Wednesday, December 29, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEXAS!

Today is December 29th - the birthday of the state I was born and raised in for 16 wonderful years. ::heart::

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TEXAS!



Sunday, November 28, 2010



It's the most wonderful time of the year...and I can't believe it's already upon us again!! Can you? It's freezing outside, I can tell you that. The annoying thing is that i know it will only get colder. But I don't really mind it because I happen to like an excuse to wear boots. ;) Anyway, despite the cold, I truly love this time of year. The joy, the spirit, the remembrance, the victory, the mercy and the love. It's all wrapped up and combined in one big beautiful package this time of year!! Like I was commenting to my Mom earlier this week, Christmas is also a WONDERFUL time to share the gospel. It's our chance to show those in the world the TRUE meaning of Christmas!! How exciting is that??

"Somedays we forget
To look around us
Somedays we can't see
The joy that surrounds us
So caught up inside ourselves
We take when we should give..."
I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving. I know I did. I just sit here thinking of all the things I'm thankful for and so many things come to mind...
Clean crisp air. That goofy little snort William does when he thinks something is hilarious. Emma, wrapping her arms around me and telling me she's so glad I'm her sister. Sitting in my Mom's lap. Those songs that come on Pandora that you can dance to. The foot heater in the car. The SEAT heater in the car. People who make me laugh. Those brave men sacrificing their comfort and lives for our freedom. The ability to laugh at myself. A certain man who's helping me learn so many things. My Dad and how I can always go to him with questions. Big hoodies that I can cuddle up in. Those cute half smiles. My sheep slippers. My family. My friends. Hugs. Jesus Christ, the Lover of my Soul. He didn't have to save me - but He chose to anyway. I am thankful for that most of all.
*deep breath*

So have y'all started shopping yet? Or finished shopping? We went out on Black Friday...it was QUITE an adventure. We went last year at around 1 in the afternoon and discovered that most of the sales ended at noon so this year we decided that we'd go out earlier. As a result, we got up at 4:30 am and were out of the house by five! We got lots of Christmas shopping done and saved a bunch of money. But mostly Mom, Melissa and I just enjoyed spending time together! Who cares about the sore feet and the tired heads - we were having a girls day out and loving it! :)

We also set up the tree yesterday. It looks beaaaautiful.




"Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay.
From now on our troubles will be miles away."
Have a wonderful Holiday season, y'all!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

So I'm sitting on the computer on an uneventful evening wondering what to write about. So much has happened and yet I can't quite remember all of it. :P I know, silly me.

Today was beautiful. I mean, it was cold, so the weather wasn't beautiful. But the day was beautiful minus the weather. (: Worshiping each week with my Church family is something that I love to do - & something that I look forward to each week. It's a blessing that I try not to take for granted.

Reformation Day was a smashing success! I hope everyone else was as blessed by the sessions, music and the fellowship as I was!! I will say, though, that it was slightly exhausting, and that the day after the last of our company left some of us slept in...pretty late. ;) But we LOVED having the Chapa family & Christa, Daniel & Joshua come stay with us! We had a blast talking, laughing, feasting, watching Doctor Who & singing in the car. (:

So, I got a surprise phone call from a special person this week! :) It was nice to hear from him after so long with just letters - something about hearing a person's voice is so much better then writing. (Though I'm not a big fan of talking on the phone...there are some exceptions I guess. ;)) Anyway, that was definitely a highlight of the week. (:

I've decided to start reading, "The Family: God's Weapon for Victory" by Robert Andrews...haven't started it yet but am definitely planning to soon in case y'all were interested. ;)

I'm getting *very* excited about Thanksgiving this year! I'm not really sure why (besides the obvious reasons. ;D) but just something about it has got me thrilled! Maybe I'm just loathe to admit that despite my hatred of cold, the holidays in winter are my favorites? Well, and July 4th. :)

So here's a question for y'all, readers! What 3 things are going to be at the top of your "I'm thankful for..." list this Thanksgiving?

So I'm going to stop now. This blog post is extremely rambly, probably due to the fact that I'm slightly tired after a long week. :P

Anyway, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, peoples! :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thankfulness...

We Gather Together

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to his name: He forgets not his own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, All glory be thine!

We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
Amen.


