/> Raising Angels: December 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006


I returned an hour ago from serving at a rehearsal dinner for two of my former students who I now call friends. I was there serving from 4 until 10:30 p.m. The whole way there I kept wondering how anyone would choose to get married during this, the busiest season of the year. It's been a busy two weeks and now I had hours of activity today, an afternoon wedding and evening dinner/dance reception tomorrow, and loads of New Year's Eve parties to attend Sunday.

However, when I arrived and got to work with some of my closest friends, another emotion overtook my original feeling of being overwhelmed. It was joy. I was happy I was there to serve.

It was truly amazing how an ordinary place can be transformed into something beautiful in such a short time. It was incredible how peaceful we all worked together and how everything just fell into place. And the food, well, it was superb (no, I did not cook any of it).

As I stood in my place dumping scoops of rice pilaf onto plates, my thoughts went back about 8 1/2 years ago to my own rehearsal dinner. I thought about all of the kind and loving people who did the same for me. I remembered my students who served us the meal. I was thrilled to be able to "pay it forward" so to speak.

I love that I live among people who still understand what true service means. No one was paid for their services tonight. No one expected to get paid. And, had anyone offered, I feel certain we all would have refused. We didn't serve to get something in return. We served to give something we never expect to get back. We served out of love because we love the people we were serving.

My parents trained me to be a servant by showing me how to serve. They still serve. I hope and pray that I can teach my children the same. I hope I raise them to love to serve other people. It is such a fulfilling gift to give.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Ah, the Christmas season. It's always been my favorite time of the year. My mom and dad did so many things to make it a magical time for us. I really can't remember a bad Christmas. Well, my grandmother died a few days before Christmas one year and that was very, very sad. However, she died at home, in her own bed, Rosary beads in hand. It had always been her dream. It was sad, but it was not bad.

Christmas with children is SO much fun. I have so many stories to tell about how excited they each were about every gift. You can take a glance at these pictures to get an idea. And, you know me, there will be more.

I realized today that I really have reached true adulthood (well, okay, it's been here awhile, but I like to pretend I'm still young). In all the hustle and bustle of having three gift opening sessions - Nelson's folks, everyone at our house to watch the kids open our gifts...as well as the GREAT BIG CHRISTMAS SURPRISE (to be told when I have the photos to go with the story), and then at my folks' house, Nelson and I have yet to exchange gifts.

It's strange I know. In fact, we probably have opened our gifts to each other more often after Christmas than on Christmas since we've been married. It comes with the blessing of having so many close family members to celebrate with over and over and over again. Truth be told, I am anxious for Nelson to open my gifts. I love thinking about what to get him and trying like crazy to surprise him with something. However, I've forgotten that I have more gifts coming.

Last year, when we were in Europe for Christmas, we didn't exchange gifts with anyone. We took the trip as our present. It was really nice. I was able to really enter into the holiday because I was indeed on a holiday. This year it's felt kind of the same. Aaron came home. The kids were happy and surprised. We were together with family. What more could we possibly need?

It’s trite but true. Christmas is not about the gifts. It’s about THE GIFT. It’s nice to know that I really believe this is true.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Dearest Friends and Family,

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, we were preparing for our trip to England and Ireland with three children five and under. Two were in diapers, one was not walking, and one was in school every day for half the day. Fast forward to this year, we now have three children, ages 6, 3 and 2. All are walking…and talking nonstop. Only one is still in diapers and one is now in school all day throughout the week. Ah…progress!

Mackenzie was sad about leaving Kindergarten until she figured out that she now gets to go to school all day…which means her recess time has doubled. She may be the littlest one in her class (perhaps the whole school) but she packs a punch in spite of her pint-sized package. This summer she was thrown into an intermediate swim class and kept up with kids three times her size and twice her age. She also tried out a gymnastics class and fell in love. She can be found doing her perfect split and backbend everywhere she goes. We were also incredibly proud that she was chosen for the only solo in her school’s Christmas pageant this year. She sang all three verses of “Silent Night” dressed as an angel (of course) and left not one dry eye in the house. I don’t know what we did to deserve her but we’re sure glad she’s ours.

