Friday, December 30, 2011

I Stand Amazed

This past week has been one of celebration.  Our family traveled to visit our new grand-daughter, Little Miss Zoey.  Of course, love at first sight. 

 My heart about exploded with grand-ma love when I asked Miss Jaelynn if I could hold the baby and she shook her head "no".  After a while of coaxing, I held Zoey to which Jaelynn responded by putting her hands in the air and saying, "MiMi!".  She wanted my undivided attention.  Made my heart melt.

(Jae is not sure about Mimi holding the baby......)

I never knew two little girls could rock my world so much.

(Big sister and baby "WuWu" Jaelynn says Zoey)

Or that my heart could have enough love it in for ALL my girls!!

Also hard for my mother's heart to believe that my baby is 19.  Just yesterday she seemed as small as Zoey
Auntie Jo and Baby Zo

Tuesday was my birthday and while visiting with my girls on Monday night, Amanda and Jaelynn surprised me with a birthday cake, and of course, we had icecream! 

(Amanda doesn't even look or act like she just had a baby.   She even drove to the store two hours after being discharged from the hospital to get my cake!  She is Superwoman!  )

  Jaelynn helped me pick the frosting flowers off with her fingers.

Last year Jaelynn lived far away but sent me a picture for my birthday,  This year I was able to celebrate with them in person.

(Looks like Jaelynn is signing "thank you".  I can't take credit for that..I think she was being silly.)

It is simply amazing what can happen in a year.  So much can change.  Loved ones pass away and new ones are born.  Nothing is the same.  Yet, as I think back to all that happened in 2011, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  A dear friend and I were chatting on Facebook last night and she put it perfectly, "I cry all the way home--just thanking Jesus for his grace and all he saved me from, not just eternally, but in this life, because I don't deserve his salvation, yet, I have it! "

Here's to another year.  I pray my heart will be filled with gratitude for all He has done and all He will do.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Jesus (and Zoey!)

Welcome to the world, our little Christmas Blessing!

Our second granddaughter, Zoey Maria Rivera was born at 2:15am on December 25th.  Mom and baby are doing fine.  (big sister and Daddy are doing great too!!)


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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa's not the only one arriving......Day 23

Day 23 of Christmas Praise and Celebration

Oh my goodness!!  I just received a phone call from my daughter, Amanda.  Her water just broke.  She is on the way to the hospital.  A Christmas baby!  (we are hoping the baby will be born before midnight as today is Memaw Burton's birthday.)

Praying for Amanda and for Baby Zoey's arrival.  

I am ever so thankful!

(My youngest daughter took these pictures of Amanda over Thanksgiving.  I jokingly told Jordyn she is a photographer prophet!  Loved the lighting (natural light not edited) on these shots).

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Mama Walrus - Day 22

Day 22 of Christmas Praise and Celebration

Today we enjoyed lunch at Cracker Barrel with Pepaw Burton (my dear father-in-law).  I had not been to Cracker Barrel since last December when Jim and I went with PePaw and MeMaw Burton.   So much has changed since that visit to Cracker Barrel.  This is PePaw's first Christmas in 61 years without his "bride" (as he lovingly called her).  We had a great visit and recalled many memories of MeMaw.  She always ordered the Chicken-N-Dumplins from Cracker Barrel, so Jordyn kept the tradition alive and well and enjoyed the dumplin's.

I am so very thankful for the many years of memories our family made together.  One memory in particular that I have is super silly (or gross...depending on if you are high-faluting or not).   Tomorrow (December 24th),  is Memaw's birthday so I will share in her memory--I know she wouldn't mind.  

One thing MeMaw and I always enjoyed doing was eating.   She was a great cook but in her later years she was too sick to cook so she loved to eat out--and it was always her treat.    We would eat until our bellies were stuffed beyond stuffed and then we'd pile on dessert.    Memaw and I both have a little....uhh...habit...or uncontrollable response to our food at times.    You see, we both *burp* (okay...belch) very loudly.   It just happens.  No warning. Nothing--just a loud NOISE followed by embarrassment (or laughter depending on your company).   The first time I remember this happening, MeMaw went to say something and accidentally *burped* at a restaurant and it was so loud I immediately responded, "you sound like a walrus".  We both laughed until we almost wet ourselves.  So the phrase, "Mama Walrus" (for her) and Baby Walrus (for me) was termed. 

I am thankful for silly memories.  Happy Birthday a day early to Memaw aka Mama Walrus.

PePaw and MeMaw Burton Christmas 2010

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Let Loose - Day 21

Day 21 of Christmas Praise and Celebration

I am thankful for the Message Bible's paraphrase of Luke today.  I have been reading it the past few days and letting it resonate with me. 

Have you taken time to worship and praise Jesus this Christmas season?  

