Advent Calendar - Day 25

My favorite radio station The JoyFM did a Christmas montage, telling the story of Christmas with some great songs as well as a telling of the story with a really cool chalk sketchings.  I thought it was the perfect video and audio to post for Christmas day. 

Merry Christmas everyone!

The video with the sketchings:

And the audio music montage:


Advent Calendar - Day 24

I am a big Peanuts fan and I've always loved Linus's explanation of what Christmas is all about.


Advent Calendar - Day 23

This Christmas has been a crazy Christmas.  It's been really busy and there have been some really exciting things, like my sister finding out she's pregnant with a baby girl and two of our friends having babies.  However, it's also been a tough Christmas season.  After a year and a half of trying, I'm still not pregnant, our one friend's baby is in the NICU because he was born two months premature, our other friend's newborn just had open heart surgery, and my niece is not yet home from Ethiopia.  So lately I haven't been feeling very Christmasy.  

This song reminded me that Christmas isn't about me or how I feel.  It's about rejoicing in the birth of our Savior.  It's not a traditional Christmas song, but it is a bonus track on my SheDaisy Christmas CD. 

"the far off hymn, that hails a new Creation"

"through all the toil and the strife, i hear the music ringing, it finds an echo in my soul" 

How Can I Keep From Singing by SheDaisy


Advent Calendar - Day 22

I've heard this many times from many different people, but this is always a fun one:

12 Days of Christmas by Straight No Chaser



Advent Calendar - Day 21

Busy day = Short blog post


When Love Was Born by Mark Schultz


Advent Calendar - Day 20

Dara MaClean is a new artist as of this past year.  I really like her music and the groove it has.  

She came out with a Christmas song that has the same kind of groove, but the joy and story of Christmas.  

The Day That Love Was Born by Dara MaClean

(Sorry, this song is so new there's not video for it on YouTube... but if you go to the site below, you can listen to it through a music player towards the bottom of the page.)




Advent Calendar - Day 19

Over the past week, my parents have been counting which Christmas songs they hear on the radio and how many times.  On the stations they listen to O Holy Night is in the lead.  ...And I'm sure they're sick of it.  But I really like this version. 

O Holy Night by Shane and Shane


Advent Calendar - Day 18

I didn't really catch the lyrics to this song the first time I heard it, but when I did... It's SO good! My oldest sister told me that this is her favorite new Christmas song. 

Amazing lyrics! 

"This Savior in a manager changes everything"

Jesus is Alive by Josh Wilson


Advent Calendar - Day 17

I love this twist on the classic:

Joy to the World by Chris Tomlin



Advent Calendar - Day 16

I almost always listen to The Joyfm radio station.  Their afternoon guy, Jayar, stated this was his favorite new Christmas song this year.  

I like that everyone can sing along with lyrics like "doodoot da doot doot dooo" and the video reminds me to see Christmas through the eyes of a child, eager, and with anticipation. 

Born Is The King (It's Christmas) by Hillsong



Advent Calendar - Day 15

I have always been a fan of the classic voices, and while he's a modern singer, Michael Buble is definitely a classic voice.


Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Michael Buble


Advent Calendar - Day 14

I had heard this song before, but my middle sister reintroduced it to me the other week and after truly listening it, I love it!  For some reason this year the word Hallelujah just hits me and makes me open up and feel very worshipful.    


Here With Us by Joy Williams


Advent Calendar - Day 13

As my husband and I were discussing what makes Christmas christmasy to each of us, I talked about how it was the traditions that really made it christmasy to me.  However, ever since I had family move out of state, other family members pass away, and I moved out of my parents' house, the season just hasn't felt the same to me.  

But there were certain tapes and later CDs that were always played in our house.  The Oak Ridge Boys was one of them.  This song, while not entirely Christmas specific, was always played, and definitely speaks to the joys of having a child's excitement about Christmas. 

