Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I didn't get Christmas cards out this year and I feel bad about it. I have talked myself into doing one of those "letters" after the New Year and I am going to pretend that it was my plan all along! I didn't really run out of time, I had it. But when given the choice of cutting out paper snowflakes with my kids, or going to the North Pole of Texas with the family or spending time Christmas caroling (no matter how off key it was) with the teenagers at church, I decided the cards could wait...and wait....and wait. Then, I enlisted the help of Savannah. I signed 80 cards and Savannah practiced her cursive writing by writing the names of the recipient on each card. We got 80 cards done and we were only at the letter H. Whew! I was pretty much out of time to utilize the church post office so I reluctantly set aside the cards and pretended they would get done when they got done. And guess what? They never were completed. Funny how that happens.

So here's the plan....Hopefully in a few days, while I am in the beautiful state of Colorado, someone will snap a cute picture of my family all bundled up. Then I will make some great looking stationary with it and write a letter telling you all the little known details of our lives in 2010. Good enough??? I hope so...cause it's 11:14pm on Christmas day and the mail doesn't run tomorrow!

Truthfully, I haven't ever enjoyed a Christmas season the way I have this one. I felt more prepared (though not perfectly) and less stressed. There were only 3 days of the entire month of December that were crazy...that's better than normal everyday life around here! I am overwhelmingly grateful for the gentle reminders of the reason for the season these past few weeks. The opportunities that I was given to share the nativity story with my kids was something that I had prayed would happen. From cutting out the nativity from white copy paper to dressing up like the characters from Luke 2, the kids gave me a childlike perspective of the Christmas story. What a special time that was!

So now (11:26pm) with just a half an hour or so left before the official day of Christmas begins, I'm hoping my bloggy friends and family experience that same peace that came down over 2000 years ago....because if we there was ever a time we needed it, it's now.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On Giving

Today I met a friend at the park and we enjoyed some chillin' conversation while our kids played for a couple of hours. Then we were met with a proposition from the church staff deliver Christmas cards to the shut ins that were unable to pick up their cards from the church Christmas card post office. After dropping of a few of the kids, we piled the rest of them into the car and headed out to drop off the cards.

Before the third drop was made, the kids had already received candy from one of the recipients. The homebound engaged in conversation with the kids and welcomed the cards. You could tell it was a day brightener! It was so nice to see them smile as they opened the door to the kids and welcomed the cards.

It really doesn't take a lot to make someone's day. Many times I get so caught up in my own life and stuff that I don't make time to think about the things others might need outside my family. Something as little as delivering the cards to the shut-ins reminded me that even little thoughtful acts can brighten the life of someone who rarely is able to get out in public.

This has been a consuming thought in my mind recently. Being in ministry the last 17 years, people might get the idea that serving happily comes with the job. Contrary to that thought is the obvious truth that just because you perform a task doesn't mean it is done with an attitude of Christ. If I do a task with a poor attitude does it really count for Christ? Sure, God uses us in spite of ourselves sometimes, but how much more could really be done for the kingdom of God if our service was done with a cheerful, encouraging, smiling, joyful, servitude attitude? I wonder.

I was thinking about this as we drove around town, searching for houses, singing Christmas carols, enjoying the company of friends. God gives us these wonderful opportunities to share in His service and we rarely take the opportunity to jump in and enjoy them. Long faces, obligatory service and bad attitudes should take a back seat to the wonderful experience that serving God is. To see the smiles on the faces of those we took cards to was reward in itself for doing something that gained me nothing....or did it????

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Review

Sure, the year isn't over yet....but with 10 days left on the calendar and 6 of them being spent away from home, I think it is safe to go ahead and wrap up a few dangling thoughts while I am not sleep deprived.

Many things happened this year that impacted my life personally and our family life. God's presence continues to be apparent in every little aspect. I've been trying to pay better attention and hope to do an even better job of pointing the praise in His direction for the little things as well as the big ones.

Some highlights of 2010:

1. I realized how powerful words can be when I let the words of a perfect stranger totally defeat my weight loss goals...and I never got back on track because obviously I wasn't looking toward JESUS to meet this goal. UGH.

