Friday, December 19, 2014

Why We do St. Nick and Not Santa

 



 Jolly Old St. Nicholas....

I began forming my views on Santa long before I even thought about having kids or getting married. Maybe because I tend towards a black and white analytical and critical view of everything, or maybe because I had believed in Santa until I was ten... I am not sure. But I have had strong opinions on the guy for awhile.

Let me first of all say that if you are reading this and you do Santa that is awesome. My opinion really doesn't matter. If you're comfortable with your traditions and you've arrived at them prayerfully then you are probably doing the right thing for your family. We all have the freedom to change things up too if you read this or other blogs and realize maybe you don't want to "do Santa".

This blog post probably won't be anything new or revolutionary. There are dozens of blogs about Santa and St. Nick that are more insightful and detailed than this one, and I will link to them. Below is just my heart and what we've decided for our family.

St. Nick

I grew up celebrating St. Nick's Day on December 6th and it was always a lot of fun to see what he would leave outside for us to find. (I still get St. Nick gifts as an adult and the family member has yet to reveal themselves). I've read a whole book on St. Nick called The True St. Nicholas, given to me by a family member trying to convince me to do Santa. The book actually deepened my conviction to not do Santa as I learned that the original St. Nick and the modern day Santa really have hardly anything in common.

As we had started having children we hadn't established whether or not we would do St. Nick's day. Last year I ran across this blog at The Art of Simple about celebrating St. Nick's Day and my heart was rekindled for approaching St. Nick in a Christ honoring way, not as a saint to be glorified, but a man that can point us to Jesus.

We purchased these two books on St. Nick to read the night before or morning of St. Nick's Day.
St. Nicholas, the Real Story of the Christmas Legend
The Story of St. Nicholas
On the morning of St. Nick's they get a new Christmas book, movie, or craft, or some combination thereof. The point is the St. Nick's gifts point them to the true meaning of Christmas. We tell them we are playing the St Nick game and that the gifts are from Mommy and Daddy, since St. Nick is dead of course. It is fun for them to pretend, knowing it is us playing St. Nick.
In the future I'd like to play St. Nick to someone else and have the kids think of a way to bless a poor or needy family, just as St Nick did, as St. Nick followed the example of Jesus.

So that's how we incorporate St. Nick. I really appreciate them learning about the real St. Nick.

 We don't do Santa for several reasons. The first being that I see him as a distraction when incorporated in the traditional way on Christmas morning. We don't think he is evil or Satan, but he is a HUGE distraction. We don't think the birth of Christ needs anything extra to make the day more magical. If the incarnation isn't magical enough then we all need to check our hearts and try to really think about how miraculous Christ's birth actually is. Because it truly is... miraculous!
Second of all, because we want to focus on Christ, we try to keep gift-giving to a minimum and to instead focus on giving gifts to Jesus. A great book for this is The King's Christmas List.    It is really tough to do Santa and keep gift giving to a minimum. Not impossible, but tricky.
Third, we don't like the theology that modern day Santa teaches. Just think about the words to Santa Claus is Coming to Town. For thoughts on this I turn to Noel Piper. : 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

His Law is Love and His Gospel is Peace

Christmas Reflections 2014



I realize not everyone reading this celebrates Christmas, or at least may not celebrate Christmas in a religious sense. Just humor me if you would be so kind. :)

Every time I turn on the news or see news reports on the internet I just get so heavy hearted. There is so much heartbreak in the world right now; such mass killings overseas, death from diseases like Ebola, and injustice here in the U.S. that so many still experience. Then add on all sorts of other awful things like cancer and Alzheimers and child abuse and hunger and poverty, and it is so easy to become downright depressed and hopeless. I suspect many are.

This is my third Christmas with a young baby. There is something about having a baby in my arms during Christmas that makes me more reflective about how it must have been for Mary. My heart ponders things. As I have been singing through Christmas carols this year there has been something that has stood out to me. Let me share some lines from the songs with you. I think these words speak timeless truths and apply to all the calamities and strife occurring in the world today.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, verse 4: “O Come, Desire of nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind; bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease; Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.”
Joy to the World, verse 4: “He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love.”
O Holy Night: “Oh holy night! The stars are brightly shining; It is the night of the dear savior's birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till he appear'd and the soul felt it's worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn! Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices, Oh night divine, Oh night when Christ was born.
Truly he taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother, And in his name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise his holy name. Christ is the Lord. Oh praise his name forever. His power and glory forever more proclaim. Fall on your knees…”

