Friday, December 31, 2010

Doing The Next Thing.

Christmas is among my favorite celebrations of the year. I look forward to it with great expectations, I enter into the flurry of it with great excitement, I revel in the actual day with great joy...

And usually, I wake up on December 26th feeling just a bit sad. The return to life after the holidays usually requires an adjustment period for me. This year has been no exception.

I've been feeling a little listless this week. Jude seems to have had the post-Christmas blues himself. He's been sleeping a lot and fussing a bit more. In weeks like this, I particularly treasure a phrase from Elisabeth Elliot that runs through my mind quite often.

"Do the next thing."

She says that when you feel overwhelmed, or worn out, or a bit listless,or are unsure about a big step you may need to take, often it is most helpful to just "do the next thing." Take out the trash. Vacuum up those fake pine needles. Unload the dish washer. Cook dinner for that sweet hubby. Make that phone call that's on your list. Pick up your Bible and read the passage marked for today.

On weeks like this, my feelings want to push me into idleness, joylessness, and selfishness.I love her advice because it has so little to do with how I'm feeling.

So, here at the Dawkins house after a wonderful Christmas celebration, I am doing the next thing.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fun & Games

Last night we had a family from our church community over for dessert and games. They brought a group game for the Wii, Apples to Apples, and some good conversation.

Their daughter, Merry Ashlyn, would probably score higher on a test than I would...and she's in 4th grade. And Greyson is one of my favorite people to meet on a Sunday morning. He prepares seasonal jokes to greet me with on Sundays.

Of course, if you know David at all, you know that there's nothing he likes better than a corny joke. Greyson's joke-telling skills are giving hubs a run for his money:)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Few of our Favorite Things

Today I am clearing out from underneath the tree. It is full of kind, thoughtful, and generous gifts that came to our household this year. These are a few of our favorite things...

Category: Most Useful
Winner: Mizunos and Brooks from Dad

Category: Cute Factor
Winner: A colorful sock monkey to add to Jude's collection

Category: Most Likely to Distract from Responsibilities
Winner: Bonhoeffer...I can hardly put it down!

Category: Small & Random Favorite
Winner: This bottle top necklace in honor of my tractor-driving roots!

Category: Best Laugh
Winner: Teething Rings. We were excited about these until we read the label...they were unintentionally purchased puppy dog teething rings. Gift-giver shall remain nameless:)

Category: Best Surprise from Mom and Dad
Winner: The Wii! Hubs is totally enjoying this! I am looking forward to a good arm work out while boxing:)

Just a few of our favorite things these days:)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Very Merry

This was undoubtedly one of the sweetest Christmases we've ever celebrated. Jude was a tiny reminder to us of the wonder of a Saviour sent in the form of a little baby. Of course, it wasn't all reflection.

There was plenty of merry-making as well...

Traipsing outside on Christmas morning to catch a few tiny snowflakes:

Fun with Aunt Lisa and Uncle Brad:

Enjoying family fun on Christmas Eve:

Giggling with grandparents who gave him presents enough to last until next year:

Learning about the solar system with dad:

(what better way to stuff a stocking for a nerd?:)

We had a very merry Christmas at our house.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Try to imagine what I gave up when I came to earth as a baby. I set aside My Glory, so that I could identify with mankind. I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions - a filthy stable. That was a dark night for Me, even though angels lit up the sky proclaiming "Glory!" to awe-struck shepherds.

When you sit quietly with Me, the process I went through is reversed in your experience. As you identify with Me, heaven's vistas open up before you - granting you glimpses of My Glory. I became poor so that you might become rich. Sing hallelujahs to My holy Name!

From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Call of the Sirens

Jude is fascinated with the Christmas tree.

He will be playing contentedly with his toys on one side of the room, catch a glimpse of the lights, and be seemingly drawn to the tree by an unstoppable force. David likens it to the call of the Sirens in The Oddysey.

