Isn't it a blessing to be comfortable enough to have the means for all of life's true necessities and yet to be working hard enough to get them that a bag of coffee and a quart of cream makes for a fine, fine Christmas gift? Of course, it's easy to be grateful for a bag of Mystic Monk. Thank you oh so very much, neighbors!
|Everyone waiting to see Sissy's gift!|
By American standards, we celebrate a small Christmas. We try to keep the focus on our faith and each other and not on an ever growing pile of goods under the tree. For the past few years we have chosen not to go into credit card debt but instead have set a cash budget and have kept to it in spite of all temptation. We actually give the majority of the funding to the children to spend a modest amount on each present they need to buy for each other, my husband and I, grandparents and Godparents. Most of their Christmas gifts and most of the excitement come from what they carefully choose for each other. It's sweet to watch the children hover around the recipient as each gift is opened, to hear them calling out, "That's from me!" and "You got that from her?" We think we're on to something. This year, as every year, was the very best.
|A No-Filing Filing System of Monthly Bills|
From Echoes of Laughter
We had our first test of our new bill paying system the other day. Our propane company called concerned that we hadn't paid our bill. All it took was a quick look in my notebook to be able to say, "It was mailed a week ago Wednesday." Before they even found their clerical error, I already knew the check had cleared the bank and all was well. It was a nice experience compared to the frantic search through a pile of unfiled paperwork that was my previous system for responding to such phone calls. If you are interested in changing the way you track and file your monthly bills, this is the system we're using. I can recommend it from personal experience. It works!
Enough crowing! How about a nice wife fail to round out the list? Last Sunday, my husband was sick and staying home from church and work. The kids were also sick and were dozing and quiet so while I was getting ready, he and I had the rare opportunity for a real adult conversation. It got pretty deep into the usual topics of the New Year, self-improvement, and I wanted to give him a little boost. Meaning to remind him that nobody is expected to be perfect but to simply persevere I said cheerily, "You know you are going to fail, right?" I meant to go on and explain myself better, but his look prevented much more than some stammering and apologizing. It took me awhile to untangle what I really meant from what I'd said and by the end of it we were laughing at my failure to communicate. He isn't teasing me too hard about it yet, but he has whispered in my ear once or twice as I'm beginning a job, "You know you're going to fail, right?"
I already did, babe. Got that skill down pat.
"Resolving to Sin No More"
Garden of Holiness Podcast for Deeper Truth
Wednesday's podcast on combating sins with virtues turned out pretty well. My friends over at Deeper Truth are putting it in their "Best Of" list. Since it expands on some of the points I made in Wednesday's post, I thought I'd share it. I had a chance to talk about some of the ways even the practice of Virtues can be twisted around on you if you aren't careful. Speaking from personal experience, of course. *ahem*
No word yet on the foster care paperwork. It's all in and undergoing review. I'm waiting as patiently as I can, figuring our social worker is taking a few days to spend some time with her family.
Speaking of, thank you for your understanding and patience when I took some time off from blogging to be able to relax and enjoy the season with my family. In fact, the entire crew of Martins thanks you and wishes you a very happy New Year.
Two of my blogging friends need prayers. Both are pregnant and both have been hospitalized this week: Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary (an update) and Kelly at The Careless Catholic (an update). Thank you.