Saturday, December 31, 2005


You all a Happy New Year, 2006!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Tree topper and Teagan ornaments...

Tree trimmings and thoughts too.

If someone had told me when I was holding Teagan for the first time after giving birth to her on March 18th, 1997 that I would be making Christmas ornaments to honor her memory in less than 5 years, I would never have believed it. Ever. I was head over heels for her the moment I laid eyes on her...and not once in her life did I ever think of her death. Most of us moms are fortunate to have healthy babies that thrive and grow and make us happy and stretch our patience and teach us new things and bring more joy to our lives than we ever had before. Kids just do that. Most of the time.
But Teagan was different. She had a way about her. Her smile could right any wrongs she committed. When I would ask her what she wanted for breakfast sometimes she would answer, "Whip cream."...and on more than one occasion I took the Reddi-Whip out of the fridge, she opened wide and got squirts of whipped cream to start her day. I don't know why I did it. In the back of my mind I was thinking, "this is terrible- what kind of mother gives her daughter whipped cream for breakfast?". But the other part of me was saying, "If I was her I'd think I had the best Mom ever! Besides, it's part of the dairy food group, isn't it?" And that's the way it was with Teagan. I broke a lot of my own rules without really knowing why. Now when I look back on the memories of her life and the person she was I think there was a reason I did things like that. Maybe somehow God was giving me those moments because He knew I didn't have much time with her. I know that Teagan had mostly joy in her life...and she brought more joy to mine than I ever dreamed a kid could bring. I was lucky to have her for 4 and a half years. I still consider myself lucky- even though she's gone- that her spirit still inspires me and her memories still bring me joy. Sometimes I pull the can of Reddi-whip from the fridge and it brings a smile to my face. Or it might be a song. Or a smell. Or the leaves changing colors. Or simply something in a shade of purple. Teagan's memory is never more than a thought away- and although my heart aches from missing her - I know she has made me a better person...and I would not trade a minute of her life in mine for anything!
All that to say, here are a couple of ornaments that I made when I first decorated the Barbie tree for the charity auction. At that time I had no idea I would be getting the tree back- so I wanted to make sure that the recipient knew who was responsible for the design and for them to put her face with the tree. I used some of my scrapbooking materials and laminated them- 4 years ago. they've held up did the Angel Barbie tree topper. Today I put the tree away for another year, and it makes me realize how fast time really does go by for all of us. I've now celebrated as many Christmas's with Teagan as I have without her. I think back on the time I had with her and wish I could soak up another hug or stroke her hair- knowing that I won't have the chance to do that much longer. Instead, she's now my Angel-in-waiting, and I smother my other kids with hugs and kisses and I "breathe them in"- never taking them for granted. I hope you can learn from me how precious your loved ones are...and for the ones whose memories you hold close- to allow them to inspire the person you are each day. I think that's part of the connection we all share, in this world and beyond. Those are my thoughts today. As always, you may leave a comment and I will even write you back if you like!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Blogging can be good for your lips...

Did you know that? I've met interesting people through this mode of communication- one of which sent me a package of lip balms and glosses after a comment about my husband not liking any products out there. How fun is that? So, in case you are one of the skeptics, who wonders who really is at the other end of the computer- blogging about life, scrapbooking, kids, religion, lip balms or whatever- see for yourself that most of us are really fairly normal, well-adjusted individuals. We like putting our mundane stories out there for other people to glean what they may from them...we seek to connect with those people with similar or very different interests. And sometimes when we take a step out in faith that these people have only true intentions we get back good things. Like a fun package of lip balms. {Thanks K-30 something!}

Sunday, December 25, 2005

I'm not that religious...

