Archive for December, 2008

2008: Looking Back

Well, it’s that time again:  time to look back over the past year and look forward to a new one.  I put together a slideshow that summarizes the main events for each month of the Prairie Family’s year.  We had a very good year, and we have so much to be thankful for!

Many people are looking ahead to 2009 with uncertainty, but I know that it will be a year of growth and blessing.  My God never changes.  He is good–all of the time!

Looking Back
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2008 Christmas

We had a very nice Christmas.  It was, of course, hectic and somewhat tiring, but we all agree that it was a great time.

We continued our tradition of opening a few small gifts on Christmas Eve.  We have found that spreading out the presents helps to add to the appreciation and to reduce some of the mess!  😉  We watched the movie, The Nativity Story, that evening.  If you have not seen this film, please do.  It is fantastic!  I’d say it was the highlight of our Christmas–and it really brought the True Meaning of the day into focus.

A funny sidenote about The Nativity Story.  We all noticed that it only showed one angel announcing Christ’s birth to the shepherds.  Brock commented that they must not have hired enough actors to have a multitude of the heavenly hosts!  🙂 This movie was especially good for Kara.  She has heard the Christmas story many times, but I think that watching this movie helped her put it all together.

Every year on Christmas morning we fix a nice breakfast with eggs, sausage, and the like.  This year we were able to get a favorite holiday bread that we had not had for a few years.  

After breakfast, we opened more presents, and then took a break to relax and enjoy the new toys before opening the rest in the afternoon. In the past, I have made myself so busy on Christmas day trying to keep up with the clutter and cooking, that I haven’t really enjoyed the holiday.  This year I took special time to just play with the kids.  I spent time putting together a puzzle with the girls, and John and I played a card game.  Those were neat times.

I gave Cosette a pair of stilts for one of her gifts.  She has really taken to those things!  She runs all over the house with them, and thinks it’s fun to be tall and to be able to reach the cupboards without getting a chair!

My parents came over for a traditional Christmas dinner of ham and all of the fixings.  We had a good time with them.

That pretty much sums up our Christmas.  We had a very good time.  I am glad that we still have several days of vacation to enjoy before starting school up again in January.

Click to play 2008 Christmas
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I was just listening to Christmas music on my favorite internet radio station. They played a song that I had not heard for years and had completely forgotten about.  I remember hearing it in college and thought that it’s words were moving.  Now that I have lived a little longer, I can truly say that its words are beautiful and precious:  Jesus definitely brings me thousands of joys, and I rejoice in Him today.

I found a video of a choir performing this song on You Tube.  They are from a Berean Bible Baptist Church in the Philippines.  I will add the lyrics below the video clip.


Standing here beside the manger, looking at this little Stranger,

Wondering if He’ll be like other boys?

Looking down across tomorrow, knowing there will be some sorrow,

I still know He’ll bring ten thousand joys! (chorus)

Ten thousand joys!  Sweet Son of God You came to me!

And my heart sings because I know that You are mine!

In you I find ten thousand joys—enough to last through all the years,

And joy to shine through all my tears:  Ten thousand joys!

When I am alone with Jesus, in the quiet where no one sees us,

Or when He is with me in life’s lows,

If I speak, I know He’ll hear me and to know that He is near me

Always bring to me ten thousand joys! (chorus)

I know He came from God to save us from our sins, 

And that He came to set His people free.

But how was I to know when Jesus came into my life,

That God’s own Son had come to bring to me (chorus)

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My sadness over our society grows every day.  What is Biblically right is now considered wrong, and what is Biblically wrong is considered right.

Take, for example, the upcoming inauguration.  What is the most publicized controversy concerning this historic event?  That Rick Warren is going to give the prayer.  Now those who know me will testify that I am not a Rick Warren fan by any stretch of the imagination, but because he teaches that homosexuality is morally wrong, there is quite the uproar going on.  It’s on all of the news networks.  Here is an article that was posted yesterday on Fox News about this very issue.  Wow–how controversial:  a preacher teaching that homosexuality is a sin?!

On the other hand, no one is saying anything about the fact that a radical gay/lesbian band is, for the first time in history, marching in the inaugural parade.  In fact, Obama is quoted as saying “I am honored to invite these talented groups and individuals to participate in the Inaugural Parade. These organizations embody the best of our nation’s history, diversity and commitment to service.”  

So, America is outraged about a pastor offering a prayer, but apparently has no problem parading our sin.  Lord, have mercy!  Jesus, come quickly!

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Things got so hectic last week that I forgot to do my Sunday Seven entry! So, here is my list for this week:

1. CLEAN! This is a continual job that could always be on my list! Tomorrow is our last day of school before the Christmas break, so maybe I’ll actually have time to get some thorough, much-needed cleaning and straightening done.

