Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
We got a fake Christmas tree two years ago. That means we can put up our tree early and leave it up as long as we want. This year, we're putting it up the day after Thanksgiving - I can't wait!!
We're also going to go to a live Nativity again this year, as well as our church's Christmas Eve services (my absolute favorite).
But, back to the music....I don't know if I have a favorite Christmas song. The song "Breath of Heaven" comes to mind, as does "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire."
Are YOU listenening to Christmas music already? What's your favorite song?
Friday, November 21, 2008
Being Thankful: A Thank-You Note Q&A
We all have to write thank-you notes. Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone staring down your stack of cards and list of names. Before you start, remember that thanking people needs to be about just that: expressing thanks. So refocus, reorganize, and rethink the process. Get in touch with the sincerity of thanking people for thinking about you and sending you something—even if it’s a hot pink polyester sweater. Here at the Emily Post Institute, we’ve assembled some simple answers to the most commonly asked questions about the post-holiday thank-you note blues.
Who needs a note?
All gifts should be acknowledged with a note, unless the goodies were opened in front of the giver—then you have the chance to thank them in person. An important exception: many of an older generation expect a hand-written note. Providing them with one is an appropriate gesture of respect and consideration.
Who should write the note?
The person who received the gift should write the note. Group notes are acceptable for Aunt Patty who sent the household a group present—just ask each recipient to sign. For couples, it’s perfectly fine to split up the notes for gifts you received together. For the kids, check our section entitled “Mom, Let’s Write Thank-You Notes!”
When should thank-you notes be written?
Write your notes as soon as possible, and don’t hesitate if you feel you’re late: a late note is always better than no note at all.
Can a thank-you note be creative?
Absolutely. Incorporating photos, children’s drawings—anything at all that compliments the sentiment is appropriate. Just remember to include a short written thank-you as well.
What about e-mail?
The reality of email thank-you’s, much like email itself, is a degree of emotional distance: an email to your grandmother is simply not as personal as a note written in your own hand. So if you have a casual relationship with the gift giver and you correspond via email regularly, an email thank-you may be appropriate. For most other people, the written thank-you is your best bet for an expression of warm, heartfelt thanks. The last thing you want is for someone to be disappointed when her hand-knit scarf is acknowledged with a loud, animated e-card.
How do I make writing thank-you notes fun?
We all love getting presents and are sincerely thankful, but some of us procrastinate terribly when it’s time to write notes. One friend, bemoaning the fact that she had to write not only her notes to far-flung family and friends, but also notes for her three children and her husband, hit upon a brilliant idea.
She had a party. On a Sunday afternoon in January, she invited her husband and their kids to the kitchen table. Everything was ready: note paper, pens, pencils, crayons, envelopes, address book, stamps and lists. The smallest (ages 4 - 6) drew pictures of their gifts, and Mom and Dad added dictated captions and thank you’s. The 7-8 year olds wrote one or two sentences, practicing new writing skills. The 9-and-olders were able to work more or less independently. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad helped with spelling words and addressing, and, in the quiet moments, wrote a few notes themselves.
When everyone was finished, there was hot cider and banana bread. My friend was amazed at how successful the afternoon was. The kids were involved, the notes were done and the family had time to be together and talk about their holiday, friends and relatives. And a new family tradition was born.
If you’re on your own, break up the list. Schedule a few different days to write your notes, and each time give yourself a little something to make it interesting: music, a glass of wine, your favorite radio show, a cup of tea—perhaps even some chocolate. Take the time to yourself for writing out thank-you notes: don’t try and wedge it in between laundry, a TV show and extra work from the office. You’ll be able to think more clearly and your focus will translate to the page. Above all, try to enjoy yourself. Giving thanks shouldn’t be a chore—and doesn’t have to be if you make the effort to keep it interesting.
Monday, November 17, 2008
This year, Joe's parents are still living in another state, my side of the family is somewhat estranged etc., and no one has invited us to join their extended family gathering. I thought about going and serving a meal at a homeless shelter or something. It's still a thought, but we'll probably just be alone again.
We do, however, have a Thanksgiving tradition. We go see a movie. Yes! The movie theaters are open! We have done this since the girls were very little. This year, we are going to see "Bolt." It just looks hilarious, with that little hamster in the ball who thinks he's the hero's sidekick. HAHA!
All in all, I am finding it less depressing that we are, once again, spending Thanksgiving by ourselves. I still wish that my children could experience the warmth and belonging of some of the gatherings we have shared with other church families. Not that we can't when it's just us, but it's just not the same. I think I have resolved the angst, by realizing that I may have to wait until my children are married and start having children to have the kind of family, holiday gatherings I am dreaming of. Then, I can be the Nana who cooks and does special things with the kids, and know I am providing THEM with memory of warmth and love and belonging.....
So, I'll make the full Thanksgiving spread this year for my little family. I will enjoy it, because I haven't cooked like that in awhile. I will enjoy it, because I will be off from school and I can just hang with my husband and my children. I will...
I just have to stop writing, because my kitty just put her face into my purse, and pulled out a new maxipad and started carrying it off....HAHAHAHAHA!!!
OK. I will be thankful because I have a God as my Father who loves me with an everlasting love, and has given me a healthy, loving husband and healthy, great kids. (And, a weird cat)
SO - what are you doing for Thanksgiving? Or, what do you WISH you were doing for Thanksgiving (hee hee)??
