Please take an extra moment and say a prayer for Stellan, a tiny little guy that has already amazed the Drs. by being born live and kicking. God healed his tiny heart while still inside his Mom's womb. Now he is struggling to turn a corner and beat RSV. He is in the hospital in intensive care. He has stopped breathing several times. I'm sure God has things well in hand but prayers for peace for his family and energy for his Mom and Dad who are stretching to care for not only Stellan but also his other three siblings.... all 4 and under.
With all the holiday fuss and the gift extravaganza this year I have tried to not forget the real meaning of this holiday season. I like getting and giving gifts as much as anyone else BUT Christmas should focus on the birth of Jesus. The sacrifice of God to this world of unworthy sinners, the sacrifice of Mary and her reputation, the sacrifice of Joseph.
The savior of the world....... all wrapped up in swaddling cloth laying in a manger..... surrounded by livestock and hay. The world stopped that night and brought their best for HIM. So how is it that now if your not careful you can miss the whole meaning of Christmas? In our world the pursuit of more and self are much more important than the needs of others.
I believe that there will come a day when we will stand in judgment and need to give an account of our life. Our true gifts need to be the work we do for God’s kingdom. In the end we decide what kind of “flowers” we will give to God. Will you be able to hand him a beautiful bouquet like this
or will it be a bunch of ugly stems. I wasted way too much of my life being a “religious” Christian. I was saved when I was a teenager..... and I haven’t been a horrible person. I have been in church most every Sunday. Praise God and all that good stuff. There is a saying that Joyce Meyer says that I really like “Going to church to be a good Christian is like sitting in your garage to become a car.” But I didn't understand the real meaning, the real deal till after we lost our precious little girl Mackenzie. God expects more of us then sitting in church and saying praise the Lord. In the end don’t you want to be thrilled to give him God a beautiful bouquet of works and deeds? How many people are you leading to Heaven? How disappointed I would be in myself if I stand before him and all I have to offer him is a handful of stems.
What does your “best” look like? This is the time of year for resolutions and life changes. Why don’t we all work a little harder to live the life that would make God smile.
Happy New Year just a little bit early from someone that is always late!
I thought I would pop a post of some of the home stuff from the holidays. It has been an enlightening holiday. We are having the silliest weather I have ever seen for Christmas. Today we had a huge thunder storm and fog that seemed to encase the house in a snug cacoon. The temperatures tomorrow are forcast to be almost 60 degrees! In Ohio! I am sending a prayer up for those with less timid temps. The ice can be so dangerous, so safe travels to those dealing with weather issues.
Intrestingly enough I overheard prayers that the boys were saying with Tim Christmas night and Taylor gave a thank you praise to God for his little sister Mackenzie. It warms my heart that they still remember her so well.
Christmas Eve we traveled a lot! 2 1/2 hours to Mom and Dad's and then about 3 hours to Tim's Mom and Dad's. We had to drive two cars because Tiffany had to work part of the day. So when we were finally heading home it was almost 12:00 and Tiffany rode with me and Tim drove separate. About 15 minutes into the trip we distinctly heard the sound of jingle bells. Lots of them. We were traveling 65 mph down the interstate with the radio off! Tiffany and I both looked at each other and said "what was that"?? We know we heard it but have no idea what it was. The boys decided that Santa was flying overhead... hmmmm well nobody could have been anymore surprised than the adults in the car.
Now for the funny of the season, we started a tradition this year called The Elf of the Shelf. This little elf actually pops in every morning to spend the day watching children and then reporting back to Santa every night. The next morning the elf pops up again only in a new place. Well, this little elf about did me in. I had the hardest time remembering to transporting him to a new perch for the day. Here he is with some photos of our house during the holidays. our rocking horse Lady Buckingham Christmas Cookies Our diningroom table my kiddos our trip to see Santa our new breakfast room Kendall and the big Santa in the yard our nativity Christmas Cookies for Santa Kendall’s three babies
Well, we made another year. It is so hard for me to feel like I have all the details just right before my head hits the pillow Christmas Eve night. When I finally get to bed it seems a blink before the kids are up and stirring. Taylor is always ready and excited in the morning. Logan and the big kids actually just wouldn't mind waiting and sleeping a bit more after our marathon Christmas Eve. Today was pretty special we all got to be relaxed. Well, other than the Monkey Bread sweet and ever so sticky sauce running down my leg, the cupboard, my slippers, and on the rug. Yea...... oh well.
As I sat and watched the bedlam of everyone opening, and playing with their gifts it was such a sight, Tiffany looking at her new Ipod, Tim setting up the Wii for the boys and Kendall feeding not one but all three babies she got for Christmas.... well she fed them and then tossed them over her shoulder. New form of burping I guess...
