Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Holding on to Hope"

(by Jenny & Tyler) Holding On to Hope - Faint Not

Holding on to Hope by Jenny & Tyler on Grooveshark

Another year is coming to a close, so it's time for my recap of 2011. As a disclaimer: I promise I don't intend for it to come off as one of those Christmas newsletters where you read about my perfect kids & perfect life. That's not at all how I see myself or my life {though my kids are pretty close ~ ha ha!} I think those letters (& these posts) are an opportunity to express the positive things that happen throughout the year. Ya know? I really don't think most people intend for it to be boasting so much as highlighting. I think that most of you know my heart & know that I'm generally pretty open about the negative parts of life as well as the positive. OK, enough of that! On to my year...

Cody turned 10 in January! TEN! How did that happen?! He truly is the most amazing ten-year-old that I know. He started a little recycling project in the neighborhood this spring. In the summer, he moved up to the PreTeen class at church & has enjoyed the activities offered there. He won the "I Am Third" award at camp (that brought tears to his mama's eyes). He also preached his first sermon this summer! In 5th grade this fall, he was the only person in his school to have competed in the Science Olympiad all three years {& he won two medals!} He is such a sweet & funny boy. I really can't say enough good things about him!

In the spring, the kids & I participated in a local mission trip that I hope is only the beginning of their involvement in ministry. Our summer went by super quick! The kids spent a week at my brother's house in order to attend music camp with their cousins (while I spent some time at Jana's parents'). They also both went to church camp, and the kids & I helped out with VBS. Our family had a wonderful time on our vacation.

Chris & I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in July! It's amazing how quickly time has flown by!

My baby girl became a teenager in October! I seriously can't believe that I'm the mother of a teenager already! Elly is such a sweet girl & a great student. She entered the student ministry this summer, & so far she's cool with me being in there! {She even talks to me sometimes, though I try to give her her space!} This fall, she won the Principal's Award for the 2nd six weeks, and she also received an award for Most Oustanding in ELA. She still loves to read, and writing is one of her passions. Her ELA teacher has her read aloud everything she writes for class, including the paper she wrote about her dad. She chose art as her elective again, and she is loving it! I am really enjoying the amazing young woman she has become, and I thoroughly enjoy spending time with her.

As far as Christopher's health is concerned, he is doing as well as he was this time last year. His scans were clear in January & again in July. The doctors continue to monitor his eye pressure & watch for signs of glaucoma. His vision is now CF at face, but there has been no new radiation damage since July. They have decided that it would be best for him to have the cataract removed, though we don't expect his vision to improve as a result.

Overall, this year has been really good. One huge burden was lifted when we finally PAID OFF OUR DEBT!!! Through a lot of the year, I struggled emotionally, though. In continuing to seek God through my struggles, I finally got to a better place and am truly thankful for everything that God has shown me through it all. I have a greater hope ~ not in my circumstances, but in Him. And I am holding on to that {& to Him} with all that I am.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"All That I'm Allowed (I'm Thankful)"

(by Elton John) All That I'm Allowed (I'm Thankful) - Peachtree Road

All That I'm Allowed (I'm Thankful) by Elton John on Grooveshark

I'm sorry to be two days late with this. We had to make a quick trip to the panhandle for Grandmommy's funeral and were out in the middle of nowhere. I attempted to post it from my phone yesterday, but I was having some technical difficulties. Anyways, today I am thankful for...

  1. Completing my Christmas shopping {under budget}
  2. The beautiful life of my Grandmommy
  3. My aunt & uncle, who lovingly cared for Grandmommy for many years
  4. A baking day with Amy & Shannon
  5. A sweet & snuggly baby to hold on a sad day
  6. Leftovers from lunch at Amy's that were enough to feed dinner to my family on a night when I didn't really want to deal with dinner {PLUS enough for lunch the next day!}
  7. Doctors & nurses who took great care of my uncle Neal {he's recovering very well!}
  8. A great afternoon/evening with my brother & his family
  9. My kids getting along so well with their cousins
  10. A super cute handmade beanie from my niece
  11. Wendy's fudge {that I shouldn't have allowed her to leave here!!}
  12. A Christmas Eve visit with my baby brother
  13. A beautiful Christmas Eve service at church
  14. Christmas Eve dinner traditions with my family
  15. My kids insisting on doing a word search together ~ even though they both had their own :)
  16. Their patience on Christmas morning {they're cool about waiting until after breakfast to open gifts!}
  17. Fun games with Dan & Sheryl
  18. A nice visit with Sheryl's mom
  19. A place to leave our crazy dog for the night
  20. A beautiful day to honor the life of my Grandmommy
  21. Seeing family that I haven't seen in way too long
  22. A nice visit with my hippie cousin :)
  23. A beautiful ring that belonged to Grandmommy
  24. A couple of days with my beautiful cousin Kendra's family
  25. A lot of time spent with my brother this Christmas

What are you thankful for today?