Thank God for Kids by the Oak Ridge Boys


Advent Calendar - Day 12

So the other day as my husband (the other M in this MnM equation) and I were talking about what makes Christmas christmasy to us, we discussed his love of snow.  He loves snow and skiing and the idea of warming up by a fire when it's cold outside.  So needless to say, he looks forward to going up north to see the snow.  Well this year he's distraught, as it has been rather warm up north, and he's very concerned that there won't be any snow when he arrives. 

So I heard this song the other day for the first time and have to dedicate it to him, because I think he would enjoy living in a snow globe. Love you hunnie!

Snow Globe by Matt Wertz



Advent Calendar - Day 11

One Christmas when I was in high school or college, as we were decorating our house, we always listened to a variety of Christmas tunes, and all of a sudden laughter breaks out in the living room.  I go upstairs to the living room to find my dad conducting Trans Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Eve/Saravejo to an imaginary orchestra.  We laughed hysterically and I think of my dad every time that song comes on.  We still encourage him to conduct the imaginary orchestra, but it doesn't happen too often.  

I love the way little things leave such wonderful memories.

Christmas Eve/Saravejo by the Trans Siberian Orchestra



Advent Calendar - Day 10

So I've heard Matthew West's One Last Christmas before the Christmas season, but heard his new song the Heart of Christmas just recently.  

Matthew tells the story of the Locke family here:

Dax actually lived through the calendar year and passed away early the next January.  You can see all the lights that neighbors, towns and people all around the world put up for Dax at the family's website.  You can also donate to the Dax Locke Foundation, visit their shop that supports the foundation, and donate to St. Jude's on the Locke's site.  

This year the Gospel Music Channel (GMC) made a movie out of the Locke's story.  You can find out about the movie and where to see it here: http://theheartofchristmasmovie.com/  And with the movie, Matthew West wrote a new song, a song about the message that the Locke family wants to share with everyone, to cherish every moment that you have with those you love, and let them know that you love them every day. 

The Heart of Christmas by Matthew West



Advent Calendar - Day 9

Today was a crazy day.  I had a bunch of extra work added to a project at work with a whole bunch of changes, stayed late and then got stuck in traffic going home.  So all I want to do it now is relax and forget about what's waiting for me on Monday morning. 

I loved this song when I first heard it and it's a nice chill song... something I needed today... Enjoy!

Winter Snow by Audrey Assad



Advent Calendar - Day 8

So I swear this year is the first time I've ever heard this song, but it must a couple years old because there are videos of it from past years.  I love Francesca Battistelli's songs usually and I love this one too.  It's a song from Mary's perspective and the following lines always catch me:

"Look at your hands, they're still so small.  Someday you're going to stretch them out and save us all."
"Someday you're gonna go home again, but you'll leave your spirit and flood the world with joy."

How exciting!  I just think it's a beautiful song with a great message and perspective.

"You could have left us on our own, but You're here...."

You're Here by Francesca Battistelli



Advent Calendar - Day 7

Five years ago today my cousin Chrissy was killed in a car crash.  I can still remember getting the call from my parents and every year it gives me pause during this time of joy and celebration.  I think of her frequently, but even more so today.  

In celebration of Chrissy's life and the friends we shared through dance, today's song is the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.



Advent Calendar - Day 6

I was never a big fan of the song I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.  Until I heard Mark Hall of Casting Crowns explain that the song came from a poem entitled Christmas Bells by Longfellow and how he wrote the poem in the deepest, darkest time of the civil war and after his wife had just died.  Check out the full explanation (he says it much better than me) here: http://web.thejoyfm.com/jr/casting2.mp3

And this is the song:

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Casting Crowns



Advent Calendar - Day 5

This is by far one of my favorite songs.  It has a triple meaning.  

1. Any parent I've ever known has said having a baby completely changed their life.
2. Jesus came as a baby and changed everything for the world.
3. When you accept Christ, your life is forever changed.

Faith Hill sings it beautifully... It's just such a good song.  Enjoy...

A Baby Changes Everything by Faith Hill


Advent Calendar - Day 4

I feel like this song draws a picture and really reminds me/helps me to picture how crazy it was for Jesus to come to this crazy world, how lost the world is without Him. 

