Saturday, December 25, 2010

Charlie Brown Christmas

I can't explain it much simpler than that... this is what Christmas is all about.

Merry CHRISTmas everyone! Enjoy your families, friends, and all of the other wonderful things God has blessed you with and brought you through this past year!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Louise's Christmas Story

This is actually from a story I am writing and posting online. However, this chapter also works as a stand alone because it is a flashback.

Please forgive me if the formatting is off because I copied and pasted it from my other site!

Merry Christmas everyone! KPL


Louise, an inquisitive five year old, examines the living room for all things Christmas related. The room is full of items; candlesticks on every table, strings of garland around all the windows, Santa and snowman figurines on any extra spot on a flat surface, it was quite a wonderful Christmas sight. The small Christmas tree sat in the corner by the fireplace and was covered in handmade ornaments, a tin foil star on top, and an old sheet underneath for a skirt. Above Louise’s stocking on the mantel was her mom’s most cherished Christmas piece, a large Nativity scene. Louise pushed a dining table chair over to the mantel and stood on it to get a better look.

The set looked like dolls that someone had made out of hard concrete instead of something soft. All of the people were wearing what looked like different colored sheets wrapped around themselves instead of real clothes. Louise found baby Jesus in what her mom called a manger. She reached in to pick him up.

“Hold it right there!” came her mom’s voice from the kitchen. “You are not supposed to climb on chairs, and you are not supposed to touch the Nativity.”

“Aw, Mom, I wasn’t going to break it. I just wanted to see the baby.” Louise climbed down from the chair and gave her mom her best please-do-not-spank-me look that she could muster up.

Evelyn laughed and wiped her hands on a dish towel. Laying the towel on the counter in the kitchen she came into the living room with Louise. “Honey, if you want to see Jesus, I can tell you about him.” She picked up the baby out of the manger. “But honey, just remember, this figurine is just that, a decoration. It reminds us of Jesus and that is good, but Jesus doesn’t live in this figurine, he lives in the hearts of those who love him and in heaven with God, his Father.”

Evelyn sat on the couch and Louise climbed into her lap. “So is he like Santa, Momma? Some kids at school told me Santa is only real to the kids who believe he is real.”

“Oh, no baby, not like that at all,” replied her mom, with a concerned look on her face. “You see, where those kids think they have to believe in Santa to make him real, Jesus is always real whether we believe in him or not. But he is also a gentleman, and he will not come to live in our hearts unless we let him. He knocks on our door, but we have to let him in.”

“Oh, ok,” said Louise, but she still had a very confused look on her small features.

“I’ll tell you what,” said Evelyn as she wrapped her arms around Louise, “why don’t I tell you the Nativity story?”

“I already know that, Mom,” replied Louise. “Jesus was born in a barn and slept in the hay. Boring!” She concluded her little spell with a fake yawn to drive home the point.

“Honey, if you think that Jesus was just another human baby, then yes, his birth would not be the most impressive story you have ever heard. But do you know why he was special? Why him? Who is his dad? Why his mom? Why he had to be born in Bethlehem and no where else?”

“No, I don’t guess I know that part. Why was he so special, Momma?”

Evelyn curled her daughter up snug in her arms. The soup she was preparing for supper would have to wait on the stove. This subject was just too important.

“I’ll tell it to you, just like it says in the Bible, because I’ve read the story so much I feel like I know it by heart,” began Evelyn, twirling her daughter’s hair around her finger. “Do you remember the story of Adam and Eve?”

“Yes, Momma,” giggled Louise, “but I’m pretty sure that Mary and Joseph were Jesus’ parents, not Adam and Eve!”

“That is true, Louise. Adam and Eve were not Jesus’ parents, but that is where and when everything began. You see, God made Adam and Eve and made a perfect garden for them to live in forever. There was only one rule; they were not allowed to eat from just one of the trees in the garden. One day the serpent, who was really Satan in disguise, tricked Eve into eating from the tree, and she got Adam to eat from it too! It was awful; this was the very first sin.”

“What is a sin, Momma?”

