Friday, December 30, 2011
Here we go....NYE is approaching which usually means lots of resolutions and desires to "change" something. A few years ago, I decided not to practice any resolution; because I was irritated with myself for never carrying it out. However this year, I think I'm going to try to adopt a resolution and do my best to stick with it. Okay okay...I have to admit that I will be cheating a little, because my resolution will HOPEFULLY be accomplished in the next few weekends. It won't be a year long, or a month long endeavor. Are you ready to hear what it is....hold your breath....it's quite exciting....here we go....I am going to clean my house! :) I know, I know, I know....it's so exciting....I can hear your applause and imagine the excitement on your faces! ;) Don't get me wrong, I clean my house on a regular basis....actually the whole Payne Train cleans our house; BUT....since I've started a job some things have piled up. I am going to "unpile" them....with the help of the family of course. We've already completed much of this and I have a few more closets to clean out, a refrigerator to clean out, and then the big one.....THE GARAGE! This is the most exciting, because I have a little shop next to our garage where I keep my crafty stuff and use to make all the things I would sell. With NPayne's help....lots of his help....we are going to turn that shop into a working studio for my photography business! Again....I see the excitement on your faces and hear the applause! He even bought me some studio lights to use when I need to take photos indoors, which lately has become much more often, with all the newborn sessions I've had! I'll keep the progress posted. You will be amazed!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
We returned home tonight from the Christmas Eve church service followed by dinner and gifts with my mom. When we were walking up to the house, with our hands all full, I saw something on our porch....and I said "Ought oh"....not in a negative kinda way....but in the....well what do we have here kinda way. My response immediately stopped everyone in their tracks waiting to see what I was saying "Ought Oh" about. When I said...."I see a gift on the porch" nodding my head towards it, Drew said...."Mama, that's not an ought oh, that's an oh YEA!" There sitting on our porch was a beautifully wrapped gift made up of 3 individually wrapped gifts. We went inside and emptied our hands, and I started searching the gift for a tag. I found the tag and read it aloud. It said, "The Payne Family - A family who exemplifies the true meaning of Christmas and family!" There was no name signed on the tag. Then I handed out the gifts and let the kids begin to open them. The first gift opened was a train puzzle. I immediately thought these gifts were from someone who knows us pretty well....since they knew Cal loves trains. The next gift opened was a Lego game, and while I was checking that gift out; two of the girls pulled out VISA gift cards. When I saw them, my mouth fell open; and I was completely speechless. NPayne and I locked eyes wide in disbelief....there were FIVE $100 VISA gift cards....$500 in VISA gift cards. At first I thought, we can't accept this kind of gift; but then I thought about how carefully someone had planned this out....trains and five gift cards-one for each child. My brain was a flurry thinking....who would have given us this gift and also thinking about the words on that gift tag. I was overcome with emotion....not just because of the gifts which were so very generous....but mostly because of the kind words expressed on that gift tag. I try so very hard, each holiday season, to keep the focus on the baby....that sweet baby that was given to us so long ago. And tonight when I read the words "a family who exemplifies the true meaning of Christmas", I felt like the effort I make was noted. I thought that maybe someone felt so thankful for the greatest gift of all that they decided to pay it forward in the best way they knew how. I still keep wondering about who left us that gift, and I may never know; but I do know that we will pay it forward too! Thank you Our Heavenly Father for the greatest gift of all....the LIGHT OF THE WORLD!
