Archive for December, 2008

Let’s Just See Here if This Thingamajig Can Post Purty Pictures…

that’s the lamest title of all time…but it was in my head. 

And we all know that if it’s in my head, it has to come out. And sometimes it just avoids the filtering process. 

But I no longer get embarrassed about such things. I have no pride. 

If you are on Facebook, you’ve seen these. But if not, here are a few pics from the recent Christmas festivities.

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Molly is investigating her new Polly Pocket set, courtesy of sweet Jenni and the girls. She LOVES her some Polly. We call her Molly Mocket, but she hates that. 

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This was one of the funniest things I’ve EVER seen. It’s a snack bowl that plays the Fox Football theme and the lid opens when you push the button. Then when the music stops, the lid closes back. So you have to eat fast!! 

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I really am not creative enough to convey how funny this gift is to my family. 

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Here are the 6 Coon grandkids. And my dad, aka “G”. They were playing with the electric train set, while Nonna got breakfast ready. We love Christmas eve at the Coon house. 

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Instead of a bunch of stuff, we all got a Wii! The kids were so excited. Now if we could just keep Molly from crying every time she loses a game…

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Paiz got a tricycle on Christmas morning. I am so happy about it, because of the adult handle on the back. She also got a phone, so she can talk to her peeps while Mom pushes her around. 

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Molly had a great Christmas morning…but the minute she saw these pjs, she stripped down and changed. And now she can’t take a picture like a regular person. 

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Aidan got a space shuttle set. It’s really a pretty realistic looking toy. And he’s definitely “over the moon” with it.

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And this last one is from Photobooth on my new laptop. Aidan’s working the fish face, and Molly’s got her brooding look on. But I think it’s cool anyway.

There are so many more pics…but nobody wants to look at the aftermath of Christmas in the living room. 

So now…we’re working hard to get the house ready to sell. We have about 7 months to try to sell it and find another. If you read this, would you please say a short prayer that it will sell? I’ll just homeschool Aidan if it doesn’t sell by August, but I really don’t feel led to do that right now. I’m okay with it though, if I have to. But he’s such a social child, he really would excel in the classroom. Anyway…too much information. But please pray about my house. We’ve loved living here. But we put a contract on it right before we found out we were having three kids. We’re a bit crowded, plus we need to be in a good district. 

I can tell my mind is working faster than my fingers again…I’m just blabbing on and on…

Michael and I are working on some resolutions. When I get my list done, I’ll post them. The only one that’s for sure is that we are putting up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving next year. Pretty mild for a resolution. Surely I come up with something a little more demanding of myself. 

But not tonight!

December 29, 2008 at 5:56 am 1 comment

I Have No Idea What I’m Doing…

but I’m doing it! 

I’m the proud owner of a brand spankin’ new Macbook. It’s silver, and very thin. That’s all I can tell you at this point. 

I have to move all the other stuff onto this here doodad, hopefully that will come soon. We’re talking 5 years of pictures!

I almost had to ask for a paper bag to breathe in when we made the purchase. We both view a computer as a household necessity, like a washer and dryer. 

But I am the cheapest person alive, and I panic if I spend over $30 on an article of clothing that I know I’ll keep for 10 years. 

But now that I’m actually typing, and not just pointing and clicking on stuff I don’t understand…I’m warming up to the little guy. 

Michael just told me he walked past the old computer and its feelings are hurt. He said that it felt like Woody when Buzz Lightyear came on the scene. 

A funny engineer. There’s a rare breed. 

I’m going to play some more, so I can give you more than just words. 

tata!

December 27, 2008 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

So My Heart Grew 3 Sizes Bigger That Day…

I admit to being a grinch this year.

I had a rough month. There were so many wonderful, bright moments, but for the most part, I was in a bad mood.

But yesterday, Christmas Eve, I read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to my nephew, Max. He could have read it to me, he knows it by heart.

I realized, I have not ever read that book.

Oh. My. Gracious.

I haven’t even seen the movie. My dad watches “Jingle All The Way” every year, but the Grinch is only every now and then.

So I got to the part where the Grinch has his epiphane, and I lost it.

