Category Archives: Holiday

Happy New Year! – By M

2012 came to a close so quickly!  It was like all of a sudden we’re into 2013… a whole week into 2013!  So I realize this Happy New Years post is a tad late, but better than none at all, right?

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Since the last time I wrote on the blog we have celebrated Thanksgiving, vacationed at Disney World with my family, went to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios, played the part of the holy family (you know Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus) twice, vacationed in Oklahoma and spent time with family over Christmas, had both our cars die on us while traveling on vacation, experienced two snows, and now our baby boy is starting to sit up all on his own!

2012 was definitely a great year –full of change and new beginnings.  I look forward to 2013 and all that is in store for our family and seeing Josiah get bigger every day.

I hope that you and your family are well and are getting off to a great start to the year!  May you continually  experience God’s blessings.

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What is the best thing you can look back on from last year?  What do you look forward to this coming year?

Family at Disney World

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-M


Disney Trips Flashbacks

As I mentioned in my last post, we are going to Disney World in December!!  I am beyond excited.  This will be my fifth trip to Disney World–I’m so fortunate!  All of the excitement of our upcoming trip has made me think about past trips and how much I loved each one of them.  I thought it’d be fun to share some flashbacks of my previous Disney Trips!

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Summer 1989 (2 years old)

For some reason, this is the only picture I have of our trip.  My mom has more, but this is the only one in my scrapbook.

Like I said earlier, I don’t remember this trip at all, but I know my family had a great time!  We went with my mom’s whole family.  And one of the things about taking such a little kiddo (at least so I’ve heard) is that it’s more for the parents than the kids.  I know my parents loved watching me get so excited while we were there.  And I’m thankful that I was able to go at such a young age!

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June 2002 (15 years old)

I just took pictures of my scrapbook pages for this trip since I don’t have any digital copies of the pictures.  And here’s a close-up of our family:

This trip was a BLAST!  We camped at Fort Wilderness on Disney property, and stayed for a whole week.  My little sister was 5, my brother was 12, and I was 15.  We were all at such good ages for a Disney trip.  My uncle, aunt, and their 3 kids also went with us.  We had such a good time, even though it rained every day.  We felt like a group of ducks in our yellow Mickey ponchos!  We visited all the parks, both water parks, and played mini golf.

It was so wonderful to be there with my family.  We made SO many great memories, from dancing with the parade people at Epcot, to getting splashed on the last hole at Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf, to eating breakfast with Pooh and friends, to riding everything we wanted to at least once, to just being together.  It was one of my favorite vacations of all time!

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October 2006 (19 years old)

This was our “Girls and PawPaw Trip”.  I skipped college and took off work for a week in order to go on this Fall Break trip.  My mom, sister, aunt, cousin, her two girls, Meme & Pawpaw all went.  We really missed my dad and brother, but it was such a great trip!  We were on the Disney Dining Plan for the first time, and it was probably one of the biggest highlights of the trip!  (I’ll probably never go to Disney World without it now!)  It was also my first time to go “off-season” and now I’m sold on the short wait times and cooler weather!

We met TONS of characters,

Rode/saw everything we wanted to with virtually no waits,

Went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party,

Acted goofy,

Ate INCREDIBLE food with the Dining Plan,

And just had a great trip.

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September 2009

This trip was just Michael and me.  It was AMAZING.  We went as a sort of delayed honeymoon.  There will never, ever be another trip like this one.  We were able to do and see everything we wanted to–without having to do the things we didn’t want to.  We didn’t have a care in the world besides what to pick to eat.  And speaking of eating, we did the Dining Plan again and ate at incredible restaurants!  We were goofy and carefree, but also took time to enjoy just being together and celebrating us.  It was PERFECT.

We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge,

Met Mickey & Minnie,


Ate at incredible restaurants,

Saw all of the different nighttime events, including Wishes, our favorite fireworks show,

Had PRIME seats at all of the shows and rides due to planning, planning, planning (this is when I fell in love with planning Disney trips, by the way),

Took pictures in goofy hats around Epcot World Showcase,

Michael got to be in two shows,

Rode everything we wanted to at least once,

Took a tour (which was great),

Took tons of “magic shots”

& just had an AMAZING time together.

Like I said earlier, it was PERFECT.

