Friday, December 31, 2010

'Twas 6 Nights After Christmas...

... when Candra finally uploaded her Christmas photos

It doesn't get much better than that loving neck squeeze.


Exhibit A: Nation's head tilt
Exhibit B: Solomon's cheesy smile


My Three Stooges


Opening presents with Home Alone in the background...adorable.


It was his first Christmas...well...outside the womb.


I got Charles a ukulele because he's slightly jealous of how much I swoon for Jack Johnson. Oh, and I don't wrap pretty. Someone wanted it documented. 

My sister got a Twilight poster. My mom got a dinosaur from Solomon. 
And that's my bros Nate & Noah & step dad, Jim.



I kid you not, after all those new presents Nation spent his entire day playing with "stuff" he found in upstairs drawers and making contraptions. Solomon ran around and played with this tiny bible that he found. The new bike & toddler piano were greatly neglected.


I heard a rumor that our "White Christmas" in Atlanta was the first in 100 years. We were excited, but honestly, had had enough snow already in Ohio.

Quite possibly the most awful [tired] picture of us, but nevertheless, the only picture of us that day. Or of me for that matter, well, minus my feet.

In short...We were home. It was Merry. 

Kids+Christmas=Awesomeness.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thankful Thursdays Top Ten [#22]

Thankful This Week For...
...all of you that make up ME


[Ten women from 2010]
[oh and I shuffled the "order" so these really are random]


I met her in middle school youth group [she was a leader] and haven't seen much of her since then, but she's recently come back into my life and I believe she'll be a vital part of my mentoring in 2011. [Or so I hope this blog post buys me a ticket.] There are just some people you meet and they have a lasting impression on you. Once in youth we anointed each others head with oil...just one greasy finger print...not Naomi...she looked at me and said, "Pour the whole jar on my head." She's wildly desperate for Him. [And she's wild.]

2-Elizabeth Rowell
She's prayerfully intense wrapped in hospitality [and sugar]. She bakes delicious calories. My new years resolution is to stay away from her. She and her husband are our small group leaders. We met just about a year ago, but she catalyzed and counseled Charles & I through an intense time in our marriage. Her prayers were felt in dark hour and if ever I felt alone, I knew I wasn't. She's Proverbs 31, straight up.

3-April Davidson
There was a time this year she fought for me so hard, she prayed herself [accidentally] right into the mens public restroom. "Going to bat for you"...has been replaced by "going to the men's restroom for you." She's that amazing pillar of faithfulness that has stuck with me through it all and although our lives are often opposite [and out of state] we find a common ground, or room, the CanApril room. Okay, so only she'll get this, but that's okay.

4-My mom
She's that friend you wish you had. You know the one you can call for anything, depend on for everything and talk to about all things. She's not jealous, competitive, or condemning towards me. She lifts me up. She loves me. Oh and she watches my kids when I need a break. Ha. She lets my family be who we are and she loves us just so. We don't always agree, but I'm so thankful for her help, especially this year.

5-Amy Heifner
In the spirit, she's famous, I'm sure of it, okay maybe even in Atlanta I feel like she's "Who's Who Among Godly Women" [if that exist, but she doesn't care, she's not like that]. She's got class, grace, and a presence about her I want to absorb from across our lunch dates at Houston's. She's hilarious, sharp and confident in her Savior. God strategically placed her in my life at the beginning of college and she's mentored me ever since. Sometimes more than others, but she's always there to bring me up higher, break me out, and this year...wake me up.

How could I not love the person whose life so similarly mirrors mine? Her last three kids are literally weeks apart from mine. Our daily conversations about diapers, destructions, and discipling have been a daily life saver for me. She's hilarious, prayerful, kind, and a down to earth woman. She's honest, grounded, and wise. This year I called and she answered. She was a real friend when I needed one. I've learned it's not so much what we have in common, but Who we have in common that makes me love her so.

I'm not going to lie, I thought maybe I was too un-Baptist to participate in her studies, and maybe for a few pages every once in a while...I am. Yet, her studies this year [Revelation, Proverbs & Breaking Free] got me back into the Word. God has used her studies to grow my roots down deep once again. I'm also thankful that she loves me so much. I know you think I'm crazy, but she does. She doesn't know me, but I feel it through the screen on my TV and her words on the page. I also wouldn't mind if I met her this year...just sayin'.

