Our Year in Snapshots

Below are a few highlights from 2012 . . . 

Winter: We spent a {really fun} weekend at Great Wolf Lodge. 

In the “family hot tub”. Maybe one of these years Danny & I will get to enjoy the “adult hot tub.” Someday . . .

 

Spring: We finally sold our house and moved about 10 miles south to the village of Arcanum. 

We finally sold our house in March.

I fell in love with this brick home built in the 1880’s. 

 

 

 

 

 

We closed in March, worked on the new house for a month and moved in at the end of April. We love our new house – there is more room for all of us, and the kids can walk or bike to school and the library. Also, it is right around the corner from a coffee shop!

 

Spring: The kiddos completed another year of AWANA. 

Proudly displaying their awards

 

Summer: All four kiddos decided to participate on the swim team this summer. Go Stingrays! 

Rachel waits to swim her event

Malachi loves his goggles

Karis learned to swim and became a woman on a mission

Zeke and his relay team

Rachel and Zeke knew how to stay afloat prior to swim team, but after this summer the older three had become competent at all four strokes and could swim several lengths of the pool. Malachi made it freestyle from one end to the other by the last swim mete. It was fascinating to observe their different personalities come out in a competitive setting!

 

Summer: Relatives from France came to visit and stayed with us for several days. 

Tim (my first cousin) & Renske (his new wife)  stayed with us for 5 days in August. We all enjoyed hanging out with them and getting to know them better!

 

Autumn(ish): The kiddos started at their new school. Go Trojans!

Autumn(ish): We picked apples and made lots of applesauce. 

We got attacked by mosquitoes, but it was worth it to be able to haul 3 bushels of apples back home.

This contraption is so easy to operate, the kiddos were able to crank out whole batches by themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rachel turned 10 in August (5th grade). 

The Great Darke County Fair boasts some rather large farm equipment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zeke turned 8 in March (3rd grade). 

“Prairie Days” at Shawnee Prairie in Greenville

You don’t want to know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karis turned 7 in August (1st grade). 

Taken during a one-hour standstill on I-70 due to a large brush fire (It was about 95 degrees at the time).

Taken at none other than the Great Darke County Fair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Moo turned 5 in October (He’ll start Kindergarten next year). 

Harvest Days at Brumbaugh’s Fruit Farm

Moo had his 5th birthday party at Jumpy’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danny & Charity turned . . . one year older and celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in July. 

Taken in a recreated Fort Ancient dwelling at Sun Watch Indian Village in Dayton.

A beautiful promise

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

This truth is the beauty of Christmas – the Son of God took on human flesh and lived among us, so that He might one day suffer the punishment we deserve and give us His righteousness. He took our sin & death, and gave us eternal life in its place. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Because of this hope, we joyfully wish each and every one of you a very merry Christmas and a wonderful 2013!!

the Wright Family

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Zeke’s Calamity Chart

We recently discovered that Zeke, age 7, can be classified as a child with “emotional supersensitivity”. Not exactly news to us, but I’ve done a bit of online research and come across a couple of helpful sites on how to parent such children – children who seem to take everything to heart and get extremely upset by words and deeds that other children can ignore or get over quickly. They basically experience emotion more intensely than most children do and have trouble managing them. Honestly, it’s been a relief to be able to “diagnose” this in Zeke – to know that there are others like him and ways we can more effectively parent him, since according to what I’ve read, this isn’t something he will ever outgrow.

 

So, one manifestation of this condition is that Zeke responds to any and every “negative” circumstance as though it were the end of the world. One article suggested making an emotional response chart, on which the child and parent work together to create a ranking of negative events to help gain better perspective. Number 10 is the worst possible thing that could happen, such as your house burning down, while number 1 might be something like going to bed 10 minutes early.

Composing this chart with Zeke proved to be quite entertaining (he came up with all of them himself, and assigned the order); I laughed so hard I simply had to share it. I even double-checked certain items with him, to make sure they were assigned the correct number in the sequence. So here it is: what we’ve affectionately dubbed “Zeke’s Calamity Chart”.

1. Mom packs something I don’t like in my lunch

2. Getting kicked or punched

3. Not getting to do something I really wanted to do (like play my DS or go somewhere special) 

4. Having a (loose) tooth pulled

5. My bike gets a flat tire

6. Having to do extra homework

7. Getting kidnapped

8. Getting mauled by a tiger

9. Getting caught in a tornado

10. Going to hell / being separated from Christ forever

I had to laugh at the fact that he’d rather get punched than have a loose tooth removed, or that having to do extra homework is just one step up from getting mauled by a tiger or being kidnapped. But, even in the space of one day, we’ve referred to the chart several times, and it’s actually seemed to help put things in perspective for him somewhat. Last night he was able to acknowledge that there are, in fact, worse things than having to go to bed at 8:15 instead of 8:30 because it had been a long day. We still had lots of tears, but it was a start.

