1. All the Christmas stuff is down at my house. I am not a Christmas prolonger. When it’s over, it’s over. I think this is the same brain cell in me that would go around after a special event at church and take down all the posters. If it happened last week, don’t promote it this week.

2. My New Year’s goal for the past three years has been to go to New York City. I’m getting closer. The kids got me a puzzle of Times Square so I can at least pretend I’m there.

3. I wanted to take pictures of my tree (but never got around to it). I collect Christmas ornaments from places I have been and now have more than a hundred.  Everywhere from Key West to a San Francisco trolley, from the Portland Head Lighthouse (Portland Maine) to a piece of bark from Little House on the Prairie Museum, Walnut Grove, Minnesota. And – the one made of olive wood from Bethlehem which we actually bought IN Bethlehem. I also have lots of ornaments from president’s homes – including all but three of the complete set of White House ornaments.

4. The only place ornament I have on my tree that I haven’t actually been to – is Scotland. I have the flag of Scotland that my sister-in-law bought me on a choir tour several years ago. So, since my New York goal has worked so well, I thought I’d add visiting Scotland onto my list this year so my tree “I’ve-actually-been-in-this-place” collection is one hundred percent true. Hey, why not dream big?

5. On a more serious note. Jeff provided a list of books that people could get him for Christmas. So, being the diligent mom that I am, I ordered three of them – with plenty of time to spare. Jeff and Cindy were actually here for Christmas last Wednesday/Thursday – which, as we all know, was a week after Christmas.  The books had not yet arrived from the always “gets-here-quickly”  Don’t quite know why they weren’t here – but of course, they DID show up six hours after Jeff and Cindy left for home.

So, since the books are  here – I decided to read one of them: Gospel-Powered Parenting. The author has good ideas and though I don’t agree with absolutely everything he says, that’s ok. I was able to get a lot out of it and that is VERY good.

One of the things we’ve been talking about at work is why so many kids are walking away from their parent’s faith. The author quotes How People Change (Lane and Tipp)

“One of the reasons teenagers are not excited about the gospel is because they do not think they need it. Many parents have successfully raised self-righteous little Pharisees. When they look at themselves, they do not see a sinner in desperate need, so they are not grateful for a Savior.” Thought-provoking.

The author also quoted  from Pat Fabrizio’s Under Loving Command.

Every time your child rebels and you ignore it, you are training your child. If she throws herself on the floor and you say “If you don’t stop within three minutes, I’m going to discipline you” you are training her that a three-minute tantrum is okay. If you say “I’m going to count to five and if you don’t respond, I’m going to discipline you,” you are training your child to disobey until you count to five…He can get away with the first act of rebellion. When your child knows the rules and has broken them, nothing further needs to be said. [Immediate discipline is necessary.]  God expects us to obey on the first command. That is why it is a great disservice to teach your child to obey on the third or fourth command.

Again, thought-provoking.

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