Sunday, December 30, 2007

Back in the Blogging World

Hello all! I obviously have been taking a break from blogging lately. I didn't expect the break to be so long, but it was definitely good to just take the opportunity to not be on the computer so much, because as I have said before I can get kind of obsessed with the blogging world, and checking everyone's blogs, and posting, and it has been hard, but very good to be away from that for a time. So, there are so many things that I want to share about since I last posted, but what prompted me to start posting again today was that I went to church this morning and we had a guest speaker there who is a friend of ours, Mike Ackerman. He and his wife, Erin, who I was in youth group with and was very good friends with in high school, are getting ready to move to Japan in a few weeks to do missions there. If any of you know me very well, you know that missions is something that is so close to my heart. When I was about ten was the first time that God got my attention regarding missions, when my mom went to visit some of my parent's friends who were missionaries in Kenya, Africa. When she came home from that trip she showed me all the pictures and I just cried over them. It was something that I had never felt before then, and I didn't know it then or understand it, but it was just the beginning of what God was doing in my heart and how missions would be a big part of that. Since then I have taken 3 different missions trips to different places, and each one has reaffirmed for me that God has something planned for me related to missions. I am not quite sure what that is yet, but He definitely won't let me forget it. When I first met Rich and he and I were getting to know each other he shared with me that he felt like God had called him to do something with missions before I ever shared with him the same thing about me, and so that was definitely an encouragement to me. Right now he and I serve on the extension ministries team at our church, and we really enjoy keeping up with the missionaries that our church partners with, and just trying to stay open to that global perspective that is so difficult to keep. We get so wrapped up in our own little worlds all the time, especially in this stage of life that it is so difficult to feel connected and remember that our God is SOOOO big, and He is working everywhere, and there are so many people who don't know Him, and have not even heard about Him! Mike did such an awesome job of conveying that message this morning. His message was titled "Gotta Go" and he gave three reasons why we all have to go. Our church usually puts its messages online so you can listen to them if you missed church, and I totally encourage all of you to go to this link and click on the place where it has the messages and listen to this message, because it was something I think that everyone should hear. I am so excited to see what God has in store for me and my family sometime in the future regarding missions and possibly physically going somewhere to serve in missions, but the real challenge continues to be for me to keep praying about how God wants me to be involved right now in His global kingdom and sharing the good news of His mercy and grace with all those who don't know. This was just so on my heart today that I couldn't wait another day to share with you all, so thanks for listening and it is good to be back in the blogging world! Stay tuned for some more changes regarding the layout of my blog, I thought it was definitely time to change it up a bit, what with it being almost a new year and all.......can you believe it is almost 2008??? Another year is almost gone!!! But I love the freshness that a new year brings. I am excited to hear from all of you about your Christmas season, and all that you have been up to lately!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So, sorry to keep you waiting, but we had quite a busy weekend. RICH PASSED THE TEST! It is very exciting, and we are so close to starting the next process, which is the whole applying/interviewing process, which could take as little as three months all the way up to six months. And like with any decision we will really be watching for God's leading and trusting him to show us what job he wants us to take. I know a lot of my friends have made some tough decisions regarding their husband's jobs, but I love that all of them have been great examples of trusting God and submitting to their husband's leadership. Sometimes that is so hard to do, but it is what God calls us to do as wives. Our support and love for our husbands is so important to them.