2. There is a snack mix recipe that I have been wanting to try, and this week I am going to do it! It is called Chocolate Chex Caramel Crunch, and I think this will make a nice munchie to have around during our school break.

3. Of course, this week is Christmas.  So, special meals and presents will be a fun part of this week!

4. RELAX!  Yes, I am actually putting this on my Sunday Seven list!  We have been going at a frantic pace lately, and I really want to have a relaxed, enjoyable Christmas with my family.  

5. Next week I get to substitute teach the Sunday School class that John and Brock are in.  That is always a great time!

6. Brock started his Kansas history unit this past week, and even though we are officially going to be on Christmas break, I am going to use some of those days to find pictures and do some planning for his Kansas notebook so we will be ahead of the game when we start back to school in January!

7. I want to help John and Brock get some Scout projects done during our break from school as well.  Our days are pretty full by the time we get through school and homework, so these break times are the best times that we have to focus on some of these extracurricular activities.

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Today our church had a Christmas program during the Sunday School hour.  Even though it was very simple, it was nice, and I am glad that it was put together.  Taking part in these types of things were always a highlight of my Christmases as a child, and I want my kids to feel the same.  

John and Brock read prophecies relating to Christ’s birth and their Scriptural fulfillments.  Cosette, Luke, and Kara each learned part of a Christmas poem.  Dan was part of a group that sang “Oh, Holy Night,” and I was a member of the audience!  🙂

It was interesting teaching Kara to say her part of the poem.  English is, of course, her second language, and even though she is pretty fluent, she still mixes up some things–especially the use of pronouns.  So, she says things like “Him wore my coat for him’s blanket warm.”  She doesn’t even realize that she does it, and yet she knows that it doesn’t sound right coming from Mommy.  So, we had to work on that.  You’ll hear in the video clip of their poem that I am posting how she emphasizes the correct pronouns.  She did eventually get it all worked out!  😉

We certainly do love our little country church.  The people there have truly become family to us.  Most of all, we appreciate the solid teaching and strong centrality of the Bible that is taught there.   We are truly blessed.

Click to play 2008 Christmas Program
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I have truly found a treasure!  I have been enjoying traditional Christmas music all season long while I work (and play) on my computer.  I have found myself singing along with all of the great Christmas hymns and songs and have found a little bit of the Christmas spirit that is so often lacking today. Where is this treasure?  Go to http://www.rejoice.org/ and choose which format you would like to use.  Within minutes, beautiful Christmas music and inspirational words will flow from your computer!  Let me know if you enjoy this as much as I do!

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Cosette is seriously the happiest person I know.  Oh, she gets frustrated and angry with her siblings from time-to-time, but generally she is optimistic and silly.  In fact, her silliness more than anything else is what gets her into trouble!  🙂  Rarely, however, is she sad, but when she is, clouds form over our whole family. She gets all teary and mopes around, and doesn’t want to talk to anybody.

This happened last night.  I thought maybe she was getting sick, to tell you the truth.  It took awhile for the story to come out, but eventually Brock told me what the problem was.  Cosette had come across some troubling things in a game she was playing.

I must take a sidestep here to say something that bothers me.  My kids do play games, but we are so careful about what we will and will not allow.  We do a lot of research before buying games, and really the kids are just as sensitive about content as we are.  We have seen over and over, though, that gamewriters think that they have to put negative junk into otherwise fun, harmless games–especially right at the end, right when the kids want to win a game.  Oh, that is frustrating!  Then we have to avoid those portions of the game, which usually means not completing them.  Why do they do that???? Especially in games meant for young kids?????  

Such was the case last night with Cosette.  I remember going through a similar time a year or so ago when the kids recognized pagan spirituality even in tv shows made for toddlers.  It really bothered them, and we had to go through these discussions about how there just is so much evil in our world.  And, yes, they should be saddened by it.  I wish I could protect them from it all, but as hard as I try, it is simply impossible.  So, we must recognize it for what it is, avoid it as much as possible, and keep our eyes on Christ and His Holy Word to make it through day-by-day.

Anyway, I am happy to report that Cosette was her happy self this morning. Yes, her sunshine was blazing brightly!  And, as you can see from this entry’s picture, her silliness has returned.  I am thankful that she is so resilient.   That’s my girl!

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Rank Advancement

Several days ago, John’s Boy Scout troop held a Court of Honor, and he received his first rank advancement of Tenderfoot and two merit badges, weather and chemistry.  

This first step has been a good motivation to keep going for John.  He wants to get through 2nd Class pretty quickly so he can be a 1st Class Scout soon.  We are planning to work on several merit badges over Christmas break.  I think there is another Court of Honor planned for February,  so that is also an encouragement to get busy with the goal of adding more badges to that sash!

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