Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Is it wrong??

Let's just be honest. There is no way that my little kiddos are going to make it to watch the big ole' ball drop tonight.

Sure, they really want to and sure I understand the excitement but come on...really...

I heard this morning about a family that re-enacts New Years every year around 8pm. Actually, I guess that wouldn't really be re-enacting...more like foretelling.

Whatever - you get the point.

The bottom line is that they can't let the kids stay up until midnight so at 8pm every year they create lots of fan fare and count down. The only saving grace is that the kids in that family can't yet tell time.

Unfortunately, mine can. Hmm...

I'll admit, I'm seriously considering changing all the clocks in my house right around 7pm...New Years might come early to our house this year! :)

Any ideas how I can get Dick Clark to drop a huge crystal ball around 8pm? :)

Happy New Years everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where Oh Where Have My Comments Gone??

Now, I know that you probably didn't notice. Honestly, I didn't even notice. However, my bloggy friend Flamingo Mama noticed that my comments have disappeared from my posts.

Hmm...

I have no idea where they went. Truthfully, not too many of you are big on the comments anyway, but still I LOVE to hear what you have to say (most of the time):)!

To those sweet friends out there who love to encouarage me through comments, please know that I am working on the problem.

If I ever get it sorted out I hope you'll drop me a line!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Rewards of Being Mommy...

After a conversation about adoption, the topic of kids came up while riding in the car today.

Ayden: “Hey, Brekyn; how many kids do you want to have someday?”

Brekyn: “I guess I want 2 kids.”

Mommy: “Ayden, how many kids do you want?”

Ayden: “None.”

Mommy: “You don’t want any kids Ayden?”

Ayden: “Nope…no kids…no wife…cuz I’m gonna live with you forever.”

Mommy: “Ayden, why do you want to live with me forever? Is it because I’m so cool and you love me so much?”

Ayden: “NO MOM! It’s cuz I love my bed with the trundle underneath.”

Hmm…

And they say being a mom is a thankless job?

HA!

Somewhere deep down I’m sure he really loves me…after-all, who picked out the bed with the trundle?!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Silent Night

Today I am enjoying the crazyness that comes when you put 17 people into a home together.

I am incredibly grateful to have a family to gather with each Christmas however; I'll be the first to admit that when you bring this many people together life happens.

Kids throw up, potatoes need to be peeled, cookies need to be made, presents need to be wrapped, sheets need to be changed, airport runs need to be made.

Life gets crazy.

Today I am humming this song in my head as I peel a million potatoes.

May God also remind you of the glorious reason for this season.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Procrastinating...

Really don't want to pack...

Really need to pack...

Leaving town soon...

Nothing done yet and a list a mile long...

Can anyone say coffee?

Hmm...that's a good idea!

Thanks to my Mommy friends at church I now have a Starbucks gift card!

Okay, really need to go.

I'll get around to packing soon enough.

Uggh again...

Right now I think that Starbucks is calling.

Love you all and please pray for safe travels if you think to.

As one of my friends recently reminded me; "The Griswolds are travelling again!"

Wouldn't it just be nice if family would come visit us? (Hint, Hint...)!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oops...

I just got home from the Mom's Group that I co-lead at my church. I can't tell you how grateful I am for this group of ladies who live life transparently.

There's no pretending...no dress up and do your hair and act like life is always perfect.

Nope. It's real.

Kids sick, fights with my husband, snot on my shoulder kind of real.

And I love it.

I love each one of these ladies because they constantly remind me that God is in the midst of everything. Every part of every day.

Today, I got to our annual Christmas party and I had forgotten to come up with a devotional.

Go figure...

The tables were set, the centerpieces were softly dimming with the glow of candles, the Christmas lights were lit and the the food was overflowing...Yup; everything on my list was done.

Except the devotion.

Wow.

Such a little slip up but it really hit home to me.

Even better; when my sweet sisters heard about my forgetfulness, one of them said,
"Oh, I've got a devotion."

