Monday, December 31, 2012

December Thanks-living {a linky}

This month, my eyes were opened to the simple gifts God has given me through my family.

Here is the family in which I grew up. I found this Polaroid on Christmas at my mom's house. My parents live five minutes away from us. That is a huge blessing.

My brother has traded those plaid suspenders for a reddish beard and a Nerf gun. He has always been the one who makes us laugh. He wrote on my Instagram feed under this collage, "No deities were injured in the shooting of this shootout." He is a blessing. (And my son idolizes him, which goes without saying, especially when he can battle him in Nerf gun challenges indoors).
My husband was implicated in this game too. The three of them had an evolving obstacle course of targets. Stopwatches were also involved. I love that my husband and brother were friends before I was in the picture.  
I also love that my husband always brings some fancy cooking to the party. He is so generous with his kitchen skills and happy to serve by offering something for the feast. He is a blessing to my family.
It was a special treat this year that my grandparents from Oklahoma were visiting for the holidays. There is no sweeter a couple. My grandpa is the kindest, gentlest man with an unshakable faith in God. My grandma is a firecracker (you know I like that), and has played the piano, organ, and sung in the choir at her country road church for more years than I have been alive. There is not a hymn she does not know. I'm certain. These two and their legacy of faith are huge blessings.
The memory of my other grandma and grandpa who passed away a couple of years ago is alive and well when I make these Italian anise cookies. Even though I miss them so much, the way the flavor of these cookies brings back the warmth of being in their home for Christmas - oh, the years of memories I have tucked away - is a blessing.

I spent much of my time this Christmas season on projects with or for my kids. I don't believe I've ever given as much to them as I did this year, in terms of my time or my heart. I was less distracted and intentionally more joyful with them this year.

I think part of why my heart was so invested in my kids this Christmas was because I spent a lot of time working on gifts for each of them. Because my daughter loves to read so much, I made her this bean bag chair out of turquoise corduroy and owl print fleece. She sat it in all morning on Christmas with her new American Girl magazine.

And because my little guy has an imagination like no other, I made him a teepee, his own secret hideout. Notice the armed and dangerous guard dog already at the door.

I'm not showing you these projects out of pride or a need for praise; I am sharing because I'm reminded of the verse that says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." When I sat at my sewing machine for many more hours than I expected on these projects, my heart was drawing closer and closer to my kids. I put in my treasure - my time, money, and talent - and found a great joy in my heart when finally I could give them my gifts. To be honest, it was a new kind of blessing for me. I've never felt exactly that way about giving him or her a toy I bought at a store.

And it wasn't about the gift, right? Ultimately, it was about the sacrifice. That is what bound my heart to them. I gave so much of myself that my heart became involved in a new way. I've just taken the long road in saying that God reminded me of an important lesson: the greater the sacrifice, the greater the blessing.

My favorite moment of Christmas was this one.

My family were all in a row, ending with my grandparents, at Christmas Eve service. Four generations all praising our God together. As I looked down and saw the candle glow on my children's faces, I got caught up with tears. This is a holy night. My babies are with me, safe, and healthy. My parents are alive and well. Even my grandparents are well enough to fly four states across to be with us.

Holy hours. God-given hours, Christmas gifts from God with my name on them. As we close out 2012, I hold all these holy moments in my heart with overwhelming gratitude. And I'm speechless in knowing He'll outdo Himself next year.

I'll end the year with this anthem, the song I just can't shake.

Happy New Year, my dear friends.


{Would you quietly link up with me today, sharing your own holy hours, your 10,000 reasons to say thanks at the close of December and the close of the year?}



  1. Leslie, what a beautiful post! Having family nearby is wonderful! And girl, I'm loving your girl's owl attire and bean bag! What a cutie! That teepee was pretty great too! Happy New Year!

  2. I love how you share your heart. And I love what you said about being less distracted and intentionally more joyful. I want to be like that in 2013. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. great post! love the teepee also! so glad I stumbled upon your blog! new follower!


  4. I love that you called them holy hours, God given hours. So beautiful. And the gifts are so cool.

  5. Hey girl!
    I am needing deets on that teepee.
    Like everything.
    I'm shamelessly trying to copy you, because the $150.00 one on etsy just isn't in my budget! :)