8-Margaret Parham
Margaret has been my homebirth midwife for my last three children. I can not begin to express to you the relationship that has grown between us over the years. She's become very dear to my heart and I greatly respect her and the work she does. I am so thankful she gives of herself to offer me the blessed opportunity to birth at home [like earlier this March] with a Christian professional watching over me. She's hard on me about diet and exercise, but I've got three great births to thank her for. She promised me at least room for 5 more births in my file so you'll be hearing more about her...maybe 2012?

9-Luci Galloway
Luci is my pioneer woman. I feel like God has set her out before me to pave the way...to lead, guide and promise me I can make it where God has called me. She actually is the one who introduced me to Margaret. I'm hoping for her luck with number four [GIRL!] as she started off with three boys as well. She leads our local homeschool co-op and reaches out to me often even though I'm always traveling. And whether she's enjoyed it or not, she's been my go-to person over the years for all things organic and homeopathic. She's taking a liking to me [I think?] and I'm humbled...excited...and hopeful for more time with her in 2011.

I don't know Ann personally, but her blog [Luci introduced me to, because she's good like that...always telling me about great blogs] has greatly ministered to me over the last several months. She's been inspirational as a disciple, wife, mother, educator, and writer. I admire her heart, respect her work, and am constantly awestruck by her writings. She paints images with words and weaves together heaven and earth in a practical-tangiable way for me . Somehow across that screen, she's daily causing me to rise up and never become settled with myself, my life or my God.

[and since 2011 is around the corner this list will include 11 instead of 10]

11-You
The women readers who humored me by reading my ramblings these past few months. Y'all have encouraged me, laughed with me [at me!] taught me, and inspired me. I'm thankful for your time. I'm committed to honoring it's value in 2011.


[If you aren't on the list, don't fret, if you know me, 
you shaped me for the better, and I'm thankful for you.]

***

Every week I invite my friends in blogworld to join me in being thankful. 

[1] write a blog post with 10 things you're thankful for this week
[2] mention this blog post [hyperlink my blog and/or grab my button]
[3] use McLinky below by clicking on "Click here to enter"

You don't have to do it on Thursdays. You can do it any day of the week. Call it whatever you want. Be creative...use words, pictures, poems, etc. Come back throughout the week and read other's lists and make new friends.
Ask others to join too. 

Thanks for participating and being patient as "we" grow.





Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Black & White Wordless [#10]

A snapshot from our travels from GA to TX


I know what this looks like.

It looks like my 4 year old in the back of the car 
with his head covered by a trash bag.

Looks can be deceiving...
...but in this case, they aren't.

This is Nation's reaction to me saying...
 "Okay, fine, you can play with your bag of Tinker Toys  in the car, but don't make a huge mess with them...play with them in the bag."

Let's just say...he took me literally by playing with them in the bag.
I guess I should have said "over the bag."

Oh, and the stickers? I can't tell you how many times I've judged "those vans" with "those people" who let "those kids" cover their car with stickers. Let me just say, I figured out how it happens...your kids do it, you don't notice, then you notice, and think...great, now I have to go buy that glue-be-gone stuff and peel all those off. 

"I'll get to that in my spare time"
[which we know moms...is never]

So...I'm officially "one of those moms"


***

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Monday, December 27, 2010

What My Husband Does For A Living

or "How My Husband Brings Home The Bacon"

or "Did You Know Wires Were So Purdy?"

As you know, we just got home last Sunday from Dayton, Ohio after an almost 5 month out-of-town job for my husband's company, Inspired Excellence. My husband took a crew of 6 guys with him and they transformed WHIO Channel 7 News Station into this...





 They specialize in taking messes of wires and making it look like that [above].









 They ran wires from the equipment room through the ceilings, the floors, and even along the ceiling [like above third picture] to the TV studio.




 They installed TV's as well as all the broadcast wiring.


 The boys were amazed at the thousands of wires that ran under the floors.



 All their hard work is not only organized and beautiful, but makes live newscasts & weather reports possible...among other things.




