So we finished out our last couple of days at Destin doing pretty much the same things we did the two days before!! Beach fun, eating, shopping and yesterday a movie!! We went and saw Sherlock Holmes 2 in theaters and it was actually very good! I like those movies (and the books) and this one had a good plot to it. Today we came back to Vidor to spend the night with my parents and celebrate my Dad's birthday tomorrow. He's a New Year's Baby!!! Here are a few pictures from the rest of our trip.
Of course little pup had to get a bath after all of the beach fun!!
Telling Nana and Papa good bye! :0(
Ride back to Vidor!
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's eve and a Happy New Year!!! :0)
So after our Vidor adventures, we set off for Destin, FL to meet Jacob's parents. They always go to Destin on the years that their kids have "in-law" holidays, but we decided to crash their little get away this year. Of course we took the pooch with us, which I was a little nervous about but she has been doing really great! I think she actually is having a really good time. It took us about 8 and a half hours to get here from Vidor, and Jacey did really well in the car. She was always excited when we stopped for lunch or gas, but while we were driving she just would hang out in the backseat or nap.
Once we got to Destin, FL, Jacey was a little nervous once we got to the hotel but she acclamated fairly quickly. So far we have been having a great time. We get up in the morning and have breakfast and then go to the beach for a while. Yesterday we drove to the beach but today we walked, which ended up being probably about 3 and a half miles total. She has LOVED the beach though!! Once we get to an area without a lot of people we let her off her leash and play a little fetch. She has a blast running through the sand and pouncing on the ball once she gets to it. She doesn't like the water as much but if it was warming I'd make her get in with me haha. The beaches here are gorgeous with white soft sand and beautiful water.
After beach time, the past two days we have cleaned up, gotten lunch and then shopped at the Outlet Mall over here. It's huge and has a lot of great stores. Couple of places we have eaten are Cheeseburger Paradise and Ciao Bella, which was a pizza place. Last night we went to church here. The congregation here is very nice and friendly. It's been a very nice and relaxing trip so far, I'll keep you updated over the next couple of days!!
So we began our holidays at home in Houston, and had a nice morning last Friday just opening our presents and then had a yummy breakfast. Jacey enjoyed getting a couple of presents from Mom and Dad. :0)
In Vidor, we had Christmas with my family Saturday night and then our extended family Sunday afternoon. All of my grandparents were able to make it and they all did really well, which was amazing! Maw-Maw didn't like Jacey though, she was afraid of her at first and then she starting trying to scare her, which was actually kind of funny. Adam and Ashley came over from Austin, my Uncle Jimmy from Dallas and my Aunt Jacque and Uncle Alan from Baytown. Jesse and Amber weren't able to come over from Germany this year, which everyone understood, airplane tickets aren't cheap!
These are a few picture my sister took, she is really getting good at her photography!!
Sunday we all of course went to church and then came home for a late Christmas lunch and extended family time.
We always have a sneaky airplane that gets passed around each year. Uncle Alan bought two of these on a trip and one year Adam or Jesse put them in someone's present and ever since then we keep passing it back and forth. We've probably been doing it for about ten years. We think Jesse and Amber must have the other one because only one showed up this year! ;0)
We also do a cousin picture from oldest to youngest in front of the tree. We have these ever since we could sit up, which is really cool to see how we've grown over the years and the additions we've had to the family. Of course over the past few years we've had some of us who couldn't be at our family gatherings so we improvise. (That's Amber and Jesse on the iPad...)
Michael came to town on Monday so we got to celebrate Joanna and Michael's engagement that evening with dinner!
We gave Michael his Christmas gifts that night, and of course Jacey got into the bows again. They were definitely her favorite part of Christmas this year. :0)
So after all of these festivities and family spending time together, I realize just how amazing my family is. Our Lord has blessed us in so many ways, and my family is one of the best blessings He has given me. I thank Him for them everyday, but when we are all able to get together it becomes even more obvious that He has designed us all in a special way in that we complement each other but are also unique; we bring out the best in each other. I am thankful that He allowed me to play a part in this special family.
So my Dad was leading singing this morning and tonight in worship services and this song stuck out to me...
When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died; my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ, my God; all the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.
See, from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown.
Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
Music has always been a huge part of my life in so many ways, and worshipping God through singing is one of them. It is always so amazing to me how music affects people, from helping us learn and memorize things, to making us feel better. Even my little pooch gets happy and starts wagging her tail when we sing to her. I started thinking about this tonight and how we put words to song and sing those words from our heart to worship God. I started thinking in particular about this song and specifically what it is saying. Sometimes songs have lyrics that aren't the same as how we would say things, so I think it is important for us to know what we are saying when we talk to God. Here is what I thought as I read through this hymn...
