Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Thoughts

This Christmas Eve I am not quite sure what to feel.  I adore the Christmas season.  I love the hustle and bustle, the music, the special time with family and friends and the traditions.

But this year our traditions are different.  They will never be the same.  You see, this is Hannah's first Christmas in Heaven.  Our first Christmas with a huge, jagged hole in our hearts.  This is the first year that we are missing a key singer in our family's rendition of Twelve Days of Christmas as we take turns belting out the verses and laughing at Brad's out-of-tune but full of gusto "Five Goooolden Rings!"  This is the first year that the cousins are missing their Director as they perform the Christmas Story complete with dogs playing the part of sheep and Caitlin as Baby Jesus.  

So while I enjoy the Season and the precious time with my husband and children, there's a part of me that feels guilty.  For I know that there is a family, who is also my family, that is missing their beautiful daughter and sister this Season.  So while I take great pleasure in the time spent with my family, my heart still hurts for them.  My heart hurts for my husband, kids and myself too because we also miss her.  But our hurt cannot possibly compare with theirs.

I know that Hannah is with Jesus and I can't even imagine what the Celebration is like in Heaven this time of year!  I'm grateful for Jesus' birth because I know it makes the hope we have possible.  Hope that we too someday will celebrate Christmas in the very presence of Jesus.  And with Hannah.

So, this Season I am all too aware that life is fragile and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.  I plan to make the most of this time and savor every precious moment.  I covet your prayers for our family over the next few joyful but painful and difficult days.  I also ask you to join me as I pray for dear friends who are also experiencing their first Christmases without their dads and friends who have loved ones with serious illnesses.

I hope you all have a Blessed Christmas and create some beautiful memories!  I'll be back in a few days to share some of ours!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Reader's Digest Condensed Version of Christmas

Today I'm hitting the Pause button on the hustling and bustling to jot down some quick thoughts on the Season and share some of the highlights so far.

The last couple of Friday nights we've driven out to the Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina to look at the spectacular light display.  This is one of our very favorite family Christmas traditions.  It's a fundraiser for the Make A Wish Foundation and the owners of all the fancy-schmancy houseboats decorate their boats, docks and the marina and local businesses sponsor the decorating of all the Lodge buildings and cottages and pretty much anything else that doesn't move.

Here's a view from the top of the hill leading down to one of the docks:

(I would like to apologize for the quality of the pictures or the lack thereof.  These pics were taken with my iPhone and she doesn't take good pics at night.)

Here's the family walking across the water to the dock through my personal favorite, the tunnel of lights.

That last sentence made me giggle.  I don't mean that my family actually walks on water like Jesus, although they are pretty great if I may say so myself.  There's a floating bridge thing-y but you probably figured that out.

Here's one of the fancy-schmancy houseboats:

(Wes is actually having a better time that it appears in this photo!)

Sometimes they even have a real Santa that hands out presents to the kids.

That sentence just made me giggle too.  Obviously, he's not a real Santa!

I think he's just an elf.

The houseboat-ers also have a table set up to receive donations for Make A Wish and free hot chocolate and candy canes.  One man told us this year that they've raised over $250,000 over the years that they've been doing this.  That's a lot of donations from families just looking at some Christmas lights!

Everyone at the marina is so friendly and of course, there's fun Christmas music.  It just makes my heart full.  Life in a small town is beautiful sometimes.

I also really enjoyed our wonderful Christmas party at church.  Have I mentioned how much we love our church, Fellowship Church?  It was such fun and heart-warming time.  Wes had to miss due to business travel but the girls and I went.  We ate some fabulous Christmas goodies...

(See how I ate some carrot sticks to offset the sugar and fat in the rest of it?!)

We ate, laughed, talked and played board games.  Then we had a beautiful time of worship singing Christmas songs by the light of the twinkling Chrismond tree.  Our four teaching pastors took turns reading the Christmas story.  We shared our favorite Christmas memories.  I left with my heart full again.

We also had our small group Christmas party at our house this year.  I just love our small group!  We have the most precious group of college students!  We ate ourselves sick, played Phase 10 and exchanged ornaments.

AmberJen and I made a marathon shopping trip and I completely finished my Christmas shopping.  I don't think I've ever laughed so hard, had so much fun and been so exhausted.  Totally worth it.

My friend Jen and I went to the Kari Jobe/Al Denson Christmas concert.  Do you remember Al Denson?  If you are a child of the 80s you should.  I'm sorry to tell you that Jen and I both thought Al was dead.  We were very happy to see that he is, in fact, quite alive and still sounds exactly like he did when I used to listen to my bootleg cassette of him.  Yes, kids, that was way before CDs.

