Monday, December 26, 2011

Celebrating Christmas as a family of 7

Christmas Day
  We celebrated Christmas in our humble little home. Then we saw family and went to Grandma's house and celebrated some more. Very blessed! Even if we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning cleaning!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve and the eating of the final nativity calendar chocolates. Lots of excitement abuzz!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Newest member of our family

Yes, the Phelps family always seems to be GROWING!  Meet Otis, on the left.  He and Koda are brothers, both black labs.  Koda is thrilled with a playmate and we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to bring his brother home.  Odie is Otis's nickname and so I've already gotten the dogs mixed up.  I might have to just call them Kodis!  They'll both come.  : )
They are so beautiful!!  Sweet, sweet puppies.  We are so grateful to our friends, the Harchariks, for giving them to us!  Come and visit them often!  They are playfully chasing each other outside now after having been given a treat to SIT for my pictures.  Good dogs.  They round out our now family of 11 if you include the long time kitties, Bessie & Tinkerbell...who are none too thrilled about the dogs.  Ha!

Receiving Love, Giving Thanks, Having Joy

Recently our family has been on the receiving end of all kinds of love.  A group of our friends sent us on a Weekend to Remember getaway here in town, and also took all of our children for two nights and two days.  It was the first time we were away from them overnight in our 11 years of marriage.  It also was the weekend following our anniversary.  What was included was a date night to a fancy restaurant in Old Sac., morning Starbucks giftcards, Gas cards, specific instructions on what we were not allowed to discuss on our weekend together, Cash for lunch, etc. etc.  The FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage conference was so amazing and beautifully timed in our lives.  It was, without a doubt, the best weekend we've had in many years and we learned a lot about "oneness" in our marriage but also about receiving from God and giving selflessly to those He loves.  Which is everyone!

In the following weekends, we received a hugely wonderful gift from a local bible study group of which a dear friend is part of.  They were doing something called "40 Days of Love" and decided to find a family to bless for Christmas.  Our name was among the nominees and they all voted on us.  I'm still trying to process the gift and Royce and I are beyond words grateful.  They showed up with huge bags of wrapped presents for everyone in the family, along with a gift card which is going to allow us to take each child out shopping for another one, and there was also a coupon for a free turkey!  What they didn't know was that we had NO idea how we were going to pull off Christmas this year.  We have been obedient to not worry too much, God always finds a way to take care of us.  He is ever so faithful.  When you do things for others, especially around Christmas, it is such a powerful statement of love.  I'm not sure if anyone from that bible study will read this, but I'm writing because I felt completely moved toward gratitude and sharing it with others.  Our plan is to bring out all of those gifts on Christmas morning and share the gift of giving and the story behind it with our 5 little people who are going to be so excited on Christmas morning... thanks to some pretty awesome and selfless givers.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone who has given so much to us and shared so much of yourselves with us.  We are truly, truly blessed and pray that we will in turn be a blessing to others.  Thank you.  We could not find more joy in our present circumstances without the lavish grace our God has bestowed on us, and amazing Love we receive from His Son Jesus.  Thank you for being Jesus' hands and feet.

  A picture of Royce and I on our special date night - Happy Anniversary, My Love.