P.S. I shot all these photos with Moses on my back...now thats babywearing.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

7th Annual Gals Christmas Party

This was [my best friend] April & I's 7th Annual Gal's Christmas Party. 

Although I think we need to start including my mom in the title because in the past few years she has provided the space, food, [popular] party punch, and recently the craft too. This year was probably are largest turn out yet, not to mention the food was amazing...from cake pops to Oreo balls. Yummo.


My mom was very excited that her small group ladies came out and so were we...adults bring real food...and not just Chex mix.


We had a Christmas hat theme and lots of people participated! My mom joked that the only pictures I have on my blog of her are those with her in hats.


We talked, ate, drank, played, laughed and some even hung around making ornaments till nearly 2 am. [The party started at 6pm!]



I teased my mom about looking like Mrs. Claus with her glasses.


These girls showed up in boots and even a nurse friend made a hat out of a hospital bedpan!


Charles cousin, Amanda and her daughter Kinley came. The Christmas Vikings!

***Thanks for coming gals!***

It's always difficult to plan a party when I'm just arriving from another state [since we normally are out of town right until Christmas for Charles work], but the fuss is always worth the fun. Some of these gals I only get to see once a year. I had several have to cancel last minute because of sickness and weather conditions, but I look forward to seeing them hopefully soon! 

My birthday is in 4 months...

just sayin'


Merry Christmas Y'all!


***
If you came to the party click this link once below
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***

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Joys of Toy Packaging

Hope all of you are enjoying your last twenty four hours before...
...the joys of opening toy packaging begins


Merry Christmas Mommies!

***

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thankful Thursdays Top Ten [#21]


In attempt to tell the Christmas Blues to take a hike I'm going to mediate on the specific things I've gotten stressed out over this last week by. Looking at the bright side of them instead. I encourage you to do the same.

Thankful This Week For:

1. Health
Myself, My husband, and my kids. I know a lot of people right now battling everything from the flu to cancer.

2. Comforts of Home
We're warm, fed and have plenty of things to entertain us. Although I've been mainly focusing on all the cleaning, organizing, unpacking and packing I have to do...I should be grateful for a) having things and b) the ability to travel and see family.

3. Christmas
Christ came for me. I've heard and read about all this Christmas stress, but I don't think it every really "hit" me personally until this year. I did most of my shopping already, but have been stressing over who is left and all the wrapping I haven't done. Not to mention all the Christmas activities I didn't participate in and or "withheld" from my children. I want them to experience all-things-holiday, but every year that's not a reality and I should be thankful they know about Christ in Christmas even if they don't get to make cookies all day with me.

4. Family & Friends
It's a lot of work to keep up with all of them, buy gifts for all of them, and do things for all of them, but I wouldn't be who I am without them. I'm so thankful for family and friends who give and deposit into my life. I often wonder if I'm stretched too thin in this area, but am always thankful for His grace to love on and receive love from more people than I think would be naturally possible.

5. My Tiny House
I feel like such a brat. Okay, I am. I am really missing that 1500 sq ft apartment that lacked all our stuff. Moving back into our 1000 sq ft has not only been a transition for us, but brought to the surface some bitterness in my heart. Why Charles? Why God? Honestly, I'm ashamed. Jesus thank you for your forgiveness as I have had a terrible attitude. I am so blessed. My house protects us from the weather, is beautiful, warm, has been faithful to us, and provides just enough room for us. 

It's not an abundance of room, but it's where we are and it's our own. There are plenty of people out there [like Jesus was] that didn't have a place to call theirs. My backyard has been wonderful to have back and I'm thankful for the warmer-than-Ohio weather for the kids to play with. I've been probably most stressed about the messes in this house this week. The kids stuff is everywhere instead of contained in our beloved Ohio playroom. I feel defeated and told my mom yesterday I was on cleaning strike until the kids fell asleep.

6. My Ability to Give
We have extra, and I want to do something meaningful for the Kingdom with it. I feel like in all the shopping and mess of the holidays I've forgotten to give Jesus something for HIS birthday. How awful to have a party for someone and buy a gift for everyone, but Him. I sorry Lord. Please show me someone, or something to give to that would be just like giving directly to you. I want to rid myself of materialism, selfishness and general greed.