Aiden is still all boy. He’s into basketball these days and we seldom leave a public restroom without him sinking a long shot (paper towel) into the trash can. Nelson’s been working on Aiden’s tackling skills and has taught him well. Now, when I pick him up from school, he literally knocks me over. He appears to be keeping up with Mackenzie in more ways than one. This year, at the Fourth of July talent show, he joined Mackenzie for a duet in front of several hundred people and didn’t hesitate for one minute nor did he miss one word or note of the song. Although we tire at times of his rapid-fire questions, he seems to be listening to our answers. He is a whiz with numbers and is intently working on writing his name.

Dawson, who was my quietest baby, has turned up the volume lately. His ever-calm demeanor has given way to a hearty laugh, instant pout, gruff voice and furrowed brow. However his big baby blues mixed with his giant dimples and sweet smile saves him from many a scolding. Having to follow in the footsteps of a big sister and brother, he is insistent on “I do it!” and usually succeeds.

Nelson, Mackenzie and I traveled to Rome, Italy in October to see my brother, Aaron, be ordained a transitional deacon in Saint Peter’s Basilica. After the Christmas trip, Nelson and I quickly decided to do this one sans boys. It was a tremendous experience and we highly recommend Rome as a travel destination.

And, well…the house. As you might have noticed, it is not in the background of our picture as last year’s letter said in might be. And that’s because, well…you can just call Nelson and ask him the details. I’m staying out of it. Really though, we have finally hit a stage where some real progress is happening and we hope to be in by this summer (and don’t tell me to add six more months to that estimate because I’ve already done that…twice).

We hope that you take some time this season to sit back and enjoy all the blessings God has given you. We certainly will.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Last Night at Nelson's Folks

Why Cookies Are Eat At Your Own Risk At Our House

Thursday, December 21, 2006


In the car on the way home from the day's errands the kids were all talking a mile a minute.

"Mommy?" Dawson asked.

"Yes Dawson?"


"What is it Dawson?"

"Mommy?" he asked for probably the sixth time.

"Mama," Aiden began, "what is ..."

Dawson broke in before he could finish, "No Aiden!" he shouted. "I talking to Mommy," he said in a low, firm voice. Then once again, "Mommy?"

"Dawson," I said rather impatiently this time, "what is it you want to say?"

"Umm...I just want to say Mommy."

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Christmas Surprise!

‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the city
Every creature was stirring, trying to make it all pretty.
The stockings were hung but not very straight,
This mama was busy and staying up late.

The family was gathered all eating their food,
I and my husband prayed they wouldn’t be rude.
And daddy in his necktie, and I in my dress,
Had just finished eating and were cleaning the mess.

When all of a sudden my phone began ringing,
It was hard to hear over Aiden’s fine singing.
Away to my purse I flew like a flash,
Tore open the phone and answered in a dash.

The voice was my mom’s and was filled with such joy.
”Come over,” she said, “and see my new toy.”
My dad, it had seemed had given her a gift early,
He wouldn’t say what it was, but it wasn’t too girly.

I loaded the kids into our rather large car,
And we headed to mom’s since she doesn’t live far.
The moment we arrived she ran out filled with glee,
”Just wait till you see what your Dad has brought me”!

We went in the house and to look under the tree
But when we bent down, there was nothing to see.
I stood up and asked if this was a joke.
At that very minute I felt a small poke.

I turned around slowly as if in a dream,
I opened my mouth and let out a scream.
What, you may ask, to my eyes did appear?
My brother from Italy who hasn’t been home for Christmas in four very long years!

This was a genuine, knock me over, screaming my head off, really big surprise! You see we had tried to fly him home two Christmases ago but the faculty at the seminary said no. Apparently, they've changed the rules. He's home for two weeks. He's preaching the masses this weekend. He'll be opening presents with us! We are all very, very excited.

Welcome home Aaron. We're so glad you could join us!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hurry Up!

Today is another busy day. It began with Christmas haircuts, caroling at a nursing home, lunch with the carolers, hand delivering over 30 Christmas cards, wrapping gifts, and will wind down with a Christmas party with extended family in an hour.

I woke up this morning and reminded myself of the lesson God gave me last night. The one I put in the blog to make sure I wouldn't forget. It helped me get going with a much happier attitude.

As the kids were walking the halls of the nursing home, singing their carols I was thinking about what angels God has given me. Their warm smiles, bright eyes and happy voices brought some joy into an otherwise dismal atmosphere.

I was thinking about this as I stood outside one of the rooms where we were preparing to sing. I had noticed the director's British accent and began talking to him of our trip to England this time last year.

