Friday, December 31, 2010

I don't even know how this happened....

I found her in the crib like this this morning. Haha.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Wrap-Up

It was truly a blessing to stay at home for Christmas this year. We are under no illusion that this will always be the case, but having our families visit, carving out traditions and relaxing (which was ABSOLUTELY necessary for our whole family) has been divine.
Christmas Day dinner with my family. It went very well, and everyone had enough to eat - that was my main goal. :) This is the first time that I've ever really set the table like this - look, I even used gold chargers under the plates (not china, though...oh well...)


And the picture the day my family left. Everyone but Charlotte looks great.

I know, I know, we didn't take any pictures of Christmas morning. I did take a video, but I don't have the patience for trying to load it right now. Maybe later.

I stayed up til 1:00 last night playing Dominion with Josh, my husband and his GameStop manager Branden. Therefore, no 5 o'clock club this morning. I am still on Winter Break though...definitely next week, though. Don't be discouraged...you can still do it.

More later, I just wanted to post these pictures.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Planning for the new year

By God's grace, I have come a LONG way in running my home in the past year. I say by God's grace, because it is definitely NOT my doing in any way. God has guided me to blogs, books, people, tips and scripture to show, convict and instruct me in the ways of mothering, wifing (wiving?) and homekeeping, even with a full-time job which 1) he has provided and 2) he has given grace to help me serve my family in spite of. And I am becoming so much better for it. The 5 o'clock Club has petered out a little due to Winter Break, but I am getting convicted to pick it back up again tomorrow (even though since we're both off, it might just be the 7 o'clock Club for the next three days). If you're considering this crazy idea of "rising early to sit at Jesus' feet," please, please, please go to the girltalk blog and check out their 5 o'clock club testimonials, etc. This has been such a blessing to me already, and I miss it since the schedule of the holiday season has gotten chaotic.

Life in our home this holiday season has been full of hospitality. This is where I say that I have seen definite growth in grace in my life; by nature, I am not a hospitable person. I don't want to wait on people, accomodate them, clean up after their messes (and meals that I've made), or do what they want to do. I am prideful and want to have my break selfishly. But God....(do you ever notice that those two words in scripture are the beginning of something amazing?) But God has changed my heart, slowly giving me a heart of service. Giving me a more and more unselfish heart. This cannot be of me because I never would have seen the value in being this way. It is only of God's grace and I praise His name for it (and I will when I rise early, purposefully, tomorrow morning.

Also, before I close, I wanted to guide you (pass on guidance, really) about quiet time. This is a dilemma I found when I started rising early....okay, so now what? And for the couple weeks before the holiday, I just re-read passages of scripture we'd been studying in church (so Ephesians, James, and a little Isaiah for Christmas) and of course, praying. But, reading the girltalk blog book Shopping for Time that I just bought with Christmas money, has convicted me that we need to follow a reading plan for reading scripture. How else will we learn what we do not know, grow in our faith and knowledge of God, or venture into the minor prophets? Check out this website for a great Bible reading plan, especially for the new year. Soli Deo Gloria.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our Sovereign God....

This is Charlotte's blankie. It is her comfort, her strength, and her security. And today, we lost it.

I know...I felt like the worst mother ever. How could I possibly lose (or let her lose) the single most important item that she owns. We lost it at Target during one of the busiest shopping days of the year. We went back and looked everywhere, everywhere we had been which, today, wasn't very many places. Brit called Lost and Found, and they had it! But when I went to get it, it was a different white blanket with Winnie the Pooh on it. I looked again, and still no where to be found. My hope was all but lost.

And we were in line to check out, and I remembered Gretchen's rabid chipmunk story (which is long and random and really rather here nor there). So, Charlotte and I, in the checkout line at Target, prayed to God who knows all things and has power over all things that we would get the blankie back. Nothing is too small or big for Him. On our way out of the store, I stopped to check in Lost and Found again, just to see if someone had turned it in since we had been there. And there it was. So we praised God. Because He can do all things, knows all things and has power over all things. Praise God for giving us Charlotte's blankie back. A stupid thing, reminding me of God's awesome sovereignty over all things. Praise God from Whom all blessings (even security blankies) flow. :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The In-Laws' Christmas visit

With Grandpa at breakfast.

A group picture.


Decorating sugar cookies with Grandma.






Goofing off.

Opening presents on Saturday morning.



We had a great time with Kim and Barney. We wish they could've stayed longer.
Today, Charlotte, Allison and I are off to UVA for Charlotte's new foot doctor appointment. More about that later. Hope you have a great day!
P.S. After schlepping off the 5:00 club yesterday morning, I was back at it again today. I read Isaiah 52:13-53:12 in honor of Christmas and so that I don't forget what I've been saved from. Soli Deo Gloria.




Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The 5 o'clock Club


I have been greatly encouraged by many comments about the 5 o'clock club (see this post). I just wanted to give you all an update, hopefully to encourage you in your attempts.

I have decided to take the weekends off. That was Shannon's question - "Are you going to do this every morning?" And the answer is, no, I'm going to take weekends off.

The other question of a couple people was, "So...what do you do?" And the answer is, "A lot." I have a lot to do. I was telling Brit last night that I have been so overwhelmed by trying to balance homemaking, school, wifehood and motherhood, that an extra couple hours in the morning is a big help. So what do I do? I drink tea, I shower, I make Adam's lunch. I eat breakfast with him (by candlelight, this morning...isn't that fun?). I pray and read the Bible. I clean up. It's such a different practice than anything I've ever done, that we're still figuring out our routine in it. For Adam, though it's a delight and blessing to have me awake, it is a little bit of an adjustment also.

