All in HIS perfect time

Wow, it's been WAY too long since I've blogged here about Libbyland. But I just had to take a few minutes and share something very cool that happened this afternoon. First, let me back up and give you a little background so you can understand how this has all come about.

So, Miss Peyton had been doing Occupational Therapy since her birth injury {brachial plexus injury to her right arm/shoulder}. We'd been in out-patient therapy weekly since she was 1 month old. Then a little over a year ago, our insurance provider decided they didn't like the lack of progress Peyton was making and refused to cover OT any longer. We went through two rounds of appeals and ultimately were unable to provide the documentation/standardized testing results they were looking for {part of the issue was the OT we were seeing at the time wasn't up for fight like our Pediatrician was, but that's another story...}. We were looking in to what we needed to do to appeal the denial of coverage through the state of Minnesota when, out of the blue, Chad was offered the position of Q Comp Coordinator at Big Lake Public Schools. As we were looking through the benefits plan, the very first thing listed...Occupational Therapy - 100% coverage {along with Speech therapy which is critical}. Chad accepted the job and life has been busy ever since. I had looked in to a few different options for OT, but it was summer and we just never found the right time to get back in to it.

Over the past couple of months, our Speech clinician we see at Children's and our Pediatrician have been talking. They both felt as thought it'd be beneficial for Peyton to start OT again - to help with her fine motor skills {specifically writing} and also to work on some sensory issues. Peyton has always had a tough time processing and dealing with seeing someone who has an injury/impairment of any sort. She will see someone with crutches, or a walker, or in a wheelchair and she is completely consumed with wanting to make sure they are okay. And she also wants to know how they got hurt, if they had surgery, how long it will take for them to get better, etc. - all so she knows how to pray for them. :) While that sounds so sweet, it has been completely exhausting for us at home because that's all she can think about, specifically when she's finally settles down at night and is laying in bed trying to go to sleep. Peyton is generally up 1-3 times each night. I often joke that I haven't had a solid night's sleep in the past 10 years {Peyton's almost 9}. Thankfully, I don't need a lot of sleep to survive, but still - it's draining.

A couple of weeks back I started checking around trying to find places that were within 30-40 minutes from our house we could check out for OT. All of the places I was finding seemed so "hospital-like", and Peyton just doesn't usually do well in those types of environments. She's a relationship girl, so she needs an environment that is welcoming and inviting. I wasn't finding anywhere like that - it wasn't looking too promising. But then I came across this place I'd never heard of before ... Capernaum Pediatric Therapy. The first thing I saw on their website was Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through him who strengthens me". I almost burst in to tears. How have I not heard of this place? We've been in "therapy mode" for the past almost 9 years and I had never ever heard of this clinic. As I read more on their website, I learned that this place was started by two therapists and is faith-based. Score! Their blog has scripture passages all over it which was pretty cool to see. They offer all sorts of specialized programs {including handwriting therapy that we've been looking for, adaptive dance, talent shows, aquatic therapy, etc.}, and it TOTALLY sounds like somewhere Peyton would thrive. Huge bonus, they accept our new insurance, too!

Yesterday I called and talked with a lovely lady there explaining our situation and the type of services we were looking for. Since we're already in so many other therapies, we have a very limited number of time slots that will work with our in we could only do a 3:00pm appointment on Monday or a 3:00pm appointment on Tuesday. Good thing those are very desirable time slots which rarely open up. *sigh* The women on the phone was very helpful, but told me that unfortunately, they had quite the waiting list. I decided to add our name anyway. As we wrapped up our phone call, the lady said, "If you don't hear back from us by JULY, please feel free to call back and see what number you are on the waiting list". Ugh. Talk about feeling hopeless. But we were on the waiting list, so hooray for that.

