Overshadowed Joy

I received a letter in the mail today…

It was a Christmas letter Meg had sent to me from her school media center.  It was riddled with typos, but her message was clear, she was excited about Christmas and being able to send me a letter from school.  Her eyes lit up as I read it and I found myself tearing up as I gave her a great big hug.

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As she skipped off to show the letter to her daddy I couldn’t help but think of the parents at Sandy Hook Elementary who lost their children.  God how would they feel if they were to receive something like this in the mail now?  How would I feel if I were to never see another letter like this or if I were never able to hold my daughter or hear her laugh again?  The thought is unbearable and chokes me as I type…

I don’t think there is a family that hasn’t been impacted by the loss of these children.  It’s not easy to send your child to school in the wake of such a tragedy and it’s hard to swallow when you receive a phone call from the school telling you they’re locking the school down and if you’d like to come in you need to call ahead of time so someone can meet you at the doors.

How did we get here?  How do we change?

We have to step away from ourselves, our stubborn natures, and re-evaluate everything!  We have to look at our laws and the types of weapons we’re allowing to enter our society.  We have to do away with stigmas and stop criminalizing mental health so people who need help seek it out.   We have to examine how we’re raising our children, the time we’re spending and the values we’re teaching them.

I feel as though we take a lot of things for granted when the truth is we should celebrate and enjoy every moment we have in life because those moments aren’t always guaranteed to be there!  Something my brother-in-law said at our wedding keeps playing in my head and while it may sound cheesy there’s truth to it… yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift!

Hug your children a little tighter, be respectful and try to put yourself in the shoes of those parents who will have to bear the weight of a child’s casket over the next few weeks when you’re thinking about what changes need to happen.

Christmas Town, Jars Of Clay and a Wonderful Christmas Time

This past weekend we got the opportunity to meet the guys from Jars Of Clay, the popular Christian rock band from Tennessee, who were performing at the opening of Busch Garden’s Christmas Town.

It’s a funny story really…

My sister-In-Law Denise was able to get tickets to the opening of Christmas Town and we were really excited to go!

We’d heard Jars of Clay were performing at 10 o’clock and we’d planned on heading over to see them, the only problem was we were standing in line waiting for Santa!

Seriously!

We were standing in line a really, really long time and while the elves were extremely cute and really good at keep Meghan entertained…

the repetitive “just hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling ting ting ting-a-ling too…” accompanied with bird whistling was driving me completely bonkers!

To make matters worse, hubby and Meg realised the music was wearing on me and started imitating the whistling so as  to drive me completely insane, but I digress…

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It was the grand opening of Christmas Town so we fully expected it to take a little while to see the jolly old fella and Meg kept peaking in the windows to see if she could see him.

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Finally we were led into Santa’s house where we were met with more elves who led us into the kitchen to meet Mrs. Claus.

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After gobbling a few chocolate chip cookies and learning a song with Mrs. Claus we were ushered through some red curtains by another elf into a hall of mirrors.

The elf told us her name was Jingles and this was the getting cleaned up for Santa area!

Jingles asked Meg which mirror was her favorite and then did a secret knock…

 the knock was returned from the other side of the mirror and Meg’s face completely lit up when the elf on the other side revealed the mirror was actually a secret door to Santa.

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With a big smile on her face Meg quickly told Santa she wanted Olivia’s House (Friends Lego) for Christmas and promised to be good.

While it took a long time to get in to see Santa it was well worth the wait!

Meg was beaming from ear to ear while we stood outside waiting for her cousins to come through.

Hoping to catch the end of Jars of Clay’s performance we high tailed it to the other side of Christmas Town, but sadly we were too late.

Determined to continue our fun and because Meg had never seen snow before we headed over to Snow World where Meg threw her first few snow balls!

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I was so proud of Meg for being brave enough to go down the snow slide by herself although I would’ve had a giggle had hubby gone up and done it with her.

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While I was taking pictures of Meg going down the ice slide I happened to notice the guys from Jars of Clay just a few feet away chatting and taking pictures with fans.

So I motioned to Hubby and Meg and we headed over to see if they minded taking one with us.

Stephen Mason greeted us with a smile and asked if we’d happened to see their set?

Unable to lie I told him we’d missed it on account of waiting for Santa.

  He was really sweet and told Meg not to worry Santa was more important anyway!

*phew*

Stephen was just a really nice guy and we found out, while he was chatting soccer with hubby, he’s an Arsenal fan which makes us like him all the more!

By this time the rest of the band had gathered around for our picture!

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They were sincerely a great group of guys and I’m glad we got a chance to meet them!

So today for Music Monday I’m featuring a few of my favorite songs by them.

First up their christmas remake of Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmas Time!

Eyes Wide Open

Two Hands

For more information of the band or to check out more music visit their website www.jarsofclay.com

Jingle All The Way…

This past Saturday Meggers had her first piano recital! 

When we first arrived we were handed a program and Meghan quickly realized she would be third to play!

She was so nervous and so excited all at the same time! 

Meg scanned the crowd looking for her piano teacher and finally took a deep breath once she saw her walk in.

When it was her turn to go up I could feel my eyes starting to well up, but I bit my lip to keep it together.

She did such a fantastic job!

 Her dad and I both gave her big hugs and told her how proud we were of her.

Her teacher gave her a big hug and told her she did great too and for the rest of the night  she was grinning from ear to ear!

All I want for Chirstmas…

We’ve been busy the last few weeks putting up the Christmas tree…

and decorating the house a little bit for Christmas!

We’ve also been doing a little baking…

making ornaments…

 donating gently played with toys and visiting Santa!

I think it’s really easy to get wrapped up in the commercial idea of Christmas, but this year we’ve decided not to stress over presents, I mean of course we’ll make sure Moo has a few things to open on Christmas morning, but we also want to enjoy the simple things like being with family and friends, everything else is just cake!

So this week Meggers and I picked Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber (hey it’s Meg she loves the Biebster what can I say?) singing All I Want For Christmas!