Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pre-Thanksgiving Thoughts

I am struggling today. 
I love Christmas and decorating is one of my favorite things to do...after Thanksgiving! It's hard for me to focus on Thanksgiving when all I can think about is Christmas lights, buying gifts and getting out my decorations. And let me add, that's not even what Christmas is about but I still like it.

(I was about to get on my soapbox but it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. Aren't you lucky?)

Have you noticed how this time of year facebook is filled with daily posts of thanksgiving? What a nice change from all the senseless complaints or political messages. In fact, it brings me great joy to sit and think on the things that I am thankful for. (flashback to my journal of thanksgiving) This year I refrained from the daily FB post and have been sending personal messages of gratefulness. I like to think it's no accident that we celebrate a day of thanksgiving before we celebrate Christmas. For me it's a lot like singing songs of worship before hearing a message from our pastor on Sunday morning, it prepares my heart for the real deal. Taking a moment every day to remember how blessed I am humbles my heart. I find it's much easier to accept the tremendous gift of salvation when I have an attitude of thanksgiving.

For many years Chris and I have spent Thanksgiving Day with extended family at Aunt Helen's house. We even flew home from AZ back in the day to celebrate at Helen & Lynn's a couple of times. This lady knows how to host large groups of people, I am watching and learning. We always have lots of people, too much food and a special day of laughs, cards and shopping strategies. Again, this year we will be with Helen, Lynn and 43 other family members. Mom, Dad and Eric will even be there. 

Last year I made the turkey and stuffing. That was a big job! In 2014 I have a much easier task. Our contribution will be deviled eggs, strawberry pretzel salad (it's really dessert but we like to call it a salad so we can still have pie) and chocolate covered pretzels. Tomorrow I will brave the busy grocery store to purchase food for our celebration and the 30 items we are donating to families in North Omaha. (more on this later) This time of year, I like the traditional foods. I don't try to go healthy, creative or glutten free. Nope, I want all the yumminess I have loved since I was a child. In other words, I'm not looking at Pinterest to see how I can complicate things. What are you making this thanksgiving?

Have you ever gone to bed hungry because there wasn't any food in the house? I haven't and neither have my children. Hmm, that's another thing I can be thankful If you are interested in helping hungry children in North Omaha our church has made it very easy for us to pour out our love. Most of the students at Franklin Elementary in North Omaha are part of the free lunch program and often do not have enough food when they are not in school. Christmas break can be a huge challenge for these families with extra mouths to feed all day long. CCC has partnered with Bridge Church to create food boxes. If you are able and live in Omaha please consider donating to this project or find another worthy cause in your area. Click here to see the list of 30 items. I have never felt so thankful as when I have been able to help another. 

In case I don't get back on here before Thanksgiving I want to wish each of you a warm celebration. No matter what you do on Thursday, if your heart is beating and you have a roof over your head I pray that you can find something to be thankful for. Tell those you love that you appreciate them and focus on the good. God loves you. He didn't promise an easy life, He promised an eternal life if you follow Him.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Birthday Christopher

There are so many big things to blog about today...
*Our first SNOW :(
*Veteran's Day
*The Marine Corps 239th Birthday
All very important but I choose to talk about the ULTRA HANDSOME LOVE OF MY LIFE...Chris Raabe!
HaPPy BiRtHDaY Honey! 

I remember watching Chris play baseball in this uniform. It's strange to think that he is closer to daughters' ages in this photo than the age we are right now. I don't know where the years have gone? But I do know that I am thankful it's been the two of us together through it all. I loved this guy back when this picture was taken. He was funny, a good athlete, from a christian family, got good grades and a really good kisser. Yep, those were the important things in life. Today I love him even more and in a whole different way. All those "important" things are still true but he is so much more. Chris is a man of God. He has a great sense of humor that he uses to put others at ease. He sees to it that our family is centered on Christ. Chris is good at his job and helps our daughters see the importance of doing their best. And he's still a really good kisser! :)

Now please pray that I pull off his birthday party this weekend without a hitch.

