Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Harp Concert and parctice

My beautiful girls at the harp concert. They were so pretty in their Christmas dresses!
Emma practicing (in her River Academy uniform) Silent Night under Jill Whitman's watchful eye. notice her intense concentration. :}
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Harp Harp Harp!!!

This Advent has been filled with much in the way of harp preparation. We have attended a beautiful harp concert at the Free Methodist church by the group Noel! and loved it. Emma and Mia who are taking the harp right now from Jill Whitman, were inspired and loved it as well. Little Mia was lulled to sleep during the last 2 songs, it was adorable. This week we have been to harp practice twice already and we are going again today. Emma is playing Silent Night for the River Academy Christmas program and when asked how she was doing yesterday she told a friend she was "a bit rusty". Which is really funny coming from her, a 7-year-old. Like the rest of us she gets lulled to sleep and entranced by the beauty of the harp's melody, unfortunately she still needs to play! I have a picture of her practicing that I am hoping to put up here, hopefully I'll get to it.

I am so happy that our children are taking music lessons. Music has been shown time and time again to encourage us and lighten our mood and even to give rest to weary souls. They love to sing, so the next step was playing. Nolen is taking guitar lessons and has come really far in the short time he has been playing. Scott always wished he would have been given the opportunity to take lessons, so when Nolen asked we jumped on it and called a friend to teach him.Even though we could have waited until he was older the times that he spends practicing and in lessons helps him so much. In his lessons he needs to be respectful and to learn to accept correction and to take easily the words, "No Nolen, you're wrong, you need to play this way instead." and to a 9 year old boy these are words he need to be comfortable with and not offended by. We wanted to choose something with the girls that they could use to both calm themselves and others, and use later on in their lives to make money and to glorify God. Here is the perfect option! They can play the Harp for weddings and events or for fundraising concerts for missionaries at a church. They are also falling in the above category as well for correction. WE are very blessed to have a world renowned harp teacher here that loves children and is patient with them as well.

Right now it's snowing like crazy, all of those little sticking flakes that cause all the trouble, but make everything look so beautiful and make the perfect snowballs. I heard that we are supposed to get between 5 and 7 inches today, yikes. I am not a very confident snow driver so that makes me very nervous. I did put Scott's 80lb punching bag in the back of the van to add weight, so hopefully that will help. Yes, the front tires are still touching the ground. Have a happy snowy day!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Now for something completely different

"Each day the number of requests we receive normally outnumber the time allotted for the day. My experience confirms that if I fail to attack my week with theologically informed planning, my week attacks me with an onslaught of the urgent. And I end up devoting more time to the urgent than the important.

And at the end of the week there is a low-grade guilt and dissatisfaction in my soul, because I’ve neglected to do the truly important stuff. I want to have as few weeks like this as possible in whatever time remains for me to serve the Savior. I’m thinking you do as well."
~ CJ Mahaney taken from his blog

This quote struck me particularly because of the directness of it. How much of your day is consumed with the urgent and not with what you sat down and specifically planned out to do and to accomplish for the day, week, year? Why? Why is it so hard to just say, "No, I can't do that I have only a short amount of time in my life and I have to devote it to the work that I have planned and prayed out to do." Why is that guilt even there? Planning is a crucial and vital part to our days. Scott and I have begun to realize how much more we get done, and how much more unified we are but just simply sitting down and planning out our days in the morning before the children get up and we are in the river again. It gives us the lifeline we need to get where we need to go and the map to get there quickly.

For the longest time I mocked and scoffed at the idea of a meal plan, especially those that spanned longer than a week at a time. I felt like they were compartmentalizing their time tooo much and not allowing for any creativity in the realm of cooking (which I love). Consequently my life was consumed in the evenings with what we were going to have for dinner and making sure I had on hand what I would need for any meal I felt the desire to create when the muse descended. This was making me crazy and grumpy and costing us more than the allotted food budget. So one day I decided to try a meal plan, and in my usual fashion I jumped in with both feet and made a 6-week meal plan. I have been so happy with the peace and ease it has given me. This area is now one that I consider a no-brainer, meal plans are definitely much easier. I have figured out meal plans around the rigors of mock trial season, Christmas, our Easter liturgy and our daily evening schedule. It has also saved us vast amounts of money on food and almost eliminated our food waste. I have been able to give my family a more well balanced diet and consequently my hubby who was on the verge of teetering off the high end of the Triglyceride and cholesterol scale is now on the low end of normal and doing great. My point is that even in this small area God is blessing me richly by my planning and prayer and I know that He intends greater blessings to come.