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Today, our family is off to the funeral of a little baby. Our good friend from high school and his wife were blessed with their sweet baby, Josie, the beginning of October. She was born with a chromosomal abornomality, that was discovered at their 30-week ultrasound. Josie lived 23 days, and today we drive 2.5 hours to celebrate her life with our friends. Our children all wanted to attend with us, and cancelled their activities to come. I'm so proud of them. It will be a celebration, knowing Josie is perfect and playing in Heaven. Blessed assurance.....
Jesus is Mine
Oh what a foretaste
Of Glory Divine
Heir of Salvation
Purchased of blood
Born of His Spirit
Washed In His Blood
This is My Story
This Is My Song
Praising My Savior
All The Day Long
This is My Story
This is My Song
Praising My Savior
All The Day Long!!
*I wrote that from memory! I must have sung that a lot as a kid....:)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
My husband said that he didn't think that God had brought me this far, to allow something that would make it a hardship on me and our family. I said, that I didn't think God cared about it, because it was my choice to enter the program, and maybe He's just allowing me to do it......
I didn't wholeheartedly agree with myself, even as I spoke the words, but I guess I was having doubts that what I was doing was OK with God. Since ultrasound is a secular job, I had some faulty thinking about it not having "eternal significance." All in all, in a moment of meltdown, I suppose I revealed some inner doubts and thoughts that were bubbling up from the recesses of my heart.
As I spoke, the Lord clearly directed me to read the book of Ruth. The next morning, I read the jewel of this little book of the Bible. I won't go into detail explaining the book of Ruth (go read it - it's good!), but I will say the lesson God wanted to teach me in it. He wanted me to see how He was involved and interested in the details of Ruth's life - providing a field for her to gather grain, directing her to just the right field, where He actually provided her future husband. NOTHING WAS COINCIDENCE. There. Stamped on my heart. Thanks, Lord.
I also listen to Christian radio (KGNW) on my drive to school. I have come to love listening to Allister Begg (sp?), a Scottish pastor. He is so dear. Anyway, God used him to speak to my heart again about how I, and the details of my life, are God's personal concern. Allister made a statement: "The presence of anxiety shows us the absence of humility." Conviction. Thanks, Lord. My steps are ordered of God, nothing is coincidence or random, my life is ever in front of his face. Thank you, Lord.
As it usually happens with me, God used our pastor to confirm His word to me again. Our pastor is speaking on the "end times," and the first message spoke of God's plans and how He has ordered time from the beginning to the end. Jeremiah 29:11 came up, which is one of my favorite verses. Thanks, Lord.
When God speaks to me in these ways, confirming His Word so beautifully, it's like a stamp in concrete on my heart. I will no longer doubt that my steps are not ordered of God. I remembered that I prayed, even before I started the process to this ultrasound program, that He would shut the door if it was not His best for me and my family. He didn't. In fact, He has given me great success. If He shuts the door down the line, I will accept it, because I trust Him. However, I believe that since He opened this door, and continues to give me success, I will trust that He will continue to provide for me and my family during this process to it's completion. Whether my occupation is in the secular world or in ministry, the Lord will use me for His glory. After all, there are people who do not know Him everywhere. A ministry occupation is no more of a "godly endeavor" than being salt and light in the secular workplace.
Sometimes I "know" things in my head, but even though they're there, what I "know" in the deep places of my heart don't match. I absolutely love it when God speaks to me and connects the two. I'm so solid in my "head beliefs" I didn't even realize there was this mismatch, but He is so good to see that and fix it. Today, I'm thankful for His reasssurance of His love for me and reminder of His plans for my life.
THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
I cannot advertise my website on my blog, but I am a personal sales rep for a cosmetics and gift company that starts with an "A." If you are interested in doing some online shopping, please email me through this blog, and I will give you the address. I've already done some online Christmas shopping there myself!
I also found a cool site with neat, educational toys at www.mindware.com. Whaddaya know - I also did some online shopping there!
I LOVE shopping online, don't you?! It's so convenient, and you don't have to leave the house! One year, I did a lot of shopping at Overstock.com. During this time of year, they have a lot of free shipping deals. You can find ANYTHING there!
What was YOUR last online purchase?
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Basically, all I've been doing when I get home from classes in the afternoon is study. I try to make dinners because we ate out way too much last year when I was in school. I like the cooking time to get a little break from studying, but right after dinner, I'm right back at it. My husband has really been stepping up and taking over the majority of the household chores and looking after the kids' stuff. It's such a great relief to know that, during this season of my life, my husband is supporting me and taking over those things I typically do, so that I don't have to worry. I think he has appreciated how I have supported him through all of his endeavors throughout our marriage (Navy stuff, his bachelor degree) and now he can see me through this short season in my life while I pursue something I want to do.
So far, I have received two midterm scores back. On one I received an 84% and the other a 99%!! YES! The 84% score is good compared to the class - this class was Pathophysiology, and is taught by a retired Radiologist who has never taught a class before. Needless to say, this was a difficult class to know what to study. The whole class has struggled and complained quite a bit about it. So, the fact that I passed (below 79% is NOT passing in our program), is a miracle! The 99% score just makes me feel AWESOME. I felt really confident when I left that exam, and seeing the confirmation is a GREAT feeling. All glory and credit to God.....
Tomorrow, I enter another half of the quarter, and am feeling like I am climbing into another roller coaster, pulling down the safety bar and gripping the rubber handle for dear life......