Hope 2.0 Update

I thought I would give everyone an update on what’s going on with Hope for the Holidays 2.0. Things are moving very slowly, and I find myself needing a big dose of hope. The first time I did this, it got shared a lot. People saw the post and helped. This year feels different. People aren’t seeing the post even if they wanted to help.

I have shared and shared and shared the Hope post until I think my friends and family must be getting super annoyed with how many times it is showing up on their news feeds. And then I learn things like I had shared it 4 times before my best friend saw it. There are several people who I know I can count on to read and share no matter what I write, and they never saw it (or have just stopped sharing and liking my words.) I’ve shared in a couple of groups with very little response even when I’ve just been asking for prayer and nothing else.

It all makes me very nervous and scared and leavings me needing my own hope. I have to take a moment and remember that everything I do here is a giant leap of faith. I remember that I said we were going to move, help and be brave. I need to remember the brave part. I remember that God has a plan and I truly believe that the needs posted here will be filled.

And then I climb in bed at night, and it’s dark out, and I lay awake thinking about all this. I think about all the people who have posted about having a need. I think about how it seems Facebook is hiding my posts from people. I think about how I’m failing these people who need someone to care about them and to help them. I think about how I am not in a position where I can help everyone who comments with a need. I can help, and I will help, but I cannot do it all by myself.

So far we have 7 families in need. And no families that are giving. And in the daylight, I remember that God does not set us up to fail. I believe that there will be givers, and we all need to have patience while this works out.

I would ask that if you are reading these words you would share them on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else you would like. This only works if people know about it. Also, if you haven’t liked my Facebook page, you can find it here. I am doing 25 days of Christmas songs there right now and will also post updates as they come.

To end this post on a slightly happier note, we took the boys to see Santa. Thanks to Misti Yoder Photography, LLC for the awesome photos.

They were both very excited to get to see Santa.

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Cameron whispered into Santa’s ear what he wanted for Christmas so no one else could here. I’m hoping he asked for a little Christmas magic because we could use some over here right now.

 

It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas Yet

king become baby

I’m in a strange place this year. We are one week from Christmas, and it just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me. I’m not sure why it doesn’t feel like Christmas time. This is truly one of my favorite times of year. I love the lights and the tree and the songs and the snow. I love THE Christmas story. The story of Jesus’s birth is the beginning to the greatest gift creation has ever been given. We get cards in the mail, and I make cookies and wrap presents. And I love it all.

This year is just different. Maybe part of it is the weather. It has been unseasonable warm this December. In fact last weekend it was in the 60s. I live in a place that is supposed to have a white Christmas. I want that foot of snow on the ground and snowflakes to fly Christmas Eve. (Last I heard they were calling for rain on Christmas Eve with a slim chance of snow on Christmas Day.)

As for the tree, we had it up early this year. We have never had a tree up before the middle of December, but this year we got it the last weekend in November. And then that sucker fell over completely decorated and broke our ornaments and lights not once but twice. Finally yesterday we got it decorated for the third time. I’ve told everyone that if it falls over again, I’m tossing it out the front door.

I have the most lovely nativity scene. I think it was Tuesday this week when I finally got it out. The boys and I drew and painted leaves to cut out and tape into a paper wreath to hang on our front door. The papers are still in a stack waiting to be cut out. There is a Charlie Brown and a Veggie Tales nativity set around here somewhere that haven’t been put up.

As for wrapping presents, well, we will need to buy them first. Christmas is one week away and we have exactly 1 gift for each of the boys. And it’s not that we go crazy with gifts piled a mile high, but just one under the tree with make for two very disappointed little boys Christmas morning. Someone really should start thinking about (and actually doing) our Christmas shopping.

What about that Christmas picture of the boys in front of the tree I like to take every year? I guess I did take one last weekend but it was just because that’s where they were standing when I took their picture and the tree only had lights on part of it because we hadn’t redecorated it yet.

And maybe I’m not the only one feeling this way this year. We don’t send out Christmas cards. Every year I think about it and then just never get it done. But even though we don’t send them, we always get a few. So far this December we have gotten exactly zero Christmas cards. And the boys love to look at all the Christmas lights on the houses when we are out driving around. It seems like there are just less lights up this year.

The boys did finally get to see Santa last weekend after missing all of the other opportunities we normally have in December with everything that’s been going on.

cameron and santa connor and santa

Thanks, Misti for the awesome photos! It was a great time and a great Santa, but it was also in the 60s and the boys didn’t even wear coats that day.

