Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Each Christmas I send out a letter and a picture to our friends and family. It's actually pretty high on my priority list because one of my favorite parts about this season is hearing from friends and family through their cards. It's a joy to do. It's a little bit of a project, but I think it's worth it. So, I decided to wait a few days after I sent the cards out before I posted it here, but it's Friday now, and Mike will be off for the next two weeks...I wanted to make sure I did it! So, to those of you who have left me comments and feel like friends, this is for you and for those of you who found me while blog-surfin' and liked me enough to keep coming's for you too. I pray you all have a very Merry Christmas.


Merry Christmas to our Dear Friends and Family!

One shattered glass ball, four ornaments in need of superglue, one string of lights out, and I was so edgy by bedtime I could barely pray. Ah, the wonderful preparations of Christmas. We needed to go ahead and decorate. Great attitude, huh? “Mike, just get the tree down and we’ll go from there.” It’s an absolute mess. I wanted the house to be perfect before we made another mess. I wanted the floors to be clean and all the little random “things” that find their way into our living room to just disappear. Then Christmas could be just perfect. Not so.

As I was looking at the magnet that had joined the dust bunnies in the corner and the drawer of hair accessories on the bathroom floor I just sort of threw up my hands like, “It’s just not perfect. I’m just not perfect.” Then I thought of Mary and Joseph. A super long donkey ride and then natural childbirth in a barn are not necessarily the perfect conditions for the first Christmas EVER. There is really not a comparison to my little mess of Rubbermaid bins and ornaments.

I love it that Jesus invaded an imperfect world. I love it that His start here was so humble, making Him approachable and real. I’m so thankful that the only thing perfect about that first Christmas was Him. You know why I’m thankful for that? Because the only thing perfect about this Christmas is Him. The pressure is off, the perspective is ON. It’s not about anything but Him. That, my friends, is great news.

Here’s some more great news:
Our kids are super! Anson is 6, Julia is 4 and Ella is 2. I will not go on and on about how smart, good-looking, kind, compassionate, funny, well-mannered, and AWESOME they are. You’ve heard it all before. I will say that we are thoroughly enjoying the challenges and the blessings of homeschool and we are all thriving. It’s our first and very informal year, but I anticipate great things as we trust God with every aspect of this journey.

Mike and I are doing well. We’ve grown a lot this year and the best thing is that we’ve grown together! We went to our first homeschool conference with some of our best friends and we were so encouraged by the information we received from the conference and the fellowship we enjoyed.

It was a rough year for the family. We spent some time in the ICU with my sister, Alex, and now watch in awe at how she has been rebuilt from the inside out. (She was diagnosed with Lupus) We welcomed a nephew and a niece and have battled in prayer for our loved ones as they have endured some darkness. In every circumstance we have lifted our eyes up, up to the heavens, where our help comes from. It’s been very imperfect, just like us.

So, are you struggling with not being perfect? Worried someone might find out? Don’t worry, the secret is out. Christ has made a way for us and as we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world we can also celebrate that we are not it. From one mess to another…I wish you all the messiest, merriest, happiest, most jubilant celebration ever and a very imperfect, but blessed New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I have had several ideas for posts lately, and simply cannot spend my time on the computer. Not posting super long anyway. So, the other day I got the idea of just posting some "blogellas" you know, like little blogs. I guess it would properly be called a postella since it's a post on my blog, not a blog on my blog, but I loved the way blogella sounded. It also made me giggle because I thought of a contestant on a certain popular show where people sing and become idols, and this girl said that she wrote "novellas" and was currently writing one about one of the judges. It was creepy funny. Speaking of Novellas, (am I spelling that correctly? I just spell checked it...seems to be fine...anyway)if you are looking for some good ones, you should check out Francine Rivers and her novellas that she wrote about the women in Jesus' blood line. They are very well done. Okay, to my first blogella

Blogella #1
I love a fountain coke. There is something about drinking a coke from a restaurant fountain machine that tastes so much better than a can I crack open after a long day. It's just fresher. I'm not sure if it's the ice, the cup, the straw, the fact that someone else fixed it for me, whatever the reason, I LOVE it!

I've been trying to shed just a few pounds and one of the ways I can usually do that is to avoid Coke. Now, I don't drink it all the time, simply exchanging it for water while I'm out is all I need to do. I don't buy it and only have it in the house if there is company. So, on Monday I was driving to my sister's house and thought, "I would so LOVE a Coke right now." Well, lucky for me (unlucky for my waist) there is "Golden Arches" on the way. I couldn't wait. I was thinking about that first sip, YUM (I almost want one right now!). Then it hit first blogella. I wish I longed for Jesus the way I long for a Coke. I don't mean to trivialize it, I'm serious. I will go out of my way for a Coke, if I really want one. I was thinking about it, planning on it, anticipating with great joy sipping my Coke on the way to Ashley's house.

