Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Have yourself a little Christ-like Celebration!

Go ahead and party a little! This is the birthday party of the big guy Himself! It doesn't get any better than this! Live it up and be silly! Thanks to His birth and death on a cross, we are FREE!
I love you, my Bloggy friends and family. I hope your Christmas is extra merry this year.

"Missing Piece"

One of Kirby's friends wrote him this poem as she knew this would be our first Christmas without Kiley. (And, Kirby, thanks for letting me steal your blog post!)

"I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below.
With tiny lights, like Heaven's stars, reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear;
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear.
But the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you the joy their voices bring.
For it is beyond description to hear the angels sing.
I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart.
But I am not so far away, we really aren't apart.
I cannot tell you of the splendor or the peace inside this place
Can you imagine Christmas with our Savior, face to face?
I will ask him to light your spirit as I tell him of your love.
So then pray for one another as you lift your eyes above.
So be happy for me, dear ones, you know I hold you dear.
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I sent you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.
Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do.
For I can't count the blessing or love he has for each of you.
So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear.
Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Favorite Mouse

Ahhh, what a wonderful book for children. "The Tale of Despereaux" by Kate DiCamillo does not disappoint. Cade received this 269 page book last Christmas from his great grandparents. Trying to think of a way to get him to read it took almost a year, but alas, the perfect opportunity presented itself. The tale came out in a movie!

I decided that this was a wonderful opportunity to allow the boys to read a (quite large) book and then be rewarded by seeing it visually. So, we broke it up into 10 chapters a day. The three of us either snuggled in our big chair or on Cade's bed and read for about an hour each time. This was a little bit of a stretch for a 5 year old, but Eli managed well and is now excited to see the movie.

The story is full of wonderful themes such as forgiveness, redemption, and courage. True love wins in the end. Throw in a little soup, and you have yourself the perfect story. My favorite quote was, "There ain't a body, be it mouse or man, that ain't made better by a little soup."

One part of the book had my voice shaking and tears falling...but it is a great reminder that everyone needs to be loved and be asked what it is that their hearts desire.
So, off to the movies we go....when matinee' prices are in session!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Celebrating Jesus in His Human Form

I woke up this morning thinking of Jesus and how he was born as a human onto this real earth in a real city from a real woman's womb. This is simply mind-boggling. I think sometimes I don't like to think of Jesus in "human" terms because I must think it detracts from His holiness and GODNESS in some way. But this is simply not true. He is God and man. He is somehow, gloriously 100% God and 100% man.

As I lay in bed this morning, I was trying to figure out at what age did this human realize he was also God. As God, would Jesus always know...even at conception, in the womb, and while nursing? Or would it come to Him when He was around 12 and said he just had to be in His Father's house?

His parents knew His identity. Mary pondered these things in her heart. Did she also tell him He was the Son of God as she rocked him to sleep? Did Joseph tell him it was a joy to raise him as his son but at the same time, point Him to His Eternal Father?

I was also thinking of Jesus up in Heaven before he came to the earth. Was he nervous about being "born" and being such a helpless little babe? With the cross before Him, was he having second thoughts about the whole "Immanuel"...God with us thing? I guess God doesn't get nervous or have second thoughts. But, I wonder just what was going through his head then. I like to think that he was dancing around the Father, saying, "This will work! This is the plan that will bring them hope and redemption. This is the plan that will bring them home!"

As I reflected, I became so grateful to Jesus for sharing in our humanity. After losing a loved one this year, I am comforted that Jesus did as well. He wept over the loss of his friend, Lazarus. This is really amazing to me. He knew he was going to raise him from the dead, and he still wept. Grief overcame him like it does the rest of us humans.

I think of someone I know who has battled cancer this year. What a scary road to walk. She must be comforted knowing that Jesus was frightened and scared about the road to the cross. He begged the Father to let it be done another way. What comfort in knowing that obedience yields the best good.

