Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Kansas Day

Micah learned a new song in preschool to celebrate Kansas Day.  The
lyrics are (in case you can't quite hear them):
Oh we're from sunny Kansas, sunny Kansas, sunny Kansas
Oh we're from sunny Kansas, the best state of all
Where is rains some and snows some, it clones some and blows some
Oh we're from sunny Kansas, the best state of all!

He said after we were done recording.  "I started singing like a girl, mom."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Blessings

I am so thankful for so many things. I've thought many times about posting but did not quite know where to begin. But here goes.

Every year we do a scavenger hunt on Christmas Eve with our family. The past couple years, I have wondered if the oldest boys would outgrow this tradition. Two years ago, when Drew was 15 and Dean was 12, I was watching closely. Drew was all over it and enjoyed showing Micah the ropes (he was 2). Dean had a bit of an attitude but how could he justify it when his older brother was so cool with it. Last year, not a hint of resistance from anyone. This year, "When are we going to start our scavenger hunt?" was heard from all. Now I can picture them coming home with wives and grandkids saying, "We're still doing the scavenger hunt, right?"

Mark tailors the stops on the hunt to the amount of time we have that day. I did not have to work Christmas Eve - a tremendous blessing - because all my cooking was done by about 1:30pm and we had the rest of the afternoon and evening to enjoy each other. So our hunt included stops along the way like, watch a movie, put a puzzle together, play a game, and sing Christmas Carols (with guitars and piano). It We also enjoyed hot cocoa while we shared our favorite memories from 2009 and our goals for 2010. Here's a summary:

Mark Memories - Orlando trip, working on the house together this summer, watching the boys at all their activities.
Mark Goals - Help Drew and mom through the transition to college, finish some other house projects, more regular quiet time with the Lord.

Cherilyn Memories - Amy's eagle stories and her being cured of her cancer, Drew's $5,000 scholarship, watching Drew and Dean in the musical and Drew in the Variety Show, hanging out with Micah and his friends and their moms and Grant's stories.
Cherilyn Goals - Not cry all the time at the thought of Drew leaving, pray with expection the promises of God and for Melissa's healing, pace myself through May and graduation so it's not so crushingly busy at that time and I can savor the moments.

Drew Memories - Student Leadership University trip to Orlando, winning league in cross country and going to State, beating McPherson at the MAYB tournament.
Drew Goals - Make state in tennis, make a final college decision by April and have all paperwork completed, decide on a major by next December.

Dean Memories - Going to Colorado with the LeFevres, the success of summer league basketball despite being a freshmen only team playing against sophs and jrs., being in high school and getting to interact with the upperclassmen and Drew being so cool about letting him.
Dean Goals - Be on the varsity tennis team, get stronger, give everything he does his best.

Grant Memories - Winning the novice tennis tournament, the Orlando trip, hanging at Trease's house.
Grant Goals - Develop a spin serve, get straight A's, learn to play another instrument and/or get better on the trumpet.

Micah Memories - Swimming at Aunt Carmen, playing Star Wars toys at Aunt Carmen's, blowing out candles on my Birthday pancakes on my birthday.
Micah Goals - Go to Aunt Carmen's more (are you noticing a theme?), play football, play soccer.

The hunt ends with us opening a few gifts. Tradition is always new pajamas plus the boys open their gifts to each other. But before we opened gifts, we had to go around and say three things we liked or appreciated about each other. There were some funny moments there as well. One that stands out is when Mark was telling Dean that he appreciated the tender heart he had for his friends and Dean's desire to be a leader who inspires them to make good choices. Grant heard "tender heart" and screwed up his face as if to say, "Dean? Tender? I'm not seein' it" and kind of chuckled. Dean caught the look and said, "Grant, I'm gonna kill you" while Mark is continuing on his with he tender descriptions. We all caught the irony and busted out laughing.

I'm so thankful that all the family that was traveling during those storms arrived safely at their destinations and was able to join us as planned. Christmas seemed much more calm this year, I think because I have help at work now and didn't have to work so much, the fact that Christmas fell on a Friday and I still had the weekend after, having our Johnston/Holthus extended family celebration the day after Christmas instead of Christmas night and the fact that we have two in high school instead of one in high school and one in middle school so I had more evenings available leading up to get ready and didn't have much left to do at the last minute.

I'm thankful for the scare my friend Amy had right before Christmas. The doctors called and told her they thought her cancer was back. After 3 days of hell, we found out it was a false alarm. Right after the positive news, Amy and her husband were headed to KC for a family weekend. On the way, they both saw, plain as day, an eagle sitting on a frozen pond near the road. A bald eagle. There were many eagle sightings through her battle but always before they had been flying. When an eagle finds itself in a storm, it leaves the nest and flies into the storm, allowing the storm to push it up and up until it is above the storm flying in the warmth and light of the sun (Son). Only when the storm is over, does it return to the nest. Not only did God command his eagle to come down, He commanded it to sit and wait for Hank and Amy on a frozen pond to reassure her, the storm is over. You are healed. What an amazing God we serve.

Another friend's sister was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of brain cancer. We have been praying for Melissa (please add her to your prayer list) and have all sensed God saying, "She is healed." Amy woke one night and asked God to send an eagle to Melissa. God told her, "Melissa does not need an eagle. Men are confounded by her illness. They will know that I receive the glory and honor when she is healed. Doctors have taken the credit for your healing. I sent you eagles so you and others would know that I am the Lord Your God Who Heals."

God is showing all of us how to stand on His promises and believe He is who He says He is, He will do what He says He will do and that we are who He says we are. I am so grateful for friends who are hungry for more and more of God and that we have each other on this journey of life. I have learned so much for them.

I can't even imagine what God has in store for 2010 except I know it will involve giving us as much of Himself as we are willing to receive.

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:16-21

Video: The older boys traveling down memory lane looking at Carmen's cousin collage title "Grandmas House: Where cousins learn to be lifelong friends."

Video: Micah's Can't Wait for Christmas song and dance.