Thursday, December 30, 2010

Man Plans but God Directs

One of the activities most of us do at this time of year is take down the Christmas decorations, and prepare our homes, and lives for the promise of a new year. In the last days of December, lots of plans are made. This must be the time of year that God just shakes His head and smirks at us. He is the only one that knows what our upcoming year will hold.
Proverbs 16:19 " In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps."  New International Version, Holy Bible.
Today, I prepared our 2011 calendar. On certain days of certain months I wrote in important days in our lives, birthdays, anniversaries, trips. These things are planned by us. As I wrote them down, I was increasingly aware of God sighing. (there goes Brenda again, thinking she is in control) I got the hint and spent some time in prayer before continuing. I prayed over each day. I put those days and all the rest of them in HIS hands. I have no control over my days. My family, my job, my friends, our home, our lives, are all a daily gift from God. In turning them over to Him, that means that if one or all of these things don't happen like I plan for them too, I will continue to put my trust in Him that He is in control, He will bring us through whatever this upcoming year will hold.
2010. Each year as I look over the calendar, I wonder at what God has done. I haven't had a year yet where things went as I planned. As I get older, I'm learning to appreciate time more. Time with family and friends, each year many are taken from us, and new loved ones are added. God knows, He knew, He is in control.
If you are reading this, know that I prayed for you specifically today. No, I may not know everyones name that will read this, but I am praying God's blessing to you as you do. Thank you for your friendship to our family. We would not be the same without you in our lives.
As you start a new year, pray through it with us. Knowing that God will walk it with us, the highs and the lows makes it much easier to make it though the day. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Preparations for a New Year

Since I want to start the New Year happier, I decided that there were a few things that I could do to help that along.
First thing : The Kitchen. I spend more time in this room of the house than anyone. I have been frustrated over the lack or organization I have had since we moved in  6 years ago. I know.. sad really.
However, I first took inventory of what I have and what I need. Since we got married, Sweetie and I were given much of our parents and friends old stuff. So, we have many things that dont match. This has been okay with me, but we talked about how since some of it is now falling apart, lets pick some of our own stuff.
I lucked out and got new pots and pans for Christmas, so I was able to throw out our scratched up and burned out old pans.
Second, I organized our dishes. I had several incomplete and different patterns. I got rid of broken pieces and stuff we just weren't using. All of the mismatched pieces are gone! yay!
I cleaned out and organized my spices. The old ones, yep trash! The cupboards are clear and not so frustrating anymore! Oh Happy DAY!
Third, I cleaned out our closet. Now, if I can just get Sweetie to go through his clothes, and take out what is not wearable anymore...
Next, I need to inventory our towels. We have some that are literally falling apart, and need to be replaced. I figure over time I will pick up a towel here and there, and hopefully by the end of 2011, will have some linen closets to be proud of also!
Today, I took down all of the Christmas stuff, except for a handmade wood carved African nativity that was brought back from Africa for me as a gift a couple years back. I like to look at it all year long. I have high hopes to get rid of the excess this year and really streamline things. I've got high hopes, and achieving some of these goals before the new year makes me feel it will be attainable!

Christmas is here!

Christmas 2010. This year Christmas snuck up on us. Our family had such a busy month that when it was Christmas time we were caught slacking! Sweetie and the boys finished their shopping days before Christmas. Me? I was finished just 9 days before. Whew!
Traditionally, I go out shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. Not this year. It was actually nice to sleep in. We did order a few things on cyber Monday though. That was nice. With free wrapping and shipping, it saved bucks for our out of town folks. (although, I must admit I plan to do more of it next year) I still had stuff to ship and man, was it expensive.
The boys favorite gift from us this year was the stilts that we ordered for them. (summer clearance baby! woot! woot! ) With the boys getting older and wanting more along the line of gift cards, and video games instead of toys it was fun to suprise them with an oldie but goodie toy.
Sweetie worked Christmas eve this year. We weren't lonely as my Aunt and Uncle came up to visit us and spent the night! We made some new memories playing games and showing them how much Clarksville changed since the floods we had in May.
Driving them around I got to revisit their first home and share in those memories with them. We did a little stocking shopping and got back home so we could prepare Christmas Eve dinner. As Sweetie pulled in the garage snow started to fall! Yay!
My family left after dinner so they could try to beat the snow home. Good thing they did, we got 2 inches! Not to mention some sleet.
Christmas 2010 was a white one! Its been several years since that has happened here. Unfortunately, we couldn't make snowmen.
We spent Christmas Day with Sweeties family, and had a great time. It starts with our mid day meal, then one of the men reading the Christmas story, then We laugh and enjoy one another until its time to go to the Grandparents home for dinner and Dirty Santa. Since Sweeties family is so big, we all just bring one gift worth $25 and put them in the middle. Then someone draws names and its on. One can either get a gift from the pile or take from someone else. Whomever goes first gets to go last after everything has been opened. Oh, and something can only be stolen 3 times.
 This year I actually left with something I wanted! A 25 dollar gift card to Longhorn! Sweetie came home with some sausage and cheese! Yum!  We all came home with fresh memories of laughter and good times. We were blessed all of us being together....some of these folks we only see once a year - if that.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Manatee Viewing Center, Apollo Beach, Florida

Spending time with our friends in Tampa, they took us to a free Manatee viewing center. What fun! I learned that they grow up to 12 feet and have a big flipper that propells them through the water. They are otherwise known as "seacows".
The ranger that was there giving a talk about these massive animals, told us they live to about 60 years old. The manatees we saw were staying warm in the waters surrounding a power plant.  We saw nearly 20 of them. We even got to see a mom and her baby. So sweet.  

Manatee coming up for air. They do so every 20 minutes or less.

Magic Kingdom - A Day To Remember....

After Sweetie graduated  we were blessed with the oportunity to go to Magic Kingdom for a day. We met up with a former childcare provider of the boys and had a day of fun. We rode rides, and laughed and met a few Disney characters. I enjoyed watching people and children interact in this dream world. We were very tired but still managed to drive to Tampa that evening so that we could hang out with some other friends.

The boys with Chip n Dale. We learned that in order to tell the difference between the two is by the color of the nose. Chips nose is brown like a chocolate chip while Dale's is red. Dale also has two teeth seperate while Chip has two teeth together.

The boys loved riding the roller coasters!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Graduation Day 2010

December has been a whirlwind so far! The first weekend Cory had his piano recital. He played Boogie on Broadway, and Pumpkin Boogie. He wanted to play The Entertainer, but due too a broken thumb, played these other two songs. It was a great morning, all of the students at the recital played well.

Sweetie earned his Bachelor of Science Degree with Honors from Florida State Hospital College in Orlando, FL this past Thursday evening. We were all so proud of him! The church where the graduation was held was decorated so beautifully. We had precious friends watching the graduation online as well as with us and our family at the graduation itself.