To say I've avoided the Lord lately would be an understatement. I've enjoyed just layin' in bed for a few extra minutes (like 30!). I would rather check a blog, or Survivor behind the scenes or fold clothes, than be with Jesus. That just happens to me. It's because I had sin in my heart, I won't go into all that, but that is the reason.

I want to be like the Psalmist that says, "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1 That is what a want, sadly, that is not where I am. I believe the only way to get there, is to be with Him so much that my soul longs for Him. It craves Him. It not only needs Him, it wants Him. Oh that He would do that in me.

Blogella #2
The other day the kids were just hangin' out in my room with their new Highlights magazines and all of a sudden Anson goes, "Mom, can I have a piece of candy?" I asked, "For what?" His very honest answer, "Just because I want it." So what do you say to that? "Sure." So, he scaled my closet to reach the Halloween candy that is at the top and of course pulled several things down on his head until he had the precious bag in his possession. Well, Julia isn't going to go without, and neither am I, so we were all looking for our candy. Mike and I have our stash of the good stuff that we choose from. I chose a Milky Way and had eaten it and Anson was still in the closet searching. "Bud, what are you doing? Just get a piece of candy and put it away." Without really thinking he responded, "I'm just looking for something that will last." Immediately my heart replied, "Aren't we all?"

How long will we search? What was so sweet about Anson is that he was being so careful in his search. He was considering it. He didn't just want a quick fix, he wanted his candy to last a little bit. He wanted to enjoy it.

I've been walking with God for almost 12 years and I know there is nothing that will last the way He does. There is not one thing that will satisfy the way He does. Nothing.

"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you." Psalm 63:3

Blogella #3
Sometimes I feel like everyone else got a more important mission from God. Now, I do believe that what I'm doing matters (or I wouldn't do it) but sometimes I believe the lies that God is using everyone else and is making me sit the bench. Well, I started reading Galatians (it's about freedom in Christ and freedom from the law...hooray!) and I came upon this passage. It's in Galatians 2:7-8 "On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles." As you probably know, I am a homeschooling mother. We are not taking it one year at a time, we believe without a shadow of a doubt that God has put us in this for the long haul. My time is different, my priorities are different. This verse set me free. I do believe that God is at work in this ministry. I just want to stop looking at the ministries of others and believing that theirs is more or less important. We are all members of the same body...all with a very important job to do, which leads me to our science experiment.

We love Highlights, the other day Anson said, "Mom, can we do this?" It was an experiment that involved soaking one penny in liquid soap and another in vinegar and then guessing which would clean the penny. It only made sense that the liquid soap would do the job. Soap cleans, right? Wrong, not pennies. The vinegar is what was necessary to get the job done. Having already read Galatians I asked the kids if this proved that the soap was worthless. They of course said that it didn't prove that at all. We went on to discuss how certain things have certain jobs that they are used for, just like people. Some of us have gifts and talents that can be used for somethings, but not for others. Just because one person isn't used by God in one circumstance doesn't mean they are less useful or loved, it just means there is another job for them. Perfectly designed for them. Vinegar isn't always used, but we all have it on the shelf, don't we? Let's be available to be used by God and thankful that He would include us in His work.

Blogella #4
If you had to guess how old the "Proverbs 31" woman was, what would you guess? You know what I would guess? Early to mid-forties. You know why I say that? She is WISE! She has probably made some mistakes. She probably forgot to mend the clothes one year and made a mental note to be prepared next time! I thought about this while considering the stamps I would be purchasing for my Christmas letters (I'll post it soon). I thought, you know, it's a good idea to just buy a book of stamps a month, and by the end of the year, TADOW...I'm prepared! Instead of dropping a significant amount of money on stamps, in December, an already sort of "tight" month. So, as we compare ourselves to the Bible's picture of perfection, I feel like we should all just remember that we are in process. We are becoming those things. I am on a slower track than most, but I'm encouraged by the little bit of progress that I have made over the last 12 years. I'm especially excited about having stamps next year!

Blogella #5
My house is a mess and my in-laws are coming the day after Christmas. It's not like, a super mess, but it's not in "entertaining" order. The other day as I was looking at my table, I thought it was the perfect picture of my heart. We have been reading a super book called Jotham's Journey, as we have celebrated Advent, and our wreath is on the kitchen table. Well, everything lands on the kitchen table and it has been a bit off center and sort of cluttered. Sort of like Christmas. We try so hard to keep Christ as the center, but stuff just crowds Him out. The Christmas letters, snack bowls from today at 10:00, junk mail, an empty purse, the book I bought today and some random train tin. My heart has been cluttered, too. I know He's the Lord, but sometimes I just allow life to creep in and it makes a mess.

So, check your focus. Is it cluttered? Jesus entered a dirty world, He won't be surprised if there are crumbs on the floor. He won't care either. Praise Him.

Alright, that's all I've got for today. I hope you enjoyed my little blogellas. Please forgive any typos, I've been typing quickly and have had a few interruptions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm a Fan.

