Christmas in Pictures

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Christmas mornings have been starting out a little differently these last few years than they used to.  When we were little, it was SO hard to go to sleep on Christmas Eve, and stockings were opened as soon as our eyes opened the next morning, which was usually 6 am!!   These days though....I'm usually super tired on Christmas Eve which means I go to sleep with no problem, and the next day is a good excuse to sleep in, not set the alarm. :-)  Funny how things change as you get older.  Anyway, we had a leisurely morning, opening our stockings and having a nice breakfast. 

And then, of course, the festivities started.

Before opening any presents, Dad read the Christmas story while the little boys followed along in their picture book.   

 And then we stareted unwrapping!!  We go one person at a time, youngest to oldest, so Josh got to pick out the first present.  He was so excited!

He and Isaac are SO into Thomas the Train right now!  He ate off his new plate for Christmas dinner!


Courtney and I got new pajamas!  We joked that now we won't look like homeless bums when we go to bed.....normally I just wear comfy excercise pants and a t-shirt, but now we have *real* pj's,  like the rest of the world wears, lol! (Tell me I'm not the only one who wears the afore mentioned to sleep in? )


Isaac was so excited to pick this gift out for Mom.  He told me the beads on the top of the notepad were "very beautiful" and it would be just perfect for her.  I loved taking him Christmas shopping!

Later, Jonathan stopped by for a bit to deliver some presents and have dinner with us. 

 The big kids!
I got dad this very unique gift - a whistle key finder!  It attaches to your key ring, and when you whistle for them, it lights up and beeps so you can find them!  Dad is always losing his keys so it's pretty practical, plus he has a good whistle..........!!!!

Our yummy Christmas ham!  We had all the good stuff for dinner.....sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberries, jello salad, and wassail.  It was so good. We also made a "birthday cake for Jesus" that we didn't have time to light candles on and eat that will be tonight!

And that concludes the pictures for our Christmas!  We had a wonderful day.  Next up will be New Year's Eve next week - I make a surprise meal each year and then we watch "It's a Wonderful Life" in the evening.  :-)


Quick Christmas Update

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful day with your families.  We had a relaxing day with presents, the Christmas story, a huge dinner, visiting with friends, and watching our traditional "A Christmas Carol" movie in the evening.  I don't have time to post all the pictures right now, but here is our family picture for the time being. :-)


Sister Kisses

Saturday, December 22, 2012

So apparently my blogging break isn't exactly working out.  I just had to share this picture!

Joshua is the only one left who likes kisses from big sisters (meaning he doesn't "wipe them off" or say "yuck".)  What a sweet moment to capture.  


The End of the World Is Near.....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Okay....just one photo

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This was a picture from the other night when we older kids and Dad headed to a Christmas dance (which turned out to be Anyway, this photo was handy so hopefully it will suffice as a tiny update for now. :-)


So Maybe It Will Be a While

Monday, December 17, 2012

I was thinking I would start posting soon......but so far this month is quite hectic and I am really enjoying relaxing with my family in my spare time. :-)  So at this point, I think I will take a short blogging break for the remaining days in December, and will return next year!  Thanks for bearing with me....see you in 2013!


One of My Favorite Quotes. Ever.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

And just so you all know....yes, I am still alive. ;-)  I have taken an un-intentional break the last few weeks....but I haven't dropped my blog completely.   This month is keeping me very busy so far (which is great) but I do hope to return to regular posting soon. :-)


Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sorry, this is the only picture I have right now.......another one of me and the boys. :-)  Anyway, hope you and your family have a lovely Thanksgiving!  We are having some friends from church over, so that will be fun.  And thankfully Courtney has found a family that is "taking her in" for a good Thanksgiving meal in Alabama....!!!


Too Funny...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Does the subject of "making time for God" ring a bell for you?!  It's really a slightly outrageous phrase if you think about it....


It Was Free Coffee Day...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 Bruegger's Bagels today!  So I enjoyed my free iced coffee on the way home from piano lessons.  They have free Wi-Fi there too, so I brought along my laptop and my SAT book, got a little studying in, (though I always find it a little hard to concentrate out in public), and just generally enjoyed my day.

Ended the day with a hilarious comedy show by Bob Smiley.....looking forward to a semi-relaxing day tomorrow (still have a ton to do but at least I'm not going anywhere!).  


Family Pics and Spam Emails

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The progression of trying to get a group picture.....

It's raining right now as I type this.  Cloudy and cold out.  True long-sleeve weather!  Unfortunately it's just a tiny cold front that is lasting for a few days.  But I'll take anything. :-) This is definitely the day for   coffee and a cozy book.....(though in my case that has to be the SAT book).  Speaking of, my test is less than a month away.  At this point my score seems to be hovering around the mid 1200's.....not amazing but not too bad either.  I guess it will depend on the questions they ask me and how focused I'm able to be on test day!

