Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We had a Party!

On January 12th, we had a party for Max's Mom.
I made some fun decorations and Max helped me put them up.

I broke out the old Birthday table cloth....

And some Birthday plates for the cupcakes!

There were chocolate & zuchinni cupcakes & presents!

We had a yummy dinner...

and celebrated a very special lady!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Day of Joy

January 12th has always been important in my life. It was my Grandma Frances' birthday. This lady has so much to do with the person I am today that it is hard to even put it into words. I know that I could blog for years and years about all of the wonderful memories I have with her. You have probably noticed that she has popped up in many of the posts I have done throughout the years.
She is the reason I have a love for winter in my heart. She pointed out the joy in every season and showed me how much I had to be thankful for. I loved how she could see the beauty in everything. I am so thankful that she instilled the importance of this in me.
She believed in the importance of faith, family, and friends. She cared so deeply for all those she knew and would have done anything for any of them. Her and my Mom would take me along to their Christian Womens meetings and helped me to understand how important a relationship with Jesus would be in my life. She always reminded me that life would never be easy or perfect, but we should have joy because of the days we have been given and becuase we could all spend eternity together in heaven because of Jesus' grace!
I am so thankful for all of the memories, especially all of the little things. Letting me cook with her, slumber parties on Friday nights so that we could go rummaging on Saturday mornings, decorating her house for every holiday, doing crafts. When I was sick all the time before my bladder/kidney surgery I would stay at her house while my parents were at work, which admittedly made wanting to feel better and get back to school hard to do. When I went off to college, her phone calls and letters became even more valuable to me. Both Max and I miss having a card or letter in the mail every week or two, instead of just bills. It is one of the reasons we love sending cards and letters to our family and friends! She taught me that it is those little things that you can do for others that really make a difference. To often, we think that since we can't do something big to make a difference we just can't make a difference at all. But there a so many little things you can do each and every day that will make a difference in lives of those around you! Thank you Grandma for showing me these things!
Today I have geat joy from all of the wonderful memories I made with my Grandma. She was such a blessing. And now January 12th has even more special meaning to me because my mother-in-law also has a birthday today. I have many wonderful women in my life to give thanks for on this day!


While I sit and wonder what this year will bring for us, maybe new additions to our family, growth in our business, chances to grow in our faith, I am full of hope for the changes I want to see in my life this year!
In 2012, we want to:
*Make an effort every day to count our blessings and to CHOOSE joy over stress, sadness, or getting mad. This is going to take A LOT of practice but I have already seen the amazing difference this can make in my day to day life. This is how I want to live! I will blog more about this later!
*Spend more time reading. I am taking on my cousin Karla's challenge to read 30 books this year! (I am counting audio books too)
*Keep getting healthier! We are continuing to make workouts a priority and are LOVING finding new healthier recipes. Every month this year we are trading two new healthy recipes with my parents! By the end of the year we will each have gained 24 new healthy & delicious recipes!
*Sharing God's love by living for others. We want to see needs big & small and do all that we can!
We hope that our time in 2012 will be spent enjoying time with our family & friends, working hard to continue the success of our business, and sharing our time and talents to share God's love whenever and wherever we can!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Light in the Darkness

Along with all the joy and wonder of Christmas this year we also had our share of sadness. We lost my cousin Patrick on December 23rd. We spent the week after Christmas in Illinois with my Aunt Susie and Uncle Terry and my cousin's son John Michael. Even in the sadness, there was a light in the darkness. The light of Jesus and the hope he brought when he died for all of us on the cross. We could rejoice in knowing that there is much more than this life here. This life here can sometimes be full of pain, heartache, and struggles. But if we cling to Christ and put our trust in him we can have hope.
I got to read the following verses at the funeral:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

New International Version (NIV)

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The message at the funeral was a message of hope. That God loves you, that he doesn't make bad things happen but he does allow them to happen for purposes beyond our understanding, and that if we place our hope in him we get to spend eternity with him. How amazing is that?
Even through the sadness, the time my family got to spend together last week was another huge blessing. I was continually stopped by the realization of how lucky I am to be a part of the families I was born into & married into. God has been so good to me and I will give him thanks in all things, good & bad.

Merry Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas! We got to spend lots of time with both of our families and enjoyed just getting wrapped up in all the joy & wonder that Christmas brings!

Enjoying our time together.

My parents gorgeous tree on Christmas Eve.

Watching Christmas movies after Church on Christmas Eve.

Game time!

Aunt Carol & Ryan opening gifts.

Christmas Morning

The guys loving their gifts!

Me & my beautiful Mom.

Gabe meeting some cousins!

Gabe with Grandpa & Max

Merry Christmas

Loving his new present!

Checking out his new puppy from Grandma & Grandpa!

Just cute!

More cuteness!

Our Christmas Dinner

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by the ones you love. 

Christmas At the Capital

December was full and busy this year, but in a good way! Needless to say, I got behind on blogging. So now it time to play catch up...
Growing up one of our family traditions was to go to Pierre for "Christmas at the Capital". We would go look at all of the beautiful trees and then get our Christmas shopping done. As kids, my brother and I looked forward to it and always had so much fun. It is still one of my favorite things to do at Christmas and we can't wait to take our children someday!

I absolutely LOVE this sign. How blessed we are that "love came down" on Christmas day!

Mom & Dad

The "Prince & Princess" Table

One of our favorite trees was based on "The Chronicles of Narnia".

Looking down from a balcony at all the beauty.

It is just breath taking...

It was an unusual 50+ degree day in South Dakota! We were able to spend some time at the Veterans Memorials without our coats!

I am thankful for family traditions, the beauty of Christmas, and for the love that came down on Christmas day!