All the things I mentioned above can leave us hopeless, unless we know that one day things will be made right. The baby that was born to Mary grew up to be a Savior and a King. You see, Christ is the desire of all the nations. People of all nations yearn and long for a message that gives hope and peace. A message that promises that one day things will be different. Christ is that message. He came to bring unity, peace, and love. When we see unfair leaders, governments, and terrorist groups, we can be reminded that right now He rules the world with truth and grace. This world is weary. I’m weary, aren’t you? I am weary of the sickness, of the hate, of the violence, of children being beheaded because of their faith, of people being shot and killed, of gov’t that is unfair. I am weary. But, there is a thrill of hope inside my heart and I rejoice. My hope is in Christ and in eternity with Him, so this is cause of much rejoicing!

The words that have been bringing the most meaning to me this Christmas season are from O Holy Night. It says that He taught us to love one another, and that His law is LOVE and his gospel is PEACE.  We may not ever experience a law of love and a world of peace while on this earth, but one day, when we are with Christ in heaven or when He sets up His kingdom on earth, we will certainly experience a perfect law of love and a world of peace. We will truly see all people as our brother and sister with no distinction or prejudice, and all oppression will cease. Oh how I long for this day. How beautiful does that sound? And oh how it will be truly beautiful.

We can all experience that in our heart now, even in the midst of this crazy world. His gospel is peace. Those who trust in Him and believe that He is the Son of God can experience this love and peace right now. This is why we can have hope and rejoice!

“Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel”  We can rejoice because Emmanuel has come. He came to give us a way to know perfect love and peace, and that way is Him. Will you celebrate Him this Christmas? Maybe for the first time. I pray you will find hope in the Christmas story in a fresh and new way this year.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Elliot's Home Birth


7.18.14

Today marks Elliot being 1 week old and at right about this time I was in transition and in much pain. Let’s start at the beginning.


First of all, let me say that with each pregnancy Braxton Hicks contractions became more frequent and started earlier. With Elliot, I had them for at least the last 2 months and I was so over them and ready for him to come by about 35 weeks. :) He was also really low and caused a lot of pain in my lower pelvis when he moved a lot, which was usually at bedtime, the little night owl. Needless to say, I was ready for this little guy to come.


We picked the name Elliot for a few reasons. For one, it was one of the few Ben and I agreed on. We have the hardest time agreeing on names. Elliot is the Greek form of Elijah, meaning “Jehovah is God”, so we like the biblical meaning and also the man of God Elijah in the Bible. Elliot is also the surname of one of my favorite missionary couples, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot. I love their story and I love Jim’s heart and zeal for the Lord, and how he was willing to give up his own life to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. The surname also has a lot of significance in that it has a rich Christian heritage. And we just like the name, plain and simple. His middle name is Joseph. We absolutely love and have found so much encouragement from the life of Joseph, Jacob’s son, in the book of Genesis. There is also the great godly man Joseph of Arimathea, and Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. It is also my maternal grandfather’s middle name.


With the girls labor I had experienced 2 very different labors. Brooklyn’s was very slow, lasting 16 hours, and the active labor was very manageable. I started labor at 6 am and she was born just after midnight. My postpartum was awful but the labor was great. Annalise’s labor started quickly and intensely, with contractions starting at 3 minutes apart, and transition lasting for what seemed like forever. Her birth was 11 hours and most of it very intense, but both had only about 45 minutes of pushing. With Brooklyn I tore awfully, hence the horrible postpartum recovery, but with Annalise I didn’t tear at all. I decided I would rather have a painful and intense labor and a great post partum. So there were pros and cons to each of theirs. With Elliot I was praying for an easy daytime labor that was quick, but not too intense. Hah!


We were hoping for a “cool” birthday date, like 7.7 or 7.11. When 7.7 came and went I held out hope for 7.11 and seeing that there was a full moon on the 12th I thought there was a good possibility. I had been having dance parties with the girls, taking labor prep herbs, getting adjusted regularly, and whatever other safe labor inducing activities I could think of. I thought all of this and the fact that it was a third baby would guarantee a quick labor.