She then proceeded to tell us the following message that she had read earlier in the week:

Sitting in the Middle of My Mess
Glynnis Whitwer

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.” Luke 10:38-39 (NIV)


I tend to consider myself a "Martha" type personality. And I don't mean Martha Stewart. By this time in December, that Martha probably has her hand-made cards mailed out, 10 batches of candy made and gift-wrapped, and her entire home decorated.

No, I'm nothing like Martha Stewart. In fact, last year I didn’t even manage to decorate the tree. It got put up and because it was pre-lit, it had lights. I managed to put a few gifts under it before Christmas. That only happened because my dear children kept looking at me with those big hopeful eyes, asking when I was going to wrap SOMETHING. But that was it.

Last Christmas ended one of the most stressful years of my life. I'm thankful nothing devastating happened to my family. But the demands on my time exceeded my available time. When that happens, I get behind ... on everything. So I spend lots of time just trying to keep my head above water.

Back to being a Martha. If you know the Luke chapter 10 story of Martha and her sister Mary, that's the Martha I'm talking about. And it's not a flattering comparison. That Martha had the privilege of hostessing Jesus. Jesus actually came to her house. Instead of sitting at His feet like her sister Mary did, Martha worked and actually complained to Jesus that Mary wasn't helping her enough.

Jesus gently chided Martha, and affirmed Mary's choice to sit and spend time with Him in the middle of all the work that had to be done. I remember the day clearly last December when I decided to follow Mary’s example and sit in the middle of my mess to spend time with Jesus. Normally, I feel as if everything has to be clean before I can "treat" myself to some down time. I believe I have to have the dishes clean, counters cleared, urgent emails addressed, laundry going, home-based business checked for orders, etc.

Normally, by the time I've done all that, something else has demanded my attention, and my time with Jesus is neglected - much like what happened to Martha.

But not that day. That day I sat at the kitchen table and looked at my mess. It was big. There were papers strewn over every surface, a lunch box left on the counter from the day before, breakfast dishes everywhere, jackets from yesterday, blankets that had been left on the couch, dog fur forming balls, and the list went on. I had to fight my instinct to get up. And I won.

I sat in the middle of my mess, and spent time with Jesus. I pictured Him sitting across the table from me. It was pure pleasure ... and the mess amazingly faded from my view. My stress melted away, and I felt renewed.

This Christmas, whether you've gotten your house decorated or not, whether you've mailed out cards or not ... Jesus has come to your house for a visit. I had such a good time sitting in the middle of my mess with Jesus last year, I’m planning on doing it again. Will you join us?

-----------
Oh, Lord...how I needed to hear this.

I love Christmas, but sometimes I'm so busy preparing and checking things off my list that I forget to just sit and remember You.

Thank you for this sweet reminder and for meeting us in the midst of all of our messes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Welcome Home Sweet Girl

This was actually written last night...I just didn't get to posting it:)


Today was a day to remember.

It was one year ago today that our precious little Elle came home to us. We celebrated her first birthday this past weekend and we looked with great enthusiasm toward this special day.

A year ago it was rainy and cold, but it didn't matter what the weather was like outside.

In my heart I felt the same joy and awe I had felt on the days when I first gave birth to my sons.
Our daughter was finally home and we were blessed.

And yet; this year was different.

Unlike last year; today we didn't spend the day on the couch cuddling our precious new gift.

Instead, we spent the day in the courtroom.

You see, today we sat with nervous hearts and sweaty hands waiting and wondering what the Lord would do.

A few months ago we found out that Elle's birthfather might choose to fight to get Elle back.

Needless to say, our hearts were anxious as we waited and prayed - unknowing if he would choose to show up at court to contest the adoption.

And yet, through it all we always felt God's peace.

I got very little sleep last night and I finally decided to crawl out of bed to put my thoughts onto paper. Here is what I wrote:


"My precious daughter,

On the eve of one of the most crucial nights of my life, I sit here with pen in hand and think of you.

Though Satan is trying to shake me and my stomach is growing weak, I think of a few things and I realize the Truth.

The Truth is that I know too much.

Here’s what I know:

I know that one year ago my world was forever changed when I held you in my arms and called you my daughter.

I know that when I look into your eyes I see a little girl who calls me Mama.

