Archive for December, 2010

Best. Christmas. Ever.

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Every Christmas is wonderful. It’s not the presents under the tree, the food or the traditions that make a wonderful Christmas. Every year, Jesus is celebrated. Every year, we reflect on the greatest gift ever given. Every year, we rejoice in the birth of our Savior. I just can’t seem to “rate” our Christmases because they are all precious to me. However, the Jobe kids universally declared that 2010 was “The Best. Christmas. Ever.” I live with teens now so this was an “epic” Christmas. It ruled. It was “pure awesomeness” for a multitude of reasons.

#1. We had a gorgeous tree. I’m a dummy and didn’t get a picture of it, but really, it was symmetrical, huge (11-ish feet), and only $25. I could write a whole post about my tree, but in summary and in keeping with the teen talk, we “scored.” The day after Thanksgiving as we were driving home from spending time off the mountain with family, Anna, my fifteen year old daughter, read a friend’s facebook status update and informed us that this guy’s family had trees for sale for $25. I envisioned a family tree farm and thought, “Sure. We’ll support our friends.” So, we pulled over at the designated location and were surrounded by big-eyed boy scouts shivering from standing in the freezing cold trying to sell the last of the bailed trees that had been donated to benefit their troop. I’d not envisioned picking up a bailed tree on the side of the road from some scouts. We live in the mountains. We typically do hay rides and meander through Christmas tree farms in pursuit of our yearly tree. We don’t buy them unseen or uncut. But neither my hubby nor I could say no to the boy scouts ready to tie slip-knots and secure the last of their trees-for-sale on our huge 12-passenger van. Daniel said as the scouts got to work, “Honey, I’ll just throw it in the woods when we get home if it’s ugly.” It wasn’t ugly. In fact, it was gorgeous. We could not believe it. The. Best. Tree. Ever. All for $25.

Pot holders for Ma Boo.

#2. We stayed home. Neither of our families are local, so often we travel on or around Christmas, but not this year. We missed seeing my family, but because my parents lived with us for six months as my dad waited for his heart transplant, we were blessed to have more time with them this year than we’ve ever had. We enjoyed the slower pace of celebrating Jesus’ birthday at our own house.

Converse socks and ear warmers from Uncle Stephen

#3 Family came to see us. Christmas Eve, Daniel’s parents and brother arrived and attended our Christmas Eve service with us. Anna and Christina danced and it was beautiful. Having Ma Boo and Grandall and Uncle Stephen  with us Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and for breakfast on Sunday was special indeed.

#4. We didn’t lose power. Last year, we had an ice storm and were without power for 48 hours. We ate cold bread and drank Sprite for our holiday meal. We couldn’t play new Wii games. We were freezing. We couldn’t flush potties. We couldn’t take showers. We slept in the den all together and Esther didn’t like it. It was not the best Christmas ever.

#5. Though we kept our power, it snowed. Yes, we had a white Christmas – a gorgeous white Christmas. Peaceful. Beautiful… About a foot of the pretty powdery stuff… not the dangerous icy stuff.

#6. The children had no wrapped gifts from their parents. They were a little worried. Even on Christmas morning, Christina questioned me, “Seriously, Mom, did you really not get us anything?” This year we gave each child two gifts and neither of them were “wrap-able.” The first is a promise to see Tim Hawkins, a hilarious Christian comedian, live in March. Many evenings we’ve spent as a family laughing at his you-tube videos. All of our children love him! They’ve never been to a live show such as this and are so looking forward to it! The second gift is family season passes to Carowinds, an amusement park two hours away. Instead of unwrapping their gifts, the children played Wheel of Fortune to guess the gifts in puzzles. This was a total blast and took about thirty minutes on Christmas morning. Once they figured out the puzzle, they were absolutely ecstatic! Our large gang doesn’t frequent amusement parks often. We’re all looking forward to some special family times ahead on roller coasters and water slides!

Our Wheel of Fortune guess the gift game

Carowinds Season Passes

#7. I didn’t shop in any malls or stores. None. Tickets were ordered online. I baked a little. I made my parents and in-laws picture calendars. Staying out of the stores made for a much more peaceful me.

