Saturday, December 26, 2009

And To All A Good Night

We had a really nice Christmas this year. It was nice to have our good friends over on Christmas Eve. We had a simple meal together, played games, went to church, played more games, ate yummy treats. I am so thankful for our friends.



These girls light up my life.

I have my knees bent to lower myself at least a half of a foot so that I don't tower over them in our picture like I really do. I stick out like a sore thumb with these two petite brunettes!


Here we are at our friends' church ...someone forgot to tell The Prairie Daddy to smile.


We wore The Prairie Kid out so much that he slept until after 9 on Christmas morning. It was nice to be able to wake up and get ready for the morning before he was up. He sleepily came up the stairs and we had to remind him it was Christmas morning and that there was something waiting at the tree for him. We got out the cameras and he wandered in.
A new sled!
And a slinky works like this, Mom!

Fun stocking stuffer

...your turn Dad...

...and your turn Mom!

Trying on Daddy's new mask


I love my boy...even if he's goofy and silly!

Over at Grandma and Grandpa's The Prairie Kid got a Thomas the Train set. It was a group
effort to try to put it together. Auntie and Daddy were brave enough to work on it.
And Grandpa wouldn't let The Prairie Kid win Tic-Tac-Toe. But he patiently tried to teach a 4 year old the strategy.

The Prairie Kid didn't want to give in and go to bed...but he didn't win. He tried to stay awake and play with his new race track. I think we can all see who won.


And it's all over. I was just as anxious as I told you I would be to put EVERYTHING away this morning. I couldn't pull decorations down fast enough! I feel like a new woman with a simple, spacious house. Ahhhh. And now for a movie with the hubby.
Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Big Adventure

In the beginning of the fall we learned that our Assistant Pastor was stepping out from our church to start a ministry in a community of great need in our area. Part of his role with our church is as pastor over the children's ministries. In October our Senior Pastor asked to have a meeting with me and extended an invitation to prayerfully consider becoming the new Director of Children's Ministry at our church. It would be a half-time position on the pastoral staff.

Wow. I was in awe. I was a bit overwhelmed by the decision. I analyzed, processed, dialogued with The Prairie Daddy, and prayed. And prayed. And prayed. The Lord was faithful in giving me a clear answer despite all of my hesitations. I was so thankful for His clarity. Even though I am still struggling quite a bit with my health, the Lord said "yes" and "trust Me."

And I said "yes." And I am trusting Him.

The final signatures were put on paper just a few short weeks ago. And last week I attended my first staff meeting. I am excited, scared, eager, hesitant, energized, and exhausted all at the same time. It is a bit of a roller coaster with my body getting worn out long before my spirit and my mind. I will have to learn to balance, plan ahead and be careful not to over do it.

God has blessed me greatly with the encouragement and support of my church family. This has been an awesome season in my walk despite my physical circumstances. God reminds me often "You are who I say you are" and "You can do all things through Christ." I can only accomplish the things that are now my responsibilities through Christ's strength and I am soberly thankful for His reminder of this to me on the rough days.

The Prairie Daddy and I will venture to Nashville after Christmas to take a few days of vacation and then attend a conference for children's ministry. I am so thankful for the opportunity to get training right off the bat.

So, here I go! It will be quite an adventure I am sure! Lord, thank You for letting me be a part of what You plan to do.

'Tis The Season

of busyness and more busyness. I thought it was due time for a blog update.

We have been busy. Some days too busy, other days recouping from the "too busy" days. I don't know anyone who isn't busy this time of year. And if we don't have Christmas programs, bake sales, parties, and the like, we fill our plates with baking, decorating, and more of the like. I fit into both categories this year. As if The Prairie Kid's Christmas program, school party, the Moms Together Bake Sale, the church caroling night, and the Community Christmas Dinner wasn't enough. I decided I should coordinate sponsors for 20 kids that I knew were from families in need. And then there is the offer to host Christmas Eve with our friends. Oh, and as if that all isn't enough, why not start a job?

Now see the next post. : )

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Better Off

Well, he finally did it. The Prairie Daddy had been talking about putting an ad in the paper for Jack to find a new home. I didn't know if he would do it or not since we've had Jack with us for 9 months and it hadn't happened yet. But Jack has been continually causing problems, including for our brother's dog, enticing him to run off with him and be naughty.

