Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Happenings



My sweet sister, pictured above, was kind enough to let me borrow her computer again today. So while I have internet at my fingertips, I am going to share just a few pictures.

Owen despises Santa for the 2nd year in a row. Anna Clare only went through one year of Santa fear so I thought Owen might enjoy him this year. Hmmmm......no.


Anna Clare is a fan.



We've been eating LOTS of satsumas...they are wonderful! (The cat is not ours. He/She jumped in the picture. We prefer dogs:)



Anna Clare had her first piano recital. She did great!



She played "Up on the Housetop" and "O Come All Ye Faithful." We were so very proud of her.



Steve surprised her with an early Christmas gift. Meet Stella.



Did I mention we are dog people? She has wanted a cat for quite some time but because we have 2 (outside) dogs, we held her off. She did not ask for one for Christmas so she was VERY surprised and VERY excited. Stella is a rescue cat and is the sweetest thing! The girls are crazy about her. She makes me actually like cats. Our dogs are sweet, so we are hoping we can all coexist peacefully.

AND last but not least....



My brother is engaged!!! Scott and Laura are getting married July 24, 2010. We LOVE Laura (and Scott too:) and are super excited!


Enjoy this wonderful season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What I Want For Christmas

Meet Vivi.



Isn't she adorable? Vivi is the child we sponsor through Compassion International . We found Vivi through their website and began sponsoring her Christmas 2006. She is Anna Clare's age and lives in Indonesia with her parents and younger brother. I have mentioned Vivi before in this post. It has been such a blessing to our family to read her letters, enjoy her artwork, and watch her grow. Her mother calls us "Uncle Steve and Family"...how cute is that?

This Christmas Compassion put together the "What I Want For Christmas" program to help the children on their waiting list find a sponsor family. Anna Clare wanted to participate so we requested an information kit.

Meet James




*I am having computer issues yet again-completely my fault this time- and am posting from my sister's Mac that I know nothing about. Please tilt head to get a better look at James:)


James is our "Christmas Child." Another cutie. He lives in The Philippines with his parents. His duties at home include helping in the kitchen, running errands and cleaning. His father is sometimes employed and his mother is sometimes employed (the packet doesn't say what type of employment...Vivi's father is a farmer). As part of Compassion's ministry, James participates in church activities and Vacation Bible School. He is also in primary school, and his favorite activities are singing, art, and walking. James is 11 years old. We would love to find him a sponsor in time for Christmas. He has been uniquely assigned to our family through December 31. If not, we will just keep praying because God most definitely has a plan for this child. For more information visit this link.

Would you please pray for James and children like him to find a sponsor, to be surrounded by God's love, to be safe, and to come to know Jesus? It sure would make Anna Clare a happy little girl to know you are praying:)

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mondays


This is what Monday looks like around here. We try not to leave the house except to take Anna Clare to school. Pretty much anything goes...especially in the fashion department. (This "dress" is actually a blanket tied around this princess. She had already changed out of pajamas, a mix matched shirt and pants, and a Cinderella dress-up gown). Going from a child who has never cared about what she wore and would not balk at anything I dressed her in to one who is obsessed with her clothes at all times has been quite an adjustment. I will never again laugh to myself when I hear a mom say that their 2-year-old is determined to pick out their own clothes. I am choosing my battles!





Today it is all about Guess Who (don't tell Sissy) and beating her own record for how-many-outfits-can-I-get-by-with-today-before-Mommy-loses-it. I am catching up on a little cleaning and laundry from our many Thanksgiving travels. (We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. All those hours in the car were so worth seeing all of our family and especially my grandparents who are 88 and 89 and will be celebrating 68 years of marriage in June).

Hoping to get lights and ornaments on the tree tonight! Happy Monday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Daddy's Little Hunter


That was the caption that Steve sent with this picture from his cell phone. Looks a bit more like "Daddy's Little Bookworm" to me. Her report from the woods was "It was boring." Good thing she had a book to keep her company. She gets it honest. I spent much of my childhood with my nose in a book. I remember going to the beach with a friend and her family and my friend telling me I was no fun at the beach because all I wanted to do was read! What can I say? I have always had a love for reading, and it thrills me that AC shares that love.

