Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Joy

No need for a long post here.  I did a couple of great Advent readings this year (She Reads Truth and Let's Go Straight to Bethlehem) and they helped me prepare my heart for the Christmas celebration like never before.  It truly was a wonderful month of reflection, preparation, and celebration.  Sure, you won't necessarily see that reflected in the photos here, but there are some aspects of Christmas you can't capture in a photograph.  Nonetheless, here's a glimpse into our Christmas. 

 
Started off our month with an early Christmas gift from Pastor Al and Ms. Dee.  They loved these blankets, as you can easily tell.  :)
 


 We also enjoyed our Christmas music program put on by our children's music groups at FBC Wallace.  I particularly liked the music by this group since The Boy is on the front row. 
 

 
It wasn't long before we found ourselves worshipping on Christmas Eve.  Here's a shot of our cuties right before the service.  Couldn't you just eat them up?  They're so ridiculously cute. 
 

 
Christmas Eve communion was a beautiful reminder of the big picture. 
In the words of songwriter and Relient K frontman Matthew Thiessen,
 "I celebrate the day that you were born to die
So that I could one day pray for you to save my life."
 

 
We were then reminded to take the love of God, the greatest gift of all, and be a light in this world of darkness. 
 


 
After our Christmas Eve service, we came home and got cookies ready for Santa. 

 

We tried to get a cute picture with the kids and the cookies, but someone wouldn't stop eating them.  ;)



Lastly, we woke up and read from Luke 2.  We started off with the real reason to celebrate Christmas: Jesus.  Afterwards, we grabbed breakfast and headed over to our tree.  There were lots of smiles (even a few tears - happy tears), but even more reminders of the many blessings we have been given. 


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Today during our WallaceKids time, we threw an awesome birthday party for Jesus.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from our day. 

Our Welcome Desk was ready to party.
 



 The ceiling always looks better with balloons. 
 

 Getting ready to pop the confetti.  So glad I saw this warning.  I was totally going to shoot this thing at one of the troublemakers.  (Settle down.  It's a lame attempt at a joke.)
 

 
After we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, we popped the confetti and it looked awesome! 
 

 
See... super cool, huh? 
 
 
We finished up the party with cake and a piƱata.  It was a great day to be a WallaceKids volunteer. 
 

Merry Christmas!

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
~Isaiah 9:6

It's almost here!  Merry Christmas from me, The James, Prissy, and The Boy.  We hope you all have an amazing Christmas celebrating the promise, hope, and love that was born when our Lord Jesus entered this world.

 





Saturday, December 21, 2013

Enough already, right?

I can't help it.  It's just so beautiful.  I look outside while I'm getting dinner ready and I get distracted by the spectacular display in the backyard.  I take a chance almost every night now and snap a few pictures.  More often than not, I overcook something just a touch, but it's okay.  It's worth it every single time. At least I haven't burned anything yet.  :)










Prissy's Christmas art

Traveling, and ear infection, and bronchitis, oh my!  It has been a month with lots to do, but without much time to get it all accomplished.  Otherwise known as December. 

We were finally feeling a little better last week.  While The Boy was busy with schoolwork, here's what Prissy was up to. 



Saturday, December 7, 2013

The view from above

I realize that I'm slightly obsessed with cloud pictures, but I just had to share these.  I snapped these from the plane window on flight back to Wilmington. Isn't our God an amazing artist?  His glory is everywhere! 







Friday, November 22, 2013

Take a little time

While I was looking for rainbows today, I couldn't get over the beauty of the sky around me.  Over to the east the sky was gray, but it had that pretty little rainbow.  To the west, it was completely glorious.  Breathtaking.  Magnificent.  So magnificent that I wasn't even tempted to use filters. 

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.~Romans 1:20
 


I was also fortunate enough to catch these yesterday evening. So glad to catch a glimpse of sunset before it was over. I love living here.  The view is always something to behold. 



Wherever you end up tomorrow, look around.  Take a little time to enjoy the view.  (I shamelessly ripped that from Barbara Walters and crew.)

2 Days in a Row

I know people see rainbows all the time, but I still love them. I think they're special every single time.  Even when they show up two days in a row.  I love that God still reminds us of his faithfulness this way. 

Today, Hubby called me and told me he could see one from his office.  I decided to check it out for a brief moment.  Sure enough, I popped my head outside while Prissy and The Boy were napping and spotted this pretty little thing. 


That was a nice surprise, but yesterday's rainbow, compete with beautiful blue sky, was extra nice.  Don't you love it? 

Less is More

I just don't know what to get my kids this year.
They already have everything.
How on earth are we going to buy all of this? 

All of these are sentiments commonly expressed as December approaches each year.  Despite the fact that Christmas rolls around at the same time every year and the fact that so many of us have more than enough as it is, we still stress about what our kids will get for Christmas.  I get it, but then again, I don't get it.  Where did we lose the beauty of Christmas?

