Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby Jesus

Christmas season brings many joys as well as many sorrows.

There are those who can not afford to buy their children the things they would like to.

There are those who can not afford the beautiful decorations and lights that make Christmas so special. Some would love nothing more than to celebrate with a big Christmas meal....but they do not have the means to provide this.

There are those who would choose to celebrate with family....some sometimes family members live at a distance, sometimes family is separated by anger or misunderstanding....sometimes it is the financial aspect that keeps them apart.

Then there are those who have suffered great losses, loss of jobs, friends or family members. The beauty of the season seems to elevate those feeling of loss or sorrow.

On another note, Christmas can and should be the season of great joy! It is the time of year when, most visibly, we can see God's love for us. He sent his son into the world for us!

Christmas is also the season of great joy and rebirth. We celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. This was no ordinary child. His birth brought great joy to the world. The brightest star stopped just over Bethlehem to point the way for all who were looking for this special child.

"She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for Him in the inn"

There were shepherds in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel appeared to them and they were afraid. An angel of the Lord said, "Fear not for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. Today in the town of David, a savior has been born to you and He is Christ the Lord"

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly hosts appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and peace to all men"

Jesus....the reason for the season. Happy Birthday Baby Jesus. I am so very happy you have come!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Look For The Light

"If it were not for the darkness, we would not see the light."

Jesus came as that one little light in the world that was so very dark. It was filled with our mistakes, our failures, our dark hearts, and it was longing for a Savior.

Jesus is the reason. He is the light. He has come and He has changed mankind forever.

5 years ago, we were so very sad. It was to be our last Christmas with Mom. She came from the hospital that day, to be with her family. She sat in her recliner and just, grandkids, great grandkids, eating, singing, talking, laughing...Imagine all that she had begun. She gave birth to 9 of the most amazing people I know. I love my brothers and sisters so much. We all have such busy lives and it is so difficult to all be at the same place at the same time. It was a tradition forever that we all met on Christmas Eve. After Mom left, it stopped feeling like Christmas. Dad had passed away many years earlier and Mom kept the tradition alive. We knew we would be together on Christmas Eve, and most of us made that happen. As our families have grown and kids have gotten married and have their own extended families, the tradition became more difficult to uphold. We have tried to have "Christmas" at New Years, sometime earlier than December 24th, sometime later, but we kept trying. It really has been a tragic loss of tradition.

My sister, Ginny, "the peacemaker", and I were in discussion one night and we both talked about how we have been"missing Christmas". It has not been the same without our parents, but at least we had our tradition. She said the most amazing thing......."Mom died, Christmas did not"!

We love this picture of Mom. It was taken the year before she passed away. At school the other day, one of my students asked about this picture. "Who is that?"

My reply was, "OH, you don't know about my mom?" I thought I had talked about her so much that EVERYONE should know her. This new group of students did not know the Mom stories. That made me sad.

I told them how she was an artist, like me, and that when she was very ill, she began giving her things away. She would tell me to take her blue jeans to a woman who made quilts and rugs from denim. She told me to take her fleece to another woman who made blankets for babies in other countries. She told me to take her clothes to the women's and children's shelter in Sioux Falls. She knew about mothers with children and how hard times made it difficult to clothe them, and she knew, sorry to say, about women who did not have the financial support they needed to survive. She gave her shoes to the children in other countries through a shoe drive at the school. She had seen children on TV without shoes! She had me "regift" all of her unopened gifts to friends and family. She was so giving!

In her legal will, it was stated, "give all of my art and craft materials to Carol and her students at West Lyon School". I hauled boxes and boxes of craft materials. It has been 5 years, and many students have benefited from these supplies, and many more people have been the recipient of handmade gifts made with her supplies.

For these new students, who did not know my Mom stories, I took out what is left of the wooden cutouts and we had a painting party today! It made me so incredibly happy to share this with them! They loved it and so did I!!!

Mom died, Christmas did not!

Mom loved these little country cut outs! She had samples and pattern pieces neatly packed in separate shoe boxes. We are down to the last 3 boxes now, and still enjoying her gift.

Students painting up some JOY!!!!

Each students chose several cut outs to paint!

Painting made them so happy!

Nikki was serious about her work!

I know I deviated from the original idea for this post, but I have been know to do that, OFTEN!
The real reason for this is "The Light" See it! Live it! Enjoy it! Know the reason for it!

Christmas lives on....Thanking God for His Light!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

'Snow Place Like Home

Snowed in at Grandma and Grandpas.... coloring, baking, fighting, pretending, cuddling, games, eating, playing "cars", making ramps, making cards for Grandma Elaine, looking at the blizzard through the windows, snuggling, taking pictures, more eating, playing "babies", staying warm and dry, cheering for the plow, then scooping, sledding, laughing, and having hot cocoa.

