Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dear Self...

Dear Self,

I know that it is New Year's Eve, a time when everyone loves to sit down and make that wonderful list of New Year's resolutions. I know that there is that pressure to at least "say" that you are going to change some things in your life, be a better person, reach your ideal weight, read the Bible in a year, be the next June Cleaver and yada, yada, yada...

But here is the thing...

Me, myself and I, KNOW that in the past, that every resolution made has sadly been broken within a few months, sometimes a couple of weeks and on occasion a few days. So what is the use? Why get myself down at the beginning of a whole new year? Why start out as a failure?

Nope. Not going to do it to myself this year. After all, I will be the BIG "40" this coming year. Isn't that life changing enough?!

No, this year I am just going to make some little "promises" to myself. Promises, that I pray everyday, anyway. I want to be a better wife, a better mom and better friend. I want to be an encourager, a peacemaker, and a model of the fruit of the Spirit. I want to be a student of the Holy Word, a giver of love and grace and a truly thankful child of the Heavenly Father.

And if that means in the process...

I get my house super duper organized, I lose about 30 extra pounds and tone another 10, and work on some of my many weaknesses in the end, then it is all good.
Most of all, I just need to remember that I was created for a purpose, that I am loved unconditionally and I am totally saved by grace. Life is good.
Here is to a GREAT year,


P.S. Happy New Year's Dear Friends!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! Here is a song for you...

Merry Christmas friends!

I've really enjoyed my Christmas countdown and reading all your comments on how you all celebrate the season. I'm going to end my countdown with one of my favorite things...

Here is a video of my hubby singing a Christmas song at one of our Christmas programs this year. Enjoy!

Hope you and yours have a wonderful time celebrating the birth of the Savior and enjoying time with family and friends.

Blessings and prayers.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Pictures #22, 23 &24

The next few days leading up to the big birthday celebration will be filled with packing bags, working, traveling and seeing some of my favorite people in the family.

So, in place of pictures my camera would normally take, picture in your mind those people who are near and dear to your heart and say a prayer of thankfulness.

Merry Christmas!

I hope to be back on Christmas Day with a special surprise...

Prayers and blessings as you travel, finish last minute holiday preparations and celebrate the Savior's birthday!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Counting Down the Days... Picture #20 & #21.

Life has been a little busy lately. I'm afraid more important things than my computer came up yesterday, so I will post TWO pictures today, to make up for it.

Yesterday was some day! I had a preschool breakfast at church to go to, (I have told you I teach kindergarten Sunday School, haven't I?) my hubby preached yesterday morning, (and did a great job! He and the Lord make a good team!) we cleaned house (because Kayla had a Christmas party for her friends at our house tonight) and then we went to my in law's house and had "Christmas" with them.

My mother-in-law and father-in-law left for Texas this morning to spend Christmas with my brother-in-law and his family. So the kids were very excited about opening gifts last night. Since my kids aren't into the whole Santa thing, we don't have any problems opening gifts whenever we want. Also, my mother-in-law and I went in together to purchase the kids their "main" gifts this year.
It was so much fun watching them. Jordan's list this year was everything electronic and costly. But he really wanted a Wii. HE has been scouting out the boxes underneath my tree and his grandma's tree for weeks. Well, I got him. I've had his Wii underneath my tree since Thanksgiving, only it did have his dad's name on it. :)
Kayla wanted a keyboard, but asked for art supplies. Being the sweetie that she is, she said the keyboard was too expensive and would settle for tools to do her drawings with. I did get her that box of 100 crayons, and the pastels, and the charcoals, and the colored pencils and the tablets of drawing paper and...but she also got the keyboard.
So, my pictures for yesterday's and today's countdown picture are...

The looks on their faces say it all. There is something to be said for a child's "joy" over dreams come true, or in their case, their "wish list" come to life.

Happy December 21st everyone!

May you also enjoy the simple pleasure of watching the children in your family, whether they are your own, cousins of friends, open their gifts with eyes dancing of happiness.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #19.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and just take a "moment."

Yes, Christmas is in less than a week. Yes, the shopping must be finished, the wrapping done, the particulars over family get-to-gathers must be finalized. IT IS HERE PEOPLE!!! Ready or not...

