Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry CHRISTmas!

Just wanted to take time out of my busy day to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.

I also wanted to share some words of encouragement to all those who may be hurting at this time of year. The same little baby that came so long ago to walk among us, suffered and died to pay the penalty for our sins, and conquered death and rose again to give us new life is the same Jesus that patiently waits to comfort you today.

Some of the moms in our home school group have challenged each other to memorize scripture. We have chosen to memorize Psalm 139. We have already heard some great testimonies of how God used this to bless them or someone close to them. I am taking it slow but still pressing on little by little in hopes to accomplish the whole Psalm. This is not about just memorizing words for the sake of memorizing.

John 1:1-2 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning."

John 1:14 says, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

it's about taking in God's word and letting it comfort, convict, instruct and heal me from the inside out. His Word can be a balm that heals many wounds.

Although I am only on verse 10 of Psalm 139 several verses have had an impact on me already...

vs. 2 "You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar."

This has encouraged me to get out of bed in the morning and watch how much time I spend sitting at the computer. The perceive my thoughts from afar thing... well that's just down right scary!

vs. 3 "You discern my going out and my lying down you are familiar with all my ways."

He created me and knows all about my joys and my struggles. Not only does he just know these things about me, but he, the God of the universe, takes the time to be familiar with them.

vs. 5 "You hem me in- behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me."

At first glance this verse didn't seem really special to me until I looked the word "hem" up in the dictionary. I wanted to get a clearer picture/understanding of the words meaning. One meaning of the word "hem" is to take cut cloth, bring it together (by folding the fabric) and stitching it together to keep it from unraveling. My God, takes my rough uncut edges that would eventually fall part and brings me in close to Him, pulls me together and keeps me from unraveling. WOW! That is so powerful to me and I'm sure we all can relate to feeling like everything around us is falling apart.

vs. 7-10 "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."

I encourage you to turn from your sins (repent) and put your faith in Him, so that you can be forgiven and have eternal life with your creator... the one who guides you and keeps you from unraveling.

Feel free to join us in our challenge to memorize Psalm 139.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Decorating The Tree

A few days after we got our tree we spent the evening decorating it. The thing I like the most about our tree are the ornaments we have. We have a few store bought ornaments, but mostly our ornaments are handmade. It's so much fun to look at the ornaments as we decorate the tree and try to remember who made it. Thankfully, I remembered to have the boys write their names on their ornaments and date them.

Isn't this guy cute?

even with one arm missing!!!

I'm sure Mordecai had something to do with that.

So here is Mike putting the tree in the tree stand.

And the boys starting to remove the string holding it together.

Man!, I hope that corner is big enough.

Yes, that is my hubby standing on the railing of our stairs. I think I held my breath the whole time he was up there. It would have not been pretty if he had fallen.

well, and quite embarrassing trying to explain how your husband broke his neck while decorating the tree!!!

At least he has a good head on his shoulders... balance on the ceiling while getting the rest of the string off the tree.

okay, I can breath now... he's down.

Now we are on to putting on the lights.

And some other decorations around the house. Noah, making sure the beads are straight.

We have had this nativity set, that Seth is setting up, for a really long time. It is one of their favorite things to pull out at Christmas time. They take turns as to who gets to set it out every year.

Now it's time to put on the ornaments.

Thank goodness our boys like to do crafty things like make ornaments, because we needed a lot for this "Scrawny" tree.

The last few ornaments going on the tree...

who needs a step stool when you have a boy who's just the right height.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lil' Grandfathers Tree Farm

Sunday, December 6th we went to the mountains to get a Christmas tree. We went along with another family and we had a great time together. Going to the mountains for our tree is something we have done as a family for several years now. We love it! The tree farm we went to this year was new to us, but it was great.

The day before our trip it snowed in the mountains, so it was a nice surprise and a beautiful view. It really put me in the Christmas mood.

In small towns you have to be careful to obey all their laws or you might end up here...

At the tree farm they also had horses. Seth really enjoyed riding the horse.

i was sad, cause they wouldn't let me ride it! :o(

And he enjoyed playing with this horse.

Joshua did too... until this happened...

this is why it's a good idea to read signs!!

Next we took a hay-ride to the field of trees.

Our friends kids... aren't they cute!

Did I mention it snowed the day before?


The trees were beautifully dusted with powdery snow.

Part of the tradition the boys like the best is when we get to the field they like to run through the trees playing tag. This year because of the snow they threw snowballs at each other.

Like I said, it was cold so we didn't take too long picking out a tree. As usual I wanted a big fat tree and Mike wanted a skinny little tree. The tree we picked out looked really scrawny to me but I was too cold to argue and put up a fight.

you win this year honey!

