5 Gifts To Give Your Children That Aren’t Under The Tree

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This year, I really wanted to focus my time and energy on gifts that can’t be found under the tree. The most important gifts you can give your children doesn’t neccesarily have to cost a dime.         Most things you anticipate them opening up on Christmas morning normally end up getting tossed aside or broken within the first year. Here is a list of five things that you can give your children that will last more than a year–they will last a lifetime!

 

  • The Gift Of Jesus Christ.  The greatest gift of all won’t be found under a tree. It won’t be packaged up pretty with a shiny bow on top. It will be found in a stable. When we teach our children that Christmas is the celebration of a Savior being born, we are sharing the most important gift we can give them–the true meaning of this special time of year. The greatest gift of all time was a babe that lay in a manger one starry night. He was born to fulfill a purpose–born to be put to death. This Christmas teach your children the reason for the season! “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whomsoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

 

 

  • The Gift of Presence.  Your “presence”  is more meaningful  than “presents.” Being present means slowing down and making time to enjoy the little things. Take initiative to pay more attention to your children and decide to live in the moment. Put down your phone and spend more time focusing on your greatest blessings today. You only have so much time with these little lives. Make a commitment to be all there!

 

 

  • The Gift of Laughter. There is nothing that serves as music to my soul quite like my sons laughter. One of the things I enjoy most about the holidays is the fellowship with loved ones and the laughter that fills our home. When I look back on my life, I don’t remember what I got for Christmas. I recall the times spent cutting up and joking with family (mostly at my own expense!) Share in these moments with your kids and give them something to laugh about this year!

 

 

  • The Gift of Tradition.  Tradition is about giving your children something exciting to look forward to each year. It’s about celebrating the joy of the season as a family. There are a multitude of ideas out there if you are looking to start new traditions of your own this year. My favorites include: Christmas Eve box filled with Christmas pajamas, Christmas movie, and a treat. Looking at Christmas lights. A special ornament for your child each year. Going to a Christmas program at church. There are endless ideas you can peruse on Pinterest! Make the holidays merry for your littles by surprising them with a new tradition that will last for years to come!

 

 

  • The Gift of Joy. Let your children know how happy you are to be there mother. Fill their hearts with gladness and cheer. Fill your home with light and love. Be silly. Have a pillow fight. Chase them around the room. Play hide and seek. Make memories. Let them unwrap the joy of childhood this year!

 

 

Being a parent is one of my greatest blessings! Although it can be a challenge sometimes and we can easily be swept up in the busyness of this time of year, remember that your children deserve the best! Give them something money can’t buy this year!

 

 

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20 Things To Do Other Than Cleaning The House

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We all have those days.  You know the ones. The days where the chores are taunting us and we would pretty much rather go roll around in mud than spend time doing the mundane task of cleaning. It’s something that has to be done but today you’re just not feeling it. The dishes are yelling, “Wash me!” and the laundry is screaming, “Fold me!” But it’s going to take the strength of Goliath to remove you from the couch.  We all have those moments when we think, “Why clean it? It’ll just get messed up again anyway!” When you find yourself becoming bored with the same old chores, dig yourself out of the pit of “choredom” (think I just made that word up!) . Do something inspiring and give yourself the motivation you need to tackle your to-do list. Taking a time out from the everyday tasks can give you the enthusiasm you need to conquer your whole household!

 

(My husband would likely frown on this!) Here is a list of “20 Things To Do Other Than Cleaning The House”:

 

  1. Bake a cake.
  2. Watch a marathon of your favorite show.
  3. Paint something.
  4. Plant new flowers outside your window.
  5. Call up an old friend.
  6. Read that book you’ve been meaning to read.
  7. Buy yourself something new. (Retail therapy!)
  8. A quick workout.
  9. Sit down & write a card to someone.
  10. Play a game with your child.
  11. Have lunch with your spouse.
  12. Learn something new.
  13. Get crafty and make something! Pinterest has thousands of great ideas!
  14. Take a bubble bath.
  15. Crank your music up really loud!
  16. Get outdoors! Go for a walk, a hike, just go!
  17. Make cookies for a neighbor.
  18. Go to the park.
  19. Organize your photographs.
  20. Have a spa day.

 

Love,

The Cheerful Mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home is Where Mommy Is

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Each Spring, I have a new mother bird move into the shabby little nest that decorates the top rafter of my porch. The nest is made of straw and other natural elements found by the first momma bird who resided there. Little did she know while preparing this delicate, cozy home for her babies that this nest would also serve as a shelter for future momma birds seeking refuge and a place to raise their wee ones.

