Saturday, December 31, 2011

Static Cling to the Promises

This time of year it's not unusual to struggle with static cling. Most recently I introduce Savannah to a can of aerosol hairspray that I used solely for the purpose of getting rid of static electricity. She was a little weirded out when I told her to spray it on her pants and they would quit clinging to her skin....but it worked!

As I was thinking about the many spiritual lessons that God taught me over the last year they all seemed to center around one thing....clinging to the promises of God. I'm just like the next woman...I struggle with real-to-me, family, friends, money, home, schedules, busyness, reading God's Word, sorrow, pain...but of all the issues I've struggled with over the last 12 months, the greatest amount of peace and comfort I've found is when I've clung to the promises of God. His Word is full of nuggets of encouragement and understanding. Sure, my friends are great, my mom is great, my husband is the best....but when it comes to bearing my soul...there is no one I trust like Jesus. There are no one's words that comfort quite like the Father's. There's no one who can empathize with me, quite like the Father. He is who I want to cling to in the good and the bad. His promises are the advice I want to seek in the good and the bad. I want to be static cling on a winter's the promises of our all knowing, loving God.

Thank you God for proving yourself to me .... for proving your promises true every day. 

If you're struggling to trust the promises of God, here are some verses to get you started:

Source: via Megan on Pinterest

Do you have a favorite promise of God?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Meal Planning Ideas for the New Year-Overview

One of my goals for the new year is to eat out less. One of the reasons we are doing this is to cut our expenses. When we totaled up what we've spent in eating out...even though it's been really fun and we've had a great time with friends, we were astounded. We've decided that this is not the best use of our funds and in fact, is really not good for our family in many ways.

So...I've been enlisting the help of my family to come up with menu planning ideas for our meals. I figured if they helped me come up with ideas they would have to eat the meals! Here are some of the ideas we came up with:


Sausage Biscuits


Egg Salad
Chicken Salad
Ramon Noodles
BLT's Sandwiches
Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
Ham Sandwiches
Turkey Sandwiches
Turkey Roll-ups on flour tortilla
Vienna Sausages (I barfed a little)
Mac N Cheese


HB Helper
Pizza Rolls (Homemade)
Hot Dogs
Potato Soup
Link Sausage
Pigs in a Blanket
Cornbread Casserole
BBQ Chicken
Breakfast (we call this Brinner...breakfast for dinner)
Salisbury Steak
Chicken Nuggets
Frito Chili Pie
Turkey Roast
Chicken and Rice
Chicken Fried Rice
Corn Dogs
Beef Tips
Chicken Spaghetti
Grilled Cheese
Hot Ham and Cheese
Ultimate Sandwich

I'll be adding fruits and veggies and sides to these meals, but this is a great starting point and will save me gobs of time planning the grocery list each week. Getting my family to chime in on their preferences helps me be able to prepare meals that everyone will enjoy....(except for the vienna sausage....that's going to mysteriously disappear from the list:)). I'm sure I missed some great idea for a meal so feel free to leave me a comment and let me know what your family likes to eat! Maybe I'll add it to my list!

Here's a free meal planning download that might be a help as you plan your 2012 meals

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Something Or Anothers

I've failed more times than not at making resolutions at the new year. It's terrible, embarrassing, disappointed and usually leaves me in an undesirable rebound position. So this year I'm not making promises. I've got goals but there are no deadlines. January 1st is a good starting day but truth be told, I've already started on a few of these New Year's Something or Anothers.

So, here goes-

1. Revamp current filing system for bills and important papers. Clean out ones we don't need and keep up with the filing on a daily basis so it never gets out of hand.

2. Eat out less.

3. Grow a container garden (yard gardening doesn't work for me since my yard is so shaded...been there, done that, wasted a ton of money...and was very sad).

4. Weekly Random Acts of Kindness with my kids.

5. Read from the Jesus Storybook Bible every night with the kids.

6. Find a hairstyle that I actually like. Don't laugh if you see me experimenting...LOL!

7. Pray for Bruce more.

8. Live more healthy...meaning make more decisions in the right direction than the wrong.

9. Keep track of and write my first 1000 gifts using the app on my iPhone

10. Visit the shut-ins from church more.

I'm sure these will keep me busy ...and some might change or get deleted altogether...that's the nice thing about making something or anothers rather than resolutions...or at least that's what I'm telling myself!

Are you resolving or making goals or promises or something or anothers for the new year? Whatcha aiming for?

Two Books for the New Year

I usually spend New Years Day sitting at a Barnes and Noble looking through books and magazines. I've done this for years. But, living in a small town with no quaint bookstore...not even to mention that it wouldn't be open on Sunday if we had one, I resorted to browsing through amazon today, reading reviews of two books that I've been wanting to read. After reading the reviews, its a done deal. This year I will be reading these two books for sure:

Source: via Gina on Pinterest

Source: via Gina on Pinterest

Any plans to read anything new in 2012? I'd love to hear your recommendations!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I've wanted to get back into scrapbooking for over a year. Yet, as much as the desire for the finished product was appealing, the thought of all the mess that is involved and frankly, the perfectionist tendencies that I had when doing it before, all made the idea less than desirable for me.

