It Has Come to My Attention…

Hey there, friends!

If you subscribe to the blog you may have wondered where in the world I’ve been lately. Or maybe not. I know I have a habit of disappearing from time to time!

I realized that for those who have subscribed in the past may no longer be receiving updates in your reader or by email. If you are still interested in keeping up with new posts you can click over to the new site and re-subscribe.

I hope you’ll stop by and say hello!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Housekeeping (aka…Some Fun News!)

After six years of blogging, I have finally decided to move on to a self-hosted blog. I guess that makes me a grownup blogger now? ;)

Anyway, I’ve made all the transfers of blog posts and comments and domain names and all that jazz, but really I am learning as I go so I have no idea where you’ll end up in the next couple days. It could be my old free blog or it could be my new one. It’ll be a little surprise I guess! Anyway, the content should be the same, but the links could be a little wonky for now. Hopefully things will sort themselves out in the next day or two. And if not? Then I’m in trouble because I have no idea how to fix it.

As soon as things seem to be all sorted out I’ll be sure to let you know!

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

2014

Happy New Year!

I’ve been wanting to write something for the past couple days, but just wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to share. I started writing a wrap up of 2013, but that wasn’t coming out like I wanted. Then I thought I would just welcome the new year with a post sharing some of my intentions in the year ahead, but the words weren’t flowing for that either.

So I decided that, for now, I’d continue keeping things a bit quiet in this space and simply pop in to say hello.

Hello!

I do have some things to share with you as I move into this new year, but I think I’ll give it a few more days. The kids have just a handful of days left of their break and I want to enjoy our schedule-less lives while I can.

One thing I do want to share for now is my “one word” for the year. This word popped up a lot in my thoughts and conversations last year and I’ll bet if I went back I’d see it used quite a bit in the posts from 2013. It’s usually difficult for me to choose just one word for the year, but I didn’t waver from this one a bit. It really could be my one word for life because, as a follower of Jesus, it is a word that has such tremendous meaning.

I can’t wait to share with you more about what I’m learning in the days ahead.

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Curious about the words I’ve chosen in past years?

{2011} dwell

{2012} rejoice

{2013} less of me (I chose a phrase last year)

Behold the Lamb of God

Many years ago, when the kids were still quite small, our family began observing Advent. Up until that point I didn’t really know a whole lot about it, but one evening a friend of mine was hosting a gathering in her home and the focus was on redeeming Christmas. There was a woman there who had put together a treasure trove of information on different ideas to keep the focus of Christmas on Christ. She spoke about Advent and the 12 Days of Christmas and how those traditions have kind of gotten lost in all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It was a wonderful evening full of fun, laughter, and learning. I walked away that night knowing we needed to adjust our focus a bit during the Christmas season.

That year David and I gathered some different resources and our Advent traditions began. We had a little Jesse Tree and I made an Advent wreath. I found some Jesse tree ornaments to print out so the kids could color them and we hung them on the bare branches of our tree. It’s so fun to remember that first year! The kids were so excited and small…I think Isabel was only about 18 months old. Such sweet memories!

Over the years we have continued to find ways to help our children (and ourselves) keep a proper perspective during the Christmas season. For many years we simply made those same ornaments and read the same devotional. It worked great for our family. But I began to keep a lookout for something a bit different to do with the kids. It was time to move on to something deeper.

I’ll admit, for the past couple years Advent has somewhat fizzled out about halfway through. Some years our focus is, well more focused. I wish I could tell you that every night during the Advent season our home is a tranquil setting filled with candlelight, beautiful singing, and attentive children. But um, that wouldn’t be the truth.

The truth is, sometimes it’s chaotic. Sometimes we’re scrambling to get everyone settled down (including the grownups). Sometimes we are playing catch-up and reading two or three days worth of readings. Sometimes we give up and just say we’ll try again next year.

And that’s exactly what we do. We always try again the next year because even though it is always imperfect it is always helpful. It helps us to dwell just a little bit more on why there’s a Christmas in the first place. It helps us to remember that even though it’s a whole lot of fun to receive gifts every year, the best gift of all is Jesus–the Word made flesh to dwell among us {John 1:14}.

This year we’ve kept things more simple. There’s no Jesse Tree (although I’d love to do that again next year) and so far no Advent wreath. I say “so far” because I have the wreath out and the candles bought, but I still haven’t put it all together–because you know it’s really difficult to stick four candles in a wreath and set it on the table. Oops. Isabel keeps reminding me we need to light the candles. And even though we’re already past the third Sunday of Advent, I should probably get that out today. I love that she remembers and cares!

The one thing we have been doing these past couple weeks is read through the book Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative by Russ Ramsey. It is excellent and we have all been enjoying it. Throughout the book and the Scriptures we read, we see how God’s plan to redeem mankind goes all the way back to the beginning. From that first moment that sin entered the world, God had a plan. This book tells that story of redemption and it is told beautifully and richly.

