Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

On Christmas Eve, we always allow the kids to open one gift. It is always pajama's. I'm not sure that they've figured that out yet. At any rate, they are excited about having new pj's. We let Dad open B's for him. This year the girls got new pink pj's with candy all over them and B got train pj's.
We opened the pj's, ate supper, put on the new pj's and got ready to head to our Christmas Eve service at 7PM. The early Christmas Eve service is more family oriented so kids are encouraged to wear their pj's to church. My girls love getting to do that. It also makes getting into bed late easier. The service was wonderful. Three different people sang special music for us, hubs had some things to say ( of course), we shared communion and lit candles. It was all wonderful but a little high stress for me, since all three of the girls wanted to light candles of their own. I was a bit worried that the preacher's family was going to burn the church down.....
After the service, I took the kids home and they wanted to watch The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I really wanted them to go to bed since I had so much to do but I compromised and allowed them to stay up for a while. Daddy came home for a bit before he had to be back for the 11PM service and they watched the movie and ate popcorn together. (Thanks Nana and Grandpap for the bucket of popcorn. It was a hit!)
I let them stay up for a while but about 9:30, Daddy put them to bed before heading back to church.
While he was gone, I wrapped presents, did stockings and began to prepare for Christmas morning. K got home about midnight and we finished getting ready for the big guys visit and went to bed about 1:30 AM.....
It was a very late night......

And a very early morning......A got up about 5 AM but K got her to go back to bed for a bit. We we all got up about 7. I really couldn't go back to sleep after A came in so I finally got up and made coffee and got ready for the morning.

A got Molly (the American Doll), a new bracelet, and an MP3 player from Santa.

She loves them all. She wanted Molly because Molly has glasses. No, A doesn't have glasses herself....I'm not sure why that was important. She has listened to her MP3 player A LOT since she got it. It has lots of Disney music on it. Here is a picture of her new bracelet.

M got the Josafina American Doll, Polly Pocket Sunny Day (which has too many tiny pieces), and this My Little Pony Baby. His name is Pinkie Pie and he crawls and talks.....she loves him! She picked Josafina because she had earrings AND a necklace ( not surprising because M is such a fasionista.) Did you notice that Josafina doesn't come with a necklace? That is part of the accessories package....she wasn't happy about that. She will receive the accessories from some one soon though.

L got the Elizabeth American Doll, Ponyville Carnival and this Sleepin' Booty Katar (Sleeping Beauty Guitar). She love it!

Santa brought B a sorting game, a fun
ball and a Bumbo seat. This picture doesn't
show it but he really does like them. The ball
anyway and I am sure as he sits up better
he will like the Bumbo seat.

I got K some games for the Wii and he got me the Wii fit.......for a Wii that we hadn't received yet....
After gifts, we ate brunch and headed out the door to drive the 3 1/2 hours to Greensboro to celebrate with K's dad and family.
More on this tomorrow as this post is already way too long.....have a great day.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Decorations

Since I didn't have a camera before but I do now -- I thought I'd share some of my Christmas decorations to you all.... I do not profess to make the best pictures but here goes.

The tree

The entrance of our house.
We don't really have a 'front' door
because of the way our house sits.

Some close ups from the outside:
A lantern on the side table.
My grapevine tree beside the door.
It is looking a little crooked.....

This is my snowman. Usually he dons a hat,
a scarf and boots. This hasn't been done
yet this year. It will be done soon,though, as
he stays out all winter in hopes of snow.

Another lantern.

The arrangement I made for my patio table.

Inside, I made a couple of flower arrangements.
This is one of them.

And lastly, my fireplace.

And that is it folks. This year, I didn't do that much decorating. Next year, I will have an open house at the parsonage and I will do much better.
Ya'll have a great day. I'll be back soon to share our wonderful Christmas with you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

35 and Merry Christmas!

Well, it's here....

My 35th birthday. I really thought that I would wake up this morning and be quite sad about being 35. With all the struggles I've had with fear in the last few years, I really thought I'd be upset about being a year older and therefore, closer to dying.....(Irrational I know - but still my struggle in the past few years).

However, as I stood in our kitchen watching my children eating their poptarts and cereal (we are all about healthy breakfasts in this house ;) ) I was overcome with a feeling of being blessed. The Lord has greatly blessed me with this family of mine. I love them so much.

