29 November 2013

Post-Thanksgiving Day Hike

Post Hike

What a perfect morning to get some exercise and hike up the bump-n-grind!

We burned some calories while enjoying the gorgeous weather.

The girls are at the point now of wanting to race us down every mountain we climb…

They won.

Thanksgiving 2013

Jordan Thanksgiving 002

My little helper in the kitchen.





The girls with Gomo Halmoni.





Sweet cousins.



Cheers to festive holiday drinks!

{Cranberry juice, spiced apple cider, and a splash of ginger ale}



My dear parents.





So excited about Emily expecting #3!



Batter up!



Play Ball!



Uncle Rich and his girls.



Giving Halmoni some love.









This year, I got a head start on the turkey by following my mother-in-law’s lead from last year. I actually cooked my 20 pound bird the day before. I have to say, this makes Thanksgiving Day SO MUCH EASIER. Once cooked, I sliced it up and saved it in its juices. This also gives me time to separate the bones for future soup stock and clean up everything that has to do with the turkey. Done!

The next day, I simply re-heat the turkey in an electric skillet (with its juices). It makes the turkey so MOIST and super yummy! (Thanks, Mom!)

Sure, you don’t get the presentation of the whole turkey at dinner time but you do get a nice platter of sliced, hot, delicious turkey. Yes, that works for me! I also made a couple of the casseroles the day before so Thanksgiving Day left me more time to relax and enjoy. Despite the photos of me in the kitchen, I actually had moments where I sat on the couch and visited. Overall, a very easy Thanksgiving!

More important than the traditional home-cooked meal and festivities, Thanksgiving is but a simple time to reflect and remember all that God has blessed us with and brought us through. With my dad being sick this year, it just makes this Thanksgiving that much more special.

What a joy to see the kids all growing up so fast. They were all so very helpful, too! Lord willing, we look forward to many more little hands helping in the kitchen each year.

Happy Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations." ~Psalm 100:4-5

28 November 2013

President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation



On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789, as an official holiday of “sincere and humble thanks.” The nation then celebrated its first Thanksgiving under its new Constitution.


On October 3, 1863, in the midst of a terrible civil war and when all seemed darkest, President Abraham Lincoln made this proclamation for a national day of Thanksgiving to God, making it a nationwide holiday to be commemorated each year on the fourth Thursday of November.

North Americans think of turkey and stuffing, pilgrims and Indians, but do not know why Abraham Lincoln inaugurated the holiday in the first place. The president made his "Proclamation of Thanksgiving" inaugurating a day of thanksgiving and repentance, but because repentance is a dirty word word in politics today, we are not told of this, unless we look at the original text. 

President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

This Thanksgiving, let us not forget a nation (and a people) that assembles itself on pride and blame will be brought low, and a nation that humbles itself in repentance and thanksgiving will rise.

“… then if my people will humble themselves and pray, and search for me, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear them from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land.” ~2 Chronicles 7:14

27 November 2013

Giving Back: Thanksgiving Feast at Jordan


The girls were busy all morning packing food bags at Jordan.



So nice to have our friends join us in serving!










Look who showed up!



Nothing better than serving the Lord as a family!





The awesome kiddos.



The mamas. So fun to be with friends!



Such GREAT helpers!



Faith and Grace brought two large bags full of their stuffed animals to bless some of the children in line.

So sweet!



Local fire fighters were there to lend a hand as well.



Faith & Joshua did a super job of handing out bags.



This was our 3rd year serving at Jordan Outreach’s Thanksgiving Feast and I think this was the best year yet! So proud of all the kids! They diligently and joyfully worked so hard all morning! Plus, they truly enjoy the opportunity to be able to serve those in need around our community. 

What is the Thanksgiving Feast?

Impoverished families gather to hear live music and a powerful gospel message, then receive an entire Thanksgiving feast to take home to their family, in bulk form. Feasts include a whole turkey, along with all the holiday “trimmings”.

We served over 434 families today. Morgan was able to get away from work for a little while to join us and having all our friends there made it extra special as well!

I personally love this serving opportunity. We get to be the hands and feet of Jesus and we get to hand-deliver the blessing, directly to the family in need. Truly, quite humbling.

“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” ~Luke 12:48  

26 November 2013

The Jesse Tree: An Advent Celebration

jess tree twigs

(The image above uses simple branches in a vase and cut-out ornaments you can find online.)

Can you believe it? It’s almost Thanksgiving! I’ll be hosting this year for my family and I must say, I’m feeling pretty relaxed. Maybe it’s because the older I get, the less time I spend fussing about things like the perfect menu or the house being just so.

In other words, I’m realizing that time spent together and love should be the main ingredients of any holiday gathering. The results…a woven tapestry of beautiful memories, old and new.

My plan: Keep it simple and enjoy the moment! It really is my favorite holiday. 

Just a few days after Thanksgiving, we plan to start a new Advent Celebration this year! My girlfriend, Melissa introduced me to the Jesse Tree about a month ago and upon researching it together, we decided to start the new tradition in both of our homes.

What is a Jesse Tree?

The Jesse Tree represents the family tree, or genealogy of Jesus Christ. It tells the story of God's salvation plan, beginning with creation and continuing through the Old Testament, to the coming of the Messiah. The name comes from Isaiah 11:1, "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit."