Christmas has always represented a happy time of year but this song depicts the true joy of this occasion, for how lost would we be without Him. 

The Night Before Christmas by Brandon Heath


Advent Calendar - Day 3

Lately, life's been a little busy and while I'm doing my best to slow down and enjoy the Christmas season.... I don't feel like I'm doing a very good job. (whoopsy!) So, I heard this song today and knew it had to be the song for the day.  Hoping I can get my holiday stress under control and start enjoying this beautiful season. 

I Need A Silent Night by Amy Grant


Advent Calendar - Day 2

Whenever this song comes on I can't help but dance in my chair... 
See if you can resist...

Most Beautiful Time Of The Year by Beckah Shae


Advent Calendar - Day 1

Music, on the generally whole, really means a lot to me.  It can change my mood in an instant and move me to tears.  So after doing one thing to be thankful for each day in November, I figured it would be a nice little Advent calendar kind of way to prepare myself for Christmas if I did one song each day in December leading up until Christmas day.  

So here's December 1st:

He Has Come For Us (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen) by Meredith Andrews



This hard place...

"This hard place in which you perhaps find yourself is the very place in which God is giving you opportunity to look only to Him, to spend time in prayer, and to learn long-suffering, gentleness, meekness - in short, to learn the depths of the love that Christ Himself has poured out on all of us."
                                                                                                                     - Elizabeth Elliot

Trying to learn, in this hard place.


Embrace the Camera

This past Friday Mike and I went to the Night of Joy at Disney.  It's about sixteen christian artists who have mini-concerts over two days.

We were only there one night but saw Francesca Battistelli, Disciple, Group 1 Crew, Matthew West, and Skillet. My legs hurt at the end of the night but it was great to see some great music in concert! 

Mike and I at Night of Joy



Group 1 Crew

Matthew West

Happy Happy Joy Joy!



Embrace the Camera

My friend Bonnie and I recently went to Disney's Fort Wilderness campgrounds and roasted marshmallows, made s'mores, and watched Tangled up on a big screen.  For anyone with kids (or those of use who are just big kids) it's an awesome free night out!  You bring your own s'mores stuff but they have the movie and getting in is easy and free! It was a great night out! And Tangled was super cute! :)

Link up at the Anderson's blog



Adventures in Baking

So I love baking and have frequently baked cupcakes for random parties, but just recently got into baking cakes for people.  Here are some of my recent adventures:

First stacked cake I ever made, also the first fondanted cake I ever made.

Second stacked and fondanted cake I made:

First sheet cake I made with buttercream and first piping i ever did... not bad it you ask me:

Second sheet cake  I made with buttercream... I thought I could use the same icing tip to write that I used to make the dots... not my best decision.

So, hopefully there will be many more cakes and adventures but here's my start! :)



Never Second Best

So I realize that I haven't written on here in a hot second... or two.... It's been a busy summer and hopefully I'll find time to give a quick wrap up of what that looked like, but I had something on my mind first.  

Within the past year I've been going down a certain path with a focus on a singular goal, that I have yet to accomplish.  And I don't wish to wallow in my lack of this accomplishment, but sometimes I do throw a small pity party for myself. (so sue me)  

I have always thought that this would be a path I would take and never really considered the complicated mess reaching this goal would become. 

Pardon my vagueness, just not ready to share with the world, but what the goal is really isn't the point.  

Today I forced myself to step away from my usual mindless evening tv to have some quiet, personal time.  I have a devotional, a journal and a daily Bible and try to get through at least one of those a day. (certainly not anywhere near everyday does it happen, but an A for effort, right?) 

So tonight in the devotional I was reading there was the following quote:

"With God, it's never "Plan B" or "second best." It's always "Plan A." And, if we let Him, He'll make something beautiful of our lives." - Gloria Gaither

Sometimes I forget that while I may be on the right path, it doesn't mean that my goal is just around the corner.  It may be five or ten or twenty more corners that I have to turn before I reach my goal... Though I certainly hope that it leans more towards the five than the twenty...  But no matter how many corners or how many hurdles appear, they are all a part of the learning and growing process and that this is how God planned it so that I will be prepared when I do reach that goal and appreciate that success just that much more.  

