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GOD WITH ME

This past weekend found our family out spreading Christmas cheer to friends, family, and neighbors.  It is my favorite part of our Christmas traditions... caroling.  The kids donned their Santa hats, Christmas shirts, and bells and went home to home greeting people and wishing them a Merry Christmas.  Here are some pictures from our adventure:

Saturday was rounded out by a visit to our favorite Christmas lights display and a tour of a live nativity.  It was awesome!

Yesterday at church was special too.  During our morning service we were blessed to have an artist who painted a canvas of Mary and the baby Jesus as the choir sang.  It was beautifully done.  And last night we enjoyed family communion followed by a wonderful time of fellowship with our Christmas banquet.

Today we are off to visit friends at the nursing home, do some more caroling, and hopefully see some more lights.

Tomorrow will find us at the hospital for Tommy's shoulder surgery.  God has given my heart a peace about i…

A Perfect CHRISTmas

I've mentioned on more than one occasion lately that when it comes to birthdays and holidays, I tend to go so overboard to make sure that they are perfect that I often times find myself disappointed when things do not turn out exactly as I had envisioned. This year has been a lot different than most. Instead of driving around looking at lights or sitting by the Christmas tree reading stories, we have been planning and preparing for my husband's upcoming surgery. I feel like the whole holiday season has almost passed me by in such a whirlwind it has me left wondering where it went and how it went by so quickly.

This past week I have felt stressed to my limit more than once. I worried about my two year old relapsing although, praise God, when we had his re-check following his bout with croup, not only were we given the "all clear" but his breathing had returned to normal and he was not frightened to be back around doctors. I also was concerned about six year old. Again,…

Friday Funnies - Christmas Edition

I have not participated in Friday Funnies at Homesteader's Heart before. I had given it a lot of thought earlier this week as I do not need to look any further than my own home for a laugh to share. I thought this would be a great way to reflect on the humor in my family. So this being a Christmas edition funny - here's a story from years gone by. If you know our family or have followed my blogs at 360 in years past, you are probably accustomed to my term "Dacey-isms". My poor daughter can misunderstand something once and that is the way she says it from that point on. Like when she sang, "home, home on the range... where cell phone is heard..." is just one example. One of my favorite Dacey-isms occurred a couple of Christmases ago when she heard the old Ray Steven's song, "Santa Claus is Watching You." We were in the middle of Wal-Mart when she decided to spread a little yuletide cheer. She broke into the chorus but instead of singing, "h…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JADEN!!!

Yesterday my oldest son, Jaden, turned eight. For the past several years Jaden has wanted a birthday party where he could invite a few of his friends and enjoy the day with them. It has never worked out for him though as parties that have been planned have never been accomplished due to people being too busy doing holiday stuff or being sick. So this year his Aunt tinker-Sidney and I planned a surprise party for him. And boy, was he surprised!

Our day started early as Jaden and his younger brother Isaac both had dentist appointments at 8:00 a.m. Jaden was in the dentist's chair for well over an hour and when Isaac finally went back, they realized because of his "possible" heart condition he would need to be pre-medicated. A prescription was called in with instructions for us to give him the medicine and return in an hour. At this point Jaden says, "My birthday isn't going so good." He was rather disappointed to be spending his day in a waiting room.

We ate l…

Christmas Like a Child

I've said it several times before, but I'll say it again... I LOVE CHRISTMAS!! I love everything about the season. I love the shopping, the planning, the parties, the carols, the lights and decorations. Ok, so I don't love the wrapping part that much, but everything else I love. I try to put as much thought and emphasis on how to make the entire month leading up to the big day as special as possible for my children. We enjoy baking cookies together and then delivering them to friends and neighbors while we sing carols along the way.

This year the month has been over shadowed by my husband's impending shoulder surgery. He is scheduled for the operation two days before Christmas and will be off work for six to eight weeks following. We've had to make plans to have bills paid in advance, how we will manage the kids while he's in surgery and after he's come home. The kids are a bit anxious as well as the thought of their dad going "under the knife" is …

A Grand Day and Grand Bloggers

It can be said that I have had my drivers license over half my life, and that I have also been sixteen for the second time now. (It's amazing how quickly the past sixteen years have passed as it really doesn't seem that long ago.)

