Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Fat Lip

Can I please get some sympathy? Last night I was riding my big firetruck (Drefkos, that firetruck became extra cool to me when I realized it would hold my weight AND go fast!) when I had a major accident on the freeway (aka the hardwood floor from the foyer to the office). Mommy wasn't too concerned when she heard my crash. I mean, I crash all the time. Plus, she was trying to feed the ever-protesting-his-dinner Kadin some veggies.
Anyway, I went running to her with blood flowing all over my hands. Thankfully this was one of those no-shower-till-Daddy-gets-home days so she wasn't too concerned about blood getting all over her clothes. She remained calm or at least hid her concern well. I did overhear her on the phone telling Daddy and she whispered something about not needing stitches. But I don't know what those are so that could be good or bad.
But I was excited to show the world my wound. Here it is... (how it looked last night) Oh, and feel free to send get well cards care of my folks.

Our Christmas 2007

The star is above the stable on our Advent Calendar signifying it is completed. The chain link is gone. Christmas cards, letters, and pictures line our door frames. And we are still in awe!

Our Christmas 2007 was critical for us. We were able to establish what Christmas means for our little family and keep the emphasis solely on the gift of Christ. I don't think William and I really realized what an important foundation we would be laying. But it was!

Our kiddos are so different this year than last year! The level of involvement and information they desire is incredible! Christmas for our kiddos and us is about Jesus, God's Son, coming to earth as a baby to save us from our sins. So, from baking cookies to seeing Santa all around to opening tons of presents to eating cake, we were able to bring it back to Jesus providing the most perfect gift! That's hard to do nowadays!

So, we thank God for allowing us to focus on Him and point our kiddos to Him, especially during this season when it can get a bit confusing as to why we do certain things we do.

And if you happen to be one of those people hurt by us making the decision we did, know it was not to hurt you but solely to bring glory to Christ by submitting to His perfect will for us.

Below are some pictures from our special day and a video clip of our loud worship time.

All for His glory,

Saraina and Joshua were very excited about the birthday cake for Jesus. And here is Saraina eating her piece of cake and "ice cream cone." She for some reason always calls ice cream "ice cream cone." It is similar to when she says "thank you" for something as she always adds the "you're welcome" too.
Here's Joshua saying "Happy Birthday, Jesus!"
Kadin didn't get any cake but he was satisfied with his cracker.

And because I don't often get good pictures of my Saraina-bug, here's one.

Kadin's new walking toy was a big hit. Saraina already can sing the tunes it plays.
The parking garage they received was a big hit for Joshua and Saraina. I wasn't expecting her to be so excited about it. We had to move it to higher ground though as Kadin could easily destroy it.
Kadin enjoying a car from the parking garage.
Kadin enjoying Daddy leading us in a time of worship on Christmas night before bedtime.
In this video clip of our Christmas worship time you'll get a glimpse of our family worship times. They are always memorable, unpredictable, and loud!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

More on our Advent 2007

Celebrating our first Advent season has been a good learning experience. I've realized how challenging it is for me to remain consistent and how helpful visual reminders are. I trust next year things will be adapted to accommodate where we are as a family. But I do know that this is something I will make an effort to do again. Preparing my heart for Christmas Day has been an incredible and needed season.

It’s funny because I thought the idea of Advent was kinda weird at first. I mean, if you have a quiet time daily, why would you need to prepare for Christmas? Aren’t you doing that already in your regular devotions? What’s different? For me, I’ve found that during my typical quiet times I don’t give much thought to Jesus, God Incarnate, being born in a (probably) stinky stable to save me from my sins. I believe it but I don’t often spent large chunks of time considering the miracle in that. That’s been the blessing of Advent for me. Spending time thinking and marveling about the plans of God, that He would take on flesh, that He would leave the splendors of Heaven, that He would come in such humility… all for us.

Most of our Advent "activities" are really experiments as I have no idea what will “work” with our kiddos. Anyway, as usual, I planned a quick coloring activity and had very low expectations. Here's the scene: I gave the kiddos a picture to color featuring Mary and the angel Gabriel. There was a Scripture reference that went along with it that I was to read. As I gave them each their picture, I asked, "What do you think the angel is saying?" I was so stunned that Joshua actually had an answer. He said, “Peace! I bring you good news!”