My new goal..... to let Him make something beautiful out of my life.  



Embrace the Camera

On the way to the (failed to launch) shuttle launch

Mike and I at the (failed to launch) shuttle launch two weeks ago. 

Embrace the Camera with the Andersons!



Ze Blimp!

Mike's grandpa helped design one of the Good Year blimps and is still consulted on some of their projects.  So Mike grew up around the blimps and even helped to build one while he worked for Good Year the summer before college and Mike's been on multiple blimp rides, but I certainly have not.  So, Grandpa Block made the connection for us and we made the long drive down to Pompano Beach to take a ride on the blimp.  It was quite fun! We got there just in time to see the flight before us take off and then met up with a guy Mike worked with back in Ohio who took us on a tour of the hanger and told us all about how it all works.  And then we boarded the blimp and took a nice little jaunt down the south beach coastline, with nice views of the coast and some ridiculous houses.  Mike and our friend Rob even got to fly for a little while. (both love planes and flying and just thought that was the coolest thing!) :)  It was definitely a unique experience - the windows open, the nose can be at a 45 degree angle and it's no big deal, etc.  But definitely fun and unique! Thanks Grandpa Block! You rock! :)

Here are some pics from our trip:

 Looking out from the hanger where the blimp is stored:
 About to get in the cabin, (note the guy hanging out to the bottom of them blimp, in an attempt to stabilize it - it was windy): 

Up in the air, looking down the coastline:

Mike got a chance to pilot the blimp:

It's a pretty small cabin.  This is me looking backwards from the co-pilot's seat:

As we come in to land, the crew grabs the lines to stabilize the blimp:

The three adventurers in front of the blimp:



Embrace the Camera

Joining in the usual fun at Emily's blog: http://www.andersonfamilycrew.blogspot.com/

After another long day at work:

You can join the fun too! Get out from behind the camera, and EMBRACE IT! :)



Holy Cool Stuff!

There's some awesome stuff that's been donated for an adoption auction here.  The auction closes on this Saturday, the 23rd. 

I put in my bid. Now it's your turn!  



Check out all the cool stuff!

What are you waiting for?! ;)



Embrace Exhaustion

This past Friday through Saturday was USF's Relay for Life (an American Cancer Society fundraising event).  I am the staff advisor for the student committee who puts on this event at USF.  We have goals from ACS every year.  This year's goals were 52 teams and $60,000.  As of 7am on Saturday, we had 81 teams and $61,363.43! :) And I know the actual total will be higher because some donations are still coming in online.  SO excited that it went well!  People seemed to have a great time and the event went smoothly.

I was up at 7am on Friday and went to work in the morning, started set up at about noon, finished clean up at 9:45am on Saturday and finally made it to bed at 11am. So after 28 straight hours of being awake, I looked like this:

The hardest part of being awake for 28 hours is driving home and not falling asleep!  Completely and utterly exhausted (it took me a good couple of days to get my sleep schedule back on track) but I'm always SO proud of what we can accomplish every year we do this! :)

Thank you to all of my committee and to everyone who help me meet my personal fundraising goal! You Rock! :)

Join the Anderson Crew in Embracing the Camera. 



Fun Weekend

We had a great weekend this past weekend.  Visited with some friends, local and outta towners, sang loudly, welcomed a daughter in her forever family, picnicked with family, and went on a bike ride! Super fun!

Here's the pics:

Singing loudly at Jellyrolls piano bar with Bonnie :D

Mike was nice and hung out with us loud mouths for the night :)


We welcomed home Elsa into her forever family :)


Elsa with Mom and sis :)


Went on a picnic and bike ride with family and dogs


After the ride, the dogs were just a little tired

fun picnics with family :) 


mmmmm, watermelon 

A great weekend with great people and great fun! It was GREAT! :)

More great fun this weekend!