Monthly Archives: December 2016

Merry Christmas from the Smith Family!

I wish that I was able to send out a Christmas card to everyone that has stopped by my blog over the years, but since I can’t I thought that I would share our Christmas letter and some of the most recent family pictures we had taken.

Merry Christmas to all of our family and friends! I am always amazed at how quickly time has passed when I find myself here once again sharing about our year!

Isaac, now 20, is in his second year of college. He switched his major after his first year and is now living in Sioux Falls with my parents. They enjoy having him there while he attends classes through the University Center and SDSU. He is working at the Hy-Vee pharmacy in Sioux Falls and he plans to continue working and focusing on his general courses through next year. After that, maybe Pharmacy school….we will see where God leads him!

Gabriel is officially a teenager and is in the seventh grade. This past year he has grown several inches and is now the proud wearer of glasses and braces! He is in an upper level math course this year and doing well. It is a lot of hard work, but he has grown in knowledge already, and it is exciting to see that continue. He is involved in jazz band again this year and they recently started their practices. Last year, because of his hard work, he earned a solo at the All City Jazz concert!

Elijah is seven and in the first grade at Parkside Elementary. He likes his teacher Mrs. Peterson and enjoys being in her class! He has become a wonderful reader and we are amazed at how much he has grown since the start of last year! He currently has four loose teeth that mom really wants to pull out for him!

Karlena is so very ready to turn six on the 20th of December and is in kindergarten at Parkside this year. She loves school and her teacher Ms. Austin! And she enjoys seeing her older brother in the lunch room or on the playground each day! She continues to love all things horses and has declared that when she is Isaac’s age she will buy one of her own and ride it to school. We fully support her and her dream! If anyone can do that, she can!

Dominic and I continue to work together at Legal Estate Planning Solutions, and we are grateful for each and every client we have had the privilege to work with in both Minnesota and South Dakota. We were invited to participate in a leadership and discipleship class through church earlier this fall and we spend each Monday night with others from our church learning and growing in our faith!

Our prayer for each of you this coming Christmas season would be that you be filled with an understanding and gratitude for the gift that Jesus is for us! In this time of what seems like increasing darkness in our country and our world, we, as believers, can hopefully be a light of peace and hope to others. Merry Christmas!

Love, Dominic, Kristin, Isaac, Gabriel, Elijah and Karlena Smith

Keep Searching

I can hardly believe it is almost Christmas. I don’t know what happened really, I blinked and December was gone. The reality was that late in November our son was sick, then I got pneumonia which wiped me out for days and days and then he was sick again. We had a weekend stuck indoors because the straight temp outside was -25 degrees and now here we are a few days away from Christmas and all the plans I had to slow down and seek God through this month feel a lot like defeat.

And I guess there may be many of you that have found yourself here as well.

We start the season with the best of intentions. This year will be different and then, well LIFE happens, and we come through Advent just hoping to survive until the new year. Can I just say that we should all take a collective deep breath and relax?

I still have gifts en route that will need to be wrapped by Saturday morning. I have cookies to frost and clothes to organize. Our kids are still in school (I KNOW, WHAT IN THE WORLD?) and we have meetings at our office through noon tomorrow.

Yes, Christmas will come and go just as fast and I will wonder what happened there too…but I realized something this morning that helped me to accept where I am at today.

Just because the season will be over in a few days doesn’t mean we have to stop searching for the One, the Gift, that we celebrate during this time.

The story didn’t end with Christmas, we know that. And while we make attempts to focus and slow down during Advent it is still important that we keep seeking Him all year through.

I shared back in November about the Shepherd on the Search kit that I received from Dayspring. I knew it would be something fun that I could use to be intentional with my kids in December. I was excited about the daily activities they had on their web page and had plans to take even 15-20 minutes a night to be engaging in the Christmas story with them.

And then, you know….LIFE.

But like I said, the story doesn’t end after this weekend.

Yes, it is important to teach our kids about the significance of Christ’s birth at Christmas…but they need to keep searching for Him throughout the year as well. I want my kids to seek Him in all things. In all seasons!

Using these recipe cards is one way that I can do that. Day 15 is a lesson on the importance of giving to others. Day 21 encourages us to find ways to bring Joy to others, our neighbors or friends. And throughout the month you will find memory verses that will help place the Christmas story on our hearts over and over again.

I am learning more and more that if I want to know God, I have to seek Him out. I have to spend time with Him, learning about Him, being His light to others. Not just at Christmas but always.

It was a challenge my own heart needed this morning. I could feel frustrated that my Advent season didn’t look like I thought it should….or I can celebrate that the story is ongoing, and so is my search for Him.

My prayer for you friends is that you will be able to give yourself grace today. Enjoy time with your family this weekend, celebrate the Christ child and then continue to seek Him throughout the year! Merry Christmas!

Original Photo Credit: Dan’l Burton

Walking The Path We Are Given

I don’t remember when I first heard the story of Rory and Joey Feek, but once I found their blog This Life I Live, I knew these were people with an incredible story to tell.

If you read anything that Rory has posted you will know without a doubt that he loved his wife. Theirs seemed like that timeless love we all hope for. And yet they found themselves walking a path they didn’t see coming.

In the new documentary movie, To Joey, With Love, we are given a glimpse into their real-life, day to day as they journey into parenthood and then an unexpected cancer diagnosis.

Not realizing the significance of his decision, Rory decided to start capturing their life on film as they waited for the arrival of their daughter. Soon after her birth they discover that their daughter has Down Syndrome. Unexpected yes, but they knew this was the path they were walking on and they trusted God through all of it.

Being a new mom can be difficult enough, but at her 12-week check-up, Joey receives some devastating news.  Cancer.

I can’t imagine the fear she must have felt, and yet Rory and Joey walked this path with hope and trust in God’s plan. The new media caught wind of what they were dealing with and soon their story had spread like a wildfire.

People all over the world were praying for Joey and reading Rory’s blogs. We all hoped for a miracle. But sometimes those miracles don’t come in the way we would hope or expect.

As was true with this story.

While the outcome wasn’t as so many prayed for….it doesn’t mean that God wasn’t there. The love Rory and Joey had for one another inspired others. The faith they had encouraged the weak. Their choice to celebrate the joys in the journey remind us all that even when it is dark, blessings abound.

To Joey, With Love was a beautiful, intimate film and I was a bawling, hot mess once I finished it. It is available for purchase on December 20th but I have a free copy to give away to one of my readers!! Just leave a comment below and you will be entered to win!

For more information about this new movie, watch the trailer below (Email subscribers click here to view)

YouTube Preview Image

Thank you to the Icon Media Group for the opportunity to view and review this movie in advance of its release.

All pictures and media found on the To Joey With Love website.

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