Ok, I have to admit I am ashamed at the realization that I have not posted a blog in months! Just another reminder and proof of the busyness of motherhood and ministry... I envy those moms that blog what seems like daily and share all the cute projects they have on the go with their kids that they amazingly have time to share with the rest of the world of grateful moms to inspire us to greater things. I may make strving efforts to do regular crafts with our kids, but honestly admit they dont always get accomplished no matter how lofty my intentions. We had a fantastic fall though. After all of our summer travels to promote Haiti ARISE, the kids and I settled into a fairly regular routine of homeschool, with much help from the Classical Conversations homeschool group we joined this year. We all loved it! We have this great community of 15 families that we are doing school with, learning from each other and with each other and building some great friendships. I have been so encouraged and inspired by these other amazing moms that share the same belief and philosophy of education as I, that it is my responsibility to educate my kids and raise them up to be godly men and women and contributers to society. So that filled our fall, along with kids activities of taekwondo, dance, swimming and now horse riding lessons. And since Austin is a little older and finally out of baby and diaper stage, I have felt a sigh of relief, like I can breathe again and can handle my kids, my emotions, heck, the world with so much more grace! That being because I am not AS exhausted now as a mom of a baby is- I have had 10 straight years of exhausted and am gladly welcoming years of growth and progressing into the next stage in life with kids- the pending adolescence that is coming. Although this is often scary for many, I am thrilled and excited to watch my kids growing into such wonderful, beautiful people and developing in responsibility (somewhat sometimes), talents and personality. And, the greatest part... drum roll.... I have babysitters I dont have to pay now!!! Yeah, time to save money... well not really, but its a nice thought. 

Anyway, this was not the point of blogging today! It's to catch up with my lack of punctual news and share in the joy of Christmas with everyone. The wonderful season of celebrating our Savior's birth and almost the turn of another new year has come. Where did all those months of fall go? They flew by quickly, but smoothly and I am grateful. And it has been so much fun this year celebrating Christmas with our little... ok, not so little, family. We were blessed to have my dad and his new wife, Annie, celebrate with us and I love watching the kids get so excited about thier gifts and about giving gifts to each other. The beautiful thing though is seeing them understand the true meaning of Christmas. We read the Christmas story told through the eyes of each nativity character, prayed for thanks to Jesus and sang Him happy birthday. Earlier this week we enjoyed a Christmas concert that the girls and I sang in- I just about cried through it, it was so powerful. We also enjoyed the lights around the city, the soft crystal snow covering the scenery and a beautiful Christmas Eve service at Eastside City Church. I love this time of year. 

Now we have 6 days til new years and til going back to Haiti. We are flying on New Years Eve and arrive in Haiti on Jan 1, which is Haiti's independence day. We are hoping arriving that day will minimize risks of political upheaval and demonstrations cause everyone will be celebrating with family that day- in Haiti, it's a bigger holiday than Christmas. So I'm starting to gear up to get into packing mode... but not today. Today I am resting and reflecting on Christ's amazing love for us, reveling in Christmas music, relaxing on the couch with my new back massager, watching the kids be totally enthralled in their new treasures and get ready for turkey dinner...mmmmm. 

So, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone! Remember this wonderful season and holiday did not start with Santa Clause, though he was a real man and shared the love of God through giving gifts. But he's not the one who truly knows when you are sleeping or when you are awake. No, that One is the true reason for this Christmas celebration. Isaiah even fortold his coming way before it came, :For unto you a child is born and the government shall be upon His shoulders... and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. So you better watch out, yes, because Jesus is watching, but if you do cry, He is there to comfort you. If we shout, He will forgive, because He knows when we are bad and good and He loves us just the same. That is why He came!