In other news, this is my 100th post. And it only took me a little over 21 months to get here. I am a blogging machine:) Happy Happy Thanksgiving! We have much to be thankful for!

Monday, November 16, 2009

More than a beach trip

Saturday evening, just a few minutes before five, I stood on the beach with some very dear women looking at this...



Isn't it beautiful? This past weekend I had the real treat of getting to spend a weekend at the beach with some women from my Bible Study. We had the best time. We shared together all weekend. As in shared Bible Study, small group time, prayer, personal stories, delicious food, a few tears, and lots and lots and lots of laughter. I have not laughed so hard in a long time! And we played games...I LOVE board games and am just a wee bit competitive. In fact, I called Steve to tell my family goodnight and mentioned that we were about to break open the games. He said, "Do they know you are over-the-top when it comes to games?" "They are about to find out," I replied. However I am pretty sure I met my match in the competition department. Who knew Whoonu? could be so fun? (Or that you could squeeze in 3 to 5 stories between each round of Apples to Apples?)

The weather was gorgeous, the house was amazing, but best of all, God met us there. I love these women, and He is teaching me so many things through them. It was truly a weekend of wonderful fellowship...and sometimes that's just what we need.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Word to the Wise


A China doll and American Girl Kit Kittredge (compliments of my cell phone)

Well, not really. Because if you are wise, you don't need to hear this. BACK UP EVERYTHING ON YOUR COMPUTER! Trust me...I learned the hard way. A few weeks ago I was checking my email and my computer locked up. I left it, came back later, and tried to figure out what was wrong. Pretty soon, I realized this was beyond my ability (pretty much anything to do with computers is beyond my ability). I called Justin, who helps us when we have computer problems and deserves a medal for dealing with such a computer idiot as myself, to come take a look. He took it with him and called me in a few hours with some not-so-good news. This is pretty much how the conversation went...

J (very nicely): Hey Kristen, um, have you been backing up on your computer like I mentioned to you when I set it up for you (in January)?

Me: um, no. Is it bad?

J (very slowly): yeah, kind of. Looks like your hard drive crashed. I'm pretty sure everything's gone.

Me: Everything??? Really??? Well, I do have my pictures on CD's.

J (very relieved): Whew, that was my biggest concern. (He knows how many pictures I have because he transferred them from my desktop to my laptop when he set it up).

Soooooo....I am pretty sure I have all (if not all, then most) of my pictures on CDs in our little fire-proof safe (Praise the Lord!). I always get a CD when I clear my camera card. What I no longer have is my Word documents,(nothing Word period...I had just bought and downloaded it online a while back. The good news there is that I didn't have many documents), my email addresses (so shoot me an email so you will be back in my contacts), my pictures ON my computer (can't just grab one here or there for a post or to email), my digital software, my iTunes library (I am clueless here. The songs are, obviously, still on my ipod, but I have no idea how this affects my library. Anyone?), and so on.

Thankfully, my computer was still under warranty so they replaced the hard drive for free. Yay! I shipped it off, and just got it back this weekend. So I have been missing all your blogs (and also missing email and online bill pay...thanks to my friends Ellen and Emily who loaned me their laptops so I could pay bills and sort through emails periodically). I have been very tempted to sit down and play "catch up" on all the posts I missed, but I am afraid neither my husband nor my children would appreciate that too much:)

Yes, it was extremely inconvenient to be without a computer for a few weeks.I definitely think God was teaching me a little lesson about what a spoiled brat I can be. It is, after all, just a computer. My friend, Angela, referenced a quote in Bible study last week that I loved. I do not remember the source and I am paraphrasing, but it was something like, "The only two things that are eternal are the word of God and the souls of man. If your focus is not on the eternal, then it is of this world." Don't you just love when someone says a word that puts things right into perspective? And doesn't that make you want to go out and tell everyone about Jesus so they will know they have an eternal spot in Heaven?

