December 31, 2007

Happy Birthday Derek, Jack, A Contest!


My oldest is 11 years old today. Not officially until 10:46 tonight, he says. He is a tender hearted boy, that is kind and full of energy. He has a love for arm bands, wrist bands, bicep bands, head bands, arm bands on his legs, all things sports, Chicago Bears, exercising, and has a pre-teen appetite.
I love him.

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Jack is going back on daily doses of steroids today. He had that one morning of not being sick once I started him back on his Zantac daily, but since then he has been sick every day again. The dose is pretty low, so it isn't that big a deal, we were just all ready for him to be off. Patience.

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This week I will be picking out some of my favorite images from 2007. I will probably do a wedding related category and an everything else category. I will run 2 separate slideshows for each and you can view them and pick your favorites. For all who enter I will submit their names in a drawing for either a $20 Target Gift Card or a $20 Itunes Gift Card. I can't wait to revisit some special moments and share them with you. Look for the contest to start next week or earlier.

December 29, 2007

Parched

Saturday. Jack is feeling much better today. After talking with several docs yesterday (or actually their assistants) I put Jack on his stomach medicine with regular doses twice a day. When Jack just went to every other day with the steroids I also cut his stomach medicine because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. But apparently not, so he is back on that regularly and will stay on it for several weeks after the steroids are finished, which is Monday by the way:)))

So all is well here. We are having a family celebration of Derek's birthday tonight, I am preparing Frito Chilli Pie, one of Derek's favorites, and brownie sundae's with homemade hot fudge sauce for dessert. Derek is VERY excited.

I have found that when my kids are home it is harder for me to have my quiet time with the Lord. There is NO excuse, it is not like I can't just go to my bedroom, close the door, and open up my bible, but with different routines each day there has to be a commitment to put God first. This is my prayer today. Father God, draw me near to you, may I put nothing before You and my devotion to Your will for my life. Leave me with such unrest if I fail to fall to read Your Word every day, may it never fall on a hard heart, may I always be soft and humble for your direction.

The refreshment of God's word was so wonderful today. After not reading my bible for over a week I found today that it was hard to put down once I opened the burgundy leather cover. I am still thirsty for the Living Water that only Jesus can give.

Praise to Him in the Highest.

December 28, 2007

Jack's pretty blue eyes.

Friday morning. The end of a fun week. The days before Christmas are heated with anticipation, Christmas Day, exquisite, and then the days after peaceful and quiet. That has been our house, for the most part peaceful and quiet. Jack's eye's are doing much better, still red, but well on their way to recovery. He has woken up sick for 2 days now, once he is up for a while he is fine for the rest of the day. Not a good thing. I am waiting for his radiologists assistant to call me back about "the plan" as she called it. We could do an emergency MRI in Dallas, or we could just wait and see, who knows at this point. His appetite has dramatically decreased in the last 2 weeks. He might eat a partial meal and a small snack, like 2 slices of an apple each day and that is it. I assume that his body is reacting to the lack of steroid dosage and is starting to even itself out. Alot happening as far as changes this week with Jack. On the bright side he got a dashing new haircut yesterday. It was much needed! And he looks as cute as a button (don't tell him I said that).
Hendrick hospital has all their very cute Christmas decorations, plates, cookie jars....on sale for 75% off. FYI. Derek and I walked through there this morning and found some fun bargains. I assume it is in both of their gift shops but we went to the big one on the second floor.
I am grateful for all this year has brought us. I am blessed.

December 26, 2007

Jack on T.V.

Thursday Night, December 27 at 6pm on KTXS Jack and his teacher, Ms. Nickell, will be on the news. Jack nominated her for teacher tribute and she won!