But....I just found out about smashing. Have you heard about it? From my understanding it's old school scrapbooking, where you take your receipts, snapshots, movie stubs anything and smash it randomly onto cute paper. So it still has the feel of scrapbooking but not the perfection. Here are some pics I found online so you can get a better idea if you're interested:

So, this January I am going to give it a try. I'll try to remember to post a picture of what I smash at the end of the month...and I'll give my honest review if this is easier than scrapbooking. And for all of you who are avid scrappers....claps for you...I love looking at the finished project! If you're already smashing I'd love to see your work...send me a link and I'll take a look!

For more pictures of some great smashing check out this LINK.

A Few of My Favorite things

Here are a few of my favorite best things of 2011.

Favorite Book I read: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Favorite Free App for my iphone: Instagram

Favorite New Recipe I Tried: Amish Sweet Bread

Favorite New (to me) Song: What Do I Know of Holy - Addison Road

Favorite New Christmas Song: Celebrate the Day- Reliant K

So...did you have any new favorites of 2011? I'd love to hear about them!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Recapping Christmas

One of the most memorable holidays I remember was New Years Eve 1999. I remember it because other than the birth of Savannah it was possibly the most sick I have ever been in my life. Diagnosis...FLU.

....That is....until this Christmas. Shortly after 10pm on Christmas Eve night, Bruce and I were sitting in the living room watching the news. Out of nowhere a sharp pain hit my stomach and to make a very long story short, I was in horrible pain for the next 24 hours, followed by mild pain over the following 24 and finally today...I'm feeling more human! My poor family suffered through with me...Bruce took care of all the cooking and cleaning up after Christmas and I laid on the heating pad, took pain killers and slept. I have NEVER been in that kind of pain EVER before. Tucker was left to guard mommy while Bruce and Savannah celebrated Jesus' birthday with our church family. Boy...this Christmas was nothing like I had planned!

But it reminded me that Christmas isn't about what we plan. It's not about the parties, or the traditions or even in some ways the church service. It's about He came. It's about a beautiful prophesy fulfilled and a heavenly angel and a virgin girl. It's about shepherds, wisemen, a star and a stable. In those quiet moments on my couch with Tucker on Sunday morning we talked about those things. We reviewed the story he's heard over and over. We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. And...yes, we celebrated Christmas.

I hope you and yours celebrated Christmas wherever you were...however you were!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pondering His Presence

Rev 1:8 and 22:13:  "'I am the Alpha and the Omega [the first and the last, the beginning and the end],' says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty"  (see also Isaiah 44:6).

As I read these scriptures earlier today I was reminded that He's been here all along...Isn't that a comforting thought. Nothing has happened that He hasn't seen. Nothing has gone unnoticed or ignored. He's been here... where I am...where you are....Emmanuel forever. 

When I'm feeling discouraged or lonely or like no one else on the planet could possibly understand how I'm feeling...I am calmed and comforted by the knowledge that there is nothing that is hidden from Him. He sees it all, His compassion feels it all, His mercy forgives it all, His grace covers it all. What a gift He is...a gift that keeps giving and giving and giving. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When Your Year Changes Your Christmas

Bruce and I were talking about why this Christmas is different for us. Neither of us really need anything...even when we've talked about some big ticket items we both have seemed disinterested. Last night Bruce confessed ... this year is just different.

Don't get me wrong. We're enjoying the season. I love hearing Savannah play carols on the piano, Tucker singing right along. I love the wooden nativity the kids play with for hours. I love the musicals the kids have participated in at church and the caroling we've done, the parties we've attended and the shopping and hunting for just the right and perfect gifts. But as we've been talking we couldn't pinpoint the source of our "different" attitude.

Maybe it was our trip to Peru. Maybe it's been the tiny baby twin boys weighing only 2 and 1.9 pounds that has brought perspective and reminding us of our own real blessings that we have today. Maybe it's the thought of filling our lives with people and moments to cherish. Maybe it's the reality that a good friend will soon follow God's call across the country (and eventually the world). Maybe it's the reality of this year....full of ups and downs and the steadfastness of the Lord that has changed Christmas for us.

I honestly don't know. But what I do know is that I sit here pondering the tangible...the gifts, the food, the parties, the programs...I'm reminded that the tangible is good and fun but only a small glimpse of the eternal that Jesus was concerned about and if I'm not careful, I consume my life with only the things I can touch and see and forget that these things and events will pass away too quickly. And while I have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy all the festivities, I'm challenged to look a little farther than my own small world and to ponder the things Jesus cared most about....relationships, eternity, peace and hope for a world desperate for Him. And when my mind parks there for more than a moment, I'm reminded He is the greatest gift I've ever received or shared with anyone. He's the only thing that will keep giving long after the presents are unwrapped, dishes washed and put away and even after the energizer batteries are dead. He'll still be Peru, in the NICU, in North Carolina, at the cemetery, in uncertainty and in joy. He'll still be there. Wrap your heart up in that beautiful promise that He is Emmanuel, God with and always! And maybe just maybe Christmas will linger....the spirit of God with Us...for more than just one day this year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Turning six

This month we celebrated Tucker's sixth birthday....some of my favorite things from this past year are...