Have a wonderful Veteran's Day! God bless our men and women who have and do serve this country.

Monday, November 10, 2014

NPL Soccer in Chicago

This past weekend my little soccer player and I zipped up to Chicago for some mother-daughter soccer time. Chris and I have committed to cutting our travel expenses which means carpooling, eating sandwiches in the car and sharing hotels. On top of saving money this weekend, we got to get better aquainted with some very special people. Ryann is new to the team and she is freaky fast! It's sad to admit, but joining this team is no picnic. There are some pretty mean people in this world, you know the kind who would be mean to a little girl because she's a flipping awesome soccer player. (whew, got that off my chest) Anyway, getting to know Ryann and her beautiful mom, Victoria blessed us in unexpected ways.  God you are so good!

Reagan's game schedule looks much different from last year. We use to play Gretna, OFC, Elkhorn and Lincoln but now it's surprisingly difficult to find quality competition in the state of Nebraska. Since fall we have played only one local team (beat 'em) while other opponents have been from Dallas, Kansas City, St Louis, Minneapolis, Chicago, Ohio, and Detroit. Holy Buckets!! For now we are in 1st place (I'm pretty sure) in NPL (National Premier League) which could mean playing in the national tournament in Indianapolis this July. 

Back to Chicago...Wouldn't you know it, Saturday in game one against the Chicago Sockers Reags played really well and I left my camera in the hotel. Not a big deal since she had a game the next morning. Except my little go-getter got kicked then rolled her ankle Saturday and was not able to put any weight on her right foot. Therefore, she did not play anymore soccer. I took my camera to game 2 anyway but I was so cold (it was windy and 40 degrees) I took very few pictures. This is what I got...
The only time #8 will ever be taller than her goalie!
The girls on the sidelines
The two R's sitting out this game
Protecting their goal...and it worked!!
Can I brag for just a moment? If it makes you sick just skip it...
I mentioned that Reagan played well in the first game of the weekend. During the game I noticed the ref talking to Reags then she pointed over to me. Instantly I began playing every comment I had made over in my head. Had I yelled something and the ref was going to give ME a yellow card? Was he warning Reagan that I was out of line? No, I couldn't think of anything. After the game, as I was getting ready to carry Reagan to the parking lot (Thanks Mark Thomson for your help) the ref said to me, "Make sure she always plays on a good team, your daughter is a very special player, she sees the game different than most." Wow, I've never had a ref say anything like that before. I think #8 is a good but I'm mom, that's my job. Hearing it from an unbiased person made me feel pretty proud of Reagan and her hard work. Keep working towards those goals, you can do it!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Halloween Havoc

As much as I really, really, really love fall, I don't love Halloween. There would be no tears shed from me if we skipped Halloween altogether. However, I have children and they love dressing up so I do my best to not be the Scrooge of Halloween. It's not that I think we are all going to eternally perish if we participate, it's not the candy, I'm not sure what it is. As much as I enjoy shopping and being creative I do not like buying or creating costumes. It is so much pressure. Maybe if my kids would just be what I want them to know the super cute costumes on Pinterest like a bag of jelly beans or walking waffles maybe even a jellyfish. No, that's never what they want to be. (really I'm ok with that) This year the girls were Luigi, an Evil Minion and Michelangelo. Not very creative but at least I don't have a zombie bride, witch or some other representative of evil.
Kind of a family picture
By the time we took a family picture Reagan was already gone for the night, we filled her spot with Em's friend Alaina. No, the evil minion does not have a cigarette in her mouth...early candy eating.

A Hunter and his Deer

My Ninja Turtle is the Orange One: Michelangelo
The clock is ticking way too fast today. I have one hour until I need to be in the school parking lot but I have several hours of stuff to do. Maybe I shouldn't have had lunch with my mother-in-law today...nah it was worth it. Blessings to each one of you reading my post. May you feel God's grace pour out on you whether you accomplish your daily tasks or not. After all, He is more interested in your heart than your to-do list.