Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Eve

Our family enjoyed a great day with lots more family on Christmas Eve – had to share our day….

We started the day by leaving about 6:45 from our house heading to Dallas.  Stopped at Central Market to pick up a few things, then off to Brother Bill’s

our family brother bills (2)

whole family at brother bills

ag servingbrother bills 4 kids

j serving

pj serving

crowds at bro billse serving


Then we all met up at Chuy’s for a Birthday Celebration for Robert!

me and robert

family at chuy's

grammie and paphungry kids


Next, we got about an hour break at the Cole Home, before heading out to church at Watermark Community Church – an amazing service.


kids waiting for church

j and caleb

silly boysme and j at church

Loved watching the candlelight grow in the sanctuary… it was beautiful!

a few lights

more lights

even morefull of lights


Then, while the gang came back to the Cole’s home, I headed to the airport to pick up my mom and her husband Louie.  We enjoyed some time at the Cole’s home – where they got to meet most of the family, and have a glass of wine!

nana and louie at cole's

Such a perfect day – we had tons of family time and it was just a great day all around. 

It’s almost time

As we prepared to celebrate Christmas this week, my mind started thinking about the weeks after that.  Trying to figure out what next year will hold, not the predicting kind, but what is God working on with me for next year?

Last year I chose a word to really think about : trust.  I wanted to trust God more fully, I aimed to trust the things happening in my like and really, to trust HIM.

Sunday, in church I heard my word for 2013, but first, a few thoughts…

This Christmas we have not done all I hoped we would.  We did not even do our Jesse tree tradition each day.  We did not get our 12 days of giving off the way I planned.  We did not watch many of our annual Christmas movies.  We did not complete several crafts I prepped.  And I like to check things off my lists.  I like to feel a sense of accomplishment.  And, honestly I don’t have too much of that these days.

Instead we are enjoying extra time with family – we have never had 2 weeks of company at Christmas before!!  Not sure where else we have spent our time, but it has been just fine.  Another reminder that it is not all about checking off tasks – it’s really more about just being where you are.

So as I remembered a book I wanted to read with the kids this last 12 days, I figured why not start it Jan 1st?  So what if it is a 12 days of Christmas devotion?  Can Christ not be a celebration year round?

So that is what brought me to my word for 2013. 


I want to think of MORE this next year – not more stuff, not more time, not more of anything else except more of Jesus.  I want to spend more time with him, think about him more, dwell with him more.  I want more of his peace, more of his comfort, more of HIM.

As I embrace 2013 – I hope that there is less of me, less of all I want, less of all the busyness, less of the world.  I want to slow our family life down a bit more, think about what really matters, manage our time and our resources a bit better.  I want to spend more time playing, enjoying all God has given us. 

So, as we get ready to welcome in the new year, here’s to grabbing more of Jesus and less of ourselves!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

busy days.

I feel like these days are flying by!!  But they’ve been good days!

A few home-improvement projects with Daddy, a party here, and lots of fun there… it’s been a good time!

First, PJ helped Daddy lay tile in our bathroom – I love it!!

Second, ED helped Daddy pull up the molding in the hallway, clean it up and put new molding down.

checking out the wall

This morning, we celebrated our First day of Christmas Giving!  It was so fun when the kids opened their bags to see what was inside.  Of course, they were hoping for toys, but were quickly excited to see the fun craft we were going to make.

We made Hot Chocolate Spoons to give to all our friends at our Christmas Party.  The kids got sprinkles, chocolate chips, plastic spoons, and mini m&m’s.  Then we filled our spoons with melted chocolate and decorated!  So fun!!

Today we made time to have a Christmas Celebration with friends!  What a great time to fellowship, play some ping pong, and enjoy some yummy treats!  It was so much fun!!

We ended our party with a trip to the Nursing Home to sing a bit – we had a blast singing and enjoying the residents!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Book Review : No Safe Harbor

{Comment to win a copy of this book, let me know why you want to read it, what sounds good to you?  I will draw a winner on Sunday night and contact you on Monday!! }


I recently was blessed to read Elizabeth Ludwig’s book NO Safe Harbor.  This book is the first is a new series titled Edge of Freedom. 

While I simply enjoy reading, I really enjoy when there is an added plus that a story can offer, I loved that this story took place in the 1890’s.  The picture that Ms. Ludwig painted of New York during this period was very interesting and made me feel like I could imagine it in my mind just as she described it.

