Monday, December 29, 2008

Fresh Air, Here I Come!

We are heading out. Sometime this morning, Channing and I will load up the car and head out on a 5 1/2 journey to Highlands, NC. Honestly, I can't stand the trip. I'm not the best car rider, and the trip seems to take forever. However, once we get there, it is totally worth it. The view is breathtaking (I mean, God is so evident there), the mountain air is fresh, they have lots of shopping opportunities, many fires in the fireplace, games with the family, relaxation, amazing food, a getaway...what else can I say? I can't wait to get there.
*Taryn, how cool that y'all are so close. We'll have to try the toasted coconut ice cream. We usually get caramel apples from Kilwin's and ice cream from another place down there (the name escapes me, but they have fantastic ice cream too). Thanks for the suggestion!

We'll be gone a week, which seems maybe a little too long for me, but oh well. I'm sure we'll enjoy it.
While I'm gone, I hope you all have a FANTASTIC NEW YEAR! Ring it in with those you love most, and be careful. You know all the crazies come out that night.

On a different note, Channing and I went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" this week. It was totally not what I expected (don't really know what I expected, though). I have to agree with Roger Ebert's review, Brad Pitt did a great job, but it was difficult to relate to the character. I mean, who ages backward? The first hour was comical for many reasons (some being because it was so off-the-wall), but by the end, I was bawling. All in all, I have to say it was a good movie. Cate Blanchett has never been more beautiful. She was drop dead gorgeous in the movie. The actors did a great job, and it had a nice mix of drama, humor, life lessons, and sorrow.

Still trying to decide what we're going to do on our next doctor's appointment. I'm leaning towards one way, but we're still not totally sure. Boy or girl? We may know soon, or it may be in June. I have to admit, my head tells me it's a boy. I've always envisioned myself with three boys, and I assume it's all we make. However, I have this hunch it's a girl. I could be totally wrong, though.
This baby has been a total mystery. With Tristan, I had a small period of time where I thought he could be a girl, but by the end, I was positive he was a boy. With Asher, I thought he was a boy from day one. This one, though, I've just always sensed girl. Why is that? That would totally fumble my visions of "My Three Sons". It would also provide a challenge for us, seeing as how we only know what to do with boys.
No matter what we have, though, we will be thrilled. God knows what we need, and that's what we'll have. I just can't wait to find out what that sweet baby is...either next week or in June.

Oh, and I have to has begun. A woman who worked at the Chinese restaurant we ate at a couple of days ago asked me if I was about to have my baby. Um, not 'til June. Nice, right? Not a good sign. Not a good sign at all. At least I'm still wearing a couple of my pre-pregnancy pants. I definitely wasn't at this point with Asher. However, when you're asked, at 17 weeks, if you're about to have your baby...not good.

Blessings to you in the coming year!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

I Just Have to Ask... mothers out there (and if you are/were a tiny pregnant person, this question is not for you), did you kind of envision your pregnancy body a little differently than it actually turned out? I ask because long before I ever had my first child, I just naturally assumed that I would be this cute little tiny pregnant woman with a little volleyball up front. You see, I have always had kind of a small frame. If you knew me in high school, you know I was pretty scary skinny. It seriously didn't matter what I ate, I was a stick. In college, I gained some weight but still fit into small clothes. Married life, the same. My mom warned me that I would be a huge pregnant person, but I didn't believe her. I had never been "huge" in my life. Um, yeah...I was wrong.

When I got pregnant with Tristan, I was big, bigger than big...B-I-G! My stomach was seriously humongous. I wore XS or S in pants, but XL in tops by the end of my pregnancy...and they were getting small! It was a common occurrence to be asked if I was expecting twins or to be told that I was HUGE (with big round saucer eyes gaping at my belly). With Asher, even bigger. Seriously, with Asher, we thought we were having at least a 10 pounder (he was only nine).

So I am embarrassed to admit that when I found out I was expecting this baby, I immediately thought, "Oh no. Here I go again. I'm going to be SO big and get so many hurtful comments." I stressed about it for a while. I let it consume my days, just wondering how big I would get and what people would say and think.
But a month or so again, I finally got over it. I just faced facts that I get big when I'm pregnant. I carry my babies right out front (and I mean...right out front...waaaay right out front), and nothing about that is going to change. One thing I can change is eating Wendy's frosties every night. I'm not doing that this time. ;) I also didn't start out as heavy this pregnancy as I did the last, but still, I'm going to have a great BIG jolly belly.

