Archive for December, 2006

Marina Dunes

She seemed to like the water a little too much.

We had an awesome time visiting my mom and her husband when we were down in the Bay Area before Christmas. Being only 100 yards or so from the beach made it easy for us to plan our daily walks by the water. Sophia loved it. We had to really watch her because she would get running and we’d almost get the impression that she planned to dive right in – or get really, really wet and cold, to say the least.

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Gingerbread House

They look simple enough, but in fact, these little houses took quite a bit of time and energy to complete. It was all worth the while, though. Our friends Staci and Kailyn came over before we left for California so that the girls could make gingerbread houses but considering what a time Staci and I had with them, the girls will have to get a little bit older before we give them a shot at it.

They did enjoy eating the treats, though, so I’m sure it was all the same to them. 🙂

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A Cornucopia of…JOY!

Isaac brought to my attention the other day, while we were merrily trimming our 7 ft. hand-picked-from-our-own-backyard Christmas tree, that the topper we use is actually a cornucopia. We got it a few years ago at a company Christmas party as a keepsake. It sat on our table at the party and housed an array of chocolates and other goodies. We took it home, put it on top of the tree, and that was that. Now every year it seems natural to stick this cone on top of the tree. And so it goes with traditions…

I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of the word cornucopia, and the fact that we put one of these on top of our tree, and (being that the Christmas Tree is a renowned symbol for Christmas) I can’t help but think of the abundance of so many things this time of year- not just physical things, but those, too. The abundance of activities, and music, and friends and family, picture taking, and attention to detail, and thoughtfulness and charity. And also joy. I do realize that not everyone in the World experiences this joy, for not everyone knows Jesus. It truly is a joy to know Him, especially at Christmas. What a joy to think of our Savior coming into this world. What a joy to think of the plans the Lord had for Him. What a joy that we can celebrate His birth with song and praise and time spent together.

Blessings this Christmas Season, as you each experience your cornucopia of joy.

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Sometimes I think we’re living with two children. This little girl of ours seems to have, at times, a dual personality. She can be so sweet and sensitive to others. She’ll pat your head when you’re taking a snooze on the couch. She’ll give you the biggest hug and sigh while she’s doing it for extra emotion. But then… she goes down for a nap and emerges as a little troll who’s mad at the world. So much as offer her water when that’s not what she wanted, and she’ll shriek at you with such contempt, that you’ll think she’s the White Witch and you’re Edmund, and you’ve just returned without Lucy, Susan, or Peter.

Is this what they call Toddlerhood?

She’s been waking up during the night more often these days. Of course, I’m such a deep sleeper that I barely even know whether or not she’s had a bad night, or a good one. Poor Isaac. Last night, apparently, she cried and cried until he went to get her, and when he picked her up she sobbed, “Mommy, mommy, mommy!” So he brought her to me and I soothed her to sleep by rubbing her head and saying, “shhhh, shhhhh, shhhhh” over and over until she drifted off. The fact that I had to be told this proves what a multi-tasker I am. I suppose it also proves how tired I am.

It’s no lie that this little girl of ours – this girl that’s getting more and more independent with each passing day – is delightful. She cracks us up and surprises us and makes us beam with pride. And I know that in order for her to be as delightful as she is, she has to have her time where she doesn’t always please everyone, especially us. And part of me loves the fact that she can show me that she’s angry, or frustrated, or just in a bad mood. That’s part of who she is. I know it will help her to be more balanced if she can learn at this age how to express her discontentment. She’ll just have to do it in the corner, that’s all. 🙂 (The only problem with the corner, is that I get the feeling she likes it there. But that’s a whole different story!)

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Saint Nicholas Saving Seafarers (December 6)

From the Belles Heures of Jean, duke of Berry, fol. 168r

The Limbourg Brothers, France (Paris), active ca. 1400-1416

Tempera and gold on vellum

The Cloisters Collection, 1954

The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York

Did you know that if you say “St. Nicholas” really fast it comes out sounding like “Santa Claus”? I found that to be such an amazing piece of information when we were told by our music teacher in fifth grade. When I lived in Germany right after high school, I experienced my first real “St. Nicholas Day”. My host mother advised me, “Putz deine Schuhe sehr gut, sonst laesst Sankt Nikolaus keine Suessigkeiten fuer dich.” (Clean your shoes up well, or St. Nicholas won’t leave you any goodies.) I must have spent an hour getting them just right before leaving one of them by my bedroom door and climbing the ladder up to my loft bed. The next morning I was greeted by a shoe full of candy and oranges. And although we didn’t do an Advent Kalendar, I was able to see a few very neat ones, one in particular that I especially liked. It consisted of 18 hand-sewn pouches linked by a string and hung on the wall. Each pouch contained a different gift for each day leading up until Christmas. (I hope to make one similar to it for Sophia for next year.)

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Full Lives

Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. … whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it the full.” John 10:7,9-10

Knowing Jesus means having a full life, certainly. If, we take advantage of the opportunity. In my life I see having Jesus as finally having love – being truly loved for who I am, and being able to love others through Him. To think of all the opportunities we each have every day to show our love – to show Jesus’ love. Personally, I can think of many opportunities I have to reach out to people in Jesus’ name. Most of those chances are blown away with the wind as I’m contemplating whether I should take the chance or not. This verse reminds me that I shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to someone. It just might make this life that much fuller.

I’m reminded of my brother-in-law Fred, who seems never to miss such an opportunity. He, his wife Charif, my husband, and I traveled to Costa Rica together a few years ago on a “double honeymoon”. We stayed in a small town on the Caribbean Coast for a week in a house we rented right on the beach. The people we met were so lively, and friendly, and helpful. Fred wanted to give something back to those who had helped us have such a unique and awesome trip, so he invited everyone over for a party. We served spaghetti, and laughed, and talked… But first, Fred prayed for the meal and for our fellowship together. Being newly saved, I remember this making a huge impact on me. Even though some (probably most) of the people at the party that night had little if any knowledge of, let alone faith in, Jesus, Fred was willing to share Him with the group.

Today, I am encouraged to experience the fullness that Christ gives us, and take that chance to reach out in His name.

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Nursery Rhyme Time

The itsy, bitsy spider crawled up the water spout.

Down came the rain and washed the spider OUT!

Up came the sun and dried up all the rain.

And the itsy bitsy spider crawled up the spout again.

As you can see, she’s very serious about this process, especially when she yells, “Out!”, but makes the umpire signal for “Safe!”. A couple weeks ago when she and I went to Toddler Tango together, she chose the hand for her prop, so we all sang a counting song. Since then, however, we’ve been practicing the itsy, bitsy spider song. So yesterday at Toddler Tango, guess whom she chose? Mr. Spider, of course.

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