Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our Christmas celebration

We had a wonderful Christmas!  Unfortunately, Hubby's dad is having cancer treatments in a hospital on the other side of the state, and was still not feeling well, so we could not be with them like we usually are on Christmas day, but we enjoyed the day just with our little family.  Here is a little taste of some of what we did this Christmas season...

 We had a little get together with our friends.  Josh put together a talent show...Sarah sang and danced one of her favorite Barney songs. 

 Ben did some gymnastics...

  They were all fantastic, of course!

 Then we played some fun games!  My creative hubby made up some of them like this "How many noses can you get in the bowl" game. : )

 We went and looked at lights.  This street had a programmed lights and music show.  Fourteen houses all participated!  One of the largest residential shows in the country!

 We decorated graham cracker houses.  Well, this is Sarah's "clinic."  She thought it was hilarious
 that Josh made a dog house right next to the clinic for her. : )

 And of course, Jacob, realizing that peace on earth still only reins in our hearts, created this battlefield complete with cannons and towers.

 We decorated cookies!  This is actually painting with frosting.  It was fun!

 The kids opened their gifts to each other on Christmas Eve.  Cassandra got these color-sorted skittles from Ben.  Just right for her OCD. : )

 We went to church on Christmas morning!  Christmas hardly ever happens on a Sunday, so that was a special treat.

 After church, the kids all got back in their jammies. : )  Jacob read the Christmas story this year.

 And of course we opened presents. : )

 Sarah loved her new "I-Pad," just like Grandma's. : )

 Our tool man loved his new tool box!

And of course all the boys loved their new video games.  Ugh. 

We had a merry Christmas celebrating our Savior's birth.  I hope you did too! 
(And if you didn't watch that adorable video I posted last time, you should really go watch it!)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Christmas Story

This is so precious.  I know you will love it! 
 Merry, merry Christmas from us to you!!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Hello, blog world!

I realize I haven't written on here pretty much all month long.  That is because of December hustle and bustle, of course.  And also...because...I have been thinking and thinking about what to say to put into words my feelings about Christmas. 
But this year for some reason, I have been thinking, how is it even possible to put into words the depth of emotion that I feel at Christmas time? 

Honestly.  GOD.  Coming to earth. 
To be with us and to be one of us. 


And all around us our senses are saturated with music and lights and tinsel and wrappings and coupons and sales and family and cookies...and more and more cookies...  and Santa Clauses and reindeer and reminders to keep Christ in Christmas. 

It all seems a bit surreal to me.  The world celebrates Christmas. 
Yet, so very, very many of those people in all their celebration hoopla are really celebrating--nothing at all. 

We watched Jim Carrey's version of the Grinch last night.  Little Cindy Lou keeps trying to find out what the true meaning of Christmas is in all the hubbub of the preparations.  Finally, at the end when the Grinch has stolen all the presents and even the roast beast, everyone realizes that it wasn't about those things at all. 

They all hold hands and sway back and forth singing "Da hoo Do ray," or whatever it is, thinking that they have figured it out.  And really, according to much of the world, they were right, I suppose.  Christmas is about being together and warm fuzzy feeings.  Right?  And maybe there was a Baby, and maybe there wasn't, but Christmas (or the "Holidays") is a special time to gather together with people we love.


God made the human race.  He made you and He made me, and He loves each one of us with all of His Being. 
He loved us so much, in fact, that He gave us our own free will.  To decide if we would sin or not, and to decide if we would love Him or not.  What is the use of having an intimate, loving relationship with a programmed robot, after all? 

And so, He gave us the choice to know and love Him-- or not. 
He even knew that we would choose sin that would separate us from Him in His holiness, and He made a plan way back in the beginning.
A crazy plan. 

 The most loving thing He could possibly do. 

He would send His only Son.  Part of Himself--perfect and holy in every way.  Even starting human life as an embryo...Entering our wicked, fallen world, and being truly one of US.  Enduring hunger and sickness and pain and ridicule, and even temptation, so that we could really see Him and understand who He is.  And then finally being--Himself, in His death--the ultimate sacrifice. 