...just in case you were thinking that I was based on my previous post. I still put up Christmas trees in my house and Santa stops by on Christmas Eve and I probably should even give more money to charitable agencies than I do. It's about finding a balance and realizing meaning within. That goes for a lot of things for me in life~ including Christmas.
I definitely have a strong belief as you can tell- but I also like to have fun and create memories for my family within certain boundaries of that belief. Today it was about being together, being grateful for so many gifts we have received- many of those "gifts" are not things- but much more than that, and it was also about letting go of what I felt Christmas had to be. For us that meant we had very low expectations and demands on our day. We spent our time together, enjoying one another and making gingerbread houses too. I think it was a day well worth remembering.

Happy HolyDay.

Christmas is to me a day to remember that God became flesh as He had promised to do- so that He could bring salvation to ALL people of this world. He is our Light in darkness. It's amazing for me to realize that God wanted to redeem me from sin and hell. He must think we are all something really amazing and special to go to all the trouble to come to earth, be like one of us, and then die for us- to save us for all eternity. It's beyond my human thoughts to understand how or why He would do this.
But Christmastime reminds me that He did. The angels told His coming and sang to announce His birth. The shepherd saw the angels, heard the message of Jesus' birth and ran to see for themselves that the story was true. Their lives were forever changed that day. The same was for the wise men. They worshipped a King- born in a stable. And countless others have been changed throughout history because of this tiny babe born in Bethlehem so many years ago.
I am happy to say that I too am a changed person because of the birth, life, death and resurrection of this baby named, Immanuel- "God with us". I still forget from time to time, and sin and live in a way that's not pleasing to this King. But He forgives me and loves me the way I am. It makes me want to live a life worthy of His greatness. And that, my friends is what Christmas means to me. Hope you and yours have very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas scrapping.

It's been awhile since I posted on the topic of scrapping- so for all of you scrappers- enjoy! This is my 3 year old, Isabella. She is generally very outgoing in front of the camera and I find that kids can look really "fake" when they smile too big. In this shot I had taken a few pictures- just so she'd settle down about the whole picture-taking event and then I handed her a star. I asked her to sing a Christmas song for me and by the time she got to "no crib for a bed", I got this photo. This is a totally digital layout, done with products from the Berry Merry Christmas kit from Heather Ann Designs. Check out her site if you are new to digital scrapbooking. She would be more than happy to help you out! I've got more packages to wrap, postmark and get in the mail- so I must run. Oh yeah- just so you know- some of you will be getting our other pictures soon. Either email or if you're really lucky, by real postal mail. I love mail! Happy few more days til Christmas.

Picture of us.

Me and Chip. Together, alone in a picture. It's ironic that you spend the first day of your life together {your wedding day} taking so many pictures that your mouths hurt from smiling so much. And then over the course of the next several years- 10 so far in our case- you rarely find opportunities to get pictures together. Wait. That's because we have so many kids. If we didn't have kids we'd probably have a lot of pictures of us, alone, together. I wouldn't trade my kids for anything- but I am happy that we had a picture snapped of us in which we are both smiling, have our eyes open and both like ourselves in the shot. That's a minor miracle to pull off. Must be my new camera. It's making me happy already! That's all for today. Happy 4 days til Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Na, na, nana nana you say it's your birthday...

Nana, na na, nana it's my birthday too. I'm a year older today than I was yesterday- which I always find a funny concept. I got lots of hugs, kisses, sweet gifts and dinner out Chip. {Thanks, Rachael!!} I almost bought the cutest white feather mini Christmas tree at Marshall Fields. It's marked 50% off- and my dear Grandmas sent birthday cards with money in them this week. Why is it I couldn't bring myself to buy this little tree- that would make me happy just looking at it- that would add some major "funk-factor" to my otherwise dull mantel in the living room- and that would only cost me like $18.00? What is wrong with me?? I'm 33 now and still need to learn to enjoy and embrace those moments in my life that present themselves. Okay. Now that I have typed it all out and I don't have the feathery branches of that little tree gracing my mantel, I realize I made the first mistake of my life since turning 33. At least I am a quick learner...and maybe, just maybe I will get the chance to get back to the store and get my hands on a little tree. To all you fans of mine out there- wish me luck. Or just wish me happy birthday. I'm still a lucky person either way. Here's to hoping I'll be posting a picture of a white feather tree soon!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Kid pics...

