Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Second-last chapter ~ we're almost done! Man, for a small book, this one has taken me FOREVER to get through!! I guess that's what happens when you determine to summarize and review each chapter. Definitely makes it more of a responsibility than just reading straight through it. Geez, I actually have to concentrate!
You'd think the chapter titled "Developing Discernment" would be a lengthy one. After all, THIS is the real reason we're reading this book in the first place, right?! Amazingly, it's the shortest chapter.
Challies starts by outlining some of the on-the-field, off-the-field, pre-game, post-game, during-game, between-game, and between-season routines of pitcher Roy Halladay. This man is undisputably CONSUMED not only by his profession, but with his dedication to it. If he's not practising, he's reading about practising and technique, or solving puzzles to keep his mind sharp and train it to focus. And he trains his body hard enough so that he rarely breaks a sweat during a game! Seriously, this guy's dedication is mind-boggling. (made me actually kinda wonder how he could possibly have room in his life for his wife and kids)
All of this, of course, serves as an illustration for how dedicated Christians need to be in their pursuit of the discipline of discernment. Roy Halladay is quite the example to follow!
The author then launches into the commitments for discernment, using Proverbs 2:1-5 as his text. Here, he outlines several required "routines" for Christians to follow if they're serious about developing discernment:
First, we see that we must be actively involved in the pursuit of discernment. (Which is why we're reading this book!) We need to recognize our need for godly wisdom and discernment and humbly set aside our own pride and foolishness in pursuing it.
Second, we need to DESIRE discernment. I think this should really be the first requirement, because it seems to me without the desire, we're not likely to pursue it. (But maybe he's not listing them in order of importance or occurence!) We need to be passionate about our pursuit, just like we'd be passionate about seeking treasure even if all we had was a rough, hand-drawn map in our hands.
Thirdly, we need to pray for discernment. And this, I believe, is not the "God, I need you to shed some light on this situation because I just can't figure it out" kind of prayer; this is the everyday conversation with God where we ask for His guidance, wisdom, and love in whatever we set our hands to that day so that we can better reflect His glory.
Fourthly, we need to seek discernment. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but somehow this seems like it could have gone under the "pursue it" heading. Challies says here that "A person who wishes to be discerning will NECESSARILY AND ALWAYS be a person who COMMITS to reading AND studying the Bible on a REGULAR BASIS." (156, emphasis mine) Does that not sound like passionately pursuing it because we desire it more than anything else? I thought so.
Then Challies spends some time discussing what he is convinced is the context for discernment ~ namely, the local church. "The local church," he says, "is provided by God as a means of grace and as the context for much of the personal growth that Christians experience. The local church is the Christian's most natural context in which to learn, to model, and to practice spiritual discernment." (156)
Quoting pastor and author Mark Dever, he gives five reasons that Christians should be a part of a local church, all of which deal with accountability and spiritual growth ~ things which are generally not possible or available without belonging to a community of believers. A person who wishes to grow in discernment should belong to a local church in order to place himself under the authority of godly leaders, and to be afforded opportunities to help others grow in their knowledge and application of Scripture.
The person who truly seeks to be discerning should also exemplify certain qualities like humility (before both God and man), meekness, and compassion. "A person who wishes to be discerning must continually examine his motives, ensuring that he is motivated to proect not only himself but also his brothers and sisters in Christ... He must also be willing to address other people's error with humility and in a way that is consistent with Christian character. He needs to be motivated to teach others the importance of discernment, to model discernment, and to help others practice it. This ALL relies on humility." (160)
And I believe this hinges on love, which we saw in the last chapter as being a fairly key component in practising discernment. So now we have two keys to the practise of discernment. Studying the Word of God and getting to know God better is pretty much the only way to become wise, but using that wisdom ~ the action of discernment ~ requires love and humility.
