Monday, December 14, 2009

happy monday

had such a wonderful day-trip with my parents and the kids for my sweet grandmom's 89th birthday. the lady on the far left is my great aunt dorothy who took a 16ish hour bus ride for the occasion. the other two kids are marit and graham's precious 2nd cousins charlie and peter.

graham has just figured out how to play harmonica and it is so cute as his little tummy goes in and out! he is actually pretty good!

we had our FUN Christmas evensong last night and now i am pondering these words:

truly he taught us to love one another.
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
and in His name, all oppression shall cease.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

simple advent

we put up some very simple and unbreakable decorations to honor this wonderful season when our Lord put on our flesh to be born, live, and then die in our place. i know that stockings and Christmas trees don't have a direct relationship to Christ's birth, but i do love the story of st nick and his generosity. i also love that we can be festive and honor this season by enjoying it well, loving others well, and simply celebrating. i definitely want to make a jesse tree one day. i think marit might understand some next year so maybe that can be my 2010 project. i think hers turned out beautifully! and i love that it ties all the old-testament prophecies together. this year though we are sticking to understanding and learning the nativity and what that means. marit has been ceaslessly playing with our little nativity scene that is (ahem) indeed breakable. i'm waiting on a fabric one to come in the mail so she can act it out with more enthusiasm. we will stuff stockings with simple things and this year we are buying a few small gifts and here is where i feel conflicted. i think how this family celebrates by giving to the least of these is wonderful. we do give to others throughout the year, but i would love to make the connection that giving to those in need honors God and is in effect a gift to the baby born in Bethlehem so long ago. but, is it bad that i LOVE to give and receive gifts? we are not in desperate need for anything...we have food and shelter and each other, but adam needs some new socks. my kids have many more toys than they need, but i have a few things tucked away that will be a joy to give them (art supplies and things). what are your thoughts on gift-giving? any creative ideas for giving to others in this sweet season?

dear kelly

thank you for the beautiful star that hangs in my kitchen window now and cheers me and reminds me to think and pray for you while i do the dishes. what a lovely gift!

Monday, December 7, 2009

holy experience

i don't have a title for this post, but it is multitude monday, so let me catch up on noting everyday graces in our little family. poor snuggle bug had a double ear-infection (her first ever!) last week that dr honey bunny noticed had ruptured on one side. she was just miserable for a couple days, but we put her on some antibiotics (ruptured, but only partially drained and the doc said the process was likely to repeat if we did not treat it) and the effects were almost immediate! marit is really a dutiful patient and loves to have her hears examined.

adam has been soooo busy as usual and i am learning that though there will be worse seasons than others, the doctoring field does not promise to be less than challenging for all of us. ever...mostly due to long hours. BUT he had a post-call day butted up to a day off (1st in 12) this weekend and we were able to go to his fancy work Christmas party thanks to the generosity of a dear friend who loves to babysit the munchkins. we talked and it was great! thanks to those who helped me winterize this green dress that i have not been able to wear for 3 years.

we also got a Christmas tree this weekend, but it is not fully decorated yet...these things happen very slowly around here, but adam was so cute with his hot chocolate after the kids went to bed last night as he carefully wrapped the lights. he is nothing if not careful and i love him for it (when i'm not being sinful). maybe i'll post a Christmas tree photo later.

we have been practicing for our annual Christmas evensong and i just relish all the rich words of advent music. we sing them with the kids before bed too. i've been thinking on these lately and letting them sink in...

O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!

more gracious gifts 96-117
family gatherings
God's faithful care
advent preparations
hot showers
helpful parents
generous grandparents
reading beatrix potter with marit
sick toddler means lots of extra snuggles
newlywed cuteness
soft fur
toddler learning to use kind words
sibling kisses
encouraging conversation with neighbor
fancy date with husband
church family meal
advent music
He "felt our human woe"

Friday, December 4, 2009

to share

i read this the other day and was deeply convicted...oh to "take every thought captive" (1cor 10:5) for they matter too.

Seventeen Minutes
It's the thoughts-ordinary, daily thought ---that count
by Andree Seu

These are the thoughts of a woman driving home from the Stop 'N Shop on an ordinary day.
She conjures three comebacks she could've hurled at Ellen if she had not been caught off guard.
She spots the baby shower invitation on the dashboard and schemes a way to be out of town that weekend--then thinks better of it because she has a favor to ask the sender at a later date.
She sizes up a woman standing at the bus stop and judges her.
She stews over a comment her brother made behind her back, and crafts a letter telling him off--and sounding righteous in the process.
she reviews the morning's argument with her husband, and plans the evening installment.
She imagines how life would have been if she had married X (well-worn furrow, this).
She magnanimously lets a car merge into traffic, and then is ticked off when she doesn't get her wave.
She resolves to eat less chocolate starting today--well, tomorrow.
She replays memory tapes going back to the '60s, trying to change the endings.
Somebody rides up the road shoulder and budges to the head of a traffic jam, and she hates the driver with a perfect hatred.
She passes the house of the contractor who defrauded her and fantasizes blowing it to smithereens.
She passes Audrey working in her garden and waves--but thinks, "If Audrey has chronic fatigue syndrome, I'm a Flying Wallenda."
She glares at a driver who runs a red light in front of her, forgetting that she did the same about a mile ago.
She checks her slightly crooked nose compulsively in the rearview mirror, and reassures herself it isn't too bad.
An inner voice tells her to turn off the radio and pray, but she decides that's the voice of legalism.
She brainstorms talking points for her upcoming woman's Bible study lecture on "Ephesians" and considers how she can improve it--and make it better than Alice's talk of last week.
She is angry at God because here she is a Christian and broke, while her good-for-nothing heathen of a brother is rolling in dough.
She thinks how much better her life would be if she were beautiful, and fantasizes all the bungee-jumping, maggot pizza-eating "Fear Factor" stunts she'd be willing to subject herself to to look like Gwyneth Paltrow.
She wonders how her parents will divvy up the inheritance--and how long she has to wait.
she rehearses two good reasons why here sister and not she should take care of the folks when they're too old. She thinks about here childhood and counts the ways her parents have screwed up her life.
The Johnsons drive by, and she recalls all the meals she made for them 10n years ago when Lydia had toxemia during pregnancy, and bets they don't even remember. Hmm, did they even send a thank-you card?
The word treachery flashes through her mind (Mr. Beaver's succint epithet for Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) but leaves no footprints.
An SUV cuts her off, and she decides to punish it by tailgating.
Her heart smites her for this. so she determines to try harder to live righteously from now on. Who knows, God may reward her in some amazing way; Her husband may give her grounds for divorce, and God will lead her to the arms of Mr. Right.
She tries to pray but doesn't get past "Our Father."
There are lots of people that the woman does not think of while driving home with groceries, people who are not important to her social status, or just not interesting.
She doesn't think about AIDS-ravaged Africa, she doesn't think about the death sentence dangling over millions in Sudan, she doesn't think about missionaries, she doesn't think about martyrs in Kim Jong-il's prisons, she doesn't think about ways she could encourage her children.
She pulls in her driveway. Total driving time: 17 minutes.
And if you were to ask the lady, as rustles parcels from the car, what she has been thinking about on the drive from town, she would say, "Oh nothing in particular." And she would not be lying.
Imagine believing that we don't need a Savior.