Eden

Eden

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Quotable Quotes AND Grand-Totting

Good Sunday morning!

How is your December going?

Getting a lot done?

Every room decorated?

Shopping finished?

Presents wrapped?

Cards sent?

Baking baked?

Yeah.

Me neither.

And I'll even be super-duper honest and tell you I've let it get me down some this month.

However, this past Tuesday was the day I pulled out my most favorite book of the Christmas season (Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift) and read December 11 - The Red Rope.

Not only is it my favorite Christmas book, but December 11 is my favorite part of my favorite Christmas book. It is the part about Rahab who was "the girl who had done bad things but gave her heart to the one good God."

Listen to the way Ann Voskamp describes Rahab's ancestry in a way only Ann Voskamp can...

"Rahab, who had a baby boy who would grow up to have a baby boy who would grow up to have a baby boy who would grow up to have a baby boy -- who would become the king of God's people. Which means that Rahab would be the great-great-grandmother of King David, the greatest king of God's people -- and Rahab would be the many, many, many-times great-grandmother of the greatest and most perfect King ever: Jesus. Jesus, who painted a rope red with His very own love, with His very own blood, and gives Himself to you like a red rope, whispers, 'No matter what you've done, hold on -- I love you, and I've got you.'"

It's true, you know.

When I am on top of my game and everything is going to plan (my plan), I don't see Jesus as clearly as when I have muddled through another day wondering, "Why isn't this working? Why am I not feeling the Christmas Spirit this year?" and it hits me like a five-pound pigeon dropped from the sky on the top of my head. (Another story for another time.)

I'm looking in the wrong places for Jesus.

He's not in a stack of carefully wrapped gifts placed under a perfectly lit Christmas tree...

Or beside a plate of cookies warm and fresh from the oven...

Or in a beautifully decorated store with Christmas music playing in the background.

I'm supposed to be looking in the manger...

In a simple stable.

The older I get, the more I crave "simple."

Simple anything.

Simple everything.

And I may be wrong, but I don't think this craving comes from laziness or weariness.

I think for me it comes down to this...

In a crazy world where too much news causes too much anxiety...

And too many people who know Christ as their personal Savior are not sharing what they know with people who do not know Him...

And too many situations in our lives are complicated and messy and overwhelming and out of control...

The answer is simply Jesus.

It always has been, and it always will be...

And when I remember that one truly important thing and live accordingly, "simple" is so much more obtainable.

Not just in December, but during the other 11 months, too.

Quotable Quotes - "Love like there's no tomorrow. And if tomorrow comes, love again." Max Lucado

RANDOMNESS - Grand-Totting 101 - Last week, Mikie took off a day from work. It was a mild December day, so I picked up the Grand-Tots for some outside playtime with Pop and Nana.

Pop disappeared around the corner of the house after a few minutes of running around the front yard, and returned with an active leaf blower.

Let it be known here and now, active leaf blowers and an almost two year-old boy is NOT the perfect combo Pop had originally imagined.

It didn't cause tears, and it didn't cause him NOT to try to activate it himself a little later, but it will not be making an appearance at his upcoming birthday party!

Judith's reaction was much more pleasing, so I made a mental note that "almost four year-old girls enjoy a portable wind machine."

After three minutes of the leaf blower, Pop turned his attention to a giant leaf pile.

Much, much more Grand-Tot friendly.

















Have a wonderful upcoming week. I'll be back before Christmas with one more post which will hopefully contain something of substance!

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Humorous tidbits...

"Before I had kids I thought I had a great immune system, but it turns out I was just really good at staying away from the type of people who sneeze directly into your eyeballs while telling you a story."

Me in November... I will make a beautifully hand-crafted gift for everyone I love.

Me in December... I only love two people.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Quotable Quotes, Pinterest Stuff (Memory Making Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Family), A Zip Lining Story - Part Two AND Sunday Thanksgiving

Good Monday morn!

Quotable Quotes - I saw the following on Ann Voskamp's Instagram account this week...

And I loved it.

This is the year.

Simple over stress.
Wonder over worry.
Holy over hype.


Also, if you haven't already read her book (Unwrapping the Greatest Gift), it would be one of the best things you ever did this Christmas season.

Pinterest Stuff

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - Always remember, when you see a "Pinterest Stuff" header, that means everything under the header was found on Pinterest. It is not my original idea.

Memory Making Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Family

A Spin on the Santa Claus Letter

This is a super fun Christmas Tradition for starting out your holidays. The gist of it? Santa sends a letter to your house asking the kids to help out the North Pole by donating toys they don’t need anymore so there are enough toys for Christmas. Not only does this get your kids involved in the true spirit of Christmas, but it helps you to declutter and get rid of things you don’t need before bringing new toys into the home. My husband’s rule at our house is, “for everything you buy, you have to get rid of at least two things.” He hates having too much “stuff.”

