Thursday, December 31, 2009

My favorite sound

Like the majority of people, we have a CD player in our van. For the past few months (since October), we've kept the newest Fee CD in there - it's our favorite!

Each of us has our favorite song(s) & like to hear them over & over again. Some of us even sing to them - loudly!! (Gee, I wonder who?)

As of Christmas, we've had a new favorite CD - Awake by North Point. I've spoken about this one before. Once again, we all have favorite songs.

Chelsea's newest favorite is 'A Mighty Fortress' sung by Cori Moon. While I like the original recording by Christy Nockels, the musical arrangement on the Awake CD just adds to it.

Anyway, every time we're in the van, Chelsea requests to hear song 11 - 'A Mighty Fortress'. If you really stop & listen, you can hear her singing to the song. Praising her Heavenly Father without restraint. She sings her heart out to Him and it's a beautiful sound.

I love listening & watching people openly worship God. They don't have to sing on key or clap to the beat; all they have to do is release their heart to their Father.

Pop in a great worship CD and listen to your kids sing.

It's the most beautiful sound in the world!! I promise.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goodbye 2009

As 2010 rapidly approaches, I cannot help but look back over 2009 and reminisce.

2009 brought a lot of changes for the Ahrens family, some little & some monumental. Either way, we saw God work in our lives.

~We saw loss of a job & loss of a loved one.

~We saw the addition of friends to our lives.

~We saw Chelsea move on to middle school.

~We saw Justin hop on up to 4th grade.

And now I look forward to see God's hand in our lives in 2010.

Many blessings,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One BIG happy family?

Tonight, while babysitting a friend's children, I was flipping through channels. There's not much on, that's for sure!!! I came across a new reality show called 'One BIG Happy Family' on TLC. I'm not one for these types of shows, where people exploit their families for the sake of a few bucks. Yet this one drew me in - not to the point where I'll be tuning in each week, but enough that I watched 2 episodes last night.

The show is about a family; mother, father, 16-year old daughter & 14-year old son, ALL weighing over 300 pounds. They all seem very comfortable & happy in their own skin, however you soon learn that their health is in jeopardy. The 14-year old boy is on the verge of diabetes & the father isn't doing to well either. It seems that this show will follow their journey as they decide to make the necessary changes to their lives in order to lose the weight & become healthy.

At one point during the show, they went to a water park. When they tried to go on one of the rides, they saw that they weren't going to be able to. It was a 2 person ride, with a weigh limit of 400 pounds & no single riders allowed. They graciously accepted this fact & decided to move on. However, the teens/people in the background started to call them all names - fatty, tubby, etc. THAT broke my heart. But this family shrugged it off as no big deal.

It is a big deal... no matter how much you try to not let it get to you, it hurts!

This show was a like a mirror for me. I am overweight - morbidly obese if I'm really honest with myself & you. I need to do something. Sure, I might be healthy now, but all of that can go downhill within months because of the weight.

For now, I'll start with prayer & research. Prayer that God gives me the strength to overcome this addiction - because food is a VERY REAL addiction. Research on how to do it right, with support from others.

I'm in for quite a journey, no doubt one that God is going to use to His glory. Should be an interesting ride. You'll just have to 'tune' in to see how I'm doing.

Many blessings,

Monday, December 28, 2009

A new perspective

I went back through my blog to read some of the things that I've written over the past year. I stumbled across the post I wrote about my story. That's when I read the comment. I mean, it's not the 1st time I've read the comment, but it is the 1st time I've READ the comment.

My online friend, Lynette, had wonderful words to say & shared a piece of scripture with me.

Genesis 50:20 "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good..."

The bad things that have happened in my life, God has used them for good. Yes, I could wallow in self-pity and allow myself to remain a victim - but that's what Satan had planned all along. However God has shown me (through His word) that He can use those things to further His Kingdom.

I'm a work in progress... you've followed my journey this long. I hope you continue to come along for the ride. I have a feeling 2010 is going to be an interesting one.

Many blessings,

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gift of love

Every so often, I have fleeting thoughts of the child I miscarried almost 2 years ago. In March 2008, I didn't know I was pregnant and miscarried. As much as I know that it was for the best, it really broke my heart. That baby would have been due around Christmas/early January.

This past November, I had the tremendous honor of watching a friend's daughter. Ava is a beautiful 11 month little girl, full of spunk! While watching Ava one day, I realized that the baby that I had lost would have been the same age. While Ava isn't mine, it blessed me to have time with a child the same age as the one that I lost.

I am so thankful to my friend for giving me that time with Ava. I will cherish it always. Seeing her zip around the house in a walker was just priceless for me.

What a blessing to have a friend like this... who unknowingly gave me such a special gift.

I cannot wait to be able to pass that gift on to someone else one day as we open our home to foster children. The gift of LOVE.