Because, as the author says in the closing statements of the chapter, "We become discerning Christians not by focusing on discernment as an end in itself, but by focusing on the person of God and the character of God. As we pursue God, seeking to know him as he has revealed himself in the Bible, we necessarily grow in both wisdom and discernment."(162)
There it is again: study, study, study!!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It'd sting the toes and bite the nose
If in a sleigh we'd go.
Over the rivers, and WAY down the road,
To have a first-rate play.
We hope to arrive by a-quarter-to-five,
It's our second Christmas Day!
Over the rivers, and WAY down the road
Drive faster, my Windstar grey!
Eat up the miles while we're still all smiles,
How we wish for a shorter way!
Over the rivers, and WAY down the road—
Straight to the city's south side,
We seem to go so EXTREME-ELY slow,
It is so hard to wait!
Over the rivers, and WAY down the road—
Now Grandmother's face I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the supper done?
Hurrah for chocolate cream pie!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
HA. That's a bit of a joke up here on the Canadian prairies. OUR first day of winter (which to me means the first snow we get that actually stays on the ground) usually comes mid-November and by the time the snow is gone, the calendar says we're well into spring already.
I wonder if I will ever like our winters?
My guess is, not likely. But I have learned to appreciate the beauty it brings. There is a rarity and a special-ness about winter's aesthetics that are beyond compare. Spring and summer, with all their colour and new birth ~ even autumn in its golden splendor ~ still don't quite have the same beauty. So it would seem winter has some redeeming qualities.
And ice crystals in the air that look like pixie dust...
...turning the trees, weeds and harsh barbed-wire fences into delicate lace.
Or the most exquisite colours at sunrise (which I don't have to get up NEARLY so early to enjoy this time of year as I do in summer!):
The deep pinks, purples, and oranges...
Colours which, under most circumstances, look rather hideous together...
...are somehow transformed by the cold into something quite magical.
Normally, I'm not a fan of the winter blues, but in some cases...
I really have to thank the blogging community for giving me a new appreciation for winter ~ particularly those of you in the deep, dirty south that keep congratulating me on my "survival skills!" If not for you wonderful friends, I likely wouldn't have sought out the beauty of winter the way I have in the last two and a half years. I don't think my camera had ever been outside in winter before December 2007!
And I certainly wouldn't have been driving with my camera on the steering wheel capturing shots like THESE:
But my personal favourite from the last two winters has to be this shot:
The rare and elusive sundog. The crown jewel.
Despite Ol' Man Winter's cold, cold heart and crotchety personality, there are simply too many treasures for him to selfishly keep to himself. A few slip out of his grasp periodically, and if we just happen to have a camera handy at the right time, we can prove it.
Now, this is not to say you'll never hear me complain about the cold, but I look forward to the challenge of another treasure-hunt.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
For me there was, anyway.
This chapter could have had an alternate title: When Good Discernment Goes Bad. In it, Challies outlines numerous possible pitfalls for those who conscientiously practise discernment.
He opens the chapter by discussing once again how counterfeit-detection education focuses on KNOWING the genuine. Being Canadian, I found this chapter interesting because he gives a lengthy discussion on the specifics of Canadian dollar bills and the features they've been given to make counterfeiting them difficult. (I immediately checked my bills, and I'm happy to report they all appear genuine!!) All of these details point back, of course, to the fifth chapter where knowing the truth is revealed as the key to discernment, but now in the eighth chapter, the author reveals how critical love is in the practise of knowing and speaking the truth. Too often, he says, "truth and love are brought into conflict rather than being equally present." (143) And so begins his look at the dangers that present themselves to people who practise discernment.
Innocent as to What is Evil. Paul warns several times his letters to be mature in faith, but immature in evil. "When it comes to wisdom ~ the discerning of false teaching and destructive behaviors ~ don't be naive. Be wise; be mature. But when it comes to evil ~ erroneous destructive doctrine and appetite-worship that goes with them ~ be innocent. Be like a child in the sense that you don't even make a beginning in evil." (143, author quotes John Piper) Spending undue time and effort on learning about what is evil is an inherent danger in seeking to draw clear distinctions between what is good and what is evil.
