Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas festivities!




Last week was full of Christmas activities. I wish these days would slow down because the girls are loving every minute....I don't want it to end! 

Three sets of pictures for ya: 

1. The rest of our baking pictures...before the mess! 

2. Girls Christmas dinner and gifts with my family! 

3. Brandon's staff Christmas party. We had so much fun with them this year. We took a little road trip to the casino, played some games and then continued the fun on the way back in the limo. They got the chance to play well at the casino and their winnings determined their next gift. I think we all had such a good time. They really are a part of our family and we always love this time with them each year :)







Friday, December 19, 2014

Selfie!


Kids these days...

We were driving home from school this week and one of the girls asked me a question that I didn't know the answer to. From the back I hear Brylee say....

"Well you just need to go home and google it!" 

Kids these days are being raised in such a different environment with all this technology. Every few weeks they say or do things and I think..."I would have never known that as a kid!" 

But to them it's normal. 

Just like selfies. I didn't know what a selfie was when I was 13 much less 6. I walked into Brylee's room the other day and she was taking selfies over and over. She was ALL into it too. If she had Instagram then I am sure she would be posting all of what she was doing lol.

I shook my head, that is all you can do sometimes. They will grow up in such a different environment than we did, I am just hoping I can still provide them some of the "old time fun" as well!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Life is Messy!!

Life is messy. Emotions are messy. Our pasts are messy. Our connections with others around us tend to get messy. Our minds, our thoughts, our actions....there are always messy seasons when it comes to all of these.

It's funny because I feel like I wake up every day ready to get through the day without making a mess. It starts with trying to keep the house in order as we all run around trying to get out the door for school. I find myself picking up constantly in an attempt to avoid the build up that often turns into a disaster. Throughout the day I am intentional with those closest to me, trying to make "deposits" into their love bank instead of allowing any ugliness inside of me to cause a withdraw to occur. I am fully aware that "withdraws" most definitely cause relational messes that are hard to clean up. Somewhere along the way I see the dishes piling up, the sand on the floor because the girls poured out their shoes after school, and by the end of the day my hair is a hot mess because it has been through a lot. That's when I pull out the headband and toss it in a ponytail.

Life, especially my life, is a constant mess but I always tell myself that messes are not always a bad thing.

Yesterday I thought it would be fun to have a cookie party with the girls. We received a super thoughtful "cookie making gift bag" and yesterday seemed like the perfect day to pull it all out. I had this plan in my head, like I always do, and I was excited to execute that plan. I should have known that baking and little girls just might cause a kink in that plan......

It all started out exactly like I imagined. All of us were gathered around the island, we each took turns adding to the cookie mix, and everyone was happy. Isn't that how life usually starts too?! Exactly how we planned it...

But somewhere along the way that plan changes. We make choices that cause us to find ourselves on a different road than we had planned. We trip, stumble or even fall which causes a delay in the plan. We get surprised and we have no other option but to embrace the new plan. I could go on and on but you get it...plans change. 

About half way through our baking experience I decided to throw a surprise into the mix. That surprise was called FLOUR! I poured some into a bowl and their faces lit up with excitement. They are so used to things being in order around here so I don't think they knew what to do with the flour. I just started laughing and I sat back and waited to see what they would do....
It didn't take long before flour started flying everywhere. They took full advantage of this moment and I couldn't have been happier.

The next 30 minutes were healing to me. I sat and listened to the laughter and my mind felt so free. The entire kitchen was being turned into a disaster site but I was completely good with it. God started to speak to me as I watched them play.






I couldn't help but think about the messes I have made in my own life and how God has turned my messes into masterpieces. Not because I deserved it but because He is so good and His grace runs so deep.

I thought about how messes can bring freedom. Watching the flour hit every part of the kitchen was freeing. It didn't matter if the kitchen was in order. My girls were happy. They were laughing like I have not heard them laugh in a while and the joy was medicine to my soul. They felt free to enjoy and I felt free to let that be ok for them. Sometimes messes free us up from having to be perfect. The messes in our life remind us that perfection is impossible and it is ok to just be ourselves.