Our Christmas Day Recap

December 26th and the presents have all been opened, some of the games have been played, and we are back at Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments. We had a wonderful Christmas Day, it was a sweet day full of fun. The kids woke up just after 6am and dug right into their Christmas Stockings. I always wake up when I hear the kids and I love to just lay there and listen to their sweet voices while they are opening their stocking gifts. It is the most sweet way to start the day.
I didn't expect the kids to wake up so early so we had asked Tom and Elaine to come over at 8:30am, we always wait for them to open gifts. So we put in the movie Elf and watched it to pass the time until 8:30. As the credits were rolling at the end of the movie Tom and Elaine drove up. The fun began and presents started to be opened, one at a time.
Once the presents were open I started lunch preparations. I ordered a turkey from Joe Allen's and had bought some prepared side dishes. It was a very easy lunch, I pulled out the china and we had a lovely Turkey dinner.
After lunch Tom treated us all to a movie, we went and saw The Water Horse. We all enjoyed it, it was sadder than I expected, but it was funny too.
Then we played a new game the kids received for Christmas, Clue on DVD. It is similar to the old fashioned Clue that we all grew up on, but with some extra twists and turns. It is also more Politically Correct, as there is no murder, but a theft that you are trying to solve. 2 hours later the game finished, Jack dropped out and fell asleep on the couch, but the rest of us stuck it out and I was the winner! It was a fun game and now that we have played it once, it will be much easier and maybe even a bit quicker the next time we play.
We are so excited that Rob is off from work today also, so we will have another fun family day.
I hope that your Christmas was full of love and smiles.

December 24, 2007

Our Christmas Card and Letter


Merry Christmas. I am writing this letter early on a Monday morning with snow in our yard, and school starting two hours late due to ice on the roads. What a perfect day.

This year was filled with many extremes for our family. Thank the Lord that He is the God of it all and was faithfully walking us through our journey from the start. We started this year with Jack’s brain tumor growing back after a year of chemo. Then at the end of March he had Gamma Knife Radiation on the tumor. He came through the treatment very well, then after about 6 weeks half of his face became paralyzed and his right eye turned in. We were off to the hospital where he was put on mega doses of steroids to control the brain swelling that was happening as a result of the radiation.

Many MRI’s later after the Gamma Knife, his radiologist told us he could see no more tumor. We were stunned to say the least. The doctor’s had told us that the surgery would be measured a success if the tumor itself didn’t grow, it could shrink a little. But until we heard the doctor’s report we never dreamed it would be gone. God has shown himself mighty to our family. Through out this journey I was never sure what the Lord’s plans were, I knew what I prayed for, but my faith and trust had been grown by God enough to know that whatever His plan was would be the ultimate plan and His glory would be shown. I was able to rest in His sovereignty and He filled me with His peace.

Currently Jack is undergoing Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments each day. This treatment is used to heal hard to heal wounds. In Jack’s case it is being used to heal the area’s of the brain that were affected by the radiation. The medical term is Radionecrosis. He has had about 8 weeks of M-F treatments and we have about 4 more weeks.

Cognitively Jack is doing great. He thrives in his school environment and not only has not fallen behind, he is excelling in many areas. We thank God for that too!
The steroids that he has been on since the end of May have substantially affected him physically. He has grown to almost twice his size and his personality has been very subdued. He is starting to taper off of his steroids at this time, Derek’s birthday, December 31 will be Jack’s last day for steroids. It will take about 3-4 months for them to be gone from his system. At that time we will figure out what Jack’s new normal will be, crazy and wild like before the steroids or a subdued personality like now, or maybe a mixture of both. Only time will tell. We are grateful for Jack and his continued bravery and strength through it all. He faces each challenge with out any regret or tears.

Derek is still a football fanatic. Our Illinois family will be glad to know he is a huge Bears fan now. He had been a Cowboys fan, much to his dad’s chagrin, but this year overnight he fell in love with the Bears. He chose not to play this year, which was a huge blessing as far as our daily life went. No practice and games to get him to! He will try out for the school team when he is old enough. He knows everything there is to know about all the teams, players and the game itself. I told him that he would make a great player, but eventually a great coach. He is currently in the 5th grade and is having a great school year.

Sophie is still loving crafting and creating. She has blossomed into a social butterfly. She is pure joy to us, talks from the moment she wakes to the moment she sleeps at night. She loves school and her friends. She is a wonderful artist and has the heart of an angel.

