Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Gratitude 449-461

Early afternoon on Christmas Day, we made our way across town to my Dad's house. As we sat at the stop light in the middle of town, I looked over. There it was again. The Reminder. The Constant Reminder of our loss.

She laid in that hospital for weeks and every time I drive through town, I'm reminded of that. As I sat there looking at it again, I was reminded of the many Christmas' that we came to their house. She was always dressed nice, dress pants and a sweater. The house was decorated, the table was set, the food was cooking, and the presents were under the huge Christmas tree. I never knew how much time, planning, and work she put into making everything perfect until she was gone. Her love and sacrifice for her family. It's just not the same without her there. This was our 5th Christmas without her.

I was also reminded of so many that were spending their first Christmas with an empty chair at their table. Friends this year who have lost a husband, a sister, a mother, a brother. And they will soon be starting a new year without them as well.

Death. An ugly reminder of the sin in this world.

Death. A reminder of why we celebrate Christmas. The Christ child, who humbled himself to come to this earth because we are sinners. The ultimate sacrifice. He became man. He suffered. He died.

All of this reminds us that in the imperfections, the hurts, the pains of this world.......We need to be Thankful. And so I continue my list of gratitude.


Love came down

Health on Christmas Day (after Brad and I both had strep throat)

A candlelit Christmas breakfast

A White Christmas


Kids reciting verses as we read through the Advent Book

Carol singing

Lights that remind me of "The Light"

Gifts that remind me of "The Gift"

Mounds of paper

Joy on Children's faces

Screams of delight

Good food

"in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
I Thessalonians 5:18

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope you all have a blessed few days celebrating our Savior's birth and spending time with family and friends.

 I thought I would share our Christmas letter with you just in case you aren't on our Christmas card list or I forgot to send you one.

Dear Friends and Family,

Another year has flown by and we are once again back to the holiday season of shopping, baking, parties, decorating, and for me….lots of list making! Every year I try to make it a little less hectic and stressful but have yet to achieve that perfect balance.

The year of 2010 has been a year of some exciting change around our house. For the first time we sent our kids off to school. Alexandra, Amanda, and Joshua turned 6 in July and started Kindergarten at Lansing Christian. Isaac turned 5 in August and started pre-k at the same school. They are all loving school and doing very well. I love to see their excitement when they come home and tell me all about their day. Especially when Isaac retells his Bible story, it’s one of my favorite parts of the day!

It’s fun to see them grow and it’s amazing how they all have such different personalities and interests. Joshua still loves watching and playing sports. He loved playing baseball in the back yard with Brad almost everyday this summer and played on a soccer team in the fall. Alexandra is my little artist. She could draw and color all day long. I love to see what she comes up with next and it seems her drawings continue to get more and more detailed. Amanda is our motherly child, she never likes to see anyone hurting, is always willing to help out and if she ever finds out you are sick, you will most likely be included in her prayers before bed. Isaac is our music lover! You will often find him with his guitar or his drums just singing is little heart out. He also loves to work and is always by Brad’s side. He has no aspirations of playing sports, he just can’t wait until he is old enough to go to work.

As most of you know, there is always a house project going on around here. This year was no different. The big thing that got finished was our back yard. We now have an above ground pool with a deck and we also put in a large back patio and fire pit. So you can imagine that we put that to good use. The kids had a fun summer of swimming, swimming and more swimming! They took lessons in June and are all swimming on their own now. They spent most of their time just throwing diving sticks in and retrieving them. I had to take on the horrible job of sitting by the pool all summer and watching them swim. It’s a rough job but someone had to do it.

For Brad, this year brought a change in jobs. It’s been about 4 years since he left Ford Motor Company but this past August they called him back. He went back for a 90 day temporary position and this month will be taking on a full time position as a supervisor at the stamping plant. We are adjusting to the new schedule and that it doesn’t give him the freedom that he had being self-employed.

And as for me……I am always kept busy by all the work around the house. For the second year in a row I am a Discussion Group Leader at a local MOPS group, which I’ve really enjoyed. About a year and a half ago I became a licensed insurance agent in Property and Casualty Insurance and then this past fall I went back and got my license for Life and Health Insurance and have been selling insurance part time for Midwest Insurance.

As a family we were able to do a little vacationing this year as well. In May, we headed to Bradenton, Florida for about 10 days with a little 2 day trip to Disney in the middle of that. It was great to get away as a family and just relax. We also made use of our camper a couple times. Once, in August in the extreme heat where we almost swore off camping for good, but we gave it another try Labor Day Weekend when it was perfect camping weather. All was good on that trip, so the camper is still with our family. Both trips were to the Indiana Dunes, we don’t like to venture too far away from home just in case we decide sleeping in our home is better. (Can you tell we love camping?)

We hope you all had a blessed 2010 and as you prepare for all your Christmas activities, that you remember to prepare for the coming of the Christ child, the greatest gift that was ever given.

Brad, Melissa, Alexandra, Amanda, Joshua and Isaac Vis

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Past

I love to go through old pictures of my kids and Christmas is no different. I thought I'd share some of our old Christmas cards and pictures taken of the kids at Christmas time. I know some of these I've shared before but they make me smile every time I see them so thought maybe you would too.

Awww! So innocent and sweet. And as you will see,
 the best Christmas picture ever taken by them.

Then the next year came, we added a child and Christmas pictures became a disaster.

You don't know how many tries it took and still this is the best we came up with in 2006.

2007, 2008, and 2009 came and things were starting to look better.

And here we are in 2010. Always has to be a goofball in the crowd.