I was in the midst of a conversation when Aiden wiggled his way back through the crowd of singers and turned to me in the hall. I'm telling you, new haircut, white shirt, big dimples...he looked like an angel. He looked me dead in the eye and said in the best whisper I've ever heard come from his mouth, "Hurry Mama! You're going to miss it!"

I thought about all the times I have to tell him to hurry up. It's a season of hurrying up, rushing from one event to the next. But today he reminded me once again, of the reason for all the hurrying. How could I possibly miss the chance to spread joy with my children?

Sometimes, I hurry up so much that I miss the point. Today, Aiden helped me get back on track.

Monday, December 18, 2006

O Come Let Us Adore Him in the Midst of All the Noise

I'm in the midst of the crazy, busy, holiday buzz. I don't think I've gone to bed before 1 a.m. for over a week. I'm stupid, I know. I'm crazy, I know. I just can't go to bed with the check list growing every minute.

Up until last week, I had been getting prepared at a great pace. For example, the kids all had their last day of school Friday so I had my last day of shopping and, besides a few small things, I finished it. The house was decorated and even clean. I was feeling good.

My plan was to have all that kind of stuff done so that this week would be MY time with the kids. I lined up some fun Christmas crafts, a few outings, and some fun family baking projects. This, I thought would be a Christmas time to relax and enjoy my children.

Then came the house. Which, I'm not complaining about...but...the timing couldn't have been worse. When I told Nelson I needed to know when he would be home his answer went something like, "I'll be leaving an hour before work every day, getting home after dinner, and be gone all weekend." Not something any mother wants to hear this time of year.

Add to that, the fact that my back has gone into spasms twice in the last week. I haven't been able to use my washing machine in over three months. Several of my holiday gift projects turned into complete nightmares. The stationary I picked for the Christmas cards got stuck in the printer 130 out of 160 times. The 160 family pictures I ordered had to be cut by hand. And, every time I turned around someone was asking me about doing something with my kids. Any way, you get the idea.

Today, just for example, I drove Mackenzie to a friend's house 30 minutes away and then two hours later had to turn around and pick her up (almost 2 hours transit time with the kids). I spent an hour on the phone trying to find a pianist to accompany Mackenzie so she could sing "Silent Night" on a local TV Christmas show. I then spent half an hour listening to Mackenzie rehearse with her. We drove to the TV station only to find out that there was no piano. We had to reschedule for Wednesday. I got her home in time for her to change and make it to her final gymnastics class during which Nelson called to tell me he invited several people over for dinner. I was too exhausted to even make sense to him.

As I was driving the kids home thinking about the mess I had left behind after not being home all day, not to mention what I could possibly pull together for a dinner this late, and listening to the kids squealing happily in the back seat, I heard something that changed my attitude.

I had forgotten that I had put in my brother's Christmas CD. It's an all male choir that sang on several occasions for Pope John Paul II. The songs are all traditional church Christmas hymns and they are beautiful.

I'm not even sure which song it was when I realized it was playing but the thing is that I heard it. I heard it over the kids shouting out about every Christmas light and Santa they saw. I heard it over all the nagging voices in my head. I heard it over the traffic and the beeping horns. I heard it. And then, I heard God.

His voice was quiet but as clear as if He had been seated next to me. He told me that this was what the Christmas season was like in this world. There is a lot of noise surrounding the season that I have absolutely no control over. Things unplanned inevitably happen. What I can control, what is most important, is what I hear in my heart. And just like that song I was hearing in the midst of all the other distractions, it can bring me peace.

I can't tune out the world. I can't control everything around me. I can keep Jesus in my heart. I can choose to hear Him above everything else. I can be peaceful...if I let myself.

By the time I got home, I was singing "O Come Let Us Adore Him". Let me not forget this is what the season is all about.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Santa Came to England and Ireland Last Year

I have been having trouble getting to sleep lately...all week. I get a little loopy when I have had a lack of sleep for an extended period of time. I was working on Christmas stuff (what else) when I came across this.

It's a video we took of Aiden and Mackenzie about a year ago when we were in London and they appeared on the X Factor. It's a little longer than the Silent Night but worth the few minutes it takes to watch it. Keep an eye on Mackenzie's tapping foot and Aiden's Elvis hips. At this time they were in a foreign country on a stage in front of at least one hundred people and only 5 and 2 years old. Mackenzie is still right on key and Aiden, well he's kind of her "gangsta" backup.