Well, like everyone else i am sure, this week is pretty crazy. I am really trying to slow down and breath and savor each moment leading up to Christmas, because it used to be that it went so slow in the days and weeks before Christmas, but now it seems to speed by faster and faster, and then it's over, and we are cleaning up and we just have the memories. My friend, Jen, posted some awesome thoughts a couple of days ago about time that I am still thinking about. She talked about how invaluable time is, and what a gift from God each day is. So I am really trying to savor these special days of school Christmas parties, family get-togethers and birthday parties, and all the preparation and shopping for the big day. A word that keeps coming up for me that represents what this season is all about is peace. For my Christmas cards I knew that I wanted to use a certain stamp that had the word peace, because I think that Satan really tries hard to rob us of the peace that God gave us through Jesus, especially in this season. And he may try to do it through the kids being extra crazy because of all the excitement and lugging them around to one hundred different errands, or it may be the financial pressure of trying to keep up with buying presents, or it may be all the extra extended family time with people who you might not choose to be with if they weren't your family. And of course there is the combination of all of these things that all rob us of our peace. I can tell you that for me this year Satan used those darn Christmas cards to do it for me. Even as I am stamping the word peace (like 800 times!) I am feeling like i am going to loose it, because they have been so much work. But in the end it is the work that is put in to them that is the reason that I love to make my own cards, because they mean so much more, at least to me......oh, the irony! I love that in Isaiah one of the names for Jesus is Prince of Peace. He came to bring us peace, even amidst growing chaos around us, and I think it so important to show those around us His peace, even though so far I don't think I have done a very good job of it.

I know that I haven't posted pictures of the kids or any cards lately, but I will really try to do more of that in the next couple of posts. I will post a picture of my Christmas card here in a few days after most people who I am sending it to have gotten it. Hope you are all having a great week!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Prayer Needed

OK, so I wanted to ask all of you friends and family for a special favor-to pray for my husband, Rich tomorrow. He is taking a test at 8:00am tomorrow morning in Topeka, KS in order to be certified to be an EMT. If you know our situation very well you know that Rich is training to be a fireman, a dream that he has had his whole life, and this is basically the last step that he needs in order to start applying to departments to get a job. He has been in a class all semester at Johnson County Community College three nights a week, and it has been a lot of work, but I am SOOO proud of him. He really is so incredible and I have all the confidence in the world that he has the knowledge that he needs to do awesome on the test, but it is a very HUGE deal in our world. He just puts so much pressure on himself, and he is a big perfectionist when it comes to work and school, so all of that stress and pressure is really taking a toll on him. So we would really covet your prayers on this big important day in our family. Thank you so much!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Here are some pics that my friend, Jen took of my kiddos. Her parents own an ice cream store in Olathe that is AMAZING called Silas & Maddy's and so she took some pics of the kids eating ice cream, of course! So, do i not have talented friends?? I mean these pictures are stinkin' good, and i don't think it is just because they are of my kids! So, Jen, thank you so much for the precious pics and I miss you SOOOO much!!

Today we were at home all day again, this time due to a sick child. Cole was up all night throwing up, and then of course he woke up this morning as healthy as can be and wanting to act as if he wasn't sick. He couldn't go to school so he was upset about that, and i wouldn't let him eat anything except some chicken soup and crackers for lunch, and he was REALLY upset about that. So, it was a great day! I hate trying to keep the girls away from him all day, and trying to keep him still to just rest is nearly impossible. Well, i don't really have much else for today, rich is going to let me get out of the house for a while now that he is home, so i am going to take advantage of that!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sucky weather and Fun Christmas Quiz

