Sunday, December 25, 2011

And the Gift goes on.....

And the Gift goes on.....

The lights in their little eyes sparkle with delight as they run down the stairs and stand in awe. The anticipation, anxiety and much awaiting morning has finally arrived. They all sit patiently waiting for the ok to dive in and see if their wish came true.

I sit cuddled in my blanket in pure joy watching my children and the excitement beaming from within. The gifts go on and on and the laughter and joy seem to circulate throughout the room.

It was a day filled with worship, love and laughter. We had the honor of going to church on Christmas day and celebrating the birth of a King; the reason we even have Christmas.

Without that first precious gift, no other gift would be worth giving.

The day went on as our children quietly explored their new activities and dad so patiently put many together.  Our youngest however was not feeling well, so I found myself gently holding him as he faded off to sleep in my arms.

I couldn't help but imagine that night in the manger; that night that Mary so gently held our Savior. The night that our World was forever changed with a gift. A gift that goes on forever. I wonder if Mary knew as she looked into His eyes that she held the world. She held the gift that was born to die.

She held the one gift that was born to go on forever and ever......

I imagine how so many get wrapped up in all that Christmas is not and forget to place the most important gift under their tree. I love Christmas and all of the traditions that come along with it, but if we leave Christ out, it's just another day.

The most amazing thing about that very first gift was that it was the gift of eternal life. It was the gift of forever.....

It is a gift that so many need and so many need to give and continue to give.

It is the gift that goes on and on and on.....

It is the gift of LOVE.

Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Journey

A Story...Lost in Time

I woke up in a daze. I felt out of sorts and wasn't quite sure where I was. I began to walk around as if I was in some sort of twilight zone.

There were lights and people everywhere. The streets were crowded as children and adults ran faster and faster to get ahead of the crowd. My heart began to race as the commotion grew stronger and stronger.

I stood in the center as if I were I statue frozen in time. Parents and children alike dashed passed me, breaking me down faster and faster.

There were tears and laughter and even screaming as people ran by. What was going on? What was this important?

I suddenly felt strangely cold as I wrapped my blanket tightly around my shivering body. My curiosity began dancing around in my mind and I was like a child in a candy store.

I had to know....what was going on!

I followed the ever growing crowd as we walked further and further into what seemed like the unknown. The dark clouds began to steam above our heads. My stomach began rolling in knots and this did seem good.

My feet grew tired and my body was numb.

My mind was racing as I wondered if we walking after anything at all. Could anything be this important?

This special?

Worth this?

Just when I felt like I could go on no more, I saw a light coming from the center of the crowd and a man collapsed on the ground.

Who was it? Where are we? What is going on?

I made my way closer as I heard some laughing and others crying; I was so confused.

"Crucify Him!"

WHAT?!?  It was Jesus.... Could this be real? This had to be a dream, but I was intrigued. I couldn't take my eyes off of Him.

I looked around and realized I was really in Jerusalem.

I watched as the crowd followed His broken and beaten body all the way to Golgotha to be crucified.  They yelled and screamed and my heart broke.

I watched Mary as she watched her son. She watched as He was beaten and hung on a cross. I looked deep into her eyes as I saw the love and hurt.

I was taken back to the manger and the moment He was born. Mary gave birth to the Savior of this world. She obeyed God and she loved Him and cared for Him. She trusted that God had a plan.

I wonder what so many must of thought as Jesus died on the cross that day. Where they too taken back to the manger and the realization that this truly was the Savior?

I think about the journey from the manger to the cross and what He went through to teach so many, and yet it was not until He was gone that so many really understood.

I thought about the journey of so many that walked that road to Golgotha. The tears, exhaustion, cold and fear no longer mattered. What mattered was that moment and that they believed. It wasn't how they got there, but that they had followed the journey.

I think back to my own journey and the one that we each face every day. When Bethany died part of me died and I didn't want to go on. I wanted to fast forward and just feel better, but I couldn't. I had to let my heart feel, heal and deal with what I had been through. I had to face the journey.

