Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Year in the Past...

And another NEW YEAR just ahead! Our family will be entering into our fifth year of living without Todd. That's astounding to me, because I never thought I could make it a day, or even an hour, without him here with us. However, as anyone who is reading this can see, God has proved Himself strong and able to get us through each day. God is here! God has been our provider and our strength.

Looking back, I am humbled and even shocked to think that I have been given the grace to continue raising six children to love God and honor Him. Four teenagers now, two of which are now driving, one in college, and all doing well. I would have told you I couldn't do it, and I could not have, but I am rejoicing in what God has done in my life these years. It's been a struggle, but I am praising Him for His work and continued presence in my and my children's lives.

Looking ahead, I am anxious to see what God will do in our lives. I am hoping for Christ's return this year, yet I am looking to see how and what God will do in and through my life. I wish you all a very happy and blessed New Year. I pray we all grow closer to our God and look for opportunities to serve Him.

H A P P Y N E W Y E A R ! ! !

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Tiffany!

Tiffany turned 14 years old today. Birthdays are still not "right" without Todd here, but we are learning to celebrate them as best we can. It seems like every December 27th something happens that "out does" Tiff's special day. One year it was my parent's 50th wedding anniversary big party. One year it was everyone getting sick....except Tiff! It always seems to be something. Today was no different. My sister's son had a special wedding reception at their church tonight. He had gotten married in October in Wisconsin, so tonight they had a video of the wedding and a reception that this side of the country could enjoy (those too cheap to travel for the real thing). We planned the day so that Tiff would get most of the attention: we would have an early dinner....her favorite meal....with Granddad and Grandmom, and then sing and cut the cake, then head out to the reception about 45 minutes away. Great. We get ready to sit down to dinner with my parents, and their ride comes! They rushed around, leaving us at the table to eat without them. We decided to wait until later to cut the cake and sing with them. Only problem with that was the length of the video and travel time. We had to come home and get ready for bed! We sang, cut the cake, and ate it without the Grands. It happened again this year. Poor Tiff. Happy Birthday, Tiffany! Here she is at her cousin's wedding reception, smiling like usual! I love this girl!

The Christmas season is just not a good time for a birthday. Todd would know about that, being born on Christmas! Oh well. We tried. The day is nearly over. Praise the Lord for His goodness. One more day done. Trying to get ready for the next one...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Very Special Thanks...

God continues to bless our family in ways I could never imagine. Today my cousin stopped in and gave us a check from Grace Bible Fellowship Church where he is a deacon. Once again, God's timing was/is perfect. What a blessing just when I was wondering how I was going to feed all the extended family that will be showing up on Christmas! Is God amazing or what?

This evening we attended Fellowship Church, where our family received a huge basket filled with gifts that went above and beyond anyone's expectations for this Christmas! I think Toby's face says it all:

It's hard to believe that there could be a bigger blessing than seeing my children's eyes light up when opening those gifts and hearing their comments of how they couldn't believe how expensive everything was, but there was even more blessing tonight. I was reminded by Pastor John that no matter how difficult the days feel, no matter how much I miss Todd, no matter how many tears I shed, no matter how hopeless I feel, there is so much more that God has GIVEN me. Pastor John reminded us to look at all we HAVE, rather than all we are missing. He reminded us that God has given us so much, including our very salvation from sin and separation from God. I have hope! I have the hope and promise of heaven one day!

I am thanking God for His gift of Jesus and salvation tonight. I am thanking God for my six wonderful, incredible, fantastic children. I am choosing to thank God for all He has blessed me with, rather than going to that familiar pity party and feeling miserable tonight!

My very special thanks to Grace Bible Fellowship, Fellowship Church, and Pastor John with his message of thankfulness for our hope and salvation and many gifts, from God.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lights and Cookies!

Tonight the kids and I drove around to look at Christmas lights. We counted how many times we saw the Nativity...five. I can remember when we saw a Nativity on nearly every lawn! Anyway, we had a good time. We found a live nativity at a church nearby, and stopped in for that as well. The kids were a little embarrassed when I pulled in with my lights on and accidentally lit up their shepherds waiting quietly in the darkness until the spotlight shown on them. I didn't realize they were reading the entire Biblical account of Christ's birth and lighting up different areas of the property to show the story....oops. We also tried to walk through the park where all the lights were with different displays, but it was so cold I ended up running with Toby around the inner circle and back to the van. The older ones seemed embarrassed again at us running through the place. Oh well. Toby wanted to run around again, because she missed some displays, but no one would take was just too cold. It wasn't the same as when we did this with Dad, but hey, at least we went this year!

We came home and the girls and I made cookies. They weren't exactly Christmas cookies with cute little cut-outs and fancy decorations, but they were cookies. Not edible, but they were cookies! I tried a new idea I had seen in a magazine. I realized tonight that the picture isn't nearly as good as the real thing in making cookies. The recipe asked for Jolly Rancher candies to be smashed and put in the center of a cookie dough ball. Then bake, and again, the picture looked so yummy! Well, I couldn't even get them off of the pan after the candy melted and acted like cement. The boys tried what I was able to scrape and chisel off of the pan, and one commented it was like fast-drying tasty cement, but they didn't recommend anyone with cavities to try them. Knowing nearly every tooth has a filling in my mouth, I didn't think I should try any, BUT, of course I did anyway. They were right....once I got to the melted candy part, I found it very difficult to chew because my teeth were glued together. Not nice. Not edible! Oh well. Toby wanted to eat them, but I was afraid she wouldn't be able to open her mouth for a month (and she's supposed to sing in the children's choir tomorrow at church). It wasn't the same as when we made Christmas cookies in years past, but hey, at least we made them this year!

Friday, December 12, 2008

We Got Our Christmas Tree!

...and this year we decided to make it a "Daddy Tree." It is decorated with home-made ornaments from the kids, and things that were special to Todd. I love it. Way to go, kids! I think it looks great!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Repeat...from last year. I love this song. I am praying for God's strength for every day. I don't understand. My heart is hurting. Todd was born on December 25th. It all is mixing together again in a fog of bewilderment, pain, and memories. The memories are good, and I thank God for them. I cherish them. I just wish they didn't hurt so much.