I can’t wait to find out what calamitous events we’ll encounter next.

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Letters From War

I know, it’s been a while since I’ve updated this thing. As usual, there’s way too much to say and not nearly enough time or words with which to say it. One thing that has blown me away in recent days & weeks is the realization that Rachel and Zeke have not only been getting along, but are having a blast together. He used to treat her like some kind of goddess, while she treated him . . . well, like she was some kind of goddess. Which, inevitably, would crush his adoring little heart. Now, though, she has deigned to let him into her world (on occasion), and to treat him almost as an intellectual equal.

So, I found these in the basement yesterday morning and couldn’t resist putting them up, because it’s maybe the first time EVER that Zeke (age 7) has written anything by choice. Rachel (age 9 and ever the drama queen)’s are written in the fanciest cursive she could come up with and are addressed to “Sir Zeke, War in Camilot”, while Zeke’s are written in his typical chicken scratch, and are apparently meant to be telegrams. Here they are:

Dearest Zeke, 

When-ever will you come home? I keep telling Baby that you will come home soon. He is growing impaitent. I’m litterally worried sick about you. I had a terribly high fever and have not been feeling well lately. The Doctor says I have Pnemonia (did I mention I have troble breathing too?) She says it’s from stress. Please, Please come home soon!

Roses are red, Violets are blue, Song-Birds are singing, Our love is forever true. 

Yours, Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth, 

I, too wish I was home, Because I love you a lot STOP I will Need more knights, Because the Zombatron robot is taking over STOP I will come back after ZOMBIES are done taking over. 

Dear Zeke, 

I am writing to inform you that I wish you weren’t gone. Mark and Peter have been taking care of me, but it’s not the same. I wish I weren’t in love with you as much as I am. Then it would be barable, but no. With out you nothing is barable. 

Roses are red, Violets are blue. I was in love with Peter, Now I’m in love with you. 

Yours Forever, Elizabeth

Dear Rachel, 

at war the other sides leader (their King) Got hit by one of our traps set up specifecly for him (a hypno-shroom) STOP The war is over STOP 

lots of love, Sir Zeke

**********************************************************************

I confess I’m relieved to discover that the DS and Kindle/ computer games have not completely destroyed the imaginations of my kiddos. Not only have they been composing letters, but they’ve put together elaborate dramas along the same lines. They cited as sources of inspiration: Phineas & Ferb, Plants vs. Zombies, and The Sound of Music (!?) as well as books they have recently read and family conversations about world events. Apparently, I need to become more informed about the war in Camilot. (Also, how many times can the song “Letters from War” go through my head? I believe the count is upwards of at least 1,374.)


Posted in Creative Writing, Kiddos | 9 Comments

2011 Wright Christmas Update

Good friends, good times

There’s never a good way to start these things. At least I haven’t found one yet. So I’ll just plunge right in. One of the things I enjoy about this time of year is receiving pictures and updates from friends and family; if you’ve wandered over here, I’m hoping it means you feel the same.

OK, here it is: our year in a dozen or so paragraphs.

(If you’re wondering about all the weirdness listed after each child’s name . . . those are various nicknames each one goes by. Most of you reading this know Danny and his love of nicknames well enough that this doesn’t come as any great surprise. So without further ado. . .)

Malachi (Mr. Moo, Maton Crouton, Mishka Bibbles, Doodle Bug, Mouth) – 4 

He’s talkative, opinionated, intense, talkative, going 90 mph when not asleep, affectionate, animated, hilarious. And talkative. His ideal day would include running around the house with cars or animals while making bizarre sound effects, and having Mommy all to himself. He loves counting and writing his name (getting closer to legible all the time), being read to at lunch time and going to AWANA Cubbies. And he enjoys being a helper – he sweeps, empties trash cans, and opens doors for the girls and me. We decided to go for a while without cutting his hair, and discovered it’s curly like his Daddy’s and Rachel’s. He certainly keeps life interesting (and loud and messy).