“Well, sin is when you do something that you know God does not want you to do, and you do it anyway. Kind of like when you know you aren’t supposed to climb on chairs and you do it anyway…..” Louise looked up with a sheepish grin. Her mother continued, “Adam and Eve hid from God because they knew they had done something wrong. As punishment God told them that they had to leave the garden and make their own home and find their own food. But the worst part about it was that sin entered into the human race. From that day on, every person would sin, and God is so Holy that he can not tolerate sin. It totally separated us from Him, even though he wanted to have a relationship with us, and we need to have one with Him. To fix this, God came up with a wonderful plan. A way that we could fellowship with God again and something that could take our sins away from us. God would send his Son, and his son would never ever sin, and his son would help us get back to God.”

“God’s son, that’s what they call Jesus!” exclaimed Louise. Then her face scrunched up, like she was deep in thought. “Momma, I thought that Joseph was his daddy? That just doesn’t make sense. You can’t have two dads.”

“You’re getting ahead of me, you little jitterbug,” laughed her mom. “Now that I told you WHY Jesus had to come, to bring us back to God, let me tell you HOW.” She pulled a blanket off the floor beside the couch and wrapped it around both of them.

“Everyone waited for what seemed like forever for God to send the person to save his people. Even though God told prophets for years where and how to find the savior most of them misunderstood and were looking in the wrong places, or for the wrong person.

“Mary was a young lady, but the Bible says that she loved the Lord. God sent Gabriel, an angel, to tell her that even though she was not married, she would have a son and that she should name him Jesus because he would be God’s son, and the Savior everyone had been waiting for! Gabriel told her that God would be the baby’s daddy, but that he still wanted Joseph to help raise Jesus so that he would have a daddy on earth also. This is why you were confused about who Jesus’ daddy was.”

Louise just smiled and listened.

“Anyway, all of the prophesies God told said Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. Right before Mary had Jesus they had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted for the Roman government. There were so many people staying in Bethlehem that by the time Mary and Joseph got there no hotels had any rooms left for anyone. Traveling for so many days on a donkey was not easy and Mary was about to have the baby! The best place they could find for her to have a little privacy was a stable, and after Jesus was born Mary wrapped him and placed him in a manger, which is really just a fancy word for a feeding trough.”

“Momma,” Louise piped up, “that doesn’t sound like where God’s son should be born. Why didn’t she go to the hospital? It would be all icky in a barn, er, uh, I mean in a stable.”

“Well, baby, back then they didn’t really have hospitals like they do today. Everything happened exactly like God told them all it would, many years before it actually happened.’

“Is that it?” Louise inquired.

“Not exactly, and I think you’ll like this next part. Suddenly, an angel appeared to some shepherds and told them where to find Jesus, and that this little baby would be the Savior they had been waiting for! Then a lot of other angels joined him and began praising God. Don’t you think that would be an exciting thing to see?”

“Yeah, it would be nice. But? Well, nevermind,” Louise turned to get down out of her mom’s lap.

“What is it, Louise?”

“Well, Mom, how do we know it’s true? If we didn’t see it, how do we know? It sounds like a fairy tale.”

“Louise, it isn’t true because we believe it, we believe it because it is true. When Jesus knocks on your heart, you’ll know. Until then all you can do is learn everything you can so that when the time comes, you will know what to do.” Silently her mom sent up a prayer for her daughter. Watching her struggle and waver between accepting Jesus or rejecting him was the hardest thing she had ever done.

Trying to change the subject, her mother remembered her soup. “Come on there kiddo, we need to finish our soup and if we have enough time left we can make Christmas cookies!”

“Alright!” shouted Louise as she ran off into the kitchen.

Evelyn placed baby Jesus back into the manger.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dealing with Loss at Christmas

Loss at any time of the year is painful.

Loss during what is supposed to be a joyful season seems even worse.

Whether it is actually worse is not easy to determine. Maybe it is because our expectations of this time of year are so high, that this blow seems much worse than at other times in our lives. Whatever the reason, the loss is real, and unfortunately it will be tied with the remembrance of the holiday for years to come.

Without going into detail, I'll just share that some young people in my town lost their lives today. I ask that you pray for the families and friends: God knows exactly who they are and will comfort them in ways that we could never understand.

