Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winding Down

So as I have been cleaning up and prayfully preparing for the New Year, I have been reflecting on the year we've had. When I look back through all of the pictures from the year I am warmed with such a feeling that is nearly indescriblable; God has been so good to me, so good to our family and I sometimes feel undeserving of all the blessings that we have been given. I actually find myself questioning WHY we have been so blessed and so watched over. It breaks my heart to hear the stories and see the pain that others are going through. I often find myself wanting so badly to do something but am left feeling helpless.

Why can't some families Just. Get. A. Break.???

But then I'm reminded of the words from Luke, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

So I will count my many blessings, pray for those who are hurting, and march with my head high into the New Year with those things that God is calling me to do and try to do it well. I'm being trusted with much. I'm being asked to do more. So I will.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas began the first weekend of December for us when we treated our big boys to a weekend in Chicago.

We visited the Shedd Aquarium during the day and strolled down Michigan Ave in the evening.

The next day we went and saw Star Wars in Concert.

It was pretty much complete awesomeness!!!! The boys were all so excited when the first note blared from the stage.

I had a real hard time getting into the swing of all the things "to do" at this time of year. In fact, if we hadn't of had a snow day, I don't know when our tree would have gotten up. But it did.

After the tree is up and the lights are in place one of the kids hangs the first ornament.... help us remember WHY we celebrate Christmas.

The snow day also helped us to get a jump start on our baking. I made sugar cookie cutouts and we spent an evening letting the kids decorate. Little Dude had a blast! BuhBuh and The Boy were very, um, creative????

The Boy had a music concert that we attended. He played in the band and sang in the choir. I was pleased to hear some Christian Christmas music played at the "winter concert".

We had the opportunity to host Christmas Eve with my side of the family in our home. I enjoyed getting the house all ready to have some of my family over. We opened gifts, had a candle light dinner complete with birthday cake and ice cream and attended Christmas Eve Candlelight service at our church.

Christmas day was spent at in our home, just the 5 of us. At 7 a.m. I had two little monkey's standing above me in the dark, bouncing just a little and announcing that it was Christmas morning and WHEN were we going to open presents??!!!

We actually didn't get started with the morning until almost 9 a.m. because Little Dude hadn't been feeling well and also didn't get to bed till late. He then had a very restless, coughy night. So we waited for him to wake up on his own. The big boys were very patient.

The Boy noticed that he was getting a lot of "big kid" kind of gifts. But seemed OK with that.

He actually got A LOT of Iowa Hawkeye stuff. He now has a Hawkeye decorated room and enough Hawkeye apparel to wear for 2 weeks straight.

BuhBuh's favorite things were all the new Star Wars guys and ships he got. He was also excited to receive his first "real" Bible.

"This is the BEST book ever!!!!!" He said excitedly as he opened it up.

Little Dude got A LOT of new trains. So we thought it was only appropriate for him to have an engineer costume to wear while playing with his new trains.

It was a fun filled morning of flying monkey's....

baby Jaba the Hut reading the Bible....

and enjoying a new tradition of searching for the pickle...

The Daddy found a pickle ornament and it is a German Tradition to hide it in the tree and who ever finds it wins a prize. So while I made their favorite Christmas breakfast of Monkey Bread they searched high and low. They gave up and tried again. They argued with one another and got very frustrated with this whole process. The Daddy enjoyed every minute of it!!! I even looked for it to no avail. It's hard to find a green pickle on a green Christmas tree!!!

It was only after an attitude judgment and the drive to win that The Boy took a different approach to his search...

and found the pickle.....

The prize??? A penguin that poops out candy.


The rest of the day was spent relaxing and playing with their gifts.

We had another candle light dinner that evening then snuggled up on the couch that evening to watch Elf.

We celebrated Christmas with My Sweetie's family on Sunday afternoon and had an enjoyable time grazing on yummy food and watching the kids open gifts.