Karis (Baby Girl, Poobly Boo, Scrawny Bear, Bop Bop) – 6

Tough, adventurous, princess tomboy, determined, loving, emotional, nurturing, imaginitive – that’s our Kari Bou. She began all day, every day Kindergarten this fall and absolutely loves it. In the spring, she decided she wanted to be able to ride a “big girl” bike, and basically taught herself how in a day. Of all the kiddos, Karis has given us the biggest spiritual and emotional challenge; but in the midst of it, God has allowed us to have some really great talks with her about eternal things. Her other big accomplishment this year was learning to braid hair, which she would do all day if allowed. She has enjoyed playing spring and fall soccer, and being an AWANA Spark. Among her favorite things to do are coloring pictures of Strawberry Shortcake, playing with babies, and making lists.

Zeke (Beef, Mr. Beef, Beef Man, Beefenschmirtz) – 7 1/2

Zeke is thoughtful, intuitive, sensitive, kind, particular, sweet, musical, unique, loyal and hospitable. I love watching him with Karis & Moo – he’s such a great older brother. He plays with them, reads to them, looks out for them, gives them piggy back rides on occasion. He is beginning to really enjoy reading and has always loved math & figuring out puzzles. He also played spring & fall soccer, worked up the courage to jump off the high dive this summer (150 times – he kept a running count), and has loved memorizing Scripture through AWANA Sparks. He got to play a tin soldier in the Missoula Children’s Theater production of Pinocchio in August. He lets me know in no uncertain terms when I’ve fixed (in his opinion) a subpar meal; however, he is the first to thank me for a meal he likes! He also has the softest cheeks this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t believe me, try kissing them.

Rachel (Shrumshine, Shrumski, Monkey, Curly-headed Lunatic) – 9

Rachel’s hair matches her personality: fun, bouncy and unpredictable (and sometimes hard to manage). She loves to talk almost as much as Mr. Moo does. She is way into the performing arts; she played Jiminy Cricket in the Missoula Children’s Theater’s Pinocchio this summer and is currently a member of the East Echoes, a singing/dancing group at her school. She played soccer with Zeke and also loves going to AWANA; in the spring, she took part in a Bible Quizzing competition. She is a voracious reader; we can’t seem to keep her adequately supplied with books, she goes through them so fast. She has developed a love for finger-knitting, resulting in more Barbie & doll scarves than we will ever know what to do with, and making friendship bracelets. A highlight of her, and our, year, was when Danny had the amazing privilege of baptizing her at an outdoor worship service in the summer.

Danny & Charity (Mommy & Daddy) 

This has been a fun year for us as a family. With our kiddos becoming older and more independent – and all potty trained! – we’ve been able to widen our horizons a bit by trying out new parks and museums, going to movies together, taking family bike rides, hiking, canoeing and spending long afternoons at the pool. We took a family vacation to VA in June, and Danny and I had our first longer-than-24-hr. getaway since having kids – at a 3-day conference in Vail, CO.

Other items of interest: Danny & I ran a 5K together in June, and on Thanksgiving Day Rachel, Zeke & Karis joined us for another. I ran the USAFB half marathon in September, at the Wright Patterson AFB. We got to be a part of an amazing adoption benefit for some dear friends in the fall, and I enjoyed leading a very talented worship team and sharing briefly for our church’s women’s retreat – what an encouraging time it was. I also loved taking part in Seeking Him, a 12-week Bible study by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, with other sisters in Christ from our church this fall. And Grace Moms continues to be a joy and encouragement to me; I am truly blessed to be part of it.

Danny wanted to make sure we mentioned his Fantasy Football Championship at the end of last year; also, that his Rangers played in the World Series (we won’t talk about the end result, however). He continues to read lots of long, boring books and to preach long, amazing sermons. He enjoyed teaching 2 leadership classes at the church through a Bible Institute based out of Ames, IA – one in the fall and one in the spring. It is our hope that the men taking the classes will one day become church leaders and possibly even planters. Every day I am more thankful for Danny, my best friend and soul mate. I couldn’t have asked for a better husband or a more involved daddy for our kiddos. Or a better pastor, for that matter. It is apparent that he is exactly where God wants him and is being used in a big way.

This year, and particularly in the past several months, God has been reminding me in numerous ways that HIS GRACE is sufficient for ALL THINGS! Titus 3:5 says “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but because of His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”

Honestly, this is a bittersweet time of year for me. I love so many things about Christmas – lights glowing softly underneath a fresh blanket of snow; steaming cups of hot coacoa warming chilled hands; white elephant gift exchanges; carols and tree decorating and baking; extra time with family and friends.

