Tuesday December 29, 2009

I love celebrating Advent. We don’t do much with it. Not yet. Someday when Gabriel is older (and has siblings on earth, we pray!), we will incorporate more tangible things into our Advent celebration and anticipation. Crafts and outings and activities and books. This year, Gabriel latched onto the chocolate routine with vigor. Next year I will add something. Thankfully I have eleven months to come up with it. 🙂
And something else for someday – celebrating the twelve days of Christmas, leading up to Epiphany. My husband smiles and shrugs (for now!) when I suggest it, but I think he’ll come around someday. I am eager to incorporate more and more of the traditional Church calendar into our lives in the future, especially with kids. Why should we live according to a secular calendar so minutely, and yet throw out the Church calendar?! It makes absolutely no sense. Unless you’re a pagan.
So anyway.

Dear Pastor Toby Sumpter has inspired me this morning with some readings.
You must read them too.
You simply must. 🙂
I got chills when reading one and tears when reading the other.
Read what he says about proclaiming Christmas to the old, the decrepit, the dying.
And then read what he says about living, resting, and truly doing Christmas with his own family.

Happy fifth day of Christmas!!

Friday December 25, 2009

So Christmas Day has arrived!! We are about to get busy with stockings, cinnamon rolls, reading, singing, and gifts. Then we will pack up the car and head to the country for more food and gifts and fellowship. Although we have a Brown Christmas (as opposed to a White Christmas) this year, the weather is great for driving and maybe even a hike – maybe. 🙂

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours! The Lord be with you!

Luke 2:11-21

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Happy Third Christmas, Covenant! Happy First Christmas, Glory & Promise & Peace!

We know you are enjoying the heralds of the angels, and we look forward to rejoicing with you!

We miss you, but we praise God for His faithfulness. Merry Christmas, babies. Mommy & Daddy & Brother love you.

“First Christmas”

I hear that on the Earth below
This is a special season
With lights and songs and gifts and such,
And Jesus is the reason!

In the place I would have lived
Are strings of light that blink and shine,
But you should see the light up here
That glows from Jesus all the time!

In the place I would have lived
Carols play, and special songs,
But you should hear the music that
The angels sing here all day long!

In the place I would have lived,
Gifts are giv’n on Christmas Day,
But you should feel the joy we feel
Because God’s gift is here to stay!

In the place I would have lived,
Tears have flowed because I’m gone.
My family wishes I were there
To see and hear and feel it all.

But in this place where I now live,
It’s Christmas all day, all year long,
And the sights and sounds I’d see with them
Are pure, unblemished by all wrong.

So on this day that would have been
My first Christmas on the Earth,
Mama, Daddy, you need to know
I’m celebrating Jesus’ birth!

When you sing songs to worship Him,
I’m singing with the angels, too.
I’m never closer than when we all
Praise Him for our life anew.

I know that life began for me
Sooner than you thought it would.
I know your hearts are hurting now,
And you would change things if you could.

But in this place, where you’ll come, too,
We’ll be together, twenty-four seven.
And there will be no more good-byes
When we celebrate Christmas together – in heaven!

~written by my friend Kristi; Dec 2009~

And for one last Christmas thing… you’ve absolutely got to see this!!


Monday November 30, 2009

We had such a good celebration of Steven’s birthday (Erin, I always forget that our hubby’s share the birthday), rejoicing in God’s goodness to us in giving Steven another year of life to serve God & be in our family. We are thankful!!

We decorated our house the day before Steven’s birthday, and when Gabriel woke up from his nap he was so surprised to see the pretty tree. He loves it!! And he is so good about not touching it.
Playing outside in a new hat Grandmama just knit for him!

