Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Road trip!!!

 Dear Readers,
 We are at Grammie's house in Tupelo! Yes, we made it safely. Through AZ's mountains and plateaus, then New Mexico and the millions of Indian art bill boards ( I DO mean millions!), to Texas, the never ending (it seemed) Oklahoma, Arkansas,  and a little dip into Tennessee, we finally arrived to Mississippi! I have to tell you- it was a lot of fun. I love road trips, and even if I left home with a less than thankful heart, God used this trip for amazing things and left me feeling very thankful! Let me give a few examples...and a picture or two...
  My mom is amazing at contenting kiddos. I guess her camp counselor comes out, and there was not one whine for most all of the trip. We sang Christmas songs the whole drive- seriously, I think we clocked hours! Miles! Days! Ha my throat is so sore...but it was worth every minute! As we sang 'Away in a Manger', we were driving through Texas. It was dark, so we couldn't see the   ranches we were passing.
 But all of a sudden we were hit with the smell of cows- big time. And it became so real to us- Jesus wasn't born in a cleaned out, white washed stable. Our King came into the world in a filthy barn, with cows and their manure all around Him. He was laid down to rest in a manger- where slops had been set earlier that day, and lay down on straw- which the animals used for bathroom tissue! Now I am a huge animal lover, and I actually do like the smell of cows and horses for all the pleasant memories they bring up. But I wouldn't exactly want my baby- or my precious King- to have to lay down next to it.
  But that was just a beautiful reminder of all He gave for me- for all of you! He didn't come into this world as He should have, and He didn't leave it as He should have. He was ridiculed and shamed the whole way.
 And yet He did it all for US. Isn't that something BIG to be thankful for this Thanksgiving?

  Another blessing was just being with my family. This isn't exactly something anyone gets to do often, with busy schedules, etc. So just being with them was a blessing! Even if we were in a cramped car, or sharing a one bathroom hotel room, I felt so blessed to be near these amazing people I call mine. Even if I don't always show it (I can be grumpy, after all!) I love them SO much and they are my favorite people in the world. God blessed me too abundantly with them.
And don't you all think I'm going to go into a big adoption rant now? About how you all should offer this blessing to a child aching for it somewhere in God's Kingdom?

Well...I would, but think that's up to God this Thanksgiving! What do you feel called to do? I just ask that you remember them and pray for them at your table this year.

Your thankful Blogger,
 Claire  ~Pictures at bottom!~

Mom and I had braiding lessons in the car! She made it a ridiculously fun trip.
The boys who had to go cross country without braiding lessons and hours of Christmas carols, bless their hearts.

In Texas!

Sorry it was blurry- taking pictures in a jolting car was a challenge!

A very foggy drive through Texas...what a beautiful reminder that God is with us!

Mom and I thoroughly enjoyed learning all about Christmases past! Did you know that striped ornaments originated in the 1940s due to lack of paint from the war?

Cracker Barrel was so much fun- on my list of places we HAD to stop for! hehe

Mom and Dad even made our short hotel visits an adventure!

Another Uhaul picture...possibly about to cross the Mississippi!

Fun car ride! Where's Benjamin?

Dad and Mason cross the Mississippi river! I love this bridge!!

The fall foliage and winter trees made me smile. What a blessing from God that we got to enjoy them.

We cheered when we crossed into Tennessee! Mainly because it was my first state line picture- I had tried and tried and missed them all. :(

It was a LOONG drive, but I really enjoyed being with the best family on earth!

P.S---the Egg  bowl is coming up, my friends! GO BULLDOGS!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blessings in different packages

Dear Readers,
Happy Thanksgiving!! This is a time to praise the Lord, as my favorite variation of the sign points out. (you begin to sign thank you with both hands, but then point them to Heaven. :))
However- this year has been harder to get into the thanksgiving mood. I have almost skipped the holiday completely in my gingerbread patterned pjs, Christmas cookie baking, and listening to Christmas music all day! Ha

But seriously, y'all- it's not that I'm not thankful. I am! Every time I wake up to my amazing family, I feel thankful. Every time I read my Bible I'm thankful for it and the sacrifice my Jesus made. Every time I am given amazing opportunities (like loving on my favorite kiddos in ballet, volunteer projects, and a mission trip to Argentina!!) I feel beyond blessed. But being thankful and in the mood for Thanksgiving are two completely different things in my opinion. Am I ready to miss all of our favorite traditions this year as we spend our holiday in MS? No. Am I ever grateful to have a grandma who loves me and wants to spend Thanksgiving with me? YES! You see--two different things.