And the boys are just the exact opposite of where I am. They are so excited. They ask every day if it’s Christmas Eve. The saw Santa and made their lists. They talk about Jesus and His birth. They play with the nativity. Sunday they are in a program at church. They loved Piney (the Christmas tree) even when only half her lights worked and she had no decorations.

I’m not sure why I’m feeling this way this year. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s missing Grandpa. Maybe it’s because I had been picturing this Christmas looking a lot different than it does this year. I’m just not having that excitement that I normally feel especially by this time every year. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas yet.

I’m sure over the next few days the boys’ excitement will rub off on me, and it will finally start to feel like Christmas. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas yet.

Memories To Be Treasured

I am patriotic. I love my God, my family and my country. And although there are some days when things happening make it hard to recognize my country, I still love it. I am extremely proud of our military men and women who give themselves every day to keep us safe and free. And maybe I’m a little bias, but there is this one soldier that I believe is the best.

One week after Grandpa died, my brother graduated from the army’s flight school. He officially flies helicopters for the United States Army. And to say that I am proud of him is a complete understatement of my feelings. We are all so proud of the things my brother is doing.

Throughout the summer as Grandpa’s health was declining and my brother’s graduation was approaching, as a family we started discussing what would need to happen so my parents could be at the graduation. It was an important milestone in his military career and important to everyone that my parents be there. Had life turned out differently, my grandparents would have been planning on being at the graduation as well.

My mom had been at every graduation ceremony since my brother enlisted. We were there when he graduated from boot camp. We were there when he deployed to Iraq. There was no way she was going to miss this one.

It was so hard as we were figuring out who would stay where and who would do what to help with Grandpa. And then in God’s infinite wisdom and timing, Grandpa died one week before the graduation and just days before mom and dad would have left to be at the ceremony.

The day after Grandpa died, my mom, grandma, aunt and I were all sitting around Grandma’s table talking about the coming days’ and it was brought up that Grandma should go with my parents to the graduation. There was some back and forth, but why wouldn’t she go? Well, one night there was a military ball. Not to worry, my brother said that if it was too late to get Grandma a meal at the ball that he would gladly give her his. She didn’t want to go alone? No problem. My brother got her a date. Maybe my brother wouldn’t want her there? Are you kidding? He had her a date and a meal before she had said the final yes that she would go.

I’m so glad that she went. I’m glad that she got to be there. And I know that Grandpa would have wanted her to go and be there with my brother.

What happened over the next few days says so much about the military and how they truly are a family. When my brother went in to pay for Grandma’s meal for the ball, as he had for our parents, he was told not to worry about it. His unit had paid for it. And although there were other grandparents at the graduation, our grandma was the only one the unit had purchased a bouquet of flowers for.

And when my brother said he needed an escort for his grandma to the ball, he had no problems finding one.

grandma and date

Grandma was asked to help my sister-in-law pin my brothers wings on his uniform.

grandma pinning justin

grandma kissing justin

after pinning

And if you look in the background of those last three pictures, you will notice that all the commanding officers were watching my brother and Grandma. I love the smiles on the commanding officers’ faces. You can tell that it meant something to them as it did to us.

On more than one occasion, people came up to Grandma and told her how sorry they were for her loss. It was obvious that they knew how important Grandpa was to my brother and how important my brother is to them.

everyone heli

The memories made that week are some that will never be forgotten and always be treasured. The honor, respect, love and compassion given, not because of anything we did, but because of how much Grandpa meant to my brother is something that even those of us who weren’t able to be there will remember.

Moving Into Spring

After what has felt like an endless winter here of record breaking cold temperatures, the sun is finally shining. And around here, upper 40s and sun shine is worth celebrating by being outside. And I know 2 crazy little boys who aren’t about to waste this weather.



Earlier this week, they were shocked to see that the snow was (finally!!!) melting. So they put on their snow pants (mostly to stay dry not warm) and enjoyed what is hopefully the last bit of snow until next winter. They ran and laughed and played their little hearts out in the snow until they decided to come inside. And even if it is 50 degrees out, after you play in the snow you obviously need hot chocolate.





Today we met with our homeschool play group. The boys have never noticed the playground before, but they sure spotted it today. The freedom to run and jump and slide and play outside is something that they can not get enough of, and they didn’t even notice that no one else wanted to play outside. Today is one of those days where they have each other and the sunshine and that is enough.