So  often we want to skip the journey and have God give us all the answers right away. We want to know why, when, where, and how at our demand and we forget that the journey is a precious gift. A precious gift teaching us patience, hope, love and perseverance.

Without the journey from the manger to the cross....there would be no reality that Christ loves us enough to walk through life just as we are. There would be no promise, no hope.

Without the journey we would have no hope that it truly does hold the most amazing and precious gift ever...eternal life.

"Every Journey starts with the First Step"... ann.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

A Lilfetime of Memories....

I ran down the stairs, practically missing half of them, as I jumped to the bottom and ran into the kitchen. It was amazing I actually used the stairs and not the banister. You see, my cousin Bethany and I used to think we had these special powers. We thought we could jump from the top of a banister and land on the ground which just so happened to be another set of stairs going down to a third level. We would put a bean bag on the stairs and the idea was to land on the bean bag and then slide down the stairs. Looking back, it really sounds genius for a 5 and 6 year old to even come up with that kind of plan.

It is AMAZING we never got hurt. Although, we were quite the pair. It didn't matter if we were jumping off stairs, climbing trees or making mud pies, we just loved being together.

As I ran into the kitchen this particular day, I was beyond excited. Bethany was there and It was a day full of fun activities. Bethany and I climbed up onto the stools and grinned from ear to ear. We were all decked out in our fancy outfits for the festivities of the day. Leotards and pink tights.....yes, that is what we loved! My mom had wax paper spread out all over the counter. There were bowls and pretzels. We were making chocolate covered pretzels; and she didn't even care that we made a mess!

Next on the agenda; and I love this, old fashion decorations. We took berries and pop corn and put it on strings. We then went outside and decorated our front bushes with our homemade garland.

I can still remember our Christmas tree. It seemed so big and pretty to me. I loved running into the family room and just starring at the lights sparkling on the tree. My mom always had the tree lights on. She would play Christmas music as we decorated and worked on activities. I think my favorite was Rocking Around the Christmas Tree. I don't know what it was about that song, but we would sing, and laugh and dance all over the house.

I loved everything about Christmas. The tree, lights, decorations, goodies, and festivities with my cousins. My mom did such a good job of making the holidays feel special. It was never about how much money we had or what we were doing, but it was about the memories we were making.

She always made sure that we were a big part of everything. I know at times it seems easier for me to decorate or make the cookies myself because there is way less mess and it goes faster. As I look back to my own childhood, I am reminded that my own mother made sure the children were a huge part of everything; she never did anything alone. It is those memories that makes me love Christmas so much.

I want that same warm loving Christmas in my own home. I want my children to look back and remember decorating, baking and running around the house dancing to Christmas music.

I think how often Christ refers to children and reminds us to have the heart of a child. I think it is because children are so carefree and love and believe with all of their hearts....

I pray that you can set your busy schedule aside this holiday season and make memories that will last a lifetime!
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Monday, December 12, 2011

An Empty Cradle and the Promise of a Manger....

My heart grew numb as she walked in with the baby. I felt flush and red all over. I wanted to run and yet my feet were glued to the ground; I was trapped!

Of all babies WHY was I letting this one get to me? My eyes were glued to his as I contained the tears from streaming down my face.

I saw the empty cradle as they gently brought it in, but I had no clue....I didn't know!

My mind flashed back to the empty cradle that once sat in my own house....the cradle I longed to fill and yet never could. The cradle that etched its place on my wall and in my heart of what never was.

My mind came back and I again found myself starring at the reality of the baby.  The tiny baby who represented everything that this World needs and the tiny baby who left me breathless and lost in this very moment.

I didn't expect him to be real, and yet He was....She placed him in the manger and I stood in awe of what I wanted and what I had hoped for.

You see, it was our church choir practice, and this was baby Jesus. How could I be jealous of THIS baby? Why is my heart hurting now?

I watched as he so peacefully laid in the manger and I wondered if my sweet girl would have done the same. I wanted to run to the manger and beg to have my moment back; beg for my cradle to be whole and not empty. Beg to go back in time!