Rob still works at McKay’s Bakery, and serves at church in the area’s of Men’s Ministry and Drama. He is a great dad, encourages the children in all they do. He takes great care of his family and is a wonderful supporter and provider.

I am enjoying mothering as I always have. I love just being with my family. I continue with my photography business, the challenge this year has been to guard my family time, but still work my business effectively. I have done several destination weddings and have several more on the books for next year. God will continue to bless my business as long as I allow His priorities to be mine…God first, family second, and then my work.
You can find me on the web at www.marcelainphotography.com . Personally it has been a year where my faith has been stretched with Jack’s health and personality change. It is never easy to watch your child go through such trials. I took them much harder than he did. At times I thought that my faith may not reach as far as it needed to go, but I kept my eyes on Jesus and even though I didn’t understand why He would allow such things, I continued to seek Him. And He increased my faith, sometimes it seems just by centimeters at a time, but over several months the growth felt apparent, and I am so grateful.

In a nutshell, we are blessed. We are blessed because we have a Lord and Savior. We are blessed because we have each other. We are blessed because we know the purpose we were created. Our time on earth is short and each day is an opportunity to love and be loved, not a moment to be missed.

Many blessings to you and your families.

Love,
The Marcelain’s

Parable of the Birds

I recently heard this recited at a wedding. It touched my heart.


Once upon a time, there was a man who looked upon Christmas as a lot of humbug. He wasn't a Scrooge. He was a very kind and decent person, generous to his family, upright in all his dealings with other men. But he didn't believe all that stuff about an incarnation which churches proclaim at Christmas. And he was too honest to pretend that he did. "I am truly sorry to distress you," he told his wife, who was a faithful churchgoer, "but I simply cannot understand this claim that God became man. It doesn't make any sense to me."

On Christmas Eve, his wife and children went to church for the midnight service. He declined to accompany them. "I'd feel like a hypocrite," he explained. "I'd much rather stay at home. But I'll wait up for you."

Shortly after his family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to his family room window and watched the flurries getting heavier and heavier.

"If we must have a Christmas," he reflected, "it's nice to have a white one."

He went back to his chair by the fireside and began to read his newspaper. A few minutes later, he was startled by a thudding sound. It was quickly followed by another, then another. He thought that someone must be throwing snow balls at his living room window.

When he went to the front door to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through his window.

I can't let those poor creatures lie there and freeze, he thought. But how can I help them?

Then he remembered the barn where the children's pony was stabled. It would provide a warm shelter. He quickly put on his coat and galoshes and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on the light. But the birds didn't come in.

Food will bring them in, he thought. So he hurried back to the house for bread crumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn.

To his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around and waving his arms. They scattered in every direction - except into the warm, lighted barn.

"They think I'm a strange and terrifying creature," he said to himself, "and I can't seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me. If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety. If I could just talk bird talk - speak bird language - they would listen to me, because they would understand me. Maybe if I put on my daughter's 'Big-Bird' costume, I would look like a bird and they would trust me because I would look like them."

"If I could just become a bird for a few minutes...
if I could just walk like a bird...
if I could just talk like a bird...
if I could just look like a bird...
they would trust me and I could save them...
they would trust me and I could save them...
they would trust me and I could save them..."

Just at that moment, the church bells began to ring. He stood silently for a while, listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. Then he sank to his knees in the snow.

"Now I understand," he whispered. "Now I know why you had to come to earth. Now I know why you became one of us. Thank you, Jesus, for coming to earth to save sinners like me."


"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philip. 2:5-11)

December 22, 2007

Encore Post of Tammy's Guide to Turkey Preparation

Thanks to my sister Becky I was reminded of this post I wrote last year. This is how I prepare a turkey.

1. Buy the Turkey. Walk around the grocery store one week before Thanksgiving. Go to the dairy aisle to buy the only thing on your list, 1 gallon whole milk (yes we drink whole). See the turkey's piled up in the frozen food section. Calculate how many days until Thanksgiving (eek, only one week away). Pick out biggest turkey in pile, heave into basket. Read the sign, ".39 cents a pound with $10 purchase." Continue on to the dairy aisle to select milk. $3.29. Wander aimlessly around the store to decide what other items I can buy to get to $10. After walking through the snack aisle, quota is met. Buy groceries and go home.