#8. The children, however, shopped for one another. Five siblings (Esther didn’t give, but she received) X 5 gifts each, meant that even though mom and dad didn’t put gifts under the tree, there were still 25 beautifully wrapped presents. This is the first year they’ve done this and I must admit, I loved it. They spent time thinking about one another and were good shoppers. Anna styled little brother up a bit. Nathan bought perfume from Bath and Body Works with Bethany’s help for big sisters. Sarah patronized the dollar store and selected everyone’s favorite candy. Sweet. Very sweet.

Presents... all bought by the children for one another

Precious Esther

#9. We read Jotham’s Journey every day of Advent. I highly recommend this sweet story. From the website of the author:

After running away from his father’s tents in a moment of anger, ten-year-old Jotham has lost his way, and his family. As he journeys through Palestine in search of his nomadic home, Jotham is helped by a fool, a priest, a zealot and a wise man. Chased by a gang of thieves, thrown from one “foster parent” to another, Jotham slowly discovers the miracle of the first Christmas, and some miraculous things about his own life and his own family.

Written as a devotional for parents to read to their children during Advent, Jotham’s Journey unfolds day by day until the exciting climax on Christmas Day. Each day’s installment of the story is followed by a short devotional which will challenge your family to share in Jotham’s discoveries.

My children all enjoyed our evening time together reading this Advent story!

#10. We gathered with friends Christmas night and played new games. Some of our dearest friends who live in our neighborhood invited us over and we so enjoyed our time of fellowship with them! The children think next year we should invite a family over to our house for games. They’d like to see this become a new tradition! Enjoying some time with dear friends after an already perfectly wonderful day was just “icing on the happy-birthday-Jesus cake!”

Game time with friends

My children say this was the best Christmas ever. I disagree. The first Christmas was the best ever 🙂 However, this one was special. Very special. Maybe even epic.

Mom Heart Conference

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Sally Clarkson is one of my favorite authors and speakers. I think this is the third time I’ve mentioned this on my blog. Several years ago, a group of ladies met in my home as we spent two years reading and discussing Educating the Wholehearted Child. We learned so much as we read Sally’s encouraging advice to home schooling mothers. I cherish those memories.

Sally once was a speaker at the NCHE Conference, our state’s annual homeschooling conference. Not only did I attend all her sessions, but I bought all her talks on cd and listened to them, lent them to friends, and again, was encouraged. At the same conference, I picked up her then new book, The Mission of Motherhood. I enjoyed it so much, I proceeded to buy 20 copies to give to every new mommy I knew. To this day, it is my favorite mommy book. No rules. No parenting philosophies. Just encouragement.

Her newest book, Dancing With the Father, was a Christmas gift that I bought myself. When ordering Odyssey CD’s and my husband’s Bible from Family Christian Stores, I couldn’t resist slipping in this one special mommy book just for me.

So… I am thrilled that Sally will be in Durham, NC for a Mom Heart Conference March 4-5th. It’s important to be reminded that motherhood is a high calling. When I am struggling with my mission of being a mother, Sally reminds me to turn to Jesus. The more I do so and the more I pray for wisdom, the more I enjoy and cherish each moment I have with my children.

I can think of no better winter get-away than a Mom Heart Conference. You can read about it by clicking the icon below. I am going to try to attend! Let me know if you are too!

Here With Us

Friday, December 24th, 2010

What a beautiful service we had tonight on Christmas Eve! The Christmas story was told and worshipful music sung. Candles were lit and held high to the final verse of Silent Night. A message was given. And my girls danced.

When our worship pastor asked several weeks ago if our girls would like to dance for this service, they accepted –  thinking their wonderfully gifted dance teacher would be able to work with them on the choreography. She comes to our house on Mondays for a class she teaches in our basement to some home schooled students. However, weather didn’t cooperate with our Monday dance plans. For three consecutive weeks, the icy roads prevented Ms. Rebecca from helping them. I told the girls, they’d have to do it themselves and they gladly took on the challenge. Hearing them discuss how to portray Christ here with us through movement blessed me the entire month of December.

I hope it blesses you too. Enjoy!

Christmas Card, Anyone?

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Our Christmas card doorway... and Daniel hiding behind his computer in the background.

Have you noticed the traditional Christmas card is slowly becoming extinct?

Once upon a time Christmas cards were the thing to do in December. I looked forward to receiving updates from friends nearly every day in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Those cards were part of Christmas for me. Across my doorway, I’d hang them and marvel at how festive they appeared. Many years I needed more than one doorway to display them all. Not any more.

