Sunday, December 30, 2007

Be Back Soon!

I'm takin' a break. Be back soon!

For those 3 readers that I have out there, and I do appreciate you sooo much, I will be out for about a week. Thanks for reading and I will chat with you in the new year!

Happy New Year!
Make 2008 a great one!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Linked up for the new year!

A Sizable Apple - Some of her Favorite Links This girl has some great advice for those trying to stay healthy - check her out!

5 Minutes for Mom - New Habits in the new Year Giveaways, links to other new year's posts!

Journey of My Heart - About to Drop Before I Crop - Ready to get those scrapbooking supplies back out?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Fun!

Two of their favorite gifts! Merry Merry!

It is just a simple little plastic guitar, but boy is this kid rocking out! It does play some very cool tunes and with his sister's new microphone that she got - they are quite a little rock band!

Okay, she has already seen this movie about 7 times but this has EXTENDED NEVER BEFORE SEEN FOOTAGE!!!! She was excited to say the least!

Strep throat and a Christmas miracle

Well, it happened. I was forced to stop moving with only 3 days left until Christmas. It is only now that I can even catch up on blogging because it has been such a whirlwind of Christmas activity.

I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like a truck ran over me and could not swallow even the slightest bit of moisture in my very dry mouth. "I'll feel better in the morning", I thought. Morning came and guess what? I felt worse. I despise going to the doctor and I said these words to my husband, "I have to get to an Urgent Care - now." He knew then that I was really sick.

I went and the diagnosis was Strep throat. A prescription of antibiotics and rest were my orders. "Rest!?!?!? With shopping still to be done, cookies to be baked, wrapping not finished there is absolutely no way can I rest!" I said this to the doctor as I lay on the table because I could not even hold my head up. Rest were the doctor's orders.

So, I went home and rested. It was during this restful time when I stopped long enough to look around my house and the laundry. What a mess! I even had 3 loads of clean laundry that sat in baskets unfolded. And this is when it happened, y'all. A true Christmas miracle. My husband folded those clothes.

Now before you think I am husband bashing here, please know this. I am not doing that! I am a blessed woman. Spoiled beyond belief. He is an excellent provider and will take care of most anything I need him too around the house eventually. But he does not touch laundry and I am okee dokee with that. I think it is more that we are both really scared for him to do the laundry. White to pink, darks with lights, delicate with jeans - OH MY THE HORROR!

As he folded the clothes, I looked in love at this man and thanked God for him. He must really know how sick I was. I especially felt the love for him when he held up my daughters undies and asked if they were mine. She is barely 60 pounds and I am, well more than 60 pounds. Thank you, honey. He also made dinner, cleaned the kitchen, bathed the kids and put them to bed. Which he does often, but this night it was a special blessing considering I was too sick to move from my day of watching TV on the couch. Then the next day...he got strep throat. My turn to return the favor. Oh, wait, don't I do this all the time?

All in all, we got everything finished that needed to be done for our special Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Breath of Heaven

Well, every Christmas I vow to not get stressed out. I vow to enjoy the beauty of the season and the meaning of it all. Inevitably, I get caught up in the shopping, wrapping, partying, cooking and running around that this holiday brings with it. It is about this time, when I realize that I am no where near being finished because I have waited too long to do most everything and I have 27 loads of Christmas attire laundry and have not baked one single cookie... it's about this time that I start to lose it. Yeah, just lose it.

After I dropped my daughter off at the bus this morning with a gift for the bus driver whose name I do not even know, I drove home. Yes, drove. It is only a 5 minute walk but we are running late every morning and well, we drive to get there on time. Anyway, one of my favorite Christmas songs came on the radio and I stopped for the moment of peace in my driveway and listened to the words. I will be real here and let you in on something. I cried. I let the weight of the stress of the season fall from my eyes like a waterfall. Or it was hormones. Whatever, I cried and it sounds more romantic to make it the stress of the season and waterfall analogy than just blame it on silly 'ole hormones. So, then I prayed. I prayed the words of this song,

Breath of Heaven, by Amy Grant

I have traveled many moonless nights,

Cold and weary with a babe inside,

And I wonder what I've done.

Holy father you have come,

And chosen me now to carry your son.

I am waiting in a silent prayer.

I am frightened by the load I bear.

In a world as cold as stone,

Must I walk this path alone?

Be with me now.

Be with me now.

Breath of heaven,

Hold me together,

Be forever near me,

Breath of heaven.

Breath of heaven,

Lighten my darkness,

Pour over me your holiness,

For you are holy.

Breath of heaven.

Do you wonder as you watch my face,

If a wiser one should have had my place,

But I offer all I am

For the mercy of your plan.

Help me be strong.

Help me be.

Help me.

Breath of heaven,

Hold me together,

Be forever near me,

Breath of heaven.

Breath of heaven,

Lighten my darkness,

Pour over me your holiness,

For you are holy.

I wonder how Mary felt as she waited for Jesus to be born. She must have been scared and often reflected in amazement how God would choose her to be the one to bear His holy son. She sings a song of praise to God. She says, " From now on all generations, will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is His name.

What a legacy to live. I think so much about the legacy I will leave behind. Will my children remember Christmases filled with love and the spirit of Jesus or will they remember a rushed and stressed out mom who seemed to forget the peace that Jesus meant to bring? Will this generation of children call me blessed and see all the great things God has done for me? Do I even see them and reflect them to those around me?

The words of that song above beg the question, " Do you wonder if a wiser should have taken my place?" I can't tell you how many times I wonder that myself. What was God thinking when he placed these children in my care? Or brought my patient, hard-working husband to me? When he leads me to ministry, I wonder - "Why me? Don't you wonder if a wiser should take my place?"

Do not be afraid the angel, Gabriel told Mary. Do not be afraid.

Breath of Heaven, hold me together. Be forever near me. Lighten my Darkness.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Halls are Decked!

Welcome to my Christmas Home Tour! My halls are finally decked, but not as much as I do some years. It really seemed to sneak up on me this year.

Okay, so I am a day late in joining this Christmas Tour of Homes from BooMama, but here it is. And I am a terrible photographer, so don't expect the glossy photos from Southern Living. It's just me and my old Sony Cyber-Shot.
*I just updated this because I got a new camera for Christmas and took a better front door picture!

So, come on in! It's chilly out here!

Okay, here is a little table in my entry hall and it has a complete nativity set that my husbands grandmother painted. It is very special because she is no longer with us and it has been passed down to us by my mother in law. I love it so much! I really love the camels.

Next is the dining room which is the only room in the house that looks this clean! I hang ornaments every year from the light, but it changes each year. This year I got the idea to do different types from Southern Living magazine. Love that magazine!!! That is a huge mirror in our dining room that makes this very tiny room appear much larger.

Here is a closer shot of the ornament hanging light fixture.

Well, let's go into the heart of our home. No not the kitchen - it is a mess and not really that decorated. Well, it is with all of the kids Christmas crafts which I love and they love displaying, but I don't yet want to reveal their masterpieces.

The family room! These are my very cool three wise man that I ordered from a Southern Living home party. Those are very cool parties. For the sake of my wallet and my marriage, I now limit myself to one of these parties a year. Also, this is one of my favorite little Christmas thingys - this gold sled I picked up in my hometown of Jefferson City, MO. Greenery and pine cones from my yard and wallah! We have plenty of pine cones in NC!

Here is the tree. My husband picked it out at Lowe's Home Improvement store. It was the second one he picked. We always need a skinny tree and it was perfect. He put the lights on it, the kids put the low ornaments, we did the higher ones. I made this bow with my very cool Bowdabra maker and here we go.
And the mantle. I change the mantle every year aside from the stocking holders which I got 6 years ago at Target. I am on the search for the perfect stockings. These are new this year. My mom still has our same stockings from when we were kids on her mantle. That is so sweet. I am not sure I will be able to provide that same memory for my children. I like change too much. That stocking in the middle is for my dog. He weighs 6 pounds.

Well, that is it. I have not yet, baked a thing except this great and incredibly easy fudge recipe that my sis in law gave me. I have given almost every bite away as gifts so far. Oh, except for the bite I just had to keep my energy up. We are baking on Saturday!

Oh, I love this little nativity. Isn't it just the absolute cutest? I got it on clearance 2 years ago.

So, thank you for touring my humble abode. We loved having you - come back soon!


Monday, December 17, 2007

The Nutcracker

This is one of my favorite things about the Christmas season. Every year since B has been 4 we go see the Nutcracker performed by the Carolina Ballet. It is at the absolutely beautiful BTI Performing Arts Center with enormous crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. We get so dressed up, bundle up in our nice coats and scarves and brave the North Carolina winter evening to see the show. Yes, it does get chilly here - last night it was about 38 degrees!
At this year's performance, B really did get so excited at each part. "Oh, Mommy, this is my favorite part! Oh, no this one is! Oh, I love this part, Mommy!" I enjoyed my Poinsettia Champagne and she her M & M's. I stared at her in the dark as she sat mesmerized by the beautiful dancers gliding across the stage to sounds of Tchaikovsky's best ! The NC symphony does this music much justice and it is a beautiful thing to watch them play as well.
This is a tradition that I will keep going as long as my daughter will let me. I wonder at 16 or 17 if she will want to go with me? Maybe she will prefer to take a friend with us because being with just mom is not cool enough. Oh, why do I worry about such things now! I will just enjoy her being 7 and LOVING time alone with mom. What a treat to spend this evening with my little girl!
I even bought her some signed pointe shoes from one of the principal dancers that plays the Sugar Plum Fairy. She was soooo excited and of course this makes me excited, too!
Oh, and listen to this smart thing. As we are leaving and in the parking garage, I take us to the wrong floor. She says, "Mom, we parked on level 1, not level 3. " She was right! She remembered exactly where our car was parked. Who takes care of who here?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Linked Up!

This week has been busy. With Christmas just 10 days away, the hustle and bustle can often be overwhelming. I found these this week and have enjoyed reading them to remind me of just how special this time of the year is and that I am not alone in feeling the stress of it all.

Don't Miss Him - MaryBeth Whalen P31
Grace 101 - Rocks in My Dryer (Need some grace with your kiddos this week? I do!)
Room Enough For Jesus - Proverbs 31
Holiday Tipping - Musings of a Housewife (This was ever so helpful information!)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wouldn't You Love to Win a New Pair of Jeans?

Fun, fun! Enter here to win a pair of True Jeans!

East of Eden

Did I tell you that I finished this book?!?!!? It has like a million pages in it and I finished it! It only took me 2 months, but I did finish it. Did I say, I finished it? Yes, I did.

I love this book of the battle of good and evil and our choice in that. I love how John Steinbeck brought the story of Cain and Able to life in this book. A good book, indeed! It is a 10, Bookclub!

Haven't read it? Treat yourself and read it if you have about 2 months. :)

Top 10 Favorite Christmas Songs

I'm coming from Musings of a Housewife and posting my Top 10 fave Christmas songs, too!

1. Love Came Down At Christmas - Jars of Clay Christmas Songs
2. Born in Bethlehem - Third Day Christmas Offerings
3. Joy - George Winston Piano Solos - December
4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Jays of Clay Christmas Songs
5. Breath of Heaven - Point of Grace
6. O Holy Night
7. Joy to the World - Third Day Christmas Offerings
8. What is Christmas? Karl and Ciara Moraski (Our worship director and his daughter)
9. Oh Little Town of Bethlehem - Jars of Clay Christmas Songs (Can you tell I LOVE this album?)
10. The Chipmunk Song - Christmas Don't be Late. (It's a childhood thing)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Vacation

Recently, my husband's grandfather passed away. The last Christmas we spent with him was about 6 years ago. Our daughter was only 1 year old and it was our second Christmas with her. We traveled for 18 hours and stayed in my husband's parent's house that he grew up in. There were 8 adults, 5 kids and 1 shower. The great-grandparents arrived for a day, too. It was joyful chaos to say the least. Below is what my husband wrote after that Christmas. It means even more this year as we reflect on his grandfather's life and the time our children did get to spend with him.

What I learned from my One-Year-Old Daughter on Christmas Vacation

Toys are great, but anything can be fun with imagination.
Toys are great, but wrapping paper is just as much fun.
It doesn't matter where you are, whenever you hear a song you like, START DANCING!
It doesn't matter what kind of house you live in, what kind of car you drive, or what kind of clothes you wear, so long as…
  • The house you live in is filled with love and warmth
  • The car you drive can get to Grandma’s house
  • The clothes you wear are comfortable

When you are hungry, EAT.
Try everything at least ONCE.
Sometimes food tastes better when you eat it with your fingers.
When you fall down - GET UP.
Go to bed early and wake up early.
Most people are nice so it is okay to talk to strangers sometimes and sometimes it’s even fun!
When you feel scared, lonely, ashamed, tired, mad, frustrated, overwhelmed or even happy, a hug always makes you feel better.
When you have wronged another or another has wronged you, smile, forgive and forget instantly (no grudges)
Baths have the functional purpose of cleaning the body, but more precipitously they cleanse the soul and provide an arena to splash and play with rubber duckies!
Parental approval is important but not a prerequisite for happiness.
Warm and snugly blankets help you go to sleep faster.
From the most simple of things derive the greatest of pleasure.
Relish in other’s happiness as much as your own.
Christmas is about the family getting together, not the toys.

It is no wonder Christ calls us to be more childlike. (Mark 10:15) May you take these messages and MAKE IT A GREAT HOLIDAY SEASON!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mina Update

I wanted to give a quick update of our Mina project.

So, we had $20 to begin with and combined it with another couple in our small group who had $120. So far, we have grown that to $780 and been able to donate it to the Salvation Army for gifts, clothes, stockings and food! And we are still growing more money!

Yesterday my friends Kelly, Cathy and I stuffed 37 stockings for children in our county that may not otherwise be getting a stocking. We found out that they were 1000 stockings short this year. I wish we could have done more, but this will definitely be helpful. Anyway, they were full of hats, gloves, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toys, watches, books, crayons, markers, Play Doh, coloring books and so much more! It gave me great joy to take these stockings to the Salvation Army with my children. I was able to explain what the Salvation Army does and why God wants us to help others. It has been the most fulfilling part of my holiday season so far and definitely more what this season should be about.

I will give a final update later this week.

Monday, December 10, 2007

5 Things

I know that the 3 readers of my blog are probably wondering just where I have been! Wow, is it a crazy time right now. Among normal life, the Christmas season sneaks up on me and while I try to just enjoy the beauty of this season of our Lord's birth, I get caught up in the busyness of plays, parties and decorating. My house is decorated, though! Woo Hoo! My husband hates this task and it is important to me, so I do the outside decorations. It's fine, I like them how I like them and it's just better for me to put them up. I did let go this year and let him pick out the tree AND put the lights on it. This is a big deal- I am kinda nuts about the lights. He did a great job! My cards are ordered and on the way here. I have teacher gifts purchased! Now all that is left is baking and the rest of the shopping - not much!!!!!

I recently completed a Christmas getting to know you email and thought this would be fun to do with you!

Here are 5 things about me and Christmas. If you are reading, leave a comment and let me know yours!

1. I always buy too much for Christmas. My husband gives me a budget and I usually go over it. This year I am trying really hard to NOT go over it. So, far so good. Of course, my shopping is not even nearly finished.

2. I don't normally bake throughout the year, but love to bake our favorite cookies and fudge during the holiday. My favorite are these wedding cookie nutty balls. They are loaded with pecans and covered in powdered sugar. My husband likes them without the nuts. Not so much a nutty ball as much as dough covered in powdered sugar! My kids love the molasses cookies I make and sugar cookies of course.

3. I love to wrap presents with big beautiful bows and fancy wrapping paper. This is not always possible, but I do try.

4. I hate eggnog, but love the Eggnog Latte at Starbucks. Go figure.

5. I love to give gifts and I love to receive them. One of my love languages is Gifts. My husband thinks I am picky so he just gives me gift cards to my favorite stores and I LOVE THIS.

Okay, tag - your turn!

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Italian Wedding Soup

This is my daughters favorite soup. She requests it all the time! It has a lot of ingredients and a couple steps, but is really pretty easy and worth it!

