Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving and Expectant Hope

We spent Thanksgiving in Chicago this year, visiting my little sister and her husband, both of whom are chefs and therefore the perfect choice for a Thanksgiving visit. On our way to Chicago, we made a quick stop in Indiana to visit the ever-lovely and gracious Shannan, whose friendship is for sure one of the best gifts that the internet has ever given me. Not to mention that our kiddos played together like well-behaved champs (Thanksgiving miracle?) and our hubbies both have impressive beards and a penchant for prison-dwellers. We ended our whirlwind cross-country trip with a stop in Michigan for my aunt's wedding celebration. The only thing that could have made our trip better was if I didn't come down with a nasty stomach bug as we were leaving Goshen that lingered for basically the whole trip, and made it near-impossible to enjoy any of the festivities. Whatever man, just my luck.
Now that we are home and my children are blessedly back in school, I am bewildered to find myself smack in the middle of the holiday season that somehow snuck right up on me. Jayci has made Christmas countdowns for the whole family, and according to her math there are only 26 days until Christmas. This must not be right, I argued, but it turns out that indeed her math skills live up to her straight 100s on her report card.

All that to say, I am desperate this year for a chance to slow down. To buy less and give more. To choose carefully which "festivities" and celebrations and holiday markets and other activities are worth our family's time and energy, and will contribute to a heart attitude of expectant waiting for our newborn King's arrival. So easily I find myself caught right up in the hustle and bustle of the season, both by default and by FOMO attending all-of-the-things; this year, however, we are trying to pare down and focus our eyes on Jesus.
That said, we are practicing Advent (or trying to anyways), and will be reading Ann Voskamp's book together as a family. True confession: we don't do the Jesse tree and ornaments, because I just cannot with the printing and cutting out and stringing up. Reading something every day seems a far more (possibly) achievable goal for our family. We are all about managing expectations around here.

I've also been paring down my online reading to spend more time between the pages of a book and less listening to political rants via Facebook. For me, there are a few trusted and wise voices that I find myself revisiting time and time again in this season. And because I love you all dearly, I wanted to share some of those voices with you here:
Shannan (obviously) - Two Kinds of Buckets
Sarah Bessey's advent newsletter and devotionals
DL Mayfield - Day 26
Kelly Nikondeha- Insistent Hope 

As one last side-note, today is #GivingTuesday, which is a way (in theory) for us to take a step back from all the busy consumption in order to give generously to people and causes and places that are close to our hearts. In practice, I feel like the whole thing is another cacophony of "advertisements" and flurries of voices insisting where we should point our money. I am weary of all the noise, and so hesitate to add my voice to the din. Instead, I'll just say that if you feel led to contribute to what we are doing in Atlanta (through our nonprofit Blueprint 58, meaning tax-deductible), you can visit our website for more information on how to do that. As always, we are honored and grateful and humbled again and again by the ways you all support and encourage and carry us on our journey.

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