I know that we may not have the same hair or the same skin, but we share the same heart.

I know that God worked miracles to bring you into this world and many more miracles to bring you into our family.

I know that when you laugh, you calm my fears.

I know that when you cry, I calm your tears.

I know that it is I who has taught you many things.

I know that you have taught me many more.

I know that you were never unwanted, unloved, unplanned or uncared for.

I know that in your eyes I see the future.

I see your first steps, first school day, first prom and first boyfriend.

I see your first dorm room, first breakup; graduation and wedding day.

My stomach is still twisted and my heart is heavy but I know one thing.

I know that God Himself gave you to me.

God made you my daughter when He created this world and you will never be anything but that.
I love you my sweet little Elle.

That I know.

Love,
Your Mommy"



And so, today I share our joy with you.

It's the same joy we shared a year ago on this very exact day.

Today our baby girl came home to us!

Her name is Elle and she is our daughter!!

Sure, she's been my daughter all along, but today the judge has also agreed and no one has chosen to contest it!

Welcome Home Sweet Little Girl!

We're so glad you're here and we're praising the God who brought you to us!

Little things...

I've just come to accept the fact that I am a bit different.

Little things excite me...sometimes REALLY excite me!

Well, today let me share my simple joy with you!

Drumroll please....dum, dum dum....


You got it...it's milk!

Now, before you begin dreaming about Bessie and and all her friends, let me say that I don't like milk at all...nope...not a bit.

But today I'm praising God for milk.

You see...milk is much better than this:


Well, maybe better isn't the right word.

Maybe I should say that milk is much CHEAPER than formula.

A gallon of milk: $4

A container of formula: $30!!

And so, today we are celebrating that the last drop of formula was used up and we have successfully switched little Elle over to Bessie's best!

Praise God for Bessie!!

Whatever cow produces formula should be shot with golden bullets.


*Legal Disclaimer: No animals were harmed in the making of this blog.* :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Dumb Coffee Cakes

How long can it take to make a few dumb little coffee cakes?


You see, times being what they are, I decided that this year I would attempt to join the ranks of the domestically inclined and give it a shot at making some cute little cakes for the sweet nursery workers who help me out countless times each week at church.


Just a sweet little coffee cake.




HA!

Who could know that such a dumb little cake could take just as long to cook in the oven as a full size cake!

Come on, it's the size of my wallet for crying out loud!


Hours later I only had three little cakes made (oh wait, nope...that one just broke when I tried to get it out of the dish). Great...back down to two!

Well, at least Brekyn and I had fun together!

And, if there could be a lining on this story, I would have to say it is the simple fact that my son now believes it is imperative that the first thing you do when making a coffee cake is get a fresh cup of coffee brewing.


Seriously, go ahead and ask him...


"Brekyn, what's the first thing you do for coffee cake?"


"Get a cup of coffee!"


Some people drink wine when they cook...I drink coffee and now my three year old thinks the entire world does also!:)

Amen. Project successfully completed!





Thursday, December 11, 2008

A 'Honeymoon' to Remember...

Ten years ago a crazy young couple exchanged vows, packed up the Uhaul and headed toward their new life in the South. Though I realize the years that have passed every time I look into a mirror; it’s still hard to believe that Donn and I have been married for almost a decade!

About a year ago, we decided that after 10 years it was about time we had a “proper” honeymoon. You see, when we got married, we literally had 5 days to hold a rehearsal dinner, pack up all our belongings, commit our lives to one another and then drive all the way from NY to NC – WOOOOSH! Needless to say, it was a crazy 5 days and our “honeymoon” became a stop-over on the coast of Maryland as we journeyed toward our new life.

So, last anniversary we began saving our pennies and researching our perfect honeymoon spot. I can’t tell you how excited we were when we found an amazing Mexican resort. We started tucking dollars away in the old coffee can and we dreamed of our “10 Year Honeymoon”.

But then something happened…As God has a way of doing; plans changed.

After a few months I started feeling like God might be saying that I should go on a mission trip. It’s been years since I’ve gone on a mission trip and I am a firm believer in missions.

