Friday, December 3, 2010


Advent is the season which we wait for the coming Christ child. We wait with anticipation for the fulfilment of hope. Each Sunday we light just one more candle, never all of them, and it doesn't look quite right to our eyes. We want it to be finished and complete all at once. The one candle looks too lonely, two lacks balance, and three is almost right but not quite. But on Christmas Eve, all is made complete. God says, "When the days were completed..."

I eagerly anticipate decorating for Christmas. I plan crafty things I want to do, what theme I want and where everything will go. For me, everything needs to go a certain way for "the mood" Christmas to feel right and it starts with the tree and decorations going up Thanksgiving weekend. The six or seven weeks of twinkling light is the best part of the season for me. But this year it will be a little different.

School and studying for finals have taken all of Chad's time. Before he started studying he had one request- to decorate the tree and hang the lights outside. Which means it won't happen in my "perfect" timing but in all likelyhood when he is finished with finals, only one week before Christmas.

This was hard for me. In this time of living on a little, it's the little things that mean the most. And for me, Christmas means peace and rest that is not found the rest of the year. And as much as I hate to admit it, I find most of the peace and rest in the lighted tree and other things of Christmas.

While waiting for Christmas to "start" I'm finding myself focusing on Advent more than ever before. I am listening more attentively to the Advent readings about waiting for the Promise to be fulfilled. I am finding more meaning in Sarah's waiting for the son she was promised in her old age. I'm feeling a bit of the anticipation the Children of Israel felt while waiting for the Messiah's arrival. It's seems silly but in the absence of lights and a tree, I am feeling Christ more.

And it feel just right.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A little Fall decorating...

...just in time for everyone else to put up their Christmas bling! I waited to pull out all the Fall decor until after Jordan was finished with boot camp since the mantle was for him. So despite the lateness of the pictures, the house was decorated for fall for the whole month of November. Honest!

Our mantle, was very simply decorated with some Indian Corn, warty gourds and candles. I was able to get the corn and gourds very inexpensively on the Manager's special rack at the grocery store. The two bags of corn and one bag of gourds (there were nine!) was...$3!!! Just my price.

The larger candles were a wedding gift from one of Chad's aunts. The gift card said "may your marriage have all of the heat-and none of the burn"! We still laugh about it!
I love traditional candles with flames but with a busy, little one who is into everything right now, this has been a great alternative. All of the heat-and none of the burn!
And speaking of little ones with busy hands- We found Bram chewing on this lovely. When we jumped up and down, trying to explain that it was yucky and not to eat, he signed "candy". We're not sure if it tastes like candy to him (it's a scented candle) or if he thought "candle" was "candy". Anyway, some serious teeth marks!
Everything in the house is baby-proofed but some areas need to be more proofed, if you know what I mean. This is one such area. Bram plays around , behind and under this table so the pumpkin is fake and the flowers are from a field. Nothing fancy, just fall-ish. And safe.
And last, the other corner in the room. The is one of the two pumpkins from our trip to the pumpkin patch, they lasted beautifully through the season. As I'm writing, they are roasting in the oven. Here we go Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins! My samovar is from Russia and it's one of my favorite things! I love how it just stands out and says "Hello! I'm not from here!".
So there it is, the little bit of fall decorating over here. This weekend, I'll start the Christmas decorating but I think it will go a little slower than previous years since Chad wants to help but is gearing up to having a very busy and full finals season.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

With a thankful heart

This Thanksgiving has been unexpectedly stressful for us. We're all still trying to get over our respective sicknesses, while Chad has been cranking out papers, with two more due the Tuesday and Wednesday after Thanksgiving weekend. This year, we had planned to gather with my family in Ohio for the holiday, but when the time came, there simply was no way for us to go, between money being tight, the mountain of papers and the weekend being too short. My sister and her husband drove up to my mother's from Nashville and I have a strong case of the "wish I was there's".

But despite all of this, I am so thankful. As the verse above says, the Lord has done great things for us and as a result, I am filled with joy. When you are able to recognize who the Giver of all good gifts is, your life is filled with peace and joy. The kind of joy that allows you to rest from the grasping at empty things and find contentment in your present circumstances. Which, of course, leads you right back to having a thankful heart. A beautiful circle.

So this holiday season I've been working on recognizing as many of the good gifts and "great things" the Lord has done for me. It's been slow and sweet. And my joy is waking back after what seemed like a very long slumber.

It is yet another gift which I am thankful for.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sickness Abounding

We almost never get sick, over here. Chad and I very rarely get any sickness involving vomiting, though every winter I get at least one or two of the upper-respiratory type sicknesses. But this one has hit us hard.

Monday night, we woke up to hear Bram miserably being sick in his room. His first ever, flu. The rest of the night was so sad. By morning, there was a mountain of laundry. He was sick all day, barely sleeping but only able if he was right next to me. But by evening he seemed much better and by Wednesday you'd never know he had been sick at all! Praise the Lord!

Last night, before we went to bed, Chad told me he wasn't feeling so great. I thought it probably was just the pizza not sitting right in his stomach. "He never gets sick" I thought. FAMOUS LAST WORDS.... He was so very sick, allllll night long. And even now, he's sleeping on the couch, shivering and fighting waves of sick feelings. Poor, sweet man.

So I guess this means I'll get it. At this rate it will be sometime over the weekend. Yuck, yuck, double yuck. But better now than over the holidays I say.

Hope you all are doing well and HEALTHY!!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Hallowe'en

This year marked our first "real" Hallowe'en. Last year, I had big plans to dress Bram up and show him off to all the cute kids that came Trick or Treating but whatya you know, that silly, little five month old baby couldn't even stay up for the festivities. And only one group of kids came to our door. I was very sad.

This year, however, he was big enough to participate AND stayed up the whole time! Way to go kiddo!

Since neither Chad nor my parents let us Trick or Treat, it was a whole new experience for us as well. We did not dress up (though next year I might try it!) and since we had been out of town for the better part of last week and weren't sure we'd make it back in time, we didn't have a plan for Abraham. SO we headed to the Dollar Store.

The first plan we came up with was to use a large teddy bear and turn it into "Max" from Where the Wild Things Are but when I started make the costume I realized that we had remembered wrong and Max was a wolf not a bear with a tail. (I know, silly thought. But in my defense, it has been over 10 years since I'd read the book!)

But while at the Dollar Store we passed by the costume section and Bram grabbed a fireman helmet and wore it the whole time! A huge first for him! So after Max fizzled we decided to do a fireman instead. With Duct Tape. The tutorial we used can be found here. But it wouldn't be that hard to do without one.

So here's the boy-- very excited for his first Trick or Treating!

Trying on the costume for size...

I just love this kid so much!

"Daddy, what's going on?"

Virginia Beach Fire Department's little hero...

All the kids we went Trick or Treating with. And yes, there's another fireman! They were a huge hit togther.

He got so tired of walking around that he sat down in the middle of the street!

The Loot! Chad was so surprised at how much candy Bram got. Suprised but enjoying it!

Of course now the reality sets in--we have to/get to eat all the candy now. A week of alternating sugar rush and crashes. And then trying to squeeze into my skinny jeans again. Blah.