Last night my mother-in-law offered to take all 5 grandkids all night long. My Sweetie and I were able to have a Monday night dinner and a movie date which was a gift in itself. I'm enjoying a quiet morning home alone....which I'm suppose to be taking advantage of the opportunity to clean up....but haven't quite gotten that far yet. I wonder how much I can get done in the hour I have remaining before I go pick them up?

Hope you and your families had a very Merry, very Blessed Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Say WHAT!!??

BuhBuh: MOOOMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!

Me: What?

BuhBuh: I think Little Dude has a broken ear drum!!!!

Me: WHAT??!!!

BuhBuh: He's NOT listening to me!!!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Sermon Notes:

"The ones who truly change to align with God's ways will be rewarded, and those who refuse lose their reward. This is justice and that is good news" Ouch!

"The reward is available to ALL OF US regardless of what we've done in the past or are right now. THIS is GOOD and THAT is GOOD NEWS!" God's Prevenient Grace is amazing. I thank God for this EVERYDAY. I know I would not be where I am in my faith without it.

"We're like a Christmas tree. As we open ourselves to God's call, as we follow the way of Jesus, as we let God decorate us, we become more beautiful until that day when Jesus comes and says to us, "Well done!" This was the BEST part!!!


It was nice being in Church today. Last weekend we were out of town. Wednesday was a snow day. It had felt like a LONG time since we had been there. You don't realize how much you miss it until you miss a Sunday AND a Wednesday.

Yesterday was a baking frenzy. My friend and I get together every year and bake treats then share with one another.

So, today we had a restful day. I dozed with Little Dude then we all went outside to play in the snow. Once Little Dude got over his fear of snow, it was all good. I didn't take any pictures. Sometimes it's just nice to live in the moment rather than living behind the camera.

We warmed up and snuggle up and watched Christmas Vacation.

BuhBuh knew that tonight we got to light THREE Candles on our Advent Wreath and suggested we read the Legend of the Candy Cane. Again.

What a lovely Sunday. Just what I needed to be ready to tackle the week ahead!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Snow Day

7+ inches of snow
30+ mph winds
60 extra minutes in bed
2 excited boys home from school
1 Daddy working from home

45 minutes curled up on the couch
1 Veggie Tale Movie
1 little boy on my lap
1 little boy head resting on my shoulder all snug under a blanket.
1 not so little boy tapping through his iPod still laughing along at the movie

2 sets of rosy checks
1 dryer full of snow clothes
2 cups of hot chocolate
1 extra bowl of marshmallows
3 warm and happy bellies

70 Carmel Truffles
206 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
50 sugar cookie cut outs (to be decorated later)
2 Christmas CD's
1 Christmas tree set up by a pair of big hands and decorated by 3 sets of smaller hands

3 showered/bathed boys all warm in their jammies
2 candles a glow; one for hope and one for peace
3 Christmas stories about God's amazing gift
3 gifts of my own all tucked into bed
1 blessed and thankful mommy for the day that we've had

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

1 Corinthians 13 Christmas Style

©By Sharon Jaynes

If I decorate my house perfectly with lovely plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls, but do not show love to my family – I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family – I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family – It profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn’t envy another home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break; pearl necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

God Winks

Monday night I said a prayer.....after reading a story from the book "When God Winks at You" of a young boy who wanted to test the mysterious power of God, I was prompted to do the same. I wanted to see if I could "receive a direct, personal communication by way of a wink" from God.

I prayed that I would get a phone call this week so that things can continue to progress with my candidacy for ministry (I haven't written much about that yet. Stay tuned. I'll get to it!).

I felt a little guilty praying such a selfish prayer. First of all I had just given God a time frame. I KNOW better than that! Second, there is so much need in this world that is so much greater than mine, and THIS is what I pray for???

By Thursday afternoon I felt a little frustrated.

I came home tonight to a message on my machine from my District Superintendent saying she's going to be in town Thursday and would like to meet.

