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Saturday, November 26, 2011

*Christmas* The Little Brown Jacket

When I got up this morning, I was alone.
No husband, no kids, no vehicle.
Just me and the quiet of the house.
What to do…what to do…
Oh, I knew exactly what I was going to do!
I put on some holiday music and pulled out the Christmas decorations.

I have been looking forward to decorating for Christmas the last few months.
I love this time of year.
I love creating a festive atmosphere in the home.
Tantalizing our senses with all kinds of seasonal goodness!
I LOVE Christmas shopping and decorating.
This morning, enjoyed myself as I pulled out the Santa hats, stockings, the snowman cookie jar, plates and mugs.

The nativity sets, the snow globes, village houses and the Christmas trees
(although the trees will be left untouched until the kids come home.)
I hung the mistletoe in the hallway and displayed the new Santa pictures in the kitchen.  
To the front porch, I added the little sign that I painted a few weeks ago,
and I loved it.
I love it all.
 The gold.
The glitter.
The bright red and green colors complimenting the snowy, fuzzy whites.
I love the glittering star that goes on top of the Christmas tree
and the little Santa that greets our guests.
I love the red bows that hang on our kitchen chairs,
but most of all I love the little brown jacket.

 Yes, that little brown jacket is so full of magic.
It isn’t fancy or festive.
It isn’t traditional holiday décor,
but it IS my most favorite Christmas possession of all.
Each year, when I bring out my decorations this little brown jacket comes out with them.
This little jacket takes me back to my childhood.

I will never forget waking up early Christmas day
along with my brothers to look at our gifts from Santa.
My grandparents would always drive to our house early in the morning, long before the sun would come out to watch us open our gifts.
That first Christmas without my Grandpa Romero was a hard one.
I was so used to having him there with us and I wasn’t ready for that tradition to stop.
Since moving out of my parents’ house, it has become a tradition for me to pull out Grandpa’s brown jacket and drape it somewhere near my Christmas tree.
It is my way of inviting Grandpa to my house for the holidays.
I like to think that these days on Christmas morning,
Grandpa watches me - watching my kids - open their presents.

 When I think of Christmas,
I think of presents, pine trees,
turkey and mistletoe.
I think of cold weather, Jesus,
giving, gathering and family…
I think of magic.
The magic of Christmas arrived at my house today,
in the form of a little brown jacket.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Where the Magic Begins

Well today is the day when our kids leave to be with the other parents.
Tear... I'm not sure if it will ever get easy.
But on a happy note, we had such a great week!

Now that we are back from our vacation, and things have slowed down some.
I realize that I have one month left of summer vacation to "home-school." ;o)
We have been working on understanding the importance of priorities.
Church. Family. Work. Community. Self.
& we are having fun doing it!
Or at least I have been having fun doing it!

Today, as my daughter was getting dressed,
she came into my room to tell me it was time to comb her hair. 
As she grabbed my hand and led me down the hall,
in a dainty little voice she said,

"Come with me!
This is where the magic begins."

I giggled, and
I felt my heart fill with emotion.

If only she knew...
If only they knew...
Just how much we love them!
And how every little thing we do is because we want the very best for them.

We do want them to experience magic!

I have many expectations for our children,
and for myself as a mother.
And if I do my job right, if WE continue to take pride in our roles as parents,
someday she will understand just how important her little phrase is!

"Come with me!
This is where the magic begins."

MAGIC does begin in the home for a child!

Home is their safe haven.
We make them feel loved.
We teach them to love themselves.
We teach them to love others.

Her little phrase made perfect sense.
I was reminded of how all of our efforts...matter.
All of these lessons that we do with our kids matter!
We can't control every aspect of our children's lives,
but can control what we do with them, 
when they are in our presence
and in our homes.

I know that we are trying to lead our children to
a kingdom full of magic...

...and for a moment...

I could picture Jesus
grabbing my little girl's hands

and let me show you
where the real MAGIC begins."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

...For that I Thank You (Marriage Mondays)

Dearest Hubby,
If I have not told you lately, let me remind you, that you, my love,
are one of  the best things to ever happen to me.
The day that we became a couple, the world was transformed into a great big ball of happiness.
My life became more beautiful, and no, it is not cliché. It is a fact.
If anyone were to look back through the archives of my life, they would see that it has changed tremendously.
The sun shines a little brighter. The world seems a little nicer. The grass is a little greener. Music sounds a little sweeter. Smiles come a little easier. Days seem a little shorter.

You have been my best friend for three years now, and I cannot even tell you how much you have changed my life. Although, something tells me that you know, and yet, you say not a thing.
Instead, you continue to make me feel as if I am the one. As if I, have changed your life.
When you hug me, I can feel your strength. When things get tough, for us, or our family, you just grin and bear it, for all of us. You hold me, as if you are trying to shield me from the world, and the truth is that you do.
When you touch me, I can feel the tenderness. Like, I am a valuable treasure that you handle with care, as not to break it. You remind me that I am worthy.
When you come home from work, my day is complete. It does not matter what we are doing, where we are going, or what we have been through. All that matters is that at the end of the day we have each other.
We make this marriage work.
But more than that.
This marriage has never felt like work. Not once.
I do not know what the future holds for us, but I know that
I have never been happier than I am at this very moment.
So for that my love,
I thank you.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Even Without Sugar My Cheerios Are SWEET!

As my daughter poured her bowl of Cheerios, I watched her load up on the sugar.

“Mmmm,” she said. “I love when the milk is all good and you can scrape sugar off the bottom of the bowl.” I smiled, because I knew exactly what she was talking about.
Although, I have not eaten my Cheerios with sugar in years, I used to use too much sugar, because I thought it needed it. Children need everything to taste, “yummy” and if it does not, they want nothing to do with it.
When we serve our girls their dinner, we always place a small portion of vegetables on their plates. They usually smother the veggies in ranch. They claim to "hate" vegetables, but they have had to find a way to season them to their liking.
Sugar, ketchup, ranch…plain food sweetened up with “the good stuff.”
As adults, we realize that not everything that we eat necessarily has to taste good; it just has to get the job done. It has to give us fuel for the day and include beneficial nutrients that our bodies require.
We also realize that not everything that we do in life is going to be enjoyable, but we do it because it is necessary for some reason for another and we make the best of it. Some days life and the tasks at hand can seem plain, but we find ways to sweeten the experience.
Cleaning toilets and doing laundry are my least favorite things to do, but they have to be done, so when I clean the house, I make it enjoyable by listening to music.
When I exercise (which yes, I admit I don’t really enjoy) I choose to do something I like, ride my bike, take our dog for a walk so that I can enjoy the outdoors or I’ll put on music in the living room and dance with the kiddos.
Our kids often ask my husband if he “likes his job.” Even on the stressful days, he always answers, “yes” and he explains that without it we would not be able to live in our house, drive our cars or have food on the table.
Part of growing up, is learning to be grateful for the things that aren't always seasoned to our liking.
We smile when we do not feel up to it, we laugh at our mistakes, we work to support our family, we learn from our failures, we exercise and eat well for our health, we forgive when it's difficult, we show up when we don't feel like it, we sacrifice for our children and spouses, we focus on the good even when it's hard to find and we remember that...

 Life is only as sweet as we make it.


Philippians 4:11-12
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Ecclesiastes 7:14
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.