Monday, December 31, 2007

Goal Accomplished!

Well, I did it!

Today I will finish the One Year Bible, a goal I set for 2007. I've tried other "read the Bible in a year" plans, and always fall off the wagon about two months into the project. I loved this way, because every day's readings had the Date in front of them.

Of course, reading the Bible this way does not accomplish any detailed study of any passages, but it did do two things: it made plain the Continuity of the scriptures, and, I *noticed* every one of the very familiar, comforting scripture verses we all know and love, "in context."

Today's readings include the second half of Malachi, the last chapter of Revelation, Psalms 150, and the very end of Proverbs 31. With this Bible, you actually go through the Psalms in their entirety twice.

For many, many years, I have read five Psalms and one chapter of Proverbs a day, finishing those books twelve times in a year. I have also read through the New Testament several times, reading a little at a time at bedtime, like a novel. Like many people (probably), the Old Testament was more neglected.

I haven't decided what to study in this next year, but it feels good to have met One of my goals for 2007!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Twenty-five Years Ago

Twenty-five years ago today, I had five children, the youngest one just one-year-and-twelve-days old. I did not know I was pregnant again, but found out when I miscarried late in the morning. Charming was with a friend, but out of reach by phone (oh, those days before cell phones--this would not be a problem today!).

I called a neighbor-church friend, who was not home, but whose husband was. He took me to the doctor's office, and stayed in the car with my five and his baby, while I was being tended to. My doctor told me I had been eight weeks along. I wondered how *that* could have happened without my knowing, as I was always uber-sick. He told me that at the point where the embryo divides into baby/placenta, the baby died, and the placenta grew until my body rejected it.

Oh, how Psalm 139 became real to me on that day:

" 15My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my days were written...when as yet there were none of them."

Whatever His reasons, my baby fulfilled [his] purpose, living the entire life-span God had ordained. I did not even know of [his] existence, but it gave God joy to know [him]. And...I get to meet him (or her) one day!

One final benefit--my son MacGuyver was born nine months and sixteen days later, and I know that I could not have had him, had my littlest one survived. God, in His wisdom, however, has made it possible for me to have them both!

If you have experienced a loss, please be encouraged that God was not taken by surprise. Your little one is Safe. And you, too, can look forward to the Someday when you are reunited!

"17How precious are Thy thoughts unto me. O God! how great is the sum of them!"

A Little Christmas Wrap-up

Three days post-Christmas. I think I'm still recovering from the Big Family Thing. It seems to be a four-day event in our family. Saturday=Cookies. Sunday=Movie Marathon at Forget-me-not's. Monday=Family Gift Exchange. Tuesday=gifts in the morning, visiting later. Time for a yummy nap in the afternoon. Simple supper.

Violet took Blackeyed Susan home with her on Wednesday, for four days. Alvin Fernald spent the day with his bud on the next street. Charming went to work, and I just played.

I got from Charming. It is a companion to the father/daughter sculpture he received for Father's Day. It reminds me of Alvin Fernald, but also of my four other men-who-used-to-be-little-boys.

This is the mug I received from Violet. As she says, "it is from your alma mater, AND it has your name on it!"
I went to Saint Mary's (the women's college "across the street" from Notre Dame). I met Charming over at ND just after Thanksgiving, freshman year. We always talk about how our children wouldn't be here "except for Notre Dame." Love the football thing with a passion. Have had lots of sweatshirts, coffee mugs, posters, etc. of The School. But, for some reason, in the thirty-four years since that freshman year, I haven't had anything SMC. This little thing brought tears to my eyes. And I have used it every cup-of-coffee since.

I have a friend who is moving this week, that offered to sell her three-year-old washer and dryer for $100. Johnny Tremain and Rocky Balboa fetched it for me, and put it down in the basement here. Later, my friend called and left a message for me: thank you for being a great friend, and... I tore up your check!

Wow. Do I have a great life or what?

Blessed Christmas. Blessed Father who gave the "unspeakable gift." Father, help me to live the life You desire in the coming year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Apron Project (with Refreshments!)

I did a Secret Apron Project for my girls and my grands for Christmas. I planned the Great Unveiling for Cookie Baking Day on the 23rd. Here are some pix (you can click on them for more detail):

The first one was for ME, a cute scenic print. I did a binding of green/white dots. Blackeyed Susan is modeling it for me (as she did for all the adult aprons):
I did Kittens in Santa Mittens for Forget-me-not. It has a fabulous red-and-white stripe for ruffle and waistband. The red fabric on the pockets was leftover from a Christmas dress I made for her when she was six years old:
This one is for MacGuyver's girlfriend, Tiny Dancer. It was a cool Gifts fabric, and I put it with red/ white polka dot. Since the gifts had silver sparkly accents, I used some Silver rick-rack I've had for years:
Now, Lily is my Snowflake Lover. Hers is snowflakes, trimmed with a great Snowmen Sledding print:
Violet's is a traditional print of candy canes and ribbons. I used the red-and-white stripe again :
Blackeyed Susan wanted a full apron, and since she was the only one in on the secret, she got to pick what she wanted. The apron has a "ho ho ho" print on the skirt. The bodice and pockets are a snowmen print that I had made a doll dress out of a few years ago. The candy-cane stripe here is red/green/white:
I also made smock aprons for the grandkids. Here Junior Asparagus models his snowman apron while showing off a custom cookie:
Laura Carrot's apron had a Toy theme. She really got into the flour-on-the-nose thing last year, and thinks it's part of the process of making cookies:
Sweet Pea's fabric featured Candy:
Grandma, Lily, and Laura decided that Red Lipstick was the order of the day:
Here are Junior and Laura, with Auntie Violet, the Grande Dame of cookie expertise:
Laura knows that a cook must "taste test" before putting her wares out for public consumption:

It was a great morning! Forget-me-not and Blueberry could not be with us, due to a Christmas Doin's on Rocky Balboa's side of the family. Blueberry's smock was made of a Christmas Train fabric, but I didn't get a photo.
Tomorrow I'll do the Christmas wrap-up!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Slow Snow Day

I'm not even venturing outside to take a photo of our beautiful snow. (well, I might later...)
Public schools are closed, and we are just home from a weekend in Michigan for a family Christmas gathering. It's 9:30 am, and I feel like a sLow sNow day.

Blackeyed Susan and Alvin Fernald are still in bed. When they get up, I think I'll tell them that the only chores they have today are to free Charming's car (he took mine to work) and do dishes (we were REALLY lazy after returning home yesterday afternoon...). Maybe we can watch a Christmas movie or two. Maybe throw in a load or two of laundry. An easy supper of beef-and-noodles.

I've been trying to Slow Down this holiday. Maybe, just maybe, the Lord sent a snow day so we can get quiet, stay home, and just enjoy ourselves...

Maybe. But I sure am glad there are still a few days before Christmas to get-all-of-that-other-stuff-done. OR...maybe I'll learn a lesson today. All-that-other-stuff-doesn't-need-to-get-done. Maybe the world won't fall apart if it doesn't.

Is this my year to finally learn that? Gee, I hope so.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Reaching a Goal

As of 11 am today, MacGuyver has paid his school loans back IN FULL.

Congratulations, son, for a job well done!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Secret Revealed

"They were not a handsome family; they were not well-dressed; their shoes were far from being water-proof; their clothes were scanty; and Peter might have known, and probably did, the inside of a pawnbroker's. But they were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, and contented with the time; and when they faded, looked happier yet in the bright sprinklings of the Spirit's torch at parting, Scrooge had his eye upon them, and especially on Tiny Tim, until the last."

from A Christmas Carol, Scrooge and the Spirit of Christmas Present looking in at the Cratchit's Christmas.

Look at the words Grateful, Pleased with one another, and Contented.

Looks like they knew the Secret to a blessed Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Meme

I received this fun thing from my darling son-in-love, Rocky Balboa:

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends.

'Tis the Season to be NICE!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, definitely

2. Real tree or artificial? Real

3. When do you put up the tree & decorate? Every year it's different!

4. Favorite gift received as a child? Hmmm. Lots of favorites--maybe Easy Bake Oven

5. Do you like eggnog? Homemade, not the carton from the store

6. Do you like Hot Buttered Rum? never had it

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Three, I think

8. Hardest person to buy for? This changes every year!


10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I don't even understand this question?

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? The Homecoming (Waltons)

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? When I have the money in hand!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so

15. Favorite Christmas “Treat”? Russian teacakes

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored on the main tree, whites in the mantel garland

17. Favorite Christmas song? What Child is This? Really, so cool to sing a melody 100's of years old
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Always home for Christmas Day

19. Favorite Christmas “Family Tradition”? Family Christmas Eve

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? We've had both

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas morning

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year. Advertising

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Green/silver

24. Favorite full Christmas dinner? Never did full dinner growing up, so I don't know. Now I cook meat, potatoes, veggie, and of course, Cookies!

25. When do you take the tree/decorations down? First week of January


Friday, December 07, 2007

Babies in the Snow

We had a few inches of snow, so it was a great day for Lily to bring the children over for some Snow Time.
Here's Blackeyed Susan with Laura Carrot. Laura is smiling because she isn't bundled into her snow gear yet, and can still move enough to smile...
Alvin Fernald never needs a reason to goof off. Any of you with a 13-year old boy knows this:
The Big Guys, ready to go: Junior Asparagus, Laura Carrot, and our friend Jackson, over for the morning to share our fun:
The big Planning Session. The Yalta Summit was no more important:
Here is Sweet Pea. I would have showed her standing up, but she was unable due to her snow gear. Every time she tried, she fell over. I think she couldn't find her feet:
Junior has that snow-angel maneuver down pat:
jackson, Laura, and Junior ready for the run down the Big Hill:
As soon as it began, it was over. You can see the incline of the "hill" behind them:
Susan took Sweet Pea down The Big One:
The fun was Over for Sweet Pea as soon as her mittens fell off, and she actually felt the snow. She was Not Having Fun anymore, so Grandma took her inside.
I love how very little children can show us how simple Fun can be. Seeing it through their eyes is Magic.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A More Joyful Christmas

I wanted to share this great blog entry by my dear daughter-in-love, Lily:

My mother-in-law let me borrow this book she got from the library. Hundred Dollar Christmas: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas is what the title proclaimed. I'm thinking, can ANYONE accomplish this in the world of commercialism and materialism? Wow, a great thought, but not possible.

But, then it hit me.

That IS what we are doing this year. Not by choice, but due to financial circumstances. Being content in this has come slowly, as you look to the gift-giving idea of Christmas and think of all the people you are "letting down" due to your uninvolvement. How can Christmas be the same without showering everyone you know with fancy Christmas photos of your children, long-winded letters of the years happenings, and expensive gifts from the heart? Isn't THAT what Christmas is about?

Well, we all know better. No, it's not. But, isn't that what Christmas has become? Bill McKibben says in his book, "..the story of the birth of this small baby who would become our Savior, a story that should be full of giddy joy, [can] hardly break through to our hearts amid all the rush and fuss of the season." How sad! The TRUE meaning of Christmas is hidden behind filled stockings, under wrapped presents, and in print too small to read on our Christmas cards. And, we still keep telling ourselves we are celebrating Christ's birth. Are we?

McKibben talks about how 70% of Americans who make more than $30,000 year would give up a day's pay each week for a day off work. That 69% of Americans would like to "slow down and live a more relaxed life." He then says, "What that means to me is simple: time is in many ways our most valued commodity. If we could buy more of it from some store, the line outside its door would stretch to the horizon. Our strategy with Christmas, then, has gone slightly awry. We've gotten used to spending more money to make it special. But if money's no longer as valuable as time, we are offering each other a devalued currency." Wow, harsh!

So, in the spirit of celebrating the gift of a Savior from our Lord, we are giving each other our drained pocketbooks. Doesn't sound like it really fits "the reason for the season" to me. So, how do you really celebrate the birth of Christ when the world tells us to focus on the cards, decorations, and gifts?

I don't know. But, I'm learning. And I'm sure this year of circumstance will help me better understand. For us, we are celebrating by making hand-made gifts, shopping for thrift-store quirks that will make our siblings smile, and opening our home for family gatherings. You can't forget the meaning of Christmas as you sit with your family and knit a scarf, shop with your friend laughing among the fifty-cent isle, or playing games with the people you love most.

So, maybe this will be the year we change. Change for the better, not for the worse. Change for truth, not for the world. Maybe we can accomplish the Hundred Dollar Holiday, not just this year, but all the years following. Maybe if we keep having childen, this will never be accomplished again. *smile* But, this will be a year I remember. I am looking forward to a Christmas like one we have never had before. I'm looking forward to a Christmas spending ample time with my family and with my Savior. No hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping here. It's Nov 30th and I won't be at the stores again! I will thank my family for their love and thank my Savior for my family, and His everlasting love.

I hope all of you can find Christ amidst the holiday chaos, too.

I added some thoughts at my other blog , as well.