Thursday, December 30, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. Very low key, lots of great food & the perfect celebration for Jesus! All the kids got what they wanted for the most part & that was really easy because the kids all had super easy lists. My mom always gets the kids the one big thing they want & Tim's parents get them good things on their list, too. So, that leaves us with having to be creative to get them something else that they may want. :-) And of course, fun stockings full of goodies. :-)

I have to warn you, though...I didn't really take a ton of pictures. And I went for the straight auto shooting this year with the pop up flash. I just wanted to take a few pictures to capture the fun. Sometimes I just want to be a mom...not always a photographer. So, I thoroughly enjoyed our time together. For auto settings, I am grateful. :-)

The kids opened up their gifts from Tim's parents & their cousins while we face-timed them so they could watch the kids & talk to them. I just took this one before we went to my sister & brother in laws house on Christmas Eve night.

The kids went & practiced some songs to sing for all of us. Cute!

All the grandkids with Nana & Jim

All of us sister's & my mom. And baby D...Amber's new nephew. :-)

We open gifts from youngest to oldest in our family. So, Amara was first.

She got a DS from Nana! She was SO excited & she plays it ALL the time.

Madden's turn.

He got a DSi from Nana & some games & accessories. Happy Boy!

Carson.


My sister & my mom went in together to get him this little four wheeler thing. He was happy. :-)

Makenzie's turn.

Makenzie got a really awesome chair for her room, a lava lamp, some DS games, jewelry & a gift card for Claire's. She loved it all!

Madelyn.


She got a keyboard. Can you tell she's happy?

Brendan.

New fancy cell phone.

Kayleigh.

New electric guitar. Super rock star now.

We do all sorts of goofy things when we're all together. This time it was a pyramid.

Our tree.

Christmas Morning before opening up presents from mom & dad! Makenzie:

Madden:

Amara:

Madden & his new Angel Wars figure. :-)

We had fun! Good times!




Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reasons.

It's amazing how we look for so many reasons for things. Reasons to pursue dreams. Reasons to marry someone. Reasons to move to a new home. Reasons to pursue a career. Reasons to feel significant. No matter how much I love God & know he has given me a purpose & a reason to be here, I find myself still searching for reasons for almost everything. I complicate things. By thinking God's reasons aren't enough. By thinking that there has to be "more" than what I know God is telling me. Telling us.

You see, when things go south & difficulties come our way, we tend to look for the reasons they are happening. As if we have any control over life. When things are going well, we don't automatically start asking why things are going so well. No, we take them in & we often times think we've done something "good" to deserve them. But, when life stinks...we start rolling over & over in our mind where we've gone wrong. Where we've failed or messed up. This obviously has to be because of our own shortcomings & inability to do anything good enough we tell ourselves. However, it is in my difficulty that I am faced with reality. The reality that I cannot do anything so good or so bad for Jesus to stop loving me. Nothing I do can make him love me any less or love me any more. He just loves me. And in that love for me...he knows the plan for my life. He knows how to get my attention. He knows how to speak to me...even when I think I am just a mess.

Over the last several years, we have had nearly every financial difficulty come our way. I've gone through every possible avenue to try to understand what is going on. What are we doing wrong? Are we not good enough? Are we incompetent? Are we in the wrong professions? Should we go back to school? We've taken several financial classes & the theme in all of the classes is to cut debt & invest. Well, we've cut debt. We don't have credit cards. Yet, there still isn't anything leftover to do much with. You see, in the world's eyes, we are financial failures. Living paycheck to paycheck isn't very glamorous. However, I also know that when money isn't flowing in abundance, it is very hard for us to love money. It is very hard for us to desire more & more. It is very hard for us to find our significance in our possessions...in a house, in a car, in gadgets, in--you name it. We have to be very careful to have what is a need & essential. There's nothing for anything else but that. So, in actuality...having less is actually a huge blessing! Is it difficult sometimes? Yes, absolutely. But, to not be carried away by material possessions & status...that is the biggest blessing of all.

