Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Honey, we are home!!!!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday. I can't wait to sit down and read about your holiday adventures (for those who blog)!

We just got home last night from Oklahoma. I have been busy today getting laundry done and organizing my pictures from the last week (which could turn into a whole blog post in and of itself). I have been wanting to update you guys all day, but it just hasn't happened yet. And unfortunately, that isn't going to happen in the next few hours. However, we have planned a little stay-at-home-and-do-nothing party tonight to ring in the new year--so the updates still may be coming this evening. We will see how long Aleeyah makes it tonight. BUT you will probably not be having the same kind of party that we are having. So, you can come back and read when your party is over and the mess is cleaned up!

WOW-all that to say.....We are still here and will have lots of updates coming some time soon!

Monday, December 22, 2008

All I want for Christmas is 2 gumballs!

After church yesterday, Chris, Aleeyah, my Dad, and I went to the mall for our yearly Santa trip. The previous years resulted in Aleeyah reluctantly sitting on Santas lap. This year she has been SO excited about Christmas and Santa. Since the beginning of December she has been talking about Christmas, Christmas trees and Ho Ho (her name for Santa) and I know this is going to be a fun year for us! We have been talking to her more about what the traditions of Christmas in hopes that she understands more. We spent the last week trying to help her understand who Santa is and why we go see him. I figured this would be a good way of helping her feel comfortable about going to sit on his lap.

In the last week, she has constantly been asking if it was time to go see Santa yet. Every morning she would say it was a sunny day and ask if Santa was awake and every night she would inform me it was dark outside so Santa was sleeping.

Finally the day had come to go see him and she was pumped. She had already decided she was going to ask him to bring her bubble gum. No sleighs, no dolls, no games.......gum balls!

We waited in line which surprisingly wasn't horrible. We made our way up to Santa and Aleeyah climbed up in his lap and began whispering in his year. Poor Santa-he probably had no idea what she was talking about! haha!


She smiled for a cute picture of the two of them.


Then later we took her over to ride the carousel in the mall. As Chris and Aleeyah made their way to the top of the carousel, I motioned to Chris asking him why they didn't stay on the bottom so we could see better. He said she wanted to go up top so they did. She kept yelling and waving from afar trying to say hi to her momma and pee-paw. I love watching the two of them together-just melts my heart.


She wanted to go eat lunch at the jungle aka Rain Forest Cafe. So we took her there for lunch and enjoyed eating lunch with the elephants, birds, monkeys, etc. As she was trying to look around at all the scenery, she fell out of her chair--flat on her back. She was crying, not because she was hurt or anything, it just scared her. BUT then this kid behind us kept laughing at her. I found myself for the first time wanting to yell at a young boy for laughing at my girl. I got over it soon though!

I would say our Santa outing went rather well!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Hamster Serenade

Tuesday Aleeyah decided to sing some songs to her hamsters.

This is a small bit of it.....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

She is not a poser!

Because Aleeyah has always had a camera going non stop in her life, she typically goes about her business as mom snaps away. Some of my most favorite pictures are the ones where she isn't posed and looking at the camera. Where it gets tricky is when I actually want her to look at the camera for a face shot. I was asking her to look at me and smile. Here is what I got.






Snow Days

We have had some quite a few snow days over the last couple of weeks, but the bone chilling cold has kept us from going out to play in it. You know those days that it immediately begins to put a quenching pain in the tips of your ears as soon as you walk outside? Call me a pansy, but we stayed indoors for those. It finally warmed up a little on Wednesday to make the perfect weather to go out to play in the snow. We took advantage of it and enjoyed getting some of our cooped up energy out. Quite a bit of the snow had melted by time we got out to play, but we still had a good amount to play in.

Aleeyah loved the snow this year. We ran up and rolled down the hills outside of our complex, threw snowballs at each other out by the pool, made snow angels, and hung out pond side to enjoy the scenery.

Here are some pictures from our snow party!!!

















Thursday, December 18, 2008

Writing Therapy-Part 2: But I have never been unloved.

Last night I shared some very deep feelings in my heart. Some that has their ways of stirring me up inside and the same ones that satan uses in my life from time to time. First, I wanted to say thank you for those who have shared their intimate feelings about how satan tells you the same lies. Thank you for seeing my post as it was intended. Not to bad mouth people from my school or my family, but to share my struggles. I felt relieved when I woke up this morning to read your comments/emails (and even a phone call!) about your time of uncertainty with those around you.

You may have noticed a while back that I had posted at the top (but since moved to the bottom because something else went in its place for a time and I haven't moved it back up) a Wordle. My friend Juli introduced Wordles to me. I watched the video below and was inspired to do a Wordle about it and I added a few extras that applied to me also.



