And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good
crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns
and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And
I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take
life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool!
This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you
have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with anyone who
stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16-21
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
December 28th is our anniversary. We were married five years ago. I had always wanted to get married near Christmas, with evergreens all around, twinkle lights in all the trees, and red (my favorite color) decorating everything. My affinity for Christmastime led to some issues--a very stressful December, high priced floral arrangements, and a difficult time finding an inside venue for up to 200 people.
However, my memories are not of all the difficulties. I remember how Ryan and I both were shaking with emotion in the church, the glow of the little chapel we chose in which to get married, how sweet he was in helping with all the details, and the absolute joy I felt on the day he graciously became my husband. He and I both were looking to face a "hard first year", as people warned us, but we never really did. We had adjustments to make, but perhaps getting married at 28 and 29 years old had prepared us for some bumps in the road. Having the Lord as the foundation of our marriage has kept the tempests or trials from causing too much harm.
The past five years have been a true, wonderful answer to my prayers. We have enjoyed traveling all over Europe, the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica. We have nested in our first house and made our home a place we love to be. We have been blessed with a little boy who is so much like his father, and I am so glad! May he grow up to be as loving, honest and thoughtful as his dad. We have been very involved in attending and serving in our church body, and I have loved every minute of watching Ryan lead and grow in his relationship with God.
God is so very good! I know that every blessing is from above (James 1:17), so the wonderful husband that I have is a gift from my loving Heavenly Father. Thank you Lord for Ryan and all the events you have placed in his life to make him the man he is today. May I never take this gift for granted and may I always submit to both him and You. Happy anniversary, Ryan! You are an amazing husband, and I love you tremendously.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Christmas was wonderful, but, as every year, I realize the presents mean figuring out storage, food means buckling down on a New Year's diet, and so many family meetings mean tired individuals after four days of visiting. It is refreshing to know our true reason for celebrating brings nothing but joy and hope for Christians. Thank you Lord Jesus for the gift of salvation you bring! I pray you all had a joyous Christmas in Christ!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
If I have a moment in the day, I like to read newspaper editorials. I believe it is mainly to jolt myself out of my complacent attitude and to remind myself how most people in the world do not truly have Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They possess no truth and have relativistic thinking as their only compass.
"Joy to the world! the Lord is come; Let earth receive herThis is true joy--a joy that transcends circumstances and memories. It is realizing that Christmas is NOT what WE make it. Thank goodness! It is joy because of Jesus Christ coming for us so many years ago. God made Christmas and will continue to be faithful to His promises. People might find comfort in their autonomy and ability to choose Santa over Jesus, but this is a fleeting struggle for happiness. To my dear friends and family, who are my brothers and sisters in Christ, joy to you for our Lord is come!
King. Let every heart prepare Him room, And heav'n and nature sing, And
heav'n and nature sing, And heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing.
Joy to the world! the Savior reigns: Let men their songs
employ, While fields and floods, Rocks, hills and plains repeat the sounding
joy, repeat the sounding joy, repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
No more let sin and sorrow grow, Nor thorns infest the ground. He
comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found. Far as the
curse is found, Far as, Far as the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove the
glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love, and wonders of His love,
and wonders, and wonders of His love."
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Over the years, humans have elevated a sinful man (just like all of us) in a way that is much like an idol. As I stated, Saint Nicholas was a bishop in the 3rd and 4th century. He was very generous and gave many anonymous gifts. He became very famous and legend built up around him.
Certain churches claimed he stopped a storm on the ocean (sound familiar of Christ?) and became a patron saint of sailors. He also was said to have brought 3 young boys back to life, 7 years after they had been murdered and cut into pieces. Thus, he became the patron saint of children too. His death in December and the celebration and remembrance of him got mixed in with Christ's Mass in the Catholic church. Thus, Christmas all became intertwined with St. Nicholas Day and Jesus. Voila! There you have it.
