Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Holy Moment

Maybe it's because Christmas starts revving up just after everyone is in a sugar slump after eating their Halloween candy and then it really gets going after the turkey is barely out of the oven.

Maybe it's because Christmas is so easy to love--the lights, the twinkling, the songs, the baking, the presents, the magic, and the fullness of it all.

But, often, by the time Christmas actually arrives, I feel almost tired of it.

Weary of listening to the all the music, weary of running around and looking for gifts, weary of feeling like my schedule is off-kilter, weary of trying to be creative with my Christmas decor, and weary of thinking about all the ways I should be feeling Christmasy.

This year, though, I've been trying to avoid that Christmas overdose.

I want to soak in every bit of this season, but I don't want to drown in it.

Practically, that's meant letting go of taking traditions with Luke too seriously (we've started a few, but I'm not interested in trying all the things right now)

It means not listening to Christmas music every minute of the day (even if I'm tempted to)

It means shopping mostly online and making gifts instead of heading to the mall (because if anything makes me feel dizzy it's the mall!)

I wanted this year to be intentional, slow, and about seeing the gospel with the magic that Christmas brings. I had plans of doing an Advent devotional and taking time to be still.

But, you know what? Recently, my time reading the Bible and really focusing on the gospel has been short-lived and rare. I know that the Word brings life and perspective--that it wraps truth around me to protect my heart from all the other stuff that doesn't matter.

But, I've squished other non-important things into those crevices of time that I have to read and just be still. I've been distracted, and fidgety, and feeling out of sorts.

I'm tempted to let my non-habit become just the way it is instead of remembering that every minute brings grace, and newness, and change.

It's not about being good enough or having it all together or having a 5-week study plan lined out. Really, it's quite the opposite. It's saying,

God, I'm not good enough. I don't have it all together. I am so easily distracted by all the stuff. I get all fuzzy about Christmas cookies and lights and forget about that baby in the manager.

I miss the mark, time and time again. 

And that right there is the holy moment--the moment when I can't help but be in wonder about that baby in the manger and the gospel because I see my need for that babe who had come to take away my sins.

I can't help but be humbled by the gospel.

No matter how many minutes I've sat in adoration or how many minutes I haven't--it's still there.

No matter how Christmasy I feel or don't feel--it's still there.

No matter what I do or don't do.

The Hope of the world was there--swaddled in the manger and born to take the sins of the world.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

What Luke is Getting Under the Tree aka How to Make Buying Gifts Simpler

Yesterday I shared one of the gifts that Luke is getting under the tree (cute little bear book tote), so I thought I'd share what else we are getting him.

Even though we only have one child, Christmas-time seems already a little overwhelming with all the choices for gifts to buy for Luke and others. So, in order to keep it simple, we decided to only have four gifts under the tree for him.

I've seen the "four gift" idea around online (here for example) and really liked it. One, it helps you narrow down  choices. Second, it eliminates the need for us to feel like we need to buy him more. Third, I think it helps promote more thoughtfulness about what you are giving.

Bottom-line: it simplifies the whole process. For me, that's the key :)

Typically, the four gifts are something to wear, something they want, something to read, and something they need.

We changed it to this (because, why not?):

I like the handmade gift in there because it will encourage us to purchase or create something for our child (and hopefully future children) that is unique, one-of-a-kind, and made with love. Of course, we'll probably change it up as kids get older and such :)

So, here's what Luke is getting under the tree this year:

To wear: WildlyCo Perfect T. So excited to support this new ethical clothing line for kiddos. I love this color too :)
To read: The Jesus Storybook Bible--looking forward to bedtime reading with this book.
For Play: Little Tikes mower. He loves to push things, make noises, and watch his daddy mow--so we think he'll love this!
Handmade: Little Bear Book Tote. We'll have to take this along for library visits and playdates. I'm also quite certain that he'll haul around all his play cars inside too :)

What do you think about the four gift idea? Like it? Hate it?
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

DIY Animal Book Tote

This year we are getting Luke four gifts: something for play, something to wear, something to read, and something handmade. I had a number of ideas for something handmade (such as wooden blocks or a handyman work station), but in the end, I choose to make this little bear book tote. He loves to roar, so I decided that a bear would be cute :)

I've heard of a number of people doing four gifts (something to read, wear, they need, and want), but I choose to switch it up by replacing something they need with something handmade. I wanted to give something to Luke that was made by me (in the future, maybe someone else!)--something unique and one-of-a-kind.

I started with sketching out a little bear face (with ears entirely too close together...oh well!). I then choose my fabric from our fabric stash and used fusible webbing to put him together as well as stick him on the tote.

I drew a little face on him with a fabric pen and then hand-stitched him with embroidery thread to add a little detail :)

Just for fun, I made a yarn pom pom and sewed on a little tail.

It really was a simple project--one that just took a little time (hand-stitching isn't the fastest thing to do in the world) and creativity.

I'm really horrible at writing tutorials, but here's the basics if you want to make your own little animal tote.

You'll need:

  • A lightweight cotton tote (it's super important that it's lightweight because it's ridiculously hard to hand-stitch through fabric that's too thick)
  • Fusible webbing (I bought mine at Joann's. You can buy it buy the yard)
  • Embroidery thread (or thicker thread)
  • Needle
  • Fabric pieces
  • Scissors
  • Iron and Ironing board

The basics:

  • Print out the bear face template (or make your own). Here's a bunny one too :) ps. they are based on my sketches--and I'm most definitely not an artist! Cut out of the pieces to trace.
  • Choose which fabrics you'd like to piece together
  • Follow the directions on the fusible webbing to piece together the face and then adhere it to your tote
  • Use embroidery thread (or a thick thread) to hand-stitch the face and details. I also added some little freckles for fun.
  • If you want a tail, make a yarn pom pom and sew it on the back. 
I really enjoyed this project and am excited to give it to Luke for Christmas. I'm not super crafty at all--but there's something I love about stitching together something by hand. 

If you are interested in an animal tote but you don't want to make one, let me know :) I'd love to make a few more--we can definitely chat if you have a specific animal/color scheme in mind.

Happy Thursday!

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