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
This morning, I was startled awake....expecting NPayne to lean over and give me a goodbye kiss as he headed off to work. Instead, I opened my eyes to a distressed look on his face and these words...."Are you going anywhere today?" With one eye open and trying to figure out what he was asking, I think I said...."I don't know!" He asked if he could drive my truck to work, because his car was smoking! "It needs that belt replaced, it won't make it!" is what I heard next. I said, "Okay!" and sent him off to his 30 minute drive to work. As I lay there, I thought about the things I was going to do today, which really was nothing of significance, except just getting the kids out for a bit. I have a few gift cards, and I thought we might go out for lunch; but we can do that next week. I lay in my bed, with the house completely quiet and thought about all I had to be thankful for.....only one more child to buy for....we should be able to cover that....I'm glad my car is working; so he had a way to work....at least we are on vacation, so we aren't stuck with one car while trying to figure out how to get us all where we need to be and how to pay for it. I kept seeing NPayne's distressed face, and I know what is going through his head....he's frustrated and discouraged. It seems like we get two steps up and one BIG step back, but what I know he is most discouraged about is the fact that he hasn't bought me a gift yet and the fact that my birthday is the day after Christmas. He always waits until the last minute....that's how he rolls. I know he's wondering how he is going to buy me something for Christmas and my birthday, how he's going to buy his mom something, how he's going to buy his sister and her beau something. I know it's discouraging when you have plans and they don't turn out the way you wanted....that's happened to me too many times to count this year! What I also know is that I've already received my gift..... the gift of love from my family, the gift of love from my friends and of course the gift of love from my Savior. So NPayne if you're reading this, just know.....I've already opened my gift!
Do Everything In Love
1 Corinthians 16:14
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
As I drove my little girls to the movies yesterday, I listened in awe as they talked about Christmas, Santa, Jesus. The excitement that filled the car was overwhelming, and the Christmas spirit shone brightly on their sweet little faces. A few years ago, we simplified Christmas a lot....we have never bought our kids lots of stuff for Christmas....they each get one gift from us. Of course Santa does bring them ONE gift also, and then they get a gift from both of their grandmothers. They get a gift from their cousins and aunts, but NPayne and I do not get them a lot of stuff. We don't need a lot of stuff, and to be quite honest with five kids....five gifts is a lot of stuff already! Anyway...a few years ago, we simplified in our commitments and decorations. We only put up our tree and stockings, we said "No" to many events that would have been fun but also would have been "one more thing on our plate". Since then, we have kept it simple. NPayne, however, always always always puts lights on our house. It's nothing big and fancy, but it looks nice and puts big smiles on the children's faces. This year the weather has been so bad, and we realized that none of our outside lights were working....so....there were no lights. Cal kept asking "Dad, when are you going to put the lights on the house!" I offered to go get some, and then NPayne told me he didn't want to buy any right now; because we had forked out a small fortune on repairing not one but both of our cars in the last two weeks....his Christmas bonus was spent on car repairs and not where it was intended on gifts for the kids. I didn't argue with that, but secretly I was a little sad each time I drove up to our house and saw our lovely Christmas tree all lit up in the window but no lights outside surrounding it. I was mostly sad for the kids....especially Cal. I was disappointed that we had to use the Christmas bonus on car repairs, because that would mean once again a Christmas without funds for me to buy NPayne a nice gift. I always get him something, but it's usually just socks and underwear....I know....I know......you're jealous...contain yourselves! This year, I had big plans; but those are on hold. I had already bought him one gift....not socks and underwear....something nice but not too exciting. My main gift will have to wait...his birthday is in January, so I'm hoping to get it then. Through my discouragement and disappointment, I started thinking about us a few years ago and what we would have done....if we had had to spend this large amount of money on car repairs a few years ago....we would have had nothing left to purchase gifts for anyone or even groceries for our family. I told NPayne and really truly felt thankful that we had the Christmas bonus to use, and that I have taken a "full time" job this year; so that we were able to repair our cars (NPayne's still needs some work, but it runs), purchase our kids gifts, and still have groceries until next payday. I won't lie....our financial situation has been bleak for many years....and we have had a rough time getting by for the last several years...when we gave up the credit cards, we still have to manage our money and budget very carefully, and we don't have a lot in savings but there is a little in savings; I am thankful. I am thankful, thankful that we have a house to live in, that we have cars to drive, food to eat, clothes to wear, coats to wear, water to drink, children to support, money to donate....I am thankful. It may not be a lot, but it's a lot to us; and it's a lot in comparison to so many in the world who don't have a house to live in, cars to drive, food to eat, clothes and coats to wear, water to drink, children to support, money to donate. It's a lot....a whole lot. We were driving home from the store on Saturday....the five littles and me....when we drove up to where we could see our house....guess what we saw..... lights sparkling on our house. There weren't as many as NPayne usually puts on, but there they were. He found some in the garage....leftover from a Christmas float he helped with a few years ago, and they were perfect...simple but perfect!
Sunday, December 18, 2011
We wish you a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!
