Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giving Thanks Challenge 2010 ~ # 13, 14, and 15

#13. I was excited to have two of my nephews come and stay with us this weekend. I am so thankful this year has brought us home and close enough that we can do things like that now. Trey and Anna Grace love spending time with their cousins. It is a joy to watch them all play together. We have had glimpses of it here and there when we've come down to visit each year. It's nice that it's finally here, and we don't have to leave soon.

#14. I have started singing Christmas carols at night as I put the kids to bed. Actually, I have been doing so for a couple weeks now. We have little bed time rituals that we've had for a while now, but, when we moved it was a little hard to get back into our regular routine. Trey and Anna Grace go back and forth between sleeping in their own rooms and still wanting to be in the same room. One night a couple months ago, they asked me would I please stay with them for a while and sing to them. (I usually sing hymns.) My heart melted and I told Hugh I am so thankful that they still want me to rock them and sing them to sleep. I thought maybe they were growing out of that, and I have to admit I missed it. It's nice to feel needed and wanted.

#15. I'm thankful that our finances are such that we can enjoy a few things we could not afford to indulge in before now. It's nice to be able to have a girls weekend like I did a few weekends ago with my sisters Demetria and M.C. We went to Mistletoe Market and had a fabulous time. I was able to get a few Christmas gifts there, as well as, a few things for the house. It was a nice sense of freedom to be able to do that and not feel like it was going to break our budget if I did. I didn't go crazy or anything. I'm still very conscious about our budget and our spending, but what a refreshing change. I feel like Christmas came early for me.

I'm still catching up on my list here so there will be more to come later today. I hope everyone is having a wonderful day! Blessings!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Giving Thanks Challenge 2010 #10,11,& 12

#10. I'm so thankful that it finally feels like Fall. This is my favorite time of year. The crisp cool air, the rich colors all around. Speaking of colors, I thought I'd share my color pallet for our new house. I'm drawn to neutrals and a crisp, clean look, but I also want a sense of warmth. So, here is what we've chosen.

I took this with my phone so they're not showing up as well as I'd like them too, but I will post before and after pictures soon.

#11. I love Harvest by Yankee Candle. It's my favorite. It really makes my house smell great. I can't wait for Thanksgiving!

#12. I'm also thankful for my arrangements for my front doors. This is a little something extra that we can afford now, and it makes all the difference in the world, at least to me. I love them. It makes me so happy to be able to add little touches like this to our home. This is a close up of one of them. I hope y'all are having a wonderful week filled with all of your favorite things! ~Blessings

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Giving Thanks Challenge 2010 ~#7

7. Today I am enjoying the bird feeder Hugh hung outside our living room window. It's just something simple, but sometimes the simplest pleasures in life are the sweetest. It is so relaxing to me to be able to sit and watch the birds as I read or play with the kids. It reminds me of Ohio. We had a huge picture window in our living room there, and we had a feeder in the tree right outside the window there too. So, it feels familiar, and it makes it feel more like home. We've had a few cardinals come to visit, which also reminds me of being up north in Ohio, because that is the state bird there. I love how the Lord brings everything full circle in your life, even the littlest of things. He uses it all to remind you of the blessings in your life.

#8. Books! I am so thankful for books, for the enjoyment they bring us and for how they enrich our lives. I have been reading Jesus Calling this year. It is a daily devotion written from the perspective of God, as if He were talking directly to you. My friend Marci gave it to me for my birthday, with this inscription; This little book has opened my ears again to the voice of the Father. I pray it is a blessing to you. Just think...we'll be reading it together each day. (Side note: My birthday is in February so she had already begun this devotion at the beginning of the year.) Is that not the most endearing inscription? It makes me tear up every time I read it because I'm blessed to have a friend who truly cares about my spiritual life and walk with God. It was just what I needed this year. Some how the way it's written, in first person, just makes it more personal for me. It has prompted dialogue on my end in my prayer life, as well. I can't say enough good things about it.

The next set of books I have here I recently found for my children for the Advent season and Christmas holidays. I love Golden books. They remind me of my childhood. I found them on display in front of the check out at Walmart. Again, thank you Lord for small blessings! My little ones are going to be playing a donkey and a cow in our up coming Christmas play. Anna Grace was upset because they had originally told her she was going to be an angel along with her cousin, Taylor Brooke. She started crying when we left play practice this last week because she didn't want to be a cow in the play. She kept saying everyone was going to laugh at her. Trey on the other hand was very proud he was going to be a donkey. I think his excitement helped ease her disappointment. When I saw The Animals' Christmas Eve, I thought Oh how wonderful. This will help so much. -and it has. We have been reading the book every night, and now they are both excited about being animals in the play. Thank you Lord for sending just what we needed. #9. I can't wait to see them in the play. I'm thankful they get the opportunity to be a part of this.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day!