Crocodile tears, right there in my plate of mexican stack up (the Christmas eve lunch of champions) while Max recited the book in my lap.

My heart was 2 sizes too small.

Forgive me.

I’ve learned a lot writing about these free gifts. I’ve learned to pay attention to the giving of them and the receiving. My heart is better because of what God taught me through them.

But I don’t think I really caught onto the Christmas spirit this year until Dr. Seuss so gently pointed it out to me what it takes.

My heart had to change.

And change it did, but I’m not going to tell you how. That’s just for me.

So let me just say Merry Christmas, all 33 minutes left of it.

I love my family. I love playing dirty santa with those crazy people. I love laughing so hard I want to cry. I said a word I never thought I’d say in front of my grandmother, and it really cracked me up. I love that overly warm, crowded house with all of those quirky, hilarious, loving, Godly people crammed in there with more food than anyone could ever eat in a week.

I love Christmas eve. I love the day at mom and dad’s house. I love the safety of that home. There is so much love. I love watching my dad wrestle with the grandkids and say things like, “well, over here, Paiz can do whatever she wants!” Oh, he kills me with his permissiveness. I love knowing my children are in their second favorite place with their favorite people. I love that we eat non-holiday food. We used to go out for breakfast, then see a movie. Now we just hang out in our yuck clothes and no makeup all day. And yesterday we added the Wii to the festivities. I never knew I loved Ping Pong so much.

Then late last night, my Michael gave me my present. A little piece of folded up paper with a drawing on it.

A laptop with the word MAC on the screen.

Oh! Happy! Day!

You see, my computer is older than Aidan. It’s a dinosaur. The monitor is the size of a SmartCar. It has already crashed once and we managed to recover. It’s showing signs of doing that again. And I haven’t been able to add pictures to the blog in I don’t know how long.

For this reason alone…let’s get a new one!

So tomorrow, I’m going to get my Macbook. It’s easily the nicest gift I’ve ever been given, next to my engagement ring. I’m so thankful. So, so thankful.

Today we had a wonderful morning. The kids had the biggest Christmas they’ve ever had. Paisley got a pink Radio Flyer trike, and a bunch of baby doll accessories. Molly got some Groovy Girls and Hannah Montana pjs and a tshirt. She got books, puzzles, games, a pink and purple lava lamp and a Tinkerbell storybook pillow. Aidan got a rocket set, the ENTIRE Gorilla Mountain Imaginext set, more Geotrax, a cool tshirt, books, puzzles, games, movies.

And we never went to Toys R Us one time. I’m so proud of that fact.

Michael’s parents came here for the afternoon, which meant a whole day at home. That was a blessing as well.

So there’s my holiday recap. Hopefully after tomorrow, I’ll have pictures as well.

And my final free gift (don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming…)
That precious baby born so long ago. I don’t want to make it a perfect picture. I don’t think it was a clear night with calm animals and sweet smelling hay. I don’t think Mary and Joseph had it easy by any sense of the word. I think it stunk, and the animals were loud. I think Mary had an awful labor. They’re all awful, right? It was dirty and dark. Possibly the most humble beginning possible for a perfect person to be born.

Then he lived. He taught love and forgiveness. He taught wisdom and truth. He IS truth. He was kind. He loved children. He healed sick people in body and soul. But his life was humble, too. He didn’t have any luxuries. He trusted God to provide for him every day. For a perfect person, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.

Then he died. And it was more degrading and humiliating than the birth or the life. Humble could never describe it. He was killed, while innocent, and all for one reason.

Love.

God loves us so much. More than a person could ever be capable of loving.
And he sent his son away from him to have to endure this thing we call life. All because he wanted to put everything we have done and ever will do wrong on him. Jesus took every bad thing on himself. And God allowed it, because he knew that Jesus’ home was in heaven.

And I’m so glad mine is too. I believe Jesus is who he says he is. I believe God loves me that much. I don’t understand or deserve any of it. But I believe it. I need to believe it. It’s my hope.

I pray you have hope this year. I pray that God’s love for you will be the greatest free gift you’ll ever receive. I pray that you trust that it’s true. He’ll show you that it is.