OK...I am off to find out what a jump drive is and what in the world I do with it. (At one time, I thought it was called a "junk" drive. No joke. See what I mean about computers being beyond me?)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Simply Delightful

The past six Tuesday nights have been just that…delightful. I have participated in a six-week nurturing/mentoring program with some women in our church called “Apples of Gold”. The primary purpose of this program is “for older women to nurture younger women in the Word of God, the Bible, and to encourage them to obey that Word.” (from the Apples of Gold Mission Statement in the book Apples of Gold by Betty Huizenga). The concept is based on the scripture found in Titus 2:3-5 “…Train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and submissive to their husband, that the word of God may not be discredited.”(RSV)

Talk about a blessing! We have been served, encouraged, pampered, taught, and loved by these ladies. They have opened up their homes to us, prepared fabulous meals for us, and shared God’s word with us, all done selflessly to help us become greater wives, mothers, and daughters of God. I am incredibly grateful for their dedication, time and effort, and willingness to serve.

Each Tuesday night began in someone’s home with refreshments and socializing, followed by a brief cooking demonstration of the evening’s menu (a flower arranging demonstration was also shared one week). Then we moved into the lesson and discussion, led by a different woman each week. The lessons included Kindness, Loving Your Husband, Loving Your Children, Submission, Purity, and Hospitality, all taught from a Biblical perspective. After each lesson, we sat down to the most delicious meal served on beautiful china and crystal. And the desserts were out-of-this world! (All of the recipes were compiled into a notebook for us to keep, and we were encouraged to try them for our families, friends, or guests in our homes. I have already made several of them and they have been a hit! In fact, I think Steve is just as sad as I am that we finished our last lesson this week…he has surely enjoyed some new meals and desserts around here:) Each week was like a night at the spa. I always left feeling spiritually refreshed, rejuvenated, and encouraged.

And let me tell you…these women are a hoot! Not only have I enjoyed learning from them, but I have loved laughing with them! They are a real treat! On top of that, women that have previously participated in this program were there each night to help serve as well...simply because they believe in and love the truths that are taught. What a testimony! I have met some wonderful women and am excited about these new friendships.

I am very thankful for everyone who hosted, served, cooked, prayed, shared and taught (and for my husband who also thought it was great AND had the girls bathed and in bed by the time I got home each night ...Thank you, Steve!). And I am especially grateful that God placed this desire on the hearts of these women. I know they will get some extra sparkly jewels in their crowns:) A celebration dinner culminates the program in a couple of weeks with all the women and their husbands. I can't wait!

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Daddy of Little Girls

A Daddy of little girls...


reads bedtime stories at night, even if it is the same Barbie book 7 nights straight



gets little girls ready for church so Mommy can get herself ready




and perfects his gymnastics skills.


A Daddy of little girls often has to force, I mean, encourage indoor-lovin' little girls to get outside...even if they say they don't want to, but come back talking about how great it was...



or do whatever is necessary for outdoor-lovin' little girls



A Daddy of little girls also thinks it's perfectly okay for really little girls to just strip down and swing when it's blazin' hot outside...



And he knows that little boys aren't the only ones who might find a tree stand entertaining...

even if it's only in the driveway



A Daddy of little girls gets to experience a lot of silliness...






and even more drama...






But most of all...a Daddy of little girls loves those little girls with all his heart




I know Daddies of little boys do all that stuff too, but we're not really experienced with little boys 'round here:)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

No Greater Joy



I have great news to share! Anna Clare asked Jesus into her heart last week. We are so happy and thankful that she made the most important decision of her life! She has been saying things over the past few weeks that made me think this day was coming. Steve thought it would be a good idea to let her go talk to our pastor and ask any questions that she might have. They went, and Steve said it was a great conversation. Our pastor told Steve that he felt like God was preparing her heart and to not be surprised if she came to us soon.