What a joy it is for those who have lost jobs this year to be able to read the Word and see a human/God provide in such miraculous ways that some might call those tales "Fairy" and not truth. Picture being a fisherman and finding a gold coin in a fish's mouth. Think of bread and fish being exponentially multiplied to feed the multitude. The One who dwelt among them still dwells among us. He still often "nonhuman" ways.

Such love. To become a mere man and redeem mankind. Such love.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Losing Weight and Cute Sayings

I discovered how to burn 2000 calories in the span of one Saturday morning. I hopped on my treadmill and did alternate spurts of walking and running. My doctor friend, Michelle, says that 45 minutes is a good amount of time for cardio if your goal is to lose weight. I made it to 15 minutes. But, don't worry, the back of my calves were burning and my thighs were jiggling, so I am sure that it did some good.

After getting my heart rate up, I decided to utilize my fast metabolism and eat two pieces of bacon, a biscuit, and one fried egg. The key is balance. I thought two pieces of bacon instead of three would be the ticket to losing those unwanted pounds.

And now, the real clincher. Do this and you, too, will be on your way to a size 6. Bathe your 70 pound dog in the bathtub. Without help. Without a fancy dog sprayer. Your heart rate will get so high that the 10 pounds of chips that you later plan on dipping into 2 pounds of guac and salsa will not even matter. Don't worry about investing in an ab roller. The mere act of leaning over the tub will do the trick. If you don't have a 70 pound golden retriever, go ahead and get one. It will be a great investment.

And now, I leave you with two cute sayings from two cute boys.
#1. Sam, leave me alone. I am trying to get my BEAUTY sleep. By Eli, age 5 (and yes, he is a boy.)

#2. Eli, get off the bed. I have to make it frustrates me if I don't make it up. By Cade, age 8 (and yes, he is a boy!!)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gloom Gloom Go Away

It has been a bad day emotionally. I am loving the sun outside but I wish my heart matched its radiance. I have missed Kiley terribly today. I was wondering when it would hit, with Christmas approaching, and guess what? It hit.

I went this morning to get a few pictures off of an older CD developed of her. Man, looking at her glorious hazel eyes just about did me in.

Then, I went to the boys' CHAOTIC Christmas parties. There was something nagging at me in the back of my head all morning and when I got home I realized what it was. My sister had died while I was at a school party earlier this year. School parties aren't so much fun anymore.

I hate the line, "Time heals all wounds." How much time exactly does it take? I guess til eternity comes and there is no such thing as time. Only Jesus can heal wounds...and it will be in His timing.

I want to challenge you to pause and think of the families you personally know that have suffered tragedy this year. Chances are, they are on an emotional roller coaster this season. Say a special prayer for them and pray God's peace over them. I know they would appreciate it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The "F" Family!

This is Eric's cousin and his sweet family. Look at those baby blues on sweet baby girl! What a doll!

O Holy Night!

Ummm, I did not just put four different versions of O Holy Night on my Playlist! I had to make myself stop there...sadly neglecting Nat King Cole, Charlotte Church, Josh Groban, Mercy Me, and Il Divo.

What can I say, it is maybe my all time favorite song and for sure, my favorite Christmas song. The notes are just glorious and the words bring sheer joy to my heart. I love this time of year because it allows me to listen to my song over and over again. It also allows me to take a trip down sweet memory lane.

When I was just a wee little lass...a whoppin' 20 years of age, my knight in shining armor decided to propose and win me forever. He was quite the charmer. He took me to downtown Fayetteville, where the square was lit up with a trillion lights. We had gone the previous year and had the joy of taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Eric thought it would be perfect if he used that same idea for a perfect proposal. But guess what? There were NO horses or carriages that year! It was January 3rd, and so maybe they had gone home for the year. I was trying to play along as if I had no clue about his intentions, but I could really tell that he was distraught about this new development. We decided to walk around and see everything and then sit on a park bench and talk.

