Beautiful Day

Friday, July 25, 2014

Life-Giving Celebrations Continued

One of my kindred spirit friends sent me a sweet birthday email recently.  And in it she asked a very interesting question.  She wanted to know how one who loves to give life through celebrations, is celebrated when it's her turn?  (That is a rough paraphrase, but the general idea of her question).  Before you continue, maybe you would like to check out my first post on this topic here.

I spent many years thinking that my family would naturally just "get it" on occasions like my birthday or Mother's Day.  And it is true that they have picked up much of their ability to bless others by participating with me in these celebratory endeavors over the years.  I think it is a very similar idea to how husbands and wives relate.  We think we know each other so well, that the other just ought to KNOW without saying a word exactly what will be a blessing.  Well, maybe in your marriage it is different, but I can tell you that I have learned (and am still learning a great deal, mind you) that it helps to actually communicate in words the hopes or expectations we have, or just to give ideas.  It isn't easy to do because....well, it can feel rather selfish.  For one, I usually struggle with the notion that verbalizing something makes the other feel obligated, even when that isn't the intention.  And secondly, that it will take something away if I give them ideas. 

In short, I think most Mamas are used to giving of themselves so much, and they don't want to be selfish.  After all, if we are believers, we want to honor Christ in all we do, and to have a character like His which is the epitome of selflessness.  And this is good.  At the same time, we can sometimes adopt a "martyr" mindset when we secretly hope our family will just automatically know the best thing to do.  And sometimes they don't.....not because they don't love us.  Sometimes they forget (because we don't offer reminders, like we do for other people's occasions).  Sometimes they are just wired differently.  And I know for me, there were times and seasons, especially with younger children, where I would be upset that I would have to give reminders.

In recent years, I have been thankful for a bit of wisdom to enlighten this aspect of our home.  I read this book, "Celebrations of Faith," this year and so enjoyed it.  Mostly because it echoes so much of what I believe in, and much of what we were already doing in some way.  I also found it very convicting.  I found many things I hadn't done well when my older children were younger.  And they were things that just took some purposeful training.  So I am working more on some of these ideas now.  

Then it occurred to me, that it isn't any different with regards to teaching how to give life through celebrations.  Yes, some will have a greater gifting toward that than others.  But all can learn how to show honor to another.

So, in recent years, I have given more direct guidance to my children.  And often some hints to my husband of how he can help them think of ideas.  Not ultimately for the goal of receiving something myself (though this is nice).  But because I see that it is training ground for their own future families and the general principle of honor.  And honoring father and mother is of prime importance in God's Word for children.

Now I will share a bit of what this looked like this year.

My girls take turns making the family breakfasts.  This day was Country Girl's turn.  She asked me what I would like for breakfast.  I let her choose the rest, but the one thing I chose were some Chocolate-Raspberry Muffins.  I will say that blessing people with food is one of the ways we do celebrations here, so don't be surprised if you see a bunch of food :)

On the evening before my birthday, Tender Warrior blessed me with some "Birthday Eve Roses."  I am blessed indeed!  

Cards are usually a big part of celebrations here too.  We like art and we like drawing.  And I have never had to encourage my children to make cards.  I love every one of them! (Children, and their cards!)

During the afternoon, I had a lunch date with my beloved.  It's a tradition for the children to go to "Daddy's work" for their birthday and go out to lunch.  It hasn't always worked for me to do this, but this year we definitely planned for it.  No pictures.  Just lovely time spent together.

When I returned home, one of my birthday gifts was that the children cleaned the house.  And wow, did they clean it!  What a gift!  It looked beautiful.  And also made it easy to prepare for company arriving in a few days.

At dinner time, Tender Warrior gave me a guitar serenade.  He is both sweet and funny and has a way of keeping me from being too serious all the time.

Adventure Girl made dessert for me.  One of our favorites....we call it Air Force Dessert.

I mentioned cards.  I had to take photos with these, because I wanted to capture their artwork.  Adventure Girl did this one.  And she also submitted it to the county fair and received a blue ribbon.

And Country Girl's beautiful card as well.  (Reminder to self:  Keep encouraging the younger children to learn drawing.  It pays off!)

And one of my gifts was this beautiful calligraphy/artwork version of the book of Psalms.  A lovely friend gifted Country Girl with one of these for graduation.  I immediately put it on my wish list.

I am grateful for all that the Lord has taught me about celebrations and about helping my children gain a vision for blessing people in this manner.  Really, with older children who now are able to bless others on their own initiative (including me), it is so rewarding in so many ways.  There are still plenty of moments for instruction in thoughtfulness.  We all need help thinking outside of ourselves at various times.  And there are still several younger ones to learn along with us.

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