Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hudson is 4!

Little man  turned 4 on Sunday.  We had a small family celebration at Mike's grandmother's home last week.  Today we are meeting my mom, sister, and niece at "Flick Fil A" for play time and lunch.
  Bless his hilarious and smart heart, he was expecting turning 4 to be something of the magical sorts.  I guess it stems from me telling him that when he turned 4, he'd be really big!  He thought that once the ripe age of 4, he'd have "scratchy hair on my face like daddy's" and that he'd get to drive "like Carter" and that he'd begin school!  Suffice it to say, the morning of his birthday, none of those expectations came to fruition.  He's so stinkin' smart, it is scary.  He loves Thomas the Tank more than life itself, drinks his drinks in one gusto without a breath, is a short squatty-body, has a huge grin, sings Jingle Bells constantly, must touch e..v..e..r..y..t..h..i..n..g!!!  I'm sad his birthmom can't see what a great kid to whom she gave life.  I'm also so happy to give Jesus all the glory because not one of his risk factors on his background and medical papers have surfaced.

On another note, a few pics from Thanksgiving.  Here are 2 of my crazy sisters making a run through line as my niece walks to the food at my parent's home.  Never a dull moment, and I mean Never!

 Here is the whole crew outside at my folks.  We were missing 2 families who usually come so the crowd was "small."!  Of course, we have a few extra people who are always welcome.  At our place, the motto is always the more the merrier!

Here are the kids at Grandma's home.  We served ice cream sundaes with "spinkles" on top!  Carter wasn't feeling well and slept most the day in the recliner.
 Lovely warm day out in the beautiful country at Grandma's.  We played baseball for a long time.  Below is my niece Taylor playing with Dillon.

Friday, November 25, 2011

post turkey coma

can't ....keep...my...eyes...open
Lovely Thanksgiving.  Large exuberant gathering at my folks.  Restful and quiet time at my mother-in-laws.  Boycotted Black Friday(Amazon and I are fast becoming best friends!).  My mom and sisters went, like our usual tradition.  I missed it.  Apparently they had quite the hilarious adventure and I can't wait to hear the details.  I, however, slept past 7am, ran 2 miles on a country road, and chilled. 

Thankful:  not just one day of reflecting, but an attitude of gratitude.  I'm overflowing with gratefulness.

  • personal relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ in whom we have hope, meaning, and a reason to get up in the morning
  • husband who supports me and loves me and puts up with my flighty new ideas and preachy rants
  • healthy children
  • sweet extended family
  • warm home
  • jobs, health insurance
  • our awesome church
  • electricity and clean water
  • great friends
  • my chance to get more education for almost free
  • memories of a great 2011
  • oreos dipped in milk

Monday, November 21, 2011

Working to get into the real spirit of Christmas

We had fun this morning.  As stated earlier, our church is a relay center in our city for Operation Christmas Child.  This was truck loading day.  The shoeboxes are packed in cartons and loaded into a semi's trailer.  They are then driven to one of the national processing centers.  Guesstimates indicate that almost 10,000 shoeboxes would be loaded today(I'd posted 5000, but the director told me yesterday it was closer to 10K)!  Carter worked like a muscle man.  Really, everyone got into  it.
Here is Hudson "helping" our youth pastor tape a carton.
Abby was a great helping packing the cartons.  You must place a minimum of 14 shoeboxes in each carton. Speaking from experience, pllleeease, do not buy great big or irregular boxes, they are impossible to pack!  And just in case anyone was having a tiny coronary event looking at the shopping basket at church and wondering if we swiped it, no worries, someone dumped it a while back and the workers were returning it to the store later.  Sure came in handy ;)
And here is Dillon, making sure the carton has a number in the designated corner, indicating how many shoeboxes were in it. We found out that the processing center where this truckload of boxes are heading to will be sending the treats to several countries, including South Africa!!  What a great and exciting idea to think that we just might be loading up a child's gift to go the the slum in South Africa were Mike visited last March AND where we are praying and talking through Carter going this Spring Break.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shop with a purpose for Christmas

It's here, the most wonderful time of the year....well, unless your a bah-humbug Scrooge like myself ;)  Yes, Christmas shopping is in full swing!  If you've been to Blessed Family Life blog much in the past 2 years, you know I rather dislike shopping, especially for more junk that commercials convince my kids that they need, in order to make companies like Wal-Mart richer!  To get myself in the Christmas mood, I want to post about shopping that will help others.  What if we all bought one less coffee mug and spent more on helping those who truly can't help themselves?  I give you some of my top picks for shopping with a purpose.

