The Year In Pictures

Over the next few days I’ll be posting some of my favorite pictures of the kiddies taken this year. Enjoy.
Starting with the oldest- A-Major has grown up so much this year! She reads like you wouldn’t believe, and is expecting to lose her first tooth any day now.

This is from Read Across America Week- Read in Silly Socks Day.

Dancer and princess dressed for their cousin’s birthday party.

Tune in tomorrow for favorite pics of Big-S!

Merry Christmas!

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.
from O Little Town of Bethlehem

Snow-Covered Memory Lane

This time of year I can’t help but remember one Christmas, in 1994. I don’t know what sets me off down memory lane- a whiff of a cigarette on the cold air, the still silence of winter night while driving, or just hitting the one more year mark from when it happened.
I was all set to go to Word of Life Bible Institute right after Christmas, I was going to drive up there and get a fresh start on my post- secondary education. I had been at OSU for a quarter, and really not liking it. I was lonely, and the math was hard. I don’t remember how it happened, but somehow I hooked up with my old boyfriend one night before Christmas and we decided to go on an all night road trip. I think we went all the way out to Cedarville, then down to Portsmouth, then wound up through the hills to Athens, the whole time throwing caution to the wind and laughing at what we were doing, driving all over the southern half of Ohio this cold, snow blanketed night. Nobody knew where we were. As we headed north out of Athens, we passed by the exit for The Plains, coincidentally one of the towns I lived in growing up. A deer came across the highway, and, giving me no time to swerve to miss it, was hit head on on my drivers’ side. I freaked out, no other way to put it. It is a wonder that I was able to keep driving. But I did, and made it into Nelsonville to stop at a gas station and assess the damage to the car. There happened to be a sheriff there at the station, and he wrote up some kind of report on the accident. I remember thinking how, now that there was a report, my parents would find out. Like they wouldn’t notice the deer-torso shaped dent in the front of the car. How foolish.
We made it home, and I had to tell my parents what had happened. I remember just wanting to go to sleep and never wake up, the feeling of stupidity was so great. Here I was with an awesome opportunity to leave this nonsense behind and escape to Jack Wyrtzen’s Bible Land in upstate New York, and this is what I chose to do with my time before I left.
Tonight, we went out with friends, and at one point we were talking about my high school years. I said that if there were a my-life version of Back To The Future, I would catch up with my younger self in the park behind the elementary school in 1992, and beg myself to leave with me, right now and not ever go back. Who knows if I would have listened to myself, anyway. Too bad the past can’t be conveniently changed to make us feel better, like in the movies.
But one blessing, at least, has resulted from the many times I think back to being such a silly teenager- the chance to see so many instances of God’s grace. That night driving through pitch black Hocking Hills, that wasn’t me making sure the car didn’t go over the hill on a hairpin curve, that was God. That wasn’t me hitting the deer just right so it didn’t roll up through the windshield and kill me, that was God.
We got my deer-maimed car into a body shop that graciously fixed it over Christmas. When we went to pick it up, I noticed there was a leaf imprint in the new paint job on the hood. That imprint never disappeared after waxings and years gone by. I think of it now as one more little reminder of God’s grace-“Yes, I fixed your car, but it will not be the same as before. Sin does some damage that remains.”
These memories are bittersweet, obviously, but I am glad to have them. Winter comes every year with its cold and its silence, but also with its snow, that covers all with pure whiteness. I remember how low I can get in my desires and ways, and I remember how God ransomed me and continues to redeem my faulty attempts at living this life, with a thick blanket of snow that makes it all radiate His beauty.
White as snow
White as snow
Though my sins were as scarlet
Lord I know
Lord I know
I am saved and forgiven
By the power of your blood
By the wonder of your love
Through faith in you I know that I can be
White as snow
(Not a song by me but I am having trouble googling who I can attribute it to at the moment, so just know I didn’t write this 🙂
We may not see any of the white stuff in our neck of the woods this Christmas, but it is enough for me to feel the cold on my cheeks, and sit with my thoughts on these silent nights, remembering His manifold grace.

Bites Will Hurt Now

Little A’s first tooth showed up today. Wow, after documenting her rolling over and now this, this blog is becoming the closest thing to a baby book that this baby will have. Poor girl.

In Her Words

Big A:
“These are the Christmas colors- red, yellow, and blue.

(thoughtful pause)

Maybe not yellow.

(another thoughtful pause)

And white.”

Excellent EE Devotional Today

I get the Elisabeth Elliot devotionals daily via email, and have been so encouraged by them. The one today is especially good, preparing our hearts and thoughts for the upcoming Birthday Celebration:
We see her first, that little Mary (may I say little? I think she was a teenager), as a simple village girl in a poor home in an out-of-the-way place. She is bending over her work when suddenly the light changes. She raises her eyes. A dazzling stranger stands before her with a puzzling greeting. He calls her “most favored one” and tells her the Lord is with her. She is stunned. I don’t believe her thought is of herself (Who am I? or Am I ever lucky!). Mary is troubled. She discerns at once that this has to do with things infinitely larger than herself, far beyond her understanding. What can it mean?
How will the girl respond? She is at once totally at the disposal of her Lord (she sees that the visitor is from Him). Whatever the mystery, whatever the divine reasons for choosing her, whatever the inconveniences, even disasters (broken engagement? stoning to death–the punishment of a fornicator?) which she may be required to face, her answer is unequivocal and instant: “Here I am. I am the Lord’s servant; let it be as you have told me.” Anything, Lord.

Read the whole devotional here.

She Who Wears The Apron Rules The World

Isn’t that the way the poem goes? Well maybe it should. Check out the Apron Power! Photo Contest at MommyLife! I have enjoyed collecting pretty aprons over the past year, and have appreciated how they save so many messes from getting on my shirts. Last night I dribbled something on my top at dinner, and for a few seconds, I was a little stunned. Then I realized I didn’t have an apron on.
My photo entry for the contest will stay under wraps (pun intended) until after Christmas. Oh, the anticipation.

WFMW-Felt People

This is another activity that helps us pass the time during the winter months when we don’t get out much. We call them felt people, and I made them out of 9 X 12 felt that you can buy at most any superstore or craft store. I make up patterns for the bodies on paper, then trace and cut out of the felt. Pieces you want permanently attached are glued together with hot glue. Mine have googly eyes and perfectly coifed hair of another color felt, but the sky’s the limit for how to decorate the dolls. Then with other felt, I make clothing, shoes, accessories. I put them on a flannelgraph board, but a blanket would work just as well. This is my take on paper dolls since mine are still a little young for the paper and scissors thing. Works for me! Check out more ideas at Shannon’s.

The Sale Is On

Luke is now officially a seller on Ebay! He has some cycling jerseys up for sale right now, but so do hundreds of other people. Maybe we should put our house on there.

To hear a funny song about Ebay, click here.

Streams of Living Water

I’ve been feeling spiritually dry lately; it is like I am in a fog and the work required to get out keeps me from even trying to. I’m tired, cranky, and all around unpleasant. Just in time for Christmas. My poor family that has to live with such a grinch.

A couple of neat things happened over the weekend to help me start snapping out of it:
1. The Heisman Ceremony (of all things!)- Troy Smith was saying that his attitude was one of the biggest obstacles he had to overcome to be a success. I got to thinking that I have allowed my attitude to reign over everything, making circumstances seem all the more worse. My perspective becomes more and more not reality and I become more and more hard to live with.
2.We attended a terrific Christmas program last night put on at my parents’ church, filled with wonderful music and neat drama. I thought again how awesome it is to have a Savior, Jesus, and an ever-present God in my life, Emanuel.
3. Something odd happened at our church yesterday morning, which left me a little shaken. It seems that just when I think a thing is settled, something comes up and the thing isn’t so settled. We are trying to follow where the Lord is leading, but there are so many unknowns right now. I recognize that I can only control the certain things- I have to keep focused on my core responsibilities in my home. Helping my husband, teaching my children, and taking care of our home. The other stuff, well, I just have to wait and see what God is up to.
Good weekend inspirations. I can’t say I woke up this morning completely out of the fog and excited about the mound of laundry, but I do think the clouds have lifted a little.