Iraq Journey

Young Ladies Christian Fellowship

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

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It’s Christmas in October

October 25, 2006

I’m working on my Christmas cards today. I’m going to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, light the candles and pretend it’s colder outside. :) I’m trying so hard to stay ahead of the game this year, especially since we’re going to Colorado for Christmas. I’d like to have the cards done and most of my gifts ready to go before Thanksgiving.

It feels to us like it’s been a lot longer than a year since Christmas. Last year we had my brother and sister-in-love and our two nieces here for the first two weeks of December, and we got to decorate our tree, make our annual trip to Knott’s Berry Farm with my parents, and do most of our traditional things with them. But then, when we received the call that my dear friend’s husband of four months had been killed in a work-related accident and we rushed to Missouri to be with her, we didn’t feel very “Christmasy” anymore. I ended up with some of our cards unsent and we were finishing our last bits of shopping the day before Christmas Eve… but all of that didn’t matter so much last year. Our friend Matt’s death was the third Homegoing of someone close to us in a month’s time. By the time we reached Christmas Day, My Marine and I were just thankful to be together. I think we gained so much more of an eternal perspective during that time, and realized the importance of giving glory to the Savior and focusing on Him above all else.

This year, we’re anticipating the thrill of enjoying our Little Man during his first Christmas, being able to spend time with both sides of our family during all of December, and truly showing to those around us the wonder of Christ’s love for us. I want to soak up the memories, focus on the people, enjoy our family and grow closer to my Jesus… not be rushing around making a silly attempt at having everything “perfect.”

So, in the home of this little family, Christmas is starting in October–cards being written, family picture being taken on Saturday, gifts already thought out and some bought, a trip to Big Bear in the near future to finish up. I’m excited. :)

Getting bigger and bigger…

October 21, 2006

The Little Man is just growing and changing by leaps and bounds every day. He’s just so… big!

My Marine posted a sweet entry about him today, along with a little video of Littlest pulling himself to standing. Rather than say the same thing twice, I’ll just link you to it here. :)

Some Days Are Just Hard

October 16, 2006

My poor baby boy is teething and having quite a hard time of it. The sad result is a very wakeful, restless night, tired Mama and Baby, lots of tears, cold teethers, near-constant nursing, and oodles of hugs and kisses.

As I was holding my Little Man today to comfort him–after he tumbled and bit his little tongue on the one tooth he already has–I started thinking about how like these little ones we are in the sight of our Father. To my little guy, I’m sure life seems like one painful experience after another right now. He pulls himself to his feet using anything he can get his hands on for support, and just as he feels confident, he falls over. Sometimes he fusses because he thinks that’s a good way to get sympathy from Mama, but other times he’s hit his head or scratched his arm or was simply scared by the sudden fall. As he learns, he experiences little “victories” as well as the little “defeats.” As a backdrop to it all, there’s the ever-present pain in his tiny baby mouth.

As his mama, I know that to grow, he has to go through some hard times. I know that this tooth will cut through in the next couple days and I remember that as soon as his first tooth came through, he had relief. I know that this won’t last long… and in just a few weeks he’ll be much more experienced when it comes to this thing of standing and will be ready to venture out and take a step or two. But to him, in the difficulty of the present, it seems like life is just hard.

How often, as we grow and develop in Christ, we wish for the pain to subside. We ask for life to be a little easier–for just a small amount of relief. We have tears in our eyes and, if we could get away with it, would probably cry with everything in us like a teething baby does. We just want to be held and comforted. But our loving Father sees the big picture. He knows that we need to be in the protection of His arms and need His comfort. And just as earthly parents know that if their little ones aren’t given the opportunity to fall and feel the pain, they’ll never learn and grow, He gives us the perfect balance of time in His arms, as well as time to hurt a bit so that we can develop into maturity.

I say this now, and know that there isn’t any major source of pain in my life at the present. But, just as Troy gets a break between bouts of teething, I know this is just one season. I can be certain that soon I’ll have tears in my own eyes and need to be reminded of this truth by dear ones who are now learning firsthand the power and strength of God’s grace through their “hard days.” I pray I’ll always be reminded of the loving lessons taught by my Heavenly Father each time this mommy wipes a tear from a rosy little cheek, gives soothing kisses after a bump on the head, or sits nearby and allows my baby to wobble a bit while he learns to stand on his own.

Home again, home again…

… jiggety jog. ;)

We had a wonderful trip, and have since been recouperating from it. Why is it always that way after vacation? :) We greatly enjoyed five days in Nashville filled with bluegrass music at the International Bluegrass Music Association event, an evening at the Grand Ole Opry, an afternoon at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, all before heading down into Alabama. Then came a week of relaxation coupled with plenty of fun busyness, time with family and friends, lots of delicious barbeque, catfish, hushpuppies, sweet tea and Blue Bell ice cream (ha! and I didn’t gain a pound… I’m pretty proud of that! ;) ).

We ended with a bang at the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention, where Fiddleboy and My Marine played in a fiddle competition for the first time (My Marine accompanying Fiddleboy on the guitar). What fun that was–filled with not only bluegrass and old time music, but friends and fellowship as well. We were able to spend quite a bit of time this trip with our good friends the Evans’, who “introduced” me to two girls I ended up “knowing” from the old The King’s Daughter/Hope Chest days. When we started talking, we figured we’d have quite a bit in common, but soon realized that we actually “knew” each other already. They remembered me, and my sissy, and a few of my other good friends. What fun that was. :) On that Friday night, I also was able to meet an online friend, Laura, who happens to live in the same town my family does. We enjoyed a couple hours of talking (with the twang of guitars, banjos, fiddles and bass fiddles as our backround music!) and some hot coffee that chilly night. :)

That’s about all I have time to write today, since I’m now tackling my literal mountain of laundry from the trip, and poor Little Man got some shots today, so he’s not too happy of a camper at the moment.

The Isaacs– at IBMA

Rhonda Vincent (in white on the right) singing with her daughter (left) at the Grand Ole Opry

Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder– at the Opry

The Whites– at IBMA on Sunday afternoon

Laura and her little sister Anna

My dear sweet friend Hannah Beth

Me and Laura :)

Fiddleboy and My Marine playing “Fire on the Mountain” for the competition—they did so well!!

The guys… glad it’s over :)

The girls I was “reintroduced” to–Bethany and Tabatha R.

Little Man taking a nap… Mama and Daddy talking and resting

Lookin’ more and more alike every day!

Little Man enjoying his first time at Cracker Barrell–our all-time favorite restaurant

Littlest got to meet his Great-Grammie for the first time… she’s so tiny that he seems almost as big as she is! ;)

Four generations–Gram, Mom, me, the L.M. ;)

All the guys… making Grammie look even smaller :)

Me and Fiddleboy, and L.M. :)

Littlest and his “Oncle”