Many blessings,

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A new song....

Back in October, I surprised Craig with an early anniversary gift - tickets to North Point Live. Then on December 13th, North Point released the CD from that concert called AWAKE. If you're looking for a great worship CD, you DEFINITELY want to check this one out!!!

The whole CD is outstanding and I could listen to it all day, one song has really pierced my heart. A Mighty Fortress by Christy Nockels, sung by Cori Moon. As much as I love the words - AMAZING - the musical arrangement is just as powerful. It's a must own....

Back to the song:

Our God is, a consuming fire,
A burning holy Flame, with glory and freedom
Our God is, the only righteous judge,
Ruling over us with kindness and wisdom

We will keep our eyes on You
We will keep our eyes on You

A mighty fortress is our God
A sacred refuge is Your Name
Your Kingdom is unshakable
With You forever we will reign

Our God is, jealous for His own
None could comprehend, His love and His mercy
Our God is exalted on His throne
High above the heavens
Forever He’s worthy...

We will keep our eyes on You
We will keep our eyes on You

We will keep our eyes on You
We will keep our eyes on You
So we can set our hearts on You
Lord we will set our hearts on You!

I can only think of the peace & freedom that I feel in His presence, knowing that I am His child. He doesn't judge us out of anger, but out of love & concern for us, His precious child. I want to blast this song so loud & raise my hands to Him as I praise Him.

As always, music speaks to me on so many levels.. I hope this one speaks to you.

Many blessings,

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry CHRISTmas!

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year! As a child, it was all about the presents. Heck, as an adult it's usually about the presents. I love to give & receive them. My love language is gifts. It's how I show love & how love is shown to me. It doesn't have been expensive - I just need to know that you thought of me.

Over the past few years, we've really learned to put the emphasis on the true meaning of Christmas - birth of a baby sent to save the world. We've worked Santa into our Christmas traditions, but continue to teach our children the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas Eve, Craig reads Luke's account of the Christmas story. This year, we've added a birthday party for Jesus & left a Happy Birthday Jesus cupcake for Santa.

As always, this year we started out nice & early. Not our choice. The kids could no longer contain themselves & HAD to get up. So, it began at 5:45 am!! Craig started a fire & took the dog out for a quick walk before the kids could check out the tree.

We usually start with the stockings... which proved to be successful this year. No socks or oranges! Candy, candy & more candy! Then it was on to the tree. Wrapping paper flying, squeals of delight as treasures were unwrapped. Telescopes, stereos, Wii games, DS games, MP3 players, Legos, books, & more filled the dining room along with the sheer joy of the morning. Clothing items were openly welcomed!

Breakfast cooked & served by a wonderful 11-year old girl, cooked to perfection! Scrambled eggs A mom could get used to that!

Everyone off in their own direction to unpacked their goodies. Justin in his room quickly assembling Legos, Chelsea plugged in to her DS to design the latest fashions.

It's now 7:40 in the morning. All gifts are unwrapped, boxes are opened & garbage gathered. I think I'll wrap up in my Snuggie, settle in front of the fire & take an early nap.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas at Browns Bridge!!!

We have been blessed to attend a church that is LOADED with talented people; from production to children ministry to music.

This past Sunday proved to be the best yet!!!

It may not look all that impressive, but you've got to realize that the music was LIVE on 3 campuses, one of which had 2 auditoriums - that's a total of 4 live bands simultaneously !!! The live feed was outstanding! As always, the talent inspiring.

From our family to yours, wishing you a very Merry Christmas! May the joy of the season live in your heart forever!

Many blessings,

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Not so anti-elf

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the phenomenon of Elf on the Shelf. Needless to say, I wasn't a big fan. In fact, I went so far as making a public declaration that we will never allow an Elf in our home.... Ahh, good thing my kids don't read my blogs!

After reading an article in a local publication about Elf on the Shelf, I've changed my mind. Don't get me wrong, we're not in the market for one THIS year, but I think we might consider one (or two) for next year.

The premise of Elf on the Shelf is that on Thanksgiving, one of Santa's scout elves arrives at your home to keep an eye on the children. Each night, when the kids are asleep, the elf returns to the North Pole to report back to Santa. The elf arrives beck before the children awake - each day relaxing in a new location. The children wake & search for their elf. The elf cannot be touched by children's hands or he could lose his magic. Also, the elf is NOT allowed to talk to children, but is allowed to chat with mom & dad. Then, on Christmas Eve when Santa arrives, the elf helps Santa deliver the presents & returns to the North Pole until next year.

There is no destruction involved with this elf. No pranks or messes for kids to clean up. No flour scattered about, not missing car keys. These guys cannot go to school and wreak havoc either. The just hang home & keep an eye on the kids.

Looks like my wish list for next year will include an Elf on the Shelf. We could use help keeping an eye out on the kids.

