Thank you for the many blessings that you have given us this past year. May we always remember to be grateful for them. Thank you for always remaining faithful to us. May we never forget the hope and promise we have because of your faithfulness. Father, thank you for grace and mercy that we can come to you again, and ask more of you when we deserve nothing. Jesus, would you continue to grant us blessings in the year to come. Would you grant us health, and give us the desire to serve you with our healthy bodies. Would you grant us financial peace so that we can bless you and others with generosity. Would you grant us happiness so that we may be contagious with our love for you. And, in our individual area of short-comings, would you grant us strength and courage to change and be more like you so that others will want to know you.
We're forever grateful for what you've already done for us, and we're eternally thankful for what you're going to do.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Posted by Brad and Shana at 10:52 PM
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
In a previous post (I've been tagged.....too) I explained how our family does Christmas gifts. So I won't take the time to explain again, except to give the short version: Santa gives gold, frankincense, and myrrh (representations with specific meanings); Mommy and Daddy give a family gift. I thought ya'll might want to see pictures of the kids playing with their new things (I sure want to see pictures of ya'll)
This year the gold gift (something they really, really want) was a new dog. We had to find a home for Abby (our old dog) when we moved because the new neighborhood had restrictions against unfenced dogs (or so we were told, once we got here dogs were loose everywhere....but I digress). Anyway, Abby, a Great Dane was much too big to be an indoor dog (for us), so we found her a new family. Both of the kids really missed having a dog, and asked about her a lot. When it became clear to us that they really wanted a dog, we decided to adopt one. So, I got on petfinders.com and we found a family that was in a similiar situation as ours with Abby; they had moved and had no yard for their beagle, Gigi. It was a perfect fit because she is small, still in the owners home (not in a sheltar), she had been fixed, up to date on shots, and was in a home with small children. So, in November we went to see her, and decided she would be a good fit for the family. She is not going to win any 'doggy beauty contests' but she is cute and is laid back; and the kids LOVE LOVE LOVE her. Today, I told the kids we were going to take her to the pet store and they both started crying, they thought we were taking her back or something. I didn't even have time to explain to them that we were just getting her a bed. It took a while to sink in for Sara Kate, partly because she wouldn't stop crying long enough to listen. Here are some pictures of Gigi and the kids. Santa really outdid himself.
The Family gift (something we can all do together) this year was 4 wheelers. Brad & Bryce go on an annual father/son camping trip every year in October. This year, one of the other kids had a small 4 wheeler and Bryce (and Brad) fell in love. Head over heels in love with a machine. Brad took pictures of Bryce driving it all by himself, and he sure was cute. Sara Kate, got a smaller battery powered version of Bryce's 110 (engine size or speed or something girls...I really don't know). Bryce was very excited, and on Christmas morning about 8:30 he promptly drove it in to the mailbox :) No, he wasn't hurt.
Both sets of grandparents outdid themselves too, as always. Now the kids have a trampoline....I'll be adding prayers of protection against physical injury way up on my priority list. I can't wait to see them jumping on it, maybe they'll jump off some energy and I'll jump off some pounds (one can dream can't she.....although, to my 2 birth-bladder the prospect of jumping anywhere on anything is not a great idea). They (and Brad) also have a Wii. Who knew video games could be so much fun?? This ain't your granny's video game system, it is really cool. Bryce also got a remote control hummer and Sara Kate got a pink Nintendo DS. Can we say spoiled??? But isn't that the right and roll of grandparents? They take their job very seriously! :)
We also kept up with our traditions. We had the pleasure of hosting Brad's family's Christmas Eve oyster stew & fried oyster dinner. This year, Grandma Sheryl & Papa Tom spent the night here and they got do our Christmas devotion with us and they got to see the kids open their presents, Bryce & KatieBell thought that was the berries. Here is Grandma Sheryl with the kids. Then, we went to my parents on Christmas Day for lunch. Mom always gets the kids to help her with the yeast rolls (which is probably why they don't rise as much as my mammaw's did...but who cares, I'd rather then have the memory of cooking with her.) Here are a few pictures of the annual roll-rolling.
As you can see, the Farmer family was blessed with a great Christmas. We celebrated our savior's birth, we spent time with family, and ate some great food, and we got some new stuff. No complaints here. Thank you God for giving us all the best gift ever........Jesus!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Ok everybody, I just had to share this. It's just too cute not to tell it, and if it serves no other purpose, it will be documented for my feeble memory's sake. So, I apologize ahead of time, because here is another post with no picture....but enjoy the story, I think its worth it.
So, we were having our advent devotions tonight, and at the end we go around the table and ask the kids what they want to talk about. We spend a few minutes talking about whatever the subject is (we've run the gamut from forgiveness to fire safety) and then we take turns praying. Tonight both kids wanted to talk about loving each other (yes, miracles do happen). So, we spent a few minutes asking and telling the kids how they show us that they love us, and how we show them that we love them. That in itself was worth the price of admission, but that is not why I'm writing.
I just love to hear the kids pray. They each have their own little special ways and particular cadence. Tonight both of their prayers were just really sweet and special, and I just thought ya'll might enjoy them.
Probably like most kids, Bryce learned to pray by telling Jesus thank you. You know...."Dear Lord, thank you for this or thank you for that," etc. In a way, I hope it never changes, because now when he has a request, he still prefaces the request with, "Dear Lord, thank you for.....please......". Do you get it? It's like he is saying, thank you in advance for what I'm asking you to do. I just LOVE That. I know he is not saying it like that on purpose, and that is the way he has always prayed; but every time I hear him do it, it reminds me that when I go to God, it should be "in everything with prayer and thanksgiving, present your requests to God" and we should have the faith to believe God for answers. So tonight he was praying for his daddy (and the rest of us really) because he (and all of us) have had a cough. So somewhere in the middle of the prayer was, "......and thank you for daddy not to cough anymore and thank you for that we will all feel better." I love it!! And, I'm thankful that God can use our children to remind us of things about him.
Bryce also uses thankfulness in the correct sense in prayer, and tonight he was just so sweet and innocent in his prayer. Again, somewhere in the middle of his prayer was ".........and thank you that Grandma Louise lives with you in heaven and that she feels all better now" Brad's grandmother past away a week ago today, so we've been talking a lot about heaven. I plan to do a post about her soon, so keep watching for it. She was a special lady.
Sara Kate is also a sweet pray-er. There is just something about listening to a three year old talk to Jesus, that just melts you. But, I'm glad God created laughter and has a sense of humor because she is hilarious....especially when she prays. I think I mentioned in my "12 Random Christmas Thoughts" post that we've been teaching Bryce & Sara Kate the Christmas favorite, "The 12 Days of Christmas". We've sang it more times than I care to admit, we've sang it in the car, we've sang it in the bathtub.....etc., you get the picture, right? So tonight, when it was Sara Kate's turn her prayer when something like this. (No its not verbatim, I wasn't taking shorthand or anything I was praying) But here it is.......
"Dear Lord, thank you for Maddie and Ella ........Bryce close your eyes.....thank you for Cooper's birthday party.........thank you for On the first day of Christmas......four calling birds.....Amen."
OK, so I can't glean any kind of spiritual lesson out of that one, but that is just funny. There were more things mentioned, that I can't remember, but you get the gist of it. And, that's not all...
Those of you who are around Sara Kate often enough can testify that she is either talking, or singing; and if shes not doing either then she's asleep. One wonders where she gets such a trait, but I digress. Anyway, this characteristic is especially true in the car, and quite frankly can drive me to drink, smoke, cuss and chew (I'm working on it). On more than one occasion, she will be in her car seat just chattering or singing away. Sometimes, she will start talking and then her conversation just picks up some sort of random made up tune. At times, this is darling and endearing but most of the time it is just plain annoying; and after a while I can't take it anymore. So, I'll say, "Sara Kate please be quiet." This little scene has played out in the car at least a dozen times (Scott, you can stop laughing now), and almost without fail her reply is, "BUT MOM, I'm talking to Jesus." Now what exactly am I supposed to say to that? So, I'm forced to just sit there in the driver seat and imagine what a little silence must be like. I guess silence is over-rated, because I'd much rather have a little one that knows she can talk (or sing) to Jesus about absolutely anything...or nothing.
Does anyone have any earplugs?
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Tammy tagged me to share 12 random things about myself that are Christmas related.
Here are the rules:
1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas
2. Please refer to it as a 'hoopla' and not the dreaded 'm'-word
3. You have to specifically tag people when you're done. None of this "if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged" stuff is allowed...then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you -- but the more, the merrier to get this 'hoopla' circulating through the blogosphere.
4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it and I'd like to get as many people involved as possible.
12 Random Christmas Related things about Shana:
1. Every year right before Christmas, I get together with my mom, sister, aunts, and cousins to bake lots and lots of cookies to be given to friends and family (and ourselves). YUMMY
2. I'm thankful for those folks that spend 3 months putting up a massive (and maybe even tacky) Christmas light display......because our kids love seeing them and I sure won't do it. I like the more reserved 'pretty' lights. By the way, if you live around Dalton there is a HUGE, MASSIVE display right across from the entrance of Westside Elementary on Crider Rd. Its worth a drive by, the kids will love it.
3. I'm not like Tammy, I don't necessarily LOVE decorating, but I do LOVE it when everything is up, and I too, love staring at a lighted, decorated Christmas Tree.
4. My favorite decoration is the nativity set, and sadly, I don't have one yet. I've got my eye on the Willow Tree Nativity....who knows maybe Santa will bring it.
5. I love giving gifts, but each year, I try to be really thoughtful and I always have the lofty goal of giving that perfect gift that I know the recipient will love. I probably don't always succeed, but its not for lack of thought (if you don't believe me ask Tammy). This year, I might add, that I began to pray about what our gifts would be, and I must say, especially in regard to the kids, I am SUPER excited!!
6. I am wild about Christmas music. My favorite Christmas CDs are Amy Grant's "Home for Christmas" (old) and Mariah Carrey's "Merry Christmas" (also pretty old). But close behind are Point of Grace's (but I can't think of the name of it)
7. I am steeped in tradition, and I am insanely sentimental. I love doing the same things every year. We also read the Christmas story each year, and that has been done by my dad too, since I was very, very little. We will add the advent wreath to the traditions each year as well.
8. I really like the method my family has adopted for Christmas gift giving. We do Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh gifts (representations, not actual Myrrh and Frankinsense) and we do a family gift (something that we can all do together as a family). This has also helped us to keep perspective during the year.
9. I love receiving (and sending too, I guess) Christmas cards. Each day I go to the mailbox with much anticipation and I must admit, I'm bummed if we don't happen to get a card or too. Of course, my favorite's are picture cards.
10. My family, especially my family growing up could get in to some very rousing renditions of Christmas songs in the car.......especially The 12 Days of Christmas. I just taught that to Bryce & Sara Kate, it is now a most requested hit.
11. I collect snowmen....all kinds, I just think they're cute.
12. Brad's family does an annual "oyster stew" and fried oyster dinner each year for Christmas Eve, it's a tradition his side of the family loves. I don't like oysters, and neither do the kids, so we usually have shrimp; but I had never heard of that before I met him....and I think its kind of cool. Too bad I don't eat oysters.
All of my blogging friends were already tagged, I don't have any more bloggers to tag. So, does that make me "it"??
And by the way, I too wondered what the dreaded *m word was? If it was so dreaded, you'd think we would all have it figured out.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
OK, OK, I've already admitted that I'm behind. But, as stated in my first post, I wanted to catch up on Fall first. I think I'm finally ready to move on now; I would've hated for ya'll to miss those cute soccer and gymnastics pictures. Anyway, we started decorating sometime the week after Thanksgiving and Sara Kate's birthday. The decorating was kind of a gradual process, since we're in a new home this year we (or I) was kind of lost for a couple of days trying to figure out what to put where. My poor husband moved the tree at least 3 times; and by moving the tree I mean the tree and ALL of the living room furniture. (Thanks Brad) But, we finally got it where we (I) wanted it. And, it's kind of a bonus, because we can see the tree from the living room and from the kitchen; so it's been a joy to have out and all lit up. The kids enjoyed decorating it, and it was fun to explain where all the ornaments came from since both Brad & I have some from our childhoods. Here are some pictures of the kids getting in on the decorating.
Above you have daylight..........Below you have dark..........
And now for my almanac entry.....
FUN FACT #4: Advent wreath and advent devotions are a great benefit to family time.
