Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year 33 - Week 8

Christmas has come and gone and 2014 is hours away from being over.
This week's post is a little late due to traveling.

Here we go!

Warning: there will most likely be more than 7 photos and quite likely a lot of cute niece photos!!!!

Day 1 - Hanging out at Virginia home. Luke and Abster were reading books and being all smart and studious while I wrapped gifts. It was fun to hang out with them, listening to AMAZING Christmas music, and to wrap gifts for this family whom I love.

Day 2 - Tia/Sobrina date! For years I have dreamed of things to do as a Tia. Having nieces to start doing fun things with is such a treat! So CB and I went to Chickfila to visit Granny at work (Aunt Abby and Hannah came with us too). She got to play on the play place and eat ice cream. LOVE IT! Making memories.

Look at these people! LOVE THEM! So fun to all be together!

Day 3 - Christmas! This was SOOOOOO fun having kids in the family! 
I have a bajillion photos I could put on, but I LOVE this one! CB is wearing her SUPER cute winter coat over her prom looking dress up dress Granny made her, with her pajama pants underneath and her new cowgirl boots on. Hilarious! 
While the fam went to the movies, Hannah and I had a tea party with Princess Elsa in her light-up/singing dress and went on a walk with a Snow Baby. Be still my heart. 

Day 4 - In great Spencer/Main tradition, we played dominoes. Good ole' 42. 
We are the next generation of domino players. 

Siblings. I love these people! We laugh and love life together.

If you know my dad, you know his passion for Blue Bell ice cream. He has shared this love with CB. 
Whenever they are together, they will eat ice cream after dinner and share. So precious! CB is now big enough to feed Pappy. 

Day 5 - Road trip to Tennessee with the gang! The sunrise was INCREDIBLE! Picture does not do justice to the stunning colors firing up the sky! 

I got to ride next to this chick all the way to Nashville. This was pre-vomiting episode. Poor baby girl. Fortunately it was a one-time event. Love her. 

Day 6 - Mom and I were on kid duty during church on Sunday morning. Hannah wanted the girls kept at home since the flu is going around. This girl. The giant headpiece. Her smile. Her shaking excitement. Love it all! 

Day 7 - Abby Camp Preview. Aunt Abby and I have volunteered for an Abby Camp next summer during a week Hannah needs someone to watch CB. Since Hannah was back at work this day, CB and I played all day and had a blast. This was our stint with memory. Girl is smart! 
And we tried an Elsa braid. Poor girl! Her hair needs to grow a little longer. 
After I explained why it wouldn't touch her shoulder, she then explained to her daddy and Granny and her momma why it didn't touch her shoulder. Precious.
Also, why does she look so old in this picture???? Can't handle it! 

Traditional "departures at BNA" photo. Thankful we live so much closer and can spend time together. This sister of mine amazes me. Watching her be a mom and wife and sister is incredible! I am amazed by her constantly! 

It was a very full and incredibly amazing Christmas! We are truly blessed!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Lesson from the Shepherds

I was asked to write a devotional for this Christmas season - audience is middle school and high school. This is what came out from time of reflection.

The Very Words of God
Luke 2:8-20
(As you read these verses, look back at the prior verses to know where this takes place). 

Shepherds. Not too many people saying they want to grow up and be a shepherd these days. I doubt many of you are looking into sheepherding as your college major. While an important cultural role, where you were herding the lambs to be sacrificed at the temple, they were a group of people not widely received. Sheep stink, y’all. If you were a career shepherd, dinner invitations were most likely few and far between. Yet this night, an invitation was given. 

These men were pulling the usual all-nighter, hanging out with their sheep herds. Most likely, taking turns being “on call”. Fighting to keep their eyes open and stay alert against any predators. Did the screams or gasps of the ones awake, rouse those dozing? An intruder had indeed come on the scene, but without threat. Instead, with an announcement. The one they have heard prophesied of and perhaps wondered if they would see, Messiah had arrived. 

Jesus had been born. The long-expected one. The fulfillment and hope of Israel had shown up! I wonder if they sighed with relief - perhaps the Roman oppression will end and the Jews would reign with Messiah on the throne.  

Here is what I love about the shepherds. They hear this incredible news! Almost surreal in the way it is delivered. Surely they had heard of angels visits from the past - Abraham entertaining strangers, Daniel and his night with lions, etc. Yet, now they are recipients of such creatures. But more than hearing and seeing, they take action and obey what the angels say. Risking potential financial ruin, they leave the field. Walk into Bethlehem and begin the hunt. How many places did they search before finding the correct stony manger? Were there others in town for the census also staying in similar digs due to the maximum capacity in Bethlehem? Now awakened by excited shepherds who were carrying on about angels, a manger, and the Messiah? Verse 15 challenges me - they heard. They went. They witnessed. 

No wonder they left in such delight and exuberance! How many others were awakened after the visit by shepherds who could not contain their wonder? Did others wonder if the message was true? Did any take action to go and find Jesus also? 

What about you? 
Has the wonder of Jesus’ birth become so routine? In what ways have you born witness to the workings of God? Are you sharing the testimonies of wonder with others? The hope of the Gospel is not meant for you alone. But for a dying world, desperate to hear of hope. Of life. Of love. Of Jesus. 

