Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Traditions

Hello all. Hope you are all doing well this wonderful Christmas season. Of course today is the day after Christmas (Boxing Day in the UK).

I saw on Wonder Woman Wannabe's blog that she had a Christmas tradition Link Party. I missed it! But it did inspire me to write about some of the traditions the hubster and I are starting.

We are not your typical American family. We have a few traditions that most people think is bizarre and really no one gets it unless the Lord has led them to do the same thing.

1. We do not give material gifts, we give presence, acts of service, charitable donations, etc. We do not give things that are tangible. This is our first year to cut ties with the material side of Christmas. It was a little rough at first for the family members to understand when we broke the news. We decided not to give anything this year so people can be accustomed when we give a card next year saying "a donation was made...." or "this year I will help you clean your garage...". If we are celebrating Jesus' birth we want to give Him presents in the form of love, kindness, servitude, etc. I don't get presents on my sister's birthday, do I? For us this isn't any different.

2. We don't do Santa. Period.

3. We celebrate Jesus' birth with no worldly distractions. We want Him to be our focus! Our ONLY focus! I read in another blog when I was struggling to explain our Christmas traditions something that made a whole lot of sense. She was quoting a woman who wrote a book about Christianity and Christmas. If people from a foreign country were to come into your house at Christmas time and they had never heard of the name Jesus, would they know who you served by looking at your decorations? If Santa, Reindeers or Frosty is plastered all over will they get that I am celebrating the birth of my Lord and Savior?

4. We love looking at Christmas lights. There is one street in particular in our area that is EPIC! We love it though because so many people put so much hard work and heart into those decorations.

5. We bake cookies for the fire and police departments in the area as a Thank You for serving our community all year long.

I'm sure there are plenty of other family traditions that we will start in the years to come and as we add to our family. I'm sure our house will be the most popular among the secular set, lol. We aren't here to be popular, we are here to serve the Lord. That's all we want in our lives.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Our Nativity scene that we keep up year round.

Hey, did you know there was a Houston, Alaska? I didn't until about 12 hours ago. I hail from a little farther south in Houston, TX. I would love to go see Houston, Alaska one day mostly because it has something I desperately long for.... Snow! I love me some snow!

I had not seen real snow until this past January when my husband and I went on our honeymoon to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. I fell madly in love. Well while we were up there, I was inspired by all the winter decor items there (Moose, Black Bears etc.). I already had quite a collection of penguins and polar bears and tried to find some common ground to blend the two decor groups. Then it hit me... Alaska!

Being the weirdo who likes to research things I went on the interwebs and found out some fun facts about their wildlife. Alaska has all my favorite winter animals and the longest coast line in the US (did I mention I like the beach as well). With the exception of penguins, they are not native but sometimes find their way into Alaskan waters. So I will keep them, thanks. I think I have come up with fun decor in my opinion of course. I like to call it "Alaskan Coast." (Yes I name the themes in my house.)
Black bear wreaths. Inspired by the Nester's Fur Wreath.

They are so cuddly I could snuggle them! They are hung with plaid fleece cut to look like scarves and I liked the way they draped over the back of the door so I just dolled them up (see below).
Front entryway decor.
This is Blakeslee. I got him on our honeymoon. He inspired the whole front entryway motif.
Feather tree from Hobby Lobby.
Green, silver and white ornaments with silver glitter shells.
Cloche with wintery nest inside. I made the tassly thing with a $1 bell from Michaels and extra fabric that I had laying around.
Snowball Fight Ammunition (will spruce it up more next year).
The trunk behind our couch. I used faux polar bear fur and put some of the penguins on it.
Our mantle. The mason jars have epsom salt in them that looks like snow (thanks Inspired Room).
Eddie Ross Ornament Wreath. Mine is highly unstable. I mixed in a few breakable ornaments since I was going to hang it indoors in a stationary place.
These decorations are very preliminary. This is our first Christmas in this house so we will see how it grows.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Don't forget the real reason for the season.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Lord Heals

Father God forgive me for not sharing this sooner! I have an awesome testimony that I cannot believe I forgot to type out. I have told a ton of people in person, but I sometimes forget to share on my blog.

Last month I attended a women's Bible study/prayer meeting with my friend Kim. She was the only one I knew there. We praised, worshipped, prayed, and gave words of encouragement to each other. It was awesome! The Lord really met us there.

While we were praying in a circle, my back was on fire. It was killing me to stand up. One woman, Cookie, asked me to come over to her and pray. So I prayed my prayer for those seeking fulfillment and looking in the wrong places. After I prayed she said "you have back problems don't you?" I told her I did. She said God wanted to heal me. I was shocked and ready!

She prayed for my hips to come into alignment and for my back pain to cease. I felt my hips move while my feet were firmly planted on the ground. It was a weird shift, but I felt it move! After she finished, she asked me to do something I have never been able to do without pain. For the FIRST TIME in my LIFE, I TOUCHED MY TOES!!!!!!

