In 2 days we will be in December and officially on the countdown to Christmas (whaaattttt!!), and whilst that thought is a little scary, it is also rather exciting too! Christmas for us, like so many others, revolves A LOT around family, food, chocolate, gifts and lovely decorations. But we also try to make it more, and capture the spirit of the season by remembering the birth of Christ through reading the stories of the bible, singing hymns/songs, attending Christmas services, and now my favourite thing – Following his example of love for others through daily acts of service.

Christmas is a time of year that is rich in family tradition and one of these traditions for several years now, has been to carry out random acts of kindness leading up to the big day! Before it was rather sporadic, but in recent years our Church has introduced #LightTheWorld and given us 25 ways over 25 days we can light the world through service and kind acts. Each suggestion is taken from the bible and relates to the life and teachings of Jesus!

Whilst I try to be kind all year and help in both big and small ways to those who need it, I love that light the world makes me really spring into action and get things happening! It helps me focus on the needs of others and it puts things into perspective at a time of year we can get carried away and perhaps a little self absorbed!

I am a strong believer in giving and helping those whose circumstances differ and are in need of help in someway! Saying this though, lets be real… I am also a busy mum to 3 kiddies, have oodles of cleaning and stuff, blogging and other commitments. So I also find it hard with said young family, to do things daily for others when some days I am totally lost and my limit! With this in mind, I have tried to be uber organised so that I don’t have that as my excuse or reason. I want to help others at Christmas time and show our love and appreciation too, and I want my kids to learn early to think of others too. And so I planned ahead, started weeks ago with our reverse advent box for the food bank (December 1st) and since that it has all just come together!

So here is a sneaky peak of our ideas to #LightTheWorld in December 2017 (we are also collecting walking boots and thermal socks for the refugees in Calais who have trench foot/are at risk of it, along side this!). I have contacted the necessary charities and organisations, and I am hoping others will jump on board too!

Last year we thoroughly enjoyed the days we joined in. From donating gifts and helping to sort at the refugee centre, to making dinner for some fellow church members we knew were having a hard time. We baked treats and delivered them and we donated food too. Whilst I am sure this was helpful to those we served, the blessing of joy and lessons we learnt were great for our family! And so we are choosing to #LightTheWorld again this December to celebrate the birth of Christ. I look forward to the people we will meet, the friendships we will build and the lessons we will learn. I hope it ignites kindness and thoughtfulness in my kids as they help too, and that it will make a season that can be hard for us, one of light and Joy!

You of course don’t need to be LDS/Mormon to join in! #LightTheWorld is an opportunity for us all to bring peace and kindness to others; be that in our families, our neighbourhoods or even our wider communities and the world! If you live near me then come and donate to these great causes too. If you want me to elaborate then leave me a comment, but really whatever you can do – do it!Then snap a picture and # it “LightTheWorld” … share the love as we light the world together for others one day at a time.

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As a Mormon the focus of our Christmas (and yes we do celebrate it) is Jesus Christ and his birth. We love to buy gifts, give gifts, receive gifts and eat lots of food like everyone else. We attend nativities, carol concerts and we enjoy oodles of chocolate whilst watching many a Christmas movie. We decorate our home with baubles, lights, bunting and a tree, and talk often about Santa! Its no different to anyone else except that we don’t drink wine (mulled or otherwise) and alcohol in general (makes for a cheap day), and we also try very hard to remember the birth of Christ, remember the reason for the season and try to do things that will focus our December on what its really all about.

I am content now with how we chose to do gifts for our kids and so every year on the run up to Christmas I am always so determined to get my shopping done by the beginning of December, so that the rest of the month can be spent doing Christmas activities and random acts of kindness. I usually know what I want to get people, so then the shopping side hopefully doesn’t take long, so that then the idea is that I can spend the remainder of my “free time” trawling Pinterest looking for things we can do as family to not only feel the spirit of Christmas, but to bring it to others also in some kind of advent calendar throughout the month!