I am proud of it, though. My boys are worth every pound, every stretch mark (if any guys read my blog, SORRY! Gross, I know!), every thoughtless comment, every painful push. I wouldn't trade them for the world.
That's how I feel about this baby too. I am so filled with joy about the blessing that this baby is bringing to our lives. I am so excited to see what God has planned for him or her. We had not planned to get pregnant so quickly, but so many things have shown us that God has a very special plan for this little one. I mean, just seeing the signs from months back, long before we were pregnant, that this baby was coming totally amazes me.

Today, I am quickly approaching the 17th week of my pregnancy. I look like some of my friends who are due in February and March, but you know what? That's ok. I'm sure I won't make any "Fit Pregnancy" covers, but I know that I have a sweet precious little baby kicking in there (I love feeling it! By far, my favorite part of pregnancy), and for that, I am so grateful.

Ok, that was a little pep talk to myself! ;) To all you tiny cute little pregnant women out there, I would still love to have your tiny bellies. :) I just know that I won't. I guess I'll just convince myself that I've got a tiny belly, and when people tell me I'm huge, I'll look at them with stunned eyes, and say, "Who are you talking to? I know you don't mean me." And for those of you mamas out there with the great big bellies, you embrace your bellies too! Who cares what people say?! You are carrying around very special blessings, and that's what matters most. :)

Love you all and hope you had a very Merry Christmas! I was planning to take time off from blogging, but Channing is getting ready for work, the boys are gone to the lake, and I'm too lazy to take down Christmas decorations (ugh...I dread it!). So here I am. :)

Oh, and a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to my sweet friend, Rachael, who is expecting a baby in September!!! WOO HOO! So thrilled for you! Can't wait to meet that sweet blessing. :)

Alrighty, guys. That's all I've got. If you have anything to share about your current pregnancy or those past, please share. You'll be hearing a lot more from me on this kind of stuff. I always love sharing the comments I get. They haven't started yet (from strangers anyway) because they all probably assume I'm six months along or something. As soon as I really start growing, they'll start flooding in. :):):)

I'm down to less than two weeks in deciding whether or not to find out what we're having. We had to reschedule our doctor's appointment for the week after next, and they'll do the ultrasound then. Channing doesn't want to find out, but I kind of do (some days, other days I don't). So, pray that we'll make the right decision for us. I have so many arguments for both sides (you'll probably see them in the coming days). We just have to decide what's best for us. Who knows what will happen...
My head tells me it's a boy, but for some reason, I'm really suspecting girl. Hmmmm....
Time will tell, I guess...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Until Next Year?

Things have been so hectic around here the past few days, I've scarcely had time to breathe, much less blog.

While trying to get ready for Christmas, work, and everything else, I managed to come down with some awful virus, food poisoning, or something and spent all of Monday night losing everything I'd eaten and then some. Lovely picture, right? Yesterday was also a down day for me, and today, I finally feel like I'm beginning to recover. Thing is, I lost a whole day and a half. I'm SO behind! So today, I'm going to share a couple of our Christmas traditions, bid you a Merry Christmas, and take some time off.

On Christmas Eve, we all gather round and read the account of Jesus' birth in the story of Luke. It's a wonderful reminder of why we celebrate Christmas each year. Thank you, Lord, for giving us your Son!!!

Every year on Christmas (except last year because I had two sick boys), Channing's parents, brother and fiancee, and we have a big Christmas dinner at our house. We do it Christmas night, and it's always so much fun. We eat lots, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, and open the remaining presents.

After Christmas (this is our second year going after Christmas, two years ago, we went the week before Christmas), Channing, his parents, the boys and I head to Highlands, NC for a week of relaxation in the mountains. It's a long trip but worth it once we get there. The sights are beautiful, the air is fresh, and it's just a great getaway. After Christmas, it's just what we need!

Well, those are three of our annual Christmas family traditions. I'll probably be taking some time off. You'll hear from me again in the new year, once we get back into town. Until then, please share some of your Christmas traditions, some of you random thoughts, etc. I may get around to posting some of those things between now and then, but yesterday and Monday taught me that I never know what may happen with my time. So if you don't hear from me, MERRY CHRISTMAS! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS!!! and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday's Random Thoughts

Happy Thursday to you! I'm back for another weekly installment of my random thoughts...just strange and random things that have popped into my head this week. Some are more profound than others.How disappointing would it be to go to a wedding only to be served a cake of chicken mcnuggets? I don't know about you, but I would not be happy about that. Sure it's easier to slice, but come on...chicken mcnuggets???

