Thursday, December 25, 2008

It May Not Be Pretty Cake....

But it was sure a fun one to make! Every year we make a Jesus Cake and sing to Him! It is a sweet simple tradition that helps us remember Him, Our Lord and Savior. This year we had to do half chocolate icing and half white because my kids are truly polar opposites in every way. I let them take the lead on this and do as they please, then we all sing and eat!

I think Andrew likes our tradition...what do you think?

I pray you had a great day, enjoying the Celebration of our King! Merry Christmas Friends! We are leaving town in the morning and I doubt I will update for while. Just in case I don't get a chance I will go ahead and wish you a Happy New Year.

***If you can find a few minutes to read this article that was written up on ESPN then go do it. You will be blessed! What a beautiful picture of Christ honoring love...this is not your typical sports story. And just in case you are curious, no I do not read the ESPN website. My husband found this and told me about it. It blessed me, so now I hope it blesses you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas #1

We hosted Christmas with my side of the family here at our home. My brother, his wife, and girls came down and my parents and younger siblings all came over. We spent the day together playing, eating, and opening presents. It was a quick Celebration but a fun one. Thought I would post some pictures.

Andrew found a good place to snuggle up and made himself at home with Aunt Audra

Mom and Lil' sis Traci
Mom and her first set of kids

Aunt Traci with Aidan and Lynsey

Aidan and Lynsey

Somehow Rebecca and Lauren managed to miss all the photos and so did my brother Greg and my dad. We will have to do better next time. Andrew got to be the center of attention for a while at dinner. He was the only kid that sat at the grown up table (because that is where his booster seat was) and he turned into quite the ham. He hadeveryone laughing and he loved every bit of his moment in the spotlight. When you are child #3 those moments are few and far between so you have to enjoy them while they last and he sure did.
It's Christmas Eve Day! Enjoy!

More Christmas Activites

A trip to Santa Land is a holiday favorite for my kids. We went last week and had a great time together. We opted to go on a tractor ride rather than drive through ourselves. It is more fun to be out in the open and you can see everything so much better. Here are a few pictures we took:

I also gave the kids $4.00 each this year and we went to the Dollar tree. They got to pick something out for their siblings, mom, and dad. It was really cute to watch them look for just the right gift. There was one point that Rebecca saw her gift so Aidan put it back and picked another item. When it was apparent this was going to be a problem I found somthing they could use to hide their gifts. They had a great time shopping for eachother and for us and are excited about giving their gifts on Christmas morning. Here are my little shoppers:

Only 2 days until Christmas!

School Party

Aidan's class party was last week. It was a fun time for the kids and a treat for me to be a part of. They began the party with snacks and sugar cookies to decorate. Then they sang some cute Christmas songs and finally they had a book exchange. The kids had a good time together and got plenty of sugar and treats to take home. Now we get a little break from the early mornings and the long days to enjoy being all together! We are all looking forward to that.

Aidan watching his teacher open her gift.

A Breakfast Brunch

Last week I hosted a simple brunch for my Moms in Touch group. I made an egg casserole a sweet cherry pastry and had another mom bring fruit. These ladies are truly a gift in my life. There is just something that bonds people who pray together! These ladies stand with me every week to pray for my kids and they pray for my family throughout the week. God is using these ladies to teach me about Christian community, His family. They may not the women I spend most of my time with or the ones know the best, but they are family! We are united around our Savior through prayer. It is a wonderful way to be united. This Christmas I am thanking the Lord for these women.

I planned the brunch to be a super causal paper plate kind of get together, but as it got closer I decided I wanted them to feel special. I pulled out my nice china and made simple ornament place holders. It was a fun little retreat in the midst of busyness and a chance to spend some time getting to know one another. Isn't that ironic...most friendships are built through time spent being together getting to know each other, these are built through prayer. Ladies, you are a gift!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is their Any lacking in Christ's Suffering?

Several weeks ago I wrote that I was in a strange place spiritually and wasn't sure what to say. You probably forgot or else you thought I forgot. I did not forget and there isn't a day that goes by where my thoughts are turned back to what the Lord has been teaching me and showing me.

I heard a sermon preached by John Piper that he preached at a missionary conference a few months ago about a verse in Colossians. It is Colossians 1:24 and it says Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. Just in case you are unsure, these are the words of Paul, who I have heard referred to as the first missionary.

Piper addresses the text much more fully than I could and you can hear his sermon on it here, but it has been stuck in my head and I can't seem to get it out. You see, within about one week of hearing that sermon I had the opportunity to hear from 3 different missionaries. Missionaries who are willing to give up the comfort of home, the comfort of America, to go and share the good news of Jesus Christ.

First, I was privileged to get to invite into my home 3 Mongolian Christians (a single male, a couple and their 8 month old baby)who are training here locally to go to an extremely dangerous, dark place to share Jesus Christ with people they do not know. It is a place that I could not go and would not be allowed entry into. It is a place that no Christian literature is allowed in (including Bibles) and where little freedom exists. It is a place where these missionaries will literally risk their lives to go. So why would they go? They love Jesus and they want to tell others about Him. It is plain and simple and they are working diligently to move forward in this way. They have a bold faith that no one can doubt. You may think they are crazy but you never doubt their love for the Savior and the value they place on Him.

