Monday, December 31, 2007

Musical Mondays

First of all, I can't believe that it's almost 7:30am and no one is awake yet! This almost never happens. We're a very early-to-rise kind of house. I would have expected James down here like an hour ago.

Okay, that out of the way, welcome to another installment of Musical Mondays! Today is the eve of the new year. For most of us, we enter each new year feeling fresh and clean. New starts, new resolutions, new goals, new dreams. New, new, new.

Unfortunately, a lot of our goals fail pretty quickly because we try to do them in our own power. We somehow think that this year, despite past failures, we will have enough will-power or determination or sheer guts to do that thing we have been unable to do the past however many years. And sadly, we end up disappointed because yet again, we've forgotten to include the One who has requested to carry our burdens.

Today I want to include the lyrics to another old hymn -- this time one from 1896. According to the cyberhymnal, this was a favorite of the man who wrote the melody -- he included some of the lyrics on his tombstone. Of course, at death, we have no choice but to surrender everything. Why not take a moment before the new year begins to make the decision to give Christ your all?

All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you, my faithful blog readers!

I trust everyone is having (or has had) a lovely holiday. I've got a few minutes here this morning before we head over to my in-laws for more festivities to say hello and wish a Merry Christmas to folks on the webbernets.

Last night was very nice. We went to South Ridge for their Christmas Eve service. They had a harpist, which was a gorgeous addition to their service. The kids were pretty well-behaved during the service. Bubba was a little bit antsy, but was still pretty good. After the service, we did a little driving to look at Christmas lights. There were a few displays that were very well done. I always enjoy seeing how people decorate for the holidays, especially since I don't do much around here. This year we were incredibly laid back and only had a Christmas tree.

When we got back home, around 8:30pm, the kids went to bed. Bubba stayed in his bed (I think he suspected that sleep would be slower coming with the masses) and James went into the girls' room to sleep. It was a fairly quick-to-sleep night. I was finishing up some last minute gifts (I had to finish making my dad a scarf for this morning!) and I stopped hearing any stirring by 9:30. Of course, I don't think Jason and I made it to bed until nearly 11:30, but I think the myth of Santa gets to persist for another year!

This morning was great. The kids were up early, but we asked them to stay upstairs til 7am. From what I can tell, they were good about that and no one came down early. Of course, once they were downstairs, it was gift time! Thanks to ebay, paperbackswap & last year's after-Christmas sales, we were able to put together a pretty good Christmas for the children, even on a limited budget. Jason bought me a pretty ring, a new Willow Tree figurine (Together) & a Barry Manilow Christmas cd. Overall, everyone seems pretty happy with their Christmas gifts.

My parents came over around 8am after they spent Christmas morning with Justin, Megan & the girls. We exchanged gifts, drank some coffee and just hung out for a little bit.

In a bit, we're going to Kevin & Marie's for Christmas dinner. From what I can gather, Jason's siblings and their kids should all be there, so it's going to be a nice, busy house! Given that family is so important, especially on this day, it will be great to see everyone.

I pray that you receive everything you want for Christmas, and I pray that you will join me in worshipping the One who joined us here on earth to experience what we experience and to bear God's wrath so that we may fully experience His love. Be blessed!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas music

Today's Musical Monday was a tough one. I love Christmas music and it's tough to come up with a single song to blog about. I think I've already posted the lyrics to my all-time favorite Christmas carol in the past. I decided to look at a lesser known Christmas carol this year. The following is Henry W. Longfellow's lyric "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." From what I can see, this was written during the civil war, and was a response to the pain and despair that was a result of the conflict. While we are blessed not to be in the midst of a war on our own soil, I think that the prayer for peace on earth is one that we all can pray this Christmas. I've included the entire hymn here, but verse six really is a joy! May we all know the joy of a God who is neither dead nor asleep, but came to live among us here and now waits to bring us to Him in Heaven! Praise the Lord for sending us the Prince of Peace!

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll'd along th' unbroken song
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair, I bow'd my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song,
Of Peace on earth, good will to men."

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearthstones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With Peace on earth, good will to men."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas list

I was tagged by my friend Chuck over at Echoing Green a while ago, but was lax in keeping up with my blog reading this month, so I missed it til yesterday. I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you read this and feel like doing it, leave me a message so I can see it!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I hate wrapping gifts, but it's just cheaper, so it's all wrappinmg paper.

