Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cousin Pieta!

Arrived this morning and greeted happily by three excited girls.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Flip Flap Farm

Just saw this new Usborne title and am really excited about it!

"Follow this farm through the year, milking cows, shearing sheep and harvesting wheat along the way. This delightful flap book is perfect for little fingers and inquisitive minds."

It has loads of features on each double page spread including:
  • double and triple flaps (flaps hiding under flaps)
  • REAL information about farm animals (like names and descriptions of different species of pigs)
  • a book within a book at the end, a fun surprise
  • appealing to ages 2,3,4,5,6,7,8...even me (at a young 34!)
Find it at

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Christmas Card for You

In lieu of mailing cards and a picture this year, we are happy to share our highlights of 2008 the virtual way.

We are thankful for:
  • Vacation adventures (trips to Devil's Lake Campground and Breezy Point resort; Maddie to People of Praise Servant Camp for one week)
  • A rich life in our neighborhood (including welcoming our new goddaughter and next door neighbor, Audrey Lee)
  • Business ventures (Lucy, a new consultant with Usborne Books; Ben, planning his BAC Cycling company - so far, an idea; maybe a reality in the future)
  • Family milestones (mom running for state office; a new niece/nephew on the Cunningham side, arriving soon!)
  • Celebrating life (Grandma Claire passed away in November)
  • Growing and loving as a family (with 3 year old Izzy, 1st grader Kate, and 3rd grader Maddie)
  • 10 years of sweet married life!
In addition, we'd love your prayers of support for:
  • Tim, who is serving in Iraq and will be back in the U.S. this summer
  • Healing of dad's lymphoma
  • Our Spring time basement renovation project
May the miracle of the Incarnation dwell in your heart and home today and always.

Merry Christmas to you all and Happy New Year!

Ben, Lucy, Maddie, Kate and Isabel


It occurred to me while transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer that the issue of Wants vs. Needs can be sticky. Putting the words together I came up with "weeds". I don't know why the thought began in the laundry room!

I think it surfaced partially because this is a time of gift buying, but also because in raising children I am very aware that the behavior I model is what will be handed down to the next generation. My attitudes, my actions, my spending, my saving, my worries, etc. are all part of the package that communicates to my daughters the value I place on things.

So, what are our needs? What are our wants? Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish them or put something into one category or another. And just because I want something does not mean it is bad or not okay to have. As a mom though, on a budget, it is also tempting to only acquire the real "needs" for my family since I am the one who actually makes a lot of the purchases. It is easy for me to think that since an item is not an immediate need it is not worth buying. Even in this category, I can reason myself out of what I originally thought was a "need" and determine that in fact it is not necessary, at least not now. Flavored/good coffee falls into this category, for example!

"Wants" become more apparent at this time when we think about and list our desires for gifts. But, are these just for Christmas time and birthday time? What happens when we have a surplus at the end of a month or a week? What happens when the girls earn their own money (from birthdays, others' generosity, etc.)? Great questions for parents and us to ponder.

Also, are we at all responsible for others' "needs" or "wants"? When do we extend ourselves and give to the point where we satisfy the needs of others and really stretch ourselves? What is greed? How does it manifest itself in society and in our home?

If we don't have these conversations and communicate well with our children, they'll grow into adulthood wandering through very tall and messy Weeds.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

And He Shall Reign Forever and Ever...

Home from the Trinity Concert/People of Praise meeting. The Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Orchestra and Wind Ensemble performed and three people offered reflections on the Gospel stories of the birth of Christ. It was a truly beautiful and talent filled service. The auditorium was packed and the music filled the large open space.

I am always blown away by the lyrics of Handel's Messiah and today was no exception. Christ is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, forever and ever. These words are powerful, true and light the way for us as we meander and charge through our days. Joel's words echo in my mind too. Jesus was born a humble, good guy. When did God become a judge only concerned with our sin? Jesus is our friend and wants us to know him beyond this season. He gives us our hope, our peace, our courage, and our energy.

Praise God for the Body of Christ which born out of our commitment to Jesus and each other sustains and builds our faith. It propels us into living out a tough but doable Gospel message: See and love this world. Love who's in it. Give your life for it. It is worth it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving says Ben