My eyes filled with tears and my 5 year old, M, said "Uh oh! Mom, your eyes are watering!"

After breakfast, my family gave me their gifts.
The girls went to visit with a very sweet lady from our church yesterday and she helped them make these for my birthday.

They are little angels with their faces on them....And they made a 4th one to put B's picture on. And amazingly, the girls kept it a secret until I opened them this morning. I am so touched that this precious lady took the time to help my girls make a birthday present for me.

OH - and did you notice -- there is a picture of them here!!!! That is right! I got a camera for my birthday---- Can I get a Hip Hip Hooray?!!? I know ya'll are all happy because you won't have to hear any more whining about not having a camera. =) This is the camera I got - A Canon Powershot 1000. I love that it is small enough to fit in my purse to take with me all the time!

Now, if you'll excuse me-- I'm off to get LOTS done today before heading out of town tomorrow afternoon.....Not to mention that I've got loads of learning to do about my new camera.

SO, from my family to yours -- MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

I did NOT take this picture. This is one of the shots we got when we went to have family pictures made a couple of weeks ago. I LOVE that B is sleeping in this picture. Nikki did a great job. Go check out her website!!!!

Be back soon!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Camera Woes


I think I've mentioned a time or ten in the last few posts that my camera is broken. I've whined about it alot, I know.....

But I am VERY upset about it!!!
It's just really bad timing to not have a camera. Especially for someone as picture crazy as I am!

I've been looking at some camera's -- hoping for a new one....
Ok - well - really -- I've been looking at this one because I really want to take pictures like McMama does!

As I thought about it, I realized that this isn't the only camera there is out there.
So, I decided that I should ask all my wise friends out there in bloggyland -- what kind of camera do you recommend?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

Our weekend (the busy-ness anyway) started on Thursday night when we had our Staff Christmas Party. We ate a load of fabulous food. It was a lot of fun and since it was our first one with this church, K and I were introduced to the gift exchange.....which was the "dirty santa game" with gag gifts.....These gag gifts were things that people were just tired of having at their houses.....someone got a bicycle seat. And while there wasn't anything I wanted to fight over myself -- I was reminded that of that old saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure." There was scuffling over a Christmas train and (of all things) a cow skull.....yes like this.

Go figure......

On Friday, we attended the ribbon cutting for the "Kindergarten building" at our girls school. M's class will move into their brand new classroom after Christmas. It was really neat to see the Kindergartners excitement over the new building. They stood in the front during the ribbon cutting and then got to enter their new classroom's before anyone else. When K and I arrived at room 103, M was so excited to show us her new classroom. And ya'll it is huge! What an awesome building! I wish I had some pictures to show you but remember, my camera broke....

Friday evening we stayed home because we had so much going on. We all went to bed early because we had incredibly grumpy kids from being up so late on Thursday night. Or at least I thought I was going to bed early.....B didn't sleep well so we were up a lot.....

Saturday morning brought cantata practice and then we did Christmas with K's mom. It was so much fun! We went out for lunch and then came back and did the gift exchange. The girls got these

Can I tell you that they were so excited?!!? And my girls didn't even know what these were before they opened them. My sweet MIL did a major search for these, too. She and her dear friend, Diana, searched all over the Piedmont of NC (I'd say) to find a doll with hair to match each girl and whose birthday was in the same month as each of my girls. They succeeded -- however, my MIL said she returned three different dolls in the process. So, I thank her for being so diligent to get these for our girls. They love them! Each of them took the 'adoption' of their dolls very seriously and said the "oath" and signed the papers. It was so sweet.

On Saturday evening we had a choir Christmas party to attend. It was lovely. And again, we ate lots of fabulous food. And since my girls were there, there was an impromptu sing along of their fav. Christmas songs.....

We came home and got ready for bed. I was downstairs pressing dresses when I heard this, "Mommy, I feel like I'm going to throw up." I was in the middle of saying "Go to the bathroom" when she did throw up -- all over the stairs and herself. Nice way to end the evening....

Since M was sick, she and I stayed home from the Cantata yesterday. I really wanted to go to hear the music but also because B was to play the part of the baby in the Nativity scene. I'm told he was placed in the manger where he fell asleep to Mary's solo --which was a lullaby for Jesus..... He had to do it again for the evening service. This time he didn't sleep but kicked and played the whole time. I'm hoping someone got a video of it all.....