That being said, we had our first "family" party of the season tonight. There was soup and chili, I made my chicken dip and there were of course heavenly desserts. There was lots of laughter and old stories being told. There was even a new baby everyone was goo gooing over. It was a nice evening.

Picture#19 is...

Well, actually I took loads of pictures, but I'm too tired to upload tonight. So if you don't mind, I am going to take a little break for tonight. I'm still very on with the countdown and so very excited about Christmas its self, but I think I just want to be "silent" with my camera pictures tonight.

So, instead of me posting a picture, tonight, I want you to imagine a picture of what Christmas really means to you. My hubby is preaching tomorrow. He is also telling the Christmas story to our preschoolers at church. He asked to see my Sunday School literature to see how they approached the story and made it understandable for preschoolers. He begin to laugh. When I asked what was up, he stated that the way the children's literature is written, is the opposite of his message for the morning. He then explained...

You see, since we were small, we sugar coat the birth of Jesus. Mary was pregnant. Fine. She and Joseph went to Bethlehem. Fine. There was no room in the inn. Fine. She had Jesus in a stable and laid him in a manger. OK. Angels told the shepherds about his birth. Wise men visited him later...end of story, right. Like a fairy tale?

The truth is that there was a scared young girl, pregnant and very tired, traveling very far by foot and donkey with her new husband. Then there is the young man, who is trying to get use to his young bride being pregnant and it isn't his and he is trying really hard to provide and protect, yet feels helpless when he can't find a better place for her to lay her weary head than a pile of straw. And then there is a baby that is born, suppose to be the Savior of the world and he is born in a very smelly and dirty place. Doesn't sound much like a fairy tale anymore, does it?

That is because it isn't make believe. It was real. It is truth. Jesus did come and He came to be the Savior. So what is your picture of Christmas? When someone says "paint a picture in your mind" of what Christmas is, what do you see? Is it a man in a red suit? A beautiful tree with hundreds of lights? Wrappings and bows?

Or is it the reality that this world has a Savior, and his name is Jesus.

Happy 19Th everyone! May we all have a beautiful Sunday morning tomorrow worshiping the one true King!

Picture 19 of my countdown is left to you... you fill in the picture.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #18.

I went to my Sunday School party. Well, it is the class I am a member of and would go to, if I didn't teach Kindergartners on Sunday mornings. I love their parties, because there is a whole lot of laughter going on each and every time. Nothing like being able to go to a party and have a good time, without the worries and temptations of this world. Fellowship. God calls us to it, with fellow believers.

That being said, I made my peppermint dip and my chocolate chip dip to take. Since I couldn't take a picture of my dip last night, due to a dead battery, I decided that today's picture would be this... Not my best effort, but it is late and I had to have a last minute picture for my countdown. You get the idea anyway...

Picture #18 of my counting down the days till Christmas, countdown is...

I already gave you the recipe for the peppermint dip (on the right) in my last post, however I thought you chocolate lovers might be interested in a little chocolate chip. This is my daughter's favorite. She says it tastes like cookie dough and about makes herself sick on it every time I make it.

Chocolate Chip Dip

cream cheese (8oz)

1 stick of butter

1/4 tsp of vanilla

3/4 confectioners' sugar

2 tbs brown sugar

miniature semisweet chocolate chips

beat cream cheese and butter and vanilla together. Add sugars and beat until mixed. Stir in the desired amount of chocolate chips. Refrigerate. Serve with graham crackers or plain cookies.

Also had a request for my chicken dip, so since it is Christmas and you will not be taking it to the same parties I go to, I'll let you in on it. My pastor's wife gave me the recipe a few years ago and it has become a family favorite.

Chicken Dip

3 chicken breasts cooked and shredded

8 oz cream cheese

8 oz mayo

1 can green chilies

1 bag of Colby jack cheese shredded

Mix altogether. Bake for 30 minutes at 350.


Well Friends, it is FRIDAY!!! Sleeping in tomorrow for sure! (Watch me wake up at 7 a.m.! Because that is how my life goes!)

Happy December 18Th! We are on the final stretch to the BIG BIRTHDAY Celebration.

Blessings and prayers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture # 17.

Tonight I did a little experimenting.

