Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Your Love Never Fails"

(by Jesus Culture) Chris Quilala - Jesus Culture: Your Love Never Fails - Your Love Never Fails

"Nothing can seperate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes, but
You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There maybe pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water's deep, but
I'm not alone in these open seas
'Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
But Your love never fails


You make all things work together for my good..."

I thought about posting my year in status updates or something, but that wouldn't really flow with my "Through the Years" series (which is where this post will end up). Another year comes to a close, and I'm glad to say 2009 has been a good one overall. Through everything that has happened this year & last, I have truly seen God's faithfulness & can confidently say that His love never fails.

In January, our sweet boy turned eight! He is doing very well in school & has been moved to the GT cluster class. He was asked to join the Science Club & participated in a district-wide Science Olympiad. He continues to be such a sweet boy. He is very thoughtful and kind. He is constantly saying sweet things that touch his mama's heart. The other day, he was sitting there doing nothing & I asked what he was thinking about. He smiled & said, "You". I don't think he really was thinking about me when I asked, but it was a sweet thing to say! Another thing he did recently that really touched my heart was on our Christmas trip. We were visiting a dear friend Pete, who (due to stupid cancer) had been given only a few days to live. It happened to be Pete's birthday, & people had pinned money to his shirt. Cody gave Pete his Christmas money (plus a quarter that was also in his pocket!) & told me later that if he had all his money with him, he would've given that to Mr Pete, too. He makes me so proud to be his mom!

The Spring & Summer were filled with the kids' soccer games, Chris playing bass with various worship leaders, a couple of friends' weddings, our usual trips to Weimar & the lake, & as much scrapbooking as I could fit in! We also had our annual visits from Naomi & Elizabeth, my beautiful cousin Kendra, & a bonus visit from the Rookes!

Chris & I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary in July! We had a nice dinner out, & the kids surprised us with "dessert" (microwave s'mores) when we got home! They spelled out "I♥U" in chocolate chips & wrote us love notes, too. We love that they're old enough to do sweet things like that all on their own!

As most of you know, we bought a new house in August! The tax credit was too good to pass up, & we found this house a few weeks before it was finished being built. We didn't get to pick anything, but we love it as it is! It's like it was made just for us. It has three bedrooms, plus a study that we are using as a guest room. There's a bonus room upstairs where Chris is able to do all of his t-shirt printing. It is perfect for us, & we are so excited to be in our own place again! The kids are going to a new school, & it has been an easier transition than we thought it would be.

Our baby girl turned 11 in October. She has moved up to the PreTeen class at church & was able to go to camp at a college in Sherman during the summer. We're not sure we're ready for her to grow up, but she keeps dong it regardless! She still loves to draw, & actually won her school's 5th grade art contest sponsored by the high school drama department! We were so excited for her! She is such a sweetheart, too. Recently, I was dealing with an awful migraine & had finally been able to get some rest in the afternoon. While I was asleep, she sent me the best email ever. It said, "I hope you feel better! Do you have an idea on dinner? Do you want me to make left overs or something? If I knew how to make tea or coffee I would but, I don't." Is she the sweetest girl in the world, or what?!

Chris is still working for the company that bought him & Freddy out. Their company was part of an awesome 3D building projection video. He moved to another office near Reliant Stadium & has become friends with Ryan Moats, a running back for the Houston Texans! He is now a fan, though he was never interested in the sport (any sport, actually) before!

As for Christopher's health, this year has been better than the last one! His scans in May showed some fluid on his lungs. The fluid was extracted & the results came back fine (nothing metastatic). In July, his ocular oncologist gave us the good news that the tumor has shrunk a little (but not too much or too fast), which indicates that the radiation has killed off some of the cancer cells! The radiation damaged a blood vessel, though. He started seeing blood inside his eye in August. It is bleeding faster than his body can absorb the blood, blocking his vision & causing headaches as his eye strains to see through the blood. His acuity has gone from around 20/80 to worse than 20/400. A laser treatment did not help, & the other option would be a risky surgery that could nick the tumor. We don't want to spread any cancer cells that may still be active! It should clear up in another 6 months or so, & his vision should return to what it was. Until then, he is wearing the patch most of the time (in order to prevent headaches). In November, he had another round of scans that also came back fine! He will continue to have scans every 6 months for the next 4 years, or so.

