Yoo-googlies

My parents left.

My mom was here for an entire month after Carter was born and my dad was here this last week. We are very sad to see them go. When we told Matthew that they had to go, he said, “No! Matthew’s house!”

We had such a good time with them and it’s not because my mom is Mary Poppins. It’s not just because she does all of our laundry (which is a full time job for a family of 7) or because she gets up with the kids and feeds them breakfast while we sleep in, or because she paints the girl’s fingernails and reads to them and rocks the baby or because she spends the afternoons with them while I take a nap or because she keeps them while Josh and I go on a date to see G.I. Joe with Spanish subtitles – which is not the same as the Transformers, but if you’re a good wife, you already knew that.

Nope. It’s for lots of other reasons like the fact that she and my dad love our kids in a way I only hope I can when we have grandchildren of our own. We all feel loved. Not to be morbid or anything, but one day when Josh preaches at my mom’s funeral I want him to say, “We knew how much she loved us”. Why don’t we say these things before people die, like when they can actually hear us?? I think we should all have our eulogy (pronounced Yoo-goo-glee) before we die, you know, so we can hear it and all. But I’m post – partum and sleep deprived, so it may be wise to take what I say with a grain of salt. Maybe.

But since I am post-partum and a little cray-cray, I’ll tell you that at my Dad’s funeral, I want Josh to say, “He made us laugh and laugh and laugh”. He taught me to be so funny – I know y’all know what I’m talking about. I know you have been wondering where I got my stellar sense of humor… Now you know. It’s in my genes. I mean, I can’t even help it sometimes… For reals.

He also gave me a love for music. And animals – although I’ve temporarily abandoned this love, since I have 5 little people at the moment. It kind of trumps other hobbies and stuff.  He made me think I could do anything I wanted to do. He made me believe in myself. I hope to give this gift to my children.

I think we should all give each other eulogies yoo – googlies whenever we can. We should tell people how we feel. We may not always have the chance.

Mom and Dad, we are so thankful to have you in our lives. You love us so well. You support and respect our decisions as parents (and missionaries). You love our children. They miss you everyday. I don’t discount the sacrifice you have made  and are making for us to follow the Lord’s calling on our lives – a calling that takes your children and grandchildren very far away. You have submitted to His will with grace and a great trust in His plan – even when you don’t understand. We see it. Our children see it.

Don’t worry, I’ll say all this at your Yoo-googlies.

 

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We love you,

Emily, Josh, Anne Elise, Ava, Jak, Matthew and Carter

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5 Kids, Hoarding, and the Day I Delivered My Own Baby

Can you hoard kids?

I’m thinking of having my own show called “Hoarders: Babies edition”

I already want another one. Or two. 

The fifth time is just  as amazing as the first. It never gets old.

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So, for the highlight.

I know you’re all dying for the story…

Who remembers what happened last time? Yeah, that made us a little worried that we might not make it to the hospital. Here in Bogota, the hospital is about a 45 minute drive. There was even a time that it took us an hour and a half to get to an appointment. It all depends on the time of day. And an ambulance may or may not come…in two hours. Or not.

So, our prayer for the last 6 months of living here has been that the Lord would allow me to get to the hospital BEFORE I delivered the baby.

He did. With 9 hours to spare…

So, Josh and I had decided that we would rather be sent home with a false alarm than have the baby in a taxi. I know. We’re very particular like that. So, at the first twinge I had of thinking I might feel something different, we left.  Immediately.  For the hospital. Did I mention that until that night,  the shortest amount of time it had ever taken us to get to the hospital was 45 minutes?

That night it took us 19. 

Apparently, if you yell out the window “Embarazada!” (the Spanish word for pregnant)  and wave your arms like a crazy person, people will move out of your way. Like the parting of the Red Sea.

By the time we got there, I was pretty sure I wasn’t in labor. I had two more “twinges” on the way and nothing else once we got in a room. I knew this wasn’t labor because the pain of last time is forever seared into my consciousness.  The doctor arrived and told us that he was not going to send us home because of my history of super-lightening fast labors. He told me he wanted to check to see if he needed to break my water.