As I peeled the potatoes for our meal I truely felt a peace that I haven't felt for over three and a half years. I thought I had log since left the depression and weight of the loss of Mackenzie behind me. I now see that the 3 years of grief is aptly set. Although I left "the dark" in the fall of 2006, I don't think I truely was able to set aside the grief and feel joy about the time I had with Mackenzie instead of the pain of what we had lost. All the "if only's" kept me captive till this season. I have felt blessed but still kept a hand firmly on the grief.
I have led such a blessed life, full of mountains and valleys. Sometimes such deep valleys that I couldn't see the light. During those times I clung to and drew closer to God. I wouldn't give up those times for anything now. They were necessary for my walk and faith.
So, as I sit on a mountain top...... daily life issues swirling around me I am so glad that Jesus came and walked the earth. I am glad he taught those who would listen, healed those that were broken, and in the end of his human time died a painful death so that I might live. His stain-free perfect life for my retched-sin filled life. I am so unworthy, but life is promised if only we take the time to ask. To be willing to try to spread the good news of Jesus.
how good it feels to lay your head on your pillow at night? We have been just chok full of holiday spirit and I really don't think I have ever enjoyed myself so much or been so TIRED! But finally the house has been decorated, presents have all been purchased, wrapping is done, cards have been sent, baking is done. Scout, our resident Elf has actually been moving around the house nightly and the kids have been enjoying all the traditions.
We have spent a lot of time this year trying to instill the real meaning of this holiday season. This year like most I still can be brought to tears looking in the little manger scene that I put up every year. The arrival of one tiny baby that changed the world.
I feel so incredibly blessed, blessed for all the good in my life and blessed for all the trials. God's way of keeping us growing and depending on him. I thank God for my family and for good friends and neighbors. So count your blessings and give thanks to God every night before you drift off in an exhausted holiday slumber...............
Over the last week as we have been focusing on the holidays and getting our house "Christmas" ready I keep going to the same place in my mind. Mary......... we focus rightfully so on the birth of Jesus this season. Light of the world .... our Savior. But think about his Mother, a child in today's standard, Mary was a 15 year old girl. She lived in a time when girls were not only seen as objects to be owned but expected to handle themselves in a way that would bring no shame to their family. How do you think things were handled as Mary told the news that she was pregnant! With no husband??!?! On top of everything else she truthfully told them that she had not been with a man. The entire town hated this little girl..... they wanted to stone her. In their eyes she was one of two things lying or crazy..... both punishable by death. Her parents were both heart-broken, worried, and a little ashamed. The town was treating them horrible.
All the while Mary had only the words of the Angel. She was with child and this child that she carried was to be the precious saviour that they waited for. The one that was foretold of. Why a young girl, why did she have to endure such hardship while giving so much of herself? Her heart was so pure, her love of God strong. And yet can you imagine the season of darkness that she went through. She had nobody in her town to comfort or support her. Her time with Sarah was her only respite. Finally someone that believed her, knew that this baby inside her was the "real deal".
As a Mom myself I treasured the pokes and the kicks while I was pregnant. I could just swell with happiness knowing that the miracle inside was growing and developing everyday. Did Mary get to enjoy those pokes at all? Did she feel peace? She was so young and I'm sure so scared. The weight of the world literally growing inside her. Mary, the young girl became Mary the Mother of Jesus.
I also have spent much time thinking about E and her sacrifice to us. Carrying a baby for us to love and cherish. Personal sacrifice that cost her in many ways. She was sick much of the beginning, and then even hospitalized with kidney infection 6 weeks before Kendall was due. Then off work due to high blood pressure. A sacrifice she made for our family, because she heard God's voice tell her to do so. I pray for and give thanks everyday for E and her family. She changed the lives of our family. She changed what was a dark place for me into giggling light.
It seems like during this time of year there is so much on everyones` mind. I am constantly writing notes for myself and then usually forgetting where I put them. All the hustle and bustle for the holiday I love most in this world. As a Mom I am just wired to be over the moon when a baby is born. I don't even have to know the family and the birth of a baby is so exciting to me. So when I think of Mary and Joseph awaiting the birth of our Saviour. I get a wave of emotions.... everything from tears of excitement to anger that this tiny little baby was turned away from a warm dry place. I guess in a way he came into the world under trying circumstances and he left the same way. I think that Christmas is definitely a time to remember to be charitable, after all how much more "stuff" do we all need in our houses. So why not think of others when giving to others this year.
At our house gifts for parents is always a stumper.... this year I will be giving in their name to a few of my favorite causes. Shoes for children that don't have any and to 3 infant awareness and support causes. If you go to Mckmama's site you can see how to donate to String of Pearls and 2 other organizations. If you don't know about String of Pearls google it and find out more. This organization is much like Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, they work with families of babies with fatal diagnosis, many times diagnosed at the 20 week ultra sound. The time families have with these precious babies is many times fleeting and every moment counts. All keepsakes and memories for a lifetime are crammed into the span of a few moments, hours, or days. With careful guidance these moments can be made the most of. I think this is such a worthy cause. There are countless organizations.......... listen to your heart and give in the name of others.
