Monthly Archives: December 2014

and the word for the year is…

and the word for the year is…


I have to admit, as we all do, that sometimes joy is a hard word to come by.  I so easily get sucked in to the drama of this world (I have three girls, remember?) and let others dictate how I view my world.  Ever so slowly, I am learning that JOY is a conscious decision.  It is a decision each and every one of us has as we wake up to a new day each morning.  Others are NOT in control of your JOY or my JOY


I love to read blogs.  I really do.  In fact, I think I am really good friends with some people I have never even met in real life.  Steve finds this rather disturbing, and I get it.  And in the last three years, I have realized my love to write and document our family has been energizing to me.  By blogging, you only are shown what I want you to see.  Just like facebook and social media, you can paint your own kind of world.  Whether you show negativity or positivity–you are in control of what others see.  I can let this bother me sometimes, but in an effort to be completely transparent and in teaching my kids how to use social media appropriately, the being real factor comes in to play.  That being said, we do not paint a picture of all rainbows, unicorns, roses, and candy.  That isn’t real for us.  We have days we struggle to like each other.  We have days we wonder if it’s all worth it.  We have days we want to throw in the towel.  Days when I question my direction and what I really need to make a priority.  Days I struggle to be intentional and just want to stay in my bed not having to deal with anyone or anything.


I am going in to a coaching call this afternoon about what my goals are for the year 2015.  And you know what?  I don’t know.  I seriously just don’t know.  But one thing that remained constant and it feels like God is banging me over the head with, it that my word for this year is JOY. The Christmas napkins I chose…


Cards I have chosen…


What is God saying to me here?  What I want to see in my family is something I have to model.  Changing the way I wake up each day to an attitude of gratitude (sorry for the cliche’).  But it’s true.  To earnestly search for JOY.  And the very real realization that JOY does not mean happiness.  I have lots and lots of happiness a lot of the time.  But true JOY is not the same.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow.  How sad to miss the opportunity to have real JOY every day.  There are days to come that are not going to be fun.  I know that.  There are days to come where we may experience the deepest of all sadness and despair.  I know that.  There are days to come that are going to be the best days of our lives.  I know that. 

2015?  Bring it on.  I choose JOY.


and now to carry it through…

and now to carry it through…


20141229-114409-42249417.jpgWhy does intentional family time and fun happen mostly during the holidays?  How can we bottle up the love, joy, and happiness of this season and keep it the whole year through?


20141229-114408-42248293.jpgBeginning of the new year does not have to be a downer.  A let down.  A ho hum type of attitude, right?


Intentionality…can happen at all times.

20141229-114547-42347206.jpgCelebrating the Savior’s birth should be daily!

20141229-114546-42346719.jpgAnd celebrating the gift of family, of life, of each day should be a constant.  How can we bottle it up?

Our family has determined and declared that Christmas Eve is the best feeling.  The anticipation is still there.  Everyone is off work.  The day is relaxed and an evening of the beauty of Christmas awaits.

20141229-114725-42445631.jpgListening to your children read the Christmas story from Luke…

20141229-114727-42447174.jpgThe love…

20141229-114726-42446726.jpgEveryone smiling…

20141229-114726-42446128.jpgAnd Landon taking care of a VERY BIG need in our house.  Robes for his sisters—no more streaking with towels!!



Christmas morning together.


20141229-114904-42544609.jpgHoning in on your basketball skills to earn yourself some extra Christmas cash with a little Christmas KnockOut…I went home broke.


20141229-114905-42545058.jpgFamily game nights.


20141229-114905-42545531.jpgWe all agree that Poppyseed Roll should not be reserved just for the holiday season.  Why not a family dinner with the goodies in February?  Or May?  Or July?  and September?


20141229-114907-42547767.jpgGenerations together.


The sounds of Pit and Grandpa getting as far away from the chaos as possible.

20141229-115100-42660941.jpgOf course, computer games.

20141229-115100-42660494.jpgThis all happened in the course of just a few years!  My Dad looks stunned, doesn’t he?  😉



20141229-115101-42661391.jpgWhat do ya say we carry this the whole year through?

I almost called it off…


Rewind 18 years ago yesterday evening. Our wedding rehearsal. Steve did not wrap the gifts for his guys in the navy wrapping paper and gold bows like I had asked him to do. His gifts looked horrible. Not how I envisioned my perfect looking gift table for our attendants…at all. Not sure I was going to be able to marry this person. What was I getting in to? Would we make it? Because seriously, he didn’t care about the gifts. I wish I was kidding that those thoughts did not cross my mind. But as I was reminded by our family this weekend, that was a very real thought I had in that moment.

Thank goodness it was a fleeting thought and I had some very wise counsel to not call the wedding off. (Can you say bridezilla?)


It’s been 18 years…and guess who wraps all the gifts?

best shopping day of the year…



This is such a fun day!  I don’t do Black Friday shopping in the stores, but I DO love the day after Christmas shopping in the stores.  Love the sales on Christmas items and getting things for CHEAP to use for next year.  So, my girls and I are on our way—but I wanted to let you in on the Mary & Martha sale as well.  I am putting orders in all weekend, just call, text, or email to save yourself some shipping costs (if you’re local) OR you can shop directly, see link above.  These items are ON THEIR WAY OUT!!  The double sided puzzle is a definite FAVE of mine and I am sad it’s going.  Now is the time to stock up.







