they've got a few more weeks to help that little guy out. And bless his heart, he definitely was sincere.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Aaaaah! Did you hear the big sigh of relief that emanated from my house yesterday afternoon? I fulfilled the last of my outside commitments for 2008 yesterday morning. And in the process I reached the big goal I set for myself in January. I am free!

No more speaking engagements or radio interviews to prepare for. No more articles to be submitted. No more volunteer commitments to remember. No more meetings to attend. While I enjoy doing all those things, the pace of ordinary life makes a commitment-free couple of weeks feel very good. Yes, I am free!

I am free to shop for the 15 or so remaining Christmas gifts on my list. I am free to address 90 to 100 christmas cards. I am free to bake batches upon batches of Christmas cookies. I am free to wrap those dozens of gifts hidden in the corners and closets. I am free to catch up on the 75 emails that have accumulated in my inbox. I am free to write the December newsletter that should have gone out a week and a half ago. I am free to finish the last chapter of the novel I wrote in November.

I'm also free to: catch up on the books on my reading list, play board games with my kids, have lunch with a friend or two or three, celebrate writing a novel in a month, take a nap every now and then, get in the workouts that I've been saying I would since April, take my girls to see HSM3 (which they have been begging me to do for more than a month), write more than one blog post a week, and just simply enjoy the extra space on my calendar.

Can I tell you what I love the most about the last few weeks of the year? All the freedom!

Monday, December 01, 2008

November by the Numbers

57,397 words written
100's of games of Solitaire played in avoidance of writing
48 hours of butt-in-chair, must-get-this-done effort made (roughly)
12's (dozens) of cups of tea and hot chocolate consumed
10 fingers worked to the bone
9 different disasters incorporated into the plot (give or take a few)
8 copies of the draft sent by email as back-up
7 characters insinuated themselves into A Musing Mom's life
6 or more blog posts never got written
4 family members made room for writing time
3 "write-ins" attended
2 hands and arms ached from the rigors of endless typing

...all in the pursuit of ONE novel (in rough draft form).