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. We had a live tree our first Christmas, but never since.

3. When do you put up your tree? Sometime in the week after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime after New Year's day. We like to have it up for Faith's birthay.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes. With or without alcohol.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Proof that you don't remember the gift -- I honestly couldn't list one. But I loved the HUNTS for the gifts and remember those very fondly.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? No.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My mom or Deborah -- that child is ridiculous to buy for!

9. Easiest person to buy for? James -- that kid is thrilled with pretty much anything.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? (I hope my MIL doesn't read this!) One year my in-laws bought us a really nice fireplace candle set. But at that time, we had four little kids and we could NOT use that on the floor without burning our house down. They also gave us a fire extinguisher (nice, but not real Christmas-y, you know?), the DVD of Sleeping Beauty (one of the few Disney movies that I just don't care for) & the DVD The Replacements (I watched about 15 minutes of it and had to shut it off -- Worst. Movie. Ever.). It wasn't an awful gift, it was either just totally impractical or not for US at all. But generally they're good with gifts, so I'm guessing that was just a bad year.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Generally I do Christmas cards complete with the brag letter, but they just didn't happen this year. No good excuse -- just laziness.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? It's a Wonderful Life, Scrooged.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? December 26. Seriously, most of the gifts that I'm giving this year were bought in the week or so after Christmas last year.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so, but it may have happenned.

15. Favorite things to eat at Christmas? These oatmeal/chocolate bars that my mom & grandma make. Delicious!

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear, but I'd rather have colored lights. And as long as our pre-lit tree lasts, it's going to stay clear. Three minutes to have the whole tree up is just not worth colored lights to me!

17. Favorite Christmas song? A Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting), Hark the Herald Angels Sing (God & sinner reconciled -- BEAUTIFUL!!!)

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home ever since the kids were old enough to enjoy Christmas.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Nope, but I can find them if you need them!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel, though I'm thinking of giving Jason a star for the next 10 years (his family does star, mine does angels).

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning. No matter how much you beg!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Consumerism.

23. What is the "corniest" family tradition you do, or miss doing? Jason's silly sproingy Santa hat?

24. Ugliest Christmas Decoration ever invented? I hate all of those massive, inflatable balloons that people have in their yards. Seriously, I hate 'em.

25. Which looks the best, theme trees or homey trees? Well, theme trees look the best, but I love my homey tree. It goes with my homey living room! LOL!

26. What does Christmas mean to you? Time to love on family, time to remember what Christ gave up to become one of us so we could become the righteousness of God. Thank you!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Louie Giglio

This guy absolutely blows my mind every time. A friend of mind posted this vid at her blog and it made me so happy. Enjoy!

Musical Monday

Yeah, it's Tuesday. But just ignore that and pretend that it's Monday!

Last week one of my blogging friends started a weekly event called Musical Mondays. Being a bit of a music fan myself, I decided that I was going to participte in this as well. Of course, I totally missed the first week, and I'm a day late this week, but at least I'm doing it! Blogging without obligation and all that.

The next big challenge is coming up with a song to blog about! So I decided to go ahead and use one of the songs I sang with the kids this week. Following are the lyrics to "My Savior, My God" by Aaron Shust

I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at His right hand
Stands one who is my Savior

I take Him at His word and deed
Christ died to save me; this I read
And in my heart I find a need
Of Him to be my savior

That He would leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my Savior

Chorus (2x's)
My Savior loves, My Savior lives
My Savior's always there for me
My God; He was, my God; He is
My God is always gonna be

Yes, living, dying, let me bring
My strength, my solace from this spring;
That He who lives to be my King
Once died to be my Savior

That He would leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my Savior

My Savior loves, My Savior lives
My Savior's always there for me
My God; He was, My God; He is
My God is always gonna' be

I heard this song on KLOVE a good while ago and absolutely loved the chorus. One of my favorite passages has always been Hebrew 13:8. God never changes. The story of Christmas and of the cross is just absurd. What God leaves Heaven to become like His creation? How insane is that? And yet it is true! We serve a God who was, who is and who is to come. What a joy that is, now and always! May the truth of that saturate your heart today and every day.

Week worth of adventure

Okay, so not so much adventure as simply catching up! This month is seriously getting away from me. I can't believe we're just one week away from Christmas! I've still got a bunch of gifts to wrap and a few that I need to actually finish making. I'm just really, really behind this year and I hate that!