OH, the cabin fever! I just cannot stand being cooped up in the house all day! This weather is so bad! So school was canceled today, of course, and it has rained all day long. Poor Rich, I just hate it when he has to work on days like this because I know he is just miserable. It didn't even end up to be as bad as they were predicting it to be, the roads are just fine, it is just stinking cold and rainy and ice is covering all of the trees. I guess there are places all over the midwest where it is really bad, and so many people don't have power, so I am so thankful that we don't have any of that. So since I had a lot of extra time on my hands I thought I would fill out this fun little questionnaire, because I absolutely love reading these when my friends send them to me, because I love getting to know fun things about them that i might not know. But all my friends give me a hard time because I am notorious for being the person who never replies back. So here is a little questionnaire that I received recently that I actually took the time to fill out.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, it is so much more fun to open that way...and cheaper too!
2. REAL OR FAKE TREE? Fake.....I mean, come on..... the real ones are purely for people who live in really beautiful places that they can go and cut their own tree down. If you live in Kansas it is pretty ridiculous, in my opinion, to go to all the trouble of hauling a live tree home from the nursery or grocery store parking lot and deal with the watering and sweeping up of all the needles. Not to mention the fact that the trees are stinkin expensive and they are serious fire hazards, so Rich would never allow that.
3. When do you put up the tree? I posted a while back that I am definitely an advocate of waiting till after Thanksgiving to put the Christmas decorations up because I think it just takes away from Thanksgiving, and I don't like the idea that businesses try to capitalize on a longer Christmas season.
4. When do you take the tree down? Usually pretty soon because I don't have a really big house at all and it always feels so good to put away all of the decorations and do a really good cleaning and then it always feels like our place has gotten bigger.
5. Do you like egg nog? Yes, but not the non-alcoholic version, give me the good stuff :)
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I got a dog when I was about 7, my sister and I had asked our parents for one for years, and they finally gave in. It was a total surprise, and I will always remember that Christmas.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes… I actually have two, one that is the Fisher Price one, and it is actually missing most of the parts, and the other one is a beautiful, but breakable one that my parents bought for Grace on her first Christmas, and I love it but I don't have anywhere to put it where my kids can't reach it. :(
8. Hardest person to buy for? My husband.....I am a total significant gift giver and it is so hard to keep coming up with really significant gifts, and he is totally the kind of guy that significance is lost on him, he is so easily pleased, and it is also hard to surprise him with anything, he always finds out what i am getting him.
9. Easiest person to buy for? My kids, they love everything, and they also want everything, which we are trying to work on....
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? i don't think i ever received a gift i didn't like!
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, definitely, but I also hand deliver quite a few.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? White Christmas, it is an old movie musical, and i absolutely love to watch it and sing along!
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually the week before, and most of it we do only days before
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? no,i don't think so, like i said i always like to give really significant gifts
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Ham from Honeybaked Ham, and any kind of cookies or sweets, i have a HUGE sweet tooth.
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear lights
17. Favorite Christmas song? Strange Way to Save the World, or Breath of Heaven
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? All of my family is here, so I am lucky that I don't have to travel
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, on Vixon, on Comet, on Cupid, on Donnor & Blitzen, and of course, Rudolph
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? star
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Morning, but I do have the kids open one package on Christmas Eve that is pj's that I have them wear that night.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? That some people forget the REAL reason for Christmas. :(
23. What I love most about Christmas? The wonder and magic that is found in every aspect of the season, and being with family and treasuring every minute of it all.

So, there you go, and any of you who are feeling ambitious, I would love it if you did this on your posts so I could learn a little about you!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Well, we are in day 2 of a pretty nasty snow/ice, wintry mix type storm. It snowed on Thursday and it was really beautiful coming down, and the kids just loved it. Then Friday it was just really cold. Then Saturday we woke up and there was a sheet of ice over everything. The roads weren't too bad, but it was bitter cold and i almost broke my leg trying to get to our car because our driveway was so slick! Then today I had to be at church early and it wasn't so bad then, just really really cold, but then during church it started raining ice again. Now I don't usually mind winter, it's not my favorite season, but i usually don't mind it. But this, this sucks! I am pretty much done with this! I am really hoping that it isn't a sign of how this winter is going to be!

In better news, church was really awesome this morning. It was really too bad that the weather was so bad because there was so many people not there. I sang in the choir, which I love doing, and the message was so good, and really got me thinking. So I thought I would share some of these thoughts with you.