Guilt by Association. This is a trap people fall into when "they are LAZY in their discernment. Rather than understanding the beliefs of a particular individual and comparing those to the Word of God, that person is judged by a comparison of his beliefs to the beliefs of another person." (145)
I'm very guilty of this. I'm not a fan of Rick Warren. I think he's misleading a lot of people. I believe he's watered down the gospel in order to make it palatable to everyone and anyone and in the process, completely removed the need for Christ's atoning sacrifice. As a result, whenever anyone quotes him, I have a tendency to bristle, to question that person's beliefs and their wisdom, and to almost completely disregard anything they say in the future regarding faith, doctrine, and theology. This, I learn here, is not good discernment at all, but a judgmental attitude and outright laziness. Ouch. I guess I have some repenting to do.
Honor by Association. The flip-side of guilt by association. And I'm equally guilty of this one too, dang it! I'm a huge fan of John Piper and I have a tendency to read everything of his without really questioning any of it. I know he's a staunch Calvinist and that as such, he and I have differing thoughts on free will vs. predestination, but for the most part, I find him to be a teacher/preacher/author who is devoted to studying and expositing the Scriptures; the WHOLE truth ~ the good, the bad, and the ugly. And so when someone quotes from Piper, I have a tendency to figure they must have their theological heads on straight and I am much more likely to accept anything I hear from them. Oops. More laziness!
And since I've brought up the Calvin vs. Arminian debate, this leads to the next danger ~ The Critical and the Disputable: the danger of ignoring the fact that some doctrine is of greater importance and greater ugency than other doctrine. We need to carefully consider how critical a doctrinal issue is and distinguish which "level" of importance it is before allowing it to divide us. (here's a really good summary of this doctrinal "triage." Challies has the same one in chapter 4 of this book, but I didn't spend any time on it.) Too often we become divided by beliefs and interpretations of Scripture that aren't foundational differences. A truly discerning person will not allow the foundational doctrines of the faith to be lowered to the level of disputable matters and likewise, matters of lesser importance will not be allowed to ascend to urgent positions of utmost importance. This is another major problem we see in churches today.
Witch Hunting. Here Challies quotes a friend of his, who sums it up perfectly: "Those who witch hunt end up riding brooms." (146) Christians who spend undue time seeking out and responding to each and every transgression they see quickly become insufferable! And a person who continually stirs up anger and disagreement is committing an offense that God hates. (Proverbs 6:12-19)
Relying Unduly on Others. This one is fairly self-explanatory, I think. WE need to be students of the Word of God. WE need to be able to search the Scriptures ourselves to test what we hear and read. That is OUR responsibility. And yes, we should seek wise counsel, but the author advises that this counsel should come from people whom we actually KNOW to be wise. It's much easier to seek the advice of an author in a book or on the Internet, but in doing so, we risk being unduly influenced by people who are not necessarily any more discerning than we are, or may even seek to lead others astray. Challies says there are countless examples of Christians who were "simply curious and looking for information about a teacher or doctrine but were led into all manner of false doctrine by seeking out discernment through books or web sites." (148)
Guilty again. Not necessarily of being led astray (hopefully!), but certainly of looking to Mr. Google for all the answers rather than fellow believers whom I trust because I know in person.
Simplicity. "It is easy, when attempting to be discerning, to neatly categorize people into two camps: good and bad. We then implicitly trust the people in the good camp and entirely reject anything said by those in the bad camp. To do so, though, is to ignore the common grace God gives whereby even those whose views are far different from our own can still be wise and can still speak the truth." (148)
I believe I've already confessed to this one under the "guilt or honour by association" headings. ::sigh::
Pride. (gulp) People who emphasize discernment seem to be prone to the sin of pride, particularly as their discernment increases. The practise becomes less about maintaining the purity of the Body of believers and more about self-glorification through exposing the "witches."