Today I'm sitting in my office working when my phone rings. It was a number I didn't recognize, but I answered it anyways. It was VAL from CAPERNAUM. I thought to myself, oh great, I forgot to give them some information they need or something. Nope. Val says, "Hi Aimee, you're not even going to believe this, but we had someone who sees our OT at the New Hope office at 3:00pm on Tuesdays call and say they're doctor is discharging them from OT, so if you want that time slot - it's yours!". I seriously almost fell out of my chair. WHAT?! Here I was prepared to hunker down for the long haul, trying to convince myself that if we got in before the start of the next school year, that'd be just great. God had a different plan, though. He knew the timing of everything and how it would all play out...just like He always does. :) So, next Tuesday at 3:00pm, we'll be starting our first visit for OT at Capernaum. Yay, God, for working out details that us feeble-minded humans think are impossible!!

As I went online to download the registration forms that need to be filled out prior to our visit next week, I clicked on the "Meet our Staff" link {which took me to their blog}. This is what I saw next to the name of the therapist we'll be working with. I'm in love!

I absolutely CANNOT wait to see how God is going to use this new therapy to help Peyton!!  And also, how He's going to use HER to bless those we come in contact with at Capernaum. Please pray that this will be a great fit for our family...I'm not sure how it couldn't be as God's worked out details to get us there. All in His perfect usual.

{this is the video we put together when Peyton was dedicated at Hope Fellowship - just thought it was fitting to include with this post because God always has a PLAN!}

Moving On

We built our house in Hanover back in the summer of 2002, and since then we've seen so much change in the neighborhood. Our house was one of the first few to be built in our development, so we watched each new house go up and pretty much served as the "welcome wagon" as best we could. Many wonderful friendships have been formed within our awesome neighborhood since then. As sad as it had been to say goodbye to neighbors who have moved on (we miss you Fennigs!), I don't think any of those can compete with the "loss" we're going to be feeling tomorrow - the day our dear friends & neighbors, Jason & Jacki move away for an exciting new experience in Chicago.

I still remember the day they came and looked at the house behind us. We were those creeper neighbors who were peeking out the window hoping to catch a glimpse of the people looking at the house...they could potentially be new neighbors, so creeping on them was completely justifiable, right? ;) I remember seeing Jacki walk out on to the deck, visibly pregnant, and then Jason and a little man (Will) followed. I thought to myself, Well that could be fun - another young family! We watched their black Jetta pull out of the drive after the showing, then we saw it come back around through the neighborhood again as they scoped out the surrounding area. Funny thing is, I had absolutely no clue that this family would end up being so special to our family.

Fast forward a few months, and the new neighbors moved in. It was late fall, so we didn't truly have a chance to really get to know them all that well right away since we were all holed up in our houses for the winter. We did pop over while trick-or-treating as they were busy unpacking and painting. But that spring we began chatting more often in the backyard as the kids played. Peyton instantly fell in love with Will, frequently declaring her love for him to all of us (remember the running in to the tree incident, Jacki, after Peyton proposed to Will? LOL!). We were pretty excited to have some nice neighbors we could occasionally meet up with in our shared back yard.

As the months turned in to years, our families became even closer, to the point where we found ourselves hanging out any time we were both home. The kids loved playing together and Will & Mason were getting old enough to actually enjoy playing with our kids even though they were a couple years older. Then came the news that baby #3 was on it's way...and a fence must be put up to contain the boys - for Jacki's sanity. We wondered how that'd go since Peyton had free reign of both our backyards for so long. But any and all concerns were put to rest when there was a knock at the door. There stood Jacki with a piece of paper we had to sign regarding the fence. I remember her saying something about she had to get signatures from neighbors who the fence bordered their property lines. Before she left, she had one quick question for us..."Um, so, would it be totally weird if we put a door in the fence so there'd be easy access to both back yards?". We thought that was a great idea! The gate literally was the beginning of our families truly living our lives together in many ways.

Once Miss Norah was born and things settled into a bit of a routine, we were thrilled when Jason & Jacki decided to join our small group from church. They'd come to check it out a few times previously, and had gotten to know many of our friends from various social get-togethers we'd hosted. It was fun to have them included in our awesome group of "church friends" now, too! But even though we have so many wonderful friends, there's nothing quite like having best buds literally right in your own back yard! I can't tell you how many times we'd sneak out in to the backyard once the kids were down to sit and hang out around a campfire, or we'd swap houses so Jason & Chad could hang out and watch sports together while Jacki & I crocheted and chit-chatted. Heck, we even had breakfast on the deck a few times in all our greasy-just-woke-up-and-still-hadn't-showered glory! When everyone else in the neighborhood was gone for the weekend, we always had each other.