I was at my scrapbook Christmas party Tuesday night with the gal pals, and of course the conversation turned to "food" during one part of the evening. We were on different kinds of dip. Of course I listened carefully, because I love me some good dip. My mom is a great cook. My sister is really good at sweets and loves baking. Me? Well, I am all about the finger foods, dips and all...

In fact, I need to go buy the ingredients for my chicken dip. I have already had a request for it from Kevin's cousin for the Saturday night family get together. Oops! Sorry, got a little side tracked there.

Anyway, they were talking about a dip that only has two ingredients and makes a nice Christmas dip. They called it Peppermint Dip. I decided to give it a try.

So in honor of one of my favorite candies...I get in trouble by my dentist for eating my peppermints... Picture #17 is...

What says Christmas time better than candy canes and peppermints?

I gave my Sunday School class this year, color books that tell the legend of the candy cane. I like the fact that the traditional candy cane can symbolize "J" for the name of my Savior, and represent the blood that washed our sins away. What a beautiful thought to remember this holiday season.

I am kind of scatterbrained tonight. Sorry. It comes from having a lot of late nights and early mornings lately, and I am an 8 hours a night kind of girl. But I hope in my randomness, you smiled. Whether from the thought of a sweet candy cane or the fact that we do indeed have a Savior, who came to save the world...

Happy December 17Th Friends!

Oh, for those of you who would like the recipe, here it is:

12 oz of Cool-Whip (regular, lite or fat free)

about 50 peppermints "crushed"

Mix together.


Even better if you dip these in it...

or the French Vanilla flavor.


Guess what?!!! Tomorrow is Friday! :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #16.

Yesterday's post was all about a lovely surprise I have for my dear sis. It really isn't much, I just like to leave her hanging and drive her NUTS!!! Isn't that what sisters are for? After all, she has done her fair share of "driving me crazy" through the years...

Anyway, a few comments were made about my wrapping. Thanks. Some even commented on my "ornament" gift tags. So, I said, "Why Not?"

Picture #16 is...

Why? Because they are so cute and because you guys will all be surprised to learn that they came from The Dollar Tree. Yep. You heard right... The Dollar Tree. Gotta love a store where EVERYTHING is a dollar. The store had two different snowmen too. I think all together I bought ten, to add a little flare to a few of my packages. (And yes, I know I used the same picture for my countdown, but my battery on my camera died...)

Happy December 16Th!

Prayers and blessings...
May we all remember to appreciate all the "little" things in our lives that seems so insignificant at times, yet never fail to bring an extra smile...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Counting Down the Days... Picture #15.

Can you keep a secret?

I am very excited about a certain present I am giving this year... it is for my sister.

It didn't cost me very much.

I bought it online.

She likes it a lot.

I think she will be surprised.
It is not her main gift, just a little something extra to make her smile.

Want to know what it is?

Sorry. But dear sis is a friend around bloggyworld. Can't let the cat out of the bag this early in the game. But I will let you in on this...

Countdown picture #15...

See the package with the Santa ornament and big red bow on top? That's it. Have a guess as to what is inside? Shh...but don't tell my lovable sis if you figure it out.
Happy December 15Th!
As we wrap our gifts in pretty paper and matching ribbon, let us thank God for those special individuals, friends or family, that God saw fit to bless us with.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #14.

Is anyone tired yet?

I LOVE the Christmas season...lights, trees, gifts for those I love, the Savior's birthday.

However, it seems that in the midst of "celebrating" the season, party after party, school programs and church programs, we are all just plumb wore out!!!

But I don't think I would change it. I mean, I want to hang out and laugh with my Sunday School class (the class I am in when I don't teach), after all, adult conversation is needed at times. I want to hang out with my scrap booking pals, because it makes me smile, being creative and all. I want to take my daughter to her Christmas tea and see her giggle with friends. I want to hear my husband sing and my daughter play the flute. I want to be with my family. I want...

So, I guess although I am so very busy, and very tired these days, it is the good kind of tired. The kind that comes from staying up late wrapping gifts for the kiddos or hanging out with friends.

I didn't have time to take a picture today. Too much going on. But I did find this little beauty.

