Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

We were so excited about Christmas this year in our new home! On Christmas Eve we went to our church's beautiful service. After the kids went down front and the pastor read them the Christmas story, they all sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and went back to their seats. Jackson said, not using his inside voice, "We should probably go since it's probably over now" He was ready to go home!
There was no childcare so we just fed Luke puffs and crackers like a zoo animal to keep him happy.  On the way home Jackson out of the blue said, "Well, that was fun." That boy.
We then came home to open our traditional pj presents. My Dad sent the boys some gifts from Barnes and Noble so we let them open those too.
One of the presents was "The Giving Tree" and poor Jackson opened it up back side first. Have you ever seen Shel Silverstein's books? He puts a huge picture of his big scary face on the back cover. Jackson was so excited opening it and then just paused half way through the unwrapping, scared to keep going - haha! We had to tell him it was ok to open it and that man was sweet.
We put out cookies for Santa and hurried the boys to bed as best we could. Ben and I were in bed by midnight and that my friends is a Christmas miracle!
We had a wonderful, quiet Christmas morning at home this year. The boys were so excited to see what Santa brought them. We just sat around, played with toys and baked a birthday cake for Jesus :)
Luke is pretty into fridge magnets right now so he got 3 different presents to play with on the fridge!
Jackson was so excited about his scooter - he rides it all over the house. Oh and the Buzz arms - they are officially the coolest thing Santa has ever brought :)
We got Jackson a Dress Up Joey and Percy Travel Train Set
And we got Luke a magnet set and a shape sorter train
Jackson is really into Cars stuff and his Big Pop got him some "Cars" cars and a Cars Game - he loved both!
I got this sweet picture of the boys playing when they thought nobody was looking. I love moments like these:
Nonni and KuhKuh came later and brought cute robes for the boys and even more presents.
As Priscilla Shirer says, "We don't do much from Santa because our children have grandparents...do your children have grandparents?" We're headed to Ben's parents house on Friday were we'll spend a full 3 days with Pawpaw, Gigi and the girls - the fun continues!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thanks to some great promotional offers, we sent out 5 different styles of Christmas Cards this year! Here is one of them:

We want to wish each of you a very, Merry Christmas. We hope that you will find the peace and joy that only Jesus can provide. No matter what is going on in your home this morning, Jesus is the true and only reason for Christmas Day!

Luke 2:16-20

 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Luke Turns One!

I know, this is 24 days late but I just had to document my sweet baby boy turning 1!
On his actual birthday, Wednesday the 1st we had a small family birthday party for him. He had his favorite pasta meal
His very own mama made smash cake
He wasn't too interested in anything but the icing
He then had a super fun time opening presents. From Mama, Daddy and Jackson he got Penguin Bowling
From Nonni and Kuh-Kuh he got an Animal Sounds Puzzle
And from PawPaw, Gigi and the girls he got a Red Ball and a Big Giraffe
As you can see he carried that Giraffe around all night.
Our big boy is 25 lbs 6 oz and is 32 inches long! Luke can say banana, ball, bite, cereal bar (si bah), that, Kitty, Cracker, bye bye, Cookie, Pup-o (puppy), cheese, Mama, Dada, some form of Jackson and he can sign eat, more, please, all done, thank you and milk. He can also tell you what sounds a cow, cat, puppy and duck make.
To say we love him would be putting it mildly. I am so thankful God blessed us with you Luke! Then, on Sunday, we had friends over to celebrate with all of Luke's new playmates! Here is John Micheal practicing guitar.
Robin made her super cute, fabulous cookies
I made two different types of soup
 and we just had some other random goodies
We love our new friends and we all just had a wonderful time visiting, fellowshipping and celebrating sweet Luke!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Looks can be deceiving

Look at my boys. Isn't this one precious?
And this one? So sweet....
Aha! They've got you fooled too! Don't let their charm and good looks throw you. These boys are rotten! Ha! No, my boys really are precious but sometimes, just sometimes they are anything but. Case in point. Last week, Jackson decided to put his finger in Luke's mouth. Well, Luke has about 8 teeth so he bit Jackson. Hard. Jackson cried. I responded with, "that's what you get for putting your finger in his mouth" and then Jackson saw the teeth marks on his finger and flipppped out. Evidently he had never seen teeth marks before (I know, a 3 year old unaware of teeth marks is a rarity) I'm pretty sure he thought his finger was going to fall off. Me, being the wonderful compassionate mother that I am, immediately explained the situation to him ran and got my camera and snapped a memory.

I then proceeded to bite my own finger, show him the teeth  marks and we all went about our day. But seriously, they are precious. In their own whiny, teeth biting, over reacting kind of way. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Just Jesus

I had to miss church this morning because Luke isn't feeling well. I'm pretty sure it's just teething but since he's kind of snotty I didn't want to take any chances of making anyone else sick, so I stayed home with him. The big boys are at church and Luke is napping so I have a few minutes to myself - hello there rarity! I've been meaning to blog about this for a while now but just have never had the time to sit down and thoughtfully put it down in print. I have about an hour before everyone gets home or wakes up, so, I can actually blog.