Many blessings,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The blessings of friendship

One of the best things in life, next to a great husband & wonderful children, is having a best friend. Someone you can just sit & chat with about nothing in particular.

When we first moved to Georgia, I was devastated at leaving behind my 3 best friends - The Posse. We did most everything together - stamped, scrapbooked, retreats. Even our husbands and children were friends.

I longed to find that in Georgia, but knew it would be difficult. Heck, it had taken me a while to find that in Jersey.

God was faithful and brought friends into my life when I needed them most. Scrapbook & stamping friends; great girl's night out at one another house crafting & chatting away. Starbucks getaways are typical now - we try for once a week (or at least it seems that way). Once again, our husbands & children have become friends so FAMILY get-togethers are more frequent.

I am blessed beyond measure at the friendships that I have. I still miss my NJ friends, but am so thankful that God provided GA friends too. To quote one of my favorite movies: "My cup runneth over" - Hope Floats

Many blessings,

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday before Christmas

Twas the Monday before Christmas
Not much on my mind.
I know should be blogging
Can't leave readers in a bind.

That's about as much of a poem as you're going to get this year. It's almost 11pm and don't have any creative synapses firing.

One thing I have decided this year is that I will NEVER go into a retail store just a few days before Christmas ever again! Holy Cow!! Last minute shoppers everywhere, only the minimal amount of check-out lanes available. Shelves picked clean. Thankfully, we didn't need anything Christmas related. New fireplace log holder for inside the fireplace - not sure what that's called. Ooh, and some new towels for the master bathroom. Which then lead to a discussion on painting, which lead to bringing home paint samples.

Visited 3 different WalMarts today. Well, technically it was only 2 different ones and then ordered something from, but we'll go with 3. Bought Pablo a new dog bed that he doesn't like. It's supposedly CHEW RESISTANT. We'll see about that! Clearly they haven't met our dog... wonder if we can get our money back once he manages to eat it?

My son is TOTALLY his mother's child. He wanted to read the 2nd book in the Harry Potter series, however it was checked out at the library. We put his name on the waiting list - thankfully he's 1st in line. Unfortunately, he refused to find another book to read in the interim. Heaven forbid he was to read book 3 in the series either (which was in). That he gets from me though. I can't read a series out of order - it just doesn't flow for me. My brain NEEDS to know what happened prior to get us to where we are.

Chelsea wanted to read books about ghosts but couldn't remember any of the titles that she saw at school. Then she couldn't pick a book to read. So, we all went home empty-handed from the library. Shocking, especially for me. I usually leave there with AT LEAST 10 books for myself.

That's about the extent of our day. Just lots of running around. Finally mailed our Christmas cards - thankfully they won't be New Year's cards.

Sorry its a bunch of nothing!

Many blessings,

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I read something earlier today that really stopped me in my tracks. So, I started thinking about forgiveness.

I know that I need to forgive my 'brother' if he wrongs me. Do I need to go so far as to let him know that I have forgiven him? Would that just open me up for more hurt? Should I wait until he asks for my forgiveness before letting him know?

Maybe he wasn't even talking about me... or the incident. But what if he was?

I'm really torn here.

I do not want this person in my life - AT ALL!!! Yet, there is a part of me that thinks I should reach out to him & let him know that I have forgiven him. Then there is that other side of me that hesitates because I just don't want to open myself up to anymore hurt. If I were to reach out to him & he's not even talking about me, then what if he doesn't think he's done anything wrong?

Please keep me in prayer as I contemplate this.

Many blessings,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

THE Christmas Story

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was guest room for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
~ Luke 2:1-19

Merry Christmas!

Many blessings,
Allison & family

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mean Girls

***Disclaimer: I do not think that my children are angels***

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I need to share the latest in the Mean Girl saga.

There isn't necessarily ONE mean girl. There are a few - I think any girl can switch into Mean Girl mode at any time. This story happens to be about Mean Girl E*.

Not quite sure who started it, but a few of the girls in 6th grade decided to do a Secret Santa among themselves. Someone went around with slips of paper with girls names on them. Thankfully they were sweet/smart enough to put a $15 limit on the gift! Anyway, when it was time for Chelsea to draw a name, she managed to draw her own name (she's got my luck). She was alright with it, but the girl with the names said no, draw again. This time she picked a name of a friend, K.

Throughout the past few days, it came to Chelsea's attention that E had picked her name. E & Chelsea have had a hot/cold relationship over the past year or so. More hot than cold. We've advised her to keep her distance - be nice, but don't kill yourself trying to get E to be your friend either. E then opted to DROP from the Secret Santa because she didn't want to have to get Chelsea anything. NICE!!!