I have been getting so many spam emails in my inbox this last month or so....they're actually pretty funny to read:-)  And, yes, occasionally I do get bored enough to explore my spam folder.  In fact I just opened a very interesting one informing me that the Federal Bank wanted to give me 11.4 million dollars, and to do that, they only needed my full name, address, bank account information, social security number, phone number, pretty much anything that would be called, um, confidential information.  

And then I get the ones ALL the time telling me, in run-on sentences and no punctuation,  "rachel check out this amazing new weight loss trick i used it and lost 300 pounds so do all the stars you can look like them and find your destiny just click here."

(Apparently, from the horrific grammar, spelling, and lack of punctuation, the spam-email-writers weren't homeschooled.)

And no I never "click here".  Just sayin.

Ok, I'm done rambling about my spam folder.  I can get desperate for blog material sometimes.  


Deliver Me, Oh Jesus

Deliver me, oh Jesus.....

from the desire of being loved.
from the desire of being extolled
from the desire of being honored.
from the desire of being praised.
from the desire of being preferred.
from the desire of being consulted.
from the desire of being approved.
from the desire of being popular.
from the desire of being better than others.

from the fear of being humiliated.
from the fear of being despised
from the fear of suffering rebuke.
from the fear of being forgotten.
from the fear of being wronged.
from the fear of being ridiculed.
from the fear of being suspected.

Oh Jesus! Grant that you would be the objects of my thoughts and affections, the subject of my conversations, the end of my actions, the model of my life,
my support in death and my reward.  

To know you, Christ.


What Was Awesome About My Day

Thursday, November 8, 2012

-Earning $50 just to watch a little kid who napped 4 out of the 6 hours I watched her

-Dad fixing the speaker I thought was broken on my brand new piano...just a matter of wiring things properly....

-My new piano

-Recommending a hair product to a 70-something woman in the shampoo isle of Wal-Mart

-Eating a bowl of Kix cereal at 10:30 in the evening (that would be right now...)

-My new piano

-Discovering $40 tucked away in an envelope in the depths of my desk drawer.  THAT got me excited.  It felt money.  Even though I did earn it at some point (and apparently forgot about it), I felt so much richer having discovered that little surprise.  :-)

-My new piano

-Getting free coffee samples in the mail

-MY NEW PIANO (I'm kind of in love with it....)


I could go on to tell what was not awesome about my week....such as the results from the big election.  *cough* Let's just say "my guy" didn't win.  But I won't go there. :-)



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

....something very exciting!  For me, anyway. :-)  Over the weekend, I purchased an S90 Yamaha Synthesizer......(that translates to a very very fancy elelctric piano!)

The beauty of this thing is that it's portable.  So nice.  There have been many times in the past where it would have been very convenient to bring a piano with me....and now I have the perfect solution. :-)

I found this little beauty on Craigslist.  These pianos, brand new, sell for about $2400.  And that's just for the keyboard.  My amazing deal included the keyboard, speakers, stand, mixer, and all the software....for just $700.

Yes, that's still a lot of money.  A LOT.  Especially when I'm the one paying.  But what a steal from the regular price!  And better still?  This piano has been sitting in storage almost from the day it was bought new.  Hardly touched. Sweet.

 384 instrumental presets, 48 drum kits, 88 fully weighted keys (simulating a regular piano).  There are so many options on this will take me a while to figure them all out!  Right now I'm just having fun flipping through all the performance settings.  I have it set up in my bedroom (no touchie, little brothers!!) and it also has the option of plugging in headphones or technically I could play in the middle of the night without waking anyone up.....

I have recently discovered the demand for piano entertainers at hotels and assisted living facilities.  I started calling different places up, listing my charge as $45 per hour, and I already have two gigs set up!    
What a cool way to make money!  Can't take credit for "discovering" this piano teacher told me I should try and I am so excited that people are actually willing to pay me just to do what I love doing. 

I have to admit my fingers are a little sore today....I've played more piano in the last few days that I normally do just because it's there.  I love this thing!  Even though the cost was a slight financial set-back (didn't blow out all my savings obviously but did take a nice little portion of it), I'm choosing to view this as an investment.  I bought equipment I will need to make money "on the road" in the coming months. 

Ah yes, I love it. :-)


Strength and Dignity

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."
-Proverbs 31:25

Funny how Scriptures you've read a hundred times before can strike you differently each time.  I don't think I've ever noticed before what I noticed this morning in Proverbs 31.

Strength. Dignity. How do those two virtues make one able to "laugh at the days to come"?  And what if you feel more like crying rather than laughing when thinking about the future?  What if strength is about the last thing you think you have?

I'm thinking......that as a daughter of God I automatically have those virtues.  Or, at least, have access to them.  Because as someone who has been redeemed, chosen; I have an identity.  I'm not a nobody.  I'm not just one of the masses.  I am His.

That gives me dignity; a special worth that testifies to His grace.  It's like - on my own, I am nothing.  But in Him....I have a name. I have a reason to be alive.  I have purpose, a destiny.

There's the dignity.

I've heard it said many times that we Christians often forget that we are not fighting for victory, but from victory.  It's not like there's a possibility that we might fail or lose....Christ has already won the ultimate battle for us.  

