Thursday, December 31, 2009

Its the last day of 2009 and looking back it seems to be a mixed bag. At first glance in my mind's snapshots, I just feel like it was generally lousy. The country has been through one of the worst economical downfalls to date, and the "savior"in chief (as deemed by the mainstream media) has done little to help, in fact has likely lengthened and exacerbated our downward swing. An effect of that on us, and Obama's idiotic tax on coal, has led Tony to be laid off pretty much the whole year from CSX, getting called back right before Thanksgiving, just to be laid off again any day now. Oh and there has been so much more that immediately come to mind when reflecting on 2009.

I choose however, to glean the positive from this less than stellar year. My 2 girls have been healthy this year. Ella's first year of life in 2008 was marked by many hospital visits - jaundice, vaccine adverse reaction and especially the end of the year w/ 3 bouts of MRSA, the first being exceptionally frightening. January09, she overcame it and has been healthy ever since! Laci has been healthy as always, something to never take for granted.

Tony and I had fun opportunities, ironically afforded by his lack of CSX employment to go to many Christian concerts this summer and fall. Working for CSX means no set schedule which means, forget about making plans. This was something we missed and it provided a much needed release from the everyday pressures of parenthood, allowing us to just be Tony and Mandy for awhile. Not to mention, we saw some great shows!!!

We've made new friends and connected with some we'd lost contact with. Our friends mean so much to us, and many are considerd as important parts of our family!

I finally took the step to start my photography business which has been a blessing. CreatedImage photography is doing better than I would have thought in its first few months, and that without advertising! I thoroughly enjoy the experience of working with people and the creative outlet it brings. Of course the financial aspects are helpful as well! I'm excited for the future of my photography and looking forward to being even more busy in 2010!

As rotten as some parts of this year have been, I can see God laying the groundwork for some real blessings for my family in 2010.

CSX is looking up for this year, and Tony immediately got a 25% raise when he got called back. When he can work steady, (possibly not til spring, but we're praying if he gets furlowed in Cumberland he can transfer to 1 of 2 other locations) we will definitely have an increase and release from financial strain.

We've recently decided to move to a farm house his parents offered us. We've gutted the place and have awesome floor plans from a wonderful Christian contractor who is known for doing excellent work and fast! He seems very excited about the job and is set to start the remodel and additions to the house in the next week or 2. We'll be gaining a lot of square footage in this house, and its going to have everything we wanted! Such a blessing. 

2010 is looking so good, I have to say, hit the road 2009! I'm not looking back, I'm just looking forward to all that God has in store for us this coming year. Praying blessings on everyone and that this coming year find you happy. healthy and in the hand of God!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"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

Unlikliest hero, wrapped in his mother's shawl

Just a child-

Is this who we've waited for? 'cause...

How many kings have stepped down from their

How many lords have abandoned their homes?

How many greats have become the least for me?

And how many gods have poured out their heart

Romancing a world that was torn all apart

How many father's gave up their son for me?

Only one did that for me.

All for me.

All for you."

I've cerainly not had trouble getting into the Christmas spirit, I love Christmas. I love everything about it, from how people find a little more kindness to spread, people spreading Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear ;) (esp. when its me in a store, embarassing my 16 year old sister), when that Grinch we all know has a heart that suddenly grows 3 sizes that day, finding the perfect present that will make children's eyes light up and of course that warmth in your heart when you think about our God, lowering himself by putting on flesh and coming down to us, to a world He created, that we destroyed-all to save us from ourselves.

I think those are the best moments and the song above by Downhere (link below) really brought that all into focus tonight driving away from the chaos of Walmart. I think we all know the Christmas story so well, even if you aren't a believer yourself, that we forget truly what it means and the beauty of it. This song is one that brings it to life and makes you realize the love expressed to us by our God.

My hope for this Christmas is that we can all see and remember the pure beauty of God coming as the weakest among us.

I pray this Christmas season

For those know Him, seek Him with all your heart to know him better still

Those who are fearful, rest under his wings.

Those who are hurting ,allow him to whisper comfort to your soul

Those who are broken, give him the pieces to put back together

Those who are weary, rest at his feet

Those who are uncertain, trust, falling back into his arms

Those whom he longs for, listen to the gentle pleading in your heart and answer his call

Those who have run from, turn around and find him waiting for you with the same loving arms you once fled from.

May you all have a blessed Christmas, and know true happiness.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hey guys, check out Prissy Mommy's build a bear giveaway Holly and Hal moose!

Follow her blog too if you're a momma good stuff...

None of you better win though. I have 2 girlies lovin' them some moose.