The Prairie Daddy had a good talk with The Prairie Kid about it. He did an awesome job of including his son in the decision, knowing that a 4 year old might not quite understand. But The Prairie Kid agreed and is looking forward to finding a dog that fits ranch life a little better in the future.

I think the ad went out in the paper Friday. There was a call that day from some ladies who used to have a dog of that same mixed breed and were very interested. They seemed to be the types that spend much time with their animals and even take on rescue dogs. They came to meet Jack yesterday morning and took him home with them. I wasn't around for the "transaction" and I think that was a blessing because I might have been a bit emotional. The Prairie Kid didn't seem to care to much and I think we all know that Jack will probably be better off.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Treats You Shouldn't Eat

Last night was The Prairie Kid's first Christmas program. Every year the local K-12 school includes the preschoolers in their program. They sang 3 songs and then gave a little Christmas "blessing" in song. The Prairie Kid looked so nervous at the beginning but then it seemed like after they were going a bit he relaxed. I was surprised he was looking around at the big audience the way he was too! They were SO cute! And I would be saying that whether my little man was up there or not! Check them out for yourselves!

You'd Better Watch Out

video

The Prairie Kid's belt buckle looks so big but it is the special one Grandpa got him and it meant a lot for him to wear it. At least he can grow into it and wear it forever!

Rudolph

video

S-A-N-T-A

video

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

video

It was so nice for Grandma, Grandpa, Aunties and a family friend to come down to watch The Prairie Kid and his cousin, who is a great saxophone player at age 13, in the program. Afterward we were able to spend some time at our house with everyone and enjoy Christmas treats.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Back Tracking

Did I ever tell you that I was gone for 10 days over Thanksgiving? The Prairie Kid and I took off early to visit some college friends and their 3 adorable kiddos. It was a nice time. I wish we lived closer. And then we headed to my moms where both my sisters and their families joined up with us. The Prairie Daddy came in the day before Thanksgiving. We all had a great time together. Other than wanting my own bed and a little more space I didn't really want to come home. Here are some fun pics of our trip:

My sister being a Super Toddler's Mom

My mom and all her grandsons!
Matching PJ's from Abuelita!

My sister's "helpers"

The little guy has big shoes to fill! (Literally!)
Miss you all already. Had a great time!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Final Touches...Minus The Big Tree

The Prairie Kid was surprised when he got home. He is having fun playing with this singing sheep dog that a boss of mine gave me years ago. It is one of those gifts that annoys the heck out of you but you love it. : )

I don't know if I like the look on The Prairie Kid's face or The Prairie Daddy's in this picture better. They are both fun!
And we put the nativity out.
It is up high on a shelf because I think within arms reach would be too tempting to play with.
I just love this scene. Although we know the wise men weren't really there until Jesus was a bit older. I wonder when they ended up in the nativity scene. Hmmm. Anyways, I can't imagine the awe in the eyes of Joseph and Mary. And the sheperds, who were likely just young men. Imagine this group of young teens staring in the face of God in a babe knowing that everything was about to change. I think it will be wonderful if God shows us the "video" of this night in heaven some day.
And then The Prairie Kid got to put the mouse on the right day of the calendar. Last year this wasn't an interest to him but I think this year it will be a highlight.

It is fun to create traditions for our children. It almost makes me feel like a child again myself.

Serves Me Right

After my "soap box" in my last post I said goodbye to The Prairie Daddy and The Prairie Kid. I've had a really rough time sleeping with my health lately and I just wasn't up for going to town to watch some high school basketball with them. My intentions were to take a nap, or watch a movie but as soon as they walked out the door I found myself putting the Thanksgiving and fall decorations away.

And then out came The Boxes. I hate getting them out. We keep them in a storage closet under our stairs and it smells of dead mice from long ago and is dark and icky. But like every year I squeeze to the deep, dark depths and pull out The Boxes.

I haul them all upstairs so that I can just "dig in" and go for it. And I went for it. I am so excited for The Prairie Kid to come home because he will be SO surprised. For a 4 year old he is so grateful and loves surprises, even little ones. I forgot to mention in my last post that when I pulled out the embellishments for the cookies he lit up and said, "Oh Mom! Are they a surprise? Oh thank you Mom!" And I got a great big hug!

