Reflections on this Christmas

This morning I got a little sad because I felt a twinge of "where did Christmas go?"  When the stores start putting out Christmas paraphernalia before Thanksgiving, it seems like they are pushing Christmas on me way too fast.  But here I am on December 30th wondering where I was during all of it and did I soak it all in.

Did I take time to reflect and celebrate Christ during this time?  Did I teach my son the meaning of Christmas admits all the chaos?  Did I stress out too much over getting all the perfect gifts, and planning to "have fun" with our guests?  Will I ever have the perfect Christmas where have all my shopping done before Dec. 1, host the perfect festivities for family, and still have time to enjoy the season.  Probably not.

Instead of worrying about all that I did or didn’t do this season, I will store away in my memory these few things…

  • My children in their matching Christmas pajamas sitting on their Uncle Max’s lap
  • Elijah’s excitement over his "t-wex" from Santa, his "maiw box" and "twain table" from Grammy and Choo Choo, his "twuck" from Uncle Max, and his "twicycle and hewmet" from DeeDee and Pa along with the many other great things he received.
  • I will be so grateful that my in-laws and my parents came to my house so that I did not have listen to my kids scream in the car as we traveled all over the state of South Carolina
  • My perfect Christmas present from my husband: a trip to a hotel near my favorite mall and my favorite restaurant in Charlotte.  24 hours of pure joy that included a jacuzzi tub, appetizer, entree, and dessert for dinner, 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep (yes, 11!), a trip to the mall and lunch without a stroller, and my husband’s uninterrupted attention (a special thanks to Nicole for spending the night here with our kids!).
  • A Christmas service at Elevation that was unbelievable, my boys in their matching Inspi(red) shirts, my husband in the most blinging pastor outfit in history and a new outfit for myself too.

I hope that as the Christmases go by over the next several years, I will keep in mind that creating memories is more important than "perfection" and peacefulness and togetherness is more important than stuff.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

Christmas at Cricket

If you missed it this morning, you missed out on 596 kids (God bless the children’s ministry workers!) and a little over 5.000 adults worshiping together.

My husband had on a killer, blinging outfit and an amazing message.  The music was awesome and the stage was incredible. 

And I got a front row seat.  What a privilege to be the pastor’s wife at such a fun and amazing church.  I love you Elevation Church. 

Holiday Excitement and Casserole Recipe

Dsc_0080_2 Img_1078Here is our Christmas picture from last year and this year.  Thought you might enjoy that!

I am so excited about the holidays this year.  Christmas at Cricket is going to be awesome.  I have a new outfit, my boys are wearing matching shirts (how cute!) and I cannot wait to get to worship with all of Elevation under one roof, along with our friends from Newbirth.  You are not going to want to miss this!

My husbands family will be worshiping with us, including Steven's brother Max, who we haven't seen in forever because he is in the Air-force.  Uncle Max has the Christmas present for Elijah that will trump all the rest and I can't wait for Elijah to see it.  Then on Christmas day, my family will join us for lunch.

I hope you have a wonderful week celebrating the birth of Christ with your family too!

Ok so as promised, this is the recipe for my favorite casserole.  Don't turn your nose up because it sounds like a weird combination but I promise you it is delicious…

Pineapple Cheese Casserole

  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can of crushed pineapple (20 oz)
  • 1 can of pineapple tidbits (20 oz drained)
  • 4 tbsp of flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 2 stacks of Ritz crackers

Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a 9×13 pan.  Crush crackers, pour butter over the crackers, mix.  Spread crackers over the top of the casserole.  Cook for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.   Let me know if you cook it and like it!

