Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Best Christmas Ever

We are having a best Christmastime ever, I think. Here's why. It has been nine years since our whole family is with us during Christmastime. Dru's are here to complete our circle this year.
Another difference is that through the miracle of nuclear medicine my personal world view is quite improved. Stale story. But still it counts. And my thoughtful spots are much more comfortable than they've been at Christmastime for a long, long time. I'm praising Him.
The work scene is much slower this year. Slower to the point of an almost complete stop. I have two weeks of no work at the store which provides day after day of home time. The quietness is cozy and restful.
I beat Elv at Scrabble the other Sunday afternoon. That's amazing, too. For all of my reading and interest in writing; I can not get as smart as Elv. I never will, I guess. I'm glad about this, to be honest. Can't imagine knowing more than the man in my life. That would be just awkward. He places the board between us so that it faces me right side up. He plays it upside down! And wins, every single time. Except this once! No, he won't let me turn it. "It messes me up." He says.

 Lisl keeps making these decadent cheese cakes and bringing them over to our house. We are going to become positively rolling fat soon. We savor these days of having her family pop in at any moment.  It sure beats the fuzzy images and sketchy voices we get to visit with over the net all the other Christmases they've been in Thailand. Perhaps this is one of the more important reasons that Christmas this year is nigh perfection.
    There are so many lovely things to anticipate. (Yes, another list, daughter Amy.)

~ Hot chocolate parties with grandchildren.
~ Read aloud times. Right now we're reading The Boxcar Children.
~Gossips over coffee, dishwashing, and food prep with the girls.
~ Endless Rook games for the guys.
~ Sledding parties. Maybe some skating. (Elv is all excited about clearing some lake ice for the grandchildren.)
~ Conversation: serious and low, loud and silly, everything between.

 Elv brought me this perfect, puzzle table and set it up in the library next to the fireplace. Thanks, my dear.

Friday, December 16, 2016

A White Christmas

Winter arrived full-fledged and frigidly cold ... before Christmas. We have snow and sub-zero temps at night.
This is perfect weather for catching a few snowflakes with a lens. I tried to cut a regular looking six-sided paper snowflake this morning. I have never known how to do this. All of mine to date have been eight sided. Do you have that trouble?
No doubt someone reading this knows how to fold the paper correctly or cut it just so or something.
Why are all snowflakes six-sided? Or are they? What is the math behind a snowflake? Every one that I can distinguish here is six-sided. Google says that due to the inter-molecular force of hydrogen bonding, all snowflakes are six-sided.  God uses the number six for snowflakes and "no two are alike", so says further lore. I'm good with enjoying their beauty on a day like today.
    On a day like today when the forecast is calling for a winter storm. We're supposed to get up to ten inches of snow followed directly by bitterly cold temperatures.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Scribbling in December

 December is commencing with the proper amount of Christmas events and plans. I love it. Decorating and cleaning and Cookie Day. I like this, too.
    Today one of the young moms from church texted me to get an opinion about an idea for decorating at the church. I am reminded of our earthly way of limited celebration compared to the lavish gift of His Son. Our attempts to celebrate are feeble and wanting no matter how beautiful the greenery and bright the candle. Yet we continue to try. I want to remind everyone in my world that at this house we celebrate.So we clean and decorate and bake.  And plan gatherings of family. We celebrate His birth, His life, His resurrection, and anticipate His Second Coming.
   We prepare for days ahead for family in-gatherings. Where will we seat everyone? Where will we sleep everyone? What food? What entertainments? What games?What gifts? What about getting a family portrait. This should remind us of the preparation that is going on for Jesus' Second Coming when the whole family of God gathers in at home in Heaven.  Jesus said that He would be preparing mansions for us. Then He will return to fetch us. Do the plans that you are making for your family gatherings remind you have that future reunion?

                               Cookie Day

~ We spend this one December day to do a once a year project TOGETHER. It's noisy and crowded and messy and fun.
~ The children get to help and sample. They get to play for hours inside and outside in new snow. Memories in the making.
~ Somehow at the end of the day everyone gets to take numerous plates of cookies home. It's amazing how many plates that are left here. I tried to explain to the family that evening what synergy is. Elv wasn't impressed with the idea of synergy; but he certainly is with so many Buck Eyes in the freezer!
~ Neighbors all over the community will get to enjoy some of our cookies, for at Christmastime, we share.
~ There will be cookies to send along for caroling cookie plates.
~ There will be cookies and coffee while we open the daily batch of Christmas greetings from loved ones.
~ There will be cookies left for the living room circle of game players during the evenings of family times.
~ At last toward the end of Christmas week, I'll gather up the fragments and hand them off to the children who love to "dunk". Not that they didn't "dunk" them the whole month long. But by the end of December dunking will be the only way to eat them ... dried and tasteless morsels.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Musings

A solitary drowsing by the fireside this Sunday afternoon makes for some retrospective thought. I have this moment to sort through the accumulated clutter of schedules, lists, problems, and busy-ness of this crazy life we live.  I am trying to settle on savoring the accomplishments.
    I need a long "think" about the fact that our two year stint of holding the torch at church while the troops regrouped is almost over. It is an unbelievably lovely feeling of lightness one minute and then a grasping for a hand hold so that I don't fall off the next. I suppose we don't really get to just lay our torch down and walk away. We belong here. Our way forward is here. There's still work to do. Our children are here to help and cheer. They've got irons in the fire: our grandchildren to "bring up", a ten-year-old children's ministry, missions to accomplish, and life to live serving the community for Jesus.  Irons in the fire that require our united watching and work.
    New subject. Winter solstice will soon be here and the days will begin to lengthen. I am so glad. At three thirty in the afternoon, dusk is already falling. Lamp lighting time. The new snow helps, though. Fields of snow under a starlit sky are light enough for walking without artificial light. The moon shining through the trees will cast shadows on such a night. I am longing for a snowshoeing trek, can you tell?
     It's December already. There are cookies to bake, carols to be sung, and gifts to be wrapped and exchanged. It's the month of new snow and wet mittens. Firewood ranks by the back door and by the stove. It's the month of hot chocolate and cold toes. Skating and skiing and sledding. Of manger scenes and cantatas. There's music and light shows on main street. Family gatherings, festivals, and feasting. Company parties and bonuses. Dates and dinners.

No wonder December is so special. It is the month that we celebrate the coming of the Messiah, our Savior, the King of Kings who will come again soon. Hallelujah!

    And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.  Matthew 1:21

Friday, December 2, 2016

Patio Winter Decor

Amy and I made two winter patio boxes for fun today. We have neat little solar lights from the store which we enjoyed all summer  ranged among the impatiens just so. They flicker and glow in the evening till late at night. So we moved them into the boxes for some more joy.
This is an easy project with few rules. We left the soil intact in them and the two or three ivy plants that are still alive and kicking. We gathered up pine boughs, a few red briar stocks, left over lilac bloom heads, rose hips, and pine cones. To the tidy critic this is probably messy hodge-podge. To me, they're beautiful. This is one of those flower boxes made from weathered rotten wood that Brad made for us three years ago. The first winter we fixed them all up like this after a glorious geranium show all summer. Last winter all three boxes stood empty in the store room. This past spring we had to throw all but this one away. The wood had truly disappeared in strategic places so the jig was up. This one still works.


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