Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Difference a Choice Makes

After the busyness of the last few weeks, it feels good to just sit down and have a breather.  It was a good Christmas, besides the fact that I probably put on 20 lbs. in 5 days.  I Could. Not. Stop. Eating.  Not a good thing to be pregnant over the holidays, but at least it gives you an excuse to go back for seconds and thirds.

This Christmas left me feeling very thankful for what the Lord's given me.  Eric and I both have such awesome families.  And it's just something I take for granted too often.

My grandma turned 80 over Christmas and we had a party for her.

She was so cute, she wrote a book about her life and gave it to all of us.  I can't think of a more perfect gift or one that I'll cherish more.

As we sat down to eat, my uncle prayed and thanked God for how her life has had an impact on our family eternally.  I've never really thought of that before but as he said it, it made me feel grateful for her in a different way.

I've always been grateful for her...


but I never really considered the impact that her choice to follow Christ had on the rest of us.  What would life be like if she had not made that choice? Would my dad be a believer? Would my parents have even married?  Would I even be here? 

It's kind of one of those things that makes you realize that you never know what kind of impact your decision to follow Christ has on others. Who knew I would find myself praising the Lord today for a choice that was made over 70 years ago?

This Week's Verse:

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
Matthew 25:34-36

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Just Can't do it, Captain

I am by nature a pretty competitive person.  Right now that competitiveness has pretty much been reduced to a intense game of cards.  So since I don't have much of an outlet - like sports - for it anymore, I tend to get really ticked when I can't do something that someone else can.

Here's something I just CAN NOT do and everyone else seems to have no problem with it......

Make sugar cookies.

I try around Christmas time every year, and every year presents a new problem:

This year my first batch of cookies looked like this:

Last time I checked sugar cookies were not supposed to look 90 years old.

And boy was I ticked. 

Let's just say my kids lost interest after I rolled out the first batch. 

I either roll them out too thin or make them to thick.

Then they stick to the counter and I can't get them off.

Then I say some Christian curse words.

Then I tell the girls "I need some space."

Then I put the dough in a ball again, throw down some flour and try again.

Then I miraculously get some on the pan.

Then I burn them.

Then my husband walks in and I say something mean to him to get some frustration out.

I just can't do it, Captain! 
(this is a line off some movie that my family always quotes with a very convincing Brittish accent, currently it's driving me nuts that I can't remember which movie.)

But my competitive nature will not let this lick me.  Some year I will master it!  In the meantime, I did discover that frosting covers a MULTITUDE of sins.

Since the cookies tasted okay I even had the audacity to take them to neighbors.

The girls joined back in after I finally got the cookies "done."  Then we had fun after I cooled off a bit.

I know this begs the question, "Is it really worth all the stress?" 

All I can say to that is "yes, until I can make them as good as anyone else."

This Week's Verse:

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Psalm 55:22

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Birthday Party for Jesus

This was my second annual attempt at hosting a birthday party for Jesus in my home.  I decided last year that we put so much emphasis on the girls' birthdays that this would be a good way to show them that Jesus is just as much a part of this family as they are. 

We had a blast doing it last year, only I decided it would be a lot less stressful for me if I asked a couple of my friends to help this year.  And my wonderful party plannin' friends said "yes!"

Malinda and Angela - thanks, you guys are the best!

For the two times I've done this, I've realized there are so few resources out there on ideas for a Jesus birthday party. So for those of you who want to do this in your homes sometime, I will go over some of our ideas. (And for those of you who couldn't possibly add one more thing to their plate at this time of year - believe me, I GET IT!!!  There are many ways to celebrate Jesus's birth as a family and this is just one!)

We decided to take the "Angel" route this year and talk about the angels role in announcing the birth of Jesus.  Angela put these cute invites together:

I included a little angel ornament with them because I don't know about your kids, but mine LOVE getting a little something in the mail.

I made some halo's for the kids to wear:

Angela did an angel window decoration craft for the kids by gluing tissue paper and to waxed paper. 

Malinda read the Bible story starting with the Angel's announcement and did a "find the hidden angels" game:

Last year we had the kids bring some of their toys to give away to a local charity.  This year we had the kids bring gifts to Blake to welcome him home.

He was so cute opening them!

Lastly, we had cake and ice cream!

I free-handed this Angel off the invitation....I totally don't have any drawing abilities. So, I was pretty proud of myself and as my sister would say, "the force was with me" when I decorated it.

After everyone left, I found my inner control freak stressing about whether or not we got any point across. Sometimes I wonder if all the kids care about is playing together!  I had done a lot of praying over our party and above all I just wanted it to be a God-honoring night. 

But at the end of the day, I remembered each little face that rushed to my door with excitement.  Each little smile in anticipation of the next thing. Each child eager to see their present opened by Blake.  And each scream, squeal and squeak of joy. 

The Lord was there and I'm pretty sure he was smiling too.

This Week's Verse:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Are you Kidding Me?

Please tell me you have days like this:

My girls had a fight over this today...

Not just a little fight, a serious tears and screaming fight.  Over a broken piece of window cling that is 1 centimeter big at best.  They didn't even know what it was, just that one had it and the other one didn't.

So I said, "Are you kidding me?  You are actually fighting over this??" And I confiscated it, like I always do when they fight over something.  They fight over it...it becomes mine.

So now the window cling is in the trash where it probably came from in the first place.

And I'm realizing there are days when I feel like I have taught nothing useful, done nothing right, am fighting a losing battle, and feel like just throwing in the towel.

And today is one of them.

But at least some fights are worth a good laugh.
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