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http://www.michellebenthamcreates.com

Please visit me at REDEEMED...RESTORED...RELEASED: One Woman's Story of Living Free to read more about what God is doing in my life and how He is working those things to set me free. Thanks so much for following, visiting, reading all about it and supporting me as you have done so many times these last few years. If you follow my other blogs, the posts from all three of my blogs are going to be transferred to the new digs for one big blog about our journey to restoration and freedom in Christ.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Family Holiday, Lots of Words and Pictures

It is not unusual for our holidays and special occasions to be marred with some sort of tragedy. Justin's death happened the day after our 7th wedding anniversary, my uncle passed away last year on Taylor's Birthday and this year, Travis and Megan lost their maternal grandfather on Travis' birthday, December 23rd. We spent a couple of hours with them at the hospital that day and we hurt for them because this was such a difficult goodbye.
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At the hospital that afternoon before her grandfather died, Megan walked out of the room in tears and fell into her father's arms and just held onto him weeping. It was the most precious moment I have experienced with Scott and his kids. Scott was so worried about how she was doing... His baby needed him and he needed to be there for her. It was indeed precious. I hurt so deeply for those kids in that loss, I wept tears.
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We spent Christmas Eve with all our kids and his family at his parent's home. Mother-in-love made hubby's absolute favorite dish... STUFFED SHELLS. (I just called and got the recipe! ;o) She is a second generation Italian from upstate New York and my hubs loves her Italian cooking. He has fond memories of family dinners with his mother's family when they lived up north. His grandmother spoke English, but was full Italian when she was upset. He laughs when he says you knew when Grandma was not happy. It is always good eats at Granny's house. We opened our Christmas gifts and visited for a couple of hours before returning home with Scott's children to observe our family communion, take family photographs and open a few family gifts. Meg and Travis received their main gift from us on Tuesday at the hospital. We had gotten them cell phones and wanted them to have them while they were at the hospital. Scott read the Christmas Story from Luke 2 and I administered the elements. It was the perfect end to a wonderful evening.
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We had a terrific time really. I've included the family photos at the end of this post. His kids are beautiful, terrific kids. We attended the visitation for their grandfather on the Friday after Christmas at the funeral home and an older member of the family pulled Scott aside and told him how impressed and how well he thought of Scott's children. Travis called a few nights ago to say he had applied to go to aeronautics school in Oklahoma. He dreams of being an aircraft mechanic like his uncle and his grandfather on his mother's side of the family. Megan is just a half a year or so from being Sweet Sixteen. She is a beautiful young lady and she loves her family much. She simply dotes on her little sister, Chelsea (from her mom's second marriage). Chelsea is about 18 months old and just all adventure.
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My girls have absolutely nixed the idea of marriage and grandchildren for the time being so one night while Scott and I babysat, Megan and Travis came for a visit. I asked Megan, "Do you think... like maybe in 20 years of so... not anytime soon, but I mean, well - Do you think you might have kids someday?" She giggled and said, "Well yeah, just not soon."
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I clapped my hands and said, "Oh Boy, I'm going to have grandbabies." Someday.
Anyway... that is a silly tale.
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At the funeral home Megan and I sat with her cousin, Dylan (he is her step-father's nephew). He had a Highlights workbook and was busy doing all the Search and Finds he could do. So we helped. He is so cute at age 5 years old. He went in with his parents to the visitation room and came out downcast and teary-eyed. He said, "Mom's going to cry. She always cries at these."
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But, quickly his mind came back to the task at hand and we busily found all his objects of interest on the pages of his book. We even did some spelling together. It was quite delightful. He told me he got a Wii for Christmas and I asked if I could come and play at his house, he said YES! All Right! Work out here I come.
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My nephew and niece also got a Wii for Christmas. When I asked William if he would let me come work out at his house he said, "No, we don't have a Wii Fit."
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I laughed. I said, "Any Wii would be a workout for me."
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When the kids finally left on Christmas Eve, I set about printing out the pictures to give away on Christmas day at my family's gathering. I think I finally crawled into bed around midnight or one o'clock. The next morning we milled around and I cooked the Sopapilla Cheesecake that Amanda shared with us over at the LPM blog months back. YUMMY!
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Hubs requested this specific dessert as we were having a Feliz Navidad kind of Christmas at Mom's house. Mexican food was the delight of the day. Mom made her delicious Chicken Enchiladas... I think there may be a recipe on this blog for that somewhere. No time to type it out today. I made the cheesecake and Chicken Tortilla Soup. My Sister-in-love brought her whole clan and they had corn salsa... I heard it was good but never ate a bite. I fed the baby the beans from it though. Baby Wyatt is a living doll. I got great video of him playing in a box and climbing the stares at my parent's house. Of course, that video would be on Grandma's camera... so alas, I have nothing here to share.
