Thursday, January 24, 2013


Do you find that once you shut down, turn off and tune in to Him that God is RARELY subtle?  I think that we think he is hard to hear but it's because we do so much of the filling ourselves that we leave little or no room for Him.  Sat down tonight with my bible and study guide in hand from village and opened to this:

"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!"    - Phillipians 2:6-8

So a favorite verse of just about EVERYONE'S - even me, who is not a biblical scholar can readily pull this one up in my mind.  I always focused on the lowering and humbling and not being equal, I mean this is JESUS we are talking about - healer, son of God, Redeemer, Prince of Peace, JESUS if he can do it then surely I, a mere mortal, can try to be humble and lower myself and be a servant.  But this time (and this is why I SO LOVE GOD'S NEVER ceases to amaze me how alive it is and how God uses it to speak to us in different ways, in different seasons of our lives - I mean it's baffling to me, a mystery :)

 I read it and instantly thought........ok what's MY even?  Jesus' EVEN was death on a cross, his unthinkable was death in a horrifying and unimaginable way........but what's MY even?  I, most likely, am not going to die on a cross but God is going to require SOMETHING of me, something that I am unwilling to give up without Him.  If it were me I would be saying yeah, God, you can SO take this cup from me at anytime..........So I thought, well, I guess I should just ask Him, right?  And before the thought was even out of my mind, the words not even reached my lips.........came His reply...........CONTROL.

Will I give up CONTROL?  Will I allow things to feel uncomfortable, things to feel scattered about, things to feel out of control in order to give HIM control?

Will I live outside of my comfort, my ability?

Will I allow others to do, to be who God created them to be or will it just be ME, the way I like things to be done, the way I like things to go?

Will I allow failure to BE an option?  Is that ok?  Will be whole world be torn apart if things are exactly right?



We'll see.

Not my will, but yours be done.

Easy to say.

Not easy to do.

What's YOUR even?

Ask Him.  

He just might answer.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Child's Play, Homeless Shelters and Feet Washing

So two weeks or so ago the kids were all on the couch wrapped up in blankets, squeezed together.  They looked quite cute.  I love how there is NEVER any personal space where those three are concerned.  It makes me laugh when anyone expresses any concern about the need for "privacy" or their own rooms.......Nico's still a little sad that he's all alone :)  And, yes, I know SOMEDAY they will probably require some space of their own but for today......not so much.

Joe know what they're playing?

No, what?

Refuge of Hope.

Oh my.

My three children are pretending to be at a men's homeless shelter.

Then this morning my eldest has the brilliant idea of a feet washing store.  So the three of them set up their stations in the morning with towels, little fans, chairs and brushes.  Then after dinner they treated us to a nice feet washing.  I wasn't sure what to make of it when they started brushing my legs and I choose not to see it as a commentary on my "winter legs" which SURELY do not require a BRUSH - they aren't THAT bad. 

 But all in all it was a LOVELY after dinner treat - warm water, lotion, toweling off and the fanning of our tootsies.

And, yes, I choose to think of my children as HOLY and not weird in their play.  I would appreciate it if you would do the same :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I front of my kids.  One of my favorite things, lately, is to make up songs highlighting my awesomeness and then singing them to my kids, sending them to my friends and serenading my wonderful husband.

They LOVE it.

Seriously, LOVE it.

Then other times I sing songs of my adolescence like........

"Let's talk about.......oh, wait......let's not talk about that.....hmmmmm"

"POUR SOME SUGAR ON...............CAKE!  That's what I meant, cake."

"Boom, boom, boom, let's go back.............TO THE LIBRARY."

It's a bit embarrassing to me when that happens.......I mean I HAD NO IDEA what I was listening to, I mean I DID, but I didn't.  You know what I mean?  Memories of innocent junior high sock hops where all of us in training bras and braces were jumping around to

      "Bang bang bang on the door baby! Knock a little louder baby! 
      Bang bang bang on the door baby! I can't hear you
      Your what? Tin roof, rusted! 
      Love Shack, baby Love Shack!" (I still have no idea what that rusted part means but it was always one of the best parts of the song, right?)

I will call my brother, randomly, when I am in a store and sing songs to him that TAKE ME RIGHT BACK........"What did you think I would do at this moment?............"  Oh, Michael P. Keaton and Ellen............HOW AMAZINGLY AWESOME WAS FAMILY TIES and THEN THEY GOT MARRIED IN REAL LIFE? (((Sigh)))

How about........ "Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song.......I'LL TRY NOT TO SING OUT OF KEY..........."