2. Look at the turkey, count the days until Thanksgiving again, decide the turkey needs to go into the freezer.

3. 3 days before Thanksgiving, panic because the Turkey is still in the freezer.

4. Leave turkey in sink overnight (not recommending this to anyone else) to get that deep freeze frozen thawed a bit.

5. Put turkey in fridge to continue thawing for the next 2 days. Note: Still rock solid frozen.

6. Poke turkey with one finger twice a day to see if it has thawed. No luck.

7. Ah...glorious Thanksgiving morning. Wake up to the sound of my alarm clock at 5am to get the turkey in the oven.

8. Look in fridge, cry for my departed mother, I wish she was the one making the turkey, not me.

9. Take a deep breath, heave partially thawed turkey out of fridge and drop it in freshly scrubbed sink.

10. Cut open plastic to reveal a fleshy, white, 22 lb. turkey, partially frozen.

11. Cry again for my mom, why me? Why do I have to touch this huge hunk of raw bird? Think pretty thoughts. Go somewhere else, ahh, the beach,....

12. Turn water on to complete thawing process, grab knive to start prying turkey legs from the metal leg holder device.

13. Jab legs with knive, pry, grab turkey as it is doing a 360 degree turn, and hopping around in sink from me jabbing at it.

14. Get large ziploc bag, (bread bags work best), stick hand in ziploc bag and go to that pretty place in head again while I put my ziploc covered hand and forearm into turkey. YUCK. Dig around feeling for the neck. Pry the neck loose, pull it out. What ever you do, don't look at it. This alone could cause one to never eat turkey again.

15. Turn turkey around and feel around neck area, still with bag on hand. Turn on faucet, steaming hot to melt ice around turkey flap to open up other end and pull out a bag of something I will not even mention here. Again, do not look at it!

16. Finish rinsing turkey. Plop in big pan that hasn't been used since last November. That 10 minutes before had dust bunnies in it, until washed out.

17. Pour oil over turkey. Cover all turkey with oil, you can use 1 tablespoon and rub it around, or half a bottle and never have to touch anything, just drizzle till all covered.

18. Salt and cover with foil. Ahhh...raw dead bird out of sight.

19. Bake for 4 hours pull foil, smell delicious aroma, let turkey brown for another 45-1hr. make sure popper thing is popped, take out of oven. Let cool a bit so as not to burn fingers when hacking or carving as I like to call it.

20. I will spare you the details of carving a turkey, but just know I try only to touch what looks like belongs on your plate. Anything that looks a little iffy, I go to my happy place and just throw that part away.

21. Serve the turkey to loved ones, and give them big hugs because all the raw bird touching was worth it to see the smiles on their faces when they eat their Thanksgiving meal. Thank you God for my family.

22. I thank God for you too! Happy Thanksgiving Day.

p.s. my daugher who is now 7 years old has prepared our turkey for 3 years now. She double crossed me and spent the night with her grandma to hang out with her cousins who are in town for the holiday. She loves the turkey experience, but not enough to give up a night with cousins. Go figure.

December 21, 2007

Friday

We made it to the movies last night. Jack picked Alvin and the Chipmunks. It was really cute and fun. I wouldn't want to raise anyone's expectations, but the movie was fun for all. Jack is doing a bit better today. Today when we were at Hyperbaric I asked the woundcare doctor to take a look at his eyes to see if they were looking good, or if there was something else we needed to be doing. As bad as they look to me, he said that they looked good. I guess it is all relative. I exhaled a big exhale at that point. The fact that 3 hours after surgery we were on our way home and all the follow up care was left to yours truly is very HARD for me. Anyone that knows me knows that I have a very weak stomach. So I have been on the verge of nausea all week taking care of Jack's eyes. One of the nurses at the hospital said to me today that it seems to make it worse when it is your own child, and I disagreed and said that the only reason I can even get through it is because it is my child. Otherwise there is no way I could even stomach it at all.
Anyway to have someone who actually knows what they are looking at to give his eyes a once over was a blessing.
I think that Jack is a bit yucked out by it all because he has NO appetite at all. This morning I went by McDonalds and bought him a milkshake just so he would have something in his stomach. I don't think he has eaten a full meal combined all week. It could be that the steroid dosage is so low now that he is not driven to eat like before.

