This Christmas: 1st Year at Home, 1st Non Disaster Story

I guess you know which stocking is mine.

This might have been the easiest Christmas in 14 years of April and Alan family Christmases. We only had to travel two hours, and we woke up on Christmas morning IN OUR OWN HOUSE. Have you ever??? I mean, we had almost never!! Do you do this? Do other people do this every year??  It was so nice!

I mean have you read my other Christmas stories???

Our Nightmare Before Christmas

The Funeral, Christmas Trip

New Years in San Francisco

Well, I’m happy to tell you this is NOT one of those stories. We did go and see our families, but we were able to do all of that and still be at our own house on Christmas morning.

Around 7 or so a.m., we heard Boy #1 begin talking to Boy #2. They simply chatted calmly in bed. Some of the boys woke up the other boys. I don’t remember who got up first, but a miracle happened…..

No one came and jumped on us…..

They gathered themselves in the living room, just the four of them in the living room to patiently wait for their parents to get up.

Whaaa???? We were so pleased with all this that we didn’t make them wait. We went ahead and joined them.

My heart brimmed over with awe at the fact that they were all sitting in the living room, waiting patiently.

I love watching my children open their presents. Christmas is a whole other level of special for children. When is it that we lose that? Let’s get that back.

Caleb, opening a present they WEREN’T expecting: Lego Dimensions

Yes, he’s actually CLAPPING. He’s so excited. There were a few To: Caleb and Daniel presents this year. They may look ages apart, but it’s actually only a 3 year gap. Some kids are tall. Some kids are shorter.


Be sure to see the 50 second JD video on Facebook, and share in the excitement.

We all went to church together. It was nice, though nothing topped the Christmas Eve service.

Christmas Eve service

There was something about the meaning in lighting these candles and taking communion with so many fellow believers that made Christmas more real to me this year. We sang Silent Night, and I wanted this moment to never end.

Too quickly, we were all headed back to our houses when so often I just want to curl up at the altar and soak it all in…

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”       Luke 2:10-12

…But it was back to Christmas as usual, and I can’t help but wonder. Are we entering a new phase of our lives?  There simply isn’t a BABY anymore. JD is 3 1/2 now. No one is a baby. Life is c-a-l-m-i-n-g down. No one wore a diaper, no one carried a sippy cup, and no one got out of their seat. No one even colored on himself.


I think I might cry!

No one was sick this Christmas either. JD caught a cold, accompanied by a very pink eye, but even that ended in two days.

OH, and guess what! Once Christmas day was over, Alan took my minivan to the shop, and I now have a clean minivan, with a heater that heats, and a functioning defroster! Somebody get this man a trophy!!

I feel like we just had the perfect Christmas. I can safely say that because Christmas is fully over. Saying Christmas was perfect can’t possibly jinx it now.

Of course, I did find one baby to hold.

Ah, sparkling pretty lights. I may never take my Christmas tree down. Plus, I’m hoping Alan will do it for me. Hmmm…I wonder if Alan is hoping that I will do it. I seriously don’t even want it taken down. Let’s just leave it up until next Christmas!

Hallelujah! And may we never forget what it’s all about. This is an incredible excerpt from the Passion of the Christ. You do have to click the link to YouTube to watch, but it’s so worth it:


Wishing you all a blessed 2017! May your kids behave. May your rain be snow, and may all your prayers be answered.

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”        Luke 2:13-14

What’s this Bible journaling craze all about?

What's this Bible journaling craze all about?

I have been taking a blog coaching class, taught by Crystal Paine. I never realized exactly how much I don’t know about the blogging business.

One of the things Crystal has taught me is that it’s important to do videos sometimes. Apparently, videos should help my audience connect with me better. So I am making my very FIRST DIY selfie video. The video skills are horrible. It’s literally like my talking head showing you some Bible journaling pictures. But hang with me, we’ve all got to start somewhere, right?

Have you heard about Bible journaling?

I want to show you my own Bible journal: (Just watch the video below. If you read this in your email, you will need to go to my website to see it.)


Here are a few more photos. I did NOT draw these. I got these pictures from the speaker who came to our MOPS group:

What's this Bible journaling craze all about?

I gotta say. These bold images DO help me remember the scriptures better. It gives a brilliant visual.

What's this Bible journaling craze all about?

What's this Bible journaling craze all about?