Mom mode immediately kicked in. If E isn't going to participate, then the girl who is supposed to get a gift for E should then just get a gift for Chelsea instead. That's only fair. Why should E get a gift and Chelsea not just because E decided to be a Mean Girl.

Not sure how that played out. Chelsea did call me today to tell me that ALL of the girls in the Secret Santa got together & got a gift for her. They didn't want Chelsea to not get anything. This brought tears to my eyes. My daughter was SO excited about her gift - she couldn't wait to get home & show me. These girls - so sweet & kind - thought of my child. They didn't want to let E ruin the experience for her.

In the midst of a sea of Mean Girls there are a gaggle of girls who opted to build a friend up instead of letting someone tear her down.

THAT is just another glimpse as to what Christmas is all about.

Thank you girls for thinking of my child.

* Names have been omitted to protect the mean girl (and myself since I don't want to get in trouble for slander or whathaveyou and someone who knows E may read this)

Many blessings,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas with Mima

We got a surprise visit from my mom this week. An impromptu gathering. We didn't do much - no sightseeing or marathon Wal-Mart shopping. Mom just needed a quick getaway.

Because we won't get to see Mom during Christmas, she opted to bring the kids Christmas gifts with her. We never said a word to the kids - if we did, you KNOW they would have been driving us nuts as to when they would be getting them.

Sneakily, she brought them into the house, wrapped them & hid them behind our tree. I don't think they noticed until AFTER dinner last night. Of course, THEN they couldn't wait.

Both kids LOVE their gifts. Chelsea got a super cute pair of black boots. Had to break them in for them to fit, but now that they are I don't think we'll ever get them off of her. She wore them to school today with her skinny jeans. VERY CUTE!!!

I think even Craig approved of them - no heel, not trashy looking. Mom did a GREAT job!!!

Justin's gift required prior approval. Hahahaha!! Mom decided to get him a Red Ryder BB gun - you know the one. "You'll shoot your eye out kid!" Yes, the one from 'A Christmas Story'. Justin cannot wait to get outside & shoot at something. Thankfully, Mima AND Craig schooled Craig in weapon safety. Last night, he went to bed reading the Red Ryder comic book that came with it and tonight he is reading the owner's manual. TOO FUNNY!!!
My sister, Jessica, sent her gifts to the kids too. Chelsea couldn't help but be excited at her gift. Jessica hit the nail on the head with it! 3 makeup bags LOADED with nail polish & lip gloss (prior permission given). Justin got a new Indiana Jones Wii game & a pair of finger-less gloves that turn into mittens.

I am so thankful that our families respect us enough to ask about certain gifts BEFORE giving them to the kids. I hear horror stories from friends and remember how blessed we are.

Pictures will follow of the gifts in use. I'm sure they'll get LOTS of use this weekend.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life is our ministry

Earlier this year, I attempted to start my own ministry. One that would reach broken women & let them know that they are not alone. It hasn't gotten off the ground - then again, I haven't spent much time on it either.

I can't say that I am necessarily disappointed. I think it takes a lot of work to run/begin a ministry. It's not that I don't want to do the work - I DO! I just haven't put in the time or effort to make a go of it.

We have been blessed once again & I feel so unworthy. We haven't 'done' anything to deserve the blessings. Yet clearly, somehow we have ministered to someone. Just by living our lives.

I may not have a big/popular ministry known throughout the country. What I do have is a quiet little, personal ministry one that quietly touches people's lives in ways that I will never know.

God continues to bless us. He provides for us & love us. We are unworthy of that gift, yet He gives it SO freely.

Many blessings,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Give me a call....

A few years after moving to Georgia, we opted to get rid of our home phone & only use cellphones. Craig & I both have one. 99% of the time, if my MIL wants to talk to the kids or something, she calls Craig. I could probably count on 2 hands how many times she's called MY phone since living here.

That is until recently.....

My mother-in-law has FINALLY entered the 21st century! She got internet at her house which came with a FREE laptop. NICE DEAL - right? SURE. However, because of my background in IT/computers, I have become my MIL's personal IT guru.

Not sure how to open up an email? Give me a call.

Not sure what SPAM is? Give me a call.

Have 4 friends 'peeking' on you? Give me a call.

Want to bookmark a website address? Give me a call.

Are you seeing the theme here... GIVE ME A CALL.

I don't mind helping her. It's kind of funny actually. Trying to figure out what she's looking at while I'm 6 or so states away is a challenge.

Here's a typical conversation:

MIL: What does it mean that 4 friends peeked at me?

ME: Umm, not sure. Where do you see that?

MIL: On my email page.

ME: Is it IN an email?

MIL: No, just on the page. Oh, and I have 1 online friend. I think it's you.

ME: Yep, it's me. (Go on to explain yahoo IM/email feature).

MIL: So, should I see what friends are peeking at me?

ME: No, I don't think they're really friends.

MIL: I'm gonna look.

