Thursday, December 27, 2012

belated Christmas wishes

every other Christmas
we pack ourselves up 
and head down to North Carolina
to spend the holidays with our family there

this year was one of those NC Christmases
we always spend Christmas day and the couple days before / after it with Daniel's extended family
there's a fun Christmas eve dinner with uncles, aunts, cousins and grands
where we eat a great food, 
catch up on each others' lives
and play the classic gift exchange game

then we spend Christmas morning with the grandparents
eating a fantastic breakfast (we all know how i feel about breakfast)
giving and opening presents together 
visiting with random family who stops by
taking in the beautiful country setting...
it's really lovely

but spending time out in the country with the fam means no internet
which is actually just fine by me - it gives us an opportunity to focus on being together

so, even though it's not the actual day, i still wanted to wish you a merry Christmas
i hope you got a chance to remember the reason we celebrate*
 and enjoyed your family as much as we enjoyed ours - all four generations' worth!  
*read the Christmas story in last year's post here

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thanksgiving at Christmastime

sometimes i lack the words for thanksgiving
because i feel like my heart is about to burst with joy over what He has given me
and i sound like a bit of a bumbling fool as i trip over my words and sentiments

other times, i lack the words for thanksgiving
because i can't see through the fog of my grumbling 
and recognize the evidence of grace in my life

sadly, i've spent more of this past year  in the latter scenario than i'd like to admit

but there have been glimpses sunshine poking through the clouds of my sin
and those moments were sheer grace, where the Lord reached through despite my attitude
and carried me, gently and patiently teaching me about who He is and who I am in Him

this morning was one of extreme thankfulness
for my baby girls, who can be such a challenge, but who are SUCH a joy and a blessing 
for my family and friends, who have gotten me through this tough year
for Jesus and His goodness and His grace and His provision His work in my heart and life
for truth and the gospel - literally, the good news
for forgiveness, 

there have been a few themes that the Lord has been hammering into my heart this year
grace is undoubtedly one of them
i thought i understood grace, and have always been thankful for it
but now, more than ever, i am learning just how amazing it is
i can't even put it into words

this excerpt from a sermon I was listening to over breakfast with the girlies this morning
puts into words a bit of what my heart and mind have been digesting over this past year

"here's the truth...God's grace does forgive you when you fail, but most of the time it's God's grace empowering you to be who you cannot be, to do what you cannot do, by a power you do not possess...the grace of God empowers you to be a new person. yes, God's grace is there to forgive you when you fail, but it's there BEFORE you fail - to change your heart, to change your mind, to change your desires, to reorient your course of life, to make you a different person, to give you meaning and value and purpose and pleasure:  that Jesus is with you, that Jesus is in you, that Jesus is for you that if you do fail, Jesus will forgive you. 
but because Jesus is with you, you don't have to say yes to sin, you can say yes to Jesus. you don't have to say yes to condemnation and guilt and shame and waking up and thinking, "is there any hope for me?" yes there is! and the hope is FOR you, it's not IN you, it's FOR you, IN CHRIST AND THE GRACE OF GOD....
so the Christian life is not something you live for God, it's something that God lives for you in Christ; it's something that Christ lives in you, it's something that Christ lives THROUGH you. and this leads to an explosive, passionate, joy-filled life - this is the best life of all: there's no shame or guilt or condemnation in it and there's eternity at the end of it."

is that not so awesome?!
notice, though, that the grace of God does not promise that life will be a walk in the park
because trust me, it won't be.  
in fact, the Bible warns us that we will face trials
but the Lord uses those trials to shape us and teach us and change us
for our good and for His glory

this is nothing new to me,
but apparently i needed a refresher course
or maybe there's a deeper truth that He's revealing to me through this
i don't know 
what i do know is that i can trust Him
and that i will fail
and that's ok
because even when i am faithless, He remains faithful
and He will sustain me.

and so i am thankful
choosing to be thankful is one of the ways i have gotten through some really dark and discouraging moments
i was once told to look for evidence of grace in life
because if you don't get into the practice of looking for it
you take it for granted and begin to grumble
so i try to be intentional about recognizing the goodness and grace that has been poured into my life
so that i can rejoice in all circumstances
and glorify Him in through doing so

Saturday, December 15, 2012

one year later...sort of

well, I meant to post this yesterday, 
since this photo was taken December 14, 2011
but it's just as well
since today's the girls' 11 month birthday
and that's pretty special too 
happy 11 months, girlies!
my how time flies...
(see one of our favorite recipes in my original 33 week post here)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

baby curls on baby girls

my parents always say I was practically bald for my first year of life
and i think the girls take after me
but, after ten months of working at it, 
they finally have some official curls coming in
don't believe me?  see for yourself! 

she's well on her way to looking like a certain someone i know...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

today's picks

sorry about all the photo-vomit lately
i've been working through this year's worth of pictures
and i'm pretty sure i suffer from the fear of missing a moment
so anytime i think of it, i grab Marcos (my camera) and snap away
anyway, these are snapshots are from back in may
the girlies were around five months old
i love how you can see each of their personalities coming through
and i love that they're mine
i promise i'll get back to more beefy blog posts soon, 
but for now, i'm spending every spare minute on these. 
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