November 27, 2011

Christmas Checklist

1. Deck the halls- put up the Christmas tree and lights!
2. See the Christmas lights.
3. Drop money in the Salvation Army bucket.
4. Go Christmas caroling.
5. Make presents! :)
6. See Santa at the Mall.
7. Get a kiss under the mistletoe. ;)
8. Take a family picture by our Christmas tree.
9. Have hot chocolate.
10. Hang the stockings with care. 

November 22, 2011

Favorite Holiday Family Traditions

With the Holidays quickly approaching, I have been reflecting on the traditions that I have shared with my family and look forward to starting new ones and continuing some on with Lucas. 

One tradition that I looked forward to deeply as a youngster and even into my teenage and college years was that of decorating for Christmas.  On the day after Thanksgiving, Mom and I would break out the totes and boxes labeled 'Christmas' and dig out layers and layers of house decorations, our stockings, and the tree.  We would decorate the house all day, making it come alive with green and red.  In the evening, we would make some hot cocoa and turn on Christmas music.  Mom would lay out the ornaments on the table, while my job was to hang them on the tree.  Each year, we would reminisce about where each ornament came from as though I had no idea.  And we would laugh at the picture of me with Santa that we have kept to put on the tree.  I will never forget this memory and how I felt during these moments preparing for Christmas.  I plan to continue this tradition on with my own family, and I hope that Mom will want to share in this tradition with us.  The joy that occurs on this special night is rare and lasts a long time. 

Another tradition that our family has is that of giving Christmas ornaments.  Each year, us cousins would all receive an ornament from Grandma Sharon, based on what we had done that year.  For many years of my childhood, my ornament was affiliated with basketball, volleyball, or softball.  The year that I started college, Grandma gave me an ornament with books and a graduation cap.  The year I shot a deer, I got a shotgun shell ornament.  I still don't know how she found some of those perfect ornaments.  I still have each of those ornaments and cherish them dearly.  And I still look forward to receiving an ornament each year.  I hope that Lucas looks forward to Grandma's ornament as much as I did growing up.  It makes me sad to think that one day, hopefully really far down the road, Grandma will not be around to share this tradition with us.  For now, though, I will be thankful that we are so blessed to have so many wonderful grandparents and family members to share our traditions with. 

November 21, 2011

What Adult Daughters Need From Their Moms

1. Only use encouraging words.  No matter how old she gets, what you do and say will always matter.
2. Advise BUT only when asked.  If she wants your wisdom, she will ask.  Otherwise, keep your advice to yourself.
3. She needs the freedom to learn for herself.  Remember, you are done raising her, now is the time to let her learn how to be a wife, mom, friend, employee, and neighbor on her own.  
4. Share in her excitement if she brings you a new idea or is excited about something.  Never tell her the negatives. 
5. Appreciate her as a woman and mother.  Tell her good things that she does.
6. Say no if you don't want to or can't watch your grandkids. Don't feel guilty.  But if you do want to see them, tell her that in a nice way.  Say, "I would really love to spend time with you and your family," instead of "Why haven't you called me?" 
7. Don't be overly critical. Your objective is to express your love, not to make her feel guilty or badly.
8. Unconditionally love her; don't put conditions on that love.
9. The greatest gift you can give her is your approval.  If you start from the basis that you believe in her competence and mothering instincts, you will be given the opportunity to add your two cents when the going gets rough. If your daughter feels competitive with you in any way for the prize of supermotherhood, you are going to be left in the dust, no matter how valid and valuable your advice might be.  Read more on FamilyEducation:
10. Don't clean her house or comment on her messy house.  This only makes her feel like a bad wife and mother.  Again, if she needs help, she will ask. Her house may be messy, but her kids and family have fun!  :)


I have been thinking about Christmas traditions, gifts, and Christmas in general lately.  I found a great Christmas idea- of course on pinterest- that I would love to incorporate into our Christmas traditions.  Since Lucas will only be 4 months old this Christmas, we will not be going too crazy with gifts.  I believe, however, that for future years a plan of attack would be beneficial.  Many moms go by the Want/Need/Wear/Read gift giving strategy.  However, I'm going to add one more category to this- play. 

Something they want.  Something they need.  Something to wear.  Something to read.  Something for play.

Of course, they will also be getting a stocking full of cheap items and candy.  I believe this will help us better budget our Christmas shopping and will still provide them with a decent amount of items to open on Christmas morning.  I will let you know how it works!  :)

November 18, 2011

Annual Christmas Walk

Tonight is our towns' annual Christmas walk!  This community event is one of the many that I rarely miss!  What seems like the whole town comes out to the corner of Broadway and Main, sampling tasty treats, visiting community businesses, and mingling with each other.  The town leaders have been actively working to get the decorations set up, preparing for Mr. and Mrs. Clause's arrival, and getting businesses in the business district involved.  Family Outreach Community Center is having a booth- we will be handing out our brochures, hot cider, and fresh doughnut holes. We also entered a tree into the Tree of Lights competition.  I will try to post a picture of it later.

This year, our family will take a new part in this celebration, however.  Due to it being our town's 125th Anniversary, we are having a few skits and extra events happening.  In the birth of our Savior skit, Travis will be acting as Joseph, I will take the role of Mary, and our little man will be acting as Jesus.  :)  How fun!  It took a bribe to get Travis on board, but I am so proud to take part in this community tradition in such a way! 