Sunday, December 25, 2011

"I Celebrate the Day"

(by Relient K) I Celebrate the Day - Let It Snow Baby, Let It Reindeer

I Celebrate The Day by Relient K on Grooveshark

Merry Christmas!!!!!

I thought I'd share a few pictures of our morning, though this is just more proof that I need a new camera! Did I tell you that Cody set it down in water?? Anyways...

{How cute are they?!}

Pepper was sad that she didn't have anything to open...

She discovered her presents the other day, so we went ahead & gave them to her. I don't think she understands that if she sniffs her presents out early, it really ruins everything on Christmas morning...

After the kids opened their presents, we had them gather up the wrapping paper & take it to the recycling in the garage...where they found new bikes :)

I was reading the label on this little gift & didn't even realize that I had said, "Milk chocolate pretzel bites filled with awesome." It says that they're filled with peanut butter, but my family already knew that so I had stopped reading aloud. When I looked up, they were staring at me like I was a weirdo. Chris said, "Filled with...awesome?"

And now for a bit more randomness...I've now had the honor of spilling coffee on this page of TWO peoples' copies of Wreck This Journal! {First Kassie's (one of my girls from church) & now Elly's} :)

I'll conclude with a couple of lines from the song for Day 12 in the 12 Days of Christmas Song Challenge: all-time favorite Christmas song. I've absolutely loved this one since the very first time I heard it!

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life...
"But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children." (Galatians 4:4-5)


Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Oh Holy Night"

(by Eisley)

Oh Holy Night by Eisley on Grooveshark

In lieu of Scrobbled Saturday, I'll continue with Day 11 in the 12 Days of Christmas Song Challenge: the song I'll be playing this Christmas Eve. I actually think this one is sorta weird, because I'm pretty sure that most people who play Christmas music will play more than one song on Christmas Eve. "Oh Holy Night" has always been one of my favorite Christmas songs. And I love Eisley.

You may or may not be aware that this week hasn't been one of the best for me, but there have actually been a few good times as well. When Aunt Karla called to tell me about Grandmommy, Cody & I were on our way to Amy's for a play/baking day. Our friend Shannon was there with her baby girl, too. When I arrived with my sad news, Amy handed the baby over to me because babies have a way of making a sad day better! {Am I terribly out of shape if my arms are sore from holding an 11-pound baby all day??} I also had some nice & relaxing days with my kids. We went shopping earlier in the week, and they got to hang out with their friends a couple of times. My friends Laurien & Julie came over one day, and my brother's family came over yesterday! I saw my baby brother this morning {I'm really hoping this is his last Christmas away from home!} There was also the Tacky Christmas Sweater Party! :) Anyways, all of that is to say that there were some really good parts of the week, too!

To update you on my uncle, they are planning on releasing him from the hospital tomorrow. He'll go home with my aunt at first, but I don't know how long it'll be until they allow him to drive home (to Kentucky). I really appreciate your phone calls, comments, tweets, & emails! I have such a wonderful support system (both virtual & IRL)! I love you & hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!


Friday, December 23, 2011

"Christmas Without You"

(by Benton Blount) Christmas Without You - Christmas Without You - Single

Now I'll continue on with the song challenge. I know I've posted some random ones about the holiday season, but the last few songs are about our Savior! Day 10 in the 12 Days of Christmas Song Challenge is: song that exemplifies the reason for the season. While there are many songs that would work for this, I really love today's song. & it simply isn't Christmas without Jesus, so I suppose that sums it up pretty well. What song do you think exemplifies the reason for the season?


Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Never Let Go"

(by David Crowder*Band) Never Let Go - Remedy

Never Let Go by David Crowder Band on Grooveshark

Soo....I know I already posted something today, but I could use prayers for both sides of my extended family...