When faced with things like this, it can be difficult to also have a focus on Jesus, the "Reason for the Season" as all those bumper stickers call him.

However, I believe that is exactly what we must do, especially during times such as this.

Jesus is the reason we have salvation. If they believed, then Jesus is the reason we will one day again see our friends or family in heaven. Jesus is the one to bring us into fellowship with God. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit, to live and dwell in us and comfort us in only ways that he can.

Jesus is with us, not to tell us not to worry or not to cry, but to hold us while we do so, and offer us the hope of a life beyond this everyday existence that we have now.

I pray for each of you reading this that you never have to know what it is like to lose someone during this season, however the odds of that over a lifetime are slim to none. If or when it happens, just remember who to put your hope and trust in.

Cry out to Jesus.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanks for Everything, Even the Bad Stuff....

Blessed Be Your Name Happy Thanksgiving!

Oops, I am a little bit late, aren't I?

Anyway... I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We did. The Bug and Boo behaved (that almost sounds like a tongue twister), and no one ate so much that they got sick. Anytime it does not involve a trip to the emergency room, it is a good day.

What did YOU have to be thankful for this year?

We have many things in my family to be thankful for: people that needed jobs now have them, cancer has been fought, specialists for other ailments have been sought out, we have a loving family and church family that are very supportive of us, and our children are in good health.


Come on, you knew there would be a big "but" coming sooner or later...

Sometimes it is hard for us to see and focus on the positive aspects of our lives, especially when there are still negative things going on. It is kind of like that old saying "the squeaky wheel gets the grease". In our lives sometimes negative things seem to far out squeak the positive, and what we focus on becomes our outlook and attitude.

But listen to this, I am not telling you to focus on the positive instead of the negative, although I do firmly believe sometimes that helps immensely. In fact, I am telling you to praise God and thank him through everything, including the dark times.

Let us turn to exhibit A, um, I think I have been watching too many cop shows on TV lately. Or you can just listen to "Blessed be your name" by Matt Redman, or Bug's favorite, Veggietales.

Job 1:21  "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart.   The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away, may the name of the LORD be praised."

In case you do not know the back story, Job had just been told over a matter of minutes that he had lost all of his animals (his lively hood, his source of income), his servants, and the last one, all of his children. At the same time.

After hearing all of this, Job had the courage and strength of character in that although he was grieving immensely, he was able to praise and thank God for what he had and the time he had it.

Do we possess this character? Let us put it all into perspective. I am not saying that we are not allowed to be sad or grieve, I just do not want us to take our eyes off of the eternal. God gives us everything. And sometimes, for whatever reasons, he takes them away.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day!

Happy Veteran's Day!

Today is a day that we try to set aside as a country to remember and honor those who have, and continue to, serve in our military to help make and keep this country what it has become today. No matter how many things our country does that are right or wrong, we must admit there are not many other places that we would have as many rights as we do here. We even have the right to complain when we do not like something, which is something many in other countries do not!

I would like to say a special thanks to anyone who served in active duty and was away from their homes and families. I do not think I could do it, but I do thank God that there are people out there who can, and do, for all of us. Words can not express the real thanks that we owe all of you.

I would also like to thank everyone else in the military. Whether you were called to serve in action or not, you were always trained to be ready, just in case, and ever vigilant. Thank you, as well.

Big thanks to both my Dad and Granddaddy, who both served in the military until they retired.

Let us all remember that today is not just about getting a day off of work, but remembering those who will fight for us, no matter what the cost.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Love the 80s!

Does Veggie Tales singing the 80s mean that I can now listen to 80s music in the car with the girls, without having to skip or speed up past certain songs or lyrics?

I love the 80s!!

Well, the 80s music anyway. I'll have to be the first to admit that the 80s fashion, which I am sure made perfect sense to us all at the time, was a bit much. There is only so much neon that the world can take before it implodes on itself, and I believe that we almost exceeded our limit during that one decade. That is without even mentioning the parachute pants, t-shirt ties, rolling up our jeans (don't look so funny, if you are even close to 30 you know that you did it too), side pony-tails, leggings under long shirts and sweaters, and mix matching everything.