When I think about the wonderful cross that Jesus, the Prince of Glory died upon, even my most richest accomplishments and acquirements I count for nothing and I drown my pride in disdain. Please Lord, do not let me boast, except in the death of Jesus Christ and what that means. All the things that have enticed me the most, I give them up for Jesus' blood and sacrifice. Look at His strong hands and His precious feet, and how His sorrow and love for us poured out. Did you ever see such pure love and sorrow meet together, or ugly thorns make up such a beautiful crown? If the whole world of nature belonged to me, even that would be an offering too small for my Lord. This love that is so amazing and so perfectly divine demands my whole soul, my entire life, absolutely my all.
Once I started thinking about this, I realized, this, is what I should be singing and thinking while praising my Lord. Words from my heart, intents to love and obey Him. All too often we get caught going through the motions because many of us have grown up singing these songs over and over and over. I guess that's why I'm suggesting just occasionally look past the black and white on the page and ponder what the words mean. I try often not to use the book, and internalize those words because when you have to think about the verses and the words sometimes it helps keep your focus. The last line of this song always shines bright to me...
"Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."
Put this line of this song in your heart if nothing else.
So every year, since 1998, my Dad has given my sister and I a silver coin ornament. My Dad has always been into collecting items and these caught his eye in a coin magazine 13 years ago. It's become a tradition for us, he gives us a new coin and then we put them all up on the tree. This year the coin he gave us was a bronze coin because silver is so expensive right now. Dad said that maybe after Obama is out of office we can get silver ones again, but he was just joking. :0) Anyway, just thought I'd share a few pictures. I just love this collection he has made for us!!
On Wednesday I met with Patrice, her husband Ernie and Kacey for lunch to exchange Christmas presents. I just wanted to share what she brought over from Singapore for us because I had never seen these before until she gave them to us! They are calligraphy brushes, if you can believe it. They are beautiful though and very unique. Just thought you might find it interesting.
Yep, the first day of my break began with a mosquito bite on my little poochie's dog walk this morning. I was actually confused for a minute as to why my hand was itching and then I remembered, "Oh yeah, I live in southeast Texas." ;0) A lot of other things have been going on lately though so I just thought I'd fill you in a bit.
We obviously put our Christmas tree up, I always love doing that and looking through all of the ornaments we have collected since Jacob and I have been married. We have so many with special meanings, one of my favorites is the Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip ornament we got from Disney World a couple of years ago.
Last week, my sister had her first formal choir performance and she did great! My parents came into town for it and we had dinner afterwards.
I don't think I shared this little labardoodle episode... this is what we came home to last Sunday afternoon. Apparently our little girl got bored with her toys that we left her to play with, so she made a play date with the toy basket instead. She never seems to fail to surprise us. :0)
She also got some new pink booties for Grandma's house. These are easier to put on her and were only 8 dollars at her favorite store, PetSmart! :0)
Jacob got his CPA certificate in the mail, so I guess that means he's really official now! He has worked so hard for this, I can't tell you how many hours of effort went into this certification.
I went and had lunch with two of my sweet nieces today and then we went to see Santa at the Galleria. I love those two kids!! I gave Olivia her first present today, it was really cute watching her open it. It's so fun to watch little ones grow up, her personality has changed so much since she was born last January. :0)
My Science Mom came in from Singapore on Saturday!! I am so excited to see her, I have missed her so much!! Patrice was my rock for three years at school, and she helped me in so many ways... she was always there for me doing anything and everything necessary to support me and my students. Even being literally on the other side of the world, she still supports me and helps me when I need it. We've worked out times when we can call and chat so even though there is a 13 hour time difference, we still have kept in touch very well. We have lunch plans for tomorrow and Wednesday already this week. :0) The plan is for my sidekick at school and I to go visit her at the beginning of the summer! We are definitely excited!!
Speaking of my school sidekick (Kacey is on the left), look at the cute calendar she gave me for Christmas!! Love it! It already has it's little place on my computer shelf on my desk. :0)
Ok, and I have to share this too... My other neighbor, Brandon, who is also teaching 8th grade science this year got the most awesome gift from a couple of his students... He is well known for wearing ties every single day to school and always looks very nice, so these girls thought they should make him a special tie, and of course he wears it very proudly.
Something to leave you with...
"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." - Gal. 5:13