Winnie Cooper (Can you even say her first name without adding Cooper.........I totally can't) and Kevin.......did the finale RIP YOUR HEART OUT TOO?

What on earth!!!

It's a tv show........the BOY AND GIRL ARE SUPPOSE TO END UP TOGETHER!!!

Just a little bitter about that........................

Oh and anything by Paula Abdul (Oh my goodness, "Opposites Attract" I am a little embarrassed to say that I could probably sing that whole thing right now if it was on the radio), Janet Jackson, Bon Jovi,  Aerosmith, oh so many more..................those songs take me back to junior high/high school :)  College, I went through a country phase...........Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Deana Carter (like strawberry wine, seventeen - WHAT ON EARTH SEVENTEEN! is what I think NOW! - SEVENTEEN - not my babies, seventeen, my goodness, a CHILD, I tell you - what does she know of love or wine or a hot july moon that saw everything thing - SEVENTEEN, that's only 11 years away............FOR THE LOVE OF HIM!)

Anyway.......any songs that take you back?  And, yes, I realize that many of my friends now are quite a bit younger than I am so be nice if you reply.............oh and some of you had different tastes back in the day.

Oh and a little side note................

Francesca came running down the hallway tonight after she was put in bed.  She was carrying a book, saying MOM! MOM! MOM!


I found it.  The perfect pet.  It's right here.  (She opens the book to a hamster)

They really smell.  (Just in case you thought I would be persuaded by her cuteness.....NOT AT ALL.)

(She looks at me as if I am a moron, a little half grin on her face, a roll of her eyes......NOT DETERRED AT ALL)  NO THEY DON'T.  It's the perfect pet.  THEY DON'T POOP.

Well, she has me there, folks.  She has found the PERFECT pet - the first non-pooping hamster.  I asked her what they do when they eat, what happens afterwards.  She just said they eat that explains it all.

So much confidence in that little one.

It's kind of cute how she still has hope :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Two weeks ago the preacher man talked of sacrificing, getting on the altar and laying it all down....

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
                                                                       - Romans 12:1

And I was on fire........wanting to know what my everything was, what was mine to lay on the altar.  I scribbled notes and read passages and a week after that.........I practiced my own type of preaching in front of my village.......for the preacher man and his teacher wife are spurring me on........calling out in me what they see........and it's good.  Terrifying, but good.

And so I talked.  I talked of a vision and circles and finding out what your everything is and finding what God is calling you to without losing Him.  I talked of remaining in Him and pruning and cutting off if you find yourself to far from your Creator, the one who started it all.  I talked of families and our journey and what God is calling us to do, to be, to lay down on the altar.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
                                                                       - John 15:5-8

But, now, tonight...........I sat in quiet time with my husband, with my children and I recalled my week.....the last week of feeling inadequate and impatient and wanting to run and escape and I thought.........oh my................did I forget?  Did I forget to tell them?  Did I forget that when God calls you to leave everything on the altar, to sacrifice it all......did I forget to tell them it is EVERYTHING?

For when God calls isn't because you are perfect and holy and doing everything right.  It isn't because every step you take as a mom, a wife, a leader is, you are to lay it all down.  They ugly parts, the embarrassing parts, the cringe-worthy parts.......lay them all down, bring them to the Light, expose them.  Give them to Him.  And in giving them to Him, bring people to Him.  Because in the midst of the hard times, the times when you fail, the times when you are not facebook perfect...........they know.  They know that it's not YOU, it's not YOU who loves in the midst of heartbreak, it's not YOU who gives grace in the face of hatred, it's not YOU who forgives when's HIM.  Without Him.............oh my without Him.........without the light.............the things in the darkness would grow and fester and take over..........but when brought forth into the light......they GLORIFY.  Because in our weakness His strength is made apparent.

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God."
                                                                           - John 3:19-21

 "Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness,holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
                                                                            - 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

I remember, long ago, 10 years now...........wrestling with God, wrestling with my then preacher........about baptism, about laying it all down........I was waiting.  I was waiting to be "perfect".  I thought........I can't be baptized until I get this straightened out, until I get rid of this part of my life, until I let go of this, until I become this, until, until, until.

Until one day I sat in service.

