"You liberate me from my own noise & my own chaos. From the chains of a lesser love, you set me free.
In the silence of the heart, you speak. And it is there that I will know you & your will know me. In the silence of the heart, you speak.
You satisfy me till I am quiet & confident in the work of the Spirit I cannot see."
Audrey Assad, You Speak
I cherish the uninterrupted time for my thoughts to flow freely in short moments these days. This December was full of the most lovely family time, special days at school for my sons & many road trips to give the gift of our presence to those we love. I am so grateful for all the opportunities we were given to love the people in our life.
Lord, bring more silence to my heart so that I can know you. Give me more silence to hear you speak.
These family pictures were the first little bit of our love that we sent out to friends & family this Christmas season. I am thrilled that we have found a lovely, talented photographer to capture us in these frames each year. I count myself very lucky to be able to save these little glimpses of our life. I do consider a Christmas card like a small gift from us to those in our lives, a $2.50 cent gift to tell them we have thought of them & we want to share our family with them. I hope our little bits of love were received in the way they were intended. :-)
My favorite picture of me as a mother, maybe ever? I feel it captures how I want to be as a mom, even if it doesn't happen every day. I want to not be distracted by the imperfections of our time together, or disappointed in the 'real life' that is displayed here. None of my boys is giving his 'perfect smile', none of them seems really pleased to be there. None of them could be any less perfect in my eyes & I? I am sitting with my little fellas & seem to be pleased as punch with everything, undeterred by their lack of enthusiasm. I love this photo- I hope I can be this in their eyes: happy & not bothered. Not flustered by their assertions of their own opinion or attitude. Moving through with a joyful spirit. Happy in the moment, just.as.it.is. Unaware that it could be interpreted as less than perfect.
I will have to frame this one in my room? or on my desk? Somewhere I can see it everyday & pray that prayer to remain joyful, to chose joy despite any opposition from my sons in this journey. May I be this kind of mom, & may they see me this way. May they see me, their mother as this image in their mind's eye. Lord allow them to forgive my failures & shortcomings, let them see me like this.
Thank you for this image Joleen Haase Photography. :-)
To begin our Christmas season, our boys were able to join us in lighting the second Advent candle at our home church, Oakleaf Christian Fellowship. I love dressing them in a 'Christmas plaid' every year, and of course it's better because there are four of them now. Don't mind the pouting Calvin, it was time for afternoon nap. poor fella!
We had the privilege of participating in the 'Walk thru Bethlehem' in Keystone Heights this year at First Baptist Church, where my father-in-law was minister for nearly 15 years. Matt&I volunteered for this ministry when we were dating, and even after we were newly weds I think. We have an image of us at 20 & 24 years old all dress for this program, and I think it was part of the reason my in-laws accepted me! They teased me that I had to wrangle a sheep to be allowed in the family, but I did it! So then they were backed in a corner, haha! This opportunity gave us the chance to relive those memories & our many friends from those years were lovely hosts for us to come. It was difficult, but so worthwhile. Thank you for having us Keystone!! We love y'all.
Oh my baby David! You're 10 months old now & just starting to really be all over the place. I had to grab a picture of you in your 'my first thanksgiving' onsie since I forgot it on our trip to Alabama! (oops). You are such a joy my dear, and you are teaching mommy that I need to be on my toes again! Your curiosity & independence are so fun to watch, but they are already earning you in your first lessons in obedience from momma. I'm proud to say you are listening, sometimes. :-)
Those toes & those little steps & those little grunts. You are a little babbling buddy, and you love your brothers so much. You get so excited when Daddy comes home from work & you still prefer momma to almost anyone which I love. I love how you little feet rub against one another, back & fourth as you lay in my lap, and how you begin nearly air jumping when daddy walks in the room. Your sweet little 'dada' is music to all our ears, and every now and then you will throw in a 'mama' too.
The first matching pjs for my boys! I was so excited to find matching pjs for all four, and I have limited myself to Christmas time for this personal indulgence. I don't dress mine alike, but rather coordinated by the fact that I pick out everything. haha. I cannot explain why I love seeing them all together like this, but maybe because they get such a kick out of it themselves.
James lost his second front tooth at school! He was so proud of himself for pulling this tooth during technology class, and he got to have a tooth necklace to keep it safe. He's always wanted one of those things. He was excited to sing the song, "all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!" haha
The boys all had special parties & events at school for the holidays. We sent in books/toys for class exchanges & food for class parties & supplies like Christmas stickers. I was able to go to James' Christmas breakfast in his class & watch him recite a portion 'The Night before Christmas' with his class. I am so proud of my little fellas in all they get to do! And doesn't a Santa booty on a baby just make anyone's day better? I spent that $10 on the outfit so happily because if no one else, it brought me joy.
Matt's cousin Rachel got married!! We didn't get to come to her private ceremony, but we were able to join them for a reception. It was a pleasure to celebrate with them & meet Lars for the first time. She is so happy, and we are thrilled for them both. Congrats y'all!!
These sweet little fellas got to spend just a little extra time with Mimi&Grandpa after the wedding reception. They love getting to be together!