Is it just me, or does The Price is Right give away crummy prizes? I mean, the show's been on for decades, and they still give away the same 1970s style furniture. Step it up, Price is Right. I want to see some real prizes. Maybe then I'll start watching again.

Be careful when criticizing things to others. You never know when you may be criticizing that person without even knowing it. Case in point, about seven years ago when Channing was in chiropractic school, I was shopping with one of his friend's wives. We were at the mall, and I saw a wall full of character socks for adult women. So I said, "Can you believe how many of those socks they have? Who would buy those?" Um, yeah. So we get back to my condo and sit down on the couches. When we do, I notice that she has on *gasp* character socks! Yep, pretty embarrassing (for me, of course...not because she's an adult woman with character socks on). Thing is, this type of stuff happens all the time. I've had it happen to me, and I'm sure you've had it happen to you. I think it's the worst, though, when you're the one doing the criticizing.

So, if you're like me, you wonder...who buys all that junk off t.v.? You know..., all the crazy commercial and infomercial stuff. Well now I know. My papa and my brother's girlfriend. My papa buys it from CVS and gives it to everyone for Christmas, and my brother's girlfriend asks for it for Christmas. Very interesting... Oh, and the lady that goes to Joyce Meyer's seminars!

Remember when it was the "it" thing to wear a bell around your neck all during December? Did you do that? Was that big in your town? It was in mine. Everyone everywhere would be jingling every place they went. They were always gold bells with red rope. We also all wore sweatshirts with a bear on them (purchased from a fabric store, cut out, hot glued on and outlined in gold glittery puff paint). Oh man, I SO wish I had a picture. That was so cool!

One of our patients gave us a fruitcake for Christmas. Let me start this by saying that I think that is SO sweet. She even made it herself. However, when Channing brought it home and told me, I did chuckle a little bit. I mean, I don't know about you, but when I think of fruitcake, I think of all the jokes made on tv and movies. I also thought back to an article I read in the newspaper a week or to ago detailing how the fruitcake business is currently suffering. Anyway, I just thought it was kinda funny. Am I alone in this??? *Let me clarify that I do not think it's funny that any business is struggling. I just had no idea that the fruitcake had its own business. Where have I been?*

I love York Peppermint Patties. I really do. I could just sit and eat them all day. And, as a matter of fact, they don't actually have to be York. I also like Pearson's. Santa, please fill my stocking with peppermint patties!

Football season is winding down, and in a few short days, it will be over. That makes me so sad. I mean, what will I listen to on the radio? What will I do on Saturdays? At least I have until February to keep up with recruiting. Then, it's just the dead zone. Who woulda thought that the preseason #1, Georgia, would have such a disappointing season? Who woulda thought that Alabama, a preseason #24, would spend the last few weeks of the season in the #1 spot and finish the season with one loss...a loss in the SEC championship? Who woulda thought that ol' Auburn would force out Tubs for Gene Chizik? I mean, who in the world is Gene Chizik?! Listen, I'm not a big Tubby fan, but come on...Gene Chizik?! The guy has lost 10 straight games! Oh well. At least he'll provide some entertainment until next year's football season begins, and maybe even more once he gets going. :) Ooops, got off on a tangent. Anyway, farewell college football. You will be missed.

I'm surprised my mom hasn't been on my page to vote 50 times that we should find out what we're having. She probably hasn't thought of it. Now I've probably given her an idea.

Christmas is seven days away, and I've yet to buy a single present. Thank goodness God has already given us our greatest gift, right??? ;) Also, haven't done Christmas cards this year. I've been SO busy, and our budget has been extra tight. If you don't get a Christmas card from me, just know that I still love you and wish you the greatest Christmas ever!

That's all I got. What about you? Any great random thoughts to share??? PLEASE share. They make my day. I think I'm going to start having a "Random Thoughts Hall of Fame" award or something. A few of you leave me thoughts every once in a while, and I love it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Doctor Will See You Now

Like father like son.

Earlier tonight when I got busy at work, I told Asher to "go adjust the bear". You see, in our office, we have an adjustabear. It's a bear whose back clicks when you push on it. It's basically a tool to help kids who are a little fearful of being adjusted. It allows them to do an adjustment first. I thought it was such a great thing. Yeah, most kids aren't impressed.