How amazing is this planet that God created for us? That in the same week we could play in the snow and enjoy a trip to the park? That after a long cold winter the sun would shine and the air warm up? That after being hidden by feet of snow the grass would pop back up and begin to turn green?

I try really hard to not wish time away. And although I am very much ready for spring, we have enjoyed this winter probably more than any other. We spent more time together, just the four of us. We played games and the boys learned how to play cards. We laughed and we loved. 

I may love the sunshine and the heat of summer, but this year I got a new appreciation of winter. And maybe God gave us winter, not just as a way to rest and recharge, but also as a way to reconnect with each other.  

It’s been a while

If you’re a regular around here, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been away. I hadn’t planned on being away. My original plan was just to be gone from Christmas to New Years as we enjoyed time together as a family. It seemed like a good plan as I wasn’t planning on writing a post of New Years. I felt the same way about it this year as I did last year.

And then life happened. We’d be in the middle of something and I’d think, I need to blog today. And night would fall and lying in bed I would remember that I hadn’t gotten around to blogging. I really have to blog tomorrow. That’s the thing about writing. If you do it often, you keep doing it. If you stop writing, it’s really hard to start again. Several times I would get around to charging the iPad and turn

ing the Internet on, only to look at the blank page, shut the iPad and Internet off and walk away. Maybe tomorrow, I’d think.

So tomorrow has finally come. After almost two months away, let’s catch back up.

Hope For the Holidays was an amazing success. I believe everyone who asked for help got some sort of help. I couldn’t have done it without you guys. Thank you to everyone who prayed, who shared, and who gave. I’m hoping we can do it again next year, and it be even bigger and better than it was this year.

Around our crazy little house, things have been really good, too. My baby turned 5 in January. That seems so hard to believe. He’s turning into a little man right before my eyes.

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We finally got enough snow that the boys could go out and really play in it.

Cameron

Cameron

Connor

Connor

I’ve been baking a lot. For several years, I’ve been baking bread and have tried my hand at pasta a couple of times. I really enjoy baking so we started thinking about what else I could make at home. It turns out that flour tortillas are fairly easy to make at home and use ingredients that we keep on hand. It took a couple tries to get them to roll out nice, but it only takes about an hour from start to finished product. You can find the recipe I used here. (if you try it I add a little extra salt and use shortening instead of lard)

Tortillas

Tortillas

After tortillas, I was feeling really adventurous. I googled bagel recipes and it turns out you can make those at home, too, and they are so much better than store bought. In fact, I have a batch rising right now. That recipe can be found here. (I use 4 cups of flour and mix the ingredients like I am making bread.) The hardest part of bagels is trying to hook the ends together so I stopped making them like that and instead make a disc and put a hole in the middle with my thumb. We love ours topped with shredded cheese.

Bagels

Bagels

And to be really wild and crazy, we booked a room at a local hotel last weekend so the boys could spend some time swimming. They loved it, but kept asking when their uncle Justin was going to get there. The only other time they’ve been to a hotel is when we went to uncle Justin’s wedding, and the boys really think if we’re going to be at a hotel, uncle Justin should be too.

Cameron

Cameron

Connor

Connor

So that’s what we’ve been up to. I’m back now. The first post is always the hardest. It’s just a matter of getting words, any words onto the page. I have thoughts, topics, opinions and songs so expect to start seeing them again.

Oh! Who could forget that after about seven months of refusing a haircut, Connor finally agreed to get one (only after I made the deal that I would take him to the zoo as soon as it opens if he agreed to the haircut. Yes, we do use bribery.)

Haircut!

Haircut!

Merry Christmas

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care. The presents are under the tree. There is a plate with cookie crumbs and a dirty milk cup next to it. And two sickly little boys are in bed, if they’d only stay asleep.

Merry Christmas from my crazy family to yours.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Happy birthday, Jesus.

 

How they really felt about me taking pictures

How they really felt about me taking pictures

Hope For the Holidays *Update*

Just before Thanksgiving, WANA (a private project where strangers help strangers) was supposed to start again for the fourth year. However, this year it was on Facebook rather than a blog where people could share their needs in a more private way.

I felt moved and decided to host something similar here calling it Hope For the Holidays (since I couldn’t get a hold of the original blogger). I wrote a post and slowly but surely people have showed up with needs and strangers have helped us fill those needs.

And every time I get discouraged that needs won’t be filled, more givers show up to help. And while I have been told no that I can’t share our project in places that seem like they should be willing to help, Matt over at Must Be This Tall To Ride wrote a lovely post about what we are doing and asked his readers if they wanted to make magic with us.

