can i get a witness

Kevin relayed an illustration he heard in a sermon to me the other day: A kindergarten class was celebrating Sally's birthday, the chairs were circled around a table, each chair with a balloon and party favors attached. Joey wasn't thrilled to be celebrating and would give out a little "umph" every now and then. He became louder and louder until the teacher addressed him simply, "Joey, it's not your party."

Simple story with a profound lesson. Much of our frustration and anger in relationships comes from our feeling of entitlement or getting attention (and even celebration) for something we have acheived. So the lesson? It's not our party. The entitlement, attention, and celebration can and should always be given to Jesus.

That being said, I have been around friends and family for two and a half weeks. It has made me aware that while it's not our party, it doesn't mean we don't need recognition. We need those around us to testify to the goodness of God in our lives; whether that is pointing out blessings we take for granted or ways that we have matured. Both are credited to Jesus, yet it encourages us to hear it. Strange isn't it?


Christmas quote

Tonight, after the presents had all been opened and Christmas dinner was gobbled up, we all played some games. My Nana and Papa made the drive from Texas to be with the whole family today and Papa loves games. Nana is aging and prefers to sit on the side and just watch.

After several grueling rounds of Bendomino, Nana gets everyone's attention so that they will get Papa's attention (they are both deaf, a simple "Hey!" just won't do). We do, he attentively turns to her, and signs, "What?" She responded, "Hi....I just wanted you to look at me so I could say hi."

It was beautiful. A smile and hello. Little things that so many of us take for granted. I thought about how much I would love a smile and hello face to face with my dear husband.

To answer your questions: yes, it's hard to be without Kevin for another Christmas, yes, we're ready for this tour to be over, yes, our sons miss their father. However, God has been supremely gracious to us during this time and we are thankful. So please, don't pity us, rather consider the things you have taken for granted: maybe it's a smile and hello, but perhaps it's something much greater like a King in a manger 2,000 years ago.


Christmas Season Favorites

It is nearly Christmas so I thought I would share some of my favorite things about the Christmas season:

  • Wrapping presents
  • Making new memories with old friends
  • Hot chocolate, Peppermint Mochas, and Spice Tea
  • Being with family
  • Addressing cards (but not licking the envelopes)
  • Eating my mom's cooking
  • Hearing the story of Jesus' birth again and again
  • Singing Christmas songs (as loud as I want)
  • Decorating the tree

What are some of your favorite things about this time of year?


time to carol

How often do we listen to the Christmas songs mindlessly? I know I do it all the time. A couple weeks ago I was putting up our tree after the boys had gone to bed and was listening to a Christmas CD, because there were no distractions I could listen to the lyrics.

The series that our pastor is doing is called, "Carols of Winter". He defined carol for us as involving song and dance. And illustrated through Mary's Magnificat that God beckons us to sing and dance in the midst of times in our lives that are as dry and cold as winter.

Here are the lyrics to the first verse of a carol which since that night putting up the tree has left me in awe:
Oh come, Desire of Nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease
and be Yourself our King of Peace
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emannuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.
Jesus, Emmanuel, did come to Israel!! I forget, despite what I teach our son, that the Bible is more than a story! It is reality. Therefore, any time is a time worthy of rejoicing!

ready or not

Hide-n-Seek might be one of the best games ever. It has versatility because you can play it anywhere, anytime, at any age.

A few years ago a dear friend of mine sacrificed her Tuesdays and Thursdays so that I could finish my Bachelor's degree: she watched Davis nearly all day long. During that time Davis became good friends (even if they were only wee babes) with her daughter who is about the same age.

Last night we had the chance to swing by their house so that Davis and Sage could play. They watched part of a Scooby-Doo movie, dressed up like super-heroes, and then with ten minutes left until we needed to head home, they started playing Hide-n-Seek.

Sage hid first, and before Davis's eyes were even closed, she was hidden and shouted to him,
"Count to one!!!" The beauty of being young: the fun of hiding, the anticipation of waiting, and the sheer joy of being found!


Ronin's first real haircut

Ronin's hair was looking a little shaggy, and in the past I have cut his hair, but I thought it was time for him to get some professional treatment. There is a place I have driven by several times called Snip-Its. It's a place just for kids to get their hair cut. They don't even take appointments; I was amazed at the interior of the place as well as the skill of the stylists!When it's all said and done, they push their little card and a piece of hair into a machine and a surprise comes out, Ronin got bubbles. But his stylist also gave him a sucker, his first one ever. It was obvious that this was his first time, because Papa leaned over a little and when he did, all the saliva produced from that sucker came right of Ronin's mouth!

a heart-felt prayer

A few nights ago it was really windy, in Colorado we don't have to fear the wind quite like the folks in Oklahoma. However, Davis came to our room in the middle of the night to tell me it woke him up and it was scaring him.