We, as Christians focused on Biblical truths, choose to expose the folklore as false and celebrate the real man who lived in service to Christ and loving others with generosity. His life points to Christ's example, which is the REAL deal!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
"He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his
appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was
despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed
4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was
pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did
not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and
judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people
he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the
Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes
his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous
servant will justify many,
and he will bear their
iniquities." Isaiah 53: 2-11
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:5-11
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14
Monday, November 26, 2007
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." James 2: 18
I was out to a brunch with my mom and Carter recently. As we left, a man held the door open for us all, and Carter rushed out mumbling something that sounded very similar to, "scuz me". I dismissed it right away as a coincidence, but my mom asked, "When did he start saying, 'excuse me'?" I started to pay more attention to this phrase when I heard Carter say it. Indeed, when he goes through a crowded doorway or squeezes by something tight, he says, "excuse me." He was saying it to the dishwasher the other evening, as he squeezed between the dishwasher's open door and the kitchen island. The odd part of this phenomenon is that I NEVER have intentionally taught Carter to say excuse me. I have mentioned it occasionally when he burps in public, but he still doesn't repeat it on those occasions. This led me to realize that Carter learned this phrase through modeling and my example.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Well, I didn't think it was possible, but Supercuts asked us to leave--ever so politely. "Perhaps we should try this again another day," they whispered. I don't know why they were whispering, because you couldn't hear much over the screaming wail that was coming out of Carter. He was fine when we walked in the door. He was fine when we were waiting. He was fine smiling at the hairstylist lady. He was not fine when he realized he was going to sit in that chair and get his hair cut. He screamed the most ear-piercing scream I've ever heard him perform. We only got as far as putting him in the chair and trying to put an apron on him. That alone took about five minutes. It was a rough start, and the hairstylist knew it was a useless situation. All the other men getting their cuts stared wide-eyed at the snot covered kid in the haircut chair. Most of them were wishing he'd stop screaming and leave them in peace. Well, humbled and somewhat humiliated, I left Supercuts, ushering Carter through the exit, barely noticing he was covered in the sticky, green lollipop they tried to give him while consoling him. I'm not sure, but I think we were kicked out of Supercuts.
We've had about five or so haircuts. I've lost count. Each time it gets worse. He is deathly afraid of the razor. Unfortunately, this does not bode well, as Carter inherited my thick, fast-growing hair. I dread the haircuts. One morning I'll realize his hair has reached that unkempt level, and I'll bite my lip in dread. After that point, I still wait about a month before I admit the need for his haircut out loud. What is funny is that Carter will hear me and joyously repeat, "Haircut!" I think he just tries to make me feel better, so I'll even attempt walking in the door.
After our Supercut ban, we went the next day to First Cuts in the mall. We had gone there for Carter's first haircut, and it was more expensive than Supercuts. I walked in timidly, knowing they would only smile at me on the way in and scowl as we left. So sad. The poor hairdresser was amazed at Carter's lung capacity, but, since this was a kid's haircut store, they couldn't really ask us to leave. I'm sure they get criers from time to time. They probably even have a Carteresque screamer once a day or so. Other hairdressers came to the aid of the poor lady doing Carter's hair. They brought toys and books and more toys. They blew bubbles and tried to distract him. I sighed and knew better. Only Thomas the Train on TV could get him to take 2 second pauses between the siren wail. I had them cut his hair EXTRA short--army cut short. I don't think I can do this again anytime soon. I cleaned up his snot covered, puffy face and left an enormous tip for the unlucky hairdresser. I was tired and relieved as we limped out of First Cuts. We survived and Carter's hair got cut. I'm not going to think about what I'll do in 2 to 3 months. I also can't imagine what going to the dentist with Carter will be like. I still have a year and a half to be in denial.
Ryan went swimming with Carter once we got to the hotel, and I tried to take a nap, as I was just starting the healing process of a bad cold (17 days later, I am still sniffling and coughing from time to time). Carter loves swimming, as long as you bring a ball into the pool. He is obsessed with throwing things, "high", as he calls it. Usually that means throwing the ball straight up, having it land on his head, and then watching him giggle himself silly. He also likes any rough and tumble play with daddy.
While we were in Palm Springs, we enjoyed pool time, the Living Desert Zoo, the Children's Museum, parks in La Quinta, and eating at all the fun restaurants at The River. By far, Carter's favorite activity was watching all the trains at the miniature train "land" at the Living Desert. Forget feeding the giraffes or petting the goats, watching the tiny trains travel around was the highlight of the trip. I've never seen a child so in love with choo-choo trains. He doesn't even watch Thomas the Train on television. He just loves choo-choo trains, whistles and train crossing guardrails. Ryan and I have taken him to San Juan Capistrano, just to sit and watch the commuter trains and Surfliner trains stop and go in the station. He is fascinated!