Children's Christmas Tree and Wrapped Christmas Books

A few years back, I babysat for someone who had a neat Christmas tradition, and I decided to carry it on in my own little family. They had a separate “mini” tree for the kids. They were welcome to decorate and re-decorate it over and over again.

Underneath the tree were Christmas books all wrapped up. Each night the children got to pick a present to open, and we read that book as a family that night. This tradition kept the kids from messing with the decorations on the larger tree because they had their own, and it also kept them from getting into the presents under the big tree because they were able to open one every day from their own tree.

A Spin on Matching Christmas Pajamas

I know of many families who do this, one and have decided to do it myself. On Christmas Eve, there is a knock at the door and Santa’s elves secretly leave new Christmas pajamas for everyone. This always makes for fun pictures.

A Spin on Magic Reindeer Food

Leave carrots or oats outside for Santa’s reindeer. Leave whoppers or chocolate-covered raisins on the ground so the kids can see proof that the reindeer have been in the yard!

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - As a Mother of boys, I get the "whopper/chocolate-covered raisin" humor. Very funny.

A Spin on Chinese Christmas Eve Dinner

I have a friend whose family goes out for Chinese in their Christmas pajamas every Christmas Eve. Christmas traditions like this are fun because the kids look forward to it every year and the pictures are priceless.

Reindeer Names

This is a fun way of tagging Christmas gifts. Rather than put the child’s name on each present, assign each child a reindeer name. This keeps the children from running to the tree and pulling out all of the presents with their name on it. No one knows what their Reindeer Name will be until time to start opening the gifts.

Service

Although it usually happened a few days before Christmas, my Mom would usually try to arrange a service for us to accomplish to help us understand the true meaning of Christmas. Sometimes this was volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting a retirement home, playing “secret Santa” to another family or singing to a group of kids with special needs.

RANDOMNESS #1 - A Zip Lining Story - Part Two - Okay. So this part of the story is all about our two guides, Ross and Drew.

Each group had two guides, and at any given time during the two-hour zip lining experience, it was not totally uncommon for one or more zip liners to come into contact with one or both of the guides...

And when I say "come into contact," unfortunately I mean full body contact...

At ridiculously high speeds.

Before you actually climbed a tower, tackled a swinging bridge or jumped off a zip line tower, you first had to complete a zip lining safety course.

During the course, you were instructed by a young male guide (somewhere in the 20-to-25 year age range) about how to avoid turning backwards on the zip line, flipping upside down on the zip line and the distance your voice carried in the trees when zipping down the line.

The next thing we learned in the class had to do with where your hands should go during "zipping."

Your left hand was to hold onto the top of the main zip lining pulley. The left hand also kept you from turning totally backwards because you steered by turning the pulley slightly to the right or the left which theoretically kept you "straight."

I say "theoretically" because while I didn't turn entirely backward, I did tend to turn to the right each and every time I stepped off the platform. I never could stay completely straight, but I wasn't going for perfection. I was simply trying to survive.

With your right hand, you were supposed to hold the yellow rope in front of your face. This rope was connected to one of two ropes which hook onto the main zip line. If one rope ever failed, you had a Plan B rope.

I am a huge proponent of the "Plan B rope."

After learning the hand placement, they taught us how to slow down when approaching a platform.

You would simply take your right hand, place it above and behind your head on the steel zip lining cable and apply gentle, yet consistent pressure on the cable...

Thus, slowing yourself down to a less deadly speed.

The instructor explained to us if we did "come in too fast," one of our guides would get between us AND the quickly approaching tree.

Basically, the guides didn't want to be hit by flying people at speeds up to 30 mph (and faster), but it was part of their job NOT to let any of us faceplant into a tree.

By this point in the class, my mind had started to wander, and retaining valuable information was just not happening.

Roxie and I had signed up for the Level One Course which consisted of a series of nine zip lines. The two of us were at the rear of our group. One of our guides, Drew, went across first and then our other guide, Ross, sent the rest of us across one-by-one after Drew gave the "all clear."

When it was my turn to cross, I was more or less terrified. Thankfully, peer pressure played a big part of what I ended up accomplishing on the zip line. I didn't want to be the reason ten people I had never met before, (PLUS ten more people in the group behind us) were held up in the trees while the 57 year-old Bucket List Lady was slowly lowered to the ground and picked up by a 4-wheeler to be taken out of the Georgia woods...

Forever labeled a FAILURE!