Notice how the host points them to the screen to read the words, obviously noticing my two child geniuses. Notice the shyness, the way they hate to hold the microphones, the aversion to the attention and applause, their quickness to leave the stage. All I can say is that the apples don't fall far from the tree.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Dad!

Like little girls everywhere, my dad is my hero. And, even though I'm not so little anymore, I look up to him all the same. It may be the way he comes to my rescue when I need anything - a run to the grocery store, a last minute sitter, a ride home from the auto shop, an ear to listen. It may be the way he has loved and supported me throughout my entire life - dance recitals, band concerts, plays I've acted in and ones I've directed.

Yes, those are all qualities I love. But, it's more than that. He's my hero because he didn't have it so easy growing up. He didn't have the best example of what a family should be. In spite of that - because of that, he has worked hard to keep our family close. Though good times and bad, he remains devoted to family. In fact, when my little brother Kevin graduated from high school, he told him, "Always remember that Killips is more than a name, it's a family."

This specific quality has spilled over to other families. He is quick to invite others to his home, as well as invite himself into theirs. He loves children. And they really love him. He has such a way with kids that I couldn't wait to have some of my own just to watch him play with them. He has not let me down. He stops by on a regular basis just to say hi. As you can see from the pictures, he would give them the shirt off his back if they asked him for it. He would even let them blow out his birthday candles.

Dad, there are so many ways I love you, so many ways I look up to you, so many ways I am grateful to you. Thank you for everything you've given me, everything you've saved me from, everything you've done for me.

Happy Birthday! I love you!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Framing started last Tuesday sometime after 1 p.m. I love these guys! As an added bonus, Nelson has been advised to use them for the roofing and siding as well. By the end of next week we should have a shingled roof, sided house and hung windows.

It just goes to show that Advent really is about long awaited prophesies and hope. Thank you Jesus!

Short Order Request

It's been busy...very busy, so tonight when I looked up from wrapping teachers' gifts and saw it was already 5:30 I rushed to the refrigerator. I pulled out three containers of leftovers and brought in the kids to choose their dinner.

Surveying the options, Mackenzie was the first to cast her vote, "I want a peanut butter sandwich."

That was not an option but I was too tired and too in a hurry to get ready for our 5th Christmas party of the season. "Okay. Aiden?"

"I want peanut butter too!"

Of course, I thought. Now expecting Dawson to follow suit, I asked, "Dawson, do you want a peanut butter sandwich too?"

"No..." he thought and then yelled out, "I want chocolate milk! And...a lollipop!"

Rest assured. I did draw the line at that request.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mackenzie's Winter Proclamation

Cost of schooling to teach spelling - too expensive to list
Cost of paper and pen for writing - $2
A lifetime of teachings on our faith and the church - PRICELESS!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Who Says Girls Can't Build?

It never ceases to amaze how well she entertains herself and how creative she is. This was done this afternoon with no help and no ideas from anyone. Good job Mackenzie!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Pictures to Accompany the Story Below

Friday, December 08, 2006

An Advent Lesson

Ah, the holiday season is upon me. This week alone we've done my brother's birthday party, a make up gymnastics class, Penance Service and mass tonight in honor of Mary. We haven't been home at all.

In the midst of this, I was so very proud of myself for dragging all the decorations down from the attic and sticking to our tradition of decorating our tree on the first Sunday of Advent. I did a ton of decorating Saturday and Sunday and bursts throughout the week but I saved the Nativity for last because I wanted Mackenzie to help me.

I have been collecting Fontanini Nativity pieces since college and, not to give away how long ago that was, I have quite an impressive collection. It takes an hour or two to open all the boxes and find a place for everything.

Mackenzie loves to help and it's always one of my favorite holiday memories with her. We talk about each character as we pull them out of the box and weave the Christmas story into each person's placement.

This afternoon, while the boys were napping, the two of us sat on the kitchen floor going through this whole procedure. As she began opening she asked, "Am I going to put them out too?"

"Sure," I said, "I think you're old enough to do that this year."

To my surprise she hesitated. "I don't want to Mama. I like they way you do them better."

"Okay," I responded.

I noticed that the more I did, the more involved she became. So much so that when I decided to move the donkey, she protested but then agreed with my decision. The more we worked though, the more opinionated she became.