I am writing this next part so I will never forget how God worked in my heart that day. He convicted me 3 times that same day in 3 very distinct ways. On the morning that she was going to meet with our pastor, I was talking with a friend whom I consider to be a spiritual mentor. I told her that while I was very excited, I was a little concerned that Anna Clare might be too young to understand what it means to be a Christian, and that I just didn’t know if she was “ready.” I went on to tell her how I was 9 years old when I accepted Christ, and I remember coming home from church on a Sunday night crying because I knew right then that I wanted Jesus. Her advice to me was “Don’t try to write the script for her story.” Wow! Has anyone ever spoken a word to you that you knew you would never forget? That was exactly what I needed to hear because that is exactly what I was doing. I hung up the phone in tears and prayed that I had not been discouraging to Anna Clare in any way.

Earlier that morning, I had emailed my dad letting him know that she was going to meet with our pastor and to ask him to pray for her. When I checked my email later that day, he told me how thrilled and excited he was for her. His advice was to “never hinder the Spirit…if she is cautioned to wait until she is older, she might easily become discouraged and her boldness and convictions could be weakened. If she loses that boldness, she may never get it back.” Convicted. Again. Anna Clare is shy and a bit insecure, and the last thing she needs is to lose what little boldness she has…especially a boldness for Jesus. Again, I prayed, thanking God that I had not said anything to her that might have hindered her.

Finally, as I was reading the lesson for a mentor program/Bible Study that I am doing with some ladies in our church, this verse jumped off the page at me. Matthew 19:14. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” DO NOT HINDER…I honestly could not believe that this verse was in this lesson on this day. I am so thankful that I serve a forgiving God who knows my heart and knows that I would never, ever intentionally hinder my child’s heart.

All of this happened on a Monday. I spent the week praying for Anna Clare and for whatever His plan (not mine) was for her. The following Sunday afternoon, she asked Jesus to come into her heart. I am so grateful that God worked in my heart prior to her decision so that when that moment came, I was able to experience pure, unbridled joy. His grace is sufficient.

I think Steve summed it up best. We try to make it complicated. We tend to think that it can’t be simple. But it is. Jesus died on a cross so that we could be set free. It is that simple for anyone who believes.

We are not sure when she will publicly profess her faith or when she will be baptized. Jesus will lead her. Right now, I am just praising Him that our daughter’s eternity is secured in Heaven, and I am soaking up all God is teaching me through the faith of a little child.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My little big 1st grader





The first-day-of-school morning began bright and early. Anna Clare was in my room at 6:15 with a happy "Good Morning!" I knew she was excited because she was sleeping till 8:30 or 9:00 all summer. I surprised her with a little treat...breakfast on a tray in my bed. She thought that was simply fantastic!




This summer she and her daddy planted some sunflower seeds. There was one pretty one left and she asked if she could take it to her teacher.




Little sister had no clue what was about to hit her!



So sweet...but still clueless




Maybe starting to get an idea...




AC and her precious teacher




We are very excited about this year. God is so good!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

All ready with no place to go!


Someone else thought they were off to 1st grade too this morning. She was sobbing as they pulled out of the driveway. Let's just say "where'd my sissy go?" has been the question of the day! Carline can't come fast enough...we miss Sissy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Can you guess what today was?


1st day of 1st grade! What a memorable day! We love our school, our teachers, our class, and our friends! Most of all we love our God and thank Him for sweet blessings such as these! Pictures to come...it has been a great day, but a long one!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sweetness

video

Monday, August 3, 2009

Golf with Daddy








Steve took these pictures with his cell phone while they were on a daddy/daughter outing on Saturday. And, yes, she picked out these red "Dorothy" shoes from the "dress-up" box. Can you tell?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Party Pictures


Better late than never....Here are some pictures from Owen's 2nd birthday party. Yes, it was in May. Yes, it is now July. Yes, I am a slacker summer blogger. I am so impressed by all of you who are putting up new posts every day! Maybe I will get back to my "once-a-week" posts soon! Anyway, we had a fun family "cupcake" party right here at home ...enjoy!


the birthday girl...



the big sister...


the food...we did a late morning brunch



the cake...made by my mom and my sister



the candles...







Sweet Cousins Emme and Eb...


Our family...



Cupcake cookies that G.G. brought for party favors




Modeling her new swimsuit...



OK...show us the back...



Trying out G.G.'s sand and water table




Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July!!!