Those precious words caused lots of thoughts to run through my mind. But most of all, I just couldn’t believe how right-on my three-year-old son was. In fact, it is the best news.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Small Way to Act

So, would you take a moment and visit THIS website?

It was started by a mom of three after visiting her local CVS to get some deordorant.

I checked it out and gladly signed my name as I've had my own challenges with stores lately. Last week William and I went to the local mall here and I was APPALLED at what I saw as we sat with our kids eating McDonald's in front of the carousel. Out of the corner of my eye I saw another shopper carrying her purchases in Victoria Secret's "holiday" bags. Urgh! Things are WAY out of control.

Anyway, please go to the website above and see if this might be a small way you can act.

All things are possible with God!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Advent 2007 - Week Two in progress

What fun we are having preparing for our big Christmas celebration! And, how quickly time goes by!

Some of our Christmas traditions are:

~ decorating for Christmas the weekend following Thanksgiving

~ driving to see the Christmas lights and decorations in our area

~ baking Christmas cookies and delivering them to our neighbors

~ selecting one new Christmas book together for our Christmas collection

~ writing a Christmas letter to fam and friends

~ doing a prayer walk on Christmas Day

And new for this year:

~ buying a Christmas video for our collection

~ making ornaments

~ celebrating Advent

~ using the $$ we would spend on buying gifts for each other (Papa and Mama) to DO things we normally would not do together (like ride the carousel at the mall, eat at a fast food place, etc.)

The best thing about Advent in my eyes is how it daily has me thinking of Christ being born to save sinners. Both the circumstances surrounding His birth and His death are truly astounding! And I know what a miracle it is that I am saved for I know the aggregious sins against God I have committed. But He came for me! Yep, He saved me from what I deserve, Hell. That has me hope-filled for those loved ones who have yet to receive the most precious, important and free gift available to all, life with God and freedom from the bondage of sin.

So, if you happen to be one of those loved ones who, like me, is a sinner in need of a Savior, look no more than to Jesus! I am praying for you! We are praying for you! In fact, we love you so much that we need to remind you that all you need to do is believe.

Praying and praising,

~mama whitney

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Advent 2007 - Week One in progress

We are celebrating Advent for the first time in our home. What an exciting time this is as we are learning with our kiddos about this precious season and preparing ourselves for Christmas.
You may know lots about Advent but this is all new to me.

Advent means coming and there are THREE comings it refers to:

~ Jesus coming to the world as a baby with the ultimate purpose to save sinners (like me and you)

~ Jesus coming into our hearts, when we recognize and confess our sin and ask Him to be Lord of our life

~ Jesus' second coming, for believers have much to anticipate and prepare for

So this first week of Advent has been good. Mind you, our kids are 3, 2, and 10.5 months, we're doing a chain link, helping them see that with each passing day we get closer to Christmas Day. (You know, each day we take off a link so it keeps getting shorter and shorter.) And we've got this Advent calendar (by the way, Seanna, that was such a thoughtful gift!) and every morning the kids find the star which tells what day of Advent it is and behind it is a special word of the day. So far we've had: peace, king, light, and sin. During Circle Time we read various passages that focus on the word of the day and talk about what they mean. We then made ornaments (don't be surprised if you end up with one grandparents!). They really had a good time!

For more information on Advent, check out THIS. There are tons of links from there. She also has a link to an Elisabeth Elliot transcript on Preparing for Christmas which I found very helpful. (If you want a copy, email me or post a comment and I'll email it to you.)
Anyway, to those that are celebrating Advent, I'd love to hear some special things you do for this special time of the year. What has worked? What has not worked? What's a special memory you have of it? Please post a comment and share!

And to those of you who do not celebrate Advent, it's not too late. Why not start today?

Thankful for His grace,

Joshua, Joshua, Joshua

Joshua Caleb celebrated his 3rd bday right after Thanksgiving. It's so funny that he's finally three as for months people have been asking how old he is and wondering if he were older. My common response has been, "No, he's not even three yet." So much for that!