"Mom, that one does NOT look good there." "I think he belongs here because..."

I finally relinquished and let her do it. "Go ahead," I encouraged, "make it beautiful."

When she finished I noticed something. When I put the figures out, I try to face everyone so that you can see a little of their faces. I think they are beautiful and enjoy looking at them. However, when Mackenzie finished, every person had his or her back to me. Instead they were facing the manger.

It was an excellent Advent reminder for me. In her own subtle way, she showed me that preparing for Christmas is not about putting your best face forward. It's about turning your face to Christ.

You know, every time I pass that scene now I pause for a minute and face the manger. It's not about all the stuff. It's about the King.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

Tonight, while Mackenzie was in her gymnastics class, I slipped into the gym to squeeze in the cardio workout I left out of my early morning routine.

Even though my "leg day" is a tough and long one that I did well today, I had an hour to kill while she was in class so I hit the elliptical machine.

I was racing like crazy, something I am just beginning to do since attending a few trekking classes. I was trying to see if I could squeeze some time off my miles.

I looked around and noticed a plethora of people running, stair stepping and doing the elliptical. All of us were running it out tonight.

I made it to mile three and slowed down to cool off when a voice came over the loudspeakers. "Attention Family Y staff," the announcer said in a very cool tone, "no running is allowed in the building. Again, no running allowed in the building."


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fantastic Framing!!

It's been months and months of slow progress on the house. The last post was about the beams. You can see by the date of that post how long we've been waiting. It's been one nightmare after another. I stopped my daily and weekly drive bys to watch it take shape. It was just too disappointing.
Framing was supposed to start Monday. It didn't. It was supposed to be in full swing yesterday. I drove by at 1:30. It wasn't. Nelson sent me a text message to drive by the house on my way to the Penance Service. I didn't. I just didn't need one more thing to confess if you know what I mean. But, after the service he talked me into it.

For the first time in FOREVER it actually looks like a house might really stand there one day. I actually walked around the "rooms". I felt like a kid in a candy store.

The framers say they'll be finished in 9 days. I asked them if they did anything else...like sheetrock, painting, electrical...anything that they could get done in 9 days. For today...maybe for this week...I am going to relish in the progress. I drive by daily now. I giggle like a kid at every new wall. This is EXCITING!

May it go this fast from here on out. Hip, hip, hooray for the framers!!

Angel Bama

This morning it was Dawson's turn to pull a figure out of the Advent calendar and hang it up.

I read the scripture about the angel appearing to the shepherds and telling them not to be afraid because tonight Christ the Savior is born.

Dawson was carefully hanging up the angel when Aiden piped up. "What's that Mama?"

"It's an angel who appeared to the shepherds."

"Oh," he replied. "What's that angel's name?"

"I don't know," I answered quite honestly. "What do you think a good name for this angel would be?" I asked turning the question to him.

"Bama!" he exclaimed. "This angel is Bama!"

Good job mom. You must be doing something right!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I've Come A Long Way Baby!

You Are 24% Control Freak

You have achieved the perfect balance of control and letting go.
You tend to roll with whatever life brings, but you never get complacent.

I am posting this result to celebrate a huge accomplishment in my life - balance. As a child I was 100% the perfectionist. In fact, it was so evident that my mom actually prayed for me to get B's in school (can you imagine that?).

Then one day, sometime when I was in college, I was working with a crew of professional artists on a gigantic banner. We were hand painting it and I was having a terrible time painting the straight line that the letter demanded. My frustration was obvious and one of the artists came over to me.

I remember her telling me to stand back a little bit. "Can you tell it's not straight?" she asked. I could not. Then she took another few steps back with me. "What about now?" I could not see any mistakes now. Once again she took me to the other side of the room. "This," she said, “is the closest anyone will be to that sign. Does it need to be perfect? Of course not! It can't be, and more importantly, it doesn't need to be."

That moment changed my life. Of course it took years to train myself to rethink my perfectionist attitude but the longer I practiced it, the better I became. And then, I had kids. There was no choice but to accept the fact that I am not perfect. My house will never be perfect. My husband and children will never be perfect. And you know what? I love them all anyway.