I have been.....

unaware of the ones living in poverty who needed me
unexceptional to a point that I hide in shame
unmerciful to murderers
unfaithful to His commands
unfair to a loved one
ungodly in times that I needed Him the most
unwise in my decisions and actions
unapproachable because of my pain
unwilling to apologize when I should
undesirable because I have torn myself
undecided about my life decisions
unworthy to be His
unemotional to hide the true feelings
unfit to use the Word
unteachable when I really needed a lesson
unmended as yesterday's post shows
unsure of my feelings
unreachable because I chose to not be
unqualified to give advice when I did
untrue to myself
uneasy with being me
unbroken when I should have been broken
undone from the very things I should be tied to
unrighteous in every moment of my life

BUT I HAVE NEVER BEEN UNLOVED.

No matter what I do in my life, I will never be unloved. Amazing, huh? Do you believe it for yourself? Do you let satan tell you otherwise?

As you know from yesterday's post, there are times that I do. Unfair to God and those who love me-I do. I am thankful for all the words of encouragement and love that each of you gave me today and regularly give. In no way am I saying you haven't done enough. It's like there are times that your spouse/significant other can tell you a thousand times that you are beautiful, but for some reason you find it hard to believe. My feelings and overemotional thoughts may not make sense to some, but one thing I have learned about feelings is that there is always a reason that people feel the way that they do and no matter the reason-it's not petty.

I was once told by someone to imagine popping satan's balloons in your head as they pop up with unkind, destructive things written in them. I do have to admit that as childish as it sounds it really does help, but I think the key is understanding and realizing that it is satan himself. It's not the kid in school that picked on you and said the nasty things--its how you let satan run wildly inside your mind and inevitably tear you down. If someone (or sometimes even yourself) says something hurtful for the purpose of being hurtful-recognize that it's just that alone and don't allow satan to use it. When we focus on satan's words we lose focus on the Voice of Truth and we begin to feel crushed.

I also believe there are times in our lives where we have an opportunity to share when it's not easy to help others and I saw that again today. I have been able to sit across the table with many of you and talk either in person or on the other end of a computer and I have been amazed by you and how it seems that God has knit a friendship based on various circumstances in our lives. I'm amazed how God speaks through you to me and I find comfort in your words and your stories.

It makes me wonder how many people that I have been "unaware" of. Maybe it's someone who needs an ear, a confidant, a friend. Maybe it's that person that needed a phone call to be asked, "how are you?" Maybe it's the child that is hungry or homeless. Maybe it's the stranger that just needed a friendly smile.

What are we offering daily to others? How are we stepping out of our shell to say--not only does Jesus love you, but I love you.

Writing Therapy--Part 1

I can't believe that it's been a week since my last post. It's not like me or at least I haven't done that in quite some time.

Why the absence? It's definitely not a lack of having something to say. I could have blogged about Chris' work Christmas party where I played BlackJack for the first time and won over $62,000 (in play money that is) and while Chris and I enjoyed our evening together, Aleeyah stayed the night at my dad's house where they all had a rough night. How about the mounds of snow outside? Snow pictures are always fun. I meant to write another post begging you to save the life (and yes, you CAN do that!) of a child before the 21st, but I fear that it might only turn you away.

But I didn't and it's long and complicated.....sort of. As I write this, I still wonder what will come spilling out of my fingers and then I will question my decision of to post or not to post. I have been telling myself to not be so open with you. I have been telling myself that you don't care and that I would be naive to believe otherwise.

I know this feeling all to well. Satan has used these lies on me more than I care to admit, but even more importantly, more times than not, I allow myself to believe him. In part this began when I was a kid. I was quiet and shy in school, church, anywhere that involved people outside of my small circle of friends and family. I made a point to be a wall flower. I made a point to go unnoticed. In the moments you go unnoticed, you can't be made fun of. Kids make fun of other kids every day, but I took it personal and I will admit that I'm 27 years old and have issues letting it go. Satan used/uses those memories to tell me that I lack worth.

Then when I was 15 my world was rocked. Many of you do not know "my story" but some of you do and there may be a select few that will not like to read what I'm about to write. To those-I will tell you, I've never used my blog to attack anyone and my intentions is not to do that today. My heart is not cold and my mind is not filled with anger. My heart does hold pain and I attempt to give that pain a purpose in my life in every way possible. I pray daily that God makes it clear in how I can use it for His purpose alone.

