Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 In Pictures

I saw this idea on my friend Sandra's blog and I thought it was a wonderful idea!
Here is what she did:
With the New Year right around the corner, this is the perfect
time for a peek through the past year of blogging.
I would love for you to join in with me!Post the first sentence (or two)
of your first blog post of each month. You
can also add a favorite picture (or two!) from each month.
SO, go get yourself a cup of tea and enjoy my 2008 Year In Review.
"Okay, so Nathan and I have talked about this until, it seems, we are blue in the face. We still don't have a finalized decision about it, but these are some conclusions we have come to regarding our children's education for next year..."

Graycen's 7th & MaryEvelyn's 6th Birthday

Cooper having a sweet moment with his Gran Gran


"Well, we have had a lot go on in the last few weeks.
The number one thing has been the stomach flu."

Valentine's Day Fun! (Taken with camera phone. Sorry)

Nathan's 35th Birthday


"We are home sick today from church...AGAIN.
However, this was a wonderful moment I got a peek at and had to share. "
Annagail's 1st birthday!!

Graycen was baptized Easter Morning.


"We moved in. It rained all day and we still have an outdoor storage closet from
the old house to bring over tomorrow, but I am sitting on my couch and
I am sleeping in my bed, AND I can breathe!!! "
All seven of us went pottery painting.

Enjoying the weather at the park


"I spent last week on the road with the kiddos."
Mother's Day 2008

Strawberry Patch-Mother's Day Weekend


"At the park today, a Mom of two and I struck up a conversation."

Cooper's 5th Birthday

Father's Day 2008


"Yesterday was the first leg of my cRaZy MaMa SuMmEr Road Tour. "

Crazy Mama Road Trip 2008- I took the kids to GA without Nathan.

Graycen's 1st Day of School


"A few funny happenings from the Murray Home..."
My 34th Birthday

My favorite "Servant" came to live with us in August.


"As I type this (Tuesday,10:38 am), Nathan is entering a job interview.
It is his second interview with this company and the job sounds very promising. "

Nathan and I celebrated TEN years of marriage!!

Part of my anniversary gift for Nathan


"We are all going through something here. We thought it was the
stomach bug, but it looks like it might be strep."
Graycen and I had our first "tea" together!

Party On The Block: Animal Kingdom Theme

"Here they are! Sorry about the wait. It has been a BUSY weekend."
Curious George Scavenger Hunt in Charleston for Ella's 4th Birthday

The Day After The Presidential Election


"I know that many of you have followed my friend Casey's story. If you haven't checked in on her in a little while, even a VERY little while, GO THERE NOW! "
3rd Annual Christmas Eve Lights & Cocoa Tour Attire

Our Final Night of Advent
WOW! I have never gone back and read like that,
but I think this will be an annual post for me.
What a journey this year has been!
From my busy home to yours:
Have a Blessed & Joyful New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


This year I let a lot of the hustle and bustle go. It was really liberating. Some things that I let go this year, I will bring back next year. There just wasn't time or energy to put towards them. With Nathan's semester ending so close to Christmas and us all getting sick again with strep (yes, I said strep for the THIRD time this year!), it was either get EVERYTHING done OR have a spirit-filled Christmas. I chose the latter. So, no Christmas cards went out from our house this year. There was no birthday cake for Jesus, although we did sing and we did celebrate. We even waited until the day AFTER Christmas to erect our gingerbread house. Instead, we focused on Advent, my favorite Christmas tradition, and on just being together and celebrating Christ's birth. It really was a nice day for us here at home.

Today after church, we packed up a lunch and headed to the seminary campus for a little outing. We spent a few hours just walking around, letting the kids run, and taking some photos. It was great fun and we left wondering why we don't do something like that more often. It was free, fulfilling, family fun! I think the same problem comes up when we start to plan outings-DETAILS. I am certain that, when planning outings for my kids, I am getting too wrapped up in making them...SUPER, I guess and I miss out on the simple fun that we could be having right in our own backyard.

I am making it one of my new year's goals to try and spend more time thinking simply. In the meantime, enjoy some of the photos I snapped today on our outing. be sure to check out my updated kidlet pics on the sidebar also! We did those while we were out today as well.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Today's Actors' Studio Guest... ME!

This morning I am finding myself in a typhoon of emotions. I have a lot going on, a lot I have already done this week, and a TON still to do. I am working really hard at NOT being overwhelmed this year, so instead of going through all of those issues with you ,I decided to do this instead. Enjoy!

James: What is your favorite word?
Angela: Grace

James: What is your least favorite word?
Angela: Deserve

James: What turns you on?
Angela: friends who don't put on heirs and don't mind that I see their floors dirty :o)

James: What turns you off?
Angela: The new trend towards pretending to be a rebel. It is just so silly and highschoolish (if that is even a word). Don't they know that if EVERYONE is doing it, it isn't really "rebelling" anymore?

James: What sound do you love?
Angela: belly laughs

James: What sound do you hate?
Angela: the alarm clock--it is not the getting up, just the sound of my alarm clock.

James: What is your favorite curse word?
Angela: Is "Dangit" a curse word?

