Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Strength in Weakness...

This was one of my devotions today from James McDonald. It hit right on...

Strength in Weakness

"Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:5-7

How do people do it? How do they withstand the Katrina-like blows that pummel their lives? The wind, the waves, the surges of heartbreak one after another. How do they survive... and still lift their faces to the Lord? How can they be so strong at their extreme weakest?

Today was an awful day. Some very heavy things hit me off guard. But somewhere in the middle of that storm, God's voice was telling me that He provides sufficient grace for this trial, and when I am weak He is always and still very strong. So I want to say to the glory of God that if there is anything in this ministry that is powerful, it is from weakness. Trust me on that.

"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me... For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Well, here I am - present and accounted for. It's the hard times and the unhealthy times and the hurting times that reveal my weaknesses. And it's also during those times that God shows up strong.

We often treat suffering like a dodgeball game. Anytime anything painful comes at us, we jump out of the way. We spend our whole lives trying to avoid anything that will hurt or be hard. But there's a better kind of life - a deeper, more fulfilling kind of life - that isn't about avoiding every pain. It's about finding God faithful and powerful in the midst of whatever thorns He allows.
There's something about our weakness that opens the flow of God's strength.

When you are in the midst of a trial, there's a power coming into your life that you've never experienced before. When you see a hard thing coming, try saying, "I may not want this, but I know I'm going to see Christ working in my life in an incredible way."

God never allows a thorn but that He provides sufficient grace and strength in our weaknesses. Sufficient grace is not just enough to survive, but enough to have supernatural joy in the midst of anything He allows us to go through.

Doctor's appointment

So I had some pain recently. I went to my OB/GYN....he found a lump in my breast. So, the next day he had me go in for a mammogram and an ultrasound. They could feel the lump, but nothing was showing up on either test...so they said not to worry about it for now. That kinda bothered me. I would have rather they told me they saw it and it was nothing then they can't find it so don't worry about it. Oh well. I am waiting to talk to my doctor. He would like me to speak to a surgeon anyway...just for a baseline. I also have what they thought was possibly an enlarged Thyroid...which would explain a lot. So I had a bunch of blood work done yesterday. No results on that yet. I must say though...I have drawn blood for longer than I have done anything professionally...and this girl really needed me to train her on the proper way to do it! OUCH! She did so-so until it was time to be done...she pulled the needle out with the tube still attached which is a big ouchie and a big no-no! Now I have an enormous bruise up and down my antecubatal! I kept my mouth shut though and let her do her job...no matter how good or bad it was. I tell you...I need to do a workshop in Omaha for these Phlebotomists! Maybe I can get my mother in law to fly out here and do one with me!!!! :-)

Anyway...if you put that health scare along with the fact that I am just FINALLY starting to "get" that my mom is gone...and this was our first Christmas without her...and there may be something wrong with my thyroid which could be leading to my sheer exhaustion....I have been pretty down in the dumps. Whether it is one of those things, or a combination of some of them or all of them...I don't know....but life has been kinda blah over this Christmas season. I am trying to turn it around...but I am having a hard time. I am still having fun with the kids, etc...but it takes more energy out of me then it usually does. All I want to do is be alone and/or sleep. Hopefully with Christmas behind us things will look up....but with the one year anniversary of mom's death coming up...I don't know. I have never been an emotional type of person...I don't get depressed...so this is all new to me. I've been doing a lot of praying though....

Christmas Blizzard, 2009

Here are some of the pictures of the aftermath of the Christmas Blizzard. These were taken Saturday evening. We got about 2 more inches after this! AND we are expected to get abaout 2 more this week! LOVE IT!!!!

Christmas Day, 2009

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!! We had a great one...though it just wasn't the same without mom. :-( We woke up early....actually I was awoken by drums being played at 3:30 AM! I put a stop to that real quick!! Anyway, they were up and ready to go by 7! We made them wait until 8 when Jeff and I had both gotten up and were coherent! We were definitely snowed in though! Dad did make it over to drop off his stockings from Santa for the kids...but not until around lunch time. Then he went to my sister's and managed to get stuck. We were in the middle of a blizzard for pete's sake! Of course he got stuck! Silly man!! Anyway...we had to postpone our Christmas with my sister and her family until Sunday afternoon because of the blizzard...so we stayed in all day, except for the time that the kids went out to play on their new snowboards...but it was so terribly cold and blowing out, that they didn't last very long out there!!!