Because of the state of my stomach this week I can't even think about food and what to make for some gatherings coming up so I need you help.
I am trying to decide what to serve for Christmas lunch. We are having a traditional Polish meal on Christmas Eve, sometimes we will do mexican on Christmas day, or maybe a traditional turkey dinner. Tell me what you are serving so I can get some idea's. I also need some inspiration for some appetizer dishes, any help would be appreciated.
Enjoy your last shopping weekend before Christmas!

December 20, 2007

He see's the light.

Thursday morning. Jack just opened his eyes with a full dose of lamaze breathing and his whole body was shaking. I was getting worried that the antibiotic drops were not doing their job because they weren't going all the way in to the eye past the swelling. Jack was assuring me they were, but he was so freaked out by me touching the area of his eye to try and open it that I think he would have told me anything just to leave him alone.
I told him this morning that if he could get his eyes open today that we could go see a movie tonight. The reward. After some more cleaning of around the eyes, he mustered up all of his courage and strength and opened his eyes. The good news is, the drops were keeping them healthy, no infection that I could see. The tough news is that his right eye has a large blood blister over the whites and it is not pretty. The possibility of such is on the sheet the doctor gave us and it says that it will heal and go away.
Jack will raise his sunglasses and say, "How does it look now?", and I say "Oh, well it looks like it is healing well." and then he says, "I don't think I need to look at my eyes in the mirror," and I tell him that is probably smart, and to just keep his sunglasses on.
He started getting very anxious last night and became pretty nauseated. This morning I gave him a Zofran to help him feel better. After he opened his eyes, he called Snickers our dog, and just wanted to look at her. Then he said he was glad he could see his own way to the bathroom, and see his presents on Christmas morning. Bless his heart.
I told him that he was very brave and that I was proud of him, and he said that he has done this before so he knows what to do. Bless him again.
He has seen the light at the end of the tunnel!

December 19, 2007

Jack still not doing great.

Jack is still having a hard time. His eyes are severely swollen and other gross stuff is happening that I wont share with you, aren't I kind and considerate. Please keep up your prayers. The last time he had this surgery there was a marked improvement by now, which we haven't seen yet. I called his eye surgeon and told him what was going on, he didn't seem alarmed, he said to call again tomorrow if things don't look better.
Jack said today, "Mommy do you think I will be able to see again?" I told him yes, definately, but he can see no light at the end of the tunnel at this point.

I will update ya'll again Thursday.

Jack and J.K.

Wednesday morning. Jack is under a blanket laying on the couch. He has yet to open his eyes. But he is in no pain he said. He is moaning a bit hear and there, so I think his eyes feel more "weird" than in pain. I know that there was much more work to be done on his eyes for this surgery than the one he had 2 years ago, so the recovery will be longer.

On the Today Show they announced Time's Person of the Year. The Russian President. I wish it would have been J.K. Rowlings, but they didn't ask me. She was 2nd runner up and here are some exerts from her article with Time. The link to the web address is below the two quotes, but for some reason I can never link it properly. So you can go to www.time.com and search that way or cut and past the link to the article if you wish to read it in full.

The ending, naturally, was the most controversial part of the book. It would have been so much neater just to kill Harry. "I've known that all along," she says, but that was never her plan. To her, the most noble thing, the real bravery, is to rebuild after a trauma. Some fans were disappointed that after all his adventures, Harry's greatest concern in the end is whether his son will fit in at Hogwarts. "It's a bittersweet ending," she says. "But that's perfect, because that is what happens to our heroes. We're human. I kept arguing that 'love is the most important force, love is the most important force.' So I wanted to show him loving. Sometimes it's dramatic: it means you lay down your life. But sometimes it means making sure someone's trunk is packed and hoping they'll be O.K. at school."

