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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Family Celebrations

We're a family that likes to celebrate. Any excuse will do. And why not? It's easy to get caught up in the distractions and negative things that bog a day down. But we choose to celebrate the good things no matter how small. And by celebrate, I mean going out for ice cream, to the dollar store for a toy, or maybe out to eat. Nothing elaborate or expensive. Just a time to acknowledge "We did it!" Here's a list of some things we've been known to celebrate, other than the obvious holidays.

1. The first day of school
2. Report cards even if there are some bad grades on them. We choose to celebrate the good grades and those that have improved from last time
3. Making it through another week of school - every Friday we get an ice cream or French fries on our way home
4. A promotion at work
5. The last day of school
6. The completion of a household job (like cleaning out the garage or working in the yard together)
7. School concerts, plays, or anything else our kids are involved in
8. Making it through a tough day or week
9. The completion of one of my books
10. When I get a book contract
11. When my husband gets a new client
12. Baptisms
13. Finishing a big school project
14. Getting our house back to ourselves after having company
15. A new pet

You get the idea--it doesn't take much to call for a celebration around here. It makes for a joyful family and gives us a chance to thank God for His goodness.

What does your family celebrate? How do you do it?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Years Thoughts

Like most people, I've been thinking about goals for the new year. I'm not much of a resolution maker, but I do think along those lines. What did I do right last year? What would I like to do better? What about my family? How would I like to improve it?

Here are a few things I need to work on.

1. Appreciate the little things. My husband gets up and goes to work faithfully every day to provide for us. I want to thank him more for it. I want to take in all the sideways glances my teenage daughter and I share across a room--those unspoken communications that say, "Did you see that?" and we know we'll laugh about later. Priceless. As I write this on my laptop on the couch, I'm enjoying our little dog snuggled up as close as can be beside my leg. Aaaah. I hope to really savor all these things every day.

2. Reach out more. I tend to be introverted. Reaching out does not come naturally for me. But I know I was made to live in community with others. As much as I'd love to cocoon in my house, I realize that I grow and stretch and become a better me when I include others. I plan to invite more friends over, and to let my friends know how much I care.

3. Use my crockpot weekly. I can cook, but I have a list as long as my arm of things I'd rather do. But when I stick something in the crockpot in the morning, I feel good all day. The meals are so easy and taste like I slaved away for hours. And we usually have leftovers for a day or two. So I hope to be better about meal planning and using my crockpot so we can eat well regularly without a lot of work. I'll admit it--I'm lazy!

4. Share spiritual growth. Did I mention I'm an introvert and prefer doing things alone? Well, that includes my spiritual growth. But there's a certain joy in sharing the journey with your family if they're willing to journey along with you. Even though you may not all be at the same place spiritually, you can still share insights, stories, something you read that meant something to you that day. I'm terrible about this. I keep all these things to myself. Sooo, I hope to be more open with my family spiritually this year. Hopefully they'll feel more free to open up to me in this area as well.

5. Laugh it off. Now this is a biggie. I have a pretty good sense of humor. I use it generously in my family. But when tensions are high, I tend to clam up. I sulk. I give the silent treatment. I avoid. How would things change if I laughed instead? Boom. Tension evaporates in the presence of laughter. It doesn't resolve problems, but it does create an environment that's easier to talk and feel safe. So I vow to try to laugh instead of yell, smile instead of frown. I'll be needing your prayers on this for sure!

That should give me plenty to work on this year. How about you? What things would you like to do that might make a difference in your family life?

Blessings, love and peace to you and your family in 2012!