Romans 12:1-2

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2

Sunday, December 22, 2013

This Could Really Be Three Different Posts

If you have come to my blog looking for our Christmas letter, please click on the picture in the sidebar just to the left!

We have had a crazy three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas...

L got sick within an hour of returning from Albuquerque (think 10 hour car trip).  I am so thankful it wasn't in the car this time! M was only sick once in the wee hours of Monday morning and managed to drag him himself to school for 3rd-7th hours. The rest of the week was somewhat normal.

On Tuesday of the next week, Hubby decided he would have his wisdom teeth taken out the next day (the next opportunity would be while family was visiting and it really needed to be done since they were starting to cause some problems.)  Tomorrow?  Well, we're normally not that spontaneous, but ok.  Thursday, M had a doctor's appt. and Aunt came to the rescue because Hubby was still quite dizzy from anesthesia so she drove.  Before the three of them returned it started icing so what would have normally taken them 20 minutes to get home turned into two hours.  And we were out of school Friday. And Monday. And Tuesday.

Hubby's parents arrived Wednesday (did I mention Hubby went on a business trip Tuesday - Thursday of this week?) and his brother and fam arrived Thursday.  Brother graduated Saturday morning and we had Christmas Saturday night.
From Hubby's Trip

Brother with mortarboard, Hubby in other regalia - he sat with faculty
Everybody was gone by Monday and Tuesday Hubby started saying he didn't feel so well. (Thank goodness I had already planned to have a sub for Wednesday morning for M's other dr's appt.).  Back up just a sec - in the midst of these three weeks I had my second official observation at school and evaluation.  I also had terrible shipping woes (a friend said I should blog it) - I ordered my grandmother's present and right when I hit "submit" I realized that I hadn't put her address in.  I called right away (and waited a long time to actually talk to someone) and got that fixed.  Phew!! While all our family was visiting I got a box delivered.  I guess I didn't make that same discovery when ordering my sister-in-law's present!!  And I had been so excited to get free shipping!!!  Too bad it was free shipping to me and we still had to get it to Colorado!!!!!!!

The nice people who have our last name and live around the corner with the same house number and street number (I kid you not - everything is the same except we live on "Place" and they live on "Avenue".  Well, our first names are different, but I guess Fed Ex doesn't take that into account) called us to let us know they had our box from Omaha Steaks.  I'm sure they were returning the favor for me delivering their box of fruit to them two years ago.

Hubby's brother (not the one who was just here, but the one CO) called to say his box from his Mom had arrived and all our presents were in it.  "Our" box with his family's presents in it is scheduled to arrive today.  See I'm not the only one in the family who does this kind of thing.

Back to Hubby not feeling well.  Wednesday afternoon, he tested positive for flu.  He did not go out of the house from then until this morning for church.  Even then, we quickly made our way to the balcony so not to expose people to any lurking flu germs.  M was in the Christmas choir so I'm glad he felt like being there.

The whole reason I actually started a new blog post was this picture.

I took it before I talked to the good friend who suggested I write about the shipping hilarity.  We had a bit of an ice storm this weekend.  Just bit - no power outages (for us) and no slick roads - just beautiful crystals on elevated surfaces.  I was amazed when I saw that the ice formed on these leaves blown to the side instead of dripping down.

Amazing.  We got a Christmas letter from a friend who said their year had been one of contentment.  My heart was so warmed to hear that because this friend has been through some difficult years.  The craziness of my three weeks pales in comparison to her (and many of your) difficulties.  My heart was also "checked" - this craziness was definitely only ordinary life.  Am I content in the craziness of ordinary life?

Amazing? Content?  I think I'm on to something for a Word for 2013.  And this verse....normally I see people quote it during difficult times, but I think it is applicable always. Even in the ordinary.  I think our Amazing God does this and as it is happening, we can have great contentment.

Zephaniah 3:17

New King James Version (NKJV)
17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Letter 2013

From my desk I can see the snow has tapered to light flurries.  With a snow day from school, it seemed like the perfect time to write a Christmas letter.

Last year I did a month by month photo recap, this year, you get a family member recap...

Hubby - Hubby completed two marathons this year and will start training in January for a half-triathlon.  (L. shares Hubby's love of running and has done cross country this year along with some 5ks.)  Hubby was promoted in his job from a director to a "dean".  He also continues to keep busy with the boys and has started a remodel project at my Dad's house.  Our whole family fell more in love with our new niece this year, but ultimately she's the apple of Uncle Debbie's eye.

A (me) - I was able to enjoy a couple of weekend trips at the beginning of summer with my bestie and with my sister (Aunt).  It was actually one of the best summers that I can recall - mostly because of cooler temps and normal everyday stuff.  While I didn't make a job transition this year (I was very thankful that our new principal extended my temporary contract.), I moved from second to first grade.  I work with a team of veteran teachers who take wonderful care of me and I absolutely love my class!  I am amazed at how much first graders can do and understand.  As there is so much controversy surrounding education standards right now, I just do my best to love and teach each individual student.

M - M. started playing tennis in the spring.  Even though he switched schools (local public to a private Christian school), he will be able to keep playing.  He continues to be interested in leadership - in his church youth group and at school.  He is the freshman class vice-president and attended the district and state Student Council conventions.  I just can't believe he will be making college plans in a few short years!

L - I mentioned L's running love and cross country earlier.  In the spring he raised a large amount of money (this year was his turn - M. has done it in the past) for Relay for Life (thank you friends and family).  I don't think he ran at the Relay event, but had fun for the evening with Aunt and then flew by himself the next morning to join the rest of us for our niece/cousin's dedication.  L. also continues to be involved in Scouts- he loves camping and is about to earn his next rank.  Currently, he is on Senior Patrol as the Chaplain.

We were so blessed to spend time with far away family so many times this year. We made our annual Hockey trip to Dallas in February, family has come to visit (and will be again soon!), we vacationed with family in July in Virginia and the Outer Banks, the boys spent time with their grandparents before school started, we camped in Colorado, saw more fam in OKC, and just spent Thanksgiving in Albuquerque. We are also blessed to see Aunt often. She even picks the boys up at school every Wednesday and takes them out. L's new love is Starbucks!

That's about it for the Smith family.  I'd love to hear what your family has been up to this year - please use my blog or FB to exchange a greeting.

We hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son 
into the world that we might live through Him.  I John 4:9