ME: I wouldn't. Wait... is it a little box at the top of your email page with a picture of a random person?

MIL: Yes, do you know them too?

ME: NO!! It's just an ad. You don't know them. TRUST ME!!!

I have a feeling I'll be hearing from her a LOT more frequently now. Just tonight, she had to go because she was getting another call... which means she'll call me back.

Ahhh... the benefits of knowledge.

Many blessings,

Breathe on me

Hold on to your hats ladies & gentlemen!

The other day was a CRAZY one for me. I think was IN the car more than I was home. Between picking up & dropping off a friend's child, my doctor appointment & unemployment - I wasted enough gas to heat a small home.

Yet, God used those moments to inspire me. I have a radio on my car & always listen to our local Christian station: 104.7 The Fish. For some reason, the song "It Is Well" kept popping in my head.

Once I got home & was finally able to settle in, I hopped on the computer to catch up on today's happenings (Facebook, blogs, Twitter). Lo & behold, I saw a post from one of the worship leaders at church about a new video he uploaded to YouTube. Todd Fields uploaded "It Is Well". HAS to be a God thing!!!

While listening/watching his version of "It Is Well", I decided to check out a few of his other videos. I stumbled across "Breathe On Me" written by Todd Fields, Christy & Nathan Nockels.

Listening to it, I realized that it's one of my favorite Todd Fields songs. The words are so simple yet powerful.
Find me here, in this place
Son of God, Saving Grace
At this hour, all my days
Breathe on me, breathe on me

Morning star, shine Your light
As I walk through this life
God of power God of might
Breathe on me breathe on me

Forever, you are the reason for living

Merciful Savior unending
Breathe on me

When I’m weak, You are strong

Your breath in me will be my song
In You my King, I belong
Breathe on me breathe on me

Forever, You are the God of my story

Write every line for Your glory
Breathe on me

Breathe on me, breathe on me I am weak, You are strong Your breath in me, be my song When I am weak, You are strong You are strong
When I am weak, You are strong - POWERFUL!!! This song ministers to my soul making it cry out to my Father, asking Him to use me in whatever way He sees fit.

If you can, take a moment to play the video & listen to it... make it your prayer.

Many blessings,

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nothing much

It was a fairly quiet day today. Just me & Ava hanging at the house. The sleepy little girl gave me a treat with a 3 hour nap. Bonus for me - since I napped right along with her.

On the other hand, we did get an unexpected visitor today. My mom decided to pop on by for a visit. She's got stuff going on & needed to get away. Just a mini vacation. We're up for it - of course. The kids would prefer to stay home from school this week & visit with their Mima, but we're making them go - mean parents that we are. What will make things fun for them is that they'll be able to celebrate Christmas early with her.

Sometimes you just need a little love from family members to make things feel a little better. That exactly what we're hoping to give her. Grandchildren love to get her through.

Tomorrow will be a busy day. Between watching Ava, a doctor appointment for me to review my MRI & reemployment meeting at unemployment, I've got my hands full. I'm interested to see what's going on with my knee. My hopes & prayers are that they FIND a reason for the pain and we can fix it. Whether that means surgery or just weight loss (or both), I don't know.

I do have a quick prayer request. My middle sister is going for a mammogram tomorrow. She's found a few lumps. While we are sure that all is well, because of the history of breast cancer in our family we are asking for prayers.

I guess that's all I have for now. I told you, it wasn't going to be much.

Many blessings,

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Words cannot express...

This post had a TOTALLY different direction when I started. I was going to write about the wonderful time we had at Classic Christmas at Browns Bridge Community Church last night. I wanted to talk about the musicians that shared their talented with us, so I started looking online for their individual websites. But then, God changed my plans.

Casey Darnell was one of the 6 musicians that performed last night. As I perused the internet looking for his website, I stumbled across this nugget of beauty.

The sound quality is terrible, but it's what's going on in the front row that speaks volumes to my heart. On the Front row...witness 2 guys worshiping their hearts out to the song "Mighty to Save" being lead at Buckhead Church by Casey Darnell and Carlos Whittaker. One of the guys on the front row has severe Cerebral Palsy... in order for him to stand on his own, the other guy is holding him up so they can STAND and worship together.

It reminds me of our relationship with God. When we can't stand, God is there to lift us up.

Many blessings,

Saturday, December 12, 2009

God's artwork

It's very rare that I am up early in the morning. At least up & out of the house. Lately, watching the girls has had me up prior to the sun. As much as I grumble about the early hours, God usually shuts me up with a painting.

You see, in the early hours of the morning, driving into Gainesville, God paints beautiful pictures for me. Full of life & color. While it may be cold out, the picture before me warms my heart. Knowing that God painted this beautiful scene for me reminds me, once again, of His love for me.