Love Without Boundaries ministers to Chinese orphans living in institutions.  You can help buy formula, pay for heart and cleft surgeries, and sponsor kids getting out of orphanages and  into warm foster families. Click HERE

Operation Christmas Child
Certainly a favorite Christmas organization.  Samartian's Purse totally rocks the house in the way of doing good around the world and sharing the love of Christ.  Our church has been a relay center in our city for years.  We help pack up about 5000 shoeboxes and ship them to Charlotte for distribution around the world.  My sister-in-law's church is participating and the girl's class that Shana teaches sent 100 boxes last week!  They learned that children carry water in many 3rd world countries so they packed the gifts in rubbermaid boxes with lids, to be used over and over again. Click  Operation Christmas Child for more info

And of course, you can't forget the mainstays of well-run relief agencies like Compassion International and World Vision.  We sponsor a 10 year old girl in Ghana through Compassion.  Rebecca will receive a new dress this year for her Christmas present.  I wish I could see her in person!

Ten Thousand Villages in a great organization!  They ensure human trafficking is not used in any of their products and pay the laborers a fair wage.  We bought Mike's grandma a beautiful crystal beaded necklace through them last year.   Click HERE to see their work. 

I know there are tons of great ways to give a gift that truly keeps on giving.  Share them with me!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Trust and tithe test

You know how things snowball and get tight sometimes?  Always around the holidays!  That has happened to us.  Few bills here, a needed new roof there, our school's auction this week, a minivan door that needs work, a shower door that won't close, a Capitol Campaign kick off at church that we want to be heavily involved in, and of course, Christmas right around the corner.  When my check was direct-deposited in the wee hours of Friday morning, I fought with myself!  It was tempting, just a tad, to use the 10% off the top, pre-taxes, and use for other things.  Oh yeah, I had the little debate in my head!  But, we can't turn our backs on years of watching God provide in crazy ways.  We trust, we believe, we have seen, and we know, without a doubt, that God blesses when we give to Him first.  Period.  End of story.  Not out of a dread or duty, but out of love and thankfulness.  In fact, many many years ago, we didn't have money to pay our electric bill.  We got paid and made a choice, do we tithe or pay our electric bill that was due?  It didn't make sense on paper.  But, we obeyed and tithed.  A surprise envelope came in the mail the next day, a surprise "gift" that was the exact amount we needed to pay our electric bill.  So, yesterday, we tithed with grateful and expectant hearts.  No, I don't look for a check in the mail to magically cover all expenses.  Heck, sometimes, God wants us to re-evaluate how we are living and blowing our money-make better choices and be better stewards.  It will be fun and exciting to see what happens!

"tithing is what brings the blessing on the balance of our finances.  Tithing is what causes God to rebuke the devourer and open the windows of heaven.  It is the foundation on which our giving is built." Robert Morris

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What does a nurse do?

I stole an excerpt from my friend's Facebook status.  I don't know who wrote this, but if I did, I'd clap my hands and glady give he/she credit.  This a snippet of life as an acute care nurse
I make holding your hand seem like the most important thing in the world when you're scared. I can make your child breathe when they stop. I can help your father survive a heart attack. I make myself get out of bed at 5am to make sure your mother has the medicine she needs to live. I work all... ...day to save the lives of strangers. I make my family wait for dinner until I know your family member is taken care of. I make myself skip lunch so that I can make sure that everything I did for your husband today is charted. I make myself work weekends and holidays because people dont just get sick monday thru friday.

Today, I might save your life.

I LOVE this!  Of course, don't get the wrong idea, it's not all glamorous.  There is plenty of pee, poop, vomit, sputum and grumpiness to deal with too :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pictures finally posting!

 Abby, the volleyball queen(I know, we are already hoping to hone her skills for a scholarship to TCU-ridiculous!)
 The garter I made for Carter--that rhymes, as he pointed out ;)
 Carter leading worship at the dedication of our new secondary building
 My dad with Dillon on his shoulders. 
Cutest, and craziest, man-child on earth!

Oh, guys, I'm picking out paint color for my very plain, tan, metal front door.  My friend sent me the coolest blog post about front door colors.  If I find it, I'll share.  I'm also planning on making a Menorah for the holidays(dowels and candles).  Anybody made one before?  I'm a Christian, but the Jewish symbolism in the Menorah is fantastic!!

PS.  Sunny, email me, I want to chat about our latest attention struggles

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This Sunday is National Orphan Sunday

"On Orphan Sunday, Christians stand for the orphan. We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress."
For more info, click HERE to go to the official website
Is your church body doing anything to highlight the plight of the world's 147 to 163 million children in the world without families?  Id love to hear about it!