Withdrawal. In becoming more discerning, individuals may find it difficult to worship with any congregation because none matches perfectly with their own beliefs. But discernment doesn't give us permission to ignore corporate worship and to separate ourselves from the Body of Christ; a discerning person will know and affirm the value of the local church, of accountability, and of Christian fellowship.
Truth Without Love. Perhaps the greatest danger. Challies spends a lot of time on this final point, but I believe his quote from John Stott sums it up simply and beautifully: "Truth becomes hard if it is not softened by love; love becomes soft if it is not strengthened by truth." (151) We must speak the truth in love, but we must not allow our eagerness to defend truth overcome our love for fellow believers.
And just like that, I think here we uncover another key to this discipline ~ it not only requires the hard work of studying the Scriptures, but it must be fueled by love. Love for Christ and for His Bride, the Church.
Discernment is the loving jealous defence of the Bride's purity.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I'd looked forward to it for a few weeks already.
The Bushman would be home for four days and Monday was a kindergarten day, so with the girls in school, he and I were going to head off to a small city 2 hours away to finish up our Christmas shopping.
That's the nearest decent mall and Wal-Mart. For serious.
I'd lined up a babysitter for after school and the evening and though I'm generally not a shopper, I was really looking forward to going on a day-long shopping date with my husband.
Peanut was a little sad that she'd miss The Grinch and Frosty the Snowman, but I told her she could maybe ask to watch it at our friends' home, where they'd be spending the afternoon and evening. "But I want to watch it with YOU," she said, with this really forlorn look on her face. I promised we'd try to rent it if we couldn't catch it on a different channel on a different night.
Saturday, The Bushman's first day home following a ten-day absence, was not a great day around here. He was exhausted and a bit stressed out. I was exhausted and a bit stressed out. (I'd been madly preparing for the church Christmas program all week and continued to do so until late Saturday night) Neither of us was in a good mood when he left mid-morning to work on the trucks at the shop in town.
Later in the afternoon, after her bath, Peanut was in tears. I thought it was because she was combing her hair ~ both our girls have extremely tangly hair and nothing we've tried has made much of a difference ~ but when the tears continued even after she was done with her hair, I asked her what was wrong.
"It's just that I won't get to hardly spend any time with daddy," she sobbed. "He's working in town today, tomorrow we'll be at church all day, and then I have to go back to school on Monday. It's just not fair!"
My heart broke as I held her on my lap. It wasn't fair. And yet, such is life when your dad is a semi-truck owner/operator.
I worked on my attitude for the rest of the afternoon and served a candlelight supper that evening. The Bushman wasn't particularly impressed, but Fidget and Peanut were delighted (haha, get it? De-lighted...? Ah, I crack myself up sometimes!) with the "atmosphere." We cuddled on the couch and watched Christmas specials in the evening.
Sunday was a blur. Church in the morning, complete with practicing during the Sunday school hour and then choir practice afterwards. It was fully 2 pm before we finally got home for lunch and by 6, we were packing up to head back for the program. It went well, and though attendance was hampered by the extremely cold and windy weather, those there had a good time. The vast array of goodies that follow these events are always a treat!
There was some talk amongst the women who work as Educational Assistants about buses being cancelled the next morning due to the forecasted windchill and I fretted that my shopping trip might be in jeopardy. The schools aren't closed just because the buses aren't running, so technically, we could drop the girls off at school anyway ~ parents working full-time often still do ~ but somehow, that idea bothered me.
Shoppingday morning dawned cold and windy, and I checked the weather sites first-thing. Whew, neither of the commonly used sites showed a windchill low enough to cancel the buses. The limit is -46C/-51F and both sites showed only -41/-42F. ("only!") Awesome. The girls would have school and hubby and I were going to have a wonderful time, just the two of us, finishing up our shopping and eating out.
And then at 7:20 am the phone rang.
It was our bus driver, telling us they'd gotten word from the bus garage that the windchill temperature was -51/-60F. There would be no buses. The girls would have no school.