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So the run down of all the holiday goods:
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Scott and I both generally receive money from both our parents, this year all our kids did, too. My Dad wrote a humorous note about how he could have given me a diamond or furs but he decided not to let me miss all the after-Christmas shopping sales. HA!
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I received a digital photo frame from my Sister-in-love. Hubs and an Enviro Scapes fountain from Sister-in-love's generous sister, Jessie. The girls got all sorts of bath stuff and home-knit toboggan and scarf sets. Hubs got a very nice dresser caddy for his what-nots and such. I loved putting that little thing in place and loading all his various items in it. The best gift, hands down... Was the little Ride me/Walk behind Lion that my parents got Wyatt. He was toddling around in no time flat with a big, sweet smile on his face. PRECIOUS.
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Mom got a special cookbook that included many of Scott and Steph's favorite Recipes (that's my brother and his wife.) They put our mom's favorites in along with Steph's family favorites and came up with a great family keepsake.
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My favorite gifts were from my hubs and the girls. Taylor got me a precious Sterling Silver necklace with little diamond accents in the shape of a heart with a butterfly on it. Cut into the sides of the heart is the word love. Beautiful. Brittany got me a sweet little Jewelry box that has a picture frame top with a matte that spells out the word HOPE and I can insert my own photos into the back. I loved it. Hubs got me a new MP3 player - it has 4GB of memory and I found an I-Home for it at Marshalls that works great and is quite portable and affordable. I loved it. He took me looking and we settled on a couple of different ones - then he bought me the one he wanted me to have. I'm very pleased and grateful he chose this one. Apparently all the way to my parent's house on Christmas day I was praising and worshipping the Lord to my new MP3 player and none to quietly. No one had the heart to tell me I was singing loud and the girls sat in the backseat giggling the whole hour-long trip. [CHAGRIN!]
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In the car as we started back hubs patted my leg and said, "Maybe this time you could... Uh... Sing a little quieter. I didn't want to interrupt you and I thought you'd get mad if I turned up the radio." OOPS! :o)
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What joy we had at Christmas in spite of the loss. We spoke to my middle brother by phone that evening and stayed the night playing Rummy 5000 with my parents... No bragging here, but I snookered 'em! I Won! Oh Yes, I did.
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I had given hubs his gift the night before. He and the girls had gotten new cell phones earlier in the month and I got him several new nice dress shirts to wear. After Christmas I spent half my Christmas cash on a new "dressy" windbreaker and shirts as well as a few things for me like an IRON. Okay... enough about the iron. I had such a good time shopping.
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Speaking of shopping... The day after Christmas the girls and I were off to the mall. BIG - Big Mistake... HUGE! To quote Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman. That was a nightmare and a headache all at the same time. I did get some great stuff, but WHEW! I could barely stand the two hours I gave the girls to shop before rushing home.
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This week has been both a good and a tough week. I will just say it has come to light that hubs and I need to work on our marriage and dealing with that sort of stuff is often messy, mostly an opportunity to receive a blessing and almost always HARD. God is so faithful and He is seeing us through. Which to my delight is just where I want to be. As Beth Moore says, "I want me a JESUS Year." But not just for me, for my whole family. [Insert Shameless request for Endless Prayer for my husband and I... THANK YOU!]
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We spent New Year's Eve day sorting through our marital junk and ended it by going to the annual NYE Prayer Service at the church. Afterwards we went to see the movie "Bedtime Stories" with Adam Sandler which I was surprised to find was a delightful children's movie about goals, dreams and family. No really inappropriate humor - Delightful.
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Yesterday I finished getting things in order around our house. We took down the tree and put up the two new bookshelves Scott got me last weekend. I also got a new iron, but I may write a whole new post for the iron - I am so excited about my iron and that's almost silly.
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So... today Hubs went back to work after a two weeks of Vacation. I miss him already. He is the most loving and generous man I've ever known - and if we are confessing in the James sort of fashion... I've not always appreciated him as I should. New Year's bring new beginnings and I am seeing My Man with new eyes this year. Serving him with a heart full of love and redeeming a covenant that could have been lost had we let it go. But, today we stand and we stand firm on the promises of God. He will not leave us or forsake us. Discretion says I should not go on with this train of thought. I just want you all to know I have the best husband in the whole entire world and I love him with a heart full of gratitude for all he has brought to my life. They don't come any better than him - I love him.
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So... as they say on the big stage - "On With the (Picture) Show"