One more thing…
We see no indication of the shepherds insecurities. There isn’t a record of a conversation including information such as: “We should go wash up first. I’m too dirty to go and meet the Messiah. What will people think about us traipsing in during the dark night hours? What is we wake him up? What if the parents are mad and don’t want visitors?” Instead, there is instant obedience. They were compelled by the desire to meet this Promised One. Insecurities were overshadowed by Immanuel - God with us. 

How often do you and I think we need to “fix” ourselves first before coming to Jesus? If I were just a little better or cleaned up nicer or did more good things, then I’ll go and talk to Jesus more. 

I’m not the gift. He is. Why not just go and worship? Why not delight in His presence, soak in His Word and be unable to contain the wonder? Why not live in such a way that our lives RADIATE the glory of being in the presence of the Savior, the Messiah? 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Year 33 - Week 7

Another very full week!

Here's the week in photos!

Day 1 - Yes, it was a Chickfila day again. This may be a photo every week. We love this place! 

 Day 2 - Christmas shopping included a sighting of Reba. Apparently she has a clothing line. 
Reminds me of time spent with former roommates ('Rica, Jen, and Amy) giggling at the Reba episodes.
Here's what I really want to know: where is the Barbara Jean clothing line???? 

Day 3 - So this intersection has a plethora of birds Every. Single. Day. 
Irony: it's at the intersection of Mockingbird. Never mind the fact they are black birds. 

Day 4 - Kristin's Comfy Cozy Christmas party. We sure did wear pj's and made an apple pie. Kristin really likes the red sugar sprinkles. Thanks, Marie Callender, for the delicious pie. 

Day 5 - SKYPE with Chloester and her sibs. It was so fun to see them and chat. 
Can't believe how much she has grown up and continues to mature. Love it! 

Had to do a second one because it was Christmas cards filling the mailbox day!!!! Love it. 

Day 6 - Jamming Jammie Jamboree at Sunday school today! 
It followed a theme based on The Tale of the Three Trees.
The teacher in me loved the stations and all the fun activities. 

This is my buddy AB. She is a dear and had a blast today. 
We even had real snow balls and had a snow ball fight! Total blast. 

Day 7 - It's Christmas-going-home Day!!! The suitcase is filled with gifts, clothes, and other random notions. 
Excited to have the whole crew together for Christmas! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Year 33 - Week 6

Another week - December has been even easier for a photo a day! 'Tis the season of celebration, though it continues far beyond this month.

Day 1 - Small group Christmas party! I've been so blessed by this group of people. 
This is our team wining the awesome two turtle doves trophy from guessing the most Christmas carols! Wahoo! Love games! 

Here's the whole group. Thankful and blessed. 
Yes, it was a tacky Christmas party - where whatever Christmas gear you had for fun! Thanks to my co-workers for letting me borrow their stuff! 

Day 2 - Lunch with Kathryn at Torchy's Tacos. Wahoo! 
Fun time catching up, chatting, and hanging out! And of course, eating delicious tacos and chips and queso. 

Day 3 - This looks almost like last week's post. Lots of great conversation and sharing what the Lord is doing. Full heart. 

Day 4 - Team Christmas party!!!!!!! So much fun! 
We learned how to make Cheri's world famous cheesecakes, so we each got awesome cute aprons! AND THEY HAVE POCKETS! 
How cute are we? #iloveus
There is going to be a whole post on this time because there are too many fun pictures to share! 

Day 5 - This is one of my favorite sites at Christmas time. I remember getting the tree and tying it down and being nervous it would fly off. Note: this is not my vehicle, nor my Christmas tree! 

Day 6 - Two photos today. Christmas program at church. Beautiful! The music was amazing and there was a hip-hop dancer who was INCREDIBLE! 

First candle-lit service of the season. One of my favorite parts/traditions of Christmas. Beautiful! 

Day 7 - Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit. Tis the season. This was dinner tonight. 
So delicious! Yum, yum, yum!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Year 33 - Week 5

Another week. 
This was has been the hardest so far - maybe because I felt as though I was grasping at straws somedays, BUT this is real life. Every day is not over the top exciting! BUT every. Single. Day is a GIFT! 

Day 1 - This was photo shoot week at work. So this was our team photo (there are a few missing). 
Y'all - this is the tallest I have ever been in a photo. This is not a natural height. 
I'm standing on a box, making me ALMOST as tall as Kristin (who you will see below is nearly a head taller than I am in real life). 
Thankful for these people and that we daily do life together. 

Day 2 - I think Mini Coopers are way cute. 
I am not normally a big fan of car decorations, but how stinkin' cute is this? Adorable! 

Day 3 - We may have been to Chick-fil-a a number of times this week. 
This particular day, the three of us ate in at the restaurant rather than taking it back to the office (it was at Lori's store at Northwest Hwy/Skillman - if you live in Dallas, go to this store!!!!!) 
Such amazing conversation, laughter, tears, and stories.
AND we got to see Lori, David, and Ms. Linda while we were there. Thankful! 
Hint: You can see Lori in the background with the pink shirt. 