Together we have helped moms and dads, aunts and uncles, families that need just a little help this year. We have sent toys and clothes and gift cards to help with food. Christmas morning there will be presents under trees in houses that Santa Claus would have been missing. Families that worry about how they are going to buy groceries next week can breathe a little easier.

Thank you so much. None of this would have happened without those of you who have helped, by filling needs, sharing the project with your friends and family, and praying for us.

But our work is not done. We still have needs that I would like to see filled.

There is Jo, a mom of two little boys (ages 4 and 6) with a baby girl on the way.

There is a mom who is “looking for an angel” with a 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. Santa won’t be making a stop at their house without help.

There is Wanda, a grandma taking care of her grandsons (ages 5 and 1). She left a violent situation and they had to leave everything behind.

Heidi is a mom of 6 with one on the way. Not only is Santa missing their house this year, they don’t even have a tree those gifts belong under.

There is Brian who is 16 and has a 13-year-old sister. They know things are tight this year and there won’t be any presents under the tree. They aren’t asking for gifts. They just want to do something nice for their parents and get some help putting food on the table so their parents won’t have to worry so much.

Sara is a single mom with a 14-year-old daughter. Because of illness and missed time at work, things are tight. She doesn’t need things but is wondering how she’s going to put food on the table this Christmas season.

Elaine and her husband have 5 kids, 2 girls and 3 boys. Their car broke down and any “extra” they could come up with had to go to repair it.

Every comment that comes in I read. Every need breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes. I wish I could help every person. We pray for the families that need help and those that are helping. We pray that God would send us help to meet the needs that are left.

If these stories touch your heart and you have a way to help, please go to the original post and reply to the person’s comment. If the stories touch your heart but you don’t have a way to help, please pray that the right people see the needs.

If you have been helped, please go to the original post and update your need.

If you have been helped and are willing to share that story, please email me at 2crazylittleboys AT gmail.com. I’d love to share all those stories (and pictures if you are willing to share those).

Thank you for giving. Thank you for reading and sharing. Thank you for praying.

And as a bonus, my crazy little boys decorating the tree:

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I Can Only Imagine

Recently I’ve been thinking about the end times and Jesus’s return. There are days where listening and reading about what’s going on throughout the world that I think the end must be near. Then I look at my 2crazylittleboys and I think about all the living we have left to do. And then I want to laugh. As if any living we have to do here on earth could be even a fraction of the goodness that is a waiting us in Heaven.

I imagine that all the things MercyMe describes in this song will happen when we see Jesus. I believe will we stand in His presence and fall to our knees. I believe there will be times where we sing His praises and times where we will be unable to speak for His overwhelming glory. I believe there will be times that we will dance for Him and times where in awe of Him we will be still.

Whenever I think of Heaven, I think of sunlight, or I guess it is better said Sonlight. For the glory of God will shine so brightly there will be no need for the sun to shine. I think of it being warm, the perfect temperature in the perfect place. Warmth and light and God’s amazing glory.

I think of the Garden of Eden and how lovely it must have been. All of God’s creation in perfect harmony. God’s creation as we see it today is remarkable and how amazing must it be to see it while standing in His presence?

And on cold and snowy days like today, I look at my front window and see His creation covered in the most lovely coat of white as the flakes fly from the sky. And then I think of it in the terms of Heaven where I imagine it to be warm. And I think of the absolute joy it brings my 2crazylittleboys to watch the snow fly and then to go out and roll around in it.

How could something that brings so much pure joy not be found in Heaven?

Can you imagine a Heaven where it is the perfect temperature and there is snow?

It boggles my little human mind, but I know that it is possible. I can only imagine what it will be like, and I know even the best things that I can imagine don’t even come close to how amazing it will be.

I can only imagine.

Can you imagine a Heaven with snow?

rolling,

rolling,

rolling,

rolling,

rolling down the hill

rolling down the hill

I Can Only Imagine
MercyMe

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When Your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You, Jesus or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
forever worship You
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You, Jesus or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship You
I can only imagine

You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

Has Anyone Fed the Fish?

On Saturday, I shared with you how the Zombie Apocalypse is going to begin. Yesterday, the whole family spent the day in our pajamas resting with the hopes of Monday everyone being well again.

So much for that idea. Last night, Cameron started throwing up again and it has continued into today (although not nearly as bad as Saturday was).

