Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Amazing Grace

I read this passage in my daily Bible reading the other morning and it just gripped my heart so deeply I wanted to share it here:

"For we ourselves also were sometimes
serving divers lusts and pleasures,
living in malice and envy,
and hating one another.

But after that the KINDNESS and LOVE of God our Savior toward man appeared,

NOT by works of righteousness which WE have done, 
but according to HIS MERCY He saved us, 

by the washing of regeneration,
and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
which He shed on us ABUNDANTLY through Jesus Christ our Savior;

That being justified by HIS GRACE, we should be made HEIRS according to the hope of eternal life."
Titus 3:3-7 (emphasis added)

Do you see yourself in that first list? I know I do.
Foolish...disobedient...deceived...serving my own pleasures. This was certainly me before God used His Word when I was 14 to open my blind eyes and show me my need for a Savior!

I am so, so, so grateful for that kindness and love that characterizes my God! I am deeply thankful for the fact that my eternal destiny does not rest on my own righteousness...because if it did, I would be in dire straits. Rather, HIS righteousness now covers me and clothes me...because of HIS MERCY to save me through HIS SON, Jesus, my Savior. He has justified me by HIS GRACE - grace = that which I don’t deserve!

And not only am I forgiven...not only am I saved from His wrath (which I do deserve)...not only am I justified and made completely righteous in His sight...but He has made me His very own HEIR. Wow. Wow. Wow. And one day I shall see this amazing God of mine face to face and get to live with Him forever in the beauty of His holy presence.

THIS, my friends, blows my mind and makes me want to worship Him forever.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

December Fun, Part 2

Christmas Day at our house!
Not pictured: our morning birthday party for Jesus complete with whole wheat cinnamon rolls and eggs, stocking gifts that the boys bought for each other with their own money at the dollar store, and morning chores. :)

Josiah eagerly rips into a package from Grandmommy and Granddaddy!

Yay for a new puzzle! We worked together on it yesterday and I learned that rhyming words are an area he needs lots more practice with! Haha!

Adoniah’s turn for a gift from his Texas grandparents.

A big van that ALL the boys have LOVED playing with!

A new book for Josiah about one of his favorite topics!

A Thomas floor puzzle for Isaac!

Everyone checks out the van.

More puzzles!

Those eyes.

Silas does not want to miss out on the action!

"Look at me stand up! I’m a big boy!"

A super soft new blanket for our bed - thanks, Mom and Dad!! 

Since my gift for Nathan was delayed in the shipping process, I made him a pecan pie cheesecake to tide him over. :)

It turned out super delish! I used sucanant sugar and Gentle Sweet (instead of brown sugar) and maple syrup (instead of corn syrup) a little bit “healthier” than the original recipe. 

The boys were very excited with the new quilts and sheets for their beds! The quilts were a joint gift from their Ohio grandparents and us. The sheets were purchased with money from great-grandparents. 

They moved so fast opening these presents that it was hard to get a clear picture! :)


After a year of mismatching bedspreads, these look so nice!

And it’s so nice to finally have sheets that fit their beds! 
(We were just getting by with queen sized sheets for their XL twin mattresses, but the fit was quite “off”.)
The pattern up close. You never know exactly what you’re going to end up with color-wise from an internet purchase, so I was very pleased with how these looked in person. I was going for something that would fit a little boys’ room, but still be something they could use when they are older too, something that matched the decor, and something that was not too thin. This one turned out great!

After our traditional lunch of enchiladas and naps all around, we enjoyed making graham cracker gingerbread houses with our friends, Matthew and Hannah Hock. Each adult got paired up with a child to build and decorate a house.

Nathan’s partner (Adoniah) only lasted a short while!

The makings of a church.

My two-story house going up.

Pastor Matt and Jo hard at work!

Josiah was mostly a consultant until it came time for the candy decorations!

Hannah helped Isaac build this cute little bungalow complete with a chimney!

The church is looking good!

A great use for candy - decorating instead of eating! ;)

The finished products!

Mine and Silas’. 
(He helped by gnawing on a pretzel in his high chair and giving me cute smiles along the way!)

Somebody stole two of my windows! Gasp!

Matthew’s and Josiah’s creation. Constructed by Matthew, decorated by Jo.

Nathan’s and Adoniah’s church.

Complete with a stain glass window!

Hannah’s and Isaac’s candy wonderland supreme!

All the children enjoyed putting every different kind of candy we had on there! 
(Most were leftover from last year’s gingerbread creations!)

I think we’ll have to make this a Christmas Day tradition. It was a fun way to end the big day!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

December Fun, Part 1

We had a fun and full December preparing for and celebrating Jesus’ birthday! Here is part one of the holiday picture round-up!

Silas really took a liking to this fuzzy haired nutcracker that came out of the ornament box!

Time to decorate the tree!

This year, the ornaments functioned like a box of new toys for the boys to play with. Every day, I would find them with at least one or two ornaments, giving them rides on their toy cars and trucks or making up imaginary stories for them. It was amusing to watch! Then, they would hang the ornaments back on the tree and find a new one to play with.

It was also amusing to see how “bottom-heavy” our tree decorations looked this year, thanks to all the decorating help from our little ones! :)

Ornaments clusters. Once upon a time, that would have bothered my “perfectionistic tendencies”. But motherhood has a way of changing things. This year, I just let it ride and enjoyed the child-like touches. :)

All decorated for Christmas!

After we decorated our tree, we enjoyed popcorn and {healthy} hot chocolate!

In school, we worked on painting the letters of Jesus’ name for a banner decoration in our dining room. Q-tips and dot letters worked wonderfully!

The finished product!

Peppermint play dough cookies are so much fun to make!

Painting walnut ornaments for their teachers at church.

Our friend, Korey gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy in early November. We all enjoyed a visit from her and Alistair in December! It was the boys’ first time to meet their new little friend.

They loved taking turns holding the new baby!

Adoniah wanted to share his teddy bear with Alistair!

So sweet!

Making cinnamon dough ornaments is also becoming a yearly tradition! Similarly to play dough, this allows all the fun of rolling out a yummy smelling dough and cutting out cookie shapes without the sugar hangover. :)

We also continued on the tradition of making teddy bear breads for our neighbors! This year, we tried using our favorite roll recipe and decorating with candies instead of dough balls. It worked great!

They all turned out so cute!

Even the ones with malformed ears. :)

Merry Christmas, neighbors!

Josiah, the yellow man!

Making winter slime was also fun! We finally perfected our recipe!

Next up: Christmas Day