On July 10th I was nursing Annalise to sleep and I felt some pains in my lower abdomen that seemed to be contractions. They were very mild and very short, but I thought it could be the beginning. I took this as a sign to really soak up what could be my last night nursing Annalise to sleep for awhile, and my last night with her as my baby, so I stayed in there and prayed and rocked her for about 45 minutes. All the while the contractions came pretty frequently. When I stopped nursing her and came downstairs the contractions went to about 10 to 15 minutes apart and still pretty mild. Around 11 we went to bed after I took some CalMag supplements to slow down labor. I was able to sleep for about 4 hours, just barely noticing the contractions in my sleep coming about 15 to 20 minutes apart. Around 4:30 am they were a little too painful to sleep through but still really far apart. At around 6am I took a bath and they slowed down a bit. I woke up Ben after this to ask him to go downstairs with me and make me a smoothie. I labored on the couch a bit. There were still at least 6 minutes apart but getting more intense. I moved to the guest room, which is where we set up the birth pool, and labored on the bed as they got closer together.

By about 8:30 they were 4-5 minutes apart and my midwife Martina prepared to head my way. She checked me when she arrived around 9:30am and I was only at a 4, but I decided to get in the pool and hope for the best. My contractions slowed down a good bit for awhile when I got in the pool, but I absolutely love the birth pool and can’t imagine labor out of water. It is amazing! Well, as amazing as it can be where labor is concerned.

 

From here things just got more and more intense. I quickly had to change from simple breathing techniques to more vocal tonal sounds during contractions. I would liken it to whale calls, but some might say otherwise. :) The girls were coming in and out of the birth room occasionally. Brooklyn was so ready for brother to be born and wanted to stay in the room and wait for his head to come out. Annalise wasn’t quite sure what to think. My mom and mother in law whisked them away for some errands and lunch to give us some peace and quiet.

 During all of labor I rotated between my Pandora “Sovereign Grace” station and my “Nature sounds” station. I sipped on my smoothie, "shaklee-aid" popsicles, and water. The verses I had taped up were Isaiah 41:10, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Hebrews 12:1-3, and Matthew 11:28-30.




I labored in the pool mostly, but got out for about 5 contractions at some point. As I got back in the pool I began having really painful contractions and I just wanted to push this baby out NOW. My midwife kept checking me and telling me I wasn’t ready but that I was progressing nicely. I had told them in my last appointment to not tell me how much I was dilated, so as not to discourage me, but  at some point I had to know. I was a 7. Not the news I wanted. I was feeling really “pushy”. I had a major meltdown and begged Ben to take me to the hospital so I could get an epidural. I started crying and begging and really hit a brick wall. Brooklyn was in the room at this point and said “It’s okay mommy. Once baby brother comes you will have to do this zero more times.” After the midwives explained the process for going to the hospital and how I probably wouldn’t get the pain meds in time I decided to stay home. To those of you ladies who have natural births in the hospital, you are my heroes. To say no to drugs that are right at your fingertips and have a natural birth is truly amazing to me. A big reason I birth at home is because I would probably “give in” and have drugs if they were available to me.

After my breakdown, we all decided I should get out and see if I progressed quicker. I labored on the toilet for a few contractions and started pushing. My water broke, and in my past two births my babies came about 30 minutes after my water broke. My midwife then said she could try to manually push back the rest of my cervix. Um, yes please! She was successful so I was given the go ahead to get back in the water and push. Hallelujah!

I began pushing and crowned pretty quickly. I tried my best to breathe through some contractions to give everything time to stretch. My midwife also applied counterpressure to help prevent tearing. After a bit more pushing my midwife felt inside near the head and felt the cord so she worked quickly to get it out of the way. She asked me to flip to hands and knees and in about two more contractions and pushing, Elliot was here! I held him as he caught his breath and began crying and pinking up. Goodness, I was so relieved he was here. He came into the world on 7.11 at 1:58pm after about maybe 25 or 30 minutes of pushing.






The rest is placenta delivery, then nursing sweet Elliot, health assessment and weighing. He weighed in at 8lbs, 10oz, and 20.5 inches long. Big baby!

He was born while Annalise was napping, which was a good thing. I was screaming like an amazon woman. Brooklyn was in there for the last hour of labor and saw her brother be born, although she did have to cover her ears. :) I hope she remembers seeing her brother be born always. She was a champ. My 2 midwives were there, Martina and Melissa, as well as our photographer Ana, and both of our moms. It was such an intense and humbling (yet empowering) birth, that I am so glad it was a small crowd.