Well. GREAT. There was no way I was driving all that way to go shopping and have them whining and complaining and begging for every single toy they saw ~ and you KNOW that's how it woulda went down! And yet asking someone at such short notice to look after them for the entire day wouldn't be fair. So NOW what?! And where on earth did the head bus dude get that number from??!!
I snuck upstairs to turn off the girls' alarm clock just moments before it was set to go off and went back downstairs for more coffee. Normally, The Bushman would still have been sleeping, but the phone had woken him up, so we tried to decide what to do. He was in favour of still bringing the girls to school so we could go, but using the school strictly as a babysitting service just doesn't sit well with me!
But mostly, Peanut's words and tears from Saturday afternoon kept bothering me. If we stayed home, she would actually get a full day with her daddy.
And just like that, the decision was made. I wasn't particularly happy about it and yet it didn't bother me nearly as much as the thought of it had only the night before.
The girls made brunch with daddy, played Lego with daddy, read with daddy, and watched TV with daddy. For supper, we went out to one of the nicer restaurants in town and shared another special family meal, after which we raced home so we could watch The Grinch and Frosty together, too.
It was a wonderful day. Probably the best one we've had as a family in quite a while.
Tuesday, according to the weather reports, was worse than Monday, but somehow, the buses were running. At the school Christmas program later that afternoon, I sat with a former neighbour who also happens to be a schoolbus driver, and I asked him where the weather reports come from. "Oh, you mean yesterday's baloney?" he asked.
"Well, um, yes, that's kinda the one I was really wondering about..." I replied.
"Yeah, I have NO idea where that number came from. It's like they just picked it out of a hat. Today was WAY worse in the morning, but neither day has been at the cut-off point yet."
Huh. That's kinda what I thought...
But I think I know where the number came from.
That mysterious weather report was a very direct answer to my Peanut's prayers for daddy and family time last weekend.
An answer to prayer that ruined my plans for a out-of-town day of shopping with my husband.
...but who needs presents anyway?!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Having addressed the call, the importance and the definition of biblical discernment, where it can be found and what its basis is, author Tim Challies now opens what feels like a stand-alone chapter dealing with spiritual gifts.
Of course, since I haven't read further, I can't really say it's a stand-alone chapter or just the beginning of the second section, but it feels like a departure from the flow of the first six chapters. However, we're still obviously on the theme of discernment!
First he addresses the gifting from the Holy Spirit and delves into the reality that while these myriad gifts were intended for the benefit of the Church, they also seem, regrettably, to be the biggest source of divisiveness in the Church. Challies points out something interesting that I've certainly never noticed about the various lists of spiritual gifts given in the Bible: "each list is unique and includes items that are not in each of the others." (125) Have you noticed that?
He believes this to be an indication that the lists recorded were never intended to be seen as exhaustive lists; they are merely representative of the types and varieties of gifts God gives believers. This variety is meant to build a stronger Church, reflecting "unity in its totality but not uniformity in its parts." (125)
He makes another interesting observation when he says that spiritual gifts are not necessarily in line with one's personality and aren't necessarily permanent, but may be more dependent on what season of life we are in and what needs exist in our local churches. I'm not sure I agree with this last statement. I think it might be more that the gift is always present but that either we refuse to use it with equal enthusiasm all our lives or it simply isn't needed at some points in our churches. If my tiny little church had five incredibly talented pianists, a few might choose rather to focus on using other gifts for a time, like if they're gifted at working with young children, they might choose to teach a Sunday school class; or if they're good with numbers, they might choose to rather be the church's treasurer, etc. They might simply be needed more somewhere else than at the piano.