This is our family: That's me and Scott (aka hubs, My Man) down front. The middle row are Scott's children Travis on the left and Megan on the right. Brittany and Taylor are bringing up the rear and they are all absolutely beautiful to me. My family truly is my heart. I love them so.


Our kiddoes
Top row are the two oldest - Brittany, 19 and Travis 18
Second Row are the two youngest - Megan, 15 and Taylor 17
Where does the time go? Brittany starts college in a few weeks and Travis will graduate the end of this year. Taylor will be a Senior Next Year and Megan the following year. Oh MY! At least we don't quite have an empty nest yet! Momma is having some Pre-Empty Nest Jitters. Though, my girls live with us and Scott's with their mother... Still it always seems too soon.




My Beautiful Babies. Brittany and Taylor. Tall, Beautiful and Confident....
But more than that - they are godly. They know the Lord and they love Him.
Taylor (right) absolutely amazes me... She has such a heart to pray and minister to others. She often spends all her "gift" money buying other people presents, she prays for others, looks up Scripture and has frequent Bible Study by text message. She witnesses by reading her Bible at school and striking up conversations that engage the spiritual with her teachers. She has even given out our pastor's book to one of her teachers. She is a dream to me... So spirited, passionate and full of heart.
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Last night I was in the middle of a holy fit in the laundry room really feeling quite sorry for my self and throwing wet clothes back and forth between the washer and dryer and then hitting and kicking the poor machine a few times for good measure. That's when I felt two hands on each of my shoulders. I didn't know my girls were home.
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Brittany walked in and just held onto me. Then she hugged me very tightly and tried to give me an excuse to continue to act like a child. Though Scott and I have done most of our discussing of personal issues behind closed doors - she guessed the problem. And she made it very clear - she is on my side and mad at him. So sweet, but it came with an exhortation from her momma. "You have to show Scott respect and love him because in spite of anything you may have figured out he has done... I am equally responsible for I have neglected my husband." She protested and said that I had much right to scream and cuss and cry if I wanted to... But I could not agree, "I must be gracious with my husband and serve him as my Lord has been gracious and cared for me."
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That is when Brittany accidentally brought much needed comic relief to the very intense moment. She said, "I am on Team Momma." I heard... "I am a Teen Momma." I thought - Oh Great, with everything else going on now my unwed daughter is pregnant. The look on my face must have been worth about well... let's just say shock and disbelief are not strong enough for what I was thinking. So I asked:
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"Are you preg-nant?"
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And it is about this time I learn my other daughter is also at home... (They were supposed to be out with friends.) She walks by and without a flinch or a waver of emotion she says, "If she was pregnant I would probably beat the crap out of that guy."
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Okay... so Brittany is sitting in the floor in a pile of unwashed laundry nearly crying she is laughing so hard. I am doubled over the dryer raucously heaving and hi-cupping. I nearly coughed up a lung I laughed so hard. I have heard about the gift of laughter when the Spirit brings a fit of releasing laughter to you in intense moments. Because, while this was funny... I was not in a laughing mood.
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I could not stop laughing ya'll.
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All the pent up ugly I had carried into the laundry room was released with a fit of very appropriate laughter. She did the instant replay after the fits of hilarity died down and we started again. It made me feel so good. My youngest knew I had been discouraged lately and came home last night with a six pack of old-style bottle Coca-Cola, a large box of Crunch-N-Munch and a movie size box of Sweet Tarts. She said, "We're going to watch a movie." I was much too tired last night - but we have a date for tonight when we get home from dinner. I love it. She doesn't know that the real gift is Quality Time!
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Yes, Yes... These are indeed my girls.