Tips for Holiday Shopping with Toddlers in Tow

Yesterday I decided to go to Target along with everyone else in south Charlotte.  My trip got me thinking about some things I do right (not that I am an expert by any means.  I definitely learned this the hard way)…

1.  Always park near the cart return.  That’s better than getting near the store entrance.

2.  Pack snacks or buy a treat (never forget: bribery works)

3.  Make eye contact with people, they will open doors for you and help you more.

4.  When in line, if you look like you are trying to hurry, the people behind you don’t get as mad.

5.  Keep trips short.  Several short trips are much better than one really bad one.

6.  Make a list before you leave the house (or in my case, in the parking space while your kids are still strapped in and the DVD player is running.)

Now for those of you who are shopping alongside me and my children but do not have yours with you.  Here is my wish list…

1.  I wish people wouldn’t wait for my parking space when I am coming out of the mall.  Do they know take me at least 5 minutes (thats with no dirty diapers) to buckle in two children, unload their stuff, my stuff, the stuff I bought and then the stroller.

2.  I wish people wouldn’t make speculations out loud as to why they think my children are crying.  "Oh, he’s hungry." or "It must be nap time." don’t say "he needs his passy." or even "are you ok?"

3.  Please know that they should require a license for driving double strollers.  They are bulky and cumbersome.  It takes some creativity to maneuver them especially in a crowded mall.  So be patient with me if I am in your way.

Pleasant experiences at the Post Office this year…

Along with everyone else in Charlotte, I have had the pleasure of frequenting the post office several times this Christmas season.  And while there were many moments of frustration with this government agency, today I would like to focus on all of the good  things that have happened to me there.

Every time I have Graham, people have opened the door for me, coming in and going out.  For those of you who don’t have the privilege of lugging a baby seat around that weighs more than your baby, you don’t know how nice this help is.

All of the employees behind the counter have been so cheerful and friendly (although not in a rush at all).  But I have decided to try my hardest not to be in a rush either.  It just seems that whenever I am standing in line, I get impatient.

I even had a lady offer to let me go in front of her in line.  Now this was a shock.

So this post is dedicated to all of the kind people who have been at the post office with me this year.  Thanks for smiling and acting like you were glad it is Christmas.

My Pre-lit Christmas Tree

50About 5 years ago I decided that I wanted a pre-lit Christmas tree.  After all, they pay for themselves in a few years, they don’t make a mess and they are perfectly trimmed with no effort.  So being the bargain shopper that I am, I waited until the after Christmas sale to buy one. 

So every year I lug my tree out and I gotta tell you, in the time it takes me to fluff each branch and figure out the complicated wiring system I could have bought, brought in, trimmed and decorated a real tree (ok a possible exaggeration there).  Each year more and more sections of my pre-lit tree go out.  I then have to track down some lights and patch the holes.  Because Lord knows it is impossible to find the burnt out bulbs contaminating the whole string.  The other night I noticed that yet another section of lights has gone out on my tree.  Ughh!!!

My mother in law has a fake tree without lights.  She always talks about how complicated it is to put together each of the sections.  Is it me or does putting up a Christmas tree ever threaten to dampen your Christmas spirit?

I guess I just need to release my fake tree into the trash after Christmas this year and and fight the crowds to purchase a new one at the after Christmas sales.  (Although I think my husband might disagree and say I should keep stringing it with my own lights, thats easy to say when you are not the one stringing the lights!!!)

Repost: Shopping Mall to Flea Market

Last night mt husband and I went to the mall for our date.  We were accosted multiple times by those obnoxious people in the middle of the mall.  After the third approach Steven said "Good Lord, if I shopped a lot I think I might hurt one of those people."  (Well no worry there, my husband’s life mission is to avoid places of retail at all costs.) 

I remembered my post from last year and I thought it was worth a repost…

Has anyone noticed that we have let our shopping malls slowly turn into flea markets over the last few years?  Since when can just anyone peddle their wares at the mall?

A few years ago the stands you found in the middle of the mall consisted mostly of jewelry, cell phones, calendars and maybe games.  Now you can buy all of those things plus miracle hair straightening tools, magic hand and nail cream and even a gadget to get the wrinkles out of your clothes in record time.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am all about capitalism in America and the beauty of the small business but please leave me alone when I am at the mall.  Let me decide if I want to take a look at your product.  Please do not make me feel guilty for not letting you push your project on me.  And for goodness sake, can someone test these products before we allow them to be sold in a public place?