There was the most lovely Christmas music playing in the background. God is so sweet and caring and invested in even the tiniest details, I am telling you! Would you believe that MY song came on right as he proposed? I mean, it may as well have been angels singing at the sound of our news! The sweetest thing was that Eric had refrained from kissing me until the night we became engaged. In a way, it was our own little "Holy Night!" His lips were pure honey and we agreed that a quick engagement might be the best thing! :)

So, I tag you! If you are married, what is the story of your engagement?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not as Much Fun as it Looks!

This winter storm didn't produce fluffy snow that kids love to jump in. In fact, the only being in our family that loves it is our 70 pound golden retriever. Savannah runs and jumps and slides and tries to catch squirrels. She acts like a baby calf just released from the stall. She would stay out there all day if I let her! Sam didn't have as much fun as our sweet girl. No sirree, he kept falling on the 3 inch sheet of ice. What is fun about that? The bigger boys had a little fun playing a game of football on the skating rink...I mean in the backyard. Hope you and yours are staying toasty warm and drinking your fill of hot cocoa! And by the way, why is it that the more fatty parts of my body seem to be the coldest? You would think that the more insulation, the warmer those parts would stay! But, nooooo, my bootie cheeks are like a lump of ice right now! OK, back to scrapbooking and card making. I don't know why I like to do these things when the kids are out of school, but it is great to have a reason to play catch up!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Can you believe this??

We are getting hammered with ice and sleet! No school tomorrow! Yippee!

Ahhh, a wonderful Monday, indeed!

I am watching pure ice cover our streets and I am as giddy as can be. My kids got out of school early and they are all tucked in their rooms for rest and nap times. The Christmas tunes of "First Call" are filling my ears while Mandarin Orange hot tea and freshly baked Snickerdoodles are filling my tummy. The scents of my new Old Navy candles are lingering in the air (thanks Kim!) Almost all of my shopping and wrapping is completed. If dear husband would come home, then all would be complete.

Speaking of dear husband needing to come home in the midst of a winter storm, it reminds me of almost 6 years ago when we were blessed he came home at all. It had been one of the craziest days of our lives, and it had just begun. We had spent all day moving into our "new to us" home. I was exhausted because baby #2 was only 6 weeks old! As soon as Eric left to go teach a night class in Little Rock, I discovered our hot water tank was leaking...rapidly! Eric's Dad came over to help me drain it. The problem was that a winter storm was on its way, and no plumber in his right mind would come over to fix it...much less install a new one. So, without hot water, I was left with no option but to go stay with Eric's parents. In the middle of all of this...about 6:05 pm, the BLIZZARD came. (Blizzard for Arkansas with me here!) I immediately called Eric to tell him he better cancel class and begin the journey home! He had already turned off his phone, so I started praying and packing us up.

The snow hit so fast and hard that it stretched the 10 minute drive to my in laws into almost an hour. Well, it felt that long! I was sooooo tense driving with a newborn and 2 1/2 year old in the slippery mess. It felt so good to reach their home and be safe. Now, if only we could get Eric home!

I don't remember what time he called to say that he was on his way wasn't too late...but a few minutes after that, I got the dreaded call that he had wrecked. I can't recall all of the details. I know he slid off the embankment and down a hill and crashed into a tree. The driver's side was totally smashed in. He lost his glasses in the crash. No one stopped to help him so he had to walk back up the embankment and find a gas station to wait at. He did this blindly since his glasses were lost.

His Dad and brother decided to venture out and rescue him! We loaded them down with a trillion cell phones, blankets, water bottles, etc, and off they went. I think this was around 8 pm. We didn't see them again until 2 or so in the morning. We had been praying hard all night. I remember looking at my newborn and thinking that I really wasn't up to raising my boys by myself. But, praise God, they rescued my man and brought him back to me!

So, now, when things get a bit icy outside, it really does my heart good when my family is nicely tucked indoors...all together!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

FUN Weekend!!

We had the fun opportunity to host some of our dearest friends this weekend. We took the kids to see the Festival of Lights, make sugar cookies, have a leisurely breakfast, go to Playworld, play Blokus, and catch up on life. Thanks for coming and seeing us! Can't wait to do it again!