The ultimate Christmas gift.
The payment for our sin, so that those sins could be covered by that precious blood and forgiven, making it possible for us to be right with Him again.  If only we would accept that gift. 
If only we would just simply BELIEVE.  

And so, with Christmas being tomorrow, we have a choice.  Christmas maybe is simply a great big party about love and happiness and good cheer....

Or maybe Christmas really is the celebration of the birth of the one and only Savior of the world. 
The most important, life-changing event that ever happened.  

Oh, how He loves us.  

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.--2 Corinthians 9:15 

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December day at the park

Our Sarah....squeezing every drop of joy out of life!!

 Reach for the sky!

 Touch your toes!

 Silly girl. ; )

Have I mentioned how much I adore this girl?  : )  : )

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Driveway Delight--Part 2

So, here is the continuation of my last post....this time it's all from my own head. : )

The other night we were driving home from church, listening to one of our favorite radio programs called Down Gilead Lane.  We live a half hour from our church, so we get to listen to a whole program each time.  I guess that's the one good thing about our long drive.

Anyway, in this episode, the Morrison family was all in the car on their way to Grandma's for Thanksgiving dinner.  It was a long drive, complete with bad weather slowing things down, crabby kids, crabby parents, and an annoying little brother who happily, continually told corny knock knock jokes and kicked the seat in front of him.  Everyone was highly annoyed with the little brother, and one sibling eventually ended up saying things that weren't very nice to him, even blaming the horrible time in the car on him. 

However, it was finally made clear that during the whole drive, only this little boy had had a thankful spirit.  While everyone else whined and complained, he alone had stayed cheerful and thankful for everyone's company.  The episode ended with the family realizing that this little brother had been right.  Instead of complaining, they should all have been thanking God for the time they had together as a family, even squished together in a car on a long, tiring ride.  The mother on the show shed a few tears as she thought of years to come when the family would all be grown and gone from each other.  And I admit, that silly little radio show episode was so thought provoking, and so absolutely dead on...that I shed some tears too. 

I love that article by Carol Barnier that I shared with you last time.  I love it because it is such a reminder to me that we do not have a lot of time. I have been becoming more and more painfully aware lately that my boys are growing older.  Twelve and ten years old are ages frightfully close to the teen years.  I don't mean I am afraid of the teen years.  I am actually excited to discover what kind of young men my boys will be as they grow and mature out of the matchbox cars and sword fighting years!  I love the relationship I have with my boys, and I am sure I will continue to enjoy that relationship through the next phase of our lives. 

But two things I know for sure about the teen years...they will be very different from the little boy years, and they will fly by very, very quickly.  Much too soon, my boys (and Cassandra, and even too quickly, my littler ones) will be leaving our nest.

I want to make these years I have with my children count!  I am so often reminded that we only have ONE chance at this.  ONE go around.  ONE time to be a parent to our children while they are young.  I do not want to waste the end up looking back and saying, "I wish....." 

God has given us this time to teach them and train them and love them and laugh with them.  Heaven forbid we waste it away on selfish pursuits that were not so very important after all.

So let's spend the time to have those talks, play those games, read God's Word and teach those lessons.  And let's have some driveway delight with our children.....while we still can.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Driveway Delight

I wish I wrote this, but I did not.  Still, ENJOY!

I was driving down the same winding road from my house that I always take. Clearly, the school bus was due to come along at any minute because at practically every third driveway there was a parent and child, standing, waiting, watching, perhaps talking. But not much else.    I continued around another blind curve. There I’d see another child-parent pair looking like statues.   Another curve. Another pair.

Then. . .I went round one more curve and was suddenly greeted by a mom and her son, dancing wildly on the driveway. They held onto each others’ hands, and dipped hard to the side. It looked like a jitterbug fest had broken out. They were oblivious to us. They only had eyes for each other. And there was some serious joy going on at that house.

