"Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." ~Andy Stanley

December 30, 2012


Some of our Christmas fun: 

The Christmas Eve candlelight service:
A beautiful, worshipful event and one of my favorite traditions. You have to arrive super early to even get a seat and there's no seat saving. So, once we arrive, I'm afraid to get up and we always end up taking pictures from our chairs. : ) (LOL)

Andrew and Zac T

Hubby and his brother, Phil
After all the amazing singing we headed home for wedge salads, steak and fettuccine. Yum!

Joy and Bree 

Christmas morning:
Dad's annual Christmas morning sermon 
Joy and Andrew in anticipation of the blessings to come
One of those blessings was a ukulele for Andrew from Nathan!
What followed that was a spontaneous sibling group-hug for Nathan! What a great gift for Roo!  But I missed that Kodak moment and so here they are afterwards.      

It wasn't cold but we can't get over how fun that fireplace "show" from Netflix is. It even crackles. LOL
And in case it was cold there were warm Christmas jammies for all! 

Zac gave the fam an automatic snack machine from that-ever-so-much-fun store: Brookstone! 

You don't want to know how many M&M's we've eaten this week because of this baby!  At least it has a portion control knob. ; )                                                   

A uke lesson followed later in the day
Another special moment happened when Andrew gave him his very nice electric guitar effects pedal which made him cry. Musical instruments mean a lot in this fam!

Uncle Phil gave the boys very nice watches that were his before this stroke. He was so thrilled that they liked them.

We had our dear friend Carlos over for Christmas dinner where more eating took place. (crazy amounts of food were consumed this week!)

It was a wonderful day!
That night we went to see The Hobbit or at least most of us did. Hubby went to help rescue our dear friends who broke down on the way to see it with us. After the movie we all had dessert at our house together, as if we needed to eat MORE.

The rest of the week:
The next morning the painter's wife got the inside of her house painted! Yahoo! Merry Christmas to me! Holy moley, it was a lot of work... and I kept adding more! He and I painted for 11 hours! -Interestingly enough, we couldn't talk any of the kiddos into helping!

Thursday Nate headed to IL for a college road trip/vacation with some friends. Hope he's keeping warm!

The next two days were spent working at a children's home and 'caulking for Jesus' while hubby painted a bunch of bunk beds for them.

We plan to finish painting our house on New Year's Eve and guess who wants their room painted now? So, more painting to follow but with more helpers!
I think it would be safe to say that during the last several days, if we weren't eating then we were probably painting. : )


December 24, 2012

Some scenes from the season


Our nightly Advent time. We've been using it to pray for the persecuted church and then we started listening to Glen Beck's Christmas Sweater

The tree!
Here's Bree, bless her heart! 
Bree was spayed this week and is wearing the 'cone of shame' quite well. She has no problem plowing into our bare legs with it while we are eating at the table or just hitting us with it randomly. I think she wants us to remember that it is our fault she's wearing it. ; )  She's taken to running along our chain link fence and banging the side of it on the fence which reminds me of a doggie version of Huck Finn with a stick on a picket fence. ; )
The happy new violinist
We were given tickets for a night out at the zoo's Wild Wonderland Nights.

It was a warm night and I was starting to feel very sorry for the penguins until I read this:
I guess they must feel right at home here.
It rained on us while looking at the reindeer! : )
Stingray petting!
Loved seeing these up close:

The weather! We finally got a cold spell here in FL. Here's the 'show' from Netflix that the kids put on to warm up. ; )
Maybe it was the power of suggestion but we did feel warmer! LOL 
On one of the coldest nights of the year, we helped out at an outreach our church does every year. Free gift wrapping at the mall. Absolutely FREE. Just a way to bless our community and a chance to invite people to our Christmas Eve church service. I literally HAD to run into one of the department stores and buy mittens which were thankfully on clearance. (yahoo!) When it is 40 degrees out, we Floridians think we might die! : )

If you need a new recipe these are the best Christmas cookies ever! I made some last night for us and our neighbors but unless I make another batch the neighbor's are going to be out of luck. They were THAT good. LOL
Thanks for sharing, Julie!

We enjoyed a fun family shopping trip here:
thanks to a gift card for us all from my parents. The girls actually beat the boys in choosing our items first. Surely a Christmas miracle when you consider that we had to try on things and they didn't! ; )

Well, that's it for now. Merry, merry Christmas, Friends!

December 22, 2012

More birthdays

My hubby had the next birthday in the fam. 
He and our BFF's son share the same birthday and decided to do a party together. They wanted a Man vs. Food type of party. We ended up having a hamburger bar with everything you can think of available as condiments. Yum! 
The food was a big hit with everyone!

John and Joel
13 yrs old and 46 yrs old on Pearl Harbor Day
Next came a lively game of charades with us parents being on the 'classic' team and the all the teenagers being on well, the winning team. : ) And they didn't even know how to play
but since they all apparently think alike, they won!

The next up for a birthday was Nathan, who turned 18! There's another godly MAN on the planet now and we are so proud of him.

Nate and 'M' spent the day at Disney World, hopping from park to park and celebrating both of their 18th birthdays.

I realized recently that I haven't done a post about these two.
So here is an update: A couple of months ago, Nathan had a 'talk' with M's dad and they are officially a couple! -And a pretty cute one at that. They've liked each other since about the 9th grade but haven't been allowed to 'date' until now. : )

Nathan's family party included the family favorite recipe of tortilla soup. (thanks, Aunt Michele!) For his cake he chose Tiramisu.
I THOUGHT about making it but my grocery store doesn't carry ladyfingers and I'm not sure I'd even know them if I saw them. It also doesn't carry rum. Since last Christmas was the first time I'd ever been in the alcohol isle of any grocery store, it took me forever to figure that out. Soooo, I had to buy tiramisu and we all had itty bitty pieces of two of them because hello, it is expensive! But now we are all hooked on its rich goodness and hope to find another reason to buy more and I don't even like coffee. It was that good!

That's it for birthdays!
We have a break until Mr. Zac turns a whopping 20 in January and I try not to feel very old. ; )


December 20, 2012

Getting crafty for Christmas

I've had a great time being crafty lately.

My hubby taught me how to distress and antique wood and one weekend I made a bunch of these sweet little nativity scenes for my friends: 

Then I fell in love with 3D star ornaments that I saw on Pinterest and decided the world could never have enough stars and made bunches and bunches...

Because I thought they had to be authentic or maybe because I'm a Type A, I had to have the sheet music for Handel's Messiah copied on the card stock! Yay! Then I also made some with Silent Night. (of course no one would ever be able to tell, but I know) : )
I tied them to gift bags and they doubled as gift tags for presents. (unless you are related to me and then they were just put into a Tupperware box with your other gifts in hopes they wouldn't get crushed) : )

I also found directions on how to make a large one out of a cereal box and spray paint and I hung it here:

Speaking of ornaments, we have some coffee related ones now, because we have a Starbucks employee in the family. : )

Because I started working on this last year

with the help of my sweet parents who went looking for a map of California with me while I was visiting, 
I had the map handy for making this project.
So, now I have a banner in my living room reminding me that because of Jesus,
 'The Weary World Rejoices!" But technically, only California is rejoicing. ; )
Unfortunately, I need another map to finish it, because I wasn't able to squeeze out an 'S' and so it really says 'The weary world rejoice' at the moment. Ugh!

 And if you can't read this:
 it says "We Met" and "We Married" and "We Live" with heart shaped maps of each location. And I love, love, love it but I haven't even finished it a year later. I guess Christmastime is the only time I get crafty. -Even though we live in Florida, I still haven't bought a map of it but I'll have to soon, at least to make sure that 'the weary world rejoiceS.'

As we do every winter, Joy and I and some friends from our home school group are knitting hats for those in need. I love this project. I SOOO wish I had unlimited supplies of yarn at my disposal. We are sending hats to a children's home in NC. (where the director mentioned that the children are always loosing their hats and gloves...doesn't that pull on your motherly heart strings?) 
We are also sending hats to a safe house in NY for women and girls who have been RESCUED from the horrors of  life in the human trafficking industry. How awesome is that?!   
Hence my great love for SALES on yarn!!!!  And when you live in Florida and you have to turn your air conditioning on the week before Christmas, you are thrilled to knit for others who could really use some warmth
in Jesus' name! : ) 
Merry Christmas, Friends!

December 19, 2012

Wednesdays in the Word

Too good not to share:

"When you are plagued by a persistent problem-one that goes on and on-view it as a rich opportunity. An ongoing problem is like a tutor who is always by your side. The learning possibilities are limited only by your willingness to be teachable. <ouch!>
In faith thank Me for your problem. Ask Me to open your eyes and your heart to all that I am accomplishing through this difficulty. Once you have become grateful for a problem, it loses its power to drag you down. On the contrary, your thankful attitude will lift you up into heavenly places with Me. From this perspective your difficulty can be seen as a slight, temporary distress that is producing for you a transcendent Glory never to cease!" ~from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

I REALLY needed to read this today : )
and when I got thankful for all that is involved in care-giving for our relative, God met me and gave me a new perspective on it. Amen! Hope it blesses you too.


December 17, 2012

This post says it all

I think this post is the best thing to read today in light of what happened in Newton, CT on Friday.
I have no words...
But I'm so glad that Melanie does.


December 14, 2012

A funny reminder for the reason for the season

I knew I was stressed the other day when I found myself KISSING the packing tape. LOL!
-I was THAT relieved to find it because I had Christmas presents to mail! Part of it could be because I've given 5 birthday parties in 6 and half weeks. Oh my stars! ; )

If you are a little stressed over your Christmas to-do list,
then you have to watch this 3 minute clip of a cute skit. I promise you'll feel better afterwards. : ) I did!

 Go to this link
and fast forward to 25:12  minutes. 
~Not to mention these ladies can SING!

If you want to hear a good sermon, then watch the whole thing! : )

December 12, 2012

Wednesdays in the Word

Here are a couple of lessons from the life of Jacob that I read about this week:

"When the patriarch Jacob ran away from his enraged brother, he went to sleep on a stone pillow in a land that seemed desolate. But after dreaming about heaven and angels and promises...he awoke and exclaimed 'Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it." Whenever you feel distant from Me, say: "Surely the Lord is in this place!" Then, ask Me to give you awareness of My Presence. This is a prayer that I delight to answer." ~ taken from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

I LOVE that! Whatever desolate, hard (pillow-less) place we may find ourselves in, we can call out to God and He will show us that "Surely He is in this place." He promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. And we know that (eventually) He makes all things work together for our good.  : )

My Bible reading plan has me reading in Hosea and I found these verses on Jacob that I've probably never read before and I loved them:

"He took his brother by the heel in the womb,
And in his strength he struggled with God. 
Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed;
He wept, and sought favor from Him. He
found Him at Bethel and there He spoke to us
-that is, the Lord God of hosts. 
The Lord is His memorable name. (I SOOO love that!)
So you, by the help of your God, return; 
observe mercy and justice, and wait on your
God continually." ~Hosea 12:3-6 Whoo-hoo! Amen!

Bethel means 'house of God' which reminds me of His church and I can't count the number of times I've been going through something and The Lord (being Yahweh which is the personal name of God)
has met me there, in such a personal way. He is 'The Lord God of Hosts' which is Yahweh Tsebaoth: meaning the ruler of every power in the natural and spiritual realms. A title of great power who is leading His army.
When you get overwhelmed, remember The Lord of Hosts is your help! And "wait on your God continually." And be encouraged that "Surely He is in this place!" Amen!

(definitions from Praying the Names of God, by Ann Spangler)


December 11, 2012

Wishing you an Old Fashioned Christmas!

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