Let me back up a little. I wanted to go into labor naturally and I wanted to have the baby with no drugs. At the hospital. I did not want to be induced. So, when he told me he thought he needed to break my water, I was very hesitant. At that point, I wasn’t even 38 weeks yet. However, we had seen that the baby’s cord was across his face in the last sonogram. The doctor was concerned that if my water broke spontaneously that the cord could come out first and cause a prolapse.

I agreed to let him break my water. As soon as he did it, I felt like it was a mistake.I was really disappointed in myself for allowing the doctor to do something that I didn’t feel comfortable with. At all.  I knew I wasn’t in labor and I didn’t feel ready. I was really upset because there was no turning back at that point and I was worried that if I didn’t go into labor that I would be pressured to have pitocin. I have had very bad experiences with this particular drug in the past and knew that not only would I have the side effects I have experienced with other deliveries, but it would be more likely that I wouldn’t be able to handle the pain and would need an epidural. Having an epidural in a foreign country is NOT something I wanted to do. I’m not super brave.

That was around 9:30 pm.

Nothing happened. All night.

I waited and pretty much stayed up all night praying that I would go into labor. At 5 o’clock am I felt my first real contraction. I recognized it as a true contraction because THE PAIN OF LAST TIME WAS SEARED INTO MY CONSCIOUSNESS.  I knew this baby was much smaller, so I had believed for this entire pregnancy that it couldn’t possibly be as painful as last time.

Vicious Lies.

At around 6am I could feel that I was getting very close. Josh called the nurse and told him that we needed the doctor because it wouldn’t be long.

They never believe us. THIS IS MY FIFTH BABY! I KNOW WHEN I NEED THE DOCTOR! 

About 6 minutes after 6 am. I told Josh I needed to push. The doctor walked in and said, “Well, let’s get you ready to push.” If you know my past experiences, you know that I don’t get “ready” to push.

I push and then there’s a baby. Pronto. The end.

The doctor was facing away from me, doing who knows what to “get ready for me to push” and I did.

I delivered Carter by myself . The doctor turned around because he heard him crying. True story.

What’s funny about this story is that after having a pretty traumatizing labor with no drugs last time – this entire pregnancy I had been saying, “I just wish I could be left alone and deliver the baby myself.” I know that sounds crazy to most people. And it is. I get it. But that’s really what I wanted. I’m just weird like that.

During the entire labor, I felt so scared and disappointed in how it was happening, but looking back, I truly see the Lord’s hand. I felt the same way about my last delivery. I felt that every singe thing that happened was in His control. There was a real possibility that if I had really gone into labor at home that I wouldn’t have made it to the hospital – since once I truly went into labor, it was about an hour, just like last time. Also, if my water had broken on its own, there was the possibility of the cord prolapsing.

And did I say he was only 7 pounds 4 ounces? After having a 10 pounder, the recovery was a walk in the park. I was able to leave the hospital the same day. Did you know that babies born in high altitudes are 15% smaller? I think we should all have the opportunity, nay the privilege, of having a pregnancy at 8,000 feet. God is good. 

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Carter is doing great. He sleeps really well through all the noise of his 4 siblings.

And did I say that the fifth is as amazing as the first?

Maybe I’ll blog before my next birth story. But no promises.

What we’ve been up to in bullet points, because then I feel organized.

Well, well, well…

Where have you been?

Ahem.


I’ll have you know I blog very regularly in my head. Getting it here is a little more complicated. You know, the translating and all. Plus, it takes a whole lotta energy to be this funny. Just sayin’.

I really am going to try to do this more often, mainly so we don’t have to have those awkward introductions anymore. I knew you’d be happy about that.

