Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas 08 Letter

This year has flown by with one turning from a tiny baby to a little toddler, a growing girl starting preschool, a husband working hard to provide for his family, two girls growing up fast, a little one who loves her “little mama” role and a wife and mother who is thankful for all of life’s blessings, big and small.

As the snow falls this December night, the most snow we’ve seen in a long time around here, we feel like we have a chance to stop, rest, spend time with each other and reflect on what we’ve learned in these past few months. Here are the most important lessons that come to mind:

1. Our children are growing up fast. Ahzryia ventured on to middle school this year and it has been truly amazing to see her transforming into a responsible young woman. She enjoys singing on the worship team at church and figuring out who she is created to be and what special purpose she is created for. Shariah also has grown incredibly this past year, developing a definite interest in the Spirit through a summer kids’ camp and also growing in her gifts as an athlete. When we watched the Olympics I asked “Do you think you could do that someday?” (win the gold). She shrugged and said “Yeah, I could.” As our children grow so quickly we keep in mind that we don’t have forever to influence their lives as we can now. We choose to look at them through our Father’s eyes and encourage them in their stepping upward.

2. No life is without value. As a mother of five, I feel society's subtle message that says what a person’s life is worth depends on how much they contribute to social security. Yet, I have learned some of the most amazing lessons from listening to the gentle breathing of my sleeping baby. With Brayden being our fifth child and first boy, Bill and I are both more ready to learn to slow down and spend time laughing, cuddling, singing and enjoying the gift that he is. Ruby as well, has taught us to pay attention, spend time and notice the wonderment behind the quiet. Ruby has embraced her role as my little helper. She is so attentive to Brayden’s needs, gives him sweet kisses and tickles, runs to intervene when she feels he may be in danger of falling, feeds him snacks and makes him laugh. Watching her we see that she has a true servant’s heart and she’s a joy and blessing to ours.

3. God is present in our lives today. Emma has had a busy year, starting preschool, turning five, growing in her role as a big sister. She’s got spunk and it’s been a joy to persuade her in the way she should go, treasuring her imagination and ability to lead. She said at dinner one night that she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart. Ahzryia and Shariah led her to do that and prayed over her while I tried my best to keep the tears at bay.

4. Nothing is more important than family. This lesson was learned after going down the “what if” trail one too many times. What if the economy failed? What if we lost our home like so many? What if the world as we know it changed over night? We would have each other. We would have the courage to face anything. Bill and I are so blessed to have five healthy children and a wonderful relationship with each other.

5. God is our Father. He longs for us to allow Him to fill that role as we learn to depend on him for our daily bread as well as jobs to come in for work, gifts for Christmas, health for our family, joy in our relationships and wholeness and abundance for our lives. He’s given us the simple commandment to love one another. As He has loved us, so we must love one another.

May you be filled with hope, encouragement and love this Christmas and New Year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Unveiling the 08 Wheeler Christmas card...

These pictures were taken by my good friend Kelli. Check out more of her photos at or . Let me tell you, getting five kids to all look good and smiling at the same second takes talent;)

Merry Christmas!

Love, Jewel

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Enough Seat Belts for Everyone

The first vehicle I can remember is a light blue oxidized truck. I’m not sure of the make or model but I am pretty sure the truck is at least twenty years older than I am.

We’re driving on a bumpy dirt road up by our home in the mountains. I gaze out the window at the field of purple clovers as my dad yells, “Jewel, hold the door.” I am four years old and have the responsibility to hold the door closed. My dad would eventually keep the door shut with a rope or a bungee cord but in the meantime it’s all on me.

I am kind of scared. Not scared enough to cry but at four, and living without television, my imagination has developed the ability to form remarkably vivid pictures. I think of a fierce wind swooping up from the valley below; a wind that I can not possibly match in strength. The door is pulled completely from the hinges and I am sucked from the blue truck into a tornado of dandelion dust. The ending to my imagination’s story makes me smile for I land in the soft field of purple clover but not before giving my dad a great scare.

Every hippy family needs a Volkswagen bus right? Ours again is light blue. We don’t have cool curtains or even an eight track but we must have a broken gas gage because we seem to run out most frequently. My mom’s favorite prayer is “Jesus, help us get to the gas station.” We make it and celebrate our answered prayer.

It’s raining, seriously raining and I’m sitting between my two year old brother and my baby sister. We’re with my mom and I can feel her panic as the engine sputters to a fateful stop along a dark and winding highway. Our prayers change to a different tune in an age long before cell phones, not that we would get reception out in the boonies where we live. Suddenly we see the headlights of a car approaching. A man braves the torrents of rain and asks “How can I help?”

We go to the man’s house, kept warm by a glowing wood fire. The man’s wife serves us hot chocolate and they give me a doll and my brother a toy truck. I think this is a great adventure.

When I am five my parents are able to finance their first vehicle. They purchase a brand new cream colored Toyota pickup truck. This is before crew cabs are the norm and all five of us ride around in this new truck together. My parents are proud and I can feel their happiness. My brother and I sit next to each other, me scooted up close to the dash and him back next to my mom who is holding my baby sister.

On longer drives of course my sister is fastened into a car seat and my brother gets to ride on the floor. But the truck is brand new and my parents love it and us kids love it too, even if we are a little squished.

Our gold station wagon has enough seats for all of us, until my baby brother is born that is. We’re moving to the city (going to "see Attle") and the back end is filled with blankets and pillows from our house. My brother and I make a fort and enjoy a cozy ride, making signs and pictures to hold up for drivers. Another adventure for us.

