Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Messiah

We arrived safely home from our trip to Chicago! Participating in "Handel's Messiah" at the Civic Opera House was a marvelous experience and such fun was had by all! The participants were Mrs. Sanford, Melinda, Peter, Ashton, Anna Price, Tiffany, Melissa, Caleb, Daniel, Christa, Joshua and myself. We all headed north ot with the VERY hospitable Erber family! :-)

It was all perfectly lovely, though very cold. Chicago was exciting and the Civic Opera House was absolutely GORGEOUS! I have always dreamed of stepping foot into an opera house and that dream was so beautifully fulfilled on Monday night! My next ambition is to visit one in Europe! :)

The train was also exciting! I've never been on a train so that was also a new experience for me. I was so very glad that I was able to experience all of this with some of my nearest and dearest friends...there's nothing like trying something new with the people you love and know so well! I'm so glad that all of y'all could come!!

A HUGE thank you to the Erber family for hosting our crowd and for giving us warm beds to sleep in on that very cold winter night! Also for the huge delicious breakfast that greeted us in the morning before we left for the long, icy trip home! And another HUGE thank you to Mrs. Sanford for her care and protection! Thank you for taking us, Mrs. Sanford!!

Remember the true reason for the season, as you admire those sparkling lights on the trees, the snow outside, and the Christmas music resounding through your ears. Remember that God sent His Son, who emptied himself so that he might become a babe...fully God and yet fully Man, so that he might grow to be a man, and die for our sins. He did all of this for us, unworthy and ungrateful creatures that we are. How very humbling. And exciting...that God loves us so much that He would empty Himself for you and for me! No amount of jolly men in big red suits and "Season's Greetings" can ever take away the glory of His birth!


In Christ Alone, Jessica

I'm Feeling:pleasedPleased

Monday, December 22, 2008

Some Pictures. :)

I only have a moment as a few of us are leaving soon, but I thought I'd post some pictures of the past week for y'all's enjoyment! :)


In Christ Alone,


Christmastime 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Franklin Springs Media Contest!

Hello Y'all!

I pray that everyone is having a lovely Christmas Season!

I was told about this Essay Contest/DVD Giveaway, and thought that y'all might be interested! I have watched several of Franklin Springs Media's DVD's and have been very impressed with them! The Stonewall Jackson one was my personal favorite. :-)
Oh, and the entry deadline has been extended until the 19th of December.

Franklin Springs ESSAY CONTEST: Why I love being homeschooled (250 words or less.)

One essay will be selected to receive the ten-pack collection of DVDs from Franklin Springs Family Media ($199 Value). Send entry to – Subject “Essay Contest”

All Entries must be received by Tuesday, December 16, 2008. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, December 17, 2008. All entrants will also receive a $5 gift certificate for any film in the Franklin Springs Family Media catalog.

Franklin Springs Family Media is committed to producing God-honoring DVDs that encourage and inspire families. Produced by award-winning Director Ken Carpenter, our films are suitable all audiences.

In Christ,
Scott Eash

You can visit the Franklin Springs Website HERE.

Merry Christmas and may your days be filled with the Joy, Love and Peace that can be found only in Jesus Christ!

In Christ Alone, Jessica

I'm Feeling:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Real Blogger Award

I apologize for this post being sooo late. I was tagged sometime ago. But here is the post! :-)

I would like to thank Ella for awarding me with the Marie Antoinette Real Blogger award! I feel so honored and so humbled to have received this! Thank you very much, Ella! I wish I could award you in return!
Here are the blogs I award for the "real" blogger award:

My Mother
Mrs. Davis
Mrs. Pickle

I have also been awarded by The Editrix! Thank you very much! I am so honored to receive this!!

"THE LEMONADE AWARD: The concept behind this award is that the blog creators have shown an uncanny knack for silver linings and making the best of bad situations (i.e., lemonade from lemons)."

Rules: Name ten blogs that reflect this silver linings philosophy.

I award the following blogs:

The Hector Family

Joyfully At Home

Lazy D Ranch

Proverbs 31 Maiden

Life In the Country

Three Things Very Dull Indeed

My Point of View

The Same Anonymous Dude

All Because of Grace

Daniel and Christa Blanchard

A new post should be coming up pretty quickly after this, all about the Sing-It-Yourself Messiah, Candlelight Service Practice, etc.

Merry Christmas!

In Christ Alone, Jessica

I am feeling:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting to Know Me -- Christmas Edition

I was tagged by The Editrix! Christmas happens to be my favorite time of year, so how could I pass up a "Christmas Tag"? *smile*
Here I go...

