Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Screaming Banshee Meets Baby's First Christmas

Darling Little Redhead with the Screaming Banshee. "What?", you ask. The.Screaming.Banshee. Which is an overpriced plastic car-eating tractor. Who doesn't eat any old car. Who only eats CARS cars (which are also overpriced). Yeah. Rockin' present, right? Obviously DLR thought so! :) And that's all that matters to this mama!

And here's the sweetest present of all! El Principito on his first Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

They Fell Down

"The entered the home where the Child and his mother, Mary, were and they fell down before him and worshipped him." Matthew 2:11

If we would see the Child for who He really is, surely we too would fall down and worship Him! Yes, He came as a babe...but let's remember this Christmas that He did not stay in that manger. He quickly manifest to all the world that He is everything we need. He is Jesus. For a full sized view, click here. To make your own Wordle, click here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bakery Sugar Cookies

Living in the tropics, I gave up on making sugar cookies. By the time I got the chilled dough rolled out, it was already a soft disaster. So needless to say, I was very excited about being able to do cut out cookies with Darling Little Redhead(DLR) this year!

Just a little quality assurance goin' on here!

DLR only decorates cookies "Mountain Style". If you'd like to try it, simply pile up sprinkles carefully and painstakingly until you have a mountain. Additionally, please assure that very little, if any, frosting shows through your decorations. :)

My Mom used to work at the local bakery when I was a girl. Unfortunately, the bakery has been replaced by a Subway. Love Subway, miss the nostalgia of the town bakery (although I hear a group of men still gathers to drink coffee there in the mornings...gotta love small towns). But I digress.

One of the hardworking ladies who ran the bakery is a dear family friend. She used to let my sisters and I sneak to the back and help sometimes (hey, maybe that's where my love of baking began?). She shared the recipe with me as part of our wedding gift. It's tooooo-licious (as my nephew would say)!

Bakery Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
1 C. Margarine (softened)
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 1/2 C. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Cream of Tarter
Mix. Chill. Roll out and cut. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Yield 2-3 dozen cookies.

El Principito (Or Should I Say "Moose"?)

El Principito will be 4 months old at the end of December. I can't believe he's weighing in at almost 20 pounds! My mom has started calling him "Moose" so I had to get a picture of him in this cute little outfit.

My Moose Valuable Player!

And here he is with his cousin who was born exactly one week before he was. I just love his little hand on his head!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Who is This Person?

Vintage clip art courtesy of the Graphic Fairy

I'm sitting there, my heart's racing and I feel so anxious. Tears are pouring down my cheeks. I'm wondering, "Who is this person? Because she's not me. She's not the confident, decisive person I have always been."

It was supposed to be a fun day of shopping with my husband. But I wasn't having much fun. I felt under pressure to find the perfect gift at the best price. I picked things up and then put them back. I doubted my judgement. And I felt angry that I was having such a hard time! This was supposed to be fun. And really, it always had been in the past.

As I sat there crying and praying, I realized I was having a little bit of reverse culture shock (that means I was having a hard time processing or accepting the way things are done in my own culture). I'd evolved into someone different during my four years in South America.

I guess it's because, in some ways, my options were so limited there and choices weren't a luxury that I enjoyed (if you've never travelled overseas, you're gonna have to take my word on this). I remember shopping and shopping until I found something that would work for me. I got used to "making do" and "pinch hitting". I gladly paid whatever outrageous price was asked for an item I had been searching for because I knew I would likely never find it again. I got used to living that way. Sure there were times it was hard to deal with but on the other hand, it made me more creative and resourceful and ultimately reduced my attachment to things. And that was something to be thankful for.

But back in my own culture, I felt overwhelmed at all the options . The thrill of hunting for the best deal became cumbersome. And I suddenly began to question my ability to make good decisions. Had I really become so mush brained that I couldn't tell until I walked out of the store that $30 of merchandise for $20 was better than $20 of merchandise for $20?

I can be pretty hard on myself, and maybe that's what you're thinking I'm doing. And you're right. At first, I was. But what it's turned into for me is a chance to remember what my REAL identity is. I'm not an indecisive, anxious, insecure person (even if I feel like it).

I'm a child of God. I'm not defined by my actions or thoughts (no matter what provokes them). I'M DEFINED BY WHAT HE SAYS ABOUT ME. And He says I'm accepted in the Beloved. I'm seated in the heavenly places at His right hand. I'm loved with an everlasting love. I'm bought with a price. I'm secure for all eternity. I'm His.

And that makes all the difference. It allows me to forgive myself for thinking I should be perfect. It causes me to relax and deal graciously with myself when I see that I am having difficulty processing my own culture and appreciate that OF COURSE I am changed by four years in another culture (I would have robbed myself greatly if I had never learned from that opportunity!).

So why am I sharing this with you? I don't really know, except that I feel compelled to do so. Maybe someone will be encouraged by my testimony. Maybe someone else will understand missionary women better as a result of reading it. Ultimately, I just hope that God gets the glory somehow. Because He deserves it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thank You for Joining Me

Emily over at Chatting at the Sky is hosting a wonderful Christmas party called "Everyday Unwrapped". She's encouraging us to notice the small blessings that come our way as we prepare for Christmas. It's easy to get lost in all the decorating, shopping, and baking that we miss the everyday gifts God sends us!

Yesterday, He unwrapped a beautiful moment for me. Darling Little Redhead had invited me to share a "picmic" with him. As we spread out his favorite blanket and sat down with our lunch, I thanked him for inviting me. That's when my three year old said (and I quote), "Thank YOU for joining me, mom!"

My heart went *SQUEEZE* and I thanked God for slowing me down enough to say "yes" to an indoor "picmic", to say "yes" to Everyday Unwrapped.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Photo Mats

Since the entirety of my Christmas decorations has to fit in O.N.E. Rubbermaid, I have to look for creative ways to bring holiday cheer to my home.

This is one of my favorite things to do! Just take some cute wrapping paper (this was in the Target $1 Spot), cover your photo mat, and rehang. You get lots of bang for a little buck, not to mention that it is a super fast update!

If you don't have any photos with mats, why not wrap whatever artwork you have hanging on the wall with some paper and a gigantic bow?

And while we're on the subject of bows, here's another great place to use them:

Photo: BH&G 100 Days of Holidays

I can't wait to buy some ribbon and give this idea, featured at The Inspired Room, a try! If you like this, check out Melissa's other ideas for using what you've got for your holiday decorating.


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