My Thanksgiving is for Jesus … & beer!

I was just confiding in Granny that it is Jesus and beer (and in that order, of course) that get me through this S-L-O-W-L-Y sanctifying thing called motherhood!

And thank you, Lord, for my sweet, patient, hard-working, beer-drinking, Jesus-loving husband. What a cutie pie!

Christ is not only my eternal Savior, but He truly saves me on a daily basis in the here and now. If it weren’t for God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, love, and guidance, I’d often be totally lost in a sea of pity-party chaos or self-loathing — neither are an optimal place for anyone to be, especially a mama. 

“Obedience to God leads to blessing. Disobedience leads to burden.” — Max Lucado

Submitting to the Holy Spirit — sometimes kicking and screaming — gives me strength when I’m weak; patience when I’m utterly frustrated; endurance to keep on keeping on; and compassion when I all want to do is squash the little army that (seemingly) wants to take me down on occasion.

“Beer is proof that God loves us & wants us to be happy.” —Benjamin Franklin 

This is me the morning after Poker For Preemies. Wow, I forget how much Houston really does look like me — mouths gaping & snoring in all our glory! So thankful for that boy & his sweet bros!

I was only half joking about the latter tool in my parental survival bag. But in all seriousness, beer fits the bill when I want to toast a job well done, as well as decompress and take a break from the all-to-frequent madness.

God made yeast, as well as dough, & loves fermentation just as dearly as he loves vegetation.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sure, beer is temporary, and God is enduring. But in His infinite wisdom, He gave us many earthly gifts to utilize for our pleasure, relaxation, and appreciation of His wonder, as long as they don’t become idols and replace Him.

 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” — 1 Timothy 6:17

Houston plans to eat the brains of all those who don’t treat with quality candy, while I proudly wear my obligatory Halloween t-shirt … cheers & thanks, Grumps!

So, thank you, Lord, for showing me a path to better living, offering me relationship with you through your Son, and giving your children so many blessings in which to delight. Happy Thanksgiving!

“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.” — Dave Berry

On another joyful note, Zeke has decided that he wants to get baptized! As we disciple to our kids, we always want their beliefs to be a personal thing: we teach, yes, but ultimately, each one of them will choose. And Zeke seems to really love Jesus, grasp the Gospel, and understand the significance of proclaiming his faith publicly.

Zombie Houston, Ninja Matthew, Grim Reaper Jack, Creeper Zeke, Bio-Hazard Gavin, & Creeper Gabriel get ready for a gleeful night of trick-or-treating!

The folks in our church kids’ ministry agree, so Zeke’s baptism will probably take place some time in early 2016. Thanks again, Lord, for laying upon Zeke’s heart a desire to follow Jesus however and wherever and forever. Yay!

Other noteworthy, but not-so-heavy happenings:

Halloween was a blast. Cousin Rick came to town the night before, which was a nice way to kick of our ghoulish and fun-filled weekend.

Hickory memories: a beautiful day & w/ beautiful people!

Gabriel and Zeke morphed easily into Minecraft dudes, thanks to Bret, who gave them Creeper jackets for birthday. Houston’s zombie costume, on the other hand, was a bit more in-depth, especially since it took three days worth of showers to remove all the liquid latex from his face post-holiday.

We started off trick-or-treating with Matthew and Stacey, but Zeke pooped out after just going around the block. So, after getting him home, Gabe, Houston, and I drove back out to hit up a few more houses, most notably the ultra-spooky decorated casa at the front of the neighborhood.

I was totally willing to go farther and stay up later, since we had the van. However, the remaining dudes’ buckets were already overflowing by that point, so they both opted to stay home and watch scary movies with Rick and Daddy. I guess chocolate and chilling was just what the doctor ordered. Thanks for visiting, Cuz!

Dudes on a mission, gun in hand, crossing a bridge in the woods. Life is good. So thankful for my all-boy boys!

On 11/6, Grammy and Papa came to town to stay with the 3 Amigos, so Stephen and I could attend Poker For Preemies. Thanks for kid-sitting, y’all. The fundraiser, which Greg helps organize, is such a cool event: gamble a little, drink some free alcohol, smoke a complimentary cigar, eat yummy food, and hang with friends all for a good cause!

I took total advantage of our kid-lessness and Uber plans for getting home. Needless to say, I had one heckuva grand time! Cheers to Stephen, Greg, Meredith, Alan, and Beth … and thanks for dancing with me like nobody was watching!

On 11/11, the whole family went to see The Peanuts Movie at one of those places where you order and eat a meal while you watch the movie. That was a tad awkward and messy with kids and VERY expensive to boot, but still, it was a nice and deserved outing for our whole clan. Gracias, Padre!

A polar bear actually shows himself during our outing to the zoo!

From 11/14-15, we went to visit our old-time pals, Steven, Paige, and Owen, in Hickory. What kind, generous, and hospitable folks they are!

Owen is just a neat little dude. The boys love hanging out with this not-even two year old, which speaks volumes of his coolness. And I think he feels the same about the Amigos.

Thanks a million for hosting us for good eats, delicious craft brews, and stimulating adult conversation in your beautiful home. Can’t wait to see y’all again soon!

The 3 Amigos & Tyrnan rest in front of a pretty bamboo backdrop.

On 11/19, Houston spent the night with his CC pal, Isaiah. The twins were quite jealous, since they, too, really like Isaiah. In their defense, they don’t get invited to near as many sleepovers as does Houston. Thus, I’m trying to get things rolling for them.

I’ve been asking some parents if we can have their kids over for the night, so they’ll (hopefully) eventually reciprocate. I’m also urging the twins to say to their friends (whom we’ve already had for sleepovers), something along these lines:

“Hey, you had fun spending the night at our house, right? Wouldn’t it be a hoot if we could sleepover at your house some time?! Awesome. Let’s go ask your mom.” Yeah, subtlety in not my forte.

I guess this is how worn-out, sassy boys strike a pose by day’s end at the zoo. Hey, at least the elephant is cooperating.

On 11/21, the family went to the zoo with CC pal, Tyrnan, and his dad, Jim, who’s a super-nice guy who also happens to lean libertarian. The mom, Penny, is an interesting Aussie with whom I’m scoping out for a new BFF, but she was sick for the outing.

Still, we had a wonderful time at the nearly desolate zoo on a particularly beautiful, crisp fall day. Thanks for the memories, dudes!

Last but not least, we wrapped our CC fall semester yesterday. Can you believe 12 weeks down, only 12 to go?! And despite my intermittent grumblings of inefficiency or lack of self-control during lessons, I really am quite proud of the 3 Amigos. Thanks for loving to learn new things, boys, and for teaching and growing me along the way!