Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Gift

Almost every year we send out a letter with our christmas cards that serves as an "update" on our family. In keeping with my hearts challenge of making Christmas less busy and more simple... that won't be arriving in your mailbox this year. If an update is what you're craving, then go back through the older posts here (scroll all the way down) and read about what's been going on with the Gray's this year. This Christmas my "letter" is a little different.

We bought a cute little advent calendar this year. It's wooden and it has all the little doors that you open with treats inside for the boys. According to them, it's something they've "always wanted". Funny... I never knew that, and they've never mentioned it before. Anyhow, everyday we read scripture before opening the door. The other day I was reading out of the book of Luke where the angel comes to Mary to tell her that she will be bearing a baby.... this baby being the baby Jesus. As I was reading, a HUGE lump formed in my throat, and I was quickly reminded that EVERY time I read this passage, I cry. I cry because I think back to the emotions I felt when I was told that I was going to have a baby. What joy flooded my soul!! I cry because Mary must have felt this 100 times MORE! She was not just pregnant, she was pregnant with our Savior! I cry because my mommy heart hurts for what Mary had to endure as she watched Jesus be brutally beat before dying on the cross... for me.

I hear (over and over) there's a recession going on. People aren't shopping as much. Real estate has been deeply affected. There are too many out there without jobs this Christmas. The obvious thing to me is, God's love for our country hasn't changed. Jesus still saves. The gift that was given on that first Christmas is still the same. It is a gift to the entire world... A gift waiting to be received by many. It's the gift that never stops giving. It is my wish that this year I can be a vessel through which others experience the gift of God's unconditional love and care over our lives.

We pray for our friends and family members every day. We wish you a joy filled, peaceful and memorable Christmas and many blessings to come in 2009!


Jason, Tami, Lucas Colby and Caleb

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (FINALLY!)

Christmas greetings to you all!

This past weekend we got our first snow of the season. Beautiful snow... BIG flakes falling slowly from the white sky. What a gift it has been too. It's been a cozy weekend with lots of baking and movie watching. These are the days that create long lasting memories. I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!!

More Christmas greetings to come later in the week...

Monday, December 8, 2008


Some days I have an overwhelming sense to share what I have discovered through my daily devotions. Today is one of those times. The house is pretty peaceful this morning. The boys are involved in "before school activities", there is a cozy fire going in the wood stove, and my cup of coffee is at arm's length. Mmmmm... life is good.

The page that I opened up to in my devotional was titled:

"Too Busy?"

Isn't that a perfect question for the month of December? The word ' busy' is one that is commonly used during this month in which we are SUPPOSED to experience PEACE. We rush around trying to pack in everything that NEEDS to be done, as well as everything that we WANT to do... right? I am challenging myself this year. What's funny is the fact that I had already prayed about this challenge and decided to embark BEFORE reading today's devotion. The Lord knew I would need reminders, didn't He?

This Christmas I am going to slow things down a LOT! The shopping is basically done since we decided to cut down on who we were buying for and how much we were buying for the boys. I sell homemade fudge and peanut brittle at my husband's office every Christmas. That project is almost done, and that in itself is a miracle! I'm usually filling orders until Christmas Eve!! I forewarned everyone that I would only be doing pre-orders this year though... so they got their orders in early. We put one special Christmas event on the calendar (it's actually an all day thing, but that's just it... it's ONE day instead of all over the calendar). The kids are excited about this "Christmas Spectacular" (that's what we're calling this event day) and they've made no mention of feeling at all cheated. We're not having a party this year... that cuts out a HUGE amount of stress! I'm not doing a Christmas letter to put inside each Christmas card I send out. Instead, we're sending out cards with the blog address and I'll have something special for everyone here by the end of next week. There's more, but these are a few examples of how we're creating peace in THIS house during the season instead of creating stress and frustration.

Elisabeth Elliot quoted this as part of my devotion:

"Frustration is NOT the will of God.
There is time to do anything and everything that God WANTS us to do."

Not everything that we put on ourselves is stuff that God WANTS us to do. I'm being challenged to remember that. It's not an easy challenge, but is is a challenge that I believe God wants us to believe in and live out. I pray today for peace to prevail in my home and in my heart. I also pray that you, too can find this peace and love that is offered to us unconditionally by the Savior who was born on Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

She's Coming Home SOON!

This post is for my little sister who will be home for Christmas in 14 DAYS!!!! I'm so excited! :0) She's been gone since August, but it has seemed like a whole lot longer. I can't wait for the opportunity to just hang out together and share some special "girl times". I know she's enjoying herself out there in Philly, but we've sure missed her here at home. On the days when I'm not whining about missing her, the boys are all whining about it.

Auntie... we can't wait to see you and deliver LOTS of big hugs in person. We love you!