"I am overcome with joy because of Your unfailing love, for You have seen my troubles, and You care about the anguish of my soul." (Psalm 31:7, NLT)

"Through each day the LORD pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life." (Psalm 42:8, NLT)

"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you." (Isaiah 54:10, NIV)

Friday, December 25, 2009

"Family Christmas Song"

(by Busch-Weaver)

This song was part of my friend's Christmas card several years ago, & I thought it was good for my Christmas post. We'll be visiting with a lot of family over the next few days, as I'm sure everyone is doing this time of year! The kids are contentedly playing with their presents, and I have a few hours before we head out. So, I thought I'd post some pictures!

We always open a gift on Christmas Eve, & I promise it isn't pj's every year! (Last year, I think they got books). But Elly seemed to expect them, so that's what they got! Here are a few pictures from Christmas Eve:

(how cute is that puppy ~ just staring sadly at the curly ribbon after I told her she wasn't allowed to play with it!)

Here's a pic of them in their pj's this morning:

The kids let us sleep until 8:00, then we made breakfast. We have a Christmas morning tradition of sausage kolaches & mini cinnamon rolls made by Elizabeth (with a little help from me). We got to enjoy it on our new table (mine & Christopher's gift to each other)!

The kids always buy us a few things, as well as gifts for each other. They usually put a lot of thought into what they get, & I love to see what they decide! Elly got Cody a Wii game, & Cody got Elly a DS game.

It turns out that they got me everything on my list [that they made me write]: a case for my phone, a brushed nickel soap pump, bubble bath, chocolate & a notepad!

Apparently, there was a drinking theme for Chris this year! He got a travel coffee mug from both of the kids & another one from Elly (with her favorite Bible verse on it), & Cody got him a set of Beatles drinking glasses! [Cody insisted that Chris put his Beatles shirt back on this morning, before he opened presents!]

I tried to be selective with the pictures, but I decided to close with a few more!

May the peace of Christ be with you today & every day! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"It Really Is (a Wonderful Life)"

(by Mindy Smith) Mindy Smith - My Holiday - It Really Is (A Wonderful Life)

I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately! I had grand plans of participating in a few Christmas memes, but it didn't happen. Sorry to disappoint! Maybe next year...I thought I'd post a few pictures of what's been going on around here, though!

My mister got his official "entourage" jersey from Ryan Moats!

It's really neat, 'cuz Ryan had our last name put on the back, above his number :) We all tried it on for cute are these kids?!

Friday, my kids had their Christmas parties at school.

& my new table was delivered that afternoon!!

Kendra & I went for coffee between Christmas parties! Then, Friday night was our church hayride! We rode all through a nearby neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. [I'm sorry I don't have pictures; but my memory card was full, my battery was low, & I just didn't get a chance to do anything about it!] Saturday, my dad & uncle came over. Then, Kendra & I got to go with them to another Rockets game that night {& I didn't see anybody I know this time!} On Sunday, we went to church with Wally (our builder) & his family (who I talked about in this post). They are such great, genuine people! I love them a bunch! I really enjoyed talking to their teenage daughter, being entertained by their 5-year-old & holding the sweetest baby boy! We hosted our Community Group Christmas party that night, which was so much fun! [Due to the previously mentioned camera issue, I didn't take any pictures to post here ~ sorry! But, if I were to obtain some copies from a friend (hint hint), I'd be eternally grateful!]

One final bit of randomness...I've found some great items on Etsy lately! I'm a weirdo who loves to add appreciation photos when I leave feedback. So, I thought I'd share a couple with you, too! I got some cute Scrabble tile pendants for Christmas gifts:

& this cute beanie:

I have been searching for a charcoal beanie since last Christmas, & I finally found one on Etsy! The seller accidentally sent a silver grey one first ~ which I liked & decided to keep. So, she discounted the 2nd one, and I got them both for $14 (shipping included)! Yay for Etsy finds!