It reminds me of some precious childhood memories. It reminds me of a time when kids weren't so spoilt. It reminds me of a time when something as simple as a cartoon, was not taken for granted. Yep, those were the days...

So picture #14 on my counting down the days countdown is....

Hope it brings a smile to your face. We are at the halfway mark, friends!
Happy December 14Th! Enjoy the busyness of the holiday, never forgetting what we are celebrating...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #13.

This afternoon was Kayla's "tea" ornament/cookie swap party. She had a really good time. They drew numbers for an ornament, exchanged cookies and recipes, had a dress making contest out of wrapping paper and nibbled on good food (although I don't think any tea was actually served!).

The issue came this past week, when we were trying to decide what cookies to make and take. You see, my oven is you are really feeling sorry for me here at Christmas time, aren't you. Haven't had the time to get it fixed...shoot we haven't even been home enough to worry much about it. Anyway, I had to find a recipe that didn't call for some baking time.

I found a cute idea in a magazine I had. Turns out they taste pretty good too according to my family, the cookie experts. We made "Santa's." I thought they ended up precious.
So, picture #13 is...

Aren't they just the cutest?!!!

Happy December 13Th Friends!

As you are baking and making the "season bright" with yummy sweets to eat, remember the sweetest gift at all... the love of the Savior.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #12.

It rained today. All day. It was wet and cold. Of course I had to go to the store, for the cupboards were totally bare. Nothing like putting your groceries in the car, in pouring rain. Fun times.

Since it was wet and cold, all I could think of was having something "warm" to eat for dinner. I decided to make "white" chili. Yummy stuff. Nothing warms you up faster than a good bowl of chili or soup on a cold, wet day.

So picture #12 of my Christmas countdown is a big bowl of yummy...

The recipe was given to me by a friend about five years ago. However, it is one of those recipes where you 'just throw" the ingredients in. No measuring cups, etc...

Since I want to share the love, here is the recipe...

White Chili

Chicken boiled in chicken broth

3-4 cans of Great Northern beans

"green" salsa (how much depends on how "hot" you want it. 1-2 cans)

1 pint of half and half

whipping cream (around 3 pints)

Throw it all in the crock pot and wait for the yummy goodness to heat up.

Well, I hope you had a wonderful December 12Th!

Stay warm and dry this holiday season.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #11.

I'm tired. It has been a long week. I, of course had to work everyday, but then had an activity of some kind going on every night. Sunday was church. Monday was my husband's staff party. Tuesday, Kevin went to the deacon's Christmas party, while I took Kayla to her "end of the season" soccer party. Wednesday was church. Thursday was the band concert and tonight I had my work party. Wow! Can you say busy?!!!

Anyway, tonight's picture, since I have already been to a few parties and have several more to go to is this....

The trend this year, like most years, is the famous ornament exchange. This is what I ended up with tonight. Cute, huh? Someone knew I loved snowmen. My director gave me the little fat white snowman too. I was HAPPY with what I got. So, tonight's picture represents all the ornament and "dirty Santa" parties everyone has to go to.

As you fellowship with friends and coworkers this holiday season, say a prayer for those people who are in your life. They are there for a reason. It is between you and God as for the "why?"

Happy December 11Th!

Hey! Did you know it is Friday?!!! Woo! Hoo!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #10.

Tonight was the school Band Christmas concert. Kayla plays the flute. She is second chair, out of nine 7Th grade flute players. We are very proud of how she is doing. The kids all did great! We sat and listened to the different instruments dance their way through favorite Christmas carols.

I know what you are thinking... picture #10 is going to be Christmas music. Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm saving that beautiful picture for another day. No, tonight's picture is pure fun. It is whimsical. It also makes a cute picture, which in turn leads to some great memories...

How do you like Kayla's Santa hat? She has had it since she was so very little. Back in her "cheetah is my favorite animal" stage. As I sat behind her tonight, watching her giggle with a friend, I just had to smile... oh those precious memories. Those beautiful memories of a precious young girl who has become my pride and joy. Watching her beautiful smile, her eyes dance in laughter...Memories all brought on by a Santa hat.

The 7Th grade band was suppose to wear a Santa hat or reindeer antlers tonight. It was a fun sight. The picture above is Kayla with one of her friends.

Happy December 10Th!!!

