Saturday, December 31, 2011

So long, 2011!

Neither of us is sad to see this year end.  We've actually been counting it down with giddy excitement.  While this year hasn't been awful, it hasn't been enjoyable very much either.

Hitting dead end after dead end with figuring out Zambian adoption has drained us enormously.  Then, after working so hard for a year to save up for both of us to get to go to Zambia on a mission trip in 2012, I didn't receive the history grant continuation, which meant my stipend was no longer funding the meat of our account for the trip.  At this point, we're throwing every penny into the account we can, but we didn't get as many donations as we'd hopped for Christmas, and we're still over $4,000 behind.  I hit an invisible wall yesterday and had an absolute meltdown about this.  And don't tell me God's timing is perfect because I KNOW!  I'm not an idiot, but knowing something doesn't make it any easier either.  We'll get there when God wants us there, and for now, that has to be enough.
Sending HOPE to our girl!

Work has been hard for both of us this year.  With the shuttle program ending, NASA is in all kinds of uncertainty.  Isaac's job is incredibly secure, but the lack of direction for the organization is disheartening at best.  This Fall began the hardest year yet of my teaching career, with several days leaving me ready to throw in the towel.  A few more months are left in this current school year, but the light is bright at the end of the tunnel!

We lost three of our smaller pets this year, and while they were tiny, they left big impacts on our lives.  Losing Igor, Braveheart, and Sissy so close to each other was hard on us all.  Just a reminder that we aren't Home yet...
Bailey with Braveheart and Sissy

In happier times this year, our sweet Aggie Belle joined the family March 31st.  Isaac waited 3 1/2 years to find a weimy female puppy so that Bailey could handle the adjustment, and I'm so glad the wait was worth it!
Aggie Belle 3-31-11
We have a blast with all of my family when my little brother married a sweet girl, and our family grew once again.  What a fabulous weekend of laughter and love!

I've stayed healthy for 4 years this month, and despite a few scares that the endometriosis might be roaring its ugly head again, they've all been false alarms.  Hallelujah!

The Teaching American History Grant trip this summer was beyond amazing!  I learned so much first hand from Civil Rights leaders, fell in love for a 2nd time with D.C., and learned that NYC has it's bright spots.  I adored Ellis Island, and vividly saw life from 100 years ago.  The beauty of upstate NY overwhelmed me, as did Niagara.
MLK's kitchen table, Niagara, Statue of Liberty

In August, we celebrated 2 years of marriage and were treated to a family trip with the Ozingas.
Turtle farm, Date Night on the ship, and a sting ray

With an aching heart and no time table for 2012, I have to remember all of 2011's blessings, or else 'bleak' is the only word that comes to mind, and that's not true.  Whatever 2012 brings, God walks before us, and that is ALWAYS enough.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~James 1 :17

Happy New Year from the Ozingas

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nanny!

Yesterday was my grandmother's birthday, and the whole day was all about her!  Nanny has wanted (ok, we've all wanted) to visit Bayou Bend for over 20 years, but we've never made it.  How sorry are we now that we have been!  Ima Hogg (yep, really) was the only daughter of the first Texas born governor of Texas, and she spent most of her life as a philanthropist and educator of all things Texas. Actually, she did a lot more than that, but I'll save the history lesson for Bayou Bend.  Ima also collected art of all shapes, sizes, and sorts from around the world that she displayed in her huge home called Bayou Bend.  The crazy thing is that Bayou Bend sits on 14 acres in the middle of Houston, yet it's so wooded and secluded.  Her gardens are stunning, and the house is amazing.  Photos of the interior of the house aren't allowed, so go visit!  We all went to dinner at Ruggles in Rice Village and ate our fair share of desserts.  I hope Nanny had as much fun on her birthday as the rest of us did!
Super fun bridge to cross from the parking lot to the mansion grounds.

Back of Bayou Bend

Statue of Diana
HUGE sequoia tree

Monday, December 26, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday and Monday: Kitchen Closed

Tuesday: Leftover Vegetable Beef Stew

Wednesday: Restaurant of Nanny's choice for her birthday

Thursday: Pearland

Friday: Leftover Spaghetti

Saturday: New Year's Eve Party at the Patenaudes

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord".  
~Luke 2: 8-11

We pray this Christmas Day renews your anticipation of the second coming of our Savior as you celebrate His birth.  Hallelujah!