We had no injuries or trips to the emergency room! As many of you know, that is always a worry after our Seattle trip. We had a great time in Palm Springs, and we made sure to stop and see the giant dinosaurs near the freeway on the way home. Enjoy the pictures!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
We might think that we are lucky we won't have to see Jesus's eyes personally witnessing our sinful moments, since Jesus already completed His ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection here on earth and is now glorified once again, next to the Father. However, we are missing our understanding of a very important attribute of God--He is omnipresent. He is everywhere. Though He is with God the Father, He is with us. He is with us when we tell lies, when we have impure thoughts, when we are unrighteously angry, when we are disgustingly proud, when we purposefully slander a brother or sister, and when we sit mute and do not stand up for Him--essentially denying Him much like our poor brother, Peter. In addition, we will all stand before God one day. Believers will account for and be rewarded for the gifts they used for God's glory. Those who cannot claim God as the Lord of their life will have to face that gaze without hope. They will weep bitterly, never to stop.
As Christians, haven't we all felt the intent gaze of God upon us? Don't we recognize that pang and our inward gasp when we understand His loving, patient, hurt, comforting, forgiving and encouraging presence? All at once, He admonishes, loves, teaches and encourages us with the help of His Holy Spirit. We should be utterly touched by the despair of Peter, for we have all been under His precious gaze and tangibly felt his sorrow at our sin.
What we have, that Peter did not at that moment, is the completed sacrifice of Christ. We are not utterly ruined and hopeless. We do not give up and return to "fishing in Galilee", for we know His mercies are new every morning.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy heIf we have put our confidence in Christ's work and repented of our sin, we are sure that we are forgiven. We know that gaze is one of love and help, not the judgment and wrath that will fall to unbelievers.
has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus
Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or
fade—kept in heaven for you" I Peter 1:3-4
It should give us all the more sadness when we cannot properly be obedient, knowing what Christ gave to pay for our denials and sin. May we weep bitterly when we fall short, but not utterly despair. We should run to the One who gazes in sympathy and love upon His repentant children, and weep in His loving provision. In the process, we need to rejoice at His mercy and grace. Knowing our forgiveness is complete, we should have the renewed desire to show Him our thankfulness through our obedience to Him. Mourn sin and cling all the more to the just and holy Father who loves us enough to credit us the righteousness of His Son.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Proverbs 31:26-28
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Friday, November 2, 2007
I know this post is early, but many of these events begin in early November. Plus, as party and get together invitations escalate, I know November and December calendar planning is a delicate science. Orange County is not at a loss for celebrating Christmas, or the "holidays," as many of the events are entitled. I have been to some of these fun events, so if you have a particular question, you can e-mail me or make a comment to the post. I highly recommend bringing a hot, steaming cup of hot cocoa or a Starbucks flavored concoction when you go to many of these places. Even if it is only 65 degrees out that night, bring a fun red scarf or a festive knit cap to get you in the spirit--and you'll be bound to get some cute pictures! The Hawleys go to Roger's Gardens each December, and we even got a Christmas picture out of it last year. The boat parades, driving through Nellie Gail and visiting El Corzo street are also "must dos" in the Hawley list of traditions. We hope you find some of your favorite traditions listed here, but, if you don't, and you have a suggestion, PLEASE let us in on it. Make a comment and let us know what fun event we are missing.
Of course, these activities are fairly "worldly" in focus. We hope you take time, in all this crazy season of Santa Claus and Christmas lights, to talk about the precious gift of Christ Jesus. As Christians, that is our celebration and joy, and we pray, our focus at CHRISTmas! If you don't have a church to visit for Christmas or Christmas Eve--or even attend in general--here is the website for our home church. http://www.compasschurch.org/ Merry Christmas, everyone!
The 22nd Annual Dana Point Harbor Turkey Trot: This is the only Thanksgiving event on this post. It is an annual walk/run race on the morning of Thanksgiving. There is a 5K and a 10K event. Adults cost $35.00 to enter a race if you register after November 1st. What a great way to feel okay about eating that second helping of stuffing and mashed potatoes later in the day! You can get details at http://www.turkeytrot.com/.