For Steven’s surprise birthday date, we went together to see The Lion King musical!! We just adored it! Steven was very surprised (thanks Mama and Daddy!). I’ve never seen such an incredible production before. If you have any opportunity, you have to go see it. Seriously.
We went out for a great meal at a local steakhouse we love. We shared a delicious bottle of French red wine; we both had caesar salad; Steven had (of course) a delicious steak with a goat cheese & sundried tomato butter; I had a grilled pork porterhouse with autumn seasonings (that I can’t recall, lol); and we shared the complimentary birthday creme brulle. SO GOOD!!! We had a delightful time. Loved it.
Before dinner at Steven’s family birthday party on Sunday.

Fresh, homemade pasta!!!

Gabriel was so intrigued by Grandpapa’s electric knife.

Dinner was lovely. Not only delicious, but fun. The twins even sat at the table with us all for the first time! Steven ordered seafood fettuccini alfredo, bread with pesto butter, caesar salad, and tirimisu cheesecake — he was incredibly pleased.
Okay, so this is what these two love to do now! Dilly adores being pushed in the cart, and Gabriel loves to push it! It cracks me up. Dilly even lies down sometimes and almost falls asleep.

Monday November 30, 2009

I asked, “Gabriel, where is the fire?” and he pointed and said something in Gabrielese. lol.

This is my *favorite* new picture. Too bad it’s kinda grainy. Otherwise, I love it.

Going to cut our Christmas tree…

Lost the boots so needed to be carried…

What a happy boy! He loves adventures…


Making mashed potatoes.


He almost cleaned his plate — he loved everything!

yummy dessert

we made it through Thanksgiving. and look! smiles. 🙂

Thursday November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving morning.
I am a mix of emotions today.
We had thought our arms would be full with a tiny, wiggly newborn for Thanksgiving this year.
And then, after that dream was crushed, we thought (twice!) that at least my belly would be full.
As I sit here, thinking about thankfulness — about wanting to be thankful, about being thankful, about what I am thankful for — I am simultaneously fighting unthankfulness.

(rhetorical questions to follow–do not answer!)
How can I be thankful for four empty seats around our family table?
How can I be thankful for four tiny wooden caskets?
How can I be thankful when the very desire God gave us is threatened?
How can I be thankful when I feel abandoned by my God?
How can I be thankful when my faith is only the size of a mustard seed?

Oh wait.
That’s it.
Luke 17:6 and Matthew 17:20.
I am THANKFUL that my faith does not need to be bigger than a mustard seed today!!!

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.

Give thanks to God the Lord; upon His Name now call.
Make known among the people on earth what He has done for all.
Sing praise to Him, now sing; His wondrous acts proclaim.
Rejoice, all you who seek the Lord; come glory in His Name.

Look to the Lord’s great strength; remember all His deeds.
His judgments are in all of the earth; He is the Lord indeed.
His cov’nant e’er will stand; His oath He’ll ne’er forget.
A thousand generations pass; God’s word continues yet.

Sing to the Lord, all earth; His saving power proclaim.
Declare His glory to every race; His marvelous deeds now name.
For great is God the Lord, most worthy of all praise.
He made the heavens and the earth; fear Him and give Him praise.

Splendor and majesty before the Lord are found.
Both strength and joy with Him do dwell; bring offerings, come bow down.
Ascribe unto the Lord the glory due His Name;
The splendor of His holiness now worship and proclaim.

Let now the heav’ns rejoice; let earth give glad refrain.
The world is ’stablished, ne’er to be moved; tell everyone God reigns!
Now let the sea resound, be jubilant all fields;
The forest trees will sing for joy; earth’s Judge is now revealed.

Give thanks to God the Lord; His goodness now declare.
He saves, delivers from every foe; His love endures fore’er.
Give thanks unto His Name and glory in His praise;
Praise to the God of Israel for everlasting days.

Now thank we all our God,
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who from our mother’s arms
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours to-day.

O may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace,
And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills
In this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given,
The Son, and Him who reigns,
With Them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be evermore.

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

With grateful heart my thanks I bring,
Before the great Thy praise I sing;
I worship in Thy holy place
And praise Thee for Thy truth and grace;
For truth and grace together shine
In Thy most holy Word divine.