I felt like God was saying that my mess is part of my ministry. God allows things to happen in our lives so that He can teach us, grow us, change our hearts and refine us.

Our messes humble us. They remind us that we are no better than anyone else and we all need God fighting for us because we have enemy who is against us.

Messes are not always a bad thing. And even when they feel bad, I think it is important to embrace the mess and try to see what good can come from it.
Has "flour" ever hit your home, your family, your world? When the flour hits things get messy fast, our vision gets clouded, and all we can see is the mess everywhere. We find it hard to know what to do with the flour or where to even start because the mess is so big. But we have to start somewhere....

It took about 45 minutes of scrubbing the kitchen, a long shower for all of us, and one load of laundry before things were back to normal. I would say it was worth every minute of it. 

Sometimes our life messes can be cleaned up quickly, other times the layers of the flour are very complicated and take years to clean up. But in the end, it is always worth doing the hard work to clean them up. Finding forgiveness, experiencing peace, and healing of relationships always feels good in the end....no matter how messy it was to start or how long it took to clean it up. 

So this Christmas, regardless of what "messes" you find yourself in, I pray that you can embrace the moment and let God do His work. We don't always have to understand the why if we choose to fix our eyes on His purposes for our life.

May your Christmas be imperfect and messy, just like life, and may you experience the love of God and His grace like never before! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Zekers!

Last week we had a little boy crawling around our house. I am pretty sure he loved it as much as we did :)

Zeke was on a mission trying to keep up with the girls. He slowly chased them and I was right behind him making sure he didn't need back up haha.

The girls love him so of course we love keeping him. Just a few pictures from when he was here.



Monday, December 15, 2014

The girls Christmas program

Saturday morning the girls had their annual preschool Christmas program.

This year Brylee had a short speaking part for Kindergarten and she did such a good job. Cerly and Audree did well with their songs as well. It's always a fun morning getting to watch them shine! Plus it is always nice to be with family when they get to come watch with us.


Cerly and Katie had a good time together during their song, I love these two so much! 



Papa Tommy and Nana E came to visit from Arkansas last weekend so they got to come too!



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Three "Heavenly" Stops

Last week I took the girls by the cemetery to visit three special people.

Papa, Paislee and Brittany.

They are all right by each other in the same cemetery, it's perfect for us because can walk around at our own pace to visit each of them.

I know everyone deals differently, and grieves differently, and knowing that is really helpful when trying to figure out what everyone needs....especially this time of year. Some like to visit the cemetery, others don't see a need since their spirit is in Heaven.

The older I get, the more I realize that it is ok that we all do things differently. There is no right or wrong way to do it. For me visiting the cemetery with the girls is healing. I never thought it would be but after last week I realized I enjoyed it. It opened the door to talk to the girls again about Jesus, Heaven and how the ones we love are up there having fun together. I love those little opportunities to talk to them when I know they are understanding.

Brylee thought it would be fun to sing each special person a different song when we stopped by to see them. Awesome idea.

For Brittany we sang "Jingle Bells and We wish you a Merry Christmas!"

For Papa we sang "This little light of mine..."

And for Paislee we sang "Jesus loves me...."

Each song was so fitting and it was neat to see joy on the girls faces. It definitely brought joy to my heart and healing as well.

I am sure many of you walk through Christmas time in the same way. We try to enjoy the moments and the holiday but there will always be a hole in our hearts when someone we love has gone to be with Jesus.

I told my dad that we had three stops this year and he said....

"The older you get, the more stops you have at the cemetery."

So today I am thankful for Gods grace and all He has done for us so that we can all be together one day with Him....





Saturday, December 13, 2014

Santa!







The girls enjoyed our annual trip out to Bass Pro to see Santa! 

We love going there because it is very calm, you get your time with Santa and they let you take all the pictures that you want with your camera, it's perfect! 

This year Zeke got to come to see Santa with us and the girls loved that....