Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas day gifts

We had a lovely Christmas Day enjoying each others company, playing games, eating, watching movies, building forts, playing in the snow, chasing deer, taking pictures and such things. It was really a nice day even though we weren't in our own home or with other family, which felt a little strange really. We were getting ready to open gifts and I was feeling a little sad that my lovely tree was back at home when I realized the fake tree in the corner had a little green cord coming out the bottom...lights, I plugged it in and we had a makeshift Christmas tree. I had sewed the kids little doves for their Christmas ornamnet this year and so we hung them on the three...ta da!! decorations. it was a nice little gift!

Another gift was that our 10 year old with learning difficulties who hates to read out loud volunteered to read the scripture that Kelly had picked out for the morning, that was sweet. And yet another gift, everyone actually was happy with their gifts, no complaints. We had almost zero fighting that day which was a gift as well.

Noemi gave us Settlers of Catan for Christmas so we played that and loved it. She and Josiah played three games in a row by themselves. Now it's off to bed. Tomorrow we start out early to head to Focus on the Family for Sasha's birthday party, I can hardly wait to see his face. yes, I will lie to him and tell him we'll have his party when we get back just so I can see how excited he is when he finds out we're having his party there. He's one of those kids that reacts so wonderfully well to things, I can hardly wait!!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Colorado adventures

So here I am in Colorado on Christmas Eve watching Santa Claus 2 with my stinky boys. Seriously, my boys are blowing off the most disgusting gas ever. If we don't make it back home it will be because we died of nasty gas inhalation...

So the trip down wasn't too bad, the kids didn't kill each other. We didn't fall asleep, so that was good. We actually managed to fit everything, including ourselves, into the van. We made it through the border without incident. We drove through Montana and Wyoming without hardly meeting another vehicle. Then we hit Colorado! The scenery here is definately NOT like home. The mountains are red, which is different. The cities are huge, we drove through Denver and it took over half an hour on an Interstate driving at 75 MPH. I'm not sure I've ever seen a city that big. Then we got through Colorado Springs and up into the mountains to try and find our little cabin in the woods. Then we encountered a little problem.

Steep mountain road + ice + heavy vehicle that is NOT a 4WD. Can't get up to our little cabin, we try gravelling the road by hand, it didn't work. My normally very gentle husband was not a happy man, he even got upset with Elizabeth. Finally, we asked a neighbour and found out their was another road. My what a blessing that was. So we finally got here!!

Yesterday we went to Compassion International Headquarters for a kids tour. It was so amazing to go through their facilities and see what they do. To top it off they were so generous wih our kids, giving them little tiny alpacas, T'shirts that they could color, a CD and a little verse pack. It was so amazing, we were there for 2 hours. Then we headed over to the U.S. Air Force Academy Visitor's Center and the Cadet Chapel. It wasn't quite as exciting there.

Here's a cool thing, Kelly really wanted to go to a Christmas Eve service and he wanted to visit New Life Church. Unfortunately, he wasn't sure if that was the name of the church or where it was or anything. On our way to Compassion, we drove right by the church, saw the name of it AND it had a huge banner on the side that said when the Christmas Eve service was. So thank you, Jesus, for that little gift for my honey. So today we went to their service, oh my goodness, when we walked in Chris' comment was, it looks like a mall, and he was right, it is sooooooooooo big. There were about 3000 people there. Crazy. It was a lovely service complete with fake snow, dry ice and a lot of fancy lights. The music was fabulous and the message was excellent. We even got to light little candles, it was very pretty. E wasn't too impressed with the music, too loud for her little ears. So that's our adventure so far, tune in for further updates!!

Merry Christmas one and all. Don't miss the best gift on this gift list of mine. Jesus, the lover of my soul, whom we celebrate this season!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas gifts (355)

So, the preparations for leaving on our big trip continue in a flurry of activities, company, a little stress and lots of fun. My to do list is getting a little shorter and I have much to be thankful for...

343. It is a gift to see my children growing up and being able to laugh and joke and talk with them at more of a peer level than ever before.

344. I am thankful that I can see myself growing up as I learn to hold my tongue in situations where I would love to jump in and take over the reins of a project (I never used to be able to do that). It's difficult at times to see someone else struggle at something that you know you're good at and could do a better job, however, it is a much better thing to see someone struggle and then come out with something better than what they could imagine they could do.

345. It is a gift to see projects completed!!

346. I have so enjoyed my children pouring out love on their grandparents at our Christmas gatherings that we have had this week.

347. It is a gift to find activities that our family can participate in together that are FREE!!

348. It was fun to discover that Compassion International is close to Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs and we can visit both places on our holiday! Compassion has a children's tour where they talk to the children about poverty and how children live in other parts of the world, we are so looking forward to all of that. We have been talking a lot this month about poverty and our abundance. We decided as a family to fast from several things in order to identify with less fortunate families. As well, we made World Vision a part of our gift giving this year. The Compassion tour will be a great addition to our learning.