It is the first real proof we've had that Jude understands the word "no." I have a feeling I'll be saying that word a lot more frequently in days to come:)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Enchanted Forest

Grammar asked Jude last night if he would like to join her for a morning at one of Memphis's oldest Christmas traditions, The Enchanted Forest. Wherever his cousins go, he's content to tag along!

We perused the decorated trees, wandered through the antiquated electronic animals, watched the train, and expressed our desire to eat the ginger bread village.

We also sat through a compelling Imax film entitled Santa Vs. the Snowman. To our relief, Santa prevailed.

Thanks for the invitation, Grammar!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Joyful Contentment

It's 3am. Jude woke up for 5 minutes around 1:30am and went back to sleep. My attempts at falling back asleep were unsuccessful. I got up, ate a snack, wrote a few emails that were loooooooong overdue, and have been clicking on blogs that I never have time to read when the little man is awake.

For the past few days, I've been intending to write a post about contentment. If you'll bear with my 3am brain, I'll attempt a few thoughts in the quiet of this early morning.

'Tis the season when all manner of gadgets and flashy gizmos are constantly barraging me. 'Tis the season when the inevitable question arises "what do you want" for Christmas. And usually, if I look at the gadgets long enough or ponder the question honestly, I can come up with a hearty list of things I'd like to have.

Perhaps because, in a matter of months, most of our possessions will either be on a table at a garage sale or packed away in storage, the flurry of the shopping malls and superstores has seemed even more ironic to me this year. It's revealed in my heart both a tremendous growth since years past and the tension of more sophisticated wants that have pointed out discontentment.

I am embarrassed to write this next part...but I do try to be honest here on the blog.

Probably what I've struggled with most, in this area, since our return to Memphis, is apartment living.

Most of my fact almost all of them...own homes at this season of life. They paint and decorate according to their taste, not according to what they find at the thrift store or in their parent's attic:) I admit that when I invite people over, it is sometimes with a forced and determined effort at godliness: "I will not fail to show hospitality simply because I don't have more space, a dining room set, etc."

I don't tell people that usually because it sounds ungrateful. And, it is. Our apartment is just another part of God's incredible provision for us. I love what we have and feel very comfortable and content...most of the time.

This small battle has been a healthy push in an area of my heart that I've been less than diligent in keeping. We all know these words, but it doesn't make them less worth repeating. Contentment has nothing to do with what I have or do not have. It is a state of the heart. According to the Scriptures, I have everything I need for life and godliness. I would not be happier if we owned a home. I would not have more to offer my brothers and sisters by having a nicer dining room chair.

Christ is enough. He always has been. He always will be.

Life seasons will come. Life seasons will go.

I am praying that, like Paul, I would learn the secret of contentment in whatever state I'm in plenty or in want, well fed or hungry. I am hopeful that this simple and slightly scattered 3am post would encourage your heart today in the midst of this season to more joyful contentment.

Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Monday, December 20, 2010

1st Prize

This weekend, dear old Rebekah stopped in to show us her award-winning tacky Christmas sweater. Not satisfied with those available for purchase at the thrift store, she hand-crafted her own from an old sweater and some dollar store finds. She tied with a Christmas vest for 1st place in her SS competition.

We had a little photo shoot because this is just the sort of thing I know you blog readers are interested in.

A few details that I'd like to point out:

1. Two turtle doves.

2. Transportable lighting on the beautiful red bow.

3. Tinseled edging.

4. Jingle bell button covers.

If you're interested in the purchase of such finery, I'll take bids in the comment section.

Friday, December 17, 2010

On A Friday Night...

Tonight the Dawkins clan piled in with Grammar and Pop for a ride through Starry Nights at Shelby Farms. It's definitely been on my wish list this season! Jude was a bit more interested in his 3 cousins than the lights:)

My favorite was undoubtedly the manger scene. Simple beauty.

Back at the homestead, I finally got around to what my hub has been hinting at for weeks: sugar cookie bakin'!


I'm lovin' the winter hand-me-downs that have come Jude's way this season!

Just his size...and just my style:)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Friend?

Sometimes I wish I could know what's going on in Jude's head. It seems very possible that he thinks a baby lives in our trash can.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Go Figure.