So what we’ve been up to:

  • One bazillion mission conferences and we have a few more left. Seriously, we’ve been out of town every single weekend since sometime in January. This actually has been such a blessing to us and our children, but I will be very thankful when all of the traveling dies down. It’s been particularly helpful for the girls, since my goal is to have homeschooled children sans social awkwardness. I believe it can be done. Needless to say, we’ve had lots of practice lately.
  • 3 birthdays and one to go. The girls turned 5 and 7, Matthew turned 1 and Jak will be turning 3 on Easter. I will tell you Matthew’s birthday story soon. You really don’t want to miss it. And no, I can’t believe my baby just turned 1. That was the fastest year of my life. Crazy. I honestly thought I was going to have flashbacks of his birth. Matthew got a birthday card from our sweet friend and children’s ministry director. The card said, “You are turning one and that means you will be having a new little brother or sister very soon!” That made me laugh so hard. Yes, this is probably true. The first birthday has always been my cue. You may not know this about me, but I only have babies every other March and on odd years, except when our insurance company gives us a 30 day waiting period for maternity coverage and then we have to have our baby in April. True story. 
  • House on the market. We need to sell our house. I love my house and I don’t want to sell it. Really, I don’t. I got a call from our realtor to tell us that a couple wanted to come look at it a second time and I cried. Yes, this is the sad truth. I am very sentimental about this house. 5 years of life is a really long time when your oldest child is only 7. I know this is all very spoiled, but I’m just being honest. I keep having this conversation in my head, where I remind myself that Christians around the world are meeting underground and being persecuted for their faith and I am crying over losing my house in Madison. Geez. Rotten.
  •  70%Both of our families have 70% of our support raised, which is good, but we have to be at 100% to actually move. We are praying that we can move in August.
  • Colombia. We are planning a trip to Colombia in April. I will be sure to show you pictures and give you an idea of what our lives will look like there. I am looking forward to seeing it for myself.
  • Homeschool.We are very nicely ahead in homeschooling. I didn’t take last summer off and have not taken very many breaks so that right now I would be ahead of the game and can afford to take time off while we transition over the next few months.
  • Selling it all. I still haven’t started selling my stuff yet. Be on the lookout on facebook, especially if you live in the Jackson or Hattiesburg area. I am going to take pictures of everything and come up with prices and, hopefully, I can get a lot of it sold.
  • Matthew’s first birthday. Now, I will leave you with a picture of Matthew’s first birthday joke cake. All I have to say about that is there is an explanation…

…And I will share that information once I have it.

The Jesse Tree and a Wecipe

So…

I hope your holiday traditions are well underway. We are doing The Advent Jesse Tree this year and are enjoying it so much. Love. That’s all I can say. If you didn’t get the memo about that, you definitely need to order your book and plan on doing it next year.

In our Jesse tree group, I was assigned the day represented by the 10 commandments. So, I recruited help from Jak. He took it very seriously.

I lit.er.all.y took 27 pictures of Jak with this exact pose. This is how you know he’s really concentrating.

I mean really workin’ hard. This one was taken right before his stroke of creative genius.

And voila! It’s just so abstract!

…and the finished product.

I would like to offer you some advice just in case you ever find yourself molding the 10 commandments out of air dry clay. Don’t make them too thin. Do not. Because then they will be very fragile and will perhaps break.  You may have made 38 very thin 10 commandments for your closest friends. Bummer. Then you will be forced to say that it was the first set that Moses brought down from the mount. These commandments are the first set. I repeat, these commandments are the first set. I meant to do that.

If this happens to you, I mean, if you happen to make the broken first set of 10 commandments, you will feel defeated and you will need to prove yourself. To yourself.

You will set out on a mission to make marshmallows. From scratch.

First, you will need to find a homeschooled child to make an awkward homeschool pose behind your ingredients.

Check.

Then you will need to pass out from looking at all of those genetically modified ingredients.

Check.

You should feel very guilty for feeding this to your nearest and dearest. Shameful.

Okay, so first you’re going to have to heat some stuff up. You will have to use your meat thermometer because you broke your candy thermometer. Don’t fret.