Grandmommy (my mom's mom) passed away this morning. You may remember when I mentioned that she wasn't doing so well. She has been in a lot of pain for a long time, and things continued to go downhill. Her body started shutting down, and she hadn't been able to eat anything since Monday, so we knew it would be soon. When the doctor explained what was going on & asked what she would like for him to do to help her, she said that she was ready to meet her Jesus. I don't blame her really. She has already buried her sister, two husbands, and two sons (one of them during that terrible week a couple of years ago & another as an infant). She had a really big smile. And she made the best chicken fried steak. Our last visit with her was so good, and I'm so thankful for that.

Also, my uncle Neal (my dad's little brother) is in the ICU. He was visiting my aunt in New Mexico & was having chest pains this morning. She took him to the hospital, where they airlifted him to Roswell & then on to Lubbock. He arrived there in full cardiac arrest, and they found that his aorta was 100% blocked. They put 3 stents in, plus a couple of balloons in some other arteries, & a temporary pacemaker.

Anyways, I would really appreciate your prayers for my family.


"You Make the Cold Disappear"

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

Day 9 in the 12 Days of Christmas Song Challenge is: song that you sing along to the loudest in the car. I wish I could post the entire song for y'all, but this is all I could find! It's super cute & the very first song of Amy's that I ever heard. ♥ What Christmas song do you sing along to the loudest?


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"The Chipmunk Song"

(by The Chipmunks) The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) - Christmas With the Chipmunks (2010)

Chipmunk Song by The Chipmunks on Grooveshark

Day 8 in the 12 Days of Christmas Song Challenge is: song that reminds you of your childhood. I remember watching A Chipmunk Christmas as a kid, & I loved this song! Is there a Christmas song that reminds you of your childhood?


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

“Snow Miser” & “Heat Miser”

(by FM Static & TFK) ~ I know this is [yet isn't at the same time?] two songs/artists. Can I do that?! Of course I can, because this is my little part of the blogsphere...

{I just discovered that I have the top comment for this video on youtube. 'Cuz I'm awesome like that!}

Day 7 in the 12 Days of Christmas Song Challenge is: song that makes you laugh. I know that there are many versions of today's song(s) that are actually combined into one song. I even own a pretty good one by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, but y'all know how I feel about FM Static. So there you go...

I decided that I didn't want to do my grateful post on a day when I was supposed to post the song that makes me sad. I also didn't want to wait until I was done with the Christmas songs. So I chose to postpone it until today! So without further ado...I'm grateful for...

  1. A night of worship & prayer with the ladies at my church
  2. Panera dates with my baby girl
  3. Elly's comment on facebook that said, "I had the best day with you today -Taylor Swift" ♥
  4. A few hours dedicated to sitting in one spot so I could finally address Christmas cards {I filled in for a friend answering phones at the church, & she said to bring something to do. It was perfect!}
  5. Elly surviving her first finals week!
  6. Tweezers
  7. Coffee with one of my former MOPS moms
  8. Friends who shield me from the cold wind while I wait for Amy get to the park so I could give her Cody's stuff out of my van! {Thank you, Becca! I was so cold!! & it was good to catch up with you. I miss you & the rest of my Wednesday girls!!}
  9. Work Christmas parties {yes, I admit that I pretty much only go because of the food! And the occasional new shirt or outfit that I get to splurge on for said event...}
  10. Sleepovers with my youth girls!! {I seriously love those girls & the other volunteers. I am so blessed to do ministry with them!}
  11. Opposable thumbs {yes, I realize that's random, but where would we be without them? Plus, we watched Zookeeper at the sleepover, which made me realize that I'm grateful for them!}
  12. Baby's Coffee & other assorted yummy goodness from my friend Amy's in-laws :)
  13. Doctors who take an hour or so out of their Saturday (during a busy holiday season) for OM Teleconference
  14. Generous donors who are funding OM specific research
  15. Nice people who invite us to their Christmas parties
  16. The chance to sleep in just about every day for the next couple of weeks! {Even if that only means sleeping until 7:00...Stupid internal body clock!}
  17. Christmas baking with my girl while listening to my "Sunshine & Happiness" playlist :)
  18. A TV that is big enough for Mistopher Christopher to read the guide {we have finally entered the 21st century with a decent sized TV!}
  19. Fun parties with the students where we get to dress up in tacky Christmas attire
  20. Yummy Christmas goodies
  21. Dog groomers
  22. A fun day Christmas shopping with my kiddos
  23. An afternoon with Laurien & Julie
  24. Christmas cards from people that I love
  25. Playing Guitar Hero World Tour with my family

I'd love to know what's on your list this week!