I want to worship like Mary did (Message Bible Luke 1)

46-48And Mary said, 

   I'm bursting with God-news; 
      I'm dancing the song of my Savior God. 
      God took one good look at me, and look what happened— 
      I'm the most fortunate woman on earth
   What God has done for me will never be forgotten
      the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others....

I want to let loose like the shepherds did in these verses (Message Bible Luke 2:12-20):

-12There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."

13-14At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises: 

Glory to God in the heavenly heights, 
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

15-18As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

19-20Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and LET LOOSE, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!

If you have time, I encourage you to read Luke Chapter 1 and 2 in The Message Bible.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fruitcake - Day 20

Day 20 of Christmas Celebration and Praise

Today finds me thankful for being off from work and enjoying a rainy afternoon with my parents enjoying Chirstmas music along with a cup of coffee and two of my favorite Christmas yummies:

Yep - fruitcake and Chocolate German Gingerbread Cookies. 

(please refrain from the fruitcake comments!  ha ha)

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

8 Crazy Nights - Day 19

Day 19 of Christmas Praise and Celebration

Today I am thankful for Hanukkah.  Happy to Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends. 

In case you are curious why I have a menorah, you can read this blog post from a few years ago.  

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Oh How He Love Us - Day 18

Day 18 of Christmas Praise and Celebration

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. 

~ Saint Augustine

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bella The Elf - Day 17

Day 17 of Christmas Praise and Celebration

According to reliable sources, December 18th is "International Answer The Phone As Buddy The Elf Day".   Being an elf myself, I just had to give it a try this afternoon when the phone rang.    My precious mom was the recipient of my "Buddy The Elf, What's Your Favorite Color?".

You see, I am thankful for a mom who never ceases to make our family laugh with her Pat-ism and misunderstandings of words.  Our all time favorite line  to date of mom's is when Jordyn's cell phone was on vibrate and my mom exclaimed, "your phone's wiggling!!".  

My Mom has only seen Elf once (unlike me who has seen it a bazillion times) and can't quote the lines like yours truly can.   Therefore, I found it totally hysterical when I had to call mom later tonight to ask her a question and she answered her phone by saying, "Bella the Elf, what color you like?"  Another classic Pat-ism moment.

I am thankful for my mom who loves Jesus but knows how to love life and have fun too!

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Give Me Liberty - Day 16

Day 16 of Christmas Praise and Celebration

Whether you were a fan or not, the late Jerry Falwell, Sr.-- had a vision.  His vision? Liberty University. A college "with a vision to train Champions for Christ".    Our family is thankful for this college that is 'un-apologetically Christian'.  A place where parents can have peace knowing there are NO co-ed dorms on the 6,000 acre campus.  A place where classes are started with prayer requests. A place where each student is prayed over every day by prayer teams.  A place where the name of Jesus is lifted high.  A place I am proud to support as a parent.

Thank you Liberty University!!

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Feeling Flakey - Day 15

Day 15 of Christmas Praise and Celebration

(clears throat) - ready, sing:  I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.  Just like the ones... (voice trails off with a discouraged tone.)

The temperatures are a bit mild in my area for a white Christmas. I better keep on dreaming (and praying)!

Until Suzie comes to visit I'll make snowflakes with coffee filters and this uber cool site:  Popular Front Snowday.

Of course, I will enjoy the snowflake decor hanging from my ceiling.

My point?  I'm unashamedly thankful for the white stuff when it comes my way!

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

My King - Day 14

Day 14 of Christmas Praise and Celebration

I'm thankful for my King.  Thankful that He stepped down from His throne.  All for me.  All for you. 

I adore this song by Downhere, "How Many Kings" (lyrics below).  Beautiful video too!

Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe after all we’ve projected
A child in a manger 

Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mothers shawl
Just a child
Is this who we’ve waited for? 

Cause how many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me? 

Bringing our gifts for the newborn savior
All that we have whether costly or meek
Because we believe
Gold for his honor and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he’ll suffer
Do you believe, is this who we’ve waited for?

How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me 

All for me
All for you
All for me
All for you

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Climb Every Mountains - Day 13

Day 13 of Christmas Praise and Celebration

I've had a mountain that I have been avoiding in my personal life.  In fact, I have been avoiding it for about a week.  One night last week I realized I could no longer continue to ignore the mountain or it was soon going start taking control of my life.   Instead of avoiding the ginormous task I faced, I thought I would give myself an incentive/reward to help deal with what was the inevitable.   I decided to make a deal with myself.  I would receive a reward after, and ONLY after, I had dealt with this mountain.   My "incentive to self" was a success.  

I am please to report I dealt fiercely with my mountain and in less than an hour I was enjoying my reward.   

My mountain: (of laundry.  It was as tall as the back of my recliner.  No lie. And it is just the two of us here this week.)