Life is so much better now. I am so much better now. And hopefully, my children and husband are much better because of this growth.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Brian

Tonight we celebrated Brian's 29th birthday. We went to the Outback Steakhouse to eat but he didn't want the staff to sing so we made him a cake and brought it along. However, when they brought it out from the kitchen I begged him to let the kids sing to him. Otherwise, it's not a party or a birthday in their eyes.

There were ten of us around a big round table kind of out in the middle of the restaurant. We sang as quietly as we could but the kids' favorite version of "Happy Birthday" includes clapping and the cake was brightly lit. It wasn't so incognito after all. As we finished I noticed all eyes on us.

In fact, the same thing happened when we said...or rather sang, the blessing. When the server brought out the bloomin' onion, we wanted to say the blessing. Uncle Brian asked Aiden if he would lead the blessing for his birthday and of course, Aiden chose the one that includes snapping to a bluesy beat and finishing with an "Amen! Amen! Amen! Yeah!"

It just so happened that the server came back in the middle of it to bring us something. But, instead of backing away like a lot of servers do, she stood there and listened with a big smile and complimented the kids at the end.

What a gift it is to be a part of a family who enjoys just being together. A family who is willing to make a public statement of belief in a childlike way. A family who had just one girl and three boys who now consider themselves to be each others' best friends. A family that can laugh at each other and not be hurt. A family that can speak the truth to each other even when it does hurt.

Brian, I am so proud of the man you have become. I am so grateful to be included in your circle of friends. I love the way you make me laugh. You have a gift of humor that you are never afraid to use. I love the way you love my kids...even when I don't necessarily love some of the things you teach them (your turn is coming). I love watching you with your coworkers, students and players and wish like crazy that I could be a fly on the wall in your classroom.

I hope you have a great finale to your 20's. I look forward to the growth and changes you'll see in your 30's. I am so proud to be your sister.

Happy Birthday Brother! I love you!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Silent Night

Saturday was unbelievable. Mackenzie, even though she is fighting a cold, sang the song better than ever. She was not nervous in the least. She stood there angelically and beautifully and never even hesitated on a word. Amazing! I am SO PROUD of you girl!
When we arrived early in the gym I had her rehearse with me one last time. It was perfect and I cried. I cried again when the lights went down and the curtains were pulled. I got choked up when I saw her walk onto the stage with her class. However, when her moment came, I couldn't do anything but beam with complete and utter awe and joy.

What an honor to be chosen as the only soloist in the entire school. What a memory we made. What an angel I have as a daughter. Did I already say how proud I am?

Unfortunately, the video I took with our digital camera leaves a lot to be desired. The video Nelson got on the camcorder is much better. I just can't upload that onto the computer.

However, because four of her uncles missed her great solo, I have put it here anyway. If you can bear two minutes of a crick in your neck, the sound quality is pretty good and if you wait until the third verse, you can actually see her face. See for yourself.

Mackenzie, you are a special child. I have known that since the day I knew you were coming. You have been given so many gifts from God. It blesses me to see you using those gifts to give glory to Him. May you always give your talents back to God. I am so proud of you, impressed by you, in awe of you. I love you!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Making a Memory

Tomorrow is the big day for Mackenzie. She had her first full school rehearsal yesterday and I got many raving reports from her teachers. I didn't realize until today that she is the only one with a solo. Of course, this is the report from a six year old so she could be wrong. Nevertheless, it is a very big deal.

We've been working on it for what seems like forever now. She knows it. I know it. Even the boys are singing it. This morning, as we were rehearsing again, it dawned on me that I really wanted to get her something to reward her for all of her hard work as well as to commemorate the big day. I have butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it now!

This morning I headed to the biggest Christmas shop in town. I had nixed my idea for flowers already and was in search of some kind of Silent Night ornament. I had no luck. I couldn't even find an angel ornament I liked.

I had almost given up when I turned to see this.I thought it was so sweet that I had to take a closer look. It was then that I noticed that there were slats for the figures to move and a little drawer in front. I wound it up and opened the drawer. Guess what I heard!

Okay, it was a little more than an ornament but the more I listened, the more I realized this was it. After all she's the angel singing at Jesus' birth. I had visions of her one day pulling the box out of her attic and telling her children the story of the time she sang "Silent Night" in the Christmas Pageant.

Some events are just worth turning into lasting memories. This has already been such a special one for us.

Please pray for her tomorrow. Better yet, pray for me. I'm sure she'll do fine. She always does. I'm the nervous wreck!