All is calm, all is bright, those are the words that kept coming through my head over and over again Christmas Eve. As I walked out side and looked at the luminaries that my sons and I put out in front of the house, all was calm.

There has been a lot going on lately it seems and it is things that are not outside of the norm. Work, preparing for Christmas, Family obligations, etc. But in the midst of the chaos, life has not been calm lately, far from it to be honest. I feel that I’m worn down and in a difficult place in life.

And by difficult, I mean, life. Life has been life. Let’s be honest, as parents, we deal with a lot on any given day. We have the stresses of work. We have the stresses of financial bills. We have the worry of knowing that we are putting our kids on a bus each day and trusting that someone other than us will protect them.

But in the midst of chaos of last week, I found a since of calm. I stopped all of the work issues for  a few days. I put aside all of the financial stress and worry, granted it is still there, but for last week, as we approached Christmas, life was ok.

As parents, we want to always do what is right by our kids. We put their needs first and ahead of our own. I will go with out in order to give my kids something that I did not have. I learned that lesson from my mother and though she will never told me all that she sacrificed, I know that she did. And I’m doing the same for my kids and no, I will not tell them either. Why? Because it isn’t important.

So, Christmas Eve, after attending our old church for the early service and as soon as I walked in, I was at peace. Granted, that did not last very long, as Boy B wasn’t happy that they did not have a children’s service in his old class and had to stay with us. But never the less, I enjoyed watching the service on tv in the lobby of the church. Point being, even in the chaos of that moment, I was calm.

And as we got home, we started putting candles in the bags and lining them up on the street. This was a tradition that I had when I was a kid and it was something that I LOVED doing each and ever year. And for me as a kid, it didn’t seem like Christmas until we did the luminaries.  And as we braved the cold and the wind and a few quick snow showers, we were able to light the street up in front of the house all the way to the front of our home. And then, all was bright.

All is calm, All is Bright - Christmas Luminaries

So, as I type this, the after Christmas, the calmness has subsided and chaos has returned. But I left the house this morning with two little boys laughing and playing with their new toys.

From my family to yours, I hope that you had a safe and Merry Christmas.

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Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days of the year.  Anticipation. Excitement. Memories of both my childhood and memories that the boys are making. Traditions are being made that I hope that they will be able to carry on throughout their lives.

This year, we’ll continue our tradition of luminaries and lighting the sidewalk and driveway with candles. We will begin to prepare for our dinner tonight, which will be chicken parmaisgn and homemade bread. And we will also be making some chocolate chip cookies for Santa later today as well. But the best part, we’ll be doing all these things together as a family.

Christmas is a time that we look forward to all year long & it is a time for reflection, family and a time to be together. So from my family to yours, have a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It is my wish, that not only does Santa bring you all that you were hoping for, but even more.

Merry Christmas

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Traditions are made to be broken, started, altered and passed down. And this Christmas was definitely hit on all of those this year. And all of my best plans for Christmas Eve, failed quickly, but taught me a really valuable life lesson.

Growing up, Christmas Eve was my favorite day of the year. It represented a time of anticipation and innocence. Normally, I give my staff at work the day off and I man the office, but this year, I took the day off and planned on grabbing wings and a cold beverage, grabbing a few last minute things for my wife’s stocking and as a family, going to church and then getting baking cookies and putting out luminaries and watching It’s A Wonderful Life. Each of these things, minus going for wings and beer, were things that I did as a kid growing up and something that have and still mean the most to me about Christmas. But this year, things didn’t really work out like I had expected or even thought that it would.

On Christmas Eve eve, my wife was at work and called to say that she was going to the local urgent care and that she was pretty sure that she had strep throat. Great! Two years in a row of her being sick, last year was pink eye. BUT, that wasn’t the real concern, the real concern was the boys and it was quickly appearing that they too were sick with strep and that this was becoming a tradition of them being sick at Christmas.

So, my plans for Christmas Eve went from going out and having some downtime, to taking the boys to the urgent care center, only to have it confirmed that they too had strep throat. The problem, Boy B HATES medicine and oh right, he didn’t just have strep, he also had Scarlet Fever. After getting home and trying for a few hours to get medicine into Boy B, it was quickly apparent that he wasn’t going to take it. After a quick call with a friend of mine that is a Doctor, he advised us to take him to the ER and that Scarlet Fever wasn’t something to mess around with.

