Show and Tell Tuesday!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hi!! Happy Tuesday!! 
If your house is anything like our's, the excitement level is at an all time high :)
We are going to see to Christmas lights tonight in our Christmas jammies and the kids can't wait!
These last few days leading up to Christmas Eve and Christmas are just SO special!

Today, I am linking up with Andrea for her last Show and Tell Tuesday of the year!!
Isn't that crazy?? This has been such a fun link up party!  

The topic for today is:
What is the best gift you have ever received?

When I was 9 years old, I received Samantha, one of the 3 original American Girl Dolls, for my BIG Christmas present.  As kids, we got a few small presents and then one BIG gift.
Seriously- I was BESIDE myself when I opened that box and saw Samantha!!!
It was something I had been really wanting and just really couldn't believe I had actually gotten my very own American Girl Doll!!
What made receiving my Samantha extra special was that my mom had bought the dress patterns for all of Samantha's clothes from the American Girl Doll company and she made Samantha a wardrobe of dresses that matched MY dresses!!
I didn't think life could get any better :) 
As you can see by this classic and awesome picture, my mom made Samantha a Christmas dress to match my dress (which my mom made me). 
26 years later and I still have Samantha, the original box she came in and all of the clothes my mom made me for her.  My girls LOVE to play with her and look at all of her clothes and just think she is the most special doll EVER.
Because my mom is amazing, she has continued to make dresses for Samantha, but now she makes them match dresses she makes my girls!! YES- my mom is one of a kind :)
To me- my Samantha doll represents all that is magical and special about Christmas morning!
As I was thinking about writing this post and what the best present I had ever received was- Samantha quickly came to my mind as my most favorite material gift I have been given.  
But then I started reflecting on the fact, that while I have been given SO many wonderful, amazing (material) gifts in my 35 years- the most profound gift I have been given is God's faithfulness and steadfast love that is present daily in my life.
I was raised in an incredibly loving, Christian home my whole life and I grew up going to church every Sunday. When I went away to college and graduate school, while I still very much believed in God, my attitude and actions definitely did not always reflect that.  
When I was 25, I made some huge changes (physically and emotionally) and I will never forget sitting in church, very shortly after I moved to Austin, TX, praying to God to "just lead me where he wants me to go." I was ready to really follow him.  
And from there, my life began to drastically change- in the most amazing and challenging ways. And now 10 years later, I can say confidently and with the most grateful heart that I would not be where I am and who I am without God's unwavering presence in my life.

My girls love to play in our big garden tub in our bathroom and the other day, my daughter Celine, who is 3, brought in one of their nativity sets and was playing with her "friends." Well...once I was finished getting ready, I told her it was time to get out of my bathroom. I didn't even pay attention to what she had been doing in my bath tub :)  Later that night, when I was getting ready for bed, I looked over to our bath tub and saw what she had set up.  The most simple and perfect representation of what Christmas is ALL ABOUT.
It seriously made me catch my breath and I just said of prayer of thankfulness for God using my precious little child to remind me of how simple and pure his love is for me.
 I hope you have the BEST day :)


  1. This is just the sweetest, Justine. I love the picture of you & Samantha. :) Wishing you & your family a very Merry Christmas!

  2. Santa brought me Samantha for Christmas when I was in the second grade and it was one of my favorites Christmases and I loved her so long!

    1. How fun!! I love that we share a love for our Samantha dolls! Such a special memory!! :)

    2. Too cute, I also received a Samantha doll when I was 8 and I still remember that, I wanted one so bad. My mom has a picture of me opening that box and I had the biggest smile on my face. Now I get to share my dolls with my 3 girls and they have received one of there own over the last few years.

  3. What a sweet post! Love everything about it! I didn't really play with dolls so I never had an American Girl, but I loved all the books and Samantha was my favorite of the girls. :)

  4. Okay, first - I had to do some math and figure out your age --- around 34? I am 37 and I truly do not remember American Girl dolls as part of my childhood!! So strange!! Second, your post made me tear up....we truly are so blessed!


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