Wednesday, December 27, 2006

First Christmas Alone

On Christmas Eve, Justin, Karis, and I opened our presents from our family. Karis had a great time opening her new puzzles and dishes. We surprised daddy with a few presents, and he surprised me with some too. We had a great time together just hanging out and spending time together.
Karis is very excited about her new puzzle.

Christmas pajamas, a tradition of ours. "Thanks Papa and Gamma for my pj's."

On Christmas day, I made homemade yeast rolls, a turkey, mashed potatoes, and salad. It was very good. It was much easier to cook a turkey than I thought it would be. Thank goodness my mom is always just a phone call away! I know I called her at least two times, which for me is not very many. We opened our stockings and played most of the day with all of Karis' new toys. She is really enjoying all her toys and learning a little more each day. Today when I put her down for her nap, I heard her trying to sing her ABC's. She is so funny sometimes, especially when she skips letters and numbers when she is reciting them.

I pray all of you had a very merry Christmas. I am overwhelmed at what Mary must have thought as she held her baby for the first time when He was born, knowing she was holding the Son of God! Wow, thank you Jesus for coming to earth as a baby to save us from our sins.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Texas Christmas Part II

Karis is helping Aunt Courtney pass out gifts.

Wow! A pink softball glove. Mommy always wanted one of those. I can't wait to take her out and start throwing a ball. ( I know it is a little too early for that.)

It is always more fun to plan in or on the boxes than with the toys!

Pop Pop and Grammie had some Mardi Gra beads and Karis had a great time putting them on Pop Pop's arm, her neck, and Grammie's foot.

We arrived in Orange on Saturday and spent the afternoon hanging out with Justin's family. His dad, stepmom, and stepsister and family were there. It is always great to spend time with Lisa, his stepsister, and her family. We don't get to see them very much. Sunday, we went to church in Beaumont. It was wonderful to see our friends and visit with them. We had lunch with some friends and then went back to Orange. We did Christmas on Sunday afternoon at Justin's grandparents house. It was a fun time and lots of presents. Karis was the center of attention, and she had a great time opening up her gifts and making sure Pop Pop got to see all her presents first hand. We are so thankful for family.

Monday, I went back to Beaumont to spend lunch and the afternoon with Laura. We had a great visit, and it gets harder every time I have to leave her, especially knowing it will be a long time before I see her again. I also got to spend some time with my favorite college student, Ashley! Tuesday, we got up and packed to head back to my parents house. We got to my parents house just in time to hear the wonderful news about my neice Brooklynn (see below post). Wednesday, my parents drove us back to the airport to fly home. It was harder to leave this time knowing it will be over four months before I see my parents again. I love all of you very much and already miss you.

Justin, Karis, and I will have our first Christmas at home by ourselves. I am going to attempt to cook a turkey(only a breast), homemade rolls, and all the fixings. I am excited about starting new traditions with my family, but I know that I will miss my parents not being here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Texas Christmas Part I

Karis' favorite gift was the first one she opened, the new BOZ!

Gamma is reading Karis Brooklynn's "Hermie" book. Karis didn't quite understand that it was not hers. Hard concept for a 23 month old.

Wow! Thanks for all the presents! Opening presents makes me sleepy!

Our trip to Texas was great! We flew in on Tuesday last week, and my parents picked us up from the airport. They took us to eat Mexican food, done the right way. It was yummy!! Wednesday my dad and Justin played golf, and my mom and I hung out with Karis and Memaw. Thursday, Mom and I went shopping almost all day long. It was fun being able to spend quality time with my mom and eating at the Cheesecake Factory! Friday, Justin and I did some last minute shopping and went to a movie. We came home and celebrated Christmas with my family. We opened presents with my parents, my brother and his family, and my Memaw. All three girls had a lot of fun, and Karis adores her older cousin, Madison. It was neat watching them interact. We receieved great gifts and had a fun time as a family.

Saturday, we left my parents to go to Orange to see Justin's family.

Miracles Still Happen!

Madison, Brooklynn, and Karis are waiting for dinner, thus the not so excited expressions!