"There have been times since finishing, weak moments," she says, "when I've said, 'Yeah, all right,' to the eighth novel." But she's convinced she's doing the right thing to take some time away, do something else. She's working on two projects now, an adult novel and a "political fairy tale." "If, and it's a big if, I ever write an eighth book about the [wizarding ] world, I doubt that Harry would be the central character," she says. "I feel like I've already told his story. But these are big ifs. Let's give it 10 years and see how we feel then."

http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/personoftheyear/
article/1,28804,1690753_1695388_1695436,00.html

I loved that Harry's biggest concern was his son's happiness at school. C'est la vie, this is life, one moment you are saving the wizarding world from certain disaster, the next you are tending to laundry at home. For most this is how glory happens, Olympic Athletes, former Presidents, Television Personalities...I think people get messed up when they feel a sense of entitlement for the rest of their lives and I am glad that Harry became a normal man. Yes, I do know Harry is not real...

December 18, 2007

2 Surgeries Completed and Back Home

We are home from Dallas. Jack had his strabismus surgery and his mediport removed this morning. The procedures went very well and the doctors were all pleased. Jack is feeling mis-er-able to say the least. Isn't it a bit crazy that you can have 2 eyes surgically worked on and have an incision made to remove a port and the nurses say to give him tylenol if he needs it for pain? Jack is laying motionless on the couch, with sunglasses on, and we hung sheets over the window curtains to keep as much light out of the living room as possible. He looks and feels pretty pathetic, but I think by tomorrow night he should be doing much better.
He hasn't opened his eyes at all since the surgery today, so I have no idea how they look, but I assume the doctor got a good look during the surgery and he thought it went well.

Once again Children's Medical Center in Dallas exceeded our expectations. The care was beyond spectacular and Jack was treated so well today. He missed the entertainment that biked their way through the waiting room, a clown called "Slappy" and her sidekick "Music."

The Ronald McDonald House was beautifully decorated for Christmas as well was the hospital. Both places were a sight to behold. I wish I would have taken my camera. My favorite decoration at the RMH was a Christmas Village that was based on Ronald McDonald. So fun and cute.

Last night they played bingo at the RMH and Elaine was the first winner of the night. She let Jack pick out the prize so he picked out a Spiderman Journal and pencils...sweet.

Thank you so much for your prayers, please keep lifting Jack to the Lord. Jack will be home the rest of the week so his Christmas vacation will be several days longer than the other kids.

December 16, 2007

Last Christmas and This Christmas

I have written on the blog about how we do Christmas before. We go by the 3 present rule. Jesus was given three gifts, so we give our kids 3 gifts each. This guideline helps me stay focused on the main focus of Christmas. It is not buying a ton of gifts for my kids to open on Christmas morning then having most of those gifts collect dust until we give them away or sell them at a garage sale. It seems like the hype of Christmas, the beautifully decorated stores, the fun Christmas music makes me want to buy, buy, buy. And this rule I have keeps me from going overboard.

I thought about the blessings that God gives us all year long. And then I remembered how I felt last Christmas. I don't remember all the in's and out's of what broke and what needed fixing, but right before Christmas we had several extra expenditures that left us with nothing in our Christmas budget. I remember standing in my mother in law's kitchen and I just burst out into tears because I didn't know how we would buy presents for our kids.

The next week someone from out of state sent us a check to bless our family. They said they had intended to send us a gift when Jack became sick, but the busyness of life got in the way. They just wrote on their note, Merry Christmas - this is a gift from the Lord, all glory and praise to Him. Because of that check we had presents for our kids and Christmas dinner. I am grateful that I remembered that today, because this year we have presents under our tree that we bought, but there are families around us that don't.

When I was growing up our family never really had money to spare. One Christmas my mom told us that Santa wouldn't be able to come that year. I think that I was about 10 years old. I didn't understand why Santa wasn't coming, but I remember how sad my mom was. And I just remembered feeling so panicked about the whole situation. Christmas was very simple with our family of 5 kids, my mom did a lot of shopping at the dollar type stores - she normally had between 50-100 dollars to buy gifts for her 5 children. That Christmas morning we did have presents - someone left a stack of presents on our front porch for us. Looking back I am sure it was someone from our church. Last year I think that the same feeling I had as that little 10 year old who thought that Christmas morning would be without presents came to the surface.