Here is hoping that in the midst of the busyness of the season, you find that "childlike" magic that comes around in a very special way around this time of year. Take a moment to SMILE today and reflect on those precious memories that just make the corners of your mouth lift up.

Blessings friends!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #9.

I am so very proud of myself. I have actually posted something 9 straight days in a row and have managed to keep my countdown going. Woo! Hoo! Of course I am going to "shut up" now for "pride does come before the fall..." or so they say. :)

Anyway, as I was asking myself what I wanted to post on day number 9, I decided I would share something on my, "few of my favorite things..." list. Actually, they really aren't just for Christmas, but rather a favorite year around for me. However, since we are discussing the biggest birthday of them all, the warm and coziness of the holidays and getting into the spirit of things, we might as well talk these...

Have I told you before how much a LOVE a good candle? Well, I do. However, I am just a tad on the picky side when it comes to flavoring. (that is "scent" for you people who don't speak "Mich-anese.") Unfortunately, there are a few that give me a headache. But over all, nothing says; "Come in and join us..." like a good candle burning. And since I don't have a fireplace, well it is the next best thing.
I remember a couple of years ago we had a sudden snowstorm. Kevin and Kayla were out of town and Jordan was staying the night at a friend's house. I was alone... The cable was out, so I put in "One Night With the King," (LOVE THAT MOVIE!!!) lit me a candle and enjoyed the evening curled up in my favorite blanket as the snow fell... Bliss.

Anyway, my favorite type of candles are the Woodwick brand. Love the crackle they make and they smell wonderful. Favorite flavor? Current. LOVE IT!!! My hubby went on a trip a month ago or so and came back bearing gifts. One of my gifts was a Woodwick. He knows me so well! It is called Wine Berry Fusion and smells pretty good. However, nothing is ever perfect and that goes for candle land too. Woodwicks tend to be VERY EXPENSIVE, so I have to be on the look out for a good sale or enjoy the surprise when I'm given one as a gift. Hint. Hint.
So what do I do, when I can't afford the good stuff? Find a substitute. My favorite right now comes from Wally World and can be bought for under ten bucks. Paula Dean's candles are wonderful. My favorite flavor is the Mystery Pecan Pie. I also like the Strawberry Shortcake.
What is your favorite candle and flavor? I am always up for hearing about something that smells good and "lights" up the place with smelly goodness. So please share...

Happy December 9Th dear friends! I can't believe how the month is flying by!

While we are thinking about lighting candles, may we all try to remember to be "lights" in this world and "fragrant" for the Lord this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #8.

"The stockings were hung..."

Hello. Problem here. As of two years ago, we have had no fireplace in which to hang our pretty little stockings. To years ago, I found one of those cute little metal pieces, in which you hang your stockings from. However, last year I couldn't find all the pieces. The stockings ended up hanging on my french doors leading into the living room. Which is were they are now, unless of course one of my creative friends has a suggestion that they would like to pass my way...

Hmmm... anyone?

I guess you have guessed by now what picture #8 of my Christmas countdown might be...


You can't decorate for Christmas without hanging the stockings. They are a big part of the holiday gift giving.

The stockings that my hubby and I have are fifteen years old. I remember buying them at Target our second year of "wedded bliss." I think the first Christmas we just had the red felt ones. Nothing wrong with that, in fact my mom still uses that kind, each one with our name written on it. However, as a young newlywed, I wanted something different, something very pretty.

Well you have to remember that in the early '90's the country look was "HUGE." I loved the country farmhouse decor. When I picked out my pretty little stockings, well they were patchwork, burgundy and green. Although I have kind of outgrown the old country style, I still love my stockings. I had written our names on the back with fabric paint and then put the date. Every year, I still paint the date on. I was once told that it was silly, that I would know how old they were by the first date written and that I didn't have to put the year on every year. But, there is something sentimental to me about doing it this way. When I write the numbers out, it is like I am saying a "thank you" for another Christmas shared together. I imagine one day having the whole back of the stocking filled with numbers representing all the different years we have not only shared, but "survived" together.

My kids have cute stockings too. Kayla has a snowman on hers, while Jordan has a reindeer. Again, every year I write the date on the back... (sorry, not my best photography, but I'm running late tonight.)