My reward:  Homemade sugar cookies with glazed icing.  (Only captured a picture of the mess I made making the cookies.  They didn't turn out too cute--so no after pictures...but they sure were delicious!)  If you want cute sugar cookies be sure to visit Sweet Bella Bakery.)

Once again this week, I am sad to report the mountain is back.  I guess I'll be baking another batch of sweet incentives for myself in the very near future. 

All that randomness to say that today I am thankful for abundance.  An abundance of clothes (that leaves me a mountain of laundry).  Even an abundance of food (thus the luxuary of making sugar cookies just because I "want some").  I realize many in this world don't have these luxuries of abundance.  My we never take for granted the blessings we have been given.    

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

5 Golden Rings - Day 12

I was searching my pictures tonight when I randomly came across the following video. 

My mother-in-law (MeMaw) and I had a yearly Christmas tradition where we would sing The Twelve Days of Christmas as off key as possible.  (Well, MeMaw actually sang on key--I was the "off key" one.).  For as long as I can remember, each Christmas Jordyn  would play the piano and we would sing our hearts out.   Every year without fail we would sing and pause our way through this song trying to remember each verse/day by memory.  I don't think there was ever a year that we got the verses in the correct order (except for the "five golden rings" part) but we would laugh until we cried at our attempt.  

This year MeMaw is with Jesus.  I miss her.  I will miss singing "The Tweleve Days of Christmas with her but Jordyn and I will continue this tradition in her honor.

I am thankful for the memories I had with my precious mother-in-law.  She was amazing.  A few years ago one of our friends took this video and I am thankful I found it tonight...on my Day 12 of Praise and Celebration.    

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Aww, shucks! - Day 11

Day 11 of Christmas Praise and Prayer

My dear friend introduced me to a little taste of heaven this weekend (thanks Christ!).  Two bags in two day and three pounds later (I'm not kidding) finds me thankful for this amazing stuff:

Even more thankful that it is all natural and gluten free! 

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Furry Babies

Day 10 of Christmas Praise and Celebration

Thank for my two little buddies and their unconditional love for me!

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

La La La La - Day 9

"The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear." Buddy The Elf

Spreading a little Christmas cheer by singing loudly (a little too loudly) this afternoon is what I was doing as I strolled the aisles of my local major retailer.  In fact, I didn't even realize I was singing until another 'aisle stroller' starred at me with a not-so-friendly-Christmas glare.  Oops!

How could I not sing along?  One reason why I love, love, LOVE this time of year is because of lyrics to some of the Christmas songs.  What other time of year can we hear lyrics proclaiming Jesus is Lord blaring in stores area wide? Or how about the words "Joy to the Word, The Lord is come.  The Savior reigns?"  Only at Christmas do we hear Pop-stars, Country singers and everyone in between belt out songs on the radio stations (who have put "political correctness" aside for a short month) to play songs with lyrics like these:

Truly He taught us to love one another, 
His law is love and His gospel is peace. 
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. 
And in his name all oppression shall cease. 
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, 
With all our hearts we praise His holy name. 
Christ is the Lord!
Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Today, Day 9 of Christmas Praise and Celebration, finds me thankful for the precious Christmas songs that proclaim the true meaning we celebrate Christmas.

(What's your favorite Christmas song?)

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Friday, December 09, 2011

Getting Hit in the Head - Day 8

Day 8 of Christmas Praise and Worship

My youngest girl has been under the weather this week.  Her constant coughing has taken its toll on her voice.  The timing (as with any sickness) is never welcome as- in addition to finals - she was facing a "one or die" audition Tuesday Night which involved singing.    I assured her I would be here at home praying fervently for her and encouraged her just go, do her best and leave the rest to The Lord. 

 "Lord, give her strength as she is weak" resonated over and over within me and became my prayer for her.  After a while of praying the same thing over and over, I felt (note the "I" emphasis) I should find "more verses" to pray (as if one wasn't enough I seemed to think more verses were needed).  Quickly becoming obsessed with the amount of verses  "I should" pray (again--note "I"),  I decided  ("I decided" as in I decided to stop listening to the leading of The Spirit) to randomly flip open my Bible to see what other verses I could find to pray.  One random open turned right to this page in my Bible:

I love when God just hits me in the head with a 2x4 when "I" decide to walk away from His Voice and do things "my" way.  I am also thankful for His mercy, grace and confirmations that put us back on the right track when we need it!  

(*update to the audition - she was called back twice this week but will not know more until later in the weekend.  Regardless of the result, our faith was increased as she sang with power in her voice and was not hoarse. )

Today I am joining my buddies over at Company Girl!

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Thursday, December 08, 2011

LOL (all caps, underlined and in bold)! - Day 7

Day 7 of Christmas Praise and Celebration

I am thankful for laughter and fun!  Our family certainly loves to laugh and have fun (goofy, silly fun!).  

We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, "What amazing things the LORD has done for them." Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy! Psalms 126:2-3 NLT



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