Monday, December 17, 2012

God's love.

The fact God loves me is incomprehensible. I try to wrap my mind around it, but I can't. I'm overwhelmed by it daily. As I get older the realization that he loves me grows and yet, it becomes more unbelievable to me. I read this in my morning devotions and thought I'd share it. 

"Because His soul delighted in them, He could not stay away from them, for His heart longed for them. They were never absent from His heart, for He had written their names upon His hands and had graven them upon his side. So the names of Christ's elect were His most precious jewels and glittered on His heart. We may often forget to mediate upon the perfections of our Lord, but He never ceases to remember us. Let us chide ourselves for past forgetfulness, and pray for grace that we might constantly and fondly remember Him. Lord, paint upon the eyeballs of my soul the image of Your Son."
Charles Spurgeon, from Morning and Evening. (one of my favorite devotionals)

I can imagine that God delights and thinks on great men and women of the faith, like Spurgeon, but it's hard for me to imagine that he takes such delight in me. I'm so humbled and forever thankful that he does. 

I'm find myself, like most of you, crying over what happened in Connecticut. As a mom how can I look at my children's faces and not think about all those parents who have empty beds at night. The evil of it all is more than I can take. I thought to myself, if that happened to me could I still say God is good? Could I still say, He loves me? Could I still say He is in control? I must. The bible says it is true and that is my solid ground. That is where I plant my feet and trust that His grace is enough. I find great comfort that He is there amidst the horrors of this world. That he is in control. That those precious lives are now in heaven with him being protected from this evil. I am praying for their families. Their lives will never be the same. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

On gift giving...

Gift giving is one of my favorite things and limited funds is the only thing slowing me down. I daydream of gifts people would enjoy and love surprising them. Sometime in July my mind is already thinking about Christmas morning and what's waiting to be opened under the tree. What I'm not a fan of is the stress Christmas presents can bring and the way presents can cloud what we're truly celebrating. 

I cringe at the idea of our children caring more about the gifts and seeing Christ's birth as an afterthought. I want the month of December to be a special time of Celebrating Jesus' birth and the gift giving to be an outflow of that. 

So, Caleb and I have talked a lot about how we'll celebrate Christmas and the way we'll give gifts. Our kids are young and we're still figuring things out. I know we'll try somethings and find they didn't work too well and have to readjust the next year, but here are some things that help our family with gift giving.


I really do try and have all shopping done before December 1st. That way I'm not stressed. This is an important one because I believe that I play a huge role in setting the tone in our home and if I'm stressed about buying gifts and spending lots of time shopping instead of with my family I'm not a happy girl. This also helps with budgeting because a lot of planning has happened and I'm not running around like a chicken with it's head cut off making rash purchases.

I've heard of a number of ways people give...the three rule, something to read, something they need, something they want, etc. I think these are a great ideas and got me thinking on how we would do it. This is what we came up with....
We'll give two main gifts a year. One, is a gift that shows love and two, is a give of sacrifice. The possibilities are endless on what you could give, but what we're trying to get at is the heart behind the gift. That the giver has thought through what would bless and bring joy to the person receiving. The questions stem from the gift that God gave us in sending his son. He gave his Son to die for our sins, a sacrifice, and He did it because he loves us. This helps us keep Christ at the center of everything. 

I also buy them a book. I like to the idea of wrapping up 25 books and opening one each night as we count down to Christmas. I've started our collection with some being Christmas books and some just being favorite stories. Each year we'll add one book to the collection.

They get pajama's from their Papa and Yiayia on Christmas Eve.

Stockings are just fun. Mostly filled with the things that we grew up getting...candy, an orange, etc.

I'm not sure if this one will change as the kids get older, but we don't put presents under the tree until Christmas Eve. (We did this at first cause our kids are so small and they would tear them open way before Christmas morning:) But we ended up liking the excitement in the kids when they woke up Christmas morning and were surprised with presents. And we also liked that presents weren't the center of our conversations. 

These are some of our thoughts around Christmas presents...and like I said, they could change as the kids grow, but for now it works. I would love to hear what you do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Elijah Michael.

My boy is four. I tried to see if we could skip four and just do three again, but he told me, "it's too late, I'm already four." How bittersweet it is to watch him grow. We enjoy every new stage, but I ache for him to stay little. As he grows it seems like time flies a little faster and I'll never get this time back. I love that little guy. He's who made me a mommy and he's taught me so much. 

He came jumping into my lap during rest time today and said he just needed to cuddle. I held him tight and told him four of my favorite things about him.

His tender heart. I pray that translates to a softness towards the Lord. 

His love for his family. He loves us all so so much.

His creativity and seeing his imagination at work.

His humor. He makes us smile.

As soon as I was done he asked me how old I was. I told him 29 and he said he'd tell me 29 things he loved about me. Things that made his list...

that I love him.

that I cuddle him.

that I tell him secrets.

that I was wearing a pink shirt.

that I have long hair.

and my favorite...a long neck. 

Happy Birthday Elijah. Mama loves you forever.

Monday, December 10, 2012

catch up...

Here we go...a random collection of pictures and a quick summary of the latest. 

You're not going to believe it, but surprise surprise we got sick over Thanksgiving weekend. It seems like the sickness never leaves us! But I have to say that even though it was a bummer not feeling well, I didn't mind too much. Caleb came home early on Wednesday and we spent the next four days laying low and just enjoy our little family. 

My sister and her family were in town and like always we enjoyed them so so much. We love our time with them and it makes us wish they lived close.

I took David and Elijah out for a special lunch. 

The kids were in heaven with their cousins for two weeks and Elijah learned some good lessons in sharing:)

The Monday after Thanksgiving Caleb's sister and family came to stay with us for a week. They are missionaries in Africa and we hadn't seen them in three years. We actually had never met their youngest, Hope, and they had never meet Vanessa or Amelia. Our time together was so sweet.

Caleb and I spent lots of one on one time with their girls, and Troy and Bekah spent lots of time with our kids. We had lots of time to make up.

(a date night...just the adults. family devotion time. 
playing together. and watching a movie, don't laugh. we don't have a t.v. so they watched it on our computer)

A week seemed too short, but it was easier saying good-bye knowing we'll see them at Christmas.

The last week was spent catching up after company. Comforting a teething baby. Getting ready to go out of town. and preparing for Elijah's birthday. He turns four on Wednesday. I can't believe it. 

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