December 25, 2012

Responding to Immanuel

As I read Luke 2 this year, the specific wording of verses 17-19 jumped out at me:
17 When they [referring to the shepherds] had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
As a mom of an 8 month old, I can relate to Mary.  My 3rd born is a precious infant, and knowing she is most likely my last I find myself savoring every milestone and memory.  I "treasure" and "ponder" often.

But what strikes me in these verses is not only what Mary did, but that it was in contrast to what the shepherds did:  "But Mary..."  What makes these two interactions to Jesus' arrival so different?

Relationship-perhaps the most obvious difference is that Mary was his mother, and the shepherds were strangers.  What an odd pairing at a birthing scene.  How many times are total strangers the first to visit a mom and baby in the hospital?  Grandparents often, perhaps aunts and uncles, but never strangers.  Do you feel closely connected to Jesus or do you feel like a stranger?  Whatever your role, his birth was meant for you.

Notice-while she didn't know all the details, Mary knew this night was coming, and we'll never know the range of emotions she had leading up to it.  In contrast, the shepherds were "living out in the fields nearby keeping watch over their flocks by night" (Luke 2:8) when they learned the Messiah had been born.  God IS going to show up in your life!!  Sometimes you may have some warning of the big things He has in store and sometimes you may not.  I pray either way that you are ready.

Reaction-the shepherds shouted from the roof tops (so to speak) while Mary was introspective.  The scripture gives us no indication that one response is better than the other...only that they are different.  Sometimes an encounter with God is so powerful we can't be quiet!  Jeremiah 20:9 says, "...his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot."  Other experiences, often born out of deep pain, produce quiet Mary pondered.

The true beauty of this scene is not so much how they differed, but what they had in common.  They were both obedient, trusting, and full of faith.  They demonstrated


Why does this matter to us this Christmas Day?  Each of us have our own set of circumstances that lead up to an encounter of the Christ Child.  We may have Christianity in our lineage, we may not...we may know where to find God, we may not...and lastly our meeting with Messiah may excite us or humble us.  Every encounter, however, is meant to produce honor and glory only reserved for the Almighty!

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

For You alone are worthy
For You alone are worthy
For You alone are worthy
Christ the Lord

We'll give You all the glory
We'll give You all the glory
We'll give You all the glory
Christ the Lord

November 28, 2012

Beauty for Ashes by Dorothy Love

Beauty for Ashes is a romance novel with a historical backdrop.  Carrie and Griff are both very different, but what they have in common is that life has treated them differently than expected.  We meet Carrie Daly after she is widowed and before her luck seems to turn around.  Carrie is a post-Civil War Cinderella, seemingly bound to spend her life doing manual labor for ungrateful family members.  Her loneliness and pain not only make her sympathetic, they make us want to root for her...hope for her that one day she will have joy.

Enter Griff, the mysterious, out of towner who's stranger status brands him a bad boy.  Griff is formerly part of high society, but has been estranged from his family for years.  After some chance encounters with Carrie that show his kindness as well as his strength, we immediately want the two of them to fall in love!  Because of their pasts, Carrie and Griff have some important lessons to learn.  Many twists and turns bring them in and out of each other's lives, making the reader wonder if they will end up together.

The hope that these two could be together forever means never wanting to put the book down!

February 1, 2012

Nick of Time by Tim Downs

Book jacket: The Bug Man is getting married on Saturday . . . if his fiancée can find him. Forensic entomologist Nick Polchak lives in a world of maggots and decomposing bodies. Nick and Alena are scheduled to be married on Saturday-but there's one small problem. Nick has disappeared. Caught up in a murder case involving an old friend, Nick finds himself on a manhunt that's drawing him farther from the church where Alena is waiting. Could Nick's single-minded focus cause him to forget his own wedding? Is he really pursuing a killer, or is he running away from something else?

Anyone with a mild interest in any of the forensic tv shows on today will enjoy this book immensely. The science is fascinating! Not only that, the characters are quirky enough that we care about them. They make us want to know more about them, and they provide a lightheartedness against the backdrop of the murder mystery. The plot is intriguing with good twists and turns, and I love that it didn’t end in the predictable way. This book made me want to read the ones that had come before it and the ones coming afterwards! I definitely recommend!

I review for BookSneeze®

January 9, 2012

New Wii Rules (Say that 3 times fast!)

Today I established new Wii rules in the home.  I've been meaning to for a while, but this morning's events necessitated I implement them immediately.  The one clear cut rule we have had is no electronics before school, and the kids broke it this morning.  Things have been a little wonky with the Christmas holidays, so I didn't punish them beyond making them get off immediately.  [Although since I came up with our "new" Wii rules while they ate breakfast, they may consider it a punishment!]

Disclaimer:  The purpose of these Wii rules is for boundary setting, not extreme limiting.   Our Wii rules are going to sound very generous.  It's not as much the time I am concerned about as actually wanting to teach my children to get on and off the Wii when I tell them.

