Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Favorite Photo of 2008

These are my babies-
These have been the moments given-
These are the pearls of my life string-
I will wear them one day complete-
When I fall at your feet-
And say, thank you.

Do you remember that awful episode on Hero's when Mr. Bennett threatens to take away the guys memories of his dead family member? I was struck by that since my dad has died and that truly would be the most awful thing. You know, we may go through thick and thin, good and bad, but those memories are the treasures of our hearts. I cannot imagine loosing a single moment treasured from 2008. Blogging is helping me remember them more along the way. You know you think you will remember all the funny things they say and then one day you say "oh, you do you remember when she use to say ...oh, what was it!?" and you wish you could remember.
I gave my mom a treasure box made by the girls with empty cards in it. It was to write down memories as they came to her one by one either of dad, or of things going on now. I think I will start one for myself to have a box of treasured moments.
Treasure time, it is truly God's gift. Also, ponder what to do with it when it's in your hand. I shall do the same.
What moments will come this year?
One thing is absolute, I shall not pass this way again, and that is sobering enough.

My Random Brain Sparks

Had a lot of thoughts yesterday. Can't remember them all. I was out and about and they would just come to me.

The ATM machines are killing me. Every time you figure them out they change. Every store has a different one with a different routine and because they update them, the rotation of changing machines seems to be frequent enough to create a new learning experience every time I shop. I felt like a bad stand up comedian yesterday when commenting to the cashier about the new question at the Target one: "Do you want that all on your card?". My first thought? "Um, no, you can pay for part of it!" Then I was annoyed by the new question issue itself. What else will the machine want to know soon? "Are you wearing blue today?" "Did you enjoy the last movie you watched?" "Are you happy?" "Did you spend too much money today?" ...... my brain obnoxiously just kept going.........................

Christmas Clearance has become a spiritual experience. I remember a few years ago I was fresh off the trail from reading the "Left Behind" books. I found myself halting from buying any Christmas clearance because I was absolutely sure Christ had to be returning soon. I think that was the year my dad was really sick and I knew he was going to pass away soon so it seemed that the whole world would surely end as well.
Then, last year, I survived that tragedy and my spirits were up more. I decided to buy some presents on clearance and in a way it was a good idea. The only problem s that you take a big risk as to whether the gifts will be wanted by the time whatever child you are buying for will still have that interest. Plus, I got tired of storing things in my closet all year (we don't have a garage).
So, this year I went with the intent of not getting anything that was not a steal. As I looked around and absorbed the hum of humanity taking in as much as they could for the next time they all celebrated I felt strange. I wanted to say really loud "How do you even know if you will be here by next year?" "How do you know the next Christmas is promised you?" "So much can happen in a year!" "How can you hoard for today what is not promised you for tomorrow?!" It reminded me of the verse about the man who stored up all his barns full and felt satisfied and prepared and then the scripture says "you fool, don't you know this night you life is required of you?" It's a little depressing on the surface, and I don't mean it that way but it sure helped me not to overspend. I grabbed a few puzzles and doodle pads for 75 cents each to keep for when the kids are invited to birthday parties. I also could not resist a Chip and Dale mommy sized pair of james for six bucks. I never get character jamies and I love Chip and Dale. It was so cute, my girls both came in my room and said "yeah! Chip and Dale jamies!" and I said "aren't those cute! They are for me!" and they got the cutest jealous, but I love you, fake frowny face. I think they have never seen me wear a character jamie before.:)

I'm Amazed At the power of Facebook. I just reconnected yesterday with my old team leaders and a few teammates from my Honduras Teen Missions trip back in 1991! (Thanks Tony for coming by the blog and commenting!) The more I'm on Facebook, the more amazed I am that you can go back and follow the trail of so many other people as they have gone off and lived their own lives. It's rather foreshadowing of heaven when we reunite with the Saints and hear what God did in their lives. You also realize what a small world it is when you start to find the people you know connected or connected to random people you don't know but it shows that they know people you know. Does that make sense? It's been a thrill for my husband too since he was such a social bug at The Masters College. He has more friends than me but I'm okay with that!:)

