Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the Night Before Christmas

This has been one difficult year.  I remember reflecting on 2011 and for the first time in my life thinking, “I just can’t wait until this year is over.  2012 has to be better than this!”  Today as I was out and about, finishing up the grocery shopping for Christmas, I got tears in my eyes as I thought, “ 2011 was horrible, but 2012 topped it!  I’m declaring 2013 the year of redemption for me and my family.” 
That little baby that was born this time of year, the baby I wrote about the other day, his purpose in being born was so massive and if I spend my whole life trying to receive all that his birth gave, I will never get it all! 
 So much has been taken away from us in the past 2 years – what would have been our 4th baby, a dear mentor and friend who went to be with Jesus, one of our favorite families who moved way too far away, my husband 4 days a week as he worked the grave yard shift, a beautiful Christmas dinner with friends and family, and this year, when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, so much more was taken away.  Through my debilitating anxiety, a lot was taken away from me.  Several speaking engagements were offered to me, something I’ve prayed for and dreamed of, but I was unable to accept them.  The opportunity to help in my daughters’ classroom was an impossibility for me.  Birthday parties, dinner dates, trips that required air travel, helping out in Sunday School, precious moments with my children – I couldn’t participate in any of them.  But more than moments or events, my confidence was taken away from me.
 I’ve always been very capable, and this last year I’ve been completely incapable of so much.  Feeling weak, powerless, sick and fearful left my foundation totally broken apart.  A precious friend told me that God gave her a verse for me,
“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.  In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves.”  Psalm 127:1,2
A few foundations in my life were broken in 2012 and this verse taught me that I can try to rebuild and reclaim what has been broken and taken away, but I will be building on a faulty foundation.  God must heal and restore the broken foundations in my life and then He can rebuild a life that is stronger and better and will stand.
I’ve had to totally surrender all my everything.  Surrender my confidence.  Surrender my capability.  Surrender my ideas of the best ways to rebuild.  Surrender my dreams of a wonderful marriage.  Surrender my plans for my life.  Surrender.
As Christmas day rapidly approaches, like tomorrow!  I’ve been a little apprehensive as I’ve reflected on last Christmas when my nightmare with anxiety really got started.  I’ve been nervous and fearful that it’s going to happen again.  The mere memory haunts me.
But I’ve thought once again of that baby.  He came to break into time and reroute history.  His birth took the past and totally redirected the future.  He broke the pattern of what had always been to create a whole new beginning.  He stopped the waiting, longing and striving.  He stopped the fear and anxious wondering.  He stopped the world and started a life of freedom and fulfillment.
The prophet Isaiah said, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”  Isaiah 61:1-3
That little baby born in the barn, grew up to stand in the synagogue where he grew up and read from the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.  The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  Luke 4:18-21
Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that one would come to give good news to the poor, give sight to the blind, release the oppressed and give FREEDOM to the prisoners.  He proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favor.  This is what I am receiving this Christmas.  I will not be afraid of tomorrow.  I will no longer be captive to fear.  I will not be oppressed by the evil one.  I’m trading despair for a garment of praise!  I’m trading the ashes of 2012 for the beauty of 2012!  I’m trading grief and mourning for the oil of gladness.
(I noticed that my reflection last year over 2011 included the same passage of scripture!  I guess I keep receiving and claiming the promises that Jesus came to give as each year the enemy tries to bring devastation, grief, pain and death. 
Little does he know that we keep trading his junk for the joy of Christ!!)
 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I will be back here in the new year! 
I hope you’ll join me in receiving all that this little baby came to give us.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas

Hey friends and followers!
I thought I'd share our Christmas Card with you all and wish you
the Merriest of Christmases and the most Happy New Year!
Twas the night before Christmas and all over town, everyone was searching for the most magnificent crown.  A baby was to be born the very next day, and although he would be King, he would lay in some hay.  No palace or court or royal gold cradle, just a barn and some cows in an old lowly manger.  But that tiny baby King would grow to much more, He would die so the world he could redeem, heal and restore.  Our Moma received this in her toughest year yet, and were it not for that baby, it would be one she’d rather forget!  But in the midst of her struggle, pain and her grief, that baby has blessed us beyond our belief.  Our girls are in first grade and working so hard, they ride on 2 wheels and jump rope in the yard.  Our son started soccer and goes to preschool, he plays with his cars and thinks Spiderman’s cool.  Our Daddy completed his year working through the night, and now works in the day which has made our life bright.  We have so much to celebrate as God has not been a stranger.  He is with us and knows us and it started with his birth in the manger.  Won’t you come to His party and receive His love and His joy?  He can change you forever which is better than the gift of a toy.  The party is starting and the candles we must light, so
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Cookies

It's become a holiday tradition that Grammie comes to bake with the children before Christmas.
This year she arrived a little under the weather, so we missed a few days while she stayed in bed!
But we made up for it on the last day.