So, I didn't come from a family of athletes. I had a reputation for stinking at sports that even my charming personality couldn't counter. I swore I wouldn't marry an athlete. I graduated from Georgia College & State Universtity and we didn't even have a football team. I guess what I'm saying is that I never had the opportunity to be a fan, I didn't even know I wanted to be a fan. Then I married Mike.

The first time I saw Mike coach a soccer game I thought I was marrying a man with split personalities. His passion on the field shocked me. He paced up and down the field yelling and screaming. Seriously, I was shocked. I was also shocked when football season rolled around and my husband watched alot of T.V. We just didn't do that growing up. I guess I didn't notice until later that he was also wearing the same shirts each time "his team" played. Weird.

As the years went by our lives changed dramatically. Babies stir everything up, yet there was a constant. Football, college football, specifically Georgia Tech football. Every Saturday I wore myself out cleaning up and taking care of the kids and there he would sit, king of the house in MY chair in front of the TV. Now, it would be one thing if we had a man-cave where he could disappear and I wouldn't have to look at his reclined tail while I slaved away being the dutiful wife that I am. (that would also be a whitewashed tomb!) If the T.V. is on it's on in the entire house. There is no escaping the noise. However...

About two years ago I was getting ready for my workday and the Lord just spoke right into my selfish little heart. These are not necessarily God's words (like from the Bible) but this is what went through my head, "If you can't beat em'" I flipped up (I was drying my hair upside down) looked at myself in the mirror and said, "I'm going to watch that game, and I'm gonna like it!" I didn't just watch it. We all watched it. I went out and bought snacky food and put on one of Mike's t-shirts. I joined him in his passion. Not because I went to Georgia Tech (the thought of me being smart enough to attend that school just made me laugh out loud...seriously...there's no way!) but because it mattered to my husband, and he matters to me.

You see, as I have come to love Mike more and more, those things that interest him have started to interest me as well. They are not little inconveniences or things that I tolerate, I really want to enjoy them with him. He's my love, my best friend, it only makes sense, right? This post was sparked a couple of weeks ago when I wanted my own t-shirt. I still carry a little bit of the kids with me wherever I go, but I'm not a "Large" anymore. I don't want to wear oversized T-shirts unless I'm going to bed. So, Tech was playing and we were heading to my Mom's house and I asked if we could stop on the way and pick up my very own "game day" shirt. Of course he was thrilled. I love my t-shirt. It matches Mike's of course. Yes, we are those people. I love it. I loved showing my team spirit. I love being supportive, I love being a fan...of Mike's.

It got me to thinking. Since coming to faith almost 12 years ago, my desires have changed in crazy ways. The more I fell in love with Jesus, the more I wanted to enjoy what He enjoys. I wanted to love the things that He loves and hate what He hates. (the way I'm never supposed to cheer for UGA) I want to be close enough to Jesus that when His heart beats, I can hear it and mine beats faster if His beats faster. I want to be about what He's about. If He's going someplace, well, I want to be there too! I want to identify with those things that He is passionate about.

Over Thanksgiving we visited our family in Pennsylvania. My Dad and Pam, my sisters and Mike's entire family. On Thursday we were with the Wessner's. It was really overwhelming for me to be in a room full of people that have my same name...that are really family. I really love those folks and I only know them because they are Mike's family. They love him too, and in turn, I love them. As I continue to walk with God I am constantly meeting new family members. Like it or not...they are my family. Those of us who have called on Christ to rescue us from the mud and mire...we're family. We may be the weird uncle, crazy aunt or deaf Grandma...but we're kinfolk as far as Christ goes. We must love one another because of that. Let us not forget that they will know we are Christians by our love. John 13:35

Another thing that I love is to hear stories about Mike. It just gives me a little more insight into who he is and where he has come from. We went to a video store while we were in PA and he took awhile to make his way out, said he'd met one of "his crew." I just giggled. He's so cute. We were having dinner with his sister and her husband and we were teasing that "his crew" would have been giving the tutoring while I would be, with a few of my crew members, receiving it. We were nothing alike. Marrying him changed every good way.

Coming to Christ has done the same thing. Outside of Jesus Christ I am one wicked soul in desperate need of a Savior. I think only of myself and look out for number one. As I am s-l-o-w-l-y being refined and holding on to less of me and more of Him, I'm changing...and I like it.

Just like I like the way I look in my new game day t-shirt. Now, sure it's not the team of your choice, heck, most of Georgia isn't a Tech fan (I can think of 4 that I know of...Sheryl, Heather(also by marriage) and a lady that Mike works with I could be missing someone) That isn't the point. The point is that when you love someone, I mean really love someone, their desires and their passions become your desires and your passions. You don't mind taking a backseat for their sake, in fact, you love it.

So, where are you? Are His desires your desires? Are the things that bless God's heart the things you are pursuing? Go ahead, buy the shirt, be a fan...rumor has it that in the end...we are The Winners.

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:3-4

I studied this verse in college and realized that I only receive the desires of my heart because His desires become my desires. Pretty awesome, huh?

As a new fan, I think it's important to mention that we did beat UGA. I'll just mention a new fan.