Merry Christmas!
The Ozingas 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Festivities

This morning we drove from Lebanon to Louisville to spend the day with my aunt Donna, my god-sister Stephanie, her kids Alex and Shelby, and Steph's fiance Jason and his daughter Rain.  This is two years in a row we've gotten to spend several hours with my family during Christmas, which is such a treat.  Usually my extended family doesn't get to be with us during Christmas because we're all so spread out these days.  I love any time I get with these super precious people.  Alex and Shelby adore Isaac, and I think they have a soft spot for me too.  :)  We got to see their new house, and then we ate lunch at Five Guys.  Yum!  Steph, Donna, and the kids have a tradition of ice skating on Christmas Eve, so we joined them.  What a hoot!  I haven't skated in close to 10 years, but after a couple of laps, I was away from the wall and gliding along just fine.  Isaac had no problems, as usual.  That kid!

Alex and Shelby; Aunt Donna

Rain and Steph; Jason, Rain, Shebs, Steph, and Alex
Jason, Steph, Alex, me, Rain, and Isaac (Shelbs wasn't into photos at the moment); goofy face time with my nephew!
The Ozingas' church wasn't having a service tonight since they're doing regular worship services in the morning, so we made our own 'candle-light' service with the aid of sparklers and a bottle rocket or two.  We lit the sparklers, Jacob read the story of Christ's birth from Luke, and then we sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", "Joy to the World", "Gloria in Excelsis Deo", and "Come Let Us Adore Him". 

A bucket of 'candles' and the Bible were all we needed for an awesome, fresh worship experience!
 Then, we opened our stocking presents to help with time management for tomorrow morning since we have church.  Stockings are quite an ordeal with 4 pups who all want to open presents.  Ok, two of them want to dig and tear and rip while 2 are content to eat their treats, but it sure makes for lots of laughter!

Isaac's candy cane was in several pieces!
 We pray this nights brings great joy are you celebrate Christ's birth!

Christmas Survery

 Several of my friends have posted this on their blogs, so I thought I would too:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate, with a stick of peppermint, please!

 2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit the under the tree? Santa is imaginary, so he does neither.  We wrap all the presents we give though.

 3. Colored lights on the tree/house or white? Colored!  Isaac likes icicle lights, and those are white, but I want some 'Pop' in my decor.

 4. Do you hang mistletoe? The years we can find it fresh we do.  It was super easy to find growing wild in College Station, but Houston is a little too far south to find much.

5. When do you put your decorations up? The day after Thanksgiving.

 6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Mom and Nanny make a mean beef tenderloin, but I also like the peppermint ice cream layer dessert we always have.

 7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? My 10th Christmas: my grandparents took us to Hawaii.  It was a wonderful week of focusing on family instead of presents.  Oh, and not to mention gorgeous!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?  I was in 4th grade.  I had lost my very last baby tooth and asked for the truth about that blasted fairy.  I cried for ages.  I will never do that to my kids, because all we cared about when we were little was fun Santa stuff.  Jesus totally took the back burner, no matter how hard my parents tried.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We used to, but not anymore.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Colored lights, an angel on top, and all of our childhood and grownup ornaments.  It's a hobnob of awesome memories!

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? For Christmas, love it!  We just don't typically see it unless we're in Ohio, and not even that is a guarantee.

12. Can you ice skate? Nothing fancy, but yes I can.  We went today in fact with my aunt, sister, niece, nephew, soon to be b-i-l, and his little girl.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? The two trips to Hawaii are probably the winners there.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Celebrating Advent and preparing our hearts for Christ's return as we remember His first arrival on Earth.

15.What is your favorite Holiday dessert? Fudge, peppermint ice cream fudge oreo goodness, chocolate covered peanuts-all homemade.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Celebration at Houston's FBC

17. What tops your tree? A beautiful angel that glows.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Giving.  Honestly, I hate opening presents anymore.  I hate the suspense of wondering if I'll like what's inside that package, not to mention the enormously overwhelming guilt I suffer when I get something while knowing so many have so little.  I love being a spy to find out what others want and them spoiling them. 

