Monday, December 29, 2008

New Years Resolutions

So, it's that time of year again when we look forward to a new year. Most people look upon the new year as a chance for a clean slate. An opportunity to start over and get some things right that we struggled with in the past. Unfortunately, many people make a resolution and like myself, it is shallow and we quickly give up on it when we don't see the results we desire in a timely manner or when we don't get the satisfaction out of it we hoped we would.

I want my "resolution" this year to be something of substance. I, of course, have plans to take better care of this body God provided me with but, that has more to do with all the holiday gluttony over the past couple months than the fact that a numerical change is ahead.
Last year I received an e-mail that had a resolution worth keeping. At the time I wasn't in a place where I could recognize the importance of it. I printed it out and stuffed it in a drawer and recently it called my name. It's amazing that it survived the move!

So, here it goes...

I will put my time with the Lord before the TV, the radio and even before good Christian books, for my children will know my priorities by the way they see me spend my free time.

I will make prayer requests known before God and my children, enlisting their help in the process and informing them of the outcome, for by letting them help when I petition our Lord they will learn of a living God who still answers prayer.

When times of crisis, conflict or confusion arise, I will hit my knees before I hit the phone knowing that by my example my children will discover that although friends are important, God alone is the one who holds the solution to life's every problem.

I will erase the words "luck" and "lucky" from my vocabulary and will instead by my speech point my children toward the One who orchestrates every detail of our lives and brings all good things to pass, for by this my children will learn of an omniscient God.

When bad things happen, I'll neither grumble nor complain, but will instead help my children see that in the scope of our lives even the bad times are allowed for a reason, for by this my children will learn quiet trust in their Maker.

When normal childhood mishaps occur, I will remember that although difficult, it is still easier to remove grape juice from off white carpet than to erase harsh and unloving words hurled at a child whose chubby little fingers have failed her, for by this my children will see a God who understands when our best efforts fall short.

When my children have witnessed something ugly in me - unkind words, an angry temper, "harmless" gossip, biting sarcasm or even my infamous "mommy pout" when things don't go my way - I will confess it as sin before them seeking their forgiveness, for by this my children will develop the much needed habit of wiping their spiritual slate clean before God and man.

I will teach my children the importance of cleanliness and order while at the same time remain sensitive to the fact that a skinned knee or hurt feeling is more crucial than a spotless floor or uncluttered counter, for by this my children will learn to value people above things.

I will make time for the lonely, the sick, the elderly, the difficult to love, and will bring my children along, for with each afternoon visit, each ride to the doctor, each raked lawn or washed window they will have the opportunity to serve Jesus by serving the "least of these".

I will make our home a haven of rest and retreat from the outside world and a welcomed place for my children's friends, for with each impromptu backyard soccer game, each video viewed on a rainy day, each cup of hot cocoa or chocolate chip cookie, my children will have the opportunity to practice the art of Christian hospitality thereby learning to share all God has given them.

I will by my actions and speech let my children see a mom love their dad, for by this will my children sense family stability at a time when marriages all around them are crumbling.

I will not require of my children obedience, honesty, patience or kindness without first being willing to submit to the same rules whether in speed limit, in miscounted change from the store or when answering a toddler for the fourteenth time, for by this my children will see a mother who is also learning and not a perfect parent to whom they'll never measure up.

In all things will I remember that more is caught than is taught.

Truthfully, I was not so sure I wanted to share all this with you because now I have some accountability. I KNOW that I will fail at times but I really want to try and be the best child of God I can be this year. Some of those I got down, others...not so much. To be honest some seem really, really difficult but then I read the line about what important lessons my children will learn, it doesn't seem as difficult. As a Mother or Father our greatest mission field is our children. All I really want out of this life is that they all come to know Him and follow Him all the days of their life. Everything else is just gravy.

On a side note...this should not only apply to us as parents. It's not just our children who are watching is it? There is a whole world of non-believers out there who have been let down by what they've seen from us "Christians". Imagine the impact God could make on them if they saw us behave in this manner! Now go back and read it again only this time every time it says "my children" replace it with "this world".

So what are your new years resolutions? Are they worth keeping, worth the effort? I think this one is. Nothing worth doing was ever easy and this one seems worth doing and definitely NOT easy.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pittsburgh at Tennessee

Kick off!

My man Hines Ward!


TOUCHDOWN PITTSBURGH!





This one's for you Ann!

Last week Steve got to attend his first ever NFL regulation game. His two favorite teams were playing. Truthfully, we were pulling for the Steelers but they were not on top of their game and it was a disappointing loss but the silver lining is that now the two will meet up again in the playoffs here in Nashville. That morning after Steve left, the kids and I, along with Grammy and Pap, headed to Cracker Barrel for breakfast all decked out in our black and gold. Wes wore his Willie Parker jersey and Bailee was in her cheerleading outfit while I sported my Big Ben shirt. We were pleasantly surprised to find several Pittsburgh fans also there and we greeted each other. Steve had an awesome time, thanks to Harold, he scored some awesome seats on the 50 yard line on club level! Thanks Harold! Next time Tennessee won't be so lucky.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

From Me to You

Merry Christmas from all of us. Here's some cookies I made for all of you. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Catching Snow Flakes


We had some ice fog last night(don't ask me what that is) and when we woke this morning the trees outside look like they were made of crystal. As the temperature climbed the trees began to "shed". Joshua decided to see what it tasted like...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stress

About 36 hours ago I was peaceful and blissful. I was discussing with my friend Ann how stressful the holidays can be for "some" people and how ironic that is. It is, after all, supposed to be a time to reflect on the year and Christ's birth, spend some quality time with the fam and just relax and enjoy the pretty sparkly lights and eat some medicinal pie...right? I was sitting back revelling in the fact that I had a quiet Christmas planned this year and laughing at all the poor shlubs who were wearing themselves out shopping and cooking and entertaining.

I'm not laughing anymore! At about 11pm last night it all began to sink in. By 6am this morning I had formed a list of things to do that would make Santa tired. How did this happen?!! Steve and I were up until midnight discussing all the details of this Christmas. Literally, almost every minute is scheduled out. At one point we both stopped and looked at each other and decided that next year we are outta here! We are hightailing it outta town. We are literally going to RUN away from Christmas next year.

Isn't it so stupid? Did you know that Christmas is when heart attacks and suicide rates are at their highest? Why? I don't think this is what God had in mind. How do we as Christian's refocus and quiet ourselves? How do we avoid the chaos? I'm all for decorating(clearly), baking, gifting, etc but how do we avoid all the other "stuff"? Maybe by next year I'll have the answers to those questions and I can have the peaceful Christmas I long for.

Well, I gotta go...fast!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Parade





Today was the Christmas Parade. The Kimmel's and us went down and found a nice cozy spot right in front of Starbucks (I'm a genius I know). Steve was riding in the new engine this year that was carrying the man himself, Santa! We opted out of riding in the truck so we could collect as much candy as much as possible. This year Darth Vader and the cast of Star Wars were there. When the boys spotted them in the distance you would have thought that some major rockstar was headed our way. It was so fun. Cold, but fun.

Buddy the Elf Day

Thursday is National Buddy the Elf day. This means that whenever you answer your phone you need to answer it "Buddy the Elf. What's your favorite color?" I'm so stoked about this I cannot tell you. You know I'm totally gonna be into this. Here's a few clips from MY favorite christmas movie. Merry Christmas!



Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Christmas Tree






I love my christmas tree this year. This is my fancy living room tree. It makes me so happy just to sit and look at it. I have a family tree upstairs in the family room and it's loaded with all kinds of hand crafted ornaments that my children made over the years and some sentimental ones that I've collected. But my downstairs tree is so "grown-up" with all it's silver and aqua blue ornaments. I thought I'd show you all, mostly because I wanted an excuse to take some pics with my new camera.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Restless...

These past few weeks have brought alot of difficult situations into my life. With the poor economy a few of my family members have lost their jobs and my Father suffered another heart attack. That has been more painful than I expected. Occasionally it hits me right between the eyes and I am overwhelmed with emotion. I know that I won't have much more time with him and the distance doesn't help the situation.

My head has been so full of thoughts and worries and my heart has been so heavy. I've felt emotionally absent from my family from time to time. All this seems compounded by the holidays. I've always felt the pressure to be happy, bubbly Aly and during the holidays I seem to feel even more so that way. But somehow this year I can't seem to get into the swing of it.

Somehow, it's not enough.

I want something more of substance this holiday season. I've felt God urging me to serve...to give...to love. I'm not sure where to begin. Their are so many needs out there. I've begun praying that God would direct me to where he wants to use me. I want to be His hands, His feet and His heart.

I'm restless...somethings gotta give.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

An Early Birthday Present


Last night I got home from dinner with the girls and on my bed was an early birthday present. My birthday is not for about 3 more weeks but I guess Steve couldn't wait and he wanted me to have it to shoot those all important christmas pics. It's a Nikon D90 and it ROCKS! Ladies and gentlemen I have finally gone digital and what a way to go. This baby packs 12.3 megapixels of Nikon love. Be prepared for lots of pics in all future posts. YEEEEEEE!!!