I'm just glad that he didn't scream.

That brings us to today....yes, laundry day at my house.

Ya'll have a great Monday. I'm hoping for laundry to get done, a little rest, groceries to be bought, and no more throwing up from anyone!

And did I mention that while I am loving all the wonderful food of this season that I am not liking that I'm probably going to gain 10 lbs from it all.....Here is hoping Santa leaves this for me!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sweet Award

I am a people person and I love making new friends --that I know "in person" or on the computer.

So, what a sweet award I received from Cheryl. Thanks so much! I could definitely return this award to you but since you gave it to me, I'll pass on the love....

Here is the scoop about this award:

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! This blog is exceedingly charming. This kind blogger aims to find and be friends. This blogger is not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to writers like this one and those nominated below!"

The rules...Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

I pass this award on to:

I love you ladies and am so glad that I can call you my friends! Pass it on, girls!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thank you

I posted today's post and then went and read your comments on my previous post.....

While I am working through this human need for validation, I also think God wants us to bless one another and your comments have done just that.

You've made my day!

And now, I must get off the computer because I, too, am limiting my time here (God inspired also). See ya'll tomorrow.....without pictures, because {HUGE SIGH} again, my camera broke!!! ugghhhh!!!!

Keeping Christ in Christmas

Here is the last of what I shared in my Advent Study......A list of how to keep Christ in Christmas with your family......

1) Give God one very special gift just from you to him: Let this gift be something personal that no one else needs to know about, and let it be a sacrifice. David said in 2 Samuel 24 that he would not offer a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing. Maybe your gift to God will be to forgive someone you've needed to forgive for a long time. You may discover that you've given a gift back to yourself.

Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian who survived extreme brutality in a German concentration camp after rescuing many Jews from certain death during the Nazi Holocaust, was later able to say, "Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was you."

Perhaps your gift will be to commit to spending time with God daily. Or maybe there is something God has asked you to give up, like last New Year's resolution. Make this your most important gift of the season.

2) Plan a Project of Good Will for you and your kids to do – soup kitchen –sponsor a child, angel tree, a family etc…..

3) Give gifts ‘in honor of’ instead of something unneeded
Places to Give To –
Toys For Tots
Operation Christmas Child
Make A Wish Foundation
Compassion International
Habitat For Humanity
Heifer International
Hands of Hope

4) Have more ‘religious’ decor than santa decor and explain the symbolism to your children.

5)Attend church on Christmas Eve – AND ON CHRISTMAS DAY if it comes on Sunday.

6) Send Christmas Cards with a spiritual message.

7) Allow your children to ask for 3 gifts from Santa.....that is how many Jesus got from the Wisemen

8) Do an Advent calendar

9) Have a Jesse Tree.
The Jesse Tree is named from Isaiah 11:1: "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots." It is a vehicle to tell the Story of God in the Old Testament, and to connect the Advent Season with the faithfulness of God across 4,000 years of history. The Branch is a biblical sign of newness out of discouragement, which became a way to talk about the expected messiah (e.g., Jer 23:5). It is therefore an appropriate symbol of Jesus the Christ, who is the revelation of the grace and faithfulness of God. The Jesse Tree helps us retell this story, and express this hope.

10) Add Baby Jesus to nativity on Christmas day. You can do this in different ways. At our house, we have an advent calendar where you can put small gifts for your children. You can let Baby Jesus be the gift on Christmas Day. Or if you don't have an advent calendar like that, just wrap the Baby Jesus and put him under your tree. That way you can explain God's gift to us as they open the gift of Baby Jesus and place him in the manger.

11) Have a birthday party for Jesus. We will have a birthday cake for Jesus with our lunch. I also read where someone had the birthday cake for breakfast. What fun!

12)Read the Account of the nativity.

13) Read Christian Books about Christmas. Here is a list I came up with - with a little help from my friend, Deidre.

The Candy Makers Gift retold by David Haidel (The Legend of the Candy Cane)

An Angels Story by Max Lucado

The Christmas Child by Max Lucado

The Gift of Christmas by Myra Scovel

Jotham’s Journey by Arnold Ytreeide

The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean

The Story of the Nativity by Elizabeth Winthrop

Mary’s First Christmas by Walker Wangerin

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

Jacob’s Gift by Max Lucado

The Legend of the Three Trees Retold by Angela Elwell Hunt

Mary’s Treasure Box by Carolyn Kramlich

These are the things my study group discussed..... My friend, Kris, told us that her mother in law, gives a gift to her children each Sunday of Advent and it is always a part of a nativity. Her girls are in Elementary School and she writes them a letter with their gifts. In the letter she talks to them about that piece of the nativity and asks them questions to get them thinking....I LOVE THIS!!!!

