We’ve Been Around the World

The world of Disney that is…I am thinking that maybe…just maybe it is as exhausting as actually travelling around the whole world…just a thought.

We couldn’t have had such a nice trip without the generosity of many.  We were also greatly blessed by God to have such amazing memories…things just worked in our favor. We didn’t deserve any of it, we didn’t need any of it, but it was a wonderful wonderful time!

A few tips for any potential Disney goers…

  1. PLAN AHEAD!  Seriously, plan plan plan.  This advice is especially worthwhile if you are only making this journey once or twice while your children are young.  There is so much to see and do…and you can see and do all of it (truly) but having a plan helps significantly.
  2. Use Fast Passes!  They are key to the top rides and well worth the waiting up until midnight 1-2 months before to get them.  Hint: do not plan them close to the same time and on opposite sides of the park.  Having ours clustered nicely in similar locations or time frames = happiness.
  3. Use the wait times app!  We still check on ours just to see if the parks are still running smoothly without our presence there.  😉
  4. Go through the parks in order (primarily Magic Kingdom, as there is the most to see there).  Time is wasted trekking back and forth across the park.  Going in order saves time, energy and sanity.
  5. Get to the parks early…you can save a lot of line waiting time if you are one of the first (first thousand) in the park.
  6. Roll with it!  If your plan gets changed, its meant to be and everyone will live.
  7. Use the photopass system…the park will take hundreds of pictures for you that are well worth the purchase!
  8. Have fun!  You are there to make memories with your family…make those memories happy ones.

I am surrounded (literally) by the hundreds (um…1000+) photos that we printed.  Shutterfly’s free unlimited 4×6 prints was a lifesaver!  Looking through them is a bit mind blowing.  A year of crazy planning, a week of insane walking/riding/sweating has been over now for a couple weeks.  Life has resumed to normal, but the memories in mind and photo will be a vivid part our family conversations for years to come.

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music

So, its about time that I blog about JJ Heller.  We discovered her music on our trip out west this past August.  Listening to her music combined with Adventures in Odyssey comprised most of the time we spent in the car.  When putting a couple thousand miles on a vehicle, finding something of quality to fill the non conversational times is quite key.  🙂

We had, of course, heard a couple of JJ’s songs before, but I didn’t make the connection until our trip.  JJ sings what I would call folk music.  Most of her songs are family oriented or Christ centered…or both.  They are just beautiful pictures of life…whether joy or pain.  My ultimate favorite of hers is “The Boat Song,” but so many are just to listen to without tiring of them.  Often her songs will be found playing in the background of our daily activities whether at home or in the car.

Speaking of music not growing tiring…my children play their favorite song 24/7 on their IPods lately.  Whether the volume is quiet or loud, the song inevitably ingrains itself into our heads.  My daughter’s current song is Shakira’s “Try Everything” from the movie Zootopia.  It is a fun song with a good message, so of all the ones that have played non-stop in our home, this is one of the family favorites.

My heart, O God, is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music with all my soul.  PSALM 108:1

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas…

And all through the house, not a creature was stirring…except the puking youngest child… *sigh*

And so came crashing down the plans for our yearly Christmas brunch…*sigh*

We had great plans, which we hope to piece together throughout the week once all are strong and healthy again.  🙂  The kids had a skit about The Legend of the Candy Cane, we had brunch planned including such yummy things as quiche, she crab soup, crab cakes monkey bread, meatballs, champagne, desserts and other delectibles.  We had a new fireplace to share the “warmth” of Christmas.  😉  Not to mention gifts galore.

You know what though?… my kids (and myself, as well) were most disappointed about not getting together with the people!  We love being with our extended family!  We have been talking all month about how Christmas isn’t about all the frills and gifts, but solely the rejoicing of Christ’s birth.  The birth of our Savior!  Without this glorious day we would have no hope and no future.  And so, tomorrow, we will focus on that even more with our quiet and subdued day warding off illness.  I will miss seeing my family and serving them brunch and giving them gifts…but that will come soon enough.  Tomorrow we will just huddle together as a family and rejoice our king!  And if the kids are well enough, we will spoil them a bit with all the feast foods that are left to be eaten by someone…  😉  Oh yes and there will be presents of course.

Speaking of glorious, we just had an amazing Christmas Eve service at our church that was truly glorious.  Seriously, I would have paid money to see the worship team…their performance was amazing!  And the hope of Christ was clearly stated throughout the evening.

The hope of Christ gives such peace and joy!  I see it in my kids constantly.  They have such a wonderful perspective on things.  When we go to visit Joshua, it is a place of good memories for them.  The cemetery is just another playground where they are able to visit Joshua’s place, decorate it and throw in a game of tag.

I am going to repeat the quote I posted last time, because it is just meaningful to me.  Life changes, love remains…No matter what life throws at us…from a sick kid to a horrible loss…love remains.  Love is the most important thing we can give and receive.  Love from one another is an amazing thing.  Love from Christ, our King and Savior, trumps everything.

snowflakes and time

Can I just say that the snowflakes on the page are kinda cool on the woods picture?  haha!

So, its been 10 years since we said goodbye to our little guy.  Crazy how the memories are still as fresh as yesterday.  My amazing hubby gave me a card today that said life changes, love stays…so fitting.  So sweet that he still takes extra care of me on this day…probably because he is the only one who truly knows how this day feels.  Many relate, sympathize and empathize and have always been great support, but he was there for all of it.  It is also crazy how you can miss someone so much for so long that was here so briefly.  Just goes to show how special each life is, no matter how short.