By now you've probably guessed but in case you haven't, yesterday was my thirty-second birthday.

It was a wonderful day. I was awaken early by my children with pictures they had colored for me to welcome my special day. Hubby took Jaden and Isaac to their speech session and when they returned they brought me brightly colored stickers that read, "Happy Birthday!" That was such a grand gesture as they gave up getting stickers for themselves as their reward for doing well to ask for birthday stickers for me! I wore them proudly all day.

While I was at my mom's office helping her out, my "precious" friend, Sidney, stopped by to bring me a cake she had baked along with a Precious Moments Christmas book. It was a wonderful sur…

Who Knew?

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

This CHRISTmas season has already been off to a busy start in our home. The tree has been decorated. Lights have been hung. Songs are being sung. We watched two parades and our hometown's annual CHRISTmas tree lighting all in the same day. I love the busyness of the season - all of the things there are to see and do, but more than anything I love spending time celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Last night my daughter, Dacey, and I were able to do both as we enjoyed a ladies CHRISTmas tea at our church. It was a fun night with carols and games and lots of good food, but the best part came at the end when our pastor's wife shared the story of CHRISTmas from Luke chapter 2. She spoke of Mary and questioned what was it that God saw in Mary that made Him choose her to carry HIS SON of all of the other women in the world. What made Mary different from me? I have identified with Mary on different levels in th…

The Joy in Giving

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

My heart was filled with such joy as I stuffed my shopping cart to overflowing late last week with CHRISTmas gifts for my children. I wanted to get most of my shopping done in one quick trip and I am proud to say, "I SUCCEEDED!"

I came home and went through the gifts. I was delighted by my selections for each of my children knowing how much they would appreciate the choices I'd made. I was so excited that it was hard to hide them away until CHRISTmas day, but I knew the effect would not be the same if I gave them their gifts earlier than intended.

It was in those few minutes of reflection that it hit me how the same is true of our Heavenly Father. He delights in blessing His children. He sits on His throne watching us thinking, "That's my girl!" He's a proud daddy and loves watching our…

O Holy Night

My favorite CHRISTmas song of all time is "O Holy Night" as sung by Martina McBride. For this Then Sings My Soul Saturday, I wanted to share it with you!

A Thankful Heart

From Homeschool Memoirs: This week, you guessed it, is going to be about having a thankful heart! Yes, of course, we should always be thankful for everything we’re blessed with, but it’s not too often we actually sit and ponder what. This week please join me in writing 27 things you’re thankful (There’s got to be at least 27things!). I picked 27 because this year Thanksgiving is on the 27th of November.
Also, share a Scripture verse for this week!



There is a Veggie Tales song that says, "a thankful heart is a happy heart." It's so true. Regardless of what you have or don't have, if you are really thankful for the things you have been blessed with you will have a happy heart.




Sometimes I feel as though my heart is overflowing with gratefulness. God has been so good to me.




Here are just a very few things that HE has given me for which I am so very thankful:



1. Salvation..... I have three sons and can't imagine sacrificing any of them for anyone let alone mankind who so …

Sometimes CHRISTmas Makes Me Cry

It's no secret that I am READY FOR CHRISTmas!!! With only five Saturday's to go before the big day, I've decided to share some of my favorite CHRISTmas songs the next few weeks for Then Sings My Soul Saturday!



This song is called "Sometimes CHRISTmas Makes Me Cry." It is performed by Mandisa and Matthew West. It is a beautiful song. I hope you enjoy it!





Memories in the Stains

I use to be a very particular person. Everything had to be a very specific way, organized, in order, and proper. The least little deviation from my plan made me uncomfortable, unsettled and ultimately unhappy. That was life before I became the mother of four kids.


One of the joys of having four, small children is the unexpected. One of the first things I learned early on is that the best laid plans do not usually go as one would always hope. I can remember planning birthday parties and CHRISTmas's when Dacey was very young and having such high hopes for perfection that I was almost always disappointed when something would go different than I'd wanted it. I remember the kids wanting to play outside but being in good clothes, so I couldn't just let go and let them be kids. They had to look nice for what might happen later. Ten years later I have finally gotten over myself. I have learned that it is the unexpected that most often makes for the happiest moments and best shared …

And the awards goes to....