MaKenna got a bunch of girly things. Here she is in one of her new dress up outfits!!

Jake's highlight was all the GI Joe stuff and his new hunting Bow! He was thrilled!!!

Cam loved all of his bionicles...but HIS highlight was his new and very own Muzzle Loader!!!

Major just liked to open. Normally if they were clothes though he would try to rewrap them! Silly boy!! He had more fun playing with the toys he got then opening new ones! So for that very reason, we didn't get him very much...we knew he wouldn't be too into the whole opening gifts very much.

Not only did Santa bring snowboards, he also brought each kid a new game. Major's game was CandyLand DVD edition. The kids had so much fun playing it!!!! We played it for almost two hours...and we have played it ALMOST every night since! They realy enjoy it! It is a lot of fun! The only bummer is that it is only for up to 4 players...so the adults don't get to play...just the kids! Oh well...we sure have a good time watching them though! And...I kinda get to play...Major needs a lot of help!

All in all...our Christmas was really good. It was truly a white Christmas though! We ended up with 15 inches I believe! But the wind blew it around so much there are 6-10 foot snow drifts all over the place!
Sunday afternoont we went to my sisters for Christmas with them! We had a great time! The kids played for an hour or two outside on their new snowboards and sleds! They all came in with rosy cheeks! But they had a great time! I SHOULD have gone out and played with them and worked off all of that food that was at my sister's house! We definitely ate well!!!
Christmas was very different without mamma...but we all survived. It is our new norm I guess. I am sure she had a great time celebratiing Jesus' birthday WITH Jesus himself though!!! I can only imagine.....

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!!!

from Luke 2

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and Saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve at Dad's House

We had a FABULOUS time at Papa's house tonight!!!

Let me go through the day for you....I know you ALL want to know!! :-) It was a very lazy day. Due to the blizzard Jeff stayed home again and worked from home. Yesterday he stayed home also because of the blizzard. After my doctors appointments yesterday (I can explain later), my sister's kiddos came over to play! She has 3 of them...Shawn, Kayla, and Brooke. They are the same ages as my kiddos...so everyone had a friend except Major. :-( Poor thing. He hung out with them a lot though. They played outside in the freezing cold blizzard too!! I didn't let them stay out long...but they went out a few different times. Anyway, they had a great time with their cousins yesterday. So...today they were all pooped. At 4:30, we went and picked up Papa for church. It is tradition for us to go to the Christmas Eve Service....but with no childcare....one of us typically doesn't get to see the service. This year, it was my turn to miss the service. Major LOVED the music...but as soon as Pastor Tim started talking, the boy was SO out of there!! :-) After church we CAREFULLY headed over to dad's house. The blizzard was REALLY packing a good punch at that point...so we didn't stay long at dad's. We ate, opened presents, had dessert and that was really about it. I felt bad. Usually we are there MUCH later...but with the weather, we actually got a little bit nervous.
Dinner was great! The traditional chili feed...we had regular chili from dad and Jeff brought his usual deer chili with the new addition this year of elk chili! Of course, me...the non chili lover, brought the macaroni and cheese casserole and also the regular plain macaroni for the kids who won't eat my casserole. Everyone was happy with their food choice!

After dinner we quickly opened presents because the kids could HARDLY stand the wait!!! MaKenna got this animatronic pony from Papa! She LOVES it...she is sleeping with it already tonight! Jake got the drun set he has been wanting!! He was so excited! I put it together for him tonight when we got home. I was getting all nostalgic putting it together. I have put many drum heads on drums in my lifetime. *sigh*

Cam got his long awaited for night vision goggles. Don't ask me what he plans on doing with them....hopefully nothing creepy....

Major got a Little Einsteins thingie....here he is with his Papa trying to figure out how it works!
Here Major is opening some clothes! He was very meticulous about how he opened.Once the present was delicately opened, he would then proceed to rip every last piece of paper he could find into tiny little pieces. Kept him busy for a long time....Then after he watched papa hold up a shirt that he got for Christmas, Major had to grab one of his new Christmas shirts and do the same thing! He really looks up to Papa!

Here we all are!! If you notice...mom STILL made it into the picture! She may not have been there physically, but she was there spiritually!!

Here are the kids...with a "spiritual" Nana looking on in the background....