I love a good thrift store. Consignment is usually a little too high dollar for me. I will admit though that I am often tempted to stop in at the trendy teen consignment shop just down the road from me. Plato's Closet has pretty good prices on their gently used goods...and it is definitely the latest in fashion.

I've made a few purchases from Plato's....including my wonderfully large red purse. Last week I decided to try my hand at selling some of my clothes that no longer fit me in size or taste.

Knowing they only take newer fashions, I picked out some pants that I thought would be a sure sell and threw in a few other items that I wasn't sure if they would take or leave.

You drop your bag off. They sort it. They re-bag what they don't want and put in a bucket what they do want. Then they offer you a price for all the items in the bucket.

When I returned I found that all my items (the ones I thought were surely just the style of young teens) were in the rejected bag. And that they were offering me $6.30 for a pink Ralph Lauren sweater that, if memory serves, I'd purchased at the thrift store for around $3.00 a year or so ago.

The 17 year old worker kindly told me that some of my styles were "too sophisticated" for Plato's Closet. I'm pretty sure that's a nice way of saying "too old lady."

Nonetheless...I'll keep trying my hand. A $3 profit on a thrift store sweater is just fine with me...even with that sophisticated comment.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Graduate

Friday morning, David officially graduated from Southern. It was such a meaningful ceremony, full of reminders of the responsibility that accompanies knowledge. I couldn't be prouder, he couldn't be happier to have that final exam turned in, and Jude couldn't have been more excited to have a sleepover at the Boevings!

Yay, daddy:

Congrats from the Dean and his wonderful wife:

Jude with his babysitters. Special thanks to Savannah and Aubrey!

Lunch at our favorite Cuban restaurant with our dear friends, The Lyons:

Getting some fresh air at the rest stop with Dad:

Happy Graduation, David!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gussied Up

We are leaving at the crack of dawn (actually before it cracks:) to head to Louisville for David's graduation!

Jude went to visit his Aunt Lindsey this week to get all gussied up for the occasion:

A Worthy Repeat

It's been several years since I read the classic Dickens novel A Christmas Carol. Perhaps I enjoyed it all the more because of this. I admit that I found it profoundly moving this time around and suspect that age will only increase my appreciation in years to come. If you haven't picked it up in a while, I highly recommend it to you this Christmas season. It is definitely worth re-reading!

To whet your appetite, here are a few of my favorite lines from an interchange between Scrooge and his nephew on why he should keep Christmas though it has never given him any gain:
There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew; "Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that - as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Bonus Trip

On our way to Georgia, we stopped in to visit our friends from our first year at Southern, Spencer and Kari. They were there for an appointment so sadly, their little Naomi was not along for the ride. We are always eager to introduce Jude to the little ladies. In her absence, he was quite taken with Winky the dog at Kari's granparents'. It was great to see them...and eat a lil' Mexican food together.

Because David is a nice husband and quite often arranges his plans around the whims of his wife, we stopped at Opryland.

I have a thing for the Opryland hotel at Christmas. Their decorations are spectacular.

Even though they just re-opened after the tragic flood, the grounds were beautiful and the foliage was unbelievably well manicured.

We all enjoyed a little holiday cheer. Thanks to my sweet hub for the side trip!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sweet Georgia

This weekend we traveled to Georgia to spend time with my cousins and their aMaZing community in the quaint little town of Summerville. Except for Logan (who made a quick trip from Union to see Wicked back in October), they had not yet been formally introduced to Jude:) We knew we would have an exciting weekend...because that's what happens when you're with the Brasher clan.

Even so, we were hardly prepared for the social flurry into which we entered....parent's night out with the youth, pancake breakfast with the 4H club, open house at the pastor's house, lunch in Rome, meeting their welcoming church family and sharing with them, a Victorian Christmas on Main street, a mini-Christmas concert by the cousins, a great ride back with Aunt Sue and even a quick hello with my other cousins Kena and Kara.

Whew. Jude was worn out when we arrived home. (ok. he was wired from sleeping in the car...his parents were worn out!)