Joshua remains slim but TIGHT! Lil guy has a Tomlinson body, no doubt. He's got a decent arm, is agile, and is pretty good at following instructions. He folds laundry (wash cloths, his undershirts, shirts, and pants), is at the beginning stages of helping rinse the dishes (because he wants to help me do EVERYTHING), and tries his best at sweeping. His personality is fairly anal so when he does something, he works to do it to HIS standard or balks, "No, too hard! Maybe one day Joshua do it."

Some of his faves right now would be anything that has to do with David in the Bible, reading the account of Jesus on the Cross (from His arrest to the tomb being empty - and he knows it!), the Action Bible Songs DVD, Soy Butter and Jam sandwiches, Oatmeal Raisin granola bars, his baseball glove, bat and ball, Christmas decorations, CandyLand, and doing anything with his Sissy or Kadin.

No doubt! Saraina must be his BFF! Here she is...

To help you understand just how special Joshua is in our eyes, we've been battling his bad attitude at dinnertime. For weeks now I've noticed his crabbiness at dinner. He consistently says he's tired, he needs help, he doesn't want to eat, or he's done when he hasn't barely eaten a thing.

I've been ignoring this pattern. (That's another blog!) Finally, William got some Krispy Kreme donuts that Joshua had been eyeballing. All day he'd ask me about "the donuts" and I told him he'd be able to have a treat after dinner. Well, I even caved in a gave J and S a third of a donut after they ate their lunch since they had done just a good job.

But dinnertime came and the usual took place. Whine, whine, complain, grumble. Joshua quickly told me he was finished eating. Saraina on the other hand cleared her bowl of rice and black beans and veggies. I kept reminding and questioning Joshua about his behavior, realizing what God Himself was calling me to - to be faithful to Him. William called and I explained the situation to him telling him I knew the right thing to do was to NOT allow Joshua to have a donut but how hard that would be. I knew I'd have to deal with the crying and tantrum and I'd feel horrible. But I couldn't shake the Holy Spirit's prompting.

Joshua, when he finished his meal and although he had in fact finished it, was told he would not receive a treat. I told him that his complaining, whining, and grumbling were not pleasing to the Lord. In fact, his attitude communicated to God that he was not thankful for the food He provided. I talked with him about wanting the donut more than wanting to please God. We talked about temporary pleasures and who his real help was.

I tell this story so that one day Joshua might look back and see evidence of his sinful nature at work and know that his Mommy loved him too much to give him whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it. No, God disciplines us because He loves us and I want him to know that his Daddy and I do the same thing because we love him.

And, the night ended with Joshua coming up to me in tears telling me he wanted to pray and that he wants to obey. He got a banana and some crackers and enjoyed them and seemed thankful for them. Ohhhh, how I love this little boy. Ohhhh, how I see my own struggle with sin by watching him! I wonder if I'll always think of this and examine my heart as I reach for a warm, hot Krispy Kreme donut?

Joshua Caleb,

You are such a blessing to me, son! Your dark, long and curly lashes highlighting those wonderfully dark eyes... I look at you and it seems so easy to see what you will look like as a young man. You are so handsome!

But, that's not the highlight for me. I love how God made you so unique and creative and sure of what you like. You are a natural leader. That is a gift not every one has. May you use that gift to bring God much glory.

I love how you always ask about your "Sissy" and correct anyone who calls Kadin by any other name but 'Kadin.' I love how you wake up early and are always excited about the new day. I love how you love being clean and selecting your clothes and getting dressed by yourself (since you were really little!). I love how you want to help me with whatever I'm doing and love talking to me as I do it. You have such the gift of gab! Your questions tickle me as do the faces you make when you ask them. You get such delight in things I so quickly can take for granted! Thank for your desire to share everything on your mind with me! How that communicates love to yo' Mama!

And I love how you are not too big for hugs and kisses! In fact, just a few night ago you called out to your Daddy as he was leaving the room after putting you guys in bed and you said to him, "Daddy, I have a kiss please?" Ooooooo! We adore you, son!

And what we long for more than anything is the day you see your sin for what it is and receive the gift of salvation from the only One who can save you, Jesus Christ. 'Cause it's not about how well-behaved you can be or how much you can obey. You already know and see just how impossible it is to obey without the help of the Holy Spirit! May you be used in a MIGHTY way to save those who are lost in this world, without hope and without God.

Love you, big boy!