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping Paper! I love spending time with my family (those of whose gifts are not out.) while wrapping presents...the fire crackling, the Christmas Tree glowing and sparkling, ribbons, scissors, decorative paper and tape scattered about. Various gift boxes are piled up nearby and smiles light up every face as Harry Connick Jr. plays softly in the background. Beside me is a steaming cup of hot cocoa topped with a generous helping of whipped cream and peppermint flavoring. *yummy* Stuffing gift bags just doesn't give one those same delightful feelings. Dost thou not agree? :-)

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial. I always thought that having a "real" tree would be exciting, but as I've never had one I can't say. Artificial has always worked well enough for us...and at least I can be sure there are no creatures and/or bugs hiding in its branches. :-) Someday I'd like to try out a real tree, methinks.

3. When do you put up the tree? The day after the day after Thanksgiving. :-) We generally set it up directly after Thanksgiving, but this year, due to Black Friday shopping, we had to abstain and commence the following day. :-)

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime in January, I believe.

5. Do you like egg nog? Yes. In moderation, mind you. After a while you just feel absolutely stuffed...egg nog is a bit too thick in my mind, but I still savor the delicious taste of it!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? My American girl doll, I think. I got "Felicity" when I was...oh...9 or so. I had wanted her so badly for a good while and then when I received her from Mom and Dad on Christmas morning, I was simply thrilled to pieces! :-)

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes! Several, actually. I personally own a Precious Moments set, and my parents have a gorgeous antique-ish looking one. :-)

8. Hardest person to buy for? My parents, I think. Not because I don't know what they want, but because I have sooo many ideas of what to get them but cannot decide between the several. lol.

9. Easiest person to buy for? William. He would enjoy anything I got him. Even a tea set. Of course, he would use it as cannon balls or something, but still. Hehe. At least it would come into use. :-D lol...

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Both! Mail is preferable though as I love looking through old Christmas cards that have been so sweetly bestowed upon me. It's this special feeling that emails can't give, I guess. But email's tend to be cheaper and as money doesn't grow on trees anywhere near me, I have to generally resort to emails.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I won't say on here as it was rather embarrassing...*cough*

12. Favorite Christmas movie(s) ? That's a hard decision! But here's a few, "White Christmas", "The Nativity Story", "It's A Wonderful Life" and "The Ultimate Gift"!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? August?

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I think maybe once or twice.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Dark and White Chocolate Swirled Macadamia Nut Bark. *happy sigh* Nothing has yet beaten it. :-)

16. Clear or colored Christmas lights? Clear on the Christmas tree (well, they have these "flash" settings on them, though...) and colored outside on the deck and in my room!! :-)

17. Favorite Christmas song(s)? TOO many to count! But here's a few,

"For Unto Us A Child Is Born" (Handel's...of course. :-))
"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" (Andy Williams)
"Home for the Holidays" (Perry Como)
"Joy to the World"
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" (Third Day)
"Bethlehem Dawn" (Todd Agnew)
"Two Thousand Decembers Ago" (Joy Williams)
"What Child is This?" (Caedmon's Call)
"Sleigh Ride" (Diana Krall)
"Let it Snow!" (Michael Buble)
"Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella"
"I Saw Three Ships"
"The Twelve Days of Christmas"
"The Holly and the Ivy" (Bing Crosby)
"Here We Come A-Wassailing"
"O Come O Come Emmanuel"
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (Newsong)
"Winter Wonderland"
"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" (Perry Como)
"Feliz Navidad" (So I'm from Texas...*grin*)
"Little Drummer Boy" (Josh Groban)
"The Christmas Waltz" (Michael W. Smith)
and lastly, "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" (Frank Sinatra...of course. :-))

Well, hehe, it did ask for my favorite song(s)!! :-D

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay at home!! Though if I was traveling to spend Christmas with my family then that would be an absolutely different matter all together.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Dixon, Comit and Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph! (Not sure if I got them all. Hehe.)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? We have an angel on the top of ours! But I like both. :-)

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Some on Christmas Eve (ornaments and pajamas) and then the rest on Christmas morning!

.22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? When the roads are too icy for our friends and Church family to get together with us. :( And I absolutely hate it when people at stores and such greet me with a "Happy Holidays". I always make sure to answer them with an enthusiastic "Merry Christmas!" :-)

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I love my family's tree which is decorated in the colors of gold and a deep red (almost maroon). We have crosses, stars, golden balls and such.