Why bring this to light. I must never forget that my neighbor or someone I walk by at church might be dreading this holiday season because they just can't afford presents along with gas money, food, electricity and everything else that costs money day to day. What can I do? I will pray for God to tap me on the shoulder, whisper in my ear, convict my heart who it is He wants me to help this year. I must never forget that this season is about giving love face to face, and slipping money in a card and putting it in the mail and writing in a card...this is from the Lord, all glory and praise to Him.

December 11, 2007

A Week of Updates! And the meaning of Christmas, by Richard Beck and Linus

Good Tuesday night! It is late but I haven't written anything really in a week so I wanted to say hello. I was so happy to be Buddy the Elf, as I have watched Elf twice in the last month with my kids and that movie makes me smile. I try and not consume the sugar Buddy does, but then again I don't wear tights either.

Jack and Sophie have their theatre performance on Thursday afternoon. They take a class called Make A Play and are able to choose the characters they will be, then all the kids along with the class instructor "Make A Play," hence the name. They will be performing on the Amy Graves Stage at McMurry University this Thursday at 4:30pm.

Another very exciting thing that I haven't blogged about is that Jack nominated his homeroom teacher, Ms. Nickell, for the Teacher Tribute sponsored by Arrow Ford. We found out last Monday that Jack's letter was selected and Ms. Nickell won. So on Friday the news, radio and newspaper came to Jack's school to award Ms. Nickell. It was a surprise to everyone except the principal, 2 secretaries and Jack, Rob and I. It was so much fun to be a fly on the wall and watch it all happen. Jack was also given some gift certificates to Blockbuster, Mr. Gatti's and Primetime, which none of us knew that he would receive, so we were all surprised.

As Rob and I were leaving Wylie Intermediate I told the secretaries that we were so lucky to be in our school system. My kids have just been so blessed.

We have some sweet friends, Dennis and Natasha, who are from Russia. They are living in on campus family housing, the have 2 young daughters, and Dennis is currently working on his schooling in Bible. He and Natasha have dreams to take the Word of Jesus back to Russia as missionaries. Please keep them and their support in your prayers. They are mighty in His name.

Tomorrow the high is back in the 30's...ahhhh. It's almost Christmas.

_______________________________________
Thanks to Richard Beck for his posts about Christmas.
Scroll down a couple of posts then you will see his Christmas posts.

Richard is a professor and psychologist, his posts are normally about 3 stratosphere's over my head, but he has a dedicated following of other very smart people. (Of which I am not one, if I just had the smartness of the tip of one of their toes I would probably be smarter than I am now) Each one of these points he writes on below have a post that talks about how he came to his final points. This is his final summation of his last weeks of writing.

From Richard's Blog:

So, to recap, these are all the lessons I learned about Christmas from watching TV:

I learned that Christmas was MORE and that it had something to do with finding community.
I learned that, because of Christmas, there were no more misfits, no more outsiders or marginalized ones.
I learned about empathy, compassion, and that Messiahs might be misfits.
I learned about how community can be the route for the redemption of evil.
And here with Charlie Brown, I learned that the humility of Christmas makes it oft overlooked and despised.

But to this point in all this TV viewing no one ever connected the dots among all these things. No one had spoken the word that explained just what all this stuff had to do with Christmas. So I perfectly understood why Charlie Brown screamed "Would someone please tell me the true meaning of Christmas!!!!!"

Well, Charile Brown and I finally got our answer. Linus steps forward and explains it all:


December 09, 2007

I am Buddy the Elf

Thanks to Sarah who was Rudolph I found this fun little quiz.  I love Buddy - how fun is this.



December 06, 2007

Blessed Redeemer Of My Soul

Thursday lunch time.  I just arrived home from the HBO then the grocery store and am currently looking at my surroundings which desperately need some TLC, so in an attempt to have 5 minutes of just hanging out I steeped myself a cup of loose leaf tea and thought I would say hello.


