Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I have discovered two websites this Christmas that are helping me change the way I think about Christmas gifts. I'm trying to focus more on the act of giving, and less on the shopping and the money spent and the quantity of gifts per person. I'd like to share them with you during this Christmas of deep economic turmoil in the hopes that you can also benefit from them.
The other site, Paperback Swap is one I've mentioned before, but a deal like this bears repeating. It's almost like an online neighbor with exactly your taste in books. You give him your books and he gives you his! The way it works.... You post books on your profile that you are looking to get rid of. They have a database of ISBN numbers that pulls up a cover photo, so you don't even have to worry about uploading pics of the book. When a member requests a book that you've posted, you print out a pre-addressed label, wrap the book and ship it out (average shipping cost for me has been right around $2). When the member receives the book, they comment and you are awarded a PBS "point" that allows you to request a book from another member. You begin your membership by posting ten books to receive some initial points (I think you might get three points to start with?). Here's one of Judah's Christmas books; as you can see, in mint condition.
As an added bonus, both of these methods of gathering gifts for my kids include recycling, in some way, products that have already been purchased and enjoyed by others. Things that might otherwise get tossed in the trash, or shoved to the back of the shelf and forgotten about.
To read some other hints and tips-- seasonal and otherwise-- check out Works For Me Wednesday at the Rocks In My Dryer blog.
PS. I'm not including any info or pics of Sofi's gifts because I simply don't trust the little bugger not to find out about it. She takes after her daddy...
Monday, December 15, 2008
Every year we drive over to Singer's Glen to the Heartland Christmas tree farm.
Somewhere hidden among the pines is a rare tree that bears fresh candy canes-- the best you've ever tasted!
Ah-ha! We have discovered it!
The reason I didn't film the whole trip back to the car is that they rescued us half-way back with an ATV and a trailer.
In the old creamery, there's another magic tree. This one grows ornaments for children to pick and take home.
And then, after a few false starts...
We got our Christmas card picture taken on the old sleigh!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Shoppers wandered happily through the center square...
... calling out the occasional friendly greeting to their neighbors.
Little did they know what waited in store for their happy town.
I will spare you scenes of the attack, but view below the Christmas Carnage that met the eyes of passing strangers the next morning!
Monday, December 8, 2008
Let me enlighten you. I am one of those people who goes hog-wild on a project, whips myself into a frenzy and then collapses from total exhaustion at the end. Moderation is just not one of my strong points. That is what I have J for. He has moderation. I have inspiration. So. Every Christmas, as soon as Thanksgiving is respectably behind us (like by one or two days), I start dragging out the Christmas Stuff. The lights, the wreaths, the greenery, the music, the movies, the food, planning parties, buying presents... And I go on this Christmas binge for, like, two weeks. So that puts us just barely into Dec, right? And then I totally burn out. I'm sick of it all! And it's still three more weeks till the actual day! Stupid, right?
But this year, because our whole celebration of Christmas is centered around Advent, all of a sudden, I find myself paced. Slowed down. Regulated. Wow! A whole new world has opened up to me. Now I have moderation forced upon me! And it is sweet, sweet. I find myself anticipating each new week as we light the next candle, read the next Scripture passage, contemplate a new aspect of Christ's gift to Man. Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. Each week we are adding something to our decorations. The tree is up, the lights are up, but no ornaments, nothing outside the house, no food, some presents are purchased, but none are wrapped. That will come, in time. I can wait. I'm enjoying the journey this year.
We. as a family, are walking slowly toward Bethlehem to Worship Christ, the Newborn King.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
We're watching Prince Caspian with Sofi this weekend. She went to bed halfway through and J and I stayed up to finish it-- even though we know we'll be woken at 6 sharp to finish it during breakfast tomorrow morning (the downside of having Family Movie Night on Friday nights is that we lose our Sat morning sleep-in time...) We just couldn't turn it off. Not that the movie itself is so riveting-- we spent a large portion of it moaning about how much better the book was. But these stories have always held for me a fascination unlike any other literature I've ever read. Although Tolkein's works run a close second. Every time I read/watch I uncover layer upon layer of meaning and teaching in them.
This time in particular I was struck by the final scene, when Peter reveals that Aslan has told him that he and Susan will not be returning to Narnia again. He says (in the movie-- can't remember exactly how the scene goes in the books) "we've learned what we can here and now we must go back". Then we see them walk through the doorway in the bright castle courtyard back onto the station platform in London. And there was this contrast I'd never noticed before. In Narnia there are epic battles and nobles Lords and Ladies and thousands of years of history during which they (the four Children) been revered as heroes and heroines. And in London there's fog and rain and soot and smells and loud trains. And they're kids. Just normal, ordinary kids. Wow. How just like life that is. We have our short moments where the veil seems to lift for a moment, like when we find our true loves, when our children are born and other times when God reveals Himself in unique ways. And then we must go back to Life. Ordinary Life. The long stretches of smog, smoke and smells in between those glimpses of glory. And yet those short glimpses give us hope that there is more to all this, more to hope for, something to long for.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Exactly what I tell myself on a monthly basis-- a good motto for life. This is coming from the child who, at age two, when asked what she wanted form life, thought about it for about five seconds and then said, briskly and with confidence;