20141226-095454-35694963.jpgHope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Happy Shopping!

Why do we have to sing?

Why do we have to sing?

20141224-083236-30756400.jpgSo…why do we have to sing?

20141224-083255-30775514.jpgWe sing because Christmas songs are a universal language on their own.  Almost everyone knows the words by heart to at least some part of each and every song.  That’s why we sing.

20141224-083335-30815913.jpgWe sing because those words are a strong memory for those who don’t remember.

20141224-083336-30816447.jpgWe sing because it is a tie that brings us together.  As a family…

20141224-083403-30843894.jpgYoung and old.

20141224-083447-30887627.jpgWe sing because even with no harmony and starting too high, or too low, we are blessing people.

20141224-083535-30935316.jpgWe sing because it softens hardened hearts.  We sing because we have a reason to.  We sing because we can.

20141224-083554-30954251.jpgHave a very, very blessed Christmas.

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the importance of traditions…

the importance of traditions…

20141221-213917-77957529.jpgTraditions mean something.

20141221-213918-77958505.jpgThings change.  They are supposed to.  It’s how you grow.  And we’ve had quite a few changes in the last couple of years.  Christmas isn’t the same as it used to be.  Partly because as you grow up, your responsibilities and activities become more intense, whereas, as we have realized with Landon—it pretty much ROCKS to be in Elementary School during the Christmas season…but the older you get, the more commitments you have.  You don’t have as much time for the anticipation of what is to come.  And wouldn’t you agree that’s the best part of Christmas?

The expectation and anticipation:  advent.

20141221-213916-77956998.jpgChristmas Lights Night is a very favorite.  What started many, many years ago, has become something our kids look forward to each and every year.  And each and every year, it seems we have to get a bit more creative to accomplish this night of tradition!  They were all smiles when they realized, after dinner together and a bit of shopping, that on their seats was a wrapped gift of new pajamas.  And finally we were in the biggest city around (something I’ve wanted to do for the last couple of years)


20141221-213918-77958985.jpgA new twist this year, was changing in the suburban and making a public appearance in their pajamas.  “SO embarassing, Mom”.  But, they were good sports and I think they thought it was pretty much fun.

20141221-213918-77958019.jpgI plan to be doing this when they come home from college.  When they bring their boyfriends and girlfriend.  I plan that we are doing this even if we have to rent a 15 passenger van.  Or bus.  Or whatever it takes.

20141221-214110-78070553.jpgWe marched them right into Rita’s for some ice and custard.  I was honestly hoping for Starbucks, but it turned out alright….


I think maybe next year, I’m going to have to get Steve and I some new pj’s as well.  I was jealous how comfy they were as we loaded back up with our treats and headed to the light display.


20141221-214330-78210474.jpgWe had some of the best light displays to drive through!  And got some really good ideas for next year for our home.  (Steve isn’t so sure…)


I just read a really good article on what matters at Christmas.  There is something about tradition that is comforting to kids.  They know what to expect.  It’s a way of feeling a “part” of something.  And listening to my kids this year, in particular, they have proven to me how important certain things are to them.  It’s not about the gifts.  It’s about what we do together…

Finding the JOY in the little things is what matters most.  Even if it might be a bit embarassing marching in public in your jammies…


yes, yes and more YES– friday faves.

yes, yes and more YES– friday faves.

Linking up the Friday faves with Andrea and friends…


Of course, the is my favorite of all time…

Just when I thought I could not love this any more, I listened to this video on how the whole story in song came to be.  The most powerful of this production is that it is all through song.  Now add some children in to act out the story…

I am in love.

1.)  The Story Behind Behold the Lamb of God


2.) These two songs–amazing.


3.)  I have learned how to embed videos into this blog, instead of the “click here” with a link.  I apologize, I am going a bit crazy and just a tad proud of myself…  HA!  😉

4.)  These boys looking intense at their tournament, don’t  you think?  Pure joy from those two basketball buddies.  I never asked what was so funny–because I am pretty sure I do NOT want to know.          bballfriends

5.)  Our church has provided gifts for two families of kids–so excited they are going to wake up to everything on their wish list!!   And a gift of sweet Baby Ruth to snuggle each Sunday morning

   journeygifts babyruth

6.)  And another gift…my Mary & Martha team.  I was getting my Christmas greetings ready to send to them and couldn’t help but think that this time last year, there were just a handful who joined me in this business and ministry.  And this year, it took me most of my morning to get these all ready to send!!  I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this special group of women sharing Jesus in the home with many across the United States!!


7.)  Carolers.


5.)  Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pies


I have had more fun making whoopie pies  this year.  It’s weird.  I never make whoopie pies.  But, they freeze really well and paired with our cuter than cute foil pans, I can pull them out of the freezer on a whim.  Like I did for those precious carolers above.  (now, they probably had to split them in half for everyone to have a bite…oops.)

6.)  Mary & Martha foil pans.  Need I say more?  They are cute.

foilpans7.)  Speaking of carolers.  Our annual caroling party is coming up.  This started because when we first started having kids, I began dreaming of how to make Christmas magical for them.  And for me, a caroling party with friends and family blessing others with singing, and then celebrating the season together was what it was for me.  And Steve got on board.  And our families got on board.  And our friends got on board.  And 12 years later, I finally figured out a fun invitation… (SMILEBOX may be my new addiction)



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