Anyway, back to the story. So I told Asher to go adjust the bear, and he immediately went, picked up the bear, put it on the table, and went to work. It was SO funny. I had no idea just how much he knew. I guess he knows so much because he's been adjusted since the day he was born. It's just funny to see his knowledge in action. Check him out:

First, he had the bear lay face down.Yep, he definitely has a misalignment right there...
Let me give you a little adjustment here...and more right here...Got them! You're subluxation free, little bear!My job's done here. Power's on!Come back again soon!For those who may need an adjustment but can't afford Channing's fees, come see Dr. Asher. Since he's still in training, he'll give you a good deal. :) He'll get your power turned on and have you functioning better than ever!

On a side note, does his outfit look girly? You see, I don't think it does. I think it's super cute. It was a gift, and they are actually pretty expensive pjs, but I think they can double as clothes as well (I want to get the money's worth out of this outfit).

Last Saturday, he wore this outfit to a birthday party, and a woman told me how "cute" my little girl was. When I got him home, Channing saw him and said, "Why do you have that girl outfit on Asher?" I disagreed with him and told him that it is not a girl's outfit and doesn't look at all like a girl's outfit. Yeah, thing is, when we went to eat that night, two different men and different times told me how cute my little girl was. I being biased? Missing something? No one ever thinks Asher is a girl. Tristan was always mistaken for a girl, even when he was three and wearing jeans and football jerseys. Asher is always recognized as a boy.

So what are your honest thoughts? Girly? I probably won't change the outfit because I think it's cute, but I just still have to know. :)

Christmas Traditions...The Countdown to Christmas

Only 8 more days until Christmas!

Seriously, 8 days until Christmas. Are you ready for the big birthday celebration?!? The countdown is on. Let's make this Jesus' best birthday yet!

On to the Christmas tradition:

I love Christmas traditions, and I'm sure you're tired of hearing me say that each one is one of my favorites, but this one really really is. It ranks right up there with delivering food on Christmas day. Actually, it ranks even higher. Today's Christmas tradition is celebrating Jesus' birthday with singing, praising, and CAKE!Every year, we have a birthday celebration for Jesus on Christmas day. We sing "Happy Birthday" to Him, and we even have birthday cake. Sadly, I don't have a picture of one of our actual cakes (I'm sure I do, I'm just too lazy to find it), so I found one online that I like.

This year, we're getting one of my very favorite types of cakes...Dairy Queen ice cream cake! I was going to make a peanut butter cake this year, but Channing's mom suggested picking up an ice cream cake from DQ. Hey, that sounds good to me! :)

Happy Birthday, Jesus! We can't wait to celebrate (well, celebrate more, if you will. Every day this month has been a celebration leading up to the big day)!

What about you? Do you have something extra special you do on Christmas day to celebrate Jesus' birthday?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Traditions...The Countdown to Christmas

Only 9 more days until Christmas!

Can you believe it?! Only 9 more days??? Where in the world has the time gone??? Anyway, I'm back to share another of our family's Christmas traditions.

Today I'm going to share two new traditions that we started this year. The first, and one that makes me smile, is Christmas sheets. Both the boys now have soft, cozy, warm flannel Christmas sheets. Both the boys and I love them. I'm not sure who enjoys them more. If I had to guess, I would probably say me.
We got the sheets as a gift, a most generous gift, and they are something I know we'll treasure for years to come. Whenever Asher sees them, he says, "Ho ho!"

Here are Asher's sweet sheets:
And Tristan's:Another new Christmas tradition is Christmas pancakes. This was my first time attempting them. I hadn't planned it, but when Channing was getting my skillet out of the cabinet, my Christmas cookie cutters fell out with it (Karen, you know me and my disorganization). That's when I thought, "Hmmmm...Tristan would love this." And he did.
So there you have it. These are two of my brand new Christmas traditions. What about you? Have you started any new traditions this year?

Pregnancy Dreams

Can I just say that this part of my pregnancy is one that I don't enjoy...the pregnancy dreams. I don't know about any of you moms out there, but the dreams I have during my pregnancies are WAY CRAZY. They are so vivid and so real, and the next morning, I wake up remembering every tiny detail.

I wouldn't mind this so much if I had normal happy dreams. No, I have crazy dreams. Last night, I dreamed that Channing told me he was divorcing me. Ok, this came as quite a shock since we're in a marriage where divorce isn't an option. It just isn't. We're in it for better or for worse. So imagine my surprise to find this out, and to find out that he was moving with his girlfriend to Indiana. What?! What about our boys???

This dream was so incredibly disturbing. I kept trying to save our marriage, but he just wasn't agreeable. He wanted out. It was awful. I woke up this morning, knowing full well it was a dream, and was still hurt. It was even hurtful to talk to him. It took me a good hour and a half to get past it.