From Homeschool Memoirs: You post the category that best describes each of your family members and write something about why you nominated them in that category, and you’re welcome to post photos.




Dacey is being nominated for "cutest monkey" and "friendliest fairy" because, well, she is! Dacey is always climbing on or getting into something. She is also a social butterfly and makes friends with great ease!


I have nominated Jaden for "class clown" and "best helper." Jaden keeps us in stitches with his crazy antics. He also is always watching out for his baby brother and enjoys helping Connor with things he can't yet do on his own.




Isaac is the best snuggler around. He can most often be found in mine or his daddy's lap. We've also nominated him for biggest flirt as he loves pretty girls. He kissed or was kissed by ALL of the princesses at Disney World!


It is said of Connor that the only reason he is ever still is to figure out what he can …

WORD-FILLED WEDNESDAY!

In honor of my anniversary this week: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a My beloved is mine, and I am his. Song of Solomon 2:16 Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. Song of Solomon 8:6-7a



JULIAN DRIVE CONCERT

Last night our church hosted a concert with Christian recording artists, Julian Drive. IT WAS AWESOME!! We left Connor with Nana so that we could enjoy the evening without having to run in and out since Connor still doesn't like sitting still too much. Dacey, Jaden, and Isaac had a great time!! We even got to watch them record a Christmas video for CCM before the concert began.


Here's a pic of the kids with the band:
Here they are worshipping during the concert:
Jaden got a set of drum sticks and even got them autographed by the band:
Dacey was thrilled that after the concert three of the band members ATE AT HER TABLE!!


It was a wonderful evening. It was great to watch the children and youth in unabandoned praise to God. Tommy and I really liked Julian Drive's music and pre-purchased their next CD due out in January. To listen to their music, visit their MYSPACE page here.


















CHRISTmas Edition of Getting to Know Me

Yes, it's a bit early still, but if you know me, you know how much I LOVE CHRISTmas!! As a matter of fact my Dear God ornament for this year says, "Dear God, I JUST LOVE CHRISTMAS!" My anniversary is tomorrow and then will come Thanksgiving, my birthday, Jaden's birthday, Jesus's birthday, and finish up with Tommy's birthday two days after Christmas! So this is a very busy, exciting, fun and happy time of year at my house. Or as I like to sing, "Tis the season to be broke...fa la la la la..."

I just can't wait until CHRISTmas!


1.Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Wrapping paper. What's the fun of pulling something out of a bag for a kid? Each of our children have their own wrapping paper so they can quickly spot each of their gifts under the tree. I'm sure this year all the wrapping paper will be Disney themed.


2.Real tree or Artificial?

I prefer real, but until the kids are bit older I'll stick with artificial!

3.When do you put up the tree?

the…

Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone!

I really like the many different blogging subjects that different sites host for each day of the week. Today I came upon "Then Sings My Soul Saturday". I have a passion for music. It ministers to me in a way that few things do and I love singing praise to our King. So I decided this would be a great one for me to participate in.

For my first go at this, I decided to share the song Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone by Chris Tomlin. The song Amazing Grace is one that God used many years ago to see me through one of my life's darkest periods. The verse that says "and grace has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me on" gave me hope and encouragement at a time when not much else could. Chris Tomlin's update on the song has made it even more precious to my heart. "My chains are gone! Hallelujah I have been set free! My God.. My Savior has ransomed me!"

Enjoy!


My Hubby - The Love of My Life

After years of doctors visits, cortisone shots, and physical therapy, it has been determined that the only option left to help ease the pain in my hubby's shoulder is surgery. He is scheduled to have bone spurs removed and a tear in his rotator cuff repaired on December 23rd. The doctor had wanted to do it sooner, but we opted for later so that we could have a couple of paychecks before Tommy's off work for four to eight weeks.

I am very hopeful that this surgery will help relieve his pain once and for all. He has suffered with this shoulder for so many years. The kids can't wait to be able to get in the yard and play ball with their daddy again and to tell you the truth, neither can he.

Our eleventh anniversary is Monday. After eleven years of marriage I can honestly say that I still get twitter-pated at the sight of my man. He was a "good guy" when I married him but has become so much more as the years have passed. Tommy is an on fire, sold out, born again, Holy …