I would often sit and stare into Bethany's empty cradle and I would wonder what I was looking for and how I was going to move on. The more I gazed into the manger the more I realized what I was looking for was  there all along; my cradle was never really empty.

The hope, love and promise of my Savior was there, placed in a manger all those years ago. He was sent to take the pain of this world, SO we didn't have too.

It was a gift sent so many years ago. It was the promise sent in the manger; It was the gift of Christmas. It was the gift to guide us through heartache, trials, and joy. It was the gift that never stops giving and the gift to save us forever.

The empty cradle that rocks back and forth through my mind is ever so sweetly filled with love and Grace by my Savior who reaches in and fills my heart.

Christmas will come and Christmas will go, but the promise and the gift of Jesus Christ is eternal. There will always be moments in my life where the emptiness seems to overwhelm me and the memories are too real.

The manger was just another empty manger until our Lord and Savior was placed upon it.

Are you willing to accept the only real gift you need this Christmas and let go of the emptiness in your heart????

It's the gift of Christmas....It's the Promise sent in a manger!
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."
James 1:17

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Follow ME?!?!

"ME first, ME first!" ....the children all yell as they run toward the playground slide.

"ME first, ME first!" the teacher ask for a volunteer in the classroom.

The need to be first. The desire to want so badly what is being offered. The anticipation of what is to come.

The sad thing is; we live in a "Me first" society. Cars racing to cut one another off. People pushing and shoving to get in front of someone. Our children might learn this concept at a very young age, but I'm not so sure we ever really get over it.

We live in a society where we so badly want what others have, that often we do whatever it takes to get it.  We follow the wrong crowd or push and shove our way to the top. We so badly WANT to be noticed and acknowledged.

I have to admit...I wanted it too. It sounded nice. Well, at least I thought I did... That desire to have others accept you and what you have to say.

It was one year ago today when I first started my blog, and at first I had no clue what I was really diving into. I wanted to share my story and attempt to help others as well. I literally JUMPED right in. I had no clue what having a blog really even entailed.

After a while, I realized that people where following my blog; I was intrigued. I was a little shocked and flattered that anyone would want to read what I had to say. After a few months I began seeing tons of information being passed around about making your blog bigger and gaining more followers; yes....I thought it sounded great.

I few months later, I realized that I had began to check and notice if I had more followers and I was very curious to see if anyone commented on my post. It was about that time I saw the picture above and boy did it hit me. It was not about me or how many people I had following my blog; that's not why I write!

Every since my baby girl went to Heaven, I have a love and desire to write what God has placed on my heart. I am terrible with words when I talk face to face with people, and I stumble over myself too many times too count! I felt as though writing was my escape and my way to express what my mouth could not say.

I temporarily got lost in the publicity of wanting what others had. I realized that I write for me and often to give praise back to God for what He is doing in my life; good or bad. It doesn't not matter if a million people read my blog or none. What matters is that I am doing it for the right reasons.

It is Christ who I pray others will aim to follow. I pray that others will see Him in all I say, do and write. I pray that when all of the material things of this world fade away, others will still see Christ in me.

We don't have to push and shove our way to the top; if fact, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. So  often we think we know what we want and desire when in reality, stepping down and back from the crowd will often show you what really matters the most.

Follow Christ and aim to lead others toward Him in your actions.....He wants your time and your love and most importantly, your heart! Love Him today! Follow Him today!
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Too Busy!

The waiting room was cold and crowded, as if this were the place to be. We rushed in to quickly sign in, considering I was 15 minutes late; why am I always late? We found a seat in the back of the room squeezing our way past others. I sat down and instantly wondered how long this was going to take.

I looked around at the others holding their jackets and bags, as if they were in as big of a hurry to leave as I was, only no one was going anywhere......we all sat....and we all waited! I thought back to the moment where I was practically running out of the school dragging one child, pushing another to move faster, and balancing two bags under my arms as we ran across the parking lot in the FREEZING cold, to jump into our car and speed across town.....only to wait!

