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

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December in Pictures

The boys got in on this batch of holly wreath cookies.

Hubby and I tried a batch earlier in the month, but I did have any red hot candies.

Dinner, yes.  But, do you see the salt n pepper shakers?  Hubby got them as a white elephant gift.  They aren't so to me - I love them!

Just a dusting.  December 17.  Later in the night when it was so bitterly cold, we got a visit from a dog from the neighborhood north of us.  I dried him off and petted him by the fire while we waited on his owner.

School is out for two weeks!!

My sister treated us to drinks and treats for my Aunt's birthday.

Life with Lucy and Cyrus.  He was pretty serious about his new bone.

A new spot for the tree.  We considered a taller tree for the living room to go with the high ceilings.  I just can't bear the thought of using a different tree.  We've had this since the year before M was born.

Waiting to leave IHOP.  I was sad that it wasn't decorated for Christmas this year.

Aunt and the boys in front of a random house.  At 10:30 on Christmas Eve the temperature was still in the 50s!

Selfie in front of the same house.

It was tricky to find a service on Christmas Eve that worked with M's work schedule.

We got EVERYONE in this Christmas Eve picture.

Hubby has almost perfected his cinnamon roll recipe.  My Dad used to make them Christmas morning.  He perfected his in the Air Force.  Hubby has been working on his at Church Camp!

She was snoring about 15 minutes into opening presents!!

Quick visit from Hubby's Mom.  This was just to see the plane - maybe a flight another time!
2017 is the year for me to fly again!?!

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Great Reminder or "Read This If You're Missing Someone"

This year felt Christmasy as soon as Thanksgiving was over.  Hubby put lights out front, we've been on track with baking, shopping, parties and such.

However, about a week ago, I told Hubby that the one thing I wanted for Christmas I couldn't have - I wanted a visit from Mom and Dad for Christmas.  My best remembered Christmases as an adult were the ones Mom and Dad (and then Dad after Mom was gone) came to visit.

I've dwelt on that this week even to the point of being quite a Grinch to my family.

So, yesterday I visited them. My sister and I took silk poinsettias to the cemetery for the vases on Mom and Dad's headstone.  We didn't linger there.  I've never felt it necessary since they aren't there.  I know others spend time at the graves of loved ones and that's fine.  Everyone grieves differently.

As I was posting our Christmas letter, I was rereading December blog posts of mine and I came across the one I wrote the Christmas after Dad died. It's called "A Different Christmas" (click link to read) and in it I wrote "Emmanuel, God is with me."  Boy am I thankful I wrote that because it's a good reminder to me today!  The post also has a link to something Emily Freeman wrote "For when everything is different".  Grief is always hard, but especially hard at holidays so I hope both these posts will be helpful to someone.

So, my parents won't be visiting this Christmas.  But, on the first Christmas, Jesus did more than visit. He came to be with us and He's never left!  Yet, at the same time, he left to prepare a place.  A place where because of the plan He set in motion several thousand years ago - Mom and Dad (and other loved ones) will be able to spend Christmas together again.

Merry Christmas 2016!

As I stop to ponder what to write for a Christmas letter, what comes to mind first is God's faithfulness.  Through every high and every low of the year, God is God.

2016 was a very full year - In February we got serious about finding a new home and put ours on the market.  It sold over Spring Break, we found just what we were looking for, and moved in mid-May.  We love our new home so much that it took no transition/adjustment time to be here!  We have great neighbors, know people from church and even have a friend from Scouts around the corner.  The boys' rooms are a bit smaller than before and I jokingly told them we were buying the house for the dogs (they have an amazing back yard!) since the boys will be gone soon!

So, Micah is in his Senior year.  This past summer he spent two weeks in Africa where he preached at a VBS, worked really hard painting and building a fence for a Christian school and assisted with wound care in villages.  He moved from working at Baskin Robbins to Chic-fil-a and continues volunteering at church all while starting college classes.  He has completed 17 hours.  Graduation Day is May 18 and Micah has officially enrolled at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.  He'll live on campus.

Levi is a sophomore at Rejoice.  He is amazingly disciplined and competed in a teen Body Building physique show at the beginning of August.  The meal prep stuck and he completely cooks for himself (and sometimes for us!) now.  Levi will be 16 next April so he has begun "parent taught" driver's ed.

Devon has been at Oklahoma Wesleyan for over seven years and I started year 6 for Owasso Public Schools this fall.  One thing we love to do together is travel. A couple of highlights were Buffalo/Niagara and Lavallette, New Jersey (the beach).  Another highlight for me was seeing The Oak Ridge Boys at the fair (I grew up loving them thanks to Mom!). Devon took an (almost) annual Colorado hiking trip with friends during Labor Day and ran three marathons in six weeks this fall (he got a personal record in one of them!).  I know this is much tamer, but sometimes I play Bunco (especially Bunco for Babies, the fundraiser for the Pregnancy Resource Center in Owasso) and go to Book Club.  In the spring I teach at Writer's Workshop or Literacy Fairs for OETA.

