Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wisemen Still Follow HIM Today!

This Christmas Season was busy and fun for the Higgins' of 5!  As we celebrated the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we were reminded of how incredibly blessed we truly are.

James stated that he didn't want to pick up the toys in his room because "The Savior of the world is coming down and I might miss Him!"  Sometimes God uses even the smallest of children to remind us that HE is what its all about.

I am reminded of one of my favorite songs by Mercy Me, I Can Only Imagine, that puts things into perspective. I would like to share the lyrics...
"I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Sun 

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine"

My mom put it best as she wrote in her Christmas letter, "At the first Christmas, Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds saw Jesus for the first time face-to-face. We can wonder what that was like, but what's more important is what it will be like when everyone (past, present, future) will see Jesus face-to-face when He comes to earth again."


So we began our Christmas season volunteering for the Angels of Light. Our church has been doing Angels of Light for many years and has it organized so well. There is opportunity to volunteer in many ways.

Each campus collects toys throughout the year for a specific age group. For example, our South campus had boys age 8.  The actual event is 5 days long (the first week of December). Each campus is in charge of one night. We sign up on committee's such as toys, greeting, food, bus captain, prayer, etc. Our family helped out with the toys.

The schedule works like this... Inner city families are bussed into our main campus church where they are greeted first, watch a program, hear the message of Jesus, eat a Christmas feast, and receive a present or two. So the night of, Ashlee, Sydney, James, Darrell and I showed up to wrap presents and distribute them onto the seats of the bus where the kids would find them when they got back from the program. Such a blessing to serve the Lord by serving others!

Sydney AKA toy runner
The Higgins' of 5 was full of music and song throughout December.  James sang in the GIGL (Growing In God's Love) nursery choir. To listen, just click:
Sydney sang in the children's choir for the last time...sniff. To listen, just click:

And Ashlee played her trumpet in her Winter Band Concert. To listen, just click:

The kids and I have a tradition of baking Christmas cookies each year, but decided to do something a little different this year. We made hot chocolate cones and white chocolate peppermint popcorn for the teacher and neighbors. They came out so cute and it was such a big hit with the teachers that I think we might do it again next year.

The other project I had going on was picture frame photo gifts for all the grandparents and my lucky sister...because I love her so! ;)  I took 8X10 B/W headshots with my camera, paint, canvas', ribbon, scrapbook paper and a little modge podge and ... VIOLA!
We were so excited when we found out that cousin Andrew would be staying the weekend with us. The boys are only 5 weeks apart in age and hit it off instantly! Playing ...and fighting ... just like brothers. They were two peas in a pod.

We went to the Odom Christmas gathering at Aunt Muffy's house this year. She had everything decorated so beautifully and the food was delicious! We missed Mom, Dad, Susan, Travis and the kids as they were away at Alyssa's soccer competition. But it was wonderful to catch up with the Odom gang.

We took Drew to "The Really, Really Big Christmas Show" which was AMAZING!  There were acrobats, dancers, singers, you name it!  All dancing and singing on stage, popping out of the audience, and flying through the air. Just a spectacular production put on by our church.
While the two peas played outside on the 4 wheeler, James took the opportunity to "fix" it. I HAD to take a picture!!! LOL!

The next day was our Christmas Open House at church. Each bible study class was in charge of decorating a candy house to represent one of the old houses in the historic village of Williamsburg, VA. Our class spent something like 30 hours on it.  All of them turned out absolutely beautiful. 

They had one "unfinished" house that they allowed each kid that walked through to help with. So cute!
After we visited the village we went to the sanctuary where they had different activities and presentations for the visitors, such as dancing and singing groups from throughout the community. We have some very talented people around here in this town!

Ashlee and Tori were in charge of the Christmas tatoo station. 

James' favorite station was the cookie decorating table! Mine was the ornament making!
But the best of all was the Smores outside! James made his and found a perfect spot to indulge!