-Traditional Thanksgiving Hymn
(A translation by Theodore Baker: 1851-1934)



(Reformation Day Post *hopefully* coming soon. ;))

Monday, October 18, 2010

To say that I'm BUSY would be a huge understatement. I've been so tempted to just complain about everything I have to do but I'm attempting to stay cheery. Reformation Day is JUST around the corner...which explains the stress. ;) Right now, I've finally finished deep cleaning the basement (company this weekend!), William is sitting down watching "Toy Story 2" & I've got some flan in the oven so I figured I'd sit down and write a blog post. :)

I picked up a delightful book at the library. Tiff recommended it to me...I'm so glad she did. :)
"Damsels in Distress" by P.G. Wodehouse. It really cracked me up, because I finally sit down on the porch to read this book after putting dinner in the oven and soon after find out that that very day was P.G. Wodehouse's birthday. So I guess I celebrated just right. :) Anyway, it's a hilarious book so far...I love his writing style. He's simply brilliant with words.
Oh, and we've been watching Doctor Who in the evenings. It's my brother-in-law's fault. Really. He got us totally hooked on it. :) You know those annoying fans of "LOST" that would not stop harping on and on about the show? Those people that annoyed you to death? Those people that made you think "Who could like a dumb TV show so much?!" Well, that's us...*cough* But I"ll tell you, it's a fun way to spend an evening after working all day & stressing about Ref day. :)




Random conversation I had with Moosh recently:

Me: I'm stressed!!
Melissa: How can you be stressed? You're eating popcorn!!
Me: *British accent* Well, I can hardly eat popcorn in an agitated manner!


I love my ability to bring Oscar Wilde into regular conversations. *grins* ^^

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So anyway, I'll stop boring you with my ramblings and show y'all a few random pictures from my very random life. :)



a lovely day spent at the Niesen's house! ^^



a lovely afternoon at the Mitts' house! ^^
(playing telephone pictionary and having a fantastic time. :))



driving in the car with Moosh, Marie Michelle, Kasey & William. ^^



william & emma on hay bales. I love fall.

my beautiful little sisters at the apple orchard in the apron's Tiff made for them. :) ^^



visiting with Mrs. Sanford, Sarah, Melinda, Jennifer & Mooshy. ^^



Moosh & I love doing dishes. ;) ^^



Had a great time shopping with some of my favorite girlfriends. :) ^^



Emma turned 8 this month...gosh, where is the time going?



Just because I like this picture. *grins* ^^



"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 4:4-7


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

"Life is but a quick succession of busy nothings..." - Jane Austen

If I said "life is crazy" at this point, I think it would be an understatement. But, just so you know it's a *good* crazy (for the most part. ;)). Between juggling life, life's changes, cold weather, sick friends, Church events & various other activities one can almost forget to breath.

But I will say, I'm pretty thankful for this afternoon. Yes, if you think about it the day has been stressful (also known as, our well ran out of water *again*.) but it's been quiet as Melissa took the kids out for the day. I was sitting here thinking how thankful I was for the beauty of the day (in spite of the things that have gone wrong, it's been a great day - week & past few months.) and I wondered to myself - why not write a blog post? So anyway, here I am. :)

Do you ever wonder why God blesses us like he does? I don't know about y'all, but I find that my blessings usually come when I least expect them. I *try* to know what's going to happen. I guess, I imagine, I romanticize, but in the end, guess what? God ALWAYS surprises me! I love it, truly. Because, I can't *not* guess & imagine but I want to be surprised (fyi, I love surprises...most of the time. ;)) and God knows this, and he does it every time. :) I'm just so thankful for all the ways he's surprised me with blessings over the years. I certainly don't feel a bit worthy & yet the Lord made the decision to bless me. I praise Him. :)

So with Reformation Day around the corner and no new costumes to wear the future could look very bleak. ;) But with my imaginative mind (*coughcough*) & Melissa's practicality we'll figure SOMETHING out, I'm sure. So if you thought that because Tiff has moved out of the house that the McDonald family will no longer show up to historical events in costume - NEVER FEAR. Nothing could be further from the truth! Who says we can't RE-WEAR old costumes? ;) So, that's decided. Moving on...

Martha Washington has the cleverest quotes. Get this: "The greatest part of our happiness and misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances." I love that. Right now, I have some things I'm struggling with - things that tempt me to be gloomy & worrisome, but that quote gave me such a good perspective on my struggles! I don't have to mope - what can I do to change circumstances? Nothing! So it's time to put a smile on my face and get out there and cheer myself up!! As I always tell my little siblings, "Don't cry over spilled milk!" It's time to trust God, understand that He's got everything under control, seek to learn from your struggles, see what the Lord is trying to teach you and LIVE JOYFULLY.

So yes, life is busy. Life is good. And blessed. And a little stressful. But I'm going to try and make it a point to turn that frown upside down.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Life is beautiful.

The phrase brings to mind a poignant Italian foreign language film (La vita รจ bella - Italian for "Life is Beautiful") with a powerful message that will break your heart, while encouraging your spirit. It begins as a sweet romance between an Italian Jew, Guido Orefice, and his wife. As the movie progresses, the focus moves to the couple’s young son. After being taken by the Nazis to a concentration camp, Guido hides his son in the barracks, where he manages to convince his precious little boy that the whole thing is a game, that it's not scary, and that soon there will be a winner - the prize being a tank (the Allies coming to the rescue.).