Day 4 - Dinner with Luke and Abby, with a side of Amazing Race! 
Papa John's always reminds me of Panama and neighbor dinners. 
It was sometimes a fall back and other times, a necessity when the electricity would go out in the midst of dinner prep. 
How cute is this festive Christmas pizza box? 
AND I got to share it with Luke and Abster and hear all about their Thanksgiving travel adventures. 

Day 5 - Working at Christmas Party #1.
Once a month, I work at a dinner. It is fun! 
They are now decorated for Christmas and the side is wrapped like a package. 
When we were kids and dad was in seminary, we used to drive down this street and pick out our favorite houses. Now I get to go inside of one of them once a month. So fun! 

Day 6 - These Christmas posters were  the activity for Sunday School this weekend. 
This answer made me laugh! 
We have more learning to do. 
Above that answer, you can see the end of her answer for "What gift would you bring baby Jesus?" Her response: a walker. 
Love it! 

This was SUPPOSED to be a picture during the week of Thanksgiving and it got moved around in the import. I think it's hilarious because it appears as though there are flowered bows growing out of our heads. So I'm posting it now. 
Here  you can see how much taller Kristin is. 

Day 7 - First Chick-fil-a calendar card of 2015 has been activated! Bam! 

Let's see what this week brings - at least three Christmas parties. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What Do You Say?

I did it.

I finally picked up the pen, pulled out a notecard, and did what I've been putting off.

The pen touched the paper and the tears began.

It's a not a good-bye. Not when you are in Christ. But the letting go is still hard, but not as those who have no hope.

Her physical fight is nearly over. Medicine, treatments, remissions, and chemo have helped for ten years.

But no longer. They are hurting more than helping. There are no other options, medically speaking.

For over a year, I've wrestled with this letter. Written in my mind, scribbled out, rewritten, then put off. What do you say? What do you write that doesn't sound trite or like a farewell? How do you speak hope?

Mom's voice broke on the phone the other night, letting me know this sister's time is short. The days left are growing to a close. My heart ached. How does one say a "so long for now" to your sister? I thought of my own sister and the tears welled up. There. Are. No. Words.

I thought of my other sisters. My heart broke a little more. How? Could I?

So the pen touched down and eyes began leaking.
Words like brave, courage, life, cancer, laughter, joy, and love swept over the paper.
There isn't protocol for something like this. There isn't a method or form like a friendly letter like you learn in elementary school. It's simple your heart attempting language.

This was the passage the Lord led me to finish with -
"Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord's work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Not random. And when I looked at the context - even more fitting. Check it out.

This isn't a goodbye. Or a farewell address, but a heart grappling with the reality of life interrupted.

But heaven is coming. And in moments like these and as time continues to pass, becomes more sweet.

Can I encourage you? Don't let moments pass to share words of hope, joy, life, encouragement, memories, treasure, and more. Most often, we have no inkling of when our days reach the end. Pick up your own note and begin writing. It may take time for the words to pour forth, but it matters. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Year 33 - Week 4

It was Thanksgiving week!

Lots of memories of people and places I love. Grateful for so much.

Without further ado, this week in photos.

Day 1 - Kristin and I went grocery shopping to get everything for Thanksgiving. Neither of us were sold on getting a turkey for three people, so we picked a delicious, economical option - roasted chicken. DELISH!!!!!!! (And it's garlic/herb - YES!)

Day 2 - Thanksgiving prep has begun - Jalepeno/bacon cheese ball. 
Y'all, I may have asked a stranger at Kroger a good appetizer option, thus the cheese ball came about. 

Day 3 - Thanksgiving Day with these lovelies! Lots of fun cooking, watching a movie, card playing, and hanging out! And Kristin and I had fun celebrating Abi's first Thanksgiving ever. (We may have inadvertently taught her some fake Thanksgiving traditions). Also, Kristin may be starting the "photo a day keeps the boredom away" project too!!! Hehehe!!!! :) 

Day 4 - Two pictures, because I couldn't choose just one. And it's my blog, so I do it! Hehe! 
We took the girls to the Arboretum and the children's garden. It as so fun! CB loved going and seeing all the 12 Days of Christmas displays and told us where to go next. So cute. 

How cute is this girl????? 
She loved these eggs! Can't handle how fun she is! So grateful to be her Tia! 

Day 5 - Having my sister bring the babies was such an incredible treat! 
I loved hanging out with them and enjoying our time together. Love my sister. She amazes me! 

Day 6 - Booked my ticket to go and visit my dear friend, Kara! She is having a BABY in 2015 and I've been wanting to visit her for so long. Thankful it will work out and that I can meet Baby Hurt! 
Can't wait to see Kara as a momma. She is amazing! 

Day 7 - Tonight was the first Christmas party. This was with my Monday night women's Bible study. So grateful for tonight and the time to spend talking with women, when there is not so much time during our study nights. This is sweet Jeanette. So blessed to sit by her tonight and share life. Her passion for Jesus is delightful and is encouraging. Loved hearing what the Lord is speaking to her and guiding her. 

This has become so much fun! I'm loving doing this project.