2. We took a huge step of faith regarding a career move for me. Now instead of writing press releases, I'm teaching 4 year olds how to write their ABC's.

3. I met my niece for the first time in March. She will turn 1 on Christmas Day. She's stolen the hearts of many.

4. God blessed us with the sale of our house in Gunter.

5. Savannah made us so very proud when she won a very special award in AWANA at the end of the year program last spring.

6. Tucker had a mouthful of dental work done....and now his smile is perfect!

7. We vacationed at Beaver's Bend in OK....and it was beautiful and wonderful.

8. Mom and Pops visited two times...once in the summer and then again at Thanksgiving. We loved having them.

9. We buried a friend.

10. We stepped in to work with the youth at church.

11. Savannah began piano lessons.

God's been faithful...through the good, the bad and the ugly. He's constant, stedfast and sure. In the midst of grief and hurt and moments of complete happiness, I am thankful for the beauty of his holiness, omniscience and grace. I am blessed.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Where Love Grows

Aren't there moments in parenting that you don't know how it happens but you feel your love grow for your kids? I think I love them as much as I possibly can...and then they go and do something that is so sweet, adorable, loving, kind...and I feel my heart expanding with room for just a little more love.

I guess it's a little like finding out your expecting baby #2 and wondering..."Can I love another child as much as I love Baby #1"....and 9 months later you realize....YES!!! There's room.

With the break in school and a few days of chillin behind and ahead of us, I am thankful for the opportunities to watch my kids in action....playing, cooking with me, running errands, cuddling on the couch and whatever else. When we talk and look at each other eye to eye, I swell up and yes, sometimes even tear up thinking of the wonderful gifts God has given us in these two.

Thanks God!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Hello Christmas Break,

I have been looking forward to your arrival for several weeks now. Seems I began getting impatient for you to get here about 10 days ago....probably about the same time as my kids began whining every morning before school . My usually happy children began the "I don't wanna go to school" chorus every morning at 7:00am and that's when I started wishing time would fly....or perhaps it was when the stomach virus hit our home. UGH.

Then a few days ago when I started getting irritated with little things I decided it must be because I was ready for you to arrive. And then when my house became the resting place for a hurricane I lost all control and cried for you. See, I really love you!

I'm looking forward to all you are bringing me. A clean house, smells of sweets baking, sounds of children laughing and playing and music to commemorate the season, tastes of fudge and chocolate dipped pretzels. Caroling, wrapping presents and celebrating Christ's birth and a trip to CO with 50 or so friends. You're being generous this year. Thank you!

I'll be a mess when you have to leave. January 4 will come way too soon. But thankfully this break will help erase exhaustion and replace it with renewed energy.

So...welcome. Please do not feel any need to hurry. Rest on my home.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sick...sort of

Sometimes it's a smell in the air that reminds you of a special someone or someplace. Sometimes it's a song. Sometimes it's the way someone looks or laughs or their mannerisms that makes you homesick for that special someone who is far away or passed away or gone away.

For over twenty years I have technically made my residence in a different state than my how come some of the simplest things...especially at the holidays bring back the flood of memories that make "home" so sweet and living far away so bittersweet. I was wrapping gifts today and it hit me quicker than a pitch from the winning World Series pitcher (what was his name anyway???) Wrapping and packing the gifts in the shipping box just reminded me that the 800 miles that separate me from family. And those miles today seem like a million.

And I can't even think about how selfish I am to even be thinking these thoughts....when I think of all my missionaries friends and the thousands of miles that come between them and their loved But still.

So today....a little homesick....and tomorrow...I'll be better. Until then...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Christmas Programs

Christmas Parties

Christmas Crafts

Christmas Decorations

Christmas Foods

Christmas Cider

Christmas Baking

Christmas Caroling

Christmas Shopping

Christmas Packages

Christmas Stockings

Christmas Services

Christmas Traveling

....yes, these things keep me busy...but it is the Christmas Miracle...the revelation of a Christmas promised that keeps me focused.  Thank you God for your indescribable gift of Jesus!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I never anticipated this!!!!

Sitting at McDonald's the other day with a fellow teacher/friend and our kiddos, I yell to Savannah, as she is going for a refill of her drink.....