Aren’t we similar to mother birds in a way? Our calling is to make our children’s well being one of our highest priorities. Collecting bits and pieces of our lives in order to create a safe haven built on warmth and love. Ensuring our children are being fed–physically & spiritually. Protecting our babies from the conditions of the world. Keeping them safe under our wings until they are ready to spread their own and soar to the highest of heights.

As a mother bird, we set the order of the universe into motion. We are equipping little minds to leave the nest and embark on this beautiful journey of life. Its incredibly amazing to watch a mother bird. They just know. They know what their purpose is and that they were called to fulfill it. Same as you and I. We were called to a higher duty of giving ourselves for the greater good of another being. Mother birds never worry how they will protect or provide for the life they were blessed with. Because they know that no matter what the Lord will provide all that’s necessary. Building the perfect nest takes straws of patience, strands of humility, and a warm bed of grace.  It takes a lot of determination and hard work but the end result is so worth it! Your children are always nested deep within the hollows of your heart. No matter where you make your nest, home is where mommy is!

 

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30 Things To Be Grateful For

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With the maddening rush of the holidays in full swing, it’s easy to become swept up in the frantic pace that this wonderful, but busy, season brings. If you find yourself blinded by the twinkling lights or forgetful of what this season is truly about, here is a list of thirty things to be grateful for:

 

  1. You are living and breathing.
  2. You have someone that loves you dearly.
  3. Mornings you can sleep as late as you want.
  4. Memories of past holidays.
  5. The clothes you are wearing.
  6. The warm food on your table.
  7. For lessons learned–the good and the bad.
  8. Your children.
  9. Your spouse or significant other.
  10. Books and the ability to be transported to other worlds through their pages.
  11. Your good health.
  12. The changing of leaves.
  13. A strangers kindness.
  14. Your parents.
  15. Your siblings.
  16. Modern conveniences.
  17. Traveling and experiencing new places and people.
  18. A cozy, comfy bed.
  19. Music and being able to relate to the lyrics.
  20. Great friendships.
  21. Clean water.
  22. Serendipity.
  23. Reaching a goal.
  24. The fresh new start each morning brings.
  25. Hot cocoa and a crackling fire.
  26. Old movies you love to watch again and again.
  27. A seasonal candle to set the tone in your home.
  28. Old photographs.
  29. The holiday cards that fill your mailbox this time of year.
  30. The peace of knowing Jesus Christ.

 

I would like to take a moment now to express to my readers how grateful I am for each and everyone of you. Thank you for allowing me into your homes and lives for just a few minutes a day. If I inspire or encourage just one of you, then it has all been worth it.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Cheerful Mom

 

Learning To Be Thankful For The Journey

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My husbands feet chase my son in the background, the television is blaring, and my house is a wreck. There are toys littering the floor, dirty clothes piled to the ceiling, and my son has been sick for six days now. I am thirty seconds away from losing my composure when a voice out of nowhere calls out to me saying, “Give thanks for it all!”

What?! You mean I’m supposed to be thankful for a never ending cycle of dirty dishes and sticky floors? I’m supposed to thank Him for the weeds in my yard and the fact that my son is sick the week of Thanksgiving? Just when I start to feel like there is nothing to give thanks for at this very moment, God reminds me that there is always, always something to be thankful for.

I have learned over the course of my life that being thankful is a choice you have to make. You must choose to wake up and be grateful for each thing your day will bring–the good and the bad. Savor the happy moments and cherish them. Embrace the bad ones and learn from them. Sometimes learning to be thankful takes patience and a whole lot of grace. But it is a humbling experience knowing that the very things we often take for granted are the same things most prayed for by someone else. Someone out there prays they could be in your shoes. Someone somewhere wishes they had the life that you are currently living.

Right now, at this very moment, there is a mother praying for one more day with her terminally ill child. My son has a cold and with a good round of antibiotics he will thankfully be well in a few days. There is a man out there with filthy clothes that is battling the cold, bitter wind. I am thankful for the mountain of laundry staring me in the face. There is a child out there who won’t receive a toy under a brightly lit tree this year. I am thankful for the many numerous toys I trip over. There are millions of people who will go to sleep hungry tonight, yet, I am thankful I am able to provide my family with a warm and filling meal.

I once read a quote that said, “What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?” Sadly, if this were the case many of us would wake with very little. I am grateful that the Lord allows us a new chance to get it right everyday. What a loving and gracious Creator we serve! The more we learn to be thankful and content with what we have, the more he blesses us with. It is right to give our thanks and praise! Today, I will count my blessings and enjoy this journey I am on!