Jack is doing well with HBO, couple more weeks on this prescription of treatments. Don't know if they will add more or not.  His eye surgery and port removal were rescheduled for December 18th, so off to Dallas we go that week.  I am so happy that it worked out he will have the Christmas holiday's to recover fully before school starts back up in the New Year.  Hooray for that.

December is my most favorite month.  I love it.  I love the hustle and bustle, I love the Christmas decorations, I love the music and most of all I love that it is a month that points towards the birth of our Savior.  That makes me teary just writing it.  A day specifically set aside in the Christian faith to remember that there was once a time when the Lord chose His son to walk this earth to save us from ourselves, partake in our sufferings, and best of all to give us Hope that only comes from Jesus.  There was once a young mom named Mary who held a helpless babe in her arms, she kept Him warm, she nurtured Him, she loved Him, she was the mother of Jesus, so blessed.  Because of Jesus we are kept warm in heart, we are nurtured and we are loved.  Blessed Redemeer, not a day will go by in this month or any month that I am not humbled that for me you were born, for my benefit you walked the earth and faced love and hate, and for my sin's you allowed yourself to be crucified, so that on earth each day my heart can be transformed to look a bit more like yours, and that one day we may walk together in Heaven.  Jesus is the greatest Gift given to save the world.  You and me.


December 05, 2007

Soup-Tastic

Are you a soup fan? If so get ready to post your favorite recipe on your blog and link to BooMama on Friday to be a part of a huge extravaganza.
It's A Soup-Tacular!

December 03, 2007

Lauren and Locks of Love

I Received this email today:

Ever since Lauren has known of Jack’s brain tumor, she has wanted to donate her hair to Locks of Love in honor of Jack. It took a while to grow, but yesterday was cutting day. Here are the photos. Love, Robyn





I know that there is someone who will be very happy with a beautiful head of hair thanks to Lauren's dedication. Thanks Lauren for thinking about Jack during this time!

It is a Wonderful Life

If you need a smile on this cool Monday morning be sure and click over to Ira from the post below. Start your week of with a sweet blessing.
We are doing well, one of my friends said only 2 more Friday's in school before Christmas vacation. Christmas is coming up quick!
We had a great weekend, Saturday night we had Christmas movie night and I made some snacks (one of the recipe's is below) to go along with it. We watched Frosty and Rudolph, my kids are growing to the age where they think that Rudolph is a bit juvenile because it has the claymation, they would rather watch the 2nd Rudolph which is computer animation. I personally love the original Rudolph and find it a holiday must see atleast twice in December.
Now this week I will watch my most favorite movie for the Holiday's - It's a Wonderful Life and cry when Clarence get's his wings. I normally wrap gifts while I watch that for the second time, but the first it is just me, a hot beverage, my comfortable blanket throw and the movie. I don't however include my children in the watching of this movie because it is so not their speed, too slow and long for them. I however find it is most wonderful.
I hope that your week has some Christmas moments in it, for me my goal is to finish some work and get my Christmas cards in the mail. Wish me luck!

Easy Christmas Snack - White Chocolate Covered Popcorn

2 regular sized bags of Microwave Popcorn -

I have used all kinds, healthy, buttery, kettle I think my favorite is the Healthy Pop Kettle Corn - but any kind works great.


1 package of the White Chocolate Bark - comes in the ice cube shapes

Melt your chocolate - I melt it over the stove, but I am old fashioned that way.

Pop your popcorn and pour it into a very large bowl checking for unpopped kernals and throwing those away
(this is a very important step, but your unbroken teeth will thank you later)


Pour chocolate over popcorn and gently mix it around with a big spoon. For quick set up pour it out on a counter covered in wax paper, or if you have a bit more time it will set up in the bowl. Break apart the big chunks and it is ready to eat. Everyone loves this recipe and it is totally easy. One time I added m and m's in the mix, but it was too sweet for me, but I was thinking that peanuts might be a good addition. Enjoy.


No date on Jack's rescheduled surgery yet, and we are about to head up to HBO Therapy.