Do you all have anything to add? Have a great Wednesday.

Tonight is our Christmas program at church......and my camera broke this week. I am so sad now that I didn't win McMama's giveaway.....I really need it now. This is a very bad time of the year to be without a camera....especially for someone as picture crazy as me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Followers Wanted No More.....

Here is a little HUGE lesson God taught me just this morning....

A while back, I noticed that lots of people were asking for others to "show themselves". They were calling out all their phantom followers and the people so kindly obliged..... I had been feeling really sorry for myself that I get so few comments on my posts. Why couldn't I be like all the others who get loads of comments on each and every post. I was feeling that I was baring my soul and only getting 1 or 2 comments and others could talk about something like the weather and get dozens. So, I decided to call out my own phantom I did. And I got a whole 11 comments. Then I really felt sorry for myself. I began having myself a big pity party.

How come I only get 3 comments on my posts and she gets 78?

How come I only have 12 followers and she has 50, 60, 189?

How come I follow her blog but she doesn't return the favor? She thinks she's hot stuff (to use a word from my junior high self I was acting like).

Well - for the past few weeks my party has continued and every day I would feel sorrier and sorrier for myself. But, to be honest I didn't realize that I was wasting so much energy on this issue.

As I drove home this morning, listening to the local AM radio station trying to hear my hubs spot about the 'real meaning of the season' they asked him to do -- instead of the FM Christian station I usually listen to, drinking my coffee, the Lord spoke to me loud and clear.

He let me know that my wanting comments and my wanting followers -- well, that was just wanting to be someones idol wasn't it? And that I was wanting my blog to bring me glory and not him.....
Nothing like getting knocked off my high horse first thing in the morning!!!

I prayed right then and there. I prayed that God would forgive my jealousy, my pride, my desire to be worshipped. I asked the Lord to use my blog for HIS glory and not mine. I asked him to change my attitude. I asked him to help me to no longer desire to be followed....

As I sit here now, I realize that I didn't thank him though. So, now I say

Thank you Lord for humbling me this day. As much as it feels really bad -- I needed the lesson. So, thank you. And again, I ask your forgiveness for these sins.

And you know what? I know that HE will and is changing me. I also know that my penchant for pity parties, jealously, and the desire to be followed are part of my human, sinful nature. I know that it won't just go away. But, I pray that the Lord will make me aware and help me to overcome these desires.....

I feel the need to thank you, too. Thank you to those of you who read this blog and comment. Thank you to those of you who read and don't comment. Thank you to those of you who happen on this blog by accident. The intention of this post isn't to make you feel like I could care less about you commenting. I love comments and feeling like someone cares about what I have to say -- everyone does. However, in my life those things had become way too important and that has to stop.

There is a lot here for me to ponder on today......nothing like a big helping of crow first thing in the morning. Have a great Tuesday everyone.

Monday, December 15, 2008


So, I totally wanted to (and was planning on) participating in BooMama's tour of homes today.....but since I'm not even finished decorating -- it isn't to be.....bummer. I do plan to post my decorations here sometime this week (for my Mom who is the only one who really cares about them besides me) but it won't be today....

Because par for the course, ,my Monday has a FULL to do list. So ,much so that I can't even post a Menu Plan for Menu Plan Monday --because my menu -- it isn't done yet.

Not to mention that I am so NOT done with my Christmas shopping.

I am clearly delinquent which is making my eye twitch and maybe I might even have a fit because I'm feeling stressed.....not to mention that I am a people pleaser and a rule follower and I just want to do things when they are supposed to be done......

Gotta get back to the to do's of today. Ya'll have a good Monday. I gotta go mark things off this list and have a talk with Jesus so I can get myself in a better mood today.....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Traditions- Symbols

There has been a lot of talk about Christmas Traditions on a lot of the blogs I read. You can check out their traditions here and here.....Among other's out there in blog land I am sure.