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Needless to say, I am SOOOO excited about our upcoming trip.  It’s going to be so great to take Josiah to Disney World for the first time and get to spend time with family.  It’ll be here before we know it!

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–Staci

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Q for you:  Have you ever been to Disney World (or Disneyland)?  What was your favorite thing?

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A Post Of Thankfulness Part 2 – By M

Hopefully you caught part one of my Thankfulness List.  If you didn’t you can check it our by clicking HERE.

Here is the second half of my list, starting with number 16 through 30 (and as mentioned before, this is in no particular order).

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16.) Friends – I’ve had a lot come and go in my life, but I’m thankful for all the ones that have meant so much to me.  I don’t really have many anymore.  I guess that’s a part of growing up.  But for those that I do have, I am thankful.

17.) District Youth Director Meetings – Speaking of not having many friends, the UM Youth Directors in our area are beginning to meat monthly and I am really excited for the connections we’ve already made and will continue to make.  It’s so nice to be around other adults who totally get where we’re coming from 🙂

18.) Fusion – On a similar note, I’m proud to be a part of a new youth movement here in Southeast Texas that we’re calling Fusion.  A group of Youth ministers have come together, crossing denominational boundaries, to bring our students together for passionate worship with the ultimate goal of breaking down barriers and helping students into a deeper walk with God.

19.) My Guitar (acoustic) – Love my Larrivee!  It’s been a big part of my ministry for 8 years and I still love that it’s not a Taylor or a Martin 🙂   (this is a picture from a while back… you can tell cause of the hair)

20.) My Guitar (electric) – The second addition to my musical family.  I’ve had my Peavey amp for many ears because I got a killer deal on it and never had a good guitar to play through it.  It’s a big part of my ministry through music today and a big part of my contribution to Fusion.

21.) Music – You’ve probably seen some of our music posts on this blog.  I love to listen to it.  I love to play.  Music is awesome

22.) Thanksgiving – (put it at 22 cause that’s Thanksgiving day this year)  What is there to really say… family, food, fun, football!  Second or third best holiday in my opinion.

23.) Christmas Season – This would be the day after Thanksgiving also known as Black Friday.  I hope you’ve experienced the joys of Black Friday, but I digress.  I love Christmas and I love the Christmas season!  The music, the lights, the atmosphere, the weather… it’s all so perfect!  (And another vintage picture)

And now things take a bit of a material/superficial turn:

24.) My Bed – It’s warm, it’s comfy, it’s soft, I love it!

25.) iPhone/iPad/iMac – OK, so I don’t want to sound like an Apple fan boy or anything; I promise I’m not.  But I do love our computer and the iPad is just so convenient and fun.  I always thought the iPhone could be overrated, but I’ve really enjoyed my 4.  It may be 2 generations old, but it works great, it’s easy to use, and I love the apps.

26.) MyFitnessPal/RunKeeper – Speaking of apps; I’ve been really trying to work on getting in better shape and losing some weight.  RunKeeper helps me track my running and I like being able to actually gauge my progress.  MyFitnessPal is a calorie counter and I started using it Labor day weekend.  As I’ve followed the daily plans and cut back on my calorie intake, I’ve lost 16 pounds in just 2 months.

27.) New dSLR camera/HD video camera – Staci is big into photography and I love doing video work.  These new cameras have been awesome for our family and documenting Josiah’s early life and our family experiences.

28.) DVD/Bluray Collection – I know, it’s nerdy.  But Staci and I never watch live TV (The few TV shows we actually keep up with we watch on Hulu), so we pride ourselves in our collection of movies and TV shows.  Superficial? yes.  Awesome?  Heck Yes!

29.) Modern Conveniences – I know this is kind of general and vague, but I was running out of space, and I’m just so glad for electricity and plumbing, and cell phones, cars, planes, etc.  It’s just nice.

30.) Upcoming Family Vacation – Family time is something I’ve always cherished and now that we live so far part it’s very hard to come by.  So it will be really special spending so much time with all the family.  I’m glad everyone wil get to spend so much with Josiah too!

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So these are a few things I am especially thankful for this season.

What are some of the things you are thankful for this year?

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– M


Balumtine’th Day

If you need a little Valentines Laugh today, enjoy!

This is Dave Barnes and “Balumtine’th Day”.

Michael and I were introduced to this video our sophomore year of college.  Since then, it’s been one we’ve regularly quoted.  Especially “My body is like Disneyland.”  It cracks me up that a guy who has so many amazing love songs can be such a goof!