He is absolutely precious and we are so blessed to have a son. The girls absolutely adore him. To say they are obsessed would definitely be a correct assessment.


We are so thankful to the Lord for allowing us to conceive. The miracle of conception and the growth and birth of a baby are truly miraculous. God is amazing! That’s all I can say.


We are so thankful to Full Circle Midwifery as well for wonderful prenatal care and an amazing birth experience.

And that’s all she wrote….


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Our First Home, A Memoir



This, our first home, will be hard to leave. So many memories have been made here indeed. This has been my first real home as an adult, my first home as a wife, my first home as a mom. This home is so much more than brick and mortar and four walls. This home is full of memories and love. This home will be hard to leave.


This is the home where I visited when dating my husband. This is the home where he proposed. Candles and rose petals everywhere, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I can still see it all now ever so clearly. Memories etched in my mind. This is the home that became ours, transformed from a stale bachelor pad to a beautiful home where we would start our life.


This is the home where we entertained friends and made new ones. This is the home where we hosted international students from all over the world, squeezing into our tiny home that felt so big with love. This is the home where 5-15 girls from all over the world would come to and learn about Jesus for many months. This is a home that God allowed us to use to serve Him and others.


This is the home where we made our babies, and literally birthed our first two. In the “nook” of our bedroom I laid in the water tub laboring and bringing forth new life into this world. Never has this bedroom been filled with so much love. This is the home where I bounced colicky newborns and snuggled them in my arms. This is the home that was filled with laughter and noise as our family grew from two to three to four.



This is the home where I hosted my first, second, and twentieth playdate, as I formed my first “mommy” friends and shared deeply from the heart the joys and struggles of motherhood. This is the home where I learned to cook and bake and fill my families hearts and tummies full with food and love. This washer and dryer have washed loads and loads of clothes to keep my family warm. This bathtub has bathed my girls and kept them clean. This yard has provided hours and hours of fun and entertainment.


These neighbors at my first home are the most amazing thing of all. I wish I could pack them all up. These neighbors at our first home care and love relentlessly and selflessly and are always there. I know this block like the back of my hand. I know their cars, their comings and goings, their dogs, and many of their stories, yet I wish I knew them all more. The streets of Colonial Acres I know very well. I have walked them for five and a half years. First it was the two dogs and I, then the first baby and I plus the dogs, now the two girls and I, and one dog. Five years of walking and praying and enjoying the landscape of beautiful homes and majestic oak trees, but most of all smiling faces and warm “hellos”.


I will be sad to leave these neighbors, these streets, our first home. This home where we went through job changes, and family changes. This home where we laughed, cried, and prayed. This home where we loved and hoped, and tickled little bellies.


Chances are the kids won’t remember much about this, our first home. They are young enough now, that it will be a faint memory, that only pictures will shed light on. They will remember our next home as their “first” home and have memories there. But my husband and I will always know this was our first home, where we became husband and wife, and parents. 4680 Flamingo will always be our first home.

Our home is for sale. If in Memphis please check out the Zillow ad and spread the word. 
4680 Flamingo Rd on Zillow

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why You CAN be a Good Neighbor without trick-or-treating

Well, here goes nothing...

With all of the Halloween posts flying around I felt compelled to share my 2 cents. Hopefully it is worth more than that. Here's the thing....

I love my neighbors and people in general, but we choose not to "celebrate" Halloween (currently)

I think pendulums swing from one side to the other in many "hot button" issues of The Church, Halloween being one of them. I am not a fan of "bubble Christianity" and totally understand that the way Christians have handled many issues, including Halloween, for generations past gives off a sense of judgement and pride. I get that. And before we get any further, let me go on record saying I don't fit in the "right-winged tee-totaller conservative Christian" box. I would probably consider myself a libertarian and I tend to be conservative in some areas and liberal in others (legalize marijuana please)! I am not a hermit that is hiding away from the world. The pendulum seems to have now swung in the direction of telling those believers who do not celebrate Halloween that they must not be missional and that they are missing out on the best night to meet their neighbors.