I do agree with Challies when he says the two main reasons we are given spiritual gifts are to manifest the Spirit (to make Him visible), and for the common good of the body of believers. They are not given for our personal satisfaction and furtherance; they are given to be used in service. I also agree when he says:
"Even if we may not have been given a particular gift, this does not indicate that we are freed from our responsibility to practice it at least in some measure. We are not to pursue only one gift as if this is the only way in which God desires that we serve him. We are not to make a gift the most prominent aspect of our identity as Christians so that one member of the church becomes the 'evangelism guy' and another member becomes the 'hospitality woman.' Just as the existence of a gift of evangelism does not preclude those who have not been given this gift form the task of evangelizing, in the same way, even those who do not have the spiritual gift of discernment are expected to be discerning." (127)Therefore, while it falls on all of us the responsibility to discern what we will believe, those who are particularly gifted in this area have the responsibility of defending the church against false teaching. Where evangelism is a gift that is offensive in nature, spreading the gospel in new territory, the gift of discernment is primarily defensive in nature, protecting the ground that has already been taken. This protective gift of discernment is especially critical in a time such as ours when Christianity is considered acceptable in society.
"Christians are ultimately responsible for what they choose to believe, no matter whether or not they have been gifted with the spiritual gift of discernment." (129)
"When the church is enduring an era of persecution, there are bound to be few false teachers, for not many people are willing to risk their very lives for something they believe to be false. The stakes are simply too high for such false teachers. But, as church history can attest, when Christianity is accepted and tolerated, false teachers arise quickly and soon fill the church. Those of us who are privileged to live in a nation that allows us freedom to worship must be particularly cautious. The truth is under attack more today than at any other time in history and this should not be surprising in a culture that so values religious freedom and tolerance. Add to such an accepting culture [the] unparalleled speed of communication and the ability to publish books and other writings quickly and easily, and we can rightly conclude that error is being spread with startling speed and efficiency." (134)What the church needs today, Challies concludes, is a class of believers who are identified as the experts in discernment and as those who have special ability in this area.
He then goes on to outline what characterizes people who are particularly gifted in the area of discernment and how they should put their gift to use ~ much of which has been covered in the previous chapters.
"No matter what," Challies says in closing, "continue to seek to grow in discernment. Even if God has not specifically gifted you in this way, he still expects you to grow in discernment and to practice this discipline." (137)
Which means what?
That's right ~ being a life-long student of the Word of God. Not just reading it and listening to the pastor's sermon once a week, but STUDYING. Always getting to know God a little bit better each day.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
This morning was busy. The Bushman was away, so I'd agreed to lead the adult Sunday school class discussion in his place. Without realizing it that because I'm one of the organizers of the Christmas program next weekend, I'd have to practise with the kids during Sunday school hour.
Well, that should still work, I thought. The adult class is watching the DVD series from Focus on the Family called The Truth Project (I HIGHLY recommend this "Biblical Worldview tour!!") and the videos are each basically an hour long. So I'd introduce the video, hit play, run upstairs to practise with the kids and then return to the adult class to lead the discussion. After all, I'd watched the DVD lesson twice at home already. Okay, it's all good.
And I had special number this morning.
And choir practise, which I completely forgot about until I got to church. (Good thing I wasn't responsible for bringing the music!!)
I made a list, checked it twice (and three and four and five times!) last night and it was all good. My church bag was decidedly fuller and heavier than usual, but I remembered everything I needed to bring.
It felt a bit chaotic and yet never once did I feel exhausted or resentful. Even though I'm in the middle of 10 days of single parenting, and we only got home from church at 1:30.
In any previous year, I would've hated a Sunday morning like this. I would've grumbled and complained, and whined about having to do so many different jobs. I would've come home after church, flopped down on the couch, and expected The Bushman to look after making lunch and entertaining the girls for the rest of the day. After all, I'd done my part. I'd already done so much for so many. I would have thought it was now my turn to have something done for me. To be rewarded for all my efforts.
And more than that, I would likely have already been resentful all week leading up to this Sunday, grumbling about the amount of responsibility I'd have to shoulder.
So why was this year different from all the others?
Because my attitude has changed.
You see, I've come to view Christianity, holiness, and the Church a little differently over the last several months. Pursuing holiness isn't sticking to a bunch of rules, it's trying my best to reflect the nature of God. And pursuing holiness in the Church is the passion for God's glory to be displayed in His people.
These things start with me; in the heart of individual believers.
