Friday, December 27, 2013

Sparse Christmas Capturings

The lens on my camera is tragically jammed so I have zero of my own photos from Christmas :(   But my sister's handy iphone captured some moments for us!

Grumples in his little Christmas hat

Our 2013 Christmas was really wonderful.  I love how this season made us dig deeper into reflection and celebration.

 Christmas eve (my favorite!!) was spent with my family and we chowed down on delicious cheese fondue and appetizers followed by hot chocolate and driving to see Christmas lights!  It was such a relaxed evening and such quality time.

The fondue dippers-veggies, tart apples, carrots, bread plus there were tamales, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, and more!

My mom is the literally the stocking-extraordinaire and WOW-ed us with her stuffing skills and generosity.  Our stockings are seriously the best part of Christmas morning!  Presents and breakfast with my family and then a hour drive down to see Ryan's family for the afternoon on Christmas Day.

We saw had a yummy meal and opened more thoughtful, generous presents with everyone.  My absolute favorite part of the day was when our almost 3 year old niece asked to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus.  How sweet!!!!  

So we did and her pure love of baby Jesus was the most beautiful part of the day.

Does anyone else besides me and my mom tear down your Christmas decor like less than 24 hours after the big day?  By 1:00 pm on December 26th my house was clean from top to bottom and not a single piece of Christmas decoration was left.  Ahhh, it felt so refreshing to have a clean house newly organized.

Linny and I Christmas morning.  I felt like such a hipster in this selfie moment.

This week with Ryan off from work and me on break from school we have some snow tubing, time outside, house projects, dates, friend time, and relaxation in order.  Looking forward to it and welcoming in 2014!

Grumples helped clean up.  By standing on the dishwasher and licking each plate clean.  Gross!

Monday, December 23, 2013

An Approach to Christmas

Our approach to this season has been intentional and relaxed.  A peaceful Christmas is what we're hopeful for.  And honestly such a slow pace, has been so special.


Hot chocolate and double gloves were on the check off list with my mom and Grumps for a 2 degree Denver Parade of Lights a few weeks ago.  
For Life Group we hosted the simplest White Elephant/Ugly Christmas party ever (I didn't even clean the floors and everyone brought an appetizer to share).  
All Christmas gifts were ordered online in September-for serious...
Our nights are filled with friends over for dinner, weekends with family, or slow nights with the fireplace roaring and a Christmas movie playing.

We even took an entire evening (and got Grumps a babysitter) to go on our annual Christmas Date.  

We ventured to the Colorado Christmas Symphony on Saturday and it was magical.  My favorite restaurant of all time, Beatrice & Woodsley, was our dinner spot and we didn't even order until 9:15 pm!  Our conversation wove through dreaming about 2014, reflecting on 2013, and digging into each other's hearts.  I love the my thoughtful, romantic husband!  

Inside the restaurant-could it be more romantic?via

Yesterday our hearts was so so full to attend Christmas church with some of our coolest siblings (they are all cool honestly) and my mom.  I just nodded through the whole sermon--"He came because of our mess.  The reason we have Christmas is because we are messy."  

Hallelujah, amen.

Jesus wasn't born in a perfect nativity scene.  He was born in a dung crusted barn to two teenagers that were at the middle of a religious scandal (the whole "God got me pregnant line" wasn't cutting it 2000 years ago).  Jesus' birth scene wasn't wrinkle-free and perfect.  

It was messy and real, and scandalous and humble.

 We just felt so refreshed after church being reminded that if we were perfect God wouldn't have put on flesh.  There would be no Christmas.  He came for the sick, not the healthy.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Corinthians 12:9

That's how we are attempting to approach Christmas this year.  Remembering that it's JESUS' birthday-not ours.  We celebrate him best when we love on people, spend quality time with Him, and live His gospel of peace.  

Man, Jesus is just everything we will ever want or need and I am so grateful.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful CounselorMighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

So Merry Christmas, to you.  If you aren't perfect, join the club. We could be the presidents of that club!  Jesus came for the sick and the messy and died on a cross in your place for every time you were/are a mess.  For us, that's all the time.  Jesus' greatest desire is relationship with you and he's so radically willing!  Submitting your heart and life is the most peaceful, joyous decision you will ever make.  Because you aren't healthy and can't do it on your own.  That's a fact because we have tried.  It won't hurt to ask, try this...


We are hopeful that you let God enter into your mess.  Nothing would bless him more on HIS birthday.