Until one day I realized.

Until one day I rose from the pews..........not fully understanding but fully alive.

Until that day..................

I realized.

Not me.

But Him.

I am not perfect.  Everything in me is not pure and holy and worthy.

But He is.

It is in realizing my imperfections that I realize my need for Jesus.

It is realizing my raw need, my flaws, my ugliness that I realize my need for a Savior.

It is in realizing that in my weaknesses that God is made strong.

And so when God asks for your EVERYTHING.

He means it.


Don't wait.

Don't wait until you "get it right"

Don't wait until you are this perfect, happy picture of what a Christ follower should be.









There'll Be Days Like This, My Mama Said.....

It happened the first time 6 years ago.

Joe freaked out a little bit.

I freaked out a lot.

I was misunderstood because, frankly, I didn't understand.

It defied any expectation I had.  It defied who I set myself up to be.

A Mother.

I couldn't wait to be a mom.

I was going to be good.

I was going to LOVE motherhood.

And so six years ago when I broke down and cried and sobbed and said life was never going to be the same and I couldn't stop crying............well, it was a little unexpected.

Especially since my I had only been a mother for 2 days.

You would have thought the person destined for "Mother of the Year" would have kept it together longer than 2 days.

Not so much.

And what's weird to me and what I need to share with you is.....................


I keep having days here and there scattered between the good ones, the great ones and the ones that you scrapbook about that defy my expectation of motherhood, that defy who I thought I was going to be.

It's hard.

It's hard to wake up, some days, to play dog for the millionth time, to read the same books, to pretend to be "mom" with the lego people, to build forts that take an hour to get just right only to get it right and then move on to the next activity.

It's hard to create and craft and build and then clean it all up and start over again.  I never watched "Groundhog Day" all the way through because, really, it seemed to be an utterly ridiculous movie and I couldn't even finish it but I imagine that some days I feel that I live it.

I wake up to the same messes, the same activities, the same after day.

And so this week, on Monday, when I woke up and felt off.........well, I kind of knew what was coming.  It wasn't a good day, wasn't a great day, wasn't an "oh, let's run to my blog and type out what adorable thing my child is doing" kind of day.  It was a hide under my covers and pretend that I am sleeping kind of day.


That's what I've learned after six years of days like that.  Because mama said there would be days like that, there'll be days like that, my mama said..... (sorry, my family and I have this annoying habit of randomly breaking out in song)

Days where you long to break out, break free.

Days where you look at your children and picture everything you would like to say to them as they are NEEDING YOU, WANTING YOU, CRAWLING ON TOP OF YOU...and then you silence those words and say I LOVE YOU through clenched teeth, hoping they remember the words and not the teeth 20 years from now.

Days where that dish on the counter, the one left on the counter you WORK YOUR ENTIRE LIFE TO KEEP CLEAN seems like a good reason to seethe in silent anger at your husband who VERY MUCH NOTICES your silently seething in a way your children do not.

Days where you skip reading your bible and praying to God, other than in those moments of PLEASE GOD LET ME NOT FEEL LIKE THIS ANYMORE, and you turn to mindless crap on your computer that MAKES YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD even when you know you shouldn't and you would rather not have anyone know you are watching such shows as these (Winston, Schmidt and crack cocaine.......OH MY WORD......and Parenthood, stop.  Seriously, just stop.  I can't take how much you come RIGHT INTO MY LIFE, MY HEAD and get families.  I love you Parenthood, one more episode this year.......I miss you already)

Days where you spend an hour being THE BEST MOM EVER by creating, crafting, reading, investing and, in your head, this justifies the extra hour of tv you let the watch that afternoon.

Days where after you drop your eldest at school, the one you can walk to in 5 minutes, and then you drive 15 MINUTES IN THE OPPOSITE direction of your house to get a Diet Vanilla Coke from Sonic because you know that it will make everything better (oh and it so really, really does)

And then you wake up the next day or the day after that and the sun shines brighter.  You actually get dressed in real clothes, the children aren't nearly SO ANNOYING as you remember them being the day before.  You remember why you love this job, this job of mothering and playing and cleaning and reading and care taking.  You breathe deep breaths. You soak in the joy of the day, the joy that was so desperately missing from the day or days before and you take the time to pray and give thanks and talk to God, who carried you and loved you for all those moments that you weren't feeling so great or perky.   And you'll remember...............