Holiday in the Harbor: There are three Christmas events at the Dana Point Harbor. You can find out about all of them at http://www.danapointharbor.com/Calendar.html. The quaint, local funspot is celebrating the holidays with carolers, face painting, bands, magic and juggling shows and, of course, a visit from Santa Claus. You can partake in the family fun on Friday, November 30th from 4 to 8 p.m.
The harbor will also be hosting boat rides with Santa for free. Kids can come take boat rides and pose with Santa from 10-2 on Saturday and Sunday, December 1st and 2nd. Pictures cost $4.00 if you get one. Be ready for some lines and waiting, especially if you get there late.
Finally, the Dana Point Harbor is having its 33rd annual boat parade of lights. The theme this year is "A Merry Mardi Gras". The parade runs Friday and Saturday nights on December 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th. It all begins at 7:30 p.m. If you would like to be in the boat parade, you can get on a boat through the Dana Wharf Sportfishing shop. Adults cost $25.00 and kids are $15.00.
South Coast Plaza--The 27th annual tree lighting ceremony, associated with South Coast Plaza, is November 26th at 6 p.m. It will take place at the town center park, next to the Westin/South Coast Plaza. In addition, you can come for the Santa "arrives" parade on November 16th at 4 p.m. It will be in the Jewel Court, on the first level. If you miss both of these events, you can always come later to just stroll around, shop and check out the Christmas decorations throughout the mall/shops. Santa will be there all season to visit. You can get more information at http://www.southcoastplaza.com/.
Fashion Island--We love to come here to see decorations, because it is outside and you can bundle up and hold coffee. Plus, we make it a fun night to also see Roger's Gardens (further info later in the post), which is right across the street. They will have an opportunity to take photos with Santa November 16th- December 24th. This usually requires that you buy a portrait package of some sort.
They have a huge tree that stands in the center each year. The tree lighting ceremonies are November 16th and 17th at 6 p.m. This will be in the Bloomingdale's Courtyard. They light the trees and Santa arrives. There will also be a song and dance performed by the California Conservatory of the Arts.
Carolers will be at this mall on weekends from 1 to 5 p.m. by the Christmas tree. This will be in effect on the weekends from November 17th to December 23rd. Usually they also have a Christmas train that kiddos can ride for a small price. All of these events at Fashion Island can be read about at http://www.shopfashionisland.com/centerevents.aspx.
Spectrum--The newest of shopping centers, the Spectrum also enters the season with some fun treats. They will have their annual ice skating rink from November 1st (soon!) to January 21st. It will be in the Giant Wheel Court. Santa will be at the Spectrum November 23rd to December 24th. Photo packages with Santa start at $13.95. Santa will be stationed outside the Target and H&M stores area. Like Fashion Island, this area is all outside, which makes it fun for feeling "winterish." Find out all the information at http://www.shopirvinespectrumcenter.com/CenterEvents.aspx.
Irvine Regional Park--It is time for the Christmas Train! Currently, the park is closed, as it is a maincamp for the men and women fighting the Santiago fire. Check the website, which is well updated, to see when it re-opens. There shouldn't be a conflict, as the Christmas train begins November 30th and is also open December 1,2,7,8,9,and the 13th through the 23rd. The time is from 5 to 8 p.m. The cost is $8.00 per person, but the normal parking fee is FREE after 5 p.m. You take a twelve minute train ride through the park, and see all the decorations and lights, including the tunnel with hundreds of lights at the end of the ride. You can meet Santa, and they allow you to take your own pictures with your own camera. If you forget your camera, their polaroid picture of your dear ones and Santa is $5.00. They will also be selling coffe, hot cocoa, fresh popcorn and cookies. There is also a way you can pre-mail your child's Christmas list to Santa, so when you visit, it will be right there on Santa's list. The mailing instructions and all the details of the Christmas train can be found at http://www.irvineparkrr.com/pages/calendarEvents.html. They say to dress warmly, as it does get chilly out there when the sun goes down!