Here are two pictures of what promises to be many more to come. The more I learn about my new camera, the more I will be shooting and thus posting pictures for your viewing pleasure. I'm hoping these kidlets are so wonderful for my birthday that I won't have to be a "bad mommy" even once tomorrow. When I say bad- it's because I do things like take away the 3 lb. bag of opened brown sugar from Ava as she heads to the living room. Nope. Tomorrow I'm all about being good. Even if nobody else is...wish me luck!

Gotta love a Christmas birthday!

As we near Christmas most of you are finishing things on your to-do list, making travel plans, attending holiday parties and wrapping gifts. I do that stuff plus have a birthday thrown in on top of all that. I'm okay with a "Christmas birthday" because it's been that way since I was born- so I'm kind of used to it by now.
My birthday is tomorrow and I'll be 33. Old to some of you, in my prime for others, and just a 'young pup' to the rest of you. I'm younger than the cast members of the former hit show "Friends"- but most of the time I feel much older. Probably because I've been married for 10 years and have had 5 kids. That alone makes one feel old. Not 'bad old'- just experienced old.
I have had a great year being 32 and posted one of my proudest moments- me with a big batch of Buttercream icing. The world would be a better place if we all ate more buttercream- I'm sure of that. It's got something in it that just makes you smile and feel good all over.
The second picture is me and my girls. Including 'my girl', Rachael. She's like part of the family and I am so happy she's been in my life this past year. I've been blessed with friendship & family and those are what ultimately matter in this life. So, for my birthday this year, I am hoping for another year like this last one- only me being a better me, enjoying happy, healthy kids, hubby, friends and maybe an occasional batch of buttercream! And if you want to know what else you can get me- you can always send an e-gift certificate from Starbucks,, Red Envelope, Oprah's Boutique, the Gap, Shabby Shoppe, Pottery Barn, Godiva, Bath & Body, Smashbox cosmetics...or QVC. Just a few ideas for you. {Ahem. Chip}

Friday, December 16, 2005

New Baby in the house...

Here it is. My kids are going to like me even less than before. I've been researching and ready to purchase a new camera for quite awhile now- but stopped short because of the money involved- I was having a hard time justifying spending $1000 or more on what for me is just an obsessive hobby in the making.
So, with this purchase I can still sleep at night and not worry about having to eat ramen noodles everyday because I spent my grocery budget for the next 4 months. I was able to get this camera- the latest Sony DSC-R1 (10.3 megapixels) without spending a dime. So to speak. We cashed in a load of Sonypoints from the Visa card we use and I couldn't be happier about this item. I have been shooting a SOny Cybershot 4.0 for the past 4 years- which was a top not point and shoot at the time from Sony. I also got that "free" by cashing in reward points. At least all our spending gets a stuff once in awhile. So, this newest model isn't the latest/greatest Canon I was hoping for- but it has a lot of neat features and it certainly is an upgrade from my former camera- which I still plan to use quite a bit- at the beach, out and about with the kids and I can still let the kids use it to aquire photography skills. I think you are all going to be seeing a lot of photos at this site now. I am happy to say that by practicing patience, I have saved at least $1000, I have learned that God provides- even for things that are just hobby-related, and I now have cause to snap pictures of my kids doing anything and everything- all in the name of "learning the in's and out's" of my new baby. One of my greatest quotes has been and will continue to be, "There is no such thing as too many pictures". I'm sticking to that belief all the way!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Some days...

