Gigi Blog » The life and loveliness of Gigi's World

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  • Welcome to the Gigi Blog!

    Blessed to be a mother to half a dozen girls. Wife of an undertaker.
    Photographer. Homeschooler. Daughter of the King. 
    Lover of life, coffee and all things pink and vintage. ♥

My Christmas Presents

Sometimes, the best presents cannot be wrapped ….

{thankful to have these precious Little Women to make up our family!}

Lacey (10)

Lyla (8)

Lucia (6)

Lovelyn (4)

Leia (2)

Lavender (7 months)

December 21, 2014 - 5:38 pm

Heather - Hello Gillian! I haven’t blogged or read blogs in such a long time. I peeked in here once recently but just now am seeing these last few adorable posts :) We too, filled Christmas shoeboxes. My cousin is one of the team for Operation Christmas Child and she and my sister handed out boxes in Nicaragua this fall. What a joy it was for them! We are also baking for neighbours this week and so your post on slowing down was timely. I have been the one you described who has been running around and I had planned to quiet things and enjoy more in these last few days before Christmas. I found a little taste of what I was hoping for here :) Good for you. Thanks for the inspiration. God bless your Christmas with your sweet family. xo

December 15, 2014 - 12:40 pm

Grandma Cardinal - Beautiful Children!! Love them solo much! <3

December 11, 2014 - 12:21 pm

Maike - …and I just noticed: the way you parted Lacey’s hair, it gives her a beautiful heartshaped face ^_^

December 11, 2014 - 12:19 pm

Maike - Lavender looks so much different then your other girls. I’m so curious how she will look in a couple of months/years. Such a special and lovely family! <3

December 10, 2014 - 8:02 pm

Courtney - Beautiful girls! You are truly blessed! Merry Christmas to you and yours :)

December 10, 2014 - 12:27 am

Erin Lynn - Beautiful little women! Love their Christmas dresses, so sweet!

December 9, 2014 - 4:43 pm

Jenn - You have beautiful presents with very pretty smiles :)

Giving in a {Greedy} Society

 

In a world that is consumed with instagram selfies,  personal Facebook status updates, ‘I deserve a break’ mentality and a general North American spoiled lifestyle, how do we keep our children and our families from being sucked into this vicious vortex of selfishness and ungratefulness? Especially … during the holidays … when gifts are expected and wish lists are fine tuned …

 

From my {small} experience as a mom over the years, this is what we have done so far to keep the focus on giving to others during the Christmas season and to keep the greed at bay.

{Lovelyn, 4, packing a shoebox}

1. Don’t be so selfish. Seriously – look in the mirror and see if you see greed in your own face. If you are showing your children that you want, want, want, they will only learn by example. Start with a giving heart to others and turn the focus off yourself and your needs.

2. Stop asking your children write a wish list! I’m being honest here.  Sure, gently ask your child, if you so desire, what book they’d like to read next or maybe what interests them, but if you are a mom that spends time with your child, you probably already know these details and are already tuned in to what your child would love for a gift. Asking our children to start dreaming up a wish list that, in most cases, cannot be brought to fruition is only creating more ‘want’ and ‘give me’. Even if you can afford everything on your child’s beloved list, I can guarantee you, they do not need it.  In our family, we do not watch ‘television’ and my children haven’t seen a mall in about five years, so they are not inundated with ads and commercials that entice children to want, want, want. That does help, as well.

 

3. Focus on others. How can your family help bless another family at Christmas? Sign up for an adopt-a -family program, fill shoeboxes for children around the world, visit your neighbour  and bring home baked goodies, invite the widow from your church over for a nice Sunday lunch … the ideas are endless … but giving and blessings other is essential, not just at Christmas, but every month of the year (especially if you are Christians). Children can be the sweetest blessing and have the biggest hearts. Give your child a chance to be generous to others and turn their thoughts off themselves.

4. Limit the gifts to your children. It doesn’t matter if you can afford to buy them everything in the Sears Wish Book or the latest Apple gadget … think about it, did your parents give you $500 gifts when you were young? Probably not. If we are giving such elaborate toys and trinkets to our children now, what will they expect when they are adults? It seems, if are not careful, we are raising a generation of future selfish, self absorbed adults. Yes, bless your child with some sweet presents this Christmas – there is no harm in doing so! – but stop feeling guilty about not buying what you think is ‘enough’ … limit the gifts to a few precious, useful items – books, board games, audio books, Bibles, art sets, something  related to an activity where they learn to do with their parent (ie. fishing, hunting, wood working).

 

5. Spend less money, spend more time making traditions. Children love it when you spend time with them … instead of thinking that their holiday will be complete with the next purchase of a MiniGoPro video camera or the newest adorable American Girl goodies, notch out some dedicated family time in that busy schedule and spend time with the family – whether it is baking cookies {to give away and to keep to eat during family move night} or reading together by the fire, making gingerbread houses, go skating -  children love time spent with them. You don’t even have to wrap this sweet present.

