Thursday, December 27, 2012

Unexpected Christmas

God is so incredibly amazing!

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something so special, something beyond myself and even my family. At a local level, David and I were able to be part of the Unexpected Christmas Store by providing gifts for a family in need, but also by helping out at the store, wrapping gifts.

And collectively, as a church, we were able to give in an incredible way. Check out these videos.


Unexpected Christmas Store from Ridge Church on Vimeo.




This last video was shown at our Christmas Eve service. I didn't see a dry eye in the place.
What a beautiful thing.

Christmas: the short version; more to come at a later date

It's been a little crazy at my house this week. :)
We were gone from Friday until Monday, enjoying Christmas at Mimi and Papa's house on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and then at Grandpa and Grandma's house Sunday and Monday.
We went straight to church from Grandma's on Monday evening. Came home and went straight to bed so Santa could come.
Woke up on Tuesday morning (at 9:15! Thanks for the Christmas present, kids!) and enjoyed the bounty. :)
Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt B came over later that afternoon to see what Santa had brought.
I worked yesterday. I'm working today.
Xander has a stomach bug. :(
I haven't even had time to upload my pictures to my computer. And by my computer, I mean any computer, but especially my brand new MacBook Pro. Yippee!! What a surprise that was!
One day I'll have a chance to sit down and look at that thing...and upload pictures.
But until then, enjoy this one picture I happened to take with my phone.
My little boy was thrilled to have his very own rideable, Lightning McQueen.
Hope your Christmas was merry and bright!
 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stop


A while back, Xander and I were making words with his letter cookies. I was so proud of him!
And then I started thinking about this particular word on a deeper level.
Stop.
Stop and think about your son sitting before you.
Stop and think about all the blessings God has given.
Stop and remember the greatest gift of all - Jesus.
Stop.
Just stop and listen.
Enjoy the moment.


Merry Christmas!



 
Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.


I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas this year!
We love y'all!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Teachable spirit

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9

This has been on my heart over the past few days. This is what I strive for. I've heard this so many times, especially in certain sermons at Ridge church where we always talk about partnering with parents. And how important it is for us, as parents, to teach our children.

I know that I want my children to be teachable. I want them to love to learn. I want them to be humble and open and awestruck at the things they're learning.

And then it hits me. Something I've known and maybe...forgot?

They will only be teachable if I am teachable.

I'm their model right now. That scares me to death on most days, but there's no point in hiding from reality. The truth is that David and I have the most influence on our children right now. And since I'm home with them for basically all but 20ish hours per week -

I really am their biggest influence.

Wow. Soak that up for a minute.
This won't always be the case, so I want to make the most of the time I have to influence my kids.

Here are some things I've been doing with my kids - they're not a list of what you should or shouldn't be doing, they're just things I do. And I'm sure there are many other opportunities I'm missing to live out Christ with my kids. If you have any suggestions, please share!

*I pray with them whenever we get in the car. Just about the day or about something heavy on my heart or a prayer of thanksgiving for something really cool that happened. The fact is, I talk to God with my kids. And in the car, they're a captive audience. :)
*Xander, David and I pray together each night. We each take a turn. I can hear mine and David's words coming out in Xander's little boy speech. It's so sweet. And teaches me how small-minded and narrowly focused my views can be sometimes. :)
*I pray over Amelia Jayne, especially at nap and bedtimes.
*We pray together before meals. Just one more place to fit in prayers with my kiddos.
*I serve at church on Sundays and beyond. This is something I want my kids to learn. It's important that we serve others and live out our love for the Creator of the universe. I want to be a good example for them when it comes to my actions, as well as my words.
*I take my kids to church on a regular basis. Enough said.
*I send my kids to a Christ-centered preschool/daycare.
*I leave my kids with a babysitter every Wednesday night so that David and I can attend a small group. I know it sounds weird to say that I do this "with" my kids, when really I guess I do this for my kids. I think it shows them that time spent in fellowship with other Christians, studying God's word and learning more about Him is important. Xander uses "Bible study" and "small group" as part of his normal vocabulary now. :)

What things do you do with your kids to teach them to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength?"



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Littlest Angel



Xander and David went to see The Littlest Angel with Xander's preschool class last Thursday morning. They had a great time! I was working, but a nice thing about working at ImaginOn - I got to sneak in the theatre and watch my little man sit on the front row, enthralled with the happenings on the stage. My little angel is growing up so fast! I can't believe he's already going to plays and being such a big boy. One of the great things about his school being uptown is that they were able to walk from school to ImaginOn. It was great! I think my boys had a blast. :)

Heavy heart

My heart has been heavy regarding the recent shooting in Connecticut.
I don't really know what to say about it, but I can't get it off my mind and heart.
Those children were just babies.