Merry Christmas from the Deckers


Monday, December 16, 2013

December Whereabouts and Such

A few items bullet style!

#1  My brave and persevering husband is one of three finalists for the Great Comebacks Award!  We are quite giddy about this and feeling very honored to be considered.  

In a very tin nutshell that won't do the organization justice, Great Comebacks... raises awareness about IBD's and ostomies as well as encourages and empowers the community by lighting up the success stories of those thriving after an ostomy surgery.  Phew!  How cool?  

He was nominated from an essay I submitted about his tough journey last year and his story unfolding today.  Be sure to check out the website and marvel at how cool people with ostomies are.  Updates to come...

Um, yes.  He IS the coolest man ever.

#2.  Our little baby Grumples (Grumps, Grump-a-doodle-doo, Grumpster, G-Money, etc) is such a sweet little man.  We adore this furball.  He has hit a really strong stride in obeying and not pooing in the house.  Win!  

This is excellent training for kids in about 6 years.  

Sorry mom.

#3. Rest is about the most beautiful thing in the world right now.  I am so grateful for these days off from class to read Christmas books, cook (chili for us tonight), clean, have long quiet times with the Lord, walk Grumps, and nap.  AHHHH!  Slash I also get to have breakfast mornings with my mom, enjoy coffee dates with sweet friends, and have niece/nephew sleepovers.

#4.  This article.  So many thoughts and very enlightening.  Toss your judgements now, people.  This is Why Poor People's Decisions Make Perfect Sense

#5.  Our hearts are always growing for adoption and this video (who we found out features a friend's sister!) just about did us in.  We wept.

#6.  I'm thinking about doing a free bathroom makeover on my break.  To do or not to do...I think do!  Pictures to come! It will literally be like a 24 hour thing I'll do one Tuesday when I'm feeling particularly motivated.  

Our guest bathroom is offensive in it's ugliness.

#7.  Anything Christmas-y on your lists this week?  We have a very special, secret Christmas date this weekend which I am just about peeing my pants over.  Not kidding!  


#8.  And this.  Beautiful, no?


#9. Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

1 Down!

My first quarter of Nursing School is of the past!  Wow that is a mind boggling, beautiful, praise-worthy reality.  

Breakfast fuel for a busy day: oatmeal, apples, pumpkin seeds, and almond butter. 

I finished my last final this morning after a 72 hour tornado of papers, quizzes, tests, and last minute homework turn-ins.  I actually grumbled the whole way home because for a brief moment in time it was thought that one of my grades drooped a bit but I was wrong!!  

Was there ever a happier moment than to realize that? Attitude check much?  Thank you, Lord :)

This last season has been so full of God-ordained new friendships, learning far more than I ever believed could be fit into my brain, and stretching in new ways.  The Lord is such a good gift giver and Nursing School is among the greatest gifts.  There is nothing else I would rather be doing.

This tiny man doesn't really help me study but he gives me motivation for breaks!

P.S.  This might be TMI but every month we praise the Lord that I am not pregnant...can you imagine pregnancy in a program this intense??  It shant even be thought of.

Can I just share something here?  Let's all just take a minute to stand gape-mouthed in wonder at my husband's support, the Lord's strength, my mom cleaning my house, and one fabulous study group...each propelling me to finish the quarter with a 4.0 GPA. Say wha???

I'm so proud of that but not in a gloating way...in an overflowing heart way that it was not a work accomplished on my own.  Dang, the blessings are just drowning me.

Hey studly husband who is the greatest supported and encourager of all time!

I did work my butt off to make the most of our resources and time but sweet Moses I would have starved to death if my husband wouldn't have cooked for me and failed my classes if he wouldn't have quizzed me each week.

Christmas in the kitchen-makes me want to bake and watch Elf again...and again...

Phew!  So the rest of the month is hopefully one of rest, community, activities in the mountains, and a finally truly clean house.  Amen???  Gosh I can't wait to just soak up the Christmas season and be filled.

Now a nap is required.  For the realz.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Post of Good Cheer

Well it turns out getting a puppy and then having our state hit temperatures colder than the North Pole = we freeze our butts off potty training!

Grumps actually head butted his way back into the house the other day because it was so cold and promptly took a huge diarrhea dump in the warmth of our house.  Not kidding.

We do love him... :)

Our week has been full with Christmasy events, small group, finishing my first quarter soon, work, and staying warm.  How about you?  Stay warm!