So, there goes my lunch of wings and a beer, shopping, and now Christmas Eve service, because my wife and son headed straight to the ER for our first ever visit. The medical staff was awesome! They not only took care of him immediately, got a dose of medicine, they were able to break his fever. And not only did they take care of him, the ER Doctor, took his hand and lead him down the hall to a toy closet, were he could pick out any toy that he wanted! How awesome is that (this will be a future blog story about the toy closet)! So what toy did he pick out? A Star Wars Storm Trooper helmet, not because he loves Star Wars, but because his brother does and he knew that his brother would want to help him color it.

RELIEF! He was on the mends.  Peace and a deep sigh of relief for a moment.

After a few hours in the ER, my wife and son arrive back home and within 30 minutes of being back he ate more in just those few minutes than he had in the previous 24 hours. He was back to being a little boy, that was smiling and excited at the arrival of Santa coming in a few hours. So, in a few hours before their bed, we still had time to bake and decorate cookies, we watched the Charlie Brown and then we put out cookies and Reindeer food. And as we were putting out the food for the reindeer, I remembered the luminaries.

Luminaries for me growing up, were the start of Christmas. I didn’t always have the best Christmas mornings, often time there was uncertainty if this was my families last Christmas together or if there was going to be a lot of arguing? But luminaries represented calm and peace in a sometimes difficult time in my life. And as I got the luminaries together to put out in front of the house, I had the boys to come over and I told them how this was one of the many traditions that I wanted to pass down to them and they really seemed to love the way that the luminaries lite up the walk way out front as a way to give Santa a landing strip for their house.

After the boys settled down for the night and Santa had come and gone, I realized that I was still able to keep some of my traditions and even pass some down to the boys. I was able to run out for a few minutes and get candy for my wife’s stocking and found her a few other little gifts. I was able to watch our Christmas Eve church service online (Love technology and that our church really leverages it and a cool way to stream church services) and I was able to have a glass of wine while wrapping gifts and watching It’s A Wonderful Life. But most importantly, my kids were feeling better and they got to for the first time, help me put out luminaries and got to see their expressions as I talked about the candles and how peaceful it was before Santa came.

Traditions are important. Traditions are made to be broken, expanded upon, altered, started and most importantly, passed down.  I most certainly hope that the tradition of being sick at Christmas is broken, but I really look forward to seeing how next years traditions grow and stick with the boys.



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It is the middle of October, the leaves are changing and the air is turning cooler. It means that fall has arrived and fall is my favorite time of year. I don’t know if I love fall because it symbolizes the start of college basketball season? Or maybe it is because of the great craft beers? Or maybe it is because it means that jolly old Saint Nick will be making an appearance very soon.

Today we took the boys out for the day, ran errands, had lunch with my step-brother who was in town, stopped at Yankee Candle for the Harvest candle and then came home. As we were driving home, the boys quietly began talking about Christmas and I could barely contain my excitement.

Christmas for me as a child wasn’t always fun and it certainly wasn’t magical the way a child should experience Christmas. But life isn’t always far, but as God as my witness and as long as I am alive and able, Christmas will be special for my kids.

Tonight, as I rock the boys and ge

t them ready for bed, there is a crisp fall air looming and the temperatures are steadily dropping. And as fall enters for a short period of time, one are one day closer to Christmas.

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Today/Tonight is Christmas Eve. A night that is holy for those that are believers that Jesus was born on Christmas day. But, it is also something more than that. It is the day that kids look forward to all year, in hopes that they have been good enough for Santa to come for a visit.

This year for Christmas Eve, we are doing something a little different. We will be staying at home and starting our own family traditions. In the past, we’ve stayed at my Father in law’s house, but this year, we wanted the boys to wake up in their own bed. My wife and I have spent a lot of time talking about traditions that we each had growing up as children and things that we wanted to start doing with the boys and I think. After church, we’ll head back to the house and have dinner, put on new Christmas PJs and watch a few Christmas movies.

For my wife and I, we are getting to witness for the first time that joy and excitement in our boys faces when they see Santa on TV.  I don’t know that I can even put into words how excited I are to see what Santa is bringing the boys, but if I had to guess, there will be a lot of trains appearing Christmas morning.  But just seeing the boys faces light up for the first time after Santa comes, I don’t know that I will be able to put into words how excited I am going to be.


