Monday, December 28, 2009

A Bunch of Christmas Photos

A family photo from the Christmas Eve Service.

Christmas morning!Ella wasn't in as good of a mood when she first woke up.She quickly perked up when she saw her new Curious George.We gave the girls each a recliner. They enjoy snuggling up into them.But the favorite gift, I do believe was the train table.Yesterday was our 6th anniversary. Edwin surprised me with a 6-space photo frame, 6 carnations, 6 candles, 6 candy bars, 6 oz. of lotion, and 6 pairs of socks. Isn't he a cutie?

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Beautiful Girls, Before Their Beauty was Temporarily Marred

My girls have been struggling to channel their natural beauty since they began struggling with pink eye (Ella) and some random rash (DeLaynie). Both are on the mend. Until they return to their full gorgeosity (I know it's not a word. No need for a dictionary. :), I'm going to give you a few pics from before their respective illnesses struck them down.

Ella loves to snuggle with her b.f.f. Suzu.

In an effort to make sure that ther are pictures of me in the collection, I'm always taking pictures of myself with the kids. Here are two of them.

I think I'll leave the final thoughts to my wreath, and simply say, "Merry Christmas!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Great Snowman Debate

On Sunday night, after the girls were in bed, Edwin and I embraced our role of "those crazy southerners" in our neighborhood. At 9 p.m. we headed out into the snowy wilderness of our yard (or something like that). First we had the obligatory snowball fight. When I got tired of Edwin's overzealous beatings, I decided to build a snowman.

This quickly resulted in creative differences. I thought that the best short-term method for decoration was food coloring. Edwin was leaning toward sticks. Since Edwin chickened out about two minutes into the actual building procedure (something about his hands being cold, blah, blah) I decided that it was my right to decorate the snowman that I built the way that I wanted to. So I did.

Edwin became jealous of my artistry a few seconds after seeing it, and decided to build what he referred to as a "snow alien", decorated with sticks, of course.

So... maybe neither of them are going to win any awards, but the debate continues as to which is better. I'm not going to ask for opinions, but if you wish to volunteer any, please feel free (as long as they support my design). I will grant you that Edwin's is creative, but it should receive some serious reductions for creepy, if you ask me. But you didn't. So never mind.

Edwin and I had a good time, even if we couldn't agree on snow-building methodology.

We enjoyed our miniature wonderland for a few minutes before heading into our nice, heated home. All-in-all, a good time for all... except for the kids who were stuck in bed, obviously.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Shape Ups vs. Easy Tones

I am asking for a pair of athletic shoes that are supposed to burn more calories and engage normally under-used muscles as a Christmas present. I have a pair of Fit Flops that I love, but it's just too cold for me to wear flip flops 365 in North Country. I'm debating between Skecher's Shape Ups and Reebok Easy Tones. I have to admit, I'm leaning toward Shape Ups because they don't feel the need to show a naked woman's back in their ads. (I appreciate that, especially when that commercial is showing on ESPN. I mean, come on!) But I wouldn't mind actually knowing which brand works better. I'm closing in on the time that I need to make a decision.

Do we have any owners? Can anyone tell a difference? Anyone have a preference?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

For Those of You Who Don't Know...

It takes about 20 minutes to turn a child's state of dress from this...

to this...

so she can do this.

It takes about the same amount of time to shovel the drive yourself, but we're looking to the future.

Welcome to winter!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Promised Lottie Moon Post

What is Lottie Moon? Well, she was a great missionary who exemplified the self-sacrificing attitude that enables missionaries to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now the SBC has given the annual missions offering her name. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is what enables IMB (formerly, The International Mission Board) to send missionaries to spread the Gospel. If you aren't a Southern Baptist, but you are a Christian who understands your personal responsibility to assist in the sending of missionaries, let me assure you that there are dozens of sending agencies that are either associated with other denominations or are interdenominational. You can definitely find one to support.

Last year, IMB didn't receive enough money to do what they do. They couldn't send qualified missionaries to tell people about Jesus. Now, I'm not arguing against God's sovereignty, but we are responsible for how we spend our money. He will reach people without our money, but we will give an account of what we did with the resources He has allowed us to borrow. (The lazy servant couldn't use the success of the other two as an excuse. [Matt. 25:14-30]) We will stand before God and give explanation for how we have used the resources that He gave us. One day, we will have to explain that we traded the salvation of others for the look on our children's faces on Christmas morning.

The national average for Lottie Moon giving was $2 per Southern Baptist church member. That's nothing short of sin.

My kids will wake up to find gifts on Christmas morning, but we're trying to implement a few things to keep our self-serving spending under control and up the amount we give to missions. Here are a few ideas of how you can make giving a family affair.

  • Have a family discussion, and choose to cut something. It may be a tradition, like a lot of lights. ("We think that it would be better for us to shine as a light in the darkness by spending the money we would spend on electricity on missions.") Or, it may be a gift. Make a conscious decision to sacrifice something for the sake of telling people about Jesus.
  • Top your shopping list with Lottie Moon giving. Write down how much you're giving to missions, and keep a tab of how much you're spending on gifts, decorations, and other Christmas celebrations. Keep your giving in perspective to what you're spending on material possessions, and it won't seem like that much.
  • Include a check in your children's (grand children's, or nieces' and nephews') stockings, and leave them with a suggestion that they give it to Lottie Moon. Then leave the decision to them. Remind them what a privilege it is that God allows us to join Him and His servants in reaching the world. That's huge! Our prayers and our giving help Jesus bring salvation to people we will never meet! That is so much cooler than additional stuff.
  • Remember the cross. It seems like a big sacrifice, doesn't it? We want our children to have everything they need and want. We want to hold onto our traditions. We want our independence, and giving up our financial security is difficult. In light of the cross, though, it doesn't seem like that much. How big is our God? Is He worth sacrifice? Can we trust Him to take care of us when we give? He doesn't owe us anything, but Christians owe Him everything! Jesus left His position of God to come to Earth, and that was the easy part! Remember the cross.