Monday, January 30, 2017

Winter Monday Post

 It's Monday evening. We have a few inches of new, powdery snow on the ground and more coming maybe. It's cold again. One of these days maybe the sun will come out on a white sparkling world and we'll be able to get some much needed happy.
   Blogging and writing have ground to a standstill due to a serious lack of courage. I mean, I hope that's all it is.
    When the sun comes out and stays in the sky longer than four o' clock in the afternoon I'm hoping to wake up and come out from under my rock.
   Abbey put a heat light on her terrarium a few days ago and within a few minutes her two painted turtles came out and stretched their little heads out as far as possible to get as close as possible to that light and basked. Soon they began to do what turtles do when they're happy, shoving for the highest spot. Yurtle stood on Turtle and got even closer to the heat lamp. Until Turtle tipped Yurtle into the water and then the race to the top of the tank and the light began all over again.

 The closest I can get to crawling out of my shell is to clean up the kitchen, create some pretty, and have a birthday party for two 30 year old girls in the family.
   Each time I write something or say something it feels embarrassing afterward. Bad case of me-ism going on here.
   But the party was nice, if I may say so.  We opened up the two electric train boxes after four years? (Wow, that was too long) And played trains on the carpet with the grandchildren. Cheering activity. The smoke stacks on both engines and one of the whistles still work.
    That was last week.
    Today, Monday, Amy and I decided to drop everything here at the stone house and go up to the cabin to rouse it for a change and visit our friends up there for a couple of days. We hurriedly swept floors and washed the dishes here and threw food into a cooler and clean sheets for beds and a few duds into our bags, loading it all into Amy's car.
   Phone calls and plans ticked right along until snow began to dump out of the grey skies. While sitting at the L&M parking lot waiting for our rendezvous with Elv who was bringing us the generator, our little plan began to get snowed under, literally.
   We gave it up. Went to the library for another installment of books and a movie and crept meekly home to spend the rest of the day safely content to hug the stonehouse hearth. Maybe next week, we'll try again. 

This Beloved Hearth During a Snow Storm!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Merry Christmas 2016

 This is my scrapbook page of our 2016 Christmas. It will be mostly just pictures: out of order, random captioning, plus gaps. So many things of which I have no pictures.
We had ten days of holiday doings with parts of the family. The men worked days. We played evenings. We had two days where we were all on hand. It was fun, relaxing, sometimes wild, and always a blessing of richness to our whole family. Here are the girls with our new Thai fabric skirts. I had this epiphany/idea of how to bring home a pretty, useful gift to each of the girls while pushing our way through that crazy fabric place at Market with Lisl back in Thailand. Satisfaction.
    Of course, I love this picture. We have such nice times. I love these women! They love Jesus and their families and their life work. They laugh and cry in the right places for the right reasons. They're completely human: both weak and strong and by turns. They struggle with wakeful babies and naughty toddlers and smart first graders and funny or ornery customers. They deeply love the children given into their care and spend their days in training and teaching and "savoring the moments with" them. They keep pretty homes and clean their dirty houses. Those married are loyal wives: loving and fussing by turns there, too, because that's life. Good job, girls!

 One of our young moms decided to put in a few candles/pretties at the church for over Christmas. Loveliness that we all got to enjoy. Another young lady provided the chalkboard art.
We at Grace Bible Church had some blessed worship times of singing this Christmas. I think we sang our hearts out this year of Christmas songs for three Sundays in a row.

 One set of singers I wish I had a picture of to show you was of Clark, Adam, Dru, and Gabe singing for us on New Years morning at church. "Yes Lord, Yes!"
    Ten years ago they sang this song with the same gusto and then found wives, jobs, had children, and worked their individual ministries.And now they know a little more what is was they were singing back then. They sang it again with dedication and a deepened earnestness. Godly men, pressing toward the mark. God has been so good to all of us.

 We had a bit of Christmas-ing here at the Stone House before the rest of the family came home.  Traditional gift wrapping, giving and receiving.
   Elv and I got a new log bed from where I work. And a new wood rack for the living room fireplace. And we all received most of what we'd had on our lists. We have few needs and fewer wishes, I guess. Happy times. 

 I think the snow play is probably some of the best memories for these children. Some of them came from Thailand where they never have snow, so playing in the snow was extra special for them.

 Clark's have a big, new room where a large family can meet to spend time visiting and playing games and eating. They had it ready for us in time as they hoped and it was perfect. We literally spend hours there.
Very nicely done, Clark's.
Another thing I noticed this year was that our oldest grandchildren are reading, playing table games and piecing puzzles along with the adults. Not babies anymore.

 Charlotte and Clark both have a knack for making a room cozy. So her little touches of pretty were lovely.

 There was room for coloring, and puzzle piecing, and board games, and children play all at once.
There were soft chairs for naps and baby rocking.
Clark had the stove "lit" for coziness.

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag.

 Lunch with my munchkins on a sewing day. I love parties with them. I read the Boxcar Children aloud to them this year.
   Children provide the wonder that makes any Christmas or family gathering complete. It's all new and miraculous and amazing to them. Actually, they are the happy miracle that keeps our lives normal and hopeful.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

This Year I Will

 Sunday morning dawned a new year. In church, our eldest grandchild chose to slip in and sit between Elv and I. The cold winter outside the rows of windows flanking our quiet, waiting congregation was a beautiful back drop for our small gathering of smiling hearts.
    Jube nudged me and looking up with his twinkling blue-eyed smile mouthed, "Rabbit, Marmee!"
   "You got me, Sunshine!" I elbowed him back.
    Loving this child and the rest of our family is my first and foremost New Year's resolution.
   I used to believe that once the children were grown, I'd have time and think space to reach beyond my family to minister. What a laugh! This year I'm going to dig in and just BE for them and our church family as they come and go in our lives. Perhaps if I should simply BE for them, they will do the reaching beyond, richer and more effectively anyway.
     To keep a tidier entry and a cleaner bathroom are also part of what I want to do better this year. This one, every year!

 To read that fat tome that Lisl despaired of touching for now. The one that is preparatory to GTO's six week orientation. It's a fascinating book and I am enjoying it despite the intimidation of size and small print and pictures only of the contributing authors. It makes me feel grown-up just for a few seconds to even want to read it. Maybe it's not a page-turner, action story, and it's not a chocolate-treat Jan Karon, but there are the thoughts and testimonies from folks who have made it their business to teach and share the gospel. And I want to know. (Someone tucked it out of sight over Christmas vacation and I can't find it just now. If any of you kids knows where it is, please, I want it back.)
   To read through the Bible. This is astounding to me. I have never done that deliberately and in one setting, I mean, in one year. Ok, I did it, all you guys hiding behind the curtains. I admitted it, so now you can all come out, too. It's really okay. I am 50 plus years old and this year will be my first...if I make it through, that is.
And I am hoping to continue to keep a pretty cottage where the doors are always open for those who need a coffee break or a place to rest.
   If we are out when you arrive, come in and put wood on the fire and wash the dishes. Find a snack, leave a note.
   If we are here, plan on joining in on our ordinary lives: chores, a meal, and the living room hash.
   This year the garden is going to get a new lease on some old hay and tender loving care. Vegetables and flowers.  I need to have one, huge, overshadowing, funny-looking, nutrient eating, old, oak tree removed.
   This year's projects and goals shall be kept to short weekend visits to out-of-state family. Not remodeling, not world traveling, we hope, although that was great for last year and God blessed us wonderfully.
   This year, let's play more at the cabin. Let's go canoeing on Saturday evening. Let's take the boys fishing. Let's have garden teas and Sunday afternoon walks.
   Most of all, let's keep hope.
Hebrews 6:18 ...that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 
Hebrews 7:19 ...for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 

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