Enjoy the beauty in His paintings.
Many blessings,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Having fun!

In my unemploymentness, I've been helping a few friends out by watching their children. I'll be honest as much as I have enjoyed it, it has been an eye opening experience for me.

Yes, I know I have 2 children and that I should be used to caring for babies, but you've got to remember that my children are 11 & 9. It has been quite a while since I have to tend to a child under the age of 1. Some things are like riding a bike - you never forget. But then some things have become foreign to me - what cry means what.

It has been fun though. I've really enjoyed watching the girls personalities emerge. Seeing them interact has been precious! Even though they are 5 months & 11 months, they still 'talk' to one another. They'll even play together.

There's a slight part of me that misses it, but then I see my children & how they've grown and I get to remember those moments and enjoy the ones that are ahead for us.

Many blessings,

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You're gonna do what?

As you know, Craig & I have been contemplating becoming a foster family. Tonight we took action! We attended a foster parent orientation down in Atlanta. The information given was amazing. I knew there was a need, but it's heartbreaking to learn just how much of a need there is.

We've only just begun the process though. We submitted our paperwork & handed in our letter of intent. Now it's on to 20 hours of classes, plus CPR/First Aid certification, home visits, etc.

I'm finding that the majority of our friends are supporting this move. Each person has given us great words of affirmation. Quite honestly, I don't think anyone in our lives would object. It's nice to learn how people think of us. Even someone that we don't know all that well said that we would make the perfect foster parents. WOW! That's a lot of pressure.

What I love most about the organization that we're going through is that their primary goal is reunification of the family. I'm ok with that. I wondered if I would be. I know that's a concern for Craig. Ultimately, I do not want to see a family torn apart. If there is a way to reunite them, I'm all for it!

I cannot wait to open up our home to a child who needs a safe place. Ultimately, we'll be opening up our hearts too. This is what God has called us to do.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas favorites

I borrowed this from a new friend's blog..

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I will wrap ANYTHING. Yet the rest of the year, I'd rather use a gift bag.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Real. Hubby always had a real tree growing up so we continued the tradition. Plus, I love driving to the tree farm each year with the kids & cut down our own tree - after we make sure there aren't any residents.
3. When do you put up the tree? whenever we have a free weekend. We try to do it the 1st weekend of December, but don't always hold to that schedule
4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime in January.. though we've been known to keep it up until March!
5. Do you like eggnog? YUCK!
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Caller ID for the phone in my room. It was a HUGE surprise!!
7. Hardest person to buy for? my husband; every time I think I've found the perfect gift, he goes out within 2-3 days & buys it for himself.
8. Easiest person to buy for? my son - LEGOS, LEGOS, & more LEGOS!
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Of course! About 2 years ago I started collecting the Willow Tree nativity. Still have a bunch of pieces to get, but I LOVE it!
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail - well, I'm REALLY good at making them & addressing them. It's the MAILING them that I struggle with!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Hmmm.. good question. I honestly cannot remember.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I've got 2... A Christmas Story (you'll shoot your eye out kid) and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Grace? She passed away 30 years ago)
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Every year I say that I am going to do it throughout the year, but never do. Usually start in November - BEFORE Black Friday
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Heck yeah! Especially if we're participating in a Dirty Santa game!
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Food - I'm not picky. There's not one food that screams Christmas to me
16. Lights on the tree? yes, lots, and they have to be white
17. Favorite Christmas song? Joseph's Lullaby
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? depends, most of the time we stay home - occasionally we'll travel to NJ
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? sadly, yes. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen & Rudolph.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? angel
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? hubby & I exchange on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day we open the rest.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Crazy shoppers
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? my favorite ornament is Santa kneeling at baby Jesus in a manager
24. Favorite thing for Christmas dinner? food... I'm not picky
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? darn this question... some StampinUp stuff to replenish my stock, new Vera, clothing, more pieces for my Nativity

Now it's your turn. Go ahead and fill out your own answers and post on your blog!

Many blessings,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Benefits of a small group

Before attending North Point Community Church & Browns Bridge Community Church, I never heard the term "small group". When we first decided to give small group a try, I remember kicking & screaming the WHOLE way. However, as usual, God had different plans for us.

Small groups are a group of people that you do life with. You share the good & bad. Your life is transparent to them. It's more than just another group of friends. It's SO much more.

Here we are, 5 years later and we lead our own small group. It's actually a SMALL small group. Right now there are only 2 other couples. But this small group has become an extension of family. In just the short amount of time that this particular group has been together, we've experienced good & bad; loss of jobs, marital issues, etc. Yet, we're there for one another - just like family.

Last night is a perfect example. Chelsea had a chorus concert at school. She asked us to extend the invite to our small group friends; so we did. What a blessing it was for them to show up with their children to help us celebrate our daughter! While it meant a lot to Chelsea that Craig, Justin & I were there, I think it meant even more to have Kristin, Danny, Andrew, Katelyn, Adam, Amanda, Dylan & Cadence there too!