7. Jesus
Not to be corny, but man am I glad He's always around to just listen to me, love me and take me back when I've been a brat. I regretly haven't spent as much time with him as I have been lately and it's shown itself in my attitude, words and deeds. I'm so thankful for the reminder that "Candra" isn't herself without Jesus time. So if you normally like me, it isn't me, it's the Lord. Believe me, you don't want to get to know the too-busy-for-Jesus-time Candra. Ask my kids & husband.

8. 2010
I'm thankful for a year of transition, repositioning, restoration, and repentance. I am thankful that although it had some very dark times, it had some very light times. I'm so thankful for the things God has taught me, refined in me, shown me, awaken in me. I'm having to continue to walk in forgiveness and repentance from bad decisions Charles and I have made this year. Thank you Lord for a wiser, more loving 2011.

9. All I Have To Do
How sad and pitiful to complain about "all these gifts I have to wrap" or "all these cards I have to sort through" or "all these parties and people I have to go to". I'm blessed. I'm so blessed to have the people and things in my life. So what if I have to work hard or do things, it could be a lot worse.

10. My Husband
I'm thankful for someone who loves me so genuinely and works hard too...not just at work..but at our marriage. I have really been in a funk these last few days I'm thankful that although I've been rude, unloving, and short a few times recently he's prayed...loved...and waited. Sometimes I don't know whats wrong and sometimes he can't do anything to "fix it", but he tries and I'm thankful he doesn't give up on me just because I'm hard sometimes.

***

Linking up at You Capture today

***

Every week I invite my friends in blogworld to join me in being thankful. 

[1] write a blog post with 10 things you're thankful for this week
[2] mention this blog post [hyperlink my blog and/or grab my button]
[3] use McLinky below by clicking on "Click here to enter"

You don't have to do it on Thursdays. You can do it any day of the week. Call it whatever you want. Be creative...use words, pictures, poems, etc. Come back throughout the week and read other's lists and make new friends.
Ask others to join too. 

Thanks for participating and being patient as "we" grow.





How To Lose Your Peace During Christmas

If you read yesterdays post on the headless bear, I'm beginning to wonder if there is a theme here? This is a picture of Solomon's closest-to-making-Christmas-cookies-with-me-this-year from my iPhone Christmas cookie app. [By the way I highly recommend this $1 app, it's awesome all year round.]

I either need a long list of "My life could be worse if..." or I need a long list of things I should be thankful for...because my attitude has become poor. We've had a few long and hard weeks recently finishing up the project in Ohio and I guess I expected my "break" prematurely and have had to put my big girl panties on concerning another long week for Charles here in Atlanta. 

Really...I don't have much to complain about, but I am really feeling the stressful and depressed emotions of this transition back from Ohio. We're living out of suitcases and stepping on and around Amazon boxes [that need to be wrapped], not to mention we will continue to stay in suitcases for another three weeks. 

I realize, we choose this, and seeing all our family will-be-worth it, but like having a new baby...the end of pregnancy isn't fun, but the baby was all worth it. That's how I feel, pregnant with Christmas cheer, but currently experiencing exhaustion, extra emotions, and stressful preparations for it's arrival.

After reading several "how to avoid this..." earlier this month and thought that would never happen to me...

I read this post yesterday and a] it had happen to me and b] I wasn't alone. So I'm here to tell you, if you are feeling like a bad mom because you didn't build a gingerbread house this year or you're feeling like a bad Christian because your quite time has been replaced with wrapping presents...may I offer some opposite advice...

How To Loose Your Peace During Christmas
1. don't sleep enough
2. don't eat good
3. drink too much caffeine
4. don't spend time with Jesus
5. move across states

[guilty of all of these this week...nevertheless...in attempt to redeem this Christmas season...my Thankful Thursday is up next]

***

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Black & White Wordless [#9]


Sometimes...

You wake up and find someone [who won't confess] has broken the head off the teddy bear alarm clock. I thought he was ugly anyways, but I just wish the kids would break his lower half off now [give them another week]. I'll post the bearless-alarm-clock soon I'm sure.

Either way, he still helps my kids stay in their rooms until 7am
[most days]

How do you keep your kids in bed?
Or am I the only one whose kids like to rise before the sun?

***

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