The Alford Crew

December 25, 2008

~December 24~

Filed under: Devotional, Family, General — Kristina @ 10:42 pm

Eve of Christmas…

Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. I Peter 5:7

Do you know Jesus really cares for you and I? His love is not a game or popular “reality” t.v. show…it is real love, God is love…His love is in constant action. For the most part we do see it every day, if we choose to that is. Imagine having a son and telling him You needed him to go to another country where He would be rejected by many, loved and accepted by a few, ultimately stare death in the face only to live again and people still reject you. That is difficult to get a brain around!

Let’s say you are one that does accept Him and love Him back…He cares for you…

Maybe you are one who rejects Him and all the good He is and stands for in name of His Heavenly Father—God…guess what, He cares for you too! You may feel and wonder how He could love and care for you when all sorts of bad things are happening to you and or your family right now, well He does. I’m not so certain he planned for all to shake out the way it did and does. When He made us, he created us with a little thing we call free will…a freedom to choose Him or reject Him—often we choose what happens to us, we even have the ability to affect what happens to generations that come after us. Our actions of today affect the here, now and tomorrow, should we be blessed with it.

If you are one who loves and accepts Jesus or not, all that matters is He desires a friendship with all of us…by faith that friendship begins. If we can not have faith in anyone or anything then we choose a destiny…a life of doubt. We will end up doubting everyone around us, people who have never given us a reason to doubt them and their loyalty…we will even doubt ourselves! The beauty of free will, is that we can change our minds and choose trust, faith, hope and ultimately true love!

The challenge: Go to or create a vigil of sorts, maybe go to a candle light service or local midnight mass. Reflect on past Christmas’ and hope, have faith in Jesus to celebrate on Christmas day tomorrow with you…

Tonight we celebrated with family, my parents were able to stop by and hang out, they gave the boys some much needed gifts along with fun gifts too! One of the biggest gifts we all received was time with each other, we shared roast and sat around the table sharing things we were thankful for, with all complete and music in the background we chowed down! Oh what fun!

Here are a few pics we took as we shared the evening…

Cayden excited about "pesents"!

Cayden excited about "pesents"!

Dad and Mom glad to celebrate together!

Dad and Mom glad to celebrate together!

Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad!

We even got to wish Papi and Granny Alford a Feliz Navidad in South America, thanks to a camera and the internet!
Feliz Navidad Papi & Granny!

Feliz Navidad Papi & Granny!

Some more fun stuff with the Bostrum Grandparents!
Thanks Grandma!

Thanks Grandma!

whoa! this puppy sings & dances!

whoa! this puppy sings & dances!

Connor and Cayden received so many nice things this Christmas Eve between Papi, Granny, Grandpa and Grandma most of their wants and needs for the season were met! Connor loved everything including things i don’t have pictured here…such as magic cards, playing cards, candy, w i i games and clothes! Connor says “Gracias” and “Thankyou” to everyone who gave him something! Cayden said thank you in the moment with his expression and is learning to say thank you more every day, we’re working on it. he says please really well and at the right time…Thank you is more and more frequent and it is so cool to observe him learning emotions of the like…the newest ones are Appy(happy) and saaad(sad) and he is so cute when he says it he sticks his little lip out in a pout to convey it even stronger! Love this age!

Chris opening the Beamer i bought him! Lol! (-:

Yes i bought Chris a “Beamer” It is a beautiful shade of blue, now if we can just borrow that contraption from that movie Honey I shrunk the kids and use it on the car to enlarge it…of course then we would need to find an actual motor to fit it too…oh well its fun to dream and laugh!
Isn’t it amazing how He does care for us? All our needs are provided! What a promise to cling to when times with our economy feel so uncertain…We are proof He is so faithful…always present.
Hope your Christmas is blessed!
with much love from us at the Alford Crew

~December 23~

Filed under: Devotional, Family, General, Prayer, Understanding — Kristina @ 8:31 pm

picture-1

A deep breath. A crackle of an ember sending an echo in my head triggering memories of years past. Years ago when family gathered in Virginia where one set of my Grandparents live. Almost every Christmas was blanketed with snowflakes and jack frost nipping on noses. Often enough snow lay on the ground for a quick sleigh ride! beautiful handmade ornaments along with a few store bought ornaments passed down from generation to generation floated on a hand cut cedar tree usually brought in by my Aunts and Uncles off the family land. My Momaw or Aunt GayNell would play the piano and we would sing hymns or carols, eat and open gifts! We had so much fun! As kids, my brother and I would marvel at the presents under the tree! We would be so giddy, i’m sure we were a bit annoying to folks as we waited until time to open everything! Little did we know our families really didn’t have much monetary gifts and treasures, but the fact we had one another was the thing i think that made it feel as though we had hundreds of presents to open every year. The jokes and laughs, as i mentioned already—the food, mostly the time together…

Was/is our family perfect?

