Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas

For any who may have missed it last year,
here's a fun rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Strong male vocals with a little 80's flavor tossed in for good measure....
you just can't go wrong with that!

and Merry Christmas!!

We're heading out of town today so things will be quiet around here for a little while...

I pray you all have a restful Christmas...
a peaceful Christmas...
a wonderful Christmas...
as you rejoice
and celebrate
and worship our risen King!


"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea,
to Bethlehem the town of David,
because he belonged to the house and line of David.
He went there to register with Mary,
who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
While they were there,
the time came for the baby to be born,
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified.
But the angel said to the them,

'Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David
a Savior has been born to you;
he is Christ the Lord.' "

Luke 2:4-11

Monday, December 21, 2009

1000 Gifts: December's blessings

As December swiftly races by, I pause to give thanks to the Father...
for His countless blessings,
for the outpouring of His love,
for His gifts that never cease.

daddy... finally home for good... after many weeks of travel

more snow than we have ever seen!

hills to sled. mountains to climb.

the generosity of my snow-covered boys, poured out on someone they didn't even know...
as they gave away one of their sleds because he didn't have one of his own

snow-packed streets. cars buried deep. shops closed tight. home-bound rest.

red faces. weary legs. radiant smiles. wonderful times.

hot cider. hot chocolate. peanut butter cookies. contentment.

one-year old hands, clasped tightly over eyes, as heads bow before mealtime for a prayer of heart-felt thanks

the Father's comfort... the Father's peace... the Father's faithfulness... every. single. time.

prayer warriors

I love you.

walks with my boys

games around the kitchen table, a movie before bed, daddy's homemade popcorn

family gathered 'round the computer.
voices raised in chorus.
Christmas hymns and songs of joy...
our church service via the internet.

a community of neighbors-- working together-- to dig out each other's cars, to scrape each other's driveways, to clear each other's steps... the selflessness of others... love in action

color amidst the gray

a reason to celebrate... His wondrous birth

the fulfillment of the Scriptures. God's Gift to mankind. Jesus, the Truth that sets men free.

and His life-giving Words:

"I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life."

John 8:12

Merry Christmas!
May His peace fill you beyond measure this holiday season~

holy experience

and the list continues...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chick & Ruth's

This is Chick & Ruth's.

It's a hot-spot in downtown Annapolis...
a must-visit sort of establishment if ever you're in the area.
It's long been a favorite in my husband's family,
and now it's a favorite amongst the younger generation, as well.

Here's why:

It all started weeks ago,
before we even knew we'd be attending the swim meet at the Academy,
during an episode of Bub's and Noh-man's favorite television program,
Man vs. Food
(for those who are unfamiliar with this program, here's the deal--
Adam Richman, the host, travels all over the U.S. from one restaurant to the next,
seeking meals that stretch him to the limit,
that challenge him to his very core,
that serve up more calories from beginning to end than any normal human
should ever consider consuming at one single sitting).
At the time, Richman was broadcasting out of Chick & Ruth's
as he struggled to conquer the Colossal Challenge--
a 1.5 lb sandwich accompanied by a colossal milk shake.

Boys' note to self: we must try this this soon!

So last Saturday,
as bellies began to grumble and big people started to think about breakfast,
Bub loudly voiced his request (could there be any other?!).
And when Poppa (Chris's dad) confirmed his suggestion,
it was a done deal.

Now as a quick disclaimer let me just say this:
normally my children don't consume 1.5 lb sandwiches,
and normally we don't gulp down colossal milkshakes
(we do, however, very frequently treat oursleves to much smaller ones :).

But this was a special event,
and the ice cream lovers in the family simply refused to let it pass.

So we bypassed the sandwich.
And Bub ordered up the colossal six-pound chocolate milkshake instead.

You read that correctly.


Have a peak:

Determined to not let any go to waste,
we passed around the straws,

and we passed around the glass,

and would you believe,

we drank every last sip??

We did :)

So when can we go back for another??

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Do you see WHO I see?

Yep. That's Michael Phelps...
the fastest swimmer in the world.
He was there, too.

One little word...


Wonderfully surreal.

Monday, December 14, 2009

1000 Gifts: The Christmas Invitational

North Baltimore Aquatic Club's Annual Christmas Invitational
December 11-13, 2009
The United States Naval Academy
Annapolis, Maryland

It was a blast.
A rip-roaring good time.
A family thang~
And a weekend of extraordinary accomplishments.

Just one more adventure,
punctuated by the LORD's blessing and the outpouring of His mighty hand~

"I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders."

Psalm 9:1

So this morning, with a heart full of wonder,
I give thanks...

a selection, an invitation, a most generous offer to attend this prestigious event...
and the team of coaches who believed in my boys enough to extend it

weeks, nay months, of training and the privilege of competing

teammates who encourage, who push, who cheer... who drive one another to excellence

teammates who play, who laugh, who congratulate, who accept

a weekend of spectacular accomplishments, almost too numerous to count

Noh-man, my very favorite 8-year old in the whole wide world
(swimming in the 10 & under age bracket)...
  • was the only 8 year old boy to compete at the meet
  • swam 9 separate events... swam 8 personal bests
  • swam in the finals round three times (for having one of the top 8 times)... out of 45-60 swimmers per event
  • smashed 2 more team records... in the 200 IM and the 100 fly... by over 14 and 11 seconds respectively!
  • made an age-group qualifying cut for the 9-10 age bracket
  • placed nationally in the 100 yd butterfly-- he's now ranked 7th in the country amongst 8-year old boys
  • made this mama prouder than a peacock!

Bub, my very favorite 11-year old in the whole wide world
(competing in the 11-12 age bracket):
  • was the youngest 11 year-old on his team to compete
  • swam 9 solid races with 5 personal bests (including 2 shatterings of his previous results)
  • firmly nestled himself atop the 11-year old pecking order by once again finishing first amongst his competitors
  • courageously proclaimed the gospel of Christ to all who cared to hear... by boldly tattooing (in marker!) John 3:16 on his shoulder... by sharing our true Hope, our true Light, this Christmas season
  • made this mama prouder than a peacock!

their love of the sport

the love of grandparents-- 4 wonderful grandparents...
who traveled many miles and sacrificed much to support & encourage their grand-kiddos

a favorite coach, her never-ending support, lots of hugs & high-fives... her care for my boys

a weekend rich... with memories that will last forever

the outpouring of God's favor... His wonders never cease!

holy experience

and the list continues...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Monticello

(Weeks ago, after wrapping up our studies on Thomas Jefferson,
we paid a visit to his amazing plantation home,
and while there we caught a glimpse of life altogether contrary
to what we know & experience today.
We learned a ton, we had a blast, and yet somehow or other,
I completely forgot to post any photos of our day.
So... after this not-so-wordless rambling, I think I'll share a few of them now,
allbeit many, many weeks late :)


Charlottesville, Virginia

p.s. If Monticello is somewhere on your radar screen, please go...
it is so, so, so worth the visit!!