I don't know the answer to that, but my goodness, it's getting worse.  Social media can be a lovely way to share experiences with our closest 500 friends, but scrolling a Facebook newsfeed on Christmas morning just sucks the very life out of me.  Have you seen it?  For some reason, posting pictures of our toy-packed trees shares the joy of the birth of Christ like nothing else.  You know, our living and family rooms that are literally packed from wall to wall with more stuff that we don't really need.  Yeah, that's what it's all about, right?

Wrong.  Oh so wrong.  It's not about stuff.  It's about promise and hope and the love of our Father God who stops at nothing to save his children.  It's never been about stuff.  I love the magic of Christmas, I do.  I LOVE the anticipation of that morning.  Our kids have a few gifts from Santa and they are fired up about seeing if Santa indeed delivered as he said he would.  I'm not saying that it's wrong to do those things.  I'm just saying that we can't get lost in that.  It can't be about that. 

Most of us can honestly admit that our kids have more than they need.  My kids are certainly no exception (I'm planning a pretty hefty clean out over the next two weeks).  There are toys that are untouched and forgotten because we have so much already.  Why make it worse? 

A few years back we learned that several friends of ours allow their kids to ask Santa for three gifts each year.  We were blown away by that idea and we implemented it ourselves.  It's changed everything about our Christmas experiences for the better.  We'll never go back.  I'm certainly not saying that our way is perfect, but it works perfectly for us.  We still get to share the fun and anticipation of giving gifts, but it's no longer about the stuff.  It helps us teach our kids that there is no Christmas without Jesus.  It shifts the focus to where it should be.

Somehow we still have family members who think our kids are deprived because it doesn't look like Toys 'R Us threw up in our living room on Christmas morning.  They still don't get it and I don't see how they've missed it after all this time.  We'll remind them of our wishes for less gifting for our kids as many times as it takes.  It makes life easier, it really does.  They don't live in constant expectation of receiving tons of stuff.  There are always plenty of things they wouldn't mind having, but life doesn't revolve around receiving and having things just because they exist. 

There's no greater time to remind our kids what Christmas is all about.  For that matter, it's a great time to extend that same message to apply to life in general.  Life isn't about stuff either.  It's about serving this God who loves us with such unthinkable love.  So, whatever it is you choose to do for Christmas, remember to do it with Christ.  Focus on what matters and not what will fade once the next big toy comes around.  That will be the gift they never forget. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Across the street

We are so blessed to live where we do.  It's really amazing to know that we could look out and see deer or some beastly bird at any given time.  We've got a pond in our back yard-it's beautiful! 

Please note that our backyard doesn't actually look like Narnia, but it is always this pretty. I just like this filter and don't have a reason to use it much.  (No filters on the others in this post, I promise.)

 
 Anyway, we love our pond, but we also love having a pond across the street.  We can't really walk around our pond because there's too much brush surrounding it, but the pond across the street is the perfect place to take a stroll.  We go at least a couple of times each week and just let the kids check it out. 


We don't go to the other end too often, because it's really close to our neighbor's home.  It's so close to that it almost feels like we're invading their privacy.  We went today and I snagged a few pictures.  I love this of the pond and our home.  It makes me smile. 


I like this one too.  You can see why we like to walk across the street, right?  There's just something so heartwarming about our little corner of the world.  We see God's handiwork everywhere we turn.  We're so blessed that he called us here. 
 

Keeping it real... Fall Festival style

We had our Fall Festival at church yesterday.  So many people worked so hard to make it wonderful and it really paid off.  It was a blast for everyone, especially the kids.  There were tons of happy faces around us.  I didn't get many pictures of Matthew because he didn't want to slow down enough to hang out with me and Lucy.  I did snag this great one right before we left. He did some intense bobbing for apples. He was quite a sight. 


As for Prissy, I didn't let her do too much.  For anyone who just couldn't wrap their minds around why I didn't put her in the nursery, check out that lovely green stream coming from her nose.  I believe the slight inconvenience for those around us in church was justified.  She didn't need to share the green with her nursery friends.  Anyway, I thought I was going to snap a cute picture of us on the hay ride.  Instead, I got this- snot and all.  Just keeping it real.  It was that kind of day. 


I did, however, let her make her way to this genius corn pit.  I guess that's what it's called.  Whatever it was, she *loved* it.  It was like a giant sensory bin and she loved every second of it.  I waited until the end of the festival to let her do this kind of thing just so I could keep her germs away from the others, but I'm so glad I let her in there.  She was such a happy little girl. 

 
All in all, it was a great day, a beautiful day for a Fall Festival.  In fact, here's a shot I took after I drove up to church yesterday.  So pretty.