When we were loading the truck and getting it warm for our short, but scary drive home in a blizzard, the kids went down to papa's play room. Major learned how to play the pin ball machine! He LOVES it! He ESPECIALLY loves to pull the thingie out that makes the ball go!! He did really well! When he did his last ball, and he lost it...he put his head in his hands and shook his head! It was PRICELESS! I wish I had my video camera!!
Of course, in able to reach the paddle pusher things, he needed two stools!
Then we got home...while Jeff was putting the other kids' things together, I went upstairs and put the drum set together for Jake. Ahhh...it felt good to use a drum key again and to "tune" the snare, the tom and the bass. Good times...anyway...Major took to it like Bee takes to Honey. He LOVED it! I think I have a couple of musical kiddos on my hands! Let's hope so!!!Look at him! He looks like a pro! Even Jake said, "He's better than me mom!!!"

Now the kids are all snug in their beds...while a blizzard plows through! It isn't supposed to let up until Saturday!!! We have warnings going out constantly....thank goodness it is Christmas because everything would be closed anyway!!! We are expecting about 15 or more inches of snow...with 40 mph winds. Definite white out, blizzard conditions!!!

Do you think Santa will make it???????

Merry Christmas Eve!!

Just a small Christmas Eve Nugget!!! Enjoy!!!!
Twas the Night before Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
Twas the Night before Christmas Poem
Twas the night before Christmas Poem also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas"
Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) wrote the poem Twas the night before Christmas also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas" in 1822. It is now the tradition in many American families to read the poem every Christmas Eve. The poem Twas the night before Christmas has redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus. Prior to the creation of the story of Twas the night before Christmas St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers! The author of the poem Twas the night before Christmas was a reticent man and it is believed that a family friend, Miss H. Butler, sent a copy of the poem to the New York Sentinel who published the poem. The condition of publication was that the author of Twas the night before Christmas was to remain anonymous. The first publication date was 23rd December 1823 and it was an immediate success. It was not until 1844 that Clement Clarke Moore claimed ownership when the work was included in a book of his poetry. Clement Clarke Moore came from a prominent family and his father Benjamin Moore was the Bishop of New York who was famous for officiating at the inauguration of George Washington. The tradition of reading Twas the night before Christmas poem on Christmas Eve is now a Worldwide institution.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sioux City Hockey weekend

Last weekend we went to Sioux City for Cam's Squirt Select hockey game against the Sioux City Muskateers. There were two games. They won both! Cam ALMOST got a hattrick...he ended with two goals and an assist! Yeah for him!!!!!!! He is the one pictured in the grey jersey. This is one of the teams that Jeff coaches, so he was thrilled to say the least!! His boys did very well that day!!!

Will the Christ child come?

I got this from a friend's blog. I am sure Robyn won't mind if I borrow it. I just thought it was such an awesome and true read. In fact...I am thinking about doing something like this to bless someone's life next Christmas...how about you????

Will the Christ Child Come?
Written by Gaye Willis

One Christmas we had an interesting experience that I would like to share.

Halfway through December we were doing the regular evening things when there was a knock at the door. We opened it to find a small package with a beautiful ceramic lamb inside. We looked at the calendar and realized that the 12 days of Christmas were beginning! We waited excitedly for the next night's surprise and only then, with the gift of a matching shepherd, did we realize that the lamb was part of a nativity set.

Each night we grew more excited to see what piece we would receive.Each was exquisitely beautiful. The kids kept trying to catch the givers as we slowly built the scene at the manger and began to focus on Christ's birth.On Christmas Eve, all the pieces were in place, all but the Baby Jesus.My 12-year-old son really wanted to catch our benefactors and began to devise all kinds of ways to trap them. He ate dinner in the minivan,watching and waiting, but no one came. Finally, we called him in to go through our family's Christmas Eve traditions. But before the kids went to bed, we checked the front step - - no Baby Jesus! We began to worry that my son had scared them off. My husband suggested that maybe they dropped the Jesus and there wouldn't be anything coming. Somehow, something was missing that Christmas Eve.

There was a feeling that things weren't complete. The kids went to bed and before I went to bed, I again checked to see if the Jesus had come - - no,the doorstep was empty.In our family, the kids can open their stockings when they want to, but they have to wait to open any presents until Dad wakes up. So one by one they woke up very early and I also woke up to watch them. Even before they opened their stockings, each child checked to see if perhaps during the night the Baby Jesus had come.

