He will never own an antique store, I don’t think

1548 1548_ () 1548 1548 I am at my desk, sitting in my vintage wooden chair. Elliott comes up behind me and starts to jump up and then forward while holding onto the back of my chair.

“Honey, don’t do that,” I tell him. “This chair is rickety.”

“Why do you keep it?”

“Because I can sit in it just fine.”

“Well when it breaks can we shoot it with the b-b-gun?” 1548″> .

1548

Offering Our Best

1547 1547_ () 1547 1547 Weekly column
Every December, the private school our boys attend has a Christmas Festival as its primary annual fundraiser. While I look forward to this very fun event each year, there are aspects of it that challenge me greatly.

In order to make the festival profitable, each family at the school is responsible for providing items to sell, including donating goods and services for a silent auction. Each family also provides baked goods and crafts.

Personally, I cannot think of two areas more challenging for me than to provide food for other people and to make cutesy things that someone might actually want to buy. Baked goods and crafts – not my strong suits!

I realize that I’ve touched on this topic before, that a few of you are thinking, all right! You’ve made your point – you are domestically challenged! I’d like to clarify that by saying it’s not really that I stink at cooking as much as I seem to stink at cooking for other people.

It doesn’t help my outlook that I have a proven track record of not being the best at this sort of thing. Paul and I go to a neighborhood potluck about once a month and the food I bring is almost always the most random thing on the table. I try my best, but it’s rarely as good as everyone else.

Sometimes, doing my best is not the same as doing the best. And an important part of living a healthy, happy life is being at peace with that reality.

Just so you don’t think I’ve got low self-esteem, I recognize that I’ve got talent. One year Paul and I honored his family heritage by dressing our entire family as Latin Americans for one of the International booths at the Festival – and I got second place in the costume contest!

Wearing a black wig and speaking with a fake accent? Now that’s something I can do.

As this year’s Christmas Festival approached and I started thinking about baked goods and crafting, I realized that the self-doubt and nervousness were a familiar dialogue. Normally, however, it’s a conversation I’m having with my boys, encouraging them when they doubt their abilities, reminding them to do their best and then be at peace with the results.

This soccer season, one of the boys got overly frustrated with himself after a particular game. He had decided he was going to score five to seven goals, because that’s what his team needed from him. But after repeated shots on goal, nothing ever went in.

“I let my team down tonight,” he said (several times) on the way home.

“Did you do your best,” I asked him. And he said yes, he ran as fast as he could and he kicked as hard as he could. “Then that’s all you can do,” I told him (adding he could always practice more if he was that discouraged).

Sometimes I just need to listen to my own motherly advice.

The Little Drummer Boy is one of my favorite Christmas books, illustrated by celebrated children’s author Ezra Jack Keats. It’s the story from the famous Christmas carol about a young boy who visits the newborn Jesus, but has no gift to offer him. He does not have the gold, frankincense or myrrh, and instead offers a simple song on his small drum.

It seems silly to think this sweet boy would worry that his gift was not good enough for the Lord. I have always loved this song. It’s a beautiful reminder that when we generously offer the very best of ourselves – even when that means something less than glittery or polished – it indeed pleases God.

Jesus loves us for who we are, regardless of what “real” talent we have to offer – because when we offer him ourselves, when we hold back nothing and give him everything – then there is nothing else he wants from us. 1547″

1547

One. Two. Tree.

1546 1546_ () 1546 1546 I’m having a real dilemma today, and I need some help. It has to do with my Christmas tree, and I can’t decide how *into* this problem I want to get.

Here goes: one half of one strand of Christmas lights is out on my tree.

I keep walking by the tree and wondering, am I really going to take all those ornaments down to restring the lights (this time with strands that actually work)? There is no way I can just leave it like that, a tree whose middle portion is completely dark. Can I? I don’t think I can. Do I just add another strand on top of it all? Won’t that look a little, um, busy?

What am I really saying here? Because I think it’s obvious I’ve already made my decision — I can’t just leave it. That would be cruel.

But am I really going to become the kind of person who will redo the tree? Does that sound insane?

No, you are going to tell me, it certainly does not. 1546″>

1546

Let’s Not Get Carried Away

Boy to his brotherly competition: You’re better than me, but you’re not way better.