Anybody else out there have awful pregnancy dreams? I'm ready for some rainbows and Care Bears dreams or something. :)

Other than the crazy pregnancy dreams, I feel great. Now the big decision is whether or not we should find out what we're having. We didn't find out with the first two, and had totally planned to be surprised on this one, but lately I'm wondering if we should find out. I am 90% sure we're having another boy, but a tiny part of me wonders if it's a girl. If it's a girl, it would be nice to kind of stock up in advance (seeing as how we have nothing but BLUE). Oh, I don't know. The old wives' tales (which I know are SO accurate) are all saying girl. Now, I don't give much stock to these, but what if it is, and I have nothing???

Another issue is that both my boys were named years in advance. This poor child has NO name, no name for a girl, and no name for a boy. We're having a really hard time settling on names. So if we were to find out, we would only have to stress over one or the other. Hmmm....
Ok, so I'm just having a little pregnancy worry day. :):):)

Thing is, I just LOVE finding out in the delivery room. For me, there's nothing like the doctor setting the baby on my chest and seeing...IT'S A BOY!!! Ok, yeah, that sounds much more exciting for me. Maybe I'll still wait...
Channing sure hopes so. Time will tell. I still have five weeks. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

It Better Tell Me The Weather

Ok, so my mom asked me a few weeks back what to get Asher. He's little, he's got plenty, but the only thing I could really think that he needs and would be excited about would be a chair. He and Tristan constantly battle over a Mickey Mouse chair that someone gave Tristan when he was little, so I thought he would be thrilled to have a chair of his own.

My mom, knowing that Asher loves the Wiggles (aka "Wee Wees"), set out on a quest to find a Wiggles seat. What she found is that the Wiggles are no longer the "it" thing. You can't find Wiggles stuff anywhere. It's almost as if they never existed, a far cry from the days when Tristan was this age. You can find the DVDs but no toys or other merchandise.

Unable to find anything Wiggles, she looked for Mickey Mouse. Again, she hit a dead end. No Mickey either. She was able to find an Elmo chair. She didn't get it the first time she saw it because she was so busy looking for the other characters. I, in trying to prepare Asher for a new character, showed him an Elmo DVD. He responded well and now knows who Elmo is, so my mom made a trip back to Wal-Mart to retrieve the prized (and only remaining) Elmo chair. When she put it on the conveyor belt, it giggled. Lo and behold, she had an Elmo Giggle and Shake chair.

What's the big deal? An Elmo Giggle and Shake chair is probably just a little added bonus, right? I would think so. Thing is, when I went on to see what the chair looked like (I had seen it a couple of days prior but hadn't realized which one it was exactly), I saw that people are asking up to $250 for this chair!!! Seriously. I checked on this chair a couple of days ago, and it was going for $39.99 (exactly what it sales for at Wal-Mart). Well...Toys R Us is sold out and so is Wal-Mart, so people are hawking them for WAAAAAAAAAAY more. Is that CRAZY or what?! I mean, I get that people want their kids to have a cool chair, but $200?! Seriously???

I could never pay that much for an Elmo chair that normally sells for approximately $200 less. Just couldn't do it. But yea for Asher. He's not getting as much as Tristan because I keep telling my mom and mil that he's little and doesn't need anything and doesn't know the difference (my mom disagrees). Well, now it appears that he's getting the hot ticket item, a sought after Elmo Giggle and Shake chair. I'm sure the magnitude of this will impact him greatly.

For those out there who will pay $100 or more for this chair, I hope yours tells you the weather or something. Surely it will have to do something other than giggle.

From the Heart

A couple of days ago, as one of my Christmas traditions, I posted about how the Christmas season can be especially tough for so many. I have a little more to share on this subject.

What some of us may not realize is that there are people all around us who are struggling, and we have no idea. We can't tell it by looking at them, we can't tell it by asking them. Many keep it bottled inside. So since then, I have been praying, and have asked that you join me, in asking the Lord to show me who I can help...whether it be with an encouraging word, an act of service, a prayer, whatever they may need that I can do to serve.

Today I was spending time with God and reading different things, and He led me to Ephesians. After reading this prayer, I felt like I should share it with you. This is a prayer Paul prayed for the church at Ephesus, and it is a prayer I prayed for myself, my husband and family, and for you. I pray that it will impact you as it has me.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all the generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
~Ephesians 3:17-20

I emphasized "to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" because it's something I needed to be reminded of and something that God emphasized to me this morning. Maybe it's something you or someone you know needs to be reminded of, needs to be shown by the Holy Spirit. I don't know. What I do know is that this is something the Lord wanted me to share, and it's something that can provide hope to those out there who are hurting.

