Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2011 Co-op Christmas Party

We had a great Christmas party this year.  The kids played music & presented a verse, poem or song from their foreign language class.

:Will playing:

:Violin class:

:Faith played her piece from Sound of Music.:

:Spanish class reciting John 3:16 in Spanish:

Christmas crafts from 6 different continents.  My room represented Africa.  At Christmas, the African children would use wire to make different trinkets.

:Busy bees:

Will made me a stone wire ring.

I found a blog that did Minute To Win It games.  The kids had a great time.  This game, the kids are to throw as many "snowballs" into the wreath as possible within a minute.  (We had 5 other great games set up too.  I'm just sad that I couldn't be in 5 places at once in order to get pictures.)

Food & Fellowship

Just can't get enough of our friends. After our party, we went to Chick-fil-a with the McCathrens for a little more fun.

After a long fun day of celebrating with friends, we went to see Denver & the Mile High Orchestra.  It was wonderful.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mary's Story, A Mother's Point of View

How is it that so many folks try to praise me? ME! Who am I to be esteemed thus? Above all things, I am blessed of my Lord. But it was my Son that must be so honored, not I. Only He should be treated in this manner. I am but a mother who was so blessed to give birth to this Child. The angel told me....but I am walking ahead of myself. Is that not how it is said?

How do I know such as this? Because from where I live, I can see the people honoring me. But they must not! If I tell you my story, perhaps then you will see the need to honor the correct One. Will you promise not to interrupt until I am finished? Very well. I will begin.

I will introduce myself. My name is Mary, wife of Joseph, son of Jacob, of the tribe of Judah, sons of David, the King. A long time ago, (do not such stories begin thus?) when I was still living in my Father's home, I remember being told to go to bed and not fret because of my betrothal. Not that he thought that I needed to know this but Father did say that I would like Joseph, my soon-to-be husband. He was so kind to tell me that. It was not required, you know, that I like the person picked by my Father. My heart leaped for joy. Joseph was a very good man, full of honor, devoted to the Lord and so talented. He was a carpenter with a reputation for being a craftsman.

The night of my betrothal was so beautiful from my window. Sleeping was the farthest thing from my mind. My body would not stay still. Dancing around my room was the only thing I wanted to do at that moment. I was to be married! ME! I recall marveling at the thought. It was the custom then to marry at an early age, but at 13, I did not feel so young. People become grown up when they reach that year. My heart was celebrating even before the family celebrated!

Many months later, I was in my bedchamber when an incredible light shown into my room. Before I could walk to the window to see what it was, an enormous being stood in front of me. I trembled in fear of the awesome sight. He spoke to me saying not to be afraid. I was amazed at the peace that surrounded him. He called me highly favored of God, that the Lord is with me this night and that I am blessed of all women! But this troubled me more. Once again trembling, I sought to look into his eyes but the light was great. He said that he is an angel sent of God, not to be afraid of him for he brings great news. The next words were so incredible that I can hardly speak them now, after all these years. He told me that I was to have a Child of the Father, a Son of the Highest. His name was to be Jesus. The angel said that He would reign on the throne of King David and be King to the house of Jacob forever, that His kingdom would not end.

I, of course, worried since no man had ever known me, not even my betrothed, Joseph. As I mentioned this to the angel, he told me that the Holy Spirit would come upon me and the power of the Highest would shadow over me. For that reason the Child I bore would be the Holy One, Son of God. Then, if that were not marvel enough, he told me that my cousin, Elizabeth, who was barren those many years beyond all possible child bearing, was to be a mother herself. At that time, she was going to have a child in three months. Finally, the angel said that I should not marvel at such things for with God, nothing is impossible. I could no longer hold my tongue. My last words to him were that I, the maidservant of the Lord (for what else could I be? He is the One that we honor above all.) "Let it be according to your word!" I shouted to him. Then, he was gone. There was much to think about now. I could no longer sleep. That night, what the angel had told me came to pass.

The next day, I told my betrothed that I must journey into the hill country to see my cousin who was with child. Within a couple of days, I was able to be with her and her husband. Elizabeth and Zacharias are so very devoted to the Lord, it is no wonder that she was favored of Him. When I entered their home, Elizabeth cried out with joy as her child leaped inside her. She was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to praise me as being honored above all women! The Lord was truly with us both that day. I remained with her until the birth of her child, John, helping as I could. During that time of my visit, it was so strange that her husband, Zacharias, was not able to speak. I learned later that his tongue was loosed after the circumcising of his son.

After coming back from my visit, it was growing apparent that I was with Child. Trembling at the thought of telling Joseph, for what man would believe that I was still a virgin, I let him know of this thing. He mumbled that he would think on it but that he would put me away secretly to keep my honor as much as was possible. However, in a dream that night, an angel (the same angel had visited me) told him that I was blessed and carrying the Child of the Most High God. Joseph agreed to marry me in the proper time, which he did. What an honorable man he is!

