Christmas Magic

“Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of Peace! Hail, the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by, born that men no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth. Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King.”

The third verse of that song is my favorite. It’s what Christmas is about. Not the gifts and how many we give to our loved ones. Not the people we get to spend the holiday with. Not our homes and the lights and decorations.

It’s not about our families or our expectations of them. It’s not up to them to make it magical or live up to some ideal.

It’s about Jesus. Come down from heaven, laying his Glory aside to be a baby in a manger. To be a man crucified on a cross. Raised from the dead. He came to a world in darkness where misery abounds, sadness permeates, lethargy and despair run rampant.

He brought Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love. Don’t look for those here in and of this earth. Look to Jesus, then you go share His hope, Joy, peace and love. You hang lights to reflect his light. You give gifts because He gave you a gift. You send love into the void where it isn’t found because He sent love to you where it wasn’t found.

This, friends, is the real magic of Christmas!


That Marriage Thing. . . 

I was tagged on socia media twice to do the marriage/relationship photo challenge thingy. I believe you share a photo a day for 7 days of you and your spouse, tagging two more people each day to do the same. I’m not going to do it. It’s not their fault, in fact, I’m honored they thought of me!  It’s that I have this hang up about sharing/copying/pasting social media challenges. I just can’t do them. I’d forget one day, and  then people would feel pressured to do it because I tagged them. Maybe it’s latent defiance of authority. Who knows?  

However I will take this moment, this blog post, to say this about my spouse. He’s a cool guy. Except when he’s not. And I’m a cool gal, except when I’m not. We just celebrated our 18th anniversary. In some circles, that’s not very long. In others that’s pretty  good. When I think about why we are still together, I know for a fact it is only the mercy and grace of Jesus that made that happen. There’s nothing like marriage to test a persons devotion, to test their ability to honor their vow. People change you know. I hear this all the time in defense of the divorce. “We aren’t who we used to be” and “I’m not who I was” are used to explain why a couple doesn’t stay together. I often wonder, why in the course of a lifetime did you think you would have stayed the same? The vow wasn’t to remain as long as you were the same person. It wasn’t to remain as long as you didn’t emotionally outgrow your partner. It was simply to remain. That’s what makes it the big vow. The big vow isn’t that I’ll just keep my stuff where his stuff is til one of us dies. The big vow says, I may outgrow you and you may outgrow me, but I will love anyway. I will love you in my actions when my feelings aren’t feeling it. I will try to meet you and tend to you in the time you are broken. I don’t expect that we are always going to be happy and at peace. We will argue and disagree, sometimes to the point we wonder if we’ll make it past this awful thing. One or both of us will face depression. We will let each other down.  

The vow says I won’t quit you when I don’t like you. It says though it costs me, I will stay with you. Because one day I will be difficult. And though I lash at you I will need you to stay with me and tend me. In doing this, we show each other the love God has for us. The love that loves when we don’t deserve it. In doing this we show  our children that true love is a choice we make daily, monthly, yearly. It’s a choice to do the right thing even when we don’t want to. 

I think sometimes it’s taken us 18 years to be even able to tell that the other one is upset because they hurting in some way, and not to just respond emotionally in kind. What can I say, we are slow learners! I’m so thankful we didn’t quit when it was hard. I’m glad we didn’t bail when it felt like it was going downhill. I hope that we never do. 

Plants in the Window

For much longer than I’ve been in this world, my grandmother has kept a cactus in her kitchen. It’s one of the things I love to remember, her  big picture window with different varieties sitting nestled there to soak up the sun. Once when I was in lower elementary school I was being too busy in my chair at the kitchen table, and I leaned back into one of the plants. I got myself a shirt full of needles. I don’t think I’ll ever forget what that felt like. I remember sitting at the table eating and listening to her and grandpa just talk normal end of the day talk. I remember just seeing all of her plants. 

When she passed away this summer, I wanted a cactus in my kitchen. I felt like it was a reminder that though time has changed, she’s gone, and now I’m the adult, it’s all okay because there’s continuity in the kitchen window. 

I asked grandpa for one of theirs, they had two large ones without prickly needles (I have no desire to see my children live the needle incident)  and he told me I could have the prayer plant. I was thankful, but I wanted a cactus. I had to work up the nerve to ask for one.  Since there were two, I’d hoped he would give me one. I guess he felt the attachment too, and wasn’t able to part with them himself.  He chose to give me cuttings instead. He did generously give me two, one from each plant. I had to take them home and google what the tarnation to do with a cactus cutting. I’m not exactly a gardener over here. 

I’m happy to say that as of right now, they live! I have the two newly potted cacti, my own succulent I got at Home Depot and the prayer plant all sitting in my kitchen window. 

And that makes me very happy. 

What You Don’t See


We recently had family pictures made. They were courtesy of LindseyFaith Photography. Honestly, I just love them. It’s not easy to get everyone to look your direction for a photo, but Lindsey did a fantastic job.


These are the kinds of pictures I’ll frame and put on the wall for everyone to see. Partly because they are just really great pictures, but also partly because I’m so stinking proud of this bunch, this wonderful family of mine.  They show us put together and hanging out having fun,which is definitely a part of who we are and how we act.

