Friday, December 9, 2011

The Shine-A Bug, and other scary things

"I scared a flies, Mama!"

We hear this daily.  He's scared of flies.  No.  He's really scared of flies!  Paranoid.  The 35 pound toddler is simply petrified.  He shakes like a leaf at the mention of a simple house fly, or for that matter anything that even resembles a house fly!
Uh huh... things such as cotton balls ripped up by big brothers and sent floating in the bathtub.  And straw wrapper bits being blown around restaurant tables in two year old Noah's general direction.

Don't misunderstand.  He's not afraid of much.  He gets bulled over in the backyard by his brothers playing tackle football and he giggles.  He plays hockey in the driveway - his brothers on roller blades. The big boys make Noah play goalie, a position he gladly and happily fills.  Balls fly at him as fast as boys on skates can send them, and he's not phased.

A house fly on the other hand is another matter entirely.  It's hysterically funny.  It got even funnier the night that I tucked him into his crib and thought I saw something on Mimi.  I jumped and pulled the blanket from the crib.  As I did so, I said {clearly without thinking}, "Ooh- that looks like a bug the size of China!"  Noah scrambled to his feet saying, "Bug-a-size-a-shina!?"  I reassured him that there was no bug and that what I thought resembled a large bug was just a newly torn hole in well-loved Mimi.

I won myself a mid-night trip to the babe's room that night!  The poor thing was crying, "I scared a shine-a bug!  I scared a flies!" I had to shake out all the blankets before putting them all back in his crib.  Only after they were all shaken would he lay back down and settle for sleep.

These little passing phases pass so quickly that I cannot remember at all what my other sons feared at this age.  I do recall a number of night terrors with our oldest around this age, and our middle son certainly had his list of fears, but like most childhood phases it passed so quickly that I can no longer recall the specifics.

It does seem, however, that the Shine-A-bug, if for no other reason than how hard we've laughed, will be one of those memories that sticks.  It may take it's place with other sweet memories like "pean-tut sauce" {Isaiah's words spoken with a lisp when he was small, for peanut butter} and "chewelve" {the way Elijah still pronounces the number twelve and the way Noah stands, two fingers in his mouth and his other pointer finger stuck in his belly button.  If his shirt's in the way, we hear "can't find ya button!"

For now, in the midst of this fun (for us) phase, we will keep tickling him every time we speak of flies.  It seems a good and fun distraction, and surely he'll learn one of these days that flies are harmless, and there's no such thing as a "shine-a bug".

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Who's Arrival ... are you most awaiting?

Advent means literally, "arrival".

Who's arrival are you expecting in this time of Advent?

Deitrich Bonhoeffer asks "Are we rightly prepared?  Is our heart capable of becoming God's dwelling place?  Thus Advent becomes a time of self-examination".

He goes on to say that "the coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.  Only when we have felt the terror of the matter, can we recognize the incomparable kindness."

Advent is as much, or more about waiting for Christ's return as it is about celebrating his birth.  My husband shared with me today, as he was preparing his sermon for this Sunday, that for every prophecy in scripture of the birth of Jesus, there are eight times as many references to the second coming.

As we reflect on the year that has nearly passed we hopefully rejoice in the goodness of God that has come our way and can sense a small bit of our eternal home.
Are we taking time to reflect and rejoice?  Do our actions mirror what we say are our priorities?  Are we practicing spiritual disciplines or are we too busy baking, shopping, decorating, and wrapping?

Christ stands at the door and knocks.  He stands in the form of a beggar, a neighbor in need...
Is the door tightly shut?
"Come, you blessed... I was hungry and you fed me..." Matthew 25:34

Unlike Santa, he's not coming down your chimney.  You must let him in.  You must open the door and receive Him.

Who are you expecting this Christmas?  Who are your children most expecting?

Jesus?  Or Santa?

Have you shared with your children the immediacy of Jesus, of our need for Him, of our need to be prepared for His return?  Or is Santa more exciting, more immediate?

Santa comes bringing gifts they can see and touch.  Do they see the gifts that Jesus brings?  Do they see how they are blessed as they too feed the hungry and clothe the poor?  Are you training them to love presents wrapped with ribbon that will likely be lost or broken within the year more than the eternal gift of grace?

We must be watchful as we wait for the arrival of Christ, as we move through not only Advent but each day of the year in expectation of the One who is to come, that we prepare our own hearts.  That we lead our children in that preparation as well.
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Friday, December 2, 2011

Swag Bucks - Highly Recommended

So perhaps you've heard of it.  Perhaps, like me, you've dismissed it as a nuisance or another internet scam.  Having had a friend who was using it successfully, I decided to give it a try.

Swag Bucks.

Search & Win

It's very simple really, and it really does work.

You sign up, set Swag Bucks as your home page and do all your internet searching through their search engine.  Randomly, they assign you points - generally 7-50 at any one time just for searching the internet as you normally would.
You don't earn on every search, but we have found it to be about every 3-5 searches.  In our experience, once you have earned, you must wait a few hours before earning more.

If you choose, you can also earn points by completing different offers, by watching different movie clips, etc. but truthfully, we don't take (waste?) the time.

Your points accumulate until you cash them in for prizes.  We have found the best value and the most useful prize to be a $5 Amazon gift certificate, which costs 450 points.

We have been getting a $5 Amazon gift certificate about every 3 weeks or so by simply searching the internet as we normally would using the Swag Bucks search engine.

Points can also be earned through referrals.

When you are ready to redeem your points, you go to the redeem menu right from your Swag Bucks home page and choose the prize you wish to receive.  The gift certificates are delivered via email within a few weeks of redemption.  They contain a code that you enter when making your purchase, in our case, from Amazon, just as you would enter a regular gift certificate or coupon code.

This little blessing has been, for us, well worth the few seconds it took to sign up.  With Amazon's free shipping offer when you spend $25, these $5 gift certificates have proven most helpful for purchasing books that can't be found at the library, books for homeschooling, and gifts for Christmas.

Please, if you would be so kind, use this referral link to sign up for Swag Bucks.

May your family be blessed by this program as ours has been.


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