We made our annual visit to see Santa at the mall & pick our a Christmas ornament. I love this tradition, but I've wrestled with our participation as our boys have really bought in to it without much encouragement from us. I hope their imagination & love of the fantasy will translate into the truth of how good it is to love one another & give each other good gifts. The 'magic of Christmas' is always about God, just takes looking through the meaning behind all the fantasy. He is the giver of all good gifts, and He fuels all the imagination & dreams & anticipation & hope. But our hope is not in vain, because the greatest Christmas gift, the one we never knew to ask for, is truly Christ. I hope my boys are never disappointed about the fantasy of Santa, but rather can see how the selfless act of giving without receiving is another image of Christ.
I got an Advanced reader copy of The Polygamist's Daugher by Anna Lebaron! I was so excited to read... and will be posting a book review on my other blog, MyLifeinProse.wordpress.com where I write more. It will be released in Feb, and it is a page turner!
Our Publix gingerbread house! I'm always so romanced by the idea of homemade gingerbread & getting this activity set up to be a beautiful display. But at the end of the day, we grabbed our $7 house & some extra icing, and they set to work together to create their masterpiece. I don't think it could have gone any better, and any additional would have been wasted. I love when the simple turns out to be as lovely & fun as the 'romantic version' ever could be.
The boys finished school for the year, and we set off down to visit the Proses for our first Christmas celebrations! David got to enjoy his first Christmas by exploring all the things & getting up close & personal with the lights. I loved grabbing the pictures of him around the tree, and I'm telling ya, that little Santa booty just made my day every time he wore it.
Cousin Max & David became buddies this trip, and it was sweet to watch the two youngest Prose boys playing together while the older ones all went full speed ahead into their own games. Max&Calvin are closer in age than David&Max, and it will be cool to watch as they grow up how their friendships develop. It works out kinda perfect that way, the older two sandwich Jack in age, and the younger two sandwich Max. I've just now realized that, haha!
After all the gifts & the good food & the time together with the extended family and a backyard movie, we managed to grab a picture of our four with their Mimi&Grandpa. I'm so thankful that despite the focus on the stuff of the holiday, we can keep the memories of each other closer than what was in the boxes.
We said goodbye & drove about halfway home to our annual ride on the Christmas train! The Orange Blossom Cannonball Express in Tavares, FL does a really beautiful train ride with Santa for the holiday season. Our boys are at the perfect ages where none of them thinks it is silly yet, and all the fantasy just builds their anticipation. I am glad we get to have this time of them all being young together.
Daddy & his boys & Santa!
We made it home & finished our final preparations for Christmas at our house. We got to celebrate Christmas Eve at our home church, and snapped one last picture of our little guys dressed up for the season.
I had a few last things to wrap on Christmas Eve, and David's gift was one of them! I couldn't help myself but wrap it from head to toe (hoof?)- Can you guess what it was? haha, the boys got such a great kick out of it, and I'll be honest, so did I!
James had one last preparation for Christmas Eve too; he wrote Santa a thank you note. Be still my heart this boy has not learned this gentleness from us. It is a gift all his own; a kind & considerate soul. A tender shoot, growing up & growing in character.
CHRISTMAS MORNING before David woke up. Hayden's face is just the best. They are all bursting!
David woke up & his brothers helped him open his gifts, how kind right? haha. They especially liked helping him open that mysterious gift standing tall over us!
It was his Giraffe! He loves it. :-)
The most hilarious & useful gift turned out to be the Shark blankets from my Aunt Cindy & Uncle Robbie. The boys have LOVED these things, and literally sleep in them some nights. Nap in them, watch movies in them, read in them. They like to be cozy! Thank you so much for this great gift!
Our Christmas morning picture included the giraffe. I adore it! Daddy & his buddy on his first Christmas!
David had one little gift for us himself, he climbed three stairs on Christmas day! Thanks buddy? haha.
My Dad&Mom drove in late on Christmas Day & brought my nieces with them! The kids had a great time playing together while they visited. A fun couple of days together.
The Austin Grands with Grammy&Papa!
David got his first Clemson t shirt, just in time for the Tigers to become National Champions!! whoo hoo!!
Matt found a Wii for the boys this year, and it has been a big hit! I was worried it would become a fight against an increase of screen time, but it has not been. It has just been a decision on their part of what kind of screen time they want to have, and I'm grateful for the added experience of team work, competition outlet, and hand-eye coordination that are all absent from just sitting watching a cartoon. Also, problem solving!
My sweet, beautiful momma. She who gives us all the most positive internal dialogue spoken aloud by her. May I remember how encouraging it has been for me, and I hope I can do it justice for my kids. I may not talk for the pets, but it could teach me to be more considerate to them so I may have to re-evaluate! haha.
Merry Christmas to you, Christmas Cactus!
We said goodbye to Grammy&Papa and the girls, but then we realized the party in Tampa was going to be our only chance to have all the Prose grands together for the first time. So what did we do? Hopped in the car & went! haha, we are a little wild like that, but it was time well spent. I think hearing my mother-in-law crying on the phone when I said we were coming made me realize how important it was to her. I'm glad we got to make it!
Uncle John & baby Nora's first Christmas!
The Lyon great-grands minus a few!
Here they are, the Prose grandkids! All 7 of them, (almost) 7 years old and under. They are (respectively) 7,6,5,3,2,10months, 2 months. wow!