Santa Ana Discovery Science Center--The science center is having an exhibition called "The Science of Gingerbread." It is through the month of December. Kids, ages 3-17 cost $9.95 (under 3 are free), adults are $12.95, and parking is $3.00. Last year, they had a snowblowing machine at the entryway, and we spent a good 20 minutes there listening to Carter laughing at the snow and the kids dancing in it. I am not sure if they will do this again, but I'm guessing they will. Find out more at http://www.discoverycube.org/.
Anaheim Nutcracker Festival--December 4th, from 3 to 7 p.m., you can go to the Center Street Promenade in Anaheim for a holiday street fair. Food, games, music, face painting and family fun are promised. You can call 714 956-3586 for more information, or you can look here.
Roger's Gardens--This is an upscale nursery/boutique type store in Corona Del Mar. It is right across the street from Fashion Island, so it is easy to combine a visit to the two places on the same night. Once you enter the store, you can veer to the left and see hundreds of ornate trees, each with hundreds of ornaments for sale. The gardens are the beautiful part. Head straight back. They have model train sets going, music serenading visitors, and photo opportunities (such as a set up sleigh) throughout the beautiful, Christmas light covered garden. The entry is free, and it is a quaint little excursion to help make the season slow down a bit. For directions and information, look at http://www.rogersgardens.com/hoursdirections.asp.
Newport Harbor Boat Parade--This is a hot cocoa must have event. Go down anywhere along the Newport harbor in order to view the sailboats and watercraft float by with Christmas music and lights. It is approximately 2 and 1/2 hours long, and it happens every night from December 12-16th. The event starts at 6:30. Dress warmly, and have beach chairs ready in the car (along with some snuggly blankets). For more information, see http://www.balboa-island.net/ehbp.htm.
Santa Ana Zoo--The Holiday Lights Festival at the zoo takes place December 21,22,28th and 29th. There will be strolling musicians, holiday crafts, and lights. For more information, the website is www.santaanazoo.org/calendar.htm.
Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade--You can pretend you live in a small town. This is a true hometown parade, with cheerleaders, mayors, bands, baton twirlers and lots of old vintage cars. Yours truly marched in this parade once or twice in high school. Join the fun on December 8th. It starts at 10 a.m. The route is Crown Valley Parkway, between Nueva Vista and the Crown Valley Community Park. Expect some road closures and re-routing that morning.
Cruise of Lights in Huntington Beach--I've never done this event, but this looks fun. It is a benefit for the Philharmonic Society. It is a Narrated cruise through the waterways of Huntington Beach. You get to see a waterway view of the Christmas lights and decorations on the pricey homes. This takes place December 13th-23rd. On weekdays, you can go at 6,7, or 8 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, the departures are at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, or 8:30. On the 17th, the prices are adults-$11.00 each and kids over 2 years-$8.00 each. On weekdays other than the 17th, adults are $13.00 and kids over 2 are $8.50 each. On weekends, adults are $15.00 each and kids are $9.00 each. Find out more at http://www.cruiseoflights.org/home.html or call 714 840-7542.
Light Viewing--Our family always has three favorite spots. We drive through all the streets of Nellie Gail, playing Christmas music on the radio and sipping hot cocoa. You can spend over an hour doing this if you drive slowly.
El Corzo street in Rancho Santa Margarita (also known as Candy Cane Lane) is the best! You park at the end of the tiny cul-de-sac and walk. Plan to be amazed. Snow machines, music, animatronic creatures and thousands of lights greet you. There will most likely be many people joining you, as it is usually crowded. You can Mapquest the directions.
Finally, Ladera Ranch is another great place to drive to see lights. Last year, we bought hot cocoa from kiddos selling it on a light laden street. Fun! Have dinner beforehand and get the little ones sleepy with a drive through the festive city.
Of course, all the amusement parks, from Disneyland, Knott's, Sea World, and the Wild Animal Park, offer some Christmas themed fun. I hope you get some fun ideas from this list. Remember to share any ideas I missed!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
So many people came! I saw a few people from the elementary school at which I used to teach, which is right around the corner in Aliso Viejo. It was also fun to see what everyone was wearing and see each child in their get-ups. I'm including a few pictures of Carter from the evening. (Ryan took tons of pictures of families in our marriage group--I'll let him show those at our Thrive group and e-mail them to the families.)