Archive for December 2010

The Other Side of Christmas

December 31, 2010

So… how was yours?

Ours was just about as I had imagined:  late church, up early to head back to church, late brunch, lots of presents ( an embarrassment of presents, really… not so many next year, remind me), and a big dinner that featured my favorite food groups:  wine, sugar, carbs, red meat and chocolate. 

It was a feast day, for sure… in many ways.

As I write this… and think about how our family celebrates… I realize that it is very predictable.  Right down to who will sit where in the living room during present-opening, what tablecloth we will use for dinner, and what kind of cookies will be on the dessert platter.

What is it like for families with children whose behaviour is, maybe, not so predictable?  For kids who are sensitive to the sounds, tastes and textures of a holiday that only comes around once a year?  For kids who might not relish a living room full of distant cousins… or car rides to homes of relatives whom they only see every so often?

How was it for you?

Where were the struggles?

And, better yet, where was the JOY?

Share with us.

What you post here may be a blessing for another.

Merry Christmas. ( It is Christmas, after all, for 6 more days!)

Audrey

Count Down…

December 21, 2010

.. okay, I admit it. With all the priestly Advent hype that I’ve been selling about slowing down, taking stock, breathing, spending more time in contemplation and less time in the mall…

… with all that good advice ( and even some of my own following of that advice,) I find myself getting excited. Just a few days left until Christmas.

I had no sooner lit the fourth candle on the Advent wreath… than I blew it out so I could get out my christmas candlesticks…

I have entered in the baking frenzy in which my kitchen is covered in a soft dusting of flour and  confectioner’s sugar

… and there are lights.  All over the place.  Even on the jade forest in the family room.

So… I’m getting geared up.

My family is keeping pace. My son cut the tree, one daughter helped with the baking, and the other has spirited us on singing her endless rendition of  one line of “In the Bleak Mid-Winter.” 

HERE’S MY QUESTION TO YOU PARENTS WHO ARE SO ACCUSTOMED TO KEEPING ROUTINE, SETTING THE PACE and MAKING LIFE PREDICTABLE for your children who can’t tolerate CRAZINESS or EVEN A WELL INTENTIONED ACCELERATION OF JOY…

how do you do it?

what measures do you take to make the holiday pleasurable?

what kind of expectations do you set… for yourself… for your child… and how do you live into the moments as they play out?

Please share your ideas.

What you share here may very well be a holiday blessing for another.

Love,

Audrey

Toddler Tabula Rasa

December 8, 2010

Besides Rhythms of Grace at Church of Our Saviour, I am also blessed with children at my other church… St. Gabriel’s… where we have a weekly Toddler Playgroup.  We call it “Toddlers on Tuesdays at Two (PM) ”  Clever, don’t you think?

Each week we share a bible story, do some sort of related craft or activity, share the requisite graham crackers and apple juice and generally mess around’ till the hour is up.  It is low key, inviting and I get my ‘baby fix.’ See?

 Okay, I know.  He’s not a Toddler… he’s just learning how to crawl… but we are loose with the ages:  we have kids from 7 months to 5 years old…

SO- to the point:  This week we were playing with an old nativity set that I found up in the church attic… and I wanted to focus specifically on the Angels ( I had a cool craft that included things like GLITTER GLUE and FEATHERS…)…

I asked one of the children to get the all the angels out of the creche so we could take a look at them.  And then I realized:  ‘toddler  tabula rasa:‘  this child did not know what an ‘angel’ is.  She did, however, know what a FAIRY is… and so, that’s how our angels came to be called “BIBLE FAIRIES.”

On a similar note, we got onto the topic of Jesus.  His name is:  “BABY GOD.”

Toddler theology ain’t so bad.

HOW ARE YOU TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT GOD? 

Tell us:  what you post here may be a blessing for another.

Tradition, tradition

December 2, 2010

From our handouts given to parents at Rhythms of Grace:

” What traditions do your family hold that are meaningful, soothing, and that peel away some of the trappings of the season to reveal the beauty and simplicity and power of God-With-Us in the Baby Jesus?”

How ’bout it?

Let’s get a Christmas- Tradition-Sharing-Thread going here!  C’mon… be good sports and comment!

I’ll go first:

At our house we open STOCKINGS only after I (Mom) have lit the tree. 

THEN we have a fancy breakfast.

THEN we go to church.

THEN… we open the rest, going one gift at a time.

This sounds so civilized.  It is.  But is hasn’t been, always. 

I remember the first year that I was ordained, the ‘going- to- church- thing -on- Christmas- morning” was received… quietly.

Now, we love it.  It serves to extend the celebration.

But, what about those of you with smaller kids… or ones who cannot wait… or need more routine in their day?

How do you blend your sense of routine with holiday traditions?

Another tradition- when our kids were smaller, we would bundle them up in the car at night and drive around on a ‘pajama ride’ looking at light displays in neighbor’s yards.  FUN.

How ’bout you?

What you share here may be a blessing for another.

 

Christmas Creep

December 1, 2010

 

Oh boy.

December 1st today… and it feels like Christmas should be tomorrow, judging by the number of commercials I have seen, Christmas displays I have noticed and radio stations playing non-stop carols.

Okay- I’m a priest.  I happen to like Advent.  But our culture says… Hurry Up!  Finish Your Halloween Candy so we can GET ON with Christmas!

I found it amusing that last week, I sat at my sister’s house eating turkey for dinner, snitching Butterfingers out of my niece’s plastic jack o’lantern for dessert, and watching Christmas movies on TV…

PARENTS:  how are you managing the excitement level at your house with your kids?

How do you temper the craziness of the season… and maintain a sense of routine, which we know is an essential part of helping our children negotiate this crazy world?

What works? 

PLEASE SHARE YOUR WISDOM HERE.  WHAT YOU SAY MAY BE A BLESSING TO ANOTHER.

ho ho ho and more soon-

Audrey