I smiled for a good half mile. I kept thinking back to them. Swirling and giggling. Dipping and laughing. I loved that mother for what she had given that child. What a send-off before heading out to school. What a great positive mindset to give this child before he got on the bus. What a home to want to come back to. What a love language. Her simple moment of Driveway Delight said...I just like being with you.

Determine that you will do something with your child PURELY for the delight factor. It only has to take a few seconds. Nothing has to be learned. Nothing has to be made. It has to be something that delights your child. All it has to say is I just like being with you. And if you don’t get it done by the time bedtime rolls around, then make bedtime special. Blow bubbles on his belly. Tell a bedtime story with her stuffed animals. Do a goodnight dance, holding your child tight while you sing a good night song. Let them know that even when there’s nothing to do, you like sharing that little bit of nothing with them, because you just like being with them. --Carol Barnier

Don't you just love this??!! 

I really have more to add to this, but it will have to wait until I have more time.  It is after 1, and I think I remember making a New Year's Resolution to go to bed earlier this year....  Ahem...  : )

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A heart full of praise

Just thinking about thankfulness tonight...

I am thankful that God has blessed me with the gift of being the kind of person who is thankful by nature.  I normally don't have to fight against taking things for granted.  I am continually thanking the Lord for the sunshine, the rain, the scents of nature, animals and trees, the beauty in everything around me...

My beautiful family and the blessings I enjoy every day simply because of them...

My home, our full cupboards, our full closets, and even full toy boxes... 

Conveniences that are so helpful like automatic dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, cars, telephones, computers...

Digital cameras and video cameras, Craigslist....(some of my very favorite things)

People-----and especially the ones who make this world a better place.  You know the kind I am talking about...

Advancements in medical care...hospitals, doctors, nurses, volunteers, researchers, generous givers...

Children and the joy they bring...

Blogs, and Facebook... : )

People who give their lives for the cause of Christ...missionaries here and abroad, pastors, Sunday School teachers, food pantry workers, foster parents and children's home workers...

Friends...  Isn't friendship one of God's greatest blessings?


I am thankful that even though we are blessed with so many "things" here in America and other well-off countries around the world,  true joy does not come from these things.  If they all went away tomorrow--and someday, many of them honestly could.....   in Jesus we would still have perfect peace.

I am thankful most of all for Him.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  He is truly all we need. 

My heart overflows with praise to Him.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.  God bless you!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Plants in Jeopardy! And other news...

I have several ideas for things to share with you running around in my head, but I thought tonight I would just share about our day because it was fun, and also interesting.

The first exciting news snowed!  Well, it actually happened yesterday, not today, but around here it was very, very exciting, so I thought I would add it.  The kids went outside, and we actually got a little bit of accumulation--enough to throw a few snowballs!  We had a fire going in the fireplace, and this year I have decided to break my cardinal rule of not playing Christmas music until after Thanksgiving.  There is just something about the first snow that still makes me happy to this day.  But then.....I get over that reeeaaally fast.  And I would not mind if we did not see any more snow at all, thank you.

In other news...Cassandra and Sarah tried a new nail polish color.  Sarah's got done first, and then she kindly returned the favor so nicely, don't you think?  And, notice her HAIR...Yes, she is wearing BRAIDS!!!!  : )  : )

This is the kind of scene that I come across sometimes around our house.    Makes me happy. : )

We got a hot tub!!  Hubby found one for a good price on Craigslist.  He has always wanted one, and now his dream has come true.  We just got it the other day, and tonight, Sarah got in for the first time.  Now our water baby can enjoy the winter.  (And no, the water is not that hot.  It is safe for kids!)  : )

And yes, we finished another unit in our humble little home school.  Tonight we played....Plants in Jeopardy!!  Do you recognize Alice Trebeck?  She is looking lovely, don't you think?  Love that hair-do.  We had three very clever contestants, and they won quite a bit of money.  I believe Mr. Jacob in the middle seat there was the winner with $3,700.  All three of them are experts at the subject of plants, I can assure you.  The show was recorded in front of a live studio audience including a little girl and a dog.  I hope you got to see it.  Oh, you missed it?  That's too bad. 
(Oh, and those messy shelves?  All part of my little ploy to help you feel better about yourself.  You're welcome.)