It brought tears to my eyes as I thought about how this father wanted his son to have a beautiful life - not a life full of the fear and danger he was experiencing. But, I couldn’t help wonder how much more beautiful life would've looked to this family had they lived with the knowledge that God is in control? If God had been the center of their lives? If, instead of fearing that his son would find out that World War II was not a game, he had hope—hope that his trials weren’t for naught—hope that the Lord holds all of us in the palm of His hand, and that for the Lord's Chosen people hardship is destined to end, how wonderful that would have been.

I guess lately I've just been thinking about the blessing of life—the blessing that through wonderful times, difficult times, and even sad times, the Lord is always with me. I may not be able to hear Him or feel Him. I can't see Him or smell Him; but, He has promised to never leave me. He's there whether I know it or not. I'm in the palm of His hand and can never be moved. I don't know about y'all, but that knowledge gives me an overwhelming sense of peace. And it makes my life beautiful.

My life really is beautiful. And, as I sit here reflecting on all the blessings the Lord has literally SHOWERED upon me, I feel so overwhelmed with thankfulness. I'm not always as thankful as I should be, and for that I am so ashamed. I thank my Precious, wonderful Savior for all He’s done in my life.

How about you? Have you taken the time today to thank the Lord for what is beautiful in your life? For the blessings? Yes, we should thank the Lord for the hard times too (they do build our character), but sometimes we're told that so often that we forget to tell God "thank you" for the good things too. So, take a moment, hit your knees and praise the Lord for your beautiful life.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The weather is beautiful outside (sun is shining, wind is cooler than usual and the grass is a brilliant green...) and I plan on taking a walk and soaking up some of the beauty - first, though, I think I owe y'all a blog post. :)

Once the initial post-wedding exhaustion passed we found real life setting in - sort of. (: Christa and Joshua came up earlier this month to stay with us for a little while (they were up here for a homeschool conference) and that was such a blessing just to be able to spend time with them! We had an incredibly fun time hanging out before she had to leave. About a week after she left I found myself on the way to the beautiful state of Virginia with some dear friends of mine where I was able to just hang out and relax. (: And now, coming up, is a trip to sunny California for my sister and brother-in-law's wedding reception!

So as you can probably tell, life has been busy. But, I like it this way, especially when the days are spent busy with people I love! God is good. (:
So, I suppose y'all would like to see a few pictures? ;) I'll upload some then - just for y'all. (:






Yes, we're pretty happy to be here. ^^

WILLIAMSBURG!


Girls and guns. (:



Men and hats. ;)



Ain't they darling???




*shrugs* We were thirsty!


THE CHRISTMAS MOUSE


Peter and Travis are wannabe cowboys. ;)


Aren't those camo Santa hats the cutest things??

Nathan asks the lady to dance.
But she didn't think it was proper to dance in a store. (:


We hold up Melissa's name as a "hello"! (:

Support Our Troops...

Or else. ;)


See a resemblance? (:


My "adopted" second mom and sister. (:


Becca and I sport our blue tongues. (:
(I know! It's not very ladylike!)


I had a Frosty for the first time! Delicious!!!


THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE MARINE CORP



Walking up to the front...



A quick picture in front of the helicopter before going in to the theater to see a movie about the Marines!


Melinda found her man!
Unfortunately, he was cardboard. ;)



Mine was wax. :P lol



^^ *laughing* ^^



Peter pulls himself up!
(this is one of the obstacles the Marines-in-training have to complete at Boot camp.)



And another one!
This backpack weighed a RIDICULOUS amount! I'm not even going to post the picture of me trying to stand with that thing on my back! It has to take some serious strength to hike up even a small hill with that thing!



Mrs. Sanford's parents looking adorable! (:



In the front of the building!



In the mirror!!
(we're trying to entertain ourselves while the guys look at guns in Bass Pro Shop. ;))




Typical Zach and Nathan. ;)




Having WAY too much fun boxing with the Wii!! (:




Mr. and Mrs. Sanford have a go at it!
(guess who won!)



Group shot!! It was a wonderful visit!!



A quick picture with Mrs. Sanford's grandmother!




Melinda looks happy to be at Sanford Farms! (:




Trying out the bicycle built for two! It was so much fun!




The Sanford's singing a song for Mr. Sanford's parents at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration!!



JUMP!
(it took us a while to get it, but we were pleased to discover that in at least ONE shot we were both in the air. Jumping pictures taken on timer aren't the easiest things to get. :))




Mrs. Sanford blowing up some balloons! (:




Getting ready to take Meli for a ride in the go-cart! (:



The dear people that so sweetly took me to Va with them!!


Some of my favorite people!! (:




And with this picture of us at 4:30 in the morning, I end the pictures of our trip. (:



Lord bless!



In Christ Alone,

Jessica