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This week I was overjoyed to see a new video released by my church called #LightTheWorld – an invitation for all people everywgere to be a light to others this December by serving people in our families and wider communities. It is an opportunity to not just learn of Jesus’ birth this Christmas, but learn who he was by following him and doing good.

I love it because it is everything I love to do at Christmas, but it is also an opportunity to join together from all faiths, backgrounds and life to do good during December!

It begins on the 1st with a world service day, and then you can follow the invitation to do 25 things over the 25 days… using the hashtag lightTheWorld to share how you are lighting peoples lives around you and connect with others worldwide doing the same. It could be everything they suggest in the link above, or things as simple as making time to read to your child instead of making excuses. Baking for a friend, calling instead of a text, or it could be bigger like helping the homeless or refugees. You may want to donate to charity, buy someone a meal, drop an anonymous love note through someones door… its just about remembering that this Christmas we can give the gift of us to light up the world with kindness and joy.

I recognise not all believe what I do or even in the same way, and that is totally fine. This isn’t a post to push my beliefs or debate religion. Rather it is sharing something we have always felt to do in December but this time on a wider scale. It is sharing something I absolutely love and think is a great idea for December; to come together and for 25 days create more love and kindness in the world… make it a brighter place and together remember that we can make a little difference somewhere and light it up for someone. For our family personally it is motivated by a desire to feel closer to our Lord, to Follow his example and to think more on that aspect of Christmas, but for you it might simply be because you want to give more than you get, and you want to spread Joy!

This to me is what Christmas is; looking around and giving to those who need more that day than we do and helping them feel loved. Its lifting them up and brightening their lives – all be it for a moment. I am excited to not just do it within our family, but with like minded people throughout the world… I really hope together we can #LightTheWorld this December!

This is not a sponsored post it is just something I am passionate about! 

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If you are a regular reader of my blog then you will be very much aware that we have just had the 2nd Anniversary of loosing our daughter Poppy along with her Birthday. I always find that leading up to dates like these and again around Christmas, we seem to pass through a season that is emotionally hard and moments when I just feel teary. I am however always surprised that despite the deep sorrow and missing that goes on with in me and the sometimes lonely feelings of wondering who might get it or want to, I always see things that are given and happen for us to smile about and I accepted that last year this was now our Ordinary; the roller coaster of life, the rough and the smooth and now the Joys and sadness’s intertwined.

It was really odd that after a hard week I spent most of Friday smiling and feeling happy and it was on this day, her actual Birthday that I saw, did and received things that made me smile on an otherwise hard day. They are all little moments but things that I want to share that gave me reason to smile…

1. Cards, gifts and messages from loved ones/friends when I had wrongly assumed they had all forgot.

2. Attempting a flower arrangement for her grave and it all came together so well.

3. Being invited out for the afternoon with friends and having some laughs.

4. Meeting family at the grave.

5. Dinner prepared for us with treats and hot chocolate to follow.

6. Some sneaky fireworks found from New Yrs and my brother in laws suggesting we “send them to Poppy”.

7. A Chinese lantern found with them and sent to Poppy.

8. The kids asking to buy balloons again to send to her too.

9. Spotting a gorgeous stare between Alice and Daddy

10. Daddy throwing Megan and having so much fun

11. Realising for the 1st time all the kids were in the same place.

I am sure there were more, life is filled with seemingly ordinary things that could be overlooked, but if noticed are moments to make us smile. And I believe it is so important to count your blessings and be grateful in life, to take time to notice and acknowledge these little moments, for doing so helps maintain perspective and positiveness and turns potentially sad days into manageable, put a smile on your face kind of days!

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Linking up with Katie @mummydaddme for #Ordinarymoments 

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These last couple of weeks have been both incredibly joyful and incredibly tiring too. I am loving life but forgot how caring for a new baby and trying to recover yourself from delivery too really is a full-time, round the clock job. A new baby, however many times you have done it in the past, brings a new dynamic and change to life and the home. I have found that there is this adjustment period and learning to balance everything, that I feel we have been in where we need to find the time and the energy to balance everything else around watching her and meeting her needs. Things like feeding the family, doing laundry, keeping the home in some kind of order, school runs (thankfully over for a few weeks), family time, time for us …the list goes on, but I have found with each baby I have had, that friends and family can offer a lot in these initial weeks to help lighten the load, the mummy guilt and generally help you adjust to a new phase. It means that you can let go of the mundane day to day for a brief moment and enjoy baby and being a new family!