Growing up with 3 brothers, I never knew what it was like to have a sister, or really, even to have a friend close enough (in my adult life) to come close to understanding this type of bond. Well, I'd finally found it with Jacki. We shared a similar up-bringing, the same sense of humor, a love for the outdoors, and the same "tough girl" exterior (i.e. it takes a lot to make us cry). I know I told my mom on numerous occasions just how thankful I was that God had dropped Jason & Jacki into our lives because they were truly something special. Our families hung out, we attended church together, and, what are the odds that God would drop a web designer in my backyard? Jason and I have even worked on graphic design projects's been an awesome few years for us!

And now here we are ... things are changing as Jason has accepted an incredible new job promotion, requiring them to relocate to Chicago as I said. That means no more playdates in the backyard, no more birthdays celebrated together, no more crochet nights or craft shows, no more hanging out after church watching football, no more cookie-painting parties, no more campfires, and no more breakfasts on the deck. Don't get me wrong, we're so very excited for them as they move on to this new chapter, but we can't bear to think about not having them, an extension of our family, in our backyard anymore. The kids are taking this news pretty hard, too. Each night before bed, Peyton stands at her window before we close the blind and says, "Good night, Will - love you, sweetie!". It's going to be a HUGE adjustment for all of us.

To Jason & Jacki - thank you for the great memories and your friendship! You both will never know what your friendship has meant to both Chad & I - you were dropped in our back yard at the perfect time when we both needed a true friend. While we're sad to see you go (mostly for selfish reasons), we are confident that God is going to continue doing great things in and through your family. We love you guys and your sweet little ones. And we hope you're prepared for us to bring Libby Land to Chicago! Safe travels and we'll see you soon!

New Friends

I don't know what your bedtime routine looks like with your kids, but ours goes something like books, pray, and then I sing a few songs to the kids before tucking them. Well, for the past several months, Carson's #1 prayer request has been that we'll "make more friends". The first few times he asked me to pray about that request I thought to myself, "ahhh, he's just going through the normal adjustment period of thinking about being at a new school with a larger group of kids...or something like that". But now we're well in to the whole school routine, and last night at bedtime he said again, "Mom, don't forget to pray that we make more friends". So we prayed together and asked that God would allow us to meet more friends. For some reason I couldn't stop thinking about Carson's prayer request. I kept wondering why he was so adamant that we make more friends.

This morning as we were getting ready for school and talking about the day, I reminded Carson that one of his new friends Bryce was going to be getting off the bus at our stop with him because his nanny was called in for jury duty and we were going to let him play at our house until his mom got home from work. All of the sudden Carson turned to me and said, "Mom! We made a new friend!". I smiled and we talked a bit about how cool it is when God answers our prayers. Then Carson started talking about several other new friends he's made in the last couple of months. And that got me, the past few months God really HAS brought so many new friends into our lives. It was actually really exciting to think about and realize all the awesome new people that we're now connected with. Many of these new friends we've met through Special Olympics, which is so great, especially because Carson considers all of the athletes his friends, too. I loved hearing him name off athletes as we talked on the ride to school this morning about all of the other new friends we've made lately.

Now I've been sitting here thinking about this all morning, and I am just blown away by how many new friends our family has made - specifically related to Special Olympics. About a year ago when I contacted the Special Olympics Minnesota state office to see where the nearest delegation was that Peyton could get involved with, I had no idea how much it would change our lives! When I attended the first few meetings with a handful of others looking to help start a delegation in our area, I was excited to think about what an impact this could have on the future athletes, but I didn't even think about the huge impact it'd have on my own family. The first couple of sports that we did as a team were fun and friendships were formed. We're now in our third sport (bowling), with our largest group of athletes yet, and the bond that's being formed with not only the coaches and athletes, but all of us as families it absolutely incredible! There is something so special to be able to come together and celebrate accomplishments with the athletes and their families - I absolutely LOVE it. Last night at bowling, I felt like a "proud mama" watching all of the athletes doing so well and having such a great time!  Everyone was going crazy cheering as several of our athletes bowled spares and strikes! It's pretty neat to have new friends. And now I fully understand why Carson's prayer request is so important to him. Because new friends can change your life!