Since I've already shared some of our traditions here, I thought I would share another part of my advent study. I shared with my little group last night where some of the things we do as part of our Christmas Traditions come from. There are many different legends about how they symbols of our Christmases came about. I hope you enjoy reading what I've put together here.

Wreaths -
Legend 1 – Wreaths were originally used as fabric headbands and could be adorned with jewels (a diadem). In 776 BC - Laurel wreaths were used to crown the champions of the Olympic games. The transition from headband to wall decor probably occurred as they hung their ‘trophies’ on the wall as a souvenir.
Legend 2 – Christ’s crown of thorns was made of holly. The berries were said to once be white but when the wreath was placed on Jesus’ head, His blood turned them red.

Legend 3 – They came from Germany, before Christ, when people gathered evergreen wreaths and made fires as signs of the coming spring and renewed light. 16th century Christians used these to symbolize hope and everlasting life in Christ.

Advent Wreath
some believe it was inspired by the Swedish Crown of Lights, a candle-bearing crown worn by young Swedish girls on St. Lucia's Day. St. Lucia was a young Christian martyr who gave her entire dowry to the poor.
Christmas Tree -

Legend 1 – From Germany, before time of Jesus, as with the wreaths – people would decorate with evergreen trees during the winter solstice ceremonies. St.Boniface was an 8th century missionary to Germany. He used the 3 points of the Christmas tree as a symbol for the Trinity (the triangle). The legend says that St. Boniface one day came upon people who were going to sacrifice a child to their ,who was symbolized by an oak tree. In order to save the child’s life, St. Boniface cut the oak tree down with an ax. A fir tree sprang up from the stump of the fallen oak. St. Boniface then told people that the fir trees stood for the eternal life of Christ. This legend is most likely a story that shows how he replaced the worship of the gods (the oak tree) with Christianity (fir tree).

Legend 2 – From the 16th Century -Martin Luther was walking home from a Christmas Eve service in the forest. Some say he was the star shining through the evergreen trees. Others say that he saw the star reflected off the icicles that were on the tree. The lights reminded him of Jesus, the Light of the World. He cut the tree down and took it home placing candles on the branches to reflect what he saw.

Legend 3 – Says that in Germany the evergreen tree was used as a prop in medieval plays about Adam and Eve. And it was called the “Paradise Tree”. These plays were preformed annually on Dec. 24th. They used the evergreen tree because the apple trees no longer had their leaves – so they put the apples on the evergreen tree. Later on wafers were hung on the tree to symbolize communion. Eventually cookies and sweets replaced the wafers.

Legend 4 – In the 1800’s in what is now the Lutheran Church (the the Reform Church), the tree is often a biblical reference to the cross, evergreen because of everlasting life. They decorated it with roses representing the Rose of Sharon (song of Solomon) with a single candle at the top representing Christ as the light of the world.

Ornaments -
Early trees were decorated with fruit, nuts, and flowers. Later on cookies, other foods and candles were added.

A star or angel on top -both in night sky the night Jesus was born.

Lights could represent the stars in the heavens or come from the story of Martin Luther.

Tinsel – The legend says that a poor family was unable to afford decorations for their tree. So, spiders covered the tree in webs during the night. Some traditions add that either the Christ Child or the rising sun turned the webs to silver.

Mistletoe -
was sacred to the ancient druids as a symbol of eternal life. They used it in sacrifices to their gods at the winter solstice. Priests in white robes cut them down in a special ceremony. It was also hung over doorways to ward off evil and bring happiness, health and good luck. ]

Kissing under the mistletoe came from a tale of the Scandinavian goddess named Frigga. Her son Balder was shot with an arrow made of mistletoe; her tears (or her friends ,while she cried) saved the son and Frigga ordered mistletoe should not be used to harm others again; Frigga made the mistletoe a symbol of love instead and kissed anyone standing under it; thus, mistletoe became symbol of peace. It was also a symbol of peace to the Romans.
Holly –
The Teutonic people placed holly around their homes to ward off evil spirits and bad weather.

In England, the thorny holly was referred to as male and the smooth holly was female. Traditions has it that the first type brought into the house foretold who will rule the household for the next year – the man or the woman. For the sake of marital harmony, they sometimes brought both in at the same time.

The Ancient Druids believe that holly was favored by their sun god. They thought that holly was inhabited by spirits and they brought it indoors to give those spirits shelter from the winter weather.

Later on, Europeans believed holly to be a good luck charm against bad weather.