I'm thankful for the millions of men and women who have so bravely defended our freedom time and time again throughout our nations history. Today is a day to honor our service men and women. I am proud to recognize this day in honor of my father, who served in WWII and the Korean Conflict. He was a proud American. He loved this country. I know that my love for America comes deeply rooted from the role model he was for me throughout my life. God Bless America. God Bless those who live here, and love it and proudly serve for the freedom of all. -Thank you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Giving Thanks Challenge 2010 ~ #5 & 6

5. I am so thankful that Trey is attending a classical Christian school. Although it was hard to let go of my dream of home schooling for both my children, I'm glad I listened to my husband. Trey is learning so much. He is in a wonderful supportive atmosphere, and he loves everything about it. He loves his teacher. He loves his classmates and he loves learning. He comes home excited to tell what new things they did that day. The Lord took this situation and turned my disappointment into joy. I love that there are smaller classrooms, so the children get more individual attention. There are sixteen children in his class and he there is a teacher and an assistant. So, there are in essence eight students per adult. The school itself has a very intimate atmosphere and every single person I have encountered has been warm and friendly. It's very family oriented, and everyone really gets involved in some capacity or another. It also helps that I know he is getting a quality education. Each grade has tested three grade levels above their own (nationally not just state wide)every year they have been open. I know he is being challenged and that material is presented in such a way that it makes it exciting and interesting to learn. I couldn't ask for better. Best of all he is in a Christian atmosphere. The school is very serious about the spiritual education they offer. I have had the pleasure of seeing that first hand during our chapel services on Wednesday mornings.

6. I'm thankful that as part of the blessing of being a stay at home mom I get to attend the chapel service Trey's school offers every Wednesday morning. Parents and siblings are welcomed to attend with the students. I love going to church. I just really enjoy it. So, I feel like I'm getting an extra little bit of church thrown into my week. It just makes me feel good. It keeps me up. And it amazes me at what the children are learning. Each grade level takes turns opening the service on Wednesday mornings. They start with the pledge to the American flag, the pledge to the Christian flag and the pledge to the Bible. Then they recite a passage of scripture, a poem, and finish with a song before the speaker comes to share. Trey's pre-school class recited (Proverbs 3:5-6) Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.
Then, they recited a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson.


Of speckled eggs the birdie sings
And nests among the trees;
The sailor sings of ropes and things
In ships upon the seas.

The children sing in far Japan,
The children sing in Spain;
The organ with the organ man
Is singing in the rain.

Then, they sang a days of the week song and a little praise song The Lord's Army. I was so proud, and amazed. I can't wait to see what they share next. What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Giving Thanks Challenge 2010 ~ #3 & 4

3. I'm thankful for solitude, a chance to steal away a few moments of peace and quiet. I don't know about you, but, that is not easy to come by for this momma. In the raising of a three and four year old there are times when the house is filled with the sweet sounds of laughter, children playing and music. There are also other times when the air is filled with the noise of fighting, screaming, the crashing of toys and the calling of my name (well, the calling for momma anyway.) I was not raised with any siblings so I am not accustomed to the love/hate relationship that lies between them. Hugh keeps telling me to pick my battles and that I need to let them work it out sometimes instead of correcting every little thing, but I can't help myself. Can't we just all get along?! "Please be kind to each other. That was not very nice. Say you're sorry," is what I find myself constantly saying. And then sometimes it's turns into "Stop it! Now that is enough." "Sigh." Parenting is a daunting task at times. I take what my husband says to heart, but, I often find there is a delicate balance between picking your battles and staying consistent. It is in those moments that I desire nothing more than complete silence so I can collect my thoughts, and pray for direction and my attitude.

I guess I'm showing my age by saying so. I used to love noise. The more people, the louder the music the better. I felt energized being surrounded by it. Now it's draining. I covet peace and quiet, and I covet my quiet time with the Lord. Which leads me to ....