Super Chadly

I'll be the first to admit, there are things about my husband that drive me crazy (as I'm sure he'd say about ME, too). I mean absolutely CAH-RAZY! It drives me crazy when he picks his fingernails and leaves them on the end table or night stand. I often cringe when his number pops up on my cell phone because I know my eardrum will be blasted out at some point during the phone call by one of his out-of-control allergy coughing fits (not that he can control it - but it still irritates me. Heaven forbid he hold the phone away from his mouth while he coughs.). He's UBER particular about the house being spotless and everything being in its' place. All the time. And I despise that most of the time. We do LIVE in the house, after all. With two young children. His laundry has to be folded a certain way...NOT the way I would normally fold things. He has a hard time just "being" without having 500 things planned to do - definitely not as go with the flow as I am...which drives me nuts some times. He's constantly on my case about not running the car through the car wash enough. Clearly he grew up a city boy, and isn't used to a little dust like his country girl wife who spent the majority of her childhood barefoot out in the woods chasing animals and finding cool things to make craft projects out of. He also often leaves toothpaste and popcorn remnants in the sink without rinsing it. Oh, and he can't tie his own tie. Have I mentioned that? I've been tying his tie before work for 12+ years...and it's getting old. REALLY old.

I could probably go on and on with nit picky things that irritate me about my husband. Since I'm perfect, I'm sure there isn't anything I do that rubs him the wrong way (can you say eye rolling?). Well, despite my tendency to see all of the things he doesn't do right, I'd like to share with you some of the things he does do right.

My husband has a heart like no other. Honestly, I'm surprised it can fit in his chest without causing major issues. He's the anti-Grinch when it comes to the size of his heart. As much as it often annoys me that he walks in the door every night on his phone with someone, I've come to realize that's okay, because I know he's checking in with one of the many guys he's formed a solid friendship with. Or he's calling to check in with someone else he knows is struggling and could use someone to listen or offer encouragement. He genuinely cares about ever person he comes in contact with. And his desire to help other men walk the road of being a Christ-like dad, husband, and friend is one I greatly admire. So what if 80% of the minutes on our shared cell phone plan (which also includes my business phone) are from his phone. They're minutes well spent.

I'm often annoyed that it doesn't seem like we can go anywhere without someone going, "Hey Chad!" or "Hi Mr. Libby!". Seriously, can't people just leave us alone so we can eat dinner uninterrupted?  It really doesn't seem to matter where we go, someone knows Chad. No joke, we were walking on the beach out on Captiva Island in Florida over spring break last year and I hear, "Well if it isn't Chad Libby!". We ran in to a family he had in his classroom several years back. We can't go to a restaurant, airport, or even on VACATION somewhere without people recognizing him. But I've come to realize this is actually a good thing. People remember my husband because he's left a lasting impression on people he's invested time in.

A few years back we were invited to a graduation open house of one of Chad's former students. This boy had been in Mr. Libby's 3rd & 4th grade class while his parents were going through a difficult divorce. The boys' mom had approached Chad and was beside herself, worrying because her son was becoming withdrawn and was having a tough time dealing with all that was going on in his family. His mom had sat down with him and told him he really needed to find someone he could talk to. She offered to find a therapist for him to go see, but she left it up to the boy to tell her who he'd like to spend some time with and talk. His response, "Mr. Libby". This boy would hang out in Chad's class after school helping wipe down desks or just sitting around talking about whatever was on his mind. At the time, I don't think Chad thought a whole lot about it. But when we walked up the front yard to this graduation party, the boy, who was now grown and towered over Chad, came running with his arms flung open saying, "MR. LIBBY!!! I can't believe you came!". I stood there tearing up as it was so obvious the impact Chad had on this family. The boy proceeded to take Chad around introducing him to all of his friends as "Mr. Libby - his FAVORITE teacher EVER". What a cool experience to watch unfold. So I guess if we're never able to have an uninterrupted meal out again, it's totally worth it.

