Friday, December 21, 2012

These ARE the Christmas Memories

The closer it gets to Christmas, I've been thinking a lot about what traditions from Matt's and my childhood are important to us enough to keep doing with our kids, and what traditions they will remember or what will be important to them. There's a lot of pressure to think that Matt and I will almost single-handedly shape the memories and traditions of the way our kids celebrate a holiday so important to our faith as they go into adulthood.

I'm finding as a momma it's easy to feel like the buck stops here with traditions... and it's even easier to get wrapped up in the to-do lists and the worry that we aren't making enough/good enough memories for our children. Caught up in the decorating (and protecting the tree from the littles' occasional destructiveness), sending Christmas cards, shopping for and wrapping gifts, planning menus, making ornaments and cookies, and even trying to keep memories of my mom alive in our traditions... and all those other 'traditional' necessities that you forget to make memories in the process. Not to mention on top of all our extra responsibilities that are new this year as a senior pastor's family to a church and town that are new to us, new traditions to learn and navigate. And hold still... Mommy wants to take one more picture of you guys being so cute and Christmas-ey. Sometimes it feels so much easier to decorate the tree or make the cookies at night after the kids have gone to bed instead of putting up with the tantrums and cleaning up the epic messes and dealing with the 'over it' after just getting started just to claim it as a tradition/memory.

In the car with our marshmallows and hot chocolate, well past bedtime, ready to see some Christmas lights:

Christmas card outtakes:

Kenna and Mommy making ornaments together:

Eating Christmas Tree cakes in the kitchen:

Mommy and Kenna watching a Christmas movie (photo by Kenna):

There's a lot to remember and it can get very stressful, as we all unfortunately know. I remember vividly the Christmas that Kenna was about 2 years old (I was pregnant with Finn) and there was so much 'hustle and bustle' that what she came up with completely on her own was the phrase "ho ho hurry." Funny yes, but I don't think I will ever forget it because it's so terribly important to me that that's exactly what the Christmas season is NOT about for our family. That it is not about Santa or reindeer or shopping or hurry up or gimme gimme or even good traditions, but of hopeful and excited expectation of the birth of a baby that changed the course of the world... the only savior, the only one who can bring peace on earth, God incarnate. Oh come, Emmanuel.
So today as Finn napped in his crib and Kenna fell asleep on the couch by the light of the tree, with Christmas carols playing and me trying out a new Christmas recipe in the kitchen, i realized that these are the sights and sounds and smells of Christmas that she will start remembering this year. Yes, there will be some talk of Santa and viewings of Rudolph, riding in the car to look at Christmas lights and hot chocolate, and even some spoilage when she unwraps all those presents, but these will be her memories, and they are good memories. They are safe, happy memories of a warm home with parents and siblings who love her, and whose home hopefully exudes the love of Christ that we work so hard to celebrate and remember in the season. And that's the most important memory to me for our kids.
We have lots of blog stories to catch up on after Christmas (and hopefully after the baby comes I'll be able to keep up so that his little babyhood doesn't blink by as quickly as I'm sure a third child's does. But, until then, we wish you all who may be reading, a very Merry Christmas and a home full of the joy and peacefulness that comes not from perfectly behaved children, perfectly executed traditions, or perfectly arranged plans, but the love of that one little baby, Emmanuel, Christ with us.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Big Changes

We have moved to Eagle Springs, NC, which is near Pinehurst, NC! On October 26th, we loaded all of our earthly possessions into a U-Haul and headed down to our new home. There was a wonderful group of friends from our Sunday school class that came to help us load the truck. My dad, both of my brother-in-loves and so many others made sure that it all happened efficiently and that it all got down here in one piece. On this end, our new church kindly showed up with food and help. The truck was unloaded in just under an hour and then we all collapsed with thankful hearts.

Since March of 2012, I had been interviewing with Eagle Springs Baptist Church, having preached once for them in July, there was a vote to extend the offer to us to come and become their new minister over Labor Day weekend. I was able to preach Homecoming weekend in mid-September and then finish out his time at UNC by the end of October.  

This beautiful historic church is over 100 years old with some of the nicest believers we have ever met. We are so grateful for the church and their love for the people of Eagle Springs, NC.

It is a bit overwhelming to see my name on the church sign as the new pastor of Eagle Springs Baptist Church. I feel very blessed and a bit overwhelmed by the great honor and privilege of pastoring these very sweet people.
We were very blessed that not only did they have a parsonage for us, but the parsonage was brand new! Our new address is 522 Eagle Springs Road, Eagle Springs, NC 27242. The parsonage was particularly a blessing as we were not ready to buy another home just yet and were very thankful to not have to go out searching for a place to rent. 
There is a wonderful unfinished walk up attic that the church has allowed me to set up as a home office. While we hope to finish this space out eventually, it has already been a HUGE blessing to be able to have a home office and storage area. Lindsey even has a great deal of room for her crafts. Sometimes, I even get visits from my sweet ones!