I blame e-mail. More and more letters began to come my way in digital form. I succumbed to the fast, easy and cheap e-mail cards over the laborious, expensive and old-fashioned snail mail method myself for a few years.

Now there is facebook. Who needs a yearly update when you can click on over to your “friend” of twenty years back and see that they “checked in” at Target twenty minutes ago and just uploaded the fourth album of the month updating all who care of their most recent family vacation?

There are a few Christmas cards over my doorway this year, but just a few. Most of them are from really close friends who know that I cut off the “card” part of the family Christmas card/photo and keep the picture part. My fridge is full of pictures of people I love. If you send me a picture of your family, it will not be thrown in the trash 🙂

This post sounds like I’m complaining, but actually I’m not. I’m really busy in December and I’ll admit that over the years, I’ve taken the “pressure” to get a decent picture of our massive family for all our friends off my to do list. I’m a stickler for adding to the scrapbook so I did write a letter… but one I could print and maybe one or two of my friends would stumble upon – not one printed on pretty paper and mailed to everyone in my address book. I did, however, order some photo cards.

You know you want one!

I came across a deal… 60 photo cards for $4.50 which included free shipping. I decided to take advantage of this and ordered our family beach photo my dear friend took when we vacationed together last fall. It’s the closest thing to a professional picture we’ve ever had made. After looking through my address book, I decided to order both under my e-mail and Daniel’s so I could have 120 pictures for $9.00. Now, that is a lot of pictures! I didn’t need more than about 80, but getting 120 was cheaper than getting what I needed so I decided, “This will be a Christmas card year for us!” I could give them to anyone who remotely cares and have a stack of these wonderful pictures to give to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren one day.

I made a mistake. One of the orders I did right. All information on the card website was correct. However, I pushed “send” before realizing that the other order had the wrong state name in my address. Oh no! I sent the company an e-mail and called customer service to no avail. After two days, the “correct” order arrived. Several days passed and the other order obviously was lost, and I gave up ever seeing it. Sixty cards really was enough and spending $9.00 for them wasn’t a bad deal. Future generations would just have to live without them.

Much to my surprise, yesterday the shipment arrived. The address was indeed incorrect, but the zip code must have trumped the wrong state! After bringing in my order from the mailbox, I checked my inbox and received an e-mail from the picture company. Customer service was quite apologetic about my inability to reach a “real” person. “We are going to refund you the entire cost of purchase as well as reprocess your order. However, it most likely won’t arrive before Christmas,” I read.

They were wrong. It’s Christmas Eve and at 7:30 this morning, Fed-Ex rang my doorbell. I now have 180 Christmas cards of our family all for $4.50. The problem is, I don’t have 180 friends who’d care to have a photo of us, no matter what my friend count on facebook says. I don’t think even future generations will know what to do with all these pictures. Five of my children and my husband are participating in our church’s Christmas Eve service tonight. I may just sign up to be the greeter and hand one to all who attend!

Christmas card, anyone? I’m serious. This year, I’m doing my best to be counter-cultural. I have cards and will send!

Merry Christmas!

2010 Christmas Letter

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends! I hope you are all able to take a little extra time to focus on Jesus this season – truly the greatest gift ever given!

As I reflect upon this past year, I am full of gratitude. I’m thankful for many things but restored health is at the top of my list – especially for my dad who received a much needed heart transplant last Spring. Before his surgery, he and my mother moved in with our family so that they could be near Charlotte, the nearest city to their south Georgia town where he could have a transplant. The time my parents lived with us was a time of sweetness, yet also a time of

Our small group gathered around Dad's chair. He was in the hospital and sent the heart pillow for us to sign.

much anxiety. For five months, in the midst of a trial, the Lord gave our family extended time to be together and much grace.  Normally, out-of-town grandchildren are able to “put on their best behavior” for a few visiting days a year to see family. For that matter, grandparents and parents are able to do the same! For the first time in my children’s lives, they were able to “be real” with Nana and Pop. We lived life together. We laughed, cried, and yes, at times, showed our “at-home-and-not-visiting” sides. I consider that a blessing because I’ve longed for my parents to really know my children. Through our time together, we all grew very close. My parents also met many of my friends and were embraced by them. Our church and small group prayed with and for them. Our cell phones were always kept nearby because at any time a much anticipated phone call requesting we be in Charlotte ASAP could occur. We worried. We waited. And we wondered if the call would come before Daddy’s worn out heart might stop. When asked what she wanted for Mother’s Day, my mother replied, “For Byron to have a new heart.” Her wish was granted! Just as we sat down to a lovely Mother’s Day meal, that phone call came! Now, Daddy, while still facing some health challenges, is recovering well and enjoying the miracle of his new heart.

