December 26, 2013

Afternoon Walk

Today ended up being a really beautiful day. So we took Lily on a long overdue walk this afternoon

 There weren't many people out today so she was able to enjoy a rare treat of being off her leash. She explored quite a bit, but wouldn't go far before she would turn and wait for us. 

It was a great way to spend part of my day off!

December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone...
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:1, 6

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

We had a great day celebrating with my family yesterday and today we are headed to celebrate with David's family.  We are so blessed this year with all that God has done for us, but most especially blessed by His infinite love that he gifted to us.

Love is revealed to us this day.  I pray you feel how blessed and loved you are.

Merry Christmas from our little family!

December 24, 2013

God with Us

I've been reading through Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift this month.  It is basically an advent guide that walks through several stories in the Bible tying them to the coming and anticipation of Christ.  It's been really neat to read through this month and it's hard to believe there's only one day left.  

I wanted to share from yesterday's chapter because I really liked how it was written and what it expresses...

He. Will. Save
God. With. Us
God can't stay away.  This is the love story that has been coming for you since the beginning.  The God who walked with us in the Garden in the cool of the evening before the Fall shattered our closeness with Him is the God who came after His people in the pillar of cloud, of fire, because He couldn't bear to let His people wander alone.  He is the God who came to grieving Job as a whirlwind, a tornado, a hurricane, who covenanted to Abraham as a smoking furnace, who wildly pitched His tent with the Holy of Holies so somehow in all His holy Shekinah glory, He could get close enough again to live amid His people.  He is the God who is so for us that He can't stay away from us.  The God who loves us and likes us and isn't merely 50 percent or 72.3 percent for us, but the God who is always, unequivocally, 100 percent for us--the God who so likes us, the God who is so for us that He is the God who chooses to be with us...

Christmas is about God's doing whatever it takes to be with us... He climbed down from the throne of heaven to get to you.

Merry Christmas Eve!

December 23, 2013

Christmas with International Friends

One of the best parts of this past semester has been spending time getting to know several International Students at UTD.  David has headed up our young adults' group outreach to the International Students for the last year and a half and we have done a variety of things in the past such as friendship partners, special events and discussion groups.  But this year we were trying to find a way to build the partnership even more.  We hold an on-campus discussion group once a week and were looking for ways to let other students know about it.  So we teamed up with a Home Group led by several couples at our church to let their students know about the group and the young adults group at Woodcreek.  Our plan was to go to the Home Group a couple times (maybe the whole month of September) just to build connections with other people in the same type of ministry.  

But the first night David and I went to the Home Group, we both walked away feeling like it was exactly where we were supposed to be this semester.  best decision ever.  We still held our weekly discussion group on campus with some friends (Americans and International students) and it was a good time.  But Friday nights when we went to the Home Group we ate dinner with and got to know the students before helping answer questions at their student-led bible study.  We feel like with that time we really got to know them and were there to answer a lot of questions which started a lot of good discussions.

So this Christmas it was really fun to introduce the students to some American Christmas favorites.  We spent the last few weeks of our Discussion Group talking about Advent, the first coming of Christ and trying to answer questions about the incarnation and how that celebration has become what it is today.

And then we did a lot of fun activities in December.  Our Home Group's Progressive Dinner was cancelled early this month due to Ice. So we invited the students to the Young Adult Holiday Hoedown.  A few of them came and I think they had a really good time!

This past week we took a group of students to look at Christmas lights.

It was nice outside so we walked through the neighborhood instead of driving the whole thing.  But it was nice to warm up in front of their outdoor fireplace!

Fun group!

One of the questions that came up while looking at lights is "what is the Grinch?" so I explained it as best I could and then created a movie night to watch the movie and have dinner.
Our friends Lucas and Yali joined us, along with other good friends from our group
I made dinner--Roast Beast (Ham), Who Hash (Hashbrown Casserole), Who Pudding, and Grinch Punch

It was a lot of fun getting it all set up
And Lucas and Yali brought us some snacks from the Asian Market--shrimp crackers, salt and seaweed chips, and rice treats--to enjoy during the movie

This past weekend David also had the opportunity to go see our friend Teng.  Teng was our international friendship partner this semester and it has been so fun getting to know him and show him around Dallas.  He went to the fair with us, watched some college football games with us, joined us for home group and discussion group, and come over for dinner, Elf and Christmas lights.  So we wanted to get him something special for his first Christmas here (he said it was his first Christmas gift!) and bought him an English/Chinese Bible.  Teng is heading north to spend Christmas in New York City!  

Several of our friends are now traveling for the Christmas break, but it was fun getting to do a few things with them before they left--and I look forward to January when they will be back.  Now our weeks just don't feel right without Friday Night Home Group and Monday Nights at UTD!