And yet, the holiday is tinged with sorrow, as I remember my sweet cousin Rachel’s homegoing 12 years ago due to a rare and fast-growing cancer. Sorrow in realizing once again that, for so many, this time of year represents nothing more than Santa and toys and the things mentioned in the first paragraph.

Christmas is a wonderful reminder that Christ Jesus was born to die, to pay the price for our sin. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). God raised Him from the dead, and He is currently at the Father’s right hand interceding for us. Not only that, but He has given us His Holy Spirit to help us every moment of every day! It is His work – from beginning to end, and I am learning to rest in that hope. What a Savior!!

Presents and lights and snow and family gatherings are something to look forward to, but they are WAY overshadowed by the eternal glory we eagerly await when we repent of our sin and turn to Christ. Without this hope, Christmas is an empty shell of a holiday, and life is merely existence. But with this hope, we have every reason to celebrate, and freedom to live!

May your Christmas season be filled with HOPE as you rejoice in the Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Merry Christmas!

Posted in Faith, Family, Holidays, Kiddos, Marriage, Newsletter, Traditions | 2 Comments

Christmas Craziness

Beginning with Thanksgiving, the past few weeks have been a blast. Here are a few of the more noteworthy elements of our holiday season so far:

Go & Gobble 5K on Thanksgiving Day put on by Monty & Krista Stump. Not only was this the first race we’ve run as a family (except for Mr. Moo, who got to spend the time with a couple of girls he really likes); but we came away with 2 door prizes – a pair of socks (me) and a pumpkin pie (Karis)!

Cutting down our family Christmas tree at Sickle’s Christmas Tree farm the day after Thanksgiving. This year marked our 10th annual trip. And the weather was so warm, we barely needed the jackets we wore. Zeke was pretty stoked about his new job pulling the tree cart.

Going to see Christmas lights at Ft. St. Clair park in Eaton. This year we went on a Thursday evening, so no crowds! But plenty of free hot chocolate and cookies. Best of all, since it was a week night, Santa wasn’t there so our kids weren’t traumatized by spotting him out behind the log cabin taking a smoking break and cursing into a cell phone.

Watching Dolphin Tale in 3D. We went to see this on a whim, when we realized it was showing at a dollar theater nearby for only $5 /ticket. The kiddos loved it! I’ve been given at least 5 pencil drawings of dolphins (some of them better than others) since that evening.

Making Cut-out Cookies. Thanks to a Grace Moms cookie exchange, Malachi & I made 14 dozen cut-out Christmas cookies – six dozen for the exchange, and eight dozen to freeze for later. We even saved some for the other kiddos to frost when they came home from school. I’m thinking next time we won’t make quite as many.

And last but not least, I love watching Rachel perform with her group, the East Echoes. She’s worked hard learning her songs, and enjoys every minute of it. Last Saturday they sang at “Breakfast with Santa” (which didn’t really involve breakfast or Santa, but that’s another story); and Tuesday at the 4th grade Christmas program.

Yeah, I guess it’s pretty obvious from this picture that Rachel chopped off a large section of hair, at the scalp, in August. The way it looks now, I’m tempted to chop it off again.

So this has been our Christmas season so far. And to top it all off, I’m sitting here listening to Christmas music on Pandora. Life is good.

Posted in Activities, Family, Holidays, Kiddos, Traditions | 2 Comments

Apple Adventures

This fall has sped by in a whirlwind of activity. What with birthday parties (three of our kiddos were born between the end of August and the beginning of October); soccer practices and games (again, for three of them); a couple of large church-related events; my first half marathon; and all the “normal” stuff of raising 4 delightful, high-energy kiddos and being married to a pastor . . . well, to put it nicely, this fall has kicked my hiney (but in a good way)!

Anyway, although blogging has taken a back seat these past few months, I’m excited about going back to it – sort of like getting to sit down and spend an afternoon with a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time. Hopefully we’ll be able to pick up where we left off and continue on as though no time has elapsed at all.

Amid the season’s chaos and cacophony, the kiddos and I got to do something together this fall that I enjoy immensely and look forward to EVERY fall: make things out of apples!

Rachel, who has the most legible handwriting, got to be my "labeler".

You name it, we probably made it – apple pies, apple cakes, apple butter (2 roasters full), apple pie filling to freeze, apple crisp, and last but not least . . . lots and lots and LOTS of applesauce. A friend referred me to a little place out in the middle of nowhere called Birt’s Store (they don’t even have a website, just an address and the owner’s name) where a bushel of apples runs around $13, and if you’re nice to the “apple man”, he’ll throw in extra! We were also given at least 2 bushels of the yummiest apples I’ve ever tasted, which we promptly converted into more applesauce.

