Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What a difference a cold front makes!

From roasting hot dogs over a fire...

 to enjoying a picnic outside...
to jumping in leaves...

a cold front makes all the difference.

See the pot on the table just waiting for snow ice cream?

 This is what the table (where we ate our picnic) looked like shortly before I went to bed.

This is what it looked like when I woke up.

Almost seven inches on the table!

And plenty for snow ice cream :-)
 And sledding.
 And when we switched houses from one set of grandparents to another,

we still had plenty of snow for two snowmen,
and more snow ice cream.

This snow and cold weather is such a gift for our family.  Especially after four years in the tropics!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

When Christmas Comes
by Betty Fraser

It does not come with jeweled gift
Or holly laden wreath.
It is not born of festive tree
Or silver tinseled leaf.

It does not stem from twinkling lights
Or garland on the stair;
Nor in the clamor of the crowd.
You will not find it there.

For only deep within the soul
Can Christmas truly start,
As Christ, the Child of Bethlehem,
Comes in to claim the heart...
Merry Christmas from our family to yours. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift of Christ who comes in to claim our hearts! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Daybook

 For today...Monday, December 24 (on the road for Christmas)
Outside my window...a huge pile of leaves that we helped raked up.  Some we bagged and some we're saving for jumping later.
Pondering these words...
"Arise, and sine with borrow'd rays,
Bright in reflected lustre shine."
~Charles Wesley
But we do not generate light from anything we are or do.  In fact, we can neither arise nor shine apart from God's previous action on our behalf.  Rather we shine with luster of "borrowed rays"....We reflect back to God what God offers to us as a gift.  
~Paul Wesley Chilcote
A heart of live close enough to family to spend Christmas together
From the kitchen...whatever my in-laws have planned
Around the house...
Sarah smashing peppermints for the pretzels
Creativity making fun things with pretzels and chocolate
Lots of laughs with Nahna 
Siblings duking it out with Battleship.  My turn is next.  Look out kids!
Something that I want to remember for later...the gingerbread nativity scene the kids made
From the learning rooms...the kids did "van school" yesterday as we drove to Arkansas, and they'll do school again when we drive back to Dallas. 
A few plans for the rest of the, family, and more family!  What a great way to celebrate Jesus' birth.
A peek into my corner of the world...Katherine lost her first tooth at church Wednesday night

Friday, December 21, 2012

First Day of Winter

We'll be celebrating the Winter Solstice today by making some bird seed ornaments for our feathered friends in and around the final Christmas baking and packing and preparing for our trip to see family in Arkansas.  Every day feels so much like a gift with opportunities that we don't usually get to experience!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Benjamin!

My Benjamin turned twelve today.  Quite different from his birthday last year in the Solomon Islands!

Since we have come back on furlough, Benjamin has really enjoyed watching football and playing fantasy football with his aunts, uncles and Aaron.  His request for his birthday party was to play football with his friends, so we gave him his own football as his gift. 

He's also excited that now he can ride in the front seat in between Aaron and me.

We're so thankful to be close to family again, and having my mom visit was a gift to all of us!

Benjamin got his football game when our good friends from the Solomons came over for pizza and birthday brownies (the birthday boy's requests).  Watching Benjamin grow physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally brings joy to this mama's heart.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ordinary Days

Sometimes in the busy hum of our household, I look around and take a snapshot in my mind.  This afternoon, I actually got the camera out because I didn't want to forget the ordinary yet special gift of time I get to hold as my own.

Olivia and Katherine were pretending outside on the back porch in the balmy weather.  They even built a "fire".

My mom (what a treat!) finished those skirts I've been trying to sew for months, and in the process I learned how to shrink a pattern to fit Katherine.

 Sarah was in the kitchen creating a gingerbread nativity from her amazing brain.

And Benjamin was transposing a "The First Noel" into alto clef so he could play it on his viola.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Texas Woman's Daybook

For today...Monday, December 17
Pondering these words..."You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving." ~Robert Louis Stevenson
I'm wearing...a long-sleeve purple t-shirt and blue jeans.  Being so sick last week, I never made it out of pajamas except for our photo shoot.
A heart of thankfulness...for good friends for my children
On my bookshelf...some books I picked up at a library book sale this summer.  Poems of Christmas edited by Myra Cohn Livingston and Hark! A Christmas Sampler by Jane Yolen and Tommy dePaola
From the kitchen...just English muffins and Winter Delight Berry Medley Scripture Tea.  We're all moving very slowly this morning, and Aaron left early to take our vehicle in for some maintenance. 
Around the house...Christmas treats
I am hearing..."O Magnum Mysterium" by Morten Lauridsen.  One of my most favorite pieces to sing, ever. 
Noticing brought by a thoughtful husband really do help me feel better
Something I want to remember for girls working together on crochet projects for Christmas
From the learning proud of my kids for continuing to do their school work so well, even though they are all hacking and sniffling.  We're already into the 1800s with the Louisiana Purchase and Napoleon.  Time to find a recording of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 and talk about the connection!

A few plans for the rest of the's visits for the kids tomorrow morning.  When you hear, "Mom, I feel like I have malaria," you know it's time to take this cold junk seriously.  My mother is coming to visit for a few days to help us celebrate Benjamin's birthday on Thursday (we'll have some friends over that night, too), and Saturday this kids have their last two performances of the semester with the Southwest Children's Chorus.  We leave Sunday after church to visit with family for Christmas!
A peek into my corner of the world...

What sweeter music can we bring?

Than a Carol, for to sing

The Birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the Voice! Awake the String!

Heart, Ear, and Eye, and everything

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."  ~Winston Churchill 

Sarah served everyone this morning with her own version of Saint Lucia.  The old white angel costume finally got too small, so Lucia wore red plaid pajamas instead.

We left our cookie press in the Solomon Islands, so today's Advent tag presented a new cookie press to help with baking all of those Christmas cookies to give away. 

A few sweet books about making Christmas cookies also jumped into the book basket:
(Thanks to those of you who have been praying for me to feel better.  After a trip to the doctor this morning, I've started a round of antibiotics, and I'm sure I'll be feeling better soon!)