Today, Holly reminds us of the crown of thorns placed on Jesus’ head because of the sharp pointed edges. The red berries remind us of the blood he shed on the cross.
The poinsettia plan was named after Joel Roberts Poinsett who imported it from Mexico in 1828. According to an old Mexican legend, a poor boy had nothing to give the Christ Child on Christmas. He prayed sincerely, and a plant, called The Flower of the Holy Night, grew at his feet in the brilliant Christmas colors, red and green. Poinsettia’s remind us that Jesus will meet all of our needs.

A couple of the others I shared are way too long to leave in this post. Go check out The Legend of The Candy Cane and The 12 Days of Christmas for yourselves.....

Have a fabulous day! We are headed to my sister's house for the night. We will visit tonight unless I can convince my hubs it is a good idea to drive to downtown Atlanta to do this tonight.
But tomorrow we will take our girls here -- they are very excited. And then we will have family pictures made before returning home. Ya'll say a prayer for us -- 2 or 3 kids have colds and B's is a full blown ear infection now. Pray we can do the pictures.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Budding Photographer

This morning as I started to upload the pictures I've taken over the past week, I found that L got ahold of the camera. She took a ton of pictures......They are too much fun not to share.
A couple of self portraits

I'm hoping she didn't cause permanent damage to her eyes
holding the flash so close and all.
A few of the television. It had a commercial on it for F*atheads.....which she wants for Christmas by the way.

These are Christmas Ribbons that haven't made it to their
destination for the holiday season yet.
There were quite a few shots of the couch.

This is a shot of her middle looking up.

You can see her chin and a little

bit of her hair.

Almost the whole tree!

A couple more self portraits

Lastly, a shot of the candy canes in

Santa's bag.... Pretty artsy for a 3 year old....

or maybe just an accident. =)

Good thing we've moved to digital these days instead of film......That'd be a whole role of film gone as many shots as she took!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Let's Talk S.A.N.T.A

As a part of my advent study, I've done some research on Santa Claus. Whether or not to 'do' Santa Claus with our children seems to be a hot topic for a lot of people. Do a google search and you will find a LOT of very passionate opinions-- most about why Christians shouldn't allow Santa in their homes. I've been caught off guard by folks asking me why we do Santa Claus..... and the answer is -- there is NO biblical reason why we do Santa.

Most of us know where Santa came from......and if you don't, go here to read all about it. The man, Saint Nicholas was a Christian man and did some very good things,. He offers us a great lesson, I think, on generosity and taking care of the poor if we allow it. After researching and thinking and praying -- I have to say that I don't think that doing Santa is a big deal. IF -- and this is a big IF --

IF we see Santa as just another tradition not unlike wreaths, holly and the Christmas tree.

IF we aren't substituting Santa for celebrating Jesus' birthday.

IF the majority of what we do during this Christmas season is about celebrating the birth of our saviour and not just about getting toys from a man in a red suit.

I would also like to add here that I am still thinking and pondering this whole subject. Here are some of the things I've been thinking about......

**Did believing in Santa as a child change (in any way) my belief in God and Jesus once I knew the truth? I don't think so...... what do you think?

**If we give up doing Santa, then shouldn't we also give up all the other 'traditions' of Christmas which aren't biblical anyway? Not to mention giving up the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and every other fairy tale our children hear and believe in? My children love and think Cinderella is real.....Is it wrong? I personally don't think so, as long as my children are also being taught the Gospel of Jesus and that is the most important thing. Belief in princesses and fairy tales WILL come to an end soon enough. Do we detract from our children's faith by allowing them to do believe in these things? I think if they are worshipping these things -- that is where we have to put an end to it.....but I don't think my children are worshipping Cinderella. Don't we all want to be a princess? And isn't there a lesson there somewhere about being God's princess? Maybe.

**Should we, instead, tell our children the harsh reality of it all and not allow them the imagination that God gave them? Without imagination there would be no Chronicles of Narnia, either.....

I think, personally, that once my children come to the point where they know there is no Santa Claus, I will take the time to tell them about Saint Nickolas and why he became a part of the tradition of Christmas. Until then, as of now, unless something changes -- we will do Santa.

