Archive | December 2010

Christmas 2010

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This year, Christmas had a different feel for me.  I worked very hard to make sure that Christ remained an integral part of Christmas for our family, especially for Miranda.  It is so easy to get sucked into the materialistic retail industry, for children in particular.  Daily, I engaged Miranda in conversations of the true meaning of Christmas.  Participating in two Christmas Plays – one at school and another at church – made it easy.

This was the first year that I internally debated whether or not to include “Santa” in our Christmas morning.  I decided that there was no harm, as long as Miranda understood that Christ is the reason for Christmas, not the jolly man with the reindeer.  So, Santa did visit our home and fill each of our stocking with candy treats.

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So, Christmas morning began early for us, since John had to be at work at 7:00.  After opening presents, I took a nap, then prepared ham and mashed potatoes.  Miranda and I spent the morning with my mom and sisters.  We decided to scale back our gift-giving with a $10 limit, but still managed to have a bunch of stuff to open!  After lunch, we played Uno and watched one of my favorite movies, Elf.

Later in the afternoon, we headed over to my dad’s for more gift giving and dinner.  It was nice to see everyone, including my Uncle Al and Aunt Mary from West Virginia.  After dinner, Mary, Wendy, Jessie and I played two games of Pictionary (I won both games!).

The following Tuesday, we (Me, Miranda, Mom, Tedi and Lexi) drove to Brenham to meet my Aunt Nanci and Aunt Priscilla for lunch and to exchange more gifts.

It was exhausting , but I enjoyed spending time with family!

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Main Street Bethlehem

About 50 miles Northwest of Austin, is the small town of Burnet, Texas.  At the center of Burnet, stands the First Baptist Church which has been offering a unique and memorable annual event.  Since 1993, Main Street Bethlehem allows people to travel, not only 2,000 years in the past, but also across the Atlantic Ocean to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ.

Once you walk in, the sights and sounds are authentic to the time and place.  From the prisoner to the tax collector to the blacksmith to countless merchants – all were in costume and had a special part to play.  If you watch carefully, you will experience conversations that were typical during that time.

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Miranda was mesmerized by the dancers in the Tavern.

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My mom, sisters, and I all listened in on the Tax Collector doing business outside of the market.  Farmers were bargaining with cattle and sheep.

I enjoyed the teaching of a small boy in the Synagogue.

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While in the Jewelry Shop, Miranda and I listened in as the Shepherds notified the Potter that angels had come to share about the birth of The Savior.  Of course, there was much doubt on the face of the Potter, but the Shepherds were adamant of what they had seen.

Miranda, Tedi, and Lexi visited an older couple in their room at the Inn before we headed over to the Manger to see Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus.

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In the midst of the modern age of technology, it was nice to escape it all.  To experience that wondrous night, over 2,000 years ago, when God stepped out of Heaven and took the form of a small baby in order to become the Savior of the world.  Christmas has changed dramatically over the years and the true meaning has dissipated.  Main Street Bethlehem is a tool to reinforce Christ as the center of Christmas for my family.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,

that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,

but to save the world through Him.

John 3:16 – 17

This entry was posted on December 17, 2010. 2 Comments

What Does Santa Have to do With It?

One of the hardest things about being a teacher in a public school is the inability to discuss my faith when asked a specific question from my students.

Last year, while walking back from Track and Field Day, I observed two girls arguing.  When I heard the topic, I just tried to ignore it.  Catching my eye, one of the little girls came to me and asked, “Jesus is the same person as God, right?”  I wanted to tell her, “Of course He is!”  Instead, I referred her back to her parents.

On our way to the cafeteria for lunch today, a boy asked me,  “If Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus, what does Santa have to do with it?”  As a Christian, how could I not respond?  How could I not explain the connection?  As a public school teacher, I dare not!

I understand and respect the reasons why the state doesn’t want me to influence these children, sometimes it is just so difficult!

This entry was posted on December 13, 2010. 4 Comments

Birthday Party

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Well…Miranda is 5 years old.  She has grown WAY too fast for me.  I’m constantly telling her to grow slower and she replies, “I can’t help it!”

We had her birthday party at the park last Saturday.  I do not like planning parties.  I am so looking forward to the parties in which Miranda doesn’t want me involved…well, except to pay for, of course.  I was worried that it would rain, that none of her friends would show, that too many of her friends would come…you name it, I worried about it.

The party actually turned out perfect.  The weather was beautiful, no clouds and roughly 70 degrees – very unusual, even for Texas.  Miranda had 8 friends come, a couple from school and church and even her cousins from Waco made the drive.  Miranda was thoroughly spoiled, and loved every moment of it!

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After the party, we had dinner with Miranda’s Granny, aunts and cousins.

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The ice cream treats were the best!

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Miranda had a great time and I loved watching her run around and laugh.  I hope that moment is etched in my memories so I can cling to it when she’s a self-absorbed teenager, a bride walking down the aisle, or a brand new mother.

This entry was posted on December 9, 2010. 1 Comment

Number 57

I hate football.  I don’t understand it and I don’t like watching it.  But I have to admit that I really enjoyed the last two games I attended.  Why, you ask?  Because of Number 57 on the Vikings…the Lago Vista Vikings.  I think he is the best “Tackler” ever, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my brother!

Lago Vista High School are Undefeated Regional Champions with only 3 games to play to become State Champions.  They are currently 12-0 and are playing against Rice this Saturday in order to advance to the Semi-Finals.

Last Saturday, my brother, Billy, had a pretty big cheering section.  I followed each play of the game (as best as I could) sitting on the edge of the bleachers anxiously watching the boys run, throw, and tackle.  The crowd’s spirit was electric and very contagious.

This is a picture of Billy in action.  It was taken by Larry Kolvoord from The Austin American Statesman.  Awesome, right?!

This is Billy’s last year of High School and I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it to another one of his games.  But one thing is certain, I will always remember the pride I have for my little brother!

This entry was posted on December 1, 2010. 3 Comments