I haven't had much sleep the past few nights and that always makes my days feel longer. I am just jotting down a quick note just so you know that I've been over here today. My thoughts are kind of scattered and so I'm going to keep it simple and write down 3 things I am thankful for at this moment. The first is BIG- this is big! 1)Nobody threw up at my house today!! That is always a blessing to me and something most of you nary give thought to. 2)That I have words in my vocabulary such as "nary". I would rarely use a word like that when I am speaking- but love when they surface when I write this blog. It's like me only different. And different can be a good thing sometimes. 3)I am grateful for arms to hold my loved ones close. I love hugging my children and getting a tight squeeze right back. I love hugging Chip too but don't do it nearly as often as I should. So, I'm off to do that now. And hopefully I'll get a good long sleep in before sunrise as well.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Never take a moment of this life for granted.

In case you haven't learned this lesson or put it into practice recently, heed it today. A very dear friend of mine has lost her best friend in the world tonight. It happened suddenly and it has reaffirmed the reality of life to me. Which is this. Life has no guarantees. Anyone of us could be gone tomorrow. We are not promised our next breath- but it is something that is second nature to most and we never give it much thought.
I want you to tell someone today how much you love them. That you would miss them in your life if they were gone. Don't forget to laugh once in awhile or to do something spontaneous- it will be those memories that you will cling to when the time comes for you to say goodbye.
And most importantly, I hope that you have assurance of Heaven. I hope you know without a doubt that if you were to die at anytime your next breath would be breathed in Heaven. If you're not sure where you would go, I urge you to email me so that we can find out together. It's easy to say "Live life to the fullest" and then get overwhelmed trying to do it all and pile up debt and stress in the process. I think it's most important to touch the lives of those you love most in a meaningful way so that your life leaves a print on their hearts forever.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Barbie Tree.

I had mentioned in an earlier post that I would write in detail about my Christmas tree. I have tried to scan a picture so that you could visualize it in real life- but I must have a bulb out or something, because the scanner is not doing what it usually does.
So, here is the legacy of the Barbie Christmas tree, that you'll have to use your imagination to "see". That first Christmas I faced without my daughter, Teagan was approaching 4 years ago and I was an emotional time bomb. I was still dealing with my own physical problems (muscle/tissue and nerve damage) plus reeling with grief, on top of trying to regain a sense of "normalcy" in our home. That meant living with traumatic stress disorder in my young son, nightmares and headaches for myself, intense physical/occupational and speech therapy for my daughter, Wyndham and a husband recovering from an injured spleen and 8 fractured ribs.
You put yourself in that position and ask yourself "How should I celebrate Christmas this year?" I know that some of you have lost loved ones and you know that stabbing pain you feel every moment you're awake and even sometimes in your dreams. It takes a lot of happiness out of things that used to be fun...and can heap more pain on you as you imagine a favorite time of year without the physical presence of that person that made the holiday extra special. I still feel that. It doesn't stab as deep as it did that first Christmas- but it is always there. And it hurts all the time. For me it's become a lump in my throat that comes at certain times- like when the snowflakes start to appear in the air for the first time in winter. Or when I hang the stockings and I'm not sure how many to put up on the mantel. Or when someone says, "Hope this Christmas is the best one yet"...and in my heart I know it won't ever be. I've already lived the best Christmases of my life. Now they can still be special- but they will never again be the same.
Okay. I guess this is the long version of the story of the Barbie tree. I'll try to stay on track. So, that first Christmas was rougher than I imagined it would be. I cried every time I stood in line and saw someone with a child. I was missing mine. I cried when I tried to walk down the toy aisles to pick out gifts for my other 2 kids. It just plain HURT! I didn't want to think about my sad life- and the hustle and happiness of everyone around me made me feel horrible. On returning from one of these shopping trips I stepped inside the house, bawling and telling my husband Chip that it wasn't fair. As if he needed to be reminded of our situation being so horrible. I stood in the kitchen blubbering about our life and how much it sucked and how I was the unluckiest mother to never be able to buy Teagan anything Barbie and frilly again. That I just wanted to skip Christmas and turn back time to summer and get a chance to relive that fateful day. That was my one wish---and it could never come true.
Chip agreed with me on almost every statement I said...except one. He told me I could buy Teagan a bunch of Barbie stuff. He said go out and buy a bunch of stuff and instead of giving it to her- give it in her memory to Toys for Tots. The idea lifted my spirit right there. I mentioned the idea to a friend who asked us instead to donate and decorate a tree for a community charity auction. You know the kind. Black tie event where you bid on trees and then the money goes to a certain fund. We were all over the idea. I signed up and went to work.
We ended up creating a foundation in Teagan's name [The Teagan Ferlaak Memorial Foundation] and decorated and donated a tree. We called it "Teagan's Dream Tree" and it was covered top to bottom in pink/silver and purple balls, Barbie toys, lipgloss, real life Barbie dolls- including an "Angel" Bride Barbie on top. It had white glittery tinsel and pink strings of beads. I made ornaments with Teagan's picture on them- her smiling face lit up that tree. I walked up and down the Barbie aisles with tears in my eyes- but this time I had a greater purpose and it helped to ease the pain I was feeling. I even got to hear a couple of little girls exclaim that some other girl was going to have the best Christmas ever. It made me realize that in fact Teagan would be having her best Christmas ever. She would be celebrating with the real angels in Heaven and singing to Jesus- to whom we owe our praise and worship this time of year and all the year through! She was a lucky girl indeed.
It took me 2 afternoons to get the tree just right. It was the first tree that you saw when you entered the hall. Chip and I decided we had to dress up and attend the event. It would be good to get out of the house and socialize and pretend that we were a happy couple for a few hours. We went and were having a nice evening. The Barbie tree was auctioned off last. The event planners called it the "Belle of the Ball". It took top dollar- raising $1500.00. We were very proud and it made me realize that even in the middle of my pain and grief I could create joy. I have tried to adopt that idea as kind of a life mission statement. That even though life doesn't always go my way, or when there is unfair suffering and pain, that I can feel that. But I can't let that determine how I live. I've learned and am still learning that life can have some very dark valleys- but there is always a path out of them. And the sooner I search for it- the sooner I lift myself out of those depths. There is joy in any circumstance- sometimes you have to make it yourself- like the Barbie tree.
Here's the point of this whole story. I was ready to sit home, pout, sulk, cry and feel really sorry for myself and depressed that others were enjoying all the fun. Instead, my husband and I had a very nice evening out. [Side story here: I found out the morning of that event that I was pregnant with another baby- and the due date was the anniversary of the day Teagan died. How's that for a twist in all we were going through?! By the way- we were not planning or trying or ever thinking of having another baby- especially at this point in our lives. In fact, there had only been like half a chance that it could have even been possible for me to get pregnant at this time- and it actually happened. That's when I knew God was still in control of ALL we were going through.] Oh yeah.
I told Chip that we were having a baby that night too. He TOTALLY didn't believe me. I don't remember how I finally convinced him- but I do remember he grinned the first smile I had seen on his face that came from real happiness...and he hugged me not out of our pain and grief- but out of the joy we realized we still had available to us in this life. It was a memoriable night for both of us- and when the bidding was done on the tree it made us so proud that our pain had brought a nice amount of money- for a great cause. The story then came full circle. I had shed several tears as I decorated the tree. I thought of Teagan and the way her eyes would have sparkled had she stood in front of my creation for her. I imagined the way she might have been telling her new friends in Heaven about her Mommy making her the greatest tree ever for her. I cried for myself and the way I was able to move through my pain.
The following morning after the event, the Barbie tree was delivered to our home- it was placed in our living room decorated top to bottom just as I had left it the night before. The man who bid and won the tree said that he couldn't bear the thought of anyone else having the tree. He said it belonged to our family and he was thrilled to be able to give it back. That is how we came to get a Barbie Christmas tree. I put it up again this year- only with most of the Barbie items packed away. It still has pink and silver balls and sparkly white tinsel and pink strings of beads. But I am saving the Barbies to put in my girls stockings this year. I still see Teagan "in that tree" and my heart still aches that she has never helped to put it up with me. But it is a visual reminder to me that when you choose to do something good in this world- even if the source of that goodness comes from pain or hurt- it will always yield a beautiful result.
Keep that in mind as you walk through your own circumstances in life. There will be pitstops and roadblocks and dark valleys- but there is always something beautiful along the way. Even if you have to plant your own roses to smell along the way. The fragrance of your efforts is your joy and reward. And yes, Chip and I did have the baby that I told him about that night the following July. She's our Isabella Teagan- born 4 days before the first annivesary of losing Teagan. Her likeness to Teagan is remarkable, her attitudes and behaviors as well. And we wouldn't trade a minute of her life for anything!
I think this post is lengthy enough for a day or two- in case I don't blog again 'til Monday. Enjoy the blessings that await you this season. They are there for the taking...and giving as well!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

One of the purposes of my life.

I have come to realize that the basic purpose of my life the past 4 years up til today is to make other peoples' lives look easy. Remember the sermon I warned you about yesterday and you read it anyway? Well, today if you keep reading this you will walk away feeling very happy with the way things are going in your life. I'm almost sure of it. Read on if you want a little spring in your step- or renewed gratitude in your heart.
I am the first to agree that life indeed has its ups and downs- phases, pathways, sidesteps and all the euphamisms one can think of for this adventure we call life. However, mine sometimes get a bit extreme. I will recap the last 62 or so hours of my life to point out them out for you. If you don't like body functions or get grossed out easily, I suggest you just speed read to the end of this post.
Tuesday night. I showed you a smiling picture of me and a couple of my cuties making Christmas cookies. Mentioned that in the other room daughter had thrown up. Okay. So Wyndham is my almost 5 year old who has ongoing issues related to a closed-head injury she sustained as a small infant. We have bouts of her vomiting for any number of reasons off and on- it's sort of commonplace in our home now. That night was not unusual for us as she had a start of a cold and coughing for her can cause vomiting- it just does. She was coughing some through the night Tuesday night- but nothing serious. We woke up Wednesday morning and had her skip therapy and preschool- just so she wouldn't get more worn down- and because we didn't want her to throw up on someone else. We are very thoughtful people- her Daddy and I. =)
However, when I went to Isabella's room Wed. morning (after making cookies the night before) it smelled bad. I know that smell- "huh?" I thought. It smells like puke. Yep. I'm right. Bella had gotten sick in the night- threw up all over her bed and self...and slept anyway. So, first thing I start a nasty load of laundry (should mention here that I have that huge Maytag Neptune know- can wash 10 pair of jeans and 2 comforters at a time...that Neptune), and then stick Bella in the tub. It's about 8:12 am. Bella is fine the rest of the day. No tummy aches- eats her meals- she acts just like her usual spitfire self. I am happy about that.
Wyndham not so happy. She's still stuffed up- coughing and has little appetite. She's alright after a long nap- but not quite her usual self. I proceed to do 4 loads of laundry throughout the day- with one yet to go when I climb into bed last night.
This is getting really long, I know- but you want to really feel good about your own life, right?!
Here we are today. Thursday morning and I wake up and start laundry. Wyndham throws up a little bit after cough attack at breakfast. So, I start my second load of laundry. She took a long nap and woke up perkier- and was very thirsty and even had a little bit to eat. I was happy about that. Until an hour and a half later when she throws up on my bedroom hardwood floors. I give her a bath, and start more laundry- meanwhile my youngest daughter, Ava pours (okay she's not even 2 so I should say "spills") yogurt smoothie drink on living room floor. Um, oh yeah, it was blackberry and my carpet isn't lavender in my living room- so you could definitely see it. Get that cleaned up- next dinner time. I decide to put Wyndham on a bed to watch a video and rest while the rest of us finish dinner. I get back to the table and Ava has mashed potatoes and bananas smooshed in her hair.
Next on my agenda- bathtime...and more laundry- clothes, bathtowels...that kind of stuff. Was just going to get Ava out of tub when Bella asked to join her- so she jumps in. I start folding laundry- that's when Bella yells about "poopies in the tub". No- not puppies. Uh huh. Ava. So, I get them out- clean tub- then get the girls back in for another quick rinse. I put their jammies on and stuck them in front of the video and went to get Wyndham ready for bed. Yep.
She threw up all over the other bathroom. Floor, rugs, toilet seat cover, self, me...not pretty. By the way- I had just gotten out of the tub with Ava-B.P. (Before poopies). So, Wyndham goes in the tub- I actually just sat down and looked at the mess and actually cried. I rarely cry anymore- even though I'm a woman and have hormones. I just don't. I complain a lot- but rarely cry. I'm thinking, all I've done is laundry and baths and cleaned all day and when I look around I have more mess than when I started. Dishes in the kitchen- dishwasher needs to be emptied and then filled...more laundry and baths...and I smell like puke. This is my life for real if you were to walk in my house around 7 pm.
I gather myself, clean the bathroom while Wyndham's in the tub. Next, I get her partially dried off and am happy that I have enough clean towels in my closet to do so many baths...and then she starts throwing up again. Uh huh. All over the floor I just cleaned, the towels I just pulled from the closet, herself, me. Not pretty. This time I don't even cry. I think, "wow. I am going to have some authentic material to blog about tonight. Someone is going to be very happy with their life when they finish reading about mine."
It's 10:18. I just threw in my 9th Maytag Neptune-sized load of laundry in 48 hours, took a second bath since 7, and have 4 clean kids tucked in bed. Hubby is still at work...and will probably wonder why the dishwasher is only half emptied. He'll probably tell me I should blog a little less. I will smile- because I understand the purpose of my life. It's to make yours look easy. And just so you know, my husband is a good guy and has been through a lot of this mucky life stuff with me. He does some laundry when he's home...and in case he reads this, I must say, he is very lucky that I don't engage my hormones as often as I could. Hope you had a great day.
I came back and had to add a quick note after scrolling down my blog. I think it's funny that I recently had a post titled "the good ol' days". I guess that includes puke and poopies and laundry and dishes in the sink. That's what I call the "nitty gritty" these days. Stuff that happens- just does. That's my challenge in life these days- to not let it get me down- even when I can't control everything that happens. If you could see me right now I'd bet you'd never be able to guess what I did all day. And I don't even smell bad. I love that God helps me to be bigger than my circumstances- He is good about that most of the time!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