Let's take the knowledge we have and share it with those around us. Let's display the love of Christ through our actions and words. I pray that today you will grasp just how incredibly WIDE, LONG, and HIGH Christ's love is for you. I pray that you will live that love out. I pray that I will too.

Have a wonderful and blessed day! Only 10 more days until Christmas! Let's make these 10 days the greatest 10 days imaginable for all those around us!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Traditions...the Countdown to Christmas

Only 11 more days until Christmas!

Can you believe it?! Only 11 more days??? Where in the world has the time gone??? Anyway, I'm back to share another of our family's Christmas traditions. My goal is to post one of our traditions each day leading up to Christmas, but as you can see, I've missed a few days.

Another of our favorite family traditions is attending church on Christmas eve. Every year, we go to the very last Christmas eve service offered. This year, our awesome church, Church of the Highlands, is doing services for three days! Yep, THREE DAYS and multiple services on those days! Wowza! Our family, though, is sticking with our Christmas eve tradition. We'll go to the evening service that night. I'll serve in the nursery on Monday night, then we'll all attend together on Wednesday night. I can't wait!!!
How about you? Do you have a special place you like to go on Christmas eve?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Traditions...the Countdown to Christmas

Only 12 more days until Christmas!

I'm back to share another of our family's Christmas traditions. My goal is to post one of our traditions each day leading up to Christmas, but as you can see, I've missed a few days. In all honesty, I just haven't been very good about posting lately. With work and a sick baby, I've been pretty busy. Anyway, today I am going to share some things that have been on my heart.
Statistics say that during the Christmas season, more people are depressed and commit suicide than any other time of year (oh yeah, this is a joyful one. You're probably ready to click off my page right this second...). According to a doctor on Good Morning America (and whatever statistics she got it from), more people die on Christmas day than any other day. The Christmas day deaths are attributed to people being away from home and away from their doctors who know them and their health struggles and to people ignoring their symptoms because they don't want to ruin their families' Christmas (I mean, can you imagine that one? You don't want to ruin your family's Christmas by telling them you may be having a heart attack, so you die instead? Awful.).

I'm convinced that more people are depressed because of pressure...the pressure to be with loved ones but are unable to because they have lost the loved ones they were closest to, the pressure to provide gifts that they can't afford, the pressure to have the joy and perfect lives that everyone else around them seems to have. Their focus is off. Instead of focusing on what the season is about, Jesus, they are focused on what we as a society have made Christmas about. I don't know this for sure, of course, this is just my thinking.

What I do know is that I have had my days of stress, worry, and hopelessness this month too. I don't know, attribute it to my hormones (which are C-R-A-Z-Y right now), to the stresses of owning our own business in an economy which is struggling, the pressure to buy great presents and the inability to do so...I don't know. Thing is, what I've been realizing over the past few days, with much help from God, is that I am focused on the wrong things. I've spent so much time worrying over things I have no control over (and that don't matter anyway) and have taken my focus off of the glory of this season.

Through different avenues, God has gently shown and reminded me that in my lowest day, it doesn't compare to what is going on all around me. I was shown the example of things that have gone on in Sudan. Families murdered, young children left orphaned, genocide. I have been shown Angel Trees, two weeks before Christmas, filled with simple requests from children who will get nothing for Christmas if their ornaments are not plucked from the trees. I have been shown that I am so incredibly blessed with an amazing family, a family that far outshines any worry that Satan could possibly put in my head.

You see, my kids will not go without. Even if Channing and I didn't buy them a single present, they will get stuff. We are fortunate to have family that enjoys taking care of them too. It's hard for me to imagine those families that have absolutely no one. The families out there that are struggling, that want to get their children gifts just like all the other parents are doing but don't have any means by which to do it. I can empathize with them because we don't have the ability to buy some of the things that others can, yet I can't grasp the total feeling because my kids already have several gifts they're getting.

Seeing these things, my heart has been filled with sympathy and compassion for those who are struggling, the need to pray for those who are hurting, joy for all that I have been given, and the desire to know Christ even more. I want to be totally sold out for Him. I want to hear His voice when I ask Him to show me who and how to help. I want to be His vessel. I want to earn my keep the short time I'm here. I want to be known as a giver. I want God to show me creative ways to help. I am convinced that we don't have to be wealthy to be givers. We just have to have a heart to help.