Happy December 8Th!

As you hang your stocking this year, remember to say a special "thanks" for another year spent with those you love.

As for your comments? I would love to know your family tradition with your stockings. Also if you have a suggestion on where I should hang mine this year, I would love to hear it!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #7.

Tonight started my busy, nonstop holiday season. I think I have something going on every night this week. In fact I know I do...

As I hop, skip and jump from Christmas party, to church, to band concert to party, to... well you get the picture, there has to be a way to find PEACE. After all, that is a part of what this Christmas season is all about, right? Finding peace.

I've seen this quote many times and love the simplistic truth it holds. "Wise men still seek Him."

Picture # 7 in my counting down the days until Christmas, countdown, is...
Happy Monday, December 7Th!
I pray that as we all hustle and bustle about, going about our Christmas celebrating, that we will take a few moments here and there to remember what exactly we are suppose to be celebrating. May we still seek the Savior in all we do.
"Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on earth..."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #6.

"When you stop believing, you stop getting."

"When you stop believing, then Mom and Dad has to buy the presents."

"Who doesn't believe in Santa Claus?"

Believe it or not in the past three days I have been a part of at least five different conversations that deal with "believing in Santa." So I have had to tell my funny little story more than once. However, since it has been on my mind, including a conversation in the church nursery this morning, I thought I would share it with you.

When I was a little girl ( my kids would say "a long, long time ago...") I had a friend who found out there wasn't a Santa while on the playground at school. I remember being so upset, that she was so upset. I remember big tears and sobbing as the teacher tried to calm her down. I just have this childhood memory of her being so sad.

I guess I need to back up just a little. Under my tree every Christmas, there were packages from "Santa." However, I really don't have a memory of really not knowing the truth. I just knew it was "my dad." Whether I figured that out on my own or my parents told me, I really don't know. I just know that Santa was a part of my childhood, but I was never totally caught up in the "believing" part of the jolly red suited guy.

That being said, when I grew up and had my first baby, I decided I would not subject my child to that sadness I saw my little friend experience. So Kayla from day one knew Santa was "Daddy." No problems, right? It was after all my personal choice. I thought I had reached the key to parenting and that all the other moms who fed their kids all that bologna didn't know what good parenting was.

Before you want to tar and feather me, let me just say that I have had a change of heart. As they grew older, I kind of missed all the magic that came with believing. If I had it to do over... I might just do things differently. But then who knows. I say this, to say, I'm not anti Santa, it started because I was anti the sadness I remembered. I have since learned that every child handles things differently. Who knows how or what my kids would believe. I tend to think that Kayla would figure it all out, for she is such a deep thinker, like her mom. My son, however, probably would have figured it out when I ran out of answers to his hundreds of questions. He is the child that has to know how everything works.

So, all that being said, here I was, a Mom with two kids that knew the truth behind Santa. I never foresaw the problems I would have. (Remember, I was the cocky young mom with all the answers!!!)

Until Kindergarten.

Kayla got into her one and only fight, on the playground. Imagine my horror when Kayla became the one breaking young hearts. One girl was willing to fight her over it. Neither girl, as they rolled in the dirt were willing to back down from their stance on Santa Claus.

I had to eat a little humble pie and realized a lot about child rearing that Christmas. Mothers don't have all the answers, and when you do think you have it all figured out, something like a good playground brawl will knock your feet out from under you. I had to explain to Kayla that it was not her job to tell the "secret." That since she was so "smart" and was allowed in on the big secret, that she had the important job of keeping that secret and playing along with all her cousins and friends who believed.

It worked. My kids managed to not get in anymore fights and actually had a blast at times, playing along with the grownups on the big secret. I remember one year Kayla even getting a bite of a "cookie for Santa."

When I tell my little story, everyone has a good laugh, for imagining Kayla in a fight on the playground... too funny. She just isn't that little girl anymore. How can you not smile, when you tell someone that your daughter has only been in one fight at school, and it was over Santa Claus.

Oh, the memories... You really do have to learn from them.

That being said, picture #6 on my countdown is...

You guessed it! Jolly Saint Nick.