Oh, wait, am I still describing the 80s or am I talking about now?

Wow-- that is a scary thought!

Taterbug adores the "new" clothes and the look that goes with them. I figure it is better than bell bottoms and peasant shirts. She also loves the music. The poor child has to, though, because after riding with me for MANY hours back and forth while we lived away from here, she was subjected to more 80s music than someone her age should be. Add that to the fact that there was an AWESOME 80s station in the city we lived, and yeah, the poor bug did not stand a chance.

I think the only part of the 80s that she does not understand at all is the men's hair styles.

We were looking through some of my sister's cds one day to see which ones I wanted to *cough*borrow*cough* for maybe an extended period of time *cough*months*cough*years*cough* when we saw one for the Labyrinth soundtrack. It had a picture of David Bowie on the front as Jareth, with his long, full, tall?, very big 80s style hair.

What did she say?

"Hey, mom, who is this ugly woman on this CD?"

After we covered the fact that even if someone is, um, homely, we should never call anyone ugly because that would hurt their feelings and we wouldn't want someone to treat us like that, my sister and I then had to explain to her that in the 80s guys just had really big, really long hair. She told us she didn't get it, and asked how could we tell who was a girl and who was a boy.

Yeah, you answer that to a (then) 5 year old.

Kids, gotta love 'em.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Excuses... and More Excuses....

In the mornings my Granny and Grandaddy, who for some unknown reason to me have always woken up at a ridiculous hour before sunrise, listen to the local radio station while they eat breakfast and prepare for their day. When we lived in another city we would come down some weekends and stay with them, so I have witnessed this routine many times first hand.

First of all, I'd like to say that my Granny makes the BEST pancakes in the world. You might think that yours does, but you would be sadly mistaken. If it would not embarrass her to pieces I'd even let Granny do a cook off to prove her status as Pancake Queen. My kids love them!

Sadly for Bug and Boo, when mine aren't the frozen variety, they still come out of a box that I can just mix with water...


On Sundays there is one song that is almost always called in and requested on this radio station. Excuses, by the Kingmen. Here are the lyrics if you are interested:
It is basically a song about all of the excuses someone can come up with for not going to church.

Man I know how that feels! 

It is hard for me to get up and go to work, which I might add I have to be at a LOT earlier than church, but somehow in my mind work is in the "have to" column, and I seem to have put Church into the "when I can" column.

Yep, seeing that in black and white, that just ain't right folks.

So, here's to all of you people like me, who need to log off of the computer and go to sleep so that we can go and worship with our fellow believers tomorrow.  Back away from the computer... I know you can do it.... just remember to come back another day and read again.   :)

Hebrews 10: 25  (ESV)
Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Dad Life... A Video!!

I'm just posting this because I absolutely love it!! Especially those pulled up white socks with the sandals, yeah, he's rockin' those...

Happy "Almost" Friday, Everyone!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Old Mother Hubbard

Happy Early Halloween my peeps! Ok, don't call me out on that one, I am well aware that I am WAY too old to be using the word "peeps".... but I like the way it sounds, so I use it anyway. Grr... aren't I a rebel?

Tonight my church is having Trunk or Treat. For a lot of families it is a nice, safe alternative to going up to strangers houses and trick or treating in the dark.  We still go on Halloween, but that is only to the families' houses so that they can take pictures of the girls, "ooh" and "aah" over them, and then give them a bucket load of candy that somehow I believe I wind up eating most of.

Our theme tonight is "Once upon a time".  I am sure there will be plenty of people there with wonderful ideas of how to dress and a game they can do with the kiddos.

As for me, I am going to be Old Mother Hubbard.

Yep, that old lady that didn't have food for her dog, that is going to be me. I think I'm going to sit in a rocking chair covered up by a blanket, and have a pail for kids to toss dog treats into to feed my ceramic Scooby Doo. And yes, it is mine, most people think it is my kids but my in laws got it for me 3 years before I even had kids, because they love me and are aware of my Scooby addiction.