That's what small group is about. Being there for one another. Sharing the small moments in life along with the BIG ones. Helping one another out during a time of need. Being that shoulder. Going out for coffee or midnight Christmas shopping. It's what God had planned for us. He created us to be relational.

Church is not about sitting in rows each & every Sunday. It's about sitting around a table, getting to know one another, sharing life & learning more about Him.

Our marriage is stronger because of small groups. My life is better because of small group. I encourage you to find a small group - doesn't have to be church related. Find a group of people that you can be yourself with. People that you can truly let into your life, that you feel safe with.

I found mine.

Many blessings,

Monday, December 7, 2009

My favorite ornament

After putting up our tree & decorating it this weekend, I've picked out my FAVORITE ornament. Don't get me wrong - I love all of the ornaments on my tree. They each old a special meaning. But this one... it just says it all!

About a week ago, I wrote a post about my son & Santa. I've been rather discouraged this holiday season because of the lack of magic. Yet seeing this ornament yesterday brought it all back.

This ornament reminded me of the verse Romans 14:11 "It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'". How true! While Santa is wonderful to 'celebrate' this time of year, even he kneels at the manager to honor Jesus.

How beautiful the sentiment of this ornament. My in-laws gave it to us several year back. Each year we put it on the tree, I fall in love with it a little bit more. This year, it became my all-time favorite.

What is your favorite ornament? Feel free to share pictures.

Many blessings,

Sunday, December 6, 2009

O' Christmas Tree

Since we've been married, Craig & I have always had a real tree for Christmas.

Back in NJ, we'd gather up the family, in-laws, friends and caravan out to western NJ to cut down our own tree. MIL would pack a thermos of hot chocolate and we'd tailgate after we all got our tree. Right down the road from the tree farm was a little country store. We'd stop there on the way home for a little homemade treat and maybe even pick up a wreath.

Even with the move to Georgia, we still managed to have a real tree, though it usually came from Home Depot. Nice, but just not the same. There is a tree farm right down the road from us, but we weren't all that impressed with the trees there. And forget about the prices!

Last year, friends of ours told us about a tree farm in North Carolina, just on the GA/NC border. It's about a 75 minute ride. So, we loaded the van & headed out. Beautiful trees!!! And the prices were/are outstanding!

We did the same thing this year too!! Even invited some friends to come along. No hot chocolate, maybe next year. Craig took the kids (I had a dr. appt.) and they picked out the largest, fattest tree we've ever had!
Today we finally decorated it! We need to pick up a least 1 more strand of lights and maybe 2 more boxes of candy canes to make it complete. It's still beautiful! We love getting out the decorations and looking at all of the ornaments. The kids have gotten ornaments every year since their birth, so they love to see the different ones they've collected over the years.
As beautiful as the tree is, Craig & I cannot wait until tonight to see it in the dark. You know that moment in time, the kids are in bed, the sun has gone down, the lights are off except for the ones on the tree.

I can't wait!

Many blessings,

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas traditions

As a kid, I didn't fully appreciate the traditions of Christmas. The one that sticks out in my mind the most is one that we did at my paternal grandparents' home.

My grandmother, Jean, was Polish. I was teased growing up because of this. You know, Polish people are stupid. Anyway, one thing that HAD to be done before we were allowed to eat was the breaking of the Christmas wafer (oplatek) and wishing each person health & happiness in the New Year. I know I would try to sneak pieces of oplatek prior to breaking it with family members. Just to tick her off!
It's been several years since I've spent Christmas with my grandmother and she has since passed away. No more oplatek to break at Christmastime. Now I would like to come up with our own tradition.

I would like have a Red Velvet Cake on Christmas Day to celebrate the birth of Christ. You know - a birthday cake for Jesus. Why Red Velvet? I've read that the red cake signifies the blood He shed on the cross. The white icing signifies that our sins are washed as white as snow because of this death & resurrection.
Will we do it this year? I don't know. If we do, will it stick with my children & mean something as they grow up? I don't know. But I do hope that one day they can look back on it and remember the tradition fondly & long for those times once again.

Do you have any interesting & unique Christmas traditions?

Many blessings,

Friday, December 4, 2009


Call me a Scrooge. Say I'm a Grinch. But I just cannot understand the JOY over having an 'Elf on a Shelf'.
These things are ALL the rage right now. Families have MULTIPLES of these monsters floating around their home, reeking havoc on their lives.

These creepy little dolls 'come to life' and destroy your home. Leaving messes where ever they go. Nothing is safe; not your toilet paper, flour, NOTHING! It's gotten to the point that they are now attending school, demolishing classrooms while the students are at lunch.

