Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Home sweet home

The last time that we were with family for the Christmas season was 2003.
The year Mike got back from Iraq.

yes, 10 years ago....we were stationed in Panama City Beach Florida for 10 short months
and enjoyed being close enough to family to drive up and visit.

Here are some family photos from our Christmas in Alabama 2013!!

cousins on my side of the family
my three and my brother Derrick's two

the newest member of the family
my step-brother's baby boy,

some of the cousins on Mike's side
His brother Matt's kiddos
and sadly, his sister's two boys were sick
(yes, we are BOY heavy on both sides of the family!)  

Mike's brother, Matt and his family

Only part of the crew
My 86 year old grandmother center
and her 3 kids and their spouses
My mom to grandmother's left
My mom's brother to her right
Her sister behind his right shoulder
and then a smattering of grandchildren and GREAT grandchildren
Total grandchildren:  7
total greats:   12 with 2 on the way

my cousin Wes Craft took this photo of our boys
He is an excellent photographer and has had his photos published in more magazines than I know!

Friday, December 20, 2013

family time


The is the "butt" of Zion's snowman - I  took a picture because never in my life has a pile of snow lasted more than a week.  (He made this December 8th,  so....it's cold here)

We had a little family Christmas before leaving to visit family.

as corny as it is... I was super excited to find red, white and blue wrapping paper to match my tree
I'm a nerd!


Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I have always loved Christmas,
but each year I find myself in a different place.

sometimes physically, (Navy life will do that to you)
sometimes emotionally
and sometimes spiritually

Regardless:  each year I try to focus on the reason we celebrate Christmas and ponder on the story; looking with fresh eyes for something that I haven't noticed before.

This season, I read a story that has been replaying itself in my heart.  
I am sorry that I can't remember where I read the story, and thus, don't know who to credit.*  

It goes something like this:

A missionary was teaching children in a poor, rural village.
As Christmas approached, she taught the children the story of Jesus' birth.
As the days drew closer, one little boy brought in a package bundled up in old newspaper.
As she opened the gift,  she found a beautiful shell.
Thanking the boy, she ask him how he got the shell, since the nearest beach was many miles away.
He proudly told her that he traveled to get the special gift for her on foot.
When she told him that he shouldn't have gone so far -
he sweetly replied, "The journey is part of the gift".

This has touched my heart in a way that I never imagined in relation to the story of Christmas.
His journey is part of the gift.  
The God of the universe;
That spoke everything we know into being - 
came to earth;
confined to womb of a young girl;
formed in a body that had to learn to talk;
to walk;

100% human 
AND yet also,
100% God

His journey is part of the gift.  

as the song says, "this is such a strange way to save the world"  

Merry Christmas friends!

(*If you recognize the story, please let me know.  
And forgive my poor paraphrase if I missed some of the facts.)  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday, December 18th

Another great service at Grace Covenant Church

Check out our worship teams' Christmas CD ---- click here ---

Or come visit us on Sunday morning - early bird or sleep in kinda person?
Doesn't matter - we have four services, so no excuses!  ;)

Candlelight services -
what is it about these that are so moving?
Always love it!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Advent in Music

Grace Covenant Church
Advent in Music

children's choir

Leon Timbo

Grace Covenant Worship Team

Love our church - love the people - love REAL worship - Love Christmas - LOVE JESUS!

Sunday, December 15, 2013


We had a little OPEN HOUSE Christmas party on Sunday.

We have friends stationed here that we knew from Port Hueneme, Texas A&M, and Guam, so it was the best excuse I can think of to invite everyone over.

Here are a few photos of the prep - but sadly, I didn't take but two during the event, (because as always)  I was chatting!

because dipping Oreos in white chocolate can't be wrong

sugar cookies - OF COURSE!

these cookie cutters are older than I am - no really, they are.

I bake - the artist decorate

he might actually just be eating mini-M&M's ...... 

Pioneer Woman's brownie bites recipe

 Added after baking - candy cane Hershey Kiss

partial spread
now we just need people to come!  

All of us moved here from Guam - crazy right?

Thank you everyone for joining us!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 11th

Two hour delay going to school today, which puts Zion home until 11am.

Nonetheless,  trying to get back into a routine for another week and then, we will be packing up for my mom's house.

The sun is shinning and the snow is melting, although, the high is only 33, so there will still be piles of snow in shaded areas and those spots where the plows piled it all in the corners of parking lots.

Another front moving in on Saturday with a little snow predicted.

The boys are getting their wish for a white Christmas, or December at least.

Photo challenge today is:  Elves  (*does the dog count??)