Month: January 2011

  • A Weekend Is For…


    … getting into big sister’s slippers

    weekend 18


    weekend 17

    … eating lots of popcorn

    weekend 7

    enjoying little girl profiles

    weekend 5


    weekend 8

    [this is called "The Big Cheese"]

    weekend 4

    weekend 2


    … breaking out the darling little popcorn boxes 
    [found at Michaels? A.C. Moore?]

    weekend 6

    weekend 3


    vacuuming several times in the course of the weekend,
    just to clear away the said popcorn that keeps reappearing

    weekend 1


    … Ben tearing around with the chainsaw,
    removing “junk trees” from the property border

    weekend 16

    … little girls playing hide-n-seek in the destroyed shubbery

    weekend 15

    playing outside in the 70* weather.
    Springtime, have you arrived several months early?

    weekend 16

    … enjoying a fire, not because we need it,
    but just because Ben cut firewood again and we can!

    [it's been a cold month with no wood. now, on the day he cuts wood, it's 70*]

    autumn 8


    wondering what to do about my magnolia wreath, created only 2 weeks ago. Do people just use silk leaves for this kind of thing? These real one are curling and I fear soon to fall off. Hot glue isn’t always the magic ticket, sad to say.

    weekend 11

    weekend 9


    enjoying little bits of nature brought indoors
    mossy twigs and silver spray-painted pinecones.
    Christmasy? No, it’s wintery.

    weekend 10

    little girls that play “Mary and Joseph.” Oh, and Baby Jesus. Can’t forget him. And please DO call all children by their new names, they are no longer Olivia and Zoe’.

    weekend 20

     ["Jooo-THEPH!!" Mary says very sternly, when she, I mean he, isn't cooperating with the donkey caravan "to Bethlehem" [quote] here. But all contention must have been resolved because later Mary was lying on the couch, gently crooning, “Oh, Jotheph, Jothepth,” in rather alarming endearing tones. I think The Nativity Story was watched a bit too many times.]

    weekend 21


    little girls that love to play princess
    [there are wild imaginations around here, just a warning. there are role changes many times a day].
    And mommys that love to take Princess’s pictures spur-of-the-moment.
    And make heart-chains spur of the moment.

    weekend 19

    weekend 14 weekend 13 weekend 12


    re-reading A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken. One of the best books on love and marriage I’ve ever read. The oneness of spirit between the two of them is incredibly inspiring…

    A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken (1992, Paperback,...

    And that concludes a lovely, stay-at-home-all-but-Sunday-morning weekend.

    Here’s to wishing for many more just that that one! :)




  • My New Toy.


    Perhaps this is a justification post.

    Trying to justify a new purchase.

    I have this fetish for several things:

    1. Things that hang from the ceiling [i.e. tissue paper balls, bird cages, oversized keys, etc. etc. ]
    2. Old things. Vintagey old things.
    3. Other things I shall not mention at the moment.

    But this New Toy I’m talking about falls under the Number 2 category. Old, vintage.

    I walked into an junk store this morning, looking for some old dishes, some treasure to pick up.

    I walked around the corner and almost gasped out loud. Because this is what I saw:


    An ancient typewriter.

    Now, to some people, this is ridiculous looking.
    To me, this is beauty in ancient form.

    They also had this ancient movie reel there, which I looked up online after I got home… Ebay sells it for $300.

    [photo courtesy of the world wide web]

    I couldn’t find a price, so I lugged this 40-pounder typewriter [no joke] up to the counter, much to the chagrin of the clerk, who thought such heavy [valuable] things should be left where they were unless a purchase was in the very near future. “It’s an antique!”  she told me repeatedly, in a very meaningful tone of voice, as if she expected me to think I could buy a similar model at Walmart anyday. [Thank you, my good woman] She told me it had been there a long time, originally marked at $100, now reduced to under half price.

    To buy or not to buy? That was the question.

    Because, see, I had this old one sitting at home that someone had given me. Less than a month ago.


    Rusty as could be. It had been sitting outside for years, thus the leaves all stuck in the keys.

    My husband drastically raised his eyesbrows when I brought that thing home.
    “Going to try to save its life?” He asked me. Or something to that effect.
    I wanted to try. Especially since it was free. But I had [and still have] no idea how.