If you’re in a lovey mood and would prefer one of his serious songs, here’s “God Gave Me You.”

Happy Valentines Day!

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–Staci

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A Sunday Christmas – By M

This is year is kind of an unusual one.  For the first time since 2005, Christmas falls on a Sunday.  This makes for a pretty interesting December 25th for us Ministers and other church go-ers… To have a Christmas day service or not?  THIS POST by Jon Acuff made me think about this question again, and it made me want to post my own thoughts about it.

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Although our last Sunday Christmas day was only a few years back, I honestly don’t remember what our family did that day.  I had just completed my semester of college, and I do remember that I got pretty sick over the break, so the 2005 holiday is pretty much a blur to me.  Also, it was the first Christmas that my brother and sister didn’t spend the majority of Christmas break at home.  That shook things up around the house a bit.  And to top it off, it was the first of several years that my dad spent Christmas away from home on medical mission trip.  All this to say that it already wasn’t a typical Christmas at the Elizondo’s that year.

The only previous Sunday Christmas day previous to that (that I was old enough to remember) was in 1994.  I remember being bummed out that we had to get all dressed up and leave home for church when I wanted to stay at home and play with my new toys.  Granted, as a 7 year old, their really isn’t much else on the mind other than to play with your toys.

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This year, I have been struggling with the fact that Christmas lands on a Sunday meaning that Staci and I will be at our church’s 10am service rather than staying in enjoying the warmth and comfort of home.  That is, I struggled with this thought until this past Sunday.  During our church service, our senior pastor gave a pretty compelling message why it should be a no-brainer to have and attend church this Christmas day.

He pointed out how ironic it is that Christians are usually pretty good about getting upset that Christmas, the day we celebrate our Savior’s birth, is so horribly commercialized.   We fume about how the mainstream media is pushing the phrase “Happy Holidays” over “Merry Christmas.”  We demand that Culture not take the “Christ” out of Christmas!  Yet… we look at our calendars dreading the year that Christmas fall on Sunday.  Why?  Because it’s too inconvenient to go to our place of worship to celebrate Christ’s birth?  Because we’d rather stay in and play with all the new gifts and toys we got for Christmas?

I don’t post this to sound preachy.  I only post it because I was so convicted as the words came out of my pastor’s mouth.

Hopefully I can make Christmas more about this…

 

And less about this…

Presents, family, friends, memories… They’re all great!  And they are great by-products to the season.  But hopefully we can still put Christ at the front –above all else– this Christmas.

That’s my prayer for me this year.

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– M


Christmas Albums 2011

Last year Staci and I did a post on our favorite Christmas albums. It pretty much covers our favorite albums up to last year. You can check that blog post out HERE.

With the new year and the new Christmas albums that we’ve gotten, I figured it was only right to post about those albums here. Check ’em out and Enjoy!

(Staci’s thoughts will be in italics.)

“Oh For Joy” by David Crowder*Band — The David Crowder*Band (DCB) has been one of my favorite bands since I was in high school. I’ve waited a long, long time for this album, and although it wasn’t what I would have expected, it is an instant favorite. The DCB had its humble beginnings as a worship band, and I feel like this CD kind of takes their newer flare and meshes with their roots in a really creative and moving way. Although I will always love the classic type of Christmas music, it tends to wear on you throughout the Christmas season; so I feel like “Oh For Joy” is a breath of fresh air from your typical Christmas album. Oh and their cover of “Christmas Sarajevo” better known as “The Carol of the Bells” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is impeccable!

I haven’t really listened to this one much, but when I have, I’ve liked it.

“Christmas” by Jadon Lavik — This is a great Christmas album that has a really acoustic feel to it reminiscent to Jack Johnson (I think that may be the reason why I personally like it so much). You’ll notice my trend in finding artists who really put their own vibe on the Christmas classics. Although I have never listened to Jadon’s non-seasonal music, I have really grown to love this album.

