Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Family Christmas Gifts

The cold blast that parts of the country are experiencing and the advancing months on the calendar have me thinking about the upcoming Christmas season. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. Obviously, the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, is the true reason for the season, and I feel beyond blessed that He was sent here to save us. The gift of Jesus is immeasurable. Along those lines, but obviously not of the same magnitude, the joy of showering my children with gifts is immeasurable to me.

While the joy that gifting my children brings is immeasurable, the amount of money that my husband and I spend to make their dreams of dolls, video games, other assorted electronics come true is very measurable. In fact, the amount that we spend is set in stone. Each child gets the same budgeted amount and must live within their means. What a novel idea!

In a household where everyone has what they need and most of what they want, I wonder how necessary it is to continue filling our empty spaces with material things just because there’s a budget for it. My intent is not to be a scrooge, but to turn our focus from solely tangible items to memory-making gifts with some, or all, of our gift money. Perhaps we can begin a new family tradition that would demonstrate an immeasurable love for one another and for others.

A few ideas that I’ve thought of so far are:

  • Adopting a family and sharing our blessings with them
  • Taking a family vacation for the holidays – the gift of time
  • Purchasing season tickets for amusement parks or sporting events
  • Buying several $5 or $10 gift cards and distributing them randomly to strangers based on the Spirit’s guidance

As I sit here typing this blog, a commercial for spending Christmas in Branson, Missouri is playing on the television. Is that a sign? LOL!

Our household is a democracy of sorts (parents can veto just about anything though), so any ideas must be presented at a family meeting where a vote would ultimately be held. It’s a bit late to hold that process for this year as each kid has already mentally spent their gift budgets, so any decisions would not take effect until Christmas 2012.

Have you adopted a family gift tradition in your home? If so, what is (or has been) on the gift list? Any comments would be greatly appreciated!


The Last Full Weekend of Summer

It seems like just yesterday when flowers began to open, grass awakened from a slumber, and the warmth of the snow broke through from a long, cold winter. As I enjoy the last full weekend of summer, I’m experiencing mixed emotions. The warm, yet vibrant, foliage colors of Fall and the near-perfect weather are simultaneously relaxing and exciting. However, feelings of impending cabin fever lurk just beneath the surface. Weather bleeds into other seasons, so the delight of Fall will soon be interrupted by cold, harsh winter weather – even if the calendar doesn’t agree.

Twice I’ve had to resist the urge to drag bins of autumn decor from their cozy hideaway in the basement, because the calendar month still reads, “September”. Dare I rush the end of summer? I think not! Fall will be here soon enough, so for now, I sit here with every window of the house opened allowing each room to benefit from nature’s air freshner. A slight breeze, the sound of children playing and birds chirping, the hum of a neighbor’s mower, and temperatures in the low 70’s are the perfect backdrop for the last full weekend of Summer.

How are you spending the last full weekend of Summer?


My Favorite Season

Depending on what time of year you ask me, “What’s your favorite season?”, my answer will vary.

See, in February or March, I would likely say that Spring is my favorite season, because I’m not a huge fan of cold weather – especially if it didn’t produce a beautiful blanket of snow to play in outside or look at from indoors. I love the warm temperatures, the new spring colors, and the season of Easter.

However, if you ask what my favorite season is this time of year, I’d say it’s Fall, because it’s much like spring – nearly perfect. I love the brisk temperatures, the colorful foliage, and, of course, football season!

Ask me that question in November and I’ll say that winter is my all-time favorite time of year – hands down, because that’s the season of Christmas. I love who the season represents, I enjoy snow, I love the smell and crackle of wood burning in my fireplace, and I love how cheerful people seem to be. Aren’t people incredibly kind at Christmastime? If we could just freeze that kindness forever…

So as far as I’m concerned, Spring, Fall, and Winter are all my favorite months.

Oh, wait! How could I forget about the adventures of summer. When you subtract the oppressive heat, that is another favorite season. No school, few activities, summer travel, lots of time spent with family, and relaxation makes me one happy Best Books Network!

Hmm, I guess my favorite season is all of them!

What is your favorite season and what do you like about it?


Spring Has Sprung!

In case you haven’t noticed, spring has sprung in many parts of the U.S. While the incessant rain in the midwest portion of the country puts a damper (pun intended) on some of my dreams of outdoor activities and projects, I have found a lot of things for which to be grateful.

Yesterday’s record-setting heat, accompanied by a day-long break from rain, brought a ton of members of my community to a local lake and park for walks, bike rides, boating, and kite flying. The scene at the lake was what spring is made of and it was repeated all over the region.

I loved having my skin kissed by the sun. I loved seeing couples enjoying lunch at park benches. I loved seeing families enjoying one another’s company as they found a way to break the cabin fever after a long, cold, snowy, windy winter.

Although I suffer from allergies, I can’t complain one bit about the beautiful blooms that God designed for us to enjoy, or the shade that He knew we’d need provided by the majestic trees that He put before us.

The sound of birds chirping, children giggling as they paddled along the lake with their families, bicycles whizzing by, joggers’ feet pounding the pavement, and rollerblades gliding along the path all made for a symphony fit for the ears of a king. Our King! And He saw fit to share his symphony with me!

I am glad to be able to hear, see, feel, taste, and smell all that spring has to offer.

Spring has sprung and I’m ready for what the rest of the season has to offer.

Love to all!


Weekly Trivia 2/05/11

This 1950 movie starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor was remade in the 1990’s.

Post your guesses here!

Answer will be posted on 2/12/11.