I'm thinking commitment over resolve. I've been thinking about resolutions and I've come to the conclusion that I suck at them. I want more to commit some things to the Lord that I know I'm discontent in a good way about. Those things that the Holy Spirit stirs me to work toward a victory in through Him. So I've decided to make a "New Years Commit It" List. This also takes me to my knees as apposed to trying to stand tall to "think I can" when sin cuts me at the back of the knees with a bat every time. Makes me think of these words:
"Not by might,
Not by power,
But by MY SPIRIT...says the Lord."
Zechariah 4:6

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Great Movie For Epiphany

Well, as some of my dear friends have admitted to taking down Christmas all ready..I still think you can celebrate Epiphany in many ways.
I wanted to refer you to an old movie that some watch as a Christmas flick but which is really quite good for January 6th. It's called "The Fourth Wise Man".

I am not a big Martin Sheen fan, but the movie is pretty inspirational. I don't think it's a good one for preschool or younger just because of the heavy content of the heart wrenching story. It was originally a book by Henry VanDyke written near 1896. We have a copy but I think it may be a hard one to find. The movie follows the storyline of the book.
Janice Harayda says in her short one minute book review of the story:

"Van Dyke invents a fourth wise man, Artaban, who trades his belongings for gifts for “the promised one” foretold by prophets: a sapphire, a ruby and a pearl. Artaban plans to give the jewels to the infant after meeting up with his companions Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, who have gold, frankincense and myrrh. But he misses the connection after he stops to nurse a dying man, and later on, he parts with his jewels. He uses the ruby to ransom a child whom King Herod had ordered slain and the pearl to free a girl about to be sold into slavery.

Artaban believes he has missed all opportunities to meet the promised one until, near the end of his 33 years, he reaches Jerusalem just before the Crucifixion. There he realizes that his search has ended when he hears a faint voice saying: “Verily I say unto thee, Inasmuch as thou hast done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me.”

The move has been given the dove award for family friendliness as well.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Don't Forget To Have Your Epiphany!

I was horrified coming home from an errand today to see my neighbors Christmas tree laying in their carport! EEEEK! It's not over people! Christmas day is the FIRST day of Christmas! It's like "okay, I got my stuff, now let's move on!". No, no, no. We celebrate the amazing coming of GOD to earth in a more than the day of gift giving.
Let's remember Epiphany:
Epiphany (Greek for "to manifest" or "to show"), is a Christian feast day which celebrates the "shining forth" or revelation of God in human form in the person of Jesus Christ. The Feast of the Epiphany falls on January 6.[1] Western Christians commemorate the visitation of the Magi to the child Jesus on this day, i.e., his manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, his manifestation as the Son of God to the world. It is also called Theophany ("manifestation of God"), especially by Eastern Christians. Epiphany falls on the last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

So, leave up your tree and read the stories, play the music, make another batch of cookies especially if, like me, you didn't get to yet, and remember that Christmas is not the big bang of boxes and wrapping on December 25. It is a long period of reflecting, celebrating, and commemorating THE BIGGEST REVELATION OF GOD IN HISTORY!
ps: oh, yes, and i'm feeling better today..up and breathing better. thanks for your well-wishing!:)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Forced Into First Gear

