"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Joy to the World

The last few weeks have been so good, and I don’t want to forget a bit of it! So this is a long picture post….Here goes….

As part of our Advent calendar surprises, Ryan took Ryley on a daddy/daughter date to see “The Nutcracker.” When Ryley came down the stairs and saw her daddy dressed in a SUIT, her jaw just about dropped to the floor. It was so precious, and she felt very special!

She is a daddy’s girl, through and through. :-)

That same weekend, Ryley and her best friend went ice skating.


And, my aunt Coleen and uncle Paul came over to give her their Christmas gift….the beautiful quilt that Coleen made! It looks lovely on Ryley’s bed!!!



Thank you, Coleen and Paul!

We also made a gingerbread Christmas tree…I love that Ryley is at an age where she can do this stuff with limited mess! :-)

Granted, it’s an easier project than the traditional gingerbread house, but she mixed the frosting, put it together, and had it decorated within about 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, I had my own project going on. With my parents coming to town for Christmas, I had to get our guest room under control.



Yep. This is the room where we throw things we don’t know what to do with. And the closet was even worse.


There were tons of board games that had fallen down, their pieces scattered all over the closet. We couldn’t even get the doors open.

So, one weekend and two evenings of work later….



Yay! It’s organized! People can sleep in there now! It feels soooooo good. :-) All of our craft supplies are organized now. In the process of sorting/cleaning, I found three glue guns. Apparently I buy a new one every time I need one. Ooops!


My parents arrived on the 20th, and we had such a good time while they were here! We went shopping a lot, and we just kept busy in general!


We held my students’ piano recital on Saturday morning, and the kids played so well!




I played too, for once, and I was so nervous! But it was all good. :-)



After the recital cleared out, we headed across town to Heritage Square to see “A Christmas Carol” at their musical children’s theater. If you live in Denver, I cannot stress enough how fun these shows are. They’re cheaper than a movie, and they’re interactive and cute!



Afterwards, we walked around the little shops and even made a stop to see Santa! This is the first time Ryley has been brave enough to sit on Santa’s lap. It was a good thing, because this will be the last year too. :-(  (More about that later!)


The next day, Ryley performed with the children’s production at church.  It was super cute!


Ryley was Mary, and she had a couple of lines. So fun.


After church, Ryan and my mom rushed off to the Broncos game while my dad, Ryley, and I hung out at home for a super relaxed afternoon of making Christmas goodies and playing Legos!




Christmas Day….

My parents got Ryley an Action Bible for Christmas, and we highly recommend it! It’s kind of like a comic book. It has really made the Bible come to life for Ryley these last few days; she’s probably read half of it already! And most importantly, she’s absorbing it. :-)


And look at this white Christmas….

I don’t think there could have been a more perfect Christmas morning!


So Ryley no longer believes in Santa.  It came from a place of thankfulness….She loved her Santa gift so much that she wished she could thank Santa for it, and, having picked up on some clues over the last few weeks, wanted to know exactly who gave it to her. It was very earnest and sweet, and we could not lie. Being the pragmatic girl she is, she would not let it go. She practically demanded the truth from us.

Honestly, parts of me were surprised she hadn’t caught on before now. But it was sad, all the same. I know there are some families that are against Santa and the attention it takes away from Jesus, but I personally have  never believed it to be harmful in any way. Ryan and I were both raised to believe in Santa, and it has not inhibited our relationship with the Lord or our celebration of His birth. But each family has to make that decision for themselves. It’s been a fun era for our little family, and as we explained to Ryley, now she’s in on a wonderful “worldwide secret” that we cannot ruin for those who believe. As we’ve read several places, now she’s on “Santa’s team.”

After coming to terms with Santa, she wanted to know about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy too. In the end, she was disappointed with herself for demanding clear-cut answers…for taking away the magic of it all. We assured her that we can still pretend. :-)

But how wonderful it was to say that JESUS is real, alive, and living in our hearts! He’s not mythological. He is as real as the air we breathe. Thank You, Jesus, for saving us from our sins…for making us as clean as the snow on Christmas morning…for giving us eternal life.

That’s just something Santa could never give. ;-) Only Jesus.

Happy Birthday, Jesus! Joy to the World!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December at Our House

It’s been a peaceful December for our family so far. We’ve been having some lighthearted, affordable fun through our new family tradition, the advent calendar…


I have always wanted an advent calendar, and for the past few months, I have been scouring Pinterest for cheap, easy ways to make one. But then I found this one at Michaels on Black Friday. I used a couple of coupons and got it for about $12. Then Ryley and I spent an afternoon painting it how we wanted it.



I’m pretty happy with how it turned out! I think the little drawers are adorable. On to the fun….

So Day 1 was meeting our friends at the Plains Conservation Center for “Christmas in the Soddies”….

The girls had to wear bonnets, of course!






It was such a fun morning with good friends!


On Day 3, we made special hot chocolate with “cookie-cuttered” whipped cream:



It didn’t turn out quite as well as the pictures on Pinterest implied! But it was still fun….and delicious!


On Day 6, Ryley performed with the choir in her school’s winter concert:


The guy in the blue baseball cap really irritated me. As did the families who were talking. I even shushed a few of the parents around us.

On Day 7, we made candy cane milkshakes! They were delicious!


And on Day 8, we drove up to Georgetown for their annual Christmas Market. I have wanted to go for several years. What a hit! So much fun, albeit chilly!



I love this picture:





What a fun day!!!!


I have really been working hard at becoming a nicer person this Christmas season. I get so easily angered and annoyed…by traffic, by co-workers, by customers, by people’s Facebook posts, even by my own daughter sometimes….  :-(

I seem to have a very short fuse these days. I know that I can come across as snippy and unfriendly. Honestly? Sometimes people make me soooo mad! Anger flares up in me like fire before I think about what I’m doing or saying, and I spit out mean words like nasty venom. It’s made me an extremely unpleasant parent, spouse, co-worker, etc.

So I am trying to be friendlier and more proactive in showing Christ’s love. Since making this resolution, I , of course, have found soooo many reasons to be angry/hurt/irritated by different situations.  I’ve actually had a lot of awkward issues come up in the last couple of weeks where I felt extremely vulnerable…like I was being walked on, and though I knew I needed to, I felt guilty for standing up for myself. I hate confrontation soooo much. I had to dig really deep to find my PR skills and ask God to give me grace and wisdom with each situation so that I could respond firmly, yet in love, not in anger.

But it all comes from a place of ugliness in my own heart. I am coming face-to-face with my own need for Jesus. What is standing in the way of His light shining through me? Why am I so afraid of becoming vulnerable with people? It’s as if I shut them down before they get too close.

I know these are disjointed thoughts, but it’s where I’m at. I also know it’s not possible in my own strength; only Jesus can diffuse my anger and replace it with His peace.


On a good note, the last story I wrote for Good Catch Publishing won their monthly story award! I’m so excited that they liked it. I wrote it for an amazing lady in Kodiak, Alaska, and it’s about how God healed her after having two abortions.

If you’re interested, you can read it here:



God is so good. I hope you’re all having a pleasant December. Thank God for Jesus, the absolute greatest gift of all! :-)