I have already looked up this rhyme on the internet, because lets face it, that was a long time ago and I had no idea how the words actually went. And I am now printing off dog coloring pages for the girls to color to put on my poster. Yep, free labor for the procrastinator. But hey, if it looks bad and people find out a kid did it, all of a sudden it is the cutest thing in the world!!

Bug and Boo are quite the little artists, I might add.

So whatever you are doing for this season, if anything, remember to do it in the spirit of Christ. Tonight we will have fun and fellowship with some of our wonderful church family. Life is good.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Horses, Teddy Bears and Stuffed Dogs, OH MY!

Ok... so I made the mistake of going back to what we call the "girls'" end of the house. Yep, as sad as it may seem pretty much everything past the hallway belongs to the two lovable little urchins in my life, with maybe the exception of the hallway bathroom. Then again, the toilet seat and step stool in there seem to keep most adults except for well worn grandparents out of it. Goodness knows my brother makes an awful face if he has to move the bio hazard of a potty seat....

This weekend is Taterbug's birthday. Having survived her tonsil surgery, she is hoping to be well enough to choke down some cake this weekend with whatever friends can make it here, as well as probably every living relative she has. (Our family loves us!).

This brings me to my new dilemma... the black abyss known as the playroom... (insert scary "ooohhhh" sound here).

Here is the gist of it. The room is too small for a lot, and we had to use the whole closet for our new air conditioning/heating unit, so it became the playroom. Everything that does not fit in the girls' bedrooms finds itself cast into this place. Now, not only with taterbug's birthday looming, but Boo's birthday not only a month following, and then CHRISTMAS-- yes people, some things will have to go.

It is OZ, and unfortunately I have to be the Wicked Witch that tells Dorothy and Toto that they have to part with some of the stuff they have managed to collect.

The hardest part of this for me? I AM A HUGE PACK RAT!!  That is right. I will stand up and admit it and pay attention for at least a few of the 12 steps to freedom before my mind begins to wander... what was I talking about? Oh yeah... These poor girls learned it from the best. I keep pieces of paper that I am pretty sure I will never need again, books and magazines that I may look through one day, and my filing system consists of piles-- lots and lots of piles.

I'm glad that my hubby is organized, or else we would probably live in a paper pile and plush toy prison.

But I don't like it too well when he goes through my stuff.

So it is time to adopt a new attitude. One where we do not focus on the material things, or we at least take care of the things that we do need to have. Time to purge the rooms and toy boxes to make room for the next wave that will come in this season.

My biggest solace in this is that we will be having a yard sale, and what we do not sale will go to the Salvation Army. Most of these toys are in great condition, some have never been played with. If one kid gets to have fun with something they might not have otherwise, then it is worth all of the yellow bricks in the road to me.

Hey, maybe I'll get to keep those cool striped socks that go so well with those ruby slippers.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Do We Come With Spare Parts?

Here's a little quiz for you....

What functions do the following do for our bodies: tonsils and adenoids?

Do you know the answer? If not, let me help you. After many hours of exhaustive research, many antibiotics, and sleepless nights, not to mention missed days of work and school, this is the conclusion I have come to:

The sole purpose of tonsils and/or adenoids is to irritate the body they are in to death, catch every airborne/mucus born infection, and hold on to it until the body must ultimately rid itself of these burdens by having them taken out and donating a nice chunk of change to some surgeon's vacation home account.

Yep, I am pretty sure that is correct.   :o)

So, in case my bitterness has not made it apparent, the Taterbug had to have her tonsils taken out last week. We did it during Fall Break, so she wouldn't miss too much school. But the poor thing felt awful this weekend, didn't go today, and I am not sure she will be able to return tomorrow just yet. However, the offensive golf balls formerly known as tonsils are safely out of her throat.

They must have been huge. The other day she told me her throat felt empty. I thought she meant she was thirsty. She said, "no, mom. Where my tonsils used to be, my throat feels so EMPTY.".  Wow.

Another "wow" moment.... 3 days after the surgery she tells me she is sick of eating ice cream. We were eating chicken at the table and she stood over me, looking at it, drooling worse than any dog I have ever seen. I have taken to eating only foods I know she despises when she is around... It was unsettling the way she was watching my nuggets.