I have fallen victim to these "deals" in the past and I won’t do it again.  Two Christmases ago I bought this incredible gadget that causes your car stereo to become a hands free speaker phone system for your cell phone from a stand in South Park Mall.  I was so amazed I bought 6 of them for the bargain price of $200.  I thought I had just bought the perfect gift for all the men on my list.  You can imagine my dismay when I brought the device home and you had to scream at the top of your lungs for the person on the other end of the line to hear you through the static.  Thankfully I was raised right when my mom taught me that you can always take something back.  I meekly stood behind my husband when he demanded our money back.

That same year I found another stand at South Park selling Japanese Fighting Fish.  I bought one for my sister… 6 weeks before Christmas.  You can guess that I was relieved that it lived long enough for me to present it to her on Christmas day.

After Christmas one year I bought the hand and nail kit.  It was pretty decent once I realized how powerful the nail buffer was (I learned the hard way when I caused my nails to become paper thin).  I now know that I can buy all of those products at Sally’s beauty supply for a fraction of the price.

To wrap things up I have a plea and a suggestion.  My plea is for these salesmen to leave me alone.  If I want to look at your product, I will.  And certainly don’t make me feel bad if I don’t want to.

My suggestion is to all of you who a suffering from this same problem… don’t make eye contact or you can do what my friend, Nicole does, take out your cell phone and act like you are deep in conversation, then they will leave you alone.

Happy Christmas Shopping!

“Free Shipping”

Warning, this is a venting post.

Can I just say that I am so frustrated with online shopping write now?  I hate buying stuff online because I hate to pay and arm and a leg for shipping.  But this year got tons of emails in my inbox advertising free shipping on "select items."  This is a crock.

The other day I spent over an hour selecting gifts for my niece and two nephews who live in North Dakota from  Three of the gifts I selected were "free shipping with minimum purchase"  (which is $50).  The other gift was just "free shipping".  My items added up to $60 but the computer kept saying my total was something like $80.  Knowing this had to be a computer error, I called Target’s 1-800 number.  The man simply informed me that the item that was "free shipping" did not count towards my $50 minimum.  I asked him to waive this, to which he replied no.  I told him I would have to order from Walmart, he told me to have a nice day.

So next I went to  Here the items I selected (that came from their "free shipping list") were "out of stock online."  What the heck does that mean?  Why would you post a picture of it?

I finally ended up doing the site to store at Walmart and feeling like I totally wasted hours of my life trying to shop online.  Maybe I would have done better to buy and mail the presents myself.  Geez, next year it might be cheaper and less time consuming for me to fly the gifts out there personally.  Commercial airlines are a whole other post!

Merry Christmas, good luck with your shopping!

What you see is what you get…

Sunday my husband preached a sermon that definitely goes in my top 5 favorites.  The basis is his message was the way that you perceive a person is the way you receive them.  This hit home in my life in many ways.

This time of year, many of us are guilty of perceiving Jesus as the little baby sent to earth.  Not that we shouldn’t remember and celebrate the birth of Christ but I need to remember the rest of the story, that this baby grew up and was crucified on a cross so that I could be forgiven of my sin and have the power to live day to day.

This concept also plays out in the way I parent my children.  If I perceive my children to be "strong-willed" then that is the way they will act.  As a mother, it is my job to daily mold my children’s spirit.  So a strong-will becomes determination.  Instead of only scolding my son when he is disobedient, I need to also catch him being good and affirm his obedience.  I also need to tell him what a great child he is, how I know God is going to do great things through his life.  If I expect disobedience, that is what I will get. 

I hope this Christmas season you will perceive those around as who they can be come, not how they are acting.

Listen to the sermon yourself at