You'll remember that life goes on, that you were meant for this life, this job of mothering.

And it's good, even when it's not.

And hopefully, your husband, like mine has learned........has learned his own way of coping, handling and loving a mom when there are days like this............praying for me, loving me gently, giving me time to be someone other than a jungle gym for three young ones.

And so if today is a day of I. JUST. CAN'T. DO. IT. ANYMORE...................cut yourself some slack, get out of the house, call a friend, take a trip to Sonic, do whatever it takes to get to the next day, the next moment.

It happens.

Just wanted you to know, once again - in this world of pinterest, instagram, facebook, blogs, how-to everything where everyone posts their best face forward - that it everyone.

Love you all.  Call if you need anything.


Mothers need to stick together.  It's the been one of the greatest gifts to me - this community of women I find myself in - they remind me ALL THE TIME of who I am when I get lost.  You know who you are :)  Thanks.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Joys of Having a First Grader........

Yesterday.............tragedy struck (PLEASE, PLEASE sense the sarcasm, people)..............

We had run out of bread.

Now if you have read at all on this here blog you know that I make a good amount of food.  Homemade bread is a staple.  I, honestly, cannot remember the last time I bought bread to eat (to feed ducks, yes.  I once took some of our homemade stuff and Joe had a fit......WHY ARE YOU FEEDING GOOD, HOMEMADE BREAD TO THE DUCKS!?!  Ummmmm, because?  It's there?  I don't have to go buy it?  Ummmm...........YOU DON'T FEED GOOD BREAD TO THE DUCKS.  Apparently, animals are not worthy of homemade goodness...........this should not come as a surprise to those of you who read yesterday's post...........animals are not to feed but to eat :)

So I promised the kids I would make bread sometime the next day.   (You would have thought that tomorrow was ONE THOUSAND YEARS away based on Nico's reaction......he was really hoping for French toast in the morning and if not french toast then regular toast because "we haven't had toast in like, well the whole year, mom".......or three days ago.)

A little while later Fia slips me a piece of paper............

"make bread tomorrow"
(everything spelled correctly, by herself.....yes, I am bragging.  But it always astounds me that she is a "big kid" now.......seems like yesterday she was in diapers and I was a mom to all "littles")

She says it's in case I forget and she doesn't want me to forget (as if I have EVER forgotten something after I said I would do it.................well, ok, I'll give her this's a 50/50 on things like this).

So this morning........after our 6 rounds of Candyland with Francesca and Nico (an approved 7:00 am activity because I get to sip coffee and not much is needed in terms of participation) Fia points to the fridge, eyebrows raised and clears her throat.  "Ummmm, mom?"

Yes, dear?

Vigorous finger pointing.

I look.

She stuck her note on the fridge.

"make bread tomorrow"

Ok.  On it.  Just give me a little bit more time to wake up.  Could this maybe wait til.......say 8:00am?

Later that morning?

I get a slip of paper with everyone's name on it and little numbers written next to the names.

"Nico - 40    Cesca - 9    Mommy - 69    Sofia - 45   Dad - 70"

What's this, Fia?

"We need you to sew us all Star Wars costumes for tonight."


I am not sure even where to begin on all the reasons why this won't be happening..........

I staple and tape, not sew.  One of the kids corn bags came apart the other day and I just stapled that thing right up.  Later that night I heard Joe asking the kids who did this?  He had to tell them NOT to put it in the microwave (TOTALLY didn't think about that.....) until he fixed it.   I think that stapling and taping is one step further than my own mother ever went.

I am not sure what those numbers are suppose to represent.  I SAW her use the tape measure and I even stood still for her to measure my height but how to translate those numbers into any type of costume, well that far surpasses any skills I might have.

I am 99.9% sure that Fia will come home tonight expecting some progress to be made on those costumes.......................

And, at least, there will be bread.

Because I DID remember to do that.................

Just as her note requested.

I should probably NOT encourage this note writing venture of hers.  The requests might get bigger.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mystery Meat

One of my kid's favorite authors is Mercer Mayer.  We devour little Critter books.  They are HILARIOUS.  I love that the words directly contradict the pictures.  Just Me and My Puppy?  HILARIOUS.  Seriously, read it.  Oh and Just Me and My Baby Sister.......always cracks the kids up.  Little Critter is SOOOO not, hardly ever - with puppies, dogs, shopping with grandpa, you name it he acts JUST LIKE YOUR OWN CHILDREN.