Probably the thing I love the most about my husband, though, is seeing him with our kids. I often joke with people that I really have three children. He's the first one to start up the wrestling match after dinner each night. And he's not afraid to go lay on the floor playing super heroes or cars with the kids. Sometimes I see them out running around in the backyard together and I can't stop watching as they're having the time of their lives running around playing tag together. I love that.

This morning Chad went in to school with the kids for "Donuts with Dad". He'd made arrangements with Peyton's teacher to go in and talk to her class about her disability after they were done with their donuts. This has been something we've talked about since Peyton started 2nd grade. As she gets older and kids start to realize more that she's different, we wanted to explain why that is to help prevent kids being mean or judging her. Earlier this week Chad and I were in the car driving somewhere together and he'd found a book he was considering reading to her class. I was driving, so he read the story to me. As he read, I could hear his voice crack in spots. By the end of the book we were both bawling. We decided that book probably wouldn't work, although it had a great message! :) Last night Chad was bouncing some ideas off of me on how to present Peyton's disability to the class. I knew he was a bit nervous about it. As parents, we just want other kids to give her a chance - to see what we see...a sweet, intelligent girl who loves unconditionally.

A little bit ago I got a call from Chad as he was driving to work after talking to Peyton's class (and yes, he coughed in my ear). He said it went really well and that the kids were very receptive and didn't seem phased by what he had to say. We talked a bit about what he'd discussed with the kids, and then he shared that the teacher was amazed at how well the kids sat and listened. She called him the "child whisperer". Fitting.  Probably didn't hurt that I'd been praying since he'd left with the kids that the morning would go well. After getting the call from Chad, I just felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. My "mama heart" was smiling and my "wife heart" was beaming. I was once again reminded how truly blessed I am to be called Mom and Mrs. Libby.

God is good ... in ALL circumstances, even if they feel overwhelming at times. And He's blessed me with an amazing husband and family. Thank you, Lord.

As if flying isn't stressful enough...

Many of you have probably seen this story flying around the news - the one about the boy with Down Syndrome who wasn't allowed on an American Airlines flight because "the pilot" thought the boy was a security concern. First of all, how many people have EVER had a pilot standing out at your ticketing gate when you've boarded a flight? Sounds fishy right off the bat. After reading up on the story from several different sources (one of them, a blog I've followed for a while: Noah's Dad) I was reminded of a frustrating travel experience we had a few years ago while flying with Peyton.

So here in Minnesota there's this thing called "spring break" that usually falls in March or April where schools shut down for a week and a lot of families take vacations to escape winter. Most of you are probably thinking, seriously Aimee, we know what spring break is. Well I grew up in Wisconsin and had NO CLUE what spring break was because we never had it. So just wanted to make sure everyone understood the concept. :) Back to my story...spring break - a few years back we were on our way to visit Chad's parents who winter in Ft. Myers, Florida. Peyton was 4 (almost 5) and Carson had just turned 3, and this was probably their 3rd or 4th time flying. They'd always done great so we weren't worried at all. We had all our goodie bags, books, DVD players...we were set. We'd even gone so far as to pay for pre-assigned seats so we didn't have to mess around with that. We parked at the airport and made our way through security and to our gate with plenty of time to spare. While we waited to board we were called to the counter by an agent saying they'd overbooked the flight and that they weren't able to seat us all together. My first thought was, well, if I have to sit alone with the kids - oh well. The agent prints up our new boarding passes and hands them to Chad. Chad looks at them and they're 4 individual seats, each several rows where NEAR each other. We politely told him that there was no way this would work as we had a 3 year old as well as a 4 year old with special needs. The ticket agent acted annoyed and went back to the computer to search some more. He finally told us he could seat me and one child together, then we could get another seat 8 rows back and another 12 rows back. WHAT? So we again told him that wouldn't work - and he could clearly see our two kids standing there with us. Chad again stated our situation, reminding him that we were flying with a 4 year old with special needs who could not sit alone, as well as a 3 year old. The agent looks at Chad, then at Peyton (who I realize probably looked like she was at least 7 or 8...she's always been big for her age), then back at Chad, rolls his eyes and says in a very condescending irritated voice, "Well sir, we ALL have special needs...". I kid you not, Chad almost went over the counter at the guy and raised his voice to let him know that he had just said THE WRONG thing to THE WRONG PERSON. I whisked the kids away as the situation escalated, but as I walked away I heard a man in line behind Chad who had witnessed the entire incident say to the ticket agent, "You can't say that to him - what on earth are you thinking?!". The agent acted as if Chad was in the wrong for yelling at him after he'd made such a rude comment, which only made matters worse. By this time everyone in the vicinity of our gate had turned to see what all the excitement was about. The agent kept on insisting there was nothing he could do unless Peyton needed assistance due to a physical disability (i.e. a handicap-accessible seat). As I stood off to the side and watched this all unfolding, I couldn't help but feel so incredibly embarrassed and sick about it all. I was holding back tears as Chad continued to try to get it through the gate agent's thick skull that our special needs 4 year old couldn't sit unassisted on a 3.5 hour flight.