About the same time, Donn started to feel God tugging at his heart about going on a mission trip.
When the fateful night hit when we both realized that we were having these feelings; our decision was made.

Our “Honeymoon” would be a missions trip instead of a Mexican Resort (we never did do much the “normal” way anyhow).

After much prayer and research, God has led us to a trip that we are both certain is where we are supposed to be. And so; from March 5th-14th Donn and I will bypass the Mexican Fiesta and head to sunny Liberia instead!

As you all know; we have a huge heart for adoption (and for Africa in particular) and on this trip we will be travelling with local believers to serve in an orphanage of over 450 kids (The Daniel Hoover Orphanage in Monrovia). Our main role will be to collect data on the children in the orphanage so that we can come back to the states and start trying to find homes for these kids (working in conjunction with the local adoption agency – Christian Adoption Services).

Currently, the orphanage does not have the resources to collect information on so many children and, of the 450+ kids, we only know specifics on 40 of them. I personally will be meeting with kids to find out their interests and hobbies and to compile a sort of “scrapbook” of their lives, dreams, medical conditions etc.

While there; another crew will be helping with repair projects and VBS ministry and of course, Donn will be doing some good ole’ fashioned sports ministry with the kids!

And so; the part you’ve all been waiting for… The price tag. Gulp.

Yup; it’s a big one…$6000 to be exact. Of the Six Thousand dollars, Five Thousand covers airfare alone. The remaining $1000 is to cover transportation in Liberia, food, lodging and supplies to make the orphanage repairs. Donn and I have already tucked away $700 toward the trip.

Coming off the heels of having just adopted Elle a year ago; we really questioned whether or not we could take on another support raising effort. A few times we decided that it was too much and the trip was not meant to be. But, every time those thoughts crept in; God completely reassured us that this IS IN FACT His will for us. We actually believe it so strongly that we think we would be living in disobedience if we didn’t take this leap of faith.

We know the economy is terrible and this is a tough time for everyone. We know that you may not be in a position to financially help us out; BUT we also know that God is bigger than any finances. We’ve seen the blessing that an adopted child is to a family and we know that we are being called to minster to these little blessings who are living in an orphanage far away.

Would you please pray for this trip? Pray, pray, pray. Please pray for planning, protection, changed lives and hearts and efficiency in accomplishing the tasks at hand.Would you also consider whether or not you are able to give any amount toward this effort? Last year we saw God raise $20,000 to bring our daughter home to us. Think of the countless children that will have the chance at a “home” because of the information we are able to collect on their behalf!

Donn and I can’t thank you enough for being a part of our life and of this new adventure! Yippee for a honeymoon to remember! Just to set the mood, I am planning on taking along some rose petals and maybe even a mint for Donn’s pillow!

Love,
Donn and Cyndie

Please make checks payable to:
Matthews United Methodist Church (with Liberia in the ‘Memo’)

Please also enclose a note with our names on it to ensure it makes it to the proper account

Send payments to:
Matthews United Methodist Church / Attn: Elizabeth Beardsley
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC 28105

All donations are tax-deductible.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

There's No Place Like Home...

Because I am ridiculously busy trying to perfect a miniature coffee cake to give away to all the amazing nursery workers at my church; I decided that today I will give you a glimpse into my Christmas Home!:)

According to my friends I actually have a tick when it comes to decorating. Apparently my voice squeals, my eyes get huge and I look like I have a 'tick' when the word decorating is mentioned.

Personally, I think that maybe I just need new friends (just kidding girls)!:)

Nevertheless, I've had fun this year and thanks to some amazing sales at AC Moore; I am loving my front porch!



More on the dumb coffee cakes later...uggh!:)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Mother's Life...

Ahh...to be a Mom! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Flashing Neon Sign...

I have often wished that God would give me a neon sign.

You know what I mean; the kind of sign you see when you go to a pizza place.

They sit in the outside window and flash ‘OPEN’ for the world to see. That’s the kind of sign I need.

Although, instead of flashing open, I have wished that God would use the light to answer my questions.

“God, do you really want me to go on this vacation?” or, “God, how much should we spend to fix up our house?”