Oh and a nice bonus?

Totally easy to read.


Why is this helpful?

Well, because sometimes ALL THREE KIDS are up at 7:00 am and what we do in the morning, every morning, is snuggle under blankets in the living room and read NUMEROUS books.

Do you know what it's like to read NUMEROUS, MIND-NUMBING BOOKS NOT OF YOUR OWN CHOOSING at 7:00 am in the morning?

It's as if someone is playing soothing lullabies while giving you a back massage, wrapping you in warm blankets and then keeps poking you and saying MOMMY, MOMMY ARE YOU AWAKE?  *POKE* YOU AREN'T SLEEPING ARE YOU, MOMMY?  *POKE* KEEP READING, MOMMY *POKE*

Yeah, it's pretty much JUST. LIKE. THAT.

So at 7:00 when all three kids are up and I need my coffee?  Why Fia flies right through those Little Critter books with not a word of help from me.  Quite unlike those DANG AMERICAN GIRL CHAPTER BOOKS that she just LOVES to read now.  And while I quite applaud her outstanding first grade reading abilities it can sometimes be a test of patience to sit through an entire chapter.  But I have to hand it to that girl, she sticks with it and gets through and knows most all of the words.  Kudos Mrs. Frantum!

ANYWAY...................(sometimes I have to go back and read these things to remember what my point was.........)

We were reading "Merry Christmas, Little Critter" the other morning and on the second to last page Little Critter opens his last present.

It's a BIG one - his very own guinea pig.  He looks OVERJOYED.

Awwwwww..............what a great gift.  Inside I am, better not get any pets here at the Codispoti house........again WHY WOULD I WANT ANOTHER CREATURE WHO POOPS AND HAS TO BE FED IN THIS HOUSE?  I don't, would be the answer.

So I turn to the last page and the whole Critter family is eating their Christmas dinner........and Fia says, "Then they ate him."

Ummmm........come again?

IN ALL SERIOUSNESS.........Fia says, "They ate the pet for their Christmas dinner."

Ummmmmm.........the one Little Critter just opened?

"Yes, they ate him.  See?  That plate has the guinea pig."


And then it makes sense to me.  I can't believe it didn't occur to me earlier.

Ummmmmmmm.........did your FATHER tell you this?

"YES.  Daddy said they ate him."  Still dead seriously.  And no remorse.  (In her defense we buy all our meat locally except chicken which we rarely buy and then we buy Gerber chicken which we have at least driven past.  Our children have met animals before eating them.  We went to see our pig, when he was alive and oinking, before he was butchered.)

Well, at least I know they weren't hoping for a pet.

Just dinner.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


"In the beginning, there was nothing  Nothing to hear.  Nothing to feel.  Nothing to see.

Only  emptiness.  And darkness.  And.........nothing but nothing.

But God was there.  And God had a wonderful Plan.

'I'll take this emptiness,' God said, 'and I'll fill it up!  Out of the darkness, I'm going to make light! And out of the nothing, I'm going to make...........EVERYTHING!'

Like a mommy bird flutters her wings over her eggs to help her babies hatch, God hovered over the deep, silent darkness.  He was making life happen.

God spoke.

That's all.

And whatever he said, IT HAPPENED."

                                   - The Jesus Storybook Bible (pg. 18)

I couldn't get past this page.  I read this the other night and I couldn't get past this.

The fact that there was NOTHING..........nothing but nothing and then............


And how did this happen?

God spoke.

Whatever He said...............


The past year has been a lot of saying, "No I can't."

Then God speaks.

And it happens.

He says, "Yes, I can......not YOU but ME."

You see every time I say I have nothing, I can't do this, I will fail, this isn't who I am, who I ever have been..........He says, I know.

But I AM who I AM.

And so I am beginning to realize.........not by MY power, not by MY authority......but by HIS power and authority.

And so the question this year becomes...........who am I?  What space will I give the Creator to create?

Am I willing to give everything to become nothing so that once again I can have EVERYTHING through Him, who is the Creator of all?

Who am I?

I am a wife, a helpmate.

I am a prophet.

I am a mother.

I am a voice in the wilderness.

I am a homemaker.

I am a leader.

I am a child of God.

All this through Him who makes all things new.  Where there is nothing.......He speaks.......and there is EVERYTHING.