Missing that piece of the set seemed to have an odd effect. At least it changed my focus. I knew there were presents under the tree for me and I was excited to watch the children open their gifts, but first on my mind was the feeling of waiting for the ceramic Christ Child. We had opened just about all of the presents when one of the children found one more for me buried deep beneath the limbs of the tree.He handed me a small package from my former visiting teaching companion.This sister was somewhat less-active in the church. I had been her visiting teacher for a couple of years and then, when she was asked to be a visiting teacher, she requested to go with me. I had learned over time they didn't have much for Christmas, so that their focus was on the children. It sounded like she didn't get many gifts to open, so I had always given her a small package -- new dish towels, the next year's Relief Society lesson manual -- not much, but something for her to open.I was touched when at church on the day before Christmas, she had given me this small package, saying it was just a token of her love and appreciation. As I took off the bow, I remembered my friendship with he rand was filled with gratitude for knowing her and for her kindness and sacrifice in this giving me a gift. But as the paper fell away, I began to tremble and cry. There in the small brown box was the Baby Jesus! He had come!

I realized on that Christmas Day, that Christ will come into our lives in ways that we don't expect. The spirit of Christ comes into our hearts as we serve one another.We had waited and watched for Him to come, expecting the dramatic "knock at the door and scurrying of feet" but He came in a small, simple package that represented service, friendship, gratitude and love.This experience taught me that the beginning of the true spirit of Christmas comes as we open our hearts and actively focus on the Savior. But we will most likely find Him in the small and simple acts of love, friendship and service that we give to each other. This Christmas I want to feel again the joy of knowing that Christ is in our home. I want to focus on loving and serving. More than that, I want to open my heart to Him all year that I may see Him again.

"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,because he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21 NIV

May the spirit of Christ be with you and yours this Christmas and always...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book review, Primal

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

In Primal, Mark Batterson strips away every distraction and complication, focusing on the essence of Christianity, the Great Commandment. Batterson explores the foundational elements of loving God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.
And when you learn how love God with everything you have, it’ll change your life. And probably your world.

We have a tendency to complicate Christianity. Jesus simplified it: Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. If we are to live out the essence of Christianity, we must commit to being great at this Great Commandment.

In Primal, Mark Batterson explores the four elements of Great Commandment Christianity: compassion, wonder, curiosity, and power. Along the way, he calls you to be a part of God’s reformation, starting in your own life.

As Mark writes, “Is there a place in your past where you met God and God met you? A place where your heart broke for the things that break the heart of God? Maybe it was a sermon that became more than a sermon. Maybe it was a mission trip or retreat. Maybe it was a vow you made at an altar. In that moment, God birthed something supernatural in your spirit. You knew you’d never be the same again. My prayer is that this book would take you back to that burning bush—and reignite a primal faith.”

Primal will help you live in light of what matters most and discover what it means to love God. It will help you become great at the Great Commandment.

Author Bio:
The author of Wild Goose Chase and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. One church with nine services in five locations, NCC is focused on reaching emerging generations and meets in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the D.C. area. Mark has two Masters degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. He and his wife, Lora, live on Capitol Hill with their three children. http://www.markbatterson.com/
My Take:
Wow...that is all I can say!! WOW! I will be encouraging all of my family and friends to read this book!!! I will be passing it on to my husband as early as today!!! It really opened my eyes to how we SHOULD be living...we SHOULD be living our Christian faith with zest and well...like they did in the good ol' days!! We need to rekindle our love for Christianity! What a GREAT book!! I HIGHLY recommend it to EVERYONE!!! A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sunday, December 20, 2009

More great ideas...indoor and holiday...

#4 Indoor idea
Play Grocery Store

Is it time to reorganize the pantry or kitchen cabinets? Take out everything and let the kids play grocery store! Load their "merchandise" into their toy wagon and grocery cart...give them blank stickers or sticky notes and a marker for prices and sale items...even give them grocery bags. For money, use pennies and nickels from a piggy bank. Get a calculator for the register and a shoebox for a money box. You can also do clothing store when it is time to rearrange your clothes like around season change time!!

I have done this before...but sadly, not with my own kids. I used to do it when I was a kid!! I used to have SUCH fun!! I forgot how much fun it was though, and as an adult...I really don't want a big mess...but I will be doing this. It is too fun to pass up for the kids!!!