In short, my home life growing up was good.....actually great. Yeah, I hated sitting at the dinner table every night with my family knowing that my dad was going to ask me about my grades and I would either lie or tell the truth that brought on a long "talking" session about how detrimental it would be if I did not get my head on straight in school. Because my constant need to be just like my older sister only caused irritation, my sister and I fought a lot-as siblings typically do. Things were good though. My dad worked to provide for our family and my mom stayed home with me and my siblings. There wasn't a lot of yelling in the house. We didn't dare talk back to our parents. No drinking. No cussing. We spent a lot of time together as a family and we attended church on a semi regular basis.

My parents had been married for 19 years when they divorced. It was a shock, but in no way was I prepared for the events that took place following the divorce. It wasn't all the affairs that led up to the divorce or the complete lifestyle change that made it the hardest. That one is easy when you love someone unconditionally. BUT I wasn't prepared for the rejection that I faced in the years to follow. Rejection of a parent. Rejection of family. Rejection of church family. This rejection coupled with the rejection I faced in school, left me questioning everyone in my life....including God.

I've spent the next 12 years of my life, continuing to feel the emptiness of those burning questions. Where do I belong? Who really cares about me? What is my lesson in this trial? Where I once thought I would never find peace-I finally opened my heart up to a peace that could only be given by God. Most days are now filled with thankfulness of "my story". I understand my purpose and I am filled with hope.

But then there are times like these. The days when I shut out everything in my life outside of those who I can see standing in front of me to figure out what space I fill in your heart. Am I dreaming of something more than you? And I find myself asking some of those same questions I use to ask--Where do I belong? Who really cares about me? How is God using me?

I'm not asking these questions in hopes of opening my email tomorrow to see encouraging words of love from each of you. A small part of me is reaching out telling you why I've been absent from emails, comments, blog posts, telephone calls, etc. Another part of me decided that I could use some writing therapy. Finally, the bigger part part of me wonders how many of you feel this way from time to time. Do you wonder where you stand? When your comments are low on a post you spilled your heart out-do you ask yourself, do they care? When it tore you apart to leave a place filled with those you deeply care about and they don't call to find out how you are doing-do you wonder? When you realize you are the only one who ever calls-does it cross your mind? Please tell me I'm not the only one.

I made a vow years ago that I would begin telling others how I feel about them no matter how cheesy it seems. I try my best at this. Why? Because doesn't it feel good to know that you are loved and missed when your gone? Why keep your feelings to yourself? Is there someone out there that you just know in your heart that you should look in the eyes and tell them how much they mean to you? What do you fear?


Note the Part 1 in the title-there will be more to come on this subject. There is so much more goodness I want to share about these times in my life, but in the last couple weeks, I've been filled with this emptiness. An emptiness that satan burrows in my heart and the same emptiness that needs God.

But it's 2:45 am and I'm afraid my delirious sleepiness would really take it's toll on my judgment of wording and I would say something I will regret in the morning-kind of like when Brittany Spears said "I DO" and woke up hours later to get an annulment......yeah, sort of like that. In fact, I may just use sleepiness as my excuse if I find myself tomorrow questioning why I put myself out there so much!

Seriously, I know I asked a lot of questions and I might have been a bit of a downer tonight, but I would be lying if I said it was always all smiles and giggles around the Hamblin house!!!

til next time

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A box of 25 kids!

I just received a box 2 days ago that held 25 children in it. No, I didn't order 25 actual children.....so to speak. I did however, request that 25 child packets be shipped from Compassion International to me.

For quite some time now, I've been sending you over to Compassion's website to sponsor and feed children living in poverty. I've never personally held a child's packet who is waiting. I was challenged to order packets and get as many children sponsored as possible before the 21st of December. Challenged by who and why before the 21st? I will tell you that on the 21st. :)

But right now, I'm asking you to leave a comment or send me an email (ahamblin@kc.rr.com) telling me that you want to make a difference in a child's life right now--just in time for Christmas! I have 25 children waiting for you to say those words.

It only takes a commitment of $32.00 a month to fill the every day needs of these children. You will be able to write your child and receive letters back from them. If you someday wish to meet them in their country, Compassion can set that up for you also.

A couple Compassion stats for you:

*80 % of your money is used for the children
*they just received their 7th consecutive 4-star rating from charity navigator
------ 387 charities earned 2 consecutive 4-star ratings
------ 199 earned 3
------ 168 earned 4
------ 59 earned 5
------ 67 earned 6
------ and 45 earned 7

25 children in 10 days!!! Comment or Email me!!!

Tree Decorating 2008

We finally decorated the tree last night! This years Christmas festivities has been so much fun so far!!

Chris getting some Christmas music going


Aleeyah waiting...



A few pics that Aleeyah took of Chris and me putting lights on the tree





The decorating











Putting Santa on top



A few other decorations




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