Sydney and James got hyped up on sugar and decided to play Rock Band in the youth building. Good times!
The night was so fun and spending it with friends made it perfect!
So then we all hopped into the car and went camping!  Yes, it pretty much went just like that. Darrell and I discussed how it would be fun to take the kids to the State park about 30 minutes from our house. We looked it up online and saw that there was a vacancy at one of the cabins and we booked it. 

The next three days contained biking, hiking, cooking out, campfires, and family time!
Sydney drawing in her art book
The campfire that Ashlee worked diligently to keep alive
Bike trails and hiking trails were so fun.
And of course the afternoon nap was a key piece to our day.
Right after the bike trail!
Anyone for a game of CLR?  A game even our youngest family member can play!
Our pet squirrel that lived in the attic of our cabin
Then finally the big day arrived...Christmas Eve! We met with friends and family at church including my bestie, Monica, her husband, Roger, and his Dad (which was a sweet surprise). Darrell's sister, Jamie and family, as well as Mom and Dad Higgins' also came to be with us for the candlelight service. 
James and best friend London
Gary Thomas, Christian writer and author, gave an awesome message on this Christmas eve. His overall message was that God wrote the bible for us and the main character was Jesus, throughout the old and new testament. But... He didn't retire as author after that. It tells us in Revelations that He is still writing. He is writing our personal biography.

Gary pointed out... "What will He read to us when we come before him?  What did we do with our life that God will see important enough to write about." Wow! I never thought that way before. What have I done (or will do) in my lifetime that will impress my biographer...GOD! 

After the service we returned to spend time with the Higgins' at Mom and Dad's house. Jamie, Dan, Amanda, and Emily were there. Susan, Travis, Alyssa, Ava, Aidan, Andrew were all there.

We were all there except for sweet Ashlee. She left for East TX right after the church service to spend time with her family there. That's alright though because we got to do Christmas a day early with her and spend time in a family devotion at home just the five of us while we opened our immediate gifts and the Hoenerhoff-Carter gifts. Then we made a special lunch trip to Grandma/pa Higgins' house for her to celebrate opening gifts from the Higgins'. Good memories made!

Uncle Dan was properly harassed by the boy cousins.
Ashlee opening her gifts at Christmas eve lunch with Grandma Higgins.

YES! Cars 2 movie!  Thanks Aunt Susan, Uncle Travis, and my cousins!!!
The traditional chaos of opening gifts at Grandma's.
The oldest of the cousins...aren't they beautiful!
We stayed the night at Grandma and Grandpa Higgins' Christmas eve night where Santa came to visit. Christmas morning, after we found the gifts that Santa brought, we packed up the car to go spend some time with our Powell family.  
Mimi and Grandpa Powell relaxing on Christmas day!
We all met at the Mercer's house where we had good food and conversation. We talked, laughed and us ladies even got in a game of old fashioned Scrabble.
Aunt Jennie and Darrell comparing their new technology.
But the biggest moment of the day was when Grandpa Powell was introduced to a spectacular gift from the Powell/Mercer clan. An incredible restoration of an old photograph that Grandpa Powell had of the ship, The Mason, that he lived on from 1950-1952.
Grandpa's smile...priceless!
Jenny presenting the photo restoration of "The Mason" and the Golden Gate Bridge in 1950
Pointing out exactly what he would do on the ship.
And so this brings us pretty much up to date. Ashlee is in East Texas. Sydney and I are relaxing at home, catching up on some reading...and blogging.  Darrell and James are in West Texas with friend Glenn, son Garrett and daughter Lauren. They are riding 4 wheelers on the ranch, having campfires in the sand dunes and hunting birds.

James and Garrett
The gang getting ready to ride.
Pale Rider and Easy Rider
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

"When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh,
my I then in Him be found clothed in His righteousness alone, 
faultless to stand before the throne."


"Muffyjo" said...

Awesome blog post ~ i enjoyed reading it and looking at all the fantastic pics. Love you!

Aunt Charlie
aka Muffyjo on the web :)

"Muffyjo" said...

Saw the latest just now on your blogpost, and thoroughly enjoyed myself reading about the Higgins' family escapades and frolic. What an uplifting blog and unique family! I am proud to be a part of your lives.

Aunt Charlie aka Muffyjo on the Web