I am filled with so much joy today, and my prayer is that you will be too. I ask that you join me in praying for those who are struggling. I encourage you to seek God and His guidance in how you can help someone who may need you, someone you may or may not know. Ask God to make your eyes and hearts attentive to those who may need an encouraging word, a helping hand, a little lift. Together, let's remember and serve as reminders to others what Christmas is about...HOPE! God gave us His Son, and He is going to return. Let's spread that HOPE.

Let's also be sure to remind our kids, no matter how much we are or are not able to buy, that Christmas is not about receiving gifts. We have already been given the greatest gift, Jesus Christ. Remind them of what Christmas is truly about.

And for those that enjoy Christmas traditions, my sweet friend, Donna, has a super great one on her blog. I think it is so creative and extra special, so check it out: Sweetness

If you stuck with me through this, thank you. I know it's not the fun and short posts that most people enjoy.
Blessings to you and your family during Christmas and in the year to come!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thursday's Random Thoughts

Happy Thursday to you! I'm back for another weekly installment of my random thoughts...just strange and random things that have popped into my head this week. Some are more profound than others.
We finally got our mouse replaced at home. We had a spare but didn't think we had a USB outlet to plug it into since our computer is so old. Lo and behold... we do! We plugged it in, but it still didn't work. Then by some miracle, Asher managed to fix it by throwing it on the floor and stomping it. Great, right? Thanks, Asher!

Speaking of Asher, the boy has been waking up at 6:00 every morning. Yesterday, he woke up at 5:00. What is up?! Whenever other moms would tell me their kids wake up early, I would thoughtfully say, "I'm so glad my boys like to sleep. I couldn't handle that." Ummm...yeah. So cut to a month more late mornings! I miss my sleep. Sleep, Asher, sleep!

Ok, so you may remember on one of my Thursday's Random Thoughts posts, I posted about the Snuggie. It's quite funny. It's the blanket with sleeves. Well guess what?! I was watching Joyce Meyer Tuesday morning, and guess what I saw??? A woman in the audience proudly sporting a Snuggie! I laughed out loud!!! Someone has actually bought the thing. I wonder if we'll see them all over football stadiums across America next fall?

I'm going to let you in on a little frugalista tip...two things you should NEVER buy: Dollar Tree aluminum foil and CVS recycled toilet paper. It doesn't matter how good the deal, JUST SAY NO! I got the CVS t.p. probably two months ago. They were having some kind of special, and I'm certain I earned a million extra care bucks or something, but the toilet paper is HORRIBLE, and it never runs out! I am STILL using it, y'all! I know, I know. Why not just go buy some more...a better kind? I'm too frugal for that. I bought it, and we will use it until it's gone. I will never buy it again, though. And Dollar Tree aluminum foil...let's just say, you get what you pay for. It is the absolute worst aluminum foil on the market. I don't know if it can really even be classified as aluminum foil. It's more like silver shiny tissue paper.

What is up with Christmas tree ornaments that refuse to face forward? Does anyone else have this problem? I face it every year, and this year is no exception. There are those ornaments that no matter how I place the hook on the ornament or tree, it's going to face backwards. I will change it over and over and over again, and it refuses to face the front. Do you think they're shy or something? It's almost like they're in time out. The "punished" ornaments. The ornament in the picture above is a Georgia cheerleader. I guess she feels a little punished after this year's season.

Is there anyone else out there who has not bought a single Christmas present, or am I the only one? Thank goodness my kids are so young, but we still have others to buy for too. I'm starting to worry.

I am way behind on phone calls. Does that ever happen to you? Asher has been sick, and couple that with work, and I have had zero extra time lately. I've gotten several calls from sweet friends that I haven't had a chance to call back. Hopefully I'll catch up soon. Until then, the list grows, I guess. If I haven't called you back, chances are I haven't forgotten. I've just been dealing with a sick baby; a needy sick baby.

Today is pajama day at Tristan's school. Since I wanted him to look cute for pj day, I picked out his PBKs pjs. This is how our conversation went this morning: "Tristan, you are going to look soooo cute in your jammies. But listen, no crawling around on the floor and messing your jammies up, ok?" "But why, Mommy?" Because these are your Christmas jammies, and I want them to look good at Christmas." (And in my head...and you'll still be able to fit them next year. And I would like to save them for Asher too. Don't ruin them, kiddo!).