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I happen to catch The Bible series last night on the History channel and towards the end of the movie, they showed Thomas and how he doubted that Jesus had returned and it got me thinking if I was a Doubting Thomas.

John 20:24-29

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Do you find yourself questioning things, especially as it pertains to God? I have. And there might be times that I still do? But, I know that I doubt less than I did. I think that it is part of growing older and dealing with life situations and how my faith has increased.

But I am challenging myself to be less of a Doubting Thomas and more of a believer, and not just for myself, but more importantly for my kids. I want them to look at me as they grow older and see how I respond and how I have faith.  Faith is a hard thing, and like Thomas, it takes seeing to believe and there are times in life, that you can not always see things to know that they are real or that they will come to be.

So in this time of the Christmas season, a time where little children show us that they have faith in Santa Claus and the birth of Jesus, I hope to cast aside my doubts and believe more and take more leaps of faith.

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Growing up, the Friday after Thanksgiving, my family would venture out to a Christmas Tree farm and cut down our Christmas Tree. It is just something that we did, don’t know why? But it was our tradition.

You see, I don’t have a lot of great memories from growing up because of issues between my parents, but the memories that I do have pertaining to going to cut down a Christmas Tree are some of my favorites.  I remember that my sister and I would pill into the back of our station wagon, yes, I just outdated myself, and we would go and cut down a Virginia Pine.  My sister and I would each pick out a tree and then our parents would decide which tree we cut down and took home. I sometimes don’t remember what I ate for lunch today, but I can remember running around the farm finding a tree just like it was yesterday.

As I have gotten older and even when I moved to Texas, I continued that tradition of going to cut down my tree after Thanksgiving. But, when I got married, I got married to someone that grew up having an artificial tree. I don’t ask for  a lot and I’m pretty accommodating, but I draw the line at artificial trees for Christmas and out of the 8 years that we’ve been together, we have a form of a live tree 7 of the 8 years.  And I say somewhat of a live tree because, for 5 years, we’ve purchased table top live Fraizer Fur trees.

But this year, this year was different and it was my wife’s idea. One day before Thanksgiving, she mentioned about us going to a Christmas Tree farm to cut down a tree for the boys. She thought that they were old enough and big enough, to not take down the tree. So, that is what we did, except for going and cutting down the tree, as we found a local farm that had some pre-cut trees. And thus far, the boys have loved the tree.

Every morning, as we bring the boys down to the living room, the first thing that they say, most time even before we get to the living room, can we turn on the lights? The boys have really seemed to enjoy the tree and lights and we even let the decorate the tree.

So to the start of new traditions and a future of getting a Christmas Tree together as a family and starting the Christmas season. And more importantly, I hope that this starts a family tradition for the boys, that will carry over to when they grow older and have families and children and can pass down this tradition as well.

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It is that time of year again, the time to start Christmas shopping.  Well it is if you want to get an early start. This year, my wife and I tried to do something different, we actually started our shopping back in October and we did this to avoid a lot of bills and charges in December at the end of the year.  Our goal was to slice our budget in half this year and so far, we are on track. We set a limit of $100 on each other, but then we decided to give more practical gifts for the gifts and for family members.

As much as I hate shopping, I love giving gifts. And with the boys being 2 1/2 this year, they are really going to at least have some idea of Christmas. Though they want totally understand the concept, they will for the first time wake up in their beds on Christmas morning and get to open gifts in their house.  But we are going to also have the boys make some crafts for grandparents too. Let’s be honest, most adults don’t need anything. So, let them get something that is not expensive to make and from the grand kids. It is a win-win.

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, I really hope to be finished all of our shopping in the next 2 weeks.


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Today, children from all over the world have been waiting for all year. It is Christmas Eve and in a few short hours, Santa will arrive and bring presents to all the good little boys and girls and bring smiles to the faces of children. Today and into tonight, as you spend time with your family and friends, take a moment to reflect on all that you have been blessed with. I know that for me personally, this is the first Christmas that I’ve really looked forward to in years and even though my kids will not understand the meaning behind Christmas, I for one will be enjoying every minute of it.

We will go to church together. We will enjoy a nice meal and put the kids down and wait. Wait until Santa arrives with presents and for the boys to wake up to enjoy playing with toys.

Enjoy today. Enjoy the moment. And enjoy your time together. Enjoy this Christmas Eve.

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