Well, I hope to get on to more "blog worthy" topics soon ~ but for now, this is what you get! I hope y'all have a wonderful Christmas!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"You Make the Cold Disappear"

(by Amy Stroup) Amy Stroup - You Make the Cold Disappear - You Make the Cold Disappear

I told y'all that I figured another Amy Stroup song would be on here today! I know there's not much to the video, but this was the easiest way to post it. The song isn't on playlist, but this is on her youtube channel. You really should listen to the song. The whole thing isn't on there, but most of it is. I'm sorry I don't have time to upload the whole song, but you get the gist! It's super cute! My favorite lines are, "Playing footsie under tables in room of strange relatives" & how she says, "We'll drink cocoa & watch the snow..." Random, I know! I love it!

I don't have much time today, so I have to make this quick! My dad & uncle are on their way over, so I have to start cooking in a minute. This is my first time to serve dinner on my NEW TABLE!! I'll post pictures as soon as I get a chance. Tonight, we're going to another basketball game, but I don't anticipate seeing anyone I know this time! I hope y'all have a super great weekend, and I'll try to post my latest happenings SOON!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Hold onto Hope Love"

(by Amy Stroup) Amy Stroup - Hold Onto Hope Love - Hold Onto Hope Love

Thanks to all the free musical holiday samplers out there, I've discovered my new favorite artist: Amy Stroup! I love LOVE love her ~ and not 'cuz she's got the best first name on the planet! ;) If you like her sound, you can get a few songs for free! There's not a direct link, but go here & click "View A-Z" then click "Next" until you get to hers (it's alphabetical by first name). Then tell 5 friends about her. Sorry, I don't know another way to get it free; but, you can at least see if you really like her that way! I'm pretty sure you'll really like her ~ maybe even love her! I have a feeling that her winter song is gonna show up here on Saturday! I got that free, but I can't give you the link to that one (since it was a Mocha Club Members' thing).

But, I can share the links to some other free holiday samplers! You may already know about these, but I'm letting you know just in case you didn't! Are you ready for this?! Thanks to my bloggy friend Brooke, I found out about Amazon's 25 Days of Free (& they also have tons more free music that you can find just by typing "free" in the search bar). Readers Digest has a free digital issue, & on page 36 is a link to download 12 Christmas songs. It's kinda old school, but classic can be good if you like that sort of thing! iTunes has free stuff all of the time, but there are currently some holiday tunes. I was able to download an entire holiday sampler album, but I don't think it's on there anymore. {I'm sorry I didn't let you know sooner!} One final offer that made me happy is from NEEDTOBREATHE & other artists. It's not Christmas music, but they're giving it away because of the holiday. You can get it here by giving them your email address.

Alright, well I'm off to do some scrapbooking today! Then, my beautiful cousin Kendra is coming later on!! If you didn't see the video of my cute kids, you should totally read the post before this!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"I'm Gettin' Nuttin' For Christmas"

(by Relient K) Relient k - Let It Snow Baby... Let It Reindeer - I'm Getting Nuttin' for Christmas

This is my kids' favorite Relient K Christmas song, which contributed to the fact that it's my most-listened-to song this week. They did a super cute video last year, but there was an issue with it on youtube. Had I realized earlier in the day that it was today's song, I may have been able to post the video ~ but I need my mister's help! He has to find the file, see what format it is in & do something beyond my expertise to make it appear on this page. Seeing as he's falling asleep on the couch as I type this, it's not going to happen tonight! But he promised me that he'll have it ready tomorrow! Please come back then & see how cute my kids are! ;)

Here you go!! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"It's a Small World"

(by Disney) Gordon Lorenz Orchestra & Singers - 50 Disney Classics - It's a Small World

"It's a world of laughter, a world of tears
It's a world of hopes, it's a world of fears
There's so much that we share that its time we're aware
It's a small world after all

It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small, small world

There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to everyone
Though the mountains divide and the oceans are wide
It's a small world after all..."

We really do live in a small world, and it seems to get smaller every day! With technology & the internet, it's easier to see just how small the world is. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has clicked on a friend's "mutual friends" on facebook & found that their cousin in Dallas knows their friend in Houston. It's neat to make those "small world" connections that you might not otherwise find out!

I seem to have "small world" stories on a regular basis. I think it's just because I talk a lot, so I tend to find out random facts about people. One thing leads to another; and next thing I know, I discover that I worked with their aunt at the bank or their brother was my high school boyfriend's best friend! I think the most long-distance "small world" connection was when I was in Hollywood, CA, & met someone from my mom's hometown near Lubbock, TX. [He did my great-uncle's landscaping, and my second cousin was his high school coach!]

