Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I love Christmas! Even though it is technically over, the season is still in full swing for me. I usually wait until we are a few days into the new year before I start taking down my decorations. We are having a great time with all of the family being together this week. The cousins are having a blast together!

On Christmas Day, get together with both my mom and dad's side of the family. This year, on my mom's side, was the first time we had celebrated Christmas without my Mamaw.

This family has been through quite a bit over the passed two years. My Uncle Clint suffered a stroke in January 2008, and then finished the race in November of the same year. In early 2009, my Mamaw started getting worse as a result of lung cancer and COPD, and finished her race in June. But it's the in between times that have impacted me as well.

In the Bible, when we read about God's command to honor our parents, many times we automatically think first about children being obedient, but it goes way beyond that, doesn't it? My mom, aunts and uncles (pictured above, minus one) have been wonderful examples of what it means to honor their parents. I watched as my mother and her siblings spent countless hours tending to Mamaw. Feeding her, giving her medicine, rubbing her feet, reading to her, loving on her........honoring her. They were with her when she drew her final breath, and they continue to honor her and my Papaw today by the way they communicate, get along and show great love for one another.

I say this because as a mother, one of my prayers is that my children will always have love for one another, even after I'm gone. I have heard of families who divide over inheritance and other such issues after the parents have passed away. To me, continuing to love and respect each other, even after both parents are gone is a wonderful way of showing honor to them.

So, thank you to my mom and dad, and my aunts and uncles for providing this wonderful example of love and honor. I pray this kind of blessing over my family as well, believing that God will honor that.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Week at the Liddles

Merry Christmas!!!

We had a good week here at the Liddle home, starting with the "big snow" we had last weekend! It may have only been a few inches, but it was at least big enough to go sledding and also to make a huge snowman! Jacob and Emily also helped, even though they aren't pictured. Sadly, this snowman didn't last long. He fell forward that night and Ashlyn discovered that his nose had come out the back of his head. :(

On Christmas Eve, we made red velvet cupcakes and I let the kids put icing and sprinkles on them. They each had their own pan of cupcakes and their own portion of icing. Jacob took advantage of this, because most every time I looked over to see how things were going, I caught him sneaking and eating the icing. I let him get by with it most of the time--it's Christmas, right?

Emily's Christmas wish came true this morning when she opened up "Josephina", the American Girl doll that she has talked about for months. So, today at our family dinner, I happened to see her, along with Ashlyn, trying to teach Josephina to walk. I was glad that I had my camera in hand! In the picture, Emily is saying, "Come on, you can do it!!" And Ashlyn walked her over to Emily and then they both hugged her and cheered. HA!
Probably the greatest highlight for me this week was that this was little Evan's first Christmas. Even though he had no clue about the gifts or stockings or turkey or candy, it's always so special having a new one around on Christmas. It's a wonderful reminder of God's gift of life and the miracle of salvation through the birth of a baby many years ago.

So, another Christmas Day has come and (almost) gone, and it was a great one. As I think back on the day's (and the week's) events, and look forward to this coming week when we will celebrate with Jason's family and my brother and sister and their families, I thank God for all the blessings in my life, especially the blessing of His Son, who came to earth so long ago, to save a wretch like me. Thank You Lord!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Stand Corrected....

This is regarding my previous post where I wrote about Ashlyn's journal entry on the real meaning of Christmas.

Today she made sure that I knew that the two people--the "mourners" as I called them--were not just any two people. They were Mary and Joseph. She pointed out (and I could see it as I looked closely) that she had drawn tears in their eyes.

Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus in one drawing. Mary and Joseph watching their baby die for all of mankind in the next. All of the meaning that is encompassed in that when you really stop to think about it gave me chills, and I could not help but share it.

What Christmas is All About

This past Wednesday, one of Ashlyn's school assignments was to write in her journal about what Christmas is all about. This is what she wrote:

Do you know what moves me the most about this? It's the fact that she (without any prompting from me) clearly makes the connection of the cradle to the cross. I mean, she actually drew a manger scene in the corner (you can't see it that well on the scan, but it's there) but the main drawing is that of Jesus hanging on a cross, with the crosses of the thieves and even mourners standing beside.

Please understand that I'm not bragging on Ashlyn as much as I am praising God for working in my child's life to where she is making the connection that Christmas is really about our Savior--our Redeemer.

Every year I wrestle with the worldly view of Christmas--how to handle Santa, presents, and all of the things that have the potential to distract from the true meaning of Christmas. We have never taken drastic measures against those areas (i.e. we still buy gifts and we still leave cookies and milk on the fireplace), but we don't really push it either (well, we might tend to sometimes go a little bit overboard on the gifts). Still, we try to be intentional about teaching Jesus as the true meaning of Christmas and then pray that God will continue to work in their hearts (and ours) about how the Christmas story is really about our redemption from sin.

I think she covered it pretty well, don't you?

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Favorite 5-year Old

Emily turned 5 yesterday!

We celebrated by having a party/sleepover for her little friends, and it was fun! I did spend all day Saturday cleaning while Emily pretty much just laid around in her pj's the whole time (because, as she said, it was a "hard party"). Yeah, she was pretty tired!

Emily is such a sensitive soul. You know, like when she is about to get in trouble, all I really have to do is just give her a look. To raise my voice at her is never necessary, and when I have done that, it tears her up! She is our little drama queen, which can sometimes be really funny, but sometimes drive me crazy!!! She's a very funny child, and has a very silly, imaginative sense of humor. She is so much fun to be around (and really just to watch when she doesn't know you're looking)!