I cried to Thee and Thou didst save,
Thy Word of grace new courage gave;
The kings of earth shall thank Thee, Lord,
For they have heard Thy wondrous Word;
Yea, they shall come with songs of praise,
For great and glorious are Thy ways.

O Lord, enthroned in glory bright,
Thou reignest in the heavenly height;
The proud in vain Thy favor seek,
But Thou hast mercy for the meek;
Through trouble though my pathway be,
Thou wilt retrieve and strengthen me.

Thou wilt stretch forth Thy mighty arm
To save me when my foes alarm;
The work Thou hast for me begun
Shall by Thy grace be fully done;
Forever mercy dwells with Thee;
O Lord, my Maker, think on me.

Colossians 3:15-16
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,
singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Psalm 7:17
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to His righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
   in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
   and with my song I give thanks to Him.
Psalm 50:23
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
   to one who orders his way rightly
   I will show the salvation of God!
Psalm 95:2
Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving;
   let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!
Psalm 107:22
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of His deeds in songs of joy!
Psalm 116:17
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
   and call on the name of the LORD.
Psalm 136:1-3
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
    for His steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
   for His steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
   for His steadfast love endures forever.

and a HAPPY THANKSGIVING, to the friends and family for whom we are thankful.

Friday November 20, 2009

These were the three little candles we had lit on October 15th in remembrance of Covenant, Glory, and Promise. Next year there will be another one added for Peace.

In mid-October we spent a day at podunky little town in the center of the state, meeting up with two of Steven’s buddies from “pre wife” life. lol. Abby and Jared. We had a great time hanging out at a random park, and then enjoying the rainless coziness of an awesome cafe.

Eventually the maple tree in our front yard finished dropping most of its leaves, so it was time to rake! Gabriel was thrilled and loved to help Daddy. 🙂

We have been blessed by many beautiful flowers during the pregnancy with Peace, and after the miscarriage. Aren’t these lovely? They have certainly blessed us.
This one was organized by my friend Margaret, from about a dozen families from our church!

This gorgeous vase and rose was from my friend Meggan; it has dried now and sits on the vanity in our room.

From our church family, a lovely bouquet.

From my friend Lisa, I think she said these are Peruvian lilies.

Gorgeous roses from Jaclynn and Samantha, filling my entire kitchen with the scent of roses!
On November 14th I was supposed to throw a baby shower at church for my dear friend Elizabeth. I was able to still do all the preparations, shopping, decorating, games, etc — but I did not actually go to host the shower in person. So another mutual friend pinch-hit-hosted for me, and hopefully it all went together well. I sincerely wanted it to be a time of joy and blessing for Elizabeth and her new baby boy (who we finally got to meet this week!). I don’t have any good pictures, but here are some random shots of the cupcakes I made, one of the tables, and the brunch table & gift table. Sorry you can’t get an idea for how fun and cute it was… it was a work in progress when I took these. 🙂 I’m hoping someone took pictures of the shower, because I really want to see how everything turned out! I had a lot of fun putting together the games too… I should tell y’all about them sometime. When I feel like talking baby again.

Here is my gorgeous little boy. We were playing around the house together as usual, and I brought out my camera one day. This is what we got. Plus a lot more of the same. lol.

My grandparents are in town for a while, celebrating not only Thanksgiving but also both their birthdays! (and my hubby’s birthday next week, too) So last Sunday (on Grandpa’s 80th birthday!) we had a little party for the two of them at my parents’ house.
We even brought presents — homemade goodies: soup mix, bread mix, chocolate truffles, and candied pecans.

I don’t know that you can tell by the photos, but Gabriel runs so fast with this toy — he falls down every so often once he gets dizzy, and it’s fairly comical.

The birthday boy relaxing by the fire.

Table decorations.

Smiley little Noah! He thinks Auntie M is craaaaaaazy.

Pretty little Hannah.

On the menu? Grilled surf ‘n’ turf!

Decadent chocolate cake and Baskin Robbins ice cream for dessert.

Birthday wishes!

Showing Great Grandpa his little car-driving-toy