December 22, 2013

Baking for Christmas

Yesterday I went over to my mom's to help with Christmas baking (which is now becoming an annual thing for us).

My mom has baked lots of Christmas goodies for as long as I can remember.  She always bakes up batches of several different things and gives them out as gifts.  We've tried to get together a few times already, but this month has seemed a little more crazy than most Decembers so it kept getting pushed back.  I'm glad we were finally able to do it though.

My mom hadn't been feel great this week, so I offered to go buy any things she still needed for the baking.  I went to the grocery store around 6 yesterday morning (the employees think I'm crazy, but it's kinda nice shopping when no one else is there... and I can't sleep anyway!)
And stocked up on anything we could need.

We made some of our traditional, every-year-necessity treats
Peanut Butter Balls

Snowballs and Cut out Cookies

And then my mom decided to try a few different things this year
Oreo Bark
Peppermint Bark
and Chex Mix

It was a good day with her and we got a lot accomplished!

December 21, 2013

Christmas Card Outtakes

We got all of our Christmas cards in the mail this past week and I really like how they turned out (more on that later).  But we didn't get there too quickly.
I actually had a made Christmas card back in November and even had a few printed.   They looked like this

I really liked them.  But then I started thinking that I wanted to have a newer picture of us on them (even if they were in addition to wedding and engagement photos)

So then the quest started to get a good picture.  And we took a few good ones that we ended up using.  
But I also decided we needed to have Lily in our picture.  That's where the fun began.

 We decided we didn't really want a picture of us looking like we're strangling the dog, so we gave up and just took a few pictures of David and I...
 ...and look who decided to join us...
 ...she just came and sat right next to me.  We're all looking at the camera in this one, but what a ridiculous picture

 Guess that's why my friend Amy (who designs lots of awesome Christmas cards each year!) talks about not signing your dogs name on your cards (whether or not you include them in the pictures).

Although once upon a time Lily took a good Christmas Card Picture.  Guess her posing days are over!

I'll post our actual Christmas card later :)

December 3, 2013

Tuesday Randoms

Just a few things on my mind today

First, my best friend Erin is blogging this week about her journey with Crohn's disease as a part of Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week.  I am so grateful for her in my life and as I've walked a small part of this road with her this past year since her diagnosis I've been humbled to see all that she's walking through and all that the Lord is doing in her life. And I want to be committed for the rest of this week to wear purple for her.  She's got some good information to share if you're interested

Second--I've read a few places that today is "Giving Tuesday" (I guess to go along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all those other crazy days this time of year), so I wanted to share something I just learned about yesterday--Amazon Smile.  Is this a brand new thing or have I just been in the dark?  

If you've been in the dark like me, let me tell you what it is.  It's Amazon, same deals, shipping, account, everything... but you choose a Charity and .5% of what you spend on eligible purchases goes to a charity of your choice.  Which is a small amount, but it's still something.

You just go to and choose your charity and link your account.  And then shop like you would on Amazon.  I use Amazon a lot--especially when buying Christmas gifts this time of year--so it's a fun addition to that site.  

And there are a lot of charities to choose from.  I first searched and found the foundation for the agency I work for on there.  But I also found some other familiar places in my search such as my church, Compassion International through which I sponsor a child in Uganda, and even the Chrohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.  

So there's today's PSA if you hadn't heard about it yet.  Seems easy enough to me :)

December 2, 2013


In addition to Thanksgiving, this weekend was filled with birthday fun

Friday afternoon my sweet in-laws celebrated my birthday at their house with cake and gifts prior to dinner.  It was so nice of them to consider me and to have that special time with them.

Saturday we surprised David's nanny for her birthday. We spent the afternoon at her house and then went out to dinner with everyone that night and enjoyed cake for her

Sunday we went to breakfast with family before heading back to Texas
A picture of the birthday girls :)  Love sharing my birthday with her!

Sunday night we met up with my family for birthday celebration and Christmas Decorating.
This kid was the hit of the night as always

We enjoyed a yummy Mexican food dinner

and Cheesecake for dessert 

It was a blessed weekend with sweet family

December 1, 2013

November Photo a Day Wrap Up

The last few days of November were full of family and fun.

Thursday was spent in East Texas with my family.  It was fun seeing everyone, spending time playing with my nephew, and catching up with family.  

 I got to reflect a little and realize what a blessing it is to get to spend this Thanksgiving with my new husband.  I have spent lots of years wishing for someone to spend the holidays with, so this one is extra special to me.

Friday we went to David's parents' house to celebrate with them and start getting their house ready for Christmas.  While David and his dad put up lights outside, I was able to enjoy the warmth inside decorating the tree with his mom and sister.

Saturday I went to Oklahoma with our family to celebrate David's nanny's 80th birthday.  It was a great trip catching up with everyone there!

It was definitely a great month, full of blessings!