End of the Year Review

The last day of 2018! We made it through and made lots of memories along the way.

JANUARY: I started working out and kept it up all year long. Praise the Lord!, All three kids and I survived the flu, We watched UGA win The Rose Bowl and then lose the National Championship to Alabama, Rolo experienced snow for the first time and loved it, Josh and I celebrated 17 years of marital bliss.

 

FEBRUARY: Mack tried out basketball, Josh went to Africa, Valentine’s Day was fun, we participated in a co-op on Thursday afternoons, and friends visited us.

 

MARCH: Mack started tackle football, we did lots with the youth group, Jud and KB visited us with Sweety and Cacy, Mack turned 11 and we visited Augusta and saw Marcy’s new house.

 

APRIL:  Eye appointment for Ruby while the other two napped, Jason&Merrilee and Deacon visited, the girls sang in their spring choir performance, Molly sang at a youth event, Mack kept playing football and loving it!

 

MAY: We wrapped up football season, Rolo had her first daycare stay, Josh and I went to the Kentucky Derby, PawPaw visited, and Ruby turned 14!

 

 

JUNE: We finished up our school year, the cousins visited and Dingle bit Josh, we went to the beach and had a blast, Publix opened!, and the girls and I visited Woodstock.

 

 

JULY: Uptown Showdown happened, we had our kitchen painted, got new bedroom furniture,  Rolo got spayed,  I kept working out, Josh got his deer for his office, we got a new downstairs A/C unit, Mack went to his first week long camp, and we sadly lost GG to heaven.

 

AUGUST: I started my tenth year as a home school teacher/mom, we celebrated Molly’s 13th birthday with Noah’s 20th, the girls got new laptops for school, Paige and her family visited us, we went to the laundromat for the first time, had fun at a football game with the Dawson kids, Josh turned 41, and Josh and I started teaching an adult Sunday school class.

 

 

SEPTEMBER: We started watching UGA football again, got new furniture for the living room, Mack started flag football, Molly dyed her hair red, had a night out with the Dawsons before a hurricane arrived, and Rolo celebrated her first birthday!.

 

OCTOBER: We met Bob Goff at a With Open Eyes event, we hosted a four week discipleship time on Friday nights for the young girls in the youth group, Ruby got her braces off, the girls and I went to IF Gathering, we got a new pastor, Mack was Kirby Smart for Halloween at church, and kids went trick or treating with the Dawson kiddos and Noah.

 

NOVEMBER: I pulled up the carpet in our sitting room, we went to Fall Retreat in Virginia, Molly and Josh went to a running coach, they went to a Hornets game, had Thanksgiving with Sweety and PawPaw, and we Decked the Halls with the youth group.

 

DECEMBER: Lots of shopping, lighting of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Christmas tree, ice skating with the youth group, Billy Graham Library church Christmas party, ladies party with my girls, Augusta trip before Christmas and home for Christmas Eve and Day, another Hornets game, I finished a year of working out!, and we helped with Room In the Inn at our church. Bringing in the New Year with some lazy kiddos that aren’t feeling 100% and chicken&rice soup on the stove.

What a full year! These are just a few highlights. It’s been a great 2018 with lots of growth and encouragement and accomplishments. I am excited for 2019. God is so faithful and true to His Word, and I look forward to walking with Him in the coming days. After all, every single one of the days make up the year!

Consider Jesus

I don’t fully understand why Christmas comes around more quickly the older I get, but it truly does seem that way. All of us middle-aged folks say to each other, “I can’t believe it’s this time of year already!” And for whatever reason, this particular Christmas season seems busier than any of the previous ones! I glanced at our calendar that the kids have used since they were toddlers to count down the days until Christmas, and I cannot believe we’ve almost got a full nativity scene.

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And while I have read my Bible daily and prayed, gone to church and listened to worshipful Christmas music, I still sensed that my heart was distracted. Maybe it’s the noise of the shopping mall or the clicking of the keys as I add more and more to my calendar. Or maybe it’s the wrapping paper being cut and the tape being pulled from the roll or the kids clarifying their Christmas List. I find it ironic that there is always plenty to keep our minds on anything but Jesus at Christmas time.

But, thankfully, with taking a break from school work, came a less-hurried Monday morning when I found myself in Hebrews 1.

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets to many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son,…”

Indeed, God has spoken to us through Jesus. Jesus in the exact representation of God!

As the verses go on, they tell us why Jesus is better than angels.

Chapter 2, verse 1 says, “For this reason, we must pay closer attention….”

As it transitions from the topic of angels into Jesus being the only priest we need forever and ever, 3:1 says, “Therefore, consider Jesus,…”

Pay closer attention.

Consider Jesus.

Now, of course, we should pay close attention to and consider Jesus every day of our lives, but Christmas is a specific time to double-down on turning away from distractions and devoting time to consider Jesus.

Have you had time to pull away from the every day responsibilities and to-do lists to consider Jesus? It is HIM we are celebrating after all.

“And He is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the Word of His power.” (Hebrews 1:3)

He is worthy of our time, our attention, our consideration, and our worship.

Merry Christmas!

It’s Been A While

Wow! Time is a flying. I have random thoughts about blog topics and even funny illustrations to go along with them. I make lists of these blog ideas, and I pray there will be time to focus more on writing one of these days.

For now, I am afraid a photo-dump of sorts is about as good as it is going to get because, well, December.

We took some family photos with our iPhone for our Christmas cards this year. I even made a spreadsheet for keeping up with people’s addresses, so that I can stop texting friends at Christmas time asking for their addresses! It is time to be a grown-up.

The kids helped deck the halls of the youth rooms at church one Sunday and had a great time.

We went Christmas shopping and then to Josh’s work one evening for the lighting of the Christmas tree they have on the lawn. Fun times!

Around the house we have been enjoying the twinkling lights of the tree, wrapping Rolo up like a present and finishing a couple more books with Molly and Mack. School has gone fairly well this first semester, though I did have to enlist Josh to help with Ruby’s Algebra test. I probably haven’t shared this before, but I failed Algebra 2 and got switched over to a remedial general math class, where I made a 100 for the second semester of my Junior year. I didn’t do great in higher math–obviously. But I survived.  I went to college and got a tutor for College Algebra and for Statistics and all was well. I do quite well as an adult in ways that matter, so I am ok with all of my math struggles. I suppose it made me a more compassionate person, I don’t know. But this is not about me, it is about our homeschool. We’ve been reading, writing, doing math, learning our science and spending time together. And now it is time for a Christmas break! Tomorrow is baking day, so that will be fun. IMG_0870

Our church had a beautiful Christmas singing service, which we all enjoyed very much.

I am trying to meal plan and have better choices on hand, so that’s been fun!

The youth group had their annual H2O at the Rink for ice skating. Ruby learned last year that ice skating was not her thing, but Mack tried and hated it. Molly survived several falls and had fun. I enjoyed watching everyone, safely on the sideline.

These are a few more little shots from around the house this season. Fires, naps, presents, and a sweet puppy.

We went to the church Christmas party at The Billy Graham Library. It was gorgeous out there!!! I am so glad we were able to make it. We have been at the church a year and a half or so and it feels more and more like home, and there are no words to express what this means to me. Grateful and Blessed!

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Finally, we spotted Santa at Chick fil A looking over his list…he is more high-tech than I knew! Clicking away through his list while enjoying his chicken sandwich and waffle fries. I figured we shouldn’t interrupt him, so we just weirdly snap a few pictures and whisper to one another about him.

Alrighty, I think that covers it. Or at least these are the photos I have taken over the past few weeks that I thought I would share here. Josh and I finished our Christmas shopping yesterday, so we are set to just enjoy these days leading up to the big day! I am hoping for some quiet in this coming week to focus more on Jesus. To reflect on His coming to earth. It is worth the time and effort, so I hope you get quiet time to reflect during these days leading up to Christmas. It’s easy to be distracted and it’s normal to have lots of things to do, but what a sad thing to miss out on Jesus–the One all this celebration is about!

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Thankful for my Defender

Thanksgiving ushers in reflection. Reflection on what causes gratefulness to rise up within us. Reflection on the past year. The ups, the downs, the progress or lack thereof.

This year, getting a handle on my health and exercise has been one of my greatest accomplishments and reasons for gratitude. I feel so much better! I can move better, and I enjoy being active. I have even started running with my husband and Molly. They want to run more often; I want to do it without feeling like I need to vomit. They went to a running coach for some tips and have passed them on to me. So far, so good. We have been running a mile at a time and practicing our form, cadence and breathing. The little metronome has been quite helpful in that it gives me something to focus on rather than focusing on how in the world I am even going to make it til the end of my run.

I am also super grateful for this past year and my time with the Lord and in His Word. I am in the book of Romans and just about five weeks away from finishing the whole Bible! I don’t read the Bible through every single year, but when I do it is one of my greatest joys and provides much spiritual growth.

One theme that I notice when I read through the Bible is God being our Defender, the One who fights for us, who prepares us for the “nexts” in our lives in ways we don’t even know at the time He is doing it.  He keeps us from dangers. He carries us through extremely tough times. He does the work.

2 Kings 6 tells a story about the king of Aram warring against Israel and wanting to capture and kill Elisha.

“He sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And Elisha’s servant said to him, ‘Alas my master! What shall we do?’ So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ “

{2 Kings 6:14-16}

I can so imagine what the servant was thinking. He’s looking around at the horses, chariots, and the great army and then he is looking at Elisha. Scratching his head, he looks at Elisha in disbelief.

“Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

{2 Kings 6:17}

Wow! Lord, I pray that You would open my eyes to see Your army of protection and rescue. I am not alone! I am worth being fought for. I haven’t always experienced that with earthly relationships, but never once has God given up on me or folded His arms and just decided that I was too tough a case. He is always fighting for my good and His glory. I am worth it to Him.

Psalm 141:8 “For my eyes are toward You, O God, the Lord; In You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless.”

Psalm 142:2-4, 5b   “I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk they have hidden a trap for me.Look to the right and see; For there is no one who regards me; There is no escape for me; no one cares for my soul…’You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.”

Psalm 18:2-3, 16-19, 28-30 “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies…He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay. He brought me into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me…For You light my lamp; The Lord my God illumines my darkness. For by You I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him”

Psalm 139:5 “You have enclosed my behind and before and laid Your hand upon me.”

Psalm 3:3, 5&6 “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory and the one who lifts my head…I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about.”

Psalm 84:11 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

Thank You, Lord, for being my Defender. Open my eyes to see You fighting for me. And for the times I don’t see it, help me walk by faith and know it is happening. You are my refuge and strength. You are a very present help in times of trouble, and I praise You for that! Amen.

Thanksgiving 2018

This year my parents came to our house for Thanksgiving. We so enjoyed having them here. But before they got here on Tuesday,  Josh and the kids went to a Hornets game Monday evening. I watched them from the warmth and comfort of my home and spotted them on television.

Ruby and I made Aunt Marcy’s pumpkin bars since she wasn’t able to bring them and celebrate Thanksgiving with us. They were delicious!!!

We enjoyed baked potatoes and chili that first evening with my parents. The next day we smoked ribs and served potato salad and cole slaw and corn on the cob. I would have made a yummy salad, but the warnings about romaine lettuce had begun circulating, so I opted out of taking a chance on the salad.

Thanksgiving preparations began on Wednesday when I made a new recipe–Cranberry Relish. It was actually really good. But by far, the best thing on the table is sweet potato casserole. YUMMY!! And my kids always want an Apple Punch that a friend from Georgia shared with us one year, so that was a must! There was a slight debate on which dressing is best (my grandma’s or Josh’s grandma’s recipe). We just agreed to disagree, but if he has any hopes of eating his favorite, he best get the recipe written down and get to practicing.

Josh smoked a turkey this year and it was divine. I wish I had taken a better picture of the food because everything we soooooo pretty and delicious. The pies are gonna be able to stick around the house for another 24 hours and then they are going in to the garbage!!! I cannot have this stuff in the house and be trusted. It’s Thanksgiving DAY, not Thanksgiving month.

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Here are some other photos we took when Josh decided to bring in the Christmas tree from the carport.

Today we enjoyed a quiet morning, grabbed some lunch, watched some football, and now Josh, Mack and Ruby are at the movies. Molly and I went to ULTA at 7:00 this evening, which technically means this is my first year ever participating in Black Friday shopping! I have never been interested in getting out in that mess, and we obviously waited long enough that it just seemed like a regular shopping day. There were no crowds or long lines. Now we are safely back inside sitting by the fire and enjoying the quiet. That is my kind of Black Friday shopping!

I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving with their family and friends. I know we did!

10 years of blogging

If I was paying close enough attention, I would have blogged three more times to get to 10 years AND 1,000 posts.  But as it is, I am at 10 years and 998 posts. Still a long time and a lot of words on this-here blog.

I knew ten years of blogging was approaching, but I don’t really know how to celebrate. The kids asked me how much money I have made blogging, and I told them exactly zero dollars. This started as a way to keep up with the funny stories from the crazy days with little kids. My parents and Josh’s parents loved reading the stories since they have never lived near us. And I am so thankful I finally started blogging because as we look back at some of the posts, there is no way I would naturally remember all of the funny stories.

This evening we decided we would “celebrate” by going back and choosing random posts to read together. It will be funny to read the silly stories and see the photos I have posted.

The blog continues to share some personal stories from the kids, though much less since the kids are at an age where they don’t really want the world to know details about their lives. Can’t blame them.  I share about homeschooling and good books I have read, as well as some devotional thoughts. I love words and writing, and I hope one day my love for words might culminate into something worth reading.

But for now, in this season of carting kids to and fro, schooling three very different kids every day, laundry, cooking and cleaning, supporting Josh, and trying to take care of myself, this space on the world wide web will have to suffice for me to play around with words. Thankful for ten years of memories recorded here.