You are just going to have to let it boil. And boil.

You will add the hot stuff to the other stuff.

Then you will get out your dinosaur hand mixer because you are a glutton for punishment and well, you deserve it. You made 38 too thin 10 commandments out of air dry clay, remember? Then you wrapped them up and gave them to your friends.

Now, here is where I want you to listen ever so closely. You must use your mixer for 15 minutes. Pray you have a stand mixer and you don’t have to use your extremely old fashioned hand mixer that you got on your wedding day.

15 minutes.

I’m going to give you the secret to marshmallows. There are lots of secrets, but we’re friends, I will tell you everything.

You will never, and I do mean never, accomplish marshmallows if you do not have this going on right outside your kitchen door.

This, my friends, is essential.

Words cannot adequately describe how these marshmallows are going to taste. This just gives them a little extra something.

You are being punished for only having a hand mixer.

So, there should be much chaos ensuing while you use your dinosaur, 18th century hand-crank mixer for 15 minutes. Don’t complain, this is where the magic happens.

Once you’ve boiled some stuff and mixed some stuff. Then you’re going to pour it into a 9 by 13. You will then let it sit while you peel very small pieces of paper off of your work of art child. This will take 24 hours.

Cut them into the size you want.

Honestly, these marshmallows are so good! I told Josh last night that I didn’t think I could ever drink hot chocolate again without these marshmallows.

The recipe is here if you want to try it. Really easy, except all the mixing and paper issues…although I know you won’t even need to click on the recipe link because of how stellar my step-by-step instructions were!

Hope you’re enjoying your Christmas celebrations!

P.S. Annie, yes I stole the Wecipe idea from you. Start blogging again or else!

Pumpkin Time!

I love Fall. I love Winter. I hate cold weather. Did I tell you that I’m moving to Costa Rica? I will probably miss the changing seasons eventually. Maybe when I’m good and thawed, I’ll think about missin’ them.

I think I just like the idea of changing seasons, not the actual seasons…and definitely not the cold weather accompanying them. I should probably just light some pumpkin spice candles in July and call it a celebration. I’ll let you know how that goes next year when I’m celebrating Christmas and it’s 80 degrees. Sure hope I can get my hands on that candle.

One thing I do love about this time of year is pumpkin carving with children! When you finally get to the point where they can actually participate and not just watch you carve their pumpkin, it’s just so funner!

So, I’ve typed that ’cause I think it’s funny and I’m sitting here worried that someone will actually think that I think that it’s really “funner” and they’ll be worried about my fitness to homeschool. This is sad. This is not funner.

At. All.

I guess they should be worried about my fragments too.

Anyhoo.

When we told Jak that we were going to carve pumpkins, he was sorta shocked at first.

Then overjoyed.

Ecstatic even.

Until he heard the “ice-tweem twuck”.

This was the exact moment when he said, “Excuse me, sir. Pardon me, but I hear the ice-tweem twuck”.

Speaking of ice-tweem twucks, why are they so creepy? Honestly, I wanna know. I mean, I love our ice cream lady. She’s very nice and not creepy, but she drives a very creepy ice-tweem twuck.

Why?

In case you were about to ask the question, “Why do all of your children look like they just ate dirt?” The answer is, I don’t know.

What?

Your kids don’t eat dirt?

 Just kidding. Mine don’t either.

Except when they do.

You know, sometimes my posts just get funnier and funnier and I just have to stop myself because, honestly, who can take all that belly laughing?

Not me.

I honestly can’t take it. It’s too much.

And I was going to include a wecipe. But since I have carpal tunnel from uploading all of these pictures and since all of you have really sore abs from all the belly laughing, it’ll have to wait.

It’s gonna be good though (with or without the dirt).

Initiative 26: The vague wording argument.

I feel I need to address another argument concerning Initiative 26. I have included this in my original post, (please read it first, if you haven’t already) but feel I need to address it separately as well.