Who are you?  What space are you going to give to Him?  What is He creating in You?   What is He speaking in You?




And let your story begin...................

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Love Came Down

Today was WONDERFUL.  Break was WONDERFUL and FUN and RELAXING and GOOD.  But today was wonderful, too :)  I am always shocked (no one else ever is, though.......) at how much I crave routine and schedule and, well, work.  Fia was back to school today and Joe was in bed all day, still sick, and the younger kids and I were back to doing our thing.  It was awesome.  I got the house cleaned, laundry caught up, made some cheese and bread and all that other home stuff.  Oh and I did play with the kids, too :)  We made volcanoes - VERY cool activity!  We made the dough and shaped it around empty water bottles and then decorated the pan around the volcano with plastic animals and trees and such.  We added a coat of paint later in the day and tomorrow we can watch them EXPLODE! We went to the ECRC for play and science exploration, to the library to check out a BAJILLION books and movies and then to the grocery store.  All this to say it was a busy day but one that reminded me how much I love the job I have.

So.........Christmas is over.  All the advent activities and planning and decorating and baking and all that........done.  Are you relieved or bereft?  Are you taking a breath or ready to get up and running again?  Over the years I have wondered why the HUGE push around Christmas and then nothing.  It use to frustrate me that we would do all these cool things to remind ourselves of Jesus for the 25 days leading up to December 25th and then take everything down, put away all the awesome Christmas books and just be done.  I wondered why we couldn't continue in the spirit of Christmas throughout the year - not the intensity and gift-giving and craziness but the Jesus focus that we seem to have all of December.  We tend to be pretty laid back about a lot of things surrounding Christmas (we don't have to buy gifts for hardly anyone, I don't send out cards, I am not even going to tell you what we did this year instead of me actually baking the cookies we take to the hospitals.....I was SO SICK the day I was going to couldn't be more than 10 feet from a bathroom at any given time......and my husband has off 8 days around the holidays because he's a teacher).  Some of it is because we try to be intentional about not getting caught  up in the craziness and some of it is that we have pretty rockin' family members on both sides that keep it easy and simple (EVEN JOE'S MOM KEPT IT SIMPLE THIS YEAR.......this deserves a HUGE, HUGE round of applause :).  So after Christmas I think.......ok can we keep celebrating?  I mean each day is a celebration because of the gift we are given through Jesus, right?

Stay with me here..............and remember who I am...............I don't do ANYTHING that takes huge amounts of time, that is worthy of being on pinterest or costs any amount of money :)  So here is a simple way of continuing the celebration without the stress.........if you want.........but please don't feel you have to.................. :)

We are starting to celebrate/get ready for Valentine's Day with the theme that "Love Came Down".  Today we began (we can begin because as I think I mentioned at some point before......I am pretty weird about Christmas decorations.......they come down Christmas night after the kids go to bed.  It doesn't take more than 2 hours, tops.  Then we put away all their toys - this is made possible by me knowing what the kids are getting from everyone before Christmas and clearing out areas for me to put the toys the weeks BEFORE Christmas - and it's all ready for them to play the next day without the stress of it being TOTALLY TRASHED.  The day after Christmas is one of my favorite days of the year :)  to decorate the house.  We painted our windows.  This is a super easy and CLEAN activity - trust me.  You outline the shapes you want the kids to paint on the window and then just use washable paint.  Francesca did hearts, Fia did the words "God is Love" and Nico did a huge heart on the front window.  On the big heart I painted a cross and wrote the words "Love Came Down" across the top.

Then each night during quiet time we are going to write one of the names of Jesus on a heart, decorate it and hang it from the curtain rod in the living room, over the big heart.  We are using to do the names of Jesus.  It is meant for Christmas but we are going to adapt it for Valentine's day.  We are just going to use the names and MAYBE some of the activities but remember.......NO STRESS.  FIVE MINUTES.  FOCUS ON JESUS NOT PINTEREST WORTHY ACTIVITIES/DECORATIONS.

And, of course, each year we bake heart and cross cookies, plaster hearts all over the walls (sometimes we remember to write love bible verses, sometimes not.), bake heart pizzas, make valentines, etc. and we do it in remembrance of the Love we are shown, that we are given.

So go to town..............continue the celebration....................cover your walls, your windows, your hearts in Love.  For Love came down and was with us and continues to be with us long past Christmas.