First of all, let me just say that one of my favorite things about the Christmas story has always been the mystery and wonder that surround it. The idea that God would become a baby? That a 14-16 year old, poor, simple virgin would be chosen to be the mother of the son of God? That God would have Jesus, the king of all kings, the light of the world, be born in a dirty, smelly stable? That the savior of the world, the messiah that the people of Israel had been waiting for for hundreds of years would be born in a quiet cave in a seemingly worthless city to only an audience of animals??? For a lot of people these questions might be a barrier for them to believe that the story is real. But for me, these questions have always made me all the more drawn to the whole thing, and I actually love the strangeness of it all. Today Brian talked about how God becoming man, and all the seemingly strange details surrounding the story were purposed by God in order for Him to make a very real and relatable picture for us to remember. He talked about how God being born as a baby, growing up in a real home with a father and a mother was maybe partly in order to prove to us that he really can understand everything that we have ever gone through. Obviously being a mom, I am most intrigued by all that Mary went through. Brian mentioned a point this morning that really resonated with me, and I thought of many of my friends too. He talked about how we as women have such high expectations of everything (true??), and especially surrounding the birth of our children. Of course there are so many more things to have expectations about now than there was then, like a vaginal birth vs. a c-section, drugs vs. natural birth, which hospital we will give birth in, all the way down to who we will choose to be in the room for us during the birth. And we are usually pretty demanding about those expectations, and when they aren't met we are pretty dissappointed. But Brian asked the question of how Mary must have felt about the circumstances surrounding Jesus' birth. I mean she may not have had as many things to have expectations about, but she was giving birth to God's son!! I mean she must have had some expectations of what it was going to be like! And I just can't imagine that how it happened was at all what she had pictured. But overall throughout the Bible Mary is always portrayed as a girl of simple, but great faith. I guess I have a lot to learn from her because I don't know that I would have been as OK as I am now with the strangeness of it all if I had been the one giving birth in a barn. I have to imagine though, that when it says she treasured up everything and pondered it, she had to have been having a little heart to heart with God about what He must have been thinking, if you know what I mean!!

Anyways, I just thought I would share some of my thoughts with you today. Hope you have a good week, and I will try to not go so long between posts this time!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

MOPS and Beth Moore

So obviously tis the season for busyness! Sorry, my blogger-obsessed friends, that it has been so long since my last post, things have been a little crazy the last couple of days. This morning we had our last meeting of the semester for my MOPS group. It was also the Christmas meeting and we did a "Steering Team's Favorite Things" theme where all of the leadership team picked a favorite thing and then we explained to the moms why it was our favorite thing and then got to give one little one to every mom! We had tons of other giveaways too, and it took SO much work, but it was worth every bit of it because it turned out to be SO fun! All the moms had such a good time and I think they went away feeling pampered, and also, hopefully, a little more aware of what this Christmas season is all about, which is exactly what I wanted. My favorite thing that i brought was.....cheesecake!! I made it using a recipe from the Kraft Food and Family magazine and it was delicious!! I am so thankful for all the other moms on the steering team because without them our MOPS group would not be what it is. One sad thing about this morning was that it was one of my best friend, Emily's, last MOPS meeting. She is going to be moving to Orlando, Florida! It is really hard for me to imagine my life here without her, but I know that God has big plans for her there. And it is actually thanks to her that this blog was even started because her blog inspired me and lots of my other friends to start our blogs. And now that is ironically going to be the best way for all of us to stay in touch after she moves away, so cool how God works!

So, I found the coolest thing the other day! Most of you who know me know that I am sort of a geek when it comes to bible study. I LOVE to really study God's word with things like Greek and Hebrew word studies, cross referencing, and looking at every different translation that I can. So one of my favorite authors and bible study teachers is Beth Moore. Besides having some of the best bible studies that I have ever done, I just basically LOVE Beth. She is truly a fascinating woman of God. She is hilarious and she has the most infectious love for God and His Word that I have yet to find. SO it was so cool for me when my friend, Alli, told me that Living Proof Ministries, the ministry that Beth is a part of, has a blog!!!! And Beth and her two daughters Melissa and are the contributors to this blog!!! For me, this was very exciting. If any one else is a Beth groupie like me Here is the link to the blog.

I am really going to have to watch the time that I am spending online. Sometimes I go for days without spending a lot of time on, and then once I get back on it immediately sucks me back in, and I could literally spend hours blog surfing! So especially at this time of year I really need to make sure that my kids are my first priority, and that I am demonstrating that with my actions, and how much time i spend online. So with that, I must be leaving, we have youth group tonight and I am very excited!