The pastor telling people to do this or do that won't make believers holy or passionate about serving God. But possibly, my willingness to do so myself will inspire someone else, who will inspire another, and so on and so forth. That's how fire spreads!
I want my life to reflect a profound gratitude for salvation. I don't know how bad hell will be, and as such, I think I sometimes forget and take for granted that it's a BIG DEAL, this propitiation for sin!! My faith and my life, my prayer, is to become an outpouring of gratitude as I focus and consciously keep in the forefront of my mind the significance of God's greatest gift to mankind.
My pursuit of holiness has been FREED from the religious list of "do's and don'ts" and it has simply become my alabaster jar of perfume, broken, and poured out on the feet of Jesus. I find my heart overflowing these days with a profound sense of gratitude and joy that normally isn't present in my life this time of year as the busyness reaches a fever-pitch. I've agreed and volunteered for several things that I would never have considered in previous years because suddenly, my focus has shifted from "how does this benefit/affect me?" to "how can I bring glory to God?"
Despite the busy-ness, the peace is incredible and indescribable; the joy seems only to be growing.
This afternoon, I feel like relaxing and doing absolutely nothing. This morning was taxing, no doubt about it! And relax I will. For a time. And then there will be dishes to wash, cookies to bake with the girls, and pear crisp to make as I anticipate an evening visit from a dear friend who will be coming over once all our kids are in bed for the night. (Not to mention supper to make, and probably more dishes to wash!)
My old self doesn't think that sounds very relaxing at all! But my new self is excited about the way I've chosen to spend my day and the opportunities it's provided me to glorify God.
Friday, December 4, 2009
My girls displayed their generous hearts yesterday at breakfast when we were talking about how it would be good to get rid of some of their old toys that they never play with anymore before we get more.
I mentioned maybe we could sell them and 7-yr old Peanut got a strange look on her face, paused for a moment, and then said, "I think we should just give them away. Money isn't everything, you know."
I laughed because I know she was parroting that phrase from previous times when we'd talked about this very thing when she wanted to get money out of the deal. Then I said, "Remember what your kindergarten class did at Christmastime two years ago instead of exchanging gifts? You collected money. Do you remember what that money was for?"
She thought for a minute and then her eyes lit up. "We bought animals for poor people! HEY, I HAVE AN IDEA..... We could sell our toys and use the money to do that again!!"
5-yr old Fidget was instantly on board as we planned how we'd set all the toys up in their respective sets so I could take pictures of them and post them on our local buy/sell/trade Facebook page and wherever else we could think of.
So, during commercial breaks in the Christmas cartoon specials last night, we set up the sets, trying to make sure all the pieces were present and accounted for. (Believe it or not, I think we're only missing TWO pieces! I'm still searchin'...) Then I took pictures, determined a price and posted on my Facebook page as well as the community buy/sell/trade page. Within minutes, an old friend laid claim to the biggest set!
The girls were ecstatic this morning when I told them they'd made 20 bucks in their SLEEP! (wouldn't it be nice if it was always like that??!)
I made up some posters last night, too, and later today we'll head over to the community notice board by the post office as well as the little village store to hang them.
I've decided ~ and I hope I can get them on board with this! ~ I'd like to do this kind of an exercise every year, maybe a little earlier, like on Thanksgiving Monday. (which is mid-October here in Canada) That way we've got plenty of time to place our World Vision order in time for Christmas and each year, my girls and I will not only be decluttering, but we'll be doing it for such a wonderful reason.
I want to do this with clothing as well (possibly as often as TWICE a year, if I get really ambitious!), but those will be donated to our church's thrift store. All the store's proceeds to go a the Bible camp run and staffed largely by our church members that ministers primarily to all the kids from the local Native Reserves.
I sense a wonderful new tradition being started in our home, and I could absolutely not be more proud of my girls for wanting to be a part of it.
Click below for more Christmas tradition ideas in a blog hop hosted by my cousin Tammy ~ or to add your own!!