Making Merry

 It was incredibly fun to see Christmas through Loulie's eyes. Between my birthday and parades and light shows and parties; we also managed to celebrate 5 blessed years of marriage. That is a A LOT to pack  into three weeks.

This week has been all about recovery. The Christmas season went by quickly and left me rather exhausted come Dec. 26th. So when Loulie told me yesterday morning that she did not want to put her clothes on, I didn't argue with her. Instead we stayed in our pjs, which never happens, until noon! I also knew that we needed to rest up before this weekend's festivities kicked off. Each year our family hosts a Polar Bear Plunge Party out at the beach. The costumes are hilarious and it is one of my favorite days of the entire year. A safe and happy new year to you! 2012--can you believe it?! Weren't we supposed to be living on the moon by now?


It came and went, now what?!

Whew! It is a lot of work creating the "perfect Christmas" for your family. After all the cooking and cleaning and wrapping; I now know why my mother was always so tired on Dec. 26th. But at Loulie's (much delayed) bedtime tonight, she asked to take Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus to bed with her along with a few sheep. She said "I take Baby Jesus to seep wiff you." Of course we agreed and at 10:30 she was still singing "Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus" from her crib. It was truly one of the best worst things ever! So even though I've spent the better part of my week leading up to Christmas doing beyond ridiculous preparations, I couldn't help but think "SUCCESS" yesterday when Loulie asked me when the Hoy Night was gonna happen. Because the one thing Bert asks for at Christmas is a house full of peace and happiness. Not stress and last minute preparations and a mother in a bad mood. But that we all celebrate Christmas for what it is--a time to be together praising God for the gift of our Savior.
I am ashamed to admit that I have spent a lot of time this season trying to create a festive atmosphere for my family and friends and not near enough time giving to those truly in need. That I have gotten caught up in the tasks of parenting and buying gifts and decorating and not done some of the things for others that I intended to. But a friend of mine says that God can be glorified in any situation as long as your heart is in the right place. So though I haven't been to a homeless shelter and the make a wish tree was empty by the time I got around to picking out a child, I do feel that our advent season has been one of anticipation. Of celebration. And of praise!
That glory can be brought to God in a room full of kids dancing and laughing and singing praise songs.  In a mother so thankful to have her child next to her helping to prepare dinner for their family. In a wall full of Christmas cards filled with pictures of loving families. In a family together praying around the dinner table. That glory can be brought to Christ through all types of preparation. And that the anticipation of advent doesn't end on Christmas Eve. 
That it is not too late to show the love of Jesus to others, to spread his message and to proclaim the good news. Tonight as I finally sat down and looked around at the unwrapped presents and leftover food, I admit that I thought "Now what?" But isn't that the question! Christ came for ALL people and the countdown of advent doesn't end Christmas day. It creates a beginning--that Christmas is a reminder that God loved us so much that he came down in flesh. A friend posed the question today "What if Christ hadn't been born?" I am thankful that we don't have to know the answer to that question.
I am also thankful that because of that gift, there is a new beginning. And that the answer to the question of "Now what?" is to go love on the unloveable, proclaim the Christmas story and continue to anticipate the coming of our Savoir!
Merry Christmas!


I'm too tired to think of a title..

You probably received a Christmas card from us yesterday if I didn't loose your address when my computer crashed this year. Thankfully after a few hours of entering names and looking up addresses, I have a good working spreadsheet again. And like every year, I have set a goal of having all the tasks of Christmas completed early next year so that I can do nothing but enjoy the holidays with family and friends.
It was about 3 hours after Thanksgiving was over that Snapfish/ Shutterfly/ Tinyprints sent me into a spiral with their "Buy early" sale email. I am not like others that think ahead enough and take some cute family photo in the summer when everyone is tan and relaxed. In fact, I'm not sure we even have a picture of the three of us this year. So before school one morning, we hit the back yard for a 5 min photo session. And like last year (see photo below), we were in the zone for about 3 minutes until everyone got a little tired of the activity.

So in lieu of last minute errands and gifts not getting sent in time and bad traffic, here is a little something that I hope will get a laugh...

Over it...
And the winner is...


May the odds be ever in your favor...

As of yesterday, I am officially in my early thirties. I do not believe in horoscopes or superstition, I know I have a heavenly father that has already numbered my days. However, I have noticed a pattern in those days over the years. It has become somewhat of a joke with my family and friends. I first noticed when on my 18th birthday I did not get into the college of my choosing. Talk about a sucker punch to the nose!
From then on, it has been that every odd year has brought contentment, surprises and adventure while most even years are a little more hit and miss. I would never say bad years because I have been so very blessed and we all know that times of trial draw you closer to the Lord. So I can look back and say it was ALL good! But if I were a gambler, I would up my stakes during an odd year. The year I turned 27, I jokingly told Bert that I felt like good things were coming my way. A few months in, I had a new car, my mother surprised me with my first trip to Europe and I was offered a great job. Bert told me he was ready for a year to be about him :) I ended that year with the best present ever--the expectation of Loulie Bug! Which followed me over into 28--all I remember about 28 is a lot of morning sickness, even more sleepless nights and a lot of excuses to my boss. See--point proven!
But as I roll into an odd year and an odd decade, I am not thinking about what good things may happen but that I have been an official adult for 13 years. That my 20s were about what I was going to do with my life, who I was going to spend it with, would I have a family and where would I end up living? Most of that has been decided by now--I've been blessed with good jobs, incredible friends, a husband who is my perfect match, a healthy child and I live in a beautiful place! So the question is no longer--what's next? What am I going to do? The question is how do I want to be seen? Am I  living each day fulfilling my Heavenly Father's purpose?
I was watching Easy A the other night because I may get older but will never outgrow a good teen drama. And Emma Stone and her friend were talking about mnemonics--basically if you were described what would be the first word the person said. Her friend's was big boobs--not mine. Her other friend's was that gay guy--again, not mine. So I asked Bert and he came back with something ridiculous and not worth repeating;) But it got my wheels turning.
So thats my plan for my 30s--work on my mnemonic. So that when someone asks, "Who is Lauren Dasher? Do I know her?" That person will respond with "you know Lauren, that girl who loves Jesus." or "oh if you don't know her, you should. She's a great friend--the kind that will give you the shirt off her back." or even better "Is that the kind lady with the polite children?" Friends, I am a loooong way off from a good mnemonic. I'm pretty sure right now that it's "that short girl that's hair is sometimes blond and has the kid with the weird name."
So as my friends and family, I am letting you know that is my business plan/ my check list/ my proverbial vision for the next nine years. Because they will go by too fast and I don't want to be wishing that I had spent more time helping others and with the people I love than on petty things or worry.
Hold me to it!
In other words, right now would be a great time to ask me for something--HA!

Lots of love and from the bottom of my heart thanks to everyone who has made up the last 31 years!