I've been thinking about it ever since I found out.
On Saturday when I dropped my son off at a birthday party.
That morning while I was working at our "Unexpected Christmas" event at church.
While I was helping clean up after the event and on into the night so that we could have our first service in the new building.
On Sunday while I was sitting in the new building, listening to the worship band and praising Jesus.
While I was serving little children in our Waumba environment.
While I was driving my own children to our hometown church so they could watch Grandma and Ee-oo sing in the cantata.
Yesterday as I dropped my own sweet, innocent babies off at preschool.
Then when I picked them up.
As I got up and snuggled my baby girl this morning and then drove off to work.

Every activity I go through seems to remind me of how precious life is and the kind of world we live in.

You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. James 4:14


Some of my friends said some things much better than I could articulate any of my own thoughts, so I'll let their words speak to you, as they did to me.

http://thejudyjourney.blogspot.com/2012/12/home.html

http://tashavia.blogspot.com/2012/12/dont-choose-fear.html

The Voice paid tribute to the victims with this beautiful rendition of "Hallelujah"

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Small Group

I just love our small group right now. We've been together for the past 15 months, and some of us even longer than that. We've had some rocky times and some ups and downs. Three of us in the group had babies within 6 weeks of each other last September-October. That led to us missing a lot of group times. Another girl had a baby last May. Another is pregnant now. That makes it nice to have folks in the same stage of life, and challenging because we're all trying to figure this whole parenting thing (read: babysitter thing) out.
We've been learning some great things, though. We've been sharing life together, which is what it's all about. I'm thankful to have these wonderful people in my life. These people I can open up to, love, pray for and with, and enjoy their company.
Right now we're reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I'll admit to not liking this book when we first started. I'm still not sure I'm sold on it. However, we just finished chapter 6 and I'm feeling somewhat more on board. The first few chapters are real and relevant and Francis Chan sure tells it like it is. Sometimes, though, I don't need for people to tell me like it is. I live in an all-too-real world at times and when someone consistently tells me I'm insignificant and may not be the "good soil" I think I am, causing me to doubt and question and feel significantly worse about my self, well, sometimes that's the last thing I need.
It's an interesting dilemma. I want to be real with myself and fix the things that need fixing and make changes in my life to be more like Jesus. And it's important to have people in your life who will tell you Truth in a kind and loving way (or basically in the way you most need it to be told) but there are times in my life that I already feel bombarded by my own insecurities and insignificance. Those are the times I need to be lifted up, encouraged, and loved on. And that's where I've been for the last couple of months - needing love and encouragement, not sermons on how awful I am.
I'm coming out of my funk, finally. :) I'm starting to feel more like myself - positive, upbeat, joyful. I have been sitting in God's presence in a new and different way than I ever have. In a way that I feel free.
That's something we talked about in group last night. The question was asked:
"Does the Christian life feel free to you? Or do you feel bound to obey a system of moral commands?"
And I told the group how I've been feeling lately. I don't feel tied or in bondage to a certain way to spend time with my Savior. Maybe I get 15 minutes driving around for work to listen to a sermon. Maybe I take 20 minutes at the beginning of the day to read some Scripture. Maybe I don't get an alotted time, but I just go throughout my day talking to God and asking for help, thanking Him for certain things or moments, praising Him for the beauty of this earth.
And because balance is such a difficult thing, I'm learning that I praise and worship God when I take a more "wholistic" view of worshiping Him. It blesses God when I take care of my body by exercising. It is praise to Him when I spend quality time with my kids. It is glorifying to Him when I take the time to help friends/strangers/co-workers in need. Of course it's important for me to spend time in prayer and to set aside time to read God's Word. But the cool thing is that it's all about a relationship. Sometimes I spend lots of time with God, just like I might sometimes spend lots of time with my husband or my kids. And other days I may not spend as much time with Him. But God knows me and He knows my heart. Our relationship doesn't disappear if I don't spend as much time as I "should" with Him. And lately, because I've been more free in my relationship and my approach to God, I don't feel guilty if I can't spend the time that my legalistic self wants to plan, organize and execute. I just go throughout my day, simply praising God and worshiping Him in everything I do.

Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
Psalm 103:2
(Emphasis mine)

Updates

For those of you on pins and needles - I did get Xander's birth certificate in time, and I was able to apply for the lottery. Now we wait until January when we're issued a pin number to actually submit his name into the lottery. Then we wait a couple more months to find out if he got in. I'll keep you posted.