I did get one decent nights sleep to keep the zombie-ness at bay. However, through my coffee fueled caffeine haze, I’ve noticed some other things that happen when kids are sick.

1. Of course, is Zombie-Mom.

This is important enough to mention it again. For the warning signs and what to do, check out Saturday’s post.

2. Hands-off Dad

For the record, this is not a complaint. Dad is to keep a safe distance from sick kids. He is the breadwinner and must go to work. He can not go to work if he is also throwing up. He also must be well for all the random trips to the store to get supplies for Zombie-Mom and sick kids. Because Mom is a zombie, this will require more than one trip. As soon as Dad gets home, Mom will remember one more thing we have to have.

3. There are never enough pillows, blankets, sheets.

Without fail, your sick child will throw up on every blanket you try to wrap around them. And their pillow. And your pillow. And the spare pillow.

Which leads to

4. You will run out of laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets and vinegar (which makes a great fabric softener).

Every time you turn around you will be starting another load of laundry. This is a never-ending process. You may also find that your washing machine may sound like there is a monster inside it trying to break out. It is almost impossible to make the washer level when you put pillows in it. This also leads to complaints about the noise said washer is making.

5. Pet fish may die.

Seriously, does anyone know if I fed the fish today? What about yesterday? And while we’re talking about it someone should probably clean their tank. And maybe feed them.

6. You will have a large supply of juice and crackers. They will be the wrong juice and crackers.

The goal is to get some food and liquids into the sick child. Our go-to’s are juice and crackers. Something that will hopefully settle the child’s stomach. Of course, the child doesn’t want those crackers. They are the wrong size/shape/flavor. The juice? Also wrong flavor/color. It doesn’t matter what crackers and juice you get. Just know they will be the wrong ones.

7. Well child will suddenly need 3000% more attention than on a normal day.

Most of this attention will be needed when the sick child is throwing up or you are trying to clean up the sick child. Expect the well child to stand right in your way, trying to hand you a book as you are running to find the bucket for the sick child.

And the worst part for us today is this:

8.

The view from our front door

The view from our front door

 

It’s snowing. And all my sick child really wants to do is play in the snow. Not today, dude. And probably not tomorrow.

The Right Words or the Wrong Words?

Maybe you’ve noticed that I’ve been writing a lot this month. November is National Blog Posting Month. The goal is to write a new post every day all month. That’s 30 posts in 30 days.

This is my first November blogging, and I decided to take part. 30 posts in 30 days is a lot for me considering I normally post once or twice a week, but I was willing to give it a try.
I didn’t realize this was going on until Monday the 3rd so I missed the first two days, but I posted 9 days in a row. I was doing great until this past Wednesday.

Daylights Savings Time coming to an end finally caught up with the boys and I, and Wednesday I crashed before I could get my post finished. I woke up Thursday with a plan to do two posts in one day, including the Worship Wednesday post I had missed.

Connor and I spend the morning listening to songs on YouTube until we got the right one. I was half way through my post when my iPad froze up. It would not let me type another word. It was annoying but I figured I would finish it later.

Thursday evening I got into a discussion about tithing in a Christian mom’s group on Facebook. It was inspirational, and I began to blog. The majorities point in the group post was that you absolutely should have a home church and you should absolutely tithe only there. I have a very different view on tithing that I was going to share with you.

I was a good portion of the way through my post when my iPad froze up again. I couldn’t believe it. I tried everything I could think of, and I was able to type everywhere BUT on my blog.

I got onto Facebook and shared my troubles with my friends. I said that although I was planning and trying to post every day, apparently my words were the wrong words because every time I started writing, my iPad froze.
A friend of mine responded with an amazing thought.

He said that maybe my iPad was in league with Satan. Now the way he said it, I think he was joking. However, the more I thought about it, the more I thought he could have been right. As possible as it is that God stopped my words, it seems equally possible that Satan stopped them.

What if instead of my words being wrong, they were too right?

Honestly, I’m not sure what way if either it is. Maybe I have a first generation iPad and it just doesn’t work anymore. Maybe my words were wrong. Maybe my words were right.

Regardless of what it was causing my blogging issues, I missed two days blogging and, at this point, I’m not sure what the rest of the month is going to look like for me. Blogging every day has felt right and been huge for the blog. In the last week, I had two record breaking days with over 400 different readers (compared to the 150 readers I normally have in one month). The words have come easier these last two weeks than they ever have before.

Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow. Maybe I’ll see you next week. Either way I know we are both exactly where God needs us to be.

And for fun, this is what we did today:

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