Such a pretty family!

While making the cookies, Sam was more interested in shoving huge chunks of sugar cookie dough into his mouth and treating his dough as if it were playdough than forming cute shapes.

The next "Iron Chef" will probably not be one of our kids. Have you ever seen such huge and formless shapes? Oh, but they tasted mighty good!

Look at these lashes...and the dusting of flour on her nose!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Trying to Obey....lest I get the Shoulder Death Grip

This past Tuesday, a sweet couple in our church lost their precious son. He died way too early, at an age way to similar to Kiley's. While I am thankful that God has removed my burden over my sister's death, I was not eager to force myself into a room of mourning and grief. Even after 10 months, the bile still raises up and the dam that holds back the reservoir of tears threatens to break once again when put into a situation where I am forced to feel again. Eric wanted us to attend the visitation, and while I wanted to support this family, secretly, I was coming up with ways that I was going to get out of it.

All day yesterday, I wrestled back and forth with the Lord on this. I would tell him that it would be easier to not find someone to watch the boys and that I would just send Eric by himself to represent our family. Every time I had this discussion with the Lord, He would come back with "go." Not just "go" but "GO!!!" The last time I uttered my great idea to Him, He said "GO" and then my shoulder was struck with the most awful nerve pain in the world. It definitely got my attention! It made me think that He was literally grabbing my shoulder and giving it a little (OK, painful!) squeeze.

I sighed and said, "OK, Lord, I will go, but ONLY if you give me a specific verse...right now!" (Maybe my attitude was just a tad sassy considering I had just been released from my death grip!) I turned my Bible open to Psalm 23 and these words popped off the page: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

So, go I did. The Lord was faithful and He did comfort while I was there. I am not sure why my presence was imperative in this situation, but just maybe it was comforting for this couple and the young man's wife.

If you think to, please say a prayer for this young man's wife, parents, and all others who loved him.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I took Sam in for his 3 year old check up this morning. He is 75% height and 75% weight. They proceeded to take his blood pressure. They tried twice, but since you have to be super still, or the machine won't read, it was pretty much impossible. What is up with taking blood pressure on 3 year olds, anyway? Really, if you know, please leave a comment!

On the way out the door, we saw some friends from church that recently had the cutest little twins. They captured my heart...still don't know what to do about desiring a little baby again and yet being completely content with what God has blessed us with already.

On the way home, as I was singing "Holy Holy, Alleluia, He Reigns", Sam chimed in with "Holy, Holy SMACK-ER-EL"!! Well, I guess that is one way to put it!

I am off to the annual fundraiser for Haven House. It is always at a very very very nice home. I always feel intimidated entering, sporting my new duds from Target. (I could say they are from Targe' and if I emphasize the e' part, maybe they will think I said Cache'.) Oh well, it is still fun to eat a trillion horse doovers and see the pretty decorations! And I am sure they will be super excited to see me dropping two dollar bills into the donation jar. Yep, they look forward to me coming every single year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The "P" Family!

Just a little brotherly love that's all!

What's going on with me!!

These are two of my new favorite things! I have liked every recipe out of "BOB", so far! And this little baby at the top...let me tell you! It is a KitchenAid santoku knife...complete with red handle. The first time I sliced through a raw chicken breast, joy started coursing through my veins! Oh, go buy it and feel the power for yourself! ($13 at Target!)

I have been busy filling out Christmas cards, killing baby maggots (I will spare you the squishy details), taking tons of pictures, taking kids to birthday parties, Christmas shopping, playing cards, doing tons of laundry, trying new recipes, going to the funnest Progressive dinner ever, and praising Sam for remembering to go potty by himself!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Marvin and Friends

This is my friend, Marvin. He and his group of musicians are so gifted, I could listen to them all day long! They are in the midst of producing a Christmas album. Marvin asked me to take a few snapshots of them for the cover. Talk about a request that was absolutely humbling! It was a fun photo shoot, that is for sure! Thanks for giving me the opportunity, guys!