I snuggled with him and reminded him that the wind couldn't come inside and that it wouldn't hurt him. He suggested that maybe we should pray, and so he did, eyes to the sky he sincerely asked, "God, can you make it not be so windy?" Then laid back down beside me, I asked if he wanted me to pray for him too and he did. I prayed that he would get good rest and that he would know that he's okay even if it's windy. Moments later, the wind died down and Davis looked at me and exclaimed, "God heard our prayers!"

Indeed He did hear our prayers and I was humbled. God doesn't need for us to pray what we think we should, He wants us to pray honestly. Isn't that what David did? It's God that changes our hearts and even our prayers to be what they should, we don't have to pretend with Him.


scared of the dark

What is it about the dark that is so scary?

Davis had a friend over to play, and inevitably it came down to picking sides: who would be the bad guy and who would be the good guy. The neighbor friend finally resigned to being the bad guy and he explained in vivid detail what his side looked like and when it was night and very dark, that's when the bad guys would come out.

The darkness is unknown. There is a sense of uneasiness when you are in the dark. You are not in control in the dark. You cannot see in the dark. Hence, the fear.

One day Davis was talking about the sun and how cool it is, I took the opportunity to tell him about how the Bible tells us Jesus is called the Light of the world. I began to think about all of this in elementary terms: being scared of the dark, and explaining to my 4-year-old why they call Jesus the Light of the World. Our hearts are filled with darkness, and nothing we conjure up can bring light to it, only the Son. Only the Light of the World.

out of the mouth of Davis

This past week has been a little difficult with the boys at bedtime. They have laughed and played and laughed some more every night. As each day passed, I had less and less tolerance for them both. On Friday night, I laid Ronin down first, waited until he was asleep then sent Davis up. All it took was hearing his voice from downstairs, and I was up there in a hurry. I walked with purpose into his room, and just as I approached his bed, he says to me, "I was just talking to God."

"Can you talk a little softer?" And I walked out of the room, deflated of every ounce of steam.


a real haircut

Davis mentioned wanting to cut his hair like Daddy's (take a look, he has no hair), and kept asking for the haircut. I have a soft spot when Davis wants to be like his Daddy, so...he got a haircut. We didn't shave it to the scalp, but we used the #1 guard with the clippers. He definitely got what he wanted: he looks just like
Daddy now.


an anonymous quote

I tried to find who said this, but wasn't able to come up with anything. I'm not the most patriotic girl on the block, even though my husband is in the Army, but I found this quote to be pretty profound:

"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you.....Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom."

first family drawing

There is a contest right now by the ASYMCA (Armed Services YMCA) I didn't read the full instructions before telling Davis about it, so he drew his "Military Family" before I realized it's really for grade-school kids. It is fantastic, to me at least, so I couldn't help posting:That big guy in the middle is Daddy. The big guy on the right is Uncle Patrick (notice he's the only guy with hair), on the left is Grandpa. The little one on top of Daddy is Davis himself. Everyone else is too little to point out. But those included are: Ashley, Jayden, Kenzi, Brantley, Deacon, Ronin, Mawmo, Papa, Jackson (my friend's new baby), Rocky (Grandma and Grandpa's dog), and me.


my first Christmas present (this year)

There is a group of friends that has grown into a beautiful community. I lovingly call them "the Crew." Because of holiday travels and exciting adventures taking place in the coming weeks, the only time we could have a Christmas party was tonight, December 1st.

We drew names for gift giving, which can make someone (me, maybe) a little nervous. It's something like this that tells you if people really listen when you're talking or if they're the least bit observant of your interests.
This is what I received. Yes, I realize that this is a picture of a picture, so my amateur Nikon isn't going to capture the glory of this photograph (and I do mean glory, look at the way the sun is shining through the trees), but I had to try.

defining my unique-ness

A friend and I are trying to challenge our writing skills, so last month we wrote the number of blessings corresponding to the number of day it was (on the 12th, write 12 blessings from that day). Since it's December, we are doing something different using as our inspiration, the One Minute Writer blog (I have also put the link to her blog under the "people" label on the right). She posts a daily prompt and has a countdown for you to write just one minute. It's brilliant really. Today's prompt was to write about one thing that makes you unique.

I found that initially the traits I thought of were unique because of the relationships I have with others. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend; and I do all those things in a way that is unique to me. Indeed, God has made each of us and in the same way our fingerprints are one of a kind, so are our personalities, but it is in being with each other that those differences come alive.