Thanks for following along, I know this isn't the most carefree of posts but God has laid this on my heart and I know he wants me to share it with you.
Well, here we are again and I have high hopes that this time the entire post WILL get to be published before being eaten by "blogland". It has been a crazy week at the circus here and there is much more than the normal hustle and bustle with the upcoming holidays. Have you ever noticed that during the holidays the work load is like ten-fold? On top of the regular day-to-day work till night at our place you also have to purchase the gifts, purchase the goodies to bake, purchase the cards to send, haul the tree up to be assembled, decorate the house, wrap the gifts, send the cards, be the taxi driver to all the practices........ on top of the normal activites. Yikes!!! Simplify.... hmmmm seems impossible unless we eliminate all the excess and just worship God and praise him for the gift of his son who he would send to be a sacrifice for all the sinners and whiners......... what a novel idea.
But here is the Not Me's for my house if you want to see more go to Mckmamas site and read more floor rolling foot stomping full on drink out the nose laughs for the week.
I definately did NOT spend every minute this week serching for the perfect gift for those that we buy for.
I did NOT already have to take several things back that were either the wrong item or that someone else also bought.
I did NOT buy 4 books for Logan while he was with me without him knowing and then hide so well that I can't find them?!?! I need a better system. I did NOT just go buy the book again because that would be easier than stressing over what is lost within the walls of the house.
I did NOT buy new LED lights for the tree this year only to discover that I need 2 more strands. I did NOT just spread them apart a bit and decide good enough.
I did NOT sit in amazment as my sweet 8 year old came out for a bathroom run at 11:00 p.m. and stand in awe of what he called "the best tree we have ever had" it is so awesome that he didn't even think we needed ornaments this year. Hmmmmm smart boy, we could get along fine. Not putting up the 100's of ornaments means not having to take them all down in a couple weeks.
I did NOT cram all that I could into my amazing washer and dryer to make less loads.
I did NOT laugh myself silly when sone number 2 Taylor noticed daughter number 1 Tiffany's jewelry sitting on the counter and exclame "Hey, let call Cash for Gold!!!" When I asked him why he said "they pay lots for jewelry............ I didn't mention to him that costume plastic jewelry didn't count. I just chuckled and thought that may be one way to get Tiffany to pick up after herself.
I did not wear the same pair of sweats here at home most of the week, they are so comfy and it is getting COLD!
I did NOT look in the mirror and take note that soon if I don't go visit Mick I will be confused with my much older Grandmother. What is it about hair!! I hate the fuss but this grey stuff popping through really kills the young at heart Mom image......... Now an even bigger battle to convince DH that he CAN watch the baby while she sleeps and not have to sit on the couch waiting for her to wake.....
I did NOT send a zip lock bag to church with Taylor just knowing that his wriggly tooth was about to pop out. Mommy radar was right on and the bag was needed. I also did NOT send him in another shirt with tags still attached!! These little miss-dressing events seem to happen very often with Taylor.
I did NOT spend way more than necessary on pix of the kids from our last photo shoots. I spent about 2 hours re-framing pictures this afternoon. But how could I resist. They were fabulous...... check them out if you want at www.angiewoodward.com Password llamas . There are three sets just look for the kids names. Tiffany, Courtney, Logan, Taylor, and Kendall.
Finally I did NOT spend way more than regular price for the Balance Board for the Wii the kids will be getting for Christmas....... Not me I don't even want a Wii, not my idea of an easy way to parent. But what can you do with Grandmas.....
I did NOT just erase all of my post for the Not Me Monday!!!! Argh!!!!!
Well that just really sucks! Hmmm to start again or not.
Well, just know that I did NOT do many funny and interesting things this week. Road racing to Thanksgiving dinner....... Black Friday shopping............ the list was funny very funny. Loosing a post that took so long ....not so funny.
FIREPROOF ................ a must see movie...............
I want to hold up my dear friend Jami, after one long season of dark God has so much good in store for her. She and her husband were re-married yesterday and the turns that it took to get there was miraculous to say the least. If you haven't seen it go to Fireproof! The movie is everything funny, sad, and awe inspiring that you can imagine. Look for it!!! It has changed countless marriages and actually was the catalyst to put my neighbors back together better than ever.
Well, now that the house is no longer quiet and naptime is over I guess that is all I have time for! If you want more hop to MckMamas site and hear all the other crazy Not Me's!
I am a Mom to 6 great kids, 5 here and 1 in heaven, wife to a wonderful husband who I think really "gets" me most of the time. A Mom on a mission to teach my children... and often myself how to live Christ filled lives. Moving through the challenges and trying to understand the "whys".
Striving daily to live a life that reflects God's love and grace.