Kari Jobe.  Oh. My. Word.

I thought it just couldn't get any better than Revelation Song.  And then she sang "O Holy Night."

And I almost came unglued.

I really don't think someone who can sing like that ought to also be so beautiful.  It just doesn't seem fair.

Not that I'm jealous or anything.

Caitlin goes to an after-school kids program on Wednesdays at the local Methodist Church and they had their annual Christmas musical.  Caitlin sang "Angels We Have Heard On High" with two other little girls.

So that's our Christmas season so far in a nutshell.

We've had lots of fun and made lots of memories.  But this year we're also all too aware that life is fragile and fleeting.  So this year I feel a bit like Mary...I'm treasuring up all these things and pondering them in my heart.  Thanks for sharing them with me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Tour Of Homes 2009


I HIGHLY recommend Nester's Garland Tutorial from last year.  Dare I say it might be the most helpful and inspiring decorating blog post on the Internet?!  If I can do it, anyone can!

This year I decided to get an early start and put my cheap Walmart garland (purchased after Christmas for 50% off) on my fireplace mantel and then I thought...wait, what if I made a THANKSGIVING garland?  So, I took a bunch of random fall-ish stuff that I had in my closet and  did this...

And then the day after Thanksgiving I simply pulled out all the fall-ish stuff and added a bit more el cheapo garland on each end and VOILA!  I had the beginnings of my Christmas garland.  Oh, how I heart multi-use items!

So here's the Christmas-y version...

Here's the view from the foyer:

I'm sorry I don't know what to tell you about the golden-ish lighting of my photos.  Let's pretend that I used one of the faincy settings on my camera just to be artsy.

This is the view from the kitchen.  See how cleverly I disguised the fact that I don't have window treatments?! 

And how fun is this garland that I bought last year after Christmas at Hobby Lobby for 66% off?!  It's on my tree.

I love me some Hobby Lobby sales!

And speaking of my tree...

That picture really doesn't do it justice.  Anybody know a good site with a photography tutorial for dummies?

I'm going to end with some pics of my beautiful Nativity that was a gift from my in-laws a couple of years ago.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you and yours have a Blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

If I Tell You This Post Is About Global Warming Will You Still Read It?

My apologies in advance to my Dad, who likes for my posts to be happy and uplifting and to my liberal friends, who fully embrace the Cult of Anthropogenic Global Warming and will be deeply offended by this post.

I have been about to bust to tell you what I think about the current scandal of "Climategate."  I'm sure you've been on pins and needles too what with wanting to know what I think of it.  I still want to tell you about the fun holiday stuff I've been up to but I just can't stand it anymore.  I simply MUST TELL YOU.  See how excited I am that I'm shouting text at you?

So, if you're new here, let me catch you up to speed on where I stand on man-made global warming.  I can tell you in three words:


Clear enough?

So right off the bat you're thinking that I am a flat-earther, holocaust-denier and I hate the planet.  Let me stop you right there.

I don't hate the planet.  It's a lovely planet created by Almighty God (not by the Big Bang Theory..gasp!)  I am all for good stewardship of God's Creation and for conservation.

I also think that comparing man-made global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers is a bit of a hyperbole.

Ok, it's a lot of hyperbole. In fact, it is INSANE and diminishes the horror of the ACTUAL Holocaust and causes most rational people to dismiss your argument out of hand.

The use of Holocaust terminology has drawn the ire of Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. “The phrase ‘climate change denier’ is meant to be evocative of the phrase ‘holocaust denier,’” Pielke, Jr. wrote on October 9, 2006. “Let's be blunt. This allusion is an affront to those who suffered and died in the Holocaust. This allusion has no place in the discourse on climate change. I say this as someone fully convinced of a significant human role in the behavior of the climate system,” Pielke, Jr. explained.  (
Nor do I think the Earth is flat.  Just sayin'.

I am not a scientist but I'm pretty sure there's a difference between scientific LAWS and scientific THEORIES.

Gravity= LAW.
Evolution= THEORY
MAN-MADE Global Warming=THEORY

So, my point is that there may or may not be global warming.  If there IS global warming, it may or may not be caused by people.  If it IS caused by people, we may or may not be able to fix it.  And HOW we fix it...well, I'm pretty sure there's plenty to debate right there.  There are plenty of reputable scientists who DON'T subscribe to the man-made global warming theory.  And there are plenty reputable scientists who DO.