Next, our care group invited a sweet young couple to come and share about what they are going to do and where they are going to serve. They will be in Northern Africa working with Muslims there. They are going to live in a place that lacks all the comforts of home, you know the basics that we take for granted like running water, and an oven and stove top to cook with. They are planning to go and live among the people as the people live and share the love of Christ with them.

Lastly, our Perspectives class had David Sitton come and speak. Trace and I were privileged to pick him up at the airport and spend some time with him over dinner. He is the founder of To Every Tribe Ministries and, using his own words for many martyr missionaries, he is what I would call a "fool for Jesus". He speaks truth boldly and is challenging to listen to. He calls us as Christians to lay it all down and to be willing to go anywhere and do anything for the name of Jesus Christ. He says that to be a Christian you cannot be a coward, because he believes Christians should live in all boldness, power, and authority that we have been given in Christ Jesus. He speaks this way only because he has lived this way. He was a missionary in Papa New Guinea for 15+ years and he has been beaten and almost killed for the name of Christ. He has lived out the faith he calls us to.

I have been given a visual, a face, to go with the idea of filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions. Yes, Christ's death on the cross is the only thing that can make us right with God. It is through this sacrifice that we are saved, by grace alone. However, the filling up of His suffering allows others to see suffering on Christ's behalf, to get a picture of what He did for them. I have seen no one suffer, but the Lord has blessed me with the honor to see the face of those who have and who may suffer for the name of Christ. It does something to a person when they get the depth of that. It has done something to me to begin to dig deeper into this truth and to begin to see more clearly what it really is that Christ has done for me.

In all honesty, I get dull to the gospel. I hate to say that but it is true. It can become a story I have heard my whole life that has little weight or impact on me. There are times when it may not impact the way I live all that much. It can even seem untrue sometimes or hard to believe ( I mean God has done some pretty remarkable things like the virgin birth and the resurrection of Christ). I can doubt, I can question truth. Please hear me say I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe He was both man and God, and I believe He died for my sins and has risen from the dead. But sometimes my human tendency to understand it all in a clear logical way creeps in and I can experience doubt. Seeing the disciples die for their faith gave weight to what they spoke, the message they preached. It filled up what was lacking in Christ's afflictions for those people who saw them willing to die for this truth they proclaimed. The same is true today...when Christ followers are willing to suffer for the sake of Christ completes what is lacking for us.

It doesn't make sense that suffering would be the tool that the Creator of the Universe would use to conquer evil and redeem souls. It doesn't make sense that in God's Mercy He would allow His followers to suffer so harshly. I have to remind myself all the time that Christ died and He calls all of us to come and die to follow Him. If Jesus would suffer and die, why would His followers be spared the same suffering. Of course some of us are called to suffer and of course God would use it. His means of deliverance and salvation for all of us is a bloody cross. No, it doesn't make sense. The King of All coming as a baby, dieing on a cross. He didn't have to do this, but He chose to.

This Christmas God has drawn me near to Him, nearer to the reality of what the birth of His son means for us. You can't separate the baby in a manger from the body on the cross. He came to die. He has taught me a little more about what it means to suffer and my heart has been filled with awe and wonder. He has done this through the suffering of His servants. The willingness to look fear in the face and proclaim He is greater! May your holidays bring you Awe and Wonder at what He has done for us.

Maybe this has given you a tiny glimpse into what the Lord is doing in my life...He is calling me more and more to come, follow Him, and die to self and to fear.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Hagler Family Christmas Miracle

AIDAN CAN RIDE HIS BIKE!!!!!! Some other six year olds have been doing this without training wheels for months now, but Aidan would barely even ride his bike with the training wheels. I was beginning to doubt if we were ever going to be able to teach him how to ride. I hadn't really pushed it, but I was hopeful to see some renewed interest in the bike. Well, it happened on Saturday and he got in no time!
I was outside finishing with our lights and Aidan pulled out the bike for the first time in months. I told him I liked seeing him on it and in a few minutes he told me he was ready to practice riding without training wheels. I said OK and next thing I knew he was eagerly riding down the street.
It has made me think about how he potty trained also. We worked at it really hard for about a week before I gave up in exhaustion. A few months later he asked me if he could go potty, I put him on and that was it. He got it. I guess that is just the way things are with this boy...a new skill will not be mastered until he is good and ready.
Aidan, I am so proud of you! You did great! You were so determined and brave.
I love you, my sweet Aidan!

Some Holiday Traditions

We had many child friendly Christmas activities that all seemed to get squeezed into last Friday. First was a cookie decorating party for our play group. Andrew enjoyed the freedom to stick lots of sugar into his mouth at will and Rebecca liked playing with the sprinkles.