No mixed drinks!!!!!

Nope....didn't anticipate that I'd be saying those words for a few more years at least! Seems my kids have discovered the pleasure of mixing sprite with orange drink, coke with DP and just about any other concoction you can think of....also seems those combination give my kids a tummy ache....thus....NO MIXED DRINKS!

HAHA....well, it was good for a laugh!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for:

1. A special time with friends that leaves me feeling sore from laughing, renewed from encouragement and full from good food.

2. A fun day at school with my class....silly sock day and hat day have been memory making days for us all.

3. My God who is always surprising me by the special things He does.

4. The change of weather....warm to cold.

5. My kid's health. They've been sick this week. But I am reminded that this doesn't happen very often and that things could be worse. Thankful too for the time we've had to cuddle and read.

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sick X 2 much for the kids participating in their church Christmas programs. Saturday night Tucker started running a crazy high fever and last night...Savannah. Poor things...their rosey red cheeks nearly glowed in the dark like Rudolph's nose. bad as it is when they are sick, I wouldn't trade the extra snuggle time on the couch, the quiet hush that comes over the house while they sleep or the sweet way they murmur "Mommy" when they need something.

I wonder if that isn't a little how the Lord feels about His children. We've got the slime and sickness of sin all over us...making us ill and unable to care for ourselves. Yet, when we murmur the sweet name of Jesus...He's there- quicker than I could ever get to my own kids. Ready to wipe the tears, soothe the pain, clean us up and make us new and clean and whole. I am so thankful!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I rarely splurge on anything. I am a tight wad, bargain shopping, sometimes coupon clipping, clearance shopping, deal searching, second hand and garage sale perusing momma. But, sometimes a girl's gotta splurge....or support her husbands need to splurge!

Here's how it went down.

Bruce makes an annual QVC Shopping Network purchase. It happens every year about this time. He doesn't set out to do it, it's not on the just happens. He will be watching late night TV and channel surf to QVC and there will be some remarkable Today's Special Value and because they are normally sold out by the time he gets around to watching it....I'm safe. There was the exception of Henrietta Hen (I wonder why this little treasure wasn't sold out at 10pm????) but for the most part I've been safe from these late night purchases. But.....last week was different.

We were sitting in the living room when Bruce stops on QVC. The convo went a little like this:

BRUCE: See that?
ME: What....the Keurig?
BRUCE: Yes....what do you think about it?
ME: I think we don't drink coffee.
BRUCE: I'm thinking I might get into coffee?
ME: Like golf or running?
BRUCE: No, I think I might really like it.
ME: Don't you think you would know by now? Is this a midlife crisis?
BRUCE: Do you remember our QVC account #?
ME: I've never ordered from QVC
BRUCE: Hello, Customer Service....this is Bruce Stinson, I'd like to order Today's Special Value....on 5 Easy payments of .......

There you have it. UPS delivered our little box of midlife crisis to the door yesterday...along with 48 of its finest flavors. I sampled one today...and boy was it yummy. Who knows....maybe we are growing up after all! This is one QVC purchase I won't be complaining about!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Is....

I was thinking of all the things Christmas means at our house and decided that there's really no one answer that is completely right...except of course JESUS. But, if your house is anything like mine Christmas includes lots of different are a few of our favorite Christmas things:

1. Driving around looking at Christmas lights many times throughout the holidays.

2. Multiple manger scenes throughout the house that the kids can play with (a little side note that some manger scenes may have characters added to the scene...such as cowboys, Santa, stuffed snowman, John Deere tractors and fire trucks)

3. Decorating the family and fancy tree.

4. Christmas programs at church.

5. Christmas photo.

6. Elf on the Shelf.

7. Reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve.

8. Making and setting out reindeer food on Christmas Eve.

9. Christmas baking for neighbors and friends.

10. Taking the kids to shop for each other.

11. Hallmark Christmas movies.

12. Letters to Santa.

13. Checking the mail for Christmas Cards and packages.

14. Adopting a family or child to buy for.

15. Sorting packages on Christmas Eve.

The list could go on and on. These things that make our Christmas season special are creating memories for our family.

How about your family? What's something special you do during the holidays to make it special?