Seriously??? I do not need ANY help making a mess in my home. Neither do my kids. We can barely get them to clean up the messes that THEY make. Someone expects me to have them clean up a mess that an elf made. HA!

The elf reports back to Santa on the behavior of the kids... why can't their be a nice angel, sitting softly on a shelf be the one to report back? Does it have to be a mischievous elf? Why not a simple reindeer? Doesn't Santa need these elves back at the North Pole to make the toys & load up his sleigh?

I'm saying it here, in black & white: this family will not host an elf this year. We will not host an elf next year either. Santa can keep his pointy-eared pals up in the north or send them to someone else's house. Fine with me!!

Looks like I'll be on his 'naughty' list now.

Many blessings,

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mommy moment

I've been helping out two friends who needed some babysitting. It's been an interesting time. It's been a while since I've had a baby around, let alone TWO!

When I do have the two girls, I pretty much stay in the house until it's time to drop them off. You see, one is 5 months old and the other is 11 months. Diaper bags, bottles, & what not - WOW! I haven't had to worry about those in about 7 years!!!

Today, my beautiful daughter calls from school to tell me that she forgot her math homework and would I please bring it to the school. Um... really? Seriously? You want me to try to leave the house with 2 babies all alone? She graciously said that I didn't have to; she would take the zero and the silent lunch. That was fine with me.

Or was it? NOPE! I felt horrible. This is my daughter & she's asked me for help. To make matters worse, math is one of the subjects that she struggles with. She worked really hard on that homework last night and there was no way I could let her take a zero because I wanted to be LAZY!

So, I packed up the girls into the minivan, called Chelsea back & headed over to the school. Not thinking clearly, I managed to prop one on my left hip & the other on my right, crinkling the homework in my hand. Oh the looks I got!!! Some people were even nice enough to offer to hold one of the girls for me. Being that they didn't belong to me, I wouldn't let them leave my arms!

Let me tell you - it was WORTH IT! Never do I want my children to think that something or someone else comes before them. That is the furthest from the truth.

I hope that my daughter knows how much I love her. Not just because I brought her homework, but just because I really do. She's is my precious gift from God.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tiger's "fall from grace"

Unless you've been living in a cave - actually, I'm sure Osama even knows about this - you've seen the press coverage about the newest scandal. Seems as though Tiger Woods may have cheated on his wife.

Whether he did or not is really none of my business. Quite honestly, it's NO ONE's business. This should have stayed between him & his wife. However, because the media doesn't want to discuss REAL issues, we get to hear all about Tiger's fun. Oh joy!

I am deeply saddened to hear about his indiscretion. Yet another marriage destroyed by the prince of lies. My prayer for the Woods is that they seek counseling for this. Marriage is a fight - daily. It's not a walk in the park. You can't just 'coast' in a marriage and think you're successful. It takes a lot of hard work by husband AND wife.

I'm not even sure what the big deal is. Why? Just because he's Tiger Woods. Seriously? Because he's got a great golf game, does that make him immune from sin? We need to remember people - HE IS HUMAN! And because he is human, he will make mistakes. We all do.

Instead of beating this man into the ground, we should be lifting him & his wife up in our prayers. Think of their love & their children. Personally, my prayer is that they can eventually work past this.

As for our media - seriously, is there nothing else you can report on??? What about health care or the decision to send MORE troops? How about what is going to be done for the jobless out there? Tiger isn't going to pay my bills... report about something that affects my life.

Why must the media attempt to destroy people's lives? Obviously, people can do that on their own; they certainly do not need the MEDIA's help with it. Are our lives better off because we know about Tiger & his wife?

Many blessings,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Taking the magic out?

As a Christian parent, I struggled with the whole 'Santa' issue. Do I 'lie' to my kids about Santa OR do I tell them the truth and risk them telling their friends in Kindergarten?

Craig & I opted to work Santa into our family Christmas traditions. Santa gives gifts to honor the birth of our Savior.

That explanation worked until this year. Actually, it probably would have worked longer if it wasn't for the little stinkers that my son hangs out with. Of course, SOMEONE decided to say the truth about Santa, which caused Justin to question us. I was alright with continuing the Santa tradition, but Craig thought it might be time.

He was heartbroken, to say the least. Now every Christmas conversation, Justin manages to work in the lack of Santa into it. Now that breaks MY heart.

Why is it SO wrong to believe in Santa? Does it really hurt anyone? As long as my children understand the REAL meaning of Christmas, then also adding a jolly old man to it shouldn't be such a bad thing.

Yeah, I know there are some Christians out there who think we were wrong to even introduce Santa to our children. To that I say 'To each his own'. What you do with your family is your business and I would never say that you were LESS of a Christian because of it.

I want to bring back Santa. Bring back the magic of Christmas to my son.
Any suggestions???

Many blessings,