On Tuesday, my family received some very exciting news. My niece's, Brooklynn who is now 2 years old, catscan showed that she is cancer free. Brooklynn was diagnosed with a Welms tumor earlier this year. She had to have surgery that removed most of her left kidney and a tumor the size of a softball. After the tumor was removed, she went through 7 months of radiation and chemo. She is doing very good. She is so active and smart that no one would ever know she was ever sick. Her hair is growing back and soon there will be no outside signs of her cancer, except for the scar on her belly.

God has been so good to my brother and his family. It has been a blessing for me to see how God has strenghtened them and grown them. Tanya, my sister-in-law, you have grown so much in your faith this last year, and I am so excited to see what God has in store for you. Thank you for being such a godly example of allowing God to be your all through such a hard time. Shawn, my brother, you have always been special to me. We have always been able to talk to each other about everything. I know this has been the hardest year of your life, but I also know that I have seen so many changes in you. God can change us and it is very evident that He is working on you. I pray that your family continues to seek Christ in all you do. I already miss you guys as we are back home in North Carolina. I love you all and am blessed to have you as family!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Lining things up!

Lately Karis has been lining things up. She will pull out her bowls and plates and line them up on her little table. She also enjoys lining up her Noah's ark animals. The other day I was taking a shower and when I emerged, Karis had lined up all the animals on our bed. They were perfectly straight in a row, each animal with it's matching animal. Children's imaginations are so neat. God is so good to allow us the joy of teaching and learning from our children. Karis is teaching me knew things everyday, especially patience. She is a blessing, and I can't imagine life without her.
Noah's ark lined up on Mommy's night stand.

Noah's ark on Karis' new table, a wonderful gift from a woman in our church. Thanks Sondra!

Karis is very proud of her table and wants Mommy to join in the fun!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Helping with the Christmas Tree

Whoa! Look at all these sparkly ornaments. Karis was a big helper handing Mommy all the ornaments to put on the tree.

Karis helped Daddy put the lights on the tree. Calvin isn't sure what is going on.

The lights were very fascinating to Karis. She wasn't sure how they worked, she kept saying, "light, light."

On Thanksgiving night, Justin and I decided to go ahead and put up the Christmas tree. We hadn't put any of the Christmas decorations in the attic when we moved because we knew Christmas was just a few weeks away. Plus, I love to decorate for Christmas.

It was fun watching Karis get so excited about things we just do, like putting lights on the tree and ornaments. She did break her first ornament which happened to be one that Justin and his mother got at the Baseball hall of fame. I was sad for him, but we both know that with children things are going to be broken.

This Christmas we are so thankful for Christ and His cross. I am reminded of His willingness to come to earth and die on the cross for our sins and to appease God's wrath. What a joy to celebrate His birth! I pray this season you would bask in His love.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunday Sermon Notes: Ephesians 2:11-22

A picture of Karis making her favorite face when she is very determined. This picture represents how determined we should be to remember our sin and thank God that He has saved us from it through Jesus Christ's death on the cross.

Justin's sermon yesterday was very challenging and convicting. Here are my notes, Ashley, I know I promised to start posting them so here they are.

"Brought Near By His Blood"
Ephesians 2:11-22

I. Remeber your alienation-v. 11-12
5 disavantages the Gentiles had:
1. separated from Christ
2. alienated from blessings of Israel
3. strangers to the covenants of promise
- all of these describe us, as we are Gentiles, we must understand the depth of the pit from which we have been rescued.

II. Rejoice in your reconciliation-v. 13-18
- The greatest of gospel blessings is that Christ has brought us to God!
-Christ is our peace, our peace is in a person, not in something.
-Christ secures our peace and reconciliation with each other and God

III. Realize your place in God's church
1. We are citizens of His kingdom
2. We are part of His family
3. We are a stone in God's temple
-we must be a church built on the apostles and the prophets, solid doctrine and theology
-we are being built together, presently, He isn't finished with us yet, PRAISE GOD!
-the church is God's dwelling place here on earth; assembly of God's people is His residence

1. Are you reconciled to God through Jesus?
2. Are there remaining hostilities between you and other Christians?
3. What difference should this passage make for us to be a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic church?

I am so blessed to be a part of a church where God is working and His word is being preached. I am even more blessed that I am married to the man that God is leading to preach His Word so faithfully here in Wilson.