Merry Christmas. May God’s love be so real to you this year that you can’t do anything but embrace it with your whole life.

December 26, 2008 at 5:57 am 3 comments

Application

So…I’ve been doing the free gifts series. My first series…awww.

The thing is, the more I write, the more I’m challenged to do these things I so confidently state that we should do.

Today alone…I’ve been required to be kind. To be understanding (this was a big stretch for me). I’ve laughed with friends. I’ve had to put others first, namely my kids, which sometimes is hard for me, because they’re so demanding anyway. The only thing I haven’t needed or given is free babysitting, hold on, actually…Michael’s mom came over, I went to Walmart. There you go.

So…I’m learning that God is working on me through this little series of blabber. I think he wants me to put my money where my mouth is.

Here’s a dose of some of the humor the kids have given to me…

Molly: Why don’t we have gifts under the tree? Everyone else does!
Michael: Because we know you’ll tear them up.
Molly: I promise I won’t touch them.
Michael: What about you, Aidan?
Aidan: Dad, I just can’t say what I would do. I’m not making promises.

The kid is honest to a fault. He can’t just look like me, he has to BE just like me too!

Oh, and here’s another gift…free from me:
Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie (Michael’s favorite ever)

2 sticks butter, melted
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pecans
1 cup milk chocolate chips

beat eggs till foamy (I use my stand mixer, and it’s so easy-breezy). Add flour and sugars. Add melted butter and continue mixing till creamy. Stir in pecans and  chocolate. Pour in unbaked pie shell and bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees.

It tastes like a big chocolate chip cookie with pecans. Yummy.

But as far as day 6 goes, the gift for today is a big, old, squishy bear hug.

I don’t have to explain the merits of hugs, or any affectionate touch. We are  created with a need to be touched. My kids count on me to hug them throughout the day. Michael knows I love him when I just pat him on the back. To him, that says more than words.

So I’ve had to give gifts today. I’ve also received quite a few.

It’s interesting…when I start viewing these little things as gifts, I begin to realize how completely blessed I am. I receive a great number of gifts daily. That means the people I love are a gift to me, just by being who they are.

Tomorrow night is Christmas at my grandparents’ house. I love it. It’s 25 or so people crammed in a living room with the thermostat on a cool 82 degrees. Most of the younger generation wears shorts and tshirts and we exchange dirty santa gifts. Last year I got a great little fake hair thing.

I just had a wonderful idea about what to wear tomorrow night.

So let’s get these holidays crankin’.

Mucho love-o.

December 23, 2008 at 4:19 am 1 comment

Day 5&6…You Are Always On My Mind

Don’t you love Willie Nelson on this song? I mean, he has such a great sound, and this song makes me smile.

But that’s not the point.

I was polling my family today at lunch to get free gift ideas. My mom mentioned that it’s a gift to someone when you think about them. When you ask about how they’re doing. When you show genuine concern for what’s going on with them.

I’m pretty certain that this is a gift nobody gives often enough.

I can be so selfish. I want to be the type of person who thinks of others all the time. I get caught up in my little world and all the activity of my life that I forget that others are possibly struggling or suffering, lonely or lost.

Michael is one of the only people I’ve ever known who gives this gift freely. He is constantly asking people what’s going on with them, and takes the time to hear the answer. I’ve found notes he has written to remind him to pray for others. He means it when he says, “how are you?”

At our wedding, we had a LOT of people to say hello to at the reception. Being a minister’s kid who had grown up in that church, I knew how to hug, say, “Thanks for coming! I’m so glad to see you!” and move on. Michael, however, stopped and had a 5 minutes conversation with everyone he saw. He asked about jobs, health, family. I was already in the reception room while he was still in the hall, having a heart to heart.

I picked on him for years about this. But I know that he has a rare gift of putting others first.

I wish I could be more like him when I grow up.