There are many Christians (and people in general) that love people and their neighbors but for whatever reason, do not desire to participate in the festivities of Halloween. I am a pretty black and white person and if there isn't a really clear reason for me to do something, like celebrate a holiday, I probably won't do it. Based on the history of Halloween I really can't find a reason I should celebrate. I get the point that most people don't know the history and it is just a fun holiday! Great for you if you are okay with that, really. I so wish God had wired me as more of a "grey" person, but I really find it hard to just join in when I can not find a good reason to.

So, if you don't hand out "treats" does that mean you don't love or like your neighbors?

NO!

Here are a few reasons why people may not hand out candy or go trick or treating:

  1. They may feel convicted to not participate in Halloween. Please do not judge these people and assume they are judging you. They may even smile when they see pictures on facebook of their friends' kids dressed up, but they do not feel the freedom to participate. Some believers, like myself, are very sensitive and convicted about things based on the history or the origin of holidays and traditions. It does not mean believers who do not participate are mean or hermits. We have never handed out candy or trick or treated, and yet we know just about all of our neighbors in the 40+ houses on our block and most have been to our home for different events throughout the years. We want to get to know our neighbors all throughout the year and find other opportunities to do so. I hope all people will do this, regardless of religion. Knowing your neighbors is a great thing!
  2. There may not be a culture of trick or treating on their block. Even people who want to trick or treat in their neighborhood may find that no one is interested. Our block seems to have been "trick or treat" free for so long that it is basically non-existent now. A neighbor friend of mine even tried to get it going last year to no avail. Some neighborhoods just may not get into the groove of trick or treating despite the efforts of other neighbors. Maybe the old widows do not feel safe passing out candy to strangers or maybe the families trick or treat in other family members neighborhoods. Who knows?
  3. It may not be safe. Some people may live in cities or neighborhoods where they do not feel safe going door to door. This may be a real or perceived feeling, but either way they do not feel safe. Our neighborhood has a lot of older teenagers come trick or treating that are from other neighborhoods. If I were 80 and home alone I would not want to open the door to teenagers I had never met in the middle of a big city (Memphis in my case) on a dark night.
  4. Church or Community Alternatives may be the best option for some people. If your neighborhood doesn't trick or treat or you do not feel it is safe, maybe you prefer to invite your neighbors and friends to go to a church alternative like a fall fest or trunk or treat. Many churches do a great job reaching out to the community and providing a safe alternative to trick or treating. In inner city Memphis this may be the best option for many kids and I have heard of several that do a great job of loving on underprivileged kids. This is great! 
  5. Some people do not like candy, eat candy, etc. You could call me anti-candy when it comes to my kids and mostly to me, and you would be right. Even if we felt comfortable participating in Halloween (who knows, one day we may) I have no idea what we would do to celebrate since the whole holiday revolves around food coloring and sugar filled gross candy. Yep, I would be the house handing out juice boxes and play dough.  :)
  6. Lastly, many kids are really sensitive to scary things. There may be some years, in the height of night terrors and fearful imagination phases, when some families may opt out of Halloween for a year, or even just find something else for that particular kid. This is a very valid reason for not participating or handing out candy, since you have no idea what kind of costumes you will see or what will come to your door.  It is a good thing to be a sensitive parent and there will always be next year.
This is the most comprehensive list I can think of. I have read so many blogs, some with an air of judgement and most not, telling me that to love my neighbors and be missional I should trick or treat. But I don't think it is that easy.  Creating a culture of community and being a good neighbor can start at anytime. And we should be checking in on neighbors and being a good neighbor and meeting our neighbors and having neighbors to our home whether or not we celebrate Halloween.

So be a good neighbor 365 days of the year and celebrate Halloween or don't, because being a good neighbor takes a lot more than handing out candy one day a year. 

Here are some great ways to cultivate community and meet your neighbors...
40 Simple Ways to Build Community in your Neighborhood

That's all for now. :)

P.S. I do love pumpkins and all things fall, so please invite me to your fall events. :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Feliz Navidad 2012

Christmas time is here....and gone...yet the hope of the babe in the manger lives on every day for those who know the risen Christ.
 

Our Christmas season was full of fun. We did several of the fun holiday activities that the city of Memphis offers but our favorite was probably the Alpine Village at Trinity Baptist. The fact that it is indoors is a major plus!





This year we used our Ann Voskamp Jesse Tree devo again but threw in some children's bible stories to match the ornaments that were more on B's level. She also had her own tiny tree in her room with a nativity advent calendar ornaments. I think next year we may try Truth in the Tinsel.