I did save the nativity set for when he comes home. I didn't even peak in the bucket that has housed them since their "birth." We will evn use the same green circle of felt my mom placed them on ages ago.

So, do you want to see some of it?

First, in keeping with tradition, I broke a Christmas ball ornament. I do this every year. I even managed to break a bulb today too. I guess it was a good excuse to sweep floors.

Here is one of the items that I still like from 1972. Actually, my mom could probably tell you the exact year and place that she made this. I think she and a friend made a bunch one year and gave them out as presents. This guy is a favorite of mine...and he always hangs on the inside of the front door.

In case you're wondering, he is made out of a big thick sock...you know the kind you where under hiking boots.

The wreath in this next picture is from my dad's grave the first year he passed away. It sounds kind of morbid but it means so much to me. I am very thankful to have it and I am proud to hang it on my wall.

See the angel? My grandma gave me that when I was probably 11 or 12. And the two carolers? Definitly 1980's paper mache from my moms old collection! They're cute though.
And my mom made this little Christmas tree in the early '80s too. I did have to replace the strand of lights on it for the first time today!

And my mom brought me this beautiful embroidered table cloth back from Germany one year. It is really pretty but you can't see the detail in this picture.

Okay, I hate to admit it but I even went on imeem.com and played a bunch of Christmas music. And I sang along. I indulged my senses with the smell of a favorite Christmas candle as well. It is still snowing out and I am really enjoying this. Happy Birthday, Jesus.

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Outside. But inside there are still bundles of orange, gold and red flowers in vases, leaf-trimmed plates, leafy candles, scarecrow wreaths and Happy Harvest signs. Oops. I am sure not on the ball this year. Actually, many years I don't even get the Christmas boxes out until 1-2 weeks before the 25th. Why? Well, there are a couple of reasons.

#1- I like my house spacious and simple. I am usually just as happy to put all of the Christmas decorations away shortly after Christmas as I am to get them out shortly before. Don't get me wrong, I love getting everything out, lighting things up, feeling the nostalgia as I decorate to my Amy Grant Christmas CD. I love going through the items and finding the things that I bought on the clearance rack last year that I forgot I bought after Christmas. I love the memories of the decorations that my mom passed on to me (at least the ones that aren't junky or from 1972 and should have stayed in 1972). I love the twinkling of the lights. My favorite thing, which has also been The Prairie Kid's favorite thing, is setting out the beautiful nativity that my mom painted around 1972. Thankfully she chose a classic ceramic set and painted it with a timeless pearlescent white glaze. And the very last piece we put out is the baby Jesus, which was molded to fit neatly in the manger.

#2- I get sick of the commercialism of Christmas. The truth is that I do not enjoy the day the radio stations start playing Christmas songs in the mix. I get tired of the redundant commercials reminding me that many people don't even celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Santa has replaced Jesus in many homes. I truly, deeply want to focus on the birth of my Savior during this time. Sure, I know that you can completely get into the whole shebang and still have Jesus as the center. For me, I guess I just don't get into the whole shebang like some.

We still do plenty for the season in our home. This morning my sweet boy asked me if we could make Christmas cookies. Little did he know that on last year's clearance rack were some fun embellishments that I had picked up and waited to share with him on a special day like today. So, we turned on some Christmas music (yes, I have 3 whole albums and that really is quite enough for me) and we made gingerbread men and trees. We talked about Jesus and had fun eating some dough. I am not sure if more sprinkles ended up on the floor or the cookies!

There were big snowflakes gently falling from the sky and there was even a part of me that wondered if I should get out the Christmas boxes today. Will I be able to handle the decorations for 3 whole weeks? I think it is worth if for a little boy who excitedly asked this morning "Is it Christmas, Mom?"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Addiction

Last night this was what I heard from The Prairie Kid:

"Dear Jesus, thank you for soda pop, cookies, gum drops, cookies, gum drops, soda pop, gum drops, cookies. Amen."

And we haven't even hit the peak of Christmas goodies. Great.

When I Say

When I say that 'I am a Christian', I am not shouting that 'I am clean living.

I'm whispering 'I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride. I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect. My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain. I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.