Our tree being tagged...

...and cut down. I almost didn't get this picture. Those guys were fast!

Here we are on our hay-ride back to the main building to pick up our tree and get some hot apple cider YUM! and hot chocolate DOUBLE YUM!

We really had a great time in spite of the cold. This is one of my most favorite Christmas traditions.

Oh, here's a sneak-peek at my next post... "Decorating the Tree"

What you are looking at is the top of our tree. Notice the white bumpy stuff? That's our popcorn ceiling! You see trees look a lot smaller out in a huge field surrounded by other trees... and to think we had gotten a scrawny tree.

looks like I win again, sorry honey!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Moravian Field Trip and Service Project

On Dec. 4th our homeschool group went on a field trip to a local Moravian church to learn about early Moravian life and some of their traditions.

I classified this as a field trip and service project because our group was asked by another local ministry if we would write a Putz (which is short for Putzen) that would be presented at an out reach production later in the month.

First of all, I had no idea what a Putz was much less how to write one!

you can learn more about it here.

We found a local church presenting a Putz and decided we better check it out. I am so glad we did. Not only did we learn what a Putz was, but we also learned a lot about early Moravian tradition and how they lived their daily lives.

much different than our modern day lives.

First we sat in the sanctuary and heard about the history of the Moravian church. Look at that star isn't it beautiful? It has 109 Points and is made out of paper! I can't remember how tall they said it is, but trust me when I say, "It's HUGE!"

Next, we learned all about the Moravian cookies. YUM!

It is amazing how thin those cookies are. To know if you have rolled your cookies thin enough, 12 cookies stacked together should measure an inch!

After that, we learned about how they made beeswax candles. This was one of the kids many jobs. We also learned about the Tinsmith and how they made tools, candle holders, cookware and many other necessary items.

Then we moved to the star room and learned the history of the Moravian star. It originated from a math lesson! Geometry, none the less.

The stars can be made in several different sizes. Most stars are white (which represents the purity of Jesus) but some are red and white (red representing His blood)

I thought this one display was especially pretty.

Here is where we learned about the Putzen. It was presented in a small dimly lit room. While the narrator read the birth story of Jesus, she would shine a light on that specific part of the model. This is what the model looked liked...

so now I (and you) know what a Putzen is.

At the end of our tour each kid received a few cookies, lemonade and a candle.

Next we went back to our church to write a Putzen of our own. Last but not least, I'll leave you with.... guessed it...

...a silly picture!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book 9/12

Yea! I finished another book. The book is "What He Must Be... if he wants to marry my daughter" by Voddie Baucham Jr. When Mike borrowed this book from our youth pastor I kinda gave him a weird look.

i was a little confused since well... like... we don't have any girls.

So I decided to check it out and see what it was about. I started reading it and couldn't put it down. Excellent book for you, your spouse, your daughters, and your sons. It is awesome! Joshua has already began to read it and I'm tempted to buy a copy so he can read it again in a year or two.

it is that good!

I was going to list a few things that I really liked about the book, but I'm having trouble figuring out what NOT to talk about. Every chapter is packed full of useful information. I have heard a few sermons from Voddie Baucham Jr. and I have enjoyed everyone of them, but his writing is even better. He doesn't hold anything back and he is very confident in his beliefs.

that's my kinda guy!

Voddie has also written "The Family Driven Faith" which I plan to read in the near future. I highly recommend "What He Must Be..." if you have kids or you just want to know how to be a better husband/wife. I wish I had more time to tell you about it...

but you're just gonna have to read it for yourself.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Inspired to Run

Today we said goodbye to a friend, a mother of 3, a runner, and most importantly a lover of the Lord, Jesus Christ. I heard the news of her horrific death a few days ago and have been in shock ever since. Although I did not know her all that well, she definitely left an impression that I hope to soon NOT forget. Her life touched many people, as seen by the outpouring of people at her viewing and memorial service.

We talked many times about our boys. (her oldest and Seth are good friends) During our occasional conversations and times spent together in bible study the thing that stood out to me the most was her faith. She amazed me with her knowledge and understanding of the Word. Quite often she quoted just the right scripture to bring you encouragement.

After attending the memorial service today, I am even more in awe of her and what Christ did through her life than ever before. She was the kind of person who lived life to the fullest and always had a smile on her face. I never heard her complain... NEVER. In life, she inspired me to teach my boys more about Jesus and in death she inspires me to live my life more about Jesus.

So today I decide to become a runner...

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (emphasis mine) 1 Corinthians 9:24,25

Allison, you had a great run and now you have the crown to prove it. Your smile will be extremely missed.