As the waiting began to take control of my six year olds unbelievably impatient body, he began spinning very fast circles on his belly in the doctors round chair. I tried to look past the fact that we were at the doctor to check up on the child who already broke his arm and it appeared as though my six year old was trying to break one as well....I almost couldn't blame the child. As we approached the two hour mark my mind was racing as fast as that chair.

I remember how fast I had left the house this morning, and what a MESS everything was. I had thought that I could get it all clean when I got home, start some laundry....and even catch up; so much for that.

It's a good thing we love the doctor we see because he came in and Gabe is all set! He even took his cast off. Now, he is in a brace for two weeks.....finally.

We left the doctor's office and ran to the car; really, was it going somewhere? I guess I was just so tired I really wanted to get home. I was determined to get home fast so I could still cook dinner. Well.....It just so happened that there was a wreck on the way home.

I could feel my nerves as my whole body became tense and discouraged? I attempted to take a short cut which only ended up taking me longer to get home; just my luck!

I caved. I ran into the store and picked up dinner. I really just wanted to go home.

We finally get home, ate dinner, and now what? My day was so  busy and not stop all day, as I seemed to be just going through the day to day motions of life.

We clear the table and I realize the dishwasher never got started....(That would have been my job this morning)...I look at the surrounding dishes and just walk away.

To my sweet surprise, my husband stepped in and hand-washed ALL the dishes that were left out. He has no clue how much this really meant to me.

I was sitting on my sons bed and listening to him read to me when it hit me. Is this what living for Christ is really about??? How often do we go through the daily grind of life and stay so busy that we forget to invite Christ in? How often do we get so wrapped in the next event when sometimes we can't even start the first one.

Do we overload our life to the point where Christ is the one in the waiting room?

Life can get busy, it's inevitable, but we don't have to let it get the best of us. On busy days, you don't have to be the superhero....It is ok to get help or ask for help, especially from your heavenly Father.

As I kissed my children, I realized that no matter how busy a day gets, I could never be too busy to stop and kiss them.

No matter how busy my life gets....I could never do it alone....

Never get so busy that God can't intervene!

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Friday, December 2, 2011


I've got the magic, magic, magic......
Magic fills the winter air. The smell of cinnamon and cookies circulate throughout the house leaving your mouth watering for more. The lights glimmer and shine beaconing anyone who walks by too smile with delight.
This time of year simply has magic waiting at the doorstop.  I'm not talking about a make believe or fairy tale magic, but yet a magical feeling deep within. The magic of life is a feeling like no other.
It's the joy we see as our children explore and discover life. The pure essence and innocence of grasping the concept of a new invention or idea.
That tingle in your heart when you fall in love for the very first time.
That moment as a song begins to play and your heart connects so deeply that you feel the tears begin to flow.
Words, pictures, places and smells will spark not only the most dearest memories, but the reality of the magic that lives within each one of us.
When you are willing to let go and live, you open your heart to a world of possibility. A world full of laughter, love and a magical feeling within.
The magic of life is that for which we must hope for. Here on Earth we get a taste of this magically feeling , an through Christ we get so much more; we get the promise of Eternity.
We can't escape the darkness or deep valleys that we so often seem to become tangled within and seem to crush our magic into a pile of fairy dust.
It seems to me, that the magical feeling of life so often comes through the valleys we face.  The sleepless nights or bad days are so often comforted by a sweet voice, a warm embrace and an irreplaceable memory forever stretched in your heart and mind.
That moment where Christ puts you exactly where you need to be and gives you exactly what you need.
The magic of life is a feeling of living and loving. It's a breath of fresh air on a sun kissed morning.
It's the magic that shines on my children's faces as they race out on Christmas morning with laughter and delight, and more than just presents they remember the most important gift of all.
They shine  with a light brighter then all because we were sent a Savior to love us, guide us, and give us these most amazing and precious moments in our life!
Never let one day go by without letting yourself live and feel a little magic....never let one day go by without living and feeling Christ in your life!
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