Here is what I do not want. I do not want to fill these hours so chock full that there is no time for the purpose with which I rise: to seek the Lord's face. I must do this and nothing else if my purpose in this is to be blessed and pure of heart.

Some encouragement: We knew that it would happen, but I had a horrible, alien morning yesterday. I fought getting out of bed, did nothing once I was out of bed, and was sleepily resistant to being awake until I got to school. I even had coffee when I got to school. But you know what? That's all right. It is. And even though I had a bad morning, I got up this morning at 5:00, and you know what? It was better. If this happens to you, do not be discouraged. Just keep getting up, and know that your body will adjust to you getting up early.

I hope that helps. If you need more encouragement, check out this section of the Girl Talk blog. Soli Deo Gloria.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas card reject photos and Cookie Decorating

I thought you all would enjoy some of these: pictures from our attempt to take family pictures after church on Sunday. It's like those pictures of kids who are terrified of Santa. :) We're still working on the picture, so Christmas cards aren't out yet....obviously.





Oh, and this one would have been so cute if it weren't for Eeyore in the middle. Haha.

As a still newish mom, I have been giddy to start traditions this season as Charlotte begins to understand the holidays. Today, we decorated sugar cookies for the Christmas praise and worship night tomorrow night at church.



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

You're going to think I'm crazy,

but hear me out first. I have been very convicted, kind of all school year, to become a more early riser. There are so many benefits to waking up early, but I've just never had the stamina or willpower to do it (my husband will tell you all day long).

It is no secret that one of my favorite blogs is Girl Talk by the Mahaney women. Well, they all wrote a very short book called Shopping for Time that I was flipping through while I was shopping for an undisclosed person's Christmas present, and I saw the idea of the 5 o'clock club. Here's a link to give you some background, but the general gist of the "club" is women who rise early to serve their families better and sit at the feet of Jesus in the morning. I have been striving to serve my family better all school year, and this is the next step that I easily ignored when I read Carolyn Mahaney's book Feminine Appeal.

So last night, I set my cell phone alarm for 5:00 and excitedly picked out my alarm ringtone. When the alarm went off, my flesh fought and fought, for about an hour, that I should just go back to bed. What was I going to do with all that time? The first thing I did (and this is straight from the blog) is go the bathroom, then go to the kitchen and fix myself a cup of Tazo Calm tea (I've quit coffee now for about 3 weeeks). I sat on the living room couch and drank my tea, illuminated only by the Christmas lights surrounding our nativity. And I just sat. And there were moments where all I wanted was to go back to bed. Moments where I almost admitted defeat. But I told myself to stick it out and see what happened.

Adam's alarm rings at 5:20 every morning. He got up right away when his alarm went off, and the morning gets pretty mundane from there.

But....

I never in a million years would have guessed how blessed HE would be by my getting up so early. He was so appreciative of me being up with him in the dark morning, eating breakfast with him and helping him print off some worksheets for school this morning while he was in the shower. I never realized what a burden it was for him to have to find the time to wake me up as he was leaving for school. Today, he left early and will probably have a much better, more well prepared day because of it. What an amazing way to start off my husband's day, and I didn't even originally think about that as a caveat for waking up early. God is gracious where I am weak, and I am definitely weak in the area of sleeping.

The next step, of course, is to try to be productive during this morning time, instead of just sitting with my body in sleep shell shock. But one step at a time. I did have time to write this post, after all. I want to challenge you today to consider the Girl Talk 5 o'clock club. Try it once and see if God doesn't bless you for it. I used to think people were nuts who got up before the absolute last second they had to. Now, I'm starting to see that this time could be very valuable to my communion with God, my husband and myself. Soli Deo Gloria.
P.S. After Adam left this morning, he sent me a text: Best morning ever. Enough said.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thinking....

I know that it's been a long time since a real post. Really, that is the forecast of my life in this season. I am just busy. I know that everyone is, but my family literally hits the ground running on Monday morning and doesn't begin to rest until Friday after school. Especially this week, with the Christmas program coming up this weekend, we literally just survive.

But I've been thinking a lot. Thinking about a lot of different things. Christmas and Advent. Biblical womanhood. Biblical wife and motherhood. All of Christ's godliness being in a tiny baby. Serving others. Making food. IBS-safe food. So many things. And here's some of what I came up with.

I didn't want Christmas to sneak up on me this year. And I'm not talking about gifts...the gifts are not a big deal in our house. No, I just wanted to really soak up the meaning of the season, meditating on the well-known story and learning from it. Having it affect me freshly. Having it affect and mean something to my family. Teaching Charlotte the Christmas story and some prophecy through our new Advent calendar tradition. Not letting my heart grow cold or numb to the miracle of the birth of our Savior and Lord. Much of my preparation this season has been to make memories for us and for Charlotte. Establishing traditions and caring for the needs of everyone. Making the house warm (which is so much easier with our new gas furnace :)), welcoming, peaceful and comfortable. Cooking....I cook so much more than I cooked two years ago. I'm also working on IBSifying my diet, which is happening bit-by-bit. All of these things tie together, and again, I am content to be in this season of my life.

Yes, I am content to be in this season of my life. It's not perfect, and it is difficult and tiring, but I wouldn't give up my life for anything. That's a pretty good place to be right now. And you know what? So is wherever you are today. Take a moment to thank God for His goodness and grace today. We need it every hour of every day. Soli Deo Gloria.