I think God may have just winked at me.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I won the very first giveaway from Jill's blog!!!!! YIPPIE!!!!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Christmas Traditions

Several years ago I attended a Hearts at Home Conference. I had heard great things about it and decided I was going to go! It was a good day. I was refreshed and inspired and ready to go back home to be my husbands wife and my children's mom. I have decided that one of my goals for the next year is to attend again.

Jill Savage is the amazing woman who started this ministry in search of some "co-workers" to walk alongside of in the profession of Motherhood. It has grown and blossomed into Hearts at Home and moms from all over the world can attend one of these amazing conferences, read her books, follow her blog and even "attend" a conference on line.

For the next 25 days on her blog, Jill is having a 25 Days of Giveaways. (I love giveaways.) Jill will begin a Christmas discussion where her blog readers can enter several different ways. One of them being commenting on her blog and another by blogging about what she's talking about. She will have a new item to giveaway each day that stands alone. Each time you enter you are entered into the Grand Prize drawing which is a FREE Hearts at Home Conference Registration. What an AMAZING opportunity!!! In addition, if you follow, you'll be sure to get inspired by what other moms/families are doing in their lives to be a blessing to their families. So, check it out if you are interested and leave me a comment if you decide to follow her blog.


Day 1: Family Christmas Traditions

I love to do things to create memories during the holidays. At Christmas there are several different things that have become Tradition.

For the past several years we have had our own Advent Wreath. Each night during Advent before bed we light the candle(s) for that week and talk about what they mean and then share either a Christmas Devotion, Christmas story or read some scripture. Over the years we've done a lot of different things but ultimately it's about taking just a few minutes to focus and celebrate and remember the real reason we celebrate the holiday. On Christmas morning before we do anything else, we light all of the candles and the much anticipated Christ Candle in the center and let the candles burn down.

Every year for 10 + years my best friend and I have gotten together for a day of baking!!! It's always so much fun and I look forward to it every year. We make a big ole' mess, bake a lot of goodies and at the end of day/night we share what we've each made and end up with lots of cookies that we then share and bless others with.

Like most communities we have families who are in need and there are Angel Trees located all over town including our Church. I use to take one angel per child that I had. The past 2 years we decided that we wanted to adopt an entire family. Anyone who knows me knows how much I HATE to shop. But when I'm out buying shoes for a mom and dad who need them and coats and hats for kids who need them, I actually enjoy shopping. We involve our kids and tell them what we are buying and why. They help shop, wrap and then deliver the gifts so they can be given anonymously to the families. We live in a small community but choose to not know who we are helping. On Christmas morning I am filled with that warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that there is a family near by who we've blessed and helped to have some things that they needed and to have some gifts for their children. Money is a little different this year than it has been the past couple of years. We aren't going to be able to do as much as we have done in the past, but we have money set aside specifically to bless another family or two this Christmas as well.

We have also made it a tradition to stay home as our small family on Christmas day. We have established this boundary and our families have respected it. After the candles have been lit we take pictures of the kids with their stockings that their Great-Grandma made for each of them. Then we open gifts. After the gifts have been open they dive in with daddy while I go and make Monkey Bread for breakfast. Then we enjoy the rest of the day just relaxing and enjoying each other. I don't make a fancy meal. We don't even get out of our jammies for the entire day. It's just a day to be and enjoy one another.

It is taking me a while to get into the spirit of the holiday this year. The tree isn't even up yet and probably won't be for another week or so. The commercialism of the holiday gets to me more and more every year and the fact that their are people who celebrate the holiday without giving one thought to the fact that it is meant to celebrate the greatest gift we've ever been given makes me sad. I know why we celebrate and I work hard to keep Christ the center of home at Christmas and all year round. Taking some time to remember what we as a family do to celebrate Christmas has helped put me in the mood a little more and it excites me that my baking day is coming up in a week and a half! Maybe I should add the Christmas CD's back into the rotation to help me as I bless the home today. <3