Mom and Dad after Dad's surgery.

Our family has so much to be thankful for. Our children are growing and healthy. Christina, one year ago, had leg surgery to correct tibial torsion, a twisted tibia that she’d had since birth but was not discovered until it began to cause her pain in adolescence. What began as a limp developed into a loss of her ability to even walk without severe pain. It was right after her surgery that my parents moved in with us. We are so thankful to live during a time that such things can be corrected. When asked what she was thankful for this Thanksgiving, Christina replied, “Doctors. Without them, I’d be crippled.” This is so true, and without them, my daddy would not have a new heart.

Yet, even greater than a fixed tibia or a new heart is the precious gift of our Savior. He gives new spiritual hearts to all who turn from their sin and believe in Him. This truth has become very real to me this year as I have prayed and prayed for restored health for my dad. Someone, who lost his life, was able to bless my daddy with a very precious gift – one that cannot be bought. And by this gift, my daddy’s earthly life has been extended. We are incredibly thankful. Yet, even still, all of our lives are merely a vapor. (James 4:14)

However, for those of us who know Jesus, our lives are eternal! He came to us as a tiny baby and those who believe will not perish! There is no greater gift! May we all come and adore the Christ child this Christmas and always!



Precious Poems

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

This is one of those “for close family and friends” posts. I’m posting my birthday poems for those who’d like to read them because many loved ones were unable to hear them at my surprise party. These are precious to me and I appreciate the thought each of you poured into writing them. It was a joy to laugh and explain such fun family times to my friends Sunday night. For those of you who were able to come, thank you. I know the weather conditions were scary that night! Jobe family, I love our special poems/songs tradition for special birthdays. What a treasure these are!

From Grandall, my father-in-law:

This is for you , Tina Sue,
And it comes to you from Randall and Boo.
You swept away our son, number one,
Because of your enthusiasm for fun.
We know you left the home of a preacher
To become a real certified teacher.
We noticed that public school caused you to moan
And finally start a school of your own.
And over the years we’ve watched it grow
As you’ve carefully brought it in tow.
From one, to two, to four, to six
Of Mother Hen’s little chicks
And with all that you’ve become much bolder
As steadily you’ve grown somewhat older.
Yes, we’ve seen you become more mature
As you’ve assumed the role to be secure.
They say this is the year that life begins,
And you certainly have no reason for chagrin.
So all this experience by the time you’re forty
Has certainly become your forte.
Happy Birthday,

From Ma Boo, my mother-in-law:
Sung to “O Tannenbaum”
O Tina Sue, O Tina Sue
We are so thankful for you!
O Tina Sue, O Tina Sue
We are so thankful for you!
You came into our family
And brought us joy and ecstasy!
O Tina Sue, O Tina Sue
We are so thankful for you!
You came to us at Thanksgiving
Not knowing what you were facing
A third degree from younger Paul
A question asked with much gall
“What do you have in mind for him?”
Words thrown at you- such a whim
You said you had in mind to eat
This meal with him and others.
And then there was that fateful day
When the whole family would say
That you were right for him, our son,
Our eldest son, our Daniel
Now here we are in 2010
Some 19 years and counting
We are so thankful you have stayed
And now your birthday’s coming!!
O Tina Sue, O Tina Sue
We are so thankful for you!
(**everyone sing!**)
O Tina Sue, O Tina Sue
We are so thankful for you!!
Happy Birthday and Much Love,
Ma Boo

From Stephen, my brother-in-law:
Here Comes Tina Sue!
(to the tune of “Here Comes Santa Claus”)

Here comes Tina Sue!
My, the time – it flew!
She is forty today!
Can’t believe it’s nineteen years
Since that Thanksgiving day
Daniel brought her home
To meet the fam
To see what we would say.
We’re happy to state
Things have turned out great
Since we voted for Tina that day!
She had “Aussie Mega” big hair that
Smelled like Dimetapp,
Still their friendship grew!
They got married
And decided
To have a child or two!
Tina cooks and cleans
And teaches things
At home with girls and boy.
She drives them ‘round
All o’er the town
And considers it all a joy!
Tina’s forty now!
Please don’t have a cow!
She’s just not that old!
She grinds her wheat
And makes her feet
Run even in the cold!
We’ll never name
All the great things
She does for everyone dear.
Let’s celebrate
That she is great
At forty! It’s worth a CHEER!!