You can see Zeke is thrilled at the amount of elbow grease required to mash the apples.

There’s something you need to know about me and applesauce. We have a close and long-standing relationship; however, like most of my relationships, I’ve pretty much gone about it in the most difficult & laborious way possible. About 10 years ago, my grandmother, who is no longer with us, took me to Ace Hardware and purchased my first applesauce-making tools: a metal strainer and a red plastic mallet-type thing – I believe that’s its official name – to push the cooked apples down through the strainer.

Several years ago, while touring a 300-yr-old historic governor’s mansion in New Bern, NC, the kiddos were elated to discover that their mother makes applesauce the same way the original occupants of the mansion made it in the early 18th century. Their mother wasn’t quite so elated by the info – or by the fact that our bonnet-wearing tour guide refused to believe this was possible. However, I continued to make the stuff the same way, because it made me feel closer to Grandma somehow. (She also made cottage cheese, but I’d rather not go there.) I tried using Kitchenaid attachments several years ago, and found they weren’t that much faster; also, the “manual” way provides quite a good arm & shoulder workout, and is great for relieving stress (and sometimes causing it).

He made this batch (made from Cortland apples; hence, the pink color) all by himself!

This year, however, a friend loaned me her Victorio apple strainer for the second round of applesauce-making, and I found my new calling! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to the old way again. It was so efficient and easy (once you figure out how to put the thing together), Mr. Moo was able to crank out a batch by himself. Unbelievable.

This has become a fun, bonding, family tradition for the kids and me. Danny even chips in sometimes and helps with the clean-up if he’s home. So here they are . . . snapshots of some of our apple adventures. Even though the best part of all this is getting to enjoy the fruits of our labor all winter (Since the apples we use are so naturally sweet, we don’t add sugar, which equals guilt-free indulgence), I’m already looking forward to next fall.

Karis actually pounded more than Rachel & Zeke put together, but she also enjoyed watching the others work.

Several full bowls like this . . .

. . . became this . . .

. . . which became THIS. So now we have a freezer full of applesauce and several shelves full of apple butter! If you ever need tips on how NOT to can apple butter, just ask. I've got plenty.

Posted in Activities, Cooking, Family, Kiddos | 3 Comments

Black Friday: Of God or the Devil?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 37 years on this planet, it’s that every choice I make is accompanied by a plethora of opinions ranging from “You’re my hero and I want to be like you when I grow up” to “You miserable vomitous mass. What were you thinking?“.

That is why, I suppose, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that every person in the USA seems to have a strong opinion about Black Friday shopping. This time of year, the topic frequently surfaces in conversations, both of the real-life and of the social media variety. It comes out in a plethora of magazine and newspaper articles, as well as talk shows and news features. I wrote this article about my experience with the madhouse back in 2007.

I began shopping Black Friday sales in 2005, and after 7 years of participation, here’s my take on Black Friday shopping (which I will henceforth abbreviate as BFS): the Evils of BFS, the Exhilaration of BFS, and some Essentials of successful BFS.

First, The Evils of BFS: 

Gratitude becomes a wallflower. As if we needed something else to take the focus from Thanksgiving . . . The one day we set aside to thank God for the blessings He has lavished upon us has undergone a gradual deterioration, from “the forgotten holiday between Halloween and Christmas” to “the day that kicks off all the Black Friday deals.” Sales used to start around 5 or 6 am on Friday. Then, some moved to 3 and 4 am. Two years ago, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart, among others, began offering BF deals at midnight. This year, some sales began at 10 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Wal-Mart offered different deals: 10pm, midnight, 4am, 5am. Other retailers, such as Walgreens and Elder Beerman, offered their Black Friday sales online beginning at 6am on Thanksgiving day. (I took advantage of at least 2 of these, but we’ll get to that later.) Not surprisingly, the general focus has once again shifted from Christ to . . . ourselves.

Injury, idiocy and death. OK, Black Friday frenzy has, on occasion, resulted in individuals getting trampled and even killed. It has, in my experience, caused people to act like spoiled, selfish children (I’ve had 2 large R/C Hummers ripped from my arms). It has facilitated selfish, childish responses from me as well (I may or may not have responded by grabbing said Hummers right back and retorting, “Excuse me, ma’am – I had those!”) Two years ago, Toys R Us employees at a Dayton store let extra people in, illegally, through a back door, resulting in a near-inability to move, which resulted in several hysterical meldowns. Fortunately, I and my MIL ended up toward the front of the check-out “line” and escaped with our sanity intact (and with 3 Leapsters at $29 each).