Also this year we decided to not do any gifts. Since we don't do Santa this isn't a hard leap. We just explained to B that it is a celebration of Jesus' birthday so we give him gifts, and on her birthday she gets gifts. This child is spoiled throughout the year, so believe me she doesn't feel neglected or any such thing by not getting tons of gifts at Christmas. Our extended family still gave gifts, but we hope throughout the years they will redirect their giving more and more to birthday gifts.

On Christmas Eve morning we went with my husband's parents to visit people at King's Sons and Daughters nursing home. Two of Ben's grandparents have been there previously and his mom is still a rock star volunteer. We just went around and handed out cards B had made along with some treats and spread some Christmas cheer. B was a little timid around some of the people but overall she did great. I think this is a great tradition and maybe as the girls get bigger we can sing songs as we go from room to room. :) Christmas Eve evening we went to church and then to eat at Olive Garden (a tradition my family had for year). We came home and watched a veggie tales Christmas movie before putting B to bed. Then it was a late night of prepping for Jesus' birthday party.



We stayed up to make whole wheat cinnamon rolls and decorate with free printables I found. We did a "Happy Birthday Jesus" banner, balloons, "cupcake"/cinnamon roll toppers, and a hat for B. We also had to wrap presents for Jesus. We made a donation for each of us and then one in lieu of Christmas cards. This year we found so much joy in giving to the "least of these" in Jesus' honor. We donated to World Vision for ducks for a family and to help women and children in sex trafficking, also to a local ministry to teen moms, and some toys for the "sick kids" at Lebonheur. In lieu of Christmas cards we found a ministry called Planting with Purpose, a creation care ministry. I printed off pictures to symbolize all of these donations and wrapped them up in brown paper packages tied up with string. :) Brooklyn also had fun making ornaments for our family this year for her gift.
 

Christmas morning B came in our room to wait for sister to be ready then we all went into the living room together. We played while I finished breakfast and then we enjoyed our yummy treats, cinnamon rolls, quiche, and fruit salad. After breakfast we read the Christmas story and opened gifts for Jesus, then we watched Christmas movies and just relaxed until nap time. After nap we went to Ben's parents and enjoyed a yummy dinner there. Ben's mom is starting the "sparkle box" and her house. We write down what we do for the "least of these" during the Christmas season and put them in the sparkle box. On Christmas we open it and see what our family gave to Jesus for his birthday.
 



 
I really like the traditions we are creating. I almost feel like we had an advent activity overload, but there are just so many great advent devotionals and activities I had trouble just choosing one! In the future we may do gifts on New Years or Epiphany but this year we chose not to do any and we still had a great and joyful Christmas!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thankful List 2012




I want to start incorporating more Thanksgiving holiday traditions. Thanksgiving and Easter are my favorite holidays! So this year we did a thankfulness tree Nov 1- Thanksgiving. Here is our list from our family and anyone who shared a meal with us. (We always did our leaves after dinner)

  • zoo
  • my wife
  • beans
  • family
  • bedtime
  • my brother
  • God
  • food
  • Sydney
  • sleep sheep
  • good health
  • Iggy
  • my husband
  • our house
  • fork
  • daddy and sydney
  • coffee
  • neighbors
  • sleep
  • fall
  • grace and mercy
  • family
  • brooklyn and annalise
  • potatoes
  • noodles
  • naps
  • children and grandchildren
  • uncles
  • doctors and nurses
  • family
  • rain
  • family
  • playing with brooklyn
  • annalise is home from hospital
  • jesus
  • salvation
  • trees and leaves
  • my friends
  • annalise is getting better
  • jackie and papa mark
  • mommy
  • aunt dawn and dede
  • Mimi
  • her big sister (brooklyn saying what annalise was thankful for :)
  • LeBonheur
  • Nurses
  • My girls
  • pumpkins
  • mommy and sister and daddy
  • daddy and sister and mommy and trees and leaves
  • Iggy and Pop
  • dawn and dede
  • good jobs and beautiful weather
  • Banana bread
  • love
  • sweet Brooklyn
  • salad tongs
  • spaghetti
  • Noah
  • milk
  • teeth and Kim
  • swing
  • beautiful weather
  • annalise
  • brooklyn
  • daddy ben
  • car seat
  • air conditioner
  • This leaf
There you have it folks! :)