To understand what a HUGE deal this is let me give you some history. Growing up I was the "smart" one. My sister was the "pretty, athletic" one. I desperately wanted to be athletic. I couldn't be a cheerleader at our high school unless I was able to be flexible. I had never been able to touch my toes my entire life. So I would stretch for hours for days on end. I tried so hard. Nothing ever worked. I would be so frustrated and angry. Why wouldn't it work for me?

Well when I touched my toes, I burst into tears and thanking Jesus for His amazing healing! I have been able to touch my toes since and I love doing it!

Well the Monday after I was prayed for, I had to go in for X-rays for my chiropractic evaluation. That Tuesday I went in to talk to Dr. Chad to get the results. My back had improved only a little and my neck still needs alot of work (I have scoliosis). He said that my victory was in my HIPS! He showed me how they are now perfectly aligned and level! I burst into tears again (again I'm totally a crier). I hadn't had an adjustment in over a month and had been lagging in my adjustments before that. I told him what Jesus had done for me. He was so excited and told me to tell everyone. So here I am to tell you all, JESUS HEALED MY HIPS!

Monday, December 7, 2009


Very few things in life are planned. This past year has been proof positive of that for us. We have been on the roller coaster of our life this year. If you compared it to some of the previous years, this year would be the Viper where as other years might be the Serpent (those of you that grew up in the Houston area and went to Astroworld know what I'm talking about).

I usually wait till the last day of the year to write a recap, but I felt strongly about doing it tonight even though there is several weeks left in the year.

We started the year off like many others. Stu at work. I was at church praying in the new year (new tradition). We were both so excited about this year. We had big plans. You know that joke-Ever want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Well He had other plans for us.

We bought a house in March. Biggest step in our married lives thus far. It was an awesome feeling. It was not where I wanted it to be, but God gave us something so much better than what I had planned. We have a beautiful neighborhood, Jesus loving neighbors, small town feel, etc. God had set us in the place He wanted us.

We knew houses were work, but this was some serious labor. We may now be qualified as contractors (so joking). We have had roots in our guest bathroom toilet pipes, a kitchen that took FOOOOORRRREEEEEVVVVEEEEERRRR to make it usable, rodents in the attic, dead rodents in the wall a few weeks later, and not one single room in the house is complete. We wouldn't trade it for the world. God has taught us so much through this process and we have been growing in skills and spiritual gifts because of this house. My husband is a regular handyman now. He was good before, but he is now honing his skills.

In August we decided we would TTC. It was alot of prayer, indecision, and fear that got us to that point. God had put it on our hearts that now was the time. So we timidly stepped forward into the possibility of growing our family. Within two weeks we were pregnant! Completely unexpected. We thought it would be months, but no, the Lord is good.

Two and a half months into the pregnancy, we found out the baby passed away. We were heartbroken, but we have leaned on God for strength. He has taught us so many things about His perfect will for our lives. We are 100% certain that His judgements are perfect. He has healed our hearts and helped us walk into a new understanding of His love and grace.

Another thing that has cropped up in this last week, which is another part of the road we are on. Doctors found a shadow on my mother's mammogram results. She went back in today for some more testing and should get the results and the diagnosis whether she needs a biopsy on Wednesday. (Please pray if you feel lead to pray.)

I have just scratched the surface as to the plethora of things that happened this last year. So many birthdays, holidays, births, deaths, joyous occassions, sadness, arguments, laughter that make up the everyday. I have just chosen these specific ones because they are the ones with the strongest emotions attached to them.

It seems that everything that has happened to us this year has been perfect for us. That feels totally weird to type. God has our lives planned and we don't need to worry about any of the details. Everything has happened for a reason. Just because the path isn't always pretty with tulips and roses lining the road, doesn't mean it's not a good path. Our path this year has had it's share of jagged rocks and slippery stones, but we have someone who has held our hands every step of the way. I think you learn the most from the rocky, narrow path.

If you would have told us a few years ago that any of this would have happened, especially how we have come through this year, we would have laughed in your face. A few years ago, we did not have Jesus in our lives and would not have dealt with this year very well. God knew when we could handle this year. He planned it all this way. He is so gentle and faithful like that. We have found in ourselves reactions, words, thoughts, and actions that are completely unexpected to even us. We have tangible evidence of who we were then and who we are now. That transforming power is only through Jesus. We wouldn't have been able to get through any of this without Him. I guess that's the thing about Jesus, always expect the unexpected.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Birthday Recap

Sadly, no snow pics. It stopped by the time I could get around to taking pictures. Oh well, maybe it will snow later in the season (I type with a hopeful leap in my heart). Lord please let it snow again! Global warming is a total joke!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Who knew?

So it's my 28th birthday and it's snowing. Some people may say that's normal. What isn't normal is that it's HOUSTON, TX!!!! I will post pics if I can get any. It rarely snows in Houston, like once a decade. It has snowed the past two years and then two years before that. I'm so happy to have snow on my birthday. Jesus, thank you for making it snow on my birthday! It's the best birthday gift ever!