Monday, December 19, 2011

"I Hate Christmas Parties"

(by Relient K) I Hate Christmas Parties - Let It Snow Baby, Let It Reindeer

I Hate Christmas Parties by Relient K on Grooveshark

Day 6 in the 12 Days of Christmas Song Challenge is: song that makes you sad. I'm sure there are other sad Christmas songs, but this is my favorite sad one. I think you should be proud of me for not posting a Relient K song until now (other than the one to introduce the challenge).

For the record: I actually love Christmas parties. And I especially love the student ministry's Tacky Christmas Sweater party that my baby girl & I went to tonight! We actually had a hard time finding tacky sweaters. I don't know if we waited to shop until too late in the season or what. But Wade actually encouraged head to toe tackiness, so I think we did good. You'll have to excuse the pictures of me with my girl. Cody took them, & he has a hard time being still. But I wanted you to see a couple of our awkward poses...

Here are just a few of the girls in their tacky attire:

The girl on the left made her entire outfit!

& here I am with most of the other adult leaders at the party...


Back to the original reason for this there a Christmas song that makes you sad?


Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Winter Night"

(by Little & Ashley) Winter Night - Winter Night - Single

Winter Night by Little & Ashley on Grooveshark

Yes, I'm totally aware of the fact that I just posted this song, but it makes me happy! And Day 5 in the 12 Days of Christmas Song Challenge is: song that makes you happy. So it only seemed logical to repost this bit of cuteness! :)

On a total side note: today is International Answer the Phone like Buddy the Elf Day, & I love it! I completely forgot when Amy called me this afternoon, but I remembered when I got another call. It was from a lady who was scheduling a delivery for tomorrow. I made her laugh, which I think is super great!

Anyways, I'd love to know what Christmas song makes you happy! :)


Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Last Christmas"

(by Wham!) Last Christmas - Music from the Edge of Heaven

Last Christmas (Single Version) by Wham! on Grooveshark

In lieu of Scrobbled Saturday, I'll proceed with Day 4 of the 12 Days of Christmas Song Challenge: guilty pleasure song. Today's song comes as no surprise to my friends, though I hadn't realized how predictable I was until this year ~> two recent incidences occurred regarding this song & yours truly. Once, Jana & I had just gotten into her van when this song came on the radio, & she said that they were playing it just for me! And another time a group of us were discussing our favorite Christmas songs, and Felicity said she knew what mine was. At first, I wasn't sure if she was referring to a Relient K song or this one. She looked at me like I was a crazy woman & said this one. For the record, this isn't my absolute favorite, but it's sort of a classic Christmas song for me. 'Cuz I'm a weirdo. But y'all already knew that...

Moving on to random events of the week...I must post my disclaimer: I am exhausted, so expect even more randomness than usual! Yesterday was another one of those days when I went from one thing to the next to the next: answered phones at the church, picked Cody up from school, met one of my former MOPS moms for coffee, took my kids to the church hayride, went to Christopher's work Christmas party, then finished off the night/morning at a sleepover with my most favorite girls on the planet. Of course I didn't get adequate rest & woke up way earlier than I had to. But it was all good, because Nicole & Julie were also awake so we got to chat for awhile before getting up & making breakfast. I was able to pick Cody up from Alex's and get home in time for a CURE OM Teleconference, which was super great to listen in on! I already knew most of the information that was provided, BUT they made an announcement about a donation of $100,000 a year (for the next five years) being made toward OM specific research!! How about that?!

Last week, I totally forgot to show you what Chris ended up with in the White Elephant gift exchange. Like last year, the girls did real gifts & the guys did gag gifts. Also like last year, he actually stole his gift from someone. Who would want a random little Davy Crockett bust?! He claimed that he wanted it because he wants to invite our friend Dave E. Crockett over.