Our new rules:  

1)  3 hours a day for ALL electronics (Wii, computer, and tv)
2)  Each child gets 6 30-min increments.  Use it or lose it.
3)  Back to back increments are not allowed to be used on the Wii.

Electronics time that doesn't count against them:  School work on the computer and CF Vest treatment

Adding this rule tomorrow (because I didn't think about it when I wrote the rules today):

4)  If I get any sort of disrespect when I notify them of the end of the 30 minutes they lose another increment.

So far it's working as well as you can expect the first day of new rules to go.  Samantha made it 20 minutes into her first Wii span, and then got distracted.  She wanted to be able to use up the other 10 minutes later, but I'm not doing that (see #2).  That's actually part of my plan for creating 30 minute increments.   She has only used up that 1 chunk.  Timothy has already used up 4 of his 6 chunks (1 hour on Wii, 30 min on computer, and 30 min on tv).  He's going to have a rude awakening pretty soon, but it won't be my problem!

January 3, 2012

2012: Back to the Basics

I'll be honest.  Goal setting is not my favorite thing to do, but after reading my friend's blog post for her 2012 goals I was inspired to organize some thoughts.  The irony is that I started writing this post this morning in my "free time", and at the end of the day I'm not even half way done. And me getting side tracked by blog writing falls under the #6 priority I'm going to list, so I'm condensing this entire post in the hopes to start the year off right! The most important event happening in our family this year is the birth of our 3rd child in April, and so because of that my "Word of the Year" is "BASICS":

1.  Bible Reading-it is foolish to think we can enter a new year on solid ground without this.  I have found a read the Bible thru in a year guide.  I don't plan on pressuring myself to complete every last verse with a newborn on the way, but having a guide will maximize the reading I can do!  I know that one-on-one time with the Lord is special.  And reading his Word daily will help me focus on eternal things when life is being lived in 3-hour eat-play-sleep cycles!

2.  Household Chores-boy this one doesn't sound nearly as enjoyable as #1!   Fact is it has to get done, and everyone in the home is more relaxed when they have a clean house and clean clothes.  I will most especially push this in the next 3 months to get us off on the right foot!  To stay motivated, I'll utilize some handy websites (, and read good books to help me with my attitude (The Practice of the Presence of God, Taking Care of the Mommy in Me).

3.  Health & Fitness- My husband and I could always lose more weight, my daughter always needs to gain more weight, and my son needs to increase the number of foods he eat.  Food is a bit of a stressor in our home!   I'll be using the Best Odds Diet to get me through the 3rd trimester and nursing.  I've already started meal planning, which although time consuming, definitely helps in the grocery run and helps me not have to think of what to make on a given day.  Sleep deprived people can always benefit from not having to make smart choices in a hurry.  The calendar can just tell me what to cook!  I know working out regularly will also help my sleep patterns with a newborn.

4.  Finances-Before we moved a year ago we finally gave away all our baby stuff because "we were done".   So in the next 3 months I have lots to buy.  It's not the time to forget what I know helps our within our means.  So it may get hard to make all those purchases with cash, but for our own peace we must.

5.  Medical-Our daughter has a disease that requires daily medications and breathing treatments.  Our son receives special services weekly that benefit him greatly.  My husband and I both take prescription medication for chronic conditions.  It will be crucial that we learn how to stick to these necessary routines while integrating a new member into the family.

6.  And so the most important priority is that we don't do anything else!  I realize these "basics" are as simple as it gets, but that's the point.  At the end of this year, I may not have quantitative markers to show I accomplished anything, but if we have been able to continue the "basics", live in *relative* harmony, and introduce a fifth person into our mix after six years of being a family of four, then I will be satisfied. 

Sharing a Book Giveaway!

Heidi, over at Our Out-of-Sync Life, has started a series called "A New Year...A New You!".   To kick off the series she has posted a Book Review and Giveaway today!  With all kinds of fashion tips to make looking our best easier than it is now, this book looks fun and beneficial!

January 1, 2012

2011 > 2012

2011 In Review:
  • February "Blizzard of 2011"
  • April-Timothy got glasses.  He loves them!
  • June-My first homeschooling conference.
  • August-Dan made Chief, and I found out I was pregnant! 
  • September-Samantha's sinus surgery & first CF related hospitalization
  • November-Discovered we were having a little girl
2011 was a kind year to us.  The 5 years prior to this one have stretched us beyond belief, so I have to admit it was nice to have a slight reprieve. 
Looking ahead to 2012:
  • As Samantha continues to have weight issues, she will be getting a g-tube if we don't see some consistent progress.  Praying hard about that.
  • In early April, we meet Hannah Grace!  Big changes ahead!
  • Timothy will continue receiving amazing therapy.
  • Dan will start getting paid as a Chief-yippee!!
I'm grateful to God for the hard years and the "easier" ones.  Whichever 2012 turns out to be, I can't wait to experience it with my precious Savior.