My baby brother is two and my parents sell the station wagon. The couple who buy it try their best to scratch off the Jesus bumper sticker and my parents laugh and roll their eyes when we see it drive by.

My dad and mom decide to buy another Volkswagen, but this time a Vanagon in two shades of blue. The van can fit us all along with all of our friends, as long as we double buckle. Over time part of the floor rusts out, but my dad puts a board down to cover the hole. We love to move the board and throw small objects through the floor, hearing the smack as they hit the pavement underneath and then we watch and whoop and holler to see them scatter across the road behind us.

The hole starts to grow in size and soon it is probably big enough for my little sister to fall through. This van also must have a broken gas gage and we have to stop and add water repeatedly when we take trips longer than half an hour on a summer’s day. My mom fears the engine will blow up and the reality sets real fear in each of us children, who now have television and have seen things “blow up”. That is not a fate we wish to suffer.

I’m old enough now to know that this is not a normal life to live. The van breaks down, not all the way and my mom is able to drive home as long as she stays under seven miles per hour.

I duck down low in the front seat, feeling every other driver on the road staring at me and laughing in their nice cars with automatic windows and no holes in their floors.

Either my parents start to become more financially savvy or they begin to realize that their eleven year old daughter would rather walk two miles to school than be dropped off and yelled to “be careful not to let the door fall off”.

They buy a string of minivans but we continue to have trouble with touchy doors. But we have automatic windows, a/c and tinted windows. Us kids miss making signs for people behind us but we appreciate our own seat belts and seats of real upholstery, rather than braided rug seats or sticky vinyl.

Celebrating an empty nest or rather four kids with drivers licenses my mom and dad buy the second brand new car of their marriage. For my mom’s fifty third birthday she picks out a gold Toyota Camry. After so many years of holy floors, touchy radiators and doors falling off she deserves something new and dependable.

And while I sit waiting for my husband to bring me some gas to fill my dark blue suburban I feel like all is right in the world and I’m thankful that all my kids have their own seat belts.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Women's Conference in February

I am really excited to hear Lisa Bevere, author of "Nurture" and "Fight Like A Girl" among others. She'll be speaking at Christian Family Center's yearly women's conference on February 6-7th at the Rock Church in Monroe. Tickets are $40 if you register before January 15th and $50 after that or if you register at the conference. That includes breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Click here for more info or to register.

So, who wants to go with me???

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So long baby...

Brayden turned one on Monday, December 8th. He's been taking steps for awhile but hasn't taken off walking. Until Monday that is. I was in the kitchen washing dishes and he walked in from the dining room and just walked right through to the stairs without stopping or falling. I was like "Huh, what?" It was so cute to see him waddling around everywhere with his hands up in the air but at the same time I kept feeling sad about the end of his baby days. I can't really believe this is it. The last time we're going to have a little baby. The last time I'm going to breast feed (he's not done with that yet).

It's funny how we have named each of our children and later figured out the meaning of their names. Ahzryia and Shariah's names for instance mean, "Johovah has grasped" -Ahzryia and "Jahovah has delivered" - Shariah. Emma means "To Bond a family together". Ruby means "gemstone" but maybe I should be looking into that one further. Brayden has a couple of meanings. The English meaning is "wide valley". Hmm...yes we didn't pick his name based on that. There is a Hebrew word close to his name though, the word "Brayed". It means "To scream because of hunger". Yep that fits him and if you've been around him at mealtime you'd agree.

That's my prayer for him, that he'd hunger and thirst after righteousness. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they will be filled." Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

You can still have vision for the future and at the same time be completely satisfied on the inside of you.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The After Holiday Turkey

Having been away from home for Thanksgiving I cooked my turkey the next week and so then was the task of finding what to do with this enormous bird. Plus turkeys are on sale after the holidays and I'm all about saving money. So, here are the three meals that we had after the initial turkey-mashed potatoes-green beans meal.

Turkey Spinach Salad

(I did not measure anything in this...just made enough for our family:)
Baby Spinach leaves
Chopped turkey breast
broccoli slaw
chopped craisens
chopped pecans
poppy seed papaya dressing

Mix it all together in a big bowl. Good with french bread. Sorry the picture is not so great.

(If you feel it's missing something you could add some feta or goat cheese)

2. Turkey Fajita Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
4 cups of turkey stock or water with chicken bouillon
1 can condensed tomato soup
2 cans diced tomatoes w/green chilis
4 cups cooked turkey (I used up the dark meat)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 can black beans, rinsed, drained
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

6 cups corn tortilla chips
3/4 cup chopped green onion
1 cup shredded Cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese blend
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream
Add to Recipe Box
My folders:

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Stir in stock (water w/bouillon), tomato soup, diced tomatoes, shredded turkey, and parsley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add black beans, corn, sour cream and cilantro. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve soup with crushed tortilla chips, chopped green onion, shredded cheese and additional cilantro and sour cream.

3. Turkey Pesto Melts

french bread
pesto sauce
parmesian cheese
turkey salad (chopped turkey breast w/mayo mixed together)
diced plum tomotoes

Preheat oven to 350. Butter french bread. Top each slice with 1 tsp of pesto sauce. Sprinkle with parmesian. Then carefully scoop on turkey salad and sprinkle tomatoes on top. Cook for about 10 minutes. Everyone loved these.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Remember My Love"

God has been quietly speaking those words to me over the last few days...well months. Wanting me to remember the times He's been faithful and know that He is the same yesterday, today and forever!

I listened to Focus on the Family today and Dr. Dobson read his December letter and told how God has carried them through all the difficult financial seasons they've experienced. It brought tears to my eyes.


Related Posts with Thumbnails