Those who know me know that it takes a lot to make me cry. Granted, I've become more of a "softie" since I've had kids, but still...Chad often ever so lovingly refers to me as having a "heart of stone" because I don't weep during sappy movies (or Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - ahem, Chad). But I couldn't hold back the tears. I was angry, embarrassed, hurt, and most of all, I was furious with the lack of understanding and empathy this ticket agent had. I feel like we've worked really hard not to be "that family" who uses their child's disability to their advantage. We'd made arrangements ahead of time (pre-selecting and PAYING FOR assigned seats) to make sure we didn't run in to any issues or wouldn't need to make extra work for anyone. And here we were. My husband was having a screaming match with an ignorant ticket agent while I stood crying about 50 feet away, trying to entertain the kids. Fantastic.

Well, after watching Chad go back and forth with the ticket agent for about 10 minutes, I finally walked over and told Chad it wasn't worth him getting kicked off the flight or even worse, taken away by security for being so worked up. Needless to say, Chad was LIVID...and so was I. We took the kids to the farthest part of the seating area at our gate and tried to regroup. Then the most incredible thing happened...we were absolutely FLOODED with people surrounding us offering to give up their seats so we could sit together with our kids. They'd all witnessed the frustrating turn of events and were shocked at how the situation had been handled (or NOT handled, in my opinion). When we boarded the plane we explained our situation to the flight attendants and they just kept telling us, "We can't do anything about it - please take your seats and we'll announce over the intercom that there are people looking to switch seats". I stood there staring at the one lady thinking to myself, "Seriously, you DO NOT get it. If I try to make my 3 year old sit by a stranger it's going to be a disaster, and it'll be even worse if I tell my 4 year old with special needs that she has to sit with Joe Schmoe on the plane - I don't care if it's just for 5 minutes until you find volunteers to give up their seats".  Several wonderful people instantly stood up and offered their seats to us, which made me want to burst in to tears again. After all that, I plopped down in row 10 with a child on either side of me while Chad made his way back to row 36 to find his seat. As everyone else boarded and walked past me and the kids, I had so many of them give me warm smiles and pat Carson on the head as they walked by....I even had one lady stop to give me a hug. I must have looked totally stressed out. Just before we were about to take off, I felt a tap on my shoulder from an older gentleman sitting in the aisle seat behind me. I turned around and he asked, "Are you the lady who the ticket guy was being a jerk to?". I told him unfortunately, yes. He then asked where Chad was. I told him he'd been given a seat in the back of the plane. This sweet man unbuckled his seat belt, stood up and went to find a flight attendant. He came back and said, "Your husband needs to be sitting with his family - I'd love to switch with him". Gosh, there came those pesky tears again. I can't even tell you how refreshing it was to have complete strangers "get it".  We weren't asking for the moon - we were simply wanting to go on vacation and have the ability to be with & assist our kids without inconveniencing anyone else on the flight. It's not like parents of special needs kids don't already stress out enough about public outings - why on earth can't people try to understand that?

