Saturday, December 29, 2007

Day trip to Santa Barbara

We took Gramma and Poppa on a day trip up the coast to beautiful Santa Barbara. We did some shopping in the downtown shops, ate lunch at an old fashioned diner, and spent some time at the wooden park (as the kids like to call it). It was ironic to me how that Gramma kept getting cold. How does someone from the mid-west get cold in 60 degree weather without her coat on????? I told her it was the cold air from the coast. Needless to say, mom got her jacket when we got to the park. Enjoy the pictures of our fun day!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Pictures---Take 1

A few pictures from Christmas Day at our home. After stockings, breakfast, and the Christmas story, the kids enjoyed opening their presents from Mom and Dad and from Mamaw and Papaw. Brooke loved her tea set, Mamaw! We had tea several times Christmas day :) One hi-light of the day was when Gramma and Poppa flew in later in the afternoon, and we were able to enjoy Christmas dinner and more presents that evening. Presents are not the most important aspect, but no one can deny that it sure is a big part of the fun. Andrew kept saying, "I love my presents, but I love Jesus more." He said it several times; I guess he wanted us to know that he had not forgotten the reason for the season!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas Sunday

I love the Sunday before Christmas! It is good to see everyone (the kids particularly) in their Sunday Christmas clothes, and everyone is normally in a festive mood. The kids were able to sing in a children's group in both services this morning. I had a hard time focusing on Wesley since he was in the back row. As Andrew said, "I like singing on the stage." If I don't get a chance to wish you this again before the actual day, "Merry Christmas to you all!" Thank God for his special gift of Jesus Christ and for the many special gifts he blesses us with every day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Look who is four!

Happy Birthday #4 to my favorite girl in the whole world! Brooke is my spark of joy, my challenge, and my "girl", and today she turned four. She enjoyed the cards and presents on the table this morning.

Nothing like a baby that can laugh and clap. When it comes to babies, who can have too many????

We had fun at Fo Fo Figgily's a large indoor playground with slides, basketball, ball pits, firetruck, and climbing walls. Brooke was unsure of going down one of the bigger slides at first, but once daddy helped her out, she felt brave enough to do it on her own.

After finishing at the playground, we stopped at the mall and Brooke spent some of her birthday money at Build-a-Bear---a pink one she named Brooke Jr.

Cake time! Happy Birthday to our princess! We love you, babe :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The good and the bad at Christmas

Christmas means different things to different people---different memories and different wishes. Yesterday, we took part in a Ventura Christmas tradition---the parade of lights at the Ventura Harbor. It is neat to see a parade of boats, with different kinds of lights and scenes. The festivities start with Santa and his reindeer flying overhead (powered by a helicopter) and then ends with fireworks. The pictures below are from the parade.

Today at church was our choir's Christmas cantata---another Christmas tradition that I enjoy. However, I was challenged by someone preceding our Christmas cantata. Gary teaches a singles class in our church. There are two very faithful young people who are there nearly every week---Jake and Erin. Jake is a 24-year old fun loving guy who plays the drums in our worship band. He reminds me alot of my brother Aaron. Jake was not in church this morning, so Erin called him 5 minutes after church had started---"Where are you?" He said he was sleeping and then hung up on her. Erin proceeded to tell us about Jake's miserable week. Jake had a friend die in Iraq last week. This week, he lost his job and had two car accidents within three days of each other (he drives alot for his work).

Shortly after Erin finished telling us about Jake's awful week, Jake walked in. As we took prayer requests and talked about how God was working in our lives, Jake gave us the details of his second accident. Jake said that as he was driving down the Conejo pass, a rather rude driver passed on the left shoulder of the road and then drove up on and over his car. Jake was very mad, as one might expect. The guy then just drove away from the scene. Jake got on his phone and called the police. He then followed the guy and got off at the next exit. Before he got out of his car and approached the guy, whom he wanted to punch out, he asked the Lord to change his attitude and help him. It was amazing to watch how the Lord took what could have been and was, a terrible situtation and worked to turn it into something more----for Jake and this man. Yes, Jake ruined his father's car (never a good thing), hurt his own body, and had to take the time to fill out police reports; however, God gave Jake the opportunity to witness to a troubled middle-aged man. Jake said the guy has talked to him a couple times since the accident, and Jake had invited him to our church that morning. We prayed for God to work in that man's life.

As class ended, I was challenged by Jake's trust in Christ to change his attitude during a very tense moment on the road, and to help Jake portray that "there was something different" about this 24-year old Christian young adult. The story does not end there, however.

As the lights went out in the audience, and the choir started to sing their opening song, I was brought to tears, as I saw Jake walk in with a middle-aged man. I turned to Gary and said, "I have never seen a person have a car accident and then bring the other person to church the following Sunday." Praise God for using people, even crazy 24 year old drummers like Jake, to bring the Christmas message to the lost world.

So, whatever the Christmas season holds for you----the good, the bad, and the ugly----never forget that we are all able to be used by God in different people's lives every day.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Busy week!

Yes, it has been a busy week----four birthday parties, a Christmas party, a jewelry party, 2 trips to the doctor, and we did fit school in there also. But, one of the exciting events was an unplanned event---Andrew started riding his bike on 2 wheels. We have not really been riding bikes much lately. However, on Thursday, Andrew was outside playing, and I suddenly heard him yell, "Hey, I am doing it on two wheels." He was quite excited! When we went out last night, Andrew wanted to know if we could ride our bikes there :)

Of course, an important part of the week was celebrating two very special people's birthdays. The two most important men in the world to me---my husband and my dad! I am so thankful for both of them, in so many ways. Dad turned 60 (0r am I not supposed to tell), and I sent him a list of 60 memories that I had of growing up with him. It was quite fun to create and to remember. Gary is not close to 60, but he is reminding me (way too often) that we are approaching 40. He recently told me, "I still feel 20 some." What would I do without such a great friend, father, and leader? Our family would be lost without him. I love you, Gary! Happy #37!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Quick Trip to the ER

Sunday night, about an hour and a half before we were supposed to leave for church, Brooke fell and hit her head on the corner of my desk drawer. Head injuries are never good, and often result in excessive bleeding. However, after half an hour of putting a cloth on it, the blood had not stopped, so we all took a trip to the ER. Brooke was an amazing little trooper. She was numbed, which made the rest of the ordeal much easier to bear. The doctor gave her shots, cut her hair, and sewed her up with three stitches. You can see the event has not dampened her energy or her crazy spirit. Many of our church members were praying for her, and we thank God that it was not more serious, and that she handled it so bravely.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fun with the camera

Gary and I got a new camera this past week (just in time for birthdays and Christmas), and I wanted to post some of the pictures I have taken and particularly liked. Gary has been really playing around with it alot more; he is more technical than I will ever be. It was important to me to get one with a good zoom. Anyway, enjoy the flowers of California in December.