Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 22nd - Part Two

I am terrible with a camera.  I never remember to take it with me, but even when I do, I forget to pull it out and both our other computers with all our photographic memories of the last 10 years are on virtual lock down until we can crack their codes... so with that being said:  This is the one post I wish had a thousand pictures on it, but instead -- it will have one.

Mr. Thompson and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary today... and as he is at work this morning, I am being flooded with thoughts of joy and gratitude and awe, not only for my husband, but of my Great Big God who works everything together for the good of those who love him.

The odds were stacked against us.  There is only ONE thing we had going for us, and that is Jesus.  I think (I could say know) we were the only two people on our wedding day that knew without a doubt (call us naive if you will) that getting married was the one thing we could be sure was the one right decision we would ever make.

And we knew it the next day and everyday since.

For most, the story of two kids knowing each other for the whole of 4 1/2 months on the day they committed themselves to each other, expecting a baby in 7 months, and not having more than "a few dimes" to their names at any given moment... is a recipe for disaster.

I was going to say "on a road less traveled" -- but that's not quite an accurate statement now-a-days... I will say: On a road that is far less appealing yet, for some reason, traveled frequently, I am so thankful that God has shown us His merciful favor and given me the husband of any girls dream.  And I am still in awe, everyday, when I wake up next to the most faithful, sacrificing, loving, beyond respectful, beyond patient, and beyond HANDSOME man that God saw fit to bless the likes of ME with.

Though our life as Mr. and Mrs. Thompson has been pockmarked with hardships... our love has only grown deeper with each trial and the "D-word" has never so much as even been whispered.  No cliche about it.

I am giving all the glory to God!  There is no way that in our falling-short-every-second-of-the-day efforts, that a marriage like ours is possible... even with the most ideal of beginnings -- aside from the strength from Jesus and grace of God.

Courtesy of Ben's phone... we got one picture.

We went to the hills for a night.  The first anniversary we've gotten away for, even if just 30 minutes away, since we only had one sweet baby boy eight years ago.  Now we've got 4 and 3/4 sweet babies, and I never dreamed of a life so hard... nor of a life so fulfilled. 

I love you Ben Thompson.  I thank you for giving me the best 10 years of my life this far and I pray... ohhhh, I pray... for at least 100 more.  I'd still have chosen you in a heart beat and knowing what I know now, it would have been even quicker than that.

December 22nd - Part One

I have two stories to tell this morning:

My four year old jumps on my bed... the first of my children up and the boy that bursts constantly with joy was wanting breakfast.

"Can I make it, Mom?"

We are out of cereal -- as I only buy a few boxes a month strictly for those mornings when making a real (aka: nutritious) breakfast is impossible -- and that is usually the breakfast that he makes himself.

The other children begin stirring and my oldest boy wants to make it, too.  (He's already better at fried eggs than I am!)  So I tell boy 1 and boy 2 that they can make scrambled eggs and toast.  They ask me about every step along the way and it sounds like all is going well in the kitchen.

Enjoying my morning "off", I begin to smell something that isn't the fragrant aroma of gently cooking eggs... I jump up and run to the kitchen just in time stop our eggs from being cooked in blackened butter.  Literally.  He had the bowl of beaten eggs in his grip, readying the bowl to be pour over the pan...  Both looking at me like, "What?  Is something wrong?"

I'm laughing out loud now... but at the time, I pulled the plug on them chefing their own breakfast this morning quicker than a... <I am woefully unable to complete this sentance with anything resembling "wit". If you know of a good "quicker than a..." phrase, please let me share in your wisdom via the comments below!>  Anyway, it was fast!  He's great with a griddle... maybe a few lessons on the stovetop are in order.

We got our breakfast in record time and how could any of us help but smile...

Our tummies were full and our hearts were happy.

Most of all?  Mine. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Make It A Monday

Times of feasting and times of famine.  Such is life.

And Jesus knows.  He was born into the lowly class of carpenters to live the phrase: money can't buy love.  Love is a free gift and one that Jesus was to perfection.  So, while this season is about so much more than how full the space is between the bottom branches of the Christmas tree and the floor, it is inevitable that there is likely something you want, but may not be able to afford.

For me this year, one of those wished-for items was a pretty tree skirt... actually, it's been the last few years.  And not that they are ALL terribly expensive; it was a matter of prioritizing our spending and a new tree skirt has just never made the list.

I saw this on Pinterest:

(Although, I wish I had seen this:)
A new, pretty tree skirt. I could wish forever for a pile of unallocated funds, or I could do what I could do to get what I wanted despite the lack-there-of said funds.  So -- I made it.  With fabric I already had, a glue gun, and a few hours of commitment to the cause. 

The tutorial I used is here.  The tutorial for the second picture is here.  (Both basically the same but the technique is what makes them look different.)

For more of a dramatic ruffle like picture two, I'd gather more of the fabric per ruffle than I did.  But you know, there's always a learning curve the first time around anything.

You may like your tree skirt just fine, but I encourage you... whatever it is you've had your eye on -- if you can't buy it, chances are you can make it.

It may not be full under our tree... a definite famine there by choice, but it sure is pretty.  And we've got lots of love. 

Hearts bursting with it.

Lives living by It.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

O, Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree : Lyrics

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
Not only green when summer's here,
But also when 'tis cold and drear.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;
How often has the Christmas tree
Afforded me the greatest glee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me.

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!
From base to summit, gay and bright,
There's only splendor for the sight.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
Thou bidst us true and faithful be,
And trust in God unchangingly.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee! !"

In a season where believers seek to give glory an honor, above all else, to the author of the universe and the Savior of our souls,  some are asking a question...

What is the Christmas tree, really?  Where did it come from?  Pagan or Christian symbol?

I am no scholar, but here is some of what I've found:
  • Many Pagan cultures used to cut boughs of evergreen trees in December, move them into the home or temple, and decorate them. This was to recognize the winter solstice.
  • During the Roman celebration of the feast of Saturnalia, Pagans did decorate their houses with clippings of evergreen shrubs. They also decorated living trees with bits of metal and replicas of their God, Bacchus.
Fortunately, our modern use of pine trees to celebrate the birth of Jesus (which by the way was not actually on December 25... that is just the day we have chosen to honor his birth) doesn't originate from either of those or any other pagan use of one of God's beautiful creations.

In an article byDr. Richard P. Bucher he points out a few things I never knew about our Christmas tree tradition:
  • Karas (sited reference author) has amply demonstrated that evergreens have been a symbol of rebirth from ancient times. Bringing greenery into one's home, often at the time of the winter solstice, symbolized life in the midst of death in many cultures.14 The Romans decked their homes with evergreens and other greenery during the Kalends of January.15 Living trees were also brought into homes during the old German feast of Yule, which originally was a two-month feast beginning in November. The Yule tree was planted in a tub and brought into the home.16 However, the evidence just does not exist which shows that Christians first used trees at Christmas as a symbol of [the above noted] rebirth, nor that the Christmas tree was a direct descendent of the Yule tree. On the contrary, the evidence that we have points in another direction. The Christmas tree appears to be a descendent of the Paradise tree and the Christmas light of the late Middle Ages.
  • From the eleventh century, religious plays called "mystery plays" became quite popular throughout Europe. These plays were performed outdoors and in churches. One of the most prevalent of these plays was the "Paradise play." The play depicted the story of the creation of Adam and Eve, their sin, and their banishment from Paradise. The play would end with the promise of the coming Savior and His Incarnation (cf. Gen. 3:15). The Paradise play was simple by today's standards. The only prop on stage was the "Paradise tree," a fir tree adorned with apples. From this tree, at the appropriate time in the play, Eve would take the fruit, eat it, and give it to Adam.
  • (...)The tree reminds us of the tree in Eden by which Adam and Eve were overcome and which thrust them into sin. But more importantly, the tree reminds us of the tree by which our sin was overcome, namely the tree upon which Christ Jesus was crucified.  (...)Peter writes, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed."(...)
Therefore, I do believe that the Christmas tree is a wonderful symbol and reminder of our salvation and forgiveness through Jesus Christ!

Enjoy your tree with all the trimmings... just remember The One and The Gift it represents!

Merry CHRISTmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Lesson From 100 Years Ago - Wild Wednesday

I have died a thousand deaths at the sound of a knock at the door.

And even as I write this, I've got yesterday's mascara bleeding with my attempt of last nights sleep, my bathroom isn't clean, and there is no fresh coffee brewing... oh, and there is laundry that needs folding on my couch.  So by all means stay away.

Have we become so deluded with ourselves and absorbed with our pride?  Yes.  Yes we have.

In the days of ol', they had their share of hardships, but they did get somethings very right.

(Google image)

Hospitality.  Relationships. 

Pop-ins were the norm and living together (community-wise) was expected.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were a given and all the merrier if someone unexpected showed up.  There were still dishes that needed done, bathrooms that needed cleaning and coffee that needed brewing... there was grace offered by friends when they showed up to something resembling chaos.  After all, in the between of spontaneous joys, there is a whole lot of living.  Especially in this humble home of six, soon-to-be seven.

In today's race of measuring up, we rush and stretch and bend and close our eyes.  We die a thousand deaths at the ring of a phone or, heaven forbid, the unexpected sound of the doorbell.  Is it the subconscious thought, "Who wants more of me now?"  Our homes and our heads are in constant turmoil... our children, alone, hunger for food and for time devoted to more than glances and shoulder brushes.  And now we have to make room for more?

Maybe it's actually a case of making room for less...  less idleness.  Less meaningless.  Less apathy.

Less dreaming and more doing.

Less Facebook and Pinterest - More folding clothes and preparing my day.

Less texting - More intentional, meaningful, human contact....  Realness.

So no more dying... Duties and messes and kids in all their wonder are a given, but despite them, my doors - my coffee pot - my fridge, even! - is always open.

Come and make my day.


Wild Wednesday Returns --

Make someone's day.  Open your home this week.  MAKE THE TIME.  It does not need to be fancy in the least, but do make it special.

It can be as elaborate as a 5 course meal with fancy linens and a violinist... or for the more simple-minded like myself, a pot of coffee or a fresh quart of chai concentrate and maybe some muffins or cookies.  Or for dudes: some cans of mountain dew and a bag of chips...

Whatever shape it takes, it's the intention and relationship that is at the heart of it.  If you burn your cookies... that's all the better!  You are a fallable human and there are no fronts or pride you need to hold on to.  Open your home... and you just might find your heart opening too!

Remember it's about being real.  This isn't a time to showcase your biggest and best and get caught up in keeping up.  They have a daughter who won a talent contest (maybe it was even 10 years ago!)?  That is great!  Really great. ---->  .

So, off you go!  Make it happen!  You'll be blessed because of it.

*I do love hearing from you!  If you take on this weeks challenge, comment back and let me know... how'd it go?  What did you do?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Calm

It is Christmastime.

Amidst the bustle of days and days, there is a driving need for time and peace. Slow down the frantic to see the King of Glory in everyday. In every minute.

Eligh twirls to The First Noel played by a children's toy... like that moment.

But neccessary life?

Errands and lessons and groceries and visits with friends.  Housekeeping and quiet-times and getting presentable-looking.  Schooling and meal-creating and time to just be.

In-between that which must be done there ARE -- precious moments.

Oh, beware my time-wasters.  Joy-killers.  Life-suckers.
... I attempt. I'll call it intention. (Here are seven ways to help ensure your ability to see those moments in your day.  And tomorrow.)

Live unharried to see the sweet moment recurring this day.  To see the opportunities to make someone else's day... to reach beyond and reach through and affect their eternity.  Becuase Jesus came. The infinite God made small babe. Christmas. The one  Precious Moment offered you and me.

And eternity awaits.  Remember this each day and in-between what must be done... there is awe

Slowness to rush through and miss it.  It is in the effort of calm and intent these days -- the expectation of something sweet...

Kisses for mama.  Dances for Eligh.

(Google images)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Farmhouse life...

We wake up to a chill in the air.

Oh, for the boy that is not yet a man, keeping his family warm.  He slides from his bed, hazy, I am sure.  Throws on his boots and coat and heads out to the white of the frigid morning.  The outdoor wood stove needs filling and The Man is gone to work for hours already.

That kind of farmhouse living.

I had visions of fences, a welcoming drive, a few cows, a herd of chickens and a real homesteaders spirit.  Children building and milking and making.

But this is the life we are living...
We opt for days we can do. Days that include: homeschooling and Internet, whole foods cooking and store bought food, trips to town and a debit card, evenings with our family and movies on Netflix.  Children play in a child's paradise and with a Wii.  Chores, yet don't be surprised if you stop by to a home in chaos.  Time in the hard copy Word and stops by an inspirational blog or two. 
Though, family... working together for the good of each other.

 It may not be the thrashing and grinding of our own home-grown wheat, but the principles remains the same:

wonder, sacrifice, effort, grace, love, service.


Reassessing to live today.  It's not a three week project -- a fleeting finishing... it's the project of a lifetime that will take our lifetime. 

Moving beyond the renovation.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Of Days Gone By

Yep.  The big ol ugly ??? (whatever it was) is going, going...


Grandma Snyder canned our pears for us this year...  xoxo

A slight problem with venting your dyer INTO your house.

Doesn't look like much to be proud of, but that is how we heat our house.  A little vent cover would do nicely here... yes?

Tea time with my girls...

 Paper scrap creations

Reading and more reading.


I love Christmas and that guy. 

And am so thankful for these people that God has given to me!

 Time for sledding...

Time for Jesus with our Daily Advent devotion -- The Jesse Tree

In three months there has been a little more progress... but a lot more life.

Days go by...

(And as soon as we can find our SD card (grrr)... there will be pictures of curtains and a Christmas tree and other curtains that don't cover windows...)