Saturday, December 21, 2013

the last word

The Word has come down in the midst of our conflicts and our messes
 and Jesus Christ, The Word, He’s lit the world. 

Everywhere, lights. 

He’s the final Word, the igniting fire 
that goes on forever and kindles and warms and saves.

You can see it today — 
the whole weary world drawing nearer now, coming close to rejoice.

Because the Babe in the manger is the ultimate blessed proof –
that Love has the last word.

~Ann Voskamp

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

two and a half hours on Tuesdays

Each week there is a very special two and a half hours tucked into my Tuesday. My sweet, sweet boy and I have a little time just for us. The girls head out with Jamie to the barn, and Samuel and I have an adventure ^_^

Sometimes we run errands, other times we do projects. If we have had a very busy day, we just hang out and read together or play games or go outside... There is always lots of laughter - my little man is just full of joy, and it spreads like sunshine. I have time to listen to all of his latest jokes and to hear the details of the new designs he has planned for his legos - uninterrupted. Absolutely priceless.

Today we had a very special project! Samuel's pack is having a Christmas party tonight, and he wanted to bake. We counted marshmallows, melted them, and made rice krispie treats -- complete with sprinkles, of course! Then we brought out the cookie pans and made chocolate chunk cookie bites -- piles of them. Samuel made sure to taste test every completed batch, so that we could be certain that everything was just right (lol).

We also planned and made supper for our family in between batches of goodies, so Samuel earned a step for his wolf this afternoon as well (: He was so proud!

What a super fun afternoon!
How thankful I am ♥

Monday, December 16, 2013

our littlest caroler

Last week when we finished getting our tree up and decorated, we all scrunched together onto the couch with all lights off --except for the tree-- to sing carols. Jamie plays his guitar and we sing requests from each one until we get tired or run out of carols ^_^ This is something that we have done every year since Meredith was little, and we all love it.

But this year, we sang one and then another and then as we began the third request, Ila began getting sad. She said, "But I don't know that one..." So we stopped and asked for another request. This time a little more loudly we heard, "But I DON'T KNOW that one!" Another try and we had extreme outside voice followed by tears. ):

Ila couldn't remember the words to most of the carols she learned last year.

I gently told her that she had learned them but because we don't sing them all through the year, she had forgotten. That did not help. I shared that Meredith and Samuel had both had the same experience around this age, and that we would all help her to learn them again. That didn't help either. Finally, we began singing again, having told Ila that she could sing what she knew and that she could listen and start to re-learn the ones that were forgotten. That was the last straw.

Our poor sweetling yelled and stomped and took off for her room. So we ended up with a consequence situation - how's that for a wonderful family Christmas memory?

Ila is the youngest, and she absolutely battles it. Being the eldest, I have only ever been an observer of the challenges that come with being a younger sibling. Samuel did not fret with it so, because he and Meredith have a greater span of years between their ages. But Ila is close enough in age to Samuel to really take it to heart. And it seems right now  (to her) that nearly every situation points to the fact that she is the youngest.

Will you pray with me for my littlest caroler? She has mellowed in her thinking about the songs enough that she is determined to be ready to go Christmas caroling this week. Carols can be heard nearly constantly while she is awake each day ^_^  Pray with me that she will understand that God has called her to be just the age she is -- that He chose her especially because He knew that Meredith and Samuel needed her to be their younger sister. No one else would do! She is His best for them - a gift.

Thanks, friends ♥

Saturday, December 14, 2013

a question

Meredith wrote me a letter tonight. I have told her repeatedly that I love conversation with her in any shape or form, and that it and will always be welcome and a joy. And she has taken those words to heart. Often these days I come upstairs to find a note on my bedside table - how I cherish them.

Tonight, she asked me a question: Mom, if you could ask God for anything, what would you ask Him for?

I began writing the answer before I even thought about it really. I would ask that He come soon and that my family and I could meet Him together. Simple, hopeful on one hand and selfish on the other, and I had no idea that this would be the first answer from my heart to that question.

Another thing I have been saying to my sweet girl for years and years is that the Father teaches me every day through her. The reflection of Him in her face, her heart, her life is beautiful. What a privilege to grow alongside such a one ♥

Friday, December 13, 2013

six little patches

When I work on something on the creative side, painting, drawing, writing, anything I would consider to be of art or of design... there has to be some room for the moment. Hmm... maybe wiggle room would be the best way to describe what I am trying to say? LoL!

I like to plan, to have some idea what I am setting out to do and what I hope to find in the end -- but the more specific details live and breathe as I work (or play).

So, today! Well today I was sewing. And that is not a gift of mine ^_^ A few years ago I made a stuffed cat for Ila -- and it is wonderful in her eyes (which makes it wonderful in mine), but truly it is a homely and very modest attempt at best.

Today, I spent more hours (h.o.u.r.s.) than I care to acknowledge having spent attempting to stitch six little patches onto Samuel's brand new cub scout shirt. They have to be straight, you see. Each of them has to be in a specific spot on the shirt. The point on this diamond shaped patch has to be directly under the point of the left front pocket flap and so on. Yikes!

Well, they are on. In reality, I didn't have the thread colors I really needed, all of my finger tips on both hands are sore, and I am still not sure that any of them are quite straight!

But, oh! His face when I finished the last stitch. Those big blue eyes bright and that smile... he tried it on and was absolutely delighted. He cheered and danced a little, and then there was a big bear hug for mom along with a high-five that made my hand sting ^_^

Celebrating, so thankful - what a privilege ♥

Thursday, December 12, 2013

a wise old bird

A wise old owl lived in an oak.
The more he saw the less he spoke.
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can't we all be like that wise old bird?

A wonderful little bit of wisdom we are committing to memory today ♥

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

of moods & pluck

Working through my journals again today, and I found the most wonderful notes on "mood" written by Uncle Oswald (who is, of course, Oswald Chambers --and is not my uncle, but I do appreciate him and have adopted him and would like very much to hug his neck at times for the lovely challenges he presents). ^_^

Anyway... enjoy! ♥

"Moods never go by praying, moods go by kicking. A mood nearly always has its seat in the physical condition, not in the moral.

It is a continual effort not to listen to the moods which arise --never submit to them for a second!

We have to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves, and we will find that we can do what we said we could not. The curse with most of us is that we won't.

The Christian life is one of incarnate spiritual pluck."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


What are the sounds of Christmas to you - musically speaking? We have so many favorites! I am sure that you do, too. Gorgeous classics, pop fun, children's favs, lovely hymns & carols, instrumentals... there are just so many songs to enjoy this time of year (:

Here are just a few of the albums we bring out to enjoy around the house and in the car. We would love to hear from you about some of your must-have Christmas tunes as well!

"Christ is Come" Big Daddy Weave
"James Taylor at Christmas" JT
"The Gift Goes On" Sandi Patti
"Hallelujah He is Born" Sawyer Brown
"Come on Ring Those Bells" Evie
"Joy - An Irish Christmas" Keith & Kristyn Getty
"The Gift" Jim Brickman
"Joy to the World" Praise Baby Collections
"Yuletide Guitar" Mark Hanson
Handel's Messiah
and the Young Messiah, too (circa 1992 or so)
"A Very Veggie Christmas" Veggie Tales crew
"Noel" Josh Groban
"Wee Sing Christmas"

Sing praise! Rejoice! Christ is Come! ♥

Monday, December 9, 2013

for this day

Do you not know? 
Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth. 

He will not grow tired or weary, 
and his understanding no one can fathom.

 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. 

They will soar on wings like eagles; 
they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint. 

Isaiah 40:28-31

Grace for the day and the most glorious promise for every tomorrow ♥

Saturday, December 7, 2013

a Christmas meditation

• Suppose that Christ had not been born 
that far away Judean morn.

• Suppose that God, whose mighty hand created worlds,
had never planned a way for men to be redeemed.

• Suppose the wise men only dreamed that guiding star
whose light still glows down through the centuries.

• Suppose Christ never walked here in men’s sight,
our blessed Way, and Truth, and Light.

• Suppose He counted all the cost and never cared that we were lost,
and never died for you and me,
nor shed His blood on Calvary upon a shameful cross.

• Suppose that having died, He never rose,
and there was none with power to save our souls
from death beyond the grave!

• As far as those who do not know Him know,
these things that I’ve supposed are so.

~MS Nicholson

Thursday, December 5, 2013

all year long

My mind and my journal are positively swirling with Christmas memories today. I have been turning the pages of my mind, holding wonderful gifts close - with tears and such joy! It occurred to me just now as I sat down to write a few of my "favorites" down anew that I cannot seem to isolate them away from the every days.

The precious people I love have/had the gift of living Christmas every single day and all year long, for all the years of my life thus far. And so as I come to another blank page, I whisper and write thanks for a legacy that is grace. Happy Christmas! Oh, Happy Christmas... today and then tomorrow and the next day and the next ♥

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

of tree parties and story time

The sweetlings, Jamie, and I went to Dad's last Saturday to have a little tree decorating party. The children were extremely excited to be invited to help work on Poppy's tree, and it was a lovely, lively time. You should have seen them go! They can get a tree from plain to wonderful in no time (:

As we worked, my job was to unwrap the ornaments. That is my job for our tree decorating at home as well. And I love it! What a blessing to remember the stories behind each ornament and to share those memories. Dad and I had such fun remembering together!

I am looking forward to the time we will spend this coming weekend on our tree here. Telling the stories will be a joy -- and I will hold close the promise of future days, when my sweetlings will share the stories with their own little ones ♥

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

first badge

Oh my goodness, I wish you could have seen Samuel when he came in from cub scouts tonight! He was grinning from ear to ear and looked like he was about to pop ^_^ During the meeting, he earned his first badge! We are all so proud.

He was also delighted to share that he will be marching with the whole boy scout troop in one of our area parades in a couple of weeks. Celebrating here ♥

Monday, December 2, 2013

breathes and shines

It has been a wild and woolly day here. A good day, but there was enough "ack!" in there to make it a challenge. So tonight, I am humming and singing a favorite tune, trying to recover ^_^ Guess what I found tucked into a devotional written by Elisabeth Elliot? It seems she likes my heart-song, too.  Here, I will just share it with you - may it bless you ♥

"Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain."

(from the hymn "O, Worship the King")

"That's praise. By putting into words things on earth for which we thank Him, we are training ourselves to be ever more aware of such things as we live our lives. It is easy otherwise to be oblivious of the thousand evidences of his care. Have you thought of thanking God for light and air, because in them His care breathes and shines?"

Sunday, December 1, 2013

a book day - yay!

Oh, I am so excited about getting our Christmas books down from their "way high tippy top" shelf! We tuck them away each year just after the first of January and do not touch them until the first of December. We begin talking about them as autumn begins ^_^ and the anticipation builds for days and weeks. You could say we are a little bit bookish (lol).

In celebration of the day, we would like to share with you a few of our very favorites. Our Christmas book collection has grown to fill a complete shelf over the years --we try to add two or three each year if we can. There are just too many to list here at one time, but I will be adding many of them to our "what we are reading" tab over the next month.

Please do drop us a note and share your favorite Christmas-time reads, too ♥

A Little House Christmas by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Annika's Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis
Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas by Sharon Jaynes (a book of ideas)
Charlie and the Christmas Kitty by Ree Drummond
Christmas Gift! by Ferrol Sams
Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco
Dewey's Christmas by Vicki Myron & Bret Witter
Esther's Gift by Jan Karon
How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas by Jane Yolen
Lighthouse Christmas by Toni Buzzeo
Merry Christmas, Ollie! by Olivier Dunrea
Santa Mouse by Michael Brown
Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon
The Advent Jesse Tree by Dean Lambert (a wonderful devotional book)
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
The Christmas Visitor by Anneliese Lussert
The Mitford Snowmen by Jan Karon