I’d never heard of Jadon Lavik, but I really like this album! It’s classic, yet original at the same time. The only problem is it has “Mele Kalikimaka” as the second to last song, and it ALWAYS gets stuck in my head. I love the way he does the song, but it’s not so much fun anymore when I wake up singing it at 4:30 a.m. 🙂

“Christmas” by Michael Buble — We share the same first name, now if only we shared the same vocal abilities! A few years back Michael Buble came out with his Christmas EP “Let it Snow,” and I couldn’t believe that he only put like 4 songs on it. As soon as I heard there was full length Christmas album I had to have it right away! And to my expectations, it was totally worth every penny spent on it; lots of fun tracks with his Michael-Buble-buttery-smooth voice to top it off. And I like his old school groove. I almost have to say that he tops Franky and the Rat Pack on certain tracks. The only complaint would be… why on earth would a male do a remake of “Santa Baby”. I will say this track stands out (in a completely bad way) on the rest of the album. Just kinda of wrong for a man to sing that song to Santa. Otherwise, a very very good album!

Oh my. I can’t say enough about this one. I’ve been a HUGE Michael Buble fan since my freshman year of college. And he has the absolute perfect Christmas voice. I agree with (my) Michael that “Santa Buddy” (his remake of “Santa Baby”) is completely ridiculous. But the rest of the album is incredible! He has some really fun tracks, as well as some great classic-style tracks. I think my favorite might be “Jingle Bells”. He just does an incredible old-school style. “Ava Maria” and “Feliz Navidad” are both done in a very good way as well. I could comment on every single track on this album, but you’ll just have to check it out for yourself! This is definitely my favorite addition to our collection this year.

“Snow Globe” by Matt Wertz — If you’re into the pop-ee, Singer/Songwriter genre then this Christmas album is a must have. I like that he has a good mix of originals –such as the title track “Snow Globe”, and “Tennessee Christmas”– as well as the classics. Staci and I are huge fans of Dave Barnes and his Christmas Album that debut last year, and this album kinda of just flows along with it; definitely a new favorite for the two of us!

We’re actually listening to this album right now. I love that it’s so upbeat. He has a lot of original songs, “Snow Globe” being my favorite, as well as a lot of classics. Matt Wertz has been another favorite of mine since college, and this album definitely ranks high on my Christmas favorites!

I also have to say that Dave Barnes’ “Very Merry Christmas” is still my very favorite Christmas album. Sometimes I listen to it multiple times in a day.

And for me, Mercy Me’s “The Christmas Sessions” will always be #1 alongside “Charlie Brown Christmas” by Vince Guaraldi.

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What are some of your new (or old) favorite Christmas Albums?

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Michael & Staci

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Never Too Late To Be Thankful: Updated! – By M

I know that during the month of November a lot of people updated their statuses with things they are thankful for…

Well in the spirit of the Holidays, even though Thanksgiving day has passed, I wanted to make my own brief blog post about the things I’m very thankful for.

– First of all, my loving and wonderful wife!

UPDATE: A Brand new baby growing in Staci’s belly!  (I wanted to put that earlier, but it wasn’t public yet, but now it is!)

– Blessings of friends and family

– The new house we just moved into in September

– Our job down here and getting to work with the students at our church

– And tons more!

Although it has been a very crazy year, it’s good to look back and see how God has blessed us in so many ways, and be thankful for so many great things in my life.

What are some things that you are thankful for this year?

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-M

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Halloween – By M

Is it just me or is Halloween the red-headed step-child of holidays?  We don’t get a day off school for it – regardless of the fact that everyone knows everyone else will be out late trick-or-treating or at a Fall Festival – we don’t get out of work early, half of the Christian community thinks that Halloween is from the devil….

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I really am not sure what this post is about other than to say I’m somewhere in the middle when it comes to Halloween.  I mean when you think about it, Halloween spawned from a Christian holiday, All Saints Day and All Hallows Eve.

I was raised in a family where we celebrated Halloween as kids (by “celebrate” I mean we got dressed up and went trick-or-treating).  Then as we got older, and things got more dangerous, we did the whole Festival thing – as those became more popular too.  Once we got into late middle school and high school, we really didn’t do much except sit around the house and watch a movie, and eat pizza and popcorn.  Now Staci and I are involved in our church’s Fall Festival which is lots of fun.

I do have to admit that some things about Halloween do give me the creeps.  I’m not a big fan of all the dead stuff and spiders and what not, but I don’t think that’s any reason to not go out and get a ton of candy and have a good time.

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What are your thoughts on Halloween?  Any family traditions?

(Us as CTU Agents (from “24”) for Halloween last year)

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– M