I am a prisoner of hope...
Zechariah 9:12

Pot pie made with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving.  Nothing more delicious in the universe. 

The Lion King moment 

How my husband makes me breakfast! 

Jengle bells, you are so swoony 

Ah the calm before the storm.  Grumples likes to wake up like a tornado and chews up my tree skirt but not before peeing on it twice.  Puppy chaos is our life.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Our Thanksgiving [in pictures and captions]

How was your Thanksgiving??  Ours was a stunner-a big win all around!  

Are you a Black Friday person?  The day after Thanksgiving we always put up Christmas decorations.  So if Black Friday means I'm in yoga pants drinking bottomless coffee with Christmas music blaring, then yes, I am a black Friday lover.

Our post-turkey-coma weekend has been pretty rad so far.  Benihana's birthday party with two of our favorite friends, brother-in-law bowling birthday celebrations, and anticipating a day of being filled tomorrow at church.  Still thankFULL and grateful.

Onto pictures...

Table set for 10 guests-a relatively small Thanksgiving for our house. Thanks for the decorating help and napkin folding ideas, Linny!

So much delicious food!

This plate was a winner.  Turkey, rolls, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casserole, and green bean casserole.  Plus unpictured chocolate silk pecan pie and pumpkin pie.

Me and my handsome boys.  Linny and Justin look dapper as always.

Then this swoony short dude showed up.  GAME CHANGER!!  Holy cow he was the hit of Thanksgiving.  If you weren't holding him you were giving the jealous stink eye to whoever had him.  

Xander is such a scrumptious little munchkin.  Who flexes in his newborn sweater vest.

Like I said...everyone was obsessed with him.  Including my mom who is dying for grandkids.

Was this day fabulous?  Why, yes, yes it was.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving DAY: ThankFULL

I've been up with an 8 lb fur ball since about 5:15 am this morning.  So it seems only appropriate that this holiday morning I write a post while said furball is now konked out asleep in my lap.

Puppyhood.  We dig it!


Sweet little Grumples came home Tuesday evening and we are totally smitten with the little guy. Seriously, he is the cutest dog in the world.  He's a goldendoodle: black poodle dad and golden retriever mom.  Curly and soft as can be with giant paws so pretty sure he's going to be enormous.

I am dying for our niece Rilyn to meet him because I know they will be instant best friends for life!  I can just hear her now, "Grumples miss me!"

So we are full of thanks for the fun gift that Mr. Grumples is to our home today!

Since Grumps wanted an early wake up today our day started with steaming mugs of coffee, reading out of Psalms, and letting the sun slowly fill our living room. 

We welcomed the chickens into the day and cleaned up accidents :)  And started off our Thanksgiving with a slow, deliberate pace.


Ryan will be up soon to pull the turkey out of the incredible brine he made (apple cider, orange peel, peppercorns...mmmmm)  and I'll start whipping sweet potatoes and crumbling cinnamon and butter for a crusty top.  We're attempting to recreate some world famous mashed potatoes that grace every Decker Thanksgiving but not sure how it's going to go...some things just can't be duplicated!


We know there is so much delicious food in our future today and lots of sweet family to fill our home.  Today is a beautiful lull from school and some breathing room in our schedule. 

 Ahhhh.

Happy Thanksgiving--we are FULL of thanks today!

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.

Song of Solomon 2:4

P.S.  Remember this  Saudi Thanksgiving (grocery carts filled with homemade goodness being pushed down the street...)  Only in the middle east.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ryan went to Haiti!

My man comes back from Haiti today, thank the sweet baby Jesus!

I missed him big time of course.  He was stretched in so many ways on this trip mentally, spiritually, and physically.  We always learn something new about each other and the Lord when he travels for work-it is not dull!

Skyping was a regular occurrence when he had Internet-he did visit the absolute boonies of Haiti and didn't have running water, electricity, or Internet for awhile. Culture shock!

He was in Haiti for a business trip working with new partners, presenting the Healing Waters model, and building relationships.  So proud of his hard work and steps of faith.

 I'm going to fetch his handsomeness from the airport and can't wait!

Skyping again-look at that rainforest-y magnificence in the background

I'll post pictures and details about his trip soon.  If you were praying for him, THANK YOU!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Christmas with A Purpose

If I'm honest I sometimes find the holidays to be a little discouraging.  What could possibly express gratefulness more than running down others with shopping carts at 3 am the day after professed gratitude for all we are blessed by??