In those days, the law came from Caesar Augustus that all people needed to be counted. As was our custom, we were to travel to the city of Bethlehem, the city of David because we are both of the house of David. It could not have come at a worse time for me. The Child was soon due to be born and I knew that the travel would be hard on us both. Joseph feared that the Child would come before we reached the city but we arrived safely at night but worn out. Unfortunately, because of the counting and the crowds already housed, there was no room at the inn. The innkeeper, who was very nice, told us that we could go to the stable. He was so apologetic for he was told of my condition. I know that if he could, there would have been a place in the house. I prayed that he not feel badly about this.

That night, a wonderous thing occurred. My Child was born to my husband and me. I wrapped Him as best I could in birthing cloth and put Him in the only place available, a manger. There was such a glow of Love surrounding Him! I could not take my eyes from His face. I wanted to hold Him forever, never putting Him down. My Child! God's Son! I sat back marveling at this. Many things I pondered in my heart. One day, I must tell this Child the story. Would He believe me? Could I give the love this Son needs? I, only a servant of the Most High, am the mother of the Son of God. It was still too much to take in.

Joseph had been watching the door because of all the strangers in the town this night. He whispered that men were approaching, running to the stable. They said that they were shepherds who had seen an angel. Fear had come upon them but the angel told them not to be afraid. They were told of a glorious birth of the Son of God Who was in the city of David in a manger. So they followed a star the angel had shown them. The star led them to this place. "Could we be honored to see the Babe?" they asked. Joseph showed them in to see our Son, God's Son. The Love of God radiated out to the shepherds who immediately fell to their knees and praised the Lord God.

Perhaps you do not believe my story though I am told it is now widely known. For many years, I meditated in my heart of these things. I recall holding Jesus, feeling the love I had for Him, feeling the incredible Love pouring from Him even as a Babe just born. I looked into His eyes and saw peace, everlasting peace beyond anything I had ever known in my life. Both Joseph and I wondered how we would care for such a One as this. Would He know all things? Do we teach Him of His Father or must we say nothing until the time He was a man? It would not be easy raising a Child like Him. None other had done so before. There was no one to get advice from but the Father of the Child. So many things are in my heart still of that time. I should tell you that there is much more to this story but perhaps I have kept you long enough now. Another time, I will recount the many wonders that happened. But for now, it is enough that you have heard this. God bless you as He has me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Decorating Christmas

For some reason, I only took one picture of us putting up Christmas decorations.  (Probably because I was so busy working.)

I thought this was soooo precious.  Faith fell asleep in the Christmas tree box.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Every year on Thanksgiving Day, I give the kids a Christmas ornament.  Usually, something that represents something they did that year or their interest.

:Will & Collin got the same thing.:

The boys both started getting interested in guns this year when we went to Mississippi.

:Faith really loves Tinkerbell:
She fell in love with this little snow globe, so I bought it & turned it into an ornament with a little Gorilla glue & a hanger.


 After we had a great meal at Tony's parent's house (didn't take pictures), we headed to our 4th Annual Turkey Bowl.  This year, the Boyle family joined us.

:"Tuukey" and the bowling balls:

 We had a great time bowling & fellowshiping.


7 kids + 4 adults bowling = a great time.

Will was the family winner of the Great Turkey Trophy this year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Nutcracker

Every year, we start off our Christmas with the Nutcracker.  Tony plays the trumpet for it & the kids love to see him in the pit.  

Our friends, Mrs. Laura, Whit & Addie joined us this year.

After the ballet, we met up with some of the ballerinas.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Rochester Family - He Loves Me Like I Was His Only Child

My father has a great big family
And there are many children besides me
If you’re wondering how he divides His time
Just let me say, I never stand in line

He loves me like I was His only child.
I never felt so loved before
I could never ask for more
He loves me like I was His only child.
God really loves me, yes he really loves me
He loves me like I was His only child.

He never favors me above the rest
But I can’t help but feel that I am blessed
He treats me best I often say
But then all my Father’s children feel that way

He loves me like I was His only child.
I never felt so loved before
I could never ask for more
He loves me like I was His only child.
God really loves me, yes he really loves me
He loves me like I was His only child.

God really loves me, yes he really loves me
He loves me like I was His only child.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Youre Still God & Sweet Victory - McKameys

Youre Still God & Sweet Victory - McKameys

I thought that it would happen to anyone but me
I never dreamed that I would carry this heavy burden on my knees
I never thought that I'd be standing just where I stand today
I've never known this kind of heart break
I've never felt this kind of pain

You're still God when my eyes have cried a million tears
You're still God when my last hope has disappeared
You're still God and I know you'll make a way somehow
You're still God and you're  holding me right now

My heart cant find the answer  for the reason for this trial
and Lord I know your ways are perfect And You've been watching all the while
for to me You've proven faithful time and time again
and I'm learning Lord to trust You
even when I don’t understand

Friday, November 18, 2011

GA Aquarium & Johnny Rockets

We went to the Georgia Aquarium our last day in Atlanta.  We love ocean animals. 