So, this leaves me with this thought...is is good enough to just have "enough"? Or should we be pursuing more? Don't get me wrong...with what we have...God has provided amazing things for us. And he has allowed us to still give to others & serve where we can. But if I sit back & really examine my own life & my own heart...am I okay with enough? If I am not...I then get into the cycle of the reasons "why" I am not okay with just that. I've realized that excessive reason searching is really just an excuse or justification to keep pursuing something other than God. Plain & simple.

Below is part of my why. Why I am here. Why I was made. Why I love. I've realized that as a mother, if I need more than these beautiful children to give me some sort of purpose & significance, I have really failed to hear God. How much louder can he speak? He has given us 3 gifts that are irreplaceable. And 3 gifts that are also our responsibility. May I never take this purpose lightly.




Friday, December 17, 2010

Good ideas with not so good results...

I was way ahead of the game this year with my Christmas shopping. I actually am done with our children. So, I went ahead & wrapped all of their gifts & they are all under the tree & have been for the last 3 weeks. For the first few days, the kids kept begging to open gifts. It was driving me bonkers. So, I decided that I would never wrap all the gifts that early again! However, then, I had a good idea...could it be? A threat for good behavior? Sad, I know...but, a busy, tired, Mama...no one can predict what "idea" she'll come up with next. I had this bright idea that if the kids had a very serious misbehavior or something that I would tell them to take one of their gifts out from under the tree & go put it in our bedroom to be given away. It seemed to work for a few days, but then the gifts started being taken away for bad deeds. And the kids were choosing the "smallest" gifts to put in our room which started dawning on me...they are taking the small ones, but the small ones are all the Nintendo DS games!!! AHHHHH! Those are $30 games! So, I came up with the idea that they could "earn" them back. See my dilemna...such a stupid idea!!!!! But, I can't go back on this now. So, at this point, we have a pile of gifts from misbehaving kids & it's just so dumb. I may be intelligent...but I'm kind of a moron this time! haha! The kicker was when sweet little Madden hit his sister & he had to take one of his gifts from under the tree & put it in our room. He was so, so, so sad. So, sad, that as I worked on some work at the computer, he walked over to me with a pair of scissors in his hands making snipping sounds and says to me..."for every gift you make me put away, I'm going to cut one of your papers on your desk into pieces." At first I was grateful that he didn't say he'd cut me up into pieces because then I'd have to wonder about the possibilty of a serial killer...but then I realized once again...what a dumb idea the stupid present take away idea was.

Anyone else ever make up a stupid idea for discipline? Don't deny it....haha!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Cards...

I am determined to send Christmas cards this year, darn it! I made & designed my own cards last year & didn't get around to actually sending them out. Grrrr! But, this year, I took my pictures a LONG time ago, worked on my design for my cards a few weeks ago & got these cards ordered last week so I'm good to go! Except I get a phone call from my print lab yesterday saying there was a problem with my cards because I made a goof in my upload with the order of the images I had wanted. So, I fixed it...and hopefully those cards are on their way tomorrow! That's the one thing I love about using a professional photographic lab for my printing. If it doesn't print right, they let you know before they ship out the order. Thank goodness!

I already ruined the surprise of the photos on my photography facebook page, but I'll still put a few here. :-) And when I get my cards, I will try to remember to take a picture of our cards to share here since I can't give everyone a card!



These two were hamming it up. :-)







This is so Madden it isn't even funny. This kid cracks us up!!!

We can hardly believe age 9 is just around the corner! They really grow up too fast!

How we've gotten so blessed with these amazing little loves is beyond me. :-) Love this one. :-)


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

No, this post doesn't have pictures of my kids. :-(

I'm so sorry. I haven't blogged in months & then I blog...but no pictures of the family! But, I think this post is completely worthy of forgiveness because this is one of the best documentaries I have seen in a LONG time. It is books & articles of information that I have read in one visual documentary. I have posted the link here where you can go to RENT the film. I strongly suggest doing so. The film is called "The Idiot Cycle" and it is about cancer. EVERYONE should watch it. Pass it along, too.

http://www.japanesepopsongs.com/films.php

Let me know your thoughts!