‘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.

One Lovely Blog Award

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Lori was so sweet to nominate me for the One Lovely Blog Award!  It was a surprise to me and made me smile.  You should check out her blog at http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/.  She has a variety of nice topics to read about.

In accepting this award, there are a few rules to follow:

Rules (One Lovely Blog Award):

1.  Thank the person who has nominated you.  Provide a link to his/her blog.

2.  List the rules and display the award image.

3.  Include 7 facts about yourself.

4.  Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated.  This is a way to introduce others to bloggers that you love.

5.  Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven Things About Me

1.  I generally try not to reveal too much personal information on my blog, because I am a little paranoid about personal information on the internet.

2.  I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and pray that people stop turning away from Him.

3.  I am a stay at home mom who homeschools and wouldn’t trade it!

4.  I enjoy baking and decorating or creating interesting desserts!

5.  I also enjoy photography, especially taking pictures of scenery and my kids.  Sometimes I wish I could be a baker and photographer.  😉

6.  I am blessed to have an amazing family…immediate and extended!

7.  I am constantly researching new fitness trends and diets…trying to get certified as a personal trainer as well.

Here are my 15 nominations:

1.  http://mykidspaleolunchbox.wordpress.com/

2.  http://www.happybeinghealthy.com/

3.  http://shehopes.blogspot.com/

4.  http://happypalacehobbyfarm.wordpress.com/

5. http://transatlanticromantic.com/

6.  http://inlovewiththelord.wordpress.com/page/2/

7.  http://yvonnejwilson.wordpress.com/category/homeschool/

8.  http://thehomeschoolmomblog.wordpress.com/

9.  http://homeschoolcrafts.wordpress.com/

10.  http://hisladiesinwaiting.wordpress.com/

11.  http://sweetlittlethang.wordpress.com/

12.  http://5kidswdisabilities.com/

13.  http://daybydayfaith.wordpress.com/

14.  http://sweetsimplestuff.com/

15.  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/

Thanks again Lori!  I would nominate you, too, but wasn’t sure if that was against the rules…haha!

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!  🙂

 

 

Monday Devotional

This is a prayer priority of mine, so when this devotional came in my inbox I had to share.

This from Bible Gateway NIV Devotions for Moms

Someone once remarked, “The closer we get to someone, the more our impression will depend upon who they are rather than what they do.” Counterfeits don’t fool many, especially family members. If we want our families to adopt the spiritual principles we believe in, we’ll have to model them with sincerity. Living this kind of life out before our husbands and children and the world means showing them the “real thing” and not just some semblance.

When Joel writes about rending our hearts and not our garments, this is what he means. Anyone can look like they belong to God on the outside, tearing their outer garments in grief about their sinful state the way an Old Testament priest might. But those with genuine faith rend their hearts. They open their hearts to God and to others for inspection.

We can’t fake it with our kids. We won’t be able to fool our husbands. The longer they live with us, the more their impression will be of who we truly are, not just what we do.

Frozen

I was listening to the radio last week when the dj mentioned that Frozen was the only Oscar nominated film he had seen this year.  It made me smile, because I may just be in the same boat.  I am a fan of the movie Frozen, but moreover I am a fan of the soundtrack.  I enjoy playing the songs for my kids, because I like them myself.

I think music touches us all a bit differently.  The one song from the soundtrack, “Let it Go” is probably my favorite.  And…the more I listen to it, the more I relate it to my relationship with God.  Elsa (one of the princesses in the movie) is born with a special gift or curse, depending on how it is used.  Her parents told her to keep it hidden, so she was isolated and afraid of letting others see who she really was.  She gains a bit of freedom in the movie and sings about how she can finally let her whole self show, she can be herself and she doesn’t have to be perfect anymore.  I see this as an excellent teaching moment for kids.  We all have been given gifts and we all have faults.  We can try to be perfect, work very hard at it, but we cannot do it on our own.  Only with God can we truly let ourselves go, be who He wants us to be, figure out how to rely on Him instead of trying to be perfect.  No, we should not go on sinning simply to get more grace, but we can show Him our scars, our faults and our attempts at being perfect.  We can rely on Him for everything, stop hiding who we are and let it go.  A long time ago a friend told me to “Let Go and Let God.”  I think that applies well here and in life.

unconditional

When I run on the elliptical in the morning I like to watch something to keep my mind off running.  😉  It is hard to find new things all the time, but I recently chose the movie Unconditional.  I really like it!  I love that one of the main characters is based on the life of a real life person.  This man changed the lives of so many kids.  I love kids!  So when a person puts his/her comforts on the line to change the lives of our future…well, it is a winning story for me and I highly recommend that you watch it!

Speaking of the elliptical…kind of…I was so good eating healthy since the summer and even through Christmas and New Years, but I got burned out of eating healthy and took a brief hiatus.  Amazing how all that progress can go away so quickly.  😦  Therefore… I am back to healthy starting today.  I had a healthy breakfast and a great run on the elliptical this morning.  I feel good and am actually ready to get back into the healthy routine.  As yummy as being unhealthy can be, my body really doesn’t feel good when I am unhealthy.  So I am ready to feel good again.  🙂

Sweet Blessings

I know I keep saying this, but God is bigger.  Corny as it may sound if life is going to throw us lemons, God is the ultimate lemonade maker.  I pray that blessings pour out of the struggles that everyone is going through.  It won’t take away the pain, but may show the purpose for the pain.  Or at the very least, which is still amazingly great, we know He is with us through the pain.

Yesterday was Joshua’s birthday.  It is a tough time of year for me.  It is also a wonderful time of year for me.  I miss my little guy terribly, but I love Christmas.  Conflicting emotions.  My husband, the best one ever, took my kids out for a “secret mission” yesterday and they came back bearing gifts of balloons, ice cream and cards.  (The ice cream set me off on my emotion eating, which I had been controlling so well…but I digress).  It was the perfect gesture.  I cherish my family…I truly couldn’t be more blessed by them!

In the midst of sadness sometimes it is hard to find the joy…God allowed them to make the joy very apparent yesterday and I am thankful for that.

My heart still aches for my family and friends who are in so much pain right now, but it also sings with the joy of God’s blessings that I don’t want to miss through the tears.