Sunday, January 7, 2018

A Gift for the Giver

When I come into God's presence and see His glory and feel His love, 

almost the very next thing I think is, "What can I repay the Lord for all He has done for me?" 

Like a small child with the impulse to bring something of worth, I look around and find that everything is a trifle. 

My greatest work is a stick drawing. 

But I seem to bring this anyway, though now I can see that it is nothing beside Him.

And just like when my children come to me bringing gifts of daises or something fashioned from the clay, I do take their gift, 

but the next thing I do is take them! 


Into my arms! 

And that is when we are most happy.

This is how it is when God receives me.

He receives my worship, but the very next thing He does is take me! 

He takes me up! 


Deeper still.

And then, before He puts me back down, He whispers kind things over me. He reminds me of what I know to be true. In a moment, He tells me a story, the whole story. 

"For this reason alone I have done aught, since the dawn of time..."  the story begins and ends.  

So that I (and you), so that we, 

can simply, extravagantly, 

be with Him.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Christmas Box

Having three girls means we can reuse clothes, which is nice, because it means we can save some money. Any clothes that aren't currently being worn are washed, dried, and put up in big Tupperwares according to their size and/or the season.  I save all our Christmas attire in a separate box altogether, since it is usually fancier and the fabrics that make these dresses and sweaters will not sit nicely in a box with a bunch of jeans, etc.

Naturally, I usually have to buy a dress for the oldest, biggest daughter, unless she doesn't grow too much in one year. And a few times I have had to buy a dress for a littler daughter, because she grew enough to make last year's dress too small, but she did not grow enough to actually fit into the next size up in our collection.

After thirteen years of doing Christmas with daughters, though, I usually have a dress for my little ones and it's only been worn once or twice.  So it's a very exciting day in December when I pull the Christmas box down and we try on the dresses and assess what we need, if anything.  Avril, my middle daughter, is already eyeing the black lace/ white tulle dress that her older sister wore many years ago that she would like to big enough for next year.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Some Photos and Memories from Christmas 2017

Norah added Mary and Joseph to the manger scene she made last year. 

Avril made a Nativity from Legos. 

I made one with items in our yard: moss for the roof and the bed and different pieces of quartz to represent the characters in the holy family.

The littles and I made a ton of ornaments. 

Dwayne wore his ugly sweater to work on the last day before vacation.

Avril did most of the Advent reading each night, while Norah took on a more supportive roll. 

Adele and Avril both knew the story so well by the end of the month that they were able to put on a puppet show for us.

We attended Christmas Eve service. The kids sang songs they had been practicing in Sunday school for many weeks.  Adele was dressed as an angel and Avril held a sign.

The girls in their dresses. 

Dwayne and I all decked out.

The girls in their new Christmas pajamas. 

We woke up to a white Christmas.  And the snow was still coming down as we woke up, had our coffee, and made breakfast, so it was just magical.

Norah and Adele snuggling on the couch Christmas morning

After we opened gifts and played a while, we made a big ham with sides and had Dwayne's brother, my sister-in-law, and their kids over for dinner, gifts, and then we all went to see a movie.

The day after Christmas (today), the girls are wearing pajamas my family sent and eating the last of the gingerbread Norah made yesterday. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

After the parade, everyone gathered at Nana's stand for cookies and coffee.

Ramone wanted to introduce his new friend to Nana. "Santa, you have to meet my Nana. She makes the best cookies."

As Ramone approached the cookie stand, he waved and yelled, "Two coffees, Nana! We're famished! And you have to meet my new friend..."

Nana, of course, pours a cup of fresh coffee right away and then turns to greet Ramone and his new friend.

When Nana actually sees Ramone's new friend, the color leaves her cheeks, she stares for a long, intense moment, then whispers in disbelief,


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ramone used his new snowmobile to take Santa through the park for the Christmas parade to greet the kiddies and throw candy from his bag.
How nice, Ramone. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Ramone talked Nana into getting him a snowmobile for Christmas.  

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Once the old tree was gone, the elected officials had to decide what to do with the town square.

Planting another tree seemed too mundane and unsophisticated, so they asked the press to survey the public and see what the regular people thought about "the problem."

"What should the city officials do now that the tree is gone?"

Since every single person out of the first three hundred interviewed answered, "They should plant another tree," the press decided they weren't asking the right question.

Instead they started asking, "Do you think a Christmas tree in town square is inclusive enough?"

Now this question really got people thinking...

People would actually hesitate for about ten seconds before coming to the same conclusion and saying, "They should probably just plant another tree. Everybody loved the tree."

So the story made national headlines, naturally.

After six years of debate, the city officials were proud to announce that they had commissioned a Holiday Statue that only cost the tax-payers five hundred thousand dollars.

At a press conference called for the purpose, the city officials stood and thanked themselves for this "stunningly beautiful, progressive solution."

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Then some sicko with an axe to grind (no pun intended) came in the dead of night and cut down the the city's Christmas tree!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ramone and the other volunteer firefighters helped with the community tree lighting this year. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

And after his new firefighter friends introduced Ramone to their flight supervisor, Lolita, Ramone felt certain flying was his true calling.

He asked Nana for the money to start lessons right away.