So kid news first (warning: The following section contains rampant parental bragging!!! Proceed with caution!!!). My kids are growing up so fast! Last Monday night, Deborah went to her first school dance. It wasn't with anyone or anything like that (I'm definitely not prepared for that!), but still. She's just turning into quite the young woman. She's doing really well at cheerleading (the coach seemed more on the ball this week, so maybe she was just having an off week in my last post). She was also invited to represent her school as the fourth grade team member for the county-wide math field day next month. Despite math not being one of her favorite subjects, she's obviously good at it and received this honor. We're really proud of her for that.

James is doing well in school. We have a meeting at the beginning of the new year to discuss getting him into the REACH program. They don't generally allow kids in before 3rd grade, but he definitely needs enrichment beyond first grade work. The kid is just pretty darn smart. He's also really growing socially as well. When we went to this week's basketball game, he left his family to go sit with his little friend Shay. He was able to sit with her, watch the game and not run around or be afraid of the referees' whistles. It was really great to watch.

Faith is also growing right up. A few nights ago, she brought "The Giving Tree" to me to read. I started reading it to her, but was interrupted by the dog asking to go out. When I came back, Faith picked up where I had left off and read the rest to me! This child was definitely not interested in academic pursuits at the beginning of the year, and now she can read me a book! It was quite exciting to me to watch her thrive in her classroom and at home. She asked for books for Christmas, and I'm happy to oblige that.

And my Christopher is growing up too. He's just wonderful at memorizing his Bible verses for church and for AWANA. It's really amazing to see him internalizing these truths. Of course, he knows that mommy still needs a baby around, and is happy to curl up in my lap every now and again for a cuddle. He definitely tolerates being my little one very well.

Jason is also growing up -- he had his 33rd birthday on Saturday. To celebrate, we went to Deborah's basketball game. While we were there, they were short a ref for the game, so he got roped into refereeing the first half of the game! He said it was a lot harder than you'd think. Because these kids are just learning the game, I guess the refs could be blowing the whistle nearly non-stop. He said that it was hard to know the balance between enforcing the rules of the game so the kids learn to play correctly and so game play could actually continue (and also so he didn't get mugged in the parking lot on our way home by disgruntled parents/coaches!). He did say that he had a good time, though. We also got to go out to dinner at the new Applebee's here in town. It was super last-minute, but very nice.

As for me, I got to lead worship for the kids on Sunday morning for the first time. It was wondeful. I didn't realize how much I had missed it! The kids were really energetic and sang right along with me. It was really exciting to be a part of a music ministry again. I'm already looking forward to my next chance to do it!

I think that's about it. I'm sure more has happenned in the past week, but honestly, it's all escaping me right now. Be blessed!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


I got to see Deborah cheer for her school's fourth grade basketball team. It was really fun. And kind of frustrating. In the big, giant list of rules we got at the beginning of the year, one of the top rules was that it was tremendously important to attend practices and games and to be there on time. Certainly that makes sense -- it's not much good to be a cheerleader and not actually show up.

Last night I drove Deborah back across town for her practice at 5. One of the coaches didn't show up at all and the other was late. Then the door was locked, so we were unable to have practice anyway (though I don't blame the coach for not having a key -- the principal simply won't okay it for her, which is just silly, IMO).

Today the game was supposed to start at 11am. We're supposed to be there between 15-20 minutes early, which we were. When 11 rolled around, neither of the coaches were there, which meant that neither of their daughters were there. The entire first quarter had ended before one of the coaches showed up without her daughter. In the meantime, I took the girls to the front and helped them do a few cheers (yeah, me, the most non-cheerleadery person ever). It was pretty ridiculous. But the girls did a great job -- they fill the auditorium with their cheers!

The Bwack Christmas cd came out and somehow Jason's song didn't make it on! But you can still here his version of Carol of the Bells at his MySpace site (see links to the left -- he's Elwood). I think it's pretty good. There are a few things that I don't love that he still does, but that's okay. Overall, it's a good piece. And the intro is freaking awesome!

Hope everyone is having a good Advent!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy Ninja Day

Today is the International Day of the Ninja. At least according to this guy. So don your black, grab your shurikens & watch this video to get into the proper "Ninja" frame of mind!

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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
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