Saturday, February 13, 2010

A barking fish??

I mentioned before that I had the opportunity to direct our kids choir at church for a special Christmas Eve presentation they did in our service that night. I think I also mentioned that they stole my heart. I knew I was hooked.

On Wednesday, I announced to them that we would be doing a summer musical (eeeeeeeeee!!!!!!) called Under God's Sea in 3D. I introduced the first song this week, Joyful Noise, which talks all about how the creatures of the sea praise the Lord.

I'm a firm believer in understanding what you're singing about, and it seemed pretty logical to me that elementary school kids probably couldn't explain how a seahorse could possibly praise the Lord. And honestly, I'm not sure that I had ever really thought about it before Wednesday.

So I started reading in the Psalms, and came across Psalm 69:34, where it says "Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them." Bingo!

But still I knew they would wonder HOW. So I asked them if they'd ever seen a fish jump out of the water and start barking and running around. They laughed. :) God made fish to swim and He made dogs to bark. And when God's creation does what He created it to do, He is praised.

God created us to love Him. To know Him. To serve and obey Him. And when we do what He created us to do, He is praised.

What a simple yet profound lesson for these sweet kids (and us!) to learn. I always knew creation glorified God simply because He created it, but to think that with every wiggle of its tail a fish praises the Lord is such an amazing thing.

I want my life to be that way. With every word, every movement, every thought ... praising my Creator by being who He created me to be.

Bloggy Catch-Up ~ July '09 to January '10

I know I said I wasn't going to put pressure on myself to blog every single thing, but I do want to fill in the gaps just a little bit. I did take a SEVEN month break! So here goes...

Shane went to Africa in July, and while he was there Nana and Papa came out to Texas! They arrived on July 4th and we spent the evening at one of our local festivals eating lots of yummy food, playing games and watching fireworks. The kids absolutely LOVE spending time with them.


While they were here Nana took Kallie to the American Girl store and bought her a doll for her birthday (which wasn't until September, but it was a good excuse to go!) Kallie loves her doll, Kit. Nana has since made them lots of matching clothes.


Here's Papa and Luke at the Rainforest Cafe.


A few weeks after they left, we packed up and headed to Florida for vacation! God has been so good to us, and even though we are what seems like a million miles away from our families, we seem to get to see them enough to have wonderful memories and sweet relationships. We got to spend lots of time with cousins, and I'm so thankful that my kids get to enjoy them a few times a year! Hannah and Charis are such sweet girls and we love watching them grow.


The kids enjoyed the beach of course! We couldn't ask for a better place to visit. Nana and Papa's house is so much fun! Grammy and Pops spoil them too.


But I would definitely say that the highlight of our vacation was getting to spend a whole week at Disney!!!!! We usually just go visit family when we're on vacation, and while that is wonderful, we never go anywhere just-the-five-of-us. We just hate wasting time that we could spend with family. But this year we decided it was definitely time. And it was AMAZING. We totally wore ourselves out, but it was sooooooo worth it. We did everything - all the parks, character meals, extra magic hours, parades, fireworks, a Disney resort ... it really was a magical vacation.

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As soon as we got back from Florida it was time for school to start! This year Seth started 3rd grade and Kallie started kindergarten. I can't believe we have two kids in school! We all walked to school together on the first day. They were both so excited, but especially Kallie. We could tell she was really going to love it, and we were right. Her birthday is September 16th, so she is one of the oldest in her class. She waited such a long time for this day!


Kallie celebrated her 6th birthday in September, and we had a little after-school surprise party for her. She is such a joy. I remember the day we found out we were having a little girl. I was so incredibly happy and overwhelmed with excitement. Kallie has a huge heart, a sweet smile, a silly laugh, and a childlike innocence about her that is just precious. She is not into 'things', she doesn't care if the plans change, she doesn't really care what anyone thinks, she just wants to love and to be loved. And she wants to enjoy everything in the process.



She started ballet this year and really seems to be enjoying it. We had made it an entire year without a broken arm and decided it was safe to try something a little active. We also hoped that it would encourage a little grace and coordination, because boy does she need some of that!


Seth picked up a new activity as well and started flag football. Daddy helped out with a little of the coaching. The 'Texas Tornadoes' didn't exactly pull off a ton of wins, but they definitely had fun and didn't stress about it. Seth thinks he'd like to play football again next year. Daddy thinks he may have the skills to be a decent quarterback ... we'll see!   


