Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back {2013}

Tonight we will say good-bye to 2013 ... it has been a hard year to say the least. God had our family on a journey that required us to invest all of our time, money, and our hearts. We would never have imagined that the journey we were on would end this fall in such heartache.

While part of me would like to just pretend 2013 never happened I cannot look at it that way ... trials are a part of life. And, looking back at 2013 there were beautiful moments ... those were blessings in disguise now as I reflect on them ...

{Lots of ballet ...}

{... and baseball}

{Fun fieldtrips ... like this rock climbing one}

{Our family spent a month in a European country ~ amazing lessons in culture and history}

{Fun times with friends ...}

{... and family}

{Ave Mae cast as Cindy Lou in "How the Grinch Stole Found Christmas"}

Good-bye 2013!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas ... our family is enjoying some much needed downtime as we finish out the year.

Wishing you all the best as the new year approaches!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

How the Grinch "Found" Christmas

Last weekend we enjoyed the girls' ballet school performance of "How the Grinch Stole Found Christmas". Like two years ago, we had the privilege of having a daughter dance the part of Cindy-Lou. Ava Mae absolutely loved every second of rehearsals and performing. She took the role quite seriously, even deciding the choreography would be better with acrobatics - so we spent several months taking tumbling lessons so that Ava Mae could add in two aerials {cartwheels with no hands} to her dance. Ava Mae also had the blessing of having her very good dance buddy as the other Cindy-Lou {there are two shows and a different Cindy-Lou for each show} - so fun to be able to attend all practices with a friend.

Lexi also enjoyed performing in several dances - including an amazing opening tap "Rockette style" number. And, for the first time Ava Mae and Lexi had a ballet dance where they performed together.

Always love this performance of The Grinch... and though Ava Mae has repeated constantly how sad she is it is over ... I, for one, am glad to have a break from all the ballet school craziness for a few weeks.

All photographs are courtesy of professional photographer, Andrew Savasuk - who did an amazing job shooting the performance!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Advent Season Begins

This year Christmas seems to have arrived more quickly than usual ... with everything that the early December calendar holds it is sometimes hard to come up for air.

God has taught me a lot this year ... it has truly changed my heart and thinking about many things. One of those was the feeling that for us to celebrate Christmas we had to decorate a certain way, spend each day doing some sort of Christmas activity or baking some special treat. Not this year .. it is not to say that any of those activities are bad but, they are not necessary. I have been reminded several times during our Advent studies over the last week that to fully participate in this Advent season we must quiet our selves ... which is hard to do if we are not "quieting" our calendars. It is not easy ... and truthfully, I will be happy when the busyness of this week is behind us and we can settle into a slower pace. It reminds me of the last night we were in Asheville over Thanksgiving ... standing in the breezeway of my parent's mountain home - snow still scattered on the ground, the sun setting behind the mountains, and the absolute silence - other than a breeze rustling some fallen leaves. I felt - this is what it means to truly quiet ones soul.

As we dive into Advent this season, we are enjoying Bartholomew's Passage as our family Advent Study. Loved Jotham's Journey last year and this is another book in the series.

We are also keeping our focus on Jesus by, performing Random Acts of Christmas Kindness ... it helps the kids to keep their focus where it needs to be - rather than on gifts for themselves.

Two recent acts of kindness ... donuts for our local police station and fire station and picking out a Christmas wish to fill with our local radio station's morning on air personalities.