Sunday, November 29, 2009

Little Things

"Think of small rituals of Christmas -
signatures of love -
little touches of interaction that are unique to the season."
~Thomas Kincaid

"When there is room in the heart,
there is room in the house."
~Danish proverb

Little romantic displays of tea and cookies make me happy. Christmas happy.

Jenny and Samantha came over this afternoon. Jenny loves her baby. JOY! Tomorrow Scott has the day off so he can cuddle his darling girl!
I have three weeks of school until my Christmas break. I am trying to think of ways to make the season festive for the students. Charles Dickens? The THEME (remember from A Christmas Story?) Jingle Bell Rock dance contests? Winter haiku? Got any ideas?
I'm getting ready to holler at Bill. I want him to come downstairs and light an Advent candle with me. I'm going to read him Mary's prayer first. After that we'll pray together and then I've decided to read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever aloud - you know, an installment per night - to him because I think he needs a bed time story. Tomorrow, bye-bye November! Hello December in all your loveliness! Welcome! Welcome!
I wish YOU, dear reader, a couple rosy-cheeked walks, long deep sniffs of peppermint and greenery, 20 some quiet, peaceful sleeps before Christmas, joy and love popping out of red envelopes, many cups of Christmas tea and a few successful cookie baking endeavors, warm hands to hold, and the gentle tinkle of bells. The season holds such simple beauty and I think it's found in the little things, so I wish you little things.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Joy! Singing! Don't you want to absorb every Christmas note this year? I do!

Our artificial tree looked great the first year, okay the second year, and now I fear I'll have to do a lot of bending and fluffing to make it look its best this year. Oh well!

"Christmas--that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance--a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved." ~Augusta E. Rundel
"God bless, Christmas!" ~ Charles Dickens
Favorite Christmas things:
the smell of pine
candles lit in the evening, especially the Advent candle ring
music (Wine Country Christmas is a favorite)
the Christmas troll dolls I bought for the kids! I found them at the grocery store years ago!
lighted garlands (mine are so old, but still so happy!)
Christmas coffee mugs (Hartstone - one of my favorite pottery companies)
luminaries - lit on Christmas eve, lining the driveway, quiet and a powerful showing of LIGHT
Mary's prayer (Luke 1:46-55)

Tina (a blog friend from Scotland) made this darling hat and Samantha Rose wore it home from the hospital.

See that warm smile on Jenny's face? Ah, motherhood. The sweetest privilege.

I've been at their house, reveling in the baby atmosphere. She smells so sweet. Jenny's a natural mom. I'm in awe of the miracle of life all over again.

I miss reading and writing, but look forward to a good deal of journaling and meditation in the sacred weeks to come. I hope you are feeling the miraculous anticipation of the season.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sweet Day of Thanks

This is a day of great smells! I hate to use cleaning supplies for fear of overpowering the hot oven pie smell and later the turkey roast fragrance. I'm thankful for the zip to prepare the meal. When it's completed and eaten, I marvel that I actually pulled it off. Every year.
I hope I'm not TOO relaxed. It's lovely to prepare for just us. No, we're not sharing with anyone else and I'm kind of relieved. The house is looking lived in, with crowded counter tops and magazines strewn all over the bathroom. The laundry goes on. There are big chunks of old snow scattered in the back garden. I need to go downstairs and iron the table cloth and maybe move a table for the buffet. I'm so impatient when it comes to passing the food. I don't want to feel mad when the gravy boat is stuck by someone oblivious to my gravy need.
When I was a child, we went to church on Thanksgiving. My mother always had company. I didn't like it when she was too busy to give me a taste of turkey or refill my tasty cranberry drink.
I guess I've lost interest in traditions and now I just want to smell the turkey, wear old jeans, watch a movie, squeeze Birdie and Bug, smile as our kids that are at the table gobble up their favorite holiday dishes, scoot on over to Jenny's house later to cradle brand new Samantha Rose.
I'm good at the cooking but not so great at the presentation.
I'm glad this day is about the bowed heads, the devoted hands of praise, the humble and simple gestures of adoration for a Creator who bears with our flighty and ridiculous impulses and aims HIS grace our way.
Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Birth and Other Pretty Stuff!

Samantha Rose arrived early yesterday morning! Jenny is our smallest child, measuring in at 5 ft. 2. Can you believe she had a baby weighing 9.1? Little Sammy is beautiful as you can see! She's thriving! She latched right on to the breast and she is sturdy and shiny! We're all in love!

Her chubby cheeks are miraculous!

I'll cook the turkey and produce all the trimmings with a heart full of thankfulness for family! Kids, babies, adult children who love and give of themselves - we're blessed! Welcome to the world, Samantha Rose!

It's been COLD in Denver! Jeff and Bill hung the lights. You can't see them that well, but they were a warm welcome when I pulled into the driveway on Monday evening! The holidays have begun!

All the way from New Zealand, this treasure arrived. Kerri from Poetry and Cloth just opened her etsy shop and I was happy to be her first customer! Do you LOVE this piece of powerful words? I do! It's on my refrigerator until I can get to the frame shop.

Hello, Miss Bug! Please come tomorrow for turkey and pie!

I'm so thankful for the blog world. I read your posts with deep interest and I cherish your comments. I've learned so much and continue to learn every day.
When I see the creativity, the originality, the spiritual insight shared - well, I'm simply delighted. Mothers who honor their high calling, thinkers who protect their quiet, artists who risk by sharing, productive women who inspire, men who love words, simple happy people who share their joy, funny writers who amaze me with their craft, and hearts that deliberately connect to others - these are the pearls I find when I turn on my computer. Yes, I am VERY thankful.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, BILL!

Yay! It's Bill's 54th birthday today. He didn't want a party, but you don't get to decide that for yourself in this family. The kids are coming over tonight and soon I need to get out the door to prepare for my most precious one's special evening.

I'm so thankful for my mother-in-law's baby. I'm sure she was filled with gratefulness 54 Thanksgivings ago when she spent her turkey day in the hospital.

When I first saw Bill, he was leading songs at college Young Life. I loved the looks of him and I was drawn to his bouncy personality. After a few dropped hints and begged for "chance" encounters, thanks to my sister and her husband, we finally met and it really was love at first sight and now 31 years later, it is love at every day sight! I am so thankful for a husband who sits with me every morning and asks me questions, fills my coffee cup, prays with me and believes in me. He cares ACTIVELY for so many people. He's the friend you long for and a voice that soothes your heart. He's hard-working, SUPER sensitive, a passionate lover, a loud laugh-er. He gets terribly homesick when he's away and he prays and prays for friends all over the world when he's here in Denver. I am so crazy about him and I love growing older with him. So, happy, happy, happy, Honey! This is YOUR day!

Susan Branch draws such lovely little things and I'm wondering if you are feeling the holiday lift in spirits like I am! Are you? I think it is time to pull out the red and green, so I am ready on Friday after the turkey is cooked and the meal tidied away. I'm ready for pine smells, candle fragrance, all the old Christmas stuff I was tired of last year when I put it all away, but now I want again.

. . . and not a creature was stirring. Well, don't ask me why but I Googled mouse and found this picture. I hated the "caged pet period" when we had them in all their smelly glory, but I like to LOOK at hamsters and mousies and isn't THIS photo amazing? Little creatures WERE Beatrix Potter's models!

That same day, I Googled cozy cabins and I wish I could invite you to mine, but I don't have one. Bill wouldn't want to come if there wasn't cable tv, but I do love the thought of cabins this time of year. One of my praying friends at school takes her big family to the YMCA of the Rockies at Christmas. They don't do the big present thing. They spend time at the funky roller skating rink, eat their meals in the cafeteria, and love each other in the mountains. Isn't that awesome? Margie is a smart, smart mama and I am learning a lot from her. She is one of the security staff at my school. I'm THANKFUL for her friendship.

This photo was taken by somebody IN CHINA. Look at the beauty of plenty here! Racks and racks and stacks and stacks of the honored vessel: THE TEAPOT! I'm wishing you many pretty pots of tea this holiday season! I know when I quiet myself to sit with my tea, I do some good thinking. I purpose to take tea a bit more in the next weeks.
So, dear blog friends and family friends and good hearted people who move in with interest to my roaming posts and scattered thinking . . . may you feel love today. May you look up to thank the CREATOR of the UNIVERSE. May you whisper some humble prayers. May you FEEL and KNOW that you are good.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 145:8
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.

Ephesians 2:13
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Philippians 4:5
Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men

Words & Music: Cle­land B. Mc­A­fee, 1903 (MI­DI, score). He wrote these words af­ter two of his niec­es died from diph­theria. The Park Col­lege choir sang the new hymn out­side the quar­an­tined house.
Near to the Heart of God

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.


O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.


There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.


I woke up with this song inside. Last night we had our family girls bible study and we spoke about how we long to draw near to Jesus, snuggling up so close to Him.

God, Please pull me close and cradle me

I wish to dwell right beside that majestic heart of yours
Open my ears so I can hear the music
Just as passersby heard the choir singing outside the house where two little girls left this earth to join you, let me hear the otherworldly sound that plays in my "ordinary" days.
Today, I want to hear the music that draws me to YOU.

Can you hear it?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bear Portraits

Oh hello! I'm so glad to see you. Will you come nestle by the fire?
I'll get you a little bite and pour you a cup of tea.

I thought that I would scour around the house today and hunt for bears.

This is Brad's first teddy bear. I found it at a favorite gift shop in Chehalis, Washington. We had very little spending money, but I thought this sweetie should belong to my baby. Oh, how he's been loved, barfed on, buried at the bottom of many toy piles . . . I love him, too.

This bear LOOKS like Jenny! Notice his crooked nose! (Jenny has a Barbie doll nose, NOT a crooked nose btw)

"Jim Bear" named after beloved grandpa. Jeff's favorite hug.

Another bear belonging to Jeff. BEAR radiates happy, doesn't he?

Even though I created a monkey collection for Jeff (he really never even LIKED monkeys - I accept that now) I'm noticing he had a lot of bears!

My mom stuffed this pretty, feminine bear for Kelli when she was a little pink baby. I really wish you could hear Kelli sing "Teddy Bears Picnic" because she sings it so beautifully. I love her voice.

Jenny's vast collection of Beanie Bears!
And below, a cross stitch stint - bear themed!

A representative of all the boyfriend gift bears!

What a combo! EVE BUNTING and JAN BRETT and BEARS

A gift bear from the camera shop

A row of clothed bears (and a sneaky rabbit, too!)

And while bear hunting, I found some eye-catching color in the basement.

Funny Bob Dole Halloween mask that I had to try on for a quick photo!

Have you been looking for Waldo? Here he is!

A pretty cloth from India. I'm not sure why it was in the basement closet (the abyss)

More color hiding away

Cast offs

The last of the college dorm room outfitting

And last: Bear of Honor
Edward is my bear. He lives in our bedroom. I bought him for myself a few years ago. I actually went out bear shopping, on a quest to find the perfect teddy. He's soft and pliable. He smells nice. He likes to be loved, I think.
Tell me about a bear in your life, please!