We do have our boundaries about Santa. Our children are allowed to ask for 3 gifts......because, you know -- the Wise men brought three gifts for Jesus. Santa IS NOT the most important part, the most celebrated part of Christmas. Matter of fact -- I am making a concerted effort to make him the least important, least talked about and Jesus' birthday the most important, most talked about....there are many, many ways to do that. I will be posting on that later in the week.

I would love to hear your thoughts. It is such a huge debate. Please don't turn this into a blood bath! I am just interested in hearing why you do -- or why you don't do "Santa Claus".

Now, if you'll excuse me, I gotta get back to my 'to do list" -- because that list I shared with ya'll yesterday -- it isn't much shorter. Matter of fact -- even though some things have gotten done - I've added more to the list -- so I think it is even longer now. Have a great Tuesday.

Monday, December 8, 2008

To DO and MPM

I have so much on my to do list today and this week that it took two (note pad size) sticky notes to write it all out....

Here is a sampling....

Starting with today--

It is laundry day at my house and it started out all wrong when I realized that I left the last load of laundry I did (always it's sheets) in the least they were dry....but I hate folding sheets......and now I have to do it twice this week.....uggghhhh.

SO - there's that - lots of laundry.

I have a brunch to attend at 10:30 am

After that I have to get groceries (we have NO food in our house)

I will come back home and do these things before picking up the girls from school:

Make phone calls for church

More laundry

Since I probably won't be back until about 1 PM (if not after) that is all I will have time to do....

THEN it's 2PM - pick up girls from school (wait in line anyway and do my quiet time -- definitely need this today)

3:30 - 4:30 is dance for A -- Homework and get ready for the evening for the rest of us.

4:45 -- supper

6PM - M's PTO program

After that we will come home and get everyone ready for bed..... and begin again tomorrow =)

The rest of the week looks no less busy let me tell ya....I have a house cleaning to do, Christmas and birthday gifts to buy, Bible study to prepare for and lead on Wednesday, Christmas party (for church) to attend on Thursday, Thank you notes and Christmas cards to finish and get out, decorating still to do and prepare for our weekend and various other things to do......

SO , in light of all that -- here is my menu for this week.

M - eat out (see above)

T- Garlic shrimp and grits (fast, easy and delicious even if it isn't that healthy)

W- Gathering at church

T - me party (see above) -- Hubs and children - pizza

F- we are headed out of town

I really wish this menu was healthier.....I hate that my busy-ness compromises my ability to prepare healthy meals for my family. For more great menu plans go visit Laura!

Ya'll have a great Monday. And I'm off!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Where did Christmas begin?

As I shared with you all a couple of weeks ago, I am doing an advent study on Christmas. Last night's topic was called "Myths and Legends of Christmas". I found out some really interesting things about how Christmas started and thought I would share it with you all.

A long time ago pagan people held celebrations around the Winter Solstice. Different area's had different celebrations. The Feast of Saturnalia in early Rome, for example, was celebrated for 7 days from the 17th to the 24th of December and was marked by a spirit of merriment, gift giving to children and other forms of entertainment. Other accounts describe it as a festival of debauchery where people were given to drunkenness, licentiousness and caroling naked.

A couple of different accounts tell how Christians came to celebrate Christmas during this time. One says that while trying to win people over to Christ, people would argue that if they became Christians, they wouldn't be able to celebrate their festivals any longer. So, the Christians of the time decided to transform the rituals of the festival to fit a more Christian way of life. Another one says that the Christians began Christmas to combat the winter solstice festivals.

It wasn’t until 320 AD that Pope Julius I declared December 25 to be the official birthday of Jesus Christ - the birth of the invincible son (to combat the pagan worship of their sun god). In 325 AD, Constantine the Great (the first emperor to become a Christian), declared December 25 to be Christmas. It began showing up on Roman calendars in 336 AD.

I also found it very interesting to learn that in Colonial America, Christmas wasn't universally celebrated as it is today. As a matter of fact in some colonies, it was just another working day. It took a while for all of the colonies to recognize Christmas as an official holiday.Congress proclaimed Christmas a federal holiday in 1870.

There are many arguments out there about why we should/shouldn't celebrate Christmas in our churches. One argument is that the bible doesn't specifically tell us to celebrate Jesus' birthday. This is one reason the Puritans didn't celebrate Christmas. However, the bible also doesn't tell us to celebrate Easter and Christ's Resurrection, either. I believe that God gives us freedom to celebrate His birth and His death/resurrection in a way that honors him.