And from Daniel:

Dearest Tina, you’re 40 years old
Allow me to be somewhat bold
Many friends gathered here
Have all passed that year
And think you need *not* be consoled.
For half of your life now, I’ve loved you
And back in the year that we met
Just to hear a guitar
You wouldn’t go into “that bar”-
Underage!?! But I didn’t fret.
We had ice cream, instead- sat outside
After conversing quite long over dinner
Your future plans, love for the Lord
So much to say- never bored
I knew who I’d found was a winner.
Fast forward from then until now
Years of marital bliss- nigh 19
Life in Boone, lots of friends
Parenting- never ends
Our children are 6 true bless-ings!
So we gather to wish you the best
The joy you are, I can truly attest
So I’ll say it right now,
Go ahead, take a bow,
‘Cause of you, we are all richly blessed!

Daniel’s made me cry. I was only 20 when we met and 21 when we married. Could that really have been half my life ago? It was and I am incredibly blessed.
My birthday came after a very busy weekend. My children hardly had time to eat, much less write poems for me. However, Bethany found the time and her poem is precious beyond words.

Click to enlarge to read.

The thirties were wonderful and I thank God for the many blessings that decade brought my way. Yet,  I am thankful for this new season and I embrace it! I love my husband more than I did ten years ago. I have two more children than I did ten years ago. Most importantly, I love my Lord more than I did ten years ago. He is God over all my days and I trust Him for what lies ahead.

My December Birthday

Monday, December 6th, 2010

It’s that time of the year…

The past two weeks we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving with Daniel’s family. We’ve tried to keep up with school work. We’ve had a band concert. All six children participated in a Christmas ballet, Immanuel, The Promise. We’ve decorated for Christmas. We’ve continued our music lessons. We’ve attended some very fun social events. We’ve enjoyed being a family. We’re reading a wonderful book at night called Jotham’s Journey – a precious advent story that leaves the children exclaiming, “PLEASE don’t stop reading! What happens next?!? I love reading good books together, especially at Christmas time!

Still to go… a piano recital, a choir concert, two Monday nights of gavel club, a family ball, our Christmas Eve service in which two of my daughters are dancing, and of course, Christmas Day!

I have not cleaned my house in two weeks. My desk is a mess. I need to go to the store. I’ve not done my yearly Christmas letter. I’ve not bought a single gift. I’ve not made a single Christmas cookie. I have, however, made a cake with Bethany for Jesus’s birthday party that our small group was suppose to have had tonight.

But we didn’t. No, instead, my husband pulled off a huge surprise party for my 40th birthday, which is coming up in just a few days. I was very blessed. Folks are busy in December and I certainly didn’t expect our annual Happy Birthday Jesus party to be a Happy Birthday, Tina party! Something about that just seems wrong but Daniel has assured me that Jesus is ok with it. My dear friend, Laura, insisted our small group party would be at her house and I was thrilled not to host after a full weekend of ballet! When I walked into her lovely home tonight, I first noticed a table full of beautiful food – not typical of our casual small group meetings. Before I could get my thoughts wrapped around the need for such a spread, many of my dearest friends in the world in unison exclaimed, “Happy Birthday!” Was I surprised? Yes, most definitely!

My in-laws and brother-in-law sent in poems and songs, a Jobe family tradition for special birthdays. My friends shared sweet memories and words that I will cherish as I enter this new decade. Thank you, sweet friends and family, for making my day special! I love you!

And Jesus, I have whined in the past about having a December birthday – the busiest month of the year; a month that is hard to find a day to celebrate me. Sounds pretty self-centered when I put it that way. Yet, having a December birthday is an honor. Christmas music plays. Storybooks lie on my table about your miraculous birth. Angels adorn my tree. Red and green are all around – reminders of the greatest gift ever given and everlasting life. And it is during this time, that I turn a year older. Thank you for my December birthday. And thank you, this year, for sharing your cake with me!