Or there was the time last year, when I wasn't even in conversation with anyone...I was folding laundry with Oprah on in the background & discovered that I used to know the Jonas Brothers' parents! I simply hadn't put two & two together on that one! Silly me! For the record, this was before we had cable tv, and Elizabeth wasn't really into them yet. I knew the oldest of the Jonas Brothers was Kevin, but I hadn't ever thought of Kevin Jonas ~ just Kevin, Joe & Nick Jonas! Then, I heard Oprah say, "Here I am with Kevin & Denise Jonas..." & I freaked out a little!

I could go on, but I should get to the reason for this post! My aunt is in town, so my dad took her, my brother & me to the Rockets game last night. We got into the elevator in the parking garage, and the man who was already in there looked familiar. My dad mentioned that he looked like Jack (the man in the Building Projection Video), but I knew him to be somebody else. I didn't actually know him, but I recognized him from a high school classmate's facebook photos! I asked if he knew "S" ~ and sure enough, he did! He was surprised that I recognized him & told me that she was there. We walked into the Toyota Center together, and he gave me her cell number so I could text her & maybe meet up during half time. He also took a picture of the two of us, saying that she wouldn't believe he had run into me! [Unfortunately for me, I unknowingly & accidentally deleted the last digit of her number when I tried to store it in my phone. He was gone by the time I realized it, though, so I there was nothing I could do. I wasn't able to meet up with her, but I have since contacted her on facebook, & I know the last digit of her phone number now! Hopefully, we'll have a chance to get together for lunch one day soon!]

Then, during half time, I happened to see one of my mister's co-workers! "M" was one section over & a few rows back. I went up the stairs & to the rail separating our sections. I hollered her name a couple of times, and she looked over at me like, "What are you doing here?!" We talked for a few minutes, and she said to tell my mister hi. I think it confused him when he got the text from me, saying that M said hi! But, I'm sure it only took him a second to figure it out. He knows that I run into people everywhere!!

When I told my dad about M, he just shook his head, laughed, & leaned over to tell my brother & aunt that I was at it again! After all, I was with Dad & Kerry earlier this year, when I ran into a classmate in the Pappasito's parking lot! I'm telling you, this happens all the time! In case you're unaware, Houston is a HUGE city ~ so to run into people here from a small town a couple of hours away is craziness! Again, I could go on, but I'm sure I've rambled enough! Do you have a good "small world" story to share?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"Sleigh Ride"

(by Relient K) Relient k - Let It Snow Baby... Let It Reindeer - Sleigh Ride

Relient K "Sleigh Ride" from Gotee Records on Vimeo.

It's that time of the year when all we hear is Christmas music! Some people aren't generally excited about stores trying to force them into the "holiday spirit" & make them buy stuff, but I'm cool with it. I was pretty excited to bust out the Let It Snow, Baby... Let It Reindeer album by Relient K. It's my absolute favorite Christmas album ever, & the kids love it, too. So, that's what we've been listening to quite a bit! What's your favorite Christmas song &/or album?

{Oh ya, if you didn't see my post yesterday, you should totally check it out ~>it has SNOW pictures!!}

Friday, December 4, 2009

"Winter Wonderland"

(by The 77's)

Oh my goodness! It snowed for real in the Houston area! I seriously can't believe it! The first bit of "wintery mix" hit my windshield right after I dropped the kids off at school this morning. After Junior Achievement, I ran to the store & to pick up the kids' movie for tonight (so I wouldn't have to drive in the craziness later!), & what do you know?!...REAL snow came blowing in like crazy!!

I was glad it was still snowing when the kids got home from school!

They were ready to play with the neighbors, but I kept making them pose for pictures!

My neighbor took this shot of me with my girl! :)

Gotcha! Yay for snowball fights! :)

We came inside to warm up a bit ~ I had hot cocoa in the crock pot & cookies fresh from the oven for them!

Back outside for some more snow fun! Pepper couldn't figure out what that frozen white ball was!

Pepper doesn't like the snow!

What a priss! She kept tip-toeing around in the sludge!

Safe & warm in Daddy's arms!

Couldn't miss a photo op with my mister ♥