27 December 2012

Happy Third Day of Christmas!

And here's to hoping not one of you receives three French hens as a gift today!

As I have said before here on the blog, I relish the days between Christmas Day and Epiphany/Three Kings Day/Twelfth Night/January 6th because that, my friends, is THE CHRISTMAS SEASON!  If we listen to the radio or watch the ads on television, they tell us that the Christmas season began way back around Halloween, and now it is all over.  
Well, GOOD NEWS!  It's only the third day!  So if you didn't quite get all your Christmas cards mailed out, like me, then you are IN LUCK!  You've got NINE more days!  Wheeeeeee!

I promised last week that I would show you a bit of our first Christmas in Texas.  One thing I didn't see coming as Christmas approached was that we would all feel such a strong sense of loss in not celebrating Christmas in Boston, in the ways to which we had become accustomed over the last 16 years. It took all my fortitude to find and set up the Advent wreath.  Not be sound overly dramatic, but it was through tears that I searched the boxes in the garage, asking God to help me find what I needed and to give me grace to set it all up.  The children wondered how in the world it could possibly be Christmas if it wasn't even remotely cold out?   On that note, does any one have some Christmas-y shorts and flip-flops I could borrow?

I tried to explain to the children that the meaning of Christmas does not depend on the weather.  In fact, as my dear friend in New Zealand reminded me (hi, Carol Anne!), Christmas is a SUMMER holiday for half of the world!  John and I didn't grow up with picturesque New England Christmases.  Our children have been spoiled by living their entire lives in a place that to me, while I was growing up, was ONLY IN BOOKS! It's so hard to change, isn't it?

But Lucy said the sweetest thing on Christmas Eve.  She said, "God gave me a thought!  He told me that even though it doesn't look like Christmas, it still feels like Christmas!"  I love this for two reasons.  One, God speaks to her heart and she listens.  Two, God gave her comfort and reassurance that even though her world has been turned upside down, CHRISTMAS STILL COMES.  God with us.  Alleluia.

The wreath is made from dried chile peppers.

Christmas morning mantle and one very excited little girl!

This is the kitty that adopted us a few days before Christmas.  His name is Navidad.  He is super cute.

Crockpot full of traditional Christmas Eve soup.

Christmas morning feast may be my favorite meal of the year! Cinnamon rolls, bacon, spiced winter fruit, vanilla pear mimosas, coffee... 

Cousins came over that night and they tried out Just Dance 4! Very fun.
Christmas dinner made my John, complete with Christmas crackers and paper crowns.

I do hope, dear friends, that you had a blessed Christmas Day, celebrating the Incarnation of God!  We are spending the next several days of Christmas with my parents, and I hope that we will do some more Christmas baking and go on some good hikes.
Tell me in the comments what you're looking forward to in the remaining days of Christmas!

20 December 2012

These helped me this week

Oh, hello,my dear friends and faithful readers!  It's been so quiet around here.  I had a request from a sweet friend in Boston that I might show you all what Christmas looks like in Texas. I will do so!  
However, today, I wanted to print some links to things I've read on the interwebs this week that have helped me process the tragedy in Newtown.  I still find myself weeping when I think of the children in their last moments, and the families as they face life without their tinies, and the other school children as they soldier on, having lived through the horror and its aftermath.  I am reminded that children all over the world endure unthinkable terrors and injustices EVERY DAY.  It's been hard for me to feel hopeful.
So, these blog posts spoke to me and helped me understand my feelings and helped me to feel hope.  Just a note that a couple of them contain {bad words}.  I don't think their usage is inappropriate in this instance, but I did want to let you know.
I also feel like I need to say that I don't always agree with everything these bloggers write/believe/etc.  But these posts in particular were helpful to me in deep sadness.

Love to you, friends.

Ann Voskamp talks about the flailing tail of the enemy, and the promise that his head IS CRUSHED.

Sarah Bessey poetically expresses the confusion and mess of needs.

Shannan Martin writes about grief.  We are not made for this world.

Rachel Held Evans reminds us that God cannot be kept out.  Amen.

More about our first Texas Christmas and how we are doing to come!