Christmas Eve and Day photos

Because I admire my humorous and honest side. I hold it back too much these days. A fun look back at Christmas’s past 🙂

Graham's in His Grace

It’s crazy, the least planned and definitely littlest effort photo shoots go the best. Karen was able to snap a few great pictures of everyone so I was pretty excited. Micaila did well up until the last 5 shots….. the kid must have a photo limit….

oh happy family, pictures make everything look so perfect and easy. So not! 😉

I mean definitely worth it of course. 🙂

I know in about 10 years I’m going to look back on these pictures of Micaila with lots of tears. Seriously, not even 5 years old yet….

Oh my Always-Sleeping-Beauty

Give me a nice grapey kiss Riley 😉

My beautiful mommy.

Ryann and Aunt Karen. Ryann is already in Pajamas, haha.

Back at NeeNee and PawPaw’s, Micaila writes to Santa. Yes, Santa. Not a tradition passed along from the White side, is all I’m gonna say. No it’s not all I’m going…

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Christmas Music

You know what is totally awesome? When a beautiful Christmas song about the birth of Jesus Christ is playing and your 7 year old says “I love this song.” Especially considering that Micaila usually asks me to turn my music off. To which I reply:

“Radio? Who needs a radio?!” 😉

Seriously, I don’t know what happened in that department. Unlike sister Ryann, Micaila just doesn’t have quite the love for music that her daddy and I do.

With the exception of Christmas music.
Which brings me great joy. 🙂

It’s as if I can see her starting to really grasp the message and meaning of Christmas. Her, Ryann and Caleb have been dancing around the house singing a song they learned for their school Christmas play.

“Happy Birthday Jesus I’m so glad it’s Christmas. All the candles and lights make the holiday nice. But the real gift is YOU.”

Thank you Lord for the amazing wonderful gift of Your precious only Son.

In honor of our sweet Saviors birthday and Micaila’s new found love for Christmas music I thought it would be cool to post a list of our favorite Christmas songs. I encourage you to look up the lyrics on a few…. or all of them. 🙂 The message of Jesus coming is so important and powerful. Sometimes I need a fresh reminder of why we celebrate Christmas.

Michael Card: Immanuel

Meredith Andrews: He Has Come

Jars of Clay: Little Drummer Boy

Joy Williams: Here With Us

Michael W. Smith: All Is Well

Amy Grant: Breath of Heaven

Casting Crowns: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Brandon Heath: The Night Before Christmas

MercyMe: Josephs Lullaby

Chris Rice: Welcome to Our World

As I started recalling some of my favorites I realized “Wow, I have A LOT!” I could keep going but I don’t want to overwhelm you if you decide to check a few out. 🙂 What about y’all? Do you have some favorite Christmas songs?

To tear down or build up……That is the question.

Being a godly wife means a lot of things. I committed to love my husband not as the world loves but as God loves. I won’t do this perfectly but at every opportunity I should be striving for God’s standard; laying down my own rights and desires so that my husband can see an extravagant love that only comes through relationship with Christ. One of the areas I know I can love my husband better in is supporting and encouraging him in his work.

I’m not even going to pretend. Since Jason started working for the Honda dealership I have had a pretty depressive attitude the majority of the time. I know I have made his challenging job even more difficult by not being encouraging and supportive.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1

Our words and attitudes can make our husbands feel either purposeful or discouraged in their job. This potentially can bleed over into other areas of life. We have to be careful not to tear down our own home. We have to make every effort to speak life and encouragement to our men.

I have struggled with this. At points I have convinced myself that I must voice all of my thoughts to Jason. Good, bad, and paranoid. My attitude and prayers have not been,
“Lord I trust where you have my husband working. I trust that you know how this job affects our family. I trust Your sovereignty, that You can take him somewhere else, if that’s what You need to do for Your bigger story. I believe you have us here for a purpose, that you want to use Jason and our family to reach people for Your glory.”

No, my attitude has been more along the lines of,
“Lord, please give Jason another job. This job stinks! The hours are awful, we never see him. This job is so worldly. You couldn’t possibly want Jason here. How can we glorify you by him selling cars and being gone all the time?”

And you better believe what I tell the Lord I tell Jason too! So he was not feeling the support he should from his wifey.

It’s been 4 months since he started. He’s still there and it is not for lack of trying to get another job. I think I am finally accepting that God has him there for a reason. People need Jesus. People in the car business need Jesus. People buying cars need Jesus. I always knew this. I just haven’t wanted to embrace the idea that God wants Jason and our family to introduce Jesus to these people. I know, I’m a pretty challenged Christian. It’s a perfect example of wanting Jesus and wanting to share about Him but on my terms that work for me. I have been fighting the idea that God might actually keep Jason in the car business, maybe even for the rest of his working life, because he is calling us to this mission field. He has work for us to do.

One thing that I see a lot of within the dealership is broken families. There is a lot of unfaithfulness, divorce and remarriage. Family doesn’t seem to be of great value and certainly not the “for worse” parts. When we don’t have relationship with Christ we don’t value what He values. But God created us FOR relationship with him, so people continue in search of what can only be found in Him. We think marriage and kids will make us happy or fulfilled and to a certain degree they do. They can also be a great source of frustration and discouragement and without Christ most of the time people give up and start the search over. This is rampant within Jason’s work.

Read this analogy taken from the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.
“The only real claim to fame in a forest full of trees is being seven hundred years old. As far as pure aesthetics go, you couldn’t even see the very top of this particular tree in the Washington Forest. From where we stood, it was just a straight and enormously wide trunk, covered with spider webs. We were walking in a forest filled with trees, but the National Parks Service put a sign in front of this tree for one reason, and for one reason alone: It had survived for seven centuries. It had simply gone the distance, and in so doing it commanded attention.”
“In a society where relationships are discarded with a frightening regularity, Christians can command attention simply by staying married. And when asked why, we can offer the platform of God’s message of reconciliation, followed by an invitation: “Would you like to hear more about that good news of reconciliation?””

Jason and I are about to come up on our nine year wedding anniversary. It is completely 100% entirely because of Jesus Christ. Not only is it rare for people to stay married that long but I think because of our age it’s even more surprising for people to hear. To further shock them they can’t believe we have three children who are, with the exception of Caleb, well-mannered and obedient. Hey two out of three isn’t bad right? God has to keep us humble! 😉 Whatever good qualities you see, in our marriage or parenting, are a result of obeying how the Bible teaches and commands us to live out those roles. That and the magnificent undeserved grace of God. My point being; It is not us, it is all Him. And I really feel like that is part of the testimony he wants us to take to Jason’s work.

Satan will try to trap us with thinking too much about our past or possible future knowing that our effectiveness is in the present. God is sovereign and it’s time to embrace where he so clearly has us RIGHT NOW. God doesn’t need us to accomplish his purpose but he has invited us to join him and not waste a single moment. I don’t want to look back on this time as wasted. I would rather look back on this time and think “Look at what God has done.”