Did anyone happen to catch "The Secret Millionaire" last night? I know I talked about it last week, but I have to talk about it again. It is the most inspiring show. It shows the hearts of people. It breaks down stereotypes. It's just plain awesome. If you haven't had a chance to watch it, be on the lookout. It's a great show!

Alright. That's all I've got. You got any random thoughts you want to share? If so, please do! I would love to see them.

Christmas Traditions...The Countdown to Christmas

Only 15 more days until Christmas!

I'm back to share another of our family's Christmas traditions. My goal is to post one of our traditions each day leading up to Christmas, but as you can see, I've missed a few days. I'm having some trouble with our home computer.

Anyway, the tradition I want to share today is making gingerbread houses. Every year, our family (mostly Tristan with a little help from one of us) makes at least one gingerbread house. This year, though, we have the grand privilege of making three. The first house was made on our Thanksgiving trip to see my family. My mom, aka Nana, got Tristan a gingerbread house, and the two of them decorated it together. Tristan did most of the work, and I have to say, I think he did a pretty good job.Whenever you make a gingerbread house, you have to enjoy the candy and icing!The second gingerbread house was made by Tristan (with some help from daddy) at his school. Every year, they have a gingerbread party, and each child can invite one parent. Last year, I was chosen. This year, it was daddy. Here are some pictures of their fun:
The third gingerbread house is still in the box. It came via Mimi (Channing's mom). Tristan is chomping at the bit to get it out and decorated. I think we'll do it this week and will let Asher help too. Thing is, I'm pretty sure he'll just want to eat the candy. Oh well!

How about you? Does your family make gingerbread houses?

And here are a couple of shots of our Christmas trees. Just because...just because I love them!

Our kids' tree in the dining room:Our living room tree:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Traditions...The Countdown to Christmas

Only 16 more days until Christmas!

I'm back to share another of our family's Christmas traditions. My goal is to post one of our traditions each day leading up to Christmas, but as you can see, I've missed a few days. I'm having some trouble with our home computer.

One of our most favorite family traditions takes place on Christmas day. Each Christmas, this year will our third year to do it (both our boys were super sick last Christmas), our family (Channing, me, the boys, and Channing's parents) deliver food to the elderly and to shut-ins. The food is offered and prepared by The Jimmie Hale Mission.Our first year to do this was 2005. I called The Jimmie Hale Mission because Channing and I wanted to serve in the soup kitchen on Christmas day, serving food to the homeless. It was our first year to be home for Christmas and to begin our very own family traditions. Serving the homeless was at the top of our list. We really wanted to do something meaningful on Christmas day, something that would change lives. We also wanted our kids to be a part of whatever we did.

When I called the mission, though, they were already flooded with volunteers for the soup kitchen but were in need of people to deliver food to shut-ins. I asked to be placed on the list, and we all headed downtown. We picked up the food and our lists and headed out on the trail. It should have taken thirty minutes, but it took more like two hours. Yeah, we got lost a few times. :) It was worth every minute, though. Seeing how some people live, I was overcome with gratitude for all that I have been given. Each time we deliver, I have a renewed compassion for people. These people may need us, but we need them more.

I called this week and signed us up. I was excited to find that they still needed help. If you're in the Birmingham area and have a desire to reach out to those in need, I strongly encourage you to consider the Jimmie Hale Mission. It will be well worth your time! The number is 205-323-5878.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Traditions...The Countdown to Christmas

Only 20 more days until Christmas!

Today is day four of my posts sharing our family's Christmas traditions. My goal is to post one of our traditions each day leading up to Christmas.

Another of our family's Christmas traditions is reading Christmas books and watching Christmas movies and shows. We do this through the whole month of December. I grab all the Christmas books and put them in the forefront. I do the same with the boys' dvds. I keep my eyes peeled for more great books at the bookstores and keep my eyes open for what Christmas shows are coming on and when. It's SO much fun!!!

We read books and watch movies/shows about Jesus and His amazing birth, Santa, snowmen, name it. It just makes this month extra exciting!

And for those of you out there who incorporate Santa into your Christmas, I found a great book at Barnes and Noble last weekend. It's called "Santa's Favorite Story". It's basically Santa telling the story of the birth of Jesus and explaining that Christmas is not about getting presents. I thought it was super sweet. I didn't get it but think I may go and pick a copy up.We have several favorite books at home, though. I think one of my very favorites is :
How about you? Do you have a favorite Christmas book (other than the Bible~That will come in a later post) or show/movie? If so, please share! These posts are about sharing traditions and possibly introducing people to new ones.

Merry Christmas, and God bless!