{I think Dave would be honored to have his "namesake" on our piano, don't you? ü Also, ftr, I have not forgotten about an interesting picture I mentioned last Saturday. I just need to get it from the person who took it. It's coming...I promise!}

Marcel the Shell was interviewed on Rock Center Monday night. It was too cute! My absolute favorite part was from 4:51 to 5:12. You should totally watch it {& yes, it's totally worth the 30 second ad!}

So the pest control guy was here this week, & I was reminded of the fact that strangers often feel compelled to confess things to me. I'm not really sure what that's all about, but I seriously can't even begin to count the times this has happened! Sometimes they confess things they've done, & sometimes they just pour out their life story to me {& it's usually tragic} I try to remember to just sorta sit down on the inside & pray for the words to say. Sometimes no words come out, and I pray as God brings the person to mind in the days/weeks/months to follow. Other times {like this week} I am simply caught off guard & a little speechless {I know a couple of you are shocked that I could ever be speechless, but I promise you it happens. Though rarely!} Seriously though, I simply don't know how I'm supposed to respond when the man tells me about when he was [his words]: "how can I put this tactfully...entertaining" his lady friend on his bed, & his dog nipped at her...What?? I thought we were simply having a casual conversation about dogs!! {For the record, I prefer people telling me their tragic life stories over confessing their sins. In case you wondered...}

We made some cute ornaments for teachers this week! I had seen them on Pinterest, and we made them on a craft day in MOPS. It was fun making them as little gifts! :)

My favorite part of this week was when my baby girl came home early because of finals. The first day she asked if we could go on a Panera date! {& she offered to pay!!} This is something we've been doing since she was in 1st grade {though sadly, we hadn't been since the day I lost my license plate!} It began on a day when I picked her up from school sans Cody. She suggested it, and I didn't have a reason to say no. I think it made her feel special because she got to go without him. And of course, I thoroughly enjoy these times alone with her. We have a list of other places to go on these dates, but when it comes down to it she usually chooses Panera. We kinda like traditions around here! ♥ That night on facebook, Elly posted about a strange little situation we observed while we were out & about. Tears came to my eyes as she commented on the post later. Here's the conversation:

We also saw this sign while we were out:

{Ellie is spelled the normal way instead of how my Elly spells it, but she still thought it was worth going back to take a picture!}

OK, so I totally added something completely lame to my list this week. It's been on the unwritten list in my mind, but I was reminded of it & decided it should be on the official list. Plus, I had originally intended on adding to the list as I thought of things but hadn't added anything yet. So there. If you're at all curious, you can totally go check out my list & see if you can tell what I added. I'm not trying to be vague; it just really is that lame. There's not much of a point to it, except that I already have a little song to post for it. And so I can say that I did it. And that is all.

Alrighty, I guess that's enough for now! I should probably put some real clothes on before we head out to another Christmas party! I never got dressed after the sleepover, so I'm wearing the t-shirt & yoga pants that I slept in. I have no idea when I did this last, but it's kinda nice to just lounge around in comfy clothes. I should totally do it more often! Anyways, I'm outta here...

I hope y'all are having a super great weekend!!


Friday, December 16, 2011

"Baby, It's Cold Outside"

(by Leon Redbone & Zooey Deschanel) Baby, It's Cold Outside - Elf (Music from the Motion Picture)

Baby It's Cold Outside by Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone on Grooveshark

Day 3 in the 12 Days of Christmas Song Challenge is: song you like to listen to while trimming your tree. We usually listen to whatever pops up in my “'Tis the Season" playlist, but we watch Elf when we're done. So I chose today's song for that reason. Though I prefer the Will & Zooey version in the movie, this is as close as we can get. Soooo...what do you listen to while you're decorating for Christmas?


Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Snow Globe"

(by Matt Wertz) Snow Globe - Snow Globe

Snow Globe by Matt Wertz on Grooveshark

Day 2 in the 12 Days of Christmas Song Challenge is: favorite new song. I really think this one is cute! As you'd probably guess, I love the "la la la" part! :)

Have you discovered a new Christmas song this year?


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Silent Night"

(by Seabird) Silent Night - Over the Hills and Everywhere - A Christmas Ep

Silent Night by Seabird on Grooveshark

Day 1 in the 12 Days of Christmas Song Challenge is: favorite classic song. Though this version is far from classic, I had to post it anyways. Because it's Seabird. And I love them. My favorite more classically done version is probably the one by House of Heroes (in case you care). What's your favorite classic Christmas song?