Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Twas a Very Merry Christmas!

The Sunday before Christmas . . .

wanted to share one of my favorite pictures taken that day!

Claire played the role of baby Jesus in our Christmas cantata, and David and I were Joseph and Mary. Although not happy in the picture above, Claire did a wonderful job on stage, so sweet and content. I was thankful for the privilege to play the part and try to imagine, in a unique way, what it must have been like to mother the Savior of the world...(and to birth a baby in a stable! Oh Mary!)

The Monday before Christmas . . .
We celebrated Christmas with my family, having our traditional "Christmas Eve" on Monday night and "Christmas morning" on Tuesday morn. We all spent the night at Mom and Dad's and had a great time celebrating Christ, exchanging gifts, and enjoying the new additions to the family: Claire, James, and Kameron's bride-to-be, Olivia!

Mom and Dad with their precious grandkids

Enjoying being a family!

Claire having some good My T and Big Daddy time

communing cousins ~
Claire is only one week older than
my brother's son, James. So fun!

Christmas Eve . . .
John David and I decided to make Christmas cookies - Cake Batter Cookies, thanks to Aunt Olivia, who graciously and creatively gave the recipe and mix as part of a gift to me. Yummy! Thank you, Olivia! David joined in the fun when it came to rolling up the cookie dough (next year you can play too baby Claire!:) We had a great time making memories this year with our son. He is at such a fun age!

Intensely adding the sprinkles (and I mean intense!)
with a Jiminy Cricket ornament - a new favorite - in hand :)
Hope you like green sprinkles!

Definitely the sweetest part of cookie baking!

Later that day, we headed to Birmingham to spend Christmas Eve with David's side of the family. We had a delightful time with the Kizziah clan, with good food and fellowship (thanks for hosting Joel and Sheree!), and a time of worship at David's brother and family's church for a special Christmas Eve service. Above, Pap and JoJo are enjoying their sweet grandkids.

Christmas morning . . .
Here John David is admiring his new backpack, looking at his reflection in one of the ornaments. :) I was thankful that we got to be at our house Christmas morning. John David is at the age where he is aware of everything going on, and we want to start making our own family traditions. It was such a special morning, enjoying my husband and children, and focusing on the Christ of Christmas.

John David enjoyed helping Claire open her gifts, which was so fun to watch. He also was excited to help pass out gifts and anticipated seeing what everyone received. "What'd you get? . . . Cool!" was often expressed by our little man.

We were able to visit a dear couple in our church who were spending Christmas at the VA hospital. Mr. Warren is in the Hospice unit there. He and his wife, Mrs. Sarah, are precious and very special to our family. They enjoyed meeting Claire.

John David had fun helping spread the icing on
a "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake.

sweet siblings

Yes, it was "Claire's First Christmas", and we had so much fun enjoying the sweet little gift that she is to us. One of my friends, Molly Rigoloso, made this pillow ornament - along with many other things - for Claire. Molly, who is SO VERY thoughtful and talented, used material that matched her bedding and other room decor to make it an extra special "first Christmas" keepsake. Thank you, sweet Molly!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A little extra Christmas cheer
is filling up our house this year.
Happy 3 months, my dear!

and now we'd like to say...
Merry Christmas to all,
and to all a good night!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Celebrating the Christ of Christmas

I write today to encourage you to join me this Christmas to strive to see past the commercialism of the season and focus on the Christ, the Savior, who is worthy of all of the attention of this holiday and every day.  We know that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season", but we have to try extra hard - especially this day and age - to keep Him at the center of our festivities and the focus of our celebration.   

A few practical ways I believe may help us do this:
  • Listen to the words of those familiar carols with new ears.  And then try to sing them with a voice proclaiming the glorious truths found in so many of them. . . 
A few examples:

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"

Through Christ, we - wretched sinners - have been reconciled to a Holy God!! 
 Unbelievable!!  So sing it loud!! :)

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Emmanuel - "God with us" - HAS come!!  
We don't have to mourn in slavery to sin anymore!!

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing...
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love!

Our King of truth and grace DOES rule the world
and WILL MAKE the nations prove His glories...
So please - if you are indeed a child of God - 
do not be one of those who sings
 this song as if you have no joy.

  • Listen to this CD.  This Andrew Peterson Christmas album has become one of our family favorites.  It begins with Old Testament prophecies of the promised Messiah, and the songs express a bit of what it must have been like to be in "lonely exile", longing for a Savior.  And, at last, Messiah came, unglamorous and lowly, to save His people from their sins . . . Behold, the Lamb of God!  

click HERE to order
  • Peruse this book.  Although I have not read this book in it's entirety, I have picked it up on occasion and been blessed by what I have read.  Noel Piper presents practical ways to keep Christ central in all of your celebrations, and not just at Christmastime.  If you were not blessed to have a mother like mine who made it her goal to keep Christ the focus of our family celebrations, or if you are looking for ideas to come up with new traditions, or looking to tweak old ones, I definitely think you should get this book. 

  click HERE to order

So, my prayer for myself and for you is that we celebrate CHRIST this Christmas . . . and nothing less!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas ~
from our family to yours!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Being a mother of two is nothing short of a full-time job (hence such infrequent blog posts.  I have sat down many times to try to at least get some recent pictures up, only to be summoned away from the computer. :)  I have found God's grace so faithful in those moments of meltdowns and and frustrations and so sweet in those peaceful times when everyone is content and happy (or sleeping:).  Being a mother is a gift of joy and sanctification.  I pray not to waste those hard moments, and that God will indeed use them to sanctify me and chip away those parts of me that still do not reflect His image.  And in those moments when I think to myself, "This is the life!" I want my heart to always overflow with humble gratitude knowing that every good gift is from above (James 1:17).  I want to be quick to give God the glory, from whom all blessings flow.   

As my husband told me last night, (something to this affect...quotation marks can be risky:) "On the Potter's wheel is right where I want to be."  My heart totally agreed.  I know that whatever the Lord daily allots for me - whether difficult or delightful - is for His utmost glory and my greatest good; what He ordains is being used by Him to mold me into what He desires me to be.  

The familiar promises of Romans 8:28 - "And we know God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose" - and Philippians 1:6 - "being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the Day of Christ Jesus" - bring such sweet comfort and smiles, even if I feel like crying...or if I do cry...I can know the tears are not in vain.  God uses them in His kind, wise way to accomplish His purpose and will for each of us.  

Well, time was allowed today ... so here are a few recent pics of the kiddos.  They are both growing so much each day, and I am so thankful to get to be their "Mommy"!  

John David in his "game day" uniform...
we have greatly been enjoying watching Bama this season!

Clean and cuddly :)

Sweet smiles

Ready for Disney World!  Claire already loves Minnie Mouse :) 

Our big boy no longer sleeps with his paci - we tied it 
to balloons and sent it soaring in the sky!
"Bye-bye paci!" John David cheered.
He was pumped about the idea...until naptime came.
He's doing great now and has only asked for it a few times since. 
(sorry the pictures aren't clear; of course my camera
battery was dead on the day of the "launching".
These were taken with David's phone.) 

"Up, up and away!" 
We watched the pacifier and balloons fly
 until we couldn't see them anymore.
I must say, it really was a cool experience :)