Argument #6 The initiative is poorly written.

I will admit I am probably as much baffled by this argument as by any other. I have heard it stated, “I am a Christian and I am against abortion, but the wording is too vague.” Too vague? Let’s have another look.

“…to define the word person…to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent…”

 

Vague? Hardly. The wording could not possibly be any more clear and concise. May I suggest that this is a misunderstanding concerning the purpose of an amendment? Take a look at our Bill of Rights. These amendments are one sentence. ONE SENTENCE! They do not address every possible implication of the amendment. They couldn’t possibly. They do not address ONE SINGLE implication. That’s not the purpose.

The purpose of this initiative is ONLY to establish a foundational truth, a fundamental principle. As of right now the concept of personhood is not defined in the constitution. IT SHOULD BE.

Now, if we are talking about the implications of this initiative being unknown, I whole heartedly agree. However, the initiative Is Not Vague. There will always be unknowns. Always.

Are there absolute implications if this amendment passes? YES! I am voting for this amendment for that reason, as well as the fact that there are ABSOLUTE IMPLICATIONS IF IT DOESN’T PASS.

We can’t be sure how some things will be interpreted if it passes. We CAN, however, be sure that the courts will continue to treat the unborn as expendable if it does not pass.

Friend, I ask you the question again, Do you believe that an unborn baby is a person?

Initiative 26 only establishes the personhood of the unborn.

This is the only question.

If you believe that an unborn baby is a person, vote yes.

Please stand up and speak for those that can’t defend themselves.

Initiative 26: Do you believe that an unborn baby is a person?

 

This post is for Christians.

If you are one of my friends or family members who don’t believe in the God of the Bible, then I understand how you may fall on a different side of the argument than I do. You may agree with me. But I get it if you don’t. I would love for you to read this post, but it’s not intended to address you.

This post is to address my Christian brothers and sisters who may have succumbed to the confusion that is circulating concerning Initiative 26.

Initiative 26 is an attempt to amend the constitution of the state of Mississippi.

The official ballot summary of the measure reads:

“Initiative #26 would amend the Mississippi Constitution to define the word ‘person’ or ‘persons’, as those terms are used in Article III of the state constitution, to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.”

 

I want to address this issue on my blog because I have been shocked and grieved to see how many Christians are listening to what they hear on facebook, websites, google searches, etc. They are making decisions based on arguments they hear and their own fears instead of facts.

Initiative 26 only establishes the personhood of the unborn.

As Christians ,we have a lens through which we must see all of life. EVERYTHING must be filtered through this lens. It’s how we make sense of the world. If we believe the Bible to be true, then we won’t believe it when someone says the world was created by a huge random explosion. We won’t be swayed when someone says there is more than one way to get to heaven. We have a plumb line by which everything is measured.

Let’s address the plumb line first. What does the Bible say about the unborn?

Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart…”

Isaiah “The Lord has called me from the womb; from my mother has he made mention of my name.”

Job “Did he not form us from within our mothers…”

Psalms “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I could go on and on. This is my question to you.

Do you believe that an unborn baby is a person?

Let’s address the arguments.

Argument #1 They’ll take away our birth control pill.

I’ve been most surprised to find this is one of the biggest arguments against this initiative. Women are very afraid to lose their pill. A few years ago, I read that the pill (not the morning after pill, the regular hormonal birth control pill) can be abortifacient. Meaning, it can allow an egg to be fertilized and then cause a miscarriage. I was shocked. I was more than shocked, I was horrified. I grieved. I wondered if some of my babies had been aborted (yes, that’s the word I meant to use) by my using the pill. Then I became angry. I had researched it enough to find that it was, in fact, true. I couldn’t understand why Christian leaders weren’t standing up and telling us this! I started to tell my friends. I knew that they would have the same response that I did.

I was wrong.