We do not see Megan and Travis as often as we'd like...
But, we have been seeing them more and now I have these terrific pictures to share!
These pictures were a really awesome gift for me.
My Brittany used her camera to snap the shots either with a timer or behind the thing.
She said that I must give her credit.
I took the photos of my girls and the four kids. She took the rest.
Above is a great shot of Scott with his children.
Below is one of my very favorite pictures of all time...
Me and my girls.

And this, is my beloved and me.

(He still makes me swoon... Seriously when he is in his boots and jeans I just feel all weak in my knees... !)

Second only to the Savior and Lord, Scott is very much my other half.

I don't want to be right, I want to be right with my man and my Lord.

Okay... the last shot.

I love this picture. At our wedding we were both so nervous that my cousin said, "At least look like you like each other." I don't remember how we got into this pose, but I remember looking at Scott and saying something to the effect that I wanted him to get close to me so we looked like we liked each other... He smiled big and I was looking into those smoky hazel... sometimes cool green eyes of his (He has Mood Eyes ya'll)... And Big Girl snapped the picture. It is such a fun, free and beautiful shot. I framed it and put it on the end table where he sits to watch television. A prophetic vision for now and always... Us Happy Together.

HAPPY NEW YEAR SWEET BLOGGY FRIENDS... I count myself so blessed!













8 comments:

Michelle V said...

Michelle,

It sounds like the holiday time with family was great! And I'm so glad that he gave you that precious gift of laughter to release from the stress and trying times! I'm praying for you all!

Blessings
Michelle V

luvmy4sons said...

Great pictures! And wow what an awesome Christmas you had. So sorry for your loss. Loss is just a part of life...and as I age seems it is more so all the time! My hubby just went back to work today as well...blessings to you!

DigiNee said...

Happy New Year Michelle - so enjoyed your blog entry ----- I love your how real you are . . . peace and joy for the New Year.

Yolanda said...

You did an absolute awesome post Michelle. Such dignity and humility.....way to go girl way to go GOD!

I love you and I have used Julia Robert's words so many times in the past several weeks that my Man is even stepping into the wording, it's just a hilarious inside joke. We so NEED laughter!

Love,
Yolanda

Becoming Me said...

What a wonderful time--the teen/team momma story was so cute. Loved the pix as well.

Susan said...

Hey Michelle,

Great catching up with you. I enjoyed all the pictures too.

So blessed in the midst of all that went on God blessed your family with His love and presence.

You have a beautiful family.

Praying for that JESUS year for you.

Hey, Beth Moore is coming here in April!

Love you,

Susan

Lora said...

Michelle, the pictures are absolutely beautiful! The black and whites are so classy! Your family is precious - what dear gifts you have! And how blessed that they ministered to you in the woes of laundry land.
Praying that you will be your dear man's crown.
With love and hugs dear one!

twinkle said...

Happy New Year! I know things have been hard for you and your man but don't give up! You have touched all those hearts in your family for Christ and I know He's got your back! Hug your girls for me. They are so beautiful...noble women whose value is far above rubies! And your son looks like a future warrior for God's Victorious Kingdom!