For as long as I can remember I've been a worrier. Little things, big things. I just worry about stuff. What if this, what if that. You know how that can be. When I was 8 years old my Mamasuey led me to Christ. She said, "You can either spend your life doing things your way or God's way, but you have to make a decision." I remember sitting in a room alone, after her speech, crying and choosing Jesus. I wish I could say I acted like I chose Jesus from there on out but unfortunately I didn't. I went to church, read my bible some but never really worked on a personal relationship with Jesus. I believed in Him, knew He was God's son but that was about it. I made poor decisions in high school and college, drinking, partying. Yep, sure did. I was searching. Searching for something to calm me, to fill my void, to make all that worry go away. Of course, none of those things helped. After a series of events, car accidents, allergic reactions to a medicine and my world being torn upside down when I was 20, I started having panic attacks. I was miserable. It was all consuming. All I could think of was, "I'm going to die, any minute I'm going to die" and my heart would start racing and I'd be left prey to all sorts of crazy thoughts and fears. I was so scared of dying. I can remember the exact moment I asked God for help. I was in the floor of my room at my parents house, it was in March and I just fell flat on my face and cried out to God to help me, to fix it. I gave everything to Him - told Him I couldn't do it on my own anymore and quite frankly I did not want to. I wanted to do it His way and even though I knew I'd fail along the way, I'd spend the rest of my life serving Him if only He'd forgive me. In that instant, I felt a physical wave of peace go over my body and I've never, ever had a panic attack since.

Ben loves to joke that I'm the only Christian he knows that gets anxious when I think about living forever. It's true, just the thought of eternity, where did God come from?, etc sends my stomach into knots and I feel like throwing up. How silly is that? If I claim to love and know Jesus, why in the world would His plan make me so out of sorts? Because I haven't been focused on the true reason for Heaven - worshiping and glorifying God. For some reason, we feel like we have to sell people on Heaven: "Just think, so and so will be there! You'll have this huge mansion! There will be streets of gold! You'll never suffer or hurt again!" And while all of those things are true and blessings to be had, they cheapen eternity for me.

About a month ago I sat down and decided that if I love God and Jesus then that needs to be my reason for wanting to be in Heaven. Because, when it comes down to it, Jesus is the only reason I get to be in Heaven in the first place! Maybe your loved ones will be there to greet you in Heaven but they did not suffer an agonizing death on the cross for you - Jesus did. And that was it. That's my decision. Just Jesus. If I never see anyone I loved on this earth, if I never get a mansion or walk on a street made from gold I don't care - I just want my Jesus. I am so, completely in love with Jesus and I can not wait to spend eternity letting Him know that. He saved me, He healed me, HE ALONE has made me new! He paid my price, He made God's glory known and I honestly can not wait to get to Heaven to be with Him.

So that's where I am. I'm not anxious anymore. And I owe it all to the Prince of Peace. Just Jesus.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh Tannenbaum

For those of you that haven't known me for very long, you probably don't know that I spent 3 1/2 years of my high school in Germany. We moved over there December of my freshman year and I left the July after I graduated. You also probably don't know that I minored in German language in college and can still speak it pretty good although it is fading fast! Now that random fact hour is over we'll move on to our Christmas tree decorating (or Tannenbaum in German)
The day after Thanksgiving is our traditional throw the tree up and decorate the house festivities day but since all of my boys were sick the festivites had to wait until Sunday night. That poor tree sat naked in our garage from Friday to Sunday! Once we were able to decorate we had a really fun time. I made a homemade BBQ Chicken pizza in my cute apron my bff Mary sent me for my birthday
The boys helped hang ornaments
we all ate pizza and sugar cookies
and watched Frosty the Snowman
And Jackson was more than thrilled that he got to put the star on top. He only asked if it was time about 300 times!
I'm so thankful for my family and our sweet, fun memories!

Friday, December 10, 2010

God Listens, He hears me when I pray

I've been having a really rough morning. I try so hard to live by Ephesians 4:29 that says, " Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." 

I want to be an encouragement to others, to build others up as Christ rebuilds me every day, but the truth is, I get sad. I get hurt. I get angry. I'm not proud of those things but they are things I am working on every day! I want the Joy of the Lord to always be my Strength but there are those days when I just feel like throwing one big giant pity party, tossing my hands in the air and saying, "WHY ME!?" I'd love to delude myself with the idea that I'm a "good person" and that I don't deserve to suffer but the truth is I'm not a good person, not one of us is! And furthermore, I don't have a "right" to anything, especially a happy and comfortable life. That's a hard pill to swallow but Gods word reminds me of that. This morning, I prayed and asked God to heal my hurt, heal my wounds and show me how to love others as He loves them. Then I read my passage for the day, Romans 12. I was blown away - in a time where I was making it all about me, God reminded me of how I am to act no.matter.what. The truth is, I'm a wretched person. But, by the Grace of God's word and Holy Spirit I have the opportunity to be pleasing and obedient to Him. And so that's what I'm choosing. I want God's light to shine through me and loving others, humbling myself and offering everything I have regardless of what others do to me is exactly what I'll strive to do. Here is Romans 12 - I hope it blesses and encourages you as much as it did me.

Romans 12

A Living Sacrifice
 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love in Action
 9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.  14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.
 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
   if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]
 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

9 months in the making

 December 1, 2009 
Luke Townsend
Born at 39 weeks
8 lbs, 14 oz