    So when I sighted this one in perfect, I mean, perfect condition, just a little dusty, I was enamored.
    No cleaning up, just buy a new tape and I could actually TYPE on it.
    Visions of me sitting at this old jewel plunking away came to mind.
    Also visions of there being no back-space key, and I wasn’t sure what I’d do with that. Learn to type more accurately, ahhh yes!

    To buy or not to buy?



    She bought.

    Typewriter 1

    [Never mind that it takes up all the space on the desk.
    Never mind that it's so huge.
    Never mind that I now have two...]

    Okay, okay, so I AM trying to justify this purchase!!!

    I was wondering how I was going to break it to Husband that I spent $$ on an ancient typewriter…
    I didn’t have to worry. Zoe did it for me. No tact involved.

    Within a minute of him walking in the door –  
    Zoe: Hey! Do you want to see what Mommy got?
    Ben: [looks at me puzzled] Hmm? Did Mommy buy something?
    Zoe: [excitedly, at least she pumped it up] Yeah! Wanna see it?
    Ben: Okay, sure, where is it?
    Zoe: On the desk! It’s to write with!
    Ben: very extremely puzzled now, especially with the very sheepish expression on my face
    Zoe: [again] Wanna go see it?

    In we all traipse. Me following behind like a little puppy, to see Husband’s reaction on The New Toy.

    Ben: [surprised expression, jokes] Wow! That old typewriter sure cleaned up good!
    Zoe: No, no, it’s a DIFFERENT one!
       [whispers in his ear for added effect] 
       We bought it at a STORE!
    Ben: Oooooh! [looks at me] Was it expensive?
    Zoe: [answering for me, but really not having a clue] YES!! Yes it was!
    Ben: Oooooooh!
    Me: [jumping in to try to redeem the situation and chattering non-stop] I did pay $40 for it, but I looked it up online after I got home and because it’s in such good condition typewriters like this sell for $100-$500 [even though selling really is NOT what I have in mind for my Toy], and the old guy working there said it actually works – all I have to do is buy new tape for it – and I can actually TYPE on it [demonstrates the working non-sticking keys] and it’s in such GOOD condition [please see all the good points about this, please], just a little dusty, that’s all, and that old junk shop got it because an antique collector died and his son donated a lot of stuff to that shop, and OH, they had an OOOOLLLD movie reel there – IT ACTUALLY WORKS [!!] – that they were selling for $30, only I didn’t buy that because I wanted to ask you first [yes, $40 is somewhat justifiable to spend impulsively, but $70 for the two of them, no, so please know I was indeed thinking of you, dear husband], but I looked those up online and they sell for THREE hundred, exactly like the one I saw there!!……

    He was watching me ramble, very amused I could tell.

    BUT, my husband also loves old and antique and vintage…

    And at this very moment, HE is back at the junk shop.

    Just what New Toy do you think HE is buying?? :)





  • Dreaming of White…


    The term “drafty old house” has taken on quite new meaning in the past few months. Houses in the south weren’t designed for cold. When we bought this house there was not one speck of insulation in the whole 1,500 square feet of it. Not one speck. We insulated all the outside walls and a few of the inside if we were working on/tearing out anyway, but the floor, which is wooden with a crawl-space under the house, has nothing. Nada.

    Which makes for very cold floors. VERY cold floors. Icy cold floors, when the weather outside is in the 30′s and lower, especially.  Which is why I wear socks AND slippers at all moments of every day, except in the shower. That’s understated, but just had to clarify. And try to convince all other occupants of the house that it’s in their best interest to wear slippers and socks as well. But despite her frigid little slipperless toes, Zoe somehow loves to go barefooted… until a violent shiver convinces her to do what I could not.

    But that is why, at the moment, I’m drinking a steaming cup of London Fog Tea. I was just introduced to it by my sister Ervina, and I was smitten immediately. You’d have to like black tea to enjoy it, which I do. I like my hot coffee in the morning, then tea in the afternoon, and sometimes tea in the evening as well. We do what we can to stay warm around here, even if the thermometer doesn’t go about 67 degrees. We Husband likes to be economical like that.


    But ah, London Fog Tea. Here’s the recipe, given by Ervina:
    1 Earl Grey tea bag, brewed in hot boiling water. 
    1 teaspoon raw sugar
    a bit of milk
    a few drops of vanilla extract

    Let steep for several minutes, and enjoy!


    Despite the cold weather, and as chilly as our fingertips stay
    (I really am not exaggerating with the interior weather of the cottage!),
    we are dreaming of snow.
    Dreaming is all we’ll ever do here, I’m afraid.
    Snow is as uncommon as the ocean is to a land-locked state.
    There are occassional flurries, which one almost needs a microscope to be able to see,
    but which the town will delightedly chatter about for weeks afterward.

    But almost every day, I kid you not,
    almost every day for the past, oh, at least month,
    Zoe’ will come to me and say,
    Mom, we should look at SNOW pictures!” 

    And so we do.

    I adore snow.
    Zoe’, with all the 3 times she’s ever seen snow, also adores snow.

    And since we don’t have snow of our own,
    we look at pictures of when we experienced snow.
    The two of us, a year ago…

    … A dear friend, Linda, and I were traveling up north before Christmas, gaining an extra week with our families before our husbands could get there. We were caught right in the middle of the Snowstorm of ’09  in the northeast. A trip that should have taken us 12 hours ended up taking us 22 hours. And we had 3 children, 2 and under. It was a long trip. It was a fun trip. :)

    This was Interstate 95, right around Washington D.C. The roads were terrible. Looking back, I can’t believe we made it okay. We drove at about 30mph or less for most of the trip, which made it seem to take forever to get anywhere! But the snow was absolutely gorgeous, especially to our snow-deprived eyes! Our husbands kidded us that the snowstorm was all our fault, because we had been hoping so desperately for snow when we went up north! We sure got it!

    All 18 inches of glorious white.

    Christmas 2009 018

    We arrived safely at our destination,
    with  many prayers of our husbands, families, as well as our own,
    after 22 hours.
    What memories were made!!

    We woke up the next morning,
    safe in a warm, cozy house
    to this:

    Christmas 2009 021

    It was a winter wonderland. And we were snowed in.
    I had only dreamt about things like that after moving away from the north several years ago,
    and here was the north at its finest. Zoe’ was enraptured, as was I.

    It was MAGICAL!

    Seriously, get me in some snow and I feel like a little kid.
    It takes 10 years off my face, if not more, and I start acting much younger than that! :)
    I think I need a little more of that kind of therapy to rid me of these
    much unwanted grey hairs I’m beginning to find upon my head!!

    As soon as we could get ready, Zoe and I
    [and a sweet photographer sister of mine,
    willing to brave the cold to capture us southern folk in snow]
    bundled up and stepped out into the wonderland.
    My heart races just remembering how fun this was, and it was over a year ago! :)

    Christmas 2009 073

    She didn’t know what to think at first, not even being able to walk!
    Poor child had no snow suit or boots – we were so not prepared.

    Christmas 2009 060

    By my parents’ barn, where I spent many an hour grooming my horse
    [that I had literally saved every penny for]
    when I was a teen…

    Christmas 2009 080

    Out into the open field!
    Thankfully I have a sister the same size as me, and I could borrow her snow clothes and look all in style. :)

    Christmas 2009 085

    Christmas 2009 090

    I walked around the neighborhood, taking pictures, breathing in the dry cold air, and couldn’t stop smiling. :)


    Christmas 2009 031

    I stopped to visit my grandmother, who lives two doors down, and found her house almost covered in snow drifts!


    Christmas 2009 039

    And a few more pictures of the Zoe-Girl and her mother… The snow was so bright, it almost blinded Zoe.


    Christmas 2009 092

    Christmas 2009 096

    Christmas 2009 102

    Christmas 2009 105

    Christmas 2009 107

    This week I was going out to run errands in town with the girls, getting everyone strapped in the car, and was just buckling in myself, when I heard a little voice in the backseat:

    “Mom? We should pray that we can live in a house where we’ll have lots of snow.”

    She had talked with her Papa and Nana that morning and heard that they had snow there through the night.
    we had looked at Snow Pictures that morning.

    What’s a parent to do with a request like that?
    We can’t just move a thousand miles north that easily,
    just to have a little snow.

    But I want my children to learn to talk with God about the things that matter to them,
    even if they’re somewhat impossible things

    So we stopped, and I held little hands [Olivia wanted to be included in the prayer too]
    and we prayed that maybe someday we could live in a house where we’ll have lots of snow…

    Christmas 2009 109

    Christmas 2009 111

    A daylater when Ben came home I told him that there had been 5 inches of snow where my parents lived! I was being very melodramatic, him knowing I was fully in jest and fully in earnest :) and ended with
    “I wish we could have snow too!”

    Zoe was watching and piped in very seriously and emphatically:
    “Mom, don’t cry! [that was part of my melodrama in jest]
    Remember we’re going to live in a house
    by Papa and Nana
    [that part was added by her, we didn't pray that]
    and we’ll have LOTS OF SNOW!
    Remember? So don’t cry!”

    I burst out laughing.
    And also felt a bit, okay, a LOT unsure of how to respond to her!
    In her little mind, this is real!
    We prayed, it’s going to happen!
    So she thinks.
    And believes.

    Maybe she knows something we don’t.
    Maybe not.
    Maybe we’ll just have snow when we head up north this weekend
    and that’ll satisfy her snow-hunger.
    Maybe she’ll have to learn to trust God
    even when it’s not what she prayed for.

    But that’s been our precious little interchange this week!

    Christmas 2009 113


    Christmas 2009 115

    Christmas 2009 116

    Ahh, such lovely memories a little snow can make! We both love to go back and look at these pictures. And we smile. And smile. And smile…

    One of my favorite snow memories of all time is a HUGE snowstorm we had when I was a kid growing up. I can’t remember my exact age, I’m thinking around 10-12 maybe? But we had 3 feet of snow at one time. It was incredble! We were snowed in for 2-3 days before any plows came by our road [we were usually one of the last roads in the county to get plowed]. I was always sooooo excited when we got snowed in, because we’d drink hot chocolate by the gallons, play games, read lots of books, and just have so much fun together as a family!

    On this particular time, after a day or so, my sister Jana and I decided we had had enough of being inside. We were going to go walking. We were such little squirts, I don’t know what we were thinking, but we bundled up in all our fluffy glory, looking twice our size in width, and out into the snow we went. It was a glorious wonderful wonderland! Glorious!

    We headed down the unplowed road, since we at least knew we wouldn’t stumble over corn stalks like we would in the fields. But 3 feet of snow for an 8 and 10 year old to walk through was hard. We walked a half mile down to some huge drifts which were much higher than 3 feet, where we made tunnels in the snow and huge caves.

    And then suddenly we were tired. REALLY tired. And cold. We had bundled well, but we had walked farther than we expected to and there was a cold wind blowing. We sank into one of our caverns for a while, and finally decided we needed to get back home and have some hot chocolate before we froze to death. You know the cold where you can hardly talk because your lips are almost frozen? It feels really wierd. And looks even wierder. But that’s coooooooooold.

    We headed back the 1/2 mile to our house, and I remember wondering how in the world we were going to make it. Every step took so much energy, and we didn’t have energy anymore. The snow came almost to our waists (the wind had blown some of it in drifts so it wasn’t all 3 feet everywhere) and it took such effort to walk even a few feet.

    I, being the big sister, knew my little sis was extrememly tired, and so didn’t let on how tired I actually was too. I tried to encourage her, and we kept on trudging.
    Breathing hard.
    Stopping to rest and flop down on the drifts.

    We had been gone several hours, and f.i.n.a.l.l.y made it back home. We were wiped out. So completely tired and exhausted.

    But we did it! We kept on walking and we made it home. Safely. No emergency rescue needed.

    And looking back, that is one of my all-time favorite snow memories!

    Christmas 2009 198

    [three out of four sisters]

    Christmas 2009 202

    So now I want to hear from YOU!
    your favorite snow memory?

    [you don't need a xanga site to comment]

    I’d love to hear!

    I’m out for the weekend, and when I get back I hope to have
    snow stories to read. :)



  • A Christmas to Remember.


    It’s a beautiful sun-shiney day in the south. Warm and balmy. Perfect for a walk or a run. At least it appears that way. So far my motivation has stayed indoors today. :)

    Well, it’s been an eventful past week and a half. When I last posted, saying it was a “relaxing and quiet week” I had no idea what lay before me!

    Christmas is my VERY favorite season of the entire year. I say “season” because the entire month of December is included in that. It’s a feeling the whole month long. The Christmas music [my new favorite this year was Bing Crosby. :) Something about that old crooning made me smile every time!]. The “Merry Christmas!” wishes everywhere we go. The festive decorations. The remembering the miracle of the Incarnation.

    [Olivia being caught after sneaking off with the gingerbread house.]

    A Christmas to Remember 12

    We watched The Nativity as a little family, thankfully being warned beforehand that there are a few scenes which are best to be fast-forwarded for a very young and innocent audience. Those scenes would include the soldiers taking the babies [mildly put] and the birth scenes of Baby John (the Baptist) and Baby Moses [almost mildly put].

    Zoe was absolutely enamored. She was absolutely spellbound, soaking it all in. It was so precious. She could not stop talking about it! Taking too much in, really, because afterward she asked, “Why wasth Mary thcreamin’ when Jostheph wath pullin’ the baby out?” My answer, “Well, uuuuuuuuuuhhh, because it hurts to have a baby, honey child!!” [was that answer enough?!]

    When I went into the girls’  bedroom later that night to say goodnight, Zoe’ said, “I want to be Mary.” And when asked why, she said, “Becausth I want a little baby.” “When you get bigger and are married, then maybe God will give you a baby,” I replied.

    “And then daddy [her assumed husband of the future is always Ben] can hold the sthringsth on the donkey, and I can thit on it, and he can take usth to the plathe where the theeps and the cowth and the animalth are. And then our baby will be BORN!! And it will be Baby JETHUTH!!” [the ending said with great excitement].

    I couldn’t help but laugh aloud at her, so innocent and sweet and funny. But then after she was asleep I went back in and kissed her cheeks, and looked at her and cried. She is so innocent, so pure.

    A role model of Mary. Not Barbie. Not some silly little cartoon character. Just precious…

    I was thanking God that night for the privilege of being a parent.

    A Christmas to Remember 9

    A few days later I was thinking the parenting thing is slightly over-rated, as I sat at home on Christmas Eve, stroking fevered brows, reading stories to two little girls who were down-and-out SICK. It had started Wednesday evening, and I had hoped it would be a 24-hour sickness that runs its course quickly and be done with. Not so.

    I will say, I actually rather enjoy taking care of my children when they’re sick. The mercy and servant side of me [which remains dormant most of the time] comes flowing out of my pores in circumstances like these, and I love to do anything I can to help them feel better. I found myself constantly saying, “Oh, I just feel so sorry for them!!”

    Perhaps it’s partly my fond childhood memories of being “babied” by my mom when I was sick, even when I wasn’t a baby anymore. There is just something so good about knowing someone feels so sorry for you in times like those!

    But when Christmas Eve Day came around and I realized that they were not going to be better by Christmas,  I was an emotional wreck. Ben’s family was all in the area for the whole weekend, and I realized sick children meant no getting out and seeing anybody. No dinners, no parties, no extended family, no Christmas??

    [anyone else's kitchen ever look disatrous??]

    A Christmas to Remember 11

    God and I had a lot of “time-outs” on Friday. I couldn’t believe this was what my Christmas was going to be like, and had a really difficult time accepting the hard reality. Christmas is my favorite time of the year, and it was just going to be… nothing this year??  I thought about calling this post “Tears on Christmas Eve” but thought that’d be too morbid. :) That, however, is an accurate picture.

    I finally made it to the shower around 1pm, and just cried. Cried out of disappointment. Cried because of how this Christmas was not what I expected or desired. Cried for strength to be a gentle mother to my children. And cried for strength to be a good wife to Ben despite my many emotions… Praying for it to somehow still be a special Christmas, to still find Jesus in it.

    Christmas Eve night Zoe was not only sick, but feeling worse. We were concerned she had strep throat, and were contemplating an emergency room run. Zoe had been a patient little girl until that evening, and despite the sore throat, almost complete voice loss, and fever, had been holding up well. But that night she lay in her bed and just sobbed, or I should say squeaked - as much as a voice-less little girl could squeak out. It was awful.

    Up to that point I had been fairly strong outwardly [the shower tears didn't count!]. A few inward crumbles, but still holding together. But those painful little squeaks just set me over the edge. I just lay there beside her and cried along with her. So much for being a strong, comforting parent. I would have done anything to be sick in her place. There are few things worse than seeing your child in pain and not being able to do anything about it.

    We did not take her to the hospital, but instead gave her some painkillers and other CVS remedies that Ben’s sister brought over late at night [BLESS you, Sonya!] to try to ease her misery. We fell into bed exhausted around midnight.  The rest of the weekend seems like a blur – a cycle of holding, comforting, caring for, reading to [until I was almost hoarse], sleeping in their room at night with the girls [which meant the worst week of sleep of my entire life].

    [we look like a pharmacy around here]

    A Christmas to Remember 5

    Christmas Day dawned clear and bright. And warm. Almost air-conditioner weather, but we built a fire in the fireplace anyway, just for atmosphere’s sake. :)

    We exchanged our gifts as a little family in the morning, which brought smiles from the girls for the first time in over two days. We went very simple with gifts for the girls - gave them both a doll and some little German-made animals, which they absolutely LOVED. You’d have thought we spend our life’s fortune, so happy were they. :) I splurged on Ben completely, and bought him an ipod touch. I had been saving money from My Faire Lady, a few little photo things, and piano money, and he was thrilled to pieces. He’s been wanting one, but ever-frugal husband that he is, didn’t want to spend the money.

    A Christmas to Remember 7

    A Christmas to Remember 8

    [sick children mean extra privileges, i.e. pacifiers even when it's not bedtime]

    A Christmas to Remember 4

    Ben spent the afternoon with his family on Christmas Day since all of his family was together, a rare event. I stayed home with the children, and they both took LONG naps which was so refreshing for me. I was able to spend a few hours reading a book of my own calibar, and this quote struck me so powerfully:

    “The future greatness of our race depends upon
    those noble women who are able to pass on to
    their sons and daughters a life which is true,
    and brave, and worthy;
    a life whose foundation is self-sacrifice,
    whose cornerstone is loyalty,
    and from whose summit waves the banner
    of unsullied love of hearth and home.”
    [Florence Barclay]

    A Christmas to Remember 2

    Ben returned home early in the evening and we spent the rest of the evening together – reading more books to Zoe, watching Tom & Jerry on youtube… much to Ben’s delight. :) Hey, on a sick Christmas Day, you’ve got to do something to brighten the moods!! :) Christmas Day was actually a better day for me than the one before – I had enough time to mentally prepare to just be at home that I was okay. Not so many tears that day. :)

    My mom is so good for me in times like these. She listens to me over the phone, and I feel her sympathy, yet I always know a particular question is coming, to not let me stay in the dumps: “Well, think of what you DO have – what would be worse than this?” I thought initially that there is not much worse than sick children on Christmas Day [!!], but really, there ARE much worse things.

    I could have a child with a chronic illness on that day, I could have a child no longer living that day… Yes, I had sick children that day. But I had children. Children whom I dearly love. Children who ARE going to get well one day. I have full arms. I really am blessed. Even if it was the saddest Christmas I’ve ever had.

    Well, it didn’t end there. Ben got sick on Sunday, and spent most of the day in bed. Olivia was feeling much better by that point, so I took care of her while Zoe slept the day away with Ben. By Monday Zoe still wasn’t much better, so Ben took her to the doctor. No strep, like we thought it surely must be, but the doctor thought it was probably mouth sores down her throat, which just need to run their course…

    [a bit of the outdoors brought inside]

    A Christmas to Remember 6

    Later that week the girls were both feeling better, but somehow when kids are getting better, but not all the way better, they get g.r.u.m.p.y. Or maybe it’s just my kids?? As in, ridiculously grumpy, where we had battles over the silliest things. Not carrying Zoe from Point A to Point B, about 15 feet, [she is three and a half years old] resulted in a tantrum. I’ve never known her to throw a tantrum all her three point five years, but she threw one that day. We had a little session in the “woodshed” and she now thinks tantrums are definitely not worth the effort.

    [When "the sick" become "the grumpy", I will admit my mercy and servanthood and all those other warm and kind emotions that flowed out of the pores before suddenly cease. Clogged pores somewhere. Bad attitudes don't stand well with me. If you're sick, be sick and I'll nurse you and care for you and deal tenderly with you. But don't be sick AND grumpy. All baby treatment ends at that point.]

    But one day I called Ben in tears and asked if he could please come home for lunch? I was emotionally and physically exhausted from hardly sleeping at night due to sick girls, and was just wore out. We were still having ridiculous battles, and I felt like I wasn’t able to hold up anymore. He was working locally, something very rare, and I needed him desperately. He was a lifesaver. He stepped through the back door. I tried to be brave for 5 seconds, then fell into his arms, sobbing, “It’s SUCH HARD WORK being a mom!!!!!!”

    My whole Christianity seems to be tested these days. How two small children can make me feel and act so selfishly is scary. No, not make. No one can make me act a certain way. Just bring out what is really inside. There is still so much work that Christ needs to do within me. SO much.

    I thought of the quote by Amy Carmichael:

    The cup that is brimful of sweetness will not spill a single drop of bitter,
    no matter how suddenly jarred.”

     How I long to be like that sweet cup. But I know there has been a lot of “bitter water” that has been jarred out of me over the past two weeks.

    A Christmas to Remember 10

    A week later, the sores are mostly better for Zoe, Ben and Olivia are both recovered from their sickness as well, but all three of them have begun a really bad cough… So we’ve pretty much been cottage-bound for the past 2 weeks, with the exception of two outings over New Years’ weekend, and an amazing delightful gourmet meal prepared by my sweet friend Linda… Olivia has begun to BEG to go “bye-bye”, almost to the point of tears. We are all ready to be done with all sickness… and ready to get out and see people again!

    So, Christmas of Twenty-Ten, a Christmas to Remember [and hopefully never to be repeated] is now history. Interesting, though, how I feel as though God prepared me for a different kind of Christmas. Sometime in December the thought came to me that this Christmas is not about me. I don’t think I’ve idolized Christmas before, but it’s always been my favorite time of year. And this year? It just felt different from the start.

    “It’s not about me…”

    Little did I realize how true that would be. Because this year instead of receiving much of anything, it’s been about pouring myself out of for my little family. Somehow, that is the place God had for me this Christmas – in our little cottage, holding and loving sick children and husband, and reading Bible stories to Zoe for hours upon hours. Truly, she should be literate in the history of the entire Bible because of how much she was read to!

    Part of me is sad about “missing” Christmas, because to us it feels like it hasn’t happened yet. And I hear about snow up north, and I would love to be somewhere like that. But perhaps this Christmas was CHRIST lived out in our little family like I’ve never had to do before? Or Christ teaching me that CHRISTmas is about giving to others, even if it’s in ways that I would rather not do?

    A Christmas to Remember 3

    I had been thinking I would really enjoy having a particular older man over to our house, one that I doubt has 5 people in his life that he could say are his friends. And give him a Christmas. Show him love and friendship. Or have a family over from church that doesn’t have other family in the area. That was my kind of sharing-love-on-Christmas idea.

    But God’s idea was different. And I admit, I didn’t like it. I wanted to be the strong, brave mother and wife who beamed all Christmas long despite the change of plans. Instead I felt like the weakest of all women, who desperately needed [and needs] God and my husband, who cried because I needed strength and grace, who sometimes lost patience with the grumpy children, who gets irritated by the constant coughing around here…

    Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever learn. Ever learn the lessons God is wanting to teach me. Ever learn to just REST in His Sovereignty, even when His Sovereignty looks so different from what I was expecting.

    [a lovely arrangement made by my friend Bethany, given for my birthday]

    A Christmas to Remember 1

    I might not have passed the Test of Christmas, Twenty-Ten, with flying colors, but I did come through it hanging onto Jesus with everything I am.

    I might not pass the Tests of Twenty-Eleven with flying colors either. 

    But I want to walk through this year holding on to God with everything I am.
    Just God.
    Not expecting a lot of grand, huge things.

    But wanting GOD.

    That’s my heart for this new year…