I mentioned getting pizza Sunday because we were all tired, to which she glared at me and replied, " I would have been jealous".  Needless to say, no pizza that night.

There are a few good parts to this though. First of all, this should severely cut down on her strep infections... hopefully, anyway. That's the goal! The second is that we have all spent more time together lately. It has been great having more time with my daughters and my lovely hubby. I thank God every day for all the blessings he has given me, even the ones that come with spare parts and hospital bills.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm not me, I am a Princess

The other day I called my youngest daughter (Boo) to me by her name. She answered with, "Mom, I am not Boo. I am Princess Boo. See my costume and my crown?" She was, in fact, wearing a Snow White costume. Bad mommy for me to not realize that her personality had changed along with her wardrobe....

What exactly does it mean to be "me"? To be oneself? Although it seems a very simple, if not rhetorical, question, digging deeper it means so much more than that.

Have you ever considered how many different "faces" we put on each day? There are so many: the spouse, the parent, the child, the employee, the employer, the customer... the list can go on and on.

When troubles arise in our lives, we may handle it in different ways depending on what "face" we are wearing at the time.

As Christians, something else needs to be there- something so strong and so much a part of us that it is in our character no matter which face we are wearing at the time. Christian-- our love of God needs to permeate us to the point that it is the underlying foundation of all that we are and do.

Our christian character should be apparent no matter our circumstances-- whether we are watching our child on the ball field, asked to do something at work, whether a customer is being rude to us, or if your mother in law says she hates your cooking in front of a house full of guests. (That must be for you guys, my maw-in-law loves me. Maybe not my cooking... but me enough not to do that) :o)

God's love needs to shine through us ALL the time, no matter what face we are wearing, even if you happen to be a Princess.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Long Time Coming!

Hello all you happy people!!

Long time, huh?

Guess what happened? Life, that is what happened. I do not mean in a bad way, either. Actually, the majority of my absence was actually a really good time for my family and I. My husband did get a job, we actually moved back closer to our family, and things really seemed to be looking up.

Anyone notice that the word "seemed" was in the past tense in that last paragraph?

Here we are, close to a year to the date of my last post, and this time neither the hubby nor I have a job. However, that is and easy fix and will be done soon. Granted, maybe not what we would love to do for the rest of our lives, but enough to pay the bills and that is the part that is important. Our long bout with unemployment last year did teach us a thing or two about the power of stretching a dollar, being happy with what you do have, and keeping faith that it will work out and not getting depressed.

Many in the family (mine and his) have been sick, anything from pneumonia to bone cancer. Good news- at the moment treatments are finished and we are all praying that the worst is now over.

For everything bad, there was always something good. So why did I stop writing?

It is confession time. No, nothing that I will have to go to jail for, I am not THAT crazy, but still there is something that I need to say. Somewhere along the line last year I stopped having my daily time with Christ. I kept my faith, and attended church regularly, but I stopped my daily nurturing of the relationship that I had with Christ. That is the real reason I believe that I stopped updating, God was not telling me anything because I was not listening to him.

Slowly I have felt my spirit moving, and not in the right direction. Or maybe it would make more sense to say that my spirit has been stagnant... not going backwards, but not moving forwards either. After finally figuring out what i was doing wrong, or in this case not doing right, it is now time for me to get back on track!

My dear little soon to be accountability partners, here is what I intend to do to get back on track. I am good with study groups and books, but I have never quite got the hand of self study without them to guide me. I know nothing of the ancient languages, or enough about the cultures, and a lot of times you need that background info to really dissect passages and get everything out of them that you can.

I can, however, read Proverbs!

So beginning tonight (mainly because, let's face it, if I put it off until "tomorrow" it will never happen) I will begin reading the Proverbs before I go to bed. The cool thing about Proverbs is that they are not really that long, and there are 31 of them, one for each day. Since today is the 20th, I will read chapter 20 tonight.

This will not be the extent of my studies. I have always felt my absolute best when I was deep in a study of God's word, and have just recently realized how I feel my life has been floundering around since I stopped daily searching God's word. But this is my step in the right direction.

Anyone want to take this step with me?