My kids may not have grown up believing in the traditional Santa down the chimney, with his sleigh and reindeer. But I did teach them about the real MR. Claus. The man with a big heart who gave lovingly to others, especially around the holidays.

Happy December 6Th Friends!

I pray as your children and mine enjoy the magic of the holiday, no matter what they believe, that they grow up knowing the most important thing: Christmas is really about giving rather than receiving. "For God so loved the world, that HE gave is only son..."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #5.

The other day I stood for about thirty minutes (no lie!) on this one aisle at Walmart. Sometimes I have a very hard time making decisions (so glad my hubby rarely reads this blog or he probably would have to comment!!!). Indecisiveness seems to be my middle name. I am always over "worrying" about everything, even the little things that have no significance in the grand scheme of things...


Yes, I have the hardest time picking out my wrappings every year. Why? I have no clue. I think I just want the wrapping to look like I cared about the WHOLE gift and not just what the box holds inside. I think I just want to say "I care enough, to give you my very best." Now I sound like a Hallmark card...

Of course, in the end, I still buy the wrapping paper for about 2.50 a roll. There is usually some kind of snowman design on at least one roll. And I try to find coordinating colors at the very least. I do make my own bows. But when I get it all home and look at my purchases I have to ask myself why it took me so long to make what should be a simple decision. After all, I see some ladies (and men) just grab the first one they come to. And they wouldn't be wrong, for my kids and my niece and nephews are not going to stop and look at the pretty packaging! They are going to tear into those babies as fast as they can and what was once beautiful paper and bows will be scattered all over the living room floor.

But, that doesn't mean that I shouldn't care, right? I may care too much at times, but giving each gift a lot of thought and then wrapping it accordingly seems right for me somehow.

As I'm typing this, I realize that I am speaking to myself on a much deeper level. My heart. What am I wrapping it in for the Lord? I am not talking about my clothing or hairstyle, although I think we are called to dress modestly and appropriately at all times. No, I'm talking about those other little things that seems so insignificant at times...our words, our thoughts, our dreams, etc...

In today's world, words that were once considered big "NO-No's" are used in every cartoon on Nick or Disney. Our thoughts, well we tend to think if we do not say them aloud, nobody will know... however, our actions often reflect our thoughts. What is sad, (and I put me and mine in this group too), is that it can be really hard to tell the Christians apart in this world. We are lacking in zeal, and enthusiasm and have become too much of the people pleasing variety. Maybe we need to spend at least thirty minutes everyday, searching for the right "wrappings" for our heart, instead of grabbing the first worldly package we see...

Hmmm...something to think about. I really was only going to laugh at myself about how long it took me to pick out my wrapping paper, and the fact that it isn't extraordinary, but then I was lead down another path. One that has certainly left me somewhat convicted. I want to be set apart. I need to be set apart. This holiday season was originally for me, for we are celebrating the fact that my Savior was born. My thoughts and actions need to reflect that in everything!

So if you haven't guessed already. in my Christmas picture countdown, the picture of the day is this...

Happy December 5Th Friends!

As you pick out your own wrapping paper this year, have a little giggle on me. Maybe it won't take you thirty minutes!!!

As you pick out your heart's wrappings, have a little prayer time with the Savior. (Thirty minutes daily at the very least.)

Happy Weekend!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Counting Down The Days...Picture #4.

I was at the store tonight. As I passed the dessert rack at the front of the store, I started to smile. On the shelf were several different sweets, with the main ingredient being PUMPKIN.

Yes, people, it is that time of year! It started with Thanksgiving, and has become the dessert that keeps on giving...until the day after Christmas when all of a sudden everyone just stops eating pumpkin. Why is that anyway?

I LOVE pumpkin pie.

Can we say "Yummy?"

I couldn't help myself. I grabbed a pie. I know it wasn't of the homemade variety, but sometimes you just have to substitute when the sweet tooth calls.

So if you haven't guessed already, picture #4 of my Christmas countdown is simply this...
Hungry yet?
Happy December 4Th Friends!
Wish you could come share a piece of pie with me. (OOPS! I wonder how many calories per slice? Do we have to count calories around the holiday? Hope not, because this pie loving gal had two slices!!!)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #3.

I LOVE Snowmen!!!

There is just something about them that makes me smile.