This story is about a woman who has come across the sea from England/ Ireland.  She must make her way in this country as she tries to find her twin brother whom she believed dead for years.  She knows she has to keep his existence a secret, or she could be in danger, but that is really all she knows.

Meanwhile, the people behind her brother going in to hiding find her and are hoping to catch him through her.  There is a great story going on in the background while England and Ireland are waging a bit of a war themselves and seeing just how that affected the immigrants on this side of the ocean. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

{Audio} Book Review : Oliver Twist

If you have followed our family for very long, you know we tend to go far when we travel.  We like to drive to Maine as often as we can manage, we have driven to Oregon and Florida too.  When I say “we” that usually means the children and I.  Robert did join us in 2009 while we were unemployed, but normally he flies in to where we are and flies home – this allows us the most time on vacation.

So how do we manage to drive 2000 miles on way on these trips?  Well, we do have a DVD player in the car, but honestly we only watch 1-2 movies in a 12 hour travelling day, and 1 if 8 hours or less.  We play games (license plate, sign ABC, etc).  Our favorite thing to do is listen to books on audio though!!

Our all-time favorite is The Chronicles of Narnia by Focus on the Family!  We love these stories so much I think each of my kids could tell you play by play, the scenes for each!!  We have listened so many times, and we still love to listen! 

These precious audio dramas are produced by Focus on the Family.  We also own Bonheoffer, Corrie Ten Boon, and A Christmas Carole by Dickens.  We love the different voices they cast for each character, love the dramatic effects and simply love to listen again and again!!

So when they announced the future release of Oliver Twist I knew that I wanted to get this CD Audio Drama too. 

Our copy arrived right before Thanksgiving and instead of ripping it opening and listening right away, I handed it off to my husband so he could listen first, it did note a rating of 12+ on the package.  I wanted him to “screen” it before I listened with the kids, in case it was not appropriate. 

Well, the entire time he was listening to this story, he would come home using his British Voice, often in character – Mr. Bumble or Oliver, depending on the day.  He loved it.  I would catch him sitting in his truck once he got home just to finish a section or disk.  I knew this story was a keeper for our family!

He feels that for our children it will be okay for them to listen, but he recommended at least 8 year of age.  {This is our personal opinion, we do not recommend you allow children under 12 to listen to this drama unless you preview it first for your own family.}  He honestly feels that it would be good for our children to really experience how other children were being treated during the early 1800’s. 

Specifically, Robert felt that the casting of the characters was perfect, he thought the voices really fit the characters in this production.  He felt that Focus on the Family did a great job bringing this story to life, and that they were able to really enhance the story with the dramatic interpretation they provided.

As a family we have listened to the first disk, while trekking up to Dallas, and I will tell you my kids are hooked!!  It is obviously a very sad story, especially in the beginning when Oliver Twist is so mistreated.  But this story could be fact, it is based on what was really happening during this time in history, and it should make us all appreciate what we have that much more. 

I highly recommend this Focus on the Family production of Oliver Twist.  I also recommend any of their other products, our family has loved them for years and looks forward to more productions in the future!!

If you would like to hear other audio samples, check out CBD.

NOTE  : I was offered a copy of Oliver Twist by Tyndale House Publishers, in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

A new member of the fam….

Well here is Steve. {Note : I had no part in naming this guy- I liked Charlie…..}

So here is the little guy in the trailer not too happy.

arrival of steve

Here he is in the yard, checking things out.

loose calf

And then we got him penned up in a smaller spot


penned up steve


Still not a happy boy, but about to get much less happy ….

So we tried to get him to take a bottle – our theory to get him used to us and willing to come when we want him.  He was not too thrilled, so I called in help!!

Here is our friend Justin who showed a steer last year with our Live Stock Show.  At this point we think Steve is a steer…..

not happy Steve


We got him tied up to try and “break” him a bit and get him behaving better….

He REALLY did not like this.  However, while tied up (for 30 min) we got to brush him clean, and scratch him.  And my friend found out he is not a steer – he is a bull calf!  Uh oh. 

working to break Steve

Then the boys worked with him a bit, Justin showed my boys how to lead him a bit, really tug  him around.  It was good.  Justin got to instruct, and my boys learned a bit!

learning from Justinwokring out new calf

So then my friend called her “helper” and set up for us to go to the school this week, with Steve – to get him turned into a Steer and to get rid of those horns – by the Ag teacher!!!  He is going to use it as a class for his students, and we get to watch and learn too!!  Besides, we do not want to have to deal with a steer who is a bit ornery and has horns!!

Another day here on the farm, learning lots and lots!! I do love this life!!


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