The last few weeks have been hard for me. Harder than I want to admit. Christmas is always a special time with my family. We have breakfast together and then go back to mom's house for whatever shenanigans she may have cooked up for the day. There are always lots of presents, but those are balanced with what's really important - Jesus' birth and some great family time. I'll miss that this year.
The Lord has used this year to teach me a lot of things. Faith, giving, trusting, the list goes on and on. When we decided to move, my gift of faith was really put to the test. But, there's a saying that I think is very true - "Faith is not believing that God CAN; it's knowing that God WILL." It was on the wall of our old house and was the last thing we looked at before we walked out the door to move here.
My whole family's faith was tested this year too as we watched my mom go through her battle with cancer. True, maybe it was harder on my sisters having to be there with her and watch her after her treatments. But, it was hard on me too - not knowing exactly how she was doing and only being able to see her over the webcam. It was so hard to leave Georgia knowing that she was sick. But, because our Lord has greater plans for her, she is now in remission and is doing well!
Letting go of Ashlyn when she started kindergarten was harder than I imagined. Preschool last year was a breeze! And even the first week of kindergarten was pretty easy. But there were several days I walked home from school with tears in my eyes after leaving her at her classroom door. I usually spent that time praying for her, her teacher and anyone that she may have contact with that day. Our prayer for her is that she would be a light in the school - that people would see a difference in her and want what she's got.
Ashlyn loves school. She's learning to read, making great friends and becoming more independent by the day. It's hard to watch that some days, but every day, I'm reminded that she's not mine to begin with - she's only "on loan" to me. It also helps knowing that she goes to a school where the principal believes in Jesus and the teachers really care about her. Some new things have developed in her too! She's quick to say I'm sorry and really cares about her friends. Her brother is sometimes a different story :) She's also really developed a love for animals and dancing.
My patience was also tested many days having only Carter to entertain. He is still the little tornado and has gotten into more than his fair share of trouble. He'll make a mess in a blink of an eye, but then flash you that mischievous smile and in an instant you're laughing with him. Somewhere along the way, he lost his love for Eeyore, but replaced it with a love for combines, tractors and football. Rarely a day goes by that he isn't running around with his gloves on and his football tucked under his arm. Apparently you can't carry a football without gloves on - you know, just like the big boys!
We spent our summer days at the lake or at a parade. Our falls days at football games and raking leaves; and so far our winter days inside playing or outside shoveling snow and building snow forts.
Today I went to WalMart to get the things I'll need for next week when Britney's family comes for Christmas. For some reason, getting that done and having a good talk with my mom this morning makes my spirit lighter. Christmas is a magical time of year for me. It's filled with wonderful memories and knowing that Christ was born, just so that he could die for ME! Spending time with family and opening gifts around the Christmas tree are what I'm looking forward to most this year.
I'm ready for whatever the holidays may hold now. I'm ready to put my nose to the grindstone and get my house cleaned for our company. I'm ready for our "virtual" Christmas with my family over the webcam. Years ago that wouldn't have been possible! But most of all, I'm ready to show our kids that even if you're far away from family or in a new place where you haven't figured out exactly what your traditions or plans are, Christmas can be magical because of what it truly means.
Wishing you a magical season of happiness and peace - knowing that Christ was born to die for you!
Want more pictures of our 2007? Click here :)