In my unrealistic “CyndieLand” the light would then flash away like a magic 8-ball and tell me exactly what the Lord desired.

“No, Cyndie; don’t plan a Tahitian getaway this Christmas.”

Hmm…

Not too realistic.

You see, the truth is; the Lord doesn’t reveal himself in flashing neon signs.

A burning bush; maybe…neon signs…not so much.

But, God does want to reveal Himself to us. He’s not trying to be some mysterious figure that we can’t get to know.

In Luke 1:34, Mary asked the angel, “How can I have a baby, I am a virgin?”

Man, I bet Mary could have used a flashing neon sign at that point in her life.

Her whole world was just dumped upside down and she is left sitting there facing the angel who just delivered the most insane news.

But, notice what she did?

Mary didn’t retreat to some back corner, or even go to the local pizzeria in search of a neon sign from the Lord.

No; she simply asked. “How can I have a baby, I am a virgin?”

When I read that I couldn’t help but think about how complicated we often make our relationship with the Lord.

When life is getting confusing and I need God’s guidance, do I automatically go before the Lord and ask for answers? Do I pick up His Word (which is His guidance to us) and search it until I find what He wants for me?

Unfortunately, I think that far too often I am busy looking for the neon sign instead of going to the source.

The thing is; God wants to answer us. He wants to be a part of each and every breath we breathe. Let’s take a little advice from Mary and remember that sometimes it is best to simply go before our Lord and ask the tough questions that are on our hearts.

What questions do you have for God today?

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Christmas Conversations"

In the tradition of deep thoughts and highly intelligent conversations that seem to occur at our house; I bring you another installment of "Christmas Conversations."

Ayden (sitting at the breakfast table):
"Mom, I don't believe in Santa."

Cyndie:
"You don't?"

Ayden:
"Naaa...he's not real."

Cyndie:
"You sure about that?"

Ayden:
"I already know Mom. Santa's not real, Elves aren't real, dancing snowmen aren't real....Oh; and talking watermelons aren't real."

Hmm...

Talking Watermelons huh?

"Ayden, when have you ever seen a talking watermelon with Santa?"

"Oh, I haven't....just saying they're not real is all."


Good to know.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Part 1

So, as I said before, we celebrated Christmas with Donn's family while in NY over Thanksgiving. We won't be able to make it to NY again for Christmas this year so this was the next best option.

We had a great time with family and some incredible cooking (Thanks Mom!)

Here's a few pics of the celebration!




Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Family Fun!

We had such a great time celebrating with family in NY.

Of course, most people just celebrated Thanksgiving this past week, but not us.

Nope; we celebrated tons of stuff.

The celebration began with a birthday party for my sweet 7 year old Ayden on Wednesday!


GO SPEED RACER GO!

We had a wonderful time and Daddy showed off his skills making the cake.
I know...I know...

Moms are supposed to make cakes. Truthfully, I am doing the world a favor by passing off my cake making responsibilty to my Studly Hubbie.

I mean REALLY! Who can beat this cake?

And, of course, in true family tradition, Ayden decided that it was time he cut his own birthday cake. I was about the same age when I declared that I would cut my own Strawberry Shortcake cake.

I must admit, Ayden did a great job...well, until he cut his own piece out.

He decided that since it was his cake and his party, he should get the entire front of the cake as his piece.

Nice try kid.

Not gonna happen:)!


Happy Birthday Ayden!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Christmas Story...

Let me just set the stage a bit here:

The snow is gently falling outside.

The entire family is gathered around the fireplace to read the Christmas story together (we celebrated Christmas at Thanksgiving with Donn’s family).

Nana is sitting with the kids all around her reading the Christmas story and stopping at key moments to ask the kids some questions.

“Ayden, what is Christmas? Where was Jesus born?” etc. etc.

Finally it comes to Brekyn’s turn.

“Brekyn, what were the shepherds watching?” Nana inquired.

“TV” Brekyn responded.

Hmm…

You know how they say the cobblers kids don’t have shoes?

Does that mean that the youth pastor’s kids don’t know what a shepherd is?

Uggh.

Tis the season!