This has been an odd Christmas. Rick called in sick on Christmas Eve because he had been up all night coughing. He drank warm drinks all day and I made soup. He was due to do a lot of singing that night at our church Christmas Eve service. He changed some notes to make it easier on himself and made it through very well. By the time we got back from the service, I was feeling rough. It was one of those tired feelings where I could have just layed down on the chairs and gone right to sleep. The dim lights didn't help that either:).
Rick was better Christmas day, thank the Lord, because woke up with my throat barely able to swallow liquids and my neck so sore from swollen glands. I sat on the couch with a throw blanket and warm drinks while Rick helped the kids with their presents. It was still a pleasant day though.
I had to go to bed from 1-3 in the afternoon. Rick helped Superkid build some lego's and the girls were busy with horses and new art supplies.
We were due at my mom's for dinner at 4. I tried hard to rouse myself. We had a good time celebrating Princess's birthday there. It is our tradition that the second half of Christmas day is dedicated to her birthday.
Usually the few days after Christmas I'm motivated to clean up the mess and help the kids organize their new things into their rooms. Instead I'm down for the third day. I'm concerned it's heading into a sinus infection. Rick is getting very little sleep because his cough gets so bad at night. Superkid has a lesser version of our cold and all of the kids has been coughing. It does not help that they have been eating poorly for a while. My wonderful mom brought over some carrot, cabbage, and Swiss chard chicken soup yesterday. That stuff is good in flavor and is a power boost for sickness.
I'm anxious for it to be over so I can make some headway in the house but in the meantime I'm catching up on some Hero's on Netflix watch now while the kids play their "new" retro NES games found for them. If there is a time for Nintendo it's when mommy is sick and daddy has to work.
One thing I know about myself is that when I've been sick and finally get better I get this amazing burst of energy. I also get an amazing burst of energy with the new year. I love mapping out goals and starting with a bang. So, I'm looking forward to better days soon. For now, I'm resting next to a quickly depleting box of tissues.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Christmas Baby Turns 11!

I became a mommy eleven years ago today. At 11:35 on Christmas morning we welcomed "Princess" Noelle (that's her middle name, Noelle) into our lives.

Happy Birthday "Baby" Girl! We love you and you are a precious Christmas gift every year!

You are growing into a lovely lady XOXO.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Rebellious Mailman

Many of you know Rick is a city carrier Mail Man. He is told this time of year to tell people "Happy Holidays". He's rather rebellious about it. I try to be to so when the people at the store say "Happy Holidays" to you...make sure to smile big and say "YES! Merry Christmas!"

Oh, the power of the name of Christ. To us it is a cause to rejoice, to others it's offensive. It has that reputation you know, and praise GOD, it always will!
Makes me think of the words of this scripture:
"At the name of Christ, every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that HE IS LORD!"
Some people are not willing to bow and confess right now. Sad news for them is that they will one day anyway. Good news for those of us who trust is that we are just practicing for our big day to all bow together. Man, I'm going to be there and my heart will be full!

Karen (Love the Monkey Life"" on the blog reel) shared this fun Youtube and I agree..thanks Karen!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It Does Not Get Better Than This

My honey got this for me for my birthday. Oh, what a absolutely lovely album. I'm a Loreena McKennit fan anyway but I have really been enjoying this very Celtic spin on Christmas.
This is my favorite but it's hard to pick one! The whole album is wonderful.

Good King Wenceslas
Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither."
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather

"Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing

Here is a great sample of each song. The album is called "A Midwinter Night's Dream"

What The Kids Are Laughing at Today

Friday, December 19, 2008



It's getting to that point. Some things are just not done. Time to look at the list and scratch out or simplify the grandiose idealistic parameters of tasks and to-do's. Time to is NEVER perfect..not even at Christmas. Children are still going to get up at night because they have bad gas from the beans but think their tummies are going to explode and refuse to sit on the potty. Husbands are still going to forget some of those things you've been sweetly nagging about. Pets are still going to try to eat the tree and make themselves sick from eating the needles so that you have to run for the Bissel (only happened once to each cat and I think they both learned their lesson). Dinner is still going to burn if you get distracted, even a simple side dish of corn. You babies are still going to need long bedtime rituals and kisses, books and songs. You husband still needs a smile when he walks in the door. And...
If you tree dies before Christmas.. be thankful they gave you a new one.
If it was cut so badly short at the stump that you and your husband cannot get it to stay up straight after hours of trying so that you still have to cut a whole layer and foot of the new tree so that it's much shorter than your original dead tree and it has to go up on a table, and you have to redecorate and get to bed at 2am.