But as we celebrate this season, please remember to pray for those who may not have as many reasons to be thankful. Whether they don't have money for a big meal, or if they have no one to celebrate with, or if they are spending this holiday in a nursing home or orphanage. We are called to take care of the widows and orphans, dear ones. What better time to do it than this week? And I will be praying for each of you as you balance family, friends, etc.
There's always a beautiful blessing in everything. Even if you can't have a big turkey, or if you have no family near, or if everyone you know comes to celebrate with you!
My mom pointed this out to me when I felt like I failed miserably in my missions interview last night. She reminded me about Paul, and how he prayed to NOT have an adequate tongue. For then people would not be impressed with him- they would be impressed in God. So I guess even that was a blessing!!
So no matter what form your blessings take this next week, my hope is that we will each find a beautiful blessing and hope to be thankful for.
Gobble gobble! Your Blogger,

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A walk down memory lane

Dear Readers,
 I Find it kind of sad that I have stayed away from my blog for the mere reason of not having access to my pictures. Our computers are broken and can't handle my load of 1,000 or so pictures per upload. So, I just haven't blogged! But here I am, driven here out of pure guilt. I'm sorry!!
  So much has been going on...but a wonderful blessing has been the cool sweater weather! I love fall, truly, I do! And every morning Cate and I have gotten to enjoy it by playing in her new swing set and playhouse. It brings back lovely Minnesota memories just to be up there, and I am desperate to give her the same sweet swinging memories that I have with Mason. So we spend our mornings up there with Mom and American Girld Dolls. And I did take me Bible Study with me last time so I could get a bit of studying in! What a sweet gift.
  Memories bring such sweet flavor to life, don't they? I tend to like to dwell on the past more than the future, and sometimes even the present! I revel in historical fiction books, could spend days in my Mom's closet going through our old family pictures and her old jewelry. I raid Grammie's house every time we're home. I break all of her closets and leave with a pocket full of pictures and wonderful new stories and Granddaddy Mason and his amazing family.
 Pictures, family videos, stories, they're all just so sweet! I can't wait to get to Heaven and hear all these Bible stories I so love from my Jesus. Won't THAT be lovely???
  So, since I don't have new pictures, here are some old ones!! They are making me smile.
My blog's old look!

2009 Cate!

Little May-May

Papa and Cate share a moment of laughs



Pope- I mean, Pilgrim Lenny!

Laura Ingalls and Tinker Bell

Our house- pre move in!!

      CHRISTMAS!!!~last year

I love Mexico. I miss Mexico. I want to go back to Mexico. God loves the people of Mexico!

         There you have it! Snippets of our life from 2009 to now. Hehe that was fun!! Love Your Blogger,

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Happy Day Project- time to change the world

  Dear Readers,
  I'm sure you've been wondering where I've been! Well, there have been tests to study for, little sisters turning six, a  Rapunzel birthday party, one amazing uncle's birthday, recitals, more tests-whew! What I'm trying to say is....we've been busy. In a wonderful, fun sense of the word, but still quite busy!
 I WANT to make another post on fall. I want to post pictures of Halloween and the amazing time we had as a family. I WANT to tell all about my little sissy's birthday week. I WANT to write a big, long post about the orphans in China because that is on my heart today.  I WANT to make a post asking for prayers for my brother. I WANT to tell you all about the amazing chance my the boys, Mom, and I have been given to possibly go to ARGENTINA with our high school ministry. But where is time??
  So- there is a quick peek into our life right now. I will keep you updated, I promise, but first I have to face a few tests this week. Then you won't be able to get rid of me!! Yes, we are hoping to go to Argentina, but need your prayers. Uncle Lenny has a graduation trip planned, and so we can only go to Argentina if it's before his trip.  I'm so so so so so excited, y'all. You know how much I love this kind of thing, and I just can hardly contain myself! I thought high school missions were out of reach for us. So every time we watched a video of last year's missions, I felt SO sad. But God is making it possible, Mom and Dad are making it possible, the high school ministry team is making it possible, and it is just the most exciting thing.
   But- the real reason I woke up early this morning, and am blogging when I could be doing a million other things, is that I had to make Amish Friendship Bread.  I've kept this starter going for a while, but now am ending up with no one to take the starter for a friend. So we are over flowing with bread every ten days!
   So last week Cate and I anonymously took some to the neighbors. And they straight away knew who it was from, dad gum. 
  BUT this time we are doing it a little differently. Have you heard of the Happy Day Project? We are, as of today, prarticipating in it. And the first step is to take a home made treat to your neighbors! Yay!
  Here is a step by step guide to what you need to do for the Happy Day project. It is really easy, really fun, and a wonderful way to spread the love of Christ.
How would you like to know you are making a difference in the world? This is a really easy way to do it. I challenge all of you to do it, no matter what is going on in your life right now! You will feel wonderful afterwards, and so will someone else. Ready, then? Let's change the world!! Your Blogger who is on her way to the neighbor's house,

 By the way...My mom found this idea from the blog Life Rearranged. Click the link and you can watch her progress,too. And what she said about the babana bread not being perfect is so true- my first batch of bread we took to the neighbors last week was horrible!! But they still loved it. So do it even if you can't bake!