One of our favorite cookies to make is the Spritz Cookies
They are easy, we get to use the cookie press, and the children love to sprinkle them!
OH, and they're delicious!!
 *Remember my tip last year,
tape off half of the holes on the sprinkle shaker so that they don't pour out so fast!
Grammie brought super cute aprons for us this year!
Even the little dude got in on the action with his Home Depot apron!!
Christmas is such a special time of year!
Lately, I've heard so many things like,
"Christmas is all about the kids."
"Christmas is all about family and friends being together."
"Christmas is all about being cozy on the couch with the tree lights on and a good Christmas movie."
Those things are lovely, but that really isn't what Christmas is about at all. 
Christmas is all about Jesus. 
God saw the world and all its striving and decided to come down and end all of that. 
He loved us so much that He came to us!  He doesn't expect us to strive to get to Him!  He knows we could never do that!  We'll never be "good enough."
So He sent His Son Jesus to be with us, one of us, and end our striving.
Christmas is all about God loving us so much that He sent us a Savior.
He could have sent us a rich man so that we all could have more money.
He could have sent us a lawyer to defend us.
He could have sent us law enforcement to protect us.
But He knew we needed salvation, so He sent us a Savior.
What do you need to be saved from today?
Jesus didn't just come to save us from hell one day.
He came to save us from the hell we live in today.
Evil.  Fear.  Sin.  Poor choices.  Broken families.  Grief.  Sorrow.  Pain.
He was born so that He would know our suffering and ultimately He'd suffer to save us.
He is our Savior.
Knowing Jesus and knowing that He understands our suffering brings great peace and promise in life.  Even in the midst of the darkness that our world suffers from, there is hope.  
God with us. 
He is not apart from us in our suffering, He is WITH us.
And that is what Christmas is all about.  
God sent us a Savior.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Well, Grammie came into town to make Christmas cookies with the children,
but she got sick wich put the baking on hold for a day!
On the mend today, we went shopping while the children were in school
and look who we ran into!
Yep!  Santa getting a pedicure before his shift!
One little smile in the midst of a tragic day.
Praying for all the families who experienced the worse kind of evil today.
Oh God, deliver us from evil.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bloggy Friends

When I started this blog almost 3 years ago I had no idea what I was in for.  I knew nothing about blogging.  I didn't read any blogs.  I innocently thought that I was one of the only people doing this!  HA!  But now I'm more than amazed by the blogging world and the community that is formed within it. 
Who knew?!!
I was blown away when I had my miscarriage how many women, I've never met in person, reached out to me to pray for me and encourage me.  Writing about my miscarriage on my blog really allowed me to be ministered to in deep ways that I wouldn't have been otherwise.
And when I started to write about my struggle with anxiety - this one still blows me away - I've been blessed by the many women who have share their stories of anxiety and have prayed for me and not only encouraged me, but passed along helpful resources and hope.  It's been incredible.
This little blogging world has shown me that we are not alone in our struggles.
Because of blogging, I've experienced the body of Christ in new ways.
(Now I'm sounding like a PSA!)
Through this journey of blogging, there have been a couple of women that have become friends.  Sweet women who live in different states, have different backgrounds, have different life experiences, but have become friends of mine.
One lady in particular is a treasure to me.
She is a love from Oklahoma.  She also has twins.  She loves her husband and talks about him often!  And she loves Jesus.
Just through leaving consistent comments on my blog, we started a friendship that now includes texting! 
Just last night she texted me to pray for her friend that was being held hostage in the mall in Oregon with the shooter.  I immediately stopped dinner and prayed.  Praise God that her friend is safe!
I recently got a package in the mail from Rachel.  How cool is that? 
Not electronic mail, but real mail!!
She made me these adorable Christmas coasters!
Aren't they awesome?
I'm totally in love with them.  And her!
And paired with a cup of hot tea and Mini Gingerbread Men with White Fudge Icing from Trader Joe's, well, what could be better?
Thank you Rachel.
 And thank you blogging world for new friends, encouragement and the power of prayer amongst Jesus lovers.
Check out Rachel's Blog here

Monday, December 10, 2012

10 on 10 December

10 on 10 December
10 photos - one an hour on the 10th of December :)


1.  Favorite journal - alone time before the children are up
2.  remembering to move the elves, still before the children are up!
3.  breakfast
4.  packing lunches
5.  Spidey walked the girls to school to make sure they were safe!
6.  showing my husband how much I love him by cleaning my closet!
7.  for the glory of God - Shekinah - acupuncture apointment
8.  buying stamps for Christmas cards
9.  driving home after errands
10.  little Spidey after his nap

Friday, December 7, 2012

Santa's Breakfast

Years ago we thought it would be fun to have Santa come to the house and take the children's Christmas wishes and leave them with a small toy before the big night. 
The first year didn't go so well!
But the second year was a hit!
Then the third year ended with, "Santa looks and sounds like Grandpa!" 
So that ended our Santa visits to the house!
But this year we thought it would be fun to kick off the Christmas season with Santa's Breakfast, inviting our little friends to come in their jammies for some morning fun and this year we told everyone that our Daddy was going to pretend to be Santa!  We didn't try to fool anyone!

Somehow I didn't get a photo of all the food once it was on the table!  But I wanted the menu to be simple with things I could make ahead so I could enjoy the party:
Ham and Cheddar Quiche (I made the day before and just reheated)
2 kinds of Monkey Bread (also assembled the night before and baked as guests arrived which made the house smell wonderful!)
Cutie Oranges and Grapes
Cranberry Bread
Banana Bread
Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Bread

We had a little Hot Cocoa Bar

Thanks to the dollar store, we hung up red plastic table cloths around our garage and with some twinkle lights, we turned it into our gingerbread house factory!

I made 22 gingerbread houses out of graham crackers the night before (if you haven't done this, is so easy and gives everyone the fun of decorating without all the work of baking real gingerbread!)

After the houses were done, I wrapped them in cellophane with a little bow so it was easy for everyone to take them home without making a big mess.
Our church was collecting new toys to open a shop for local families in need where they can come pick out toys for their children, so I invited the families to bring toys to donate and it was awesome to see all the toys come in!
We had a little table set up where children could write letters to Santa. 
I had no idea this would be so popular!

The "Daddy Santa" ran through the backyard and was greeted with lots of screams and giggles!

Can I just say, having a party in your pajamas is one of the greatest things I've ever done!
And as they left, our guests took home some Magic Reindeer Food (that my girls made earlier that week) and their gingerbread house.

The End!
Have a Merry Weekend!


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