Thursday, December 17, 2009

What can I Give?

I saw this on the KLOVE blog this morning ... and it reminded me, yet again, of how easy it is to give to others without ever spending a cent. I love to open presents and packages, but really these gifts are the ones that mean the most for these are gifts of the heart.

Give the Gift of Listening – Really listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.

Give the Gift of Affection – Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

Give the Gift of Laughter – Clip cartoons, share articles, funny stories, and a good joke. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”

Give the Gift of a Written Note – It can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or an “I appreciate you” note. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

Give the Gift of a Compliment – Everyone needs encouragement. Mark Twain said, “One compliment can keep me going for a whole month.”

Give the Gift of a Favor – Go out of your way to do something kind for someone.

Give the Gift of Solitude – There are times when we want nothing more than to have some peace and quiet. Be sensitive to those times, and give the gift of solitude to others.

Give the Gift of a Cheerful Disposition – The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone. It’s not hard to be polite and courteous, to say “hello” or “thank you.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

C is for this Christmas letter. After The Great Christmas Card Fiasco of 2008 (which you might recall was the year of the photo card with no photo), I felt a little challenged to come up with something as creative and out of the box as last year’s card. So the kids and I have decided to spell out CHRISTMAS for our friends and family, as we share with you some of the highlights of 2009.

H is for the new home we bought in June. We now live in a cute, white house in Jena, Louisiana. We love our little abode, and everyone has their favorite thing about our new living quarters. Julia loves her butterfly-themed bedroom. Nathan likes the big glassed-in porch that we’ve converted to a playroom. Joel loves all the built-in bookcases that we have filled with books. And I love the blueberry bushes that I discovered in the side yard. We hope to have lots of visitors in our home in 2010!

R is for a house of readers. Now that all three children can read on their own, I’ve learned one very important lesson ... Christmas shopping lists must be well-hidden! Actually, I'm simply grateful that my three little readers still enjoy having their mother read aloud to them before bedtime every night. This past year we read over 25 chapter books together. Our favorite book from 2009 was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl ... and we all agreed that the book is MUCH better than the movie!

I is for interesting adventures. In the fall of 2009, the children took an airplane trip with their dad ... the first plane ride that any of them can remember. Other interesting adventures this past year included raising baby chicks, learning to ride a horse (Joel), learning to shoot a gun (Nathan), and learning to swim without floaties (Julia).

S is for school. This year Joel (3rd grade), Nathan (2nd grade) and Julia (1st grade) go to a new school … Temple Christian Academy. All three kids are honor roll students, which makes their mom really proud. And I have also returned to school this year, finally beginning to work on that Master’s degree. So far, I’ve earned all A’s in the classes I’ve taken, though I must admit that my children don’t seem especially proud of this accomplishment. They just seem to think it is really funny that I have to do homework, too.

T is for Terry and Thompson … Paige Terry and her three beautiful Thompson children! After much thought and prayer and discussion with my children, I’ve decided to return to using my maiden name. What we’ve learned as a family is a really simple lesson ... even though our names may change, our love for each other doesn't.

M is for many activities. Life with three growing kids keeps me busy! Joel rides horses each week, while Nathan has taken art lessons and Julia enjoys dancing, gymnastics and clogging classes. In addition, the boys played Upwards soccer and basketball, Julia was a little cheerleader at school, and all the kids participated in the children’s activities at church (GA’s, RA’s and children’s choir programs). Even though I often feel like I meet myself coming and going, I wouldn’t trade this time for the world, for if I’ve learned anything as a mom it is that the days are long but the years are short!

A is for accomplishments! This past year Joel won the Catahoula Parish Math Bee for his grade level for the second year running, Nathan had his very first art show and Julia began to receive regular visits from the tooth fairy. One thing about children is that they grow up very quickly ... it seems like yesterday Joel was learning to count to 10, Nathan only made scribbles with crayons and Julia was a toothless baby girl! As much as I miss those precious baby years, I’m so thrilled to see the people my children are growing up to be.

And finally ...

S is for our Savior’s birth … the real reason we celebrate this time of year. The Bible tells us that His name shall be called Emmanuel, which means God with us. Our family’s prayer for you is that in 2010 you will know the perfect peace of having God With You each and every day!

With love and joy,
Paige, Joel, Nathan and Julia