Nope. Not I!

I took a deep breath and stepped into air...

Just air!

Since I didn't run or jump off of the little platform, AND I'm a little heavier than the average bear, my backside hit said wooden platform...

With a resounding SMACK.

You would have thought that would have slowed me down, but I must have caught a tailwind because I picked up speed very quickly. Before I knew it, I saw Drew holding up both hands. For some reason, I couldn't hear anything except the "zipping" sound I was making, but I could tell by the wideness of his eyes I was coming in "WAY TOO FAST."

I pinned Drew to the tree, and while he took it like a champ, I could tell I had knocked the wind out of him a little.

Maybe even a lot.

"You didn't use your right hand to slow down," he wheezed.

"So you think I came in too fast? Is that what you're saying?"

"Yes. When I held up both hands and screamed, 'TRY TO SLOW DOWN,' and then 'STOP, STOP, STOP,' that is exactly what I meant."

"Okay. I've got it now," I reassured him, and waited for my turn on the next line.

And I meant it...

Kinda…

But I had to admit, it was definitely more of a mental "having it" rather than a physical "having it," because once again, Drew found himself squashed like a bug between me and a tree.

His eyes were definitely watering this second time around, and I tried to convince myself it had more to do with the cold wind in his eyes than actual pain.

He patiently went over the "slowing down procedure" one more time, and I was impressed with his composure and courage as he zipped effortlessly along the third zip line of the day knowing quite well I was probably going to kill him before the end of our two-hour course.

Poor, poor Drew...

And as the zip lining continued and my slowing down failed to improve to any great degree, that is how Roxie and I both started to refer to him.

"Poor, poor Drew is very pale, isn't he?"

"Poor, poor Drew can't seem to catch his breath, can he?"

"Is that a bone sticking out of poor, poor Drew's right leg?"

It wasn't until we reached the seventh zip line that I showed any significant improvement, and whether it really didn't hurt him when I came in OR he was just numb from a lot of nerve damage, I guess we'll never know.

The eighth zip line (which was the longest, fastest and most difficult of the course) was perhaps my favorite. I was no longer afraid of stepping off of the platform, and the bond Drew and I had formed, along with the trust I had placed in him to keep me safe no matter the cost to his own personal health and well-being, was very freeing.

As I glided through the tops of the trees in the beautiful Georgia woods on an equally beautiful autumnal, golden day, I enjoyed every moment of the eighth line from beginning to end.

And as I stood on the final platform before finishing the ninth zip line, there wasn't a doubt in my mind this would be my final zip lining adventure.

It was everything I thought it would be and more, but it was time for me to move on to the next items on my list...

Parasailing and swimming with dolphins.

And if something were to go horribly wrong during the parasailing experience, I might very well get to swim with dolphins all in the same day.

Here's hoping for a twofer!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Sunday Thanksgiving - Right before my Mother died almost two years ago, she wanted us to rent a cabin at The Palisades in Oneonta for our family Thanksgiving...

AND she wanted to rent it on the Sunday before Thanksgiving...

AND she wanted us to do everything we always did at her house, but at the cabin.

So that is what we did that Thanksgiving, and a few days later she passed away.

Beverly and I decided to have Thanksgiving in a cabin at The Palisades from now on because no matter how much our family grows, there will always be plenty of room, a fireplace and two working bathrooms.

That's a pretty good combo.

Here are just a few pics from this year's celebration.








Every centerpiece on the three long tables is made up of Mother's Thanksgiving decorations.

Bev does the centerpieces.

Turns out, "centerpieces" fall under the category "NOT BELINDA'S THING," and I'm okay with that




Austin.


Austin, Zac and Josh.


Katie, Roxie and Zach.


Meet our newest addition (Brad and Stephanie's little girl), Carly Beth.

She also served as one of our centerpieces.


Aunt Ro and RT.


There are two very nice playgrounds at The Palisades, and since the weather was extremely nice, we took advantage of all they had to offer.


Sawyer.


This one's a rebel.


Melia, Austin and RT.


Katie and Zach.


Carly Beth, Brad, Sawyer and Stephanie.


Bev and Zac.


Courtney and Judith.


Aunt Ro and Judith.


The "old" babies... Roxie and Zac.








Tom and Bev.

Y'all have a wonderful week. I'll be back soon with some Christmas stuff to share.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. As has become the norm, please enjoy the "Things I Found Humorous This Past Week" below:

"I am a person who wants to do a lot of things... trapped in the body of someone who just wants to sleep."

"Stop editing your pics. What if you go missing? How can we find you if you look like Angelina Jolie on Instagram and a potato in real life?"
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