Faith, Tony & Will (beside some strangers on the right) at the shark & sting ray petting pool.


 :Bonnethead shark:

Faith, Will & Collin petting sea urchins. 

:Puff fish:

:Collin & Faith in another petting pool:


:albino alligator:

:The kids at the huge aquarium.:

:Collin & the spotted sting ray.:

We were fascinated by this Beluga Whale.  They had 5, but only 2 were in this tank when we stopped by.  There were so many beautiful animals, but only a fraction of God's gorgeous ocean animal creation. As we were looking at some strange looking, beautiful, ugly, etc. animals, I was in awe by His creativity.  Sometimes I wondered why He made one look the way He did.  I am so excited to continue to get a glimpse at His handy work.

After our great time at the aquarium, we were walking back to our van & spotted Johnny Rockets.  It is a 50's style restaurant, so we decided to go in.

They gave us lots of nickels to play the juke box.  We all enjoyed the 50's music playing.

Me & the kids.


What A Friend We Have In Jesus - Mahalia Jackson

What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations? Well there Is trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged— Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every care; Take everything to the Lord in prayer.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,  Just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise; Just to know, Thus saith the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him, How I've proved Him o'er and o'er,
Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more.

O how sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to trust His cleansing blood;
Just in simple faith to plunge me, 'Neath the healing, cleansing flood.

Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus, Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking Life, and rest, and joy, and peace.

I'm so glad I learned to trust Thee, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me, Wilt be with me to the end.

Faith's First American Girl Doll

The excitement was building...... Faith could hardly stand it.  As we pulled up to the mall, it was raining ~ hard, but that didn't damper her excitement.  Tony let the kids & I out while he parked the car.  We were right outside the American Girl Doll store.  Faith wanted this to be a "girl thing", so we had to wait for Tony to get inside.  This was the most excited that I have ever seen Faith.  The wait was torchure.  Finally, Daddy came inside the mall.  After the boys took off, we headed into the store.  Right inside the door, Faith did a very slow 380 look around the store.  (I wish I had this on video, she was in awe.)

Then she spotted the doll that she had been wanting for months..... Kit.  She took off.  Watch out, people, this girl is on a mission.

 She pulled Kit off the shelf & just held onto the box.  She stood there looking into the circle cut out for quite awhile.  Now let me remind you there was a Kit doll in a glass box right above her, but the one in the box was hers.

She began taking pictures of everything she saw.

Then she began playing with everything that was set up.

 I'm not one for toilet pictures, but I thought this was too funny.  AG thought of everything...even a place to put your doll when you have to take care of business.

Faith & Kit:
After a wonderful time at AG, we met the guys for supper in the food court.

:Above is my favorite American Girl:

Faith & I went back to the AG store the next day to have our brunch.

:Faith & Kit:

Faith & Kit

We just love this little Bistro.

World of Coke

Faith wanted to use her birthday money to buy her first American Girl Doll.  So we decided to plan a family trip to Atlanta.  Our first stop, World of Coke. 

I was so excited when I found out that you could get free tickets from Coke Awards.  So we asked everyone we knew to save us their bottle tops, cardboard boxes, etc. from Coke. We were so blessed by so many people giving them to us.  When Tony played at his high school alumni game, the kids & I grabbed all the tops of the bottles that people left in the stands.  (Can you imagine what the clean up crew must have thought the next day.... why is every single Coke product drink topless?)  So thanks to many wonderful friends, family & hard work after a football game, we got all 5 tickets free.  Yay!

:Coke bottles from all over the world:

I loved watching my children as we entered the World of Coke.  There is a huge bottle hanging from a very high ceiling.  There is the sound of someone pouring Coke, then drinking it & the famous Ahhh.  My kids were mesmerized by this.  Then we decided to hit the bathrooms, which were gorgeous.  We could have left right then & the kids would have had a great time. :)


:Me, Faith, Coke Polar Bear & Collin:

:Collin at the "Coke" counter:

Will trying to write "Coca Cola" like on the bottle.

Will watching how they bottle Coke.

Let the tasting begin.
There were different Coke stations set up around the tasting room. Different Coke drinks from all around the world.  This was a lot of fun, but after tasting so many, we all felt pretty yuck.

When we enter the World of Coke, they told us that "Beverly" was the most talked about drink Coke had.  They don't tell you why that is.  Can you guess by Collin's expression?  After seeing this & Tony's expression I didn't taste it.  Tony said that it tasted like motor oil. 

This ended up being our Christmas Card.

Will wrote why I love Coke to put on the Wall of Fame.

Collin resting on the 2005 American Idol couch.

I just thought this was a charming picture.

They let you take home a souvenir Coke as you were exiting, which lead right into the gift shop. 

Leading into the Olympic Park.