Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Twenty-Five Days Of Christmas

I love Christmas. December is my favorite month of the entire year. I always try to soak up every moment of this season of magic and warmth. So this year I have started a new tradition! Credit for this wonderful idea goes to (a website I highly recommend because it is full of beautiful things and inspiration.) (a website I do not recommend because you will become addicted and it will suck hours away from your life!) It's a clever twist on an advent calendar. We count down the days until Christmas but instead of getting candy there is an activity or treat for every day. The kids are loving it and are quite anxious to get out of bed and come downstairs each morning! This is what our list looks like:
Bake cookies - What a lovely, delicious, mess we made!
Decorate the tree - Damian and Eliana had their picture taken while
picking out the tree and made it into the local
Holiday Stroll downtown - free cookies, a visit with santa, and so
many Christmas lights. The kids and I
had our picture in the paper for this
too! Owensboro loves it's Schoonmakers!
Christmas craft day - Now I know why I don't regularly do crafts with
my children. My house was a glitter
Check out Christmas books at the library - We also got to make
Unwrap new pajamas to wear to bed - So far this was the favorite.
Feetie pajamas rule!
Eat snowman pancakes
Visit the holiday forest at the art museum
Daddy's super secret surprise!
- I don't even know!
Shop for teacher presents
Santa scavenger hunt
Picnic in front of the Christmas tree
Browse Christmas decorations at the mall
Christmas food surprise in lunchbox
Play Christmas games
Walk the path of lights at Legion Park
Act out the Christmas story
See daddy perform in the Christmas play
Panther Creek's drive through light spectacular
Unwrap a new book to read at bedtime
Christmas movie marathon
Eat cookies for breakfast
Snowball fight

Open presents!!
Road trip to Uncle Aaron & Aunt Ashley's

If you read this whole post you must really love me! So, this is how we are squeezing as much merriment as possible out of this Christmas season! Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Silly Songs and Flagpoles

Last night our boys performed at their school. The kindergarten and first grade classes had been hard at work on some silly songs to sing for their parents. The boys were so very excited and literally sang to us. By that I mean they constantly looked at us to see our reaction and to make sure we were paying attention! At this particular school they have a kindergarten theme song. Ethan learned it last year and Caleb sang it with his class last night. After the kindergarten class sang it through once, the music teacher invited the parents down to sing the song with their child. This began a lively debate between the husband and I about who was going to make a fool out of themselves in front of 100 people. I won (I guess?) and stood next to my son. The look on his face when he saw me was worth every ounce of embarrasment I felt. I'm pretty sure on the awesome mommy meter, I am currently off the charts. Here are the words of our silly song:
Tootie Ta
(chorus) A tootie ta, a tootie ta, a tootie ta ta
A tootie ta, a tootie ta, a tootie ta ta
Thumbs up, elbows back, feet apart, knees together, bottoms up, tongue out, eyes shut, turn around...(chorus again)
**Yes, I did all the cheating for this awesome mama.**

In other news, this morning was See You At The Pole. This year was the first time my boys attended. It was, I pray, the first of many meaningful flagpole moments. Now, I realize we live in the Bible belt but my boys school went above and beyond the normal on this day. In the school newsletter there was a 1/4 page write up on SYATP and an invite for parents to join in. Last night at the concert the principal spoke about it and invited everyone's participation. We explained SYATP to the boys last night and they were excited and hopeful that all their friends would be there. A few of the older students ran the short service along with one of the teachers. First order was the pledge of allegiance, then a scripture reading from Matthew. The most meaningful part for me was the prayer time that followed. The teacher who directed this had broken out the Lord's Prayer into sections and written a prayer for each section. These were read by the students. These were not your cookie cutter, "Lord bless our school" prayers. These were prayers that "everything we do in this school would glorify You.", "Protect us from the influence of the evil one." "Let Your presence be evident in our classrooms and hallways." I was overwhelmed with gratitude that my boys attend a public school where there are some strong Christian teachers. A school where the principal not only allows this to happen but also participates and fully supports it. What a blessing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Last night Damian and went to a Hillsong United concert. I was bursting with excitement. Not only do I love Hillsong United, but Damian and I haven't been on a date since Christmas! We were so very close to the stage, waiting happily, when it happened. Up on the screen flashed the announcement that photography was not allowed. What!? Those of you who know me at all, know that I capture life, days, moments through the lens of my Nikon Coolpix. I was quite upset and planned a little rebellion. I changed the setting on my camera (no flash required) and stealthily took a photo as soon as the band came on stage...I deleted the photo by the end of the first song.

I was convicted. My heart attitude was so very wrong. God couldn't possibly speak to me the way He wanted, my worship to Him would not be a sweet smell, if I was plotting deceit and planning rebellion in my heart. It may seem like a small thing, but to me it was huge. I struggled. However, I am glad now that I was able to focus solely on Jesus and the powerful words of the songs. I would never have entered in to His presence to the depth that I did if I had been worried about getting the perfect shot.

The name of United's recent album and their tour is Aftermath. This past year there has been a lot of wreckage in my life. I have dealt with self-condemnation, betrayal, loss, loneliness, depression, and disillusionment. Now I am in the aftermath of this wreckage. But I have a big God. A God who can take the devastation that is my wreckage and turn it into a beautiful journey. A God who loves me enough that He walks with me through the deepest, darkest moments. A God who sustains me when I simply cannot take another step. And last night He met me. In an arena with thousands of people, it was just me and Him.