When I think of ways to give this gift, these come to mind:
a note in the mail. I know it’s not free, you have to buy the stamp, but it’s less than half of a dollar.
A phone call. We email and text our fingers off, but when was the last time you called someone to check on them?
An invitation to something someone else would like. This one sounds weird, but I think a way to show someone that you are thinking about them is to ask them to go do something they’d like to do. If you have a friend who LOVES sushi, ask them to go eat one night. Spend time with them, and listen to their hearts.

I know I need to be reminded daily that life is not about me. Jesus was the perfect example of that. He preached when he was tired. He healed when he just wanted to be alone. He put others first and gave up all of his “me” time for the needs of others.

At Christmastime, we are surrounded by friends and family. If you want to give a gift that costs you nothing, sit down with an aunt you never talk to and find out what’s going on with them. Show someone you love, but may not know well, that you care about them.

I can only assume you would be the one receiving the gift in the end.

December 22, 2008 at 3:45 am Leave a comment

Day 4: It worked for the Indians

It’s late, and I have to finish shopping tomorrow. I’ve pondered all day about my fourth free gift.

And instead of writing my brilliant idea that magically appeared in my brain…I spent the day wrangling my children who just partied a bit too hard at school today. I said “don’t”, and they did. I said “stop” and they must have thought I meant “go”.

By nine o’clock, I was exhausted.

But we said we would watch the Bourne Identity while we addressed Christmas cards, and so we did.

Oh, and I got the date wrong…today is the 10 year anniversary of our engagement. We addressed envelopes in our flannel pjs. How romantic. At least we haven’t argued.

ANYWAY…back to the free gift.

So my kids made me crazy, and I really longed for time with Michael to celebrate the beginning of our permanent commitment, and we didn’t get it. It hit me about an hour ago what gift would be perfecto for today.

Free babysitting.

I’m not kidding. I know that’s not all character-building, but for goodness sakes, I’m tired.

So, I making the suggestion that you find a couple that you like and trust, and work out a swap arrangement for date nights. It’s free (if you don’t go eat or see a movie or shop).

Free childcare. May your days be merry and bright. Have a holly jolly Christmas.

Just thinking about going out with no kids makes me sing Christmas songs in my head.

I need sleep.

*if you’re wondering what the indians have to do with it…it was a sad attempt to be witty on my part. The indians traded for everything, they had no currency to use. But it’s after midnight, and I don’t want to replace the title.

December 20, 2008 at 6:32 am 1 comment

Day 3: Understanding

Today I flushed my phone down the toilet.

I was in our church gym, and the bathrooms there have this really powerful flush, and swoosh, there it went. I’ll never put a phone in my back pocket again.

I was afraid Michael would be mad. Instead, he laughed and said, “I know you need a new phone, but isn’t this going to extremes to get one?”

Like I would ever do that on purpose! (wink!)

His understanding of the situation is a gift to me. I appreciate that he has a sense of humor about most predicaments. I try to return the gift and give the same understanding about working late, or playing golf, or fantasy football. Those are things he has to do, or really enjoys. I understand that about him. I understand when he hangs out with Aidan and they mess up his room, it’s part of their bonding. I’m down with that.

I love it when a friend says, “That’s who you are”, or “I totally understand that about you”. It means a lot when someone really has taken the time and energy to fully comprehend what I’m all about. When conclusions are drawn, or if I’m misunderstood, that’s a friendship barrier to me.

Understanding means you have to listen. You have to really hear what someone is saying to fully understand them. It also means to think outside of your own little box, and try to understand where they’re coming from. I struggle with this. I admit, I have a hard time being the friend I should be when I don’t understand someone’s actions. I’ve prayed that God will work this out in my heart. It’s so easy for me to love people, but hard for me to understand them at the same time.

One gift (love) is good, two (love and understanding), is that much better.

Today is the tenth anniversary of the day Michael and I got engaged. We just had a conversation that was full of misunderstanding. I don’t think I fully understood what he was saying and vice versa. The love is there, but the understanding comes and goes.

But I’m still glad he asked me to marry him 10 years ago. And I hope he’s glad I said yes, even when we have difficulty understanding each other.

So listen well, and accept things that you may not agree with, and you will give the gift of understanding, possibly to someone who really needs it.

December 19, 2008 at 5:01 am 1 comment

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