#97 Holiday Idea
Christmastime Read-Aloud

Gather around the tree and read aloud from great Christmas books! You can choose classics like "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, or "Christmas in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder...or for the younger kids who can't sit very long, how about "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg...or anything Christmasy...even if it is Elmo!!

What I do every year is I wrap all of our Christmas books...the old ones AS WELL as 4 brand new ones...one per kid. We wrap them all, and every night we unwrap one or two (depending on how many we have) and read them aloud together. The kids love to open them even if they are old. They only see these books once a year, so it is like they are new to them.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Major's words....

Major has been a bit slow with his language. Not for any other reason other than the fact that his siblings talk for him. Once he turned two though, his language seemed to take off. He had been using words here and there...but he has started using sentences now...like..."I 'ant dat" or "I 'ant mo wawi" I don't know if you can translate those or not...but we can....we hear it enough! Anyway...he also is quite the jokester and loves to make people laugh and smile. So...when he was trying to say "fork" the other day and it came out as the other four letter F word and everyone gasped and laughed....he thought that was great. Therefore he won't stop saying it!!!!!!!!!! He says it in public....at the dinner table...EVERYWHERE! We have told him not to say it...we have flicked him in the mouth....but, from the original reaction that he got...he still thinks it should be funny. UGH!!!!! What to do...what to do....

40 Loaves Giveaway

I forgot to mention in the previous blog book review of 40 Loaves, by Baker...that I am giving away a free copy!!! All you have to do is comment on this post...or that post...and at the end of this weekend (the 20th) I will do a drawing out of the comments made!!! Happy commenting!!!!

Cam....XYZ member?

Cam has ALWAYS wanted to be a Zookeeper....for as long as I can remember, that has always been his goal. I figured it would change a gazillion times before he was older...but it has ALWAYS stayed the same. He loves animals...he loves learning about animals...he is just thrilled to someday be a zookeeper!! So, when he heard that there was a Zoo Volunteer...learn as you go...program at the zoo called XYZ....he was all over that. All he had to do was fill out an application and write an essay. I had to share his essay. He wrote it entirely on his own. I edited it for errors, but not for content. I thought you might enjoy reading what he wrote...such a big boy!!!!

Why I Want to be a XYZ Member

I have a few good reasons why I want to be a XYZ member. I would be very happy if you would read on to find out these reasons.
First, I’ve always wanted to be a zookeeper. I have studied animals and Zoology books at school and my local library. I’ve also had a lot of experience with animals because I own two miniature horses, two dogs, a cat and 6 fish. I know many types of animals at the zoo. I have a great care for animals.
Next, I’ve been in the zoo’s classes for about 5 years. I visit the zoo a lot so I know much about the exhibits and the animals that inhabit them. I’ve had a great time studying and learning new things and would love to learn more.
Finally, as I said before I have always wanted to be a Zookeeper and I think this would be a great way to see if I’m up to the challenge of this career. I always stay committed and try my best. I would be happy to commit my talents and time to be in the XYZ program.
So you can see I hope I can be of service to volunteer at the Henry Doorly Zoo in the XYZ program. Thank you.


Cam Filleman

Curiosty killed the cat....

Okay...so this did not actually kill the cat...but my goodness!! I am someone who has ONLY owned large animals...never cats...I didn't know they could be so stinkin' curious!!! This darn kitty is into EVERYTHING! In fact....he climbed into this my little Pony box.....it was pretty funny!!!!

Christmas 2009 Gingerbread house!!!

The VERY first gingerbread house that has been a SUCCESS!!! We have tried EVERY year...and each year it was a disaster!! This year we FINALLY were able to make one with no problems!! I won't lie...it was a gingerbread house making kit....and in the past we have always tried to do it from scratch....but still...the first success!!!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

40 Loaves Blog Review

40 Loaves
by C.D. Baker
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Book Summary:
“Why don’t I have more faith?”“Why am I so bored with Jesus?”“Why are Christians so hard for me to like?” There are many questions we’re not supposed to ask when playing by the religious rules. It makes people uncomfortable. So why is it that Jesus invited questions and even asked some of them himself? What is it that you’re afraid to ask God? It’s a risky prospect to begin asking–but far riskier to continue simply trying to get by without knowing. Author C. D. Baker asked himself 40 soul-searching questions which started a conversation in his heart and ultimately showed him more about God than He ever expected. Can we become more honest with who we really are and find who God says He really is at the same time? Come indulge yourself in daily readings with an honest exploration of your secret fears and thoughts, and know that you will always be welcomed in God’s unconditional love. Search me, O God … and know my anxious thoughts.–Psalm 139:23 NIV