I usually end Christmas letters with a Scripture that has been meaningful for the year - this one is definitely it: Isaiah 58:10-11, If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.  And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. ESV

I have taken it to heart as I teach.  It seems that each year I have more and more children with greater and more varied needs. I continue to trust God's faithfulness in helping me here (and in all areas of my life and family) and trust He will meet you wherever you are prove faithful to you too.

Keep scrolling for pictures!
Merry Christmas!
Devon, Annette, Micah and Levi

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

On The Home Front - September 2, 2016

Outside my window… pine trees and a lamp light.  Outside my window is different than any previous daybook.

I am thankful for… insurance and time off – the means and availability to have M’s wisdom teeth out.

I am wearing… really scroungy clothes

Some plans for the rest of the week… It’s Labor Day weekend – take care of M, clean up the house/take recycling to the recycling plant, help L mow.  No plans that I know of for the upcoming week.  Well, besides a thousand meetings at school!

I am hoping … to get adjusted to this new school year quickly.

On my mind… Hubby being in Colorado.

Hearing…. I hear the fan in the family room because M is both hot and cold.  I can hear the dogs barking outside.  Maybe Lucy has treed a squirrel.  At least out here, barking dogs don’t seem to be as much of a nuisance than in neighborhoods with less land.

I am praying for… wisdom.

From the kitchen….. meatloaf muffins, green beans, potatoes and salad.  I need to write a grocery list and plan for next week.

Around the house… a few things from our move that I need to 1) find a place for, 2) put in the attic or 3) just throw away! 

One of my favorite things…. Reading.  Reading whatever I want – Scripture, facebook, blogs, news, getting a new book.  One of my favorite things is also time – time to read, ponder, clean up a few things, rest, whatever.

From my picture journal… 

Hmmm - it's December and I wrote this at the beginning of September, but never posted because I didn't have a picture to include....

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Life With Lucy and Cyrus

We've got the sickies around here.  You can probably tell by the picture that L. doesn't feel very well.

M. has something going on that he'll need some test later in the week.  And then there's Cyrus...

I took him to the vet for his yearly check-up and found out he has heart worms!!  Bout broke my heart!!  She says there's a period that the dog can be infected that it doesn't show up on the test.  Considering his age, how long we've had him and that he's been on preventative meds since we got him, she thinks he was infected when we got him a year ago, but it was during that time that it didn't show.  Ugh!!  Poor baby has to take a bitter medicine twice a day.  Lucy doesn't mind - she gets the same cheese or ham treat minus the meds that Cyrus does. Our prayer is that this works because the other way would require that he be crated for two months!

He knows he's not supposed to be in my chair!!  Of course he knows he's not supposed to be on my bed too, but that doesn't stop him!!  Earlier in the week, I posted this link on FB that talks how dogs communicate with you.  I love it - we've experienced each one with both dogs!!  Mmm, the article doesn't address stubbornness though.  We need that one for Lucy!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Life with Lucy and Cyrus

 Blogging is something I always think about doing and never quite get to.  I have thoughts to write and don't do it.  I want to leave more of a record of family life than what is on facebook and pictures in my cell phone. So, three months later I work on my blog.  I change the template and totally mess up the background.  Ones I've used in the past aren't free anymore - I found something else that kind of matches the template I accidentally changed it to.  Not quite what I wanted, but it's purple and purple is always good.

A lot of things aren't quite what I wanted.  For instance...the day after these photos were taken, Hubby's brother lost his battle with cancer.  Not what we wanted, but we're happy he isn't in pain anymore.  Eternity with Christ is a great thing!  And our family (collectively) is sometimes okay and a lot of times struggling.

We went to Jazzy's Ridge to take these photos on the one year anniversary of losing Jazzy.  Of course Cyrus is looking adoringly to us - that's his personality. Then there's Lucy.  There's never a dull
moment with her!  The weather is quite cold now and in the mornings when it's time for me to leave for school she is hiding in M's bed as if to say don't put me out in the cold!  Even today, I took her to run at Dad's, but she couldn't be left because she won't stay in the yard and she won't listen/obey.  She only likes things her way!

Our poor Cyrus has heart worms.  The vet thinks since he is young and otherwise healthy that he can fight them off with the "slow-kill" method which is medicine.  Fast kill would require a lot of money and crating him for two months!  I hope the first way works, such an active dog who is part of our everyday life would be miserable crated that long!

Not matter what I say about them, I do look forward to our evenings with the dogs.  Lucy will be trying to get us to chase her around the living room and when that's done, she'll chew on her bone.  Cyrus will cuddle up with one of us in the recliner.  That's life with Lucy and Cyrus!