They didn’t want to know. Most people that I told either didn’t believe me (I understand, I didn’t believe it at first, either) or they didn’t want to know. I even had close friends say, “Well, I just can’t get pregnant right now.” My heart aches just thinking about that. If this just rocks your world and you just can’t imagine life without the pill. Please, please examine your heart. I beg you. We CAN’T make decisions this big looking through a lens of convenience. This is not okay. We just don’t have that right.

Does this mean that things might change? Probably. Does this mean that you may have to do something that is more complicated than popping a pill or using an IUD? Most likely. Does this mean that they will make the birth control pill illegal in this state? Hopefully. I understand that there are people with issues (PCOS, hormones, etc) that take the pill for reasons other than pregnancy prevention. If you are also using the pill as a form of birth control because you are sexually active, you could be CAUSING miscarriages. You could be CAUSING miscarriages.

Argument #2 What about ectopic pregnancy? They will let a woman die because they won’t remove the embryo.

An ectopic pregnancy is where the embryo implants in the fallopian tube and begins to grow there. There is no chance that the baby can live. Yes, it is still a baby, but it can’t live because it never made it to the womb.. NO ONE is saying that the life of the mother is now (or ever) invalid. “Life of the mother” cases have always been decided by the mother and her family. This was the case before Roe versus Wade, when abortion WAS NOT LEGAL. No one is going to require a mother to die to save a baby that cannot live. Please don’t believe this lie. No one is going to require a mother to die PERIOD. Sanctity of life concerning the unborn does not oppose the sanctity of life of the mother.

Argument #3 What if a person is raped? They won’t give her the morning after pill.

Before I begin to address this argument, please hear me say that I have deep compassion for anyone whose life has been violated in this way. I cannot imagine the emotional and physical devastation this brings. However, if she were to get pregnant as a result of rape, that doesn’t change the fact that it is a pregnancy. It is a baby. It’s not okay to kill. a baby. Causing an abortion, in my opinion is not only NOT protecting the mother, it is causing her further harm and distress.

Argument #4 This initiative is legislating morality.

Huh? Isn’t that what laws do? Name one law that isn’t somehow legislating morality. Someone argued with me this week saying, “Well, I would never have an abortion, but…” Well, why not?! You wouldn’t kill your baby, but you wouldn’t tell someone else not to kill theirs? Do you believe that an unborn baby is a person?

Argument #5 They won’t let us do in vitro fertilization.

IVF creates an embryo (a fertilized egg) outside the womb and then implants it. This initiative is not proposing that you can’t make babies (inside or outside the womb). This initiative IS saying that you can’t kill them. This WILL affect the way we do IVF. The fact is, there are OVER 500,000 frozen embryos in the U.S. ALONE. I didn’t accidentally type too many zeros. OVER HALF A MILLION. Someone on facebook said that this initiative would cause a crisis because we couldn’t “discard” them the way we have been. The reason we have over 500,000 right now is because there are a lot of people that know that those are actual babies and they are not willing to “discard” them. Many of these frozen embryos are available for adoption. They’re called snowflake babies. This initiative will require us to be responsible with the way we do IVF. Probably, people will not be able to fertilize more eggs than they are willing to eventually implant. Inconvenient? Maybe. Expensive? Probably.

I believe that human life begins at fertilization. I also believe that this is what the Bible teaches. Human life equals personhood. I have asked several people on facebook that are arguing against Initiative 26 this question, “When do you believe a baby (an embryo) becomes a person?” They all give very vague answers, even saying, “No one can know for sure.” The same person then states, “I am 100% sure that an embryo is not a person.” Anyone can see the huge fallacy in this argument. If you are completely uncertain of when personhood begins, how can you be entirely certain of when it does NOT begin? Someone then argued, “There is no magic line that an embryo crosses into personhood!” My point exactly. There is no magic line. An embryo is already a person.

Argument #6 The initiative is poorly written.

I will admit I am probably as much baffled by this argument as by any other. I have heard it stated, “I am a Christian and I am against abortion, but the wording is too vague.” Too vague? Let’s have another look.

