Monday, December 12, 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas

Oh my gosh, I can't believe how grown-up she is getting. She looks like such a big girl hanging up her 1st Christmas ornament. It just amazes me how blessed we are.

And of course she is always keeping us on our toes. I guess hanging her ornament on one of the lower branches just wasn't good enough. So, in true Madelynn fashion, she climbed up on anything she could find.

Now this has trouble written all over it.

Madelynn with her special reindeer that Uncle Tim made her. Each of us have one from our "Grandma" Mabel's husband from when we were growing up. Then dad started to make each of the grandkids one. Well, of course my little girl wasn't going to have one, but my wonderful family took care of that. My Uncle Tim saw to it that Madelynn had her very own special reindeer. We are just so lucky to have such a great family that thinks about others and cares about the little things.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cutting Christmas trees

Aww, mom and sisters

and sisters (plus Madelynn because she had landed in the mud so she has to stay in the backpack)

Lodge group - we always try to get a picture with all the kids and adults and it is crazy. The kids were playing in the snow so we decided to just take one with the adults (again, Madelynn had to stay in the backpack - I am so glad Whit reminded me to bring it!)

Finally Bruce got her to put on her mittens, her hands were freezing

Give me the cookie and back away...I think she gets this look from her dad.

Our family Christmas picture

Another year cutting Christmas trees was a great success. We had quite a group this year. It has been so great to have Meghan so close that she has been able to go with us the last 2 years; we are really going to miss them next year (we don't' know where they are going yet, but I sure it won't be close). This was our 2nd year with out dad and it was still strange, but happy because we were together. I always feel very close to him and peaceful when we are up there. Having Uncle Larry and Aunt Pat makes it so special. I know my dad would be so thankful and proud of Uncle Larry for stepping into that role in our lives. Not that he tries to replace dad but he is there for some very special moments and makes it a point to be part of our lives and our kids lives, checks on us when we have bad days, calls for our birthdays, and gives the best hugs. I am so thankful that God has given us this little gift that helps us feel close to dad. It is amazing the people that God puts in our lives, maybe for a lifetime or maybe just a moment, that make our lives special and even more meaningful.

Change or preparation

(Picture taken by my sister-in-law, Marie)Words to ponder - "No better time arises to count our blessings than when we believe we have none" (Beth Moore). Wow, what an attitude adjuster. Just when we think God has left us out to dry and is making all these changes in our lives we don't understand He reminds us of all the blessings he has given us.
Change is hard no matter what package it comes in; death of a grandparent or parent, moving to a new place or even just a new position with in our job, even a cute little bundle of joy is a change that can be difficult. Change makes us question what we believe and why we believe it and that is why we pray and ground ourselves in His word. At times like this Satan, the Prince of this world, is attacking us from all angles and if we are not well grounded he will knock us right off our feet. He wants us to get lost in the situation and think of how God is changing our lives and how much we hate it, but that is not God's plan for us. Everything we go through is God preparing us. He calls us, prepares us, uses us, prepares us some more and uses us some more. He continues to work on us and shape our heart until we are ready to see His face, the ultimate moment He is preparing us for. This is when He calls us up. He isn't done working on us just when we are old, He determines when He has finished His work in us and calls us up --- even if it doesn't seem like the right time to us.
This is what we have to remember during those times of change/preparation that we find difficult and we don't understand. What is God preparing me for? How is He using my life for His glory? And ultimately, it is not all about me (I know this totally goes against our society these days but deal with it).
So, what do we do in these tough times of change when we just want to cry and don't see the big picture that God is preparing for us? We cry, but cry out to Him. He has big shoulders and can handle it. We count our blessings one by one and remember all He has blessed us with even though we don't deserve it. Remember that "He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my might rock, my refuge" (Psalm 62:6-8). He is personal and He understands our sadness and pain, but He can see the bigger picture and He is telling us, "Trust in me, lean on me, and I will see you through until the end" (yes, this is me putting words in God's mouth, but this is what He tells me in my tough times).
So, is change all bad? No, and I know that if we lean on our rock we will add even more blessings to that list. Does it make it any easier when we are in the thick of the storm, not always, but it does give us the light at the end to help pull us through. What storm are you in right now?

"For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations" Psalm 100:5