Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

May your days be merry & bright! Wishing you the most wonderful time of the year!
Click to play Most Wonderful Time
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nutcracker SWEET


Well, we are living today. Trying to get the tree decorated. It's up & UPRIGHT today. Mind you, it has been leaning since the Christmas tree stand broke last Sunday night. This brokeness followed a FULL weekend of rehearsal, wake/funeral, neuro study group, church, sign class w/extra credit interpretive play & Christkindl markt excursion.

A GraceFULL quote to sum up the experience at the end of the day "I think we're just both real tired & need to sleep."

Me, Chris & Dennette at Chris' mom-in-law's life celebration

Meine leiblings Schatz um Christkindlmarkt

Arielle & her petite flower at Christmas Presence Rehearsal
Recuperating from a humungo final last night...I know that's not a word, but my neurology final 'bout sapped me dry. I sat down for the exam & next time I looked at my clock...2 hours, 20 minutes had passed. Thank God for Christmas Presence which helped my brain rebound. Thank God I made it in time...20 minutes from GSU to CLC. What a performance! What a message! I've got a few pictures from last night.

Petite Flower - Nutcracker Suite

Phone call yesterday from the preschool director during my neuro marathon study session:
"Hi, Carmen, everything's ok. I just wanted to let you know there was an incident today at school involving Grace. She was kissed by one of the boys in her class. He's an affectionate little guy & while we encourage the kids to save kisses for home...well, he got Grace today. She was not the instigator, but perhaps you could reaffirm what we talked about afterward that we save kisses for moms & dads...our family at home."
Ok, we've had our 1st kiss. Now, this little guy has been mentioned a time or two around our house. Grace informed me & little pal, Jon, that she could not marry him anymore because ___ (preschool Don Juan) is making her a cake with a doggie on it & she will marry him now. :o(
What to do, what to do?? 1st kisses, weddings & cakes with doggies...good thing she's waiting until she "gets" 30 years old.
In the afterschool debriefing, Grace informed me she did not kiss back. "He just kissed me right on the lips & I didn't kiss him back. I said no but he kissed anyway." Good- you say no. We save those kisses for mommy & our family.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Nurnberg - webpics
Now that we've cleared up that the Annual Roomie Cookie Exchange is in DEC this year (as it was last year - where was I??)...I'm headed downtown today to meet up with Roomie Valerie to explore the Christkindles Markt! Whooo hooo! So excited! Some kinderpunch (kid version of the hot wine) & a visit with Chriskindl himself. Now the Chicago Christmas market is no Nurnburg. Mind you, I lived 30 minutes from this world famous Christmas market in Germany, but hey it's as close as we'll get in Chicagoland & it's the next best thing to being there. Wishful thinking...So, I'm thrilled & Gracie's stoked as well. Only bummer is that Val's daughter, Allison, is still in MO & NOT not coming along. :o( for Gracie.
My own pic. Chicago version of Christkindlemart: note the skyscraper reflection~
With that in mind, a word about family tradtions~

Wise Words on the Value of Family Rituals as found on Being Saavy:
Trusted experts and wise preschool teachers Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum remind us of why the thought and care we put into the holiday season, and the many other rituals of family life, really matters."Your preschool child is now at an age when she can really begin to appreciate the rituals and holidays that divide up the year and bring a family together. When you do something on a weekly or annual basis, this helps create a wonderful sense of belonging within a family.... When you create family rituals, you're building a store of memories that will stay with you and your child, acquiring more meaning with every passing year." -- from Practical Wisdom for Parents: Raising Self-Confident Children in the Preschool Years
See Grace "sitting" on Santa's lap~

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

Thanks to my friend, Renee, we've incorporated something new into our bedtime routine here at the GraceFULL house. Beginning with a live demo at our last roomie reunion, Grace & I now talk about the best/worst of our day. Sometimes it's as simple as "My best was when we snuggled in the morning" - that was Gracie's best reported last night or "Wow! I loved your smile when I was chasing you away from the cookie dough" - mine, last night. Worst - well...those don't come up too often - it's typically, "Noooo, I didn't have a worst today." However, last night Gracie "My worst was when we pinched each other's cheeks too hard." It had just happened-we just got carried away with the "Ohhhh you're so cute" stuff. Ouch!

So our best/worst is a nice transition from our book reading to prayers. I can't remember at what point we added in being thankful. Maybe as an attempt to facilitate Gracie praying rather than just mom. So asking her what she's thankful for was a way I tried to do this. ANYWAY....yesterday, it dawned on me to talk about what a THANKFUL heart is. So yesterday we had this conversation about blessings & what does being thankful look like.

Perusing Mommy Manifesto this morning, I came across this quote that is on a mommy level, but really spoke to the topic I've been trying to live & convey to my youngster. It's worth sharing. Oh, that my heart would exude gratitude such as this~
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and
more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a
friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and
creates a vision for tomorrow.
- Melody Beattieo

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas Presence

You're invited~

It's that time of year again..the most wonderful time of the year. CLC's production of Christmas Presence is coming up December 10-14th. Our very own Gracie-cakes is a petit flower in the Nutcracker Suite piece - the opening act. Don't miss it!

The Story
We invite you to capture the spirit of Christmas Presence. More than just a year-end tradition or a showcase for talent, Christmas Presence is a 360 degree ministry, providing both an exciting creative outlet for the CLC body and an effective outreach tool to share the love of Christ at a time of year when it is so often lost in the shuffle.

We feel at once humbled and privileged to be able to present our gifts to the Lord in this unique and organic framework that was a “God idea” from the beginning. Christmas Presence was created a night of fun for guests of all ages, a gift to the community & an opportunity for individuals and entire families to actively participate in ministry with minimal impact on personal schedules.

The first act of the production focuses on the outward trappings of the Christmas holiday. We present these as a series of musical gifts. From heartwarming and familiar classics like The Nutcracker Suite, to song and dance celebrating sleigh rides, winter fun, and family gatherings, these gifts remind us in part why Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. We can become so “wrapped up” in the bright packaging of Christmas, however, that we lose sight of the comfort, joy, and peace that God intends. Our enemy, represented by the Grinch, tries to steal Christmas, leaving us empty-handed and empty-hearted. Only by listening to the steady rhythm of God’s heartbeat can we hope to rediscover the reason for the season.

The second act poses the question: “Where Are You Christmas?” The answer takes us on a journey back to Bethlehem, to the midnight clear when angels heralded Christ’s birth and wise men brought him gifts. On each phase of the journey, God restores the gifts that the enemy had stolen, leaving us with the greatest gift of all: His Presence.