Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Till He Appeared and the soul felt its worth

Birthdays are a time of reflection.

My birthday is coming up in a week or so and I always think about my years in the past and where I have been and marvel at how old I am!! ha! Especially the older I get.  And I wonder what my life will be like in a few years.

When my children have birthdays, I always spend time right before their big day looking back at old pictures and videos of them.  I love remembering them as babies and toddlers.  I love telling old stories about them and laughing and thinking about how much they have changed and how much they have grown.  It's a time to really focus on them and what their lives mean to me and all the special things about them.  I love to reminisce about all my special moments with them over the years.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  And I can't help but sing Christmas carols and look at nativities and read the story of His birth in the Gospels and think about what His life means.  When I think about what Jesus has done for me I don't think about material things.  I think about how He came to live as a man and feel all the things we do.  I think about how He died a very painful death on the cross to take on our sin and take our place.

I am thankful for how He has blessed me with a sweet family and a home and health.  But I also think about how He was with me when times were not easy.  I think of when I was single and lonely or when it took years to have a baby or when Harper was so sick in the hospital or how He gave me peace when I had anxiety or other personal trials and how those were the times that He drew me the closest to Him and when I felt Him the most.

His birthday means more to me than all my birthdays or my kids' birthdays combined.  His birthday was a gift to all of us. His birth was supernatural and miraculous.  It was predicted thousands of years before He came.  It was humble and quiet.  It was the beginning of a shift in sacrifice.  His birth meant our eternity was changed just by our faith and belief rooted in grace and mercy too magnificent to understand.

So as I think about Christmas coming in less than two weeks - I'm trying to not only have fun with my family and enjoy the lights and the fun and the presents and the joy of the season - but I'm reflecting on what Jesus and His life and His birth and His death mean.  And I don't want to miss the magnitude of it all.  Or the wonder.

His birth reminds me that this earth is not my home.  And while I love this life I have, there is something so much greater waiting for me.  And my prayer is that I will celebrate Christmas in Heaven with you one day.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn

Monday, December 11, 2017

T. O. Y. O.

I know the whole YOLO thing but I'm going by a new motto this season ......."They're Only Young Once".  I have so many things I need to be doing right now but there are just so many fun things to do during December and my kids just soak it all up.  So we are making time as often as we can to do all the Christmas things possible with them.  And it doesn't have to be big.  They get equally excited to just drink hot chocolate at night as anything! 

Last week they had Cookies with Santa at their school.  This was more of a Hipster Santa but we still went for it.  

Will Holden had Grinch day at school on Friday.  He LOVES the movie so I knew he would love it.  I had to buy this sweater when I saw it at Target.  

Friday night after dinner at home, we made everyone hot chocolate to go and went to see a Live Nativity.  It was SO neat and pointed us back to the real reason we celebrate Christmas.  
Although in true discretion (less you think everything is picture perfect) - although the girls loved it, Will Holden spent the whole 45 minutes we were there screaming "WHERE IS BABY JESUS. I WAN TO SEE BABY JESUS" over and over and over.  And also "I WANT TO GO TO MY HOUSE AND WATCH TV".  So there's that. ha! 

One of our favorite traditions is working in our Christmas store at our church.  We did that Saturday morning.  It's so much more fun now that the girls are older because they love helping.  They both really enjoyed getting to work.  

Saturday afternoon we took the kids ice skating.  Our town has a neat little outdoor ice skating rink.  It's a splash pad in the summer and a rink in the winter.  The girls have been begging to go but it's tricky when you have a little brother.  I lost my mind temporarily and decided to let him skate.  I pushed him with this walker.  He liked it for half a lap and then he was done.  

The girls LOVED it.  I'm going to have to find time to take just them.  

We left there and ate downtown where we could see the lights.  

Our square is so pretty at Christmas.  

We ate at The Station where we could eat burgers and see the lights.  Santa and Mrs. Claus were even on the square.  

We had such a good time.  

And when it's freezing outside - what's better than ice cream? There is a cute soda shoppe on the square.  They all love Spark flavor which is blue and yellow (it's actually the Walmart special ice cream).  

Sunday we went to church and then Hollis went home with her friend Joseph for a few hours to play. Then we headed to Fayetteville and ate at U S Pizza.  They have my very favorite salad anywhere and the kids love the pizza.  

I love the Fayetteville square at Christmas.  It's always been one of my favorite places.  We took the kids on a carriage ride.  It was so fun! 

These two sweet peas make me so happy.  

Hollis looks sad in half these pictures - she was so happy! 

Then we headed to the Stewart Family Christmas Lights.  This is a family property with an insane amount of lights.  This was our first time to visit.  

Apparently they were on some TV show last week. 

Will Holden's face says it all - they were all full of joy! 

They even had fake snow! 

We had the best time and all three kids fell asleep on the way home.  

It's the BEST time of the year! 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Christmas Carols

We had a weekend of Christmas fun.  

We started our weekend with our annual Sunday School Christmas party.  We have a huge class - about 50 couples.  We used to get together a lot but our class grew and we had so many children.  Scott and I have been teaching toddlers for the last two years so we aren't in class much any more so I feel like I don't get to see everyone as much anymore.  

But I'm so thankful for all of these girls.  Many of them have been my friends for the last 14 years.  We have gone from newlyweds to moms of school aged kids together.  It's been so good to have these friends as my support system and encouragement.  

Saturday morning the girls had choir practice at church and then we walked downtown to our favorite store, Southern Style, to mail their letters to Santa.  

It was 70 degrees on Saturday.  The kids put on shorts and played outside and Scott and I were pulling weeds and putting up Christmas lights.  So crazy to have such a warm day in December but we loved it.  

Sunday morning was our big Christmas program at church.  The kids choir sang.  

My family in front of the big tree at church.  

Sunday night the kids had their Christmas musical.  One of Harper's friends and his sweet mom came to watch! 

Harper and her BFF Sarah Kate.  

I'm so thankful that my girls have been able to sing in the choir the last 6 years.  It's so fun to watch them grow from toddlers to big kids on that stage along with all of their friends.  

Harper sang in a trio and did great.  How sweet is this picture of Hollis looking on to her big sister.  Makes my heart so happy.  

Meanwhile - my sweet friend Marci who lives on a farm and loves Will Holden and he LOVES her asked me Sunday morning if he could come spend the day with them.  I said he could for a couple of hours but she talked me into leaving him all day until after the Christmas program.  He had the BEST time.  They played outside for hours and he was exhausted on Monday.  I could barely get him out of bed and he was tired all day.  That's a special friend who wants to keep your child all day just for fun.  
(and I think Santa is going to have to bring him this John Deere bike.) 

Who can believe it's only 3 weeks until Christmas?