Last night I saw on my super awesome sister-in-law's Facebook wall that her and her family had been interviewed about the American Airlines story because they're parents to the even more super awesome Hope who has Down Syndrome. The clip was short but sweet and I loved what both Therese & Ted had to say...most of all, I loved Hopie's smile!!  Here's the clip:

Minneapolis News and Weather KMSP FOX 9

The moral of this story...make it a point to try and not only use your brain, but also your heart as you choose how to respond to others in situations that may not be ideal. Not everyone's disability is obvious upon first glance. Try to be graceful in your interactions with others because you just never know what battles they've been fighting or what their situation is. As my brother-in-law Ted said in the video, "Everyone has something to offer...". Amen!

Celebrate Good Times...C'mon!

Well, after a few months of my world flip-flopping upside down like it does every June {i.e. kids home for the summer = me panicky trying to accommodate graphic design clients} - especially this summer with Chad in a different job where he's only off for 4 weeks rather than the entire summer, yesterday was the glorious day that all mom's look forward to...the first day of school. HALLELUJAH, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, halle-lujah!!!!!!!!

Call me horrible, but it was time. Routine is good. So, cheers to a great school year with little Miss Peyton entering 2nd grade and Mr. Carson ready to tear up 1st grade! They're pretty pumped to be at the same school this year...and mom is jumping for joy to only have one drop off/pick up location. Yippeeeeeeee!!!!! Libby Design is back in business {during "normal" business hours, that is}, baby!

I really AM alive

Wow. Has it really been almost NINE months since I last posted something about the happenings in Libbyland? Yikes. My apologies. Life has been a bit busy with a variety of things, but don't give up hope...there will be more posts coming soon. School starts next week. :) Stay tuned.

The Christmas Showdown

For those of you who know me, it's probably not a shocker that I've never really been a big fan of "Santa". Yes, I realize Saint Nick was a great guy who helped others...yada, yada, yada. Lately I've been thinking more specifically about WHY it is "Santa" has always rubbed me the wrong way. Then the other day when a gentleman at the store said to my 5-yr.-old, "Have you been good this year? Santa's watching!", it became ridiculously clear to me.

The greatest part of Christmas is that baby Jesus was sent to earth as our Savior offering us the ultimate gift - salvation...regardless of "how good" or "how bad" we've been. His gift isn't dependent on how well-behaved you've been. It's a gift that is available to anyone who comes to the realization that we're sad, pathetic, soon-to-be-expiring beings without the light of Christ in our lives. We don't deserve a gift even remotely close to the one we celebrate at Christmas, but that's not the point. God sent his son as a gift to EVERYONE - good or bad. If the same logic was followed as with the "Santa" philosophy, well, let's just not go there because it'd be bad. REALLY bad, for all of us.

I guess my point is this, let's take a minute to analyze our culture instead of just lapping up the greedy consumerism our society has turned the Christmas celebration into. If you want to let your kids believe some overweight jolly man squeezes down a 10-12" chimney pipe to deliver presents, fine. But in all seriousness, the real question as a parent is how to treat the Santa myth with our kids. It is a very legitimate argument to say, "How can I tell my kids about a magical man at the North Pole they never see but who cares and brings gifts... then tell them that he doesn't exist... but that the other magical man in the sky they never see but who loves them and gives them gifts DOES exist". At our house we've never really played up the whole "Santa" thing...even though there's a certain Grandma {who-shall-remain-nameless-but-we-share-the-same-last-name} who frequently talks about Santa. There haven't been "From Santa" gifts under the tree, but we do have many of the Christmas books with stories about Santa that the kids enjoy hearing. Obviously, the last thing I want is for my kids to be "those kids" who ruin it for all the kids who DO think Christmas = Santa. But I do want to be very intentional about making sure my kids have learned about the origins of Christmas AND that they understand a way to show similar Christ-like love IS through thoughtful gift giving today.

So this Christmas, tell the story of Jesus. It's SO important and IS the real meaning of Christmas. Then try to find a tangible, practical way to be generous and help each other in Jesus' name. That's what Christmas is all about!

P.S. Santa, I don't hate you...really.

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