On a happier note…I am so blessed to have known my little guy, to hold him, to have his wonderful siblings here safe and healthy, to have my family (immediate and extended), friends, and great anticipation for Christmas to celebrate our Savior’s birth.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas a little early in case time flies too quickly before I get back on here.

OCTOBER 15TH

OCTOBER 15 IS REMEMBRANCE DAY

On October 15, at 7:00 pm in all time zones, families around the United States will light candles in memory all of the precious babies who have been lost during pregnancy or in infancy.  Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss.

If you or someone you know has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss due to SIDS/SUID, prematurity or other cause, we hope you will join us in this national tribute to create awareness of these tragic infant deaths and provide support to those that are suffering.

Help us create a ‘wave’ of light across our nation!

Learn more at www.october15th.com

COMMITMENT

There was a time when a person’s word meant everything.  It was trusted because it marked a person’s character.  If you could keep your word you were a good friend and a reliable employee.  Neighbors wanted to be with you and not with the person who snubbed them in the past.

There was a time when people craved commitment and having a purpose.  It was not long ago that while a great deal of people had begun not to care about those things anymore, a great presence of people still wanted to have meaning in their life.  In the past decade those numbers have dwindled at an alarming rate.

There was a time when people had values.  Some would argue that values have simply changed, but there is a harsh difference in a “changed value” and no value at all.

I have given the lives of my children to God.  I know He has a purpose for their lives.  I also am all too aware that my job is to raise them up in the way that they should go.  A job that I cannot do alone.  A job that is really God working through me and my husband.  I pray for their salvation constantly, and for them to not fall into the millions of options of temptation that are around every corner.

I am tired of people doing what they want just because they can.  I am tired of selfishness and looking out for number one.  I am sorry if life isn’t always perfect, but big news is that no one’s life is perfect.  Putting things and self first is not going to change that.  I am tired of the “cool” people (from age 5-95) being cool because of all the “stuff” they have or all the places they have gone or stunts they have pulled.

Why isn’t it “cool” to raise a family? To commit to serving others? To lead people to Christ and know that they will live for eternity in His presence?  Last I checked eternity is infinitely longer than are lives on earth…for real.

Moms and Dads may live the most exciting lives in all actuality.  Most parents have children that turn their hair gray from time to time…or 10 times a day.  We are always riding on the brink of disaster.  😉

I am not knocking fancy houses and cars, being promoted at your company or traveling the world.  All those are wonderful things.  I am challenging everyone everywhere to put people first.  Keep your word, keep your promises, stay with your families even if it means sacrificing, don’t let a little pain make you run from the things you once loved.

Most importantly, love God, follow Jesus, trust in the Holy Spirit to guide you.  Stand firm in your faith.  If you don’t know Jesus, find out about Him and ask Him to show you the way.  HAVE PURPOSE IN YOUR LIFE, don’t just follow the next “cool” guy or chase after the next best thing.  Make a life you can be proud to say you lived and proud for others’ to see.  Make a life that the next generation will want to live and pray for a revival in our nation.

Painting and stuff

I think one of the best ideas in a long time are the new painting places that are popping up.  Most of them advertise some kind of byob, but you can certainly byo(soda) if you want.  My friends and I recently tried one and it was SO much fun!  It was relaxing, too!   We all learned some painting techniques, brought home our own work of art and munched while we painted.  Many of these painting storeso offer classes for little ones (minus the alcohol of course).  I highly recommend.  Here are a few of the options out there:

http://www.paintingwithatwist.com/houston/

corksandcanvases.com

http://www.pinotspalette.com/naperville

See if there is one in your area!

🙂

asthma, nice weather, stir crazy

My calm, sweet little girl has caught a coughing virus.  It is keeping us all up at night.  The dr. prescribed her with some mild steroids to help her asthma which is going crazy with the cough.  Nice weather + 10 days of school left + beautiful weather + confinement to the couch + asthma medicine + no sleep at night = calm child bouncing off the walls = crazy mommy.  HA!  🙂

 

 

My morning devo

This is not my wisdom, but it was in my inbox this morning and I had to share!   This is a mom devotional from Bible Gateway.

Wise Up

Proverbs 24:3–4

Additional Scripture Readings: Joshua 24:15; Proverbs 2:1–6

When we think of the wise, we might picture esteemed scholars padding through hallowed halls of learning. In their hushed offices and remote library stacks, they seem to have a monopoly on wisdom and understanding.

But where does wisdom really come from? How do moms like you and me wise up?

From living life well. Wisdom grows when moms and dads make careful choices about their priorities and the amount of time they spend with their children. It arises when arguments are settled with sane solutions and siblings are coaxed to peace. It develops when families work together to squeeze extras from meager incomes. It blossoms when celebrations mark special achievements. Most of all, wisdom comes from living all of life’s days with an attitude of desiring and working toward God’s best in our families.

Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come from hallowed halls of learning. Sure, learned folks are smart enough. But the truly wise are those who learn to live life well, day in and day out.

Now is the Time

The moment is now.  Don’t let it pass you.  Everywhere around me I see family, friends, loved ones and strangers…all people getting hit hard by “life.”  These may just be the birthing pains that are the mere beginning of the end of the world to come.  Or they could be more.  Why take the chance?  No matter what, we know this life is not forever.  Now is the time to have that conversation you have been putting off, ask for forgiveness, give forgiveness, pass on memories, pass on legacies and most importantly have a one on one conversation with your Lord and Savior.  Ask Him to guide you, lead you, forgive you.  Ask Him to live in your heart.  Give yourself to Him for eternity.