But there's also a whole host of scientists and politicians who are willing to lie, cheat and hide data to make sure the debate is shut down because there's a LOT of money to be made with the global warming alarmism.  (NOTE: This is where the SCAM part comes into play.)

"Al Gore, the former US vice president, could become the world's first carbon billionaire after investing heavily in green energy companies." (


So on to Climategate.  If you watch the "mainstream" media you may not even know about this because they aren't reporting on it.  (Sidenote: Who owns NBC?  General Electric.  Who is heavily invested in green energy?  General Electric.  Who was appointed to President Obama's Economic Advisory Team?  Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric. that might explain the silence of NBC, MSNBC and CNBC.  So what's your excuse CBS, ABC and CNN?)

It seems that thousands of emails were hacked into at the Climate Research Unit at Britain's University of East Anglia (whose research the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change relies heavily upon ).
These e-mails show, among many other things, private admissions of doubt or scientific weakness in the global warming theory. In acknowledging that global temperatures have actually declined for the past decade, one scientist asks, "where the heck is global warming?... The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."
More seriously, in one e-mail, a prominent global warming alarmist admits to using a statistical "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperatures. Anthony Watts provides an explanation of this case in technical detail; the "trick" consists of selectively mixing two different kinds of data-temperature "proxies" from tree rings and actual thermometer measurements-in a way designed to produce a graph of global temperatures that ends the way the global warming establishment wants it to: with an upward "hockey stick" slope.
Confirming the earlier scandal about cherry-picked data, the e-mails show CRU scientists conspiring to evade legal requests, under the Freedom of Information Act, for their underlying data. It's a basic rule of science that you don't just get to report your results and ask other people to take you on faith. You also have to report your data and your specific method of analysis, so that others can check it and, yes, even criticize it. Yet that is precisely what the CRU scientists have refused.
 But what stood out most for me was extensive evidence of the hijacking of the "peer review" process to enforce global warming dogma. Peer review is the practice of subjecting scientific papers to review by other scientists with relevant expertise before they can be published in professional journals. The idea is to weed out research with obvious flaws or weak arguments, but there is a clear danger that such a process will simply reinforce groupthink. If it is corrupted, peer review can be a mechanism for an entrenched establishment to exclude legitimate challenges by simply refusing to give critics a hearing.  (
In summary, these prominent climate researchers conspired to use "tricks" to hide the fact that the Earth is not warming, hijack the peer review process and evade legal requests.

Does this prove that there is no global warming?


But it does cast some doubt on some of the research that the global community is relying on in claiming that the debate is settled.   

And since the global community is poised to make sweeping changes in global energy polices costing our economies trillions of dollars...maybe we should have a little more debate first?

And in other news...

Yesterday, the EPA announced that AIR is a pollutant.


Yeah.  Take a deep breath with me...

now slowly exhale...

you just polluted the planet...with CO2.

Nevermind that it is naturally-occuring and plants and trees need it.

Plants and trees need CO2 to survive.  We exhale it and they use it to produce oxygen which we need to survive.'s almost like somebody intelligent designed it that way.

And now that the EPA has declared CO2 to be a dangerous pollutant...they can regulate it.

You just think we have a lot of government regulations now.  Wait until the EPA starts regulating how cool/warm you can keep your house (GE's Smart Grid, anyone?) because that produces CO2 you know.  Or what about coal plants, the biggest villain in CO2 production?  Also, the biggest supplier of electricity.  Could that "necessarily cause electricity rates to skyrocket"? (Barak Obama, San Francisco Chronicle, January, 2008.)  The possibilities for regulation in our daily lives are limitless.

So there you have it in a nutshell.  Whew!

Ok, now I can think about something holiday-ish.  I think I'll go plug in all my Christmas lights and generate a little CO2.  And I think I'll turn my thermostat up some...while I still can.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Please Stay Tuned

I just wanted to pop in and say that I have not abandoned my blog.  It's just...OH MY AT THE BUSYNESS GOING ON AROUND HERE!

I want to tell you what we did for Thanksgiving and everything else that's been going on but...OH MY AT THE BUSYNESS.

Did I say that already?

Wes just cooked chili and we're all four about to snuggle up and watch Monsters vs. Aliens.  There's a lighted Christmas tree twinkling, a fire in the fireplace and there will be peanut butter blossom cookies involved and perhaps some hot apple cider.

It's Peace on Earth.