Along the same line is the argument that December 25 is not Jesus' birthday. While this is probably true, again I think that celebrating and meditating on what Jesus' birth means to us as Christians is God glorifying regardless of the day. Also, December 25th was the date of the winter solstice on the Julian calendar. Because the Julian calendar lost one day every 128 years, Christmas was on December 22nd in 325 A.D. and by 1582 it had moved to December 12th. Pope Gregory restored the date of Christmas to December 25. So, we celebrate Christmas on December 25 for the same reason that the holiday began in the first place. Early Christians were hoping to convert the unsaved to Christ

One last argument I will share is that Christmas comes from the pagan holiday I spoke of above. In one way this can be seen as true but we can also look at it in the sense that the Christians were trying to combat what was going on in their world. Also, there are alot of things in our world that come from the pagan beliefs of the time. Our days of the week, for example, are named after various gods. Friday comes from the name if the goddess of love, Fria. Just because we recognize the day as Friday doesn't mean we are worshipping Fria.

I think it all comes down to this - Where your heart is. If we celebrate Jesus' birth in a God - glorifying way, then our God gives us the free will to do so. The bible doesn't give us clear directions about celebrating Christmas. Scripture does, however, give us principles on how we should behave - thus affecting our Christmas celebrations.

Scripture warns us not to be drunkards.......yet many Christmas parties are just another excuse to tie one on.

Scripture has a LOT to say about money and how we use it.........yet many, many people spend way too much and go deeply in debt during Christmas.

Children get caught up with the gifts and the toys and lose sight of the Savior--or worse,never even hear about the Lord as God's gift of His Son that we might have life.

Through the Christmas message, Parents often fail to teach the spirit of giving as an outworking of a relationship with God through faith in Christ, God's gift to the world.

It all comes down to where your heart your treasure in heaven or in all the "stuff" of this season? Celebrate Christ in this Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fantastic Holiday Giveaways

I was visiting my friend, Deedra, and saw this giveaway. Over at MckMama's place she is hosting one awesome giveaway. I would love, love, love to own this camera and all the fine accessories that go with it. And-- to top it all off - you will be helping out one great cause by entering to win. This one is almost too good to be true --- go here NOW and check it out!

Also, Jamie left me a comment on my blog about her giveaways. I went to find lots of precious things being given away there. I myself hope to win this or this or this. But if these aren't your style -- go to her site and check it all out because there are many, many things to be won.

And if I cannot win all of these myself, there is no one better out there than my friends to win them. Good luck!

Thanksgiving 08 Recap

This Thanksgiving we traveled to North Georgia to visit my family. We began our trip a week ago today. L had a "Thanksgiving Feast" at her preschool and they sang Jesus Loves Me for us. They had made their Indian hats and vests. Too cute. Please excuse the red eye -- no time to edit....

After her program, we picked A & M up early from school, and headed to Georgia.

We met Grammy and Granddaddy at a movie theatre in Chattanooga where we saw Bolt in 3D. Cute movie. You should see it.....that is if you can afford it -- I was shocked and appalled that it cost us the regular $9 a ticket for adults plus a $5 each production fee.....Thank you Grammy and Granddaddy for the gift of such a movie! The girls really enjoyed it! And B slept through the whole thing - which was a blessing to everyone.

On Thanksgiving, we went to my Grandmother's house for lunch. We got to see LOTS of family we don't get to see often. It was wonderful. My uncle had raked leaves into piles in my grandparents yard.....I'm not sure he was so happy to look outside and find this happening.They were having so much fun, though!

Oh, and look who strong armed her tooth that same day. Seriously! It was barely even loose.

Friday, I did join the Black Friday mess for just a little bit to get some shopping done. When I returned, we made some cookies.

Then we went to my dad's brother's house to visit with his side of the family. And again we saw lots of family we haven't seen in a while. The picture to the left is my girls and our cousin, S. They love to play with her and can't wait to see her again.

The other picture is of my dad and B. B was so excited that he was kicking his legs. He was kicking so hard and so much that he looked like one of those cartoon characters who is running in place. This is not unusual. He is a very wiggly baby.

We returned on Saturday and met Granddaddy C. and Nana Lee Anne for supper. They spent the night and went to church with us on Sunday morning. We all had lunch together and they returned home that afternoon.

We had an incredibly blessed Thanksgiving. We hope you did, too!