…NO–there were several years we spent apart from family due to a feud that i can’t quite remember what it was over now, but i do know it probably had to do with someone being selfish and demanding and then things just not being handled correctly, ya know how most family feuds take place. Anyway, i choose to focus on the good yet learn from the not so good, therefore you are reading about the fond memories. Another awesome memory is the stories our family would tell that were also passed down. My dear Momaw in her later years would tell a story when we would go visit then whoever we ran into that day or even to some of us for a second time would share the same story over. I remember smiling and just allowing her to do it as it seemed to bring such a sparkle to her eyes…

One story in particular she enjoyed us reading at Christmas family gatherings was the “Christmas Story” at Christmas a true story in fact…i think it was her favorite to tell. She has been in Heaven two years now and the tradition continues if and when we can all get together at Christmas, someone reads from one of the Gospels such as Luke or from Matthew the account of Jesus’ obedience in coming to live here, being born of humble beginnings (i wonder if that was so we could all somehow relate a bit better)

So today’s challenge: Read out loud your favorite Christmas story!

If you don’t have much, hold on to those you do have, if you don;t have a “home away from home” such as a church family to participate in life with, search and find one! One you do have is God, ask Him to fill your life with peace and love that begins in Him and His son Jesus! This is the Alford Christmas prayer for you this year…we get it from Numbers in the Old Testament…(I like the Message version that Eugene Peterson shares:

24 God bless you and keep you,

25 God smile on you and gift you,

26 God look you full in the face
and make you prosper.

~December 22~

Filed under: Devotional, Family — Kristina @ 4:44 pm

Our family has traditions does yours?   Who doesn’t?  Every culture is made up of various traditions, true?  We have traditions in that we have certain ways to celebrate the holidays through out the year, but with the thought that if we ever feel we should change our tradition(s) then we will. For the simple reason that sometimes traditions are worshiped instead of the One who deserves all worship-Jesus! Have you ever experienced that somewhere? Whether it be at work, school, family or church? Traditions are a beautiful expression of our past in almost every case, there are just a few we sometimes that are sometimes held on to that we really don’t need to.

Today’s challenge: Make a tradition! Set aside some time every Christmas, Hannakkuh, Kwanzaa or holiday season to carry this tradition out.

As a family on Christmas Eve, we generally have a huge dinner with friends and family (we try to invite those who don’t have family close when we know someone in this situation-this was particularly fun when Chris was in the military!)

Christmas Day is generally reserved for our immediate family-Chris, the boys and I…We do almost nothing! Not even open gifts! I know that sounds so bad to some, doesn’t it? Oh trust me we purchase gifts and love giving/receiving just as anyone else, but we like to reserve this day to just enjoy each other’s personal “inside gifts”, and the gift of love that God gave years ago through the birth of Jesus. We wake up, slowly get ready, and have a huge Breakfast, a time of thanks is usually part of breakfast and offered to God in a prayer. This year we hope to have birthday cake for Jesus…Cayden is very excited about birthday cake and presents as his birthday is so close to Christmas. We clean up breakfast and lounge around together talking, reading, writing, napping-playing. Cayden is 2 now so wow, he keeps everyone busy until his nap time! So, back to the gifts…we choose to open gifts in January-some celebrate this tradition known as Day of the Kings or Epiphany, more on that later.

So have fun, create your own special way to celebrate, we know families who enjoy a meal (food is almost always involved!), we know families who love to take meals to other people(especially to the ER and Police Station.Firefighters working in the area, go to the movies, a walk in the park, play card games and one family loves to face off in video games and have a champion until the next year! All of these sound like loads of fun!

These words are thought when Psalm 23:1 is read in scripture

The Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want.

Instead of always wishing and wanting, we need to find ways to give. We Alfords are on a journey, learning a lot!  Something we are finding as we practice the giving part…we are given above and beyond all we could ask or imagine!

~December 21~

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristina @ 3:49 pm

What does Christmas really mean to you? Share it with others in a poem or story.

Refer to it after a long day of holiday shopping or when you think you have enjoyed all the eggnog and family gatherings you can handle…or just keep it as a private reminder of why this time of year is so special.

from Matthew 2:23

He came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth:that the prophecy spoken by the prophets about Jesus. “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

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