Yes, there are struggles.  Daily struggles.  Yes, we feel like we're losing sometimes.  But in light of Jesus' work on the cross, we are "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8). 

There's the strength. 

And through both of these virtues, yes, we can laugh at the days to come.  Yes, the coming days may bring trouble, probably hardship too; but what do we have to lose?  We have all of eternity to live for....this life is just a dot on the endless frontier of infinity.  

Strength and dignity.  Confidence and identity.  

Find both in Him......and laugh. :-)


Little Things Excite Me

Monday, October 29, 2012 discovering what an amazing editing program Photobucket has.  There are so many possibilities on there for photo editing!  I just disovered that this evening while going through the pics from my photo shoot this afternoon. 

Obviously I'm not a pro at it....I'm wondering if maybe this one is a bit too dark?  I don't know.  I'm just excited about this new program I never knew would be so fantastic.....

What photo editing program do you use?


Ain't They Cute

So tomorrow things get back to normal around here.  Mom has been in Phoenix since Saturday visiting a friend she's known since highschool!  A good break for her. :-)  Tomorrow she comes back. 

This has been sort of a break for me as well.....I have taken the last few days off of studying for the SAT since I've been taking care of Isaac and Josh - but the studying is going to resume very shortly!  :-)

Today we went out for pizza and the boys were delighted to get to pick out a donut at the bakery.   I was delighted too.....but that proves nothing....

I have quite a few more pictures from this particular photo shoot that I will post at some future time....though I'm sure my blog audience is probably a little tired of seeing photo after photo of the same two squirts.:-)  When Courtney comes back from college for xmas break, we are going out for a serious photo shoot!! 

In which I want to wear a gorgeous dress that I thrifted for $'s literally something I bought knowing there is no way I will ever be able to wear it unless I attend a wedding or meet the president or!!  But it was too stunning to pass up for $6.  It's like a prom dress. 

As I said, little to no chance I could ever wear it anywhere without being completely OVERdressed.  So a photo shoot might be its' only use....:-)


Quiet Sunday

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's Sunday.  My favorite day of the week.  We had a good breakfast of sausage links, eggs, and a smoothie - and then I headed off to church while Dad and the boys went to a nearby park.

Heard a wonderful message this morning.  "What goes on in the depths of your heart is open scandal in heaven." What I think about, that part of me that no one else will ever see, is fully known and fully seen by God.   That's something I've been thinking about recently.....I am the only one who will ever know the deepest thoughts of my heart; the ones I don't share with anybody; the good ones, the bad ones, the very dark ones, and the random ones.   And yet it isn't as if it's a private chamber that is known only be me.  My heart is really the only part of me that God even cares about.....and yet it's the part that others don't see. 

It's a strange phenomenon.  That which others can see is the part that often gets most attention, because impressing others and "looking good" are high priorities.  But it's also the part that ultimately means nothing.  A rotting corpse wrapped in cute clothes and amazing hair and makeup is still a rotting corpse. 

My heart is something no one else will ever fully see - and so, lacking that potential for praise and applause and attention, it can easily get pushed aside.   A low priority. 

But the hidden thoughts of my heart...the motives, the desires, the goals, the agendas, the attitudes - that is what is of utmost importance to God.   It's what really counts. It's what ultimately matters and what has the potential to make a difference in other's lives for His glory.  And by the way, the state of our hearts really defines who we are.  You'll know what kind of a person you are by what goes on in your heart.

Now that is cause for personal pause and reflection before the throne of God.  For me, anyway. I don't necessarily like the idea of my heart defining who I am.  Because honestly I don't have a "good heart", as people like to quip.  Sometimes I don't even like "me".  Sometimes I get just disgusted with what goes on in my heart - the reason I do things, or what is most important to me at the moment. 

Which makes me abundantely grateful for what God is doing in my heart.  My heart constantly needs changing and re-directing.  I am so grateful that God doesn't see me the way I see me.  It's a good thing that Jesus steps in and fills the gap for me.....because it's a gap I could never in a million years begin to fill on my own.

Warm coffee with delightful new creamer....*salted mocha caramel*....and a quiet afternoon blogging while Isaac and Josh play duplos in the next room.  Joshua came running in just a minute ago saying excitedly, "Rachel, Rachel!  It's heaw-eled! My hand is heaw-eled!"  (He had some really bad dry skin that was bleeding this morning and we put a bandaid on it.) He was dismayed when I informed him that it would be another day or so before the skin totally "heaw-eled" and he could take off his bandaid.

My wonderful Dad and I were discussing computers and he informed me off his engineering capabilities of being able to hack into computers long distance.  Not that he really does that, of course.....we call him "Mr. Microsoft" all the time because he knows so much about computers!!  He even let me know that he is capable of creating trojan horses and then crashing other people's computers.....delightful information indeeed!!!  Ah well.  A funny conversation for sure.

Looking forward to going to church this evening with my family...hope you all have a blessed Sunday!


Pics at the Park

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


About This Blog

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not
on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will
make your paths straight."

Proverbs 3:5-6

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