 

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What I Learned My First Year As Mommy

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When I think back to that new mom sitting in a hospital bed with a million questions and emotions running through her mind, I can’t help but smile and realize how far we’ve come. Even though my son would spend the next two and a half weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit, I knew that I would soon have to find that magical balance of continuing life all while caring for and raising a tiny human. My first year as a mom was fairly easy. I’m not going to sit and brag but my son is a genuinely content and happy child. He doesn’t fuss much and has slept through the night since he was six weeks old. I learned many things in my first year as a mother. Things like: learning how to swaddle, using a nasal bulb, and how to clip a baby’s paper thin fingernails (after an awful experience of basically cutting the tip of my sons finger off!! Ugh!!) all went under my belt of new things I had to learn now that I was a mommy.

I learned that the good advice people gave me worked and didn’t work. Some of the same things that worked for other moms didn’t work quite the same for me. You have to find the best thing that suits you and your little one.

I learned that the ability of a woman’s body to create another life is utterly amazing. From the moment of conception, the months of caring for your baby, to the long awaited delivery each step is another chapter beautifully woven into your motherhood story.

I learned to love someone unselfishly and unconditionally. To put someone’s needs high above my own. To trust my instincts as a mother and fall madly in love with someone whom I had just met.

I learned to love my husband. I mean really love him. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always known he was the one. But theres just something about seeing your guy as a father that makes you look at him in a different light. The moment my guy became a dad definitely ranks as one of my all time favorite moments in the history of ever!

I learned that Gods love for us is unimaginable!  I know how much I love my son. And I know that I can no longer fathom the idea of my life without him in it. So, I can’t begin to comprehend the depth of love our Father must have for us. I’m so lucky he entrusted this little life to me.

I learned that motherhood is downright hard! I like to think that God chooses his bravest warriors for this task. Being a mom is rewarding but it comes with a lot of work and patience. It’s not for the faint of heart. No one can mother your child like you. God made you a mother on purpose! Always remember that you are enough. You are the one your baby looks for in a crowd. The one who picks them up when they tumble. You were called to prepare  them for His kingdom work!

Several years down the road, I know I will look back on that girl in the hospital bed. I will look back on my first year as a mom and my heart will be warmed. I will continue to grow as a mother and raise my son the best way that only I know how. He will watch closely and learn from me. And I will learn from him.

 

 

A Letter To My Son On His First Birthday

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Last Friday, my first born turned one. With all of the anticipation and planning that went into preparing for his big day, unfortunately I knew he wouldn’t be able to remember any of it. So, I wanted to sit down and write him a letter that shares bits of his mommas heart that years later he could look back and happily reflect on.

 

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Dear Son,

I knew this day would soon arrive, however, I did not realize it would come and go this quickly. Ever since I found out there was a miracle being formed inside me, I began dreaming of you. I wondered what you would look like, sound like, and what you would enjoy. I pondered what your first words and  favorite foods might be. The last year with you has been just what your dad and I always imagined it would be. It has been a beautiful journey watching you grow from a four pound, precious preemie into a healthy and happy one year old that gets into everything within crawling distance.

You are very sociable and never meet a stranger! Your zest for life is inspiring and you take on each new thing as an adventure. I sit and watch as your big, blue eyes grow in wonder and amazement as you take the whole world in. You are content with playing with something as simple as a string and never fuss about much. At night, you sleep in between your Daddy and I and it warms my heart having the two people I hold dearest in the world so near. I listen to the rhythm of your breathing and am blown away by the incredible blessing that is YOU!

On your first birthday, the world erupted into chaos. A bombing took place in Paris by a group that wanted to kill as many people as humanly possible. As you continue to grow in life, you will learn that the world isn’t the amazing place you think it is right now. It is full of anger and hate and much bitterness. But, child, please know that even when the world around you seems as if it’s falling apart, love conquers all. You can rest assured knowing that even when the whole Earth is in an uproar that your Mom and Dad will do everything in their power to keep you safe and shield you from all of the evil that’s out there. You were prayed for before you were born and will always be covered in prayers. You are a child of the most high God!

As we embark towards the second year of your life, I look back on all of the sweet memories that the first year holds. That first year with you, will be locked away in my heart forever. You have taught me so much in such a small amount of time. God certainly has a grand plan for your life and I am so thrilled knowing that I get to help your story unfold. You have touched many lives already. So, son, please remember that when things are good, praise God! And when things are bad, praise God! He has a reason for everything and his timing is always mysterious and perfect!

You are special. You are loved. You are one of a kind. You are mine!

Happy 1st Birthday, Kid! I love you!

Mama

 

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