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In The Pipeline: December

Happy December Y’all!

Already this week, we have put up our tree and covered it with new silver-spray painted salt dough ornaments. They are the easiest + happiest Christmas craft ever. Do it this weekend and you’ll have big smiles, I promise.

Last night, I introduced 30 sweet gals to the joys (and the mess) of decorating gingerbread men which was ridiculously fun.

I attended my first choir practice this week because this is the year I am going to learn to sing some Scottish/English/European tunes at Christmastime (rather than just mourning my hometown hymns).

We always have a little trouble figuring out when to do our family Christmas reading, so this year we’ve settled on the minute the kids get home from school, which means Taido is missing out but since Ann Voskamp is a little fru fru for him, it’s all good. Which brings up something about this Christmas I’ve been thinking about.

Sometimes the people in my house don’t embrace all of my holiday plans with squeals of joy.

But I’ve decided that I’m getting on with it.

Christmas, Chino House, In The Pipeline

Christmas Music + Homemade Cookies + Scripture readings + Twinkle lights in every room! = Happy Christmas To Me.

And I’m trying to give everyone else in my house the grace to embrace what I’m doing when they want to and roll their eyes when they don’t.

Because you know, teenagers.

(I’d love to hear about how you’re welcoming Christmas into your house this year for YOU!!)

Anyways howzabout some LINKS?

I put my list of favorite Christmas Children’s Books up on Medium this week, in case you’re looking for a new story to read this year.

Books for the nerds in your life.

I finally saw Inside Out, and I am so grateful for the little blue Sadness character. Now I have a vernacular for what happens to my heart in winter. When Sadness touches a memory, she turns it blue, making it sad.  I can just picture Sadness rolling her fingers over all the little bits of my heart and turning them blue. (And if you find that thought comforting rather than depressing, then please come sit by me, my fellow melancholy friend.)

Ben and Mary Polly went on a field trip with their French classes to the cinema (translation: to the movies) to watch La Famille Belier. They loved it so much that they talked us all into seeing the next weekend. Mary Polly keeps singing this song. It’s so lovely! The English translation of the lyrics might make you cry, but don’t read them until you’ve seen the film. 🙂

Every day you can get a new Christmas Song + Story in your inbox from my home church in Arkansas if you want. So lovely! (PS I wrote one of them!)

We are fighting off colds with our favorite Garlic Soup. (I swear by this stuff.)

Well, that’s a beautiful way to celebrate the birth of a child.

This bag looks like the answer to all your travel needs.

One of my favorite gifts to give to children for Christmas is TRAVEL. If you’re wanting to give your kids a vacation instead of stuff, you might appreciate this vacation countdown I wrote a while back for The Huffington Post.

Speaking of the gift of travel, um, this Yoga Retreat in Italy would make a dreamy Christmas gift for the yogi (or yoga wannabe) in your life.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for stories full of hope because those are the kinds of stories I want to write this month. They don’t have to be happy stories, but I want read and write words that help me see the hope in the hard places. This story from a gal working to bring the light of the Gospel of love to the Middle East was one of those kind of stories.

Taido sent me this video of Tim Keller talking to Wheaton students about identity and I thought it was going to be boring but nope. Good stuff.

Oh that we could all be this kind of teacher.

If you live in Portland, Oregon, you should TOTALLY go to this!

The Guardian released a sweet video story as part of their appeal for refugees this Christmas.

That’s all for now. I hope your first December weekend is full of hope + love + twinkle lights.

XO

Alison