Archive - November 2017

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» Leading our families during the holidays
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» Christmas in Nashville 2017
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Review: Hey, Baby! A Collection of Pictures, Poems, and Stories from Nature’s Nursery
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» A new home, a new perspective

» Leading our families during the holidays

It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving and many are driving the long hours home on crowded highways. Isn’t it funny how much shorter the drive home seems? On the way to our destination we are full of anticipation or maybe even anxiety. The thoughts over what is to come makes the minutes and hours drag on as we wait to see what this visit will hold.

Maybe today, on your way home, you are scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Each swipe displays photos of smiling families digging into turkey and stuffing or sisters in matching shirts announcing their Black Friday plans. But what you don’t see in those pictures is the intense fight that just took place over something that happened three years ago or the deep grief for the loved one who isn’t sitting at the table this year.

When families gather… conflict calls. I’m almost 100% certain that every family, no matter how good-looking, suffers from this ailment. Our hearts are bent toward conflict, sin and strife. We are ungrateful for how our lives have turned out, even in the midst of prosperity and plenty. When our families draw close so does the destroyer. It’s no secret that satan wants our families. And the holidays are the prime time for him to prey upon our festive yet distracted minds. I believe he also uses the happy images displayed by others to make us believe the lie that we aren’t all broken. The resulting pursuit of false perfection rather than the pursuit of our perfect savior takes our minds and hearts captive.

Consider Romans 1:21 as a cautionary tale…. in fact take a moment to read the entire chapter.

Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

The season of togetherness has begun. Let us lead our families to focus first and centrally on the advent during this time. The trimmings, shine and good times come second. All of those things and the expectations that lead up to them will fall flat and leave us disappointed because we were made to honor and give thanks to the one who will never disappoint us.

I can only imagine that our hearts will burst forth with light rather than darkness as we gather in pursuit of Jesus rather than the ideal standard we have created for family gatherings and holiday outings.

 

» Christmas in Nashville 2017

Nashville has a lot to offer when it comes to the year of less. If you haven’t been following along, 2017 for our family has the been the start of attempting to buy less stuff, but instead have more experiences together together. Our family has spent the last few Decembers at home and we’ve found lots to look forward to in doing so. Here are a list of events we are especially making plans to attend in December.

1. SCHERMERHORN SYMPHONY CENTER

The Schermerhorn is a breathtaking venue that feels special no matter what you’re there for. Dave Barnes’ Christmas show has quickly becoming a Christmas tradition for Calvin and I, but there’s definitely some others worth checking out. Make sure you view the Schermerhorn’s upcoming schedule.

We’re most excited about A Johnnyswim Christmas (12/8), Drew and Ellie Holcomb’s Neighborly Christmas (12/10), and a Very Merry Christmas with Dave Barnes (12/18). Also Handel’s Messiah, which has really become an annual holiday tradition for (four performances to choose from) for many families.

Full schedule and tickets available at NashvilleSymphony.org

2. NASHVILLE’S NUTCRACKER
Nashville Ballet is celebrating 10 years of Nashville’s Nutcracker December 2-23, 2017, at TPAC’s Jackson Hall with all-new magical elements to mark the occasion. Our family spent the day in Nashville last year, anchored by this great performance! If this has also become an annual tradition for your family, your kids will be surprised by a few new elements this year in celebration of its 10th year, including snow falling in the audience during the snow scene!

Visit magical lands with the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King, the Nutcracker, the Dancing Bear and many historic characters from Nashville’s past.

Nashville’s Nutcracker at TPAC’s Jackson Hall has grown to 16 performances:

  • Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 2 p.m.
  • Friday, December 15, 2017 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, December 22, 2017 at 2 p.m.
  • Friday, December 22, 2017 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 23, 2017 at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 23, 2017 at 7 p.m.

Tickets available at NashvilleBallet.com

3. NASHVILLE PREDATORS

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The only cold temperature we enjoy is from the Nashville Predators ice. Our kids love hockey when it comes to the food, the chants, and the crazy fans. Liam still loves singing (and shaking it to) Tim McGraw’s “I like it I love it” every time the home team scores.