Each of the 25 devotional readings, one for each day of December, starting on December 1st, highlights a Scripture passage from the Old Testament and Jesus’ family line, a grace story of hope, a fresh, unexpected devotional to take you into the heart of Christmas, and is accompanied by an ornament to hang that day, so that you have a tree telling the story of Jesus’ coming right from the beginning, a grace tree, a gospel tree — the full love story of Christmas.

Jesse Tree

This example uses a potted tree with felt ornaments.


Jesse felt

For you sewing aficionados, here’s a felt tree with felt ornaments that you could hang on your wall.


Jesse tree homemade

(Or, you could simply use a small fake tree and make homemade ornaments).

I love the fact that a Jesse Tree can be whatever you want it to be. There is no right way to create it.

I’m planning on having the girls make as many of the ornaments as possible. I figured it would double as a creative art project for them. We haven’t quite decided on what we’re using for our tree yet but I guess we better decide soon! December 1st is right around the corner! 

We found this book to use as a fun accompaniment.

the Jesse Tree

As Mr. Butterfield carves a Jesse Tree in an old dusty church, a curious young boy distracts him, asking about the various symbols on the tree. Against his better judgment, the old man finds himself retelling the familiar Biblical tales that trace the lineage of Christ, from the Garden of Eden to Jesus' birth. Under the carpenter's skilled hands, the Jesse tree grows--and an unlikely friendship begins to take root as well.

And for the scripture readings and devotionals, we’ve decided to use Ann Voskamp’s:

Jesse Tree Advent Celebration.

Jesse Tree advent

The girls are SO excited!!

Did you know that the word "Advent" comes from the Latin word adventus, which means "coming." Advent is the commemoration of the coming of Christ-- the Messiah, and the anticipation of the Second Coming of our Lord! Despite the commercialism and shopping galore, it's what all the hustle and bustle is ultimately all about. It’s what we are preparing for... in our hearts and in our homes.

C.S. Lewis once said,

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

Let us be among those who are anticipating, preparing, meditating upon the Coming, the Advent of Christ!

24 November 2013

Birthday weekend


The guys are ready to ride.



Morgan and his mom celebrating their birthdays together (two days apart).






All the little women who love him.



Celebrating sweet Janette and the coming arrival of baby Malorie.



The men (aka, the moving crew).



Good buddies. 



Fun at the park.



The weekend was full of Morgan’s favorite things. He spent a day motorcycle riding with his brother, Ben and and his good friend, Ben. The weather was brutally cold and the guys ran into rain, sleet, and SNOW. Talk about toughing it out! They were all frozen to the bone but still had lots of fun!

We then had a dual birthday celebration with dinner at grandma and grandpa’s. The next day (which was actually his birthday), we spent it with our sweet friends, enjoying the day, having a potluck, celebrating again, and helping one of their moms move into the area.

What a blessed time of fellowship we had! Overall, it was a wonderful weekend full of family, friends, and lots of fun!!

Happy Birthday to our Weekend Warrior!

We love you!

23 November 2013


Morgan and I are blessed to have parents who are in their golden years. Together, they are facing the challenges and trials of this world and yet also, they are learning to grow gracefully in the midst of them.

This beautiful and touching film was made by two teenagers in Texas. It features their parents and pays tribute to their grandparents. 

They say that to love is to lose: but the true measure of love is what you do with the loss.

Still is just such a story: a husband, a wife, and the love they fight for… together.

19 November 2013

If you shop on Thanksgiving, you are part of the problem


I admit, I absolutely love a good bargain. I enjoy thrifting and yard sales. I enjoy buying things with coupons and at deep discounted prices. However, I have yet to participate in the American consumer craze known as Black Friday. If you have, I’m not judging. I know some who have turned this day after Thanksgiving into a holiday tradition with family and friends. That’s cool.

Personally, I do not enjoy shopping with mobs of frenzied people or spending most of my time waiting in lines (I don’t care how big the sale is).  

This year, enter a new beast… Black Thursday. As if our country’s moral decline and priorities couldn’t plummet any further. We are now taking this sacred holiday and turning it into one more day of frantic materialism and greed.  

No wonder other countries loathe us. We are ridiculous.

Ridiculously consumed. 

“For a while, Black Friday and Thanksgiving coexisted. We thanked God for His blessings on Thursday, and then jumped into the consumer mosh pit at Best Buy on Friday. But this Black Friday-Thanksgiving marriage was tenuous and rocky from the start. It was doomed to fail. Thanksgiving offers tradition, family and contentment; Black Friday offers smart phones at drastically reduced prices. In America, we all know who wins that battle. So Black Friday, like a black hole, violently expanded; it absorbed the light that surrounded it and sucked everything into its terrifying abyss, where all substance is torn to shreds and obliterated. Black Friday could not be contained to a mere 24 hours. It is Consumerism. It wants more. It always wants more. Nothing is sacred to it; nothing is valuable. So, now, Black Friday has eaten Thanksgiving alive. Thanksgiving let out a desperate cry as Black Friday devoured its soul, but we barely noticed. It’s hard to hear anything when you’re wrestling 4,000 other people for buy one get one free cargo shorts at Old Navy.”

Read the rest here.

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