Whether it is the memories of snowmen built with my dad as a child, the wishful "dreaming of a white Christmas," or just the fact that they are just plain cute...snowmen totally represent the season for me.

Several years back, I started a collection. I have all kinds of snowmen, standing around on my counter tops and tables, but my favorites are these...

Picture #3 is my Jim Shore collection. ( I have six large snowmen and four of the ornament size.)I love the beauty and story that each one tells.

Do you remember as a child, or maybe even as an adult, how much fun it was to create the "perfect snowman?" Molding and patting the snow just right? Rolling HUGE balls of beautiful, white snow across the yard? Finding the perfect pebbles for eyes or a beautiful scarf to clothe him with? Hmmm...kind of makes one reflect on the Lord's creations. The Lord's photo album of words, the Bible, simply states: "And God saw that it was good."

Now that little thought does make me smile.

Happy December 3rd everyone! Smile, for God created each of us with great love...
Although one day I am going to ask Him about the shape of my nose...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Counting Down The Days...Picture #2.

Have I told you that I get to go to my parent's house for the holidays? I'm so excited! I haven't seen them since summer. My parents are retired, but for some reason are busier than ever... Add the fact that I'm married to a minister and my kids go to public school, and we never seem to have any free time on the weekends as well as during the week!!!

Anyway, one of my favorite parts of the holiday is being with my family. I am so blessed, and I know it. I really don't need a holiday to realize what a great family I have, but it is always nice to send an extra hug with words their way, as well as a prayer of THANKS!!!

So my picture #2 of my Christmas countdown is...

Aren't they just the cutest?!!!

You may have seen my dad around blog land. He is known as "Jim-Dad." His Spiritual gift must be encouragement, for he is always there with an encouraging word. He leaves me some of the sweetest comments. He has NEVER met a stranger! He is also very creative. I don't think there is anything he couldn't make or create if he put his mind to it. He is a daily inspiration to all of us who love him.

My mom, well I think she is simply the greatest. She has always had the patience of a saint to put up with all of us. She is one of the most giving and selfless individuals I know and I want to be just like her when I finish growing up!!! :)

I am one blessed gal!

I have always wondered what kind of parents Mary and Joseph were? They must have been extraordinary individuals for God to trust "His one and only Son" to their tender care. Awesome thought, huh?

So, today is Day #2 of my countdown. Take a minute today to thank the Lord for those parental figures in your life that love and inspire you everyday. I realize many have gone on to be with the Lord, but even the memories once shared with them hold special blessings.

Happy December 2ND Friends!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Counting Down the Days...Picture #1

Well it is official... December has begun.

I think the panic will soon begin. I am about 3/4 of my way through my shopping, yet there are always those last minute gifts needed. Not to mention that I bought several things online this year, and waiting for them to come in, sometimes requires the patience of a saint! A few things are probably going to cut real close to the big gift giving holiday itself, so I am just praying there will not be any wrapped IOUs under my Mom's tree this year...

I finally got two of my trees up. Yes, I said TWO. My sister and Dad love to give me a hard time about it, but I love Christmas trees and lights. I have one tree that is my Chrismon tree (symbols of Christ) and then I have my "Santa tree" which is full of all my kid's ornaments. You know, all those little handmade gifts, mixed with Hallmark ornaments from Grandparents, etc... Love it... I have others I plan to put up in the next day or so...

However, I HATE the MESS! Boxes and tissue paper are cluttering up my kitchen, dining room and living room as I attempt to make the home "jolly and bright." I probably won't decorate as much as I usually do, just because actual Christmas Day will be with the parents and there are no parties scheduled at this time for our house, but then you never know about me...
The Christmas parade starts tonight and is the beginning of a month full of parties, activities and lots of Christmas cheer. I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! Love it!

I love the true meaning of why we celebrate. I love the love and kindness that people seem to have an extra share of during this time. I love giving. I love the lights and decorations. I will not lie, I love shopping for the perfect gift to make someone smile. I love the beauty of it all...
So as I countdown my way to the BIG, and BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER, I am going to try and share a picture, each day, of something that represents the holiday for me.

So to begin... since it took me a while over the weekend to get it all up, I will start with this...

My trees...

Happy First Day of December Everyone!!!