19. Candy Canes: I prefer them with chocolate.  :)

20. Favorite Christmas show? White Christmas and the original Christmas in Cnneticut

21. Saddest Christmas Song? Steven Curtis Chapman's "All I Really Want"  Kills me everytime.

22. What is your favorite Christmas song?  Carol: Hark the Herald Angels Sing  Contemporary: It changes often, but currently, Selah's "Light of the Stable"

Newport Aquarium

Isaac and I hadn't seen his best friend Mark and his wife Anna since their wedding a year and a half ago.  We were so excited that it was working out for us to spend a day with them this trip to Ohio.  Friday was Anna's birthday, but she was quite content to spend part of it with us.  We met at the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky to enjoy the sea creatures before lunch at the Claddagh Irish Pub.  Yum!

We visited the aquarium two years ago with Bethany, but we realized we'd forgotten so many of the exhibits.  Newport is one fabulous aquarium!
An exhibit with fish from Zambia!

Clown fish and an anemone
 So, it's no secret we have strong feelings against Santa and the way the lie of Santa takes away from focus on Jesus, but we met a Santa today that even we couldn't resist.  Scuba Santa dropped his sleigh in the middle of the Newport Aquarium for a visit, along with some pretty cool seahorses and an elf named Pixie.  Now that is pretty cute, for a fairy tale!

Story time with Scuba Santa

Anna and Mark


Friday, December 23, 2011

La Comedia: A Christmas Carol

La Comedia is a fabulous dinner theater in the greater Dayton, Ohio area that we really enjoy visiting when we're in town.  We've made a tradition of seeing their Christmas performance each year when we come in December.  They typically do musicals, and 6 shows a year.  Some day, I hope to see something besides the Christmas production, but it's still a treat.  This year's production was "A Christmas Carol", which we saw Wednesday night.  Now, Dickens is probably my least favorite author on the planet, but the actors did a great job with the material they had.  Singing and dancing on stage is no easy task, especially to keep it professional quality.  I love the mix of local and professional-straight from NYC-talent that La Comedia hires.  Maybe some year we'll get a picture of all 5 of us together!



Chamber Singers, the smaller vocal ensemble at our church, was joined by a chamber orchestra to perform Part I and the Hallelujah Chorus on Sunday night.  I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be sharing a stage with Isaac for the first time ever-at least vocally.  He can sing great, and is really gaining confidence in his abilities after years of focusing only on violin.  It tickles me pink to be able to perform such powerful pieces of praise with my husband.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Road Trip

Monday and Tuesday we trekked from Houston to Lebanon, Ohio to spend some long over due time with Isaac's family.  While Aggie Belle always enjoys car trips, she has never been in the car more than an hour and a half, so we weren't quite sure what to expect.  We know Bailey gets a tad nervous being cooped up for so long, so our dearly loved vet gave us some meds to just make both pups a little groggy.  Our babies were absolute champs both days!  Aggie Belle used her seat belt like a pro, and Bailey didn't mind being in his car seat when I needed a break from holding him.  I'll travel anywhere anytime with both of them.  What a treat to have such cute, cuddle, sweethearts to help us pass the time.  God answered our prayers for travel mercies time and again on our drive.  Praise Him!

Aggie Belle spent most of the trip on her blankie and Daddy's pillow.

Sweet Boo snoozing away the time.

Precious, darling babies!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Introducing Kate and Pippa

No, no, we haven't completely lost our minds.  Six weeks ago, we rescued two gerbil sisters from a family who could no longer keep them, but we couldn't come up with names for our brown and blonde sister pair.  Braveheart and Sissy had been so easy to name because their personalities were so strong, but our new girls are just calm sweeties.  On Friday, Isaac said he really like the name Pippa.  I told him that Pippa is a good name, but since our critters are sisters, the other must be Kate.  Isaac is dear enough to humor me and my love of all things British, so Kate and Pippa it is!


Aggie Belle likes that Pippa matches her coloring.

Pippa and Kate

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Decor 2011

While we work so hard to keep our focus on Jesus between the day after Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, we do love to decorate our home!  We try to make sure our decorations help us focus on Jesus.  My collection of nativities made around the world is growing!

My favorite Christmas decoration-my nativity from Zambia.

Aggie Belle hasn't broken a thing on the tree.  I don't trust her with presents though.

Daddy and daughter inspecting the tree.

We had to add a stocking this year which meant changing from "JOY" to "HOPE".  Do you think I minded?

Venezuelan nativity, my baby tree, and Precious Moments nativity from my childhood

Even our new gerbil girls are part of the festivities.

My nativity ornaments that were made in London.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...