You know, I had a miscarriage two months before I got pregnant with Emily. I was so saddened by that, and I certainly look forward to seeing that child one day. But God can bring good from any situation, and I believe that Emily is the good that came from that. I can't imagine my life, or our family, without her! She is truly a light, and is a very insightful, loving child.

Happy Birthday sweet Emily!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

When Doubts Arise...

I remember back a few years ago when we first decided to homeschool. Ashlyn was in preschool and we went back and forth on what to do for her upcoming kindergarten year. I remember Jason and I spending lots of time talking, thinking and praying about how we should approach our children's education. We then decided that we felt led in the area of homeschooling.

It's been a great journey so far! However, it's also been a journey laden with questions, doubt, and trial and error. Sometimes I find myself asking such questions as "Am I ruining my children?" or "Do my kids have too much of me?" I sometimes grow fearful that I am holding them back or that I am depriving them of things that they need. There are days when I feel overwhelmed, trying to meets the needs of my very needy small children, while at the same time trying to make sure Ashlyn is getting in all the learning she needs too. It is during these times that I seem to forget the benefits of homeschooling and all the reasons we chose to do it in the first place.

But even though I know that those thoughts are from the enemy, I still have them, and it seems like sometimes it can be a battle. Jason and I both are secure in our decision to educate our kids at home, and when doubts arise, there is usually only one thing that helps me overcome them. Well, maybe two things.

One is the encouragement I get from other moms who are in the same boat as me. I am so appreciative of people at church or at co-op who encourage me and let me know that they've been (or they are) where I am. That kind of support is invaluable to me!!!

The other thing (and probably the greatest thing) is prayer, and claiming the promises that God gives pertaining to wisdom. I pray all the time that God would turn the hearts of my children toward Him, and that He would work in their lives even when I mess up. I pray all the time for wisdom, whether it be for disciplinary issues or simply how to manage it all. Proverbs 8:17 says of wisdom, "I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me." I have to believe that! And then in James, God promises that "if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." Sometimes those are the words that get me through the day!

I love being with my kids, and I'm thankful that our family has been led in the direction of homeschooling. I just sometimes wish that I could see the big picture so that I can know for sure that things will turn out right. But, then, I guess if I could do that, I wouldn't need faith, right? My faith is what reminds me that He sees the big picture, and when doubts arise, trusting in His wisdom to lead me is the one thing that I can count on for certain.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pretty in Pink

I wanted to get a picture of Jacob wearing this pink snowsuit that belonged to Ashlyn (and then Emily). He was so embarrassed that he wouldn't even look at the camera!! He even asked me afterward, "Mommy, please don't take any more pictures!"

Unfortunately, I didn't get to get a picture of the lavender snow boots he wore (he tried to refuse, but I told him he couldn't play in the snow if he didn't wear them--hey, they fit him and no one was going to see him!!)

Oh, the price of having older sisters!! :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The True Beauty of Kindness

First of all, to those of you who have said a prayer for our family during this week of illness...thank you!! We are gradually getting better, although Emily and Jason are still feeling quite icky. Hopefully we will all be well soon!!

Second of all, I would like to mention that while I still have a great desire to keep up with this blog, I have been struggling with the issue of time. However, I hope that you will keep checking, because I plan to keep writing! And in that same vein, I want to thank so many of you for your comments...I love to hear your thoughts and comments!!
I want to continue on with thoughts on the Fruit of the Spirit. I was thinking about kindness and goodness this morning. Kindness is a beautiful thing, isn't it? But as I was thinking about that, I also wondered if sometimes kindness is not always exactly what it seems.

I'm not trying to be cynical--motive is what I'm talking about. If I'm truly honest with myself, can I really say that all of my acts of kindness to others are solely for their benefit? Are there some things that I do, albeit good things, which are done simply to make me feel better about myself or to make me look good in front of others? When I reach out to those in need, is it always because I truly care for them, or is it sometimes out of obligation?

You may wonder why this matters, since good is being done no matter what. Certainly this is true, and the outward benefit to the recipient usually remains the same. What is different, however, is the inward (and eternal) benefit to us. Consider 1 Corinthians 3:12-15:

Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

God sees beyond our outward deeds, doesn't He? He sees the intentions of our hearts. According to this Scripture, our deeds will be tested by fire, and those which are done for eternal good and for the building up of His kingdom will stand. All else will be burned up. I personally believe that this goes for our motives as well, for even when we do good, God would rather it stem from a heart that desires to please Him, not to uplift ourselves.

The Christmas season always presents many opportunities to exhibit kindness and to share goodness with others. This year, evaluate your motives for what you do regarding kindness. Is it self-serving? Or is it out of a genuine concern for those whom you serve? I want my good deeds to count for something not only on earth, but for eternity as well. God will surely multiply the effects of those deeds which are done for His glory alone!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

This Day

It's quiet now. It's 10:37 pm and I can only hear the soothing bubbling of the aquarium, and every now and then the heat pump when it kicks on.

It's been a bit of a rough day, today. Two, possibly three, possibly four of my kids have the flu. My husband has the flu. I might have the flu. I feel okay, but I'm not counting myself out yet.

I'm not writing this to invoke sympathy. I'm just writing because I finally have a moment to sit down and write, and this is what's going on right now!

I want to thank Jesus for helping us through this day!