You can still, remember the amazing husband who was willing to go through it all with you and run to the store for a new tree base (at 9:30 and back home an hour later) only to come back empty handed and then relent to spending time out in the freezing night air at midnight to hack the tree down.

You can be thankful. You can let things go that need to go. You can enjoy your kids school parties and be thankful you get to be there with them. You can have that company for dinner and let them see some mess. You can stop trying to perfect...and learn to..
and more than anything..

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lilo Turns 8!

Little Lilo turned 8 on Sunday (Dec 14th). She was so excited to have a party this year since she had a new bunch of friends since going to school. She still had her special friends from church and homeschooling too so it turned out to be quite big! The biggest she has ever had I think.
To prepare for the party, the kids colored a big butterfly Rick drew to match her other decorations. They had a good time doing that after they negotiated the colors ever so sibling like.December birthdays are my speciality I guess you could say. One thing you have to do, put up enough birthday stuff to forget it's Christmas for just a few hours anyway!:)The project of the party was to make treasure boxes. I was feeling brave...acrylic paint and all. Those of you who know us know we have a carpeted dining room. I figured as bad as the carpet is all ready, there was little you could do to make it worse. So, bring on the art projects! The butterfly game was fun but we had to put my winter hat on them too because we figured out quick they could see under the bandanna. The goal was to get the antennae on the butterfly. Lilo really wanted a pinata this year. Oh, and her dear teacher Mrs. M came to her party! That was so fun. The dive for candy. Daddy's makeover.:)Digging in to the sugar of course.Present time, present time! I think Lilo got a little spoiled this year. Nana got her a butterfly garden so she can grow butterflies in her room just like Mrs. M does in their classroom! She just has to send off for her caterpillars now. (look at my cute little batman looking on :) Awe, one little guy knew the key to Lilo's heart...Cheetos from TJ's! He also gave her some fruit leather and she has been so excited this week to have these treats in her lunches. Singing happy birthday to the birthday girl. A recent sunset seemed applicable as I've been pensive this morning reflecting these words:

Is this the little girl i carried,
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older,
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty,
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday when they were small?

Sunrise, sunset ,
Swiftly flow the days.
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze.

Sunrise, sunset ,
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Truth Behind The "Tiny" Baby Jesus

We are so in awe of the remberance of the baby in a manger these days. We should be. However, we zero in and we tend to forget who this baby was.
I have seen few things as amazing as this footage from Louie Giglio. Take the time to watch it all even if you come back to do so bit by bit. Share it with your neighbors and your kids.
Be in Awe of the babe, but make sure you know who HE IS!

(there is a min of music at the begining of Part 1 but this is NOT a music video)
It builds as it goes btw.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Still Here

(Lilo and Superkid....when they were babies...Lilo turns 8 on Sunday! Wow.)
I've so had not time for blogging! Ah! It's not that I'm crazy busy (just busy) or anything, it's just that I cannot afford to get distracted lately.
Had two sick kids over the weekend and lingering into the week. Superkid had some weird thing going on with his ankle we had to have checked out by a doctor, he's fine.
Lilo's birthday is Sunday! We are gearing up for a party here. Even making dinner is seeming like a side note lately.
Rick is off for a three day weekend this weekend! HE gets one every six weeks. I'm excited because Saturday is my birthday and he gets to be home (he usually works on Saturday). He and I are going to spend the near six hours the kids are in school on Friday "celebrating" my birthday by just being out together and maybe using a bogo lunch coupon.
The kids have one more week of school next week and then it's time to make cookies, presents for friends and Nana and just sit around listening to music and catching a few good movies at home. I'm looking forward to it.