“40 Loaves is something of a collection of the kinds of questions I felt finally free to ask of myself and of my relationship with Christ,” says Baker. “It’s my belief that these questions are shared by many others who long for the freedom to simply ask them out loud. I hope this book becomes a platform that frees others to search their hearts more deeply and be fed with the Bread of life.”
Each “loaf” here is a big question that stimulates discussion, investigation, and contemplation; it will take hours—or days—to digest. Conversational, inviting, disarming, and real, 40 Loaves nourishes self-examination and offers validation for those who feel discouraged, guilty, or even shamed when the realities of their lives don’t match up with the ideals of the Christian establishment.

Author Bio:
C. David Baker founded an award-winning business before redirecting his career to write full-time from his small farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He is the author of eight books, including six novels, one of which was nominated for a Christy Award. He has contributed articles to the Christian History Institute’s international publication Glimpses, and to Christian Singles magazine. Baker has a Master’s degree in theological studies from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

My Take:
This was a great devotional book! I suggest it to anyone who needs a little rejuvination! It truly is a helpful book. It brought to mind things that I hadn't thought about for a long time...if at all. It had a lot of insight on a lot of simple thoughts....it was like water to the soul. Definitely an A+!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Cat

The cat got stuck in the Christmas Tree...how funny is that???

Monday, December 14, 2009

More Inside and Holiday ideas!!!

Inside Idea #3

Family Crest

-To best illustrate and symbolize each person's personality in your family, have them each choose a living creature like a lion, eagle, etc. or plant like a sagebrush, daisy, rose, etc or some other object like a book, rock, shield, etc. Then, choose symbols in those categories that best represent your family as a whole. Maybe even research the meaning of your family name and think about how to indicate it visually and symbolically. Illustrate all this on posters...or make a family banner using cloth fragments and old sheets and towels, etc.

Holiday Idea #96

Christmas Film Festival

- Talk about and watch your favorite Christmas Movies...after watching them have an Oscar night to decide together your choices of best movie...best actor...best actress...best costumes....etc...etc. Bring out plenty of popcorn to snack on while watching the movies, as well as pickles, carrot sticks, apple slices and other favorite crunchable movie snacks. Finish with Christmas cookies and eggnog or hot chocolate.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cam's first kill!

Today Cam and Jeff went out again to try and get that infamous buck. Well...he FINALLY hit one!!! If you remember, the last time he went out he shot at a buck four times and missed...this time, he shot at a Doe twice and got it the second time. He then got a buck on his first shot...or course, it wasn't a kill shot though, so they had to track him and put him out of his misery. Jeff also shot and hit a doe...but it also wasn't a kill shot and they tracked her but never did find her. :-( Poor thing. Anyway, they had a great day! Cam was SO excited that he can hardly contain himself...he is very hyper and calling everyone he knows!!! He got these up at a friends farm in Fremont. Good job Cammie!!!! Here are the pictures!!

Here is Major before they went out this morning. He handed Cam his orange hoodie thing and said, "on...on...on" So Cam put it on him...he is so silly...

Day THREE snow day and Cookie baking day!

Thursday was a snow day too...not because of actual snow...but because of the temperatures. It wasn't expected to get out of the below zeros....so the schools were cancelled. We did a wee bit playing outside...but not much because it was SOOO cold...so we baked cookies!! We did our egg free chocolate chip cookies...then we did cream cheese cookies. They are SO tasty...like sugar cookies...but much tastier!!!

Here is a picture of MaKenna and Jake cutting the cookies out of the dough....they got really messy. Cam cut a few...but not like these two did...and Major...well...we opted to cut out the cookies while he was taking a nap.

Once we baked them and let them cool, it was time to frost and decorate them! That is always the fun part! I am not really sure what Cam is thinking here...
MaKenna had to make sure the frosting smelled okay....
Jake's cheeks are rosy because they had just come in from outside. They had only been out there about 10 minutes...
Major...not really sure what he is doing or why he is doing it....

Next goal.....GINGERBREAD HOUSE!!!! Stay tuned!!!
Oh...I forgot to mention....our Wednesday family night this week was staying in...with a roaring fire...watching all of the classic Christmas cartoons and claymations!!! SUCH FUN!!!