Unfortunately we don’t always act that awesomely. Especially me. This week has been a total struggle. We’ve had sick kiddos and the merry go round of illness and germ swapping when you have this many people in a house is quite a disgusting ride. One day this week, Steven was caught working late and unable to go get Isaac from scouts. This meant at the last minute I had to go myself and get him. After being home with sick kids all day I was wearing shorts, a long sleeve shirt, no makeup and I hadn’t washed my hair in at least 2 days. I wasn’t planning on being seen if you know what I’m saying. But this was last minute and there was no time so I just drove up there and ran in to get him. The group of adults in the room literally eyed me up and down. I’ve never actually had that happen before. FYI: I don’t like it. When I got out to the car I realized there was stuff on my shirt. Probably some food on there, definitely some snot, and other unidentifiable things. Steven said, “They probably just didn’t know who you were.” Yeah, sure.

I’ve yelled a lot this week. I’ve read about those quiet moms who are always gentle and they say “If you speak quietly they have to get quiet to listen to you.” To that mom I say, “Sister, that ain’t gonna work around here!” I’d give them 24 hours to find their yelling voice in my house. It’s not just me either. I’m pretty sure all the males in our house suffer from voice immodulation disorder.

Mostly what you see in the cool pictures is just a quick happy snap. The fun of family though, is that even though that’s not always how you live, you still love each other. Do I love arguing? No. Would we be the same family if we didn’t argue and disagree? No. Would we like it if there weren’t so much personality and life? No. Would I change anything about us? No. Would I like some peace and quiet in the bathroom sometimes? Yes.




While the Chicks are still in the Roost

Sometimes I get so tired and bogged down, and I wake up thinking, how soon is bedtime?? All the lunches and the arguing about random stuff, and the laundry, and the fixing the plates, and the laundry, and the arguing, and everything just gets me exhausted. Did I mention the laundry?

I woke up feeling that way today, on this Tuesday that’s acting a lot like a Monday. After a bit of thinking though, I realized something. All my chicks still live under my roof. They go off to school, and I go off to work but we are home together and we sleep in the same house and operate out of one base. The time for this will pass me by, eventually. I see it happening with my dear friends who have children off to college, and the marines. How weird a time for them, to go to sleep not knowing if your little one has gone to sleep yet, or will for hours. How weird is it to not be able to run them some lunch money (not that you want to because frankly they could have asked for it this morning) or to talk with them about something someone said that day and steer them in the right direction? The day will come when all of us being under one roof is the rarity, with most of us scattered about doing our lives.

So today, amid the arguing and plate fixing and chaos, I’m going to just be glad we’re all together.

Under one roof.

Wearing clothes washed together in the laundry.



Her name is Wonder Woman. . . 

. . . and she lives in my purse. She’s a little soft toy. I received her as an anniversary present from Steven. He and one of the boys picked it out while card shopping. 

On impulse, I tossed her in my bag on the way out the door one day to go to work and she’s been there ever since. When I’m stressed about things, be they work related or kids and school related, she’s a comforting little gal to have around. 

Oh she’s not magical and should she be lost, life would roll on as it always does, but remembering she’s there, and the fellas who thought of me when they saw her, it brings back a good feeling. That good feeling is a nice fat raindrop in what can often feel like a dusty, empty watering can. There’s so much watering and pouring out, out, out, that my water can is expected to do. Sometimes, it feels like no one is ever  putting any water back in, in, in it. That one little wonder woman shaped drop can somehow make enough of a difference, that I can somehow do one more of the things,  when I thought I was surely done. It’s like a modern day feeding of the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. 

I’ll take my inspiration wherever I can get it.  


Mom Confessions: Vol 15

Today I bought Tide. I’ve been making my own laundry soap for two years, it’s saved me so much money. I have no reason that I purchased the Tide, it was an impulse buy. How does one go from spending almost nothing on laundry soap to buying the the most expensive of all the soaps? I don’t know. I have no explanation for myself.

While everyone was waiting for me to make dinner, I stood in the corner of the living room eating a Twix, catching up on work emails. I’m not even sorry.

Sometimes, when I just can’t get the little ones to be quiet while Dad’s on the phone for work, I stick them in the sunroom and close the door.


Yesterday, in celebration of a personal victory, I had a glass of wine. Not even a whole glass, really, it was just under 2/3 of a glass. I got so dizzy. Lightweights, unite!

The boys started school this week. We missed the elementary school kids “meet and greet” night. The school apparently announced this even on their Facebook page and in the new app for the school district, on the day of the event. It didn’t occur to me to look for it until two days after it had already happened. Now that we’re two days into the school year, I can tell you that missing that event, has not mattered one bit. Thank goodness.

1st day of school 15

The second kid in that picture, has already missed a day of school, ear infection. Also his viola was sent to the wrong school by the music company. Hopefully when he gets back tomorrow it will be there for him at his actual school.

My Grandmother passed away in July. I forgot to mention this in my whole post about how crazy July was. I can only say that some things are just so big in your life that maybe you can’t reduce them to a bullet point in a blog post. That sounds better than I was a terrible granddaughter. . . . Anyway, my Grandpa gave me two cuttings from some of Grandma’s cactus plants. I was legitimately worried they would not survive. I was secretly hoping for just a whole plant, already living and grounded in it’s own pot. There’s no arguing with Grandpa, though. The good news? So far, they’re still alive. After consulting my gardening pal, Google, I let them dry out for 10 days then planted them.


For a few days, everything I made in the oven, burned to a crisp! When I blamed the oven, everyone thought I was just making excuses for not knowing how to work the electric oven at this new place we live. Even googling it yielded a comparison to the quote “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people . . . . .” Thanks for that, Google! I just called you my friend. I take it back. When I had it looked at, and found out the thermostat was broken, and that the oven was in fact, just stuck on preheat, so it kept heating and heating without ending, I experienced vindication, my friends, vindication.