349. It was a gift to discover how much fun it is to give World Vision gifts rather than 'stuff'.

350. It was also a gift to discover how much fun it is to receive a World Vision gift - a family was given 4 hens and 2 roosters in our name this year!! How sweet is that!??

351. Focus on the Family is a gift, we are going to have an amazing birthday party for Sasha there and do all kinds of super fun activities like a huge three story slide, Odyssey recordings, lunch at Wit's End and all we pay for is what we eat!!!!!!

OKay, I really could go on and on today but I really need to get dressed and do a few more sewing projects up. I love Christmas and I am thrilled to death that we can celebrate this season with Jesus at the center. Over and over again the Lord has been reminding me that I don't need to stress, I just need to keep him at the center of my vision while I'm making preparations. That has indeed made a huge difference in all the rushing here and there this season. It is a joy (and a gift) to have the resources and the strength to be able to participate in these activities and bring baking and whatever else is needed. (352)

353. I can't fail to mention that it is a gift to have friends to spend time with (thanks VAn Loons for making the effort to come out and spend the weekend with us, what a great time we had!!). We had 12 kids here all weekend, it was noisy but so much fun!

354. Our parents are such a gift, rearranging schedules and making enormous efforts to spend time with us before we depart on our adventure. They are such a gift....

Oh, oh, oh, if I don't get back here before we leave...


Monday, December 08, 2008

10 day challenge and more (342)

So....apparently there is more than one person who reads this....there are 2, hee hee. The question was asked, "How did the 10 day challenge go?" I think I can continue on with my gift list and answer that question at the same time (does that count as a gift? why not? #333)

#334. At first I was a little discouraged because I only lost 3 pounds and a total of about 1.5 inches. Then, I was in the doctor's office waiting for a prescription to be filled and was reading an article in Prevention magazine regarding the Flat Belly diet and exercise plan. The plan from is pretty close to the Flat Belly plan and they gave an indication of what you could expect after following their plan for a month - 3 lbs and 1 inch. So...3lbs and 1.5 inches in 10 days is pretty good I think, plus I walked 40 miles...yes that's miles...not kilometers in that period of time. So considering all the information, I think it went pretty well. It was an eating plan that was actually doable, not weird food, even included McDonald's in it. You can sign up and take the 10 day challenge for free on the website (download the eating plan).

#335. I am thankful for the grace of God, it is truly a gift. There are times that I would just like to throw in the towel. I get very frustrated as a mom on occassion. Yesterday I stopped and pondered how the world would handle the frustration that I was experiencing and I realized that without the grace of God, leaning into His strength, I probably would just give up. Life just gets too hard some days, being responsible for only me would be so much easier and far too many people do just that. The grace and strength of my Saviour remind me that I am not doing this by myself nor am I expected, too. He has equipped me for the journey that I am on and will provide all I need to accomplish the tasks He sets before me. What a glorious gift my Saviour is!

#336. Because of the enlightening thoughts above and several reminders that came from various places, today was very peaceful in my little corner of the world, none of the problems that arose today shook me - that is a gift.

#337. I am one gift closer to being finished my Christmas projects.

#338. My husband took me on a date on Saturday. We went out for supper and then to a Christmas choir concert that was lovely. His mom and dad were singing in it and it was a joy to be able to bless them in something that they were participating in.

#339. Yesterday afternoon everyone was out sledding except for my youngest and oldest. The three of us curled up on the couch together and watched a movie. It isn't so often that my man-child curls up with me anymore, I eagerly accepted his gift to me yesterday.

#340. The snow, glorious white snow!!! I LOVE IT!!

#341. That hill right out our front door is a gift (especially when it is covered with snow!)

#342. Tacos for supper. A simple, healthy, quickly made meal that everyone loves. A meal with no complaining is a tremendous gift in this house.

All my sweaty sledding kids are in for supper so I'll have to quit for now. My heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness today. Blessings to all who read this, may the peace of Christ rule in your heart today.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

1000 gifts continued (332) friend and fellow-blogger kicked my butt and figured I should actually write something. I think maybe she might be the only one reading this presently because everyone else probably got bored and went on to more exciting blogs...

So I think I'm going to continue on with my 1000 gifts list...but I have to remember what number I'm on, one moment please!! So I'm on #324....

324. It is a gift to live in this community. We live in little fear of break-in, vandalism or any other violent's rather nice
325. Our church family is a gift, they are a generous and encouraging group of individuals, and generally speaking, fun to be around.
326. Shopping on the internet is a gift, I have done the vast majority of our Christmas shopping on-line, how sweet to just go pick it up at the post office, no lines, no cranky kids!
327. Friends who care about me are a gift, sometimes I forget.

328. Deuteronomy 33:12
"Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields
him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders."
What a gift it is to think of the Lord cradling me in his arms, holding me close and loving me...resting secure.
329. Psalm 90:14,
"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."
330. The word of God is truly a gift, a comfort, a wise counsellor, such an amazing gift to us.
331. Beth Moore is an amazing gift to this world, an excellent teacher of Biblical truth and profound insight, I love her Bible studies.
332. Noemi, our new German import, she is becoming more of a gift every day.