My Christmas Sermon...

So, you are reading this post, even though I stated upfront in the title that it's a sermon. You do know what a sermon is, don't you? It's a lesson, I guess. This one will have religious tones- and hopefully will make you pause and think for a moment afterward. Keep in mind that I do not hold a theology degree- but have read much of the Bible and try to live according to its principles. I have a personal relationship with God...but I still make mistakes, sin (at least once everyday!), I don't have all the answers and I even question why certain things happen to me and my family. If you still want to read my "sermon"- here it is. [Taken from a Christmas letter I sent out in 1999. Some of you might recall it. My daughter, Teagan, was 2 and a 1/2 at the time.]

As I pulled out a moss-covered nativity scene to use as part of my holiday decorations Teagan exclaimed, "Oooo- a clubhouse! Baby Jesus is in a clubhouse!" I laughed at her excitement and told her that it was not exactly a clubhouse, but a stable. Like a barn. Over the past few days I kept thinking why? Why a dusty stable? God chose to have Jesus born there. It was no accident.
Here are my random thoughts as to why: 1) God chose a stable so that His Son could touch all people. Think about it- if Jesus had been born in a beautiful palace, would the Shepherds have been able to see Him? God would have excluded those people who think that they're not good enough or rich enough to receive Jesus.
2) On the otherhand, God wasn't out to impress anyone. God did not need to prove His worth in order that certain persons would accept Him. Remember the Christmas story? Not only did the Shepherds come to see Jesus in the manger, but the King sent the Wise Men too. God wants our salvation to come out of our love for His Son...not on what we might receive. Although accepting Jesus makes one a child of the King, it's because of a relationship- not a monetary inheritance.
3) A stable is a very humble birthplace. God offered His Son in such a humble manner- which shows the magnitude of His grace. We don't deserve salvation, as we all have sinned, yet God sent Jesus to us with no strings attached. He just asks that we believe in Him. So, the stable, rather than a clubhouse or a palace makes the most sense. God offers His Son to us, not based on wealth or to a limited membership with lots of rules, purely because He loves us. And I believe that's what the true spirit of Christmas means. God gave His greatest gift- Jesus, not wanting or expecting anything in return, but simply because He is Love.
With so much commercialization that this holiday season offers, it's only appropriate that we should take a moment and pause to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. What an amazing thought- that Jesus is a gift of love from God to you! Enjoy the true miracle of the season this year.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sprinkles and all.

Christmas is fast approaching and I am still working on my Christmas cards, shopping, baking and savoring the season. Having little ones around the home makes it both challenging and yet more exciting at the same time. Here's a quick snapshot of a few of us making cookies- an all important part of the holiday preparartions. And for those of you who thought it was a bright idea to do "authentic life scrapbooking"...I've yet to try it. Tonight would have been perfect for such a project. Picture: In one room, daughter coughing, vomiting and creating a mess. Just around the corner: sisters eating cookie dough and dumping too many sprinkles on the cookies. In the middle of it all: A mom somehow making it all work out in a house in dire need of a good cleaning. That's pretty much how it was at my place tonight. You get the nice, "clean" version here. I'll work on that other stuff later. By the way, I plan to reprint portions of a Christmas letter I sent out a few years ago. It was practically a sermon. You won't want to miss that!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

These are the "good ol' days"!

How cute is this? These are two of my munchkins, Brock and Wyndham, that I tried to get posed for a picture last week. I sat them next to one another and told Brock to put his arm around Wyndham and "sit close together." When I couldn't get them to look at me and sit nice I decided to let them giggle and do their thing. Wyndham then pushed Brock down and laughed when he tried to wrestle with her. I told them to look at me again...and this is the shot I got. Totally tells the story about the brother/sister bond. It's about having fun and teasing and making the other one laugh or cry. We have a lot of all of that around our house. One day I will miss all the noise and clutter. I'll have peace and quiet and wonder where these days went. So, for now, even though I'm busy and stressed sometimes and feel like I do a lousy job as a Mom on most days, I treasure every moment. And when I hear the laughter and see smiles on their faces, the I know there's love here. That's what matters. And hopefully that is what they'll remember.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Lotta fluff out there.

So I find when I read other blogs that it seems like most people are living a charmed life. I don't claim to have a horrible life- but I just feel like people in general stress out about a lot of things that aren't really that "stressworthy". [Did I just make up that word?]
Don't take me wrong. I love funny. I love ideas. I love passion about a good cause. But I'm thinking that I'm trying to hard with this blog- and thinking too far outside the box that it might be scaring some of you good people away. I mean, maybe I should just ask for your feedback on my hairstyle- like I saw on one site. Or congratulate JCrew for not selling fur anymore. Or stick to showing you pictures of my cutie kids and their smiling faces- when I catch them at their best.
To blog, or not to blog. That is my dilemma. I'll let you know what I decide at a later post. By the way, if you have a specific topic/question or issue you would like to see me address, by all means, spell it out in the comments and I'd be happy to respond. That's it. And you thought by the title of this post I was going to write about a big December snowstorm. I didn't even think about that til just now.