"Fly. You are in the mire no longer. Fly." This is what He said to me. I am set free. Free from fear, from sadness, from worry, from the past. I can live, truly live again. There is no way for me to put into words just exactly what transpired in my heart last night. I cannot begin to express how it feels to be in the presence of the Almighty. It defies imagination. What I can tell you is that today I feel lighter. My heart is no longer bleeding. I am beginning to feel pure joy again. Out of the ashes I have found Love.

The skies lay low where You are. On the earth you rest your feet. Yet the hands that cradle the stars are the hands that bled for me.
In a moment of glorious surrender, You were broken for all the world to see. Lifted out of the ashes, I am found in the aftermath.
Freedom found in Your scars. In Your grace my life redeemed. For You chose to take the sinner's crown as You placed Your crown on me.
In that moment of glorious surrender, was the moment you broke the chains in me! Lifted out of the ashes, I am found in the aftermath.
And in that moment You opened up the heavens to the broken, the beggar, and the thief. Lifted out of the wreckage, I find hope in the aftermath.
And I know that You're with me. Yes I know that You're with me here. And I know You're love will light the way.
Now all I have I count it all as loss but to know You and to carry the cross. Knowing I'm found, in the light of the aftermath.
*Hillsong United*

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Who Needs an Alarm Clock?

Someone needs to teach my children that summer vacation is made for sleeping in. 5:00 AM. I wake up to find Caleb's nose a mere inch away from mine. "Mom, is it morning yet?" Groan. "Sort of." "Great!" he says as he crawls into bed with me. Eliana wanders in whimpering and rubbing her eyes. She lays down on my chest and whines, "Blankie! Nap!" Well, if you want to take a nap...go back to your own bed! Running footsteps alert me of the approach of the big boy. "Target acquired!" Uh-oh. Ethan takes a flying leap landing directly on my bladder. Ow. Knees in my ribs, elbows in my face. Is this a bed or a wrestling ring? Damian is snoring. Really?! Why am I the only one feeling the morning love? And how can he sleep through all this noise?! "Mommy needs to go potty." Oh, apparently that is code for pig pile on mommy! Giving in to the inevitable I wrap the three of them in my arms, squeeze, and shower them with morning breath kisses. Sleep will wait, my lovies will not.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Summer Memories

Lately I have been feeling compelled to document my childhood summertime memories. This desire mystifies me because grown up Shawna is not a fan of summer. I am a cozy sweater, roaring fire, snowy night kind of girl. Perhaps it's watching my own sweaty and giggling munchkins soak up the sunshine. Perhaps it's that I miss my family and as a result have been dwelling in happy memories. Whatever the reason, I have decided to yield to it and give voice to long ago summer days.

My sister and I had what I consider to be the ideal setting to grow up in. It was a small town, and we explored every corner of it. We lived on the same street for most of our growing up years. The neighborhood was light on traffic and heavy on front porch visits. We were safe and free to roam.

Summer was innocence and warmth and bare feet. We gave ourselves up to it with complete abandon. We performed acrobatic feats on monkey bars that were a little too high and a little too rusty. We did cartwheels and somersaults in short shorts and tank tops, not yet knowing we were supposed to feel self-conscious about our bodies. Freshly laundered clothes hung from the clothesline and waved to us in the hot breezes. We feasted on onion grass and ice pops and sun tea. We adorned ourselves with crowns of wild flowers. Our hands and feet were streaked with earth and we had not a single care in the world.

We learned lessons that I hope to teach my summer sweeties: Neighbors should be know. Getting dirty can be healing. Play can be a balm to a hurting heart. A cold glass of iced tea and a front porch are an invitation for good conversation. The purpose of each day is simply to enjoy it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Middle Child

Caleb, middle child, who will you be when you grow up? Today you are a happy helper. It's so sweet to watch you share a toy with Eliana in order to make her stop crying. Or volunteer to help Ethan find the latest thing he has lost. I can always count on you to help me put the dishes away and "deliver" everyone's food at mealtimes. Today you are my cuddlebug. Always curling up in mommy and daddy's laps. Giving out hugs and kisses to your brother and sister. It melts my heart when you say, "Mommy I love you 100!" There is so much love in your little four year old self. Today your faith could move mountains. When someone is sick or something goes wrong, your first response is always to pray. And such fervent prayers! "God. Please help all the bad guys to start loving you. Please. Please. Amen." (This was prayer was offered up after we drove past a jail in town.) And you never doubt that after your prayer, it is done. I love (and am a bit envious of) your depth of pure, innocent, faith. I pray that is something you never lose.

Caleb, my sweet, loving, faith-filled, joyful little boy...I love you 100 too!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


New year's resolution: Let my creative self out to play more often. Write. Photograph. Sing. Be inspired. Here are a few things that have been inspiring me lately:

1. My children. They live in a world where magic is unquestioned, dreams are limitless, and everyday holds the possibility of a grand and glorious adventure!

2. Christmas. A twinkling, glittery, fire-lit, ribbon wrapped, shaken up snow globe of happiness.

3. Old things. Old things are fascinating. Peeling paint, yellowed pages, twisted metal, abandoned and decrepit buildings. What stories lie dormant within them?

4. My brother-in-law. He is an expert on the world of imaginings. He also has the enviable talent of taking the everyday mundane and writing about it in a way that captures you and makes you wish you were there.

5. The sky. Always constant, yet ever changing. Beautiful in all it's fluffy cloud, blue, sunniness. Stunning in it's velvety blackness punctuated by shimmering stars. Devastatingly lovely in the midst of a storm with angry slashes of lightning and water color clouds.

So please tell me, where do you find inspiration?