During the Christmas season and specifically this time of Advent leading up to Christmas when we are all doing our shopping for Christmas presents how could this not be more relevant? What are you buying for your children and why? Have you been sucked in to buy that *new* great thing that you saw at Target thinking they would just LOVE it? Or did you sit down with you hubby and DECIDE what to buy before you even set out? Will you tree be chocked full with a bunch of little gifts that you hope they like and will use for longer than a week, or did you consider them and what one thing they will truly use and love and remember? Were you struck with the urgent desire to buy that great thing that you saw that will just end up as next summer's garage sale fodder? I remember a few years back those ugly Furby's, now honestly. What about the Tickle Me Elmo? Who really bought that because they saw the joy and peace it would bring to the aroma of their home? This is a case of being sucked in to the fads of the day and not planning.

The day is only 24 hours long, and the week 7 days, and the month around 30, and the year a mere 365 days. Yet, each one of us has a task to complete within that time span. Not all of the request on our time are for us. Every day I am asked to do numerous things that are all good and wonderful, but that doesn't mean that I should do all of them. There are things that I just do not need to accomplish. There are so many patients and only so many doctors. Should they feel guilty because they can't possibly see them all? No, that would be foolish and a waste of time. They should be thankful for the ones that are brought to them and work hard to help them completely. There are so many great books and yet impossible to read them all. Should we give up? NO! Read away! But that is why we need to prayerfully consider and plan our days out and not get swept away and waste the life that God has given us. We have many opportunities here to do and to learn many things to teach our children and to provided for others to teach them. I have an aunt that had 5 boys. Each of them was athletic. None of them are professional athletes, but all are hard workers and have accomplished a lot (even though the oldest one is a youngish 32). My aunt and uncle saw that sports would help them teach diligence and hard work, their goal was not to raise a football star or another Michael Phelps. The sports were tools and decisions to put them in were made after debating their usefulness to the larger goal at hand.

My hubby and I always shake out heads when we hear someone say that one of their children was an accident. How could that happen? Are they so completely unaware of the cause of pregnancy? No, they are living a live completely unplanned and unthoughtout, and because of their lifestyle they have once again been caught staring into the headlights of their life, coming at them like a semi.

Make prayerful decisions and do not be swept away with wasted days filled with the urgent. Enjoy your life and bless those around you. Make schedules and plans, but use them as your tools, do not be brought under their weight and domination. They are your servants you are not theirs. You are Christ's and His burden is LIGHT. Now go do the important things and go to sleep tonight satisfied in your soul and not feeling guilty in the slightest.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Advent readings etc. . . .

WEll, our Advent readings are going along really well, and we are enjoying our Christmas season. Scott and I got the spontaneous opportunity to go out on a date during the week, which was fun. WE went to the Applewood grill, our new favorite. Scott just likes it for the ribs and the 'knuckle dragger' beer, I just love it. I like the variety on the menu and the festive atmosphere and the fun drinks. Thus it is the perfect place for us on a date. Our tree is up and decorated and yesterday we made cookies (snikerdoodles) and white chocolate drizzled oranges. Both were a big hit. The children were asking for them for breakfast, I guess they were the first things on their minds this morning.
Today the girls have choir practice and it's also the day we pick up the McEachran boys, all of it happen's during the dinner rush. I have dubbed Tuesdays as our Crock pot day. We have had many different things from soups and stews to roasts and salsa chicken, but today is a meatball day. It's funny how the easiest things are sure to thrill the whole family.
Oh, I forgot to mention! Yesterday I knitted a hat! Ahhhh. But, more on that later. Have a great day!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I love this photo!!

This is such a great photo from our Poulsbo adventures at the beginning of the summer. How many people have a picture of their kiddos hugging a genuine Viking? I'd like to say, . . . not many. I love my little Norski kids!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008


What do you all think of the new layout? Let me know!!!

Advent day 3

Today we read John 1:18
No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.

Here is the link to our Advent readings go to the bottom of the page and just click on Advent readings.

For our family time we all grabbed a mug of hot cocoa and our grandma blankets and snuggled up while Scott read from the Hobbit. I love it. Happy Day 3 everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent day 2

Today we started out the morning with our pancakes on the fine China and sipped our orange juice out of wine glasses. Our children ran down to the table to the sight of small beautiful packages awaiting them. We read some scripture and talked about why we celebrate a physical Christmas and not and ethereal one. Why are we inundated with chocolate and lights and good food and friends and SINGING?!?!?! Because with out a physical birth of a savior and a physical death for sin we would all be without cause to rejoice. Praise God! So for our Advent treat we decorated out kiddo's rooms with the Christmas music a-blaring.

Advent Day 1

On day one we kind-of cheated. We kicked off our Sabbath day with a major bang and went out to Applebees with my mother-in-law. The children all had so much fun and it really started us out on the right foot. PLUS we usually have a big feast on the Sabbath and with the !st day of advent on it's heels we had to make it Extra big. On Sunday we started our day off with our Advent reading and a big breakfast and then had a great day with grandma doing fun stuff with her. It has been so nice to have her with us!!