Twin divasMaterialism and Greed, take center stage. BFS, if I’m not careful, can become an over-buying spree. The frantic, grabbing crowd, together with the sheer quantity of great deals can be overwhelming, giving full reign to lurking greed. There are just so many stores, with so many great deals! And then you add the apparent need to become Crazy Target Lady . . . aaagggghhh! All of this can add up to some serious imbalance.

Now for The Exhilaration of BFS: 

Two words: Proverbs 31! This infamous woman we all love to hate is described as someone who makes the family income stretch. She is enterprising, thrifty and shrewd, making sure her husband and children are well-dressed and happy. She rises while it is still dark AND stays up late at night! These verses do not specifically refer to BFS, but still . . . she does what is necessary to come alongside her husband in providing for their family.

BFS allows me to take advantage of superb, once-a-year deals and doorbusters, which, when combined with additional coupons result in HUGE savings. I buy things like winter coats for the kiddos (This year I scored an $80 coat for around $12 and a $100 coat for $35), jeans, boots, and other items that are normally difficult to find good deals on. This allows our kiddos to stay warm in good quality, brand new coats at prices barely higher than what you’d find at a thrift store. It also allows us to stay on budget, which is hard to do when you’re trying to clothe four rapidly-growing kiddos!

Also, I purchase gifts for birthday parties, weddings, and baby showers for the upcoming year, which for our family can add up to 25-35 events involving the purchase of a gift. This can obviously become quite expensive; but by searching out deals on toys, clothes and small appliances we are able to obtain $30-40 gifts for around $10-15 each. It seems like a lot when you buy them all at once, but ultimately saves a significant amount of money and allows us to give nicer gifts.

A sense of community: The simple fact that we are out at an ungodly hour together in pursuit of the same goal seems to have a unifying affect on most crowd situations I’ve been part of during BFS. We chit-chat as we wait in line; we discuss things great and small and even help each other out. It’s a sort of bonding experience; and I’ve found that most people are quite considerate and friendly in these situations.

Finally, some Essentials of successful BFS (if you want to bring out the exhilarating rather than the evil)

1. Know what you want, and go after it. If you take some time to hunt through ads and come up with a plan, BFS can be relatively painless. Decide which stores you want to hit and in what order. I write out a list of potential birthday parties and note the age & gender of each. Also, know where the items you wish to purchase are located in each store.

2. Pray. This may sound silly, but I take time to pray each year before hitting BF sales – that God would protect my heart from greed and give me wisdom in purchases I make.

3. Divide and Conquer. It helps to shop with a friend; that way you can both wait in different lines and get twice the deals.

4. Sleep in and go later in the day. If it’s not a “hot” item you’re after, you can still find some amazing deals later in the morning, and up until Saturday evening. JC Penney offers door buster deals until 1pm, for instance, and there are plenty to go around. Other stores, like Old Navy, do a 3-day sale and you can save until close on Saturday.

5. On the other hand, waiting in line is not the devil. It can be worth the wait if you’re really saving the big bucks. I do think camping outside Best Buy for nine days is more than ridiculous. But a 1-2 hour wait in order to save $100, in my opinion, is perfectly reasonable.

6. Take advantage of online deals. I spent some time on Thanksgiving evening shopping online at Walgreens and Elder Beerman, instead of going to the actual sale from midnight – 1am. It was so worth it! I was able to purchase a much-needed set of knives, Wii games, a nice (and kid-friendly) camera for Karis’ birthday in August, a play house for Mr. Moo’s birthday in October, and many other random birthday gifts for a fraction of the normal price. Most places also offer free shipping, so why not go for it?

7. Keep perspective. Celebrate Thanksgiving, and make sure to keep Christ first. If BFS takes over your day, or weekend, and you spend all day obsessing about deals you’ve gotten or can’t wait to get, you may be turning into the Crazy Target Lady. It’s all about your heart, and that’s between you and God. BFS can turn into a grab-fest, or it can be a fun way to stretch your family’s income.

8. Write a really long blog post about it afterward. Ha! Honestly, though, I welcome your input. What is your take on Black Friday? Maybe you completely disagree with me on all of this. If so, I’d love to hear your reasons why.

Most important, Thanksgiving is not something that should be limited to one day a year. May you find yourself grateful for God’s many undeserved gifts on the fourth Thursday of November and on every other day of the year.


 

 

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