Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Memories 2010

This year was really not much different than other years as far as how we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We are blessed to live close to both sides of our family which means we get to see everybody for each holiday. For our family, we spend Christmas Eve with my side and Christmas morning at home. Then at some point Christmas day, we head down to Matt's side. This year was no different in that manner.
The girls in front of our tree

There was one slight difference. At first we felt odd about it, but now that I look back, that might have been my sweetest moment besides my gift from my mom. My brother-in-law, Mark, loves to cook. He comes up with some amazing dishes. This year for Christmas Eve dinner, he prepared a crown roast for our KING. He had not done this before so was unsure of how long it would take, but knew it would be awesome! So we hung out, talked and waited. Ate some more snacks, talked, waited. Although no one said a word, I know we were hungry little elves. :) As the time clicked away, we realized we were not going to make it for our church service at 8 because the meat finished at 7:15. So we headed home around 9:30 and had our own service at home.
We took turns lighting the advent candles and read scripture that went with each one. We sang some songs and had a lovely time of prayer as a family. It was the sweetest service. After that, we did what we always do on Christmas, give our gifts to Jesus. We use this little green box/ornament:
....after prayer time, we really spend some time considering what it is that we want to give Jesus that year. We write it down and place it in the box and place the box on the tree as a reminder to us that Jesus is the best gift ever given. By the time we finished our service, prayer and gifts to Jesus, it was well past midnight. The girls started begging to open their stockings as they buy for each other's stocking. We agreed.
Stocking time!

No matter how you celebrate Christmas, I pray that you found it to be as precious as mine was with having moments of tender conversations with family, sweet cuddles and snuggles, treasured heirlooms passed down, delighted children and most of all, moments of worshipping the one true King of all, Jesus Christ.
Bean and Daddy having a sweet moment. :)

Doodle giving me a cheesy smile over the rug for her room...which came in the mail in a clear plastic wrapper. Did I mention she got the mail that day?!
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Warm Thoughts

I love my mom so much! Truly I adore spending time with her alone and get that time very seldom as she is still teaching and very busy with her 8 grandchildren. So when she asks me to join her on any venture, I am game! This time, she just asked if she and Dad could have some time tonight with me and my sister. I was very excited to see what they had in store for our time together. My mind went all over the place. My sister and I were like little school girls trying to guess what was in each package beneath the tree as we waited for the night to unravel it's plans.

Once at their home, my mom told us that we were not going to be going anywhere as she had planned. Sadly, our timing of the evening messed up her plans, but she then went to the closet and brought out a bag. In it, a hand muff for each of us as well as earmuffs made from our grandmother's mink coat which we all loved to "pet" during her stays with us at Christmas. None of us would ever want to wear this coat yet having this piece of our heritage with Gram brought both of us to tears. Our Gram passed away 4 years ago and we miss her so much. My mom's plan was to take us downtown for a carriage ride and pull these out to keep us warm. While that would have been more than precious, I think the way she did it allowed us to be more intimate and not worry about the fact we were weeping ladies! While the muffs will never replace our Gram, it is a sweet memory we all have and one day will be able to pass on to our kids. I am grateful that my mom gets the importance of making memories and not just filling a package under the tree. This night was precious and most likely the best gift of Christmas...but that is left to see! :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Great Tree Hunt 2010

Our favorite Christmas tree spot went away a few years ago and we have struggled to find an adequate replacement since then. We loved how many choices they had as well as just how nice the guys were that worked there. They seemed to understand that finding the right tree was also about making memories with the family and not just stopping by some store to grab and go. Well, I must say, my honey spotted this place not too far from home and we were totally blessed by our visit.

Matt and girls on the hunt for the "perfect" tree.

God added to our venture out for the perfect tree as it was snowing beautifully. Just enough to make it sweet and not so much to be a problem. :) God is good!
The girls enjoying searching.....
We did get the tree we went looking that is not "sticky" as the girls say about the trees that have sharper needles. One that is chubby as we love our trees to be big! And one that has a good shape. So with all those requirements, we ended up with our tree.....

The tree with lights only.

After Matt placed the lights, the girls and I got busy decorating like crazy. We have so many little traditions that have come about by chance really. The girls love it though and really they are the ones that make those things happen. As we decorate the tree, we have Christmas music playing...Bing Crosby is a must! After, we watch White Christmas with only the tree lights lit. I love that our girls have made things we just did when they were little into part of what we now do. (does that make sense?) I never set out to have a tree tradition beyond having a tree! yet somehow, it has happened. The hunt for the tree, the decorations, the movie and cuddles after are all precious. Finding this new place to go adds to the hunt indeed!

The finished it!

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Precious Heart Indeed!

Doodle in her white costume

Doodle has been a part of a dance ministry group for three years now. They are a group of committed girls who meet every Saturday morning (usually) through the school year to prepare dances to perform at churches, nursing homes and such. Their leader, Miss Pearl, has a heart like few others. She has taught these girls how to use what God has given them to glorify God. This year, as with the past two years, the group was a part of a local church's Christmas program. This was the first year, the Precious Hearts dancers wore the white outfits which was amazing to see my girl light up the first time she tried it on. She has watched the older dancers who wear these outfits for years and to finally see that happen for her was precious!

I totally enjoyed watching Doodle get ready for her big show each day. Granted the driving back and forth at times was a bit much, but to see your child excelling in something they adore, well that is just a gift!

Doodle in blue costume...second from left

Most of all, I am grateful for Miss Pearl's heart in taking on this ministry for years now. I adore her passion and tender care of our girls' hearts.

Doodle and Miss Pearl
I pray that Doodle always remember for whom she dances and never stops praising her God in such a beautiful way. As she dances, she truly blesses those around. She has a reverence that can not be taught. It is truly a gift and I am forever grateful.
Precious Hearts Dancers~ Doodle in backrow far left.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Run the Good Race

The Miller Girls

Our homeschool co-op has been blessed with a mom who is a natural coach. She loves to encourage the kids to run and be active The past two years, she has had our co-op hold a cross country meet. This year, they even had two meets. One with just our group and then another where we hosted other co-ops. It was a great experience for the girls.

On your marks...get set...GO!!!

I am not a runner at all. While their daddy is, which makes it nice for training. The three of them will head over to the track or just out on a run close to where we live. I love that they can do that together.

Bean running on the trail

Just like in most areas of their lives, our girlies are totally different in their running styles. While Bean is my sprinter. (Go fast or go home!) Doodle is more of the long distance runner. (Slow and steady.) Neither is better, it is just the way God made them. I find it amazing that the way they run is similar to the way they handle most things in life. Bean is quick to make decisions and get something done. While Doodle is much more determined in her steps. It takes her a long time to decide on something and she really likes to take her time and "do it right".

Doodle running along....SMILING!!! Wow!

The other thing that blessed my heart, as I watched the girls, was to witness a sweet friend of Bean's step up and help when she was feeling as if she would like to quit. This friend had not planned on running this race. She didn't have on tennis shoes, or cool running shorts! :) Nope, she was just watching and saw her friend struggling. So, she did what came naturally....she started running with her friend. She ran the rest of the race with Bean until the very end where she walked and let Bean run through the finish line alone. That moment really choked me up. I kept thinking, isn't that what Christ does for us! He is there for us the entire race but in the end, we must cross that finished line on our own and stand before the judge alone. Wow! What a beautiful example of the Christian walk. What a great race!

Bean and her buddy running the race....BEAUTIFUL!
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