This was the back of our Christmas card this year.
I'll post the rest in another post coming soon!
For now, I wish you a blessed time during this very special season!
Enjoy your family!
Enjoy your friends!
Enjoy your life!
And celebrate the greatest gift of all!
Thursday, December 15, 2011
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I have written about longing for heaven.....not in an "I can't take it anymore and wish I was dead" kinda way....but an "I can't wait to be in the most wondrous place there ever will be with MY SAVIOR surrounded by utmost joy, peace and love" kinda way. I read "Jesus Calling" today, and the devotion was about this very subject. Sarah Young wrote the following:
"Your longing for heaven is good, because it is an extension of your yearning for Me. The hope of heaven is meant to strengthen and encourage you, filling you with wondroud Joy. Many christians have misunderstood this word Hope, believing that it denotes wishful thinking. Nothing could be farther from the truth! As soon as I became your Savior, heaven became your ultimate destination. The phrase hope of heaven highlights the benefits you can enjoy even while remaining on earth. This hope keeps you spiritually alive during dark times of adversity; it brightens your path and heightens your awareness of My Presence. My desire is that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!"
That about sums it up, don't ya think? After I read this today, I thought about it all day. I was driving to do some shopping tonight and I had a huge realization....and I don't mean this to sound boastful or proud or be misconstrued in anyway....but this is what I realized: My life on earth is not perfect, and there are struggles; but my life on earth is wonderful and fulfilling and good. And sometimes when I experience heaven on earth moments, it overwhelms me. So I realized that if my every day life....even amidst the struggles....is this good, then HEAVEN....WOW....I can't even imagine the joy and love I will be surrounded with there. I was overwhelmed by this realization so much so, that I had to pull my car over to compose myself; because I was sobbing with such a joyful heart. WOW....I can only imagine!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The lists are out, the piles are growing, the To Do's are increasing; but I am hitting the ground running! This is the time of year when I have notes on my computer calendar, notes on sticky notes on my desk, notes on my phone, notes in my planner, notes in my purse....tons of notes....so I won't forget anything. The Christmas gifts are nearly all bought, or so I think...but sure enough there will be a some arise that I didn't remember. The Christmas letter is written and waiting to be stuffed in the card in the envelope which are almost all addressed. The baked goods....well....not yet, but that is on the calendar for Thursday! WOOHOO! The donation cash for teacher's gifts and class parties....it's still sitting in my bank account waiting for me to withdraw it. Thank goodness payday is right around the corner. Then I stop and see this....and I remember all these tasks, all these things to do, all these cards and gifts and donations....they are not the necessity!
Thursday, December 8, 2011
The Christmas card has arrived....I have begun addressing envelopes and have already written the annual letter! My hand hurts, but it's okay; because I love Christmas cards. I find that ironic, since I don't love Christmas....I like Christmas; but I don't get giddy over it like many do. I do love me some Christmas cards though....send me one with a photo, and I'll save it forever! Now for what else I've been working on.....Pay Close Attention....there is a clue below about the theme of our Christmas card this year!!! ;)
Saturday, December 3, 2011
I went to a memorial today, and it was sad. I saw my pastor cry, and it was sad. I saw the family cry, and it was sad. I saw the teachers, I was sitting next to, cry; and it was sad. I saw the 6 year old little boy....who lost his mommy....flipping through a hymnal and drawing throughout the service; and it was sad. Although he didn't seem sad, I was sad for him. I love the perspective of children, and I kept wondering what he was thinking....as the pastor talked about his mother and the life she had led. I wondered if he had the same perspective that my Bryna did when my Lifelong friend lost her newborn baby.....I'll never forget what she said so matter of factly that morning as I cried....she said, "Mommy, why are you crying? He went to be with Jesus!" She never stumbled or wavered...she said as if that's that. It's so true....so true....so why do we cry when someone dies, and we know they are with Jesus? My pastor Ken said it best.....the sadder you are, the more you loved! It's natural to be sad, because you loved someone or they meant something to you or they meant something to someone you love.....I didn't know the woman who died very well, but I know her 6 year old little boy; and that's why I was sad! All the while, I hope he will continue to color and play and think...."Why are you crying? She went to be with Jesus!"