That afternoon Trace took Aidan to Holiday in the park at a local park. They bring in snow for 2 days every year. They have a small area of snow to play in and an snowy hill to slide on. Aidan had a great time playing and then the boys came home to join us for dinner. We did baths, put on our pajamas and then headed back out to drive through the city of Bethlehem ( a local church does acts out what the town of Bethlehem might have been like on that wonderful night and then ends with a manger scene at the end) and then on to look at lights.
We turned up the fun Christmas music and just enjoyed being all together. We found this one house that has their lights synchronized to Christmas music so they blink with the beats. You tune into a special station so you can pick up the music they play and you can watch the lights dance before your eyes. They even had times when they dumped buckets of snow onto the ground when it fit with the lyrics. My favorite part was the nativity scene and the fact that they had their children come on and read the Christmas story from the bible. It was really neat and we thoroughly enjoyed it (you can tell how much Andrew loved it by the photo below)!
Here is a really bad picture of the house with the doesn't do it justice AT ALL, but maybe it can give you some vague idea of what it is.

Saturday night I took Aidan and Rebecca to a local pottery store to decorate an ornament each. This is the 3rd year I have done this with Aidan and the second year for Becca. They had fun and now I have two more hand made ornaments to hang on my tree. This weekend was full of some of our favorite Christmas traditions. What are some of your favorite traditions?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Winter has finally arrived in Texas (at least for the day)! The weather hovered around freezing and the wind made you want to hide your face. It is funny to me to listen to all the wimpy Texans as we shiver and bundle up (believe me I am one of the worst!). So the kids and I did the only logical thing on a cold day like this. We made hot chocolate and stayed in doors as much as possible.

Here is to cold winter days and Hot Chocolate to warm you up or if you are Rebecca here is to an excuse to eat marshmallows by the handful. Happy Winter.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The veil is torn in two

In BSF this year we are studying the life of Moses and this week we looked specifically at the directions for how to construct the Tabernacle. This lesson has been extremely powerful for me. It is such a testimony to the Lord's Holiness. We are not holy and what is not holy cannot bear to stand in the presence of such holiness. This is evident in the way that the people reacted when seeing the glory of God in Exodus 20:18-19. We see the people beg for Moses to mediate between them and God but not to allow God to deal with them directly.

Now the Lord is giving Moses the ceremonial law and specifically directions on how to build the tabernacle. On the inside of the Tabernacle there are two rooms: the holy place and the most holy place. They are separated by a curtain. In lecture today at BSF we were taught that the curtain was as thick as the palm of your hand. That is a strong curtain and it was designed to separate the people and to protect them from the Holiness of God that none of us could stand. Once a year the High Priest was allowed to enter into the Most Holy place to sprinkle the Mercy seat with blood that served as an atoning sacrifice for the people. ONCE A YEAR one man could enter into the Most Holy Place where the Lord Dwelled.

How many times a day do I approach the throne of Grace and enter into the presence of the Lord? Not once a year, but daily. Oh how I forget the wonderful privilege I have to go boldly before the throne of Grace. How often do I forget that it is only through Christ's sacrifice that I am worthy to approach my Lord. How often do I forget the sacrifice that was paid in order for me to go before my master in confidence. And from time to time I hold this honor in such low regard that I forget even to pray.

Friends, when Christ died His body was broken and the curtain was torn in half from top to bottom. The curtain was ripped open. He became our mediator and we became High Priests able to boldly approach the throne of Grace. The entrance to the Lord had been blocked, the veil was torn in two. It is wide open today! The sacrifice has been paid and a a new covenant has been established. Hebrews 10:17 tells us that once we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus our sins will be remembered no more. And we learn in Psalms 103 that in His Loving Kindness our sins have been removed from as far as the east to west.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:19-24

May I encourage you to walk in love and good deeds living fully in the Grace you have been offered through the death of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. My prayer is that all that read this will seek the privilege to draw near to God and live in the assurance of things hoped for.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Tree

I just took apart our Thanksgiving Tree from this year to make room for the Christmas decorations and get ready for the new season that is quickly approaching, but I realized that I never blogged about our tree. I love this little tradition that we have. This was our fourth year to do it and at the end of the year I write down everything that was said on one piece of paper to save. It is so fun to read the things that we have written in years past and to remember what was going on in our home when the kids were that age.

Here are a few of my favorite things that were mentioned this year:
***A few things Daddy said he is thankful for Friday Fun Days ( a special day with Aidan every week), being handed the broken brush after bath (Becca always wants daddy to brush her hair with our handleless brush after her baths), and perfect landings off the ottoman (this includes everyone, but I would guess Andrew especially).
***Mommy is thankful for little boys who eat ice cream with chips (Andrew insisted on using his chips like a spoon), a boy who multiplies, girls that yell way too loud, and the laughter that comes while sliding down the slide all together.
***Aidan is thankful for presents, parties, numbers, and Jesus dieing on the cross.
***Rebecca is thankful for food, grass, paint, butterflies, and Lydia's party.
***Andrew (from mommies observation) is thankful for star burst, chairs and ottomans to climb on and jump off, markers, and Mr. Potatoe head.
I hope you had a very thankful Thanksgiving and that you have a wonderful December celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior!