Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas 2013 Pictures

Well, December has both blown by and drug on. Everyone of us have been sick at some point this month and some of us have had multiple different kinds of sickness. From heaving to hives and all around yucky colds our December has been rather bleak.  Despite that we had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebration and are enjoying the down time this week is providing us.  Here are some snapshots of our Christmas.

Christmas Eve sister gift exchange (the rule is they can't open till after bath)

The Mystery

Pee Wee Pillow Pets!

After church the girls open their new pajamas

 Christmas Morning!

Presents at grandma and grandad's

After Christmas crash

 Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Plan 2013

No, I didn't get tired of counting my many blessings and reasons to be thankful in November, I just wasn't diligent in continuing with the daily posting! That being said, I had an incredible time with God on the journey to discover His blessings in the everyday happenings of life. A journey that I wish to continue as we prepare to celebrate Christmas.

Christmas around our house has always been a time of connecting and focusing our attention on the reason for the season, Jesus.  I have been sharing our advent activities on my blog for the past couple years and am doing it again this year.  For sure you will see repeats from years past but I do try to change things up a little each year.

We've already begun our Jesse Tree readings for this year. We will light our first advent candle tonight as it is the first Sunday in the month.


Our daily countdown activities for this December are as follows:

1. Celebrate Christmas Past (look through old pictures)
2. Coloring book fun
3. Plan RACK (Light 'em up) activities
4. Shape Tracers
5. Spaghetti Dinner and Lights
6. Family Movie Night
7. PJ Book Day (take library staff treats)
8. Christmas Card Day
9. Homemade Hot Cocoa
10. Snowman craft
11. Christmas Tree Game
12. Paper Snoflakes
13. Carol at nursing home
14. Carol and celebrate birthday
15. Family Movie Night
16. Snowman Door Hanger
17. Candy Cane Craft
18. Christmas Puzzles
19. Bake and deliver neighbor treats
20. Legend of St. Nick with craft
21. Nativity Craft and activities
22. At home pedicure
23. Gingerbread day
24. Bake Jesus a birthday cake (attend Christmas Eve Service)
25. Christmas Day Celebration!

As far as gifts go, our family keeps it pretty simple and small.  The girls exchange gifts on Christmas Eve so they have something to occupy them during rehearsals for church. The kids get new pajamas after church on Christmas Eve and then wake up to a few presents under the tree. While I've always loved the idea of three gifts per child (just as Jesus received 3 gifts) we fall much more in line with this way of presenting gifts.

One new advent happening I am adding this year is marriage countdown activities. I've always done this with the kids but this year Justin and I will be counting down the days too.  I downloaded the marriage advent activities from The Generous Wife (on the right hand side of her site). I read her blog daily and am always encouraged in my walk as a wife.  Happy Home fairy has some cute ideas to keep your marriage fun, light and spicy during the holiday season. Check out her site for a ton of other great ideas too!

I would love to know what wonderful things you have planned or what traditions your family has for Christmas.  Please share so we can all gain new ideas and learn from one another.  Be blessed and be a blessing this Christmas season!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 Memories

Here is a short video highlighting our family Thanksgiving this year.  Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day 9: Well written allegory

The girls and I have been reading through the children's version of Hinds Feet on High Places. We are all loving it so much. I bought the book a few years ago but was waiting for the right moment to start reading it. This fall is proving to be the right moment. As we are all working to process some difficult situations, we are being reminded by "Much Afraid" (the main character) that "The Shepherd" is always with us when we call on Him. We will encounter many trials and troubles on our journey, we will experience things that cause pain, but through it all we have a friend who will never leave us alone.

Today I am thankful for the allegory of Hannah Hurnard's book Hinds' Feet on High Places. It had given me (us) so much to reflect upon and opened many good conversations in our house. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Day 8: Wonder and Awe

It delights my heart when the girls become excited about the simple things in life. Today I was working on some Christmas stage design ideas for our Family Ministry room and as usual the girls loved the initial ideas.  Their excitement, their wonder and their awe is completely refreshing. Seeing the simplest thing and yet thinking it's the best thing ever just makes my day. Gotta love when your kids give you props.

Here they are enjoying conceptual brainstorming with me.

Day 7: A God Who is present in ALL of life

I'm pretty sure that for every cough, cough, cough...hack, hack, hack...sniffle, sniffle, sniffle...I've heard over the past few days my heart has done an equal amount of grumble, grumble, grumble. The truth? I can't stand that about myself. The seeming power the common cold has to unnerve, frustrate and irritate me is pretty unbelievable because all the common cold requires of me is to wait it out. When my kids get sick I am able to do very little to make a difference. I can snuggle, trying to soothe with my arms and heart what no medicine can ever do. I can practically comfort with extra fluids, rest and medicine, but even with these interventions, it's a waiting game.

Thing is, there are some really big issues in my life right now in which I believe I am waiting well. Waiting as ultimate healing for dis-ease comes for someone I love very deeply. Waiting for a loved one to come back to God. Waiting for tension and friction to give way to resolution and restoration. See, all these issue are big, overwhelming and completely out of my control thus my only option is to wait. God is teaching me to use this time of waiting in these areas of my life as a worship offering to Him. Worship through the waiting is incredibly painful and difficult but the only other option would be to deny that God is good and has any plan or purpose for the trials I am facing. I am choosing not to go there for I KNOW my God is good and that He has a plan and purpose for everything He allows in my life.

So why is it that this little thing called a cold has my heart and mind in a frenzy? Because it is inconvenient and I can't do anything to change it.  It shows just how much I crave the ability to control what happens to me and those I love.  It faces me with the truth that I need to accept with joy whatever lies before me.  So today, I am thankful for a God who is present in ALL of life. I feel His presence as I wait in the big things in my life. May He also quicken my heart to be sensitive to His presence in the mundane task of waiting out a childhood cold. A line in Matt Redman's newest worship album says this, "Everyone praises the thing they love... I'll be praising You my Lord."  That is my chief goal and ultimate desire in all the waiting situations in my life, that I use my attitude to praise my Lord and Savior.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 6: Getting to do what I love

Today I am grateful that I get to spend my life doing what I love. I'm thankful for the passion God has given me for teaching. When I stop to think about it I recognize that I've been a teacher my whole life. Though I've had a long break from classroom teaching, I've never missed out on seizing the opportunities that have come my way in my home, church and community. While it is certainly my heart to be the primary teacher in my own kids lives I can't help but find great joy in touching the lives of the other kids I get to meet in life. Most recently I've been a substitute and a one day a week art teacher (k-6th). I'm loving every minute and hope the kids are having some fun.

I don't have an art room but I do have a door!

6th grade tree silhouettes

2nd grade scarecrows

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 5: THE Word

Today I am thankful for the Word of God. Everyday, as I read I am reminded just what a personal and intimate God I worship. Through the pages of my well worn Bible I am regularly amazed at how He speak in precise and specific ways. I never tire of beginning my day with His words to guide, comfort, convict and humble me.  I will leave this world well acquainted with these ancient yet relevant words. They truly speak life to me like nothing else can.

For those who need an infusion of the Word right now, here is a great songs full of truth to ponder.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Day 4: A well stocked fridge

Today's gratitude came only after I dismissed my bad attitude. The state of our refrigerator necessitated that I go go shopping today but I didn't really want to. Shopping for 2-3 weeks (my normal routine) seemed daunting and I just didn't feel up to the long trip today. I knew my attitude was ridiculous so I prayed and made a choice to change it.

Today, I am thankful for a well stocked fridge. I am thankful for my legs and arms that are able to carry the loads of groceries from the store to my car  & then into my house. I am thankful for the bank account that is full enough to provide for our nutrition needs and I am thankful that I have all that I need to sustain my physical body.

The challenge to find something each day to be thankful for is an encouragement to me in that I must choose my attitude and the attitude of gratitude really can improve my day. #incrediblyblessed

Day 3: Reading a good book

Today, I am thankful that my girls love to read. Instead of bemoaning the girls early rising I am thankful that they entertained themselves quietly by reading.  Sure, the extra hour would have been great but it is equally nice to sit in a room with my girls while I read the Word and they quietly enjoy the time as well.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 2: Eager Hands

Today (or yesterday as the case may be!) I am thankful for eager hands. Hands that are eager to help and learn new tasks.  My two beautiful helpers made the job in the kitchen a lot easier and certainly much more fun.  The aroma of crockpot applebutter was our sweet reward.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Day 1: Silliness and Special Moments

Today, I did something fun and a bit silly. I dressed up for the kids Halloween party at school.  My inspiration: Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. I even downloaded the theme song to my phone so I could introduce myself to those who didn't understand who I was. I smiled, I laughed and I made my girls day.  That's a lot to be thankful for.

Day One: I am thankful for silliness and special moments with my girls.

Here are some pictures for good measure.

Emma is a Pirate Princess


Another Pirate

It's not often that a child with a last name that begins with W gets to lead the line

"To the Bus!!!!"

Intent on her craft

Pure elation after her team wins at the mummy wrap

Silliness made this a special moment

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