Let me give you a little background here. Our children's minister at church did one of the coolest Christmas activities for families that I've ever seen. All of the families that participated got together one Sunday night for a soup & sandwich supper and family craft time. The craft was for each family to make an advent wreath. She had little kits with the foam wreath base, garland, candles, candle holders, and wire. She gave us directions on what to do, and we all set out to make our wreaths together. The kids also got little Christmas goody bags, with stickers and all that fun stuff. Before we left, she passed out a devotion booklet that was made from devotions that she asked each family to write. So now, as we are anticipating the celebration of our savior's birth, we are learning all about advent and what it means to wait! The kids absolutely love lighting the candles. I light a birthday cake candle that they hold and use to light the advent candles. They look forward to lighting them and then blowing them out each night at the end of our prayer time. It is a GREAT way to keep the real meaning of the season in the forefront of our hearts and minds. And, I can brag on it all I want to because unfortunately, it was not my brilliant idea :) Here is a picture of our 'home-made' advent wreath. If I had half a brain, I would have taken some pictures of us making it.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I can not believe it. Sara Kate turned 3 on Thanksgiving Day this year. Which made us all the more thankful on this Thanksgiving especially considering the ordeal she went through last year. (see Sara Kate's saga link on left.) It seemed like she had 3 parties, since we sang to her at my parents after the Thanksgiving meal, and we had cake at Brad's family get together as well. But, her real party was the Sunday after on 11/25. She just LOVES Dora, and had decided she wanted a Dora party in August right after her older brother's Spiderman shin-dig.
I borrowed some ideas from my genius friend, Tammy; and we did the party just like a Dora episode on TV. Tammy drew me up a "map" that showed the kids how to get to the birthday cake. While we were waiting for everyone to arrive, the kids colored Dora pictures; and once everyone was there we got out the "Map" and went on our journey. We had to go through the "spooky forest", past "Isa's Garden" and over "Bubble Bridge" all while collecting goodies for their goody bag. Then, they finally made it to the cake; where we sang and ate before tearing (literally) into the presents.
Friday, December 7, 2007
This Thanksgiving was all about family fun. Now, we didn't plan it that way or anything. We set out to do our very normal thanksgiving routines; but all of our activities somehow morphed into family fun. And, the highlight was that we kind of celebrated Thanksgiving week instead of thanksgiving day; and the fun was had by the entire family, kids and adults alike.
On Tuesday, the girls came to our house so mom & Shelley could shop; and again, it should suffice to say that when the girls are here it's party time. But, that afternoon, the party really got started when Brad and I, along with G-Daddy took the kids bowling. Bryce & Sara Kate have never been before so it was a lot of fun. Daddy & Brad had to get there own lane because their pride and competitiveness wouldn't let them bowl on a lane with bumpers. Daddy used to bowl a good bit in his younger years, but he hadn't bowled in years. He still broke 100; but Brad beat him; which give Brad bragging rights until next time. I won't even mention my score, except to say that Bryce even did better than me; but in my defense, I let Sara Kate bowl some of my rounds. Check out big kid's form.....
But my favorite part of Thanksgiving this year was the revival of 'game time'. It was so much fun!! Mom, dad, Shelley, and I played taboo and pictionary and laughed our heads off. Brad played uno with the kids a couple of times, and Shelley and I played pictionary with the girls Thanksgiving Day which also proved to be fun and interesting. Every time we got in the car with the kids, we played some traditional 'car' games that we tweeked and modified to make them about Thanksgiving. Like, "On Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for......" where we take turns adding to the list and everyone has to remember the entire list from top to bottom. On Friday night, Brad decided he wanted to play Mil Bournes. Mil Bournes or "Couf" is a game my parents have played for years. So, all the adults (minus Scott) played 'couf. In our family, there is no shortage of sarcasm and 'couf is a game where it can really shine. That in itself, was fun to watch....I think the kids thought we had lost our minds.
We didn't forget we were celebrating Thanksgiving; and I wanted to try to really explain to the kids what this Holiday means. Maci & Bayley already know of course, but Bryce & Sara Kate are still young and I wanted to teach them about the pilgrims and the Mayflower, and being truly grateful. So, we had a little Mayflower lesson and a couple of crafts that we did with the kids. We made the most darling edible pilgrim hats out of cookies, marshmallows, and melted chocolate. And, we also made Thumb-print Turkey place cards for our Thanksgiving table. Three years ago, my mom started a tradition of writing something we are thankful for on our Thanksgiving tablecloth; so it was cool to see how the list grows each year, and it was fun to see the little turkeys all over the table.
This Thanksgiving was the absolute best of my whole life, and more than anything this year, I am thankful for family.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Many people probably think that Farmers are plowing and preparing their fields for the spring planting season, but not us........the Farmers you know and love have been knee deep in soccer and gymnastics this Fall. Luckily, our livelihood doesn't depend on what we grow. But, if you really think about it, we're sowing some seeds aren't we?