Friday, December 21, 2012

His Name is Called...


God with us.

Matthew 1:23,KJV: "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

Of all of Jesus' wonderful names, I think this one is my favorite, and the one that brings the most comfort, especially as a single woman who is often lonely, even when I'm not alone.  To think of all Jesus left in Heaven to come here to earth and live as a man - and then die the horrible death He did - just for you and for me, is amazing.  He came, to be with us.  So the lonely need be lonely no more. 

Wherever this finds you, this weekend before Christmas, stop for a second and praise the Lord that He came to be WITH US.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Traditions

I'm linking up today with Kelly's Korner about Christmas traditions.

Growing up, we lived in Ohio far away from both sets of grandparents - Mom's parents were in NY state and Dad's in TX.  So it was generally just the 5 of us for Christmas.  We went to church on Christmas Eve and then afterwards were allowed to open one gift, and it was usually the gift from my Dad's mother and stepfather (not sure why, it just was).

Christmas morning, before any presents were opened, my Dad would read the Christmas story from the Bible, in Luke.

Then one by one, we would open gifts one at a time, so we could see what everyone got - so Dad would open one, then Mom would open one, then I would, then brother #1 would, then brother #2 would, then back to Dad again, etc. until we were finished with all the presents.  I prefer this method over everyone tearing into everything and no one knowing what each other got and seeing the expression on each other's face when Mom opened your present, etc.

Then, we kids would lay out our presents on the sofa on display so Dad could take pictures of what we got to send to grandparents and for the record in our photo albums.  We were blessed that we always had great Christmases - nothing lavish - my Mom didn't work outside the home until my youngest brother went to school, and when she did 100% of it went to college savings - but we got (what I now understand to be) generous presents each year.

Throughout Christmas Day, we would play Handel's Messiah on the record player (yes, I'm that old!)  That's some of my favorite music ever.  We talked to our grandparents on the phone - which, because it was expensive to talk long distance - was a special thing.  We had Christmas dinner - usually ham, Mom's broccoli/green bean casserole, crescent rolls, some kind of jello salad, then pecan and some other kind of pie.  There were probably mashed potatoes but since I don't care for those I don't remember!

From the time I was 12 years old throughout my junior year of high school, Christmas morning also involved delivering the ginormous newspapers first.  My parents were so "generous" to give me a paper route for my 12th birthday.  To their credit, they did a LOT of the work and that money went to pay for college.  The papers were so huge Christmas morning because they had all the day-after-Christmas sale ads in them.

Unfortunately with us now geographically spread out in 3 states and by thousands of miles, my two brothers and their families, Mom and Dad and I haven't been together for Christmas since the last one at the homestead in Lima, OH in 2005.  Maybe some day it will work out.  Mom & Dad have stockings for everyone just in case - including an extra for my spouse-to-be in case the Lord brings one, just so it will match with all the others! :)

So for the past 6 Christmases and this one too, it will be Mom and Dad and I in Houston at their house.  Thanks to the wonderful technology of FaceTime, hopefully we will see my brothers and their families and be able to talk to them sometime that day.  Later in the afternoon, my Dad's side of the family - his sister and her children and their children - will get together for dinner and we will enjoy being part of that.  Since 2001 when I moved down here to TX I have enjoyed being part of a large extended family Christmas dinner.

But if you had to ask me my favorite traditions, I would say listening to Dad read from Luke and listening to Handel's Messiah play in the background.  Because if we lose sight of what Christmas is all about, all the traditions in the world are just worthless.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Our sweet redhead's first birthday

Last weekend Mom, Dad and I went out to CA to celebrate Kaelynn's first birthday.  It was so much fun.  Kaelynn is a sweetie pie.  I was surprised to learn that she can actually pick out Hello Kitty. At first my brother and sister-n-law thought it was a fluke but then store after store, it kept happening.  So that became the theme for the party.  We think it's the big face she sees and likes - and the contrast of the white with black.  Her Mommy got balloons with Hello Kitty on them, including a HK mylar balloon that was bigger than K.  She literally said "!"  I had never heard a one year old say that before!

Kaelynn was fashionably late to her party because she overslept, but we were glad she had a good nap to be in a good mood to host her guests.  We had a house full of about 30 people, including about 8 kids age 6 and under.

When it came to cake time, we were curious to see what Miss Kaelynn would do. Even though the cake was delish (had fudge in the middle of the chocolate layers!), she wanted nothing to do with it!


Kaelynn learned to walk the week before her birthday and is so cute toddling around.  She is a very happy baby.

By far the most precious time for me, though, was the time I got to hold Kaelynn and rock her and read to her.  I know I look a mess in these pictures, but I had just gotten up.  I love how she points to the embroidery on my shirt - and then how she looks up at me, trying to figure out who I am.  Those moments, as well as the ones spent trying to get her to go to sleep at night (she's not the best sleeper and we put her down 2 nights when Mommy and Daddy were out) - were so special.  Because I know all too soon she'll be too big to rock and hold and kiss and cuddle.  I love you, sweet Kaelynn Mae.  Happy 1st birthday, precious girl!