#4. I'm thankful for daily devotions with the Lord. I had the most awesome quiet time yesterday morning. It was so simple and ordinary, yet completely blissful. I had two tea biscuits, a glass of orange juice and it was just me and the Lord spending a little time together. Like having breakfast with an old friend! It made my whole day. It just set the mood for things to come. I wish everyday to be just like that.

Giving Thanks Challenge 2010 ~ #2

2. I am thankful for the gift of friendship, and it truly is a gift. God has been ever so gracious to me in this particular area of my life. I have friends old and new that are precious treasures. I attract a lot of different types of people. I know I've shared before that Hugh and I have a running joke that all my friends don't go together.

I think it's the creative side in me that desires something different, something unique that draws you in like a good piece of art. People are like that -good art. beautiful and complicated, ordinary yet astounding and even captivating at times. I'm glad I have friends that challenge me to get out of my safe little box and think beyond myself and own perspective at times. They help me stretch and grow alot. All of my friends bring this to my life to some degree even when we have so many things in common.

The friendships I treasure most are my close Christian friends. They just get it, or they just get me. Jesus is the tie that binds for all time, and there is such a comfort in that. There is a deep level of knowing that you just can't get to unless you are equally yoked in this area. I don't say this to diminish my other friendships, and I'm not even saying I love my Christian friends more, but I guess that is why I always try to share Jesus with all my friends. I want to share in that common bond. When you love someone you want to give them the best. Well, Jesus is my best. I have found that having Jesus is sharing something that time, distance and circumstances can not change.

I hope you all have friendships like that out there, deep abiding friendships that enrich your lives. If not, then ask the Lord for one and search one out like a hidden treasure waiting to be found. I truly believe with all my heart that if you love the Lord, and you are walking in close fellowship with Him, he will give you the desires of your heart if they will draw you closer to Him. ~Blessings!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

2010 Giving Thanks Challenge

It is time for the 2010 Giving Thanks Challenge hosted by Leah at South Breeze Farm. I look forward to this challenge every year. It helps me to focus on the up coming holiday season and the true meaning of it. We are so blessed and have so very much to be thankful for. I have missed blogging. It is one of my favorite pass times. So, I'm going to take this opportunity to throw myself back into it. I have always thought of my blog as part gratitude journal and part scrapbook. I store some of my most treasured memories, thoughts and dreams here. I hope it serves as an encouragement to visitors. I love meeting new people and finding a kindered spirit.

The Giving Thanks Challenge lasts throughout the month of November, and you can approach it several ways. Some people like to write a post each day of the month for what they are thankful for. Others like to keep an on going list on their sidebar. Some like to do both. It's a great way to find new blogs. I hope some of you will join us.

I'm getting a late start, so I'm going to do a few things I'm thankful for each day until I catch up .

1. I'm thankful for traditions old and new. I love sharing things that connect us through years and generations. I have traditions with family and friends, and just the memory of them brings joy and warms my heart. For instance, momma and daddy always made enough food to feed an army for Thanksgiving, more than we ever needed for three people. Some years they would invite someone they knew who didn't have someone to have Thanksgiving dinner with. My parents both came from large families, so they knew what it was like to be far away from those you love during the holidays. Some how every year my best friend Peige found her way to our house after all of her family celebrations were over. I have countless memories of the two of us in the kitchen with my mom as she were cleaning up, laughing and cutting up together. We'd find ourselves hours later sitting right there in the floor talking late into the night and eating some of momma's stuffing.

One of my favorite traditions is that we always go to church as a family on Christmas Eve. That is one tradition I intend to keep always with my family as well. We've started a new tradition with my sister, Demetria. For the passed three years, we've have gotten our two families together to take our children to see the lights in Canton. Our kids love it, and it reminds me of how momma, daddy and I would drive over to Leland every year to see the lights on the bayou. I get excited just thinking about it. The holiday season is such a special time. We also get together every year with our very close friends Shelia, Ashley, Marci and John. This last year we had eight children between us and we had a birthday party for baby Jesus. John read the nativity story and he and Hugh helped the kids make reindeer food with the kids. It was so much fun.

I'll be checking in later to add something to my Thankful list. ~Blessings!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mad Men on AMC

I've only caught a few episodes of this series on AMC, but I'm facinated with the clothes, props, and sets. It is so well done you feel transported to New York circa 1960s. I found this fun little game at AMCTV where you can put together your own little Mad Men alter ego. So, here I am, as a stay at home wife and mother mad men style.....