 “…to define the word person…to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent…”

 

Vague?  Hardly. The wording could not possibly be any more clear and concise. May I suggest that this is a misunderstanding concerning the purpose of an amendment? Take a look at our Bill of Rights. These amendments are one sentence. ONE SENTENCE! They do not address every possible implication of the amendment. They couldn’t possibly. They do not address ONE SINGLE implication. That’s not the purpose.

 The purpose of this initiative is ONLY to establish a foundational truth, a fundamental principle. As of right now the concept of personhood is not defined in the constitution. IT SHOULD BE.

 Now, if we are talking about the implications of this initiative being unknown, I whole heartedly agree. However, the initiative Is Not Vague. There will always be unknowns. Always.

 Are there absolute implications if this amendment passes? YES! I am voting for this amendment for that reason, as well as the fact that there are ABSOLUTE IMPLICATIONS IF IT DOESN’T PASS.

 We can’t be sure how some things will be interpreted if it passes. We CAN, however, be sure that the courts will continue to treat the unborn as expendable if it does not pass.

Friend, I ask you the question again, Do you believe that an unborn baby is a person?

Initiative 26 only establishes the personhood of the unborn.

This is the only question.

If you believe that an unborn baby is a person, vote yes.

Please stand up and speak for those that can’t defend themselves.

O Come, O Come!

I know it’s just barely officially Fall, but can you feel it in the air?

The expectation?

I love Christmas (and Easter and birthday) traditions. That’s why I start thinking about what I will do to celebrate God Incarnate in September. If you must know, I was thinking about what I would do this Christmas, last Christmas. I won’t even get started on our birthday celebrations…

Now I will tell you what you must do.

First, you must order the book. It’s $10. You can swing it.

It’s called The Advent Jesse Tree, by Dean Lambert Smith. An older copy of the book says, Dean Meador Lambert. If you are one of my Hattiesburg friends, look closely at the author.

You will need to do a little preparation.

The book has a written devotional for the days leading up to Christmas, starting on December 1st. Each day, you will read the devotional and hang the ornament (I’ll get to that) on the tree and fill your child’s heart (and your own) with wonder and expectation. This is not only for people with children in the home. Each day has a separate adult devotional as well.

You will need a different ornament for each day. 25 total. Since I know you don’t have all the time in the world to make 25 different ornaments, you will need to get a little group together. No really, you can do it. If I can, so can you. I have four children and I have to clip all of their toenails and I could be pregnant any minute now. So, no excuses.

Get a little group together, even a group of 5 or 10 can easily pull it off. I just know you have 10 friends who want to experience Christmas this year in a different and better way than The Elf on the Shelf! No offense. Sort of.

Once you have your group, you will assign each person an ornament (or two, depending). They will make enough of their assigned ornament to pass around to each member of your group. So, if you have a group of 12, you will need to make 12 (don’t forget to make one for yourself!) of your assigned ornament. However, in this situation with a group of 12, each person would have to make 12 of two different ornaments, because you must have 25 different ornaments total, when you are finished, to take home. And then, there is one pesky ornament that a saintly woman will need to do as well as her assigned two ornaments. In the end, each person will go home with 25 different ornaments. The book will tell you what your ornament should look like. Make sense?

But I’m just not creative like that!

Oh, but you don’t have to be! It’s called “Google”. It’s your Christmas present from me. And the book tells you everything you need to know.

And don’t try to tell me that you have a Martha Stewart – themed Christmas tree and that you just can’t bare to have ornaments that don’t match hanging on your matchy-matchy tree. I don’t judge, I have one of those too.

Get the children their own tree. Think outside the box. You can make it work.

Now, order the book and get your group together. If you go to Madison Heights, you’re in luck! Join our group!

If you’re still hesitant, let me close the deal.

The Son of God became a man.

The Son of God became a man.

The Son of God became a man.

I think we should celebrate!

And wait…

…expectantly.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin, and enter in,
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
o come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel!

If you have any holiday traditions that you love, please share!