And in other news, although I don't have a picture to show you, I took Sarah to the Ear Nose and Throat doctor today.  A couple weeks ago, our pediatrician had suggested we go get her checked because her voice is very unusual.  If you know her, you know right away what I am talking about.  It's low and kind of raspy. She's been called everything from a COPD patient to a robot, to an elf.  It's so cute, though, and we love it about her, and we just assumed it was just her normal voice since it has been that way since we got her.  Anyway, the doctor said that sometimes it could signal that there is a problem.  Maybe there was some damage to her vocal chords along the way before we got her, or sometimes acid reflux could be going on without any noticeable symptoms.  So, we went today, and he had to numb her nose and throat and stick that rubber tube with a camera down there, which was not fun...but he found redness and swelling, and little bumps.  All signifying irritation from acid reflux!  She has never once complained or seemed uncomfortable at all, so we were shocked!  So, we will be having that treated, and then we will see how her voice might change.  That will be very interesting... 

And that was our day!  Tomorrow we are going up to visit my wonderful second parents.  If you remember, my father-in-law has cancer, and very recently we were given bad news about the severity of it.  He starts aggressive treatment for it on Monday.  We would so appreciate it if you would pray.  If you didn't already see this post, you could read it now and see what kind of person he is.  Thank you so much.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Just a couple of quotes, courtesy of my kids...

The other day, my Josh was in his sign language class that my friend teaches at a nearby elementary school.  It is just a twenty minute class that meets during recess time.  So, Josh had gone inside, and I normally wait out in the car reading until he gets back. This time I had Ben with me.  Soon, all the kids came running outside for recess.  Ben looked out the window, and exclaimed, "Mom!  There are like a thousand kids at that park!" is kind of sad that my son had never seen what recess looks like up close and personal!


The other night I was tucking Sarah into bed.  I was smiling at her and singing to her, and we were saying silly things and talking about the day.  She reached up and touched my eyelashes and said, "What's this?"  "It's my eyelashes."  I kept smiling and gazing at her....  Then, "What's this?"  "It's my eyelid."  And then she pointed to the side of my eye. "What's this?"  "What?"  She pointed again.  "What's this?"  "What?"  She paused.   "....Whiskers?"    I never thought of crows' feet looking like whiskers!  Lol. : )

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Our little red light

We just passed Halloween, of course!  We spent some time in the morning learning about the sordid history of the day, and the reasons why we don't decorate with or dress up like ghosts and goblins and witches...and we learned about how Christians decided to try and do something to help change things by switching "All Saints' Day" which had been celebrated in May, to November 1, thus making October 31 "All Hallows' Eve."  It is a day to honor those great people of God who have gone on before us, and we read about George Muller as a special tribute.  Then, we talked about how to the world, Halloween is all about witches and ghosts, graveyards, and DEATH, but Christ gives us the exact opposite...Goodness and Holiness, Resurrection and LIFE! 

And finally, we carved our pumpkins and went trick or treating, and had a great time. Again, it was extra special this year because it was Sarah's first time enjoying it!  Her first year with us, we had JUST gotten back from China, she was little, and it was freezing, so we just bundled her up in her stroller, and came back home within no time.  And last year, she was still in the hospital with that pesky bone marrow transplant.  Also, some cousins came to join us, and that made it twice the fun!  And I think Sarah had the BEST costume in the neighborhood...

 Her dream to be a red light came true!  (Okay...she's a traffic light-red, yellow and green.)  :)

CUTE HAIR!  (Done by big sister, Cassandra)

 Not so sure about the pumpkin guts...


 Here we go...



 Cassandra and Sarah did one together..a face on the front, and a face on the back. : )

 Lego head!

 Spin on the traditional

 Fun with cousins!

 Our own adorable red light.  I could eat her all up. (And isn't my husband incredibly talented??)

 Sisters ready to go!

 Hooray for candy!