Amelia Jayne got four new teeth over the Thanksgiving holiday. She was a bit fussier than usual while we were in Johnson City over the holiday, and she was running a fever. I actually had David's uncle (an ER doc) take a look in her ears, afraid she might have an ear infection. Luckily, she didn't. I later found out she must have had a virus because she got roseola. And her first four molars. All at once. No wonder she was cranky! I would have been, too.
This brings her tooth count up to 12. In case you were keeping track. I know Xander is. :)

We're still waiting on Ame's baby, Emory, to gain some weight before he can have his major surgery. Some good news is that Ame got to hold him for the first time a few days ago. Some bad news is that he got a staph infection last week. He seems to be getting better, from what I can tell on facebook. Continue to keep him in your prayers. He has good days and bad days.

David and I went to the Panthers game last Sunday. It was so much fun! The Panthers won against the Falcons (the best team in the League right now) and we had great seats. Thanks to David's mom who got him the tickets for his birthday back in June. It was a great time! A little warm (around 68F)for my taste, in December, but better warm than snowy. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pics

Shrek baby! :)
 

Yummy cookie + bedhead Shrek ears
 
 
Hanging in her brother's chair, even though she has one just like it (only with fairies on it) right beside it. Typical little sister. :)
 
 
They love each other so much. It's so sweet!
 In the bottom pic, Amelia Jayne seems to be pointing at Curious George with her hand and her foot. Ha!




Library awesomeness

A couple of weeks ago I took the kids to ImaginOn. I had every intention of going to story time, visiting with co-workers, playing with some of the toys there and heading home.
 
Amelia Jayne is playing on the wooden fire truck in the passenger seat while Xander drives.
I wish this photo was better. Her smile is so great! She was so happy. :)
 
Little did I know (even though I work there!) that the big man himself would be there. So, of course, Xander wanted to see him. I wasn't prepared with my fancy camera. My kids didn't have "Christmas-y" colors on, but it was fun. :)
There was no line when we went, so that was even better.
 

 
Xander did great this year. He went right up to Santa, talked to him, told him what he wanted, and hung out for a bit.
 
 
 
I wasn't even going to try with Amelia Jayne, but Santa was kind and offered. He said, "Maybe if you just set her down quickly while I'm not looking at her..."
It was kind of you, Santa, but Amelia Jayne did not go for it.
My favorite part is Xander's face, though. It's as if he's saying, "What's wrong with you, Amelia Jayne? It's just Santa!" Either that or, "This is totally embarrassing, Mom. Get me out of here!"
 
The Children's theatre does something every year that they call "Santa's Bag." You can take your children to buy gifts for other members of their family. I gave Xander $10 and he went with an elf to purchase gifts (so Mommy will be surprised on Christmas morning, too!). He bought gifts for Amelia Jayne, Mommy, Daddy, Papa, Mimi, Grandma and Grandpa - with $.75 left over. Pretty cool!
 
 

 
When we got home, this is what I found. All that nonsense just wore the girl out. :)
 
 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Struggles

I've been struggling lately. Internally. I've had no self-confidence, low self-image, and little self-worth.
I would cry because I just felt miserable about myself. I was just in a funk and couldn't bring myself out of it.

And then I had a fight with David. Because of my own insecurities, not because of him. We came home that evening and I was basically at my weakest point.

I found a package in the mailbox. I opened it and found this necklace inside.


These are the words that were in the package.

In God's heart, you are...
created

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 NIV
chosen
The Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession. Deuteronomy 14:2 NIV
celebrated
He will take great delight in you..He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 NIV
cherished
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

Thank you, God, for knowing when I would need this at the exact right moment. Amazing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Funnies from the little man - Part 4

X: I can't touch my spine right now since my body's in my booster seat.

X: Can you hop on one foot?
Mimi: No. Can you?
X: No, but when I learn to be a man I can.

X: On my next birthday I'm going to be 4 (holds up 4 fingers) and then I'll be 5 and then 6 (continues to add fingers while counting) and then 7 and then 8 and then 9 and then 10!
(Pauses)
I don't think I'm going to be 11.
Mimi: Why not?
X: I don't have any more fingers.

X: (Holds hand out) Here, Mimi.
Mimi: What is it?
X: A bogey.
Mimi: I don't want that! Let me get you a tissue.
(Brings Xander a tissue)
Here, Xander. Put the bogey in this.
X: Oh, that's okay. I just put it in my pocket.

One evening we were driving home from Mocksville when, out of the blue, Xander screamed out. We asked him what was wrong and he never told us. Then we started watching him. He was trying to watch Curious George, but he was so tired that his eyelids just couldn't stay up. At one point his eyes competely closed and he started crying and wailed, "I CAN'T SEE!!!!"
As we attempted to hold back the laughter, David told him, "Well, open your eyes!"

If you like these, check out some other funnies here, here, and here.

Ice Cream!

You love the hair, don't you. :)
Check out this video:
 
video