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My hope and prayer for my family is that even though we focus on these stories a lot more during December, that we would carry these thoughts with us throughout the year. The birth of Jesus is not something just to be talked about in the days leading up to Christmas. It is a story for every day of every year.

Immanuel has come. He is with us. {Matthew 1:23}

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

{John 1:14}

This and That: Thanksgiving Edition

Well, hello there! Long time, no post. We’ve had quite a bit going on since I wrapped up my 31 Days series 19 days early. I thought I’d just do a little catch-up post on some of our fall happenings, bullet list style (my fave).

  • We are officially on Thanksgiving break! So very thankful. We all could use a break from studying and other obligations. I am looking forward to some lazy days and getting things prepped for the holidays.
  • To begin our Thanksgiving break we had some crazy weather changes. Thursday we were enjoying a lovely 80 degree day and Friday we had a high around 30. What?! It’s been raining, sleeting, snowing, icing ever since. I’ve spend a lot of time bundled up in comfy clothes and sitting in front of the fire. Really, I’m not complaining. It’s been kind of nice to be warm and snuggly inside our home.

cozy

  • Tuesday we will head to Ft. Worth to spend Thanksgiving with David’s family. Wednesday we’re hoping to spend some time in Dallas visiting friends, but most of the time we’ll just be hanging out with family. I can’t wait! I did all my Thanksgiving shopping Thursday morning so I won’t have to brave the crowds this week. This year for Thanksgiving I’m making butternut squash soup (which I would rather eat than turkey…so delicious!), creamed onions, stuffing (I just make this in the crockpot…easy peasy), and a couple of pies. I’m also going to make my dad’s famous clam dip for a snack, and maybe some cranberry salsa. Last year I made a double batch of clam dip and it was gobbled up before I could eat any, so this year I am prepared. I’ve got enough clams and cream cheese for six batches!
  • Another thing we will be doing while in Ft. Worth is running the Turkey Trot with our kids! This will be their first 5K and I’m super excited for them. They have worked so hard and are doing such a great job. David and I have run the Trot a couple times before. It’s such a fun tradition and it makes me feel less guilty about eating that extra slice (or two) of pie!
  • The last weekend in October David and I went to Nashville for a quick getaway–just the two of us! It was such a fun and relaxing time. We ate some great food (of course…you know how much we love to eat!) and saw some great sites. Friday night we had tickets to the Grand Ole Opry and that was fantastic! We are not country music fans (at all), but the Opry is such a unique experience and a must-see if you are in Nashville. We both really enjoyed it. Saturday we wanted to get out of town a bit so we drove to Stones River Battlefield and toured that, then drove for a couple hours on the Natchez Trace Parkway. We stopped at several spots along the Trace to take little hikes. Tennessee is so beautiful and with the fall colors just starting, it was lovely.
  • A couple weekends ago we took our last camping trip of the year to Palo Duro Canyon. It was a great way to end our camping adventures for this year. The campground is on the floor of the canyon so that was fun. It’s not the Grand Canyon, for sure, but it was still beautiful and we definitely would like to go back another time. There were some lovely fall colors there as well, especially on the trees along the little river that runs through the canyon.

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  • I really need to write a separate post about this, but I’ll mention quickly that after this semester I won’t be going back to school. It’s been a looong year and a half and I’ve decided this just isn’t meant to be, at least at this time. It’s been such a struggle and so much harder than I expected (not necessarily the course work, but the juggling of one more thing). It was not easy for me to make the decision to stop, but it’s the best decision for me and my family. One of these days I’ll sit down and share more about the whole experience, but for now I’ll just say that as difficult it was for me to quit (and I’ll admit a bit embarrassing and humbling), I feel such a peace about the decision. I know God has other plans for me and I can’t wait to see what He has in store.
  • Seeing as how it’s November and a week before Thanksgiving, I think it’s appropriate to share some of the things I’m thankful for. Confession: I haven’t been the most grateful person lately and I’m realizing that I’m letting the little things–and most of them are little, I assure you…mere annoyances really–get in the way of seeing all the wonderful things I have to be thankful for. I complain a lot about where we live, I get annoyed far too often by my kids, and I wallow in my loneliness more than I should. BUT, God has blessed my husband with a wonderful business that provides us with all that we need and then some. We have a roof over our heads, plenty of clothes, lots and lots of food, and cars that run. God has blessed me with happy, healthy kids who truly bring so much joy into my life. They are unique and funny and kind. And even though I do get pretty lonely, God has blessed me with a fabulous husband who is faithful and loving and dependable. He is such a gift and my very best friend. So even though these are obvious things to be thankful for, sometimes I forget to actually voice that thanks. I truly am thankful for the life that God has blessed me with. He is too good to me.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!

{Psalm 105:1, 2}