You will need:
6 chicken breasts
4 quarts of chicken broth or water. I usually mix the two and use more bouillon.
2 cups of celery - chopped
1 small onion - chopped
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 t. garlic powder
1 T Parmesan Cheese
8 bouillon cubes if using water/ 4 if using chicken broth
To add at the end:
1/2 box of mini type of pasta (ABC's, orzo, acini de pepe)
1 box of frozen chopped spinach.

1 lb hamburger
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
dash of parm cheese
1 Cup of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs
(OR you can use premade frozen meatballs - let them thaw a bit before browning)

Cook chicken and next 8 ingredients until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pot and let it cool. Save broth! When cooled shred and add back to the pot/broth.

To make meatballs: Mix all the meatball ingredients together and roll into marble sized balls. Brown in frying pan. Drain on paper towels. Add to soup and bring to boil.

At the end:
Add 1 box of frozen chopped spinach and 1/2 box of pasta. Bring back to boil until pasta is tender.

Garnish with parm cheese and Italian croutons.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Linked up!

Loving these posts today!
Christmas Prayer - Renee Swope
I Don't Love My Husband Anymore - Lysa TerKeurst
How Much To Burn? - A Sizable Apple

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

More Stuff

It's good to know I am teaching my kids the true meaning of Christmas...
This is a conversation from last night as my children made out their Christmas lists.

Daughter to son, "Okay, let's write Wii at the top of our list!"

Me to daughter, "You know, if you ask for a Wii, you might not get much more of anything else because they are so expensive."

After a moment of thought, daughter says to son, "Okay, let's cross out the Wii. We want more stuff!"

I am so proud.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The concert

Well, I just don't know which to pick about my favorite part of this concert. Okay, first of all we had 7th row tickets on the floor! Our friends are huge Third Day fans, and they get tickets like the minute they go on sale. The last Third Day concert we went to with them, we were in row 5. They do cost a bit more, but it really is the best way to see a concert!

So, maybe it was just being able to see the emotion in their faces as they sang both traditional and new Christmas songs. Or when Jars of Clay performed Drummer Boy - I N C R E D I B L E! Yes, it was. Their new song Love Came Down at Christmas was awesome too and Peace is Here - oh, this was good too.

Then Third Day took the stage. Okay, these guys are just incredible performers. Mac Powell is so good at getting the audience on their feet and going. They played some old school Third Day, King of Glory and can I just tell you - it was quite a moment of worship for me. I was moved to tears to hear one of my all-time favorite songs live with thousands of other people.

Christmas Like a Child and Merry Christmas moved me to tears, too - both songs written by the band. Merry Christmas being about adoption.

Then they took the stage together and performed Silent Night! Then they each sang a song of the other bands which was totally cool. I love this - kind of Elton John/Billy Joel concertish.
Then they finished (rocked) with Joy to the World.

Okay, my throat hurts today from singing so loud. I have never enjoyed a Christmas concert so much. Let the Christmas season begin!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Josh Hamilton - Story of Grace

If you have been reading my blog or know me, then you know I am just not a sports fan. I do like to go to live sporting events, though. Especially baseball games. I guess it is the one sport where I understand the rules. I used to watch the St. Louis Cardinals play when I lived in Missouri but mostly I just loved the peanuts and cracker jacks! I have been to see the Texas Rangers play when we lived in Texas. But, I couldn't tell you a single player from those teams or any baseball team for that matter.
There is a baseball player whose name I will not forget and he is a rookie. Josh Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds. He visited our church today with his wife, Katie and they told a story of God's grace, mercy - redemption. If you have ever loved someone battling an addiction you will want to read his story.

Read it here if you want to be inspired!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sample Saturday - Christmas samplings

It's a two for one Sample Saturday!

I love Jars of Clay - they are one of my favorite bands - Christian or not. And my other favorite band is Third Day. So, I am just totally pumped to be going to their Christmas concert tomorrow night! Third Day and Jars of Clay in one night - it is very exciting to me! I have seen Third Day and it was one of the best concerts I have ever been too. So, it should be a good way to get in the Christmas spirit.

Check them out:
Jars of Clay Christmas Songs. There is a great cover of Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney and watch this cool video of their new song Love Came Down at Christmas.

Also check out this album - very good.
Third Day Christmas Offerings

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