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12 Months of Christmas:  January | Higdons' Happy Home

For the last several years, my church and my family have been involved in Operation Christmas Child, which is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse.  I'll let everyone's favorite Uncle Si explain

 

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No blog post today because I'm spending Christmas with my family.  So instead, here are some videos of Christmas homecomings of military families.  Better grab some tissues!


Soldier coming home wraps himself up as... by KMBC

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Jesus laying in a manger

"Away in a Manger".  I must have sung it at least a thousand times, but it wasn't until hearing a little boy sing it this week that I really stopped and listened to the words.

Away in a manger no crib for a bed
The little Lord, Jesus lay down his sweet head,
The stars in the sky look down where he lay,
The little Lord, Jesus asleep on the hay.

I don't know how many of you grew up on a farm, but when you lay down in a pile of hay it is not soft and comfy.  Some people seem to think it feels like laying on a pile of yarn or tinsel.  Let me tell you, it's not.  It is itchy!  My brother and I used to go play in a the hay barn (which we got in trouble for) and when we were done we would be covered in little red dots from being poked.  Not a place I would want to lay my baby down for the night.

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 Sometimes we look at the mothering thing all wrong.  We seem to think that people expect perfection from us, but that's just not true.  Sometimes those not-so-perfect moments can become blessings for those around us.

Recently I was reading Leap of Faye's post "9 Reasons I'm Happy Being A Good-Enough Mom".  In it she talks about how moms operate in REAL life and not in some Pinterest fantasy land.  We are all striving to be a super-mom, but the reality is we're never going to get there.  And we shouldn't worry about it.

Reading through stories of Faye and her two children, it got me thinking about how sometimes we look at the mothering thing all wrong.  We seem to think that people expect perfection from us, but that's just not true.  Sometimes those not-so-perfect moments can become blessings for those around us.  A little skeptical?  Let me share a story about my own daughter.

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This week I am so excited to have guest blogger, Mandy Skinner, author of the blog "Soccer Mom with Muscles" and the book "PB&J and Push-Ups: The Busy Mom's Simple Guide to Diet and Fitness".  Mandy is going to share some great tips on how moms can fit a fitness routine into an already crowded schedule!

 

The greatest juggling act of all time is Motherhood.  We have so many balls in the air at one time: preschool, soccer practice, dance class, field trips, laundry, dishes, middle of the night fevers, sibling disputes, and let’s not forget your husband and career!  It is easy to see why so many women let their health and wellness go to the wayside while caring for that of their families.  But, I contend that the greatest contribution a woman can make to her family is a healthy and happy mommy, wife, and woman; her best self. 

Sure we would all love a little alone time to work out some of our stress through movement that makes us feel better, both physically and mentally.  How nice would it be to work up a sweat doing something besides changing a dirty crib sheet?  So how do we add one more ball to this balancing act that is already so difficult to juggle?

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Sometimes in America we forget just how blessed we are.  It is hard to find a community in the US that does not have some sort of food assistance program whether it be for school children over the summer, or entire families when times get hard. (If you are needing food assistance, please visit FeedingAmerica.org to locate resources near you!)  But other parts of the world, there is no government assistance and no community outreach.  In some parts of the world there is just not enough food to go around.  So for that reason, I wanted to share a few things from the Samaritan's Purse Christmas Catalog that can help feed hungry people around the world.

I first learned of Samaritan's Purse when a couple brought Operation Christmas Child boxes to our church to fill.  Later, I was impressed to learn of all the different ways that the organization served people, both here in the US and around the world!  Here are a few ways that Samaritan's Purse will be reaching out to people this year.

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Being a teenager is stressful.  Nearly anyone who can remember back to their high school days can agree with that.  But, where previous generations could go home to get away from the bullying, now, thanks to social media and smart phone, cruel comments can follow them anywhere.

I could make this a post about anti-bullying, or talk about how to your teen needs to take time to unplug, but instead I want to share 10 songs to build your daughter up.  You see, it's not enough just to stop the negative comments.  You daughter needs someone to remind her all the good things that make her uniquely herself. 

So here are 10 songs your daughter can add to her playlist when the world starts getting her down.

 

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When I saw this recipe by Mique from Thirty Days Handmade, I couldn't wait to try it.  I have my mom's recipe for porcupine meatballs, but who has time to take a pound of meat and craft it into little ball?  This recipe has a similar taste, but is a whole lot easier to make!

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You know the story I'm talking about.  The one your child insists on reading EVERY night before he goes to bed.  The one you could read with your eyes closed (and probably have).  But kids love repetition.  It help them connect patterns and create stability in their world.  So here's some ideas on how to survive (and maybe even enjoy) that same bedtime story over and over.

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A lot of times when people think of art they think of strange abstract paintings that are difficult to understand, or marble statues depicting ancient gods and goddesses.  But do you ever look at art as a link to our past?

One Saturday my husband took our little family out to our local art museum.  Being a new mother, I was more than a little nervous.  I was afraid when I rolled in a stroller carrying a bottle and an infant that we would be promptly asked to leave.  But I was relieve to find not only did they allow us in, we were instructed on the easiest paths to navigate with a stroller and every door in the museum was held open for us.

We were there to see the daguerreotypes, an early form of photography from the mid-nineteenth century.  I enjoyed being able sneak a peak at life in the 1840 & 1850s.  Things like circus performers and rich children photographed with their nannies.  As they became more popular, some photographers would even create lighthearted daguerreotypes of poker games or dentist visits.

Robert Louis Stevenson daguerreotype portrait as a child

But the daguerreotypes that made the deepest impact on me were of mothers holding their babies or small children that had passed.  In an age where we can snap a selfie with our cell phone, we forget that at one time in our nation's past, having an image of your child was very costly.  This was the only time that many of these children would be photographed.  I got choked up looking at the image of a mother holding the lifeless body of her daughter, and imagining myself in her place.  Then I thought about all the photographs that were taken of my own daughter before she even left the hospital, and I felt incredibly blessed.

But that was quickly disrupted by a group that had come up behind us.  As someone was trying to explain to this group of adults the meaning behind these daguerreotypes, I was disgusted to hear comments such as: "Gross!"  "Why would anyone want a picture of a dead baby!?!"  "I wouldn't want one of those!"

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Exciting New Seven Slings Patterns!