Thanksgiving Camping, Christmas Anxiety, and Graciously Just Being There

Our family is in this really sweet space right now. School has given Selah all the structure and routine and can-count-on-it schedules she needs to make her heart sing. We’re getting the best possible version of her. Meanwhile, Josiah, the child cut from my same cloth, prefers the freedom found in creating a variety of days. We can get in the car and let mini adventures find us while Teagan suits up into her “third baby” role and joyfully joins along for the ride.

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Leading little brother with her class on the way to their turkey trot. She was born to be a big sister.

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This month is over-busy for us all. Every night the sunsets around here have been show-stoppers. A heavenly reminder to stop doing and just stand outside for a few minutes. To look upward. Look outward. Breathe deep for a minute.

Thanksgiving has become my dark horse holiday as an adult. Without really realizing it, this holiday has snuck up close to the top of my favorites. A week away from our usual routine is dreams-come-to-life for me. We met up with some college friends and their little family at their camp at San Elijo State Beach for a few days. There was a gaggle of children who became insta-friends the way only little children can do! And while 5am at a pre-sunrise campground in November is not the warmest, the weather was quite companionable to us the rest of the time.

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And the sunrises? The sunsets backdropped across the Pacific? God did not disappoint with fire skies and fragile sea.

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Advent seems to have come and mostly gone with attempts of advent fanfare and teaching showing up small and sporadicly. Our church hosted a Christmas concert in the center of downtown San Diego where a few thousand people were immersed in the community and creativity that is the pulse and the heartbeat of our church. It was beautiful and memorable and the stress I allowed it to create in me as a staffer responsible for our littlest kiddos and their families also wrecked me. Nate is helping me recover by sitting beside me as I binge watch Scandal into all hours of the night and taste test every dark chocolate covered seasonal delight Trader Joe’s has to offer. But I have to give a shout out to our kids. Although they are only 5, 3, & 1, they show up to these events early, eagerly ask for responsibilities to help, and don’t complain when we’re the last to leave. What hearts! The time. The showing up. The doing something together that will help. I am humbled these are becoming the m.o. of our little family.

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Convention Center of Flood’s Christmas Collective

I’m trying to let myself off the hook for the lackluster advent events happening around here and just really drink in our times we do create together. The most fun? Watching faces of our kids as they rediscover the joy of Christmas.

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Family Band Christmas Carols

IMG_3809IMG_3795I usually have some sort of wrap-up for you about now. But there’s no pretty bow on this today. Thoughts, like our christmas gifts stacked in Jenga-jumbles on high-up surfaces around the house, aren’t wrapped up today in pretty (if not trendy) paper. They’re just here. And I’m trying to allow that to myself to be okay. Lose the perfect and the pretty and be thankful for the being here of it.

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3 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Camping, Christmas Anxiety, and Graciously Just Being There

  1. I love that last line and will repeat it to myself until further notice :)… “Lose the perfect and the pretty and be thankful for the being here of it.” Yes, so good. Beautiful pics and such sweet kiddos!

  2. Jenny-breathe deeply & remember: you are amazing!
    This from The Greatest Gift advent study reminded me of you & your post.
    “The Wilderness offers you grace: we are most prepared for Christ, for Christmas, when we confess we are mostly not prepared. Rest here. There is only room in us when we are done with us.
    (Love the pictures!!)

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