James: What profession other than yours would you like to pursue?
Angela: Christian Recording Artist

James: What profession would you despise?
Angela: Anything that required me to work fake rebels, that like to listen to my alarm clock often, and wouldn't allow me to sing while I worked, Dangit!!!

James: What would you like God to say as you enter the Pearly Gates?
Angela: "Come on in, child- at least you got the LOVE part right!"

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Bucket List

I started to this months ago and then saved it without completing it for some reason. SOm here it is in it's completion. It looks like most of what I HAVEN'T done here involves an need for an airplane, so don't hold your breath! Just kidding, one day I will do some of these things, whil others I don't ever have any intention of doing.

Items in BOLD are things that I have already done.

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted (well, sketched)

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a mobile phone

99. Been stung by a bee

100. Read an entire book in one day

It must have been a glorious night indeed.

Nathan and I were talking through the words to my favorite Christmas carol yesterday. Actually, we were trying to remember all of them. It is one of those songs that people tend to make up their own words to and we were trying to think of all he CORRECT words. LOL!

While we were saying just the first chorus, the words (highlighted below) just jumped in my soul. I teared up as my mind immediately visualized their meaning.

Join me in my mind for a moment as I describe what I saw when I heard these words:

"Long lay world in sin and error pining. `Til He appreared and the soul felt it's worth."

This world before Christ's birth, pining away in all of it's sin, trying to desperately to live according to the law, and offering sacrifice after sacrifice in order to remain in fellowship with the Lord. There was ALWAYS a sin to be sacrificed for. There was always blood that needed spilling in order that the law could be kept.

Then, like fresh, cold water poured over a steaming hot and cracked earth..........................Jesus. It is hard not to raise my hands and bow my head even typing that now.


This baby grew up and was killed for MY sin on the cross. There was no longer a need for the blood sacrifices. The sacrifice, the sentence, for MY sin was carried out. Wow. This baby, born that holy night, was intended to grow up without sin of His own, and then have HIS blood spilled for MY sin.

Humbling isn't a mighty enough word. Because THIS night happened, the cross happened and I will SEE God's glory. Because God sent THIS baby, my children may never know death. Because of THIS baby and His sacrifice, I don't have to "pine away" in my own sin and error AND I don't have to wallow in pity for sins committed against me. I can live in the FREEDOM of God's forgiveness, His mercy, and His perfect, perfect love for me.

I hope that you have, at least few, minutes set aside over the next two weeks, to meditate on what this holy night meant in terms of your life. It wasn't an accident that Christ was born. God sent Him. He sent His Son for me and He sent Him for you. Whatever your needs are right now, I pray that you will take a moment to recognize the worth of that manger and then pass by it in your mind on your way to the foot of the cross, where you can lay all of your needs and all of your sin down this Christmas Season. God bless you. Merry Christmas!

O Holy Night

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend!
He knows our need—to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Have I reminded you lately of Superman.

It's OOOOOOOOVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRR!Yeah! Another semester down and one to go for Nathan's undergrad. Allow me me just take a minute and break down for you how awesome my husband is, if you will.

Four years ago (in January), he made the decision with me (after a lot of prayer and counsel) to pack up our lovely home and our four children (at the time 4,3,1, and 7 weeks old) and move two states away from all of our family, or really ANYONE we knew. He has an AAT in photography, but was only able to transfer elective credits in upon admission. He has worked so hard to keep a healthy balance between home, school, and work. While doing this, he has kept a decent grade point average and even managed SEVERAL A's in classes along the way. There have been many nights when he has stayed up, at this kitchen table, all night long to study or complete a assignment. He started off working part-time overnight and going to school full time during the day. Then, as our family's needs have changed, he has backed off of school to either be more present at home or to work full time to earn more income for us. Half-way through the four years we have been here, we had our Annagail. He was, as always, present and active in every part of that first year--more than willing to slow down on school (to even one class per semester!!) in order that we could adjust to life with five children. This semester, we decided to step it up. He jumped back into a full load at school, even though he was working 40+ hours per week. He has had A TON of work to do, including several papers, book reviews, 2 evaluated speeches, and even memorizing an entire chapter in 2 Timothy!! Many times, I would find Nathan like this in the middle of the night:

Nathan asleep on the floor of the hallway, studying something.

I could go on and on about how blessed I am to have been chosen by this man. He has never wavered from his calling, even when it seemed impossible to face. That is a character trait that cannot be bought. I get goosebumps thinking about the testimony of strength and stamina that our kids are seeing through his life. They know that they don't have the latest and greatest _____________ (fill in the blank with shoes, toys, games,trips, whatever) that flood the airwaves. Honestly though, I don't think they care. It has been a testimony to me to see how little the "latest and greatest" matters when a child has a family that is full of love. Their Daddy is here for them, despite his hectic schedule. On that wonderful day in our future maybe, when we are standing there ready to give them away to their spouse, THAT is what they will remember. They won't have a clue what kind of shoes they wore when they were 5 yrs old or which toy they got for Christmas last year. They will remember Nathan reading through Pilgrim's Progress with them each night, last year before bedtime. They will remember that he made pancakes for them on Saturday mornings and that he always has to open a window to keep the smoke detector from going off. They will remember that he busted his hiney some days, just to ride through carpool line with us, so that he could see them for 10 minutes before he had to jet out to class. They know that, above all else and only under the Lord, we are his highest priority.