What's this Bible journaling craze all about?

Fruits of the spirit! Love this one!!

So, in my next post I will share my very first attempt at drawing in my Bible. It is extremely amateur, and it wasn’t over the top fun for me because drawing is not my thing. But it wasn’t unpleasant either.

If you are interested in trying your hand at Bible journaling, I found a few excellent resources for you:

This blogger did a how-to post on Bible journaling that was good: How to Start Bible Journaling

And here are some cool supplies you can buy from Amazon. (Yes, these are affiliate links.)
This would be a great instructional book, if you have no skills (like me).

This is a devotional book that actually has built-in room for your masterpieces.

These are colorful pens like the pros use.

And if you just want to do good ol’ alphabetized dividers like MY journal, well, that’s a lot easier. You’ll just need a large binder, paper, and a few packs of dividers! My favorites are the write-on tabs. People with arthritis don’t do folding up tiny pieces of paper and sticking them in a tiny little sleeve.

I can see why Bible journaling is so popular right now. You can express yourself, learn scriptures, and create a visual in your mind that helps you learn your Bible better, all through your own art work. It’s definitely something worth trying out.

I dare ya to try it! I’ll show you my attempts in my next post. I’ve done 1 so far, but I want to try a couple more first because my first attempt was….not that good…Be sure to share pictures with us if you do try it!! I’m on Instagram now as well as Facebook!

What's this Bible journaling craze all about?

Excellent verses



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Sometimes there just isn’t enough coffee.


Right now Daniel is washing his hands after his hour-long worm hunt. All he found was a slug, which he tried to bring into my house. Joshua put a hard stop to that. What would I do without Joshua?

JD is upstairs NOT napping. Caleb and Joshua are outside playing with a friend. I’m chugging coffee in a last ditch effort to hold on to wakefulness. A friend of mine is out walking, trying to coax her labor pains into a pattern. Alan is at school, chipping away at his thesis work.

Ah, the great circle of life.

Today I feel tired, sleepy, and wiped out. (I volunteered at Dan’s preschool from 9 to 12 this morning.) I have carved out a lull in the day, and I am hoping it will hold, but my wildest dream right now is of my pillow.

Why am I so tired? We had company for a week, and we went sight-seeing with them. The boys had their end-of-year-school program, and Joshua said all of his lines from memory! Woo-hoo! We now have some more friends staying with us, and they are expecting a baby this weekend, so this is exciting.

Yesterday my friend Chanda came into town, knocked on my door around 1PM, and said, “Let’s go to lunch. Come on. Right now. Bring the boys.”

(You HAVE to watch this video from that luncheon. So funny: JD Falling asleep at dinner)

So I did. It went surprisingly perfectly, and now I have a new favorite restaurant.

On the health front, my fevers are creeping back into my life, but my heart has calmed down completely.

I think I could go upstairs and sack out for the next 12 hours. Sometimes there just isn’t enough coffee.

So, yeah, life is crazy, but hey! Good news. JANET took pictures. She has a better eye, more photography skill and patience, and a better camera. It’ll take me weeks to share them all, so let’s get started!


Caleb and Joshua at a robotics festival. These engineering blocks were fun and useful. Anyone know where we could get a set?


JD sweetly watched Daniel zip this remote control under-water robot (much like a Polaris) around the pool. Then he also got to take a little turn.


Daniel was a master of this game. The object was to get the robot to pick up the diving rings, and he was good at it. The creator was all impressed with the Dan Man.


The boys stood behind JD’s chair to be in a picture with him. Monkey see, Monkey do. JD hopped up and posed with his chair too.


having lunch out as a family, a rare event!


I like to take pictures of him eating vegetables because it makes me so happy.

Sometimes there just isn't enough coffee.

A grand ballroom…..with 3 little boys running wild in it. Who are those boys? No idea, dear. Don’t look at me.


a tiny rodent skull, found on the ground from an owl pellet

DSC_1041 DSC_1036 DSC_1033 IMG_3202 DSC_1025 DSC_1012 DSC_1011 DSC_1010 IMG_2317 IMG_2308 IMG_2298 DSC_0998 DSC_0987 DSC_0981 DSC_0979 DSC_0951 DSC_0949

…And Caleb just walked in with two bloody knees, from playing baseball in shorts, so I should go clean him up. We wish you all a restful weekend, no coffee required.