Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
It is now time to just relax and enjoy all those fun presents that showed up under the tree......
Or just hang out and revel in the fact that we have no responsibilities for a few days.
Well, outside of laundry. And dishes. And meal making.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
I'm quite exhausted right now after all the festivities, but wanted to at least share some pictures. Abby had a fantastic first Christmas - she enjoyed every bit of it. From the singing carols at church, to "Christmas Eve pj's", sleeping over in her brothers' room, dragging mom and dad out of bed, etc... And she loved that we got to have deep fried turkey again.
Josiah really got a kick out of getting a birthday cake for Jesus. I think that might have been his favorite part of the whole weekend. We even let him blow out the candle, which as someone pointed out, will just serve to confuse us years from now when I get around to scrapbook these pictures. We'll be asking if it was his birthday, or what.
So, although I actually have about 200 pictures, here's just a few of our favorites.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I am making a ton of loaves of cranberry bread, but I don't realistically think 17 of them for tomorrow is doable. So I'll be throwing in some magic bars as well. Maybe some fudge. ???
So my kitchen is pretty insane right now, but I have to say I love it!! I love the mess of baking, mostly because my kids clean it up - and because I LOVE the results!
And speaking of loving the craziness, it has really stood out to me this year how much people like to complain about the busyness of Christmas. Oh, too much to do, too many parties, all this baking, too much money spent, etc... And a lot of Christians will say that we've gotten away from the "true" meaning of Christmas. But I say, that all depends on your perspective. It's true that for many, Christmas is void of any true celebration of Christ. But for those of us that KNOW what this holiday is really about, that know we are celebrating the birth of a SAVIOR, then yes, we should be going ALL out. Yes, I want to put bright lights ALL over my house - I want a BIG tree, I want to have a GIANT party EVERY night, I want to play my Christmas music as loud as possible, for as many days as possible, I want to do EVERYTHING I can to shout out to the world that CHRIST was born. And I absolutely LOVE that we have not just a day, but a full SEASON to all out CELEBRATE this fact. That doesn't mean I don't live out my faith the rest of the year, but times set apart to remember and to celebrate ARE important - just like they were in Biblical times.
I don't give my loved ones presents because I feel obligated to. I do it because God gave me the most important present of all 2,000 years ago in sending His Son, and I want to take the time to show my love to others with a gift as well. It doesn't have to be big, or expensive - I could never match the gift He gave. It is just a way of saying you are loved, you are special, you are thought of. It doesn't matter if I spent $5 or $50, or maybe even $0 but just took the time to do make or do something special
I don't want to be guilted into thinking I should celebrate less. Like somehow I am more spiritual if I buy less gifts, or bake less, or turn off my Christmas music. I celebrate God in plenty of quiet ways all year long. For the month of December, I say turn it up a notch.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
This last picture is from the day we made popcorn balls. I broke out the good ol' air popper - which I've had since college - and hadn't brought out in SO long none of my kids had any recollection of it whatsoever. But it still works!! I absolutely loved the look on Abby's face when she saw what was going on in there!
Monday, December 6, 2010
I have seen His face, upclose, pretty much every day since then.
In taking a scared little girl and teaching her to trust.
Teaching her that families are forever and love unconditionally.
In teaching a momma to love a child she did not bear.
A child she did not get to rock, and bathe, and love.....
A child she did not have the privilege of loving for the first (almost) nine years of her life.
I have seen His face in my biological children's eyes, as they love their new sister as though she had been here forever.
I have seen His face in my other family members, who have all accepted and loved Abby the same way - as though this was the most natural thing in the world, as though she was always here.
And that type of unconditional love, friends, comes only from God.
But that's only the start of it still.......
In adopting Abby, I became part of this giant network of adoptive families. And I have had the joy of seeing the face of God as I witness Him at work in their lives.
The stories are many, they are beautiful, and they are touching. And they all have His fingerprints all over them.
The story I want to share today is one particularly close to my heart, because it is happening in the life of a dear friend. Melissa and I have never met in person, but we connected with each other in 2009 when we were both waiting to hear if China had received our paperwork. I believe it was even before either one of us knew who our children were. We then had the privilege of supporting each other through the roller coaster of international adoption - what a ride that was!!! In November of 2009 I got to follow along via the amazing world of computers as Melissa and Ryan traveled to China to bring little Everest home. And then I got to keep following along over the next year and watched them mold into a family. Well, their story doesn't end there. To hear what awesome twist God just brought into their lives, visit their new blog . If you're able to get involved and help them complete this story, please do so, whether by donating or just backing them up in prayer.
And to my tech - savvy friends out there, if anyone knows how to make them a nice little button for their blog that would be AWESOME. I am clueless in such matters!!
In closing, let me assure you, I feel like I fall short every single day. Not one day comes to an end that I don't feel like a failure in one way or another. I am so glad that in spite of all my shortcomings and imperfections, He still extends His grace and allows me so close a glimpse at His face.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Not a tough week around here, but for a lot of my loved ones all over the place.
DH's grandma passed away this weekend, and will certainly be missed. Even though we've been far away for so long, we all have fond memories of the visits we shared with them every time we did make it home. And it stinks to not be closer to family at a time like this.
My cousin P is hospitalized and very seriously ill, with a lot of unknowns and unanswered questions. She is terribly missing her little man who is only about three months old.
And my parents are visiting my uncle who has been very bravely fighting leukemia for a lot longer than anyone ever thought possible, but we don't know how much fight he's got left in him.
Closer to home, one of Lanie's volleyball teammates lost her dad in an accident this week. Pretty shocking and a great reminder that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. My heart is breaking for this little girl and her family.
So, if you could take a minute to lift all these needs up in prayer, it would be greatly appreciated by many more people than you can imagine.
I'll lighten the mood later this week with pictures of our more cheerful happenings, like Jake's 12th birthday (yeah, TWELFTH!!) and our beautiful - yet- not - as - big - as -we're - used - to Christmas tree.
Oh- and lovely pics of Abby fully enjoying her first Christmas season.