These ideas, whilst many I have done in the past for friends and family, come from what we personally have received by others this time round. They are examples of friendship, love and random acts of kindness over the last 2 weeks and they make you feel special and truly are a huge help! I am grateful for every single one of them, and I hope they inspire you in some way next time your friend, family member, neighbour or colleague has themselves a new bundle of joy!

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  1. Bring Food – We have a tradition at church that whenever a family has a new baby people from the congregation provide a meal for their family for the 1st week or so. I love to be on receipt of this simple yet hugely appreciated act of service and I love to cook and treat new mothers myself. Its such a big thing, when in the new born phase, to not be thinking of cooking or having to. We have had pasta’s, lasagnas, curry, casseroles, soup and salads…often with tasty home baked goods to accompany it and all were gorgeous and more than enough for the 4 of us that meant left overs for lunches too.
    Do not underestimate how helpful an offering of dinner is for a new mother and her family. It ensures a nutritious feast and a burden lifted, even if they have food for that night it can be stored in the fridge or frozen for a later and chaotic date!WP_20160721_11_23_18_Pro
  2. Help with the School run – obviously if they have older kids and obviously if it is term time, but this is massive! I am very fortunate to have a good friend of mine and Ethans living just a few doors down, and with out hesitation offered to do the school run for me whenever I needed it. She wasn’t the only one either – several mums from school on several occasions have said they would be more than happy to pick him up or drop him off for us and we graciously accepted. It was a huge help as in the early days with feeding hourly and having just given birth, there was no way I could function to get out the door with 3 kids for 8.30am! Afternoons were a little easier but again having a friend fetch him home when I was tired and sore, meant I had longer to rest and time to feed too.
  3. Watching other kids so mummy can rest – This isn’t always easy if you have kids of your own, though a couple of hours in a soft play and you forget how many you had anyway! I think this was one of the biggest helps in the 1st week when Nathan’s mum took Megs for 3 nights. Because Ethan was at school all day it meant I could have days with just Alice and I, rest when I needed to… no little chatterboxes and I could watch and do the things I wanted to to unwind and relax. It was so quiet and peaceful during the day and helped TONNES to establish feeding, rest and bond!
  4. Treats for mummy – because after all she does HUGE things! Its nice to get gifts for baby, but I love it when people remember mummy too… It was so nice that friends baked for us all and some brought treats just for me. After having minimal sugar for the last chunk of my pregnancy due to diabetes and then breastfeeding I have found that I have really fancied chocolate (more than usual) and it was lovely to have so many options in the fridge that had been given to us from friends and family!20160801_170113 InstagramCapture_8600f9d4-7e57-4013-9279-b544f11a953d
  5. Offering to help in the home or just doing it whilst you are there – I have been fortunate again to have so many people offer to help me with house work, I could be offended by what this implies, but quite the opposite. These other mothers know how hard it is in the 1st few weeks to balance everything and how easy it is to let those things slide when your time is taken up with baby. Not only that but depending on how your delivery was it can be uncomfortable to bend and do things or stand for long periods! As of yet I haven’t had anyone clean my home, we are managing pretty okay with Mr Smith hoovering, keeping up with the kitchen, sweeping round, and me doing laundry after the 4-5am-ish feed to be hung out at breakfast and using my trusty anti-bac wipes to maintain the bathroom and other surfaces! It has been nice though to have the offers there, and to see family members cleaning my kitchen/doing the dishes when they have visited!
    After I had Poppy, I returned home to all the laundry done and house spotless – Its such a wonderful act of service to do the mundane so the mother can rest in a peaceful environment and soak up these precious early moments. Thanks to everyone for their love and support! 20160801_165938
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