Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Happy birthday, Jesus!  Today is the day we celebrate Christ's birth!  Not that we believe He was born on this date, but rather we choose this day to celebrate His coming as a babe in order to grow to be a man Who would die on the cross to pay for the sins of the entire world.  Isn't Christmas wonderful?  A special time each year to remember that most wondrous event when the God-child was born and angels filled the heavens to sing praises to God on high for His incredible gift to man.  Wouldn't you have loved to have been a shepherd that night in the field?  Or the innkeeper wondering what on earth was causing that bright light that set the stable out back aglow?  Or, even better, one of the wise men who nearly came unglued when you realized that the sign you had been looking for for years had just appeared in the sky?

Even more amazing is the knowledge that Christ Jesus did all this......fulfilled prophecy, came to earth as a baby instead of a full-grown man, died on Golgotha.......for me.  He came for me.  If I had been the only sinner on earth, if everyone else had been perfect, Jesus would still have done it all---for me.  Thank You so much, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth that night so long ago.  Thank You for growing up as any child would and yielding Your will each day to Your earthly parents so that we might learn from and follow Your example.  Thank You for choosing to die such an awful death because You knew it had to be done and You were the only One Who could carry it through.  Thank You for being born, living, and dying for sinful mankind so that we might have the choice to live in Heaven with You one day.

How does your family celebrate Christmas?  When I was seven, my family started the tradition of opening our gifts on Christmas Eve for two reasons:  1) Christmas was on a Sunday that year, and my pastor urged folks to open their gifts the night before so that there would be no excuses for staying home from church the next morning, and 2) my mom was due to give birth at any moment.  My parents chose to open gifts Christmas Eve to avoid any disappointment from us kids if Mom and Dad wound up in the hospital Christmas Day.  As it turns out, this was a good idea---my sister made her appearance early Christmas morning!  Each year after, our family opened gifts on Christmas Eve and had a birthday cake for Kathy and Jesus on December 25th.  So, when my husband and I got married, we decided to open gifts Christmas Eve and celebrate Jesus' birthday on Christmas Day.  We still do that now with our kids, except Christmas morning has morphed into "Stocking Opening and Treasure Hunt Time."  We have my mom to blame thank for that!  The kids really enjoy opening gifts the night before Christmas while knowing they will get even more stuff the next morning.  I think we overdid it this year; Chad and I each buy stuff for the children and sort through it all in the weeks before Christmas to see what we have stored up for whom.  We wound up having to stuff two stockings for each child since there was no way to fit all their junk into just one stocking!  It was a lot of fun!  The only sad part is that we're missing Amanda this year; she opted to stay at college for the holidays and work ahead on next semester's school bill.  I know the college and church there will have special events planned and gifts for the college students who don't get to go home, but I also know that nothing will replace time with your family.  Mandie, we love you and wish you a very Merry Christmas in Santa Clara!

I hope your holiday has been just as wonderful as ours.  We're looking forward to tonight's Christmas service, too---what a great way to spend God's house!  Merry Christmas to all!  In the words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us, every one!"

Luke 2: 11  "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

Thursday, December 12, 2013


I am presently at school, enjoying our teams' first victories!  We don't normally start our season this late in the year, but for one reason or another, here we are.  I think we can look forward to a good season this year in both volleyball and basketball.......not that we are so good that we'll blow everyone else away, but our teams practice their hearts out each week and are striving to do their best.  Only our girls have played so far, but both JV and Varsity won!!

Ashley played her very first official volleyball game today.  She's in seventh grade this year and excited to be on the JV team.  For the past couple of days, all I've heard from her is, "I can't wait for our first game!"  This morning she woke up and said, "Mom, today's our first game."  But her voice held a tinge of anxiety which only increased as the day wore on.  She began to get more and more nervous as game time approached, so afraid that she would make some horrible, glaring mistake.  (I began to seriously think that she would wind up throwing up!)  However, she held herself together just fine and played quite well (no prejudice here).  Coach even left her in for all three games, which greatly boosted Ashley's morale.  She's following in her older sisters' footsteps as a good volleyball player!

We've decided to switch Dale over to all PACES as he seems to do so much better working at his own learning speed.  We'll order the PACES now, but he probably won't begin them until next semester starts; this way we get a definite end-of-semester grade in each of his classes so far.  The possible negative of Dale having to stay in the Learning Center most of the school day will hopefully be offset by the positive of his grades improving.

Dale is growing by leaps and bounds---that might not be an apt comparison!  Dale is growing by shuffles and jerks.  :-)  He's taller than me (no great feat); he's taller than Katie now (slightly better achievement); he's grown so much in the last year that he'll pass Mandie soon and challenge Dad's height before he's done.  We tease him about the "caterpillar" on his upper lip......which I have to help him shave because, each time I envision trying to explain to the ER doctors why my almost fifteen-year-old son sliced off his upper lip, I shudder!  He has absolutely no excess fat on his body; his arms are long and bony; but his grip is super strong.  Sometimes when we are holding hands, walking together, and he feels shaky, he will tighten his grip on my hand until I feel like he's going to break my thumb right off!  And, of course, when I mention this, Dale just sort of shrugs his shoulders and chuckles like, "What did you expect, Mom?  I'm stronger than you!"  I threaten on a bi-weekly basis to walk off and leave him standing there to make his own way to wherever he's going, but so far I haven't carried through on my threat.  (I'm beginning to think he doesn't believe me!)

Well, tomorrow is the last day of school this week.  One more week before Christmas break!  The students have not been too crazy to handle, just crazy enough.  Sometimes they're bouncing off the ceiling which makes me want to climb the walls, but we've been able to keep our feet on the ground and still reach for the sky.  How's that for a mind-bender?!

I love the Christmas season, not just for the lights and food and presents, but because I get reminded every day to thank God for sending His Son to be born to die for my sins.  What an amazing gift God gave mankind that day!  It goes against all reason to suppose that the great God Who formed all things would create man, watch him walk away, and then choose to die for man to win him back.  Are we really that important to God?  The answer is---YES.  God loves us beyond all human comprehension, beyond all understanding, beyond all reason, beyond all boundaries, beyond all time limits, beyond all explanations.  He simply  Thank You, Lord, for showing us true love that day millennia ago when You first formed the plan for our salvation.  You are truly a wondrous God, One worthy of all praise and all glory for ever.

Galatians 4: 4 - 5  "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."