Get it together, America!

There are so many broken aspects of this culture.  And for us, it is our heart's cry to reject the consumerism, and shopaholism, and greediness.  No thank you...don't want it!

In our weak attempt at this anti-culture movement, here are a few of favorite ideas to get outside of ourselves these next few weeks and extend humility, gratitude, sacrifice, and love.

Just like Jesus always did...

Operation Christmas Child-absolute favorite winter family activity


Assemble Ann Voskamp's The Thanks Giving Tree and find the gratitude just flowing from you


Celebrate Jesus with the beautiful rhytmn of Advent

via

Assemble and gift Blessing Bags to those in need with love and awareness


Compassion International
Kevine, is one of our beautiful Compassion Sponsor children.  Click on the link in the left sidebar to love on a child and tangibly extend Christ this month!

Shop mercifully-you have to Christmas shop so might as well benefit the world and avoid inadvertent partnership with human slavery and oppression.

Our favorite shopping includes Feed, 31 Bits,  Mercy House Kenya, Noonday Collection, No. 41, Avodah Coffee, 3 Strands, Light Gives Heat, War Chest Boutique and SOOO many others!
via

Other ideas?  Please share!  Embracing Jesus over these special holidays and what He is about gives life.  We aren't perfect and neither are these organizations, but man does it manifest God's love more than Black out sales and descending mobs for clearance items.

Amen.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child just rocks our worlds!  This is the one of the neatest things that has made its way into our holiday rhythm every year.


There are so many kiddos around the in the U.S. world that won't receive anything for Christmas.  That makes my heart just squeeze up with sadness and a desire to act.

But so many will have a different reality this year and be blessed by a shoebox filled with goodies! This is a tangible way that Samaritan's Purse (the larger ministry responsible for OCC) demonstrates God's love to a child while getting the opportunity to minister to them with the gospel.

Love it all!  


This year we built two boxes, one online (in case you don't have time to get to the store) and one in real life.  Actually, my mom was the generous one behind our real life target shopping trip and should get the credit for that :)

This simple project gets our eyes off ourselves and our wants this Christmas.  We learn about generosity and living open-handedly, God's heart for children, and the simple beauty in extending a gift to a sweet child somewhere.


This box was for 10-14 year old girl. In our box we included a cute blouse, playing cards, Christmas socks, regular socks, a toothbrush, nail files, manicure set, shampoo, conditioner, acrylic nails, compact mirror, Kleenex, notebook, pens, dental floss, hand wipes, small stuffed animal, chap stick, lip gloss, jacks, sidewalk chalk, body soap, a little purse, school supplies, and water bottle.  The sky's the limit!

If you participate in OCC it will bless you more than you can even imagine.  Our small group actually chose to participate in this together and it has been overwhelmingly encouraging to see couples building boxes together and extending Jesus with such a simplistic step of faith.

Beauty all around with OCC.  

Consider joining us in this work?  Click here.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November Thankfulness

Just some particularly sweet things to be thankful for today:

New baby nephew Xander, freshly arrived to the world this week :)

Early morning wake ups 
  
Golden 6:38 am sun streams


Big stacks of books

Opportunities for Ryan at work

Humility and success at school

New Pinterest boards of inspiraiton and simplicity

Exactly 21 days to Thanksgiving jubilation!

Community

This article of truth

Autumn crispiness and holiday anticipations growing by the day!

Happy Thursday everyone!


Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful

Colassians 3:15

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Party!

We only had about 15 tricker-or-treaters which for our block is good!  One particularly lame costume was a high school girl with a sweater pulled over her face and she was obviously..."a sweater face".  Whatever the heck that means!  

I just give free candy out.  There were some ninjas and marines and princesses so that was better.

Our Halloween was SO fun!  16 lovely small group peeps filled our house for appetizers, drinks, games, and hanging out.  There were some crazy costumes that made us laugh like the electric outlet and pregnant nun.  O.M.G.  Loved it all.

What did you do?  Now that Halloween is over we're not too far off now from non-stop Christmas music and cozy Thanksgiving happenings :)  

Happy weekend!

Outlets and sketchy clergy!  These made me laugh.

Ryan was an African lion and I was Pippy Longstocking.  Ryan did my hair for me--legit right??

We had creepy green drinks...

...and put panty hose on our heads...

and oreos on our eyes...it was a fantastically fun night.  Such a blessing!


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