24. Favorite dinner for Christmas? I can't quite decide. I hardly notice what I'm eating as I'm generally just so thrilled about the day. :-)

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Love, Joy, Peace and Happiness! What else? :-D And to see my Sister, Brother in law and Nephew! :-) I'm so excited that we get to be all together for the Christmas season! Is there any felicity in the world superior to that?

26. Do you bake lots of goodies during the holidays? Yes! We make Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark, Pine Nut Brittle, Truffles, Snowballs, Pralines, Cheescakes, homemade egg nog...(the list goes on.).

27. Do you decorate different rooms of your home? Just the Living Room. We used to decorate the upstairs balcony with garlands, beads and lights, but we haven't done it yet this year.

28. What decorations do you put outside? Only lights on our deck, usually (and they looks so festive to me!). I was never really "into" those inflatable Santa Claus Figures. Sorry. :-)

29. How do you spend Christmas Eve? With my family. When we lived in Texas we spent it with my extended family, but as we are now in Illinois we either spend it as a family or with a family from Church that also doesn't have relatives in Illinois! :-) The older ones of us generally stay up late, enjoying some snacks and such while having a good old late night chat. :-)

30. Is Christmas your favorite holiday? Yes, without a doubt! Christmas, Easter and the Fourth of July rank as my top three favorites. Then, of course, comes Valentine's Day, May Day, Epiphany (Twelfth Night), New Years Eve, etc. :-)

I tag anyone and everyone! :-)

Oh, and as an aside, if you have not seen the film, "The Nativity Story", you truly should do so this Christmas. HERE is my (rather short) review of the movie that I wrote when it first came out in theatres.

Have a very blessed Christmas season this year, y'all!! And though it is said too often to count, remember not to forget the real reason for the Season...Jesus!

"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of ,there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it,
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this."
-Isaiah 9:6-7

In Christ Alone,


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Imagine it.

You get in the car making your way to the consistary meeting that happens often. You're a bit confused as to why your sisters insisted that you wear your new white dress and put your hair up. After all, it is just a casual meeting. Isn't it? Oh well. You dress up, add a bit of pearls to finish off the outfit, and put on those opal earrings that were so graciously given to you by your Great Grandmother.

You pull up to the church, get out of the warm car and into the frigid night air. The snow crunches beneath your black ballet flats as you hurry into the church beside your father, brothers, and sister. You make your way down the stairs and through the hall that leads to the strangely dark fellowship hall.

Are they trying to scare us? You wonder, as you realize how quiet it is.

Slowly you step into the room. Immediately the lights flash on and there, before you, are dozens of smiling, loving faces, each mouth announcing "Surprise." Their voices full of laughter and mirth.

You stand still. Perhaps you go numb for a moment, the shock of it all. The blessed, delightful surprise! Then the tears come. Why am I so blessed? You are so, confused, sohappy, and so tearful all at the same moment in time, you utter a timid, "Hello." Tears come and a smile lights up your face, "Hello!"

Hugs follow. Mother is first. You hug her tighly, "Thank you." You choke out, so thankful. So very, very thankful.

Laughter, comes next. You embrace everyone you possibly can, greeting them merrily as you do. Is this really happening? Or am I just dreaming all of this? No, it is very real. The cake is beautiful. The cupcakes are adorable. Everything is decorated to perfection and to top it off, a smile graces every face. Perfection?

What follows is like a dream. Your parents both go up and speak loving wise words to you. Tears? Encouragement from your sister. From your friend. Two letters are read by your mother from two dear friends that live out of state. A slideshow filled with photos of your life. Feasting. Dancing. Laughter.

Joy. Oh, I know there was an abundance of that in my heart.

Love. It filled my heart as I surveyed those around me. Those who had come. So many of my friends.

My family.

Yes, you are correct in your assement. The entire recitation above truly happened to me, last night. I am so humbled and so full of joy!

I wish to thank everyone that blessed me last night, from the depths of my heart! Those who put their hard work into making the evening special, to those who attended, to those who blessed me with gifts, and to those who blessed me with letters of encouragement. Thank you, y'all...for everything.

Did I not say that God is good?

My dear sister, Tiffany, has posted photos on her blog and My beloved Mother has posted the slideshow presentation on her blog, if y'all care to see them.

I pray that each of y'all have a blessed week and that you enjoy the grace and joy of of the Lord more each and every day!

In Christ Alone,


P.S. I should be uploading the photos to my web album soon! *EDIT* Here is the web album!!

My Surprise 18th Birthday Party!

I'm Feeling: Surprised

I'm Feeling: Thankful

I'm Feeling: Loved