Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Gift

Tis the season of Christmas Dance Shows:
So much fun~
Co-op Tea Parties

Unexpected gifts.

Shopping with friends.

Ice Skating.

Cousin Fun!

Neighborhood Buddies.

What a fun time of year.
It was also a holy time.

Quiet early mornings lit only with the tree and God's word.
This is the first year in a long time that I wasn't ready for Christmas to end.
It was simpler.  It was slower.  It was holier.  It was better.
We did less but we enjoyed more.
My children learned how to give not only to recieve.  So did I.  My children were lavished with gifts of time and extravegant love from unexpected people and it was a blessing.  We learned about Christmas and its history and why we celebrate the way we do.  We focused ONLY on Jesus and we celebrated that we don't have to be good to receive good gifts, because we can't be good.  We aren't good.  We are terribly wreached and Jesus gave us the best gift ever in spite of us. 
What an amazing and good God!
That is worth celebrating.
I loved Christmas this year.
Christmas was a gift.


Monday, December 16, 2013

The Stewart's

I haven't done a weekly update in a while so here we go:
We recently started a little home renovation project.  Sophie's bedroom used to be a bonus room.  However we closed a cutout in the wall and added a closet to make it into a bedroom a few years ago.  Andrew's room is a walk-in attic that we finished the same time we did Sophie's room.  However, to get to Andrew's room you had to walk through Sophie's room. 

The older the kids got the more of an issue this has become.  Especially when they want to have sleepovers.  So....we are "building a bridge".  It consist of making a bridge from the existing stairs over to the wall....where we are cutting out a door into Andrew's room and sheetrocking the existing opening between their rooms shut. 

I love it! 

While all the workers are here we went ahead and had them rip out some built in desks, that we never used,

and add a bookshelf. 

I am so happy with these changes.  They are still in process and while we have hoped to have it done in time for Christmas we may be held up waiting for paint.  We will find out this week!  Hopeful!

Randy also took a QUICK road trip to Pennsylvania to pick up a new car.  The Mama Van had bit the dust, and Randy had been diligently searching for a good deal, on a used, 8-passenger vehicle, with low mileage.  He found it!  Only was in Pennsylvania!  His dad graciously made the road trip with him to share the driving load.  The kids had so much going on I couldn't get away.  They both agreed the trip home was much better then the trip there!  We are all enjoying the new (it used...but new to us!) ride!

We also had Andrew's heart checkup this week.  He has been a patient at Duke since he was 3 for an irregular heartbeat, that originates from an unusual place in his heart.  About 40% of his beats were unusual so although it has never caused him problems they have followed him.  I got so emotional this time, just remembering when we first brought him there.  How scared he was and how scared I was.  I remember the grandparents and daddy all showing up that first time.  Whew.  I snapped a picture last week of my BIG HEALTHY boy on that same table he was on 12 YEARS ago!  This time he didn't even cry and the best news of all.....he had NO IRREGULAR beats for the second visit in a row.  So he has been released from care with a clean bill of health.  PRAISE THE LORD!!!!

We've been to lots of basketball games and basketball practices.  Some piano, guitar, and dance lessons. 

We've had lots of Christmas fun:
A Christmas Party with some of our buddies!
Complete with presents!
I love my new teacups!

A ladies Christmas Event at Church to help prepare our hearts for the season.  Loved seeing all the decorations and the blessing of songs and talents being shared but my favorite was visiting with my friends.

Jackson had a slumber party with one of his best friends.  He still hasn't stopped smiling from all his adventures on The Curl Farm.

Lydia and Audrey went to an American Girl Christmas Tea with a sweet friend from church.

Randy and I went to the FBC Deacon Christmas Party and were treated to an absolutely delicious meal prepared by one of the Deacon's. 

He is an amazing cook: Homemade Pumpkin rolls, Wedge salad, Pork Tenderloin with Holendase Sauce, Meatloaf wrapped in bacon, Sweet Potato Casserole, Roasted Vegetables and for desert: Apple Pie, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting, or a Homemade Oreo Cheesecake. 

YUM!  The fellowship was so sweet and encouraging.  I enjoyed getting to know people better.

It has been a busy, full, fun week!

My favorite moments were both Sophie moments.
Early one morning last week she was making eggs for herself when Andrew stumbled in and asked if she would make him an omelet.....and she said yes!

I love when they surprise me with their  kindness to one another!

And my VERY favorite was last night at home fellowship....she raised her hand to read a verse.  Her daddy didn't see her and started reading before she could be called on....but be still my beating heart.  I almost evaporated into a puddle of tears right there.  JOY!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Flower.....

She's like a flower gently unfurling. 
Caught in Winter's grasp too long.
Slowly learning to trust and breathing deep the safety of Spring.
Newness.  Life.  Beauty.  Growth.
The flower trembles joy as her petals stretch wide.
Vulnerable.  Exposed.  Swaying.  Dancing.

Rivers run down her petals and onto her roots.
Rivers of loss and sorrow and goodbyes.
Yet she is standing and rooted and basking in the summer Son.
Enjoying the beautiful garden filled with colors and textures and scents all busy growing and becoming.

The days grow shorter. 
Dark comes early.
The giants flanking the garden shake loose their colorful fall foliage.
Their wisdom spills all around and brings comfort to the little flower.
She is Warm. Secure. Held. Cared For.

The sudden chill catches her by surprise.
Winter's coming.
Yet as the little flower carefully bows her head she notices the others around her.
Surrounding.  Hovering.  Covering.  Caring.
Not alone.
The flower closes her eyes and enjoys winters gift of rest.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Today the girls and I had our first of what I hope will be many Christmas Shopping Trips together.
We hit a few of our favorite shopping shots to buy Christmas gifts and finished it off with a trip to Starbucks and a group photo to remember our special day.  I love these sweet girls!
Now if you are wondering why I look so tired it is because we were out on the town LATE last night.
Andrew had a game in Wake Forrest last night at 7:00 and we didn't eat dinner until AFTER the game.

This was one HUNGRY crew!

It was also a happy crew after a big win!
Way to go FLIGHT!
Life is going well.
We've been eating.

We've all been spending time with friends.

Drinking Tea. Making Crafts.  Praying. Walking. Talking. Eating Sushi.  Shopping.
Playing Board Games.  Watching Basketball.
Friends are important.
We've been learning.
That 10 hours of sleep isn't always enough....some people need 12!
That home renovations are dusty.
That Grandma REALLY likes and appreciates Christmas decorations!