Thankful all are safe and warm and there were memories to make....

The Snow Man
-Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
to regard the frost and the boughs
of the pine trees crusted with snow

and have been cold a long time
to behold the junipers shagged with ice
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
of the December sun; and not to think
of any misery in the sound of the wind

in the sound of a few leaves
which is the sound of the land
full of the same wind
that is blowing in the same bare place
for the listener who listens in the snow
and nothing himself beholds
nothing that is not there and nothing that is-

Monday, December 6, 2010

I am in Love with a Boy

a warm winter coat...
a brown one please.

Oh, and a little something to play with would be nice.

I do not know your name.
I don't know anything about you.
I do not know where you live, but I love you.

This giving tree thing really got to me this year. My daughter and I chose 2 tags from the tree. We did not try or realize it, but as I shopped, I realized that the two tags we chose just happened to be for the same child. Our little sweetie is 3 years old, he needs a warm brown coat, size 4 and a little toy. I shopped with love for this little boy whose parents can not afford these things we take for granted. I am so blessed by him. The hat and mittens were not part of the request, but this Grandma wants to make sure you are warm. How blessed it is to give...

I love you and I don't even know who you are.
Have a warm and wonderful Christmas.
Enjoy your family and your gifts.
Love you, Grandma Carol

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

He Knows Your Name

Baptism- An outward and visible sign of what we believe God is doing in our hearts-a washing with water to demonstrate cleansing from sin-

And of children-"To such belong the kingdom of God. He calls us as brothers and sisters in Christ and today, we have gained a new brother and he became part of our church family."

I believe that actually happened the moment we learned of this child.

He isn't old enough to know what is happening. He isn't old enough to make this decision on his own, but he is a part of our church family and has been since we learned about him. We have waited for him, we have welcomed him, we have surrounded him with our love and support. He is ours and the love we feel for this little boy goes deep.

What can this church family do? We can bring him as completely as we can into the family of Christ. We can help him and nurture him and teach him and welcome him and love him.

Now imagine that much acceptance, excitement and love multiplied beyond our imagination! That is how much his heavenly Father loves him. God knew about him before any of us did. God loved him before we could have. God saw him being formed in his Mother's body. He knew Joshua before he was!

"...You saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16

I had the honor of singing for Joshua's baptism and the words to the song are so amazing! It was chosen especially for this day by Joshua's mama. I was unable to retrieve the song to add it to my playlist, but check it out if you wish on YouTube. It is called "A Mother's Prayer" by Rachel Aldous. You will be blessed.

My sweet baby, on loan from above

No greater treasure could I more love....

God's richest blessings to you, Joshua and to your Mom and Dad. They love you so much. They have prayed for you. They have waited for you, and now, they welcome you with love.

Our church has been going through some major growing pains, lots of changes, and some concerns come with that. Who would have thought that this one tiny baby would bring us together like he did?

Sunday morning, there was so much love in that room, hugs and tears and smiles and laughter and song, all combined...just as it should be. Joy came down in the form of a baby all of those years ago. Maybe baby Joshua has a job to do here, even at his young age.

Thanking God for new life, for love and for this tiny little baby, Joshua Jeffrey Nelson......welcomed with love!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I have told you stories about the Cell Phone Guy before. He graduated from college with a student loan in tow, marched himself right to the bank, wearing his business best suit and tie, presented his business plan, and was granted a business loan.

In June 0f 2009, he opened The Cell Phone Guy in Sioux Falls

Above his office door, perfectly cut by his wife Christi, is one simple word, but that one word says it all...."FAITH" . It takes faith to put yourself out on a financial limb with nothing to back you up but your desire, your degree, your intelligence, your stubborn will, your loans, your family and friends and your FAITH!

Faith is now leading Tyler to another store, another financial limb, another challenge and he is carrying his faith with him. He has moved only 1 block to the West but it is a big jump for a young entrepreneur! God has smiled on this young man. He has found a beautiful wife and has a beautiful home and growing business. He thinks about his wife and his family and his future, he thinks about his employees, he thinks about traffic, he thinks about location, he thinks about his business neighbors, and he thinks about providing the best service he can. He keeps his stubborn eyes on his dreams, but does not lose sight of the ONE who has brought him this far and the ONE who walks this journey with him.

This is our Cell Phone Guy, with a little creative editing from, with that smile that lights up the room. I am so proud of you Tyler and I wish you all of God's richest blessings! Love you Forever!!!!