Community bondedness is SO important in a small community like ours.  Without knowing each other and feeling bonded with those living around you, trust and security cannot take place.  Our country needs more small, bonded communities like mine and the world would be a much better place! 

"My Grown Up Christmas List"

As I was pondering my personal Christmas list, which I posted earlier, I kept going back to the song by Kelly Clarkson and redone by Amy Grant, "My Grown Up Christmas List."  This always touches my heart during the Holidays and I want to share the lyrics with you: 

"My Grown Up Christmas List"

Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies

Well, I'm all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish
My grown up christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
and wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up christmas list

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree

Well heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up christmas list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth
(there'd be)

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, oh
This is my grown up christmas list
This is my only life long wish
This is my grown up christmas list

My 2011 Christmas Wish List

So what girl doesn't have a list of items that they wish for?  Here are a few items that I have been fantasizing over lately!  Travis.. take notes!  ;) 

1. Black and Brown Flats
2. Lasix Eye Surgery or Contacts, instead of my glasses.. Lucas is starting to get grabby!
3. Black Winter Boots
4. A Few Pairs of Jeans- I only fit into 3 pairs right now!
5. Plaid Blanket.. Go Scots!
6. Kitchen Pantry Shelving
7. Flip Camcorder
8. Subscription to 'Parenting Early Years,' 'Family Fun,' and 'All You.'  I'm such a mom!  :)
9. Ticket to Ride Board Game
10. New headboard for our bed
11. Black Watch
12. New front door and screen door.. lame.
13. Black Pencil Skirt
14. Totes to organize upstairs junk
15. New underwear, bras, and socks!  Doesn't everyone need these for Christmas?! 

November 9, 2011

To Err on the Side of Grace

Galatians 6:10 says "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

So often in my work, I am asked the question, "what if people take advantage of you and don't really need the services."  My simple reply is always this- I will choose to err on the side of grace.  In our benevolence as an organization and even in my personal life, it is my mission to help all those that come asking for help.  Yes, there have been times where I have discovered mistruths and have been taken advantage of.  I cannot become bitter or angered over this, though.  I will choose to continue to keep giving because I want to be known as a woman who always helped, gave, loved, and prayed.

When I am standing in front of my Lord and Savior giving a testament for my life, I want him to say, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me" (Matthew 25:34-36).  

Those who have taken advantage of me, been untruthful, and deceived others will also have to stand before our Lord and explain themselves.  Therefore, I will continue to gracefully help all those that come to me.   

3 Reason I Love Wednesdays

 3. I love assisting with our K-5 youth group at church!  Kids are fantastic and I am able to be a positive example for community kids and teach them about Jesus' love for them.
2. Travis and I normally get to spend Wednesday evenings together after I get home from youth group.  Tonight I have a board meeting, though.  :( 
1. The week is halfway over, meaning that the weekend is in sight! 

November 8, 2011

10 Reasons I'm Thankful

10.  Although they can be a pain at times, having a pet is a great pleasure.  I know that Daisy will never tell my secrets, will cuddle with me when I'm upset, and will love me even when I am not deserving.  I am thankful for all of the wonderful co-explorers, best buds, dreamers, and cuddle buddies that I have had over the years, especially our Daisy Girl. 
9. I am thankful for free speech.  I am able to read, write, and talk about issues that people in some other countries are not able to.  I thank God for making our great nation one that allows freedom of speech and individualism.
8. I have the opportunity to learn in a school setting. Years ago, women may not have had this chance and I am grateful for my education.
7. My hearing may not be the best, but I am able to hear my loved ones voices and the encouraging music that uplifts my soul. 
6. Although I had a rough childhood, it shaped me into the woman I am today.  I would not take back having an alcoholic father, seeing drug abuse first-hand, or witnessing violence in my home.  I am now able to relate to and be an example for young people who are also facing these issues.  I am thankful that God granted me these experiences in order to accomplish His work now. 
5. I have my health- a properly beating heart, hands that work well, a brain that is analytical, and legs that move efficiently.
4. Despite being strapped for cash at times, we have a roof over our heads, food on our table, a warm bed to fall into at night, vehicles to drive, jobs to go to, running water in our home, and many other items that some would consider 'luxuries."  I am thankful that we are blessed in such ways. 
3. My family may be overwhelming and critical at times, but I am so grateful for their encouragement, love, and support.  My family attended just about every game, concert, and event that I ever participated in, cheering me on despite all odds.  And they continue to be by my side every step of the way and make me proud to be a part of my family.  I am also thankful that I have a healthy baby boy to guide and protect. 
2. God gave me a loving man to protect, direct, encourage, and love me.  He loves me, his son, his family, and his community.  I am thankful that I was given Travis to be my life partner! 
1. I am saved.  Ephesians 2:8 says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."  I am so thankful that I will spend eternity with my Maker, Savior, Best Friend, Counselor, Father, and Lord. 

November 4, 2011

The Love of a Granparent...

All Giggles

I'm trying to catch up on posting pictures!  Here are some cute ones that I got of our little man!

A Beautiful Autumn Day

Our photographer friend recently took our family pictures and I wanted to share some with you.  We had fun taking them and really enjoyed the beautiful autumn day!

MoRe TrEaTs ThAn TrIcKs

Daddy, Mommy, and Lucas went Trick-or-Treating on Monday with Danielle and Joshua, our scary dragon.  Montana and Ryan tagged along, too, but mainly to mooch Lucas' candy.  It was a blast and I loved how adorable my little cow was!  Here are some pictures from the evening.