I know that I am going on and on here, but I have been really moved over the last few days to take notice of what I have been blessed with. He could have easily thrown us under the bus for his calling. He would have been wrong, but he could have done it. On the contrary, he could have thrown his calling under the bus for us. It would have been MUCH easier to stay in our little house and stay nice, comfy, & convenient. Instead, Nathan wrapped his arms around all of us and stepped right out of that boat. I would be a liar if I said that there was never a time that I worried and fretted over our decision. I probably always will at some point. That is part of MY sin. However, praise the Lord that he gave me the husband who could overcome even my fears, could listen to the Lord, and could just GO. It is one of the many things that I thank the Lord for every day. Also, we haven't always clicked our heels in unison onthe journey, but when we got off synch, we quickly back-up and fix whatever it is that isn't working. Nathan appreciates that when our bond is rocky, nothing else can move forward. That is another of many reasons that I am blessed.

So, "YEAH!!" to the end of another long semester. To the next one coming in January, I say, "Bring it!". To that graduation day that is right around the corner, well, I cannot put into words how my heart feels about THAT day. You'll have to stay tuned until May for THAT one.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

You can help fund Zoe's Adoption.

Zoe is the precious little one that the Lord placed in the arms of my friend Casey. It was two weeks, just TWO WEEKS, from the time Dan and Casey heard about this little girl until she was in their home, being loved on by her new and perfectly-placed parents.

As you can imagine, Dan & Casey now have some hefty costs that they weren't expecting in the way of placement fees and other adoption costs. Dan's father has established a way for us to help them with these costs. Go here and read about it. A portion of the money you pay for these great coupon books will go directly to Zoe's adoption fees.

I will be back with some posts that have been brewing later. Today is the last day of Nathan's 8th semester and (PRAISE THE LORD!) life will be a lot less hectic with tomorrow's sunrise. I have some things that have been welling up in my heart that I am ready to share.

Have a blessed day and go check out those coupon books!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Living In "New Baby Grace"

I was looking through some photos the other day that were from when a dear friend had her baby a month ago. There were all the classic delivery shots along with all of the always-touching first photos with baby. The funny thing is, for the first time since I had Annagail I found myself missing that time of life. "NO. Nope. No way!" is what I quickly thought. So I started thinking of WHAT it was that I was missing.

Seriously, I am done having babies. That is a peace that I thank God for daily. Don't get me wrong. I am not a big baby hater :). I just have been delivered safely through that time and I have not a single desire for another baby in this house. I am *loving* spending tim with my five babies and I am truly enjoying seeing Annagail grow and learning who she is. I don't enjoy being pregnant either. It is okay (I guess), but my last few pregnancies were doozies--filled with bedrest and sickness, so I am not a psycho. SO (to recap), if I am not desiring to be pregnant again and I am not in "baby fever", WHY was I getting so emotional about that time being a time of the past for us?!?!?!?!

It is the GRACE. It dawned on me yesterday that it is the GRACE that accompanies that time of life that I am missing. During the time of anticipation, delivery, and transition with a new baby, GRACE just oozes from everyone. Nobody expects perfection. Nobody expects marathon cleaning stints. There is just GRACE. The kids are given grace while they adjust to this world-rocking change. The husband is given grace while he adjusts to lack of sleep and a hormonal wife. Probably most importantly, the Mama gives herself TONS of grace in almost EVERY aspect of her life.

The question that is now nagging me for an answer is, why do I have to have a another baby to participate in my life with this type of grace. I have five children. It is tough, for them and me while we train them and they learn to be self-controlled. I have a husband who works full time and goes to school full-time. He IS tired and always having to adjust to his school schedules and assignment loads. Why am I not seizing this grace as my own and living in it?!?!?! Goodness. It is sad that this grace (in my life) is reserved for those limited times in my life. Yes, there are responsibililties to be handled and things that HAVE to get done. Yet, I do not give myself a break in most areas of my life. I want to live in that...."new baby grace" all the time, when it is okay to not be ready for company and to keep my hair in it's sleep-styled "do" on occasion. I don't want to be a slacker. I don't like clutter, but I just want it to be okay if I have a hard day and the kids go two days in a row with a carb-heavy dinner. It is okay, because life is sometimes hard. Days are sometimes longer than others and, just like those sleepless nights with a newborn, IT IS OKAY and WILL PASS.

So, do you live in grace? I am just wondering. I can beat up on myself (internally, of course) pretty hard sometimes about not "getting it all done". Am I the only one?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I *LOVE* My Lord!!!!!

I know that many of you have followed my friend Casey's story. If you haven't checked in on her in a little while, even a VERY little while, GO THERE NOW! God has moved and it is a story that will leave you in tears and raising your hands rejoicing with this sweet family this morning!!!

I *love* my Lord.