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Archive for December, 2008

breakfast2

My children enjoyed their special breakfast…Pear Vanilla Pecan Pancakes with butter and real maple syraup, and Peppermint Tea with milk and sugar. I consider the event a great success, because the candles remained lit until the end of the meal.

What can’t you see in this picture? Elisabeth is right next to me, giving the floor a quick sweep so we can enjoy our breakfast in more pleasant surroundings, and Matthew is out and out screaming because he’s hungry…after all, how to explain to a tiny toddler that “special breakfasts” aren’t served until 9:15?

Was it worth it?

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Faith says “yes!!”

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Sabbath Reflections

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It has been quite awhile since I have written a “Sabbath Reflections” post…it feels almost like coming home, a comfortable feeling…what I know best. You see, as much as I have enjoyed putting together posts about entertaining, I have to laugh as I review all my ramblings about cleaning and organizing, because over the last few weeks I have felt as though I am powerless to tame the chaos in my home…although I spent a good deal of time today both cleaning and organizing and the result is a much more peaceful environment. However, I must admit, I am not the world’s best housekeeper. I am so easily distracted! I am, however, full of thoughts and aspirations and ponderings…

Our sermon texts on Sunday mornings continue to be drawn from Philippians…we are now in the third chapter. Today we focused on the passage “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”…in a way these were hard words for me to hear, yet they were also just what I needed. I have felt so weak and overwhelmed and inadequate lately. I have so many ideas and goals for the life I desire to live and the wife and mother I desire to be, and lately I feel that I all can do is hang on by a thread…everything feels haphazard and out of control, and even what has been carefully planned for and thought about seems to unravel.

Sometimes God will place us in a situation where there seems to be no peace, no matter how desperately we grasp for it. Sometimes the chaos and unrest are a result of sin in our lives that we have not dealt with…selfish choices, failing to listen for that still voice, plunging ahead with our own plans without the wisdom and vision that comes from the Word. Sometimes we are simply in a difficult season of life that must be “got through”…yet in every season, in any situation, we are called to forget what is behind and press on toward the goal.

What is “behind” for you? Is is painful? Pleasant? Though we may pause and reflect and create a “stone of remembrance,” we must also discipline ourselves to forge ahead. We have work to do! We have a calling and a purpose! Personally, I need to focus on seeing each “disruption” in my day as an opportunity to serve God and others, to give a blessing…this is a choice that we can make! I can teach and train and disciple my children instead of just reacting to them. I can make time with the Lord my priority and encourage my children to do the same, even at their tender young ages. I can carefully guard our calender and schedule, realizing that we are very easily overwhelmed in this season of our lives.

There are just a few more days left until Christmas. I so long to create a restful, beautiful, loving environment for my family this week…every day of the year, really, but especially over the next few days. The presents are all wrapped. There is over a foot of snow outside my door tonight, some of it still clinging to the trees and stuck in the corners of the windowpanes, just like a greeting card. My alarm is set for an early hour in the hopes that I can do a quick cleanup in the kitchen, throw some Christmas music on, and whip up a special treat for breakfast. I know there is no possible way for tomorrow to be perfect. I know that I will continue to struggle…but I want to press on, to pursue, to run towards the goal…

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ornament

You turn the calendar page from November to December and there you see it…a full schedule of parties, events, cookie swaps, and luncheons. You start to feel that nervous twitch, though excited about all the festivities that lie ahead.

You turn your attention to your shopping list, trying to recall what has already been tucked away and what still needs to be purchased. Trying to avoid that last minute dash out to the stores, fighting crowds and standing in endless lines, you make a mental checklist of each family member and friend to buy for. Your eyes are glazed over from scouring the internet for web specials. “Free shipping!” and “Enter this code at checkout!” flashes through your mind. You start to breathe heavily.

Don’t forget the extra groceries for all those holiday goodies, and make room in the schedule for the extra hours of cooking and baking. You don’t want to start in on your famous recipe two hours before the Christmas party, only to find an ingredient missing from your pantry!

Cleaning for company. Washing and pressing and ironing for that fancy company soiree. Writing Christmas cards. When are you going to wrap all the presents? Panic begins to set in…

As much as I’d like to say that this is all a bit of an exaggeration, I must confess that this has been my experience over the last two weeks. From Thanksgiving day all the way through to last night, my calender has been full to the brim with cleaning, baking, entertaining, shopping, parties, birthday celebrations, sending packages, and writing cards. Last night I went out with friends to a restaurant to celebrate my birthday…nine days after my birthday…because it was the very first night I had free to do so.

I love the Christmas season. I crave a quiet, reflective holiday experience, spent at home. Popcorn. Hot chocolate. Christmas carols. Twinkle lights. Cookies shaped like trees and snowmen and stars. Children. Snow.

But I’m a busy young mother with an early December birthday. I have church obligations, which I want to fulfill cheerfully. I host a small group. My husband has five work-related Christmas parties that I want to encourage him to participate in, accompanying him when I am able. Our homeschooling group has planned a cookie swap and as it is I spend most of the calendar year dodging field trips and special events, so I want to show up with a smile and a huge platter of homemade treats. I have four delightfully small children, and I want to make as much holiday “magic” for them as I possibly can, all the while instilling in them the true meaning of Christmas.

Sometimes simplicity is a deliberate choice that we make, to live our lives without clutter and clamor. Sometimes…simplicity must take the form of an attitude. Yes, I am busy. Yes, there are a lot of things to accomplish, a lot of places to go. I, however, will keep a quiet heart, full of joy and delight. I will see each task as one more way I can bless my family or a friend. I will chatter on endlessly with my children each day as we go about our tasks, reminding them of Why we celebrate and Who we worship.

I pray that God will help me to worship only Him this holiday season. Not the music, the lights, or the gifts. Not the sumptuous food or the company of friends.

May your homes overflow with joy these next few weeks, whether your holiday celebrations are large, boisterous and bustling or small, still and quiet, for our God can be ever-present in both.

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Deck the Halls!

Some cottage style Christmas decorating!

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A bowl of vintage ornaments from my mother.

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Stockings hung from the enchanting set of birdie hooks…with care.

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Shiny Christmas baubles, this time displayed in an antique egg cup.

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Seeing shabby stars…

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The top of the armoire sparkling with twinkly lights.

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My Christmas tree…same picture that you see in the banner, but much easier to see this way!

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