6. Sponsor a child! This is a great way to show love to others! And it’s a year round way of showing love. Your children can write letters to your sponsor child and watch them grow up over time.

7. Focus on the perfect gift. Jesus. He really does sum up the Christmas season wonderfully. Every day, read Scripture leading up to Christmas. Prepare your hearts with Advent activities. If we are living as Christians, if we are reading the Word and trying to live Biblically, we should know that giving to others, spending less time on ourselves, discouraging selfishness and encouraging generosity and humbleness, loving others and sharing joy is a basic life principle. Christmas should not be about what we give our children, or what our children think they need. It needs to be about showing God’s love, whether it is to your closet family members or the strangers in the grocery store.

 

 

December 7, 2014 - 9:09 am

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - So sweet! And so true!! I love that the girls do the Shoe Boxes. Good job, Gillian, of keeping the true spirit of Christmas!

Paper {Snowflakes}

It’s Christmas time.

It’s magical and wonderful.

I love being able to experience Christmas year after year with the girls … it’s wonderful to step aside from a regular day to day schedule and slow things down {yes, we slow down for this season, not speed up}, read Christmas stories together, drink Christmas peppermint tea, cut out millions of paper snowflakes together and listen to Handel’s Messiah in the kitchen.

 

It did not take long until our table was filled with ‘snowflakes’…

We tied them to long sticks the girls found outside and hung them from the windows …

P.S. Here’s a simple tutorial for you if you need help remembering how to make these precious winter crafts …:)

 

 

December 8, 2014 - 1:32 pm

JES - So pretty and so peaceful! Just how winter days should be spent… Thank you for sharing this home sweet loving home inspiration on the Art of Home-Making Mondays Gigi! Please join in again this week if you have time :)

December 7, 2014 - 9:11 am

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - Love the snowflakes … I should get them to make some for me to hang. :)

In the {Messy & Mundane}

Another morning of freshly fallen November snow beckoned my children to venture outdoors int the magical world of sparkling snow … a long awaited Canadian moment – the first “real” snow fall of the year, the breaking out of warm snowsuits and  woolen toques, winter waterproof mittens and hand-crochet scarves tied tightly around little faces …

Ahh, the start of a new season of winter.

Beautiful landscapes of mesmorizing ice crystals and whipped cream snow drifts. And the signal to chaotically pull out the winter bins tucked way in the basement.

Winter. A child’s frosty palace and a mother’s true test of patience.

Bundling up half a dozen coats several times a day, pulling on tight winter boots and then tugging them off only five minutes later when someone realized they needed to use the bathroom that very minute … locating the right mittens for the right size for the right hand – or the left? – mopping up soggy puddles of melting snow as multiple pairs of wet boots enter the house, exit the house, enter the house, exit the house … and yes, the warming of hot chocolate to chill their red faces and cold-nipped fingers when they all decide their suits are too soggy and their socks need drying …

And it comes to my realization, as I stir the steamy hot chocolate to ensure all the cocoa is dissolved, that it’s all to easy to patient and loving, kind and considerate to strangers or co-workers, friends or missionaries halfway across the world but if we cannot show Jesus’ love in the every day mess of snow boots and soaked, cold socks and many chilled children, then we are missing the {very important} point.

To patiently pull on a snowsuit for the 15th time that morning and act out with love and a smile is grace. And showing Jesus’ love. It’s the ministry of motherhood in the every day moments and the mundane things like zippering and diaper changing and math grading and dinner prep. And the re-filling of hot chocolate, topping off with marshmallows …

Because “The King will reply,

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ {Luke 25:40}

To show kindness and goodness during the daily life with ones’ family speaks volumes above faking it and just sitting, smiling, shiny and clean, in your church pew week after week. If we are not displaying God’s love in the four walls of our own home, we are fools and working in vain. These precious family members need to see Jesus’s grace and love through our actions and life being lived out – in the messy and the mundane.

Motherhood is a mission field and we, as mothers, need to click into mission-minded thinking. Showing grace and mercy, love and kindness all while teaching history as you homeschool, potty train your two year old and think ahead to what you need to prep for dinner while juggling your baby on your hip – there’s a great test of gathering your strength from the Lord and practically showing your children how we, as Christians, are called to live life.

So you messed up yesterday? We all do. But there’s grace. Great, beautiful grace.
For those ordinary days and regular messes. For the mother who needs to find her strength in the Lord when the day is long and her soul is weary.

Tomorrow is a new day – a new day to start showing love, joy and Jesus in the messy and the mundane.

 

 

 

 

December 1, 2014 - 11:58 pm

Teresa - I needed to hear this today too! Thanks Gillian for sharing what you are learning–it’s so humbling to realize that I always seem to have more corners needing rounding off. And nothing accomplishes that like being surrounded by sweet, needy children all day every day! Thank God for grace.

November 27, 2014 - 8:52 pm

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - Good words, Gillian!!!!
And my or my … Lavender is looking more like Abby every day. xo

November 24, 2014 - 9:47 pm

Tara C - Oh boy, did I ever need to hear this today!