- His new obsession with all things Lego
- His snuggles
- His funny faces
- His independence
- The way he takes care of Savannah in a "big" brother sort of way...even though he's 3 years younger
- His love for chocolate!
- His help in the kitchen (loves to bake with me)
- His sense of rhythm

He will change so much in this next year. Kinda makes me a little sad. But there are new and wonderful memories to be made during this leg of the journey that will make his lifesong sing. It's exciting to watch him grow.

My prayer is for myself as much as it is for Tucker this year. May I be the kind of mother that God wants me to be for him. And may Tucker come to know Jesus in His time. May I  teach by my life more than my words so that I don't confuse him or lead him away from the things that really matter in this life. May we have fun and laugh and enjoy each other and at the end of the day thank God that He gave us this gift of family.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Same Story as Last Year

Last night as my family participated in the Live Nativity at our church, I urged Tucker (now 6 years old) to go listen to the Nativity Story being read near the stable. He sat down and listened for a few minutes and then came running toward me and said...

"Mom, they are reading the same story as last year". I chuckled and mentioned that it was because the story of Jesus birth is the whole reason we have Christmas. He shrugged his shoulder and went on his way.

He's six. And although I'm a little disappointed in his response, I know that as we teach him more about Jesus that he will come to understand the truth and the beauty of this wonderful season. I mulled the words over in my head last night... "the same story as last year" I wondered how many times have I acted like that. It's Christmas....Jesus Birthday....same story as last year. It's Christmas...all the hustle and bustle....the busyness....the gifts and presents...oh...yes, and then there's Jesus Birthday...same as last year. Or as I've listened to a sermon or read a devotion have I thought...I know this story....Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the angels, the shepherd and wise men and the star....blah, blah, blah. The same old story....again...just like last year and the year before and the year before. 

Just in case you're like me and there's been a time when the story hasn't meant as much to you as it should....take a moment to reflect on the beauty of that night in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago.

The no vacancy sign
The wooden feeding trough where Jesus would lay
A scared first time mother
The first cry of the Savior
Shepherds who heard the news first
Wise men who came from afar

Yes...I've heard the story time and time again....yes, I can practically recite Luke 2. But what difference has that night made in my life? What do I carry with me because of the promised fulfilled in a baby? What new thing have I learned because I listened to this same story as last year?

May I never get tired of hearing the same story as last year. May the familiar words bring comfort and peace. May I be reminded of the revealed promise in a tiny baby and may my heart be humbled by the Savior who came in all lowliness and humility to save a world that would reject Him and eventually nail Hm to a cross. His story doesn't get old. His story is one of the only things in this world that will last forever. It may be the same one I heard last year....but it's the only real thing about this season!

Monday, December 5, 2011

11 Carolers Caroling

Last week some homeschool friends of mine and I, along with our kids,  headed out to Christmas carol a few shut ins from our church. One of us had mapped the route, one of us had baked a few dozen cookies and one of us had chosen three familiar carols that our kids would know. We loaded up in two cars, drove into the country and there began our Christmas caroling adventure. (BTW, an adventure is anytime you have to turn around more than once because you aren't sure where you're going!)

Did you know that lonely has a face? Did you know that it knows no season? As we went from house to house I was so touched by the gratitude each of these senior citizens had for such a small...very small act of kindness. Of course they were touched to see the children. Of course it was nice to have some company for the few minutes that we were there. Of course they enjoyed the slightly too high key picked for singing Silent Night and the too low key picked for Away in a Manger....according to one lady the kids sounded better than what she hears on TV (made me laugh) then of course she retracted her statement saying she wasn't talking about our church television broadcast (I was cracking up!)

But what wasn't so expected were the tears that flowed freely down one particular shut-ins face. It nearly broke my heart. As we sang, she cried. When we finished she invited us in...and oh, how I wish we could have spend an afternoon visiting. But we were on a schedule and there wasn't time to make a day of it. Instead we all hugged her...and she hugged back...tighter...because...

Hugs don't come as often when you're stuck in your house.

My kids learned some valuable lessons that day that we discussed later as we gathered around the table that night:

1. We are grateful for the ability to get out and fellowship with other believers...especially this time of year.

2. There are things that we can do to minister to these beautiful people in their time of home boundness. We started thinking and making a list of things that even little kids can do.

3. We are going to make it a point to visit these sweet people more often this next year. We learned that loneliness doesn't know a season and that missing someone or being sick or just growing old is hard on  person.

4. We learned that God can use little children to minister.

5. We learned that it doesn't take much money, time or effort to brightens someone's day.

6. We learned just how much a hug means to someone who hasn't see another person in a week.

We all learned something...even me.