Luke started preschool again, and this year he's in Mrs. Brenda's 3-year-old class. Luke absolutely loves the social interaction and we feel very blessed to have such a wonderful school he can enjoy while Mommy gets a little work done!


October was a fun month for us! Of course the kids love pumpkins, dressing up, and our church's Trunk-or-Treat. And I loved leading our ladies retreat where we learned about how we are treasured to God!




We spent Thanksgiving with sweet friends and even cooked all of the food ourselves! And over the break Shane tiled our entryway and did a fabulous job. Now if we could only get to work on the other 999 jobs on our home improvement to-do list.


Christmas was absolutely wonderful! We had our Christmas Eve service at church, and one of the highlights for me was getting to direct our kids choir. Seth read part of the Christmas story and Kallie sang a little solo. Those kids captured my heart. I loved every second of it. As soon as the service was over we hopped in the car to head to Florida! It snowed in Texas on Christmas Eve and getting out of town was a little more hazardous than expected, but we made it! The kids opened presents at our house that morning and then had about 4 more Christmases in Florida with family. I don't think they even know that Christmas is just one single day. It lasted about a week for us!




Papa is the best Santa EVER! And I don't think any of the kids cried this year.


The Taylor/Johns talent show has become an annual event. I wish I could say that the quality of this event is going up every year, but alas, it is not. Fun? Yes. Well-rehearsed? Not so much. The "matching" Christmas pajamas are less-and-less matching every year too. Oh well, we loved every second of it all!



I think the highlight of the trip for Shane and Seth was getting to go see FSU in the Gator Bowl. It was Bobby Bowden's last game and Seth's first college game. I think he is hooked.


While the boys were at the game, the rest of the family scattered in a bunch of different directions leaving Mom and me at home with Kallie and Luke. We decided we weren't going to just sit around, and so on New Year's Eve we spontaneously decided to drive to Orlando and spend New Year's Day at Disney World! We both love adventure and how can you go wrong with Disney?! Luckily, the park was pretty empty and we walked right onto most of the rides.

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Whew, I guess that's one way to blog...cramming 7 months into one post! Life is so full. It's not without its challenges and struggles, and actually it's pretty crazy and exhausting at times, but we've learned that time spent loving on our family is time we'll never regret. The Lord is good, and we are so grateful for His blessings.

Friday, February 12, 2010

TWELVE-AND-A-HALF inches !!!

Can you believe we got that much snow in Texas? I grew up with snow. We lived in Florida but went skiing every year. My kids, on the other hand, haven't seen a significant snowfall since they were very little. (Actually, Luke has never seen it now that I think about it!) Needless to say, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We were a little unprepared in the snow gear department. Kallie had on a raincoat. Seth wrapped a bandana around his head. Luke wore my mittens. But they didn't care. They played with the neighbors for hours. Luke would come in periodically, hand me his gloves (which meant he wanted me to put them in the dryer) and then he'd run into the bathroom and run his hands under warm sink water. kidsinthesnow

School was canceled today and Kallie was devastated. She loves school, especially when there's a party, and today was going to be their Valentine's party. She keeps asking me if there's school tomorrow, and I don't have the heart to tell her she has three more days at home.

Kallie had some bloodwork done on Wednesday. She's been unusually tired lately with lots of sore throats and tummy aches. The tests all came back normal. I think 35 hours a week of kindergarten is just a lot for a little girl. We may have to push bedtime up a little for her body to keep up. Kallie was showing Luke the little dot on her arm where they took her blood and he said, "Kallie, I like your bloodwork!" Sweet Luke. He is complimenting everything these days. Mommy, I like your hair...Mommy, I like your feet...Mommy, I like your house. Tonight he asked for the book, "Guess How Much I Love You" at bedtime. He has been especially mushy-gushy lately and I love it.

Well, I'm not totally sure how I'm going to do with keeping up with this blog, but I think I'm just going to give myself permission to not be perfect about it. To not have to include every picture, every story, and every event. We'll just see how that works!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Back from a looooooong bloggy break...

Maybe. I've said before that blogging and I have a love/hate relationship. I absolutely love to go back and read the posts I've written. I love that my parents and other friends who are far, far away can see what's going on in our lives. But it's so blasted hard to keep up with this thing! I think I'm going to give it another attempt though. So if you're reading this, maybe you should leave me a note of encouragement in the comments. Yes, I'm shamelessly asking you to beg me to start blogging again.