Dec 18, 2008

A Shepherd's Pouch

It's hard to teach our kids about giving, when at the same time, we're asking them what they want for Christmas. We're bombarded with the "latest and greatest toy" commercials, wants and wish lists. I want to learn to be a better giver myself. I've had my wish lists written right along with the kids...not that there's anything wrong with that. I don't think any of us enjoy shopping aimlessly around the stores. I just don't want it to be the main focus, constantly turning over and over again in the kid's thoughts. A few years ago, Dad and Mom introduced the "Samaritan's Purse" to all the grandchildren. They asked the kids if they would be willing to give up some presents that they would receive from their grandparents so that other children in need could have something. It was a resounding "YES!" from all of them. It was so cute to see them all crowded around Grampy's computer with excitement, watching a video of these precious little ones receiving "their gift." It brought tears to my eyes as you heard each volunteer hand a gift to a child and say, "Jesus loves you." That ministry really opened up our kid's minds to other children in need. Recently, I read about something called, "The Shepherd's Pouch." The idea is that each child earns their own money and stores it in their own pouch. When they've met their giving goal, they bring it to us and ask us to give it to a charity of their choice. It helps them to be in tune with other people's needs around them, and hopefully it will cause them to look for opportunities to help.

Mary sewed her own little pouch.

Our prayer is that these little ideas will help cultivate a spirit of giving, and grow with them into adulthood. It has been neat to see the kid's excitement about it, and really precious to talk with them about their ideas. (oh, and it's always nice to have the extra help around the house, too. :o)

Dec 15, 2008

Welcome to Iceland?

Friday morning we woke up to ice. We had a huge ice storm. At first, it was exciting and gorgeous to look at. It looked like everything was encased in glass.

Ice as far as you can see in this picture. It sparkled like diamonds. It truly was a beautiful site!

Every blade of grass covered in ice.

Even the berries were trapped inside ice.

The excitement of the storm was short lived. Now, we had to face the ugly part of it.

We lost power for 3 days. Later, we found out that we were declared as being in a "state of emergency." We were just one out of over 350,000 homes without power. We lived like the Ingalls family during the good ole pioneer days for those 3 days...ok, maybe not totally roughing it, we had the generator running. Thankfully, we still had heat and water. As much of a pain it was to not have power, it really caused me to be thankful for all the little things that I take for granted. I'm thankful that our experience wasn't worse. (some are still without power and generators to heat their homes) I'm thankful for a generator! I'm thankful for the sweet family memory we made sitting in the quietness of our home surrounded by candles and children. But right now, I'm feeling the most thankful that I could flip on a lightswitch today!

Dec 5, 2008

My Christmas header

Allie and I were having fun with a photo program online. We decided to take an old photo of the kids and turn the beach scene into a snowy one. It got fun when we threw in a couple of Santa and elf hats.... WAAAALLLLAHH, instant Christmas photo. :o)

Dec 1, 2008

Tis the Season

11 snowflakes fell from the sky and this is what the kids did.

And this is what I did...

Hey, it's December 1st, folks! Tis the season to be jolly! This weekend was jolly indeed. We decided to put up the Christmas tree. I took periodic pictures as it was going up. Now, you can scroll through really fast, and see it go up in 1.3 seconds. It's sort-of like those flip cartoon books we had as kids. I like to provide you all with a little entertainment here on "blogging memories." :o)

First things first. It's our tradition to break open the egg nog on tree decorating night. Personally I can't stand the stuff. I don't know if it's the thickness of the drink, or just the word "egg" in it that gives me the dry heaves. Annie and Matt slug it down like a hot, sweaty basketball player at half time. Again, that thought alone is making me heave a little. (sorry mom)

Ok, get your handle scroller ready for the fastest tree decorating you've ever done...

And there ya have it.

And the night ambiance.

I love this time of the year. Right now, I'm listening to Bing Crosby sing "Silent Night." We've got the tree up, garland galore on every square inch of the house, presents hid in every corner, kids giddy with egg nog overload trying to fall asleep, and 4 snowflakes left outside on the ground. Ahhhhhhh, Christmas is here.