There are plenty of home games in December to check out. Tickets available at Ticketmaster.com

4. Gaylord Opryland’s A Country Christmas

Nashville friends, looking to do a staycation? Look no further. In addition to the expected 3 million holiday lights and 48-foot tall Christmas tree, Gaylord Opryland will be hosting a brand new Broadway show for its 34th annual “A Country Christmas.” Cirque Dreams Holidaze will showcase 20 acts and feature original music and seasonal favorites at the Grand Ole Opry.

This year’s theme for the ICE! attraction is “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The exhibit will include 2 million pounds of ice sculptures completed by 40 master artisans.

Opryland will also host an outdoor snow tubing hill covered in 1.5 million pounds of real snow.

“A Country Christmas” runs from Nov. 10 through Jan. 1. Click here for more information.

 

Review: Hey, Baby! A Collection of Pictures, Poems, and Stories from Nature’s Nursery

I kept our copy of Hey, Baby!: A Collection of Pictures, Poems, and Stories from Nature’s Nursery on the top of the fridge for over a week as I anticipated the after Thanksgiving slump. I knew my kids would need a pick-me-up after spending a fun week with cousins and grandparents. Tonight, as they sat around our breakfast table discussing what to do I pulled out the beautiful book created by National Geographic and they immediately lit up. They knew right away, after spying the array of baby animals on the cover, that this book would become a fast favorite.

The book itself is exactly what you would expect from National Geographic. The pictures are stunning and capture sweet moments between baby animals their parents and other baby animals. Our favorite was a photo displaying a dog feeding a baby sheep with a bottle. I mean seriously… how can you even stand that! We oohhed and ahhed over every. single. page.

Hey Baby is a hard cover book that would look great on any coffee table. In fact, I’m certain that it would be a great conversation piece for adults as well as children. The book contains cute poems and information about each animal including their habitat and the culture of the area where they live. While reading Hey Baby, kids will also learn about earth’s different biomes and how animals adapt to each.

Our kiddos give Hey baby two thumbs up, each, so eight thumbs up from the Goodbye Normal crew in total! We also highly recommend scooping up a copy here for a fun and reasonable Christmas present!

 

I received a copy of this book as a Moms Meet ambassador, all opinions are my own.

 

» A new home, a new perspective

We have been living, full and loud, in our new home for about three weeks now. In that time we’ve broken a window playing wall ball, annoyed the neighbors and been compared to living in India. The living in India comment came from my sweet neighbor, who grew up there, the night my oldest had every boy in his class over for tag and other boisterous outdoor activities. It was a compliment and one I happen to be proud of. Kids belong out in the cul-de-sac after all! We are pretty good neighbors… we mow the lawn on time and keep it quiet after dark. There are just a lot of us and a lot of joyful noise accompanies that number. I’ll admit… the noise isn’t all joyful. My kids are normal and they fight and skin their knees on occasion.

So the new house. I have tried very hard to reflect on our home as we worked to organize and settle in. It’s so very different from our previous home… the one we put together with our own hands; changing, re-shaping and renovating. The one that boasted shiplap hand-laid by Calvin and my dad. The one that displayed all the farm house items I found at antique stores and junk sales. It was lovingly curated.

As we house hunted, I looked for practical. I looked for smaller. I looked for just-enough and just right. We considered the profit from the previous house and made a line in the sand on what we could spend. We felt blessed to be able to make a profit on the house and wanted to honor that by being good stewards with the new purchase.

What happened is interesting. After looking and looking and more looking, the house presented itself. It was a little smaller, it had the driveway desired for basketball, and it seemed just right. Just right for a family of six, just right for filling with friends and just right in regards to proximity to the new school. It’s more than what I would have asked for… but it accomplished every goal, thought and desire for good stewardship. And so, we became home-owners for the third time.

As I began to make this house home I was overwhelmed by my desire for simplicity. To paint one color, to decorate with the things I have, to display things that are meaningful. The urge to find and curate has slipped away in many ways. Changing homes reminds you what home is.

Home is breaking windows because you are outside being wild together. Home is a nook for coloring and writing notes to friends. Home is an area to gather for meals and share them with others. Home is a door wide open to those who need it.

When I look at my new home I imagine ways to make this more possible… to eliminate the boundaries to more community and family time. I never want to stress over things breaking or being messed up when there are people that need to be loved and encouraged.

I still love to decorate and style my home. But I have a hard time imagining myself ever putting as much effort, time or resources into it as I once did. It’s funny what a few moves will do to change your perspective.

All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal