Friday, December 31, 2010

::Whales, Stars & Castles in the Snow::

Over the holidays we actually completed this week's worth of work. We simply did is Sllllooooooooowly. In ::Art:: we are celebrating the end of our exploration of Raphael Sanzio by painting just like him--well, attempting to. I found a painting that had a fairly straightforward landscape in the background, and the kids went from there. Caelah re-created the blue sky, and gold fields, but transformed the buildings into a castle. She omitted the blond Madonna and child, and replaced them with flowers, deer and snow. That is true artistic interpretation. Elijah went with a humpback whale. Gabriel painted the night sky.

Monday, December 27, 2010

::The Rich Texture of Blessing::

is for Christmas.

nother reminder of God's open hands of blessing.
Outside, looking in, this was not a banner year for our crew. We had a lot of illness manifesting itself, suddenly in one person, then the next. There was also a hole inside me where my brother should have been. Daniel was away this Christmas, and I felt his absence. And, to my deep regret, the turkey was roasted with a pan that gave off a metallic smell--infusing the meat with an unpleasant taste. This ruined the gravy, thus, the meal. So very sad.

But from the inside, looking out, I feel the rich texture of this blessed life. As I have mentioned, in previous posts, there has been a sense of loss about me lately. It is as though the burnished shine of my world-lens has been muddied a bit. I find myself wanting to cradle the sad, hopeless characters on screen, and off, and tell them they won't be swallowed whole by the mess they've made. But, of course, I can make no such assurances. And so I ache. And pray. And learn to accept loss, all the while experiencing the juxtaposed magnitude of the blessings upon me.

God was so good to place laughter within us. As a family, we always have that in abundance. We played a game called "What?" It involved answering questions anonymously and assigning the responses to the individuals who wrote them.

If Queen Elizabeth baked you a batch of cookies, what would you do?
A: I would ask her if she thought of England when she baked them, and I would thank her very much.
A: Feed them to a cornucopia of Polish hens.

Q: What makes retirement enjoyable?
A: Liver spots in the shape of Togo.

Q: What would make riding the bus more exciting?
A: Square wheels. You would never fall asleep and miss a stop.
A: A tv, then everyone would watch it and I wouldn't have to listen to all that Chinese.
A: A toupee and a muff.

Q: What should you definitely not send the President?
A: A poster of a fat baby in a cabbage.

Our gift giving is a delight to us all.
The adults take care to stuff one anothers' stockings with tiny packages well suited to the one receiving. And Kate and I always labour over something homemade. I barely managed some simple shell ornaments this year. Kate, however, outdid us all with hand stitched letters for each of her nieces and nephews. I can't bring myself to hide these up in the bedrooms. They have to stay downstairs.

People often speak of the weight of burdens and trial. There is also a weight to blessing -- a knee-bending sense of wonder. Why me? And then comes the restless tug. Go! Our blessing comes with a command to go and share it.

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
~1 John~

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

::Ornaments 2010::

nspired by our summer trip. . .
Shell Ornaments.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

::Caelah's Birthday Date::

aelah's Birthday Date:

Siam Bistro.
Surprised Guests.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

::At Messiah::


Two hours of
God's plan of salvation
reverberating off of the walls
of a theater.
An event worth
dressing up for.

Friday, December 17, 2010

::Christmas Movie Campout::

have been asked, several times, this season which movies have become a part of our Christmas traditions. None. We have collected many movies over the years that are, either, vaguely festive or full of snow. These all qualify. We tend to watch these movies as a large popcorn-munching, cider-sipping group.

I found " A Dog Named Christmas" on our library's express shelf, and brought it home. Because I was home for the first, and last evening, in a long while, I took advantage of my time and organized a fire-side, living room sleepover with the kids. It was a sweet movie. It was sweet evening.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

::Caelah's 8th::


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

::Nativity Play 2010::

Nativity 2010.
Our little crew represented the following Biblical characters in this year's Play: Joseph, Mary, one doorkeeper, one teacher-of-the-law, one sheep and one tiny angel. Taking the extended family into account: Another sheep, and the Nativity Play director herself! The tinkling sound outside our window that morning warned us of freezing rain. An icy coating covered the everything. But we comprised roughly 30% of the cast members. We were bound and determined to make it to church. The show must go on!

Gabriel was given one line; "No! Go away!" He delivered it with great timidity.

Our former Joseph was a hammy kid named Kungu. He had to leave for Africa, leaving no other kids free to take the part. Aidan kindly stepped in, though Caelah thought it was super gross that she had to listen to her Dad say; "My wife is about to have a baby." Ew!

We had a very grumpy angel on our hands. Annorah refused to wear her halo. And she wouldn't allow any of the older angels to carry onto the stage. So she posted herself on the steps, and shed her little angel glow upon the manger from a distance. In fact, Norah was quite fixated on the manger, as it contained a baby she was eager to hold.

Our sheep duo chilled out on stage. What